[Video] Canon 5D MK III vs Nikon D800

The Canon 5D MkIII and the Nikon D800 are two of the hottest cameras on the market right now. In this video commercial photographer Nathan Elson joins up with The Camera Store's Chris Niccolls to see how these two cameras stack up in the image quality department. Enjoy!

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Tobias Solem's picture

This is probably the best test out there in terms of comparison.

Joop van Roy's picture

Why put these head to head? They're entirely different types of cameras...
What's next, a microwave pizza vs a bottle of beer? :/

I think these are direct competition. They are the newest sub $4k FF camera by the 2 biggest camera companies. 

Joop van Roy's picture

 Well, price- and release-date wise they certainly are.
The thing that annoys me is that many people seem to think of the D800 as the direct replacement of the D700, and thus complain about things like file size and burst rate, while those limitations are inherent to a system like that. I never heard anyone complain about MF being too slow for sports :)

What would be a more apt comparison for a 5D3?

For the 800?

Joop van Roy's picture

 I would compare the mark 3 to the mark 2, primarily.
As for the D800, it's difficult because this is the first 35mm DSLR that's really geared towards studio work as opposed to 'as many things as possible'.

"because this is the first 35mm DSLR that's really geared towards studio work as opposed to 'as many things as possible"
I think you got that completely wrong, as this and other reviews prove. It is a replacement for the D700 in that it targets similar users, out the box anyway (full-frame, 5fps vs 4fps, good at high ISO, good AF) . Saying the D800 isn't a replacement for the D700 is like saying the D7000 isn't a replacement for the D90.

What the D800 doesn't do is 8fps with the grip/batteries. It'll do 6fps in DX with grip batteries, which will be good enough for many.

Joop van Roy's picture

 On second thought you guys are probably right. The D800 does seem to do well as an all-round camera, including lower-end sports and reportage. Forget i said anything :)

glad you came to your senses joop

Tobias Solem's picture

@twitter-232675081:disqus Meh, the differences aren't really that big. Yes the D800 is more aimed toward studio, but so was the Mk.II (and the Mk.III is the same thing but better). The comparison is relevant because market-wise it is currently the next step in purchase for most consumers (esp. if you check photography forums). Canon seems to have the upper edge right now though because of availability. In some countries you can't get a hand on a D800 (unless you're NPS) until June at the earliest, while MkIII is easily available right now.

Joop van Roy's picture

 I agree; they seem to have occupied more or less the same position in the market. But i'm not looking at this from a marketeers point of view.

And yes, it is absurd how much units Nikon seems to be able to ship. So.. bah.

I think the truth is, for most people if you're considering either a NIkon D800 or Canon 5D MkIII you are pretty much locked in either of the systems already, but nonetheless still an interesting comparison =]

Patrick Hall's picture

one would think....but I know a lot of sports guys who switched to Nikon with the 1d Mark III auto focus fiasco....they all switched to D3s and reinvested all their fast telephoto lenses which is a PR nightmare for Canon.  There will also be a lot of Directors of Photography who will buy either of these as their first DSLR though, and while they don't care about photo quality they do care about the video quality.

Great "non-fanboi" comparison, probably the best Ive seen so far

JimmySchaefer's picture

HAHAHa I always laugh at these articals. Comparisons between 2 cameras.  People have wondered so far off the path of camera battles.  Comparing a Canon 5D Mark III against any other camera besides its predecessor is a joke.  I hope all of you get back on the path and return to why the 5D Mark III was invented... its a Canon 25th edition Camera with just a few minor upgrades. It's basically the camera canon wanted to release back in 08 to intro HD video on a DSLR.  Why not to compare this with a new Nikon camera, simple, Nikon is saying the D800 is a Brand new product, its not a 25th anniversary product, it does not have a predecessor it's there new line up of camera... Canon has not even released there new X series of cameras or a new 7D, 1D, 60Da.   I'm gonna love seeing these articles end for a short period of time, then start all over again when canon again releases there new 2012 cameras. 

".....Comparing a Canon 5D Mark III against any other camera besides its predecessor is a joke."

Not really and who's cares what generation the cameras are.   If I was upgrading from a lower 'kit' camera and wanted to step up to the next level, these are the two I would compare.  Canon was left with their pants down on this one.  As well, most photographers now a days can get away with much 'less' of a camera compared to the two new ones above.

When you start printing 40" images of a 40 person group you'll understand why mega pixels become important.      

Sandy Phimester's picture

Finally something that doesn't feel like it's fanboy driven! For the real photographers out there, we like to talk to real photographers. Not lab rats. Cheers! Some interesting opinions in here that feel far more trust worthy than most I've seen in the last 2 weeks.

I got both of these cameras too, check out the night time lapse video I just released:


Nice review. I am thinking of getting a D800 and what I would like to see is a comparison with a couple medium format cameras compared to a D800 with a one of the better Nikon lenses or a Zeiss,  which I think is a more useful comparison. Low light, video, frame rate ... I could care less.

Chris talks too much and too fast. Nathan can barely get a word in edgewise.

 He doesn't talk too fast, you listen too slow.

A well done review. 

Sandy Phimester's picture

It's really one of the first comparison/review videos (even just photo comparison/reviews) that doesn't feel like the person has so much invested in one company or the other. Even though Nathan shoots Nikon (and used to shoot Canon it seems, not that it matters!) the opinions and real world shooting/testing seem to basically say the obvious. Both cameras are awesome, both are so bad ass that the only excuse you have for not making amazing images... is yourself. The gear is so great, that really, the rest falls on you. And that was refreshing. Honestly. Really, refreshing.

Yeah I think also a nicely balanced review and pleased to see the models and assistants being thanked for their time and efforts - it's never just the photographer doing the work.

Sandy Phimester's picture

 That's so true. The last big shoot I had, I was there 7 hours, the model was there for 3, the make up and hair were there the whole time doing touch ups and re-doing different looks. Without me, they'd have no photo, but without them I'd have no photo either. Team work is essential, and appreciating and thanking those people is always key! :)

Robert's picture

If you do documentary style wedding photography you'd be missing the decisive moment with D800, they seriously need to fix that auto focus lag. 

Good Job Nikon...

i dunno about you guys, but i think nikon d800 pretty much rule here...picture quality, color, noise, etc, nikon d800 is a clear winner