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Nikon innovates, Canon renovates!

I decided to summarize the results from the comparison table at the top of the page, so it’s easier to see the differences.
The superior feature is highlighted in green. You can see the full specification comparison below the summary table. Have a look and tell me which features you think are more important for you?

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D800
5D Mark III D800
MSRP US: $3499, UK: £2999, EU: €3299 US: $2999.95, UK: £2399.99, EU: €2829
Max resolution 5760 x 3840 7360 x 4912
Image format Full frame (equal to 35mm) • FX (Full frame)
• FX -1:2 format (30 x 20)
• FX – 5:4 format (30 x 24)
• DX (1.5x crop mode)
Image ratio W:H 3:2 5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels 22.3 megapixels 36.3 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 23.4 megapixels 36.8 megapixels
ISO 100-25600 (in 1/3-stop or 1 increments)
Expandable to ISO 50 – 102400.
100 – 6400 (in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 increments)
Expandable to 50 – 25600
White balance presets 6 12
Custom white balance Yes (1) Yes (5)
JPEG quality levels Fine, Normal Fine, Normal, Basic
Autofocus assist lamp by optional dedicated Speedlite Yes
Autofocus System 61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 cross-type points) Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX with 51-points (up to 15 cross-type points)
AF Detection Up to f/5.6 Up to f/8 (up to 9 cross-type sensors)
Detection Range +1 to +20 (at 73°F / 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO 100) -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 68°F/20°C)
Autofocus Sensitivity -2 to +18 (at 73°F/23°C and ISO 100) -2 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F)
Screen Resolution (dots) 1,040,000 921,000
Built-in flash No Yes (pop-up)
Continuous drive Yes (6 fps) 4 FPS, 6 FPS in DX mode with MB-D12 battery grip
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec) Yes (2 to 20 sec, 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2 or 3 sec)
AE Bracketing ±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
WB Bracketing Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis) Yes (2 to 9 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3)
HDMI uncompressed out No Yes
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
Shutter Durability 150,000 cycles 200,000 cycles
Weight (inc. batteries) 950 g (2.09 lb / 33.51 oz) 900 g (1.98 lb / 31.75 oz)

Results:
Canon 5D Mark III: 4 points
Nikon D800: 21 points

And the full specification comparison:

  Canon EOS 5D Mark III specifications Nikon D800 specifications
Price
MSRP US: $3499, UK: £2999, EU: €3299 US: $2999.95, UK: £2399.99, EU: €2829
Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Body material Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution 5760 x 3840 7360 x 4912
Image format Full frame (equal to 35mm) • FX (Full frame)
• FX -1:2 format (30 x 20)
• FX – 5:4 format (30 x 24)
• DX (1.5x crop mode)
All resolutions Large: Approx. 22.10 mpx (5760 x 3840)
Medium: Approx. 9.80 mpx (3840 x 2560)
S1 (Small 1): Approx. 5.50 mpx (2880 x 1920)
S2 (Small 2): Approx. 2.50 mpx (1920 x 1280)
S3 (Small 3): Approx. 350,000 Pixels (720 x 480)
RAW: Approx. 22.10 mpx (5760 x 3840)
M-RAW: Approx. 10.50 mpx (3960 x 2640)
S-RAW: Approx. 5.50 mpx (2880 x 1920)
FX-format:
(L) 7,360 x 4,912
(M) 5,520 x 3,680
(S) 3,680 x 2,456
1:2 format (30 x 20):
(L) 6,144 x 4,080
(M) 4,608 x 3,056
(S) 3,072 x 2,040
5:4 format (30 x 24):
(L) 6,144 x 4,912
(M) 4,608 x 3,680
(S) 3,072 x 2,456
DX-format:
(L) 4,800 x 3,200
(M) 3,600 x 2,400
(S) 2,400 x 1,600
Image ratio w:h 3:2 5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels 22.3 megapixels 36.3 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 23.4 megapixels 36.8 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (36 x 24 mm) Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor type CMOS CMOS
Dust-reduction system Self Cleaning Sensor Unit Image sensor cleaning
Processor Digic 5+ Expeed 3
Color space sRGB,Adobe RGB sRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter array RGB Color Filter Array Primary Color Filter
Image
ISO 100-25600 (in 1/3-stop or 1 increments)
Expandable to ISO 50 – 102400.
100 – 6400 (in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 increments)
Expandable to 50 – 25600
White balance presets 6 12
Custom white balance Yes (1) Yes (5)
Image stabilization No No
Uncompressed format RAW .NEF (RAW)
JPEG quality levels Fine, Normal Fine, Normal, Basic
File format • JPEG (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant)

• Design rule for Camera File system (2.0)
• RAW: RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2 (14bit)

• Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
• NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed

• TIFF (RGB)

• JPEG
Picture Control • Auto
• Standard
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Neutral
• Faithful
• Monochrome
• User Defined
• Landscape
• Monochrome
• Neutral
• Portrait
• Standard
• User-customizable Settings
• Vivid
Optics & Focus
Autofocus • Contrast Detect (sensor)
• Phase Detect
• Multi-area
• Selective single-point
• Single
• Continuous
• Face Detection
• Live View
• Phase Detect
• Multi-area
• Selective single-point
• Tracking
• Single
• Continuous
• Face Detection
• Live View
Autofocus assist lamp by optional dedicated Speedlite Yes
Digital zoom No No
Manual focus Yes Yes
Autofocus System 61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 cross-type points) Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX with 51-points (up to 15 cross-type points)
AF Detection Up to f/5.6 Up to f/8 (up to 9 cross-type sensors)
Detection Range +1 to +20 (at 73°F / 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO 100) -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 68°F/20°C)
Autofocus Sensitivity -2 to +18 (at 73°F/23°C and ISO 100) -2 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F)
Lens mount Canon EF mount Nikon F mount
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed Fixed
Screen size 3.2″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution (dots) 1,040,000 921,000
Touch screen No No
Screen type Clear View II TFT LCD TFT Color LCD with 170 degrees wide-viewing angle
Live view Yes Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage 100 % 100 %
Viewfinder magnification 0.71× 0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes • Auto+
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual (Stills and Movie)
• Custom (x3)
• Programmed auto with flexible program (P)
• Shutter-priority (S)
• Aperture priority (A)
• Manual (M)
Exposure Metering Sensor iFCL metering with 63 zone dual-layer sensor 91,000-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering III
Built-in flash No Yes (pop-up)
Flash range No 12 m (at ISO 100)
Flash modes No Auto, On, Off, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain, High-speed sync
Flash X sync speed No 1/250 sec
Drive modes • Single
• High-speed continuous
• Low-speed continuous
• Silent
• Single Shooting and
• Self-timer
• S (single frame)
• CL (continuous low speed)
• CH (continuous high speed)
• Q (quiet shutter-release)
• MUP (mirror up)
• Self-timer
External flash Yes (Hot-shoe, Wireless plus Sync connector) Yes (Hot-shoe, Wireless plus sync connector)
Continuous drive Yes (6 fps) 4 FPS, 6 FPS in DX mode with MB-D12 battery grip
Self-timer Yes (2 or 10 sec) Yes (2 to 20 sec, 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2 or 3 sec)
Metering modes • Multi
• Center-weighted
• Spot
• Partial
• Multi
• Center-weighted
• Average
• Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) ±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps) 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
WB Bracketing Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis) Yes (2 to 9 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3)
Videography features
Format AVI, H.264 & MPEG-4 in MOV Format H.264 & MPEG-4 in MOV Format
Uncompressed
Microphone Built-in Mono, External stereo microphone (optional) Built-in Mono, External stereo microphone (optional)
Speaker Mono Mono
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (25, 30 fps) 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)
HDMI uncompressed out No Yes
Movie Max recording time 29 minutes 59 seconds 29 minutes 59 seconds
Storage
Storage types Compact Flash Type I (UDMA compatible), SD/SDHC/SDXC Compact Flash (Type I), SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I compliant
Storage included None None
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMI Yes (HDMI mini) Yes (Mini Type C)
Wireless Optional None
Wi-Fi Functionality Eye-Fi Compatible, WFT-E7 Eye-Fi Compatible, WT-4A
Remote control Yes (Remote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5, Remote Controller RC-6) Yes (Optional, wired or wireless )
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes Yes (Water and dust resistant)
Shutter Durability 150,000 cycles 200,000 cycles
Battery Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery description Lithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery Lithium-Ion EN-EL15 rechargeable battery
Battery Life (CIPA) Viewfinder Shooting:
At 73°F/ 23°C Approx. 950
At 32°F/ 0°C Approx. 850
Live View shooting:
At 73°F/23°C Approx. 200
At 32°FF/ 0°C Approx. 180
900 Battery Life (shots per charge)(CIPA)
Weight (inc. batteries) 950 g (2.09 lb / 33.51 oz) 900 g (1.98 lb / 31.75 oz)
Dimensions 152 x 116.4 x 76.4 mm (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0″) 144.78 x 121.92 x 81.28 mm (5.75 x 4.84 x 3.23″)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes Yes
Timelapse recording Yes (by cable and PC) Yes
GPS Optional Optional
GPS notes With optional GP-E2 unit GP-1

It seems to me that the initial “WOW, 5D Mark III is all I wanted” is more like waves in shallow waters. Looking at the details and leaving emotion on a side, we can clearly see the winner. I’m not saying that 5D Mark III is not an excellent camera, or that it won’t deliver astonishing images. We simply compare the cameras according their specifications.
So what better has D800 to offer?

Resolution:
Having 1/3 more pixels opens big opportunities for the landscape & studio photographers aiming high details and precision.

Image ratio:
5D Mark III has only 3:2 image mode, while D800 adds 5:4 mode as well. In addition D800 has cropped FX mode (with 1.2x crop) and DX mode (1.5x crop)

White Balance presets.
D800 has 12 and 5DMarkIII has only 6. D800 also has 5 customizable WB presets vs. just one on the 5DMarkIII.

AF Detection:
D800 has up to f/8 (up to 9 cross-type sensors), while his rival goes only to f/5.6. This gives huge advantage for D800, when you shoot with f/4 lenses and uses a 2x teleconverter. On 5DMarkIII you can use only f/2.8 lenses with 2x teleconverter.

Autofocus Sensitivity:
-2 to +19 EV for the Nikon and -2 to +18 for the Canon

Built-in flash:
Yes vs.No

AE & WB Bracketing:
Again D800 has advantage having up to 9 frames with 1/3, 1/2 or 1 stop increments, 5DMarkIII has only 3 frames with 1/3 or 1/2 increments

USB:
D800 has USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec) and 5DMarkIII has the older USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec). Over 10 times faster transfer for your images and video! Bravo, Nikon!

Shutter Durability:
200,000 cycles vs. 150,000 cycles in advantage of D800. This means 1/4 longer shutter life for $500 cheaper camera!!!

 

What are 5DMarkIII advantages?

Iso:
ISO performance of 5DMarkIII is better at least on paper. We already saw the first samples, taken with the camera. It seems that NR is huge and causes not only noise cleaning, but smudging some of the details as well. Also D800 has the advantage to decrease the size image, which lead to noise reduction as well. I expect downsampled images from D800 to look better than both 5DMarkIII and Nikon D700.

Autofocus System:
5DMarkIII has 61-point AF with up to 41 cross-type points. D800 has Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX with 51-points (up to 15 cross-type points)

Screen Resolution:
5DMarkIII has a slight advantage with a 1,040,000 dots 3.2" screen. D800 has
921,000 dots on it’s 3.2" screen. But Nikon included some innovations in this screen. It can self-adjust its brightness according to the ambient light, etc.

Continuous drive:
5DMarkIII can burst with 6fps, against 4fps for D800. The Nikon though has an option to get 6fps in DX mode, when battery grip is attached.

From all numbers and tables I can say one thing – Nikon innovates and Canon renovates! Most of the new features in 5DMarkIII are simply improvements over the previous MarkII. Yes they are important, but Nikon was already a step ahead about those. Now Nikon decided to blow away the DSLR market with such a MPx monster and we have to admit – in a very affordable price level.

Let’s wait until first cameras are available, and I’ll post a "part II", with some real experience with these cameras behind.

 

……….. Some thoughts from other sites ……………………………………………

SonyAlphaRumors.com
“… I have to say I am surprised to see so little innovation inside the markIII. I mean, there are many small improvements and some more major improvements (like the new AF system). But I think the Nikon D800 (and D800E) did more…”

Mansurovs.com
"… Nikon definitely surprised everyone with its ultra high-resolution Nikon D800 announcement earlier this year. Featuring an impressive 36.3 MP sensor… Canon …decided to focus on image quality, autofocus features/performance and weather sealing – the three areas that have been receiving a lot of criticism from the Canon community for many years now…"

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12 Comments to “Nikon innovates, Canon renovates!”

  1. Beyti says:

    Canon has some positive issues over Nikon but overall Nikon beats it. No built-in flash??? Kidding me? Doesn`t matter how professional it is you always need something backup in case you don`t have your expensive speedlights with you.

    • [SP] admin says:

      That’s why Canon announced a new flash unit together with 5D Mark III – Speedlite 600EX-RT.

      • Beyti says:

        how much is that?

      • Ron Adair says:

        Wait, was that the model number of the speedlight, or the price after it goes on sale? That’s crazy expensive. But I will say, at least there’s finally a good slave unit built in to a Canon Speedlight.

        11 Minutes recording time max on the Canon in HQ? Is that a joke? All I’ve seen them say about recording time is 29 minutes 59 seconds. They’ll say or do anything to look good.

        You haven’t even listed HDMI clean out, which is going to be huge for filmmakers. Also, Nikon wins in crop modes, file compression (which is stellar), and formats. Oh yeah, it’s also lighter and has a higher-rated shutter life.

        My gut tells me we’re going to get very similar noise performance as well when the two are tested side-by-side, despite the Canon touting better specs.

        Ahhhh, Canon. This is why we love you.

        • [SP] admin says:

          Thanks Ron, I just saw that I missed the Uncompressed mode too. I’ll add it. Please let me know if I missed something else. It was a huge comparison and it’s easy to miss something.
          About the time – I took it from Canon website. Here is the full text:

          Continuous Shooting Time
          Based on 8GB Card:
          [1920 x 1080]
          30 fps ALL-I: 11 min. (685 MB/min.) / IPB: 32 min (235 MB/min.)
          25 fps ALL-I: 11 min (685 MB/min.) / IPB: 32 min. (235 MB/min.)
          24 fps ALL-I: 11 min. (685 MB/min.) / IPB: 32 min. (235 MB/min.)
          [1280 x 720]
          60 fps ALL-I: 12 min. (610 MB/min.) / IPB: 37 min. (205 MB/min.)
          50 fps ALL-I: 12 min. (610 MB/min.) / IPB: 37 min. (205 MB/min.)
          [640 x 480]
          30 fps IPB: 97 min. (78 MB/min.)
          25 fps IPB: 97 min. (78 MB/min.)
          * If the recording time reaches 29 min. 59 sec., the movie shooting stops automatically.
          * Movie shooting does not stop when the file size reaches 4GB.
          …..
          I agree about the noise performance. Even if Canon has a slight advantage at 100%, when you downsize the Nikon’s images to 22MPx it will look cleaner.

  2. Aaron says:

    The MP advantage doesn’t really make a difference to me in most cases, so that’s moot. Some new RAW samples from the 5d3 have been showing up, and I’ve been hearing people breathe a sigh of relief as it shows the high iso to be pretty good, better than the jpegs have shown. The popup flash doesn’t thrill me, I’d probably never use it, and don’t miss not having one when I went from the 450d to 5d2.

    I will say, the USB2 on the 5d3 disappoints me, by this point it’s all over computers, from low end to high end, so they should have put it in. I can’t imagine it’d cost much if anything more. Unless it’s implemented directly on the Digic5+ processor, that’s the only reason I can think of.

    The lack of clean HDMI uncompressed output is quite disappointing, as I’ve started using my 5d2 some for video for friends, but not a deal breaker as I’m primarily a stills guy.

    Never having used the D700, the way I see it, Canon had a great camera with the 5d2 that really only needed a couple of spots to fix. Namely the AF & AE system. For me, it’s basically been solved, plus a new sensor that appears (so far) to be better than the old one, and a few other goodies including 720p60. From what I’ve heard here and there (all on the internet, take with a huge grain of salt) Nikon had a lot further to go with the D700->D800, which it certainly appears they have and gone a bit further in some areas than they might have needed to.

    My gut feeling, and what I’ve been reading, 22MP on the 5d3 is plenty sufficient for a majority of shooters out there, although there is still a mid to large minority of shooters that do need/want a higher MP camera.

    Personally, I’m going to stay with Canon, the 5d3 gives me the AF I want, at least so far on paper and early reports, and I’ve already bought into the system. Further, are we really trying to one-up each other over things that, for a good photographer, are really just nice to haves and bonuses that might help in edge cases where current equipment might be hindering us a little?

    • [SP] admin says:

      I agree. The modern cameras are so good, that all this “fight” over specs is just very minor in most of the cases.
      Being a Canon shooter I’m sure you’ll get everything needed from 5DMIII. It’s awesome camera as so D800.
      My comparison shows more the technical/spec aspect of the cameras.
      My general idea was that although many people (now) thing Nikon jumped to high, that’s the future and one way or another all companies will increase pixels and improve performance to compensate. Canon have bid on a secure version, with almost all things improved over MII.
      Also a part of me believes that very soon – in year or so both companies will release “the other camera” – e.g. Nikon will release less MPx and fast fps, and Canon will release many MPx and low fps. Then everything will go right on it’s place and both camps will have a choice.
      Till then – let’s enjoy what we have and have fun taking pictures. It’s all about how you see it, not how the camera reproduces it.

    • Alfred says:

      I agree, 22MP is plenty, the 36MP of the Nikon is only gonna be used by people who actually print their work, which is not that many after all. Having said that, since I’m a Nikon shooter I’ll go for the D800, which does seem like the better camera, but it’s all just peanuts in the end.

  3. Grt says:

    - I agree with you, and fair enough on the coeutnr argument. At the end of the day a pro can capture quality images on any camera be it nikon, canon, or sony or anything else. At this point in my career, my personal choice is Nikon, for the reasons I’ve stated above. Again don’t get me know, I loved my 1d Mk III and also the 5d Mk II. I’ve found though that the value camera right now is a d700, which is more like the d3 or 1d4 than a consumer camera. The 1d4 and 1ds3 are still very expensive for most working wedding photographers, whereas a set of d700 bodies can be had for $3600 used.Thanks for checking out the article, I appreciate you chiming in!

  4. Joffri says:

    I as a professional would never use a pop up flash as a back up. Amateur does. Photography 101, come on. Use higher ISO if needed, and they’re still editable.

    • [SP] admin says:

      I agree, but you have to agree that the cameras are used from a wide groups of people, and many amateurs or simply enthusiasts are not willing to buy pocket wizards, etc.
      Increasing ISO works in some cases, but not always – how if you want to keep a correct exposure for the background and the foreground subject is dark? Increasing the ISO won’t help at all, because it will overexpose the background.
      In some situations you can use grad ND filters, but not always.
      Take a look at this example:
      http://youtu.be/Apq562Gapcc

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