Value of Canon 5D MkII vs Nikon D700 with Lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Over Achiever, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
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    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    I'm sure you're tired of this comparison. But I'm excited to see the full-frame format digital bodies to be under $3,000, but I realize the lens for the cameras will be expensive as well. I like the full-frame format because it allows me to shoot wider, and have ISO capability up to 6400 for clean, natural light pictures.

    The lens I think I'll need for my style of photography will be
    • a wide-angle (17mm?) for landscapes
    • a fast prime (f/1.4?) for portraits
    • a medium telephoto macro (100mm f/2.8?) for close-up photography
    • a walkaround zoom lens maybe? (24-120mm?)
    I feel like a fast telephoto would be very heavy to carry around, but I'm not sure if there's a lens that people think I should have that I haven't listed.

    What are my good options for these lens, for each camera system? About how much would the lens cost? I currently do not own any lens, so I will essentially be buying into a "system". Each body has it's pros and cons, I like the movie feature on the Canon, I like the AF points on the D700. I can't tell how the noise performance will compare at the moment, the extra speed or MP does not sway me to either model.

    I'm hoping the cost will stay under $5,000, this would include the external flash I'd have to buy as well. Which flash is best for either model?

    I'm counting on your expertise to help me, I've had a hard time looking for lens, and with the 3rd party lens makers, it's such a variety to choose from.

    Regards,
    Over Achiever

    PS I apologize if this is a redundant thread.
     
  2. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #2
    I still don't understand movie mode on an SLR. :p

    It's hard to say which will be better in low light, since there aren't any 5D Mark II's in the wild. I'm betting Nikon has a (small?) advantage still.

    A lot of people think Nikon's wides are better, but Canon's got the advantage in telephoto - that's by no means a consensus though. 14mm is ultra-wide on full frame, and your choices will be very sparse (and expensive) - other than the Nikkor 14-24, I'm not sure what else is available. I'd think 18mm or 20mm would probably be more reasonable price-wise and choice-wise. Nikon has a couple decent primes there, two expensive zooms (14-24 or 17-35) and the pretty darn good less-expensive zoom that I have (18-35).

    Fast primes for portraits: A lot of people like the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4, which'll set you back $450 or so. Dpreview thinks it's better than the currently shipping Canon and Nikon f/1.4 50mm lenses.

    I'm not the best person to advise on a macro (although I love my just-bought Nikkor 70-180 f/4.5-5.6 Micro-Nikkor :)).

    For a "walkaround zoom", the best quality choice is likely the Canon 24-105 f/4. I bought a used Nikkor 24-85 f/3.5-4.5 AF-S, which I am very happy with. Note that I'm assuming you want something that's not too heavy - if you don't mind the weight, both Canon and Nikon have some much heavier f/2.8 pro zooms as well.

    If you're really into flash, Nikon's Creative Lighting System has the advantage. However if you're really into flash, there are many other options (as people will no doubt point out).
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #3
    I would expect the much higher pixel density on the 5DmkII to give it a serious disadvantage in low light, but until we see a controlled test between production units that's mostly conjecture.
     
  4. yrsonicdeath macrumors 6502

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    Jul 2, 2007
    #4
    I've only had my D90 for a day, but last night my cats were doing something funny and had the camera right there and was able to film it. There were many other features that made me purchase the D90, but I think the movie mode could come in handy sometimes.
     
  5. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #5
    I have the 430EX canon flash and it works fine. The dial on the back of the 580 would come in really handy sometimes, but it was a lot more money. The 430 is also significantly smaller. The 430 can light up a stage at over 100', so straight on power is more than adequate. I generally try to avoid the flash as much as possible, but mine is always mounted as the IR blaster on it helps the AF in crappy light. Never used Nikon so I can't comment.

    I suspect you will have a huge problem getting all of that stuff and extra batteries and a camera bag and a tripod for the price you want to pay. Getting a full set of decent lenses and a crop body will probably blow your budget out of the water.
     
  6. heppy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #6
    Actually, the 5D is quite remarkable in low light, check out http://www.vin entlaforet.com for the evidence. There will be a 5d kit with the excellent 24-105 L series lens, though skimping on your glass would probaby not be the best idea with such a great camera so it could end up going over the $5,000 mark.
     
  7. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #7
    That's a good point. I'd been thinking more along the lines of planned use; but it does add flexibility if you're out with your SLR and suddenly find yourself in a situation that video would be better suited for.
     
  8. anth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    #8
    Canon:

    5D MKII + 24-105mm f/4 L IS kit:
    $3500

    580 EXII Flash
    $420

    85mm f/1.8
    $355

    100mm f/2.8 macro
    $490

    Have you shot with a 14mm lens before? It's pretty wide, wider than most people really desire. I have a 17-40 on my 5D. It's pretty darn sharp when stopped down a bit and $700.

    Personally, I think it's a bit nutty to get the whole bag of lenses at once. Consider getting one good quality wide to short tele zoom (on Canon, I'd personally lean towards the 24-70 f/2.8 or 24-105 f/4, depending upon which suits you better) AND one fast prime for your portraits. For the portraits, the 85mm f/1.8 is a bargain.

    Also, remember you're buying into a system. Is there one lens that makes you drool? Nikon's flash system? As a Canon shooter, I wish they made the likes of a Nikon 14-24.

    ONE MORE THING:
    You need money for a tripod and ballhead, especially with your interest in landscape and macro!
     
  9. yrsonicdeath macrumors 6502

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    Jul 2, 2007
    #9
    Yeah, I definitely didn't buy it with big video plans in mind.
     
  10. JKitterman macrumors member

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    Oct 10, 2006
    #10
    Go to the store and see how the Nikons feel versus the Canons. You may like the controls on one set a lot better than the other. If you are looking at good lenses, budget about $1000 for each choice. You may want to rent the body and lens you are thinking about to see if you really like it first. What do you have currently for a SLR?
     
  11. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    #11
    I would rent both and compare yourself. There is so much personal preferance to a camera and the files they product that you really have to test each one out. For me when I tested out the 5d (not mark2) compared to any other nikon a few years ago I was sold, at that time for my style the 5d was hands down the winner.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #12
    The answer is quite simple actually:
    (1) Which user concept do you prefer?
    (2) What is more important to you, excellent high-ISO performance and lower resolution or very good ISO performance and higher resolution?

    Only you can answer those questions :)
    There may be a third, but since you haven't mentioned speed anywhere, I'm not sure it's at all relevant for you:

    (3) Even though you have not mentioned speed and I think it's overrated to a good degree, but for the sake of completeness: if you need a fast camera, then also, the D700 is the better choice (much more modern AF system, the 5D Mark II inherits its predecessor's AF sensor, up to 8 fps).

    Other than that, both systems have very good lenses. You can make sensible choices after you've selected your body. Both have very unique lenses (e. g. Nikon's 2.8/14-24 zoom which is supposedly superb in every respect), but I wouldn't worry about it either way. In most situations, the difference in image quality is overrated.
     
  13. localghost macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    #13
    nikon +:
    auto focus, excellent uwa lens (14-24), a lot of photogs prefer the handling as well as the flash system to canon ( i don't).

    canon +:
    (resolution), good price/weight/performance ratio of the f/4 zooms (24-105 etc), excellent fast primes (35 f/1.4, 85 f1.2 etc), (super teles)

    ---
    wait for the first IQ comparisons (dpreview) and calculate the price for the lenses you want. you'll have to make compromises either way, only you can decide. consider to buy a used 5d I after the next few weeks if your budget doesn't allow for all the lenses.

    the video feature is really nice, but it's just the beginning (probably including some teething problems), all dslrs will have it sooner or later, and you'll have your lenses longer than the body.

    all said and done i'd get the d700 (have a 5d I) if nikon had anything like the 35 1.4 _and_ the 24-105. if ultra wide is more important to you than fast/versatile, go nikon.
     
  14. Over Achiever thread starter macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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    Location:
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    #14
    High ISO performance is important to me, which is why I'm waiting to see how well the 5D MkII performs at ISO 6400. The extra resolution is not important to me. I have used a 5D and a D300, the canon vs. nikon thing isn't a big deal to me.

    I thought I mentioned it at the end, but speed (burst mode) is not essential to me, however quick AF is important. I didn't think there'd be a huge difference in AF in this class of camera. Metering is slightly more important.[/QUOTE]

    That's similar to what I was looking at for the Canon system. The kit lens seems to be decent quality, the macro lens is great (internal focus). It probably would not be advisable to double the macro lens as a portrait lens, due to the f/2.8? Is there a big difference in portrait lens when using f/1.8 and f/1.4? Personal preference? I'm not sure about the Nikon kit lens.

    As for the one lens that stands out, that's the 14-24mm for Nikon, but it's an expensive lens, and I don't know if I want to hinge my entire system just because of that lens.

    As for the movie mode, I think a lot of creativity can be used with an effective movie mode + wide lens/fast lens, plus using manual focus to change the focus of the scene. This is the appealing part about the 5D MkII, not the boost in resolution. However I do realize that this is a body-specific thing, it's the lens that I would be investing in.

    Finally for the wide angle, 14mm was sort of my maximum wide angle, I'd probably use 17-20mm more for the perspective (otherwise I'd just get a fisheye). This is both landscapes and architecture.

    I do already own a solid tripod and camera bag, so those are accessories I don't have to worry about at the moment. I won't be doing any studio work anytime soon, so that helps as well (for studio lighting).

    I would love to rent these, but I don't know where to go for that. Most places do not have any D700 in stock unless you specifically order and pay for one first, and I'm presume the demand will the the same when the 5D MkII is out.
     
  15. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #15
    First, I would encourage you to research the benefits of FF. The reasons stated in your post will likely change upon investigation. Maybe google DoF and defraction as a good place to start.

    Something to think about: a 5DII image at F11, iso 3200 and 100th of a second might be very comparable in quality, in terms of resolution and noise, to a 50D image at F8, iso 1600 and 100th second exposure, when both images are compared at equal size.

    My suggestions for a Nikon kit based on your post would be:
    D700
    Wide:
    14-24 or a used 17-35
    14 is really wide on FF. You might give up a small amount of IQ with the 17-35 but gain the 24-35 range...which *I* would enjoy and NEED a great deal more than 14-17. For *me*, 17 is wide enough.

    85 1.4 or 1.8
    Creamy bokeh. Excellent focal length for portraits. Someone suggested a 50 for portraits...not such a good idea.

    I would suggest sitting tight on the telephoto. With a GOOD (don't skimp!) tripod, you're at your $5000. budget already. The Nikon 70-200, while amazing on APS-C, not so great on FF. Can't live without tele? Pick up a used 80-200 which you can easily resell with little to no loss when the FF dust settles and you have the extra funds for the latest and greatest medium tele.

    Also...I would wait on getting a flash until you experience a *need* for it. From your post...not so sure you *need* one. Advice: Buy based on experienced need.

    Canon:
    Regarding the 5dII, unless you make VERY large prints....where will you experience the benefits of its awesome resolution? Are you a studio photographer making A0 prints?? A 5dII would rock. Not a studio photog, but you print A1 (23x33) or bigger? Cool, the 5dII could be worthwhile. If you don't print a lot at large sizes, then why not get a 5dmkI instead? The new 5dII bells and whistles are fairly gimmicky overall. The AF system on the 5dII is still prosumer for example. Want a video cam?...imo...get a video cam. A 5dmkI with fast glass would be a great combo...and save you a bunch of money. My theory: you would recoup most of what you invested in the 5dmkI when sold in the future...BUT ALSO...allow you a larger budget *now* to invest in GLASS. That extra lens may help you “get the shot”.

    *I* would MUCH rather have the D700's PRO AF system and speed (fps) in exchange for the 5dII's 21mp vs 12mp. AF/speed helps me "get the shot". Getting the shot is ALL IMPORTANT.

    OTOH, if you shoot primarily landscapes and (*studio*?) portraits as stated in your post...and very little action or street work, etc...then Pro AF/speed isn't very important at all.

    With a Canon kit, especially for landscapes, I'd go with primes for the wide angles and a 70-200 zoom tele for the medium tele. Throw in a 85 for portraits. Again, also a good tripod. I believe you'll be over your budget though. You could use the 70-200 for portraits, while saving up for the 85.

    Frankly, if you’re aren’t a pro..... or don’t foresee exhibiting in a gallery any time soon...I’d suggest the 24-105. Done. Then buy based on need. How happy are you with its performance as a portrait lens? Need faster glass? etc. See what circumstances arise where you say, “If I only had....”. Buy based on that knowledge and experience.

    Bottom line:
    The 5dII is far more of a niche product than the D700. The 5dII excels in resolution, but at the expense of broad usefulness. Canon, imo, is catering to the mp wars and marketing. If it's limitations and strengths match your use...buy it.

    The Nikon d700 has a much broader set of strengths due to its speed and pro AF, etc. The D700 can do landscapes beautifully. It has great iso performance, etc just like the 5d... but...what if you decide you want to shoot a sports event or do some street photog? The D700 will run circles around the 5d I or II. The D700 will give you better tools to "get the shot" and in focus! :D

    21mp isn't much use if I miss the shot or it’s out of focus.

    I also much prefer Nikon’s ergonomics, which again speaks to “getting the shot”.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Over Achiever thread starter macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #17
    Kind of an optimistic price for such a high end shopping list but you could make it work if you can adjust your list a little

    On a full frame camera a 14mm lens is a fish eye. I don't think there is a rectilinear lens in 14mm for full frame. My Nikon 24-50mm is inexpensive and "wide enough".
    You can use the f/1.8 version of the 85mm lens and save many $$ over the f/1.4 version. The 85 is a good portrait lens on a FF body.
    I'd suggest going much slower. Get a reasonable general purpose zoom first. Then buy the others over time one at a time as you identify the the shoots that your current kit can't get.

    As long as you will have all these full frame lenses spend another $100 on a used film body. Shoot some real black and white film or transparencies.
     
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #18
    For Canon...

    Although EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM ($2000) is the best wide angle lens for Canon full-frame, it's rather expensive and 14mm might be a bit too wide in many circumstances. I think EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM ($1400) offers greater flexibility while delivering close enough image quality.

    For portraits, there's no better than EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM ($1800) although EF 85mm f/1.8 USM ($350) is more than good enough for most people.

    And speaking of macro, unless you need wider max aperture, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM ($500) can double as an excellent portrait lens.

    For walkaround zoom, get EOS 5D Mark II with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM kit lens ($3500, but should come down in price in few months).

    My recommendation: EOS 5D Mark II + 24-105mm ($3500) + 100mm macro ($500) + 16-35mm ($1400) = $5,400
     
  19. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    #19

    yeah baby! very good advice imo.
     
  20. Over Achiever thread starter macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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    #20
    I do have an old film body, but the lens are very old so I would need new lens anyway for it. It is refreshing to have to wind up the film every once in awhile =)
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #21
    The shots so far that are a direct comparison show the D700 with an obvious and very visible difference at ISO 6400. They're JPEG vs NEF, shot in a store, which means they're not an even apples-to-apples comparison- however IMO they're be ultimately born out. Since that ISO was mentioned by the OP, I assume it's a highly desired criterion.

    Personally, I don't see the need for an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens for portraits, especially if you get clean ISO 6400 files- most of my studio portraits are between f/4 and f/8, but the OP obviously has specific things in mind.
     
  22. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #22
    In my experience, if someone is considering using the high iso "capabilities" of these new cams to shoot portraits, especially in a studio...something is terribly, terribly wrong.
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    Just to be clear, I wasn't implying the OP would shoot in the studio- I was simply equating my general "When I control the lighting" apertures with being able to shoot high-ISO and get equivalent apertures- which is IMO, the sweet spot for portraits, which is why I allowed the OP may have something specific in mind.
     
  24. troyhark macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2008
    #24
    I have the 16-35mm f2.8 and to me that is a more useful lens. 16mm is pretty extreme and that speaking as someone who loves wideangles, so going for the extra 2mm that for most people will be rarely used over the very, very useful 24-35mm range is a no brainer for me. I shoot 20-30mm a lot. An awful lot and having to swap lenses constantly between a 14-24 + a 24-70 would drive me nuts.
    BTW 24-70mm is a fantanstic zoom range and with f2.8 as well, brilliant on either body.

    One area where Nikon do seem to have a definitive edge is flash. I'm not keen on Canon Flashes. Wireless is fiddly and an unreliable PITA.

    As for high ISO performance, some people reckoned that a 5D underexposed and tweaked in RAW processor wasn't far off D700 at high ISOs. Though if you need JPEGs as well, that's not much use.
     
  25. Over Achiever thread starter macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

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    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    #25
    Portraits will mostly be secondary for me, so for now I'm considering going with just the camera + kit lens + 100/105mm macro (doubling it as an emergency portrait lens), and hold off on the 16-40/17-35 WA zoom lens, to stay more within budget. Or does that defeat the purpose of a FF camera not having a wide zoom, and just increase my budget to handle it? This is coming from the focal range I'm currently using, I know I have a tendency to shoot wide, and shoot macro.
     

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