Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS-1D X

  • Full frame
  • 12 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 43
    Overall
  • 20
    Imaging
  • 49
    Features
  • 66
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 18 megapixels
  • Canon EF
  • 40
    Overall
  • 16
    Imaging
  • 57
    Features
  • 66
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS-1D X: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to provide a detailed evaluation and comparison of two different camera models that fall into the same category - Pro DSLR. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Nikon and Canon. Although Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X are both equipped with the same CMOS sensor, they boast of different resolution. Thus, Nikon D3S has a sensor with a resolution of 12.0 MP, while Canon EOS-1D X has a different resolution of 18.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D3S Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 12800 (Expands to 100 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 11.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 160 x 157 x 88 mm
  • Weight: 1240 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D3. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D4. Compare

Canon EOS-1D X Key Features:

  • 18.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 51200 (Expands to 50 - 204800)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 14.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps, 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 158 x 164 x 83 mm
  • Weight: 1340 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Canon 1Ds MIII.
  • Replaced by Canon 1D X II.

Nikon D3S was substituted by Nikon D4. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D3S vs. D4
Nikon D4 vs. Canon EOS-1D X

Nikon D3S substituted Nikon D3. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D3S vs. D3
Nikon D3 vs. Canon EOS-1D X

Why is Nikon D3S a better choice than Canon EOS-1D X

Battery Life 4200 shots vs 1120 shots 3080 more frames with a single charge
Weight 1240 g vs 1340 g 100 g lighter
Dxo Dynamic Range 12 vs 11.8 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 3253 vs 2786 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Canon EOS-1D X over Nikon D3S

Wireless Connectivity Optional vs No Better connectivity
Sensor Resolution 18.0 MP vs 12.0 MP 33.3% more pixels
Sensor Area 864 mm2 vs 860.4 mm2 0.4% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 14 fps vs 11 fps 3 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 61 vs 51 10 more focus points
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 1,040k dots vs 921k dots 11.4% higher resolution screen
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720 Higher Resolution Video
Microphone Port Yes vs No High quality audio recording option
Dxo Color Depth 23.8 vs 23.5 Better color depth
Viewfinder Magnification 0.76 vs 0.7 0.06 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X

Screen Size 3″ | 3.2″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps | 14.0 fps Nice continuous shooting
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions
Battery Life 4200 shots | 1120 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP | 18.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Headphone Port No | No No headphone port
Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS-1D X: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X from the front view.

Nikon D3S
Canon EOS-1D X
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D3S
Canon EOS-1D X
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D3S is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 100g less than the Canon EOS-1D X. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3S — 4200 shots
Canon EOS-1D X — 1120 shots
Min: 650 shots
Average: 2336 shots
Max: 4400 shots
Thickness values for Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3S — 88 mm
Canon EOS-1D X — 83 mm
Min: 74 mm
Average: 85 mm
Max: 123 mm
Weight values for Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D3S — 1240 g
Canon EOS-1D X — 1340 g
Min: 735 g
Average: 1275 g
Max: 1585 g

Comparing Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D3S features a 12.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a Expeed processor . Canon EOS-1D X, in its turn, comes with a 18.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D3S
Canon EOS-1D X
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Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D3S Canon EOS-1D X
Portrait Photography
83%
97%
Street Photography
76%
83%
Sports Photography
98%
98%
Daily Photography
80%
70%
Landscape Photography
93%
95%

Nikon D3S for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Canon EOS-1D X for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Canon is famous with its skintones
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D3S for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (4200 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Canon EOS-1D X for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1120 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (158 x 164 x 83 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D3S for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (11.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (51)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3253)
  • Big battery life (4200 shots)
  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Canon EOS-1D X for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (14.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (61)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (41)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2786)
  • Big size (158 x 164 x 83 mm)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D3S for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1240 g)
  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Canon EOS-1D X for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1340 g)
  • Big size (158 x 164 x 83 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D3S for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.0)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3253)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Canon EOS-1D X for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (11.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2786)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (18 MP)

Comparison of Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS-1D X: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D3S or Canon EOS-1D X, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D3S and Canon EOS-1D X here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D3S deserves a higher Total Score than the Canon EOS-1D X. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS-1D X Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D3S Canon EOS-1D X
General
Brand Nikon Canon
Model D3S EOS-1D X
Announced Feb 16, 2010 Oct 18, 2011
Body Type Large SLR Large SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 36 x 23.9 mm 36 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 860.40 mm2 864.00 mm2
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP 18.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4256 x 2832 5184 x 3456
Max Native ISO 12,800 51,200
Max Boosted ISO 102,400 204,800
Min Native ISO 200 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Canon EF
Number of Lenses 287 256
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No No
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 51 61
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 41
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 3″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 921k dots 1,040k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7 0.76
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps 14.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync E-TTL II Auto Flash, Metered Manual
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 82 82
DxO Color Depth 23.5 23.8
DxO Dynamic Range 12.0 11.8
DxO Low Light ISO 3253 2786
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps) 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps, 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
Video Formats Motion JPEG MPEG-4, H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB none
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 1240 g 1340 g
Physical Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm 158 x 164 x 83 mm
Battery Life 4200 shots 1120 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL4a LP-E4N
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Optional Optional
Storage Type Compact Flash (Type I or II) x 2, UDMA Compact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA compatible
Storage Slots 2 2

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