Nikon D800 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Winner
Nikon D800

88

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

80

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D800

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
2,979 ISO
Great image quality
Overall image quality
96.0
Great color depth
Color depth
25.6 bits
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
14.4 EV
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
120 ms shutter lag
Cross type focus points
Many cross-type focus points
41
Thickness
Thin
3"
Storage slots
More storage slots
2

galleries

Explore our gallery of 49 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D800.

competitors

Nikon D800 Competitors

Nikon D750

Nikon D750

Pro DSLR

$1,560 - $1,997 body only

$2,108 - $2,297 with 24-120mm lens

Screen flips out Has a flip-out screen
Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
True resolution Significantly lower true resolution
Nikon D810

Nikon D810

Pro DSLR

$2,268 - $2,797 body only

$3,297 with 24-120mm lens

Screen resolution Higher resolution screen
Battery life Longer battery life
Nikon D610

Nikon D610

Pro DSLR

$1,111 - $1,497 body only

$1,561 - $1,897 with 24-85mm lens

Continuous shooting Shoots faster
Size Smaller
True resolution Significantly lower true resolution

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Competitors

Nikon D750

Nikon D750

Pro DSLR

$1,560 - $1,997 body only

$2,108 - $2,297 with 24-120mm lens

Dynamic range More dynamic range
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
Cross type focus points Many fewer cross-type focus points
Canon EOS 6D

Canon EOS 6D

Pro DSLR

$1,259 - $1,399 body only

$1,679 - $1,799 with 24-105mm lens

Dynamic range More dynamic range
GPS Has a GPS
Screen size Much smaller screen
Nikon D810

Nikon D810

Pro DSLR

$2,268 - $2,797 body only

$3,297 with 24-120mm lens

Dynamic range More dynamic range
Overall image quality Significantly better image quality
Cross type focus points Many fewer cross-type focus points

discussion

Nikon D800
D800
Nikon

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

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Showing 25 comments

K. Z. (4:59 PM, January 31, 2016)
Has anyone switched from Canon to Nikon, or vice versa?
 
D800 (9:48 PM, January 04, 2015)
Yep, I sold my 5DMKIII and bought a D800 for one reason only. Shooting landsacpes at base ISO i need the better dynamic range of the Nikon. 2,5 EV is substantial. Could not be happier!! :-)
 
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.