Canon EOS 5D Mark II vs. Nikon D4

What's the Difference?

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 are both highly regarded professional-grade DSLR cameras. The 5D Mark II, released in 2008, offers a 21.1-megapixel full-frame sensor, excellent image quality, and impressive low-light performance. It is known for its versatility and is popular among photographers who require high-resolution images. On the other hand, the Nikon D4, released in 2012, features a 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor and excels in terms of speed and performance. It offers a wide ISO range, fast autofocus, and exceptional low-light capabilities, making it a preferred choice for sports and action photographers. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on individual preferences and specific photography needs.


Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Photo by Mihail Tregubov on Unsplash
AttributeCanon EOS 5D Mark IINikon D4
Resolution21.1 MP16.2 MP
Sensor SizeFull Frame (36 x 24 mm)Full Frame (36 x 23.9 mm)
ISO Range100-6400 (expandable to 50-25600)100-12800 (expandable to 50-204800)
Autofocus Points951
Continuous Shooting Speed3.9 fps11 fps
Video RecordingFull HD 1080p at 30 fpsFull HD 1080p at 30 fps
Display Size3.0 inches3.2 inches
Weight810 g1340 g
Nikon D4
Photo by Sorin Lavric on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to professional-grade DSLR cameras, Canon and Nikon are two of the most renowned brands in the industry. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 are both highly regarded models that have been widely used by photographers around the world. In this article, we will compare the attributes of these two cameras to help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

Image Quality

Both the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 offer exceptional image quality, thanks to their full-frame sensors. The 5D Mark II features a 21.1-megapixel sensor, while the D4 boasts a 16.2-megapixel sensor. While the Canon model has a higher resolution, the Nikon D4's sensor is known for its excellent low-light performance and dynamic range. This makes it a preferred choice for photographers who often shoot in challenging lighting conditions or require greater latitude in post-processing.

Furthermore, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II's sensor is equipped with an anti-aliasing filter, which helps reduce moiré patterns and false colors. On the other hand, the Nikon D4 lacks an anti-aliasing filter, allowing for slightly sharper images but with a higher risk of moiré in certain situations.

In terms of color reproduction, both cameras deliver accurate and vibrant results. However, Canon is often praised for its warm and pleasing color rendition, while Nikon tends to produce more neutral colors. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preference and the type of photography you specialize in.

Autofocus System

The autofocus (AF) system is a crucial aspect of any professional camera, and both the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 excel in this area. The 5D Mark II features a 9-point AF system with 6 assist points, providing reliable and accurate focusing in various shooting scenarios. On the other hand, the Nikon D4 boasts a more advanced 51-point AF system, offering greater coverage and improved subject tracking capabilities.

Additionally, the D4's AF system is known for its exceptional low-light performance, allowing for precise focusing even in challenging conditions. This makes it an ideal choice for sports, wildlife, and event photographers who often work in dimly lit environments.

Both cameras also offer customizable AF settings, allowing photographers to fine-tune the autofocus performance according to their specific needs. Whether you choose the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Nikon D4, you can expect reliable and accurate autofocus performance that meets the demands of professional photography.

Speed and Performance

When it comes to speed and performance, the Nikon D4 takes the lead. It offers a blazing-fast continuous shooting speed of up to 11 frames per second (fps), making it an excellent choice for capturing fast-paced action. The D4 also features a larger buffer capacity, allowing for extended bursts of continuous shooting without any significant slowdown.

On the other hand, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II offers a respectable continuous shooting speed of up to 3.9 fps, which is still sufficient for most photography genres. However, it may fall short for sports or wildlife photographers who require a higher frame rate to capture decisive moments.

Both cameras feature robust build quality and weather sealing, ensuring durability and reliability even in challenging shooting conditions. The Nikon D4, however, has a slight edge in terms of ruggedness, making it better suited for photographers who frequently work in extreme environments.

Video Capabilities

One area where the Canon EOS 5D Mark II truly shines is its video capabilities. It revolutionized the industry by being one of the first DSLRs to offer full HD video recording. With its large sensor and excellent low-light performance, the 5D Mark II became a favorite among filmmakers and videographers.

The Nikon D4, while also capable of recording high-quality videos, falls slightly behind in this aspect. It offers full HD video recording but lacks some of the advanced features and flexibility found in the Canon model. If video is a significant part of your work, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is likely to be the better choice.

Additional Features

Both the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 come with a range of additional features that enhance the overall shooting experience. The 5D Mark II offers a versatile 3.0-inch LCD screen with Live View functionality, allowing for easy composition and review of images. It also includes a built-in sensor cleaning system to minimize the presence of dust particles on the sensor.

The Nikon D4, on the other hand, features a slightly smaller 3.2-inch LCD screen but compensates with a higher resolution and improved visibility in bright conditions. It also offers a dual memory card slot, allowing for simultaneous recording or automatic backup of images.

Both cameras provide a wide range of connectivity options, including USB, HDMI, and microphone ports. However, the Nikon D4 offers an additional Ethernet port, enabling faster file transfer and remote camera control.


After a thorough comparison of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4, it is clear that both cameras have their strengths and weaknesses. The Canon model excels in image resolution, color rendition, and video capabilities, making it an excellent choice for photographers who prioritize these aspects. On the other hand, the Nikon D4 offers superior autofocus performance, speed, and low-light capabilities, making it a preferred option for professionals working in demanding shooting conditions.

Ultimately, the choice between the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D4 will depend on your specific needs, shooting style, and personal preferences. Both cameras are highly capable and have been widely used by professionals around the world, so you can't go wrong with either choice. It is recommended to try out both models, if possible, to determine which one feels more comfortable and suits your shooting requirements the best.

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