D2x vs 1D Mk II vs 1Ds Mk II subjective tests

Started Feb 26, 2005 | Discussions thread
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a l b e r t Senior Member • Posts: 1,480
D2x vs 1D Mk II vs 1Ds Mk II subjective tests

I have the opportunity to test all three of the cameras yesterday.

I was doing some indoor shots with SB-800 and 580EX flash guns. Lenses used were Nikon 50mm f1.4 and Canon 50mm f1.4. Here are some observations:


Default settings are used on all cameras. At ISO 100, the D2x exhibits better out of camera sharpness and is also more prone to moire. My initial conclusion is that the D2x simply has a weaker AA filter than the 1-series cameras. The moire problem is nowhere as bad as the D70, but can be seen occasionally. It is very hard to get the 1-series to show moire (in fact I could not find one photo with it with my testing).


The 1Ds Mk II wins, but not by much compared to the D2x. I'd say the D2x is a very viable option in commercial applications requiring high resolution, just like the 1Ds Mk II. When compared to the 1D Mk II, the resolution increase is very apparent for the D2x.


Nikon D2x at ISO 100 is actually just as clean or cleaner than 1D Mk II or 1Ds Mk II. Both 1D Mk II and 1Ds Mk II exhibit banding problem when shot against certain farbic/texture (even at ISO 100). On the same composition, no banding is observed on the D2x. I attribute this to the independent data read out of the RGB channels of the D2x.

At ISO 400, the best noise performer to my surprise is the 1Ds Mk II; it has the least shadow noise. Next is 1D Mk II and D2x is the noisest. In fact, D2x images at ISO 400 appears to have been done with heavy noise reduction and sharpening. At ISO 400, the D2x is still much better than the D70 in terms of sharpness.

I've not done detailed comparison above ISO 400. But the general feel I have is that both Canon 1-series have lower noise than the D2x by 1-2 stops. The D2x appears to have less chrominance noise when compared to the Canon.

Color accuracy:

Both D2x and 1Ds Mk II are very accurate. D2x appears to have richer yellow and blue. But for certain colors, 1Ds Mk II is more accurate than the D2x. 1D Mk II has the least accurate color of the bunch, but it is by no means bad at all.

Exposure with flash:

The most accurate is the D2x. It is very consistent and maybe 1/3 EV under. The Canon 1-series with E-TTL II is all over the place. Exposure is not severly under or over, but more like 1/3 to 1 over or under.

AF accuracy:

Most accurate under low light condition is the D2x. I couldn't find a shot that is significantly off. I was only using the center AF point in all cases. The Canon 1-series is sometimes off by a lot, especially under low K lightling conditions. The AF beams on the 580EX do not appear to improve this much at all.

Lens sharpness:

Even I've used a 50mm f1.4 prime lens in each brand for the test, I found that the Canon 50mm f1.4 is sharper on the edges at f8 when compared to the Nikon equivalent. Center sharpness appears to be the same though. This is just a side info in case anyone is interested.

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