Joining the “Darkside”

If you’ve been following me over on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve recently made the jump from shooting with Canon to now shooting with Nikon aka the “darkside.”

For as long as I can remember I had been shooting Canon digitals cameras. Back in the day photography for me was merely a side hobby to entertain myself with between classes and other college prep activities. I didn’t have the intention to pursue the craft professionally, so when my camera became outdated I’d upgrade to something I was familiar with and budget friendly.

Well pretty much everything above has been negated (except for the budget friendly part!) In the last year I decided to drop everything to attack photography as a profession head on. For the last 2.5 years I’ve been shooting with my Canon 5D Mark II and aside from its slow and amazingly inaccurate autofocus the little 24 megapixel friend has been a trooper! –trooping through over 170,000+ clicks. This also means that my Mark II is on the brink of death. Time to upgrade! The obvious choice would be to go with the 5D Mark III, however I instead did a 180 and joined the Nikon army armed with a D800. Here are the main reasons for my switch.


Key Features that Encouraged the Switch

Beast Mode Resolution 

There are 36 megapixels. This behemoth introduces a resolution normally found in digital medium format to the smaller DSLR system. Off the bat I’m looking forward to printing larger prints for my someday-in-the-future art show.

Shadow Detail

Hands down Nikon wins in retaining dynamic range and shadow detail in raw files. This article over at does a great job explaining what I’m talking about:

Full HD Video

Although I do not partake in filmmaking currently, it’s nice to know that I have the option for to film my own behind the scenes, projects, or even vlogs on full HD video at 1920 x 1080 at 30/25/24p.

Functional Auto Focus

The Nikon D800 features Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX  (a 51-point AF system,) which pretty much means functional autofocus. This is amazing for me because I love to incorporate movement and energy into my images. If you’ve ever shot with the 5DII you’d know how impossible it is to accurately  to track a moving object (even a slow one!) let alone shoot wide open. With the D800 body I don’t have to worry about the camera inaccurately focusing on a person nose instead of their eyes or a random background element.

Although, thanks to slow auto focus I’ve become a decent focus puller. Thanks old AF technology!


The USA price for the D800 is $2,999 and while the 5D Mark III is $3599. And with a little shopping research I managed to find a new D800 for $2,700 right after the Thanksgiving holidays. At nearly $1,000 less the D800 over shines the 5DIII in performance and image quality. A definite better bang for the buck and worth the hassle of switching over all other gear and accessories to cater to Nikon.

Sidenote: I also personally felt that the 5DIII is what the 5DII should have been.

Overall it doesn’t matter which brand you’re shooting with. The camera body is simply another tool you’re using to create your art. At my current artistic/professional stage in life the D800 fits my basic needs at a price point that I’m okay with.

Tags from the story


  • I used to have a Nikon D200.  I switch to a 5D mk1 when all my co-workers at the time shot with Canon.  I still miss Nikon and think about going back to the dark side every now and then.

  • Personally I think both cameras are great and one can not go wrong choosing one of them, yet I would like to comment on some of your points since I felt you made an effective comparison against the 5D Mk two but not against the 5D Mk three:

    1 Yes, that resolution is huge and it will benefit you on that purpouse, yet files are very big so upgrade memory cards and computing gear if needed.

    2 Shadow detail, low ISOs Nikon looks superior, high ISOs looks better at Canon side.

    3 HD video advantage on the Nikon is highly dependant on the use of the HDMi output, but it’s allways better to have some options even if you don’t use them frecuently.

    4 Autofocus on the Canon (61 focus points) seems actually better in real world tests (easy to find on the web) and according to several Nikon users that point out that the 800 “doubts” at getting the focus in some situations (which maybe related to the bigger resolution and handling of lenses’ aberrations) yet Nikon can be superior to the Canon in low light if you use the lamp assist (which tend to bother some individuals).

    5 Canon 5d mark III is also available at less of $2,700 at a few online stores, with the Nikon you might  to upgrade your computing gear (as said in 1) so the $$$ benefit might not be so much in the end.

    Btw Nikon has an onboard flash that can be used to trigger external flashes wirelessly, the Canon doesn’t, so more $$$ is needed to get that capability. And also Canon custom C modes save more info than the Nikon conunterpart

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