Canon 5D MkIII v. Nikon D800

Written by Mark Holmes on .

So, yesterday Canon announced the successor to their full-frame mid-size Canon 5D Mk II DSLR. Not suprisingly, the new camera is called the Canon 5D Mk III. It fills the same market niche as the Nikon D800, being a camera for dedicated enthusiasts and pros with the ability to shoot high quality video.


In this post, I have done a quick comparison of the specifications I have not done any investigation of image quality. I am sure there will be many detailed comparisons online over the coming weeks.

Some of the differences I can identify include:



With a 36.3 megapixel sensor, the Nikon has a maximum resolution of 7360 x 4912, compared to Canon's 5760 x 3840 maximum resolution using a 22.3 megapixel sensor. The Nikon also boasts 11 different resolution settings and image ratios of 5:4 and 3:2, to Canon's four resolution settings and a fixed 3:2 aspect ratio. It should be noted that resolution is not the same as image quality, so bear that in mind.



Nikon has an ISO range of 100-6400 before needing to use ISO boost, while Canon has 100-25600. This seems like a big win for Canon on paper, provided the high ISO settings maintain some degree of image usuability.


Focus points

Canon has greatly improved the focusing system over their Mk II version and there are now 61 autofocus points compared to the D800s 51 points.


LCD screen

Both cameras have a 3.2" screen, but Canon's has 1,040,000 dots to Nikon's 921,000. I am not sure if you'd notice a difference.


White Balance

12 presets and 6 custom white balance options for Nikon against 6 presets and 1 custom for the Canon.


Continuous shooting

6 fps for the Canon compared to 4 FPS for the Nikon, unless the accessory battery is used, which boosts the Nikon to 6 fps.



If you are interested, the video features on both cameras look closely matched with full resolution of both cameras shooting at 1920 x 1080 with three selectable rates of frames per second.



The Canon is slightly heavier, weighing in at 950 g compared to Nikon's 900 g, sizes are pretty similar.


I don't see much that's ground-breakingly new with the cameras from a useability point of view, thoughI have yet to fully understand improvements to the internals. Nikon has pushed the resolution envelope, but at what cost remains to be seen. They have also closed the gap in video capability with Canon. The D800 has a variation called the D800E, which does not have an anti-aliasing filter. Canon has upgraded the focus system on the latest 5D, which was much needed.


They both look to be excellent cameras on paper. I will most likely be upgrading to a D800 later in the year, once the usual hyperbole dies down and the bugs get ironed out.