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Compared to...

Some will no doubt argue that this is not a fair comparison, but in reality it's completely fair. Both of these cameras offer double-digit megapixel counts and professional features in a compact robust body, both will appeal to similar buyers. The EOS 5D's "ace card", its expensive full frame sensor may also leave it at a disadvantage price-wise compared to the D200. (Note in those areas where we feel the two cameras are equal or that usefulness of feature would be a user decision we have not highlighted either side).

UPDATE 22/Feb/06: Note that Canon has just announced the EOS 30D which is a subtle upgrade to the EOS 20D, on the comparison table below it would match the LCD size of the other models and also provides a larger continuous shooting buffer.

In favour of the Nikon D200 (vs. the Canon EOS 5D)

  • Faster continuous shooting (5 fps vs. 3 fps)
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • GPS device data support
  • Faster USB 2.0 (5 MB/sec)
  • Detailed battery status
  • Nicer menu system user interface (inc. help)
  • Additional features (Multiple exposures, Interval shooting, etc.)
  • Value for money

In favour of the Canon EOS 5D (vs. the Nikon D200)

  • Full 35 mm frame CMOS sensor
  • Larger pixel pitch (better high ISO performance)
  • 2.6 megapixel advantage (496 horiz., 320 vert. pixels more)
  • Additional low ISO sensitivity (ISO 50)
  • Better continuous shooting buffering
  • Better image parameter control
  • Rear dial is easier to use in the field than a multi-selector
 
Nikon D200

Canon EOS 5D

Canon EOS 20D
Price (body only) US: $1,699 US: $3,299 US: $1,399
Body material Magnesium alloy (rubber seals) Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Sensor • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 35.8 x 23.9 mm CMOS (full frame)
• 12.8 million effective pixels
22.5 x 15.0 mm CMOS
8.2 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 [L]
• 2896 x 1944 [M]
• 1936 x 1296 [S]
• 4368 x 2912 [L]
• 3168 x 2112 [M]
• 2496 x 1664 [S]
3504 x 2336 [L]
2544 x 1696 [M]
1728 x 1152 [S]
FOV crop 1.5x None (1x) 1.6x
Lens support • Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• Older lenses via AI connector
• Canon EF mount
• Excluding EF-S lenses
• Canon EF mount
• Includes EF-S lenses
File formats • RAW (comp, uncomp)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (compressed, lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (compressed, lossless)
• JPEG (3 levels)
Auto focus • 11/7 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• 9 area TTL + 6 'invisible'
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• 9 area TTL
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
AF illuminator Yes, built-in lamp No, external flash only Yes, flash strobe, must be up
Color space • sRGB (2 modes)
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 1005 pixel CCD sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 area sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 35 area sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering • 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Evaluative (35 area)
• Partial
• Spot
• Center-weighted average
• Evaluative (35 area)
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
Exp. comp. +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV
EV steps 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600
• Up to ISO 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 50 & 3200 with boost
• ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 3200 with boost
Auto ISO User controlled maximum ISO and slowest shutter speed Automatic, parameters fixed Automatic, parameters fixed
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/250 sec X-Sync speed
• 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/200 sec X-Sync speed
• 30 - 1/8000 sec
• 1/250 sec X-Sync speed
Continuous
speed

• 5 fps (CH)
• 4 - 1 fps (CL)

3 fps 5 fps
Continuous buffer • 37 JPEG frames
• 22 RAW frames
• 60 JPEG frames
• 17 RAW frames
• 25 JPEG frames
• 6 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Six presets
• Manual presets (four)
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Six presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Image params • Six preset looks
• Sharpening: Auto, 6 levels
• Tone: Auto, 3 levels, Custom
• Color: 3 modes
• Saturation: Auto, 3 levels
• Hue: -9° to +9°
• Six preset picture styles
• Three user sets
• Sharpening: 8 levels
• Contrast: 9 levels
• Saturation: 9 levels
• Color tone: 9 levels
• B&W filter/tone: 5 of each
• Two preset sets
• Three user sets
• Sharpening: 5 levels
• Contrast: 5 levels
• Saturation: 5 levels
• Color tone: 5 levels
• B&W filter/tone: 5 of each
Built-in flash Yes No Yes
Custom button Yes No No
User memories • 4 Shooting menu
• 4 Custom functions menu
1 additional via 'C' mode No
Embed comment Yes (text comment embedded) No No
Viewfinder • Eyepoint 19.5 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx. 0.94x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte II
• Optional gridlines
• Eyepoint 20 mm
• Frame coverage 96%
• Magnification approx 0.71x
• Precision matte screen (removable)
• Eyepoint 20 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.9x
• Precision matte screen
Other features • Image Overlay
• Multiple Exposure
• Interval Timer Shooting
• Mirror-lockup (opt. 3 sec) • Mirror-lockup (opt. 3 sec)
• Auto depth of field
• Scene modes
LCD monitor • 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• Removable protective cover
• 2.5 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixels
• 1.8 " TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Wi-Fi WT-3 802.11 b/g (option) WFT-E1 802.11 b/g (option) WFT-E1 802.11 b/g (option)
GPS Yes, via MC-35 cable (option) No No
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(approx. 5 MB/sec)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(approx. 2.5 MB/sec)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(approx. 3.0 MB/sec)
Battery EN-EL3e (7.4 V, 1500 mAh) BP-511A (7.4 V, 1390 mAh) BP-511A (7.4 V, 1390 mAh)
Battery status • Remaining charge (%)
• No. of shots since last charge
• Battery life (5 stage)
Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
Vertical grip MB-D200 (option) BG-E4 (option) BP-E2 (option)
Dimensions 147 x 113 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
152 x 113 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
144 x 106 x 72 mm
(5.6 x 4.2 x 2.8 in)
Weight (no batt) 830 g (1.8 lb) 810 g (1.8 lb) 685 g (1.5 lb)

Megapixels, some perspective

One thing you must never lose perspective of is that (for the same aspect ratio) you must quadruple megapixel count to double resolution. This means that a twelve megapixel sensor of today has approximately twice the resolution (horizontally or vertically) of the three megapixel sensor of yesterday. Hence as megapixel counts climb it becomes harder and harder demonstrate a significant resolution advantage, the 'jumps' in megapixel count have to become much bigger. The diagram below is a comparison of output image size from five different 8 megapixel-and-up digital SLR's.

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Comments

Total comments: 2
RWLee

Likewise, great pics to 8.5x11. Vacation shots and family pics would be hard to beat.
Not a Pro,
Richard
D200
AF-S 18-200mm
DX 300mm
Tokina SD 12-24 F4 (IF) DX

0 upvotes
CagomoC

Two of awesome creative machines that I still use. I'll never give them up. I haven't reached 20,000 shutter counts yet! had these babies since 2006.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Total comments: 2