Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


 

Comparing Canon 5D, 1D Mk. II (N), 1Ds Mk. II and Nikon D2x

      
Canon EOS 5D                              Canon EOS 1Ds Mk. II

               
Canon EOS 1D Mk. II (N)                                            Nikon D2x

A review note by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

 

 
 

Most of the comparison are just data collected from the different specs of the cameras but we also add some subjective own notes to the different cameras. Why these cameras? These four cameras define the current market of 35mm DSLR cameras that feature over 12MP resolution and/or are high speed (up to 8fps).

This list is of course not complete but lists the features we find most important (we are not too much experts in using flash though).

Note: At the time we write this comparison we have all four cameras in our hands (we own the Canon 1D Mk. II for over one year and the Canon 1Ds Mk. II for 11 months now).

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EOS 1Ds    Mk II
Canon EOS 1D   Mk II (N)
Nikon D2x
 
Our Reviews
     
 
Resolution
12.8 MP
16.7 MP
8.2 MP
12.4 MP
Frame Rates
3 fps
4 fps
8 fps
5 fps
     
 
RAW buffer
17
11
20 (22N)
15 (high speed 26)
High Speed Crop
no
no
no
yes, 8fps, 6.8 MP
Multiplier
1.0 (Full Frame *)
1.0 (Full Frame *)
1.3x
1.5x
     
 
LCD Monitor
2.5"
2"
2" (2.5" N)
2.5"
Body
Solid (Prosumer)
Top class (heavy)
Top class (heavy)
Top class (lighter than 1Ds Mk. II but not as light as 5D)
Ergonomics
ok
ok
ok
very good
Histogram

RGB and Luminosity

Not easy to read and needs menu to switch between RGB/Luminance mode

RGB and Luminosity

Not easy to read and needs menu to switch between RGB/Luminance mode

RGB and Luminosity

Not easy to read and needs menu to switch between RGB/Luminance mode

RGB and Luminosity

Easy to read and available without switching a menu setting

Viewfinder
very good
very good
very good
very good
Startup time
very fast
very fast
very fast
very fast
Autofocus
good (9 point + 6 assist)
top (45 point AF)
top (45 point AF)
top AF (11 areas)
X-Sync Speed
1/200 sec
1/250 sec
1/250 sec
1/250 sec
Sensor Type
CMOS, Full Frame
CMOS, Full Frame
CMOS, 28.7 x 19.1 mm
CMOS, 23.7 x 15.7 mm
ISO range
50-3200 (see tests)
100-1600 (see tests)
50-3200 (see tests)
100-1600 (see tests)
Noise evaluation
excellent
very good
very good
very good (slightly more noisy than the 1ds Mk.II)
Anti Shake Lenses available
broad selection
broad Selection
broad Selection
good Selection
RAW Test Files
Battery/-life
light/medium
heavy/good
heavy/good
medium/excellent
Lens Mount
Canon EF (not EF-S)
Canon EF (not EF-S)
Canon EF (not EF-S)
Nikon F mount
Weight with Battery
900 g
1,530 g
1,530 g
1,250 g
Street Price
US $ 3,300
US $ 7,500
US $ 4,000 (N)
US $ 4,999

 

Matching tele lenses from Canon/Nikon for wildlife photography

We restrict this table to lenses that weigh less than about 3 kg. This means that you can also use them handheld. Excludes the 400mm f2.8, 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4 and Nikon's 200-400mm f/4 lenses). We also restrict the list to lenses f/4 or faster (means you can also use tele extenders and still have AF).

Selecting the best equipment for wildlife is dependent mainly on these factors:

  • FOV (Field of view)
  • FPS (Frames per second)
  • IS/VR (sStabilization or not)
  • MP (Resolution per frame)
  • Price
  • Weight and size (we only list weight as size is kind of proportional)
  • Max f-stop (for better focus speed/precision and background blur)

All lenses we list are in general quite good performers and can be used with 1.4x, 1.7x (Nikon) or 2x tele converters. The 1.4x allow quite sharp images but may distort. The 2x converters lose quite a bit of sharpness.

Canon EOS 5D
Canon EOS 1Ds    Mk II
Canon EOS 1D   Mk II (N)
Nikon D2x
 
70-200mm f 2.8
FOV 70-200mm
3 fps
IS
12.8 MP
US $1,700
3.5 lb

FOV 70-200mm
3 fps
IS
16.7 MP
US $1,700
3.5 lb

FOV 91-260mm
3 fps
IS
8.2 MP
US $1,700
3.5 lb

FOV 105-300mm
5 fps
VR
12.4 MP
US $1,700
3.2 lb

     

High-Speed Crop

FOV 140-400mm
8 fps
VR
6.8 MP

300mm f/2.8
FOV 300mm
3 fps
IS
12.8 MP
US $4,000
6.0 lb
FOV 300mm
4 fps
IS
16.7 MP
US $4,000
6.0 lb
FOV 390mm
8 fps
IS
8.2 MP
US $4,000
6.0 lb
FOV 450mm
5 fps
VR
12.4 MP
US $4,500
6.3 lb

High-Speed Crop

FOV 600mm
8 fps
VR
6.8 MP

300 mm f/4
FOV 300mm
3 fps
IS
12.8 MP
US $1,100
2.6 lb
FOV 300mm
4 fps
IS
16.7 MP
US $1,100
2.6 lb
FOV 390mm
8 fps
IS
8.2 MP
US $1,100
2.6 lb
FOV 450mm
5 fps
no VR
12.4 MP
US $1,100
3.1 lb
     

High-Speed Crop

FOV 600mm
8 fps
no VR
6.8 MP

 
400 mm f/4
FOV 400mm
3 fps
IS
12.8 MP
US $5,400
4.3 lb
FOV 400mm
4 fps
IS
16.7 MP
US $5,400
4.3 lb
FOV 520mm
8 fps
IS
8.2 MP
US $5,400
4.3 lb
n/a
 
     
 

 

 

 

(*) Full Frame

There are many discussions on the merits and faults of using full frame sensors:

Pro Full Frame

  • Larger pixels at the same level of resolution (can result in lower noise)
  • Classic 35mm wide-angle lenses keep their original field of view (the other cameras compensate this with new wider lens designs targeted for 1.5-1.6x cameras)
  • Easier to blur out-of-focus areas
  • Reaches diffraction limits at higher f-stops

Against Full Frame

  • More expensive to produce
  • Some 35mm lenses (mainly zooms and low end lenses) are very soft in the corners if used on full frame sensors). 1.3-1.6x cameras use more the sweet spot.
  • At same FOV there can be more DOF visible (see this article)
  • Allows smaller field of view (FOV) for the same lenses (seen as an advantage for tele photo)

Overall we have a very pragmatic view: Look at the resulting images and you will find that you hardly ever will be limited by one of these excellent cameras.

 
 
 
 
 

 

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