Canon 5D Mark 2 versus Nikon D700

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See the two year update to this articleThe Canon 5D Mark 3 for documentary wedding photography and why

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Gosfield Hall in Essex is a truly inspiring location for a wedding. There are many opportunities for the documentary wedding photographer so it was a real treat to work there.

Not only does it lend itself to great lighting but its architecturally historical interior is an advantage when framing subjects and layering up images with narrative and context. I could say I’d like to work there all the time but I don’t buy into photographers being better at venues they’re familiar with, perhaps because they’re a featured supplier there.

I personally feel that shooting at many different venues, from fantastic ones like Gosfield Hall to really tricky venues such as Aston Villa football ground or a school in Bedfordshire with poor available light (covering a large Asian wedding), really keeps you on your toes.

Ultimately it makes you more sensitive to the effects of the environment with less potential for complacency and creating a carbon copy of your previous work – a much less personal product for your customer.

In addition to the superb venue, Jane and James are incredibly nice people with complete faith in the documentary style.

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 001

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 002

For those of you following my recent ramblings regarding my Canon to Nikon switch – this is my first Nikon wedding to be on the blog.

My reasons behind the switch were very justified.

As with a lot of documentary style photographers I rarely use flash and this is absolutely fine for the majority of the time when you have great venues with good available light.

But on the odd occasion when you don’t have these things handed to you on a plate, for instance the Asian wedding held at a school in Bedfordshire that I shot several years ago which had appallingly low levels of available light, it really does push your cameras to their limits.

Unfortunately, it was during one of these very infrequent occasions that the Canon 5D Mark 2 system was ever so slightly compromised. The particular 5D issues were the high ISO noise capability and low light and contrast auto focus difficulties.

I’ve used Canon since 2002, so it was a really tough decision to make and I’m sure many other photographers out there are currently having a similar dilemma.

It’s particularly hard once you’ve bought into a brand, after all, a switch of brand doesn’t just involve your bodies, you have your glass and accessories to think about too, it’s costly and there really does have to be good reasoning to justify those costs, not just kit lust.

It’s also unnerving – after working with the 5d Mark 1 followed by the Mark 2 for so long I can operate them with my eyes closed, I know how to get the best out of them in different environments and ultimately I know the limitations of the camera and exactly what the RAW file is going to allow me to do during post production.

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 003

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 004

I can already hear Canon users screaming – ‘what about the 1D Mark 4!’ – a truly amazing camera and a very tempting option which I very nearly took. However, I use primes and I didn’t want to stop using primes for my documentary weddings and didn’t want to have to alter my system because of the cropped sensor on the Canon 1D Mark 4.

I also didn’t want the large, 1 series body or the price tag associated with that.

I’m not going to lie either, I’m quite (very) rough with camera kit – it’s a tool as far as I’m concerned, not a set of testicles to carry around during trade shows.

I’m definitely not camera club material.

Whilst I know, having worked with Canon 1 series cameras in the past, both film and digital, that they’re tough, I also know that they’re not ‘Allister proof’, so more expensive to repair, service and insure – costs also factored in to my decision. The smaller professional cameras are tough enough and not too expensive to replace regularly.

I could have also waited for the replacement to the 5D Mark 2, but when would that be? I’d heard several dates – all after this year’s wedding season and I needed to do the switch before a very busy May.

I didn’t want to be compensating for the shortfalls of the Canon system during my 2010 work which would form my portfolio for next year.

After some trials and many conversations with Canon 1D Mark 4, Nikon D3 and D700 users (thank you, you know who you are), I went for two D700 cameras. In the end it was the obvious choice. Nikon’s equivalent to the 5D – a high quality, full frame sensor in a small, more discreet package allows me to use exactly the same set up as before – a 50mm and 24mm and no flash. Only this time I have a camera that doesn’t hold me back.

However, for photographers looking for a cropped sensor or a large, professional body, I appreciate that the decision making has several more elements involved.

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 005

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 006

The Nikon D700 compared with the Canon 5D Mark 2 is much more of a photographer’s camera – it’s more intuitive, more specialised and more customisable.

With the introduction of the 5D Mark 2 I felt that Canon were neglecting a large majority of it’s users, I don’t want to make HD movie footage, I want to make stills, and stills that don’t look unnaturally sharp and digital. With the recent introduction of the Canon 7D it appears that this small but professional range within the Canon lineup is going to continue to be Jack of all trades, master of none.

I personally like the softer, more film like Nikon files, in fact I’m now able to get similar results to when I used to use the Nikon F100 35mm camera with Kodak and Fujifilm monochrome negative.

I find the files more authentic than Canon images straight out of the camera.

I also like the more sensitive metering system you get in the D700, I get much more information in the shadows straight out of camera and when I need to can fill a 3200 ISO file considerably before getting bad noise and banding. No more issues with blown highlights in the red channel either – something I will definitely not miss when photographing bands during the evening reception.

The autofocus is much more sophisticated too, operating well in much darker and often backlit and low contrast situations. In fact you get the same AF system in the D700 as the flagship Nikons – it doesn’t have a much weaker, watered down system to it’s big brother, something that can’t be said for the Canon 5D Mark 2.

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 007

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 008

The lenses were my main sticking point I had before the switch – were they going to be as good as Canon? Well, I can safely say that they are, the only lens I feel Nikon need to hurry up and produce is a 50mm 1.4 replacement, something to rival the Canon 50mm 1.2 USM.

Other than that Canon and Nikon primes are so closely matched, for my style of photography anyway, that it’s simply not an issue to factor into the equation when deciding on whether to take the plunge and switch, other than the cost involved of course.

The decision needs to be based on the camera system alone.

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 009

5d Mk2 vs D700 wedding photos 010

So, am I happy now that I’ve shot around ten weddings, some portraits, a couple of documentary projects and some personal work with it?

Absolutely.

I’m not suggesting that the system doesn’t have it’s weaker points compared to the Canon. I’m not biased and am not guilty of any ‘brand loyalty’ that I’ve discovered discussing this topic via twitter and the blog, can be a little ‘Mac or PC’.

The preview screen, for instance, isn’t accurate and the compact flash card door gets pulled open by the palm of your hand, especially when using the camera one-handed, not good. However these aren’t issues that have a direct impact on image quality.

For me, the most important improvement has been that the Nikons are not at the forefront of my mind when shooting, they’re completely in the background because I know they will allow me to capture and reproduce what I see, in almost any environment. The cameras are now a seamless link in my image making process.

If you’re considering the switch, have an interest in or completely disagree with what I’ve said, I’d be interested in hearing your comments on the blog.

Would you help me out and share this?

Sharing really means a lot, I'd appreciate it!

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102 thoughts on Canon 5D Mark 2 versus Nikon D700

  1. Aaron Moller says:

    Having shot the D700 and 5D Mark II side by side at a lot of events, I mirror your sentiments. I love the way high ISO files look coming out of the Nikon, and much prefer the general look over the 5D. I don’t shoot primes (other than the 50 1.4G) so I can’t comment there, but I love my Nikon 24-70 2.8! Are you using the 24 1.4? I would love to test it out, but I would prefer a 35mm 1.4 like Canon has.

  2. Thanks for your comments Aaron.

    Yes, I shoot with the new 24 1.4, it’s had a bit of bad press lately re focus issues but my copy seems to be fine – just as good as the 24 1.4 Canon I used for several years. I’m similarly waiting for the 35 1.4 from Nikon, as I bet thousands of others are too!

  3. Well written and eloquent article. Making some good valid points.

    May the D700 serve you well – I’m interested to hear what making a camera “Allister proof” means – I’d think the lenses are the weak link?

  4. Neil Crook says:

    Allister, a great article and some very interesting reading. I’m using Nikon at the moment and not sure of the move to either a D300s or sod the investment and go for the D700 with the 24-70 F2.8. Nice to read about using primes, not considered those, but will have a look in to them. I was interested in the Canon 5D Mark ii but after reading this against the limited noise you get with a D700, I think the decision will be a lot easier… Keep up the good work.

  5. Aaron Moller says:

    Neil: I shot the D300s at a wedding a couple of weeks back and was very happy with the performance, but I would not put it in the same league as an FX sensor camera for ISO performance. Plus it keeps your wide lenses wide. I kept putting the 70-200 on it for quick candids, but not much else. The high ISO performance of the D700 keeps it locked in for me.

  6. Also been with Nikon from the D1 to my current D300s superb cameras Grant

  7. Stephen Bunn says:

    Great post… I love my D700′s and prime lenses, I use the 35 f2 a lot more than the 50g which feels a little sluggish in terms of auto focus. I would love a 35 f1.4 but honestly I am not sure cost would be worth the extra speed. You can pick up a 35 f2 very cheap… you should try it Allister, its so small and unobtrusive, sharp and has lovely Bokeh.

  8. Hey Allister
    Another fantastic post, before the camera debate though I must say how fantastic I think the images are, the black and white conversion really makes them stunning. I absolutely love the 4th picture; from a photographers point of view because you have so many angles and you have captured so much it makes you stare at the picture for ages, but from a former brides point of view I would have just loved a shot of me like that on my wedding day to see all angles of the dress in one shot would have make it my favorite shot I’m sure.
    Thanks also for sharing your thought process with regard to the camera switch, I have been very canon loyal since starting in the photography world (longer ago than I care to admit I still feel 21 after all), but I am certainly swaying towards the Nikon, the potential for wedding photographers seems to be immense with the Nikon. Im not completely converted to make the swop yet so will look forward to more posts from you! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thank you for the interest and kind words Lesley.

    Black and white processing has been an area that I’ve really been analysing a lot recently, mainly making sure it’s a unique style that remains traditional enough to stand the test of time but still has a fine art feel.

    The Nikons are also providing me with a more film like range of tones to work with in the RAW file, so a much better starting point for my post production. And I feel it really shows. I can now get detail across the entire tonal range if I want – in the same situations where the Canon would simply fill the shadows and record no detail in them at all, not just silhouettes like some of the images featured in this post but situations where it really shouldn’t happen. This was a particular aspect of the Canon sensor that I felt increasingly unhappy with.

    Make sure you keep an eye on the blog, all work from now on will be Nikon so will be a good resource if you decide to make the switch.

  10. Kevin Mullins says:

    I’m not going to get into the camera debate. I have my colours well and truly (and expensively) nailed to a certain manufacturers tree. What I can say though is that the images are stunning. The shot of the guys smoking outside is wonderful as is the chap in the library.

    Great stuff Al.

  11. Hi Allister

    Good to see the change in equipment hasn’t changed the stunning images you produce!

    Very interesting reading – having decided that Pentax make beautiful lenses but rubbish bodies I think that a change may be likely and it’s really useful to have a useful comparison (if a little one sided but guess that’s why you changed in the first place!).

  12. Jason Bishop says:

    Enjoyed hearing your views. I shoot with a D3 and wished I had got the 700…..two D3s strapped to you on a long wedding is a killer! The 700 is just a cut down D3. I got seduced by the D3S, now that is when you can really see the difference in low light. Id say it has a one and a half to two stop advantage. However I love the film like look of the D3 at 3200 ISO which shows up the 5D. I think more people are looking to switch brands, but its down to money for most of us. I think deep down Canon users secretly envy the D3/D700 family. I may get booed :)

  13. Good article Allister – I hope my advice was of some use at the time.

  14. Really cool article. I’m really glad the switch worked out too. I chose the D700 over the D3 for size etc and have never regretted it. Really nice to see Gosfield Hall again, great venue and fabulous shots!

    Pete

  15. Hi Allister,

    Great and very informative article for a baby tog like me. Add in the “usual” stunning shots… Cor!

    Anyway, I’m currently in the Sony camp (eek!). Umm… noise: I have to live with it at anything shot over iso 400. I have exotic dreams at night about the eagerly expected Sony replacements for the 500 range and the rumoured new A850/900… sad, aren’t I.

    Fantastic words and images, again I am learning from you (for free).
    :) May I start calling myself, Grasshopper?

    Cheers,
    Paul

  16. I had quite the same situation about a year ago. I was shooting weddings since 2000 using Canon gear and after testing out Nikons D700 a year ago, it didn’t take long for me to make that decision.. I sold a bunch of Canons lenses, bodies and flashes and switched to D700. And I must say I am still very happy about my decision. It wasn’t so easy to get used to Nikons controls and menu’s, but after I managed that… I have never been happier with my wedding photos, especially because I don’t use flash at all, because Nikon’s low light performance is simply astonishing. Even if it has noise, it is much more film-like and in some cases I even turn up the ISO to have that nice grain..
    BTW, nice wedding capture, Allister. Keep up the good work!

  17. Marcus says:

    I shoot with D3 bodies because the D700 was not available at the time I went to FX. Now I probably would buy the D700 but my D3′s are absolutely fine and too expensive to change here in NZ.

    I do like the larger battery in the D3 – I have shot all day for 3 days before changing a battery before now! I know you can put that one into a D700 with the grip, but then you may as well have a D3.

    Also, two CF card slots is just astonishingly useful.

    I would like a higher eyepoint though as I wear glasses and seeing all the edges of the VF can be tricky – not a problem I had with the D2Xs which has a smaller VF screen.

  18. Daf says:

    Out of interest – why do you not like the (relatively new) Nikon 50mm 1.4 G ?

  19. Thanks for your interest Daf – I do currently use that lens

  20. [...] photographer Allister Freeman discusses his experience shooting weddings after moving from a Canon 5d Mark 2 to a Nikon [...]

  21. Tom Batinich says:

    The only thing stopping us from switching is the money aspect. I am still using my 1ds Mark II, not happy with the 5DII and went through 3 1D Mark III bodies with focus problems. We will wait for the next generation of Canon’s to see what they come out with and then make the final decision.

  22. Very interesting read. I moved from Canon back to Nikon after 5 years a couple of months ago. I had two 5D original bodies and changed to 7D’s last December but it just didn’t work out for me. The autofocus and tracking just didn’t work as advertised and one of the bodies main control dial failed during a wedding. My Canon 24-70L also wasn’t sharp wide open on either body and was sent to Canon for calibration. It came back the same. So I sold everything Canon and bought a Nikon D700, Nikon D300s, 16-35 F4 VR, 24-70 F2.8, 70-200 F2.8 VRII, 60mm F2.8 micro, two SB900′s, SB400, SU800 and stands, brackets, brollies etc. Everything works as it should do. The 24-70 is a real standout lens, but the other lenses are great too. The D700 and D300s compliment each other well as they are so similar in layout and menus with the D700 great for low light and subject isolation and the D300s for reach and outdoor work. Like you I don’t need to think about the camera when shooting – they just work.

  23. Mark Byrne says:

    Very interesting read, I’ve always been Nikon just because it was the first camera I ever bought. My tempation has always been the other way… to Canon -specifically the 5D. That was until I saw the 5D mark II and I knew that
    video wasn’t where I wanted to go. I waited and have just completed my first wedding and portrait with my D700, 50mm, 85mm and I’m blown away by the high iso features of this camera. This changes everything for me.
    I love my D200 and its still my backup camera. The D700 is just pushing me to be a better photographer right from the word go. I can’t wait to see where I end up with things.

  24. Fascinating reading guys! I have never used a Nikon so am not able to add any comments regarding their comparative merits. Would love to try the D700 though after having read how much you all enthuse about it! I can’t imagine how you were able to switch though as guess the “controls” are quite different! Your selection of monochrome images are exquisitely expressive too.

    I do wonder though whether removing colour to make an image more cohesive is always the solution to creating an impressive image and feel that in many instances it is a shame to lose the beautiful rich colours we see around us when glowing light unites them – but then that’s another subject…

  25. Thanks Elaine, it was certainly a concern but the Nikon layout is very easy to adjust to – quite intuitive really.

    I like your input with regards the colour work – an area that I’m looking at discussing soon. Colour is incredibly important – for both narrative and composition, but I only use it when necessary and when, in particular, it adds something to the image. I like the simplicity of monochrome and that the image is required to be strong in order to work on those restricted tones and for the right documentary image, monochrome gets straight to the point – to the moment, without distraction. That said, colour can do this equally as well, it just needs to be the correct image. It’s very subjective.

  26. Daus says:

    Well, all I can say is, you can shoot great pictures with those two incredible cameras :)

  27. We actually use both cameras and like you said they both have their pros and cons.

    I’ve had the 5D MkII pretty much since it came out and have yet to use the video function for a wedding or anything like that. I do like having the option to make little movies for the blog though.

    The biggest issue we’ve had, which to be fair is a pretty rare one, is dead battery syndrome with D700. It has only happened with third party lenses and of course Nikon won’t do anything to fix it….. which is a little frustrating!

    I’ll also echo Kevin’s favourites….. they did make me smile and that’s what’s really important right?

  28. Jofoto says:

    Switched back to Nikon with D3′s about 3 years ago, would like to see an update to the 135 f2 and 85 1.4, mostly for CA and SWM if nothing else.
    Try the Sigma 50 1.4, its much better wide open than the Nikkor 1.4 G which I had, plus the new nikkor focuses fast enough for funerals but not weddings.
    Just tools, I only romance invoices:)

  29. James P says:

    I shoot D700, my brother 5DMK2. I’m permanently in the ‘should I switch’ camp to the 5DMK2. I’ve done back to back tests time and time again and for high ISO, in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing in it. The biggest gripe I have with the 5dMK2 is the autofocus, it has nothing on the D700. If you are a focus and recompose shooter using the center AF point then you’ve got nothing to worry about as that’s cross type but for everything else in anything but good light I found it hunted too much for my liking where as the D700 locked on pretty much all the time.

    Still the size of the 5DMK2 images do give you that extra room to crop.

  30. Thanks James, I’ve really tried to keep it as balanced and honest as I can, these are my personal opinions of why I feel the Nikon system better suits my style and will not mirror everyones views.

    A polite note: if you’re planning on commenting on this post and would like me to publish it then please be aware that I’m not personally trying to insult you if you use Canon cameras. I would genuinely like to hear all opinions on this but will not post comments on here that are rude, immature and plain geeky.

  31. phil says:

    A great read Allister and very balanced. Having only really ever shot canon I cannot offer anything constructive to the debate, only the negatives I have experienced from the canon camp. My 5DMKII is now with H.Lehmanns in Stoke for yet another go at fixing it, it failed (err30) right at the start of a wedding. Luckily it came back “online” but proved erratic throughout the day. I managed to get through the shoot with “fudging” the exposures and winging it on the histogram (thank god for the histogram). Unknown to me at the time an err30 indicated mirror/shutter failure (at 2months old!!), and indeed the whole camera was flying in and out of synch with it’s shutter. I do have another camera I use, so the back up of a 5DMKI and 40D proved invaluable that day. Having said that I am still seriously considering the move to Nikon and the D700.The hands on reviews such as yours, only serve to make it even more tempting. Perhaps I will wait to see if the camera comes back (3rd time lucky) fixed, and then I will make the decision. Many thanks again for an informative and honest review.

    Phil

  32. Rick Golan says:

    Many thnks for writing such a fascinating article. All too typically you see the same point above and over so this makes a refreshing change.

  33. Hi Allister

    Sorry to see you go! I have been a Canon user for many years and love my dual 5D Mark II’s.

    Autofocus has never been a problem – I always use centre spot and recompose (it is the way I was trained) though I can see that if this isn’t your style it may be a problem.

    Also really interested to hear you speak of the better images at higher ISO – I have a friend who shoots with D700′s at weddings with me occasionally and I always find his files to be more noisy than the 5D Mark II.

    Anyway, that aside – your images are fantastic! Clean, sharp and the guys face in the library is outstanding!

    Andrew

  34. Paul says:

    Your post brought up an interesting issue that I’ve wondered about for a while now: how is it that both Canon and Nikon have chosen to not be directly competitive in the body/price niches that the D700 and 5DmkII are holding? Both companies could make counterparts to each others’ offerings (higher megapixels or better ISO) in this market segment and satisfy their base, and yet so far they will not. This would seem to prevent the brand migration that you’ve experienced.

    At other, more defined segments these companies are rather directly competitive so this one baffles me.

  35. yuriy says:

    Nice read I switched from Canon to Nikon a year ago and could not be more happier :)

  36. Hi Allister,

    Interesting to read all about your thoughts and the big change from Canon to Nikon. Love your last shot.
    Best Wishes,
    Lindsay

  37. Markarian says:

    I’m in love with your style, Allister. I’m a die-hard Canon fanboy and shoot with the 5D2, but the D700 sounds like a fantastic camera and I’d love to try one out. I was stunned to get the 5D2 and find out it had the same AF system as my Rebel XTi before it. I readily admit Canon is way behind the curve when it comes to autofocus, they need to take that ancient 9-point system out behind the shed and shoot it.

  38. Tim says:

    Paul…

    Both could, but I think they went their own respective routes, Nikon going with IQ and High ISO over megapixels and Canon going with MP over high ISO [not to say it's not good].

    Still, too many other factors come into play between the two that it can’t be a simple “high iso get nikon, high mp get canon” debate. Allister touched on the AF, color, image rendering, and difference in flexibility between both RAW formats. There’s still the lens debate as well.

    I’ve shot with the D700, later switched to the 5d2 which I am using now, and am still longing to switch back to the D700. At this point, I’m going to stick it out for a little while to see if a D700 replacement will be announced soon. [driving d700 prices down and seeing what the replacement offers]

    Allister, thanks for your thoughts here, now I can convince my partner to switch ;) Very insightful and what I’ve been feeling all along, greatly worded and shown through your work. Keep it up.

  39. Shawn says:

    Autofocus reliability and performance in low light / low edge contrast situations is very important for event and wedding photography. Unfortunately, it rarely gets enough attention from reviewers out there who seem to focus on shooting test charts at various ISO settings.

    I don’t care how clean/noisy a camera is at 6400 ISO. If I can’t get AF lock on a subject when I need it to, none of that matters. If my subject is out of focus because I’m using release priority to just get something, that’s simply not good enough. As a professional, you have to get the shot and nail the focus. No excuses.

    This is personal for me too because we recently got our proofs back from the photographer we commissioned to shoot our wedding. What did I see? A surprising number of blurry and misfocused shots. We paid how much for that? Not happy.

    I recall the shooters were using the 5DMkII and Nikon D80 mainly. Not sure if the equipment had anything to do with it, but just as Allister says, as a professional, you have a duty to get the shots. If you or your equipment are having trouble nailing the focus or preventing motion blur, you have to sort that out.

  40. Allister,

    Thanks for the insight re: D700 vs 5D MkII, which I found very interesting.

    More importantly I thought I should say I find your photography “gobsmacking” as we say in the Midlands :O)

    Things have moved on since I was doing weddings on a Rolleiflex to help pay the bills while at college in the early 80s :O)

    Nice work, friend.

  41. Otto Rascon says:

    Great post Allister. I am a Nikon D700 shooter myself, though I have been editing a few weddings shot with Canon 5D MK II’s – so I feel like I have seen my fair share of files coming out of both cameras.

    I think that you nailed it when you said that files out of the Nikon’s are more “softer, more film like” and more “authentic.” I have noticed that as well. The Canon’s, on the other hand, tend to look more processed right out of camera, and cooler on the color temperature. The files still look beautiful though, and stunning in the hands of a good photographer.

    Thank you again for an in depth post on the pros and cons of the D700 and 5D MK II. Much love from Chicago.

  42. I’m not one for debating and not one for thinking I know everything, but one thing Im sure of is…I love my new D700. Have only had it a week and a half and I’m a huge fan :D Particularly with the 24-70, 2.8. I have just upgraded from a D300 and I can’t get over the fact there is so little noise!! That makes me so very happy. I’m a Nikon User and I’m proud! :D x

  43. Great post! I’ve been thinking about making the move as well. Do you have any fav glass for the Nikon?

  44. EyePulp says:

    Wonderful post; I’m upgrading to a d700 in the very near future, and can’t get enough write-ups like this telling me exactly what to expect.

    I’m curious what your workflow is after a RAW shot? Forgive me if you’ve discussed this, it’s my first visit. Are you willing to discuss how you achieve the particular b/w conversion you’ve used in these wedding photos? I spend a lot of time in lightroom trying to achieve the “perfect” set of b/w filters, but am always looking for expert opinions. =)

    Thanks again.

  45. Jane & James Moloney says:

    Hi Allister

    We just wanted to say thank you again to you and Josh for the amazing photographs!

    We knew we would get beautiful images from you capturing the emotions & story of the day, however it was not untill we saw our photos that we really understood just how well you captured this.

    You really have documented the day from our point of view, capturing our personal memories. (I’m not sure if you noticed but during our viewing with you there were a fair few tears running down my cheek because you brought back the emotions & memories of the day so vividly!!).

    We really can’t thank you enough and are delighted with all the images. Our only problem is which ones to select for the album!!!!!

    Thank you!

    Jane & James

  46. kidfromkor says:

    As a D700 user, with a friend who works at Canon, I’ve used both cameras and I must tell you I agree with you. Although I liked the jpegs coming from the MarkII (maybe because I was using the 50mm F1.2…?), the AF was nowhere near what D700 could do. I shot some pictures in a dark, almost candle lit cafe, and I ended up using manual focus for the Canon. On the other hand, D700 was dead on every time.

  47. [...] Another pro photographer switches to Nikon. [...]

  48. Gilles says:

    Hi, Allister

    I was very pleased to read your thoughts because, after 28 years, I decided to switch to Nikon, obviously for the reasons you explain here. Following a lot of problems with my 5D and 7D bodies, I took the opportunity to test a D700 and a 70-200 VRII. I was so astonished by the quality of the pictures, the AF and exposure systems, plus the camera handling, that I took all my Canon gear to my reseller and ordered the D700 and lenses.
    Yes, it is a difficult and expensive decision. I just bought the 17 TSE, the 7D and the 24-105, but I will drop them with no regrets. The D700 is a much more balanced camera, I don’t need to think about the performance and the sensor size factor before shooting, I can do everything with the same camera, action or relaxed shots. With my Canon gear, I need to choose between high-quality files (5D) or speed (7D), and to be careful on what lens needs to be on what camera.

    Rgds.

    Gilles.

  49. Xavier says:

    I had the chance to use one of the first Nikkor 24/1,4 and ! played around in a forest (for contraty light, strong facing light, dark spots, etc) only using f/1,4 on my D700. So i can tell that the combination of both camera and lens are simply astonishing. The lens has no flare, a contained distortion never seen before, same for the vignettage (corner fall offs), incredible sharpness, rendering of color totally accurate, etc. The D700 is no more in need to be presented as the best camera along with the D3 much heavier. I put the new nano lenses from Nikon as close to the optical quality as to my favorite brand Leica. I haven’t try the Summilux 24 but I am sure that the Nikkor is darn close to it !
    So, if like me, you hate using flash in any circonstances, the D700, even at 6400 iso jpegs, will totally do the job and if you put the Nikkor f/1.4 lenses they already have (50 and new 24) and will come up (the long expected 35 and the renewed and also expected 85) you can consider yourself King of the World….

  50. Adrian says:

    The D700 is a fantastic camera. It’s great to read about your experience with the difference, and the change over to Nikon.

    Besides the gear talk, these are some fantastic photos! I love the feel and the slightly toned black and white processing. They have a very classic and rustic feel to them. The venue does look superb too, I would love to have a chance to shoot a wedding or two there.

  51. Gribben says:

    Many words spent just to say the 5D mark II sucks.
    Yes I had one, and I sold it after one month or so.

  52. vash says:

    If I could hire you, I would ;) Love your style.

  53. hurworld says:

    Hi Allister,

    Great photos, and a casual follower of your blog here. :)

    Nothing to add to the D700 vs 5DMkII discussion, but I shot a few photos during a friend’s wedding at Gosfield Hall last year, and I totally agree with you that it is an amazing venue for wedding.

  54. Allan says:

    Hi Allister

    Welcome to the black gold club, and if you like the D700 you will love the D3s, try it out.

  55. As an owner of a D700 since the week it came out (as well as the D100, D200, D300) I can agree with you about its abilities. However, recently I changed the type of photography I am doing. I’m no longer doing wedding or portraits or sports or events. Now, I’m just doing travel, landscape, product/food, fine art, and commercial work.

    For this type photography, I can see the 5D Mk. II being the better camera. If you don’t need the better AF performance, the extra 9 MP can be a real plus (for me). While I am still holding onto the D700 and patiently waiting for its imminent replacement, purchasing a 5D Mk. II has certainly crossed my mind more than once. To add to that, I would very much welcome the blueray video capability. This is important for me for several reasons… which are not important enough to go into here.

    Thanks for the write up!

  56. Trent Chau says:

    Good honest subjective assessment. I love both cameras.

    I’m wondering though if an article with only black and white photos is the best way to say one camera is better than the other.

  57. Thank you for the comments Trent, colour work to follow in the next post.

    All my favourites from this particular wedding just happened to be black and white, please keep an eye on the blog for some colour work…

  58. [...] Interesting piece from a pro photographer on switching to Nikon. Interesting piece from a pro photographer on switching to Nikon. [...]

  59. Roger says:

    Hello Allister,

    I understand EXACTLY where you are coming from. I’m a Nikon D3s (D700 backup) shooter. Most of my work is rapid photojournalism event-type photography, often indoors, and unpredictable. Typically flash is not an option. Or if you DID use flash, you would get one shot before being thrown out.

    Many good friends of mine shoot Canon, and I’ve seen a large number of beautiful shots. All that said, I think the Canon is a different type of tool, and it doesn’t allow me to take the natural ambient light shots I crave.

    I’m happy you made the switch. By the way, I can’t say anything bad about Canon lenses… never used them. But I LOVE the performance of my Nikon glass. (I keep my 24-70mm f/2.8 on my body regularly.)

    Best wishes, and more great success. Love your posted photos.

    Roger

    Miami, Florida

  60. Nick Adams says:

    I have also shot a wedding there, an amazing venue and I agree with you the D700 is fantastic for weddings, never fails to produce what I want, usable ISO up to 6400 and a body that bounces. I also use the 5D mk2 for architectural work but it has many faults (so does the Nikon), my main gripe with the 5D2 is the dial on top which switches itself too easily and you can miss shots, as well as the appalling low light focus (my D90 backup focuses better). Congrats on the switch and may run into you sometime.

  61. Thank you for your comments Nick, much appreciated.

    The mode dial – I completely forgot about that! Many a time I considered taping it up!

    All it needs to sort it is a push/lock button to depress before being able to turn the dial.

    Feel free to get in touch and keep an eye on the blog.

  62. Reinhard Becker says:

    I can understand your arguments and your decision, but in my opinion the choice is something like BMW or Mercedes, it’s a very personal decision and depending on very small details.

    I’m more into portrait and fashion, absolutely no weddings. In the past I used a EOS3 and a Pentax 67 and today I get the medium format quality in a 35mm body from the 5DII. It doesn´t matter if I have to work inside the studio or outdoor, the camera gives me perfect quality.

    If I have to work more with available light, maybe my choice would be different…

  63. Thank you for your interest Reinhard.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from however I’m sometimes working in next to no light, so my decision to switch systems was based on very substantial reasons.

    I agree that the 5D Mark 2 is an exceptional camera, but it’s in the more extreme conditions where the D700 copes just that little bit better, and as a professional you need to know that you have the right tool for the job. I can see how the 5D Mark 2 might be a better system for fashion based photography, with commissions where higher resolution may be more a requirement.

  64. Kerri Jessep says:

    Fine Art Documentary Wedding Photography – what an excellent description of your style. Your photos are awesome, thank you for sharing.
    Re the Nikon vs Canon debate, I’m a Nikon girl, with twin D700s.
    I’ve been so happy since the D700 came out, finally I had a camera in my hands that just did what I wanted.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts

  65. [...] can read his article more on swtiching to Nikon and his work his [...]

  66. Loved the article, adored the photos!
    I recently upgraded from a Canon 450D to a D700. I originally bought the Canon to use for a (now completed) publishing project, and was very happy with the results.
    A new commission gave me the chance to spend out on some better kit, and my first thought was the 5DII – having played with an older 5D.
    On paper the Canon looks to be the better bet – but I wanted a camera that I could use outside of the ‘studio’, and one that suited my shooting ethos. I suppose I would say that I ‘aspire’ to your style, and tend to look ‘off stage’ for those intimate, informal shots that often say more about an event than the main attraction.
    I read reviews, pored over specs, browsed the forums – but in the end my mind was made up in the camera shop. I really wanted to buy the Canon, but the Nikon just felt right in my hands – and the speed with which it reacted simply couldn’t be ignored.
    So I bought it, and the hulking great 24-70 f2.8.
    Yes, I’m sure the Canon’s extra MPs would have helped with heavily cropped shots – but I can always frame more carefully – and I’m a bit miffed that I have to fork out extra for the remote software I’ll need…but the D700 just keeps astonishing me with its speed and low light performance. And yeah, there’s something of my old FM2 about it.

    Only had it a few weeks and I’m well over 2000 shots down…which pretty much says it all.

  67. Matt P says:

    Your work is amazing, it’s interesting to hear gear talk from a great shooter.

    I’m curious if you print large (say, 16″x24″ or 16×20?) and if so, how the D700 has held up at those sizes compared to your 5D2 work?

  68. Thanks for your interest and kind words Matt.

    Print beyond A3 was certainly a factor in my decision making, or at least print beyond this size with a 300ppi resolution, I can always reduce resolution to increase my dimensions. I just don’t do enough at that size with that resolution to justify staying with a higher megapixel camera, so it was a compromise that I was willing to make.

  69. warren says:

    I am in total agreement here with James P regarding the ISO 3200+ which one wins. A lot of ex Canon users are saying the Nikon wins (and because of their reason for switching) which is probably correct but I do believe there is nothing in it.

    Would be quite interesting actually if you set up a page with reception / first dances with a mix of Canon and Nikon images and see if anyone can tell. Probably not on the blog but you could see full screen on the monitor. It’s quite incredible really to think that Canon users are going over to Nikon not just because of sensor issues but autofocus problems as well. Canon (for me) are the big boys in the 8-10 frames a second market which means most sports photographers are using Canon, so why are Canon cameras so bad at focusing in low light given that sports photographers need a superb autofocus system?

    The answer to this, I think, is that Canon lenses are just overall poor in most categories especially when you see what Nikon and Sigma come up with. I expect you were finding that you were having to bin quite a lot of the first dance images when you were looking at them full screen and finding the focusing just wasnt as clear as you wanted it? Especially if you were hanging around the 1.2 – 2.8 mark. The problem therefore is that if someone sees an image they really want as a large print, and quite a few people are having large prints of the first dance, then they have to be in focus, or at least the couple does.

    I cannot afford the switch (yet) so I am reverting to off camera flash at the side of the dancefloor just to give me f5.6+ as I have stopped using the Canon autofocus system for about 6 months now, I am binning too many shots when I get back and see them full screen.

    Are you using primes Allister? As I am sure I noticed on one of your images months ago (http://www.allisterfreemanphotographyblog.com/2010/05/take-back-parliament-protest-may-2010-documentary-photography/“ rel=”nofollow”>the rally outside Parliament) that you had a zoom Nikon lense ?

  70. Thanks for your comments Warren, much appreciated. Some very valid points too.

    I do shoot primes, both when I was with Canon and now with Nikon, my 16-35 zoom gets used only when it’s more sensible to shoot on just one camera, for instance the protest in Parliament Square. But I still tend to use it like a prime, or at least set to 24, 28 or 35mm and shoot without zooming.

    A previous comment hit the nail on the head, (Shawn, comment number 43):

    “I don’t care how clean/noisy a camera is at 6400 ISO. If I can’t get AF lock on a subject when I need it to, none of that matters. If my subject is out of focus because I’m using release priority to just get something, that’s simply not good enough. As a professional, you have to get the shot and nail the focus. No excuses.”

  71. Firstly, your work is just fantastic. Beautiful images. Thanks for the great write up. I’m considering the move to Nikon shortly. I was a longtime Nikon user when I was shooting film but switched to Canon when I went digital. Although I shoot for a newspaper, my wife and I also shoot a lot of weddings. We are using 5d and 5dMkII’s and I’m not totally satisfied with them. They can seem inconsistent in many respects, AF, flash, skin tones. We recently hired a 3rd photographer (who shoots Nikon) for a rather large wedding, I LOVED the files that came out of her camera, so much more like film and great skin tones. I think a jump back to Nikon could save us many hours in post. Thanks again for a great, objective and thoughtful insight into your switch of camera system. I think you may have just converted me back!

  72. David Teo says:

    Hi Allister,

    I’m a fellow wedding photographer based in Singapore and a fellow ex-Canon user of 8 years who have also converted to the Nikon D700 about 1.5 years ago. Just want to say that I agree with everything you said about the D700 – the AF, the robustness and the no-compromise pro level design of the body in a package lighter than a 1 series Canon body. The quality of the files are also amazing, and shooting at ISO 6400 is a breeze!

    The camera is really a workhorse, and I’m amazed that there are almost no issues reported with it, even on the net. It just works – no worries about dropping mirrors, backfocus / front focus problems etc etc.

    Far be it for me to tell you how to use the camera, but you can, if you can, set up your D700 to behave exactly like a Canon camera, at least where dial rotation direction is concerned. (It’s in the menus). I’ve set up my D700 to behave just like a Canon body in manual mode. And since I use mostly a few primes, and use the AF all the time, I have no confusion with the different direction of rotation needed for zoom or autofocus.

    About the only thing I can’t change is the way I mount a lens :P

    I have a few dislikes about the D700 as a whole which I will list here for discussion’s sake, namely

    1) The shutter is simply too loud. This is not a discrete camera, at least not as discrete as a 5D, or a 5D mark II in liveview mode…… I came from Leica Ms and the D700 is waaaay too loud…

    2) Nikon as a company is not really into the “documentary” culture. The emphasis of their products seem to be on travel, landscape and general photography. Until the 24 f1.4 arrive on the scene, it seems one cannot buy a modern AF prime lens even if one has all the money in the world! All the emphasis seems to be on zooms zooms and more zooms….

    Canon is a sponsor of VII Photo and features Magnum pros and other independent photojournalists on its website whereas it seems travel and commercial photographers are more often mentioned on Nikon websites…

    I still miss not having a AF 35 f1.4…..

    3) It’s hard to find a fellow Nikon documentary, available light shooter to fellowship with, at least where I live :) This breed of photographers is still mainly Canon, with their fast, wide L primes. All my Nikon toting colleagues and friends are zoom / tele-zoom users I can’t relate to :) This is ironic given Nikon actually has a stable of manual focus lenses that are all very well made but it seems the direction these days is towards modern zoom development.

    My main lens is currently the old AFD 35 f2 and though it’s a decent lens, I wish that Nikon has a AF 35 f1.4 lens that I can buy and use now!

  73. Brent says:

    Allister, fantastic write up. Canon has always intrigued me as a lot of my friends use Canon with mouth watering results. The cheaper price and load of features of the 5D MKII was oh so tempting but after doing some soul searching and in depth research the D700 was the way to go. The number one priority of the camera that had to excel was picture quality and had to be geared toward photography. I don’t care about video one bit. If I want a video system I’ll buy a dedicated one. With that said I still think the 5D is a quality unit.

    Which two primes did you end up going with for your D700? 50mm 1.4G and 24mm 1.4? I have the 50 1.4G but I haven’t quite gotten the nerve to pay the lucrative price of the 24mm 1.4.

  74. I love working with available light myself and it’s extremely inspiring to see what you can do with the light available at the scenes. So many wedding photographers use flashes, which can work very nicely as well. However, I feel there is something more true, more of a documentary kind of look when just using available light. Documenting a moment, instead of styling a moment.

    I found your site reading about your experience of the Canon to Nikon switch, but I’ll keep surfing in on your site to study how you compose and use lights and shadows.

    Great timing of your shots as well. Nothing beats that moment when one move around the camera tracking the people and the composition – and suddenly that right moment with the right facial expressions and positions appear – and you know it is the absolute right moment while pressing the button. One can clearly see that you are waiting for the perfect moments as well – not just shooting off series because the camera can do quick series.

    Impressive. I’m inspired.

  75. dan says:

    changing the focus point on D700 is way easier and faster than the 5D mark II. This is a real plus point for D700! (:

  76. Great article and seriously fabulous pictures.

    I am fortunate enough to own a D700 and a 5D mk2 and I agree with all your findings. The D700 is in another class when it comes to low light focussing and usability. I do prefer the Canon for my street photography, studio and fashion work though. The Nikon is best for naturally lit interiors, stage shots and weddings. I prefer the Nikon zooms over the Canon counterparts. but now I use primes on my Canon.

    When the 5D mk3 comes out I’m hoping for same pixel count, 2 stops more sensitivity and the 1D series focus system.

    Enjoy your Nikons.

  77. duuso says:

    I jumped from D200 to 5d2 some four months ago and have regretted it. D200 was and is still amazing, quite a shame I sold it in first place. I wanted fullframe and wide angles, brother had 5d2 and some lenses too so I went with him. I’m possibly changing back to Nikon, haven’t yet had enough encourage to do it. Metering sucks a bit, af even more.

    Well actually I have shot one video/dvd with 5d2 (and 7d) but that was just one case and nothing that can be described as professional material.

  78. Sherif Ali says:

    I recently bought the D3S and it produces amazingly focused yet low noise pics at as high ISO as 12800. I fully agree with all you said. Nikon rocks.

  79. Graham Morgan says:

    Hi Allister

    Over many years I have found the focusing on my two 5d’s to be substandard.
    On slower moving action and fairly predictable tracking shots it is good, but when the situation becomes more demanding and the light lower, I find it very unreliable. This results in many missed shots and I have to constantly over-shoot to increase the hit rate. Moving into next year I am seriously considering a move to Nikon………I was always Nikon before going digital.
    For me this is a serious matter, it affects my peace of mind and confidence in my kit………….and I reckon I’m a pretty good photographer and I’m not into blaming kit for my short-comings.
    Can you elaborate a little more on the focusing speed/accuracy, and also, do Nikon still have the amazingly consistent flash metering that I remember from film days?
    Your feedback would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Graham

  80. Thanks for the comments Graham, much appreciated.

    Focussing speed and accuracy is certainly better than the 5d in low light/low contrast conditions, in good to average light there’s really nothing in it. It’s a very serious issue when you’re expected to produce professional results, in your own style, consistantly throughout the day including very difficult and dark environments.

    In terms of flash, I tend to not use flash at every wedding, so couldn’t really give you a comprehensive and fully backed answer however, during the times where I have used flash on the D700, and subsequently edited the images, I have been very impressed with the consistency.

  81. Graham Morgan says:

    Thanks Allister

    Do you find this better performance true when using the outer focus points, or is focus and recompose giving better results?

    Thanks again

    Graham

  82. I tend to use the centre point and then recompose, so I haven’t put the outer points through as much testing in a variety of conditions but when I have used the outer points I certainly haven’t noticed a decrease in low light focus ability.

    Hope this helps.

  83. Graham Morgan says:

    Certainly helpful…………

    Thanks

    Graham

  84. Thanks to your great write up (and beautiful images) I finally made the jump back to Nikon. I’m very impressed with the D700, nice snappy AF and accurate exposures, great skin tones, consistent flash performance, feels like a film camera.

    I got totally frustrated with the 5D and 5DmkII’s poor AF performance, missing so many shots that should be straight forward. I was even having focus issues with group shots. My MK II cameras were worse, having returned lenses and getting cameras and lenses calibrated they still would produce mushy images. At times I would just keep shooting because I didn’t know what I was getting.

    The D700 nails it every time and the files look great, to me it’s more of an everyday workhorse than the 5D MkII. We’re shooting a wedding/engagement/bridal just about every week of the year so the switch to the D700′s will save us a lot of time and frustration (way less editing and no overshooting) Thanks again for posting your experience with this camera.

  85. Hello allisterfreeman, okay?
    First I apologize for my English, but I’m from Brazil and do not speak much English.
    Some considerations that have to do are: I’ve had 9 cameras Canon and Nikon are 10. I think it is primarily a matter of taste. I’m more tempted to sensor canon because I believe it has strong color, a stronger contrast and especially for social events, the flash is more moderate over the subject, mark the skin less than the Nikon. Another feature I see in the Nikon is the skin: it has a perfect photometry but what attracts me most are the rich tones of Canon, the skin becomes softer (not sure if due to the stronger low pass filter), DOF and background become more smoother, more Embassies, I think that gives a charm to most, especially for documentary photography and weddings.
    Speaking a little of the technical part of both brands. I think the Canon piece on some things like autofocus with moving subjects, auto-focus in low light, many points of focus and metering. Nikon Photometry is perfect, what else can see the difference is just in the media lights that are captured with Nikon and the Canon naturalness that information is lost, I think partly because it has more contrast, and the more contrast, reduced the incidence of media lights.
    About the Flash system, I believe the Nikon is way ahead, is a very efficient system of measuring light and in an event like marriage, she keeps a standard end to end and that is not happening at Canon, that I miss too . You may be the same adjustment on the camera on the same site, the flash exposes canon in a way and then another. Nikon Body of me looks like a tank, since the Canon seems more fragile, although the MK II is also quite strong.
    With respect to the lens, what catches my attention is the lens canon bokeh. It is soft and hairless as well, because I believe has 8 blades and nikon 9, then it may be that the blades with 8 “balls” are more perfect to look at. Canon L lenses are cheaper than the Nikon N, but nothing is cheaper by chance. I believe that Nikon lenses are more resistant and has a flawless clarity. (Do not know to what extent this is good because in wedding photography, especially women do not like to appear too much detail because the imperfections), using a Nikon D90 on event days ago, I had to use a plugin to soften the skin as the texture was very good. With Canon 7D MK II or no longer needed to do this, leave the skin ready, without much adjustment.
    Today I am no camera but very inclined to buy a MK II that I believe is the camera that catches my attention in the profile image. I know she is an inferior camera in many ways, but even so, the final image I like best. Congratulations on the blog and the opinions of the users. It always helps to give a course on our next purchase or even know how another photographer sees the differences in manufacturers. To conclude, I believe that today’s CMOS sensor with Nikon are superior to the Canons, in both functions, as well as lenses in the system of photometry, Flash and Auto Focus. Hugs to all and that we continue doing what we love, which is shooting, regardless of whether we are Canon, Nikon, Sony or any other camera because even today, the best shot is composed of sensitivity, and technical look. Until next time.

  86. [...] Freeman is a photographer who recently switched from Canon to Nikon. In this post on his blog (Canon 5D Mark 2 versus Nikon D700 – My thoughts), he tries to give a hands-on experience report to support his [...]

  87. [...] Freeman est un photographe qui a récemment basculé de Canon à Nikon. Dans ce post sur son blog (Canon 5D Mark 2 versus Nikon D700 – My thoughts), il essaye de nous donner ses impressions à partir de son expérience personnelle directe pour [...]

  88. Will Johnson says:

    I’m a 27 year old mature student who just started a photography degree in Leeds, UK. I have a D300. I’m looking to spend all my loan on decent glass and camera gear when I visit New York next February where it’s cheaper, so it’s decision time. I was considering moving over to Canon, and they are cheaper in some respects.

    I have read all the posts, I use centre point focus then recompose as I think you said you do Allister. If this is the case would you say that the 5d mk2 has issues focusing using centre point autofocus? I assumed sophisticated autofocus was less important because I use the centre point.

    I would like video capability and 21.1 megapixels, but I’m weary of resolution used as a measure of quality. I do think there’s a “grass is greener” problem. I do need some good glass though, was thinking about the Nikkor 24-70 2.8

    I like your style Allister, wide-angle without seeming too busy, subtle with interesting elevations. I would agree with others that it’s difficult to get a balanced and qualified opinion on the internet. It’s taken me a while to read this while page, but it’s not the usual argumentative non-sense. Thanks

  89. The 5d mk 2, for me at least, is sub-standard in very low light and or low contrast conditions in terms of achieving focus lock – regardless of the focus setting used, I would often end up manually focussing as the ambient light declined.

    That said, the 5d mk 2 is a superb camera, it would be my camera of choice if I required larger files but I simply don’t need more than 13mp for my work.

    It’s a case of having the right tool for the job, if you’re shooting mostly on location in all sorts of conditions – including low light, then I would recommend the D700. If however, you’re more in control of the environment – perhaps a more commercial product, studio work etc, work that won’t push you beyond 3200 iso, then Canon would be a smarter choice.

    Hope this helps.

  90. Lord Beau says:

    Hopefully your website will stop me doing the opposite – going from D700 to 5d Mark ii. The results from the D700 are indeed drop-dead, though sometimes I could do with more MP, plus I find the Nikon lens line-up overpriced and not as convincing at it could be. I use primes with the D700, I find VR more of an obstacle than a help, and I’d be pleased to hear which lenses you use. Is he 24-70 all it’s cracked up to be? I certainly don’t think much of the Nikon 16-35mm (sold it after six months), and I doubt I shall find the 24-120mm VR much cop. I’m afraid the 24-70 it probably is but what about wide?

  91. Word Lens – let’s hope it translates into good sales,eh? LOL! Everything comes down to that bottom line…

  92. Thank you for the comments, Lord Beau.

    If it’s MP, then maybe the 5d MK 2 is for you, as long as you don’t need to rely on achieving those large files in particularly poor conditions. You could of course consider the 1D MK 4?

    My initial concerns when considering a Canon to Nikon switch were the lenses available and, whilst they are on the pricey side, they’re also exceptional, particularly the primes.

    I have the 16-35 VR, it’s a good lens in terms of optical quality but it’s speed really lets it down – it could be a much better, more versatile piece of equipment.

  93. James Leung says:

    Nice Post Allister,
    In a wedding, how often do you let the D700 automatically choose the objects to focus on and how often do you centre focus and recompose?

    Many times I thought about switching to Nikon for the same reasons. For now the 35mm f1.4 and 135mm f2 lens is keeping me here in Canon City.

    There is no way I would let the Canon 9 point focus choose its focus points, especially when shooting at apertures f1.4-f3.5. Wedding speeches, for example, the 9 point focus will tend to focus on the hands and mic instead of the face because it’s the object closest to the camera lens.

    For those Canon shooters lusting for a Nikon’s low light AF, a ST-02 sorted that problem out. It’s shoots red beams into the dark to focus on.

    What Canon needs to do is to bring the EOS-3 into the digital world. This is the camera that tracks the pupil of your eye, in the viewfinder, to control AF points.

    JamesLeungPhotography

  94. Hi James – thank you for your questions.

    I always choose the object to focus on by centre focussing and then recomposing when required.

    I used to own and regularly use the 135mm f2 when I was a Canon shooter, I now use the Nikon 135mm f2 – they’re pretty much the same in terms of image quality, I would say the Nikon has a better feel and build quality though. The new Nikon 35 1.4 is, apparently, absolutely stunning and is much more up to date than the 13 year old Canon version.

    All the best.

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  96. Alexis J says:

    I can only echo what has been said in terms of your images, narrative and opinions. Great work and great conversations generated around this topic.

    I recently attended a training course where the 5D Mark II was recommended for both portraiot and wedding work. I currently use a D90 and I am looking to go full frame as I want to start shooting weddings. I mainly currently shoot portraits and do some studio work. As a beginner into wedding photography and based on your experience, would a D700 be still the better choice today for a beginner? I have also been advised to go for the zoom lenses 24-70mm 2.8 and 70 – 200mm 2.8 until I get better at it and then switch to primes when more experienced… would this be also your opinion and a sensible move? Would the zoom lenses still allow for good performance when the use of flash is not allowed/possible?

    Thanks for your feedback and I only found you when "googling" this topic, but I will be sure now to bookmark you and follow you…

  97. Allister Freeman says:

    Thank you for the input and kind words.

    I would say that that 'advice', for want of a better word, should be taken lightly – you really can create great images with both systems. I use the D700 because it's light and produces pleasing results (to my eye) in low light however, many people prefer the colour and contrast of the canon files.

    As for getting all of those zooms to cover all of those focal ranges? I think that's unnecessary and if the plan would be to switch in the future anyway then you may as well just start with primes? Your shots will be stronger as you'll master several focal ranges.

    Hope this helps.

  98. Tom says:

    I'm in the same boat. I'm not a pro-photographer but am an practioner for eight years now. My 400d could use an update (already have L-lenses) but I read (including this article) that the 5D has some issues. (AF, noise) I mainly shoot indoors at very low light levels (urban exploration. so think abandoned castles, mansions, hospitals, etc.)

    Today I went by a shop to compare both and while the Nikon produced a more yellowish image (LCD preview) the 5D mark II with its plastic felt like a toy in your hands. With the Nikon you could literally feel the build quality.

    So my dilemma is should I stay with Canon and get a new lens for it (exchange my 17-40mm f4 L and 70-200mm f4 L IS) for the 24-70mm f2.8 L?

    Or should I go the Nikon route and get the D700 with the 24-70mm f2.8 Nikkor?

    Because the noise performance of the Nikon is great, but most of my shots are at ISO 100, f8 or f11… so I don't think the better noise handling of the Nikon is real plus for the kind of photography I do.

    So is build quality (or feel) alone worth the hassle of bringing in my lenses and lose a few hundred dollars on the switch? Really though decision, especially because I'm not a fan boy of any brand, but I still want to get "the best" system, which no one actually seem to be able to point at.

  99. William says:

    Hi

    Interesting post. I'm a bit late to the party, having only just found this page, but I'm considering making the exact same move. I'm frustrated wiht the Canon AF and in contrast to you, also want to take advantage of the Nikon CLS for flash. Two years down the line how do you feel about your switch? Still as positive. Also did you miss these 12 mp at all?

  100. Namgil says:

    yes its right the canon 5d is master of non. the old 5d was much batter in terms of color saturations and color profile it was much natural
    in 5D mark 11 the color output is too saturated

  101. Steve Ramsay says:

    Hi . . . Im a D700 user and have been having probas with dynamic focus setting when some one is walking towards me.
    If I hold the camera in the upright position, focus seems to very hard to get . . .
    Is this an operator error (me) or a camera function . .
    Other that than love the camera . . I

    Steve

  102. Allister Freeman says:

    Sorry, I don't use this feature enough to have noticed any problems.

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