Canon 5D mark III vs Nikon D800

by Enche Tjin on March 2, 2012

Finally, Canon 5D mark III is announced. 5D mark III is a full frame professional DSLR camera that designed for pro or serious amateur photographers that demand relative small camera with great image quality and capability.


Canon 5D mark III will challenge previously announced Nikon D800. At a glance, 5D mark III looks better-rounded than Nikon D800. This year, Canon emphasizes on speed rather than image resolution/size. Nikon choose higher image resolution.

Three to four years ago, Nikon emphasizes on speed and noiseless images in high ISO setting. Then, many users demands Nikon to create camera that can shoot higher resolution images. So D800 is the answer. It has 36 MP, which is three times bigger resolution than Nikon D700’s.

On the other hand, Canon 5D mark II has 21 MP, which is big enough for a large print, but 5D mark II lacks speed and clarity in high ISO setting. Now, Canon answers it with 5D mark III. A camera has improved in many way especially in speed and image quality.

I think Canon’s answer is better than Nikon’s because Canon 5D mark III is a more balanced and versatile camera. It is great for any kind of shooters: photojournalists, travel, event, portrait, landscape, fashion, etc.

On the other hand, Nikon D800 is more limited to those who want to create the largest image possible with full frame sensor. It is more geared toward specific photographers who require to make a very big print such as commercial photography or pro landscape photography.

Canon 5D mark III advantages

  • Continuous shooting up to 6 fps vs 4 fps
  • Better acceptable ISO range 100-25600  vs up to 6400
  • Slightly bigger 3:2 LCD screen with over 1 million dots resolution
  • 61 point auto focus point (41 point cross-type) vs 51 points, 15 cross-type

Nikon D800 advantages

  • Higher image resolution 36 MP vs 22MP
  • Compatible with DX lenses (image yield will be 15 MP)
  • Better shutter reliability (200k vs 150k)
  • D800E without AA filter for sharper images available
  • has a built-in flash
  • $500 cheaper (D800’s price $2999, 5D mk III’s price $3500)


  • 100% viewfinder coverage
  • Built-in HDR processor
  • Weather resistant
  • Dual slots (CF & SD cards)
  • Record Full HD video
  • About the same size & weight

The good news is, Nikon D700 get $500 discount (Now selling at $2199) and Canon 5D mark II also get $300 discount (selling at $2399)

- Canon 5D mark III sample images from Canon Japan. Nikon D800 sample images from Nikon Imaging USA

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