Nikon D3S vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Winner
Nikon D3S

87

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

83

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3S

Low noise at high ISO
Low light performance
3,253 ISO
Rapid fire
Continuous shooting
9 fps
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
120 ms startup delay
Great battery life
Battery life
4200 shots
 

Reasons to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Screen size
Large screen
3.2"
Light sensitivity
High ISO
25,600 ISO
HDR
In-camera HDR
Combines multiple exposures
Shutter lag
Barely any delay taking photos
120 ms shutter lag

Items often bought with the Nikon D3S or Canon 5D Mark III

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
Explore our gallery of 48 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3S.

differences

Advantages of the Canon 5D Mark III

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Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Screen size
Significantly larger screen
3.2" vs 3"
Help
Around 10% larger screen
Cross type focus points
Significantly more cross-type focus points
41 vs 15
Help
Grab focus in difficult situations
Size
Much smaller
152×116×76 mm vs 160×157×88 mm
Help
Around 40% smaller
True resolution
Higher true resolution
22.3 MP vs 12.1 MP
Help
Capture around 90% more detail in your photos
Screen resolution
Higher resolution screen
1,040k dots vs 921k dots
Help
More than 10% higher resolution screen
Shutter lag
Less shutter lag
120 ms vs 197 ms
Help
Around 40% less delay when taking photos
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
25,600 ISO vs 12,800 ISO
Help
The 5D Mark III's maximum light sensitivity is 2 f-stops better
Color depth
Better color depth
24 bits vs 23.5 bits
Help
Almost the same
Thickness
Much thinner
3" vs 3.5"
Help
More than 10% thinner
Focus points
More focus points
61 vs 51
Help
Set focus accurately within the frame
Lowest price
Significantly cheaper
$2,239.99 vs $4,994.99
Help
The best price we've seen is $2,755 cheaper (2.2x less)
Weight
Significantly lighter
950 g vs 1,240 g
Help
More than 20% lighter
Viewfinder size
Slightly larger viewfinder
0.71x vs 0.70x
Help
Almost the same
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Learn more about
the Canon 5D Mark III

Advantages of the Nikon D3S

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Battery life
Much longer battery life
4200 shots vs 950 shots
Help
Around 4.5x more shots per battery charge
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
3,253 ISO vs 2,293 ISO
Help
The D3S has a slight edge (0.5 f-stops) in low-noise, high-ISO performance
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
12 EV vs 11.7 EV
Help
0.6 f-stops more dynamic range
Continuous shooting
Shoots significantly faster
9 fps vs 6 fps
Help
50% faster continuous shooting
Startup delay
Less startup delay
120 ms vs 500 ms
Help
4.2x less delay when turning on
Built-in focus motor
Has a built-in focus motor
Yes vs No
Help
Autofocuses with all autofocus lenses
Lens availability
Slightly more lenses available
171 lenses vs 165 lenses
Help
Almost the same
Nikon D3S Learn more about
the Nikon D3S
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 83
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      Color
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        vs
        87 Nikon D3S Nikon D3S
        Retailer
          Style
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              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Low light performance Relatively low noise at high ISO Help
              5D Mark III2,293 ISO
              D3S3,253 ISO
              Viewfinder size Above average viewfinder size Help
              5D Mark III0.71x
              D3S0.70x
              Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
              Shoot in extreme weather
              Focus points Many focus points Help
              5D Mark III61
              D3S51
              Viewfinder Both have pentaprism viewfinders Help
              Pentaprism
              Storage slots Multiple storage slots Help
              2
              Viewfinder coverage Above average viewfinder coverage Help
              100%
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/8000 of a second
              Common Weaknesses
              Built-in flash No built-in flash Help
              Professional
              Weight Heavy Help
              5D Mark III950 g
              D3S1,240 g
              Lowest price Very expensive Help
              5D Mark III$2,239.99
              D3S$4,994.99
              Size Large Help
              5D Mark III152×116×76 mm
              D3S160×157×88 mm
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur

              Compared to recent pro DSLRs

              Common Strengths

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

              Common Weaknesses
              True resolution Capture low resolution images Help
              5D Mark III22.3 MP
              D3S12.1 MP
              Dynamic range Poor dynamic range Help
              5D Mark III11.7 EV
              D3S12 EV

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D750

              Nikon D750

              Pro DSLR

              $1,584 - $1,997 body only

              $2,125 - $2,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Overall image quality Has slightly better image quality
              Dynamic range Has slightly wider dynamic range
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              Canon EOS 6D

              Canon EOS 6D

              Pro DSLR

              $1,230 - $1,399 body only

              $1,799 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

              $2,419 - $2,997 body only

              $3,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Color depth Has slightly more color depth
              Thickness Is thicker
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Canon EOS 7D Mark II

              Pro DSLR

              $1,379 - $1,699 body only

              $1,649 - $1,849 with 18-135mm lens

              Movie continuous focus Can focus continuously while recording movies
              Autofocus Focuses automatically while shootting video
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              Shutter lag Has significantly more shutter lag
              Nikon D800

              Nikon D800

              Pro DSLR

              $2,285 body only

              Overall image quality Has significantly better image quality
              Color depth Has slightly more color depth
              Thickness Is thicker
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly lower boost light sensitivity
              Nikon D7200

              Nikon D7200

              Entry-level DSLR

              $968 - $1,097 body only

              $1,397 with 18-140mm lens

              Dynamic range Has significantly wider dynamic range
              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay
              Canon EOS 70D

              Canon EOS 70D

              Pro DSLR

              $799 - $999 body only

              $900 - $1,099 with 18-55mm 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

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 5DS

              Canon EOS 5DS

              Pro DSLR

              $3,699 body only

              $3,830 with 50mm lens

              True resolution Much higher true resolution
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Light sensitivity Worse maximum light sensitivity
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Canon EOS 5D Mark II

              Canon EOS 5D Mark II

              Pro DSLR

              $2,000 body only

              $3,200 with 24-105mm lens

              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Startup delay Slightly less startup delay
              HDR Lacks in-camera HDR
              Screen size Significantly smaller screen

              Nikon D3S Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Nikon D4s

              Nikon D4s

              Pro DSLR

              $5,997 body only

              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              HDR Has in-camera HDR
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Low light performance Slightly more noise at high ISO
              Nikon D4

              Nikon D4

              Pro DSLR

              $3,783 body only

              Movie format Higher resolution movies
              HDR Has in-camera HDR
              Battery life Much shorter battery life
              Low light performance More noise at high ISO
              Nikon D3

              Nikon D3

              Pro DSLR

              $4,999 body only

              Shutter lag Significantly less shutter lag
              Dynamic range More dynamic range
              Movie format Does not take movies
              Low light performance More noise at high ISO

              appearance

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D3S
              Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D3S
              Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D3S

              discussion

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

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              Nikon D3S
              D3S
              Nikon

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              Showing 2 comments

              Avatar for Lars A Grønningsæter Lars A Grønningsæter (8:42 PM, October 22, 2013)
              Mind-boggling
               
              Treepop (5:58 PM, July 03, 2012)
              This comparison is mind bottling. It bottles the mind. How can something with so many distinct advantages loose by such a large margin? I would say maybe a 90 to 95...or 92 to 88, but a 7 point advantage...I dunno about that. 80% more detail in shots, while only sacrificing 1/2 a stop. In addition to much MUCH better video. This is a tough choice. Sure the d3s is the low light king (however it might loose that title to the 1dx, we shall see), but Canon does have a lot to offer.