Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
The Nikon D3 and the Canon EOS-1D Mark II are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D3) and an APS-H (1D Mark II) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Canon provides 8.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Nikon D3||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)||ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||2.0" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|11 shutter flaps per second||8.3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|4300 shots per battery charge||1200 shots per battery charge|
|160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1300 g||156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1535 g|
Body comparison: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3 and the Canon 1D Mark II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D Mark II is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Nikon D3. However, the 1D Mark II is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the D3. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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 (D3) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1D Mark II).
Concerning battery life, the D3 gets 4300 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the 1D Mark II can take 1200 images on a single charge of its NP-E3 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon D3»||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Canon 1D Mark II«||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||54.1 oz||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.2 oz||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D« »||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1D« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.9 oz||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||-||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D700« »||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 1D Mark II was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the D3 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the 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 D3 features a full frame sensor and the Canon 1D Mark II an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the 1D Mark II is 36 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 12.1MP, the D3 offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark II (8.2MP), but the D3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.43μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the 1D Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The Nikon D3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1D Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200..
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the D3 provides substantially higher image quality than the 1D Mark II, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 1.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Nikon D3»||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Canon 1D Mark II«||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||-||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.2||975||66||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D« »||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||-||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||-||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1D« »||APS-H||4.1||2496||1662||-||-||-||-||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D5« »||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D4« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||-||24.7||13.7||1992||88||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D700« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2303||80||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D300« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D2X« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon D2X|
Feature comparison: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3 and the 1D Mark II 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3 and Canon 1D Mark II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3»||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|Canon 1D Mark II«||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||8.3||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||8.5||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||3.0||n||n||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1D« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||16000||8.0||n||n||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D5« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||8000||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D4« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D700« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D300« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D2X« »||optical||Y||2.5||235||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2X|
The D3 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 1D Mark II uses Compact Flash or SD cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
Connectivity comparison: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
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 D3 and Canon EOS-1D Mark II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3»||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Canon 1D Mark II«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D4« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D700« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D300« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D2X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2X|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the D3 and the 1D Mark II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II N, while the D3 was followed by the Nikon D4.
Review summary: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3 or the Canon 1D Mark II – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon D3:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.1 vs 8.2MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 8.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 235g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4300 versus 1200) on a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3 is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3 or the 1D Mark II handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Nikon D3»||-||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Canon 1D Mark II«||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Jan 2004||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||-||HiRec||4.5/5||-||-||Aug 2007||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||-||-||-||-||-||Aug 2005||3,999||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D« »||88/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1D« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2001||6,499||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D5« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||-||-||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D4« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D3X« »||-||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999||-||Nikon D3X|
|Nikon D700« »||89/100||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D300« »||HiRec||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D2X« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 700D vs Canon 400D
- Canon D60 vs Nikon D7500
- Canon G9 X Mark II vs Pentax Q
- Canon RP vs Olympus E-PL8
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Nikon D1
- Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon D3200 vs Pentax K-3
- Panasonic G9 vs Nikon D600
- Panasonic GX850 vs Canon G7 X Mark II
- Panasonic LX100 II vs Canon T7i
- Panasonic LX100 vs Panasonic GH5
- Sony A6300 vs Panasonic FZ300
Specifications: Nikon D3 vs Canon 1D Mark II
|Camera Model||Nikon D3||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||January 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 4999||USD 4499|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||28.7 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||548.17 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||34.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 Megapixels||8.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4256 x 2832 pixels||3504 x 2336 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.43 μm||8.17 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2||1.49 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200-6400 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||50-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||DIGIC II|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||22.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2290||1003|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||n/a|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||8.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or SD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 1.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL4a power pack||NP-E3 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||4300 shots per charge||1200 shots per charge|
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1300 g (45.9 oz)||1535 g (54.1 oz)|
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