Nikon D3s, Canon EOS-1 Mark IV compared

Update#3: more Canon EOS-1 Mark IV samples at different ISO available here.

Update#2: Canon's ISO102,400 picture was removed but you can still see it here. Canon also pulled the plug on the “Nocturne” video by Vincent Laforet.

Update: Canon Mark 4 ISO 102,400 sample shot available here (are those for real ??? - scroll to the bottom of the page) - you can compare it to Nikon's ISO 102,400 sample shot.


picture source: Adorama

Slow on rumors, here is something to keep you entertained: Adorama published a brief specs comparison between the Nikon D3s and the freshly released Canon EOS-1 Mark IV:

Feature Canon EOS-1 Mark IV Nikon D3s
Resolution 16MP 12MP
ISO Range 100-12,800 200-12,800
Top “Hi” ISO 102,400 102,400
Video 1080p HD, 24, 25 or 30fps 720p, 24fps
Sensor CMOS, APS-H (1.3x crop) CMOS, 35mm “FX” format
AF System 45 Point, 39 cross-type 51 Point, 15 cross-type
Pixel size 5.7 microns 8.45 microns
LCD resolution 920k pixels, 3 inches 921k pixels, 3 inches
Burst rate 10fps 9fps (full frame) 11 fps (DX crop)
Shutter speeds 30-1/8000 sec, 0.3, 0.5, 1 stops 30-1/8000 sec, 1/3 stops
Flash sync 1/300 sec 1/250 sec
Meter 63 zone 1005 pixel, auto scene recognition
Card slots 1 CF, 1 SD slot 2 CF slots
A/D conversion 14-bit 16-bit (?)
Cool Auto copyright info in EXIF Quiet Shutter Mode
Pseudo-HDR Auto Light Optimizer Active D-Lighting
Build Quality Weatherized; Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Battery Li-on LP-34 rechargeable EN-EL4/4a Li-ion rechargealbe
Size 6.2x6.2x3.1 inches 6.3x6.2x3.4 inches
Weight 2.6 lb 2.7 lb
Price $4,999.00 $5,199.95

Cannot wait to see real shots comparison, especially at ISO 102,400.

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  • camerausercollector

    Can anyone do a drop test on these new Nikon and Canon camera? Say from 10 ft high. Just like car companies do crash test on their new vehicle.

  • C>N

    I doubt that Pros who are paying 5 grand will just blindly pay for the specs.
    I’m pretty sure they will weigh their decision by reading reviews and listening to their colleagues’ advice.
    I’m mid way switching from Canon mid range (5D, 5D II) to D700 setup.
    I’ve been thinking about this for at least a year and researching these products, pros and cons and the trends. The trend is to Nikons favor and It seems that Nikon produces things that photographers really need (not mega pixels!).
    I mean if Canon made a reasonable 5D mk2 with 16MP that could go head to head with D700 in ISO and updated the AF and fps, then I would’t be here!
    They continued with 7D. 18MP in 1.6 crop!
    How about keeping the resolution at 14MP and improve high ISO, that would’ve been a winner.
    1D mk4, they could’ve gone FF and went to 14 MP instead (just for the heck of winning the MP spec war) and gave it comparable high ISO performance. That would’ve been a winner, but they insisted on tiny pixels that will never match D3s’ image quality.
    What are they smoking!

  • freezerburrn

    Theoretically, could Nikon add 1080p, 30fps, 60fps via a firmware update?

  • John

    Did anyone save the sample pictures before they were removed? I missed them.

  • Anonymous

    Nikon D3S Test Images

    Can’t wait to see the Comparometer tests!

  • Ken Rockwell

    1D4 Takes it. Anyone that disagrees is obviously just a whining fanboy that will never purchase either Camera. I own the D3 and earn my living out of Photography, But can appreciate both company’s when they bring out fantastic products. I was very disappointed with the D3s, but know that the Camera game changes from day to day. Why Can’t the “Camera Enthusiast’s” just accept that Canon has released a better product than Nikon but remember that it will inevitably change (like it always does) with time, instead of of acting like little b*tches. quit whining

    • Dean

      I agree with Rockwell… further more the 1Ds mkIV will destroy all competition if nothing else amazing appears.

    • Doesn’t matter

      I would understand it if you approve video in DSLR. But you don’t. So if don’t compare Video mode in cameras in wich aspects Canon is better than D3s?

    • Anonymous

      So funny, Ken. The best photocamera (Nikon D3) now became even better (D3s), but you are disappointed. As usually you have very eccentric opinion. But I read a lot of Canon forums and you know, Canon funs are dissapointed with 1D Mark IV.

    • Clem

      I doubt this is Ken Rockwell. His grammer is far better. He knows when to use captial letters!

  • Alsharif Ali

    Instead of extending sensitivity till over iso 100.000,dslr companies should perfect the 12800 bar first! these companies are playing a cheap movie on us poor enthusiasts trying to promote selling of their new products. Who will ever use iso 100000? spies? and with such a big camera do you think spies will get through incognito? come on!. On the other hand since we are talking proffessional dslrs whoever pro capable of paying 5000+ usd. can very well afford a now small video camera that he can stuff between his lens bagg. the so called smart marketing managers of these dslr producers should finally understand that their policy will lead to a negative effect as any smart buyer with will now prefer to wait for new developments before chosing to buy a new product now at the risk of his new camera becoming suddenly obsolete. My advice: Think twice before buying!!

  • for unknown reasons Canon also pulled the plug on the “Nocturne” video by Vincent Laforet, shot with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV… I posted it yesterday on and now it’s gone from vimeo…

  • I will be posting this in the weekly links section, but since we started that topic here are some more D3s sample shots:

    and some new 70-200 VRII shots:

  • nathan

    One thing everyone seems to be missing is that the D800 will probably have 95% viewfinder coverage and not 100% like the D3x. Also the dual CF card slot will probably be missing. Those two are normally key for a lot of pros.

  • Jabs

    Lost in the sauce:
    I think that Canon is reaching again for the bragging rights and just got blown out again by Nikon.
    As I said before, I think Canon is aiming for the D300s and not the D3.
    Their response to the D3 is probably coming.

    About 16 bit – well Mamiya just introduced a medium format digital camera with 16 bit RAW output file capabilities.
    That is where I see the next competition as headed.
    Most here fail to realize the significance of this and are merely quoting things they DO NOT understand.
    Again let me try and explain for YOUR sake.
    In tonal graduation –
    8 bits = 2 to the 8th power
    12 bits = 2 to the 12th power
    14 bits = 2 to the 14th power
    16 bits = 2 to the 16th power
    (Nikon is already at a 16 bit processor with 12 or 14 bit RAW output.)

    Processing power to do this already exists but incorporating it into a camera’s OUTPUT circuitry will take a little time for some manufacturers. I expect it maybe next year along with wider dynamic range, wider tonality range and less “megapixelHUTRZ” nonsense, just like how megahertz and gigahertz became irrelevant when 64 bit processors became the norm.
    To increase the ability to deal with a HIGHER BIT RATE, you simply up the bit rate of the processing CHAIN, as you cannot get a 16 bit foot into an 8 bit sock – an analogy.
    16 bit is ALREADY here, so just update the processors in the cameras’ computers (you either go to 32 bit or you use a 16 bit pipeline in the OUTPUT stage after you leave the sensor).

    And YES, Canon dropped the ball on BOTH the 7D and the new EOS-1 Mark IV, as they remind me of what Intel did when AMD introduced the Athlon 64 and wiped them away with 64 bit computing, then.
    BIT structure is the way forward, as you need the wider GAMUT in tonality. color space and such matters or you are pushing lots of flawed megapixels, JUST like what we are seeing from Canon.
    Bit structure is like widening the highway and sending more SLOWER or even equal vehicles – laden with more load and when they reach the destination, then the TOTAL sum of what they brought is much higher. Canon is sending faster vehicles with more load on a two lane highway and when there is an accident, all comes to a standstill.
    FAST race car going no where (or the megaHURTZ nonsense)!
    The past two years should have taught Canon much, but apparently, they are stuck on their egotistical desires.

    Anyone remember what Canon did when the F3HP came out and buried them with its’ 8 fps in the MD4?

    Well they introduced a pellicle mirror camera that gave them the bragging rights and what happened to it. (no mirror movement, as the mirror was semi-transparent and thus did not flap away in the mirror box but was stationary)

    SAME exact story today!

  • Jabs

    Do most of you ever look at what professional DIGITAL video cameras are capable of TODAY?
    People are bragging about 1080i video like that is some great thing.

    Professional video cameras achieved that eons ago and now are focused on quadruple that resolution plus many use 3 chip sensors (RGB) instead of a DSLR’s one chip.
    Of course, they cost a ‘fortune’.

    Perhaps RED (the company) has a clue and most here need to go study.


  • JCL

    It’s pretty dishonest to compare a 100% crop to a full sized image by the d3s.


    Isn’t the D3s just an update while the 1D4 is a whole new design?

    • Anonymous

      Yes it is.

  • Sanford

    By specs numbers, 1D4 seems to be better. However, why canon don’t make it Full Frame but 1.3x chop? 1.3x chop is not only worth US$200- difference on top model DSLR. I think actually 1D4 price mark-up is higher than D3s.

  • Donald Duck

    I am a ID Mark III user, and has been stunned when Nikon outdo it with its D3. However, the recent release of D3S and ID Mark IV, seems to be more favor to Canon. Nikon seems scare of pushing Megapixel, Canon go nuts on that, ever since the flop of EOS 50D. I think instead of saying which one is better, first of all, both systems must be comparable from start. How can you compare a smaller sensor with a larger one, how fair can it be ? In addition, more megapixels for the smaller sensor not only seems to be insane but by math, it will look extremely difficult to outdo the D3S….But if you think about this, Canon has the guts to throw out megapixels to satisfy those users who need to crop images, especially the sports shooters, and they have done their tweaking, in which they feel confident, under almost all conditions, it will deliver, even if pixel size is smaller, they dare to do that. If Nikon is that great, why not put a APS-H equivalent for comparison, but instead, they choose to use better technology without pushing it, artificially recreates itself as a leader in image quality. I think they pretty much avoid the fight, the D3S is full frame, why not push it to 20MP, why only 12 MP. Canon seems to have redone their AF on 7D and 1D4, showing they are aware of Nikon. If you see Laforet, Nocturune, with 1D4 shooting at insane ISO, you really should appreciate that Canon balances its technology better than Nikon. Come on, Nikon, increase your resolution, and drop in the APS-H contender. Otherwise, this is Apple and orange comparison, you cannot compare.

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