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Author Topic: After using Canon 5D III and Nikon D800  (Read 26801 times)
neways
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« on: April 21, 2012, 11:14:08 PM »
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As a long time 5DII user I am very interested to upgrade to 5DIII but the higher MP Nikon D800 is a very big temptation too. So I rent both cameras from LensRental to tried them out for a few days. The first hand impression is mixed and even making me harder to decide which camera to go. Like many of the comments posted here the AF of the 5D III is excellent and day and night compared to 5DII. I shot a lifestyle model project and had far more keeps (sharp focus) than using 5DII. But the resolution is the same as the 5DII and for some reason I even prefer the older sensor because the image from the new one seems more plastic (waxy) look in details. The LCD is gorgeous but I really don't like the zoom in view button has moved to the left side. I use Live View to focus manually a lot (with Z-finder) so my left hand constantly operates the focusing ring while my right hand to zoom in and out the image on LCD to check the focus. Now I feel handicapped on 5DIII and D800 has the same problem. The sensor on the D800 is much better especially the DR in the shadow area. However the LCD has the ugly greenish hue and washout look, making me hesitate to judge the exposure and color. Also the refresh time is very slow when I use the Live View mode to shoot which I use most of the time. Also I like the Canon lens better after I compared the 70-200 zoom lens (both are the latest top models). The worst part of the D800 is the bad AF. I shot an event with the camera and got many out of focus images. I did the AF fine tune later and it gets better but nothing compare to the 5DIII.

I am heading to Moab tomorrow and going to shoot some landscape photos with the D800 and will post some of them when they are ready. I like to hear some of the actual users opinion on these two cameras.
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Robert DeCandido PhD
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2012, 12:17:17 AM »
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http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1106750

nice review that compares the two cameras by a landscape shooter
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JimGilley
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2012, 12:54:30 PM »
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I can't comment on the 5D3 because I passed on that one, but I have shot with a 5D2 for several years and got a D800 about a month ago.

I agree with you that the D800's live view is horribly botched. I focus manually 100 percent of the time and use magnified live view to achieve and confirm perfect focus. This works really well on the 5D2 and that is what I am used to. Being cheap, I use a Hoodman loupe to look at the LCD. My technique is to compose the shot, activate live view, press the zoom button twice to get to 100 percent, focus, then deactivate live view. That's how I've always done it on both the 5D2 and 1D4 and it works flawlessly.

So when I got my D800 I was initially very confused because Nikon does everything differently from Canon. The first issue I ran into was that the D800 stops the lens down to your set aperture during live view. Since I normally shoot at f8, this makes trying to manually focus impossible. So right away I learned I had to set the lens wide open, focus, then return the aperture to f8. This is the same technique I use on the 5D2 when using Nikon and Leica glass with an adapter, so I am familiar with it, but it is a real pain and nuisance to me.

I also noted, as you did, that having the LV zoom buttons on the left is very inconvenient if doing hand-held shots (probably not a concern for very many, but it sometimes is for me). If need be, on the 5D2, I can hold my loupe to the camera with my eye, hold the camera and work the zoom buttons with my right hand, and focus with my left hand. This is not really possible on the D800 due to the button placement.

Of course, these issues I have mentioned thus far are easy enough to work around, so they aren't really deal breakers. But the way Nikon botched live view as far as the displayed image quality is very nearly a deal breaker. When compared to the 5D2, there is a night-and-day difference in what you see on the LCD of the D800, and the 5D2 is the winner here. I find it very difficult to focus using live view on the D800 because the magnified image is super slow to update (making any camera motion a real problem) and because the image is just plain fuzzy and jagged looking. Anyone used to the 5D2 will immediately notice how poor the D800 live view image is.

For most people, this probably won't be an issue, but it is for me because I never use AF and I always use zoomed-in live view to get the focus exactly right. It can be done on the D800, but it is SO much harder to do than on the 5D2. I don't know the technical details of why this is, but I simply know that it is a big let down and something Nikon should address.

On the positive side, there is no contest between the images from the D800 and the 5D2. The DR and resolution of the D800 are very impressive, and that's coming from someone who thought the 5D2 DR and resolution were impressive (having come from a 1Ds before that).

As to the 5D3, it was of no interest to me due to the price. I love the 5D2, and at ~$2K, it is still a good bargain. Had Canon not been so greedy, and priced the 5D3 at $2K instead of $3.5K, it would have flown off the shelves, including into my hands, despite being no match for the D800. I really hope Canon wakes up and responds with a body that will compete with the D800, but I fear they have placed SO much emphasis on video (which I have absolutely no use for), that they don't see the landscape market as any big deal.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 04:39:13 PM »
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... The first issue I ran into was that the D800 stops the lens down to your set aperture during live view. Since I normally shoot at f8, this makes trying to manually focus impossible. So right away I learned I had to set the lens wide open, focus, then return the aperture to f8...

I wonder if there is a menu option like Canon has - exposure simulation - that would compensate for the loss of light:

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 05:28:54 PM »
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The first issue I ran into was that the D800 stops the lens down to your set aperture during live view. Since I normally shoot at f8, this makes trying to manually focus impossible. So right away I learned I had to set the lens wide open, focus, then return the aperture to f8. This is the same technique I use on the 5D2 when using Nikon and Leica glass with an adapter, so I am familiar with it, but it is a real pain and nuisance to me.

Yes, this can indeed be annoying. On the other hand it is possible to focus with the lens set at its target aperture in all but the darkest conditions. In fact, this can be better with some lenses suffering from so called focus shift even if focus peaking is a bit more challenging.

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I also noted, as you did, that having the LV zoom buttons on the left is very inconvenient if doing hand-held shots (probably not a concern for very many, but it sometimes is for me). If need be, on the 5D2, I can hold my loupe to the camera with my eye, hold the camera and work the zoom buttons with my right hand, and focus with my left hand. This is not really possible on the D800 due to the button placement.

It is possible to configure the center button of the rear joystick to jump to the pre-selected level of magnification in live view. Most Nikon shooters work this way. You can do the same in replay mode. The f2 option should work.

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Of course, these issues I have mentioned thus far are easy enough to work around, so they aren't really deal breakers. But the way Nikon botched live view as far as the displayed image quality is very nearly a deal breaker. When compared to the 5D2, there is a night-and-day difference in what you see on the LCD of the D800, and the 5D2 is the winner here. I find it very difficult to focus using live view on the D800 because the magnified image is super slow to update (making any camera motion a real problem) and because the image is just plain fuzzy and jagged looking. Anyone used to the 5D2 will immediately notice how poor the D800 live view image is.

The live view magnification that is most natural is medium magnification that seems to be mapping one screen pixel to one sensor pixel (about 10 times zoom). High magnification goes further which may make it feel a bit unsharp.

When you get used to it though, I find high magnification to be superior for fine focus tuning, the key is to look at the borders of the staircases being generated. It works very well for me with the lenses I have tried it with.

Of course, if you work with an AF lens, you can also use AF to focus in high magnification mode which I have found to be extremely accurate and reliable.

Cheers,
Bernard
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neways
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 12:31:06 AM »
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I can't agree with your comment more on this horrible D800 Live View shooting experience. That is the deal breaker for me. I use Live View 90% of the shooting and I love the Canon fast and non vibration Live View feature. Also I can zoom in 1:1 instantly to check the focus either before or after the shot while on Nikon D800 I even don't know where is the 1:1 zoom stop as the magnification is either too big where I only see the pixel or it is smaller than 1:1. No auto wide open aperture for focusing in Live View is another feature missing on D800, which is very crucial when I use wide angle lens, like the Nikon 14-24 zoom.

I love the high MP sensor but if I can't comfortably to get the perfect focus with Live View (I don't trust AF either Canon or Nikon as they both fail sometimes), what the advantage of these extra MP? Also if I keep using Live View the battery on D800 drains much faster than Canon. Looks like I have to wait for Canon's high MP camera in the future. Bye bye D800!
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 01:03:37 AM »
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I can't agree with your comment more on this horrible D800 Live View shooting experience. That is the deal breaker for me. I use Live View 90% of the shooting and I love the Canon fast and non vibration Live View feature. Also I can zoom in 1:1 instantly to check the focus either before or after the shot while on Nikon D800 I even don't know where is the 1:1 zoom stop as the magnification is either too big where I only see the pixel or it is smaller than 1:1. No auto wide open aperture for focusing in Live View is another feature missing on D800, which is very crucial when I use wide angle lens, like the Nikon 14-24 zoom.

I love the high MP sensor but if I can't comfortably to get the perfect focus with Live View (I don't trust AF either Canon or Nikon as they both fail sometimes), what the advantage of these extra MP? Also if I keep using Live View the battery on D800 drains much faster than Canon. Looks like I have to wait for Canon's high MP camera in the future. Bye bye D800!

Well, whatever works for you, but you can have instant access to 1:1 in live view by clicking on the central button of the joystick. I believe you have first to activate custom function f2 and select normal magnification in live view.

Perfectly stable image with live sensor stream pixels mapped 1:1 to screen pixels...

I see the option to use an even higher magnification as a further strength since this mode is actually useful to reach extremely accurate focus when using very sharp lenses (Zeiss 100mm f2.0 or Leica 180mm f2.8 APO).

The need to open manually the lens to full aperture is real... but can that take more than 1 second? I don't think so.

So I have a hard time believing that you were ever really interested in the D800's amazing assets if this mild annoyance changes the picture for you.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 01:14:20 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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EgillBjarki
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 01:16:45 AM »
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There is always a upside and down side to every camera. Flaws have been pointed out on both cameras here on this forum.

Regardless of the flaws of D800, the output from the sensor is just amazing, much more forgiving in terms of wrong exposures than Canon's. In the past I have switched from Canon to Phase one, from Phase one to Nikon and now recently from Nikon to Canon. None of that has made me a better photographer, it only has left me with less money to travel and put into projects.

I bought the 5DIII last week and I am very happy with it. I still love my 5DII even with it's flaws, I feel that the 5DIII is a flawless version of 5DII.

I am sure that in the near future, maybe next year, Canon will come out with a high MP body with improved DR. That body and the 5DIII, would be a dream combo.

The future is bright and the tools that we use are getting better fast. This active competition is very good for us, manufacturers push each other to do better with they're products.

If you are a Nikon shooter, it makes perfect sense to upgrade to the D800. The same goes for a Canon shooters, 5DIII is a very powerful tool and good a upgrade. But I see no real reason for either Nikon or Canon shooters to switch systems. Different problems have different solutions, there is a way to work around disadvantages in both cameras.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 01:21:57 AM »
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As a landscape or studio photographer, primarily concerned with IQ, I don't see any reason to upgrade from the 5D2 or 1Ds3 to the 5D3 - in terms of features and IQ, the 5D3 is essentially a 1Ds3 repackaged into a smaller body and sold at half the price of the original. Which is very disappointing, since we've been waiting five years for a resolution and IQ boost, only to find that it's plateaued.

If I were a Nikon shooter, however, I would have every reason to upgrade to the D800/D800e (probably one of each), even if I shot the previous IQ leader, the D3x.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 03:06:53 AM »
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There is always a upside and down side to every camera. Flaws have been pointed out on both cameras here on this forum.

Clearly, but we might as well focus on real limitations...

Cheers,
Bernard
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EgillBjarki
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 04:20:35 AM »
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Different problems have different solutions, there is a way to work around disadvantages in both cameras.

Clearly, but we might as well focus on real limitations...

Cheers,
Bernard


I agree.
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neways
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 11:00:50 PM »
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Thanks for the comment and guide for the 1:1 zoom setting. However I still have some issues with the Live View shooting on D800:

1. I shoot lots of travel images and I don't like people on the street noticing my camera shutter noise. Live View shooting on Canon is almost silent and I don't understand why Nikon needs the mirror to flip up and back down when shooting in Live View which causes lots of noise and take forever to resume the Live View on the LCD.

2.Using Live View I want to avoid any mirror vibration when I shoot hand hold. I can use at least one stop slower shutter speed when shooting in Live View on Canon but the big vibration of Nikon probably offset this advantage completely.

3. Canon's Live View provides beautiful color and tonality on the LCD which is very close to the final image exposed, so I can make sure I got the shot or just quickly adjust the setting to correct while my eyes are still on the LCD through Z-finder. If I shoot through OVF I have to move my eyes to the LCD to check the exposed image which is another extra step in the operation and the image on Nikon's LCD can't compete with Canon if you view them side by side.


Thanks.
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 12:43:37 AM »
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This is one of the most sensible posts in a long time.
Eduardo

 
There is always a upside and down side to every camera. Flaws have been pointed out on both cameras here on this forum.

Regardless of the flaws of D800, the output from the sensor is just amazing, much more forgiving in terms of wrong exposures than Canon's. In the past I have switched from Canon to Phase one, from Phase one to Nikon and now recently from Nikon to Canon. None of that has made me a better photographer, it only has left me with less money to travel and put into projects.

I bought the 5DIII last week and I am very happy with it. I still love my 5DII even with it's flaws, I feel that the 5DIII is a flawless version of 5DII.

I am sure that in the near future, maybe next year, Canon will come out with a high MP body with improved DR. That body and the 5DIII, would be a dream combo.

The future is bright and the tools that we use are getting better fast. This active competition is very good for us, manufacturers push each other to do better with they're products.

If you are a Nikon shooter, it makes perfect sense to upgrade to the D800. The same goes for a Canon shooters, 5DIII is a very powerful tool and good a upgrade. But I see no real reason for either Nikon or Canon shooters to switch systems. Different problems have different solutions, there is a way to work around disadvantages in both cameras.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 02:26:42 AM »
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1. I shoot lots of travel images and I don't like people on the street noticing my camera shutter noise. Live View shooting on Canon is almost silent and I don't understand why Nikon needs the mirror to flip up and back down when shooting in Live View which causes lots of noise and take forever to resume the Live View on the LCD.

I'll start by saying that you should use the 5DIII if you think it fits your needs better. My goal is not to convince you of the superiority of the D800, only to convey facts about the way it behaves.

- the time it takes for live view to give the hand back depends on the write performance of the slowest memory card loaded in camera. A fast card reduces this time to less than 2 seconds,
- If you look through the viewfinder, you will notice that the mirror does in fact not flip back down,
- I don't have a solution for you noisewise but both the D800 and 5DIII are large DSLR with large lenses... and are bound to be noticed, aren't they?  Wink

I would say that Sony NEX-x cameras are probably much better suited than both the 5DIII and D800 if shooting in live view mode handheld with easy focusing is your thing. If you want perfect silence, then the Nikon J1/V1 is the only game in town. It is also much smaller with a very fast AF.

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2.Using Live View I want to avoid any mirror vibration when I shoot hand hold. I can use at least one stop slower shutter speed when shooting in Live View on Canon but the big vibration of Nikon probably offset this advantage completely.

I have personally found the D800's mirror to be extremely well damped with sharp images at surprisingly low shutter speeds.

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3. Canon's Live View provides beautiful color and tonality on the LCD which is very close to the final image exposed, so I can make sure I got the shot or just quickly adjust the setting to correct while my eyes are still on the LCD through Z-finder. If I shoot through OVF I have to move my eyes to the LCD to check the exposed image which is another extra step in the operation and the image on Nikon's LCD can't compete with Canon if you view them side by side.

Colors are a function of the scene not something you can modify, so I do personally not consider color accuracy as one important aspect of live view. This being said, the screen of the D800 is excellent in absolute terms even if the 5DIII may be even better.

The level of exposure on the other is very important. On the D800, on top of the live histogram, the lens is stopped down to the shooting aperture and ISO raised to simulate the grain. The screen also does show under-exposure when it happens, in M mode for instance. There is no need to press any button to get this information. So I am not sure how it could be more faithful really.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 07:43:34 AM »
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I would 2nd the opinion on the Sony Nex-7 if you are looking for a quiet Live view solution.  Most times it will go into video mode without you even
noticing it.  Grin  But seriously Live view on the Sony is basically noise free, no mirror, only sound is the slight shutter sound when you take the shot.

The real key on the Sony to me is the articulation of the screen.  You can use the camera at almost waist level and not really be noticed as you would
with the camera at eye level.  The screen will also allow you to figure out a few different angles that may work for your needs. 

For this style of shooting the only issue with the Sony to me would be it's noise at the higher ISO's.  From my work, much past ISO 400 gets pretty harsh unless
you have the exposure dead on. 

Paul
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 09:54:10 AM »
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There is always a upside and down side to every camera. Flaws have been pointed out on both cameras here on this forum.

Regardless of the flaws of D800, the output from the sensor is just amazing, much more forgiving in terms of wrong exposures than Canon's.

The IQ of the Sony sensors is so much better than the Canons it's practically a no-brainer to pick the D800 over the 5D3 unless you already have a huge investment in Canon glass.

Canon needs to seriously consider dropping their sensor manufacturing if they can't compete with Sony.  And in this generation, at least, they aren't even in the same ball park.
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 10:52:53 AM »
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The IQ of the Sony sensors is so much better

Well that's just not true, is it?

At base ISO the Sony sensors have an undeniable DR advantage, but if you're not shooting at 100 ISO and the beating the bejeezuz out of the shadows, there's nothing to choose between them in the Real World as far as the end result is concerned: and indeed, for those who are more interested in high ISO performance the 5D Mk III has the superior sensor.

In fact subjectively, I've tended consistently to prefer the "look" of images from the 5D Mk III to those of the D800, "better" Sony sensor or not.
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Keith Reeder
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2012, 11:07:38 AM »
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At base ISO the Sony sensors have an undeniable DR advantage ... for those who are more interested in high ISO performance the 5D Mk III has the superior sensor.
We all seem agreed on the first point, but the testing I have seen shows a dead-heat at higher ISO speeds, once you assess at equal displayed image size (not the nonsense of 100% pixels on screen or judging from per-pixel SNR measurements, comparisons that ignore the fact that a higher pixel count allows printing or displaying at higher PPI, which reduces the visibility of noise.)

Where the 5D3 seems to have a win, besides lens system choices, is in things like its excellent auto-focus, higher frame rate, and so generally for the realm of "high speed" photographic work. And that is probably plenty for many photographers, so I am not worried for the success of the 5D3.
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shadowblade
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2012, 11:55:40 AM »
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Well that's just not true, is it?

At base ISO the Sony sensors have an undeniable DR advantage, but if you're not shooting at 100 ISO and the beating the bejeezuz out of the shadows, there's nothing to choose between them in the Real World as far as the end result is concerned: and indeed, for those who are more interested in high ISO performance the 5D Mk III has the superior sensor.

In fact subjectively, I've tended consistently to prefer the "look" of images from the 5D Mk III to those of the D800, "better" Sony sensor or not.

Which is exactly where landscape photographers tend to operate!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 11:59:29 AM by shadowblade » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2012, 12:08:28 PM »
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Where the 5D3 seems to have a win, besides lens system choices, is in things like its excellent auto-focus, higher frame rate, and so generally for the realm of "high speed" photographic work. And that is probably plenty for many photographers, so I am not worried for the success of the 5D3.

The AF thing strikes me as odd. Even with the multi cam 3500 in the D700 Nikon had the best AF system by far compared with the Canons. The newer module is basically a further development of that AF module... Unless there is something wrong with that development it should perform better than the AF in the D700/D3/D3s.

The D4 has the same AF module as the D800 AFAIK.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 12:10:12 PM by Dustbak » Logged
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