Nikon D2Hs or Canon 1d Mk II

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by jonlee, May 24, 2007.

  1. I'm considing one of these bodies and looking for some opinions.

    I'm quite familiar with Nikon bodies having owned a D1H, D1X, D70, D2H, and now a D200, but have never used a D2Hs. I'm not familar with the 1d Mk II (or any other Canon body), other than doing a lot of reading.

    My specific purpose is capturing available light action photography of my kids and events. I tend to prefer a more photojournalist style, than formals. My main issues with my D200 has been its AF tracking abilities and noise levels at high iso. Don't get me wrong, its AF abilities are nice, but I really appreciated the faster AF and multi-cam 2000 when I had the D2H.

    I'm thinking the reputation of the D2Hs' high ISO and faster AF capabilities would be the best I do could given my budget. That got me thinking, for about the same money as a used D2Hs, I could get into a used Canon 1D MK II. It seems like the supply of used 1d mk II is up since many Canon user's are parting with their mk II's in favor of the mk III.

    At a high level, I'm thinking the 1d MK II offers more resolution (at 8mp), which would be nicer for cropping. The 45 AF sensors and additional cross-type sensors would allow for better AF tracking (than the D200, perhaps not better than D2Hs). From my understanding, the 1D mk II has good noise characteristics at high ISO. It matches the fps rate of the D2Hs.

    I have a ton of Nikon glass (17-55DX, 35f2, 50f1.8, 85f1.4, 70-200VR, & Sigma 10-20), but lets ignore that for now. I may even just add the Canon to my Nikon gear, although that probably wouldn't be practical.

    Who knows what the D3-whatever will offer, but it will likely be out of reach from a cost perspective and I'm likely not willing to wait for it. Same with the 1D mk III.

    Anyone have experience with both bodies or willing to share some opinions?
  2. Zachs


    Feb 25, 2006
    My vote goes out to the D1H or D2Hs for cleanest jpeg high ISO's. If you have NO canon gear, I see no reason to slurge into it unless you are going to be making money off it. I've seen TONS of BAD high-iso canon prints at my store...its still a matter of nailing the exposure.
  3. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    I was in the EXACT same spot you are in right now 4 months ago. D200, 17-55, 35-70, 70-200, 300 f2.8, SB800, grip, stuff and 25 years Nikon loyalty.

    My need grew to more PJ sports photography of my daughter in her ever growing sporting events including gymnastics....with NO light to work you, ISO performance and AF tracking became important tools.

    If you can, rent a 1DMKIIN and a lens...or borrow one as I did. I shot the Nikon and the Canon side by side for a weekend....

    Run them through PP and you decide. Just remember, a 1DMKII will beat a D200 on AF tracking so that's not a fair comparison. If you can get a hold of a D2H that would be even better.

    I would be curious as to your results.... is one of my galleries with ISO 1600 & ISO 3200 shots from a 1DMKIIN Click here>Gymanstcs
  4. CAJames


    Sep 6, 2006
    Lompoc, CA
    All I can add to the previous posts is I love my D2Hs to death. For me, I'd pay extra for the 4 MP files from a D2Hs vs. other higher resolution cameras. They are just a joy to process. I've never used higher than 1600 ISO, but I've been very happy with it. I can't say it is better or even as good as the Canon, but it is very very good. If you haven't used a Canon you ought to rent one. From what little experience I have I don't like their user interface. At the very least it is different enough from Nikon you should try before you buy. I think the bottom line is you'll get an excellent camera either way, it is more about what you like.
  5. Thanks Zacks. The D1h is actually one of my favorite bodies. I still have it along with my D200. I've found the high ISO, pro body, AF speed, and multi-cam 1300 module to be quite nice - especially for the cost (under $500 used).

    Regarding the noise level of the D1H, I can get clean pics at high ISO when I have some light, however I still see noise levels similar to my D200 in the shadows. Probably not a fair comparison given the D200 offers so much more resolution.

    Additionally, while the 2.7 MP are actually fine for web presentation or even 8 X 10 prints, it hasn't allowed much room for cropping - and I'm not particular good at composing/framing while shooting. The upside to the 2.7 MP has been the ability to work with the small files. I can zip through post processing the files, when compared to my D200 files.

    Lastly, the metering, battery life, and smallish, low-res LCD screen have been minor annoyances.
  6. InitialD


    Mar 12, 2007
    I've not used the Canon but from what I see, you get quite awful skin tones with them. The D2Hs (like the D2H) AF performance from the CAM 2000 in low light is miles better than any Nikon bodies you've used. So no worries in not getting AF performance upgrade when you get the D2Hs.

    For the budget that you need to work on, yes the D2Hs is a good move. The cost of just getting the Canon 1DMk II does not stop with the body alone.

    What lenses are you planning on getting with the Canon? If you have some budget on Canon lenses, I'd suggest looking the same to add lenses like the Nikkor AF 135mm f/2.0 DC to your current arsenal. Or even the 200mm f/2.0 VR. :biggrin:

    If you have no problems with budget, then by all means try the Canon.

    Yes, the only thing that the Canon offers is more MP and perhaps slightly better in the noise department. The 45 AF sensors does not even compare with Nikon's 11 AF sensors. The Nikon is more accurate especially in low light.

    You have some nice glass. With a D2 body driving those lenses, it'll give a new life to them. You'll love the speed and accuracy of the CAM 2000 in low light.
  7. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Having owned and used both, your statements are incorrect.

    The noise in the 1D is completely different than the Nikon. For low light sports, Canon 1D series is the standard at the moment.

    The 1DMKII has a selectable AF sensor system that can move from 45, 11 to 9 selectable sensors....the center 7 of which are cross sensors on lens operating at or above f4.0. The Nikon is slower in low light than the 1DMKIIn. Couple that with many of Nikkors primes are not AF-s lenses and the AF is even slower using these lenses.

    Sorry, no emotion here...just clarifying some facts....I have owned Nikon for 25 years...Canon for 6 months
  8. I can't speak about Canon but the D2Hs is a joy to work with. You already have all the Nikon glass, I have one Nikon Lens and a D2Hs, just love it.

    But... ...but I am in the same predicament however I am thinking Canon for their 85/1.2 and 50/1.2 along with the high ISO.

    Here is a picture taken at ISO 3200 using the D2Hs and 85/1.4 this weekend at a friend's wedding... Not the best picture I ever took but not the worst considering the ISO level and the blown highlights...


    I would go with Randy's recommendation and rent a Canon, along a D2Hs and compare both.

    My great experience with Nikon Service has sold me to Nikon plus I am in no rush to buy another body (I still have a couple of months...)
  9. Thanks Jason. Regarding what Canon lenses, I'd probably start with 2 zooms. Given the 1.3 crop factor on the 1D MKII, I'd likely go with either the 24-70L or older 28-70L, maybe even a Tamron 28-75 f2.8. For the longer zoom, either a 70-200 f2.8 USM or older 80-200 f2.8, maybe even a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM. Eventually I'd add some specialty primes (like the Sigma 30 f1.4, Canon 85 f1.8) along the way.

    I like the idea of the Nikon 135DC f2, but I've read it wasn't as sharp wide open. My 70-200VR is pretty sharp wide open. I forgot to mention I also have a 105DC f2, but I'll likely part with either the 105DC f2 or 85 f1.4, as they are fairly close in length. I'm leaning toward keeping the 85 f1.4.

    I have already owned the D2H, with the multi-cam 2000 and its fast AF. The speed and tracking in low-light was excellent. I only wish it had better noise characteristics at high iso. Which is what led me to the D2Hs, and also to the Canon 1D MkII.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2007
  10. Thanks Randy. Very nice gallery. You're right. The ability to capture nice pics in that type of venue is what I'm going after. In fact, even that gym looked alittle better lite than what I've come across. Those are some clean images at 1600, and you were able to freeze the action at 1/320. Were you using the Canon 70-200 IS or no IS? I also noticed those were taken with a Mk IIn. From what I've read the "n" has even better noise levels than the MK II. I also think its signicantly more expensive than the Mk II (and D2Hs for that matter). Are there any other significant differences between the Mk II and Mk IIn?
  11. InitialD


    Mar 12, 2007
    Sorry if I ruffled up some feathers. I am obviously new here and I don't know much about you or what equipment you have used previously. But doing a quick search function, I noticed you mentioned the D2Hs in about 21 times as today. One of them is a WTB a D2Hs thread. Did you ever got around to buy or rent a D2Hs to test for yourself?

    To this, I have never disagreed. Read my post above.

    Hmmm, slight mistake there. Out of the 45 AF sensors, only 7 are crossed type and only 7 work when your lens is f/2.8 or faster.

    When you use a lens with an aperture of f/4.0 to f/5.6, you loose all cross type sensors except the the center AF sensor. The remaining 44 AF sensors are then becomes horizontal type sensor only. If your lens + TC combination becomes f/5.6, then you loose ALL AF sensors except the center AF sensor which will only remain as a horizontal type sensor until f/8. Beyond f8 you loose all AF ability.

    So where does it stand comparing to the 11 AF sensors of the CAM 2000 AF of which 9 are crossed type and all of them works when your lenses are down to f/8? :biggrin:
  12. InitialD


    Mar 12, 2007
    Yeah, I would agree that it is not as sharp as one likes it to be wide open. It is a lens design for potraiture first and foremost. :biggrin: Not as sharp wide open as 70-200mm f/2.8 VR or the 80-200mm f/2.8 that I use. But it's still produces fine images.
  13. That may be your experience, but that is not the consensus of Nikon and Canon owners I have read. Most Canon owners acknowledge that the D2 series is equal to or maybe slightly better than the 1dMKII/IIN with regards to low light autofocus, both for speed and accuracy.
  14. Canon..period!
  15. Can you elaborate please?
  16. Sure...1st off,I was a die hard nikon guy for almost 30+ years...both brands have there own merit...I still use both,but I finally opened my eyes and tried has found its self behind the eight ball so to say...old tech for whats out there has a better processor....better sensor...better auto focus system...and Iam not saying nikons is bad,dont get me wrong!! I have seen beautful images from both systems. Canon has a much better higher ISO responce,cleaner images if your looking for 400 and above. At lower ISO's,I have prints from my d200 and my 5d,and you cant tell them apart,unless I go much larger than lets say 11x14,then the difference is easier to see. Lets face it,they both have there place here,and both work very well,depending on your style and vocation. For what its worth,there's 2 things I can tell ya,go rent a canon and try it...keep an open with what you have to make yourself better...remember...its not the equiptment...its what ya do with what ya have!
  17. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    No feathers ruffled....just healthy discussion.

    As you can tell, I did a lot of research. 21 D2H posts is less than I thought I did about this subject. I am quite careful on what I do and try and avoid un-warranted speculation and base my comments and decisions on fact.

    Having said that, I did have a new D2Hs for a weekend. I had my friends old 1D MKII. In my eyes, and in the application of low light sports, the 1D was faster. It was MUCH faster when I started using wide primes such as the 50mm f1.4 that is screwdriver driven on the Nikon versus the USM Canon version. If you feel the other way so be it....but I know my 1DMKIIN is faster than a D2Hs...perhaps not by much...but when I have prime USM Lenses on it is way faster.

    You are correct at an equiv f4 either direct or via a TC, the center AF point is the only crosshair. My bad.

    No, you do not loose all AF sensor if you use a TC or at f5.6....they are all available. That only refers to the cross hair one. I'll scan my manual later and post it.

    You do not loose all AF ability at F8 as you suggest unless you use a lens with a max ap value of f8. The f stop range is related to the maximum aperture value.,..not the operating ap value... I don't know about you, but I do not have single lens above f2.8....

    It kicks its butt unless you are using a $100 Tikona 500mm F8 reflex mirror lens. Again...if you are trying to tell me as I stop down past f8 on my 300 f2.8 with a 2x TC on my 1D the focus system shuts off you are incorrect.

    Have you ever used a 1DMKIIN?
  18. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Come on Bobber....that's a flame post if I ever saw one....let's keep it professional.
  19. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    Hummmm OK. I think its faster. By how much? I don't know. I never actually looked at the data on that so I can not provide a "quantitative" response as I would like....I just shot them side by side. But, again, I default back to the lack of AF-s Nikkor primes which I use for indoor sports.

    The 50 f1.4 lens is a mechanical screwdriver style focus a D2Xs with a 50 f1.4 on it will be slower than a 1DMKIIN with a 50 f 1.4 USM. Right?
  20. Come on Randy...what do I know...I still shoot with my hasselblad!!!