Full frame shoot out: D4 vs D800 vs 5DmkIII

Uploaded by philipbloom on 13.05.2012

Hi, my name is Philip Bloom
and welcome to this,
my rather glam hotel room in Miami.
A nice change, because the last time I spoke to you
I was in a really crappy hotel room
in Christchurch, in New Zealand
and there were cockroaches everywhere,
blood on the sheets and God knows what else.
It was pretty damn gross,
this, very nice, very clean,
and when I did speak to you last
it was about this camera here,
The Canon 5D Mark 3.
And, you know what?
I did very much like that
and I'm sure you have seen the review.
If not, the review URL is here...
...somewhere on the screen.
I'm going to talk to you
about Nikons new offerings,
the D800 and the D4.
Yes, I know they have been out
a while, but I have not had
a chance to get my hands on them
because I have been far too busy.
But, I have got them now
and I'm gonna spend the next week
and a half checking them out
and seeing how good they are
at shooting video.
I know they shoot great stills,
but how good are they at shooting video?
because that's where Nikon
have been lacking compared to Canon.
And, of course I will be comparing it
to the Mark 3.
I hope you enjoy my tests.
Here they are.
That is not the sound of Miami beach
I know you probably were
expecting to see lots of sexy shots
of women in bikinis running along
South Beach, I'm afraid we have
whatever that is.
Some sort of frog, I guess,
I don't know, we're in Indiana!
I didn't get a chance
to shoot anything down in Miami
I was too busy shooting and teaching
at the filmmaking masterclass
in Key West
I did have one day off
I have to say, I had one day off
and I didn't touch a camera,
apart from my iPhone.
So now, I'm here in lovely Indiana.
The rain has gone
and I have the cameras ready to test.
One of the key things for me
about testing the cameras is
going to be that resolution.
It was the key thing for me about the Mark 3.
And why I was initially disappointed with it
because it was soft out of the camera
Not that much better than the Mark 2
In fact, about the same as the Mark 2.
But, when I put it in to Premiere
and added sharpening, it came alive
and that was great, because
try to do that with the Mark 2
it looked awful, all that moire
and aliasing came back.
So just how good is the D4
and the D800
at that detail test?
For me, it really is so important,
along with low light performance.
Well, only one way to find out.
and that is to shoot some fine detail.
The great thing about the D4
is it has 3 different types of framing
as in, it can be full frame
it can be cropped sensor,
around 1.5 times, and it can also
be 2.7 times crop
which means it's gonna give you effectively
three different focal lengths in one lens.
Of course you get the depth of field characteristics
associated with that size sensor
but it is a nice thing to have.
But how does it perform
all those different framings?
Well, that's the problem.
It doesn't perform very well at all
at two of them.
The FX, which is the full frame
and the DX are soft,
and even in post you can't sharpen it.

The detail is just not there.
When using the 2.7 crop
it is really, really nice but that's the problem,
it's a 2.7 times crop.
So you have got to multiply your
milimetre on your lens by 2.7 to
get your equivalent focal length,
your field of view, and that means long
lens shot, no wide shots.
And, that's a big problem with the D4
it really suffers
on the full frame and the crop.
So, I'm now doing on the D800
the same shot I just did on the D4
which was my last chance to see
if the D4 was good at detail.
And, this is so much better
the image looks sharper,
I can see that it's sharper
just from the back of the screen
let alone when I look at it
on the computer.
I'm no fanboy of any camera manufacturer
I'm a total camera whore - I love them all.
Well, I don't love them all,
I get frustrated by them all!
But, I don't have any particular loyalty
to one or the other.
You may be asking,'Why have I got a Canon...
...DSLR in a Nikon review video?'
Simply because I want to compare
and see how it actually stacks up.
And then you will say,
'Why didn't you have the D800 in your
Canon 5d Mark 3 video?'
Well, I didn't have a D800 at that point,
so this is the first time I have had them
all in the same place at the same time.
So, now it is time to see
just how much detail
the 5D Mark 3 can do in the same shot
as that D800 and see how much sharper
it is than the D4 as well.
A little bit about the optics
I'm using for this test
I want to keep things as similar as possible
so I'm using the same lens.
I'm using a Zeiss ZF
and it's a 35mm f1.4.
This is a Nikon mount and I'm using
a Fotodiox Pro adapter
so it can fit on the Canon EF mount.
and of course
it fits natively on to the Nikon cameras.
And on the front here
to keep my shutter speed down nice
and low and correct, I'm using
a Heliopan variable ND filter.
So the D4 and the full frame
is soft, as is the crop mode
in the DX crop mode,
which is very disappointing.
The 2.7 times crop is sharp, but
it's a 2.7 times crop.
Unfortunately, I forgot to shoot the
APS-C mode with the D800
but this is much sharper
and the 5D Mark 3
is sharper than a D4, I would say
it's softer than a D800.
So the D800 wins this test.
It's funny going backwards and forwards
between the Nikon and Canon
they certainly have some distinct differences
when it comes to operating,
and I would say
some of them were quite qwerky.
For example, with the Canon
if you want to see the histogram
you need to make sure it is displaying
in the screen before you hit record,
because once you hit record
and then you try and cycle through
by hitting the info button, it wont come up
but on the Nikons,
it doesn't matter what you do
you just hit the info button
once you hit record and anything
can come up which is much nicer.
Very bizarre and qwerky.
So, I'm now taking a look at the
aliasing issues with the D800
versus the Mark 3.
The aliasing is surprisingly not
too bad at all - I think it would be hard
to spot it, but I think you'll have
to pixel peep pretty hard on a D800
until you go in to 720 mode.
And, you can see on the house on the left
we have those diagonal lines
and that's why I have got the angle like this
It is very poor and utterly unusable,
so that is a big problem
The Mark 3 at 1080P
has no visible issues.
and at 720P, again no visible issues,
but the image is definitely softer
than the D800, but no aliasing.
So, what can you do? Well,
you have to live with the frogs I'm afraid!
and you have to live with the moire
and the aliasing on the camera
so fine detail is out,
This could help. Inside this bag
is a Mosaic Engineering anti aliasing filter.
The same company who made the one for the Mark 2
which solved those issues.
Is it any good on this? Let's find out.
Oh, one thing.
Do not get the D800e for video.
The aliasing and moire will be worse
because of the anti aliasing filter being
removed from that camera
It's not for shooting video,
so just avoid it.
This is a pre production version of the filter.
It will slot in alot easier
than using these tweasers.
I feel like I'm playing the old game of 'Operation'.
So make sure the sensor is
clean and not full of crap
This has got a little bit of dust on it
but it will do for the moment.
To get it in here and behind and down
in to this, and then it just sits on there,
and is held in by the mirror here.
So that should solve our aliasing
and moire issues. Let's find out.
So this is the original shot in 720
on the D800. As you can see the
aliasing is atrocious on the
building on the side and on the water.
Great to have 720, not so great
to have these issues,
but when we put in the filter
it's not perfect, but it's a
hell of a lot better and totally useable.
Using this filter at 1080 removes
any trace of artefacts, at 720
it fixes really, really bad ones.
Here it is blown up again, so this is the
original shot without the mosaic engineering
filter in. Look at the very bad diagonal
lines on the house.
and with the filter in - fantastic!
so much better.
A real shame though that it does
need the filter and isn't like this
out of the camera.
The internal recordings on the Nikons
is a disappointingly low 24 megabits
per second in h.264
compared to the all 'I' setting on the
Canon 5D mark 3 which can be almost
up to 90 megabits per second.
And, that is a disappointment I have to say
I'd like internal recording to be nice and high
and really not as heavily compressed as this,
although it does stand up pretty well
to messing around 'in post',
but you can make it better
because this camera and the Nikon D4
do something that no other DSLR does.
It has clean HDMI out.
so using one of these leads here.
It is unfortunately using a mini HDMI lead
which is very, very worrying
because they are not very solid,
so make sure you get some kind of protector on that.
We can plug it into a device like this
Sound Devices Pix240 which takes
and can record in ProRes or AVID DNxHD
Now, this wont solve our moire and aliasing issues
and it wont make it any sharper
but what it will do
is make the image way less compressed.
and that is a great thing.
So, the D800 is now plugged in
to the Sound Devices -
this is a very, very, high quality
external recorder. It can record
on to SSDs, or compact flashes.
I'm recording in ProRes HQ
which is 220 megabits per second
as opposed to the internal recording
of 24 megabits per second.
It's a great device, you just got to remember,
you hit record on this,
and off you go, then you do your shot.
Just don't hit record on the camera
because it will drop to 720.
Just a few words on this device again
nice big buttons, nice simple menu,
good quality screen, runs off NPF batteries
and take in dual media.
This is a really nice external recorder.
This camera does have
a headphone jack, so we can monitor
audio coming in to it and
of course it is a minijack input.
There's not full manual control over this,
we do have various steps, quite fine steps.
The down side to this, compared to the Mark 3
is once we hit record, we cannot
change our levels of the audio coming in,
but we can see it on the screen,
we do have meters.
So, it's not all bad, it's pretty damn good.
Both the Nikon D4 and the D800
have built in timer modes so
you can shoot timelapse without an external controller.
It does have the very cool function
where you can actually create a video,
timelapse video in camera, with the photos
It's really nice because you can set the
interval in the camera and how long
you want it to be doing the timelapse for,
how many shots,
and then it will tell you how long the video
will be at the end and once it's finished
it creates the video.
Downside, it doesn't keep the stills
which is a real shame, because it would be
a great way of doing timelapse
and having a nice quick preview mode after doing it.
Hopefully, with a firmware upgrade
we can keep those stills.
That's it for the fine detail stuff.
Next test is, I'm gonna go down to
Kessler Crane HQ
which is down the road, that way in Plymouth
and I'm gonna shoot some faces of people there
on the Mark 3 and the D800
and see how they compare.
That's enough posing!
I want to see low light tests, don't you?
We know the Mark 3 is way better
than the 5D Mark 2.
Let's see how it stacks up against
the D800, and you know what?
I'm gonna bring out this little baby - the Nikon D4.
You have disappointed me with your detail,
I know you take great stills,
how good are you in low light?
This is a totally random, bizarre test
I have now left Indiana,
because it was just too damn dark.
I'm in another state, another city
I'm in Manhattan. Why?
Why not.
So, like any sensible person on a Saturday
night in Manhattan, I'm not on the streets
I'm in a bar and I'm gonna do my low light
tests with the help
of a gin and tonic and Diana
and I'm gonna start off on the D800
using a Zeiss 50mm lens
and move up from 800 ISO
to the max I can possibly do.
Light wise, it is night time outside,
we do have some tungsten lights here,
there is a fluctuation in the light
and that is from the TVs over there,
so it's not scientific,
but at least they all have the TV's flashing
on and off with different channels -
so trying to keep them as equal as possible,
with the odd variable.
So that's the Nikon D800
and I've brought out the D4
to see how well it deals with low light.
It should, theoretically be better
because it has a much lower megapixel count.
So let's see just how well she performs.
It's incredibly noisy, obviously
both in audio
and pushing the camera as high as the H4 settings
on the D4, but I've opened the iris up
to 1.4 so you can see just how incredibly
over exposed the image is at that setting
on that ISO. It's insane!
As these guys gather around
I'm gonna put the ZF
onto the 5D Mark 3
and see how well this camera performs
under the same light conditions
with the same lens.
This test is so interesting
I have attracted an audience who don't care
at all about cameras.
These are guys who are just here for
a great night out in New York.
And, they want to see
how well these cameras perform
at these high ISOs.
It's fascinating.
I do love these low light tests
and it was very eye opening
seeing the three cameras
side by side, filming the same shot
and how they compare.
The D800 definately suffers
due to it's high megapixel count
even at 3200 ISO it was showing noise
as you can see on this 400%
blow up
Other stuff it does well at?
Well, it just isn't a great low light
camera compared to the other two.
Now, the D4
not so good in the resolution and not
particularly sharp camera
but here it is at full frame and it's
super, super clean at 3200 ISO.
After being disappointing in
the amount of sharpness you get in the image
the low light performance really
is quite exceptional, as you can see here
in the 400% blow up
Utterly clean, and you can use
these higher ISOs if you really need to
I wouldn't go too crazy,
but 50 odd thousand at a push with some
noise reduction, you can get away with it.
Great stuff from the D4, I just wish it was sharper.
And the 5D Mark 3
I already know just how good it is in low light
it's a huge step up from the Mark 2 and it
is alot better than the Nikon D800.
Doesn't perform as well as the D4
but it is a sharper image
and it's clean. It's clean here at 3200 ISO
as you can see in the 400% blow up.
And, even when you go to the 12800
it is totally useable.
It's a great all round camera
and it does very well in these
low light tests.
Yes, another location, in fact another country.
I have left Miami to go to Indiana
to go to New York, to Manhattan
I'm now back in London, back home
for my sum up of the 3 cameras.
I've been waiting for Nikon to come out
with a DSLR which shoots great video
ever since I got that D90 back in
2008, and it wasn't great,
but I have continued
buying Nikons ever since then
because I am a Nikon die-hard fan.
I have had their cameras for 8, 9 years,
it was my first DSLR.
The problem is they just have not
been shooting great video and they have
been playing catch up to the Canons
all the time. In fact, this is
the first time they have brought out cameras
which are, as far as I am concerned
useable for video.
So, it's great to be finally able to
use these Nikon lenses I have collected
over the years natively on Nikon cameras.
But, is it the best idea?
Are these great cameras, are they better
than say the Canon DSLRs?
So, the 5D Mark 3 from Canon.
It is a big step up from the Mark 2
so much has been improved, way
better in low light. No longer do we
have aliasing and moire,
we have a nice 720P mode
and again de aliasing and moire
in that is almost lacking completely.
Audio is also handled
much, much better we have a great internal
recording system - upto 90 megabits
per second.
The image just isn't sharp enough
straight out of the camera and I wish
it was, because it takes time to do that in post.
And, it's not ideal you'd much rather have
a sharp image natively than having
to fix it in post. Fix it in post is
never a good way of doing things.
Great camera, with a couple of
things I don't like.
Mainly, the sharpness issue and the fact
that there is no clean HDMI out
otherwise a very,
very good full frame DSLR.
The D4 has broken my heart.
This camera should be
the outright winner by far.
On paper it has everything going for it.
A nice low megapixel count
it has a great system of three different
crop modes - full frame, APSC, 2.7 native crop,
incredible low light performance,
clean HDMI out.
It really should be the best camera here,
but it really isn't.
And, the biggest problem is simply
it is just too damn soft
at the FX mode and at the DX mode,
that's the full frame and the APSC crop,
and those are the two you are going to use the most.
Having a 2.7 mode which is nice
and sharp is great
as an additional feature.
Not as the only sharp video mode,
and that really is what it is
The other two modes are just too soft
and you can't bring them back in post.
Absolutely devastated that it is
not as good as it should be.
The low light performance is amazing
and you can use it for that
I think you get away with alot more than you
can on those bright shots.
If you need to get some really low light shots
this camera will work.
I just wish it was sharper.
And finally, the D800.
It's great! It's a really good
video shooting DSLR from Nikon.
They've finally done it, they've finally brought out
a camera which shoots really lovely full HD
It does have some down sides,
and I was very, very scared when I heard about
the really high megapixel count
of 36 megapixels. Absolutely insane!
I don't need that for stills and I certainly don't
want it for video and the low light performance
does suffer because of that
and also we do have aliasing and moire.
Nowhere near as bad
as we had on the 5D Mark 2
other cameras and other previous Nikons.
In fact, actually quite minimal,
until we go into 720 mode
where it is absolutely hideous
and that is where that Mosaic Engineering filter
comes in enormously helpful,
but I don't want to use filters,
third party products
to make a camera work,
and it is a really nice image.
Yes, the internal recording is too low
at 24 megabits a second
it doesn't come close
to the 5D Mark 3's 90 odd.
But, what it can do that the Canon can't,
is it can output that clean HDMI out,
so it can use something like a Ninja 2.0
or a Pix240, like I use,
and you can record lovely ProRes HQ
and have wonderful, not uncompressed,
but way less compressed images
than we have in the camera.
Doesn't fix the moire, doesn't fix the aliasing
it doesn't make it any better in low light,
but it is a much better way of recording.
Just be careful, if you are going to use that
you need to protect that HDMI socket
because it is very fragile.
Mini HDMI absolutely sucks!
So, which one to buy?
Well, I don't think I can really give you
a simple answer.
Alot of it will be dictated by how many
lenses you own for one particular brand,
because the 5D Mark 3 and the D800
are very, very close.
There's very little in it.
The D800 has a sharper image,
clean HDMI out,
but not as good in low light
and it aliases and moires
without that filter.
So, it's like ERR and ERR
which is better for you, you have to decide
The D4, apart from its low light performance,
as a video camera,
it's just not good enough.
The D800 is way, way better.
So, when it comes down to it. It's up to you.
The D800 - sharp image
not so good in low light, or
the 5D Mark 3, no aliasing
great in low light but not as sharp.
Why can't they just make one that does it all?
Subtitling by Adam Loretz @ Abject Productions
I know you were probably expecting lots of nice
shots of biklini
I expect, so er, I expect you are,
so I suppose you were expecting lots of
shots of bikin-ugh
So I suppose you were expecting lots of
shots of biklini clad women
running around on the beach
So I suppose you were expecting
lots of shots of biklini clad women
So I suppose you were expecting some
sexy shots of biklini
So I suppose you were expecting lots of
sexy shots of biklini clad
Why can't I say bikini? It's not a hard word.