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D700 vs 5D Mark II

Jonathan Fortner , Nov 20, 2008; 10:26 a.m.

I have been a long term Nikon user, first film and now digital. I have a D80 and have been thinking of upgrading to the D700 for full-frame. However, I now see that the new 5D has a 21.1 megapixel sensor. My question is, will I see a big difference in image quality in 8x10" prints with the 5D? Would it make sense to ditch all of my Nikon gear and switch? Or, will Nikon play catch up? In which case I would just wait.


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Ellis Vener , Nov 20, 2008; 10:36 a.m.

"My question is, will I see a big difference in image quality in 8x10" prints with the 5D?"


Michel Galileo , Nov 20, 2008; 10:41 a.m.

8x10 prints? No need for 21 mpix. The more pixels for a given surface sensor, the more noise. And you get enormous files, which take an enormous time to process. This pure marketing pixel race makes no sense unless you have to make huge, and I mean huge, prints, in billboard league. Canon couldn't compete with the recent Nikon noise control in the D3 and D700, so they went for the pixels. Stick with your Nikon gear and get the 700.

Eric Brody , Nov 20, 2008; 10:42 a.m.

Go out and take pictures with what you have. Unless you have very specialized needs, any of today's top cameras will meet your requirements. Brand switching for the latest great thing is simply foolish. If you wait 6 months or a year, it will likely switch back. Spend your money on travel, paper, and ink, or a good photography course, not the latest incarnation from Canon or Nikon. Your D80 didn't stop working when the D90 was released (though Nikon might like that). Ask yourself what the weak link is in your photography. I'd bet a lot that it is not your current camera.

The 5DII has not been released, tested, and reviewed so all this is pure speculation. There is much more to using a camera than megapixels. If the autofocus is not good, you'll just have a lot of unsharp pixels. Second, assuming everything works as it should, a big assumption, the 8x10's from either camera will be indistinguishable.

Good luck.


Kent Staubus , Nov 20, 2008; 10:49 a.m.

I pretty much agree with Eric. I have stuck with Nikon through the past tough years, and no way I'd jump now that they have the momentum. You don't mention what lenses, tripod, lighting system, software you have. All of this works together as a system. It makes absolutely no sense to run out a buy a big $$ camera and not have the first class lenses to support it, or the tripod etc. too. I too have looked at the D700 since I am a night photographer. I didn't want to buy $2,500 camera plus $3,000 worth of FX lenses all at once. So, I bought a used D300 for now. I will later buy a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 and then a 14-24mm f2.8. Meanwhile, price on the D700 will drop. I come out ahead and will be using Nikon's best lenses the whole time.

Kent in SD

Shun Cheung , Nov 20, 2008; 10:59 a.m.

"Ask yourself what the weak link is in your photography. I'd bet a lot that it is not your current camera."

I think it quite safe to say that for by far the majority of us, the weakest link is neither the camera itself nor what is in front of it, i.e. the lens.

In many cases the weakest link is what is (or isn't) under the camera, namely photographers not using a proper tripod when they can, and especially what is behind the camera. The last one is typically very difficult to admit.

Dave Lee , Nov 20, 2008; 11:16 a.m.

My D70s made a gorgeous 8x10" print. Buying a Canon 5D MKII to make 8x10" prints is like buying a Porsche 911 to drive 35mph.

Andreas Manessinger , Nov 20, 2008; 11:22 a.m.

Purely from the specs, the 5D II seems to be more or less on par at high ISO, I guess in practice it will be slightly worse, but not much. Everything else that I've heard of, with the one exception of resolution, seems inferior to me. Think of what the the D300/D700 are: the most professional semi-pro cameras Nikon ever made.

The D200 was far superior to the Canon 20/30D in everything but the sensor. With the D300 Nikon remedied that. The D700 is basically the same camera. You trade in the 100% viewfinder and you get FX and insane ISO instead, but both are maybe more pro than a D2X ever was.

If you already had lots of Canon L glass (and you need damn fine glass to make use of 21 mpx), I'd say go for it, even if you don't print bigger than 13x19. In your situation I can't imagine any reason to change. Why should you? Nikon will have the same early next year, rumour has a launch date of December, 1st for "something big". Whatever Nikon throws at us, you'd probably still be better off buying their newest pro cam than dumping your glass and buying everything anew from Canon.

On the other hand: for 8x10 you need neither.

Robin Bonathan , Nov 20, 2008; 11:25 a.m.

I have some great prints at 30 x 20 inches off a D300.


Jonathan Fortner , Nov 20, 2008; 11:26 a.m.

So, then, more quality is not visible except in much larger prints? Is that a fair assessment of the reality of megapixel count?

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