Canon and Nikon are both titans in the camera manufacturing industry. So the choice between Nikon D850 vs. Canon 5D Mark III really comes down to personal preference and how you intend to use your camera.
The Canon is a great choice for casual & entry-level DSLR photographers. However, the Nikon was released more than five years after the 5D Mark III. That means the technology is significantly updated.
The Nikon comes with built-in extras, like Wi-Fi, an articulating screen and more than double the max sensor resolution. However, the Canon is lighter weight, has similar ISO and is one-third cheaper than the Nikon. This guide should help you determine which is better fit for your needs.
|Nikon D850||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Best For||Videography, fast-action photography||Daily photography|
|Price||See Price on Amazon||See Price on Amazon|
|ISO||64 - 25,600||100 - 25,600|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||7 fps||6 fps|
|Video Resolution||3840 x 2160||1920 x 1080|
|LCD Screen||3.2" tilting screen||3.2" fixed screen|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200,000 cycles||150,000 cycles|
|Number of AF Points||153 points||61 points|
|Max Sensor Resolution||46 MP||23 MP|
|Battery Life||1840 shots||950 shots|
|Weight||1015 g||950 g|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
The Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark III are similar in size. The Nikon measures 152 mm x 116 mm x 76 mm. The Canon measures 146 mm x 124 mm x 79 mm.
The difference in size is negligible. However, there is a slightly more significant weight difference. The Canon weighs 950 grams compared to the Nikon. That one weighs 1015 grams.
The weight difference isn’t large enough to make a big difference, however. It does allow Nikon to provide much more sophisticated technology than the 5D Mark III comes with.
Both DSLRs are weather sealed. That makes them good choices for photographers who work outside or in situations where there is a chance of moisture or dust getting into their cameras.
They also both have the optical pentaprism viewfinder and a 3.2” LCD screen. That makes framing and checking shots much easier.
The Nikon’s LCD screen is hinged, however. That means you can tilt it to frame shots more easily if your camera is on the ground or you are not holding it at eye level.
In terms of durability ,though, the Nikon has the clear advantage in both the short term and the long run. The battery life is 1840 shots instead of just 950 shots. That is nearly twice as long.
The shutter life expectancy is 200,000 cycles instead of 150,000 cycles. This means the Nikon should function without needing repair or replacement for 25% longer than the Canon.
The Canon isn’t a bad choice by any means. However, the Nikon’s shooting capabilities are definitely more advanced. That makes it much more appealing to professional photographers.
Both DSLRs have a max ISO of 25,600. But the Nikon has a lower minimum ISO of 64 vs. 100. This can come in handy when shooting in favorable conditions. That is because your photos will come out with crisper detail. You can crop more heavily without losing quality and causing your images to pixelate.
There isn’t a huge difference in continuous shooting speed. That is because the Nikon D850 can capture up to 7 frames per second. The Canon 5D Mark III can capture up to 6 frames per second.
Overall, the Nikon is able to shoot images faster and clearer. Colors and details coming out much crisper than with the Canon.
You will definitely appreciate the better resolution and detail the Nikon is capable of delivering if you’re planning on doing wildlife photography or shooting in a similar situation where cropping is important.
The Nikon also has a far superior auto focus system. It has 153 AF points vs. just 61 AF points in the Canon. The Nikon also has more cross type focus points, at 99 vs. 41. This will make a big difference when shooting in low light or against a background that is plainer, like a studio backdrop.
In terms of video, the Nikon is the only camera that makes sense. That is, unless you only plan on shooting video in a casual setting or for personal use.
The Canon can only capture up to 1080/30p, while the Nikon can shoot at 4K/30p. That is necessary for professional videographers in today’s market.
Both camera bodies do come with built in DSLR microphone and headphone ports. Those are important because they allow you to capture better quality audio. They also allow you to monitor what you are recording as you capture it.
The Nikon can also create 8K resolution time-lapse videos. That can be a neat feature in wildlife, sports or wedding videography.
If you don’t plan on shooting video or only plan on recording it casually once in a while, then the lower quality from the Canon may not be an issue for you. If you think you may get into video in the future however, you will miss the Nikon’s ability to film in 4K since that is the new standard.
As far as built-in extras go, the Nikon again takes the cake. The Canon does have built-in microphone and headphone ports.
However, the Nikon also has an articulated touchscreen and built-in wireless capabilities. It also has smartphone remote control and support for UHS Photo Storage Memory cards.
None of these differences between the Nikon and Canon may alone be reason to choose one camera body over another for most photographer. However, they are useful enough that they are hard to live without once you’ve gotten used to them.
The wireless capabilities alone can be indispensable for wildlife or sports photographers. They need to set their camera up on a travel tripod and operate it quickly.
These features can also come in handy for photographers who want to set up a shot using a tripod. They can then get in the image since they no longer have to rely on the cumbersome timer setting. Instead, they can snap multiple shots from their cellphone.
Looking at some of the huge differences between the Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark III, such as the doubled sensor resolution, ability to film in 4K and built-in extras, it may seem like the Nikon is the only logical option. The Canon is still a very reliable DSLR, though. It really just depends on how you plan on using your camera.
The Canon’s lighter weight and durability makes it a great choice for street or travel DSLR photography, since it is easy to carry for long distances and holds up well in adverse weather situations. These same reasons make it an excellent choice for daily photography, as well.
It also costs about two-thirds what the Nikon costs, making it a better choice for casual photographers who want a nicer camera than their cellphone or a point and shoot but won’t use the advanced technology that the Nikon offers.
The added features on the Nikon make it better in high-demand situations, like sports, wildlife, landscape photography and videography. The extra MPs in particular allow photographers to crop without losing quality, which is indispensable for fast-action photographers.
The technological advancements and extra features available on the Nikon D850 make it the better choice for professional photographers, but the significantly smaller price tag and reliability of the Canon 5D Mark III make it a better choice for more casual photographers.
Make sure you consider whether the additional features on the Nikon are worth the price tag for your needs before you make your decision. Either way, you will be getting a reliable camera setup with a range of lens options (see D850 lenses here) that is sure to serve you well for several years.Back to Top