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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  • Good job Canon. Better video, I also like the choosable AF point configurations (like only the outer points). Almost all cross type, very nice.
    I will stick with Nikon though.. but not the D3 series..

    • Ryan

      What do you mean good job Canon… this is another mistake for sure. They are again crunching pixels and 1080p resolution video into a APS-H sized sensor.. thats stupid, and trying to keep up with Nikon’s ISO at full-frame just won’t happen… this is another reason Nikon is taking it easy with all of the “NEW” technology, Canon is becoming the Sony of Camera’s… they just think big numbers and prices mean everything… they forget quality in the next room.

    • 3space

      I’m not sure the canon has better video yet.. Canon is 1080p but the line skipping artifacts are really bad and the h264 codec craps out with just a small amount of high frequency detail. Its like the canon sensor can bite off more then the capture pipe can chew.

      I’m waiting to see the data rate of Nikon’s motion-jpeg. In theory motion-jpeg is a superior capture codec. The color space sampling is 4:2:2 and it’s a intraframe compression scheme. Any one know if Nikon increased the data rate on the D3s vs D300s?

      Plus nikon has big photosites that are almost twice the size of the Mark 4. TIme will only tell but I bet nikon’s decision not to increase mega pixel count will equal a cleaner image.

  • Weston

    impressive, it will be interesting to compare 12,800 ISO shots, I would guess the Nikon outperforms it there due to it being FX and less MP.

    • steve

      Hopefully Nikon will have the better ISO because of: Pixel size 5.7 microns (canon) vs 8.45 microns (nikon)

    • Anonymous

      My money is on the D3s outperforming the 1dmkIV at ISO 12,800 too. That 100% crop at ISO 102,400 is shockingly bad. Why bother having it at all when it’s absolutely useless? Unless Cnet is trying to make the Canon look bad they should post some uncropped versions.

      • denz

        it’s not right to compare at 100% crop size image, why not on 30×40 print size? we’re not selling photos that’s not printed. lets see who’s got more detailed while having clean high ISO.

        • afaik digital sales are bigger than paper sales nowadays. True is that compared should be however prints or downscaled resolutions. Same is with D3x, on 1:1 pixel it looks much worse than D3 but when printed or downsized to 12Mpix it is much better.
          Shots were removed, obviously bad enough to embarrass canon, but one day they will eventually have to publish them.

  • Anonymous

    Smart move for both Nikon and Canon. Rather than releasing the same camera with a different logo, they are specializing into different niches that can justify ownership of both.

    • GlobalGuy

      Very similar. But I don’t understand the following of APS-H sized sensors.

      Anyway, I really hope that Nikon comes out with a D800 / D700x in at least 6 months that incorporates blends the D3x and D3s, while boosting video.

      I personally don’t care terribly about video, but I know that special events people do. “If you do something – do it right.” And those videos will be kept as memories, which means played years from now on higher resolution screens and monitors.

      Can Nikon do more cross-type sensors? I think Nikon has great AF, but sometimes it can use improvements, and if they have the technology, and the markets are reasonably applying that technology in a competitive form — they should consider upping the ante a bit one way or another.

      Its really a good time to be a DSLR buyer right now. So many good choices at all budget ranges!

  • Tim

    Don’t think owners of the D3 (or D3s) will be quaking in their boots at this one. Those cross type sensors only work with some f/4 (and faster lenses) but not the 500/4 or 600/4, which seems odd. The Canon is probably better specified, but not a shocker. In fact the specs are really quite similar between the two. I’m sure the new D4 will make bigger waves when it is announced in a year or two.

    • Dragos

      Would you really try to focus with a 500mm+ lens with anything else than the center focus point anyway? Those are not portrait-type lenses where you want to think too much composition when tracking some quick action… I agree with your general comment ref. both cameras being similarly good (from as far as we can guess at the moment).

      • Adam

        Yes I would. Not everyone who owns these lenses shoots birds you know! Some of us couldn’t care less about birds and think the fascination with them is a little sad.

        The last time I used the 500 f/4 was on Safari in Africa, and the wildlife there moved slow enough for me to wish for a cross type sensor at the edges.

  • Jabs

    Canon and most persons fail to realize that video at 30 fps is no longer an asset, as it was needed for analog video where it was tied to 60hz electrical line voltage in America and 25 fps was tied to 50hz electrical current for sync purposes.
    The Film Industry has used 24 fps for a while.
    I think that Canon has woken up but they missed the boat with a crop camera instead of a full frame. They perhaps fixed their horrible autofocus problem but they still have bad metering issues and need to make an RGB or CYMK style color meter like Nikon. That is where Nikon buries them, as they continue to emphasize megapixels and not accurate metering plus great auofocus.
    Perhaps they will release a full frame camera now to outdo the D3X, but they fumbled or dropped the ball. The D3 was released approximately two years now and this is a response to the D300 and not the D3, so perhaps we look at that.
    Maybe you should compare it to the new D300s instead … LOL!

    • denz

      7D beats D300s by far. why many of you can’t accept it? when D300 was announce many canon user accepts that it was better than 40D and 50D. maybe the new D400 can match or beat the 7D. when i compare cameras i compare there printed images, not pixel piping on monitor at 100% crop.

      • matwd

        Canon users accepted that the D300 was superior because that superiority cost $400-$800. I think Nikon users are having a hard time admitting the 7D’s superiority because it beats the D300/s (in most ways) at its own pricepoint ($100 less, actually). A lot of users are a likely a bit miffed that the D300s is little more than a reheating of two-year-old technology, especially in the face of Canon’s (admittedly unexpected) decision to be innovative. Plenty are honest about this fact, yet some will always choose to plug their ears and yell “I can’t hear you!”.

        • denz

          yeah your right, why not just buy a camera and shoot. camera is only a tool, it’s in the eye of the shooter…

  • Mikael Willberg

    Hmmm, Cool: “Auto copyright info in EXIF” vs “Quiet Shutter Mode”. I thought all recent Nikons can put the copyright info to picture. If so, different features should be compared separately and explained, otherwise there can be confusion.

    • Anonymous

      They also left out weather sealing on the Nikon but pointed it out on the Canon.

      • Anon

        Yep I was going to say that. Is the Nikon not weatherized??? Also comparing ISO 100,000 with on one side a 100% crop, and on the other side a 13.5% crop, is not very fair to the Canon, to say the least. But I have to say even ISO 3200 looks to be sucking big time in their sample.

        How stupid. Well we knew CNET was for newbs anyway.

        • denz

          yeh comparing 100% crop on both cameras is unfair, compare it at 30×40 printed images. don’t pixel pip on 100% crop.

  • Tod

    Canon is again the Winer. Congratulations. Is Nikon Sleeping? i guess.

    • WoutK89

      it is spelled whiner, not winer xD

      • Rybotron

        Actually he was attempting to spell Winner, dork.

        • WoutK89

          no kidding sherlock 😛

          • Chris B.

            Lol Great Sarcasm.

          • Ryan

            hhahha OWNED.Good job Wout

        • BillyBobJohnson

          Oops, irony alert

    • another anonymous

      i don’t think so with crop camera.. and that video issue we know. i’m also curious on real life iso performance tests and comaprison

  • grumps

    On paper specs, Nikon should lower their pricing or bring out the D4, which I expect to be Q1/2 next year 🙁

    • WoutK89

      I see, crop, with only FF capable lenses on Canon, and FF with DX lenses possible at Nikon. But there is more that wins in favor of Nikon, apart from just looking at Video!!! Its main purpose is still Photography.

      So tell me, where do you see the difference that might not justify a little higher price?

      • grumps

        That is point, the canon is hugely improved, I shoot both the lower end pro models from both companies. If I had to make a choice between the two starting out as a photog today, I know which I will choose. For me, I won’t be upgrading, and I remain mostly with Nikon, as I am hugely invested. People should understand and give credit when another company brings out a better or improved product. Again the D3s is a point release and not a full upgrade, so this isn’t a far comparison, but given the two pricing, the favor swings to Canon.

        It’s too early to judge whether or not 1D4 does really perform as well as it states on paper though!

        • Jon Paul

          I can’t figure out why people would be sorry that Canon and Nikon keep raising the bar, either.
          Google Louis CK on Conan and watch the clip.
          Or, I’ll do it:

          It could be applied to some people that read this blog and their photographic equipment.

          • Anon

            I voted for you Ron.

        • dB

          I’m a little confused as to what is better about the Canon? These two cameras look pretty darn equal to me…

          You have 10fps vs 9 or 11fps, which is a draw in my book. I actually think the buffer is larger in the D3s ( I could be wrong). 16 MP vs 12 MP, but MUCH larger photosites on the D3s, which I’m guessing will result in lower noise. Autofocus looks fairly equal too, although we will have to see.

          Canon definitely takes it on the video features… although the Nikon, with the full frame sensor, will be able to achieve lower depth of field, and use wider lenses.

          I was a little worried that with Nikon’s relatively minor update to the D3, Canon would have a chance to really make a move here. In the end, I think that we are however looking at fairly even products – and I would personally still prefer the D3s.

    • I don’t think Nikon will release the D4 until late 2010. I think it will be a double release like two years ago. Nikon D400 + Nikon D4.

      • WoutK89

        How about a triple release, a big bang at Photokina 😉

  • nch
    • lyr

      Those crops must be jokes.
      I hope Canon is smart enough not to release a camera giving so bad results.
      Anyway, the best test would be a side-by-side comparison of the same scene taken in exactly same conditions. This will come, just some patience needed.

      • tester

        this must be jokes, even my D300 is better at 3200

        • Anon

          Actually, so is my D40 :p

          I suppose that’s either a bad joke or some 5000000*10^80% crops underexposed by, like, 100 stops and pushed 80 back up in MS Paint or something.

        • GlobalGuy

          The 3200 and 6400 look O.K. — for this type of test you can only compare to best image available, as it is not a standardized test. We have no idea what the lighting conditions were.

          CNET is the one who dropped the ball here, I believe. There should have been a standard ISO 100, 400, 800, and 1600 reference, and a comparison to at least one other well-established camera model.

          Their test means nothing. (Not that I am a Canon-head).

          • Worminator

            3200 looks really bad, but this is a 16MP non-FF sensor here. Without lower ISO as a reference there are no conclusions to be made, however – except to note that anything above high price tag and headlines of 100k+ ISO does not make ISO3200 magically better.

    • Anonymous

      That is a joke, just look how big the croma noise “dots” are… home made shit and no I am not a Canon user but a Nikon user.

      • nch

        That was my guess too. However, they could be 100% cropped and underexposed. I hope they are not real…

        • GlobalGuy

          For a CROPPED body lens, with that many megapixels, you should focus on ISO 3200 and 6400 only.

          102,400 is of course, garbage.

          But 3200 and 6400 appear to make quite usable shots and that is a pretty good feat for a high-density pixel camera with a cropped body sensor. Let’s not focus on the purple blobs at 102,400 — clearly Canon is gimmicking there.

    • Chris B.

      Wow I can’t believe the noise could possibly be that bad on a flagship camera even if it is a APS-H sensor. Even the 7D noise results weren’t that bad. I know Canon would not expect to compete with Nikon with outlandish noise issues at least i hope not. A lot of photographers today are not purchasing cameras for the specs on paper but for its actual performance qualities. So i guess the real question is did the 1D Mark IV produce bad noise results because of the folks at CNET or are they really that bad performance wise? Personally i believe the new canon will at least perform well to 12,800 but whether it does or not based on the results i’ve seen i will still be going for a D3S because it fits me perfectly as a photographer.

  • Justin

    So the D3 isn’t ‘Weatherized’? This comparison seems pretty lousy.

    • steve

      FWIW: one of Nikon’s promo videos shows someone taking pictures in pouring rain with no additional cover on the camera.

      • Anon

        Yep and I’ve seen it in real life too. Guy was shooting in POURING rain and couldn’t care less.

        • Ryan

          I have a D3 and shot a race last winter for 6 hours in the rain with only a hand towel to cover my lens! Everything is still in perfect working order! I have also been shooting motorcycles in the dessert, in sand storms and excruciating heat and have never had a problem. The D3 is definitely weatherized!

        • truth is that anything d300 up takes rain with no issues. i spend many hours in serious rain shooting and only ductaped the lens mount (my lens wasnt weather sealed)

  • NikoDoby

    Another D**k measuring contest 🙁

    • Rangefinder Bob


      How many of the size queens*/whiners/complainers actually be in the market for either camera?

      *measurebators (thanks for the coined term, KR) who want the biggest and baddest.

      • Anon

        You can keep your stinking KR quotes for you, thanks.

        • Limecat

          I agree.

  • Your article is a little confusing. Under the picture of the Nikon you have the Canon data and under the picture of the Canon you have the Nikon data. If go to to see how it should be done.

  • Mr. E

    On paper, other than the sensor size, the mk4 seems to be superior than the nikon. when the FF version 1ds mk4 comes out, nikon will be forced to do something amazing.

    • alex

      really ? you aren’t a photog aren’t you?

      for example the 16-bit CPU is the reason nikon outperformed medium format cameras in DR.

      • Anonymous

        did they… I haven’t seen any proof anywhere, any link to provide us with?

        • Astrophotographer

          DXOMark ranked the D3x as best IQ when it came out, even against MF. It’s still #2.

          • well Dx0 is not everything right?

            Obviously never shot with MF back, did you?

          • denz

            Fotograf is right, you can make your on review site and make it favor to any camera, you can make sony alpha better than eos or nikon slr’s. the best review is yourself, go out and try it yourself and post.

          • denz

            and by the way, D3x sensor was the same as A900 and A850, how come they didn’t match? if they were testing the sensor only and not the processor in it it should be a tie between nikon and sony because they have the same sensor in different body. nikon purchased the sensor of A900.

      • Desinderlase

        ? 16 bit has nothing to do with dynamic range…

        • Incorrect. DR improves with increased bit depth as the camera has more color levels to discern details in the shadow/highlights. Granted pixel size the #1 effector on DR but bit depth is a close second. And yes, I am a professional photographer and instructor.

        • denz

          16 bit? if i am not mistaken it is only 14 bit. and the rating of 9 FPS and 11 for crop is for 12 bit image capture? correct me if i am wrong on this. and please show us the link to prove it. thanks

  • Phil

    I am not too experienced shooting Canon…but do the controls on the front and top of the Canon seem to be nonexistent?

  • john

    can anyone explain to me why canon has chosen cropped instead of ff????? I’m confused…

    • D40-owner

      … Because it is a 1D model, it has always been crop.
      The FF models are the 1Ds.

    • grumps

      A lot of pro sport shooters shoot canon, the extra reach helps. They needed a fast AF and extra reach was an added plus! You’ll see a lot of white lenses at international events. This isn’t to say they don’t shoot Nikon, but the canon shooters remained loyal to this crop which proved useful.

      • another anonymous

        yes, i’m also using crop camera for this, my d300 has then an extra extra reach 😉

      • Anon

        You see them white lenses because they stick out of the black lenses crowd like eye sores 🙂

        • grumps

          There’s a always that too, but I usually look for Nikon gear ;p
          (you cheeky bugger)

      • denz

        not only the extra reach, the 1.3 crop sensor captures only the sweet spot of the lens, it didn’t include the soft edges of the lens. 1.6 and 1.5 crops is a different story.

  • john
    • WoutK89

      That is with the art filter on? 😛

    • wow, I thought this was a joke 🙂

    • Paul’s_Brew

      My D80 looks better at 3200.

      • John

        hahahaahahha i can agree to that

    • BillyBobJohnson

      Looks like modern art and just as shite.

    • Jim

      looks like a unicorn prancing under a rainbow

  • PJS

    Guess the D3s needs a dark night to be used – 1/800 top shutter speed? I’ll still take it over the Canon, but then who wouldn’t?

  • Jabs

    This area will probably sink to a Canon-VS-Nikon bash, but Canon seems to be going for records and showmanship versus Nikon seeking better imaging and usability, it appears.
    No 35mm camera has topped the D3 at DX0 Labs yet and it is amazing that even some medium format bodies do not top it. I personally believe that Nikon scared Canon when it introduced the D3/D300 in 2007 and they have been in shock or almost a coma (lol) ever since.
    Most posters fail to realize that the D3 is not the camera to beat in 35mm resolution but the D3X is the one to beat.
    The next frontier will probably be a 16 bit from sensor to 16 bit output pipeline and that would be more important than megapixels in my opinion, as 25megapixels seems adequate now. The difference between a 16 bit or even a 32 bit (to dream, eh) pipeline would be unreal and then give us more graduations of colors to deal with but the file size would be huge plus the built in processors (computers) within the cameras would need to be much better and faster. Perhaps they will go to multiple processors, one for the video, one for the RAW and one for JPEG, several for camera functions or even dump JPEG and go to some other better compression format.
    Canon is trying to catch up but they have gotten so far behind and their seeming insistence on one-upping Nikon is almost childish, in my opinion. They need to FIX their current problems, as even the recently released Canon 7D is flawed and the 5D is too, so perhaps they work on making their cameras work properly instead of reaching for the bragging rights.
    Leica is in a similar position with their M9 crap. You need a working, repeatable and consistent camera and not some knockout marketing slogan or claim.
    You must deliver or pros will avoid you for sure.
    Boutique is for the ‘fashionistas’ while pros need repeatability and reliability.

    • soap

      I used to say I’d sell my left testicle for this or for that – but I was joking….
      That said, I’d sell both for a pure 16 bit pipeline!

      • Anon

        And how do you know anybody would want your little raisins?

        • Jim


    • Rangefinder Bob

      @Jabs–Very well said.

    • nikkor_2

      “The next frontier will probably be a 16 bit from sensor to 16 bit output pipeline and that would be more important than megapixels in my opinion, as 25megapixels seems adequate now. The difference between a 16 bit or even a 32 bit (to dream, eh) pipeline would be unreal and then give us more graduations of colors to deal with but the file size would be huge plus the built in processors (computers) within the cameras would need to be much better and faster. Perhaps they will go to multiple processors, one for the video, one for the RAW and one for JPEG, several for camera functions or even dump JPEG and go to some other better compression format.”


      So well stated, Jabs; so well stated.

      As a semi-pro photographer shooting a D3, I would love to see 16-bit output; the color gradations would be fantastic, I think.

    • Gerry

      Although I agree with you, and I also think the D3(x) is one of the greatest cameras out there, Canon is still selling tons of expensive cameras. In my opinion, many ‘photographers’ only look at MP count and movie quality. Canon realizes this, and even though they may be “behind Nikon”, they are coming out with cameras that beat Nikon in “important categories” for the general public.

    • Harry Angel

      Well they have to get the noise down in order to go to 16-bits (or even the 14-bits they have now):

      “Curiously, all the 14-bit cameras on the market (as of this writing) do not merit 14-bit recording. The noise is more than four levels in 14-bit units on all of these cameras (Nikon D3/D300, Canon 1D3/1Ds3 and 40D); the additional two bits are randomly fluctuating, since the levels are randomly fluctuating by +/- four levels or more. Twelve bits are perfectly adequate to record the image data without any loss of image quality, for any of these cameras (though the D3 comes quite close to warranting a 13th bit).”


  • Phil

    John, it is clearly a row boat…can’t you tell by the man in the lifevest rowing down the river?

  • ian

    for what it’s worth I think the d3s looks better from the outside 🙂

    • NikoDoby

      It’s a better camera on the inside too 🙂

  • Johnny

    “30-1/800 sec, 1/3 stops” for the D3? Wow, that is crappy.

    • NikoDoby

      Admin forgot a zero 🙁

      • WoutK89

        And Johnny forgot an “s” 🙂

  • alex

    wow… the high iso canon image is horror

  • Jabs

    To – NikonRumors Administrator:
    You made a mistake in the specs –

    Shutter speed for D3s = 30-1/800 sec, 1/3 stops

    Should have been – 30-1/8000 sec, 1/3 stops

  • alex

    there’s a big difference in battery life but adorama is “silent” about it

  • Hello Nikon

    Hats off for Canon!

    I have to say I’m very impressed with the spec on their new sensor, not only same native ISO sensitivity as Nikons D3s but also on a 1.3 times smaller sensor AND with higher pixel rate 16 Mp, transforming that kind of performance into a FF sensor would be at least 1,5 up tp 2 times higher ISO.
    And most looks very good on the new Canon.

    Seeing this coming out from Canon makes me rethinking whether I should change brand, I just bought a D700 for couple of months ago and while it’s a very nice camera I still want to see the brand I’m sticking to also are up for fight and can provide the market with competitive products that tells that brand has the future and that’s what Nikon failed convince this year, unfortunately.

    Again congrats to the Canon people!

    • Rover Bites

      You should change brands. Change brands every time Canon, Nikon, et al. come out with a “better” spec’ed camera. Change camera brands like you change underwear.

      Because, you know, better specifications means better pictures. People must always tell you, “Your cat pictures are wonderful, you must have a Great Camera!”

      Let the measurebating begin!!!!!!

    • Tim

      Get a life. I mean really, you haven’t seen the quality of the Nikon and Canon sensors. Nikon is in mid product cycle. Canon brought out a new camera. Yes it’s probably good, but you’ll be back to Nikon in a couple of years if you’re a born again ship-jumper. Make a decision and stick with it.

  • Hello Nikon

    Forgot to tell, look at Canon, they listen to their customers, they are now working on a new firmware that provides 24fps for 1080p video and will be out after 2-3 months.

    Nikon, how about a new firmware for my D700, it has Live View so it can record, it’s up to you to enable the record mode, thanks!

    • Hello Nikon

      that was concerning the 5D MarkII…

      • NikoDoby

        canon users wanted the 1Dmk4 to be full frame and canon didn’t listen to that did they.

        • Tim

          And Nikon actually get their firmware pretty right in the first place. I mean the 7D already has a firmware update. I mean, is it even available yet? Fools rush in…

        • nikkor_2

          “canon users wanted the 1Dmk4 to be full frame and canon didn’t listen to that did they.”


          A full-time pro shooting sports on the Canon platform told me last night he was disappointed with Canon’s choice to stick with the APS-H size sensor in the 1D Mark IV.

    • steve

      If Nikon were to release a firmware that added video to the D700. It would be like introducing a new camera, with out having to change anything going on at the factory. They would get a lot more life and $$ out of the D700.

    • John

      Yea if they listened to their customers why do they come out with flawed cameras with quality control issues in masses??????

    • BillyBobJohnson

      Funny how they didn’t listen for 2 years when their flagship wouldn’t autofocus.

  • Antonio

    User of Nikon systems, the Canon EOS-1D Mark III was my first digital camera and my worst mistake: I was one of those lucky guys to have an out-of-focus/soft-focus Canon. After 18000 photos out-of-focus or soft-focus I decided it was time to return to Nikon. I am using now 2 digitals: D3 and D300. Canon? Never again!

    • Roger

      Me too Antonio! I was a “lifelong” Canon user (10 years) until I got fedup with the Mark III – When it hit, the images it produced were gorgeous. But I couldn’t trust it anymore.

  • Simon

    D3s AD conversion 16 bits? Dream on!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jabs

      About D3 and 16bit:

      Quote from Nikon website on D3.

      Selectable 12-Bit or 14-Bit A/D Conversion: The choice of selecting bit depths at 12-bit (4,096 tones) or 14-bit (16,384 tones), both yielding incredible image quality through a full 16-bit processing pipeline, enables photographers to choose smaller files at faster operating speeds, as opposed to larger files with smoother tonal gradations at slower operating speeds.

      My Comment:
      Most of photography is stuck in 8 bits with 256 levels of gray plus 256 levels of color graduation – FACT.
      As far as I remember, Photoshop and most graphic programs are still stuck in 8 bits (256 shades or graduations) and it is programs like CinePaint – – that push the envelope, so I converted to 64 bit Linux Studio with an AMD 64 bit processor – Huge difference!

      The Mac OS-X has gone 64 bit, but lots of the tools photographers and videographers use are still stuck in “8 bit land” and not even pseud0 8 bit -X -3 like the old Amiga … LOL!

      The goal perhaps then is to get programs to have a 16 bit or even 32 bit INTERNAL pipeline and for the cameras to be able to record (which Nikon has done since the D3) but also give us 16 bit RAW files too plus work with them in a 16 bit or 32 bit pipeline.
      Every time you increase the bit structure of the image, you expand the ability to increase dynamic range, color fidelity as in similar fashion to when you take an audio file from 24 bits to 96 or 192 bits. It is about allowing a wider “gamut” or more graduations within a ‘frequency’. It is like having 1024 graduations of a color -vs- 2048 graduations, so hence the tonality will be more faithful.
      The down side to all this new fidelity is larger files, hence I support leaving JPEG, as it is one of the worst formats as far as tonal fidelity goes.
      I prefer TARGA or even TIFF, but JPEG is universal now -mediocrity at its best, eh!

      Nikon beat almost everyone because of this overlooked detail and when one looks at a D3X file in RAW in Linux, it wipes out looking at this same file on any Windows versions so easily. I even tried Windows 7 a few months ago, but it was better than XP or Vista but not even close. I have not tried looking at a D3X RAW file in Mac though, so any comments?

      If the goal is fidelity, head room, dynamic range, e.g., then the larger bit structure wipes the floor with other lower bit structures – a digital fact.

      • pher

        “As far as I remember, Photoshop and most graphic programs are still stuck in 8 bits”

        I use 32bit files in photoshop daily. CameraRaw also supports 16bit RAW files. Do you use GIMP in Linux? Afaik, that’s still 8bit only.

        “lots of the tools photographers and videographers use are still stuck in “8 bit land””

        And by ‘lots of tools’, do you mean PPro, After Effects, FCP, Nuke… all of which support 32bit files.

        And to think that using different operating systems has any effect on viewing your raw files is… laughable. You seem rather knowledgeable, so I’m not sure what you’re overlooking. Did you set your color profiles when you were in Windows?

      • Harry Angel

        They have to first get the noise down in order to even use the 14-bits of today.

        “Curiously, all the 14-bit cameras on the market (as of this writing) do not merit 14-bit recording. The noise is more than four levels in 14-bit units on all of these cameras (Nikon D3/D300, Canon 1D3/1Ds3 and 40D); the additional two bits are randomly fluctuating, since the levels are randomly fluctuating by +/- four levels or more. Twelve bits are perfectly adequate to record the image data without any loss of image quality, for any of these cameras (though the D3 comes quite close to warranting a 13th bit)”


  • Michael

    People will say Canon wins or Nikon wins or whatever from these specs published by Adorama. Truth be told the Canon looks pretty good. I am sure it will perform better than the 1D Mark III, it will in fact probably be the best thing Canon has put out in while to try to win back their name.

    My thoughts are this. The only real place that Canon “wins” is the video, it is 1080 vs Nikon’s 720. Even the pixel count isn’t that much better. 16 isn’t going to be that much better than Nikon’s 12 so I don’t really call it a “win”.

    Personally I think that while this is a big improvement over the 1D Mark III, I just don’t see it as the “winner” over the Nikon D3s. Overall, in my opinion, the Nikon D3s still wins. For the Canon folks I am sure they will say the Canon wins but I just don’t see it. I think a lot of the Canon folks are a bit underwhelmed. Definite improvements and the video is good, does it AF in AI Servo? We will have to wait to see.

    I just Don’t see it is a groundbreaking I am selling all my Nikon kind of deal here. I think Nikon should easily be able to out do these specs when they release the D4. Easily. I am going to imagine we are looking at first or second quarter of 2011 instead of 2010 though. Why release an upgrade in the fourth quarter of 2009 and then it’s repacement a year later. I kind of doubt that. It would be fine with me but I doubt it.

    These are just my thoughts. I am sure some will agree and some disagree but this is my opinion.

    • Simon

      There is 39 cross point AF in the 1DMk4 compared to only 15 on D3s. 16MP is 25% bigger than 12MP, that is not marginal. I know which camera sport shooters would go for and it wont be D3s.

      • Paul’s_Brew

        No, it will be the D3X.

      • alex

        so simon says, but simon is 9yo

        • papa

          and Alex is just 10yo…
          no I’m not Simon, but really, keep up the level of the discussion guys, we don’t have to read these kind of remarks here.
          And I agree with Simon.
          Regards Nikon user

      • Tim

        Actually, it’s only 15 % in each linear direction. So some more resolution, but what about the low light performance? Smaller sensor, smaller pixels. Only time and the inevitable side-by-side comparisons will tell. And those cross sensor don’t work with all their f/4 lenses in any case.

        • Jeff

          they still work, just not as cross type sensors, besides, nikons have the same limit in cross type detection.

      • WoutK89

        @ Michael: D3s is an update, not upgrade. So why not announce a new D4 in 2010

        @ Simon: Try recalculating, and now take sensor size and pixel density into count 😉

        • Michael

          Sorry, to me update and upgrade mean the same thing. Replacement means D3 series to D4 series. Replacement meaning it actually ends the line and starts a new one. Sorry, didn’t realize that Upgrade and update were not the same.

        • Michael

          Forgot the D4 (replacement to the D3(s) body) in a year question. Like I said that would be fine with me. I just don’t think they would have put as much into the D3s to “replace” it one year. If they do that will be fine with me, my checkbook might not like it but I will.

          “Grumps” (see above) said that they expect that to be in Quarter 1 or 2 of next year. That would be a 3-6 month product cycle. I doubt Nikon will do that. I really would not expect a “replacement” (I hope I am using the correct term) will come out in a year or less. I would expect that to be 18 months out.

      • Michael

        If all things were equal And we were comparing apples to apples, you would be correct about the pixels. Sadly, we are not. Though I have not used the D3s yet, I would rather have the D3 at full frame 12MP than a 16MP 1.3 crop. I think the quality would be better. So I would rather keep the D3 and the quality from that as compared to a 16 MP crop. As WoutK89 and Tim said, it is in the math.

        Coming from an engineering background as well as a shooter, that is why I said what I did about the pixel count not being a big deal. It is in the math.

      • Anonymous

        39 cross points that only all work with F/2.8 lenses. I think sport shooters will go for the camera that actually gets shots in focus.

        • Anonymous

          that’s because they are budget cross points lol. unlike nikon’s cross points that work no matter what. what’s canon going to say for people using a TC in an f/2.8?

  • Simon

    Why is this site showing picture of the 1DMk4 without a lens next to D3s with a lens.? Are you tryin to make the Canon look less puposeful?
    Also why call D3s ADC 16 bit when it is not?
    Those ISO images are shot by someone using a mobile phone on the back LCD screen while testing the camera otherwise we be seeing full EXIF images.

    Is this site run by fanboys for fanboys?

    • Jay

      yes it is lol, nikonians are the worst offenders

    • As I said already in the post – this comparison table (and the picture) was taken from Adorama. You can direct your concerns to them. Again: I did not create this table.

  • dshenry

    Really, did CNet get Canon approval before posting those hi ISO images? I can not believe that Canon would allow any shots like those to come out. I would figure they would wrap them up in an NDA just to stop people from showing something so bad. How could they even try to pass them off as a picture? Wow. Now I understand they were trapped by Nikon. They had to compete by getting similar features out, but why even bother? Heck, a D40 could be pushed better than that.

    It comes down to pixel size, the more pixels you pack onto the sensor, the smaller they are which means less light gathering, and more noise. It would have been a huge trumping of Nikon to get 16 megapixels onto an 1.3 cropped sensor to actually do well at ISO 102K. Unfortunately, physics got in the way and they are doing crap. Yes, pre-production camera blah blah blah. No way they clean that up and just so you know, Nikon’s samples were with a pre-production unit as well. Sorry Canon.

    • John

      if you check the canon official press release photos, all of them don’t show the highest iso setting… I wonder why……

      • rhodium

        I was about to point that out too. In fact, the way I see it, the 1D Mk IV’s ISO 3,200 image looks just about as noisy as the D3s’ ISO 6,400 image.

      • nikkor_2

        It will be interesting to see the official Canon 102,400 ISO shot.

        • John

          it was already posted by me and now it is in the post….

    • WoutK89

      Pre-production D3s, it is very much different than a build from scratch Pre-production 1Dm4!!!

  • Ray

    I am looking forward to a bunch of people jumping ship so this site will calm down with the ship jumping statement, like the rest of us REALLY care if you shot Canon or Nikon.

    be a pro, shoot hasselbald.

    • Jay

      hells no shoot phase one haha a new battle emerges

    • Nikonuser

      Not going to shoot sport with a hasselblad… dont have the iso, the lens nor the shutterspeed. nor VR.. etc. Hassy are mostly used for studio, landscape.

    • camerausercollector

      Hassy are overpriced, i’ll buy M9 with couple of new Leica lenses instead and be more happy.

  • Amanda Maier

    Haha! Canon´s Mk IV photos are really bad and the higher ISOs are really not usable. And this piece of art wants to be a pro camera??? I tink it´s a marketing gag to have something again Nikon. But what I want is a D700 with some more resolution, maybe 18 MP.

    • Tim

      That would be a D400, due sometime in 2011. 18mp will mean a whole new sensor, and it will be better economy I’m sure for Nikon to eventually put the D3x sensor in a D700x or the like for now.

  • Jay

    If you all are judging iso performance off a mobile phone pic taken from the back lcd of the 1d4 of a art calender then you all are a bunch of morons or extreme flaming fanbois.

    • Tim

      Actually Jay the CNet review says ‘We have some high ISO sample images taken with a pre-production unit coming up right below.’ Perhaps they are under the mobile phone pics you were looking at?

      By the way, what does ‘fanbois’ mean?

    • Anonymous

      quote from Cnet:
      “We have some high ISO sample images taken with a pre-production unit coming up right below. ”
      and just above the samples:
      “Left to right: ISO 3,200, 6,400, 12,800, 25,600, 51,200 and 102,400. Click on the images to see the 100 percent crops. ”
      I hardly doubt that those where taken with a phone of the cameras lcd … or did they maybe have a small tripod to steady their phone :)? But still let us wait for some real side by side shots and then we can rant and complain how much one of the two companies failed to please us.

  • Jabs

    How come Canon did not make this new camera USB 3.0?
    The standard has been ratified and is backward compatible with USB 2.0 but perhaps the camera was designed and built before the standard was finalized.
    Ironically, it is LInux that is the first Operating system to natively support USB 3.0.

    I have moved most of my graphics and photography to Linux – Ubuntu Studio 64 bit and also about to try 64 bit Artist -X. I find 64 bit Linux to be superior but I keep some Windows versions (2003 and XP) for use with Programs that need Windows. I also have started to use Virtual Box to run Windows XP on Linux and then I’ll try Windows 7 later.

    • Roger

      Canon has a history of waiting a few months before adding new technology.

      UDMA CF cards were out when the Mk3 was released, but they didn’t include it. Instead they went after the SDHC crowd!

  • Jay

    man iso 3200 looks like crap… cnet rules.

    • Anonymous

      well just to rub it in…
      Your right! Cnet’s iso 3200 sample really does look like the official canon sample. Thank you for pointing that out.

      • Jay

        Faceplam.. go play with your d90

        • Anonymous

          Faceplam? What are you 12?
          And yes the d90 is a nice camera, but I own a 1Dmk3. Still I am tempted by nikon since the D3 and willing to switch.

          • pher

            Is the d90 the new d40? Not fair!

    • Hello Nikon

      go and play with your self, I have a D700 and it doesn’t produce that good pictures on a noise level!

  • Anonymous

    Don`t get me wrong, but just what dose it compare? We all know the specs. As long as there are no side by side samples and a extensive review there is no comparison… How can people jump to conclusions by looking at the official sample pictures on the companies websites? We need real life reports and unbiased samples to judge iso performance.

    • Jay

      kinda like how you all compare a nikon official photo to a cnet crap photo lol

  • Jay

    and whats with this 16 bit? The d3s has “NEF (RAW) : (12-bit or 14-bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed)
    • NEF + JPEG
    • TIFF
    • JPEG (EXIF 2.21)”

    qouted from its own spec list

    trumping up specs i see to fuel the fanbois ROFL

  • Astrophotographer

    I’ve always felt that the differences between Nikon and Canon were much less than fanboys claim. Each getting a little ahead with their latest release.

    But I think Canon is hit the BS mark if they claim this camera has a top ISO of 12800. There is no way a 5.7 micron pixel can achieve it, it’s beyond the laws of physics. Unless they fudge of the industry rules governing how ISO is determined.

    I hope DXO Mark does an analysis of these two cameras. It will show who’s claim is just hype.

  • Jabs

    Again about 16 bit:
    I think that most people are ignorant of what 16 bit refers to.
    It refers to the bit structure of the final image coming from the camera – in this case.

    There is 8 bit which describes the bit structure of the PICTURE where 8 bits represents 8 bits of INFORMATION recorded into each PIXEL, or 2 to the 8th power (256) different colors or shades of gray possible per PIXEL.

    The higher the bit structure PER PIXEL, the greater the different shades of EACH color is represented in any given image.

    Similar to how Canon gave us 16 color output in its’ new Canon Pro printers for better and more accurate results.

    Digital is formed by graduations and the finer the graduation, the better the results – all things being equal!

    We use so many technical terms which sound similar and often are used my marketing people who clearly do not understand what they are saying!

    16 bits is a digital measurement describing the available “workspace” in color graduation, so the higher, the less difference between adjoining colors within THAT COLOR, so each color has a smoother graduation and an ability to render more faithful tonal graduation, as they say. The human eye is well able to distinguish between 8 and 16 bit graduations – for example!

    Perhaps this clears things up!

  • Jabs

    Looking at the Cnet-Asia quick examples of ID Mark IV:
    It appears to me that they shot a “Chinese style” wall mounted calendar with a tripod mounted camera from ISO 3200 to ISO 102,400. They probably just increased the ISO in each shot without reframing.

    BAD, and terrible even at ISO 3200.

    This probably was a quick test but I hope it is not representative of this camera’s results.

  • Peter Pan

    You should specify that the Canon not only has 1080p versus Nikons 720p@24fps, but also Canon offers 720p@60fps. 60fps makes some nice slow-motion capabilities. Allso, 60fps give a huge benefit in smooth panning and a kind of 3d-look to the image that 24/25/30 fps just does not deliver.

    • BillyBobJohnson

      Go buy one then.

  • camerausercollector

    Clearly these two giant has double agent working for them. Look at the similarities. Oh well. I’m still waiting for my split prism. Another race to the finish line?

  • Jabs

    Sort of disappointed:
    I looked forward to Canon pushing the envelope in a new camera but instead of pushing the professional image pipeline forward, they seems to have settled for ‘specsmanship’, it seems.
    People fail to realize that DSLR video is usually edited with external programs and just about all of them can upscale or even downscale all types of files, so what the native resolution is does not really matter, as the best video editors usually render the new files anyway.
    I think it seems to be clear that Canon is choosing specs over what really is needed now and that is sad.
    1080 -vs- 720 is a small difference in video size or sometimes even video quality (resolution), but a huge difference in processing power WITHIN the camera. I really don’t think that any of today’s cameras are ready for a 1080 pipeline as their processors are probably not fast enough.
    I wish that Nikon had 1080 video, but if it made the camera less usable as a STILL shooter, then I prefer 720, as you can easily upscale it and hardly anyone would note the difference.
    Not too many are even posting about the 7D having more megapixels than the EOS-1 Mark IV and though they seem to have different crop factors, I wonder how they would compare to each other. I also think that it is unfair to compare this new EOS-1 Mark IV to any D3, even the original, as they (D3 series) are full frame cameras with different markets, in my opinion. Full frame has a “different look” from cropped cameras and being a long time slide shooter (Velvia, Fuji 64T, Kodak K25, K64 and Ektachrome), I see the differences usually. Full frame looks like slide film, especially the D3X and most crop cameras remind me of great negative film cameras shooting Ektar 25 or T-Max black and white films.
    I looked at a lot of the Olympics shots from Beijing and the advances in sports shooting was amazing.
    People seem to not realize that Photojournalists have to shoot for magazine covers, the Web, Facebook, Twitter and all types of mixed media now, so the versatility of carrying one piece of equipment and then shooting multiple media items, is a great opportunity to stand out from others. There are podcasts being made that bring new visitors to web sites and this is where video comes in. Most of the stuff is smaller than 1280-720, so it really does not matter. The point seems to just get the shot, some video or the so-called mixed media photography of today.
    Full frame cameras beat crop framed cameras but Nikon has been wise to include two other perspectives in their D3s, as some media does not comply with video’s aspect ratio, so perhaps we look at that.
    In the next incarnation of Nikon’s and Canon’s cameras, we will perhaps see a clearer mixed media focus or even a convergence and not the add-on mentality of features we are forced to deal with now due to newness or technical limitations.
    Speed and dynamic range plus repeatability will perhaps become more important than the bragging rights to who has the most megapixels, fastest frame rates or smallest bodies as far as pros are concerned. If you have 15 fps and 10 frames are not focused properly, then you just cost the camera user money and missed opportunities, an even bigger problem.
    Canon seems to need to break up their Camera Divisions into two separate areas with one focusing on consumer equipment (at which they are great) and the other focusing on professional camera equipment (in which they are getting worse, it seems) and then focus on the core strengths of what PROS need, damn the marketing types!
    I was expecting an answer to the D3X as I thought that the 7D was aimed at the D300s, but was surprised by this EOS-1 Mark IV. Why do they then have two almost identical cameras and in effect NO full frame cameras to compete with Nikon’s D3 series.
    They are now two generations behind Nikon. Generation 1 was the D3 and then Generation 2 is the D3s – plus we won’t talk about the D3X, as that is in a class by itself, it seems.
    People fail to realize perhaps, that Nikon has the best resolution in 35 mm along with Sony but the dynamic range of the D3X is spectacular. I wonder what the D4X will be like, not in resolution mainly, but in things like 16 bit throughput from input to output. Can you imagine 16 bit RAW images from a D4X?
    That is what I was expecting from Canon, since they took all this time to respond.

  • Anonymous

    The Canon specs are going to win over a lot of people trying to choose between the two….

    The Canon sounds fantastic but I don’t care what Canon releases, cause in the end I hate their ergonomics with a passion!!!!…. that is the biggest reason why I left them in the first place and never looked back! I surely hope people try the two and decide what works for them and not just decide by looking at the specs.

  • Hello Nikon

    Agree with previous poster (Oct 20.. 8:45PM), the Nikon has great ergonomics, just take a thing like the scroll wheels, absolutely perfect on Nikon, on 1D mkIV it still have it on top behind the shutter button, like Kern Rockwell also wrote about it, the skin on the inside (between index and ring finger) of the index finger will rub off.
    Actually shooting a whole day in very different milieu requires a lot of scrolling as well so some times I wished the scrolling wheels could be even a bit wider as it will be felt in the finger at the end of the day.

    Though this wasn’t a Nikon year I’m sure they will have something nice in the future too. And I’m happy with my D700 too.

    Now I wonder why so many talk about 12 vs 14 vs 16 bits, let’s talk some engineer and human biology talk in a very simple way, first off do anyone know how sensitive the human eye is presented in bits??
    No I thought so.. it’s only slightly less than 8 bit per colour channel mixed together into 8 bit R + 8bit G + 8 bit B = 24 bit’s. or more exactly 10 million colours, but 8 bit of each R G and B channel represents 16 million colours.
    So why do we need 14 bit or more, well this is strictly limited to the light dynamic of the sensor, and looking at DXO we can see the 24Mp D3x has both less dynamic luma and croma than a D3/D700, and adding more bits wont reveal anything more from the sensor period. Having a higher dynamic will just more easily accept the human fault when we set the exposure wrong but the sensor still can capture the picture and we can later in the PP process correct the “blown out” highlight for instance.
    Or we could express it like more bits will be more forgiving for “amateurs” that cant get their shots right from the beginning… 😉 *just joking*

    Some even think it’s just skimping up from 16 to 32 bits, well it’s first of it’s not a doubling, its actually over 65.536 times!!
    For every bit we add it’s a doubling, the means for instance 16 bit to 17 bit is a jump from 65.536 to131.072 levels, which means we have twice as much data to process, which means we need twice as fast micro processor in the camera… per se, so adding couple of bits that is not going to happen over a night.

    well, again hats off for the new Canon, and et all, please let’s wait for some real reviews and picture comparisons between the newest Canon and Nikon even if they have different sensor sizes.
    btw, read a Swedish test between C’s D7 vs N’s 3D, the 7D has almost as good AF as 3D, chew on that, and for the ‘fanbois’… I have never owned a Canon, how come I can be so humble and talk well about Canon then, I really think some of you guys should get a bit more mature.


    • low

      almost as good a focus as the D3?? well, thats the difference right there between getting keepers…almost isnt good enough, especially in sports.

  • Matt

    Nikon also does ISO 100 as “L1.0” mode. I love my Nikon D3, its been a SUPER! camera. I’m sure as C and N keep leap frogging up the technical and feature rich ladder that we’ll see some super Nikon releases within the next few years.. until then my D3 still can’t really be beat .. but then I don’t need video.. Good to see each company has newer better products this month.. Canon will have the edge in Hollywood with its 1080P since it already uses 5Ds for a lot of little jobs these days. Nikon needs to up their video resolution is they want in on that niche of the market. 5Ds are everywhere for video now.. Hollywood, police, military.. etc. Nikon you better hurry up or you won’t get any doors opening up to you..

  • Why didn’t Canon send units to Rob Gailbraith or Dpreview for a hand-son preview?

    Oh and the folks at CNET Asia (like Leonard & Damien) are Canon shooters with more than above-average photography skills.

    Isn’t it weird? CNET Asia gets a pre-production model but Dpreview doesn’t?

  • camerausercollector

    I really like Nikon design their dslr they look and perform like a Ferrari and ride like Limousine. Canon knows that the U.S and European dslr market is now dominated by Nikon. Canon try to promote their product in Asia where there is no dominant player.

    • P

      I do not think you are right. Canon and Panasonic, Sony work very hard here in Europe. Nikon doesn’t have a stores only resellers (most of them are useless).

      Most of my friends buy Canon stuff at Apple store. Better service then Canon and NIkon.

  • P

    I did a calculation.

    I\m switching to Canon. Selling all my lenses to a friend of mine for a reasonable price.

    I’m getting new body, 70-200. as a startup, and already now It saves me 1500 Euro. Bye Nikon. Next time Canon rumors. 🙂

    • Ken Rockwell

      See you on the flipside

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