5D3 vs D800 - A Technical Analysis (UPDATED & EXTENDED) - With Samples

Started Mar 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
5tve Contributing Member • Posts: 678
Re: Part 2: 5D3 vs D800 - A Technical Analysis (UPDATED & EXTENDED) - With Sample

Legion5 wrote:

Resolution: Primes

Winner: D800

Obviously because the D800 has more megapixels, it's going to achieve a better resolution. With primes the advantage should be clear. Generally speaking primes will achieve under good circumstances around 3800 LP/PH on the 5D3. On the D800 they will achieve 4300 LP/PH (based on results using crop cameras with nearly identical pixel sizes, which are extremely accurate as analysis). Notice that this is only a 30% increase in spacial resolution, noticeably below the difference in sensor resolution. Lenses that are sharp enough to resolve all 36 megapixels are virtually nonexistent.

Here is an absolute best case scenario for the difference, shooting a very very sharp lens, on fabric which shows the clearest possible different, again 5D3 files are resized to 36MP.

Extended reading:

LensRentals.com has come to a nearly identical conclusion, showing a 27% increase in spacial resolution between the 5D3 & D800 with primes under the best circumstances.

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/03/d-resolution-tests

Conclusion

My purpose here is to be as unbiased as possible, cameras are tools and it doesn't matter who makes them. As I said earlier I am focusing on real world results, because pictures aren't taken "in theory". With that said I think it's appropriate to make a conclusion from the perspective of the D800's advantages over the 5D3 as I'm posting this in a Canon forum primarily.

Conclusions about resolution:

To gain a resolution advantage with the D800 over the 5D3 you must in combination shoot at less than ISO 1600, with primes, a shutter speed of at least 1/2 x focal length(unless your prime has IS or you're using a tripod), and between f/4.0 and f/8.0.

Lets see what Lens Rental actually said

At Higher ISO

The above results are taken at ISO 200 which should theoretically giving best, or > near-best, performance for each camera. I was curious how the D800′s resolution would hold up at higher ISOs so I repeated the ZF 25mm on D800 series at ISO 400 (where I do most of my shooting – it’s my test after all) and also at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200.

Again, this is done from raw images with no (as best I can determine) post image sharpening, although you can never be sure what is happening in-camera. But at any rate, there really is an amazingly small amount of resolution fall off at reasonably high ISOs. I was really surprised at this, especially at how well 3200 compared to 1600. Obviously I should have gone further, and need to do the same comparisons for the 5DIII, which I should get to next week.

He only tested the D800 up to ISO 3200
At ISO 3200 the D800 reached 1160 lp/ih
The 5DMKIII in comparison only managed 1060 lp/ih at ISO 200

And as we are talking about resolution & I am not impressed with Legion5 photo which looks as if it has had a blur filter applied here's my version.

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