Nikon D810 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III comparison: full-frame DSLRs go head to head

Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: full-frame DSLRs go head-to-head

Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 04 Image processor and metering

Nikon D810 release: EXPEED 4

The D810 gets the latest Nikon Expeed 4 image processor, first introduced in 2013’s Nikon D5300.

SEE MORE: Nikon D5300 review

Expeed 4 enables a raft of new features compared with Expeed 3, including high frame-rate 60/50fps Full HD video recording, a wider ISO range, improved autofocus, enhanced noise reduction and better battery life.

The previous generation Expeed 3 processing engine in the Nikon D800/E is not to be sniffed at – it enabled uncompressed video output over HDMI, amongst other things.

At the heart of the 5D Mark III is Canon’s DIGIC 5+ processor. Speed is the name of the game here, with DIGIC 5+ bringing faster continuous shooting, in addition to better noise reduction at high ISOs.

The Nikon D810 sees a number of improvements to its workflow too, such as a new ‘S’ setting for its RAW files. This records 12-bit uncompressed NEFs which, at 9MP, are approximately 1/2 the resolution and 1/4 the file size of full RAW files.

The 5D Mark III already offers three different sizes of RAW files: 22.1MP, 10.5MP and 5.5MP. Like Nikon’s new ‘RAW Size Small’, these can’t be converted in-camera.

Metering on the D810 comes in the familiar shape of Nikon’s 91K-pixel RGB sensor offering 3D color matrix metering III, along with versatile centre-weighted metering that enables you to adjust the size of the metered area and spot metering based on 1.5% of the frame surrounding the selected AF point.

SEE MORE: Full-frame vs APS-C cameras: the key things you need to know

Nikon’s new highlight-weighted metering mode also makes its debut on the D810. As the name suggests, it’s designed to preserve detail in areas that the bright areas of a spotlit scene.

There are fewer layers to Canon’s metering system. The 5D Mark III offers 63-zone iFCL TTL metering with a choice of 4 modes: either evaluative, centre-weighted average, partial (approximately 6.2% of the viewfinder at the centre) and spot (approx. 1.5% at the centre).

Depending on the way you prefer to work, you’ll find Canon’s system of separating the spot metering and focus points a genius idea or generally a drag.

When used in evaluative mode, Canon’s iFCL metering weights the exposure towards the active focus point, so the 5D Mark III essentially comes with ‘highlight-weighted metering’ built in.

Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 01 Sensor resolution and ISO
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 02 Video
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III: 03 Autofocus and continuous shooting
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 04 Image processor and metering
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 05 Design and build quality
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: 06 Price
Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D Mark III comparison: our conclusion

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