I've been trying to figure out the comparison of the two - I've gone out onto the 'field' and taken excellent photos on both cameras. The question is mainly this, given the substantially better viewfinder and AF (Servo especially) performance, lesser crop factor (and the consequent bigger sensor) - is the trade-off worth it to gain the +6 MP?

Now according to some specifications, the pixel size of the 1d is about 350% the size of current mainstream equipment, being 10,8 x 10,8um. It's bigger than anything I have ever found on any other camera.

I agree however that the performance at high ISO's for the 1d is poor, but - as most, I try to restrain myself within the ISO 400 border.

Then there is the RAW bit depth. This has led me to a conundrum which I absolutely HAVE to gain insight from professionals much rather than reading specs and whatnot, perhaps the best answer is then for me to go outside and take more photos and realize the print size I will be requiring of my photos.

This might end up as one of those CMOS vs CCD quality thread, but please - I realize the difference between the two and I'm hoping to find people who have more 'professional' experience on the two cameras that might shed some light on the matter.

How are the two comparable? How can I choose one from the other?

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    \$\begingroup\$ what sort of things do you plan on shooting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I have identified the most with, as of now, is mainly proper landscapes and candid shoots of random people. I guess it is mainly due to the fact that I can go 'hunt' for it, and it doesn't move all that much, so I'm free to experiment with various settings - as I'm still a newbie in terms of experience. However, I find myself compelled to try out fast moving wildlife and sports, along with high-end art (dancers, live performances and such) - as well as a traditional set-up (be it people or items). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ From your comments it seems like you own both cameras and need to decide which to use for different occasions, is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ That would be the correct assumption, I have both - and I'm just trying to figure out which one I should 'dedicate' myself to. It may seem odd - but I'm actually trying my best to figure out the pros and cons of each, but I wind up on a stalemate every other thread I bump into, and I consider myself quite technically literate to a degree. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, Matt - I just wanted you to know that I've decided to keep the 1d - I took it out for a football match and by comparison, the AF performance alone blows any doubt out of the water. So, now I'm standing here, considering whether to buy a 5d m-II and rid myself of the 40d - but keeping the 1d regardless of any upgrade. The AF is just way, way too good. (and the shutter, oh my - the shutter.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


I have a 1Ds mkII and 30D both of which I still use as backups and can offer you some advice, though I've never used a 1D.

The 1Ds mkII was released in 2005 and feels very old now. The screen is small and difficult to see with low contrast and resolution, the menu system is bizarre and requires three hands to use efficiently, certain features from lower models of the same era you'd expect to have are missing (e.g. the ability to use the flash's AF assist lamp without the flash firing), for some unfathomable reason certain settings can only be altered by connecting the camera to a computer via firewire (USB wont do) card write speeds aren't great and whilst the frame buffer is large enough but takes ages to clear once full.

The image quality however is good, thanks to the large sensor and big pixels. So is the viewfinder and of course the 45 point autofocus system.

The 30D on the other hand has a bigger later generation screen, and generally more sane controls.

The 1D was released in 2001 and is really pretty long in the tooth now. I've never used one but imagine the menu system will be the same, probably minus even more features. It's also only APS-H and 4 megapixels isn't going to give you a lot of room to crop if you're making prints. The original battery probably wont have much life left in it and replacements could be rare. Ditto on the shutter.

Unless you really know what you're doing, or specifically need the AF or whether sealing I would go with the 40D, otherwise, depending on what you shoot, over time you may find the 1D lacking. The 40D does a few things like live-view which are very useful in certain circumstances.

The 1D is however the only Canon with an electronic shutter, meaning you can sync your flash at much faster speeds, see:

Which cameras can sync at faster than 1/250?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is very informative, to a degree, it still befuddles me of which one I should really take along with me on various occasions. I assume then that the 40d will do me good on most of them, but if I will move up to something serious - like sports and wildlife, the 1d will blow the 40d away in terms of performance. But then again - the 4MP is going to taste sour in post-production. Again, I'm pleased that you gave me insight into a comparable dilemma. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 15:41

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