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Nikon D5200 vs Canon 5D Mark III

Andrew Reid

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Downloaded the 1080p onto two and half grands worth of grading monitor here, it's a comparison I'm really interested in! Well, using a nice monitor the 5D MKiii is definitely better all round for me. They look much closer on my normal Dell but it's still winning it. Mainly on detail level and overall "look".


But the point is that the D5200 gives you something very close to the much more expensive 5D MKiii for cheap, quite a jump in terms of budget video, and a bit of a shame for Canon.


And for those with heavy investment in glass that's not compatible with Nikon, like me. Still, since Black Magic camera is are nowhere to be seen for most of us, I'm leaning towards the 5D MKiii now. They hold their value so well I can always sell it is BMD cams become a purchasable reality before 2013 is over.


What a shame that is actually a prospect though, that they'll be delayed for that long... who knows what will be out by then.

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The phrasing wasn't ambiguous at all. Telling Andrew to take it easy is a putdown because he was pointing out you didn't read his post. Now your accusing me of not saying please and thank you? So why should I be thanking you?

He's not called Lord Voldemort for nothing! are you Dumb-le-dore by chance?

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@ Andrew Lings - You did ask something which was answered very clearly in the first half of the article. Not being rude just asking you to be more diligent before asking questions as it takes me a lot of time to answer a bunch of them every day!


Now hopefully we can go back on topic.

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Does overheating tend to be an issue for this line of cameras? Do you think it would be suitable for extended interviews?

I would like to know if anyone has an answer to this question as well.  I could shoot until a card filled up even with a hbr hack on my GH2.  I'm looking for the same kind of flexibility in this camera or the GH3 looks to be perhaps a better option; especially considering the difference in lens choices and cost. I have another question considering the metabones speed booster.  Is there a projected speed booster adapter for the f-mount this camera requires?

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Great comparison Andrew. As a hobbyist, not a pro, with good eyesight and a meagre budget, I prefer the Canon on some shots, but the difference on others seems minuscule or non existent. With your encouragement I have gone GH2/5DMKII, and it is a wonderful journey of discovery, learning, mistakes, and making the most of what few lenses I can afford. If I was a Nikon man (why do we have these camera driven definitions anyway?), or if I was starting out this camera would definitely be on my list.

You champion the little guy and the seeker of reasonably priced alternatives, as well as being a stickler for image quality.

Please keep up the good work.

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As a GH2 and now GH3 user the biggest question I have isn't about the video quality. I'm very happy with my GH3 low light (although I would never reject a better option for better lowlight)... My question is how does it handle? I know it doesn't allow aperture adjustment with liveview on which is a really big PITA for live event shooting. But what about file size limitations or record length limitations? How about constant AF during shooting? Focus tracking? Does it do any of those things well? My GH3 is awesome for AF tracking when using a steadicam... Does the D5200 equal it in all other ways? I'll probably pick one up as a 2nd camera and test for myself... if it's as good I'll be offloading my GH3 and buying another Nikon D5200.
Thanks Andrew.

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Nice comparison... 


Only slightly related, I'm currently trying to decide between a GH3, a comparable Canon (60D?) and--apparently, now--a D5200.


I have access to a couple of Nikon APS-C lenses, none of which is especially good, as well as the Nikkor AF 50mm F/1.8D. Other than that not really tied to particular mount type. 


This is largely for video but i also need to able to take professional-looking stills.



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As I mentioned in a previous post, I am still inside the return window for my Canon 6D. 

So I picked up a D5200 and thought I'd do a direct head to head to help me reach a decision on what to keep.

I was most interested in probing what I know are the obvious tradeoffs between the cameras.

Lower noise at higher ISO with bad moire for the Canon 6D.

Higher noise levels but better moire handling for the D5200.




As I said, I'm not a pro, just a enthusiast trying to decide which poison to drink.

So no need to correct me on my poor filming technique (although do feel free to point out settings I might want to use).


Note I haven't touched the clips coming out of the camera. No corrections or adjustments at all.

The lenses I was using are not identical, but I tried to standardize on aperture, ISO, and approximately similar focal lengths.

On the 6D I used  a Canon 50mm 1.4 (at 2.8) and a Canon 100mm Macro at 2.8

On the D5200 I used two old manual Nikkor lenses, a 28mm 2.8 and the 105mm 2.5 (at 2.8)


As per usual, download the original file to see the footage without the additional macroblock artifacts introduced by Vimeo.


Frankly given that 100% of the videos I shoot (mostly my kids band) will be viewed on YouTube or Vimeo, I'm not sure how to think about detail and noise advantages anyway. Starting with higher quality is always better, obviously, but if the nuances get trashed by the online codecs, maybe I'm doomed either way.


Certainly the test confirmed what I already knew. There's no free lunch. 

But given the large price difference between the cameras and the fact that moire is bad for my use case (stage lights and screens behind  her band) I'm thinking I'll go with the Nikon.

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I hate to be annoying but in all honesty, only split screen shots are worth comparing of we decide to pixel peep. The visual cortex accomplishes too much 'leveling' for consecutive takes to be easily sortable.
So from now on, I'm only going to look at split screen comparos where absolute quality is being discussed.

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Yeah, I agree it helps to look side by side.


On my computer, I simply opened up both files and put the windows side by side and stepped through them. You can do that with any of the other clips folks have provided as well. Simply download the original and then open it in two separate windows. 


Or, if you can't get the originals, just open two browser windows with the same video and stack them one on top of the other to get a similar effect.

Of course in this instance, the (moderately) higher noise levels in the D5200 and the significantly worse moire in the 6D are perfectly visible without any zooming or extra work, which is what I was really looking to confirm. For more subtle distinctions, I agree side by side with a controlled rig is the way to go.

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  • 1 month later...

I can't get any close to the picture quality that you get from the d5200. I have it and i see high noise levels in dark areas and sometimes that awful horizonal fixed pattern noise, even with the picture profile that you recomment for low light... You apply any noise reduction in D5200 at your tests ? I'll apreciate if you reply ...

Thanks in advance :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've owned this camera for just over two-weeks and have done 3 video shoots with it. I will say, I do come from a Canon background, having owned from the T3i and everything in between to the 5DM2. This is my first Nikon, based pretty much on Andrews reviews. I have to say, I'm really on the fence with this camera. There are so many basic road blocks when it comes to video acquisition, which is the only reason I bought this camera. Were do I begin, the metering from the viewfinder back to live view is bigtime inconsistent, sometimes as much as a stop, and I haven't moved off the set point. Changing metering modes didn't change this situation. The LCD for setting critical focus is terrible. Of course, having to come out of live view is a known bummer, and many have thought a manual lens a work around, not so, Nikon has further crippled this camera by offering no metering with a manual lens...really Nikon, really? I've been doing video production long enough to eyeball exposure, and half the time the meter isn't right to begin with, but, it's nice to have in certain situations.

Despite all that, I do like this camera. I just don't know if I can get over the non-metering with manual lenses. I do plan on buying a SmallHD DP4 to test with this camera to see how accurate exposure, color, and everything else is with that setup.

Over and out.
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