Canon 1DX vs Nikon D4

Canon 1DX vs Nikon D4 - Photo


After a decade of shooting professionally with Nikon cameras, Matt is thinking of switching to Canon…

Recently Matt and our good friend Jamieson of Jamieson Dean Photography, two international award winning Toronto Wedding Photographers compared the Nikon D4 with Canon’s new 1DX camera. Matthew Boyce, as most know is the main photographer and head of Xero Digital. Always happy with Nikon’s camera bodies in-past, the new D4 left Matt bothered by what seemed to be a step backwards for Nikon in the form of a green lcd screen that made colour difficult to judge. After hearing much praise about Canon’s new 1DX camera, Matt decided to buy both and compare them. The decision is a big one for a wedding photographer with a decade worth of experience and collection of lenses and flashes…



Canon 1DX Nikon D4

Matt and Jamieson put both cameras through a series of head to head tests & comparisons, including:

  • High ISO Raw image noise
  • Low-Light Auto Focus
  • Auto Focus Speed
  • Auto Focus Consistency
  • Highlight & Shadow Recovery
  • Screen Colour & White Balance


One of the burning questions that many photographers and tech-junkies want to know is: Which camera is cleaner at high ISO’s? We’re going to publish the first part of our test, which is the high-iso studio scene  comparison. Below is a series of shots of the exact same scene, under the exact same conditions, with the exact same camera settings for all images. These are 100% crops of iso800 through to the very max iso. They were shot RAW, processed in Lightroom 4 with all sharpening and noise reduction set to zero. The images were then output to the same resolution (12mp) for comparison, then re-imported into lightroom.

For a link to a zip file containing all of the original RAW files,  click here!



After comparing the sets of images in Lightroom and comparing the two cameras, there wasn’t exactly a clear winner. The Nikon D4 seemed to have cleaner highlights, while the Canon 1Dx appeared to have better contrast and possibly cleaner shadows. In the end, if we have to award a point here and pick a winner, it’s the Nikon D4 – by a hair. Still, the Canon 1Dx still has slightly more pleasing colour and overall image tone.



One important factor of a camera to wedding photographers is how well it can focus in low light situations. Both churches and reception venues have a tendency to be dark by design. It’s crucial that our camera can focus in these situations both quickly and accurately.
This was an extremely simple and quick test for us to perform. Both Matt and Jamieson stood beside one another, picked the same target, and continued to shoot as we continuously dimmed the lights. Both cameras performed incredibly well, blowing away expectations, however there was one clear winner; the Nikon D4. The 1Dx just couldn’t grab focus in the final stages of dimming the lights. The Nikon D4 wasn’t snapping into focus at lighting speeds by any means, but after a few pumps of the AF button it would finally grab focus and snap.
Jamieson, who has used pretty much every Canon body released in the last few years did note that the 1Dx is a huge step forward for Canon in this regard. It should be noted that in 2011, Matt and Jamieson held a similar test comparing Jamieson’s Canon 1D Mark IV with Matt’s Nikon D3s. In that test, it was pathetically clear that Canon had very poor AF performance in low light with the 1D Mark IV. This poor low light AF actually sparked an inverted scenario to the one we have today; It was Jamieson who was considering switching from Canon to Nikon. Now here we are over a year later, and though the Nikon D4 just edged out the Canon 1Dx in this area, Jamieson is officially giving the 1Dx a big thumbs up for the improvement over it’s predecessor.



Fast AF is imperative for wedding photojournalism. Since much of what we do consists of this style of shooting, this can determine whether or not we catch a moment. It’s when we see that bridesmaid doing a spontaneous drunken touchdown dance in the corner of our peripheral vision, who will certainly stop when we point our lens at her. It’s the fly that the best man thought was a bee. It’s that couple laughing before they realize your lens is pointed at them and they instinctively stop, put their heads together and smile as if to say “no candid shots of us”. If a camera’s AF is too slow, none of these moments will ever become images.
In order to determine which system had the faster AF, Matthew and Jamieson took the cameras to the roof, finding two targets; one near, and one far. They bounced the focus from the near to the far, snapping a succession of images as quickly as the cameras would let them. The lenses used were the newest 70-200 f2.8 II image stabilized lenses from both Canon and Nikon, which are the lenses most likely to be used in a photojournalism scenario, and generally offer the fastest AF.
The previous tests were close to call. This wasn’t. The Canon 1Dx ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED the Nikon D4 in the AF speed test. It was almost three times faster than the Nikon. Where the D4 was yielding an average of just under one image per second, the 1Dx was handily snapping three. Even more telling was the hesitation that the Nikon D4 seemed to display, at times not knowing if it should continue to focus forward, or head back. In contrast, the Canon 1Dx just ripped it to shreds, launching it’s AF like a shotgun, sure and confident, every time.
Matt, who has over a decade of experience with Nikon cameras & lenses was absolutely blown away by the Canon performance here. He echoed himself over and over again for hours afterward, saying “I can’t believe how fast that Canon can drive those lenses…”
A clear winner in the Canon 1Dx



I’m going to skip the explanation as to why this is important to a wedding photographer, and assume a certain level of reader intellect.
Now, one might assume that if I said that one camera was more consistent, that it wins, right? Unfortunately, this test yielded results that were not so cut & dry…
This test was performed using two of the most popular top-end portrait lenses, the Nikon 85mm f1.4-G, and the Canon 85mm f1.2 L II. We wanted to shoot wide-open, however since the Canon lens offers an extra 1/3 stop over the Nikon, Jamieson and Matt set both to f1.4. A succession of 12 images was shot with each with the goal being to hit the subjects eye as accurately and often as possible. We figured this would be easy if we simply took the 12 images from each, opened the files in Lightroom, and counted how many each camera delivered with the eyes in focus. It wasn’t that easy.


The Nikon D4 delivered 12 of 12 images in-focus. 100%.
The Canon 1Dx gave us 9 images in focus, 1 on the nose, and two on the ears.


So, where’s the confusion? Well, when we describe what is “in-focus”, it looks like the Canon 1Dx has a different definition of the term. Those 9 images that the 1Dx delivered in-focus absolutely destroyed the Nikon D4 in terms of detail and accuracy. In fact, that one that hit the nose seemed to be a bit more like what we saw from the D4 in every shot.

We stopped the lenses down to f3.2 & f3.5 in order to gain a bit more depth of field and give the camera’s no excuse by way of lens softness. The story was the same; the Canon just delivered sharper, clearer images than the Nikon.

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We performed this test with the 70-200mm lenses as well. Similar results. The Nikon seems “consistently good”, while the Canon is “more often great”.
Forcing Matt and Jamieson to pick a black & white winner with such grey results, both picked the same winner:
Without hesitation, the 1Dx.



We shoot Raw. What this means is that there’s generally a little wiggle room in post production if we want to change the colour, sharpness, and in particular the exposure of an image. Sometimes we choose to grab a shot before we have the chance to set the ideal settings on the camera. The dynamic range of a camera is what determines how much headroom we will have in a file, and therefore how far off our shot settings can be before it becomes unsalvageable.
First Matt and Jamieson shot the same scene overexposed by about three stops. When bringing the raw files into Lightroom and dropping the exposure by three stops, both cameras performed exceptionally. The resulting image was void of any highlight clipping or colour channel clipping on the subject. Incredible.

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The shadow recovery test was a different story altogether…

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We’ve heard that the Nikon D4 has a more advanced analog to digital converter, which places the ADC on-chip and preserves analog signal by digitizing it earlier in the processing chain. In contrast, the Canon’s analog signal from the sensor has to travel a bit farther to a separate processor to become digital. This means that the analog signal, having farther to travel, is more susceptible to picking up noise before it becomes digital. Signal to noise.

How does this geek talk translate to shadow recovery?  That deep shadow noise that you don’t see in a normal image becomes more obvious when the exposure is pushed a few stops in-post. When examining a shot that was underexposed, then rescued by pushing it three or four stops, the Nikon D4 showed a clear advantage over the Canon 1Dx. There was noticeably more noise in the 1Dx shadows after the rescue, whereas the Nikon D4 still maintained a very clean image.

Shadow recovery: Win for Nikon, though it should be noted that Matt actually still preferred the overall look and colour of the Canon image, even after the shadow recovery.  Jamieson disagrees, and has given Nikon a full point for this.



As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the bone that Matt has to pick with Nikon is over the greenish colour cast present on both the Nikon D4 LCD screen as well as its images. After using a handful of Nikon’s top end cameras over the past decade, this is the first time Matt has seen an issue like this with any Nikon camera. Matt is not alone in noticing this issue with the Nikon D4, as a simple internet search will instantly reveal many others complaining of the same green screen issue. Matt has actually called Nikon about the issue and feels that Nikon may have been a bit coy in their response when they claimed that this was the first they have heard of it, and boldly claimed that the D4 has a more actuate screen than its predecessors. Maybe Nikon doesn’t have the internet?

Needless to say, the greenish cast that the Nikon D4 exhibits is enough of an issue to put Matt into a big decision scenario; stay with Nikon or switch to Canon? Though there have been reports and claims of fixes and work-arounds to counter the green screen issue, we found that none have been effective in resolving it. Canon has an incredibly enticing system in the 1DX…is it enough to sway Matt away from his beloved Nikon system after over a decade of professional loyalty?



Check out the video review with Jamieson and Matt, where Matt makes his decision!

A head to head comparison between the two flagship cameras. In the end, a decision is made!


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Join the Conversation


  1. Thank you for posting the comparison. It seems your mind if not your heart is set: the 1Dx is the one for you! But I have to ask about the AF accuracy test: did you fine-tune the Nikon 85 1.4 before doing the test? The image you show is definitely out of focus, not by a wide margin, but not by an acceptable one either. It would be known if the Nikon was that bad at focusing – it’s hard to believe that you would be the only one to have noticed. Hence I’m wondering if there was not something else at play, and the need to fine focus the lens is the obvious potential “culprit”.

    I totally agree about the Canon in general focusing faster than their Nikon counterparts. I’ve not tried a D4 or 1DX but this is certainly true of other cameras I’ve tried. On the other end Canon trends to be not quite as precise as the Nikon, hence (again) my comment above. This is being said the “nervous” way Canon dSLRs focus is just sweet.

    You comment several times on contrast and color. Are these contrast and colors obtained by leaving the cameras on their default settings? There may be a way to adjust the settings to get the colors you like.

    About the low light focusing abilities of the D4? Is this a comparison of the center point? The results may be the same with a crossed sensor other than the central one, and the 1DX may even best the D4 if you were using a non-crossed sensor on this camera (both have non-crossed sensors, the D4 has more of these so I’m talking about the possibility that you would be picking a crossed sensor on the 1DX which would match a non-crossed sensor on the D4).

    Again, interesting review written by “true” users. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Nice review guys, I much prefer this type of review as opposed to a bunch of graphs and figures. Testing in the real world is much more helpful. As a wildlife photography Ive been using 5DII and 1DIII and for a while have been thinking of switching to Nikon on my next upgrade. Then when the 1DX was announced I kept my fingers crossed. Its looking like I can now stay with Canon.
    Thanks for the great review.

  3. Great test, same conclusion like mine 🙂 I have been shooting Canon forever (not quite but since 1999) and just this February I decided to go to Nikon for the sake of sharper lenses and better built bodies. My expectations from a pro level camera got me with a D4 in my hands and after shooting with it for 3 months, all of the reasons that made you switch, made me go back to my first love, Canon. I am now shooting 5d3 and find it to be much more accurate in WB and color rendition especially in artificial lighting. Not to mention the lcd calibration…

  4. Very interesting review. Good work on the side-by-sides.

    As for the last test (shadow and highlight recovery), the D4 most likely produces an image that’s cleaner because of the forced noise reduction they apply to the raw files. Nikon has been known to cook their raws since the days of D70s and D200s so this isn’t a surprise. Some NR on the Canon file should yield comparable, if not better, results.

  5. can you guys do the same test with the D800 and the D5 Mk 3, would be very interesting given that so many more people will be buying cameras at that price point

  6. About the nikon D4’s focus speed,

    Set ‘a2 AF-S priority selection’ to “Release ”
    you will see that the camera focuses a lot faster!

    I don’t know why this fixes it, but from my experience – it works

    (this is the same for he D3s. D3 doesn’t need it)

  7. Hi. Thank you. Your comparison is great and very helpful!

    Nikon recently released a firmware update 1.02 for the D4 that may have fixed the green lcd screen. For some reason the update is on the Nikon Europe site and not on the Nikon USA site :(. Here’s a link to the firmware:

    I have both the D4 and the 1DX and my findings are similar to yours. I primarily shoot action/sports photography. When shooting fast action sports, I get about twice as many keeper shots in focus with the D4 than I do with the 1DX.

    However, when the 1DX hits it’s really astonishing and the detail in the shot is much better than the D4. I think this is due to the lens characteristics of each brand. Nikon’s 70-200g lens tends to be sharper across the frame at all apertures while Canon’s 70-200L lens has enormous bokeh and better center sharpness when open or near wide open.

    However, even at F/8, with me perfectly focusing on the subject the 1DX will occasionally miss focus and be blurry. The Nikon is never blurry with perfect subject focus and an aperture of F/8.

    I’ve also noticed the 1DX tends to underexpose, especially in low light situations. This destroys the shot. I’ve tried AE compensation but that tends to really overexpose or over saturate the colors. However, when the exposure on the 1DX is correct (with lots of natural light in the shot) the picture is amazing and much better than the D4. This is a clear camera difference and it’s tough to for me to pick a winner. The D4 is reliable whereas the 1DX is like the lottery.

    If you can afford to lose a shot then the 1DX is a great gamble. However, the D4 produces the second best images on the planet second only to the 1DX, that too only when the 1DX hits the lottery.

    I ran the same autofocus speed tests and noticed the 1DX and D4 were very close in autofocus speed. However, my settings may have affected this. My autofocus speed test:
    1) was shot indoors in low light
    2) focused on a near subject and then a far subject
    3) used the 70-200 top end lenses from both brands
    4) did not use tracking on either camera
    5) Canon settings were Case 2: all set to 2 for super speed and no subject track holding so autofocus should be instantaneous
    6) Nikon settings were Focus Tracking with lock-on: off so that the camera would focus on new subjects instantly just like the canon. If focus tracking is not turned off autofocus speed dropped largely (by design since it’s looking for the old subject before acquiring focus on a new subject). What were your autofocus settings on each camera? Canon’s settings make a big difference too in speed.
    7) I used 9 point area focus with no subject tracking.

    With these setting it was a tie in speed for me.

    If you use the D4 in Auto White Balance mode 2 the pictures are nearly as lush as the Canons. In fact in this mode the raw files are incredible and are MUCH better than Canon’s raws and jpegs. I think in either white balance mode Nikon is better at raw files. However, Canon kills Nikon when it comes to jpeg processing. I really don’t think Nikon cares about this because it expects it’s raw files to be awesome and be edited accordingly.

    It’s a tough call. I also think Nikon’s flash systems and lenses are superior to Canons so when you look at the systems overall it’s tough.

    If you must choose one and:
    1) your a pro
    2) assuming the green screen issue has been solved and people are reporting it’s been solved with firmware 1.02 above

    then I’d say… get the Nikon. The 1DX shows ultimate promise but it’s just too inconsistent for me.

    Maybe I’m wrong what do you think?

    Prem 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing a very interesting review of these giant bodies.

    I started with Nikon and moved to Canon and given your findings I expect Canon to pull some share at the top end in weddings and wildlife. I have only had my 1DX a few days but wow.

    It is great to see a review that concentrates on look and feel rather than numbers and technobabble.

  9. Please make your web content visible?
    Pale grey background
    Barely darker text

    I.e. basically unreadable?

  10. I have to echo Thierry and ask if the Nikon 85 might have been incorrectly calibrated.

    On all other points I agree and thank you guys for posting the review.

  11. No images are showing up on your web site, except for the ISO test. Hate this when it happens and I’ve never been able to figure it out! Awesome review though!

  12. Nikon continue to fail miserably by not fixing the Left AF issue on D4, D800, and D800E. Also don’t forget the green lcd. Nikon it appears have lost it’s touch and have been riding on it’s ego for quite some time, reason why they have so many defects and won’t acknowledge these defects.

    While Canon keeps on selling. This is not about brand loyalty. We the customers, must be loyal to our money.
    These big companies won’t fix unless many of speak up!

  13. There have been many who have shipped their D4, D800, D800E to get the AF fixed. Some have even shipped 3 – 4 times and yet still nothing to be heard from Nikon. People also remember that shipping these expensive cameras are not cheap, one has to also consider the Insurance cost.

    Does Nikon do not care about their customers who spend $1000s of dollars on their defected products?

  14. Message*The part of this puzzle you may be overlooking is the constant need for Canon lenses to be calibrated over and over and the maintenance they require. While it’s true that Canon’s files are beautiful, is that really worth the sacrifice for a wedding photographer who constantly shoots in low light, not for me.

  15. It seems as though you should stick with the Nikon. Youi seemed to have checked all the boxes with the Nikon. And yet is is cheaper to.

  16. Both CAMERA Are GOOD, But I Prefer: EOS 1DX , than Nikon D4 Because When I working A Cr2 file WITH DPP For a (1000 of pictures) it is more Practical Than Nx2 With Raw file & I love The Black colors of canon & so the White In Other ways you can manage the white Balance On Dpp CANON More Than Nx2 NIKON .

  17. Message*Im a Nikon Shooter. When developing NEF files in light room even with the 6.7 patch I have always found that Light room overexposes the image and gives the image an odd tint. I found the only way to get a 100% accurate JPEG is through Capture NX2 as this is a genuine nikon processor. Would have been nice to see the images processed with Capture NX2 and Canon’s equivalent software.

  18. why argue, buy both systems like most media companies do. we have both 1D, 5D and D4, D800 and let our staff choose. we have in total about 30 lens, half nikon half canon.

  19. I have been using my Nikon d4 for wedding for a few weeks now. I have shot two weddings with it and honestly, I didn’t find any evidence of the greenish color. I may have a good copy… Although I have heard about this problem myself as well. What I see is my Nikon D4 produces similar images to the Canon 1dx. I don’t think my brides and grooms would notice the difference if I would switch to Canon 1dx… 🙂 Great comparison though! Thanks for taking the time to put this together for us!

  20. If that were the case we could just do a jpeg test as it simply replicates the jpeg settings. There is a reason why all reputable camera review sites, including dpreview use Adobe to compare cross brand raw files. The reason being that is the most level playing field. The other reason is that in reality we use lightroom everyday to process our images.

  21. I was thinking about keeping my D3s as well. I do prefer it over the D4 for quite a few reasons. I wouldn’t upgrade at this point – Matt

  22. The exposure was the same on both (iso, speed and aperture) for all the tests. It was the resulting output brightness that differed.

  23. Nice comparison, love the real world test 10-1 over lab test. And much could have been considerd like suggested previously with calibrating lenses ( front / back focusing ) but I still believe you guys have more then sufficent experiece to spot such details if applicable or needed. I personally will not be using this highest end backs and went with a 5Dmk3. But I believe that in general all systems have some weaknesses despite lab conditions not pointing these important defferences out. What people might be missing here is that the D3s is still outstanding and no need to upgrade to the D4 because of white balance issue(s). And only if you might be in market or need for the latest greatest FF back might you consider the advantages of the 1Dx. And last but not least is how many Photographers have jumped ship to only still be questioning them sevles in later years when new products arrive. I and can see the Canon fan boys going for the D3s advantages and those same fan boys questioning them selves now. I may only be a newbie, but consistantly learning as it should be.

  24. If we different settings for the Nikon and Canon we would have been criticized on that.

  25. We have to agree. I have been very happy with Nikon in the past, but after calling them (Nikon Canada) about my very bad green screen and them telling me they have never heard about the issue, it seems very suspicious. Also, just because I have been happy with them in the past it doesn’t mean that I will stay loyal to them if I see another brand pulling ahead.

  26. Well said. Couldn’t agree more. In the end we are not technicians we are professional artists and we tested the cameras the way that we use them.

  27. We agree as well to some extent which is why we switched back to the 70-200 for the test which we know have not exhibited any calibration issues. Thanks! Glad you liked the review.

  28. Thank you. We just wanted to use the cameras and review them based on the way that we use in real life.

  29. The difference seems to be how fast the Canon can drive the lens. It works faster as a complete system. We aren’t going to touch the focus speed test any more as their should be more reviews coming out by more technical sports shooters.

  30. We do have D5 Mk 3 but not a D800. We are wedding photographers and noticed that these cameras hadn’t been reviewed like this yet, so we decided to do it. We may do more in the future though 🙂

  31. As you’ll see from the video, Jamieson is actually a Canon shooter who almost jumped ship last year, but in retrospect he’s happy with his 5D Mk3 and new 1Dx.

  32. We’re planning on getting a D800 in our hands with someone who says that it doesn’t have the greenish colour. We will be comparing and will update on that point. Glad the D4 is working out for you. What we want people to take away is that they are both great cameras, but it was the green screen that really pushed myself (Matt) over the edge to switch. It was a constant bother while shooting, even in my bride’s and groom’s didn’t notice it. I also didn’t feel comfortable showing them anything off the back of the camera in the field.

  33. Nice to see people care enough to do a test like this. i like that two people were involved and both their opinions mattered.

    If you look beyond the bodies and look at the entire system, the decision might be a lot easier to make. Quite simply, bodies will be upgraded every few years. It’s the lenses that make the bigger difference to a great image and here’s where Canon wins the actual war. Here’s why.

    Nikon has the better wide lenses. Canon has the better Teles. Canon has the awesome 85 f1.2 which Nikon has no answer to. Also why I feel the test using the 85s was skewed. The Canon 85 is a higher level lens than the Nikon equivalent. Nikon has the awesome 14-24 f2.8 that Nobody has an answer to. Canon’s 50 1.2 is a superior lens to Nikon’s f1.4. We could go on…

    So why does Canon win the war even though it loses a few battles? Because we can use the best Nikon lenses on a Canon body but we can’t do it the other way. It’s THAT simple! Hell, we can even use some of the best Leica lenses and so on on a Canon.

    Another point that people often overlook is the fact that Canon makes everything from their own sensors to printers. This seamless calibration is important for people who like to print their own photos. Nikon depends on third parties for sensors. That was why they were much slower to market for a FF body and will always have to depend on others for fixes and upgrades.

    I switched from a 1Ds3 to a 5D 3 because I don’t consider the 1Dx as an upgrade of the 1Ds3 (that camera isn’t out yet). The 1Dx is really more of an upgrade of the 1D4; a fast shooter that does FF. If anything, the 5D3 addresses the weaknesses of the 1Ds3.

    Keep up the great work guys!

    p.s: Canon’s best AF camera is the 1DMkIIn. With the 1D3, they improved the speed of AF but lost accuracy. This is still evident in the 1Dx today sadly. I’m still hoping they bring back the Eye focus system. It was awesome.

  34. great review- love the balance of real life situations and practicality- void of brand loyalty and prejudice.

  35. Thanks for doing this test. I agree with many others that a real world, side by side test by full time professional photographers, out in the ‘real world’ shooting as they do for a living, each with cameras they’re familiar with from years of working with that brand, examining the results side by side as fairly as is likely possible, means infinitely more than a lab test. Obviously, these are both very fine cameras. Thanks again for taking the time and ‘sticking your necks out’ in the process. My 1DIII (which I’m quite happy with shooting skiing and mountain biking for a living) will soon be replaced by the 1Dx. Can’t wait!

  36. I disagree with a few tests that you guy’s have done:
    1. Low light focus – try a different lens – the 85 1.2 is great but it doesn’t focus great in low light.
    2. About the shadow recovery – you will need to change the picture style to a lower contrast and you’ll see way better results.
    It was a great compare between this camera’s I’m glad to hear you choose Canon – I love my 1D-X (both of them) and I’m sure you are going to love yours!
    Enjoy and thanks for this post.

  37. Thanks for doing this test and sharing it with us. I know that it takes a lot of time and work. I really appreciate it.

    Your “gut” reactions and “artist’s” impressions are extremely significant and important and account for differences that many folks don’t know how to test for or account for. Therefore, the sophistication of a “real-world” test like this, by accomplished working professionals like yourselves, is invaluable, and supersedes the value and completeness of the charts and graphs tests (but those are also helpful).

    And the bottom line in our business is not to test cameras, ad nauseam, but to most efficiently find photographic tools that are the most cost-effective for creating highly salable and pleasing photography.

    Thanks again.

    I’d be interested in the D800 v 5D3 test. I just did one of my own recently and ended up moving from Canon to Nikon. But I shoot stock (lifestyle, landscapes, and aerials) and need large, clean, sharp files. The D800’s larger, and more adjustable files (especially shadow detail and contrast) are what clinched the deal for me on that camera.

  38. It’s kind of a shame for Nikon for a pro shooter to switch to Canon largely because of one problem (the green screen) and Nikon’s attitude about it. There is a often a tendency by Nikon and Canon to not really acknowledge a problem until they have a definite fix or new product to take care of the problem.

    I ran into that situation in talking to a Nikon booth rep at a big photo show some years ago. I told him that I wished the Nikkor 80-200 2.8 I owned had a tripod collar–mostly for use on a monopod when doing podium shots at long events. He was very dismissive about my concern and basically said there wasn’t any need for one. Well, what do you know, the next version of that lens had a tripod collar. I bought it and was quite happy that it had a feature that similar third-party lenses had had for years. But I’ve never forgotten the Nikon rep’s attitude that day.

  39. Thanks for the review.

    I definitely liked it over charts.

    I would definitely love you guys to review the 5dmark3 vs D800.

    Ps, i tested a D800 and D4 at b a store in NYC and it did not have the green cast thing.

    Maybe you have a defected copy.

  40. the canon 85/1.2 is a sharper lens than nikon 85/1.4, having tested both on my canon 1D mk4, from full aperture downwards.

  41. Personally, I’d never compare 85/1.4 from Nikon to 85/1.2 from Canon – they are 2 completely different beasts. Also I love bokeh of 85/1.4 and hate bokeh of 85/1.2, even stopped down.

  42. Thank you guys so much for the “unbiased” review. I really appreciate it and I also hope to see you guys do a review between the 5D MK III and D800. Keep up the fantastic work and I will buy a few t-shirts to help the cause.


    5D MK III owner

  43. I love the review. I too have both the 1DX and the D4, but there is one important area I feel you guys left out in your test: Dynamic Range! I cant see how this would not be important to a wedding photographer. Whenever I shoot a scene where the dynamic range is high (like a portrait with a sunny window in the background), the D4 always excel and lets me recover the highlights in post. Not so much with the 1DX. That alone for me is the biggest difference between both camera I find. I think the D4 dynamic range is much better.

    Again today I shot my dauther at a gym where there is a lot of windows with the 1DX. I could not beleive how much I had to be careful not to bleach the shot because of the dynamic range. Maybe its me not getting the most out of the new metering system, but never had to think about such things with the D4.

    Finally I ear of a lot complaints with the White Balance of Nikon. Personally I find it better then the WB from Canon. It may not show, but I am a Canon shooter switching to Nikon! The dynamic range alone sold me….but yes I will keep the 1DX anyway, but just because I love expensive techy toys 🙂

  44. the Nikon d3s is the best i have ever used. I was a canon user since 92 till 2010 when i bought the d3s (still have all my canon gear ) because it was fantastic . i will not buy the d4 nor the d800 because i found no extra quality . the d3s is still better than the d4 in high isos.

  45. Lovely comparision. Though I don’t pull up the shadows of images by more than half a stop, there can be situations when a person would have missed the exposure. Especially when in manual exposure mode, there can be a situation when suddenly an animal or bird presents itself in a different lighting and one just presses the shutter and the exposure is a bit off.

    The 1D X is a nice piece of camera. Yet to review it, though I had handled a pre-production version.

  46. I own about $50K worth of Nikon gear and I’m ready to jump ship as well. I shoot wildlife and Nikon is just saying a big FU to wildlife shooters. I currently own two D4’s, a D800, D3200, D7000. All the glass as well.,

  47. Great comparison of two fantastic pro cameras. It is a shame about he green screen issue on the D4. I also shoot with a D4, and touch wood my screen doesn’t appear to be overly green and appears pretty accurate. I have had some focus issues, which I am keeping an eye on at the moment to see if it reappears. From a focus speed perspective, the focus system on D4 is amazingly fast, especially if you turn Focus tracking Lock on to off. I love the new auto white balance 2 setting. All in all, I’m loving the D4, the ergonomics are fantastic. I held the 1Dx at a recent wedding photography event in Perth, and I found the grip to be huge and I had to really stretch my fingers to reach the custom buttons around the lens collar, also the camera felt really heavy too. Anyway that is my 2 cents. Thanks for a great review.

  48. Hi, Thanks for sharing this. I’ve found your review useful and very direct to the matters every photographer could be concern at. I’m also amazed of the speed of the decision you’ve made about changing brands. Boys you really have clear ideas about what your needs are and what your are looking for!

  49. +I use both systems.. Just got a new 1DX and have a D800 too.. Loving the 1DX,wicked A.F and great ergonomics.. and at a push I would say that canon offer a slightly stronger lens collection. .. but both systems are damn good… just get shooting everybody… 😉

    BTW.. this was a robust real world review

  50. Matt, I was wondering about the 1DX, can you now use the 85Lmk ii on it for processionals? Does it focus fast enough on the 1DX? I’m thinking to jump ship because of L glass; I’m a D3s guy, and the 85G works very well for me, however I heard a lot of people complain that the 85 1.2L mk ii is sluggish. Does the 1DX fix anything this? Thanks

  51. I jumped from Nikon D600 to D4. I am a pro photographer. I want to share my opinion in using this camera. I am very impressed with the image quality generated by this camera. Great camera in low lighting something I need more than anything. I think spot metering in low lighting works much better than matrix for color rendering and overall exposure work. The focusing is very fast and in low light situation it works great. Love it.

    The unit has an incredible dynamic range. The ergonomics are excellent, and weight is less than my D600 with a Power Grip. I have shot images at 12,800 ISO with little or negligible noise, and at 50 ISO images need only minor post. I especially like the ability to Auto bracket at up to 3EV. This is great for HDR’s.

    I recommend this camera for professional photographer. I mean that Nikon has created a camera that does all the things a camera in this category should at this point in time with no glaring omissions. It is definitely a new benchmark for Nikon.

    I chose amazon for this purchase because of the great customer service I have gotten in the past, and this was certainly the case this time.

  52. hi guys long time no see. just to add my 5 cents,
    I’m a canon user for about 25 years now, from the film A1 to all of the digital
    1D series including the new 1Dx. one thing that Canon always had a problem with is with the flash exposure.
    over the years I borrowed a Nikon system for some assignments including weddings and was very impressed with the accuracy of the Nikon Flash vs the Canon it got to a point a few years back that I dumped canon flashes all together and now I’m using the Quantum system.
    However I did not test the new canon flash yet and not sure with the combination of the 1Dx and the 600ex if the flash accuracy improved.
    another bad point for Nikon is the HUGE file size for raw, not sure why it needs to be so big, shooting 1500 to 2000 frames per wedding on raw, the storage space you need and the slowing down of processing time can make a different on your work flow.
    I also find the Nikon menu a bit confusing vs the simple to understand Canon menu.
    the bottom line if you are a Nikon shooter stay where you are, the nano lenses are great. if you are a canon shooter now you have a body that is absolutely perfect and worth switching too.
    Cheers guys, Great review.
    keep up the great work,
    Eli Amon

  53. Great review guys!

    I was wondering, is the area around the vertical shutter button of the 1DX plastic or metal?


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