The Nikon D200 and the Canon EOS 5D are very different cameras. The Canon EOS 5D has a full frame 12.8MP CMOS censor while the Nikon D200 uses a 10MP CCD.
There are further differences inside the camera, the Canon EOS 5D uses the same old DIGIC II image pipeline where the Nikon D200 uses Nikons top of the line image pipeline. Let’s see how it went.
Test Notes – High Sharpening – Zoom Lenses
Because the significant difference in sensor size, The Canon EOS 5D will have a clear disadvantage if we would compare between the two with a standard 50mm lens. That’s because the Canon EOS 5D will have a much larger field of view than the Nikon D200 in the same distance, which means the EOS 5D real world advantages of full frame sensor isn’t utilized.
For that reason we used top of the line zoom lenses while placing the cameras at the exact same distance. The Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L was set for 60mm and the Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8 was set for 38mm.
Further more, we used HIGH sharpening setting on the Nikon D200 as we’ve found the D200 normal sharpening quite soft compared the EOS 5D normal setting.
Nikon D200: Jpeg Fine, Sharp:High, AutoWB, ISO100, 1/13, Nikkor 17-55mm@38mm@f8
Canon EOS5D: JPEG Large, Picture Style: Standard, AutoWB, ISO100, 1/20, Canon EF24-70mm@60mm@f8
The normal sharping level of the Canon EOS 5D is clearly higher and must have been made for printing. The Nikon D200 is only capable of reaching this much sharpening with the high sharpening setting. Both cameras exhibit a bit of sharpening halos, but keep in mind those are not very apparent in a print.
The resolution and the full frame advantage are playing an important game here. As you can see the Canon EOS 5D is producing good strong amount of fine detail and textures. Note the yellow flower on the third crop form button and the red doll on the second crop. You can also see that the Nikon D200 struggles to produce details in the skin tons of the third crop.
demosaicing and false colors
Nikons upper hand in image processing is very much apparent here. As you can see the Nikon D200 produces some kind of fine checker like artifact in problematic frequencies, but still manage to cover and reduce false colors completely. The Canon EOS 5D on the other hand, is showing lots of demosaicing problems and does not cover and reduce false colors very well. It should be noted that the Anti Aliasing filter in front of the sensor has a large affect false colors and Aliasing. However, the image processing should still remove those.
Colors and contrast
There are huge differences between the two, and no body is saying those two cameras should produce the same output. Camera makes are working on "memory color" concept and both Nikon and Canon have reached their color model (or color style) years ago. Although it’s up to you to find your liken, it is noticeable that the Canon EOS 5D is producing a much more contrast image in the default setting. This means that Canon’s approach is closure to print from Nikon’s approach. You can still produce the opposite result from either camera by tuning the image processing settings.
The Canon EOS 5D has a clear resolution and sensor size advantage in this case. The detail this camera can produce is very impressing. However, the Nikon D200 does have more pixels per mm than the Canon EOS 5D, which means in some cases the Nikon D200 should produce more details by the nature of physics. It is most likely that nature photography (birds and such…) will be one of those cases.
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