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Canon 5D Mark II versus Nikon D3 ISO 25,600 Comparison
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January 2009         

  Canon 5D Mark II Review     Nikon D3 Review   (The D700 is identical to the D3)

(The Nikon D3X doesn't go to ISO 25,600, only to ISO 6,400)

More Nikon Reviews      More Canon Reviews

ISO 3,200 Comparison    ISO 6,400 Comparison


Here are full images from each camera:

Canon 5D Mark II

Nikon D3


Analysis      top

They're both crappy; use ISO 25,600 only as needed. Each has nasty banding and any normal person would reject these images, unless of Sasquatch himself, as garbage.

The Canon uses a lot of noise reduction (smearing) to clobber the noise, so it has no more resolution than the D3 at these speeds.

The biggest difference is that the 5D Mark II is also lowering its color saturation to attempt to hide the noise, while the D3 retains much better color.


Technik      top

Why this self-portrait? This is actually a very sneaky test: the fur on my face and eyes lets us see texture to look for the horrid effects of smudging from noise reduction, and the out-of focus wash behind my head lets us see noise at various levels on flat parts of the image. The out-of-focus transition behind my head is very deliberate.

I used the 105mm f/4 Micro-NIKKOR AI from 1980 because it's an ultra sharp lens, especially at the 1:8 reproduction ratio used here, and because it doesn't use floating elements or zoom. Its optical core is locked down solid, so nothing changes as put on different cameras with kludgy adapters. Newer macro lenses and zooms would all change their optical properties with floating elements as the flange focal distance varied slightly with the silly Nikon -> Canon adapter I used.

I left NR and sharpening at defaults. These are the actual images (JPGs) created by each camera. If you prefer to shoot raw, your results will vary all over the map depending on which software you use to anneal the raw files into actual images.

The 5D Mark II was running firmware version 1.0.7.



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