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Nikon D810 vs Canon 5DS


The Nikon 810 and the Canon EOS 5DS are two closely related, professional full-frame DSLR cameras that have appeared on the market in July 2014 and February 6, 2015 respectively, but throughout their existence, they have gained significant popularity because they are often a primary arsenal of hundreds of photographers on the market , which definitely says a lot regarding their quality.

In this article, after I’ve received numerous demands by my audience to make an in-depth overview regarding these cameras, I’ve decided to agree because cameras are my hobby and way of life, and why would I disagree to make a comparison of these cameras that are well-known on the market?

Before we even start, keep in mind that both cameras are very strong, and we may not decide which one wins the battle from the beginning, and that’s why, I’d advise you read this article closely because I will be revealing their pros, cons and how they would boost your shooting experience if you ever decide to purchase the first or the latter camera.

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Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D810

The Nikon 810 features a black-finished, magnesium-alloy body that measures 4.9 x 5.8 x 3.3″ (HWD), weighs less than 2 pounds without a lens and has an ergonomically shaped grip that will offer you a truly comfortable hold and convenient shooting exactly as you’d like!

In addition, Nikon has incorporated a dust and moisture sealing as well which I absolutely favor, because by having a weather-sealed camera, you will have a complete freedom to shoot under various weather conditions, hence, I have to admit that Nikon deserves our credit here.

Speaking of the control layout, well, I like it because it is well-organized, and each button is positioned in a way that you can easily access and adjust the camera according to your preferences.

A depth of field button, programmable FN control and a control dial are set on the front-right hand side of the body, while on the left, there is a Bracket button, Flash release button, Focus toggle lever and a flash power compensation control button.

On the top, you can find a Drive mode control which will grant you access to adjust the White Balance, Metering pattern, ISO and the image quality, and at the top-center, there’s a hot shoe. Also on the top, an Information backlight screen will keep you informed regarding the modes you’re currently reviewing.

On the rear, the left side is occupied by an array of buttons, whereas, on the top and right, there are more buttons as well, but what’s interesting is that they are well-designed, hence, they will never change your focus while you’re shooting through the viewfinder and the screen. Instead, they will help you take advantage of them in a smooth and quick fashion.

For your information, the viewfinder is a solid glass pentaprism that distributes up to 100% of coverage, and has an improved coating that will help you have a clear sight even if you’re shooting under bright sunlight.

Slightly below, a large, 3.2″, 1,22k-dot display with RGBW alignment will await you, and throughout your shooting sessions, it will aid you to achieve uncompromised results, however, I would like it even more if it wasn’t fixed because the lack of flexibility may contribute to having less chances in order to shoot from more complicated angles. Otherwise, visuals look fantastic and I think that you will be satisfied.

It takes great photos of colorful things. My hobby is cooking, and i use the D810 as my food photography camera

Moving on, the connection options include an HDMI-mini port, USB 3.0 port, built-in stereo microphone, dual SD card slots – one supports SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, while the other supports CompactFlash memory, and unfortunately, the D810 lacks Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/NFC support. Honestly, I really think that Nikon could do a better job here, because for the price you pay you definitely deserve more.

Performance-wise, the D810 comes armed with a 36.3MP FX-format, full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter, EXPEED 4 image-processing image, has a 51-point AF system with 3D Color Matrix Metering, ISO range that stretches from 64-12,800 but you can expand it up to 32-51,200 and a continuous shooting speed of 5 fps!

Once you start shooting, I’m sure that you will understand why photographers like this camera. To be more precise, pictures are filled with vibrant colors and noise is most of the time well controlled throughout the ISO range.

For instance, images look strong and are usable when taken in low light at ISO 3200, whereas, at ISO 6400, JPEGs have a bit of chroma noise, but what’s cool is that the overall definition of the details is strong and you will unlikely notice a huge decrease in terms of the quality.

Starting from ISO 25,600, blur starts to overtake the image quality, especially this is pronounced at the details, and at ISO 25,600 and 51,200 the noise is strong enough to be avoided.

On the contrary, RAW format images look crisp even at ISO 25,600, however, keep in mind that although the details are preserved, images look grainy, and at ISO 51,200 this is revealed in a harsh manner, hence, I’d recommend you avoid it.

If you’ve been asking yourself regarding the video quality, the D810 records Full HD 1080p videos at 60/50/30/25/24fps, 720p videos at 60/50fps, and sadly, you won’t have an option to record 4K videos. Either way, the footage is strong and has some pro-level features that will surely boost your experience when you opt to record videos.

Nikon D810 Sample Images:

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Canon 5DS

From a design perspective, the Canon EOS 5DS sports a durable, magnesium-alloy construction that is furtherly protected by a weather-sealing which definitely comes handy because as was the case with the D810, you can taste the benefits of shooting under different circumstances without any problem!

Furthermore, this unit measures 4.6 x 6 x 3″ (HWD) and weighs approximately 2.5 pounds and here, you can notice that on the contrary to the D810, this camera is a bit more compact, but the difference isn’t extreme that may affect your shooting experience, so, the result remains a tie.

If you take a closer look at the body, you will also notice that the front grip is deep and has a textured, rubber-like coating of which you will benefit a lot especially if you’re shooting for a longer period of time since during and after your photo sessions, the camera will remain steady in your hands and you will not feel tired at all!

On the top plate, you can find a hot shoe that sits on the center, an Information LCD screen that is followed by 4 dedicated buttons, FN button, shutter release and a dial, whereas, on the other side, there is a single-mode that will give you a fast route to multiple options including the Aperture Priority, Shutter priority, Manual, and Bulb.

On the rear, the control layout is nearly identical to the D8100, because you will see that buttons are set in a very similar fashion. On the left, there is an array of button, a few other buttons on the top that sit in-between the viewfinder, as well as more buttons that occupy the right side of the body.

For your information, the EOS 5DS employs a fairly large optical viewfinder that covers up to 100% of the scene and it is bright enough to keep you focused on the target you intend to capture, while slightly below, there is 3.2″ LCD, 1040k-dot touchscreen that lacks touch sensitivity and flexibility.

In terms of the connection options, this model houses a 3.5mm stereo jack, USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, dual memory card slots that support CompactFlash and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and as was the case with the D810, this camera also lacks Wi-Fi and GPS support. This time, Canon could have done a better job considering the price tag of the camera!

Performance-wise, the EOS 5DS packs an impressive 50.6MP full-frame CMOS sensor, 61-point high-density AF with up to 41 cross-type Af points, Scene Detection System that combines a 150,000-pixel RGB along with an IR Metering sensor, continuous shooting rate of 5 fps, and a native ISO range of 100-6400 that can be expanded to 50-12,800!

In practice, this camera will let you see what you’ve missed with your existing camera, because the overall image quality is excellent indeed! Also, I have to admit that the inclusion of the RGB + IR metering system results in achieving great results at gaining the right exposure by the subject that is set under the AF point, and this leads to easily capture the rest of the scene without any problem!

In addition, the EOS 5DS controls the noise throughout the ISO sensitivity levels pretty good.

Namely, when shooting JPG pictures at ISO 6400, the noise isn’t pronounced in a way that could decrease the quality of the image, but still, it is there, while at ISO 12,800, the noise is becoming more prominent which is normal. In both cases, images are usable and both, the color accuracy and details are preserved pretty well although at ISO 12,800 the quality of the image is more affected than the details.

At lower ISO, let’s say at ISO 3200, details are getting affected by the noise but interesting enough, details do not lose their quality like it is the case with some cameras on the market.

Before we move to the next section, I’d like you to know that you can shoot RAW images as well, but keep in mind that at ISO 400 and ISO 800, the luminance noise is more pronounced in darker toned areas, and at highest settings, RAW formats look better than the JPGs for sure.

Finally, the Canon EOS 5DS lacks 4K capability and honestly, I wonder why is that! Regardless, you will be able to record Full HD at 30/25/24 fps, HD videos at 60/50fps, and even though the footage looks good, the EOS 5DS underperforms in comparison to the D810 which records 1080p videos at 60 fps!

Canon 5DS Sample Images:

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Nikon D810 vs Canon 5DS Feature Comparison

  Nikon D810 Canon 5DS
Camera Type DSLR DSLR
Megapixels 36.3 50.6
ISO Range 32-51,200;32-51,200 100-6400;50-12,800
Flip-Out Screen No No
AF Points 51 AF points 61 AF Points
Viewfinder Yes Yes
Touchscreen No No
Video Recording Yes Yes
Sensor Size CMOS APS-C

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In the end, I’d like to note that this review was very interesting because both cameras demand to be completely revealed especially when it comes to their key aspect since both of them are very similar to each other, of course, with some differences that must be said.

For instance, the Canon EOS 5DS has a stronger sensor than its opponent ( 50.6MP vs 36.3), better AF system ( 61-point vs 51-point), has a larger ISO range, however, the D810 is a way more affordable and outputs better results at recording videos.

If we dig deeper, the advantages the EOS 5DS brings to you is that you may see more details, the camera controls the moiré really good thanks to its anti-alias filter, and has a larger viewfinder with a higher magnification than the D810.

On the contrary, Nikon D810 outputs a better image quality, has a better LCD screen ( 122k-dots vs 1040k-dots), packs a headphone port and records 1080p videos at 60 fps which makes it better in terms of video recording, and let’s not forget its battery life that lets you record 1200 shots compared to 700 on a single charge.

If you ask me, I’d go for the D810 because it is cost-effective and outputs a very strong performance that makes it good enough to compete not only with the EOS 5DS but also with some of the high-end cameras on the market.

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