Thinking of going full-frame - Canon or Nikon?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pdxflint, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #1
    As the subject says, I think it's time to get serious again, so I'm strongly considering returning to the full-frame format. I used to shoot 35mm Canon gear, but have no legacy equipment remaining. Currently I have a Nikon D50 and a couple of the kit lenses. I'm not that invested that it would make a difference in my ultimate choice between Nikon or Canon.

    Based on reading/research I've done so far, it's probably between the Nikon D700 and the EOS 5 MKII. I'm not specifically interested in the video capabilities of the Canon, but of course it could be something I'd play around with. But I'm more interested in the two cameras based on taking full-frame digital still images. How much difference does the 21+mp sensor make over the 12+mp Nikon? The ergonomics of both cameras are different, so I realize that's a personal choice. I'm just wondering if anyone has used either of these cameras, and what their impressions are of handling and build quality. Are there any advantages/disadvantages either way?

    Mainly, it's about the lens systems. I'd be looking at something like 16-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 or equivalent (prefer a bit more range there, like 24-105) and the classic 70-200 2.8, all pro level lenses. Both systems have lenses in this range. I'll be looking at older glass as well in order to save a bit of $$ for other things like flash, filters and software.

    I don't want to start a Canon/Nikon war, because I like both companies. I've been somewhat of a latter-day Nikon convert, but I've only used the entry-level equipment (which I think was better built than the Canon entry-level Rebels.) But once you get up to higher performing/quicker and more durable camera bodies, it seems fairly equal. During my former days shooting film with Canon EOS systems, the handling was fast and intuitive for photojournalism work, and so I'm torn between sticking with Nikon, and going back to the Canon style handling. There's no doubt that my older Canon bodies handled much quicker and got the job done, especially compared with my D50, which is solid, but very limited.

    Anyway, I know it's going to have to be my call on this, but I wouldn't mind hearing from a few folks who have considered both of these cameras, and why they chose what they did.

    Thanks in advance...:)
     
  2. jampat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 17, 2008
    #2
    I haven't looked at those specific bodies, but lately Nikon has been miles ahead in high ISO performance. That may or may not matter to you at all. I am shooting a canon crop body but considering a Nikon FF for the better low light shooting ability.
     
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    #3
    I recently purchased a Nikon D60 and let me tell you its an amazing camera. Highly recommended.
     
  4. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #4
    I was just at the local camera shop this weekend and I was able to look at and click a few shots from the D700 ( I currently have a D50 as well) because I was thinking about that or a D300 and the D700 was just beautiful.
    Like you I only have a few lenses such as the 18-200mm, 50mm and the kit lens 18-55mm so a change to FX or a Canon would be moot with lens concern. Since I only have a Nikon yet have owned a few Canon P&S I can only comment from the display D700. If money and lens selection was not a big issue I'd jump on the D700 or even look into it's update (a Nikon Roadmap to updates were listed in this forum for this year and next somewhere).
    A lot to mull over but I really can't believe that either one would be less than the other in image quality by a large margin but I could be wrong since I'm using my little ol'e D50 :eek:
     
  5. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #5
    In terms of image quality - I have yet to see any camera best the 5D or 5D mkII. I have a 1Ds MarkIII and I still think the overall image quality of the 5D series is unmatched. It is not a sports camera, so if 3.5fps is okay by you, that won't be a disadvantage.

    I've played around with the two Nikon full frame options, and I liked the $8000 body better for its image quality but it is way overpriced for what you are looking to do. The D700 just didn't do it for me. The interface will be more familiar coming from a current Nikon, but I'm sure everyone on this board can adapt to any camera they are given.

    I think the lens choices should be highlighted more. Cost out the lenses that you will buy and those that you might buy, and see if there is any appreciable difference.
     
  6. pepto macrumors member

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    #6
  7. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #7
    The D3x is the single best 35mm DSLR around right now. But, it costs a small fortune. It trumps the 5D Mark II, and not least because it has a superior autofocus system.

    The 5D Mark II has excellent image quality, and its one big weakness is its autofocus system. It's basically the same as the 5D, which goes back to 2005. I believe, as many do, that Canon intentionally left it the same to keep it from cannibalizing the sales of the 1Ds Mark III. If you're looking to do a lot of fast action shots, I'd look elsewhere.

    The D700 is the high ISO king right now, along with the D3. Its autofocus system is basically the same as the D3's, which is rivaled only by the aforementioned 1Ds Mark III and also the 1D Mark III. You get clean shots at 6400 ISO, and yes, you can get some of that from the 5D Mark II, but the pixel size is considerably smaller for the latter because it's cramming over 21 megapixels into a space that the D700 has 12 megapixels for. The pixel size for the D700 is comparatively huge. There's more noise in the 5D II's high ISO shots than there is for the D700.

    If you plan to be a prime shooter, though, I'd think about the 5D. If you're planning to use zooms, I'd lean toward the D700. Canon has a wider range of excellent primes that also happen to be considerably newer in many cases (24, 35, and 135 in particular). Nikon's zooms are unmatched, I believe, with many Canon shooters coming over specifically to use the 14-24 and/or 24-70.

    Both are excellent cameras. Build quality for the D700 is noticeably better, as it's weather-resistant and quite a bit heavier.

    Grimace: Nikon has three full frame options, not two. The D3x, the D3 and D700. The D3x has 24 megapixels and a sensor unique to it (made by Sony to Nikon's specifications), the D3 has the same processor and overall specs as the D700, but has some features that differentiate from the D700 as well, including the ability to go into 5:4 mode and faster framerate, among other things. The D700 adds sensor cleaning, a smaller form factor and built-in flash.
     
  8. Maxxamillian macrumors 6502

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    #8
    pdxflint

    Where have you been? Or maybe where have I been? Either way...regardless the system you get I am excited to see your work!

    Something to consider...which system will simply get out of the way and let you do what you want? Which ever one it is for you then that is the one I'd spring for.

    Good luck!
    :D:D:D:D:D
     
  9. maeman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    #9
    While the D700's high ISO is indeed better than the 5D Mark II, the fact that the 5D Mark II has 21 megapixels makes an impact on things other than high ISO. The ability to crop in (if you were to crop your image to what you would get with a 1.6x sensor, you'd still have 8 megapixels to work with) and make enlargements is present, all without taking too big of a hit when it comes to high ISO.

    DPReview's analysis of the 5D Mark II's high ISO performance makes note of this, saying

    I think Grimace's advice is pretty sound--look at and calculate the costs of each brands' lenses you might buy and see if there's a decent difference, both in quality and price. Either body is quite good and I'm sure you'd be more than happy with either. :eek:
     
  10. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #10
    i have not handled those specific models, but i have experience with Nikon cameras and i own a 5D. Nikons are shaped differently and their interface drives me mad. if you don't need great tracking ability (which the 5DII lacks), choose the one that suits you the best. if you do, consider a 1Ds MkII instead of a 5D.

    on noise handling: both cameras are great at high ISOs. just because the D700 is better doesn't mean the 5D is crap. i personally don't think the difference is significant. i'd worry about handling, dynamic range, AF reliability, and the final, printed image.
     
  11. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #11
    Some other factors to consider: The 5D Mark II requires the latest version of your editing program, be it CS4 or Lightroom 2. Older versions can't read its files.

    Nobody said the 5D was junk, as it is definitely a great camera.

    I wouldn't get a 1Ds Mark III right now, because the IV is going to be out sometime this year, and then it can be had for less on the used market.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    Just to toss out some ideas....

    Think about the reasons you want to go full frame. Is it to shoot in lower light or to get smother, less noisy images. If the latter try renting a medium format camera for a couple shoots. The difference in quality between Mamiya/Hasselblad is just miles above anything Nikon/Canon has to offer. The current medium format sensor is about the size of a "full" 35mm frame. Like two 35mm frames abutted long the long edge. Of course it cost more too but amortize that over the number of frames you take over the camera's life and it does not matter. Also the cost of ownership is not as high as you'd think because you tend not to upgrade MF cameras. You keep them "forever" and over the years maybe replace the sensor back as technology moves forward. If you are into landscape, architecture, wedding or other not sports and not wildlife photography consider just skipping over FF. I don't think FF offers enough of a difference over DX. When you see the final print there is not a "night and day" difference between FF and DX like there is between 35mm and MF.

    That said if you are like most of us your budget will likely keep you firmly in the Nikon/Canon camp. My next camera will be a 4x5 film system mainly because film is about 20X cheaper than digital. (even when you consider the cost of the film)
     
  13. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #13
    Lol, he is talking about D700 not D60, D60 and 1000D/XSi ergonomic wise isn't that huge of a difference anyway.

    Now, I used my friend 5D (well 5D Mark II has almost the same ergonomic and I tested it too)[chose to talk bout 5D instead of Mark II cuz I got more time on 5D then mark II] and I used my friend D700 and lemme tell you this, the D700 ergonomic blew Canon away.

    The soft grip on the D700 acts like a dampener especially when you mount heavy glasses like the 80-200 f/2.8 + SB-800 and it still feels comfortable to use even without the battery grip. Whereas the 5D, without the battery grip and mount a heavy lens, then you will start feeling the ergonomic showing its flaws.

    Now, D700 has more hard buttons then 5D, when I first used the D700, it felt too much of a camera for me with buttons everywhere, but after using it for a couple of times, the hard buttons felt natural to me. Now the 5D being Canon means, buttons and wheels and its multi functional. So interface wise, both are good and depends on the person personal opinion, but I prefer the D700 (that's why I chose 1000D over D60 cause it has more hard buttons; just realized that after playing with D700).

    Also, In my own very personal opinion, I felt the D700 is more like a all purpose camera while the 5D is more of a studio camera, now I am not saying that 5D can't be used for sports photography and such, but feature wise, the D700 felt like an all round capable camera, high FPS and great AF (vs 5D; ~3.5fps, smacked in the middle AF)

    Well those are the reasons why I am planning to change to Nikon by end of this year and another reason where many ppl know is Nikon flash system is much better then Canons.

    Lens wise, the people at Nikon sucks at thinking of a step-up FX lens, instead they force us to buy f/2.8 glasses which costs a lot to make the transition from DX to FX. Canon is smarter at this segment to provide f/4 FF glasses as a middle ground from APS-C to FF. Oh and I am referring to constant aperture lenses cause non-constant means the exposure will change as we zoom in or out which makes the lens even a slower lens.

    Oh and Canon has a few f/1.2 primes while Nikon has f/1.4 if I recall correctly, not sure if the .2 will make such a difference though.
     
  14. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #14
    Sounds like you and I are in the same boat pdxflint! I too was recently looking to upgrade to FF and I decided with Nikon, admittedly I've never been a Canon fan at all, still I feel like I gave them a fair shake.

    I'm porting over from Pentax and the Nikon was the most similar camera to the Pentax's superior feel. I'm still not sure that the D700 feels as great in my hands as the K10D does.

    I'm a sucker for high ISO performance, and 10 MP or resolution that I'm getting from the K10D is more than I've ever needed. So the 12 that the Nikon will give me will be sufficient as well. Consider the fact that the high resolution sensor in the new 5D will make any weaknesses in your lenses very apparent. It sounds like you're getting a very good set of lenses so this may not be that big of a problem for you.

    I've decided that my kit will consist of the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 which I feel is miles ahead of any other comparable focal range zoom on the market right now. I'll also be buying the Nikon 70-200 AF-S VR f/2.8 which I also feel is ahead of all other 70-200 f/2.8 lenses from any other manufacturer. The third and final lens I'll be buying will be the Nikon 85 f/1.8. I'll be buying it all in 3 weeks.

    My plan is to purchase a Nikon 105 f/2 DC prime within the next year as well.

    I don't think you'll get a bad camera either way, but the way I approached it was to imagine that my wife and I do a lot of portraiture and outdoor family photo shoots. But I'd like to be able to go with my buddies and shoot motorsports and have my camera be up to task. With the Canon and it's sluggish frame rate and arcane AF system, I don't think it would.

    I also think the D700 is much better in the build quality arena.

    SLC
     
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #15
    if this was directed at me, i never claimed anyone said the 5D is junk. i was commenting specifically on high-iso noise in the 5D MkII and the D700.

    and i said 1Ds MkII, not MkIII.

    however, medium format sensors have not been designed with higher ISOs in mind, meaning they suffer from around ISO 400. see this guy's thoughts on 135 vs 645 digital.
     
  16. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #16
    Yup, you got that right. I don't know but to me, a Medium Format camera (as much as I love the detail it produces) is only practical for landscape photography where we can take time to recompose and wait for the perfect moment, photoshoot session where the lightings, the assistant and models take time for each shot and studio. Other then that, I don't see it ideal, especially when capturing candids (lots of movements) and sports.
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    Sendai, Japan
    #17
    Unless you absolutely need very high resolution or excellent high ISO performance, it's up to your personal liking. Both companies make good cameras and I'd just go by gut instinct: try out both cameras and see which you like better. In terms of user interface, feel, whatnot.
     
  18. pdxflint thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #18
    Thanks everyone for a lot of great input... it's great to pick your brains on this. :)

    I'm really looking for an overall performer camera, so definitely handling and autofocus speed can be critical at times. I hadn't really given a lot of thought to high iso performance, but that also is a big factor for me. I used to push film often in my black and white film days - lots of times even f/2.8 can be a bit slow. My main gripe with digital so far has been the lack of low-light performace overall, and highlight clipping in contrasty situations. On the megapixel subject - I like the idea of larger pixels on the sensor as a rule, but will 12 mp become limiting in the near future for professional use? My style of shooting is to generally frame my shot in-camera rather than crop later, but any designers/photo editors I run into may just get a little crop crazy... in the past I could bump up the negative scanning resolution to provide the ideal resolution for them, but with digital cameras it's more limiting. That's my main concern with the D700. Otherwise, it seems like the perfect camera on paper.

    Also, I will be doing some personal projects (b/w environmental portraiture, landscape, etc.) but... most of my projects will fall into the photojournalism category - multi-photo series/features on various subjects, minimal (but possible) spot news, and travel/tourism subjects (people, activities and places.) I want to create a brand new body of work - call it the second era of my photographic life.

    On the Nikon side - the 14-24 f/2.8 lens has gotten some great reviews, and I've been eyeballing it a lot. But, the alternative "wide" lens would be the 17-35 w/Nikon. In my former film days I used a 20-35 (f/2.8 and f/3.5-4.5 versions - huge difference in size and weight sometimes was important) and it seemed wide enough (20mm) for me at full-frame 35mm. I guess what I'm wondering is how important it is to be as wide as 14mm when going FX? Is it too wide for a general walkaround wide-angle. One thing is the 14-24 doesn't overlap the 24-70 but I'm not sure if that matters that much with the 17-35 - it might stay on the camera longer.

    On the Canon side - the 24-105 f/2.8L looks like a real handy lens - a great overall range for general use. And the 70-200 f/2.8 is a classic 35mm format lens, where I've read the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 was better suited to DX sensors and a bit soft on the edges with the FX format.

    It's a lot to contemplate, but I'd like to get the best glass overall, regardless of whether it's Canon or Nikon.

    One last question to post to you guys/gals: What are the gems lenswise in both Nikon and Canon's lineups, either new or classic lenses between 24mm and 200mm - primes and zooms. They don't have to be f/2.8 lenses if they have other classic qualities worth considering (crisp, contrasty, accurate color, warmth, bokeh, depth... any other 'special' quality.)

    Thanks again for your input so far...!! Much appreciated. :)
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #19
    Do you have to get it now, or can you wait- Nikon's likely to release a D700x around October which will be high-resolution full frame, giving you another choice. It should have the D3x's AA filter, which makes for very sharp images.

    Here's my take:

    Need High-res FF now and don't want to compromise on quality: D3x
    Need High-res FF now and want a pro body but Canon: 1DsIII
    Need High-res FF now but can't afford the above: 5DII
    Need High-speed, high-ISO FF: D3
    Need High-speed, high-ISO FF on a budget: D700

    If you need to crop at 50% or print ultra-large (bigger than SuperA3) regularly, then high-res wins. The D700 seems to be winning image tests left and right- I was pretty conflicted between getting a D700 and D300 or a D3x once I decided that I didn't want to deal with Canon's user interface.

    I like the 35-70 AF-D and 80-200 if you want to save money with good used glass. Canon's going to be cheaper lens-wise if you go with new lenses, but they don't have the flare resistance of the Nano-Coated Nikkors, both companies make great lens lines though.

    All of the pro bodies handle very quickly- I doubt you'll notice a difference in speed.

    Before I got the D3x, I cost out switching over- because of the lower cost of the Canon super-teles, it was close. Overall though, I really like where Nikon is going, and the D3x is the top of the heap image-wise. The only reason I could see buying another body in the next 6-8 years is to get ultra-high ISO at this point.

    The D3x does, but it's a very near thing, the sensor on the 5DII is very good. Personally, I'd much rather have the high-ISO of the D3/D700 vs the 5DmkI.

    The D3x is ~$300 more than a 1DsmkIII (and if you pay $8k for either, you're paying list price and $800-1200 more than you should.) I figure it's about 60 image sales/year more over the life of the body to bridge the gap price-wise, and that's knocked down to about 12 if I sell larger images. For 1-5 image sales a month, it works for me. I find it amusing that folks complaining about the price of the D3x aren't also complaining about the price of the 1DsmkIII- surely a much older camera shouldn't be within $300 of a new competitor?

    It should- it's competition is the 1DsIII, the D700x will be the 5DmkII competitor, but there was no sense in Nikon releasing the D700x until D3x sales went down.
     
  20. Padaung macrumors 6502

    Padaung

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    UK
    #20
    After using both the 5D2 and D3 (same sensor as the D700) my experience is that the high ISO noise levels are much the same - this, imo, is not a deciding factor between these two cameras. The Nikon is widely regarded as having a superior autofocus system and overall the Nikon flash system is held in high regard. I feel Canon has a better prime lens line up. The Nikon 70-200 has had numerous reports of vignetting on a FX body, this lens does need updating soon (it is a gem of a lens on film and DX bodies). The 14-24 and 24-70 are beautiful lenses, if a little on the bulky side! The Nikon 85 f1.4 and 105 DC f2 are another couple of gems in their range. My knowledge and experience of Canon lenses is much less but a friend swears by his 135 f2 and finds his 24-70 f2.8 consistently a bit soft on his 5D2.

    The 5D2 can also have front/back focussing of up to 20 lenses adjusted in camera and the setting stored, which the Nikon cannot do. A really, really great feature and one I hope Nikon introduce soon - less gimmicks, more useful stuff please. No more sending lens/camera bodies in for constant calibration. No photographer I know has used the video function of a DSLR past the first couple of days of owning the thing! I'm sure it does have a use/function in a day to day working manner, but it's a matter of finding it first...

    If you need the camera for sport/wildlife I'd go for the Nikon due to the autofocus system. For product photography/landscapes I'd go for the Canon due to the extra resolution. Otherwise I'd say the choice was evens and it's down to personal preference and gut feeling.
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #21
    I'm pretty-sure Nikon added lens focus adjustment in the D300 body and ported it forward to the D3 series as well as the D700. Nikon calls it AF Fine Tune, and it's indexed as such in the D3x manual. Up to 20 lens types plus the same types with TCs.
     
  22. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #22
    hmm, unless Canon introduced a new lens, if I stand corrected, it is f/4 instead of f/2.8.

    And yeah the 70-200 f/2.8 is designed for DX body, but in term of real life use, it's not that noticeable unless you use the lens for landscape and architecture. But for weddings and portraiture, it doesn't really matter. I heard it's going to get an update soon though.

    Also the D700x which rumors are will be D3x resolution, don't know if Nikon is going to keep the D700 to make it similar to D3 (fast, low res) and D3x (okay, high res) market.

    Hmm, I thought I heard some article mentioned that the D700 is capable of doing this too but not about 20 lenses, I think around 8 like that.

    Oh and like everyone said, the best DSLR so far in terms of image resolution is none other then Nikon D3x, It will be interesting to see how Canon 1Ds replacement will compete with this.
     
  23. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    Midwest USA
    #23
    The shooting flexibility you'd get from the ISO performance of the D700 way outstrips the cropping flexibility you'd get from a 21 mp sensor.

    Not to mention the vastly superior focusing system of the Nikon.
     
  24. Padaung macrumors 6502

    Padaung

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #24

    My mistake, thanks for the info. Nikon website confirms it is in the D700 too. Glad to see it in their cameras. Really need it now as just got the new 50mm 1.4 and it front focuses on my D200's, still trying to resist the urge to upgrade!
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #25
    It appears to be Nikon's strategy in the FX space, so I don't see them dropping a body as the price points will differ.

    It's 20 "types" that is you can have 20 lenses on the D3 series, but not say 2 24-70 lenses, plus you can have adjustment with a TC for each lens- I'm not sure about multiple TCs though. It seems the D700 has 12 slots if Google knows all...

    That depends on what you shoot- having just spent ~3 months looking at the decision (D700+D300 vs D3x,) my take was for my photography the cropping would be much more beneficial than the ISO for wildlife because you often don't get a close enough approach.
     

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