Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  • APS-C
  • 10 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 38
    Overall
  • 10
    Imaging
  • 18
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 1
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 22 megapixels
  • Canon EF
  • 50
    Overall
  • 29
    Imaging
  • 50
    Features
  • 70
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to provide a detailed evaluation and comparison of two different camera models that fall into the same category - Semi-Pro DSLR. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Nikon and Canon. Models we are reviewing in this article have different types of sensors, Thus, Nikon D80 is equipped with a 10.0 MP CCD sensor. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, on the contrary, features CMOS sensor with a resolution of 22.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D80 Key Features:

  • 10.0 MP APS-C CCD sensor
  • ISO 100 - 1600 (Expands to 3200)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 3.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 132 x 103 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 668 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Nikon D70. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D90. Compare

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Key Features:

  • 22.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600 (Expands to 50 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 6.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (25, 30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 152 x 116 x 76 mm
  • Weight: 950 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Canon 5D MII.
  • Replaced by Canon 5D MIV.

Nikon D80 was substituted by Nikon D90. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D80 vs. D90
Nikon D90 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Nikon D80 substituted Nikon D70. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D80 vs. D70
Nikon D70 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Why is Nikon D80 a better choice than Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Flash Range 13 vs No 13 better flash range
Weight 668 g vs 950 g 282 g lighter

What are the key reasons to pick Canon EOS 5D Mark III over Nikon D80

Wireless Connectivity Optional vs No Better connectivity
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 22.0 MP vs 10.0 MP 54.5% more pixels
Sensor Area 864 mm2 vs 372.88 mm2 56.8% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 6 fps vs 3 fps 3 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 2.5″ 0.7" larger screen
Screen Resolution 1,040k dots vs 230k dots 77.9% higher resolution screen
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Dxo Color Depth 24 vs 22.1 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 11.7 vs 11.2 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2293 vs 524 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71 vs 0.64 0.07 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Timelapse Recording No | No No timelapse recording
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps | 6.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III from the front view.

Nikon D80
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D80
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D80 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 282g less than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D80 — 77 mm
Canon EOS 5D Mark III — 76 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D80 — 668 g
Canon EOS 5D Mark III — 950 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D80 features a 10.0 MP APS-C sized CCD sensor . Canon EOS 5D Mark III, in its turn, comes with a 22.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D80
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Canon EOS 5D Mark III is equipped with a sensor that is 0.4x larger than the one featured in Nikon D80. Compared to the cameras with smaller sensor area, the ones with larger sensors ensure more control on the blurry background and depth of field if you shoot in the same aperture and focal length. Thus, the first model has a significant advantage here.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D80 Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Portrait Photography
40%
100%
Street Photography
66%
90%
Sports Photography
73%
97%
Daily Photography
88%
67%
Landscape Photography
71%
95%

Nikon D80 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Canon EOS 5D Mark III for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (22 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Canon is famous with its skintones
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D80 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Canon EOS 5D Mark III for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (950 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (152 x 116 x 76 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D80 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (3.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (524)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (61)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (41)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2293)
  • Big size (152 x 116 x 76 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (6.0 fps)

Nikon D80 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (668 g)
  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • Video is not available

Canon EOS 5D Mark III for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (950 g)
  • Big size (152 x 116 x 76 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D80 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (11.2)
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (10 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (524)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (11.7)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2293)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (22 MP)

Comparison of Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D80 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D80 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Canon EOS 5D Mark III deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D80. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D80 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D80 Canon EOS 5D Mark III
General
Brand Nikon Canon
Model D80 EOS 5D Mark III
Announced Sep 23, 2006 May 22, 2012
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CCD CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 23.6 x 15.8 mm 36 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 864.00 mm2
Sensor Resolution 10.0 MP 22.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 5760 x 3840
Max Native ISO 1,600 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 3,200 102,400
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Canon EF
Number of Lenses 287 256
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View No Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points n/a 61
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 41
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 2.5″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 230k dots 1,040k dots
Live View No Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 95% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.64 0.71
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps 6.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash Yes No
Flash Range 13 0
Flash Modes Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Wireless no built-in flash
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment No Yes
Average Yes No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No Yes
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 61 81
DxO Color Depth 22.1 24.0
DxO Dynamic Range 11.2 11.7
DxO Low Light ISO 524 2293
Video Features
Video Resolutions n/a 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (25, 30 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Video Formats n/a H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI No Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 668 g 950 g
Physical Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm 152 x 116 x 76 mm
Battery Life n/a 950 shots
Battery Type n/a Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL3e LP-E6
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No No
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC card Compact Flash Type I (UDMA compatible), SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 1 2

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