Low Light Comparison of the Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, and Nikon D800

The folks over at NoFilmSchool recently did a low light comparison of the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, and Nikon D800. The cameras were used to film the same dark candlelit scene with the same settings, and the ISO was slowly pushed up to the cameras’ respective limits. It’s pretty striking how big of a difference in low light/high ISO quality there is in the cameras, especially in light of DxO Lab’s test results for the cameras’ sensors…

(via NoFilmSchool via Fstoppers)

  • Zee Hatley

    You don’t need to retest to compare noise at the same exposure…  can you post another video where you compare similar exposures (regardless of ISO) to see the noise levels?  (i.e. compare the Nikon at ISO 6400 to the Canons at 10,000 or 12,800; where the light level is approaching decent exposure)  I still think the Canon looks less noisy, but we’d have to see them side by side to accurately compare)

    The image is the important thing.  Not the setting.  If you have to double your ISO on the canon but get a cleaner picture, then the canon wins.  Especially if it’s got that much ISO above and beyond.

  • Gab5150

    D800 reaches the ideal condition much earlier than the canons. Blind who can’t see that… It is ridiculous to compare same settings on different equipments. What we should pay attention to is the result.  

  • penguinstorm

    So the problem I have with this is that it seems like your test basically demonstrates that OVERexposed image at high ISO doesn’t look good. If weren’t changing the aperture or the shutter speed the image will eventually reach overexposure in any camera.

    It would be MUCH more useful to show a properly exposed image at every ISO: that is, adjust so that the camera’s metering shows proper exposure (or at least consistent exposure) at each ISO.

    Frankly, the Canon colours look more natural to me but that’s hard to judge because it could be that the Nikon image is reaching overexposure more quicly.

  • Donna

    yay for Nikon…kicks Canon’s butt in this test :)

  • Davidvk

    Super! Canon is the best!!!

  • guest

    What a load of crap the D800 resolves more light at ISO 1000 than the canon does at 2000. Ergo to compare the 2 you need to show similarly ilumination you need to pump the canon 2 EVs more so lets compare the nikon at 1600 and the canon at 6400 since at those levels they offer the same ilumination, oops the canon has more noise! What a surprise, you see those little color bars at the right hand side are what tell the story, not the fantasy island ISO setting with which the cann is labeled.

  • John

    this is why canon has a larger lens mount, it let’s more light in. a better comparison would have compared an EF mount @ 1.4 on the canon

  • Alfy

    Though the D800 is lighter, but you can clearly see the amount of noise that it has with even a low iso setting.

  • Kasper

    This is not a fair contest. You have used different apertures and lenses here and clearly made Nikon look more favourable.

  • Alessandro Casalini

    R U Joking??? This is…. i can’t find words. Canon is better in low lights, i work with D800 and 5DMKII… baìut this test is ridiculuos. If you look at the color checker on the right and on the girl face you can see that there is at least 1,5 stops of difference in the exposure of this cameras. Or Nikon is 1,5 stop more sensitive than the other two cameras or there is something wrong in this test… it’s impossible that D800 is so bright comparing to other cameras!!!

  • Max

    The D800 does at ISO 1600 what the 5d does at around ISO 8000.

  • Just_a_man

    From end user point of view, I do not care about how its is done, the only thing that matters is the end result. I am a photographer, not a technical expert and the images obtained from both Canons are superior to Nikon.
    That is what matters the most.