I will tell you everything I noticed as a photographer and ignore video for the moment. As a long time Nikon and Canon shooter – yup, you guessed it, I have no problems with polyphotogamy and there are no laws against enjoying everything from mirrorless to SLT with one or two DSLR’s on the side I feel right at home with the Nikon D800. Its good to be back!
Again, please remember, I am sharing my personal impressions here, your mileage may vary.
Size, appearance, handling
Built like tanks, both cameras handle equally well, are similar in size and weight and I would have no problems going back and forth between the two in a studio shoot.
Excellent on both, appears a little brighter on the 5D3 – this might be a lens issue though, 24 105mm/F4 on the 5D3, 24 120mm/F4 on the D800.
Mirror slap/silent shutter
The D800 is a little louder
click on the audio files to listen to the shutter sounds, first camera D800 (use your browser’s back button to return to this page)
The 5D3 seems to focus a tiny bit faster and nails it instantly, Nikon could have named their AF-S mode AF-SC mode, continuous auto-focus in single af mode, a double or triple take before it nails it, however, this behavior does not slow the D800 down while shooting and sometimes it even locks on faster then the 5D3. I would call it a draw for now, too early to tell. In case you are wondering how Fuji’s X Pro1 AF performance compares to these two cameras, well, its like comparing a stone bridge to Intel’s “Ivy Bridge”.
Sensor aspect ratios/raw options
I love the choice of aspect ratios and crop modes on the D800. Most of my assignments call for 4:5, rarely 2:3. I wish Canon would offer this option.
The 5D3 offers full raw, medium raw and small raw instead.
Continuous shooting/buffer depth:
When using a Sandisk Extreme SDHC Class 10 card, (click here for a great deal on a Sandisk 64GB SDXC card) the D800 will allow for approx 11 to 13 raw shots (full resolution) in continuous mode, the 5D3 approx 13 to 15. 4fps for the D800, 6fps for the 5D3 and 6fps for the D800 in DX mode with the MB-D12 battery pack. Neither will cut it as a sports camera.
The D800 will appeal to the Studio/commercial photographer with the occasional photo-journalistic assignment, the 5D3 will appeal to the location oriented commercial photographer, the photo journalist and the wedding photographer.
I am really looking forward to shoot with both cameras over the next two weeks and can’t wait to find out how the D800 fares shooting video, esp with clean, uncompressed HDMI out. After that I might revert to serial photogamy………….or just keep them both
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