Nikon or Canon? For videographers and especially photographers, the answer has been hotly debated for decades. But how do Nikon’s new D850 and Canon’s 5D Mark IV stack up against each other in a side-by-side comparison? YouTube’s Jared Polin compares the two flagship cameras and gives his recomendation.
Polin starts with the camera’s image sensors; the D850 has a 45.7MP FX Format BSI CMOS Sensor and the 5D Mark IV has a 30.4MP Full Frame CMOS Sensor. The 5D Mark IV also has an AA filter, while the D850 doesn’t. He finds that when it comes to whether 45 megapixels is better than 30 megapixels, the answer is unclear. “It’s a toss-up question,” Polin says. “Sure, more megapixels may mean better for some people in certain situations. Yes; having more resolution can come in handy, but having more resolution does bring other issues.” Having more megapixels could lead to noisier images at higher ISOs. Polin doesn’t award any points to Nikon or Cannon in this category because he felt that it really was a toss-up. (DxOMark, however, recently gave the D850’s sensor a perfect score, making it the first sensor to do that.)
He moves on to the cameras' ISO ranges, which be believes it’s the determining factor on which camera may be better. The D850’s ISO runs from 64 - 25600 while the 5D Mark IV’s ISO runs from 100 - 32000. He rules that the D850 edges out the 5D Mark IV in this situation because it is able to shoot at 64, which he says produces a super-clean file. However, he says that he shot with both cameras at high ISO and they both produced looked pretty similar. He ends up giving points to both Nikon and Canon in this category.
When shooting video, the Nikon D850 can shoot full frame UHD 4K at 30 frames per second (fps) and at 1080 at up to a 120fps. The Canon will shoot at a 1.74x crop factor DCI 4K at 30fps and will record 720p at up to 120fps. Polin says that from the specs alone, it looks like Nikon would do better, but he says the the 5D Mark IV 4K files look “tremendous if not a little sharper.” He says the problem with the 5D Mark IV is that it uses a bloated file format and an older memory cards. “The fact that it doesn’t use a CFast memory card to transfer the data or use a smaller less bloated file is really a pain in the butt, but at the end of day, the video quality from both are gonna be really good,” says Polin, deciding that it’s really up to you to decide which one is best for you. However, he gives Nikon the point in this category based on its listed specs.
For continuous autofocus in video, he gives the point to Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, calling it an “incredible autofocus capability for video capturing” and that nothing on the market can beat it.
In terms of price, the D850 and the 5D Mark IV are pretty much priced at the exact same, the D850 being $3,296 and the 5D Mark IV being $3,299. Polin gives a point to the D850 for being a few bucks less.
In the end, Polin rules that, at it’s price, the features that the Nikon’s D850 offers are “extreme” and is the camera that he would recommend to someone who hasn’t bought into either the Canon or Nikon ecosystems yet. But he is quick to say that the Canon is a still fantastic camera and he doesn't believe you couldn’t go wrong going either way.
Check out our review of Canon’s 5D Mark IV and look for our review of the Nikon D850 in the near future.