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Compared to the Nikon D1x

The EOS-1D has no equivelant 'opposition' in the D-SLR market from a pixel count point of view, thus we can only compare it to the best of breed and this is currently Nikon's D1x. The D1x does of course have its own curiosity of having more horizontal pixels than vertical pixels, it then 'reshapes' this image to a narrower but taller six megapixel image.

  • Canon EOS-1D effective pixels: 2496 x 1662 (4.14 mp) - square pixel shape
  • Nikon D1x effective pixels: 4028 x 1324 (5.33 mp) - rectangular pixel shape


  • The Nikon D1x has 61% more horizontal pixels than the EOS-1D
  • The EOS-1D has 25% more vertical pixels than the D1x

These simple calculations tell us that the D1x should be able to resolve quite a bit more horizontal and a little less vertical resolution.

Scene comparison

Crops below are of an 120 x 90 area of the image magnified 200%. Lighting - 2 x Elinchrom studio flash units bounced off a white ceiling reflector. The first set of crops below were taken with the cameras set to sRGB colour space. Note: to get the same brightness of image the D1x was set at F10 and the EOS-1D was set at F11.

Lenses used:

  • Canon EOS-1D - Canon EF 50mm F1.4
  • Nikon D1x - Nikkor 50mm F1.4 D
Canon EOS-1D (sRGB - 1)
ISO 200, F11, 1/125 sec, Manual WB
Nikon D1x (sRGB)
ISO 200, F10, 1/125 sec, Manual WB
Canon EOS-1D (sRGB - 1) Nikon D1x (sRGB)

Clearly the D1x image is larger and does exhibit more horizontal resolution than the EOS-1D. Having said this the EOS-1D puts up a good fight, note that the EOS-1D has the ability to resolve a single line of detail in both horizontal and vertical directions, where as the D1x has the tendancy (due to its lower vertical pixel count) to 'stretch' a horizontal line to cover two pixels. I'd also stick my neck out and say that because the EOS-1D isn't manipulating its image (by stretching or reshaping) that it is in fact sharper.

Considering the difference in pixel count I would say that in this simple test the EOS-1D puts up a very good show at being able to resolve a large amount of detail considering the difference in pixel count between these two cameras.

sRGB vs. Adobe RGB

Many people ask me what are the advantages of shooting in a 'wider gamut' colour space such as Adobe RGB. The crops below quite clearly demonstrate the limitations of sRGB (top row of crops) and the additional 'colour capture ability' (urgh) of Adobe RGB.

Canon EOS-1D Nikon D1x
sRGB (Color Matrix 1) sRGB (F.No 32-I)
Adobe RGB (Color Matrix 4) Adobe RGB (F.No 32-II)

If you download the last two images remember that you'll need to load them into a colour space aware photo application (such as Adobe Photoshop) and 'assign profile' Adobe RGB.

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