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720p Video Quality: Nikon D4, D800, D800E versus Canon 5D Mark III

Following up on the 1080 HD video comparison, I have now shot 720p on the Nikon D4, D800 and D800E, comparing all to the Canon 5D Mark III.

I’ve published the video comparison results. The Nikon D4 continues to disappoint, but the D800 and D800 look great in 720p (on a per-pixel basis). I would argue this is the right choice for Nikon video, given the far smaller files and crisp results (the Nikon D800/D800E 1080 results appear to be only marginally more detailed, and the D4 is visibly blurred at 1080).

720p Video comparison: FX Nikon D4, Nikon D800, Nikon D800E, Canon 5D Mark III

David H writes:

It is kind of ironic (nearly comical) to see you putting a lot of work into such bad video, but I think you found some good conclusions in there. It continues to baffle me that they let the D800 spank the D4 so badly on video detail/sharpness. The D3s video is pretty soft, too. There must be some compromise in making a reportage camera that video just doesn't like.

DIGLLOYD: I’m not a video guy (yet at least), but I set out to see if the quality was something that would please me. It does not— not from any of the cameras (including the D800 and 5D Mark III). I doubt I’ll be satisfied with anything less that high quality 4K video, since 1920 HD on my 30" display already feels inadequate in size, let alone a 2880 Retina Display. As far as I’m concerned, the (best quality compressed) video out of the DSLRs is so far from exciting that I feel no incentive to work with video yet.


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