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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 Camera Comparison

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 camera comparison 

I have received my EOS-1D X Mark II and took it on an Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands photo tour, gave the camera a grueling test and will embark on more real world wildlife photo shoots for further testing. You can read my review, see my equipment bag and works on Keep checking back for the latest photos and comments of the new body. More to come.

At the bottom of this post is a video by Tony Northrup comparing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 cameras. Both bodies are exceptionally well made and produce incredible images in the right hands. The choice boils down to personal preference and time and money already invested in one's equipment bag. 

Nikon announced their long awaited D5 camera just in time for the CES 2016. Almost 4 years to the day when they announced the D4 back in CES 2012. Canon released their EOS-1D X Mark II camera on February 1, 2016. Below is a brief comparison of the main specs between the two cameras. The EOS-1D X camera was announced back in October 2011 and my readers know I have picked it as the best DSLR for sports and wildlife photography four years in a row.

Nikon D5 main specifications :
  • Two D5 bodies - D5 XQD and D5 CF
  • New 20.82 MP CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 5.4K processing engine
  • 153 AF points, 99-point cross sensor, f/8 corresponding 15 points
  • Continuous shooting (continuous shooting up to 200 frames in 14bit lossless compression RAW) -12 fps in the AF / AE tracking
  • Continuous shooting speed with mirror lockup, 14 fps (AE / AF fixed)
  • 4K UHD video at 30fps
  • ISO 100-102400. Extended to 3280000
  • 3.2-inch 2.36 million dots LCD touchscreen
  • Memory card slots - dual XQD or CF slots
  • Shutter speed - 30 seconds to 1/8,000 sec
  • Finder coverage - 100% (FX), magnification: 0.72x
  • SuperSpeed - (USB 3.0 Micro-B terminal)
  • Battery - EN-EL18a
  • Weight (battery and cards) - XQD : 1405g. CF : 1415g
  • List price - $6,500 in the U.S.A.
  • Shipping date : Camera is available now

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II specifications :
  • New 20.2 MP Canon sensor 
  • ISO 100-51200. Expanded to 409600 
  • New sensor technology subdividing high and low sensitivity pixels
  • One slot for each card - CFast and CF memory slots 
  • New, 61 point AF system 
  • Dual DIGIC 6+ processors
  • 15 stops of dynamic range
  • Maximum burst rate 16 fps (14 fps w/o mirror lockup)
  • 4K UHD video at 60fps
  • 3.3 inch Super high resolution LCD
  • USB 3.0 Micro-B terminal
  • Finder coverage - 100%, magnification : 0.72x
  • GPS and Intervalometer
  • New LP-E19 battery. Backward compatible.
  • New LC-E19 battery charger. Backward compatible.
  • Unmatched weather sealing and ergonomics
  • List price - $5999
  • Shipping date : Camera is available now 

The Nikon D5 camera specs look good at first glance. The burst rate of 12 fps and 14 fps with mirror lockup and matches the Canon EOS-1D X but the Mark II exceeds with 14 fps and 16 fps respectively. 

Shooting at ISO 3280000 is playing the marketing numbers game but suffice to say the camera does have excellent ISO performance and both cameras are evenly matched at high ISO. Being a wildlife photographer, I hardly ever use ISO higher than 6400 out in the field. The noise level is simply unacceptable beyond that. Check out the the two cameras' ISO performance comparison.  

The Nikon D5's 153 AF points is just another big number designed to grab attention. The dedicated processor for AF is good and the 15 AF points usable @ f/8 is a more meaningful number. All of the EOS-1D X Mark II's 61 AF points are accessible @ f/8.  

Offering a QXD or CF memory card version is a good idea because not many photographers shoot enough 4K video to justify buying a collection of new and expensive memory cards, but the downside is having two separate cameras. Sadly, the Nikon D5's 4K video capability is another marketing also-ran. Canon offers one slot each for CFast and CF memory card in the same camera and its 4K video capabilities are at least worth having.

The Nikon D5's list price of $6,500 is slightly over-priced in today's pricing formula. I still remember paying $8,000 for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III back in 2008 and now the EOS-5D Mark III, with a list price of $2,499, beats the old champ's performance in so many ways. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II's list price of $5,999 is simply a 'bargain'.

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