Canon 5D Mk II vs Nikon D800 Noise Comparison

Here’s a very quick and dirty test I recently set up for photographer Gina Glover comparing her 3+ year old 5D Mark II and her newly acquired Nikon D800.

For anyone that’s interested I used a 550EX Flashgun on the Canon and an SB800 for the Nikon tests. If you want to take a look at any of the RAW files email [email protected]

If there’s a lot of interest I’ll set up a permanent page – but for now just let me know what you’d like and I’ll send them out through our page (which you can also use to send images to our Digital Department for printing).

I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining what you can see, all the images here are crops from TIFFs which were exported from Lightroom and then stuck together in Photoshop and saved as lvl12 JPEGS with no corrections applied. The some of the images from the D800 are slightly brighter and so it gets a little advantage from the start, I’m going to blame this on the different power outputs from the strobes and the fact that I was in a rush when I did the test.

I gave it some thought and decided that the easiest and fairest way to present the tests were to downsize the D800 images to that of the MarkII. While it gives the Nikon an advantage, my opinion is that this gives us the best like for like comparison.

Canon Left, Nikon Right

Click on the images to see the full size images…

5DIIvsD800 ISO100 5DIIvsD800 ISO200
ISO 100 ISO 200
5DIIvsD800 ISO400 5DIIvsD800 ISO100
ISO 800 ISO 1600
5DIIvsD800 ISO1600 5DIIvsD800 ISO3200
ISO 1600 ISO 3200
5DIIvsD800 ISO6400
ISO 6400

Both cameras are great, right up to ISO6400. As for the winner? I’ll leave it up to you to decide but I think the 3 year old camera stands up very well against the newer D800. It’s never going to be a truly fair test, the Canon is older and the Nikon is working with many more pixels. If pushed I think the Nikon possibly has the edge.


I can’t wait to get my hands on a Canon 5D MarkIII…