on the verge: 5DMkII to D800 - advice request

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Registered: Oct 05, 2009
Total Posts: 636
Country: Korea, South

Hi. Looking for advice from those who took plunge from 5DMkII to D800. Currently have Canon with best primes set: 24L, 50L, 85L, 135L, 200L (2.8) and 100L Macro. Taking picture for fun, pretty much everything from landscapes, macros to street candid. Why I want to switch? Simple, never tried Nikon and the new D800 seems much better than Canon 5DMkIII which is similar in IQ to the one I have. My concerns:
1) lack of equivalent lenses, I love using fast primes, will Nikon lenses make me happy?
2) MF using D800 VF, I have EG-S screen on 5DMkII which makes it much easier to MF
3) interpolating live view, I am using it for most of macro shots, Canon implementation seems better here
Considering all those, what is your advice:
A) are you crazy? you got great set up, forget the switch, learn how to take better pictures
B) go for it! D800 will make you regret you waited that long to switch!
Thank you for any constructive advice, prefer to listen to those who actually use both, but any other advice is welcome.

Registered: Nov 29, 2003
Total Posts: 789
Country: United States

A. I think overall Nikon is weaker in the lens department. What specifically do you NEED from the d800?
If you just want something new that's OK too.

Registered: Oct 05, 2009
Total Posts: 636
Country: Korea, South

What do I need? I am not unhappy with Canon, with the lenses I have I am the weakest link. I long for larger MP count, better DR, cleaner shadows and seems to me the next Canon to fit this bill will be here in 2015, maybe...As I have no clue about Nikon lenses, can I reasonably hope for similar lineup I have now? If not, whole exercise is pointless, I rather have 6 great lenses, than 1 great body.

Registered: Jun 20, 2012
Total Posts: 226
Country: United States

I donít have any firsthand experience with either camera, but thatís a sideways move that isnít likely to improve the quality of your photographs. In fact, it may be a step backwards since youíll be much less familiar with the performance and behavior of your new camera and lenses, regardless of which camera has better specs.

Registered: Nov 26, 2010
Total Posts: 1900
Country: United States

The Nikon 135 seems to get a lot of complaints from Nikon shooters and a lot of former Canon shooters say it's what they miss most about Canon.


Bruce Sawle
Registered: Sep 26, 2006
Total Posts: 4236
Country: United States

The lenses you have will be hard to replace. The nikon 24 is better than the Canon but the rest on your list cannot be matched. The canon, 85, and 135 have no equivalent in the Nikon camp. The 50L all be it not perfect is far better then any Nikon. The Sigma 50 is the only 50 that is close to the L. The 100L from all I have read is the best in its class. The Nikon equivalent is very good but is a bit older than the canon and could use a refresh. I assume the 200L is the f2.8 version nikon equivelent would be the 180f2.8 which is a very good lens but a smidge behind the canon and obviously not the same focal length. From a body perspective the sensor technology of the Nikon is incredible and the autofocus is better than any other Nikon I have shot with the exceptin of the D4. I can't comment on the 5dMKIII as I have not used one. If glass is your priority it would be hard to switch. Hope this helps.

Registered: Oct 05, 2009
Total Posts: 636
Country: Korea, South

One of the reason I am considering the switch is the statements like: combo of 5DMKIII + 50L will give worse IQ, compared to D800+ 50.4G, as many seems to believe that great camera can even mediocre lens shine. I always though good glass made the difference. Am I wrong here?

Registered: Apr 10, 2004
Total Posts: 1355
Country: United States

Go to a camera store and get "Hands On" or rent a D800 or better yet D800e before you buy.
I personally like everything better about Nikon, you may not.

Even mediocre glass works better on my D800 than other cameras.
My current favorite is the AF-S Nikkor 28-300 VR which I used on my D5100 and D7000 and now the D600.
My 17-35, 28-70, and 70-200 are only marginally better. I only use them in extreme low light.

Registered: Apr 19, 2012
Total Posts: 2837
Country: United States

I am tempted to say - A) are you crazy? you got great set up, forget the switch, learn how to take better pictures.

However, I think you can get f/1.4 thru f/2 lens in the focal lengths you mentioned. With the D800 and those top notch Nikon primes, you maybe able to move your photography up a few more steps. It is always a discovery process and usually the weakest link is the operator. The extra DR and MPx will definitely help.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Registered: Dec 01, 2004
Total Posts: 1648
Country: United States

Why bother you are going to loose a lot of $ moving for little gain unless you are printing beyond 24".

Jammy Straub
Registered: Jan 28, 2007
Total Posts: 6869
Country: United States

1) You're going to miss the 50L & 85L. The Nikon 50 f/1.4G is good, nothing spectacular. The 85mm f/1.4G is excellent, it renders much differently than the 85L.

2) Don't plan on accurately MF'ing f/1.4 lenses using any of the default screens. They are optimized for brightness not DOF accuracy.

3) Nikon's live view is junk. No reason to mince words, it's behind the times and the implementation is nearly first generation basic.

A) Are you crazy, enjoy your lenses and get a 5DIII and enjoy the better AF than your 5DII.

Registered: Dec 26, 2011
Total Posts: 101
Country: United States

If you are happy with your lens investment, get the Mark III or better yet 1D-X. The high iso will be about the same, autofocus will be about the same, image quality will be about the same. I am happy with my Nikon 2.8 zooms and primes.

I have Nikon D4, D3s, D700

Graham Mitchell
Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Total Posts: 3922
Country: Ukraine

I had a 5DII as my backup camera to medium format, and now I have the D800. I definitely do prefer the D800 to the 5D but as I have just started collecting lenses, I am unable to comment about the relative quality. The 24-70 f2.8 seems at least as good as the Canon MkI equivalent. It's hard to compare really because the D800 does demand more from lenses.

If Nikon would just come out with a killer 85mm f1.2, with fast AF, there is basically nothing I would be missing. A superfast and sharp 50mm wouldn't be a bad thing either.

Registered: May 02, 2005
Total Posts: 13004
Country: United States

My opinion: If you can't take great pictures with your current gear, you aren't going to get great pictures with ANY gear. Even if there were a SLIGHT improvement in technical capabilities of the D800...unless you are printing like 60" wide prints regularly, you will never see it in use.

Hell, I switched from Canon FF to micro 4/3, and I don't see any tangible difference in technical output (and my photography has improved because I have more fun with my gear now). The minute differences in the 5DII vs the D800 are just not going to be seen in the vast majority of prints, or in a web reduction (or even a 1080p TV displayed image).

Registered: Jul 14, 2004
Total Posts: 1890
Country: United States

I am coming from a 5D2 and 1DS3. I added the Nikon D800 because Canon wasn't innovating or offering any real improvements in technology for fashion/landscape oriented work.

One day of trial with a camera is not enough for me, it takes a while to get a feel for a camera. The Nikon ergonomics are not bad or worse than Canon but they are different and it might take a while to get used to it.

Live view implementation is pretty bad, I used live view often with the 1DS3 and I hardly use live view anymore since I shoot mostly with the D800. But, I don't really miss it.

Make sure you get a good unit, some of the D800s have AF issues, apparently Nikon has resolved this tho.

As for lenses, yes you might not be able to duplicate your Canon lens set but it will push you to think and shoot in a different way. I was only using primes on Canons and when I switched to Nikon, by default I've been using a zoom. When you don't have the option of opening the aperture to 1.0, you "see" differently. It's not a bad thing.

I've added the 70mm Sigma macro, phenomenally sharp lens. Highly recommended with the D800. I've owned the Canon L macros except for the 65MM MPE and Canon does not do the best macros. Sigma and Tamron both offer macros that can out-resolve Canon. I have no experience with the Nikon 105 macro but the Sigma is just superb.

For candids, the pop up flash is very convenient. Some people knock it as a feature that's not "pro" enough but it's come in handy for snapshots, family gatherings, not everything has to be professionally lit and it's good to have the option to add light.

For your purposes, you could get the D800, 14-24, 24-70, Sigma 70 or 150 or 180 macro and have most situations covered. The extra resolution, clean shadows and DR latitude FAR exceed the 5D2.

Registered: Nov 26, 2010
Total Posts: 1900
Country: United States

If you do go zooms I think you'll be really pleased with the Nikon zooms.


Registered: Jan 27, 2002
Total Posts: 8515
Country: United States

I made the switch and the features on the camera and image quality makes especially the superior dynamic range makes me happy I made the switch. I had owned almost every Canon lens at one time or another. Canon overall still has the advantage. Here is my take.

Nikon advantage: 1) 14-24-- best wide angle zoom in terms of corner to corner sharpness but prone to flare. I tried so many copies of the canon 16-35 vI and vII. Never satisfied.
2) 105mm VR macro--- the bokeh on this lens, color just blows the canon macro
3) 24-70mm/2.8 killer zoom (but now the canon 24-70II could be on par)
4) 24-120mm/4 VR much better in terms of corner to corner sharpness and distortion vs Canon24-105
5) Nikon 45mm PCE vs Canon 45mm TSE-- the former is really sharp and can serve as macro

Canon advantage :1) Canon 24mm TSEII... better than Nikon 24mm PC many reasons. Of course no 17mm TSE to compare
2) Canon 70-200mm/4 L IS-- NO NIKON Equivalent. This would be a lens I wish Nikon would make.
3) Canon 300mm/4 L IS.. lack of VR on Nikon equivalent (both optically good)
4) Canon now with lighter weight super teles. My Nikon 500mm is really sharp but never directly compared with the Canon
5) As mentioned--- Canon 85mm/1.2 and 135mm/2--- No comparison with Nikon equivalent. Zeiss is coming out with a 135mm/2 in both Canon and Nikon format. BTW i was never impressed with the Nikon or Canon 50mm options. I am a huge fan of the zeiss 50mm/2 macro as both a macro and regular lens.

Registered: Aug 06, 2010
Total Posts: 991
Country: United States

I love my D800, but in your case I would not switch. Especially since you have so many excellent lenses that you like and are used to. The lenses are the main ingredient in an image (aside from the photographer). Cameras have become disposable. What are you going to do if the 5DMk4 is better than the D810, sell all your Nikon lenses and buy the Canon lenses back?

Regarding your primes, you would be happy with the 24G, you'll adjust to the 85G, you will deeply miss your 50 and 135mm lenses, and there is no Nikon 200/2.8 (you'd have the old screw-driven 180/2.8).

Registered: Dec 14, 2005
Total Posts: 4385
Country: United States

There is no 50g f/1.2 to replace the 50L, and the 50 f/1.4g has enough negative press to make me avoid it. Not that I like 50mm anyway, I always tended to see it as an 85mm without the same bokeh capacity.

24G and 35G seem to be extremely popular for Nikon, and if I wasn't putting my Canon-to-Nikon migration on hold, I would be in the process of waiting for a 35 f/1.4G to arrive in the mail right now.

I wouldn't miss the 135 much because I NEVER USE IT...no matter how great the optics are (flare sucks though), a lens that never gets used is much worse to own than one that does. Nikon's 135 gets mixed reviews...

Never owned 100 macro or 200L.

Nikon's array of lenses is comparatively not as desirable as Canon's IMO...I own 24L, 35L, 50L, 85L, 135L primes and a few L zooms. 50L and 135L are interesting lenses in their own right...but I don't think I would ever miss that damned 50L because I haven't ever been able to learn to like it.

Steve Beck
Registered: Sep 22, 2006
Total Posts: 959
Country: United States

1.2 and 1.4 primes really aren't going to help with landscape and marginal street stuff. Ill take. Nikon 1.4 or 1.8 prime and my d800 anyday for shooting people an low light handheld. Otherwise for street and landscape I'm usually using my 16-35 or 24-120/4 and my trusty 70-300.

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