Canon 5D vs Nikon D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by heyjaehey, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Hi, I have been a Nikon user for past 6 years or so. Currently I have Nikon D80. I have been thinking about
    switching to Canon 5D (I just wanted to experience a full-frame body) for awhile now and that's when I noticed
    that Nikon D700 is a little more $ but much much newer body. I am just trying to figure out which one I should go
    for.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Well... there's also rumor of a new replacement for the Canon coming really soon! Does that make it any harder?

    If you have Nikon lenses, though... stick with Nikon.
     
  3. Jae, I have a full Nikon system and a single 5D and some fast Canon lenses. The 5D is not a match for the D700, but if you don't have an investment in Nikon lenses (or Canon for that matter), I certainly would hang on to see what the new 5D will do. The D700 is a spectacular camera though. Also, if Nikon had faster lenses I wouldn't have bought the 5D in the first place, but it is a superb camera.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think it is pretty clear that Canon will upgrade the 5D very soon. There is now even a teaser on Canon's web site. You might want to wait a little bit to see how the new Canon will be like or you can potentially pick up a 5D at deep discount.

    You might also want to take a look at this comparison by Stephen Bay. Stephen posts to this forum once in a while:
    http://bayimages.net/tech/reviews/resolution-comparison-5d-d700.html
     
  5. "The 5D is not a match for the D700"

    This is true if you are comparing features, not image quality.

    I recently reacquired a D3 (my first D3 was, as it turns out, defective) which gives the same IQ as D700 and compared IQ between it and my 5D (which I have had for about a year). My conclustion is the same as Stephen Bay's. Image quality is basically identical.

    I think what makes the real difference, if any, in these cameras is accurate metering. The meter on my 5D is more accurate than any other camera I have used. To give you an idea how good it is, I went to a zoo last weekend and took over 600 pictures. They were all (100%) exposed properly. I recently took a vacation where I took 4000+ shots. Virtually all of them were properly exposed. I have found this typical of the 5D in the many thousands and thousands of pictures I have taken with it. I have not had the same exposure consistency from my Nikon cameras, until now with my new D3 which seems to be quite accurate as well. My D300 is nowhere near as accurate.


    There is no simple answer to your question. As a general statement and without knowing what type of photography you like to do, I would suggest you stick with Nikon and the D700 over the 5D. Or as Shun recommends, wait until the new Canon 5D replacement is released and compare the two at that point.
     
  6. >> "If you have Nikon lenses, though... stick with Nikon."

    If the lenses are either cheap or DX lenses, they may not matter all that much afterall. Only a few DX lenses will work on FX at certain FLs.
     
  7. Elliot, I disagree, and I'm not judging on features, only on image quality. I'll leave it at that.
     
  8. Shuo, true. I was careful enough to buy only FX lenses when I first jumped in with my D200.
     
  9. Michael, I don't think that there are many that would agree with you, especially Canon 5D users!. May I ask what lenses you were using on each camera when you compared them?
     
  10. Elliot, what you say about metering is not much use unless you give more information about metering mode, etc. No
    light meter will expose a white wall or a black curtain correctly. You need to know how much exposure
    compensation to apply, or use an incident meter, or spot meter off something, etc etc. Any camera meter is
    inherently inaccurate because it's measuring reflected light. I find the D300 meter very accurate (the way I use
    it) but I never use any of the auto modes or matrix metering for that matter.
     
  11. Elliot, It's not a lens issue because I use the best of both systems. I bought the Canon 5D because I often need to use lenses with short depth of fields, so I use the 85mm f/1.2, 24mm f/1.4 and the TS, 200 f/2 and some more normal lenses so I don't have to use both kits. On the Nikon side it's a pretty wide and varied range, but all top performers as well. Have you compared both systems with good lenses? It would be difficult to tell with just digital, so I base my opinion on printed work.
     
  12. Jae -- I've been using both canon and nikon digital bodies for a while now. My advice to you would be if it's not immediately obvious to
    you which body would be better for you, then don't make a decision yet and keep using your current equipment until you get more
    experience.

    As Shun notes the replacement of the 5D is imminent and even if it is not to your liking, will likely drive prices down for competing
    products.

    Resolution-wise I believe the two cameras are identical (I did the study that Shun linked to). However I can see making an argument that
    the D700 files are better in the sense of lower noise (even at ISOs less than 800) and the ability to do more post processing before
    artifacts show-up. This is my suspicion, but I have not shot enough with the D700 for me to say this with more confidence.

    Body-wise the 5D is garbage and if you are interested in using it, I highly recommend you play with it in a store. The interface is terrible
    (this is somewhat subjective so your mileage my vary), menus are impossible to use, braindead AF point selection, etc. But at the time
    the 5D came out it had the best image quality in it's class (and is still very good).

    In terms of metering, I haven't noticed the 5D being significantly better than the Nikons I've used. If anything I'd say it's slightly worse
    than the 3D matrix metering but it hasn't been a big deal for me.
     
  13. Pablito..."You need to know how much exposure compensation to apply, or use an incident meter, or spot meter off something, etc etc. Any camera meter is inherently inaccurate because it's measuring reflected light"

    I find, in general, this is not the case with the 5D. Except for strong backlighting which is difficult for every camera, the meter is never off.

    Michael... "Have you compared both systems with good lenses?"

    Yes. But I don't shoot film so I can't conduct the testing you are referring to. My test results are consistent with the ones in Shun's link.

    Stephen... "Body-wise the 5D is garbage and if you are interested in using it, I highly recommend you play with it in a store. The interface is terrible (this is somewhat subjective so your mileage my vary), menus are impossible to use, braindead AF point selection, etc. But at the time the 5D came out it had the best image quality in it's class (and is still very good). "

    Typical comments from a Nikon user's perspective. A Canon user could/would say the same about Nikon. Both are correct from their own perspective.

    Based on comments on this site, not all identical cameras are built alike. For example, someone posted last week that his D300 images were on the cool side (WB) and he constantly had to warm them up. My experience is totally the opposite as mine are constantly too warm and I have had to make major setting adjustments to combat this.

    Perhaps this is why there is such a variance in experiences.
     
  14. Elliot, I did qualify my comments with a statement that the interface is somewhat subjective. But the 5D has been my
    main shooting camera for the past year and one half so my feelings are not the result of being unfamiliar with the
    interface and picking it up for the first time.

    There are some things with the canon interface that are simply not good (not that Nikon is not perfect either). For
    example, on the menus the custom functions are listed by number only like 01-0 02-0 03-0 04-3 etc instead of using
    actual words (I guess they expect people to memorize them). The AF point selection is done by rotating a dial so you
    have to go through all the points linearly instead of just using the thumbpad/joystick. The iso is not listed in the
    viewfinder when shooting. The on/off switch is located on the back of camera in a spot inaccessible to your fingers when
    holding the camera normally. These are all things that are simply bad design decisions.
     
  15. Elliot, take a black or a white wall or studio backdrop. Position a person 50 cm in front of it. Take a short telephoto lens, start from 5 m, take pictures of the person as you walk closer and closer to the person, keeping exposure on evaluative automatic and focal length fixed, ultimately ending up with a frame filling image.

    Do this all with in camera jpg (with constant preset white balance and fixed contrast) to avoid the effects of raw conversion settings. Then download the images on the computer, and you will see that the tone of the skin is different in every picture. Which one is correct exposure? How come if there is one correct exposure, every picture is different?

    The answer, of course has been already given in this thread.

    Another, perhaps easier to implement test is to position yourself in the center of a room, filled with objects of different colors. Take a series of pictures with a wide angle lens as you spin yourself around. Again if you used automatic exposure and evaluative metering (on any camera), the exposures will vary from shot to shot, if the environment has different proportions of dark and light objects. How come they vary, are they all "correct"? If they are, then you've come to an understanding why people disagree.
     
  16. "custom functions are listed by number only"

    This is incorrect (at least mine gives the description of what each item is and a description of each choice).

    "The AF point selection is done by rotating a dial so you have to go through all the points linearly instead of
    just using the thumbpad/joystick"

    The 5D gives you the choice of using the dial or using the joystick (custom function 13). I have it set to
    option 1 which is Multi-controller direct which makes focus point selection fast and easy.

    The 5D is not for everyone. It is certainly a 'featureless' camera by today's standards. But it really delivers
    when it comes to consistently great IQ. And it appears that most who own one love it. As I wrote above, I
    suggested the original poster look at the D700.

    Illka, I understand and agree with you. I have said numerous times that all modern DSLR cameras are capable of
    excellent results (high ISO performance excluded which obviously varies from camera to camera.).
     
  17. "The 5D is not for everyone. It is certainly a 'featureless' camera by today's standards."

    And that is one of the pluses for the 5D in my book.

    One more thing Elliot (I know you've done a lot of side by side tests of the 5D and other Nikons), don't you find that even the D200 and D300 have a way of capturing subtle tones and colors? That's the most important comparison for me. My 5D is superb at capturing bright colors, but my Nikons seem to be better at capturing subtleties, like ranges of skin tones (which is mostly what I shoot), tones in nature, and subtleties in shadow areas.

    Also, Stephen's test (even in digital form, which is not how I use my end product) looks to give a more significant edge to the D700 than what he concludes. At least with my eyes/monitor.
     
  18. Depends on how you use the camera, and how heavily you are invested in lenses. The IQ of the 5D is excellent for the price. The D700 has higher ISO and weather seals. If you shoot higher than ISO 3200, then the choice is Nikon. If price is an issue, the 5D and 24-70L are better than a D700 body only.

    If you use primes, Canon has ultrasonic motors and Nikon does not. In fact, that's the reason I shoot with the 5D and have not upgraded to the D3 or D700. The primes are to noisy for me to deal with. On the Canon, they are smooth as silk.

    Or you can just wait and see what Canon brings out that competes with the D700. These are great times for consumers. And HD movie mode will be the norm by this time next summer on Dslr's.

    Elliot, you mentioned dual card slots. My next body will need to have this feature.
     
  19. "If you use primes, Canon has ultrasonic motors and Nikon does not."
    Every Nikkor telephoto longer than 180mm is an AF-S type. At least two of the Micro-Nikkors are AF-S types.
     
  20. Right, the lack of AF-S in many lenses is something of an omission in Nikon's lineup. However, many AF Nikkors are reasonably quiet and fast focusing even without it. In many cases I prefer to use manual focus and many of Nikon's bodies fully support manual focus lenses by Nikon and Zeiss. Canon doesn't have this option (with the exception of the TS-E lenses) with automatic aperture. Manually focusing many autofocus lenses is a pain.
     
  21. Lex,

    You are correct about Nikon primes longer than 180mm having AF-S and the Micro's. However, Canon's line of primes with ultrasonic motors is superior to Nikon's mostly screw driven models. However, if zooms are his thing, then no big deal at all.
     
  22. IMO, the D700 produces better images than the 5D; the fact is, while the 5D images look stunning straight out of the camera, and are also slightly sharper, the D700 has much greater dynamic range and less moire. As a body, The D700 is better than the 5D, but that is understandable, as the 5D is ageing. Supposedly, at least one 5D successor is around the corner (photokina) - or there may be two, one lower end and one higher. You would then need to compare their feature sets with D700; chances are high ISO won't be so good, but they most likely will have more mega-pixels, and perhaps better image quality generally. I also prefer Nikon ergonomics, which may be important for you, coming from a Nikon background.
    However, I don't think this is the most important factor; currently, for people who wish to get a D700, there are no satisfactory cheap Nikon lenses available for full frame - for example, 24-70 and 70-200mm f/4. If you want Nikon lenses and good quality, you'll have to go all out for the f/2.8 lenses, which are very expensive, but produce immaculate images (except for the 24-70mm, for which a replacement is coming out soon). Canon, on the other hand have a huge range of lenses in the middle, which are excellent. I personally don't think Canon's non-telephoto f/2.8 range matches Nikon, but some may disagree; however, cheaper lenses are arguably much better. Concerning primes, new Nikon ones are just around the corner, so I don't think that'll be much of a problem.
    The most important thing is that you're buying into a system. Don't buy the camera purely for the sake of the camera, as that is the wrong attitude; the majority of the current generation of DSLRs on sale today produce excellent image quality, but Canon and Nikon are different in fundamental ways: lenses, ergonomics, and, not to be forgotten, sales philosophy. I personally use a Nikon D300, but owned a 40D for a couple of months before, and while the Nikon is obviously a better camera, as it is more expensive, I preferred Nikon in general to Canon.
     
  23. Ilkka,

    I thought that too, until I changed the focus screen (35 bucks) to the high precision model. Manual focus simply snaps into place. Not sure of D700's ability to change screens.
     
  24. "...don't you find that even the D200 and D300 have a way of capturing subtle tones and colors?"

    Actually, I find it the other way around.

    "...looks to give a more significant edge to the D700 than what he concludes"

    I agree, as far as his test photos go. My own test show otherwise (giving basically identical results between the two cameras, 5D and D3, or perhaps a slight advantage to the 5D).

    'Correct', you are correct, two card slots are a must for many... I bought my 'insurance policy' a couple of weeks ago.

    Frankly, if I were shopping for a camera today and didn't have lenses or accessories for either brand, the choice would be a no brainer (for me) - D700 all the way. Yet, as I sit here with the best Nikon has to offer (as of today), I am still hesitant in selling my 5Dalthough the pending new release has peaked my interest somewhat. I will not buy it though if it does not have dual card slots.
     
  25. "I am just trying to figure out which one I should go for."

    It depends on your lens investments, among other things. I like the quality of the 5D, but it will be superseded later this month. Then will be the time for a meaningful comparison with the D700. For me, a lot will depend on what Canon will offer in the way of innovations to the successor to the 5D.

    I am quite sure that the successor to the 5D will not likely rival the D700 in terms of shooting speed (frames per second) or in terms of shooting at high ISO. If its primary advantage is merely an increase in the number of megapixels, then it certainly will not be the better camera for photojournalism or other action photos.

    I am one of those of divided soul because I kept some of my Nikon glass when I switched to Canon two years ago, thus leaving open the option of switching back without a major financial loss. I will thus wait and see. For those whose glass is exclusively of one brand or another, the decision is pretty much a no-brainer, in my opinion: stay with what you have.

    --Lannie
     
  26. You've been a Nikon shooter for 6yrs. If you already have Nikon lenes then stay with Nikon... you can't go wrong.
     
  27. If you want image quality, you would choose Zeiss over Nikon or Canon any day.
     
  28. >>Body-wise the 5D is garbage and if you are interested in using it, I highly recommend you play with it in a store. The
    interface is terrible (this is somewhat subjective so your mileage my vary), menus are impossible to use, braindead AF
    point selection, etc.<<

    "Garbage"? Please. What's terrible about the interface? Buttons and dials are clearly labeled, and are have a lot in
    common with other DSLRs. Impossible menus? I find them quite intuitive. Braindead AF selection? Via the custom
    functions you can choose any one of I believe three different ways, including the multi-selector joystick. Point that toward
    the point you want, and you have it.
     
  29. Being a Nikon shooter, I don't see any compelling reasons to pick up a 5D today. I would wait until the 5DII announcement to decide what to do. All
    indications are that the resolution will get a hefty bump, you have to decide if thats attractive. I was in the opposite situation, having a 1D MKII and
    20D with grip. I got to try out a D3 for a week and loved it. I recently picked up a D700 since it has the same sensor, AF and 8 FPS with grip. I see
    this as a sports shooter with grip and lighter alternative for everything else, potentially replacing both of my Canons. I want low noise high ISO and
    pro grade autofocus. I think Canon will deliver on the first but not the second and its unknown if they will deliver 8FPS, seems unlikely to me. Higher
    MP beyond 12MP is not a priority for me, YMMV.

    Randy
     
  30. I'd wait until Canon replaces the 5D, unless you only have Nikon kit lenses.

    Jesse
     
  31. why are you comparing a brand new camera to one that's about 4 years old. 4 years in the digital camera world might as well be a hundred. That's not a fair comparison at all...the d700 should be compared to the 5D replacement that will be announced soon.
     
  32. I meant wait for the replacement if I only had kit lenses. Please accept my apologies up front for the confusion.

    Jesse
     
  33. I'm a 5D user, I sold my D300 and went back to 5D.
    I did not buy a D700 because of the idea that it starts from iso200.

    http://www.ruhum.com/IMG_0241.jpg

    iso 400 photo, untouched JPEG, check the %100 view.
    I don't know what someone needs more.
    I have a friend who owns a D700, and told me D700 cannot match a 5D at iso 100, 200 or 400..
    is it true ?
     
  34. EXACTLY Michael. Good Point !

    """The 5D is not for everyone. It is certainly a 'featureless' camera by today's standards."

    And that is one of the pluses for the 5D in my book. """
     
  35. "I did not buy a D700 because of the idea that it starts from iso200. "

    That's just silly. Ever heard of an ND filter?
     
  36. it was just an idea, when I examined the results, I could see that 5d IQ was better at iso 200 or 400,
    where d700 starts to lose details on a portrait e.g.

    and, no I don't know what a natural density filter is, does it reduce the noise on a portrait ?
     
  37. An ND filter reduces light, but it does not affect colors. Folks usually want low ISO so they can shoot lenses wide open to control DOF. An ND filter gives you that ability. But you'll still get the same noise as shooting at ISO 200, which is very clean on the D700.

    I don't understand folks who change brands. What's the point? It's expensive, and you have to learn different camera layouts. Both Canon and Nikon make great gear, and the capabilities of DSLRs keep improving. So if you think the other brand has a better body at the moment, just wait. Your brand will catch up or leapfrog the other brand.

    FYI - I've shot Nikon gear for about 25 years. And I'll probably use Nikon gear for the rest of my life.
     
  38. I shot Nikon D70 Digital for 2 years.( I kept my Nikon Lenses) Than I shot with Canon 30d(it was my company's) for 2
    years.

    Than I switched to Nikon D300 since I already had lenses. I used for 2 months. And I saw that it's no match for Canon
    in the case of noise and details.

    As you see, I had two brands' experiences. I wasnt happy with the muddy pics of D300 actually.
    So I was gonna upgrade to D700, however, after making a research, I went to Canon with 5D, to make sure that IQ is
    at the top level in the means of noise at low isos and details..
     
  39. I recently traded. A D300 system for a 5D/40D system. Besides the many minor differences, the end result is still the same. My pictures are still as bad as they were before.
     
  40. Robert Budding , Sep 07, 2008; 08:11 p.m.

    An ND filter reduces light, but it does not affect colors. Folks usually want low ISO so they can shoot lenses wide open to control DOF. An ND filter gives you that ability. But you'll still get the same noise as shooting at ISO 200, which is very clean on the D700.

    I don't understand folks who change brands. What's the point? It's expensive, and you have to learn different camera layouts. Both Canon and Nikon make great gear, and the capabilities of DSLRs keep improving. So if you think the other brand has a better body at the moment, just wait <<<<<

    yes, how long can you wait. Took a few years for Nikon to have USM, IS, FF technology. High ISO, Nikon was the lead in 2007, took canon 10 months to catch up. If you going to upgrade Nikon lenses to VR and AFS, that means you are upgrading the whole gear and you may just switch the brand. If you are using non AFS, non VR lenses and not going to upgrade in future, then keep the current brand.
     
  41. I have had a D700 since the beginning of 2009, with a couple of AFs (50 1.4 - the new one & a 70-300 4.5-56 G ED) and a bundle of old manuals I had used with F3s. The ones I use most often are 18mm f3.5 and 35-105mm f3.5-4.5. The 18mm gives great results every time and the zoom is great for people pictures, very flexible, very sharp and the macro close focus gives added flexibility for jewellery and really close stuff. I use old manual lenses about 75% of the time. Manual focusing is not difficult with the D700 as the viewfinder is so bright.
     

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