What's The Difference Between The Canon 5D Mark III And Nikon D800?

We get asked all the time... which is better, the Canon 5D Mark III or the Nikon D800? Below we have put together a comparison of both pieces of equipment so you can read about the differences and make the decision for yourself based on your photography needs. Some information here has come from a comparison of the two cameras that we found on Digital Camera World and  Cameras Reviewed as well as straight from Nikon and Canon themselves. 

Canon and Nikon go head to head with their offerings of their top-end full-frame, professional DSLRs as well as their low-end models (the Nikon D600 and Canon 6D). 

Here is a comparison of the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III

High-Megapixel Sensor

The Nikon D800 is a full-frame DSLR that offers 36.3 a megapixel sensor, which beats the Canon 5D Mark III with 22.3 megapixels. With that said, the photos you would take with the Canon are considerably smaller. 

Cameras Reviewed said with their testing that the Nikon provided some of the sharpest images they have ever seen in their labs, and they found that in the field, the images could be edited more aggressively without degrading image quality. The Canon offered softer images by comparison, but had better performance in low light when ISO needs to be cranked. 

ISO Setting

The Canon offers a wide range ISO setting of 100-25600 (L:50, H1: 51200, H2: 102400) for shooting from bright to dim light and next generation DIGIC 5+ Image Processor for enhanced noise reduction and exceptional processing speed. The Nikon ISO setting is 100-6400 (L: 50, H1:12,800, H2: 25,600).

Frames Per Second

The Canon has up to 6.0 frames per second. The Nikon offers up to 4.0 frames per second. 

Quality of Images

The high ISO performance gives the Canon shots plenty of life when in extremely dark conditions and, according to Camera Reviews, also produced better looking JPEGs at high ISOs that had more delicate noise reduction and better color reproduction. 

But, with that said, Camera Reviews was surprised that the Nikon compared nicely. Despite a higher volume of pixels on its image sensor, the resolution advantage kept the noise appearance to a minimum. They said the Nikon handled cropping, adjusting levels, or sharpening an image perfectly. 

Video Capabilities

The Canon offers an advanced professional-level high definition video capabilities to capture movies in EOS HD quality. The Nikon offers 1080p HD cinematic quality video. 

Ease of Handling

The Canon offers many controls right at your fingertips, with many positioned right on the top plate near the secondary LCD and shutter button. The Nikon is much similar to the D700 model, but adds additional video controls on the body of the camera. 


Price may or may not be important to you. If you love one camera over the other, the price may not matter all that much. But, with that said, both of these cameras are pretty similar in cost. The Canon goes for $2,499 on Amazon while the Nikon is listed at $1,999 on Amazon

So, what do we think you may ask? We think that both are GREAT cameras and the only real thing that matters is what your personal preference is. Do you have one that works better for your wedding photography business? Or, perhaps you just love taking photos of amazing landscapes. No matter what, you should use the camera that you like and feel most comfortable with for the different types of photos you love taking. Happy shooting! 


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What is your choice of camera? Tell us below in the comments why you love it.