Nikon D800 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Hands-On Video Intro

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Nikon D800 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Hands-On Video IntroLike everyone else out there, I’ve been anxious to get my hands on the Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the latest and greatest full-frame professional digital SLRs. Instead of waiting to get official review cameras from Nikon and Canon, I went straight to my local pro shop, Pictureline, and had their man, Nick Gilson, do a hands-on intro and comparison for me. I do plan to do full pro reviews for both cameras. But for those of you who want to see them and learn more about them right now, the video below should do the trick. I’m also assembling some first impressions material to add to this page, including high-res sample photos that you can compare back-to-back.

In the video, Nick implied that the Nikon D800’s image quality isn’t as good as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s. I think that was the common assumption, based on the Nikon’s higher resolution sensor. However, we hadn’t done a proper image quality comparison at that point and probably spoke a little too soon. Today I did a close comparison of ISO 12,800 images from both cameras and I think the image quality – at least with 8.5×11-inch prints – is a wash. The Nikon might be a hair grittier but not enough to really matter. The bottom line is both cameras have excellent image quality at ridiculously high sensitivity settings. I plan to add a full set of sample photos for comparison to this page as soon as I can get them set up and uploaded to our server. So make sure to check back so you can make your own judgment about the Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III image quality.

Nikon D800 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III At ISO 12,800

To learn more about the Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III cameras, check the links below for detailed announcement articles.

Nikon D800 Intro >>
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Intro >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Rafael says:

    Please update for DSLR cameras

  • Adie says:

    Hey Nick, how are you doing? thanks for the wonderful review, you were preaching about Canon inspite Nikon D800 outperforms Canon 5D III.

  • Gary Heller says:

    Thanks for this, John. I also assumed the 5D mklll would outshine the D800 in IQ but seems to be close. Personally, even if both cameras were to be equal in IQ, I feel the 5D mklll wins due to FPS (important to me) and having various compressed vidoe output formats.
    Also, the 36 MP D800 is going to significantly slow down ones workflow with those file sizes.

    I do intend to go very high res at some point but when i do it will be with a dedicated MF system like a Mamiya or Hassy on a larger sensor pumping 45 to 60 MP’s.

  • PJ says:

    As a guy who has a foot in both brands, I was hoping this review would help me settle whether I’ll be replacing the D7000 or 5D Mk II. Thanks for the review, but it didn’t really move me any closer to a decision. =)

  • Didit Mehta Pariadi says:

    Thank you John,
    I am a Canon user and I always envy Nikon user for their frame per second (for shooting event, kids in my case) and for their quality in low light situation. Now with the new Canon 5D mk III and Nikon D800 I think they are par, that what makes me happy for not having to switch to Nikon to get the quality I wanna have. Your review reconfirmed my feeling after using Canon 5D mk III for 3 weeks travelling… One thing that I thank Canon is for not bringing up the megapixels size since the current 20MP RAW files already eat up my 3 x 1 GB hard drive easily…

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