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Nikon D1X vs Olympus E-400

The Nikon D1X and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2001 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D1X) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 5.9 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D1X
versus
Olympus E-400
Nikon D1X   Olympus E-400
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
5.9 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 125-800 (125 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 120k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
1200 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1X and the Olympus E-400? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1X and the Olympus E-400. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D1X vs Olympus E-400
Compare D1X versus E-400 top
Comparison D1X or E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Nikon D1X. Moreover, the E-400 is substantially lighter (60 percent) than the D1X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D1X is splash and dust resistant, while the E-400 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1X) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-400).

Concerning battery life, the D1X gets 1200 shots out of its EN-4 battery, while the E-400 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D1X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
2.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699i
3.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
4.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
5.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
6.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
7.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
8.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
9.
 
Nikon D2H 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1070 g 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499i
10.
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D1H 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
12.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
13.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
17.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-400 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 88 percent) than the D1X, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D1X features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D1X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D1X and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-400 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 5.9 MP of the D1X. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 7.92μm for the D1X). However, it should be noted that the E-400 is much more recent (by 5 years and 7 months) than the D1X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-400 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-400 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1X are 15 x 9.8 inches or 38.2 x 24.9 cm for good quality, 12 x 7.8 inches or 30.6 x 19.9 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.5 inches or 25.5 x 16.6 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D1X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 125-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D1X versus E-400 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
2.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
3.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
4.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
5.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
6.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
7.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
8.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
9.
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
10.
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
11.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
12.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
13.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
14.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
15.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
16.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
17.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
Neither the D1X nor the E-400 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D1X and the E-400 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D1X offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the E-400 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D1X has a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D1X and Olympus E-400 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n
2.
 
Olympus E-400optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
4.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
7.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y2.5 / 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D100optical Y1.8 / 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D1optical Y2.0 / 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
13.
 
Olympus E-420optical n2.7 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-410optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-510optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
16.
 
Olympus E-500optical n2.5 / 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
17.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the D1X, but is missing on the E-400 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D1X writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D1X only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D1X and Olympus E-400 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D1XY- / ----FW---
2.
 
Olympus E-400Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D2HY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D100Y- / ----1.1---
11.
 
Nikon D1HY- / ----FW---
12.
 
Nikon D1Y- / ----FW---
13.
 
Olympus E-420Y- / ----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-410Y- / ----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-510Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-500Y- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D1X (unlike the E-400) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D1X and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1X was replaced by the Nikon D2X, while the E-400 was followed by the Olympus E-410. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D1X better than the Olympus E-400 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1X:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 500) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2001).

ilogo

Advantages of the Olympus E-400:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 5.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 27%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (215k vs 120k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (130x91mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 665g or 60 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (88 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D1X launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D1X 09:09 E-400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1X and the Olympus E-400 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D1X or the E-400. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D1X......+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
2.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100....4/54/5 Sep 2006 699i
3.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
4.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
5.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
6.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699i
7.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
8.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
9.
 
Nikon D2H......+ +.... Jul 2003 3,499i
10.
 
Nikon D100......+ +o.. Feb 2002 1,999i
11.
 
Nikon D1H......+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499i
12.
 
Nikon D1......+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499i
13.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
15.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100..+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100..+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
17.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D1X:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-400:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D1X vs Olympus E-400

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date February 2001 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 5,999 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 5.9 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 1960 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.92 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 1.59 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 125 - 800 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 125 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Screen Specs Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.46x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D1X Olympus E-400
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type EN-4 BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1100 g (38.8 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)

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