Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark IV

Introduction

The Nikon D810 and Canon 5D Mark IV are being compared very often by the photographers, mainly because of their versatility since both cameras are quality enough to be used for sport, and what’s also interesting is that they share similar specs that allow enthusiasts and professionals to capture photos of a top-notch quality!

If we are going beyond the basic characteristics of these cameras, naturally, a typical question will roll through our minds regarding which one is better, right? Well, I’d recommend you to focus yourself in order to understand, because in this article, I will provide you a detailed review of the cameras, so, feel free to choose the one that suits your preferences the most, although this is not going to be the easiest thing in the world! Trust me.

Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D810

To begin with, the Nikon D810 has a serious-looking, black-finished magnesium-alloy body that measures 4.9 x 5.8 x 3.3″ and weighs about 2 pounds without a lens which means that once you have it in your hands, you may feel that this camera is hefty, yet comfortable thanks to its well-made design.

In addition, the body is sealed against dust and moisture which is one of the biggest highlights regarding its design, but what’s also cool is that if you compare this camera with its predecessor the D800, you will find out that the rear-grip is more pronounced, while the front is ergonomically shaped with the intention to provide you an easy hold during your long shooting sessions.

Moving on, the physical controls are strategically positioned around the camera’s body, and Canon did an excellent job here because each control is easily accessible. For instance, on the front, there is a programmable FN button, control dial, and a depth of field preview button, whereas, on the left, there are a few more buttons along with a flash release and a flash power compensation control.

On the top-left, there yet two more buttons of which you can take advantage and adjust the white balance, ISO, metering and more, while on the right, you can find a pop-up flash and a monochrome information backlight-LCD.

On the rear, positioned on each side of the body as well as on the top, you will notice more buttons which are well-organized so that while you’re shooting through the viewfinder or the screen, they will not distract your focus, but instead, they will allow you adjust everything easily.

Since I’ve mentioned the viewfinder and the screen, I’d like you to know that the D810 has an OLED viewfinder that will provide you up to 100% of coverage, and as a matter of fact, the viewfinder looks pleasant during your shooting sessions, and clearly, I think that you won’t find any remarks.

Speaking of the screen, well, the 3.2″ LCD screen has a resolution of 1,229K-dots and an aspect ratio of 4:3, but what got my attention as well is that the protection is protected with a plastic cover that adds a higher level of security! In practice, the display is bright and the color representation is very accurate, which by default means that your shooting experience will be heavily enhanced.

Connection-wise, this unit comes with a USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, slots for SD media and Compact Flash, and unfortunately, the D810 isn’t Wi-Fi nor GPS-enabled, although Nikon offers an optional Wi-Fi dongle that can be additionally purchased. To be honest, I think that Nikon should have done a better job in implementing more connections, since WI-Fi should be a must during these modern times.

When it comes to the performance, the D810 combines a 36.3 MP FX-Format CMOS sensor with an Optical Low Pass Filter, an improved EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, 51-point AF system, burst shooting rate of 5 fps, and a wide ISO range of 64-12,800 that can be boosted up to 32-51,200.

Given the fact that this camera houses a large sensor, by default it means that the D810 does a really good job in handling the ISOs levels appropriately. To be more precise, details and the overall image quality remains fantastic starting from the start, to ISO 3200, and as you’re pushing higher, you will notice a gradual decline, which tops up at 51,200 and you should definitely avoid this level.

Moreover, you can use this camera for capturing sports and wildlife photography thanks to its top shutter speed of 1/8000 seconds, but do not hesitate to shoot landscape images because they look excellent since they are sharp and are filled with highly-accurate colors.

In the end, I’d also like to mention that the D810 does not handle 4K video capture, and instead, you will have an opportunity to record 1080/60p videos that are filled with rich colors which is quite normal considering the inclusion of the full-frame sensor.

 

Canon 5D Mark IV

From a design perspective, the Canon 5D Mark IV boasts a magnesium-alloy, polycarbonate construction that is dust and weather-sealed as an added protection which is definitely a great addition since you would be able to capture photos and videos under tougher conditions without a problem! In comparison to the D810, here, both cameras share the same magnesium-alloy material and both of them are weather-proof, and therefore, the result is equal.

For your information, the 5D Mark IV measures 4.6 x 5.9 x 3″, weighs approximately 1.8 pounds which make this unit be lighter than the D810, and as a matter of fact, you will absolutely have a convenient user experience while you’re holding the camera in your hands.

Furthermore, there is one more thing that adds a lot to the comfort you will feel with this camera, and that’s the presence of the deep grip, and to be honest, for this part, I don’t have any remarks.

When it comes to the control layout, the 5D Mark IV’s controls are extremely easy accessible, so, on the top, you can notice the presence of the Mode Dial, the On/Off switch, along with a hots hoe and a large monochrome Information LCD which will keep you notified regarding the options you’re currently using, such as the aperture, balance setting, EV compensation and more.

Also on the top, there is a top control dial, as well as three dual-function buttons, while if you take a look on the rear, you will find even more buttons that are spread on the usual, top, left and right position of the body.

On the top-rear, you can find a 100% optical viewfinder instead of an electronic viewfinder which is often a better choice for a variety of different customers, however, the viewfinder has a 0.71x magnification with 100% coverage and it is bright enough to drastically enhance your sight.

Slightly below, there is a 3.2″ touchscreen with a 1620k-dot resolution which will register all of your gestures really well, and will also provide you a convenient view while you’re shooting pictures or recording videos, however, the main drawback regarding the screen is the fact that it is fixed. So, you will be fairly limited in terms of adjustments.

In terms of the connection ports, the 5D Mark IV utilizes USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone jack, remote control port, PC Sync, mini HDMI port, card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC and CompactFlash cards, and the most important part, this camera is Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled! This is a huge advantage, and at this part, Canon simply wins the race because transferring photos and videos is going to be butter-smooth!

Performance-wise, the Canon 5D Mark IV is armed with a 30MP full-frame image sensor, has a continuous shooting rate of 7 fps, employs an impressive 61-point autofocus with 41 cross-type AF points, and has a native ISO range of 100-32,000 which can be expanded up to 50-102,400.

In practice, the overall image quality is breath-taking indeed since images are sharp and the color definition is exceptionally accurate, which is something that every photographer loves to have.

For instance, if you shoot JPGs at ISO 800, you will be delighted with the image quality because you can’t notice blur, and the same results can be achieved also at ISO 3200. Starting from ISO 6400- 12,800 you will notice a decrease in the performance, but to be honest, the image is usable and I don’t think that you will be disappointed.

However, keep in mind that once you reach the ISO 25600 point, blur is overtaking the image detail although the image is usable, and the same thing happens at ISO 51,200 with more noticeable decrease. Finally, at ISO 102,400 the final result is poor and I’d recommend you avoid this ISO range.

On the contrary, the RAW capture at ISO 12,800 is fantastic because even though the noise is present it does not overtake the image details, but, once you reach ISO 102,400 the blur is heavily pronounced and yet again, you should avoid this level.

Before we move to the next section, I’d like to inform you that this camera is fantastic for sports photography, and also for landscape photography because the colors are impressive, so as you can see, you will have a freedom to improve and switch your shooting style according to the situation.

In the end, the 5D Mark IV records 4K videos at 24/30 fps, 720p videos at 120fps, and 1080p videos at 60 fps, and if we compare it to Nikon D810 video capabilities, without a doubt I can conclude that 5D IV Mark performs better thanks to its ability to shoot 4K videos.

Feature Comparison

Nikon D810 Canon 5D Mark IV
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
36.3
30.4
ISO Range
64–12,800; 32-51,200
100-32,000; 50-102,400
Flip-Out Screen
No
No
AF Points
51 AF points
61 AF points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
Yes
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
Full-Frame
Full-Frame

Conclusion

By now, I’m sure that you already felt when I said at the beginning that choosing the better camera wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world. Although they are similar to each other, at some key aspects the Nikon D810 beats the Canon 5D Mark IV, and vice-versa.

In order to simplify the answer, I will try to make a head to head comparison and reveal where each of them beats the other so that you will have a better insight.

For example, the 5D Mark IV has a Dual-Pixel AF system, records 4K videos, has a better continuous shooting rate (7 vs 5), offers more autofocus points (61 vs 51 respectively), it is Wi-Fi + NFC-enabled, qualities that can’t be found on the Nikon D810.

On the other side, the Nikon D810 has a better image sensor (36.3MP vs 30.4MP), has a better battery life ( 1200 shots per battery charge vs 900), and costs less than the 5D Mark IV which may be more adequate for some users.

Overall, I think that the Canon 5D Mark IV is better, but either way, feel free to choose the one that you find the best according to your preferences and budget.