Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600

Started Oct 24, 2012 | Discussions
jrmint
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Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
Oct 24, 2012

I am ready to upgrade to full frame from a 7D and could really use your insights to supplement the research I’ve already done. In short, I want a set-up that does many things really well. In general order of enthusiasm, I shoot my kids and family events, landscapes, high school and youth club sports, and portraits for family, friends, and others who ask. I’m interested in getting into college sports, doing more paid portrait sessions, and experimenting more with astrophotography.

I love the 7D’s fast FPS for sports/action but would really like to have more flexibility with low light/high ISO shooting (sports indoors and under the lights, night landscapes, indoor available light people-shooting). I’ve been printing landscapes as big as 20x30 and feel a newer full frame rig would give me better IQ and less noise, but don’t think I need the D800’s 36mp and feel the frame rate would be a little slow for sports. I’m unimpressed so far with what I’ve read about the 6D.

I’m really torn between the 5DIII and D600 – both would be great cameras and I’m sure I’d love either one,  but maybe I’m missing something that would/should sway me one way or the other. Here’s what’s been on my mind – your thoughts on any of these issues would be much appreciated:

  • My perception is that the 5DIII may be the better “all-around camera” but it’s more expensive. I don’t mind paying the extra $ if it gives me what I need. Cost of switching systems would almost equal any savings of going with the D600, so it’s more a question of which would be the better camera/system for me.  
  • Many reviews are giving the D600 the edge in terms of image quality and dynamic range. That’s a big deal to me if it translates into noticeably better images. At what print size would a D600 show a noticeable IQ improvement over the 5DIII? And in what % of images would the advantage in DR be noticeable? If the tests really translate into better images, I’m interested.
  • My main concern with the D600 is the AF speed and accuracy for sports, particularly in low light. Do you know how the D600 AF speed/accuracy would compare to my current 7D? Would I end up wishing I went with the 5DIII because of the AF for sports?
  • Handling/ergonomics: for my tastes the slight edge goes to the 5DIII. It just feels a little better in my hands, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to the 7D. Not a big factor, but my wife might prefer the slightly smaller and lighter D600 when she grabs it for family snapshots.  
  • Many say to focus more on the lens line-up. I think I’d really love the Nikon 14-24mm for landscapes (perhaps more so than the very nice Canon 24 TS-E II I’ve tried). I love my Canon 70-200 f/4L but rumors and MTF chart for the Nikon version of this lens are also very promising. The newer 70-200 2.8’s from both seem equally outstanding. I feel like I know the Canon lens lineup well but know less about the lenses I would target from Nikon. Given my stated interests, does either Canon or Nikon have a distinct advantage for lenses? My impression is that it’s probably a wash, but correct me if I’m wrong.    

Thanks if you’ve read this far. I know I can get great results from either camera system, but if there are additional reasons for me to go with one over the other given my situation I want to know. This has been bugging me so much and I keep leaning one way and then the other; it’s been hard to focus on other things so any insights or recommendations would be much appreciated so I can get on with my life and photography.

Jared

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 7D Nikon D600 Nikon D800
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lysoleverywhere
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Re: Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
In reply to jrmint, Oct 24, 2012

I have a 5d Mark iii and was considering making the switch to D600 like you, but after seeing the amount of noise in the D600 pictures compared to the 5d I decided to keep it.  The one thing I do see from the D600 that I'm really envious of is the sharpness and amount of detail that can be brought out of the photos in post production.  It's pretty close though.

My Thoughts:

5D3 Pros:

Autofocus: 5D3 way better
Night Video: 5D3 slightly better
HDR Video: 5d3 (Nikon cant do this)
Interface: 5D3 like a Mac / Nikon like PC
Aperture Control in Video: 5D3
Videos in Post: Canon can be pushed harder
Build Quality: 5D3 slightly better
Noise: slightly more appealing noise at higher ISO

D600 Pros:
Daytime Video: D600 slightly better
Sharpness: D600 slightly better
Shadows: D600 slightly better
Size / Weight: D600 lighter / more compact
Cost: WAY BETTER
Lenses: Can use crop lenses in DX Mode (Canon cant do this)

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jrmint
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Re: Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
In reply to lysoleverywhere, Oct 25, 2012

Thanks- that's very helpful. I'm also starting wonder a little about quality control with the D600, with the issues people have been reporting about oil spots and lots of dust on the sensor. And the AF on the 5DIII sounds like it's in another category from the D600.

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Dave Luttmann
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Re: Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
In reply to jrmint, Oct 25, 2012

Different target markets.  The D600 is lined with the 6D.  The 5D3 is lined with the D800.  The D800, beibg cheaper than the 5d3 is superior in rez, DR, and noise.

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brian1366
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Re: Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
In reply to jrmint, Oct 25, 2012

jrmint wrote:

Thanks- that's very helpful. I'm also starting wonder a little about quality control with the D600, with the issues people have been reporting about oil spots and lots of dust on the sensor. And the AF on the 5DIII sounds like it's in another category from the D600.

From what I read in the Nikon forums, oil spots on the sensors are common with the Nikon production process. They are easy to clean off though using a wet sensor cleaning kit. I'm not even sure you can see the spots unless you shoot at F/22. Just to be safe, plan on having your sensor cleaned on day 1 if you go Nikon. I wouldn't be scared of it.

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Peter Aczel
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and don't forget the colours
In reply to jrmint, Oct 25, 2012

Everybody is talking about DR, numbers of DxO etc. But do like Nikon's colors after the really natural canon- colors? Only my 2 cents...

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AllOtherNamesTaken
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My experience
In reply to jrmint, Oct 25, 2012

jrmint wrote:

Thanks- that's very helpful. I'm also starting wonder a little about quality control with the D600, with the issues people have been reporting about oil spots and lots of dust on the sensor. And the AF on the 5DIII sounds like it's in another category from the D600.

I've used both , the AF is about the same. The D600 locked on better in the dark than my 5DM3 and tracked better from my experience.  I used a 70-200/2.8 on both. Both are very good, and will not hold you back in any way. I could get my D600 to acquire focus in scenarios where I literally could not see the subject through the viewfinder it was so dark until my eyes adjusted a few seconds later. I own both brands and the D600 is the one I reach for 99% of the time, mostly because I feel it is 95% of a 5DM3 but with a better sensor and $1500 cheaper (where I live..that may vary).

Lots of fast moving targets and night sports samples on the Nikon FX forum if you care to look.

AF shouldn't be a deciding factor for either of these cameras really, both are outstanding.

Anyone who says ergonomics or menus are better one way or the other is only speaking for themselves, because that is 100% subjective and only you can be the judge of that.

Here is my personal list, not intended as an "arguement" either way, take it for what it is:

Things I like more about the D600:

- built in flash for emergencies or for controlling an unlimited number of off-camera flashes without having to buy an accessory

- sport metering linked to every AF point

- grid/lcd overlay in the viewfinder

- 1.5 crop mode

- built in intervalometer

- class leading sensor (DR, color depth, ISO)

- best AF I've ever used

- best auto WB I've ever used (it nailed WB under purple lighting and red heat lamps in the nocturnal exhibits at my zoo...never seen that before from any camera, ever. My Canons or my D300 could not do that)

- Price

- Ergonomics (subjective)

- Menus (subjective)

- Extremely quiet regular shutter, but "quiet shutter mode" isn't as good as 5DM3

- 2 year warranty on the body vs 1 on Canon (where I live)

- 5 times the warranty on all lenses (Worldwide)

Things I like more about the 5DM3

- 1/8000 shutter vs 1/4000

- 1/250 sync vs 1/200

- Live view implementation slightly better (though the D600's LV is better than the D800's LV)

- Well implemented quiet shutter mode, but louder regular shutter

I've never personally noticed a skin tone difference in either camera, so I won't chime in there. I don't buy the "Canon magic" or "Nikon magic" arguments from either side. Both are capable of very similar results.

Quality control is a non-issue. I've seen maybe 3-4 threads about dust/oil. I've had dust and oil on every sensor of every DSLR I've owned regardless of brand. Most of the time it's not even visible in the photos, so most people (all brands) probably have it and don't even know. A wet-clean takes under 60 seconds, and dust is removed via blower or in-camera cleaning system. My D600 has no dust or oil, for the record. It's simply a complete non-issue, especially with how easily it is remedied.

The cameras share the same build quality, with the lens mount being screwed into plastic, and metal cladding added on top of the plastic frames. The 5DM3 has one additional non-structural metal front panel.

As for lenses, both sides have lenses the other wish they had. Nikon has better wide angles and better "enthusiast" 1.8 primes, canon has the 100-400L, 300/4 IS, and the 5X macro. For the most part it's a wash, and I don't think anyone would have trouble finding a reasonable equivalent on either side.

Anyways, that's been my experience. I hope it helps.

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jrmint
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Re: My experience
In reply to AllOtherNamesTaken, Oct 26, 2012

I appreciate hearing about your experience. Lots to like in the D600. I'm confused about the conflicting reports I hear about the D600 AF. This DigitalRev clip suggests the D600 AF struggled in low light compared to the 5DIII and D800: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdqpqOoeBQM&feature=plcp. User error?

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Andrew53
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Re: My experience
In reply to AllOtherNamesTaken, Oct 26, 2012

AllOtherNamesTaken wrote:

jrmint wrote:

Thanks- that's very helpful. I'm also starting wonder a little about quality control with the D600, with the issues people have been reporting about oil spots and lots of dust on the sensor. And the AF on the 5DIII sounds like it's in another category from the D600.

I've used both , the AF is about the same. The D600 locked on better in the dark than my 5DM3 and tracked better from my experience. I used a 70-200/2.8 on both. Both are very good, and will not hold you back in any way. I could get my D600 to acquire focus in scenarios where I literally could not see the subject through the viewfinder it was so dark until my eyes adjusted a few seconds later. I own both brands and the D600 is the one I reach for 99% of the time, mostly because I feel it is 95% of a 5DM3 but with a better sensor and $1500 cheaper (where I live..that may

I own both the 5D Mark III and the D600. I've been using the D600 extenively over the past month as I am deciding to continue with Nikon or not.

AF is NOT the same in my experience. The 5D Mark III is better and better in low light. D600 is pretty good, much better than the 5D Mark II. I have taken both out at least three times for night shooting. 5D Mark III rarely misses. The D600 occsionaly won't focus.

- best auto WB I've ever used (it nailed WB under purple lighting and red heat lamps in the nocturnal exhibits at my zoo...never seen that before from any camera, ever. My Canons or my D300 could not do that)

Disagree. I've found the D600 to be the second worse AWB I've ever used. Leica is the worse. Pentax is the best. It has been very disappointing to me as colour is important to me. I've tested the AWB against four other brands. D600 usually is the odd man out under unusual lighting. In the daytime D600 is usually better than the 5D Mark III but occasionally makes gives a yellow-green cast. Even Ken Rockwell has noticed. I've even noticed the colour off on Nikon promotional material.

With a gray card the Canon 5D Mark III and the D600 give almost identical colours. However, a gray card isn't always what one wants on AWB. You want is what the eye sees, not what it would look like taken under D65 lighting. Night shots should look a little blue, in my opinion if the lighting is a little blue. Studio shots you probably want a different result and you probably will use a gray card anyway.

- Well implemented quiet shutter mode, but louder regular shutter

Disagree. The quiet mode is not all that quiet and not nearly as quiet as the 5D Mark III. I don't like the sound so I don't like to use it. Basicly it just trips the shutter and then waits for you to release the shutter button to set the shutter for the next shot. Like the Leica M9 silent shutter which is also not very nice. 5D Mark III is very quiet and there is really no comparing the two. I leave the quiet shutton on the 5D Mark III on all the time. When I am on the street I can hardly hear it.

Quality control is a non-issue. I've seen maybe 3-4 threads about dust/oil. I've had dust and oil on every sensor of every DSLR I've owned regardless of brand. Most of the time it's not even visible in the photos, so most people (all brands) prob

I have had the dust issue in less than a month of use. I have never noticed dust being an issue with my 5D Mark III. I live in a very humid tropical climate so I am hoping the dust is from the manufacturing and will eventaully go away. Maybe it is lens dependent. That said, I've had issues with other Canon cameras in the past.

The cameras share the same build quality, with the lens mount being screwed into plastic, and metal cladding added on top of the plastic frames. The 5DM3 has one additional non-structural metal front panel.

D600 has good build quality and is noticablly lighter. 5D Mark III feels like it has better build quality.

As for lenses, both sides have lenses the other wish they had. Nikon has better wide angles and better "enthusiast" 1.8 primes, canon has the 100-400L, 300/4 IS, and the 5X macro. For the most part it's a wash, and I don't think anyone would have trouble finding a reasonable equivalent on either side.

I prefer the look of Canon L lenses so far. This is a personal choice of course, but the more I investigate the more I prefer L lenses to almost anything from Nikon. I bought the D600 because I own and like the 50mm f1.2 AIS. Given the other issues I am reluctant to invest any more in the better Nikon lenses. I like the Tamron 70-300. I like the look of Zeiss lenses the most but unfortuantely no AF. The new 24-70 f2.8 Mark II is outstanding has no equivilent from anybody. It really is sharp from edge to edge wide open.

D600 has better DR and can be useful if you need to bring out the shadows. This advantage goes away for exposures over 1 second and at higher ISOs. Resolution is slightly better due to more Mpx but you need a magnifying glass to see it. D600 gives up nothing to the 5DIII on noise at any ISO. I would probably give a slight edge to the D600 in IQ but only a side by side comparision under controled conditions will show it.

All my processing is in LR from RAW so my IQ comments don't apply to JPG, Nikon or Canon software.

Anyways, that's been my experience. I hope it helps.

Likewise my comments based on my experience over the last month of use with both cameras. Both cameras are very good and better than most, but the 5D Mark III is better in my opinion.

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MayaTlab0
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Re: My experience
In reply to Andrew53, Oct 26, 2012

Andrew53 wrote:

AllOtherNamesTaken wrote:

- Well implemented quiet shutter mode, but louder regular shutter

Disagree. The quiet mode is not all that quiet and not nearly as quiet as the 5D Mark III. I don't like the sound so I don't like to use it. Basicly it just trips the shutter and then waits for you to release the shutter button to set the shutter for the next shot. Like the Leica M9 silent shutter which is also not very nice. 5D Mark III is very quiet and there is really no comparing the two. I leave the quiet shutton on the 5D Mark III on all the time. When I am on the street I can hardly hear it.

I believe AlOtherNamesTaken referred to the 5D III's regular shutter mode when saying that it's louder, in comparison to the D600's shutter. When I directly compared the two, I also felt the same, but in fact a French magazine which actually measures DSLR shutters noise intensity in a controlled environment proved me wrong. The regular D600's shutter was measured at 59 dB if I correctly recall, the 5DIII regular shutter at 58, and the 5DIII silent mode at 52. The D600's quiet mode was practically identical to its regular mode (so basically quite useless).

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SimonRW
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Re: Upgrading to FF: ?'s about 5DIII and D600
In reply to jrmint, Oct 26, 2012

Interesting discussion. I always used to shoot with canon's, but (personal preference here), I borrowed a nikon a few years ago and found that the ergonomics were much better. If you are a pro shooting everyday, you get very used to button placement and so the 'front ' buttons on the EOS system become second nature BUT if you shoot say 3 weekends from 4 and shoot say sports or family, I found that i wanted to change a setting quickly and would have to look at the three buttons and think which one, then front or back dial. I found the Nikon layout much easier and less confusing to get back up to speed with. Colours are also personal. I found that Canon photos had a sligtly more artificia; or plastic look to them.

I switched to Nikon with a D90 (and use a V1 kit for travelling). The V1 has better colours, WB and AF than my D90! I am now thinking of moving up to full frame with better lenses and focussing, so am trying to decide which system and lenses. The d4 is OTT for me, I have handled the D600 and D800 with the 70-200 and bizarrely the focus on the D600 felt snappier thah the 800 and was very accurate. As I only tend to use single focus lock anyway, the width of the focus array isnt a problem. I also like the quick user settings, but feel the mode dial is a bit cheap in terms of look and feel although the rest of the cam seems well put together.

As I am changing at least two of my three lenses, changing system is not a real issue. The Nikon is better value and I still have the ergonomics question mark, but will try both side by side in the next couple of weeks to see what the output in a comparable situation is.

Good luck with your decision.

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