The Canon 5D vs. The Nikon D3

Reader Question from Edwin Lin:

I might one day decide to be a professional photographer. I have experience in the field, but never bought my own equipment. Which DSLR would you recommend? I’ve had far more experience with Canon than Nikon, but in comparing the Nikon D3 to the Canon 5D professional range, I’m tending to lean towards Nikon now.



nikon d3Edwin, if you are looking to spend a lot of money on a camera, you can’t go wrong with either.

What we are looking at is the difference between Coke & Pepsi, it comes down to personal preference. That being said, there are a few things to weigh.

First, I am going to share photo blogger, and TGW friend Mark Krajnak’s (JerseyStyle Photography) thoughts on your question:

To me, this is the classic “can’t go wrong with either” scenario. It’s liked deciding between a Honda and a Toyota – both are top-of-the-line DSLRs. Both are 12.3 megapixels, lightweight, very versatile. Both will produce beautiful images,

If your reader already shoots one system, then they should probably stay with that system. Meaning, if they already shoot Canon and have Canon lenses, then staying with Canon would be more cost-effective. Or vice-versa. If your reader wants to get into off-camera lighting, some argue that Nikon beats Canon in terms of that technology.

Nikon and Canon are running neck-and-neck at this point. Our friend John Madere [TGW – the photographer who shot the portrait I use on this the about page] shoots Canon and won’t budge. My friend Joe McNally (and he knows John from way back) is a Nikon master and won’t budge.

Your reader won’t go wrong with either. The main thing is…the best camera is the one that is in your hands, be it a disposable camera, an iPhone camera or a Nikon D3/Canon 5D.

The second thing to keep in mind is the importance of lenses. I’m sure you are aware of the significance of lens selection. Once you have a good camera, buying new accessories can become a bit of an addiction.

Third, just like any technology, top of the line today, is tomorrows bargain. If you have never owned your own equipment, and aren’t making any money with your photography, you might want to consider getting a less expensive camera. Mark shoots a Canon 20D, while my friend Melissa Mancuso Penta (my digital mind) shoots spectacular images with a Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi (which is the same camera I shoot, if you are interested… so I know for sure that equipment is not the reason her photos are infinitely better than mine).

Personal preference…

This might not be the answer you were looking for, but you need to evaluate which platform meets your need. Do you really need a top of the line DSLR?

Once you have entered into the DSLR range, patience and a eye for composition are far more important than the camera.

I hope that helps.

Thank you for your question & happy shooting.

6 thoughts on “The Canon 5D vs. The Nikon D3

  1. Thanks for the plug :)

    “Once you have a good camera, buying new accessories can become a bit of an addiction.”

    That is no joke. Be prepared to spend a lot of money on lenses. It’s so hard to stop, especially when you run into a good deal. Maybe Edwin should also look into the lenses from each make before making a final decision.

    And by the way, I made an small upgrade to the Canon T1i. The XTi is officially a back-up camera.

  2. It’s actually a jacked up Canon 5D MkII inside an entry level case to make me look like a better photographer! Shhhhh. My secret.

    Actually I only started using the T1i last month.

  3. Very true. Good glass is where it’s at. But then there is the off-camera lighting, too. If you get into that, it’s where you start to make a picture rather than take a picture.

    Always look forward to what Melissa Penta produces. She has the eye for macro.

    One other thought for Edwin…rent before you buy. Try both. See which one feels better in your hand. There are many on-line places, or bricks-and-mortar camera shops, that allow you to rent camera bodies and lenses. For lense rentals, I highly recommend

    Good stuff at quality prices.

    Thanks for the highlight, David!

  4. Look at the advice frenzy from my two favorite photo bloggers. Really good stuff.

    You’re welcome Mark. I always look for a good opportunity to send folks to your neck of the web.

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