Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

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Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 30 Aug 2009 12:42

As a long time Nikon user with an 8 weeks experience with 5D and 24-105 USM IS back in 2007, I was very tempted for a long time to test the Canon 5D MkII against the D700.
Last friday, Mr. Lorenz from Preim Foto in Aachen-Germany phoned me that a 5DMkII with 24-105 IS USM was waiting for me to pick up for an extensive test during about 10 days...
Jumped in my car to pick up the camera and I was taking this opportunity to look through the interesting second hand offerings Marc's Photoboerse has. Picked up a 24-85 AF-S in perfect condition...
Took some pictures in Aachen -wonderfull city-, went to do some shopping and drove back home...

As the ergonomics of Canon and Nikon are very different, starting with the reverse lens mount, I planned to train until sunday-today- to re-get familiar with the handling and Canon menus. So today no evaluations yet... only "hello"...

I'll keep in touch...
kindest regards,

Stany
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After a couple of days, my first impressions...

Postby Stany Buyle » Tue 1 Sep 2009 12:37

Ergonomics of the D700 basically please me much better. The grip of a D700 is like designed for medium size hands like mine. The 5Dgrip around the battery compartment seems not so deep than with the D700 and feels less comfortable. D700 ergonomics are designed for 95% as my personal wish-list although I would replace the D700’ info button by a bracketing button…

No PUFlash on the 5DMkII. In a virtual doubt about switching from D700 to Canon 5D this would be one of the major reasons NOT to switch. I exchanged my Nikon D3 for a D700 for the same reason. The importance of a PUFlash like D700 has are very underestimated. The D700 PUFlash acts like a professional flash commander where you need SB800 to do the same on the D3. Internal flash can be set to 0 power while your SB-600, SB800 or SB900 is anywhere. Great.
D700 PUFlash for fill in flash is another underestimated reason which I saw very appreciated by high qualified pros in some circumstances… And last but not least: It’s there for in case. I missed it in on one important occasion with my D3 where I did not have my SB-800 at hands…

The 5DMkII has its mode dial button with 3 custom settings against digging in the menus for menu banks and custom settings, I find this way easier even though it has to be said that the possible combinations with the Nikon custom banks are nearly endless (and very complete) whereas the Canon 5DMkII custom settings are rather basic.

5DMkII has no Mirror-up in the mode dial button.

Nikon 2-wheel dial against Canon Quick control dial in combination with the main dial. I see no advantages from one system over the other, just a question of habit…

Auto focusing with center AF sensor of the D5MkII is excellent but I do not understand why the factory settings let the 6 extra AF points around the center AF point set to “off”(I found out the same when I purchased my 5D back in 2007). Switching them to “on” makes the 5DMkII focus fast and accurate, even while tracking. The Nikon D700 is clearly superior in this field, especially in relation to the AF possibilities, the number of AF points and speed, but 5DMk II is no slough in this field like some users complain…

I find the menu of the 5DMkII extremely comfortable and easy to learn, far more easy than the Nikon menu. I have memorized the Canon 5DMk II menu completely within two days whereas I still have to search sometimes in the D700 menu after being 5 years a Nikon user….

Practical finding: Two days ago I was shooting a mass spectacle in open air with the D700 and 70-200 AF-S VR and 5DMkII with 24-105 side by side. Apparently there is no possibility with 5DMkII to dedicate metering to a button so you can change from spot to matrix without taking your hand from the shutter and without leaving with your eye from the viewfinder. This is easily possible with D700 –even with 2 buttons for different features-, and this is simply great.

The Canon software is not even close to what Nikon NX2 and Nikon View NX offer. Of course the Nikon software has to be purchased while the Canon software is free… While I prefer to use software made by the camera maker over third party software @ least to convert my RAW files into TIFFs or JPEGs, I would like to see Canon to release better RAW converter software, even if it should have to be purchased separately. This opinion is based on tests where I compared Fuji's HU software and Nikon's Capture with third party RAW converters. In both cases the brand software is doing a better job than the third party software, and I think this is the same with Canon files. The actual Canon software nearly obliges a Canon user to go the Adobe route for Raw convertion.
Some practical findings:
With Nikon View you can view your files and give a first classification while they are still on your card reader and you can even PP them there (if you want…) with Capture while the Canon software obliges you to download the pictures for evaluation…
Canon DPP is very basic compared to what Nikon Capture NX offers.
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Stany
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Virtual reasons (*) and temptations to move from D700 to 5DM

Postby Stany Buyle » Tue 1 Sep 2009 12:48

Lens choice: Especially primes(most with USM, and many very fast primes) but also macro 180mm USM, 24-105F4 IS USM and 70-200 F4 IS USM and 100-400 USM IS. Next to that the incredible EP-65 even though I guess can be used with a Nikon-Canon adaptor on Nikon bodies as well, with some limitations like metering perhaps…
The 24-105F4 IS, a high quality, low weight(670g) all purpose lens. This lens that I used extensive two years ago on my 5D could be a reason on its own for myself in a virtual move from Nikon to Canon. Nikon simply lacks a professional build all purpose lens with this attractive range, image stabilization and high IQ. The 24-120 AF-S VR is no competitor for the 24-105F4 IS, in no way…
A review of the 24-105F4 IS here.
The 180mm macro USM. Outstanding AF performance for a macro lens. Excellent sharpness and color rendition.
A full review here.
Update 2010, august 19th Nikon now offers a 24-120 AF-S VR, a 28-300 AF-S VRII, a 24mm F1.4 and the excellent 16-35-F4VR. Canon's former broader lens offering is fading away. After testing both 28-300 AF-S VR and 24-120 AF-S VR I can only confirm the findings of Bjorn Rorslett at nikongear.com, they are both excellent. (Link to BjornRorslett comments on the 24-120 F4 AF-S VR on nikongear.com.)

Resolution. After a couple of days there seems very little reason to want more than 12Mp NEF files all the time. Therefor the different sized RAW files is something I find fantastic on the 5DMkII. I find that with this feature the Canon 5DMkII beats the D3X where you always need to work on the giant NEF files (DX mode is no option for me).

Higher per-pixel-sharpness. This is obvious in favor of the 5DMkII while shooting JPEG, no problem when shooting RAW though.

Video mode. I would like to have this option on hands…

Price of the body against a possible D700 successor with more resolution and video mode.

Different RAW sizes. Simply fantastic.

Silent shooting modes This is great. For my own use, both in billiard tournaments and in music concerts/theatre the 5DMkII is useable (@ some distance), whereas Nikon is not because of the very noisy shutter and mirror noise. A blimp is a solution I know, but who like a blimp…

Auto iso in relation to the focal length is a big improvement Canon 5DMkII has against the Nikon auto iso but it should go further than that. There should be a choice to decide yourself the factor between shutter speed and focal. (f.i. the choice if you want 1x, 2x or 3x the inverse shutter speed in second against focal: 400mm @ 1/400sec, 400mm @ 1/800 or 400mm @ 1/1200 max shutter speed…

(*) I wrote virtual reason because I will not make the move (again) . You simply loose to much money next to the fact that in my case the balance between the Nikon D700 pros & cons against the Canon 5DMkII are in favor of the D700.
kindest regards,

Stany
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Reasons for myself NOT to move to 5DMkII...

Postby Stany Buyle » Tue 1 Sep 2009 13:07

NX2 and ViewNX. I like this software soo much. The U-point tech is a much easier alternative to the layers of photoshop. There is quite a bit of learning curve to use NX, but less than to learn to work with layers…
Update 2010, August 17th: Nikon realeases Nikon View NX2.

Ergonomics. As explained above.

PUFlash & its commander mode.

Flash system & flash synchronization up to 1/320sec for the Nikon against 1/200 for the 5DMkII…

Much more possibilities to dedicate important camera functions to easy and fast to reach-buttons.

D700 AF system which is superior to the 5DMkII AF system.

5DMkII outer AF sensors which give me an impression of "hit or miss..."

Poor Canon software.

D700’s better auto-iso mode with Manual mode where you can indicate shutter speed and aperture.

D700 has a more solid and better sealed body than 5DMkII.
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Stany
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A real bummer... this 24-105 F4 IS does not render the way..

Postby Stany Buyle » Wed 2 Sep 2009 13:51

A real bummer... this 24-105 F4 IS does not render the way as the one I owned on my 5D back in 2007.

While trying the 5DMkII in the shop with the 180 macro and the 70-300DO last friday I was very impressed with the crispness of the images when I looked to them once arrived home. The images I'm taking during the last 2-3 days with the 24-105 though lack the cripness and sharpness that was so impressing with my 5D and 24-105 combo back in 2007.
I was trying AF ajustment and manaul focusing, no change...
Some possible thoughts about this...
*Is the 24-105 F4 IS that I try a lemon?
*Did the 5D in combination with this lens render sharper images straight out of the camera than the 5DMkII with the 24-105 does?
*Does the higher pixel density of the 5DMkII outresolves the 24-105 F4 IS?
-A very interesting article about this: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/resolution.shtml

*Are better lenses required to get the potential out of this sensor?(related to the point here above)
*Is the weaker AA filter on the 5D the secret behind that crisp images I got out of my 5D?
*Or were my expectations of this lens/body combo simply to high?
Don't know....

Anyhow, it wasn't just "an impression" back in 2007, I shot approx 2700 images with that combo and the majority came out with a very attractive crispness. Now it doesn't.
For your information: 5DMkII camera was set to landscape mode (sharpness 4).

What has been written above has been updated after becoming more familiar with 5DMkII picture styles and the ajustments.
Tomorrow I'll do some landscape shots on tripod, D700 with 24-85 AF-S and 5DMkII with 24-105 side by side... I'll post the full size JPEGS and RAW images from both cameras on my server for download.

Will be continued...
kindest regards,

Stany
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Re: Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby pam.meier » Thu 3 Sep 2009 22:46

Stany, when I purchased the A900 last year, I meant to buy two or three sigma or tamron primes with it.
I tried about five different lenses, also by Minolta and then bought Zeiss lenses and never looked back.

If you want those 24 MP, you will need AF accuracy, vibrationless shooting, top grade lenses and wider apertures (f11 is when diffraction starts).

Everytime I read about people getting excited over 24 MP cameras, especially those who are waiting for the rumored D700X, I state that I´d rather have 18 MP which I assume will be the sweet spot of pixel count on a FX sensor.
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Re: Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby Guy Van Hooveld » Sat 5 Sep 2009 12:37

What do you think of the recently announced 7D then ? A crop mode 18MP camera... completely different animal but could be interesting for studio work as well...
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Re: Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby pam.meier » Sat 5 Sep 2009 21:44

Count me out, wrong brand, wrong crop factor ;) I´m already into the FX game too far.
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A real bummer... Update

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 6 Sep 2009 09:09

I found out the difference of the OOC images with my 5D and 24-105 back in 2007 and my test drive with the 5DMkII with 24-105 this week. Some differences in the in camera settings were different. Now everything seems fine, the 5DMkII and 24-105 combo render the way I expected: Impressing.
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Stany
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Test pictures...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 6 Sep 2009 09:52

I was shooting several pictures of 2 test real life test scenes with lots of small details to compare 5MkII and D700 about resolution and IQ.

Cameras mounted on tripod and shot with shutter delay @ 24,50 and 105mm; F4,F8, F13 and iso 100, 200, 400 and iso800. 5DMkII with 24-105 F4 IS and D700 with resp 24mmF2.8, 50mm F1.8 and the 28-105 @ 105mm for the D700' 105mm shots. Even with the advantage of using primes with the D700 against using a F4 zoom with the Canon for these shots didn't help a lot about the detail and cropping possibilities you get. From 12MpFF to 21Mp is enormous... A couple of months ago I was PPsing original files from a D3X for the D3X vs D3 comparison on my website, the difference between D700 files and 5DMkII is @ least as huge. The per-pixel-sharpness the 5DMkII exhibits is impressive.
Bicubic upresizing D700 files isn't bringing the D700 pictures' detail anywhere close to the native resolution of the 5DMkII files.

Later on this week or next week (when I find the time) I will post some of the the original files on my server for donwload.

The scenes I chose for the test pictures:
Image
and
Image

Two crops from the first scene as you see them while 100% viewing in Nikon ViewNX, no PP.

D700:
Image

5DMkII
Image

While D700 is the better camera for AF, ergonomics, flash system, speed ans responsiveness, about resolution and detail rendering 5DMkII simply wipes the floor with the D700.


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Re: Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby pam.meier » Sun 6 Sep 2009 12:42

Stany, sorry, but I think there is still something not optimal about detail/sharpness in your crop.
Unfortunately, we live so far apart, we cannot just put the A900 and 5DII to the test next to each other, but I´d suspect I´d get much better results with the A900 and the 24-70.
I´m selling off my Nikkor 24-70 as the Zeiss is much better in most parts of the image (and a little weaker at the far border).
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For Pamela re: 24-70 Zeiss vs Nikkor..

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 6 Sep 2009 12:56

pam.meier wrote:I´m selling off my Nikkor 24-70 as the Zeiss is much better in most parts of the image (and a little weaker at the far border).


Hi Pamela.
Does a 24-70 Zeiss with AF for Nikon mount exist?
Please mail me about your nikkor 24-70 AF-S F2.8, I might be interested...
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Stany
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Re: Nikon D700 & Canon 5DMkII side by side comparison...

Postby pam.meier » Sun 6 Sep 2009 13:00

Hi Stany,
there is no Zeiss zoom for Nikon, but from what I could judge the quality between Nikkor and Zeiss is not too different.
Better center sharpness vs. sharpness to the far border.

I will email you ;) But, honestly, it is so heavy ...
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Close-up AF trouble withCanon 5DMkII & 24-105...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 6 Sep 2009 15:16

Even though the Nikon AF system is clearly faster and more accurate than the Canon 5D and 5DMkII -especially when using outer AF points-, I didn't encounter serious AF trouble with the 5DMkII in normal shooting and while using the AF center point. But here, things went really totally wrong...
I tried about 100 files close up (as close as AF permits) with the 5DMkII and 24-105. I tried 6 surrounding center points activated and desactivated, but the results stayed poor. Over 50% was totally OOF, camera was set to servo AI.
I was doing 1/1000 sec shutter speed in combination with auto iso and F4, handhold. All these close-up shots taken with the 5DMkII&24-105 have been slightly cropped. No further PP.
In the 28-105 nikon close-up samples there have been noPP and no cropping, but that lens can focus quite a bit closer...

Underneath I posted the "best" 4 shots out of approx 100 frames I took wih the 5DMkII&24-105...

To compare I posted underneath similar shots taken with the cheapo 28-105 AF F3.5-F4.5 on my D700...

5DMkII with 24-105 samples:

Image

Image

Image

Image


D700 with 28-105 samples of similar shots:

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Stany
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Short conclusion after this side by side comparison...

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 20 Sep 2009 20:21

After 10 days with these two cameras side by side I felt like they are no competition for each other, while D700 is a perfect all round camera with great IQ, professional body, great ergonomics, incredible AF and flash system and very fast overall operation and handling, Canon 5DMkII seems to me like a camera with a great sensor with amazing resolution and per-pixel sharpness in a rather basic body with poor AF performance. The poor AF performance got my attention while doing some close-up shots with the standard 24-105 lens just like I did with the D700 and te 28-105, the samples(shown in an earlier messagein this topic) speak for themselves. Another notice I made is that I have the very strong feeling that even though the 24-105F4 IS was an oustanding lens on the 5D, the 5DMkII sensor outresolves this lens.

TMHO 5MkII is a perfect studio camera and for sure a great wedding shooter's tool (eventhough, here again with some reservations about AF during weddings) and absolutely perfect(the best in its price range) for landscape work with and without tripod. Next to that it offers -in capable hands-, great possibilities for special video applications(sample)...

While 5DMkII wipes the floor with D700 about resolution (resolution that you don't need for normal shooting, including wildlife, macro, wedding and sports), D700 wipes the floor with 5DMkII about AF, ergonomics, flash system, features, speed and build quality.

If I would be a re-starting photographer aiming to the same style of photography I do since many years(occasional everything, macro, nature and wildlife) and with a budget that enables the purchase of some quite expensive equipment and with this test in my mind, my choise would go between Canon 7D, Canon 1DMkIII and D700..., 5DMkII would nót be one of them.
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Stany
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Re: Short conclusion after this side by side comparison...

Postby Geoff_Roughton » Wed 4 Nov 2009 23:30

StanyB wrote:If I would be a re-starting photographer aiming to the same style of photography I do since many years(occasional everything, macro, nature and wildlife) and with a budget that enables the purchase of some quite expensive equipment and with this test in my mind, my choise would go between Canon 7D, Canon 1DMkIII and D700..., 5DMkII would nót be one of them.


Interesting comparison Stany which confirms my thoughts.....I'm glad in your final choice, if starting again, you would still pick the D700. I see you have included the Canon 7D....have you shot one or got any samples? I still have a ton of canon kit...I never get rid of good glass etc, and have been quite interested in the 7D as a high rez camera for us.
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