Starting Over - D800(E) and 5D3. Help me make the best decision (please)

Started May 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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JD BuckSavage New Member • Posts: 5
Starting Over - D800(E) and 5D3. Help me make the best decision (please)

I need some help!

Let me first preface this post with the following statements:

1) I know that the camera is just a tool that helps me capture what I "see".

2) I am a gear head, plain and simple. I am an engineer by trade and photography is a serious hobby of mine (more on that later).

3) I have owned by Nikon (D90) and Canon (7D, 5DIII) bodies and am currently selling a Sony A7R.

4) I would *really* appreciate honest feedback from others on the respective bodies in question, the lenses from each system and to leave brand loyalty for the sake of loyalty at the door (if possible).

Around the middle of last year, due to financial reasons, I found myself needing to sell off the majority of my photo gear. At the time my bag consisted of:

Canon 5D Mark III (gripped)

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART

Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II

Canon 600 EX-RT

RRS Head

Some other stuff not worth writing out

I shoot pretty much everything. There are times that I will walk out into the woods and get lost for a few hours. I have rented macro lenses a few times, love it but have never committed to owning my own. I have shot weddings begrudgingly, I have done a fair amount of portrait work, I would like to get better and landscape photography and if I had a chance to do some serious wildlife photography I would jump at the chance.

After I sold the gear I missed it a lot and started figuring out how to save up and start putting a kit back together that consisted of at least a really nice body and a fast 35mm as I fell in love with the Sigma the day I put it on my 5D3.

So, here I am, “starting over” if you will. I tried the mirrorless route. The A7R produces some really nice photos (I have it paired with a rented 35mm f/2.8 and I have but did not yet open a 55mm f/1.8. My main issues with the A7R is the body size (too small for me) and EVF, not a fan. I prefer the larger, heavier camera bodies.

The A7R is currently being sold and now I am back looking at the big two, Canon and Nikon.

They each have their lenses that are unique to them (Nikon’s UWA zoom, Canon’s TSE’s), but I am a prime guy and that Sigma is nice enough for me to not worry about L vs Nikkor glass as much. The photos I was able to capture with the Sigma were nothing less than stunning (to me).

I have been reading for the last 5 days just about every piece of data I could find on both the 5D3 and D800(E). I have read countless articles, posts and conversations about why to choose this that or another.

Here is what I like about each (Nikon based on reading, 5D3 from real use).


More MP = more cropping if needed while still being able to print big.

Better DR for my landscape photography.


I know the system, in and out, what it is capable of and what it is not.

AF is great.

As for how *I* use the cameras:

1) I use (M)anual mode 99% of the time.

2) I use AF-ON focusing (back button focus). I hate the partial depression of the shutter button for focus.

3) I use continuous auto focus a lot (AI Servo on Canon).

4) Because I am in manual mode, it is important to be able to manipulate ISO, Speed and Apeture easily from the body while looking through the VF. This is very easy on the Canon (for me).

5) I never, ever use video.

Ok, so that is how I use the camera. What I want to know from all of you guys is if you were in my situation, brand loyalty a side, not worrying so much about the “next” camera, which would you choose?

Would you go Nikon, picking up the Sigma 35mm ART to start with?

If you did, would it be the D800 or D800E and why?

Would you consider Nikon’s 35mm instead?


Would you go with Canon?

Please provide details, the more the better. Your comments, thoughts and opinions will be greatly appreciated. I am considering renting the D800E but I am fearful that I will not be able to put it through enough of its paces in a weekly rental that will allow me to make a really long term commitment to a system and unless I truly “hated” the controls, it would not do much for me and it would be a waste.

I am looking forward to hearing from everyone. I have cross posted this on both boards to get some insight from both sides to make sure I hit a good sampling of users.



Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D800 Nikon D800E Sony Alpha a7R
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