Poll: D800E vs. 5D mk III w/ Zeiss 2/35mm ZF

Started Jul 10, 2013 | Polls thread
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Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 14,895
Poll: D800E vs. 5D mk III w/ Zeiss 2/35mm ZF

D800E (Downsized to match the dimensions of the 5D mk III image)


5D mk III (Full size jpeg)


RAW files of both brands at this link (link must be copy/pasted into your browser)


This is the location and landscape scene I use to test all of my cameras and lenses because it has a little of everything pertinent to my photography: foliage, water, architecture (straight lines), grand vista, infinity. Here are a couple of notes regarding procedure.

1.) Used the same lens, Zeiss 2/35mm ZF (Nikon native mount), to make both images although the lens had to be adapted to the 5D mk III.

1a.) I have similar image sets with other Zeiss lenses but chose the Zeiss 35 to post because it generally has a good reputation and is hopefully beyond reproach.

1b.) A Zeiss lens was used because it can be mounted on both cameras (adapter required for the Canon). Using the same lens, IMO, removes a huge impediment to achieving equal test conditions (lens equality in terms of IQ).

2.) The street at the horizon is center frame, focus point and is infinity for a 35mm lens.

2a.) I shot the 5D mk III first after leveling the camera attached to a Markins ball head and then, used the same ball head position to mount the Nikon and after re-checking the leveling which of course was perfectly level, determined that the alignment was so remarkably close that no adjustment was necessary for this type of comparison.

3.) Focusing anomalies:

3a.) Mounted on the Nikon with the focus ring turned all the way to the infinity mark (refer back to no. 2), the image appeared a hair under-focused in Live view, but in switching to the optical VF, the focus confirmation was a steady green circle with no range finder arrows so this is what I used.

3b.) Mounted on the Canon with the focus ring turned all the way to the infinity mark (refer back to no. 2), the image was completely unfocused and therefore had to be focused manually to achieve true focus.

3c.) Focusing with Live View in bright sunlight is much easier with the Canon because the LCD glass is treated with an effective coating and in comparison, Live View visibility on the D800E is slightly to significantly washed out depending on light levels but, since I used focus confirmation for the Nikon image, Live View visibility will not or should not affect the outcome.

4a.) Images have the same aperture (f8), shutter speed (1/200) and ISO (ISO 100). Bracketing was used to insure matching shutter speeds were obtained.

4b.) Images were made at all full stops of the Zeiss lens. F8 was chosen for this comparison to keep well enough below diffraction limiting to limit the diffraction impact on the results while having some sharpness at the edges and corners to compare.

5.) Other than the 25%/.05 radius sharpening in ACR that seems to be Adobe’s default, there is absolutely Zero processing on either image. WB of both images were remarkably close and was adjusted ever so slightly to match for the jpeg conversion.

6.) The intent is for viewers to apply their own PPing and sharpening regimens to these images before assessing a preference. RAWs have been supplied for those who want to start all the way back to the beginning.

7.) The EXIF of the 5D mk III image will show f2. The adapter used won’t report actual aperture. You can rest assured this image was made at f8.

8.) I’ve provided a polling option for “Who cares?”. Please do not post an expansion of this opinion because we/I don’t care why you don’t care.

9.) A similar Poll has been posted in the Canon forum.

TIA for looking.

 Rick Knepper's gear list:Rick Knepper's gear list
Pentax 645Z Canon EOS 5DS R Fujifilm GFX 50S +2 more
I prefer the image made with the Nikon D800E.
44.1% 26  votes
I prefer the image made with the Canon 5D mk III.
8.5% 5  votes
I can't see any difference.
20.3% 12  votes
Who cares?
27.1% 16  votes
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Canon EOS 5D Nikon D800E
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