Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is a full-frame DSLR flagship camera announced in February 2016. Thanks to its huge capabilities and blazing-fast processing rates, it earned many excellent reviews from photographers, which has to signify something.

The Nikon D5 is also a full-frame, flagship DSLR camera that shines with its top-notch performance that allows the user to taste the beauties of shooting with a versatile camera. It was released a month before the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, so there isn’t a huge difference between both cameras, which will make this overview nothing but entertaining.

Winner? After you finish reading, the decision is yours.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 Feature Comparison

Canon 1D X Mark II Nikon D5
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
20.2
20.8
ISO Range
100-51,200;50-409600
1-256000
Flip-Out Screen
No
No
AF Points
61 AF Points
153 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
Yes
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
Full-Frame
Full-Frame

Head To Head Comparison

Canon 1D X Mark II

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II measures 6.6 x 6.2 x 3.3′′ (HWD) and weighs 3.4 pounds without a lens, but it looks fashionable with its all-black styling. It’s hefty and huge since it’s built of robust magnesium and weather-sealed, so splashes and dust won’t be an issue.

The controls are sensibly built so you can quickly alter them to your liking.

The top plate has 3 dedicated buttons on the left, a hot shoe in the center, and 4 dedicated buttons above the LCD screen for changing the White Balance, EV Compensation level, ISO, and information screen lighting. Above the specialized buttons are an M-Fn and a shutter release button on the grip.

Before discussing the rear controls, I’d want to mention that the grip is neatly done, with a vertical grip affixed to the body in addition to the conventional horizontal grip. You may choose the vertical or horizontal grip for a pleasant shooting experience.

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I appreciate how Canon organized the back controls and 2 displays. On the top left are a Menu and Info button, a viewfinder in the center, and 4 buttons to the right.

Below the viewfinder, between the main LCD and the monochrome Information LCD, are 4 specialized buttons. On the right-hand side, there are even more buttons scattered to the bottom.

Moving on, the optical viewfinder is enormous, has a pentaprism design, magnification ratio of 0.77x, and 100% coverage, which is great if you ask me, because it covers a broad area, and when we add the fact that it’s large, the convenience you’ll have when shooting through it will be astounding.

The primary, 3.2′′ LCD screen offers a 1,620k-dot resolution and is great for shooting and previewing material even in the daytime. However, Canon might have improved its touch functionality because you can only use it to establish a focal point.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II sports a micro-USB 3.0 port, Ethernet port, microphone and headphone port, PC sync, HDMI-mini connector, Wi-Fi, and GPS built-in.

This model boasts two DIGIC 6+ image processors, a 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type points, a burst shooting speed of up to 16 fps (in Live View mode), an ISO range of 100-51,200 that can be expanded to 50-409600, and a 20.2MP full-frame picture sensor.

This camera’s noise handling differentiates it from others. JPGs are sharp and have outstanding color fidelity up to ISO 25,600, but if you shoot through ISO 51,200, blur overtakes the image, and it peaks at the maximum ISO setting. Try to prevent that.

For the best results, shoot in RAW format because photographs are useable from ISO 6400 to below ISO 102,400. Avoid ISO 102,400 because noise overwhelms details.

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To get the most out of this camera, see our guide to the best camera straps for heavy lenses.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II takes 4K films at 60 fps and Full HD videos at 120 fps. Thanks to its Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, footages are breath-taking, and you may attempt shooting videos even if you’re not a cameraman.

Nikon D5

The Nikon D5 is a big DSLR camera, one of the largest on the market. This item is 6.2 x 6.3 x 3.6′′ (HWD), weighs roughly 3.1 pounds without a lens, and has an inbuilt vertical shooting handle, making it a superb safari photography camera.

This camera shares another commonality with the EOS-1D X Mark II: black aesthetics and weather-sealing that makes it sturdy enough to resist use in varied settings and weather situations.

Nikon employed magnesium for the chassis and textured rubber for the grip.

On top-center, there’s a hot shoe, a Mode dial on the left with incorporated labels such as BKT, Mode, and a Metering Pattern button, while on the right, there’s a dedicated Record button, ISO button, and a shutter release button with an On/Off switch above the monochrome LCD screen.

Even though there are several controls, a viewfinder, main LCD panel, and information LCD screen, each button is easily accessible.

Nikon left the right side of the camera button-free.

Below the tertiary screen are 4 additional specialized buttons, and on the front are strategically placed function buttons for toggling autofocus modes.

Let’s discuss the viewfinder and LCD screen. As with its competitor, the viewfinder is bright and clear, has a 0.72x magnification ratio, and covers 100% of the field. I think you’ll prefer shooting through it since it’s comfortable and helps you lock onto a target.

The primary LCD screen is 3.2′′ and has a resolution of 2,359k dots. It lets you see what you want to capture, but its touch sensitivity is lacking, so you can only preview images.

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The D5 has a micro USB 3.0 port, 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, mini-HDMI port, Ethernet port, PC sync, remote control connector, and twin XQD or CF memory card slots. It’s XQD-compatible. Despite being Wi-Fi-enabled, this model lacks Wi-Fi.

The D5 has an EXPEED 5 image processor, a 20.8MP FX-Format CMOS sensor, 12fps continuous shooting, 153-point AF, and a base ISO range of 100-102,400 that can be expanded to 50-3,280,000.

JPGs shot up to ISO 12,800 appear good, and noise is well-controlled till then. Starting at ISO 25,600-51,200, blur becomes evident, and photographs beyond ISO 204,800 are useless. You won’t gain anything by shooting at these levels.

RAW photographs are useable up to ISO 51,200, and details are beautifully maintained. Beyond that, the same thing happens as with JPGs.

The D5 captures 4K movies at 24/25/30fps and 1080/720p films at 60 fps with exceptional quality, attracting even the most demanding photographers/videographers. We placed it among the top photojournalism cameras.

Conclusion

Before announcing the victor of this heated match, we must go over the areas where one camera is better than the other and vice versa.

For Portrait photography, the results are practically comparable, while the D5 may perform somewhat better because to its 21MP sensor. For Street photography, the results are the same.

Both cameras take excellent Sprots photos, however the EOS-1D X Mark II is somewhat superior because to its quicker fps. The EOS-1D X Mark II is also better for Daily and Landscape photography.

D5 boasts a 100% higher max ISO, 92 more focus points (153 vs 61), a 450% higher resolution screen (2,359k vs 1,620k), a lighter body, a longer battery life (3780 versus 1210 pictures), and greater color depth.

The EOS-1D X Mark II features a GPS and is 2 fps faster than the D5.

I’d choose the D5.

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