Nikon D810 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III

  • Full frame
  • 36 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 55
    Overall
  • 36
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 22 megapixels
  • Canon EF
  • 50
    Overall
  • 29
    Imaging
  • 50
    Features
  • 70
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D810 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. Although Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III are both equipped with the same CMOS sensor, they boast of different resolution. Thus, Nikon D810 has a sensor with a resolution of 36.0 MP, while Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a different resolution of 22.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D810 Key Features:

  • 36.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 12800 (Expands to 32 - 51200)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 980 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D800. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D850. 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 D810 was substituted by Nikon D850. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D810 vs. D850
Nikon D850 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Nikon D810 substituted Nikon D800. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D810 vs. D800
Nikon D800 vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Why is Nikon D810 a better choice than Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP vs 22.0 MP 38.9% more pixels
Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Flash Range 12 vs No 12 better flash range
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots vs 1,040k dots 15.4% higher resolution screen
Battery Life 1200 shots vs 950 shots 250 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 25.7 vs 24 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 11.7 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2853 vs 2293 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Canon EOS 5D Mark III over Nikon D810

Sensor Area 864 mm2 vs 861.6 mm2 0.3% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 6 fps vs 5 fps 1 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 61 vs 51 10 more focus points
Number Of Cross Focus Points 41 vs 15 26 more cross focus points
Weight 950 g vs 980 g 30 g lighter
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71 vs 0.7 0.01 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3.2″ Large display
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots | 1,040k dots High resolution screen
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP | 22.0 MP Bigger prints and more details
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes | Yes Better video control
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions
Battery Life 1200 shots | 950 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps | 6.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D810 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 D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III from the front view.

Nikon D810
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 D810
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, Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 30g less than the Nikon D810. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D810 — 1200 shots
Canon EOS 5D Mark III — 950 shots
Min: 390 shots
Average: 871 shots
Max: 1840 shots
Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D810 — 82 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 D810 — 980 g
Canon EOS 5D Mark III — 950 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D810 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 D810 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 D810 features a 36.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS 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 D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D810
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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Nikon D810 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D810 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 D810 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 D810 Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Portrait Photography
94%
100%
Street Photography
89%
90%
Sports Photography
93%
97%
Daily Photography
39%
67%
Landscape Photography
99%
95%

Nikon D810 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

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 D810 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1200 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 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 D810 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (51)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (15)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

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 D810 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (980 g)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

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 D810 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

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 D810 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 D810 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 D810 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, Nikon D810 deserves a higher Total Score than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D810 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 D810 Canon EOS 5D Mark III
General
Brand Nikon Canon
Model D810 EOS 5D Mark III
Announced Jun 26, 2014 May 22, 2012
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 35.9 x 24 mm 36 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 861.60 mm2 864.00 mm2
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP 22.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7360 x 4912 5760 x 3840
Max Native ISO 12,800 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 51,200 102,400
Min Native ISO 64 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Canon EF
Number of Lenses 287 256
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 51 61
Number of Cross Focus Points 15 41
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 3.2″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots 1,040k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7 0.71
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 5.0 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 12 0
Flash Modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync no built-in flash
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No Yes
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 97 81
DxO Color Depth 25.7 24.0
DxO Dynamic Range 14.8 11.7
DxO Low Light ISO 2853 2293
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p) 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 1920 x 1080
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 H.264
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 980 g 950 g
Physical Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm 152 x 116 x 76 mm
Battery Life 1200 shots 950 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL15 LP-E6
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes No
GPS Optional Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant) Compact Flash Type I (UDMA compatible), SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage Slots 2 2

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