Canon vs. Nikon rivalry is always a hot topic among photographers and in online debates. After both companies started shipping their entry level full frame DSLR cameras, the Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, can we actually declare a winner?

Unboxing and first impressions

Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III are different cameras, which is obvious from unboxing. The 5D Mark III uses the same battery and charger as its predecessor the 5D Mark II while the Nikon D800 uses different battery and charger compared to Nikon D700. The Nikon D800 has a smaller hand grip that many people may need time to get used to.

High ISO performance

In the Nikon D800 review posted on Mansurovs Photography website Nasim Mansurov, the reviewer, showed better high ISO performance with the Nikon D800 when the photos are down-sampled to the same size.

Dynamic range

Various independent measurements have shown Nikon D800 has a very high dynamic range and the comparison (Google translation) done by Dutch website DIGIFOTOPRO.NL shows it.

HD video

Cameratown did a head-to-head video comparison of the Nikon D4, D800, Canon 5D Mark III & Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The Nikon D800 didn’t score well and it was ranked at the last for ISO noise performance. It also performed poorly in moire tests. The possible reasons for the test results? Here is a video review by Philip Bloom of Canon EOS 5D Mark III saying the Canon EOS 5D Mark III produces soft video that a sharpening is needed in post editing. There aren’t many magics when dealing with aliasing and moire other than blurring the pixels. It is unclear what settings were used on the Nikon D800. It does offer wide range of options including sharpening levels during HD video shooting. I haven’t seen a comparison yet but it seems the rolling shutter effect on the Nikon D800 is well controlled.

Portrait

The following is an in-depth look at both cameras for portrait shooting. Nikon D800 has more details without compromising low-light performance. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III seems to have a snappier AF system.

Overall

DigitalRevTV has a comparison of the two cameras for various shooting scenarios. No clear winner is declared but viewers are encouraged to pick the one better suited for his/her shooting needs and style. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is probably a more balanced camera but the lack of improvement in pixel count and $1000 higher price are disappointments for some Canon users.

Posted in: Digital SLR Cameras on April 3rd, 2012. Trackback URI
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