Updated (June, 2014): Compare the Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon D810

Nikon D800

Winner
Nikon D800

94

vs

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

86

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Runner-up
     
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D800

Low light performance
Low noise at high ISO
2,853 ISO
Overall image quality
Great image quality
95.0
Color depth
Great color depth
25.3 bits
Dynamic range
Wide dynamic range
14.4 EV
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Light sensitivity
High ISO
25,600 ISO
Sensor size
Large sensor
Full frame 36.0x24.0mm
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
120 ms shutter lag
Focus points
Many focus points
61
 
Differences | Recommendations | Similarities | Competitors | Appearance | Discussion

differences

Advantages of the Canon 5D Mark III

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Cross type focus points Many more cross-type focus points 41 vs 15
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
Light sensitivity Better maximum light sensitivity 25,600 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The 5D Mark III's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag 120 ms vs 209 ms
Help
More than 40% less delay when taking photos
Screen resolution Higher resolution screen 1,040k dots vs 921k dots
Help
More than 10% higher resolution screen
Continuous shooting Shoots faster 6 fps vs 4 fps
Help
50% faster continuous shooting
Focus points More focus points 61 vs 51
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Light sensitivity (boost) Better boost ISO 102,400 ISO vs 25,600 ISO
Help
The 5D Mark III's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Viewfinder size Slightly larger viewfinder 0.71x vs 0.70x
Help
Almost the same
Thickness Thinner 3" vs 3.2"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Size Smaller 152x116x76 mm vs 146x123x82 mm
Help
Around 10% smaller
Lens availability Slightly more lenses available 156 lenses vs 152 lenses
Help
Almost the same
Battery life Slightly longer battery life 950 shots vs 900 shots
Help
Around 10% more shots per battery charge
Weight Slightly lighter 950 g vs 1,000 g
Help
Around 10% lighter
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Learn more about
the Canon 5D Mark III

Advantages of the Nikon D800

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Overall image quality Significantly better image quality 95.0 vs 81.0
Help
Around 20% better image quality
Dynamic range More dynamic range 14.4 EV vs 11.7 EV
Help
2.7 f-stops more dynamic range
True resolution Much higher true resolution 36.2 MP vs 22.3 MP
Help
Capture more than 60% more detail in your photos
Low light performance Lower noise at high ISO 2,853 ISO vs 2,293 ISO
Help
The D800 has a slight edge (0.3 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Color depth Better color depth 25.3 bits vs 24 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.3 more bits of color
Startup delay Less startup delay 200 ms vs 500 ms
Help
2.5x less delay when turning on
Built-in focus motor Has a built-in focus motor Yes vs No
Help
Autofocuses with all autofocus lenses
Built-in flash Built-in flash Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Lowest price Slightly cheaper $2,996.95 vs $3,399.00
Help
The best price we've seen is $402 cheaper (more than 10% less)
Nikon D800 Learn more about
the Nikon D800
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent pro DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Mark III 86
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save

        vs

        94 Nikon D800 Nikon D800
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses
              Low light performance Relatively low noise at high ISO Help
              5D Mark III:2,293 ISO
              D800:2,853 ISO
              Screen size Larger than average screens Help
              3.2"
              Sensor size Very large sensors Help
              5D Mark III:Full frame 36.0x24.0mm
              D800:Full frame 35.9x24.0mm
              Viewfinder size Above average viewfinder size Help
              5D Mark III:0.71x
              D800:0.70x
              Focus points Many focus points Help
              5D Mark III:61
              D800:51
              Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
              Shoot in extreme weather
              Viewfinder Both have pentaprism viewfinders Help
              Pentaprism
              Viewfinder coverage Above average viewfinder coverage Help
              100%
              Storage slots Multiple storage slots Help
              2
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/8000 of a second
              Weight Heavy Help
              5D Mark III:950 g
              D800:1,000 g
              Lowest price Very expensive Help
              5D Mark III:$3,399.00
              D800:$2,996.95
              Size Large Help
              5D Mark III:152x116x76 mm
              D800:146x123x82 mm
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur

              Compared to recent pro DSLRs

              Common Strengths Common Weaknesses

              Snapsort is not aware of any interesting strengths shared by these two products.

              GPS No built-in GPS Help
              Missing geo-tagging
              Continuous shooting Slow continuous shooting Help
              5D Mark III:6 fps
              D800:4 fps

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 6D

              Canon EOS 6D

              Pro DSLR

              $1,495 - $1,899 body only

              $2,299 - $2,499 with 24-105mm lens

              Size Is slightly smaller
              GPS Has a built-in GPS
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Nikon D810

              Nikon D810

              Pro DSLR

              $3,289 - $3,297 body only

              $4,890 - $5,187 with 24-70mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Battery life Has a slightly longer battery life
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D750

              Nikon D750

              Pro DSLR

              $2,297 body only

              $2,997 - $3,030 with 24-120mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Canon EOS 5D Mark II

              Canon EOS 5D Mark II

              Pro DSLR

              $2,399 body only

              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Viewfinder coverage Slightly less viewfinder coverage
              Nikon D610

              Nikon D610

              Pro DSLR

              $1,597 body only

              $1,997 - $2,040 with 24-85mm lens

              Lowest price Is slightly less expensive
              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Thickness Is thicker
              Canon EOS 70D

              Canon EOS 70D

              Pro DSLR

              $999 - $1,147 body only

              $1,330 - $1,349 with 18-135mm lens

              Touch screen Has a touch screen
              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Thickness Is thicker
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Nikon D7100

              Nikon D7100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $815 - $947 body only

              $1,247 with 18-140mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Lens availability Significantly more lenses available
              Sensor size Has a significantly smaller sensor
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Pro DSLR

              $1,799 - $1,800 body only

              $2,149 with 18-135mm lens

              Cross type focus points Significantly more cross-type focus points
              Continuous shooting Shoots significantly faster
              Low light performance Significantly more noise at high ISO
              Overall image quality Worse image quality

              Nikon D800 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D700

              Nikon D700

              Pro DSLR

              $4,337 body only

              Viewfinder size Larger viewfinder
              Continuous shooting Shoots faster
              True resolution Much lower true resolution
              Overall image quality Significantly worse image quality

              appearance

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

              discussion

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III
              EOS 5D Mark III
              Canon

              Report a correction
              Nikon D800
              D800
              Nikon

              Report a correction

              Showing 25 comments

              Avatar for milind milind (3:57 PM, October 02, 2014)
              Milind..

              Nikon D800 Absulutliy awesome..
              Very good photo capture and look like this onbody and friendly use.and better than photography..
               
              Avatar for Snix Snix (0:05 PM, August 05, 2014)
              and here i thought they said the picture quality were about the same, but the canon lenses got shitty bokeh compared to the nikon counterpart, the only difference between them that made the canon one win, was that it had a better build quality like people comparing Iphone and Samsung, they both are about the same but Iphone "win" because it is made of aluminium.


              nikon have an 85mm F/1.4, works great. i dont know where you did pull all that information from, but right now you sound like a silly fanboy.


              prove your photography instead of crying your gear is better, if your gear is better and you still preform worse than the nikon guy, does that make you a shitty photographer or was your gear just too bad?
               
              Avatar for Snix Snix (11:52 AM, August 05, 2014)
              shutter speed of d800 is a bit slow? what?.... care to explain yourself? or did your "customers" need 1/16000 shutter speed?
               
              alvindhonny (7:18 PM, April 11, 2014)
              you know what if just some of dslr can be under water that will be great
              the best underwater camera is still nikon1 AW1
               
              godzillaser (5:57 PM, February 17, 2014)
              http://lovethiscamera.com/canon/a-best-full-frame-canon-camera-5d-mark-iii-22-3mp/
               
              Avatar for Robert Isha Robert Isha (7:01 AM, January 02, 2014)
              i like how the 5d mark 3 feels in the hand..the d800e is all plastic and I've had one and end up selling it..36 mesa pixels will only show you how bad nikon lenses are..and i have tried most of them..please don't tell me to use 85 1.4 at f2.8 or f5.6..if i am paying $1800 for a lens i wanna use it at the biggest aperture..the only lens that showed the true 36 mega pixels of d800e was the zeiss 135 f2 after i tried it..i knew that nikon lenses can't keep up with mega pixels only zeiss can..now I'm going to buy 5d mark 3 and canon 135 f2 or maybe go for the 6d and zeiss 135 f2
               
              Avatar for Yoan Yoan (4:40 PM, October 18, 2013)
              2 more stops of Boost ISO doesn't mean that the overall high ISO quality is 2 stops better. In fact the DXO measuring confirm the opposite.
               
              Andy B (8:08 PM, October 04, 2013)
              Well i also a camera salesman, and i would 100% say the nikon is the best choice, so it is very personal
               
              Avatar for Shari Shari (7:58 PM, September 30, 2013)
              THANK YOU FOR THIS! Super helpful. :)
               
              meo (0:46 AM, September 26, 2013)
              Right about the noise http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/comparisons/d800-vs-5d-mark-iii.htm
               
              Camera seller (0:26 PM, September 18, 2013)
              This comparison looks a bit odd...I tried the cameras my self and Canon has Lower noise at high ISO. Plus we had to refund several customers. They were complaining that the shutter speed of D800 is a bit slow. I agree! I am a seller and trust me, Canon is a better choice...
               
              Avatar for Satyam Joshi Satyam Joshi (10:47 AM, August 31, 2013)
              I'll go for the DSLR which has higher low light capability !..may be more than 2000 and still grain-noise doesn't appear !
               
              The Miz (0:46 PM, August 21, 2013)
              This is a review site. You don't have to agree or defend it so why get your knickers in a twist about it. If your any sort of a good photographer you would know to test them out yourself and make up your own mind and not decide on the decision of some one else.

              Quite simply put stop crying about a review site and do the adult thing and go test them yourself. You sound ridiculous.
               
              Avatar for David B David B (9:52 PM, May 10, 2013)
              Canon's professional lens lineup in general is just better than Nikon's currently, and it is a fact. go to dpreview, lensrentals and others and read reviews. Canon's 70-200 F/2.8 IS II is the best 70-200 on planet by far (see dpreview review and conclusion). Canon's 24-70L II is the best and sharpest 24-70L II on planet currently. So these two lenses that are breadwinners for 99% of wedding photogs Canon wins. Add to it lenses in Canon's lineup that Nikon does not have alternative..... like my 85L II 1.2 which is SHARP at 1.2. Nikon has nothing on it. The only thing Nikon has on Canon is 14-24 F/2.8 which is an amazing wdeangle landscape lens. Now if you shoot landscapes, go to national parks, etc, then D800e with 14-24 is a better choice. Anything else, including low light, skin colors, video at 55mps rate, etc, 5DM3 wins. I sold D800 and got 5DM3 and could not be happier. Just one person's opinion.
               
              Avatar for Jacob Surland Jacob Surland (8:17 AM, May 01, 2013)
              If you choose a camera brand, you also buy into each company's lens line up. I have changed from Canon 5D Mark III to Nikon D800 because of the lens line up. Nikon has better Wide angle Lenses, than Canon has, like the Nikkor 14-24mm. If you combined that with the fact, that the Nikon D800 sensor quite dramatically out performs the Canon 5D Mark III sensor in terms of Dynamic Range, should make it an obvious choice for any Landscape photographer to select a Nikon D800. If you do a little calculation, and compare a single shot from the D800 with a -2 to +2 auto exposure bracketing (for HDR) shot of the Canon 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800 is only 1,3 EV step from covering the same Dynamic range. You are able to recover a lot more details from the shadows and high lights on a D800 than you can with a 5D Mark III.

              But for any low light situation requiring high ISO's I would pick the Canon 5D Mark III. In a real life the Canon 5D Mark III is so much better at high ISOs than Nikon D800.

              --Jacob Surland, http://www.caughtinpixels.com.
               
              Avatar for marhaz marhaz (5:16 PM, February 27, 2013)
              Ratings of lenses and actually using lenses are completely different things. Both companies have great lenses, although the canon L lens series does have a more prestigious and recognizable name, and that's because of the quality.
               
              Avatar for marhaz marhaz (5:14 PM, February 27, 2013)
              I agree, you're used to Nikon menus. I love the canon interface, and have trouble with the Nikon interface simply because I am used to canon.
               
              Avatar for marhaz marhaz (5:10 PM, February 27, 2013)
              The new firmware for the 5d will include a clean hdmi out. Should be in April. Also, I'm a film maker, and in no scenario would I EVER want continuous autofocus in video. These dslrs just can't have decent af in video mode. They aren't good, are noisy, and spend too much time searching for focus. That being said, I still would never use af video mode.
              I would like to see 1080 @60fps, but in all honesty, I would only use it for slow motion, which shouldn't be often anyways. Bigger resolution helps with huge prints, so yes that is good, but you also suffer from noise, which for a film maker is a big advantage concerning the 5D. It really is how you intend to use the camera, both are fantastic machines.
               
              Avatar for Jonathan Jonathan (1:31 AM, October 23, 2012)
              Gotta say I can't agree with that. I've shot Canon my whole life pretty much, and recently picked a D90 and I felt the same way that you did for about 2 hours, then I had the system figured out. The Canon system is fine, the Nikon system is fine, they're just different. I would note that even though I've shot Canon forever, I like Nikons in general, and it seems like they have a lot of extras that Canons don't, i.e., time lapse type feature, more bracketing, etc... Still, Canon 7D offers the best FPS in class for sports shooters and I do think Canon generally has better glass.
               
              Mole (4:12 AM, July 24, 2012)
              I used to trust you guys. I visit this site like more than a year ago and every day i find more and more issues in the way you present the information about the cameras, the comparisons you make and the veracity of your reviews... I'm kind of disappointed. I'm a Nikon user, but definitely 5D Mark III has things D800 doesn't. Off corse, that goes in detriment of price which is higher in Canon. Nikons achievement is to make excellent cameras at lower prices... but this time the prices are not as different as they were with D7000 and 7D. 

              I defended this site before... now it will be difficult when my counter Canon user friends start making their point
               
              Theredrider78 (11:31 PM, June 24, 2012)
              Canon users should really consider using Nikons. :D
               
              Theredrider78 (11:39 PM, May 20, 2012)
              'Canon has the best lenses'!?!?  Pffffttt.  Doubt it!  Are you comparing your old film lenses to your modern digital Canon lenses?  Go to DXO mark and check lens ratings.
               
              Cedricbrand (7:39 PM, May 20, 2012)
               I'm Nikon fan and on film i shot nikon, change to canon digital. From now on they will be comming together the cameras so start thinkin about the lenses! Canon has the best lenses out there as a overall pro package so you can stick to canon.  Start spending money on proper pro lenses and stop the camera chase. In 5 years they will be close ii speed and image quality.
               
              Avatar for memmener memmener (9:08 PM, April 26, 2012)
              "Slightly more lenses available 
              125 lenses vs 121". 
              First, there are only about 74 lenses listed on Canon's website, and 76 listed on Nikon's website.  
              Second, those 74 lenses includes many EF-S lenses which can't be mounted on full frame Canon bodies.
              Nikon cropped sensor lenses CAN be mounted on full frame bodies. 
              On the D800, mounting a cropped sensor lens can still give you 15 megapixel pictures since the camera simply uses a portion of the 
              sensor the same size as a APS-C sensor.
              You can even mount legacy manual focus lenses, since the Nikon mount haven't been changed in decades, since before autofocus was introduced.

              Also, the D800 shutter has been tested up to 200,000 cycles, compared to only 150,000 for 5DMkIII. 50,000 more pictures in its life time!
               
              Mart (9:01 PM, April 19, 2012)
              Canon should really consider using Sonys sensors.