Canon 10D vs Nikon D800E
The Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D800E are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2003 and February 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (10D) and a full frame (D800E) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 6.3 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 36.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 10D and the Nikon D800E? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 10D and the Nikon D800E are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D800E is notably larger (12 percent) than the Canon 10D. Moreover, the D800E is markedly heavier (18 percent) than the 10D. It is noteworthy in this context that the D800E is splash and dust-proof, while the 10D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (10D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D800E).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon 300D||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 10D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the D800E, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 10D features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D800E a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D800E is 151 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 36.2MP, the D800E offers a higher resolution than the 10D (6.3MP), but the D800E has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 7.38μm for the 10D). Yet, the D800E is a much more recent model (by 8 years and 11 months) than the 10D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D800E has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D800E implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D800E for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 10D are 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for good quality, 12.3 x 8.2 inches or 31.2 x 20.8 cm for very good quality, and 10.2 x 6.8 inches or 26 x 17.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 10D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D800E are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D800E offers substantially better image quality than the 10D (overall score 39 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.5 bits higher color depth, 3.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D800E indeed provides for movie recording, while the 10D does not. The highest resolution format that the D800E can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 10D and the D800E are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D800E offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 10D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D800E has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 10D, the Nikon D800E, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
The Nikon D800E has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 10D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D800E uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The D800E features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 10D only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 10D and Nikon D800E and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the 10D and the D800E have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 10D was replaced by the Canon 20D, while the D800E was followed by the Nikon D810. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 10D or the Nikon D800E – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 10D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More compact: Is smaller (150x107mm vs 146x123mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 150g or 15 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2003).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D800E:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 6.3MP), which boosts linear resolution by 140%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (39 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (3.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.55x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 118k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (900 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 1.1).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 10D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D800E is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 10D and the Nikon D800E place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 10D or the D800E. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 10D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Canon 7D II||+||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 70D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|Canon 60D||+||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|Canon 7D||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|Canon 40D||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|Canon 30D||+ +||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|Canon 20D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Canon 300D||..||+ +||..||o||..||Aug 2003||899|
|Canon D60||..||+ +||o||..||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|Nikon D850||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|Nikon D810||..||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D100||..||+ +||o||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 10D vs Canon 6D
- Canon 10D vs Canon 80D
- Canon 10D vs Canon G1 X
- Canon 10D vs Canon T6s
- Canon 10D vs Fujifilm X70
- Canon 10D vs Leica V-LUX 3
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Nikon D800E
- Canon 750D vs Nikon D800E
- Canon G16 vs Nikon D800E
- Fujifilm GFX 100 vs Nikon D800E
- Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D800E
- Nikon D800E vs Olympus E-M10 II
Specifications: Canon 10D vs Nikon D800E
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2003||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.7 x 15.1 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||342.77 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.3 Megapixels||36.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3072 x 2048 pixels||7360 x 4912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.38 μm||4.88 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.84 MP/cm2||4.20 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||57||96|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.1||25.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.9||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||571||2979|
|Screen Specs||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||118k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 10D||Nikon D800E|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||900 shots per charge|
150 x 107 x 75 mm
(5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
146 x 123 x 82 mm
(5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||1000 g (35.3 oz)|
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