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Nikon D810 and Canon 5D Mark IV are the same in the sense that they are both high-end DSLR cameras sitting in the semi-pro class. Other than that, there are plenty other similarities, several significant differences and many small ones.

D810 has been released in 2014. while the 5D Mark IV has joined the party two years later, in 2016.

In this short comparison, we will see where exactly one cameras trumps another, and whether the recently-released 5D Mark IV can justify its steeper price tag against the older, more affordable D810.


Both the D810 and 5D Mark IV come in highly durable, weather-resistant bodies with comfortable and deep grips. Both come with magnesium-alloy chassis with high quality plastic and rubber finish where appropriate. One important, although not a big difference is that 5D Mark IV’s body is slightly smaller and lighter than that of the D810.


Canon 5D Mark IV has a 30.4MP sensor, while the Nikon D810 has 36.3MP sensor. Both are full-frame CMOS sensors. At this point, both cameras offer very high image resolution at 30+ MP, so the difference of the extra 6 MPs in the Nikon isn’t that significant, although it will offer slightly more flexibility when it comes to image cropping and large prints.

ISO sensitivity also differs between the two sensors, with Native ISO of ISO100 – ISO32000 (expandable to ISO50 – ISO102400) in 5D Mark IV’s sensor, and ISO64 – ISO12800 (expandable to ISO32 – ISO51200) in D810’s sensor. Obviously, the Canon 5D Mark IV has the upper hand here with a wider sensitivity range.

Image quality

Let’s get one thing straight, both cameras offer excellent image quality. You will be able to capture amazing photos with either camera. However, the devil is in the details and you wouldn’t be seriously considering a semi-professional camera if you weren’t interested in the details.

The Nikon D810 has a better starting hand here due to the fact it lacks an optical low-pass filter, which allows for sensor to capture some extra details. This is not a huge difference, but it’s there.

Now we get back to ISO. We’ve seen the 5D Mark IV offers a wider ISO range, both native and extended. But how does it handle noise at those levels?

Well, either camera will produce practically noise-free photos up to ISO3200. Moving beyond that, we start seeing different effects.

It turns out the Nikon D810 has the upper hand here as it shows less noise throughout the whole ISO range. In turn, less noise means less aggressive noise-reduction, ultimately producing clearer images with more fine details.

Another advantage of the D810 is brought by its sensor’s ability to capture a considerably wider dynamic range than that of 5D Mark IV.


Autofocus performance is one area where it is apparent the 5D Mark IV is a newer camera. It packs an AF system with 61 points, out of which 41 points are cross-type.  In comparison, Nikon’s D810 AF has 41 points, while only 15 of those are cross-type points.

For live view and video focusing, Canon has implemented its famous Dual Pixel CMOS AF system which works great for continuously tracking moving subjects. For the same purpose, the D810 features an inferior AF system based on contrast-detection.

Low-light focusing seems to give an edge to the Mark IV as well, as it can focus in darker conditions, down it -3EV, compared to -2EV in D810.

Indeed, our tests have shown 5D Mark IV’s AF to be fast and reliable even in very dark environment, while the D810 struggled to lock on in low light, especially when using the non-center points.


The Canon 5D Mark IV can record 4K video (with a 1.74x crop factor) at 30 FPS. 1080p at 60 FPS and 720p video at 120 FPS. The Nikon D810 is capped at 1080p Full HD at 60 FPS. The Mark IV can also extract 8.8 MP JPEG stills from the 4K video.

So far it appears the Canon is far more capable when it comes to video. Throw into this the faster and smoother in-video focusing brought by Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system, and you have a clear winner.

Both cameras offer microphone and headphone sockets, while neither offers focus peaking.


When it comes to continuous shooting in the burst mode, the Nikon can do 5 FPS while the Canon can go as fast as 7 FPS. However, the D810 can move up to 6 or 7 FPS too if you decide to utilize a crop setting (sacrificing some pixels) and include an addition battery pack.

On the other hand, the Nikon D810 offers better battery life (1200 shots vs. 900 shots), wider AE Bracketing range (±5 EV vs. ±3 EV), faster Flash Sync speed (1/250 vs. 1/200) and better shutter durability (200k cycles vs. 150k cycles).

The Nikon is powered by the EXPEED 4 processor while the Canon is powered by the DIGIC 6 processor.


Nikon D810 once again shows its age, lacking both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, unlike the 5D Mark IV which features both technologies. The D810’s connectivity can be expanded with an external Wi-Fi accessory but that does introduce further expense. GPS is also lacking in the D810, while it is built-in into the 5D Mark IV.


Both cameras have a 3,2” LCD screen, but Canon’s is a touchscreen too and has a higher resolution (1,6k dots vs. 1,2k dots).


Viewfinders on each camera are practically the same, offering 100% coverage and slightly larger magnification in Canon at 0.71x against Nikon’s 0.70x.


Even though they are direct rivals, coming from the same class of cameras, their specs and features give us a slightly different story. Canon 5D Mark IV is clearly a more general-purpose oriented DSLR of the two, proving more flexibility in areas such as ISO range, connectivity, video and autofocus. Nikon D810 on the other hand is more focused on providing the best possible image quality with as little noise as possible, which combined with an impressively wide dynamic range presents an excellent tool for landscape photography.

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