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Nikon D810 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III comparison: full-frame DSLRs go head to head

If you are in the market for a top of the range full frame DSLR with expert video capabilities these two are probably in your thoughts, so it is very kind of Digital Camera World to do a comparison for you

The Nikon D810 launch might not have had the meteoric impact of its predecessors; it’s more evolution than revolution, after all. But Nikon’s latest high-resolution, high-end DSLR offers some key upgrades that shouldn’t be overlooked. Is this the camera that the D800/E should have been, and how does it shape up against the Canon 5D Mark III? Find out in our latest Canon vs Nikon comparison.

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The Nikon D800 and D800E have lasted barely two years and already they’re both being replaced – by one camera.

The new Nikon D810 is the latest in Nikon’s FX format full-frame DSLR line with a stack of sometimes subtle improvements designed to make the camera appeal to both photographers and filmmakers alike.

SEE MORE: Nikon D810 vs D800: is it time to upgrade?

Nikon can’t emphasise that last point enough. In fact, the D810 press release issued by Nikon USA highlights the D810′s video upgrades above all others. Nikon USA is also promoting D810 bundles tailored specifically to filmmakers and animators.

The Nikon D810′s price tag is just under £2700, with a release date set for July0. The new camera shares much in common with the outgoing D800/E, including sensor resolution, 51-point AF array and 3D color matrix metering III.

However, the D810′s sensor is a new design with the optical low-pass filter removed, the autofocus is upgraded to bring it in line with the Nikon D4s and it gets an expanded ISO range.

It might seem unfair to compare the Nikon D810 and the Canon 5D Mark III, Canon’s camera being from the same generation as the D810′s predecessor as it is.

SEE MORE: Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

But the price difference between the two cameras is relatively small, and Canon’s semi-pro full-frame DSLR still puts in a tremendous performance where Full HD video recording is concerned – the area that Nikon is keen to focus on with the upgrade of its D8XX line.

Let’s take a look at the key areas of comparison in this Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III head-to-head…

Here is the full report

Nikon D810 – first look and review

Nikon have updated their ground breaking D800 with the snappily named D810 here is some information and a review from DP Review

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Two years after Nikon shook up the high-end DSLR market with the 36MP D800 and D800E, it has consolidated the 800-series with the release of a new camera, the D810. The D810 replaces both previous 800-series models, and will be offered at an MSRP of $3299 – about the same as the D800E, and a little more than the D800. Why is the D810 priced like the D800E, and not the D800? Well, the D810 takes the D800E’s ‘AA filter cancellation’ trick one step further by dispensing with an AA filter entirely, which should result in a camera that offers greater resolution than either of the two models that it replaces.

Anti-aliasing filter aside, the D810 is not by any means a reinvention of the popular D800/E concept, but the handful of major changes should make the new camera more capable than its predecessors. Perhaps more importantly, they should also make the camera more attractive to potential buyers who have been weighing up whether or not to jump into full-frame. The D810 isn’t a camera that you should necessarily sell your D800 or D800E for, but it’s a better camera than both older models – at least on paper.

Following Nikon’s general philosophy a few of the refinements made in the D4S have trickled down into the D810 and videographers especially should be pleased with a couple of the additions to its video feature set. Other welcome changes include a redesigned shutter and mirror mechanism to mitigate resolution-reducing shock from shutter actuation, and a new S-Raw mode for reduced-resolution raw capture (Nikon owners have been asking for that one for years).

Nikon D810: Key Specifications

36.3MP Full-frame CMOS sensor (no AA filter)
ISO 64-12,800 (expands to ISO 32-51,200)
Electronic first-curtain shutter and redesigned mirror mechanism
New ‘RAW Size S’ 9MP Raw mode
Expeed 4 engine
Max 5fps shooting in FX mode, 7fps in DX (with battery grip + EN-EL18 / AA batteries)
3.2in 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD screen with customizable color
OLED viewfinder information display
Improved Scene Recognition System allows face detection in OVF mode
‘Split screen zoom’ display in live view allows horizons/lines to be leveled precisely
51-point AF system with new ‘Group Area AF’ mode (inherited from D4S)
New ‘flat’ Picture Control mode (intended to appeal to videographers)
Auto ISO available in manual exposure mode
Zebra strips for focus checking in video mode
Uncompressed HDMI output with simultaneous recording to memory card
Built-in stereo microphone

D810 versus D800/E: Specification highlights

36.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor with no AA filter (D800E has effects of AA filter ‘canceled’)
5fps maximum shooting in FX mode (compared to 4fps in D800/E)
New ‘Group Area AF’ mode (5 AF points can act together)
New electronic first-curtain shutter and redesigned sequencer/mirror balancer to reduce vibrations
New ‘highlight-weighted’ metering option (to preserve highlight detail in contrasty scenes)
1080/60p movie recording with built-in stereo mic (compared to 1080/30p with monaural audio)
3.2″ 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD screen (compared to 3.2″ 921k-dot RGB)
Power aperture available while shooting video to SD/CF card (compared to only when using HDMI)
The ability to record to memory card while simultaneously outputting video over HDMI
New ‘flat’ Picture Control mode (intended for videographers who need broader dynamic range)
Unlimited continuous shooting (previously 100-frame limit)

See the full review here