Canon 5D versus Nikon P900
The Canon EOS 5D and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2005 and March 2015. The 5D is a DSLR, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (5D) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.7 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 5D vs Nikon P900
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 5D and the Nikon P900. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 5D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is notably smaller (16 percent) than the Canon 5D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D is splash and dust resistant, while the P900 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens build in, whereas the 5D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the 5D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon 5D (⇒ rgt)||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||YES||2005||3,299||discont.||check|
|Nikon P900 (⇒ lft)||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||no||2015||599||latest||check|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||YES||2015||3,699||latest||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||no||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||125 mm||102 mm||122 mm||1040 g||..||no||2015||2,499||discont.||check|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||YES||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||YES||2012||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||YES||2008||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||YES||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||YES||2005||3,999||discont.||check|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||156 mm||157.6 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||YES||2004||7,999||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||YES||2004||4,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt)||156 mm||157.6 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||YES||2002||8,999||discont.||check|
|Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt)||139 mm||104 mm||119 mm||777 g||400||no||2016||499||latest||check|
|Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt)||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||YES||2008||2,999||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||no||2015||699||discont.||check|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The P900 was launched at a lower price than the 5D, despite having a lens build in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 5D vs Nikon P900
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 5D features a full frame sensor and the Nikon P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the 5D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12.7 MP of the 5D. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). However, it should be noted that the P900 is much more recent (by 9 years and 6 months) than the 5D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon 5D (⇒ rgt)||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||no||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|Nikon P900 (⇒ lft)||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1-inch||12.0||4000||3000||4K/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/2.3||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||19.2||10.8||127||39|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||no||21.8||11.4||696||63|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||no||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||no||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||no||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||no||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt)||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||no||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The P900 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the P900 can use is 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Canon 5D vs Nikon P900
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), while the 5D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 5D and Nikon P900 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 5D (⇒ rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||3.0||no||no|
|Nikon P900 (⇒ lft)||921||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||7.0||11.5||YES|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1040||fixed||no||8000||5.0||no||no|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.6||5||no|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1030||tilting||YES||2000||3.8||no||YES|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||922||no||3.0||922||swivel||no||2000||6.4||5.5||YES|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||4.5||no||no|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1040||fixed||no||8000||6.0||no||no|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||3.9||no||no|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||6.3||13||no|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||8.5||no||no|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.0||230||fixed||no||8000||4.0||no||no|
|Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.0||230||fixed||no||8000||8.3||no||no|
|Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.0||120||fixed||no||8000||3.0||no||no|
|Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt)||202||no||3.0||920||swivel||no||2000||5.0||YES||YES|
|Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||922||fixed||no||8000||8.0||12||no|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1230||fixed||no||4000||4.0||3||no|
The P900 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 5D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 5D was succeeded by the Canon 5D Mark II.
Review summary: Canon 5D vs Nikon P900
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 5D better than the Nikon P900 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2005).
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix P900:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 5D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (140x103mm vs 152x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 5D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P900 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 8 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.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 5D or the P900. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Canon 5D (⇒ rgt)||88/100||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2005||3,299||discont.||check|
|Nikon P900 (⇒ lft)||-||77/100 Silver||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||2015||599||latest||check|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||83/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2015||3,699||latest||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||reviewed||4/5||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||80/100||-||-||-||2015||2,499||discont.||check|
|Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||75/100||4/5||-||4.5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2012||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||91/100||79/100 HiRec||4/5||5/5||-||2008||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 50D (⇒ lft | rgt)||90/100 HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||1,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||-||-||2005||3,999||discont.||check|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||-||-||2004||7,999||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||reviewed||-||2004||4,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||HiRec||-||-||-||2002||8,999||discont.||check|
|Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||-||3/5||2016||499||latest||check|
|Nikon D700 (⇒ lft | rgt)||89/100||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||2,999||discont.||check|
|Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||699||discont.||check|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.
- Canon 30D vs Canon 77D
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony A5000
- Canon 7D II vs Canon 5DS R
- Canon M50 vs Fujifilm X-A5
- Canon T6i vs Canon SX60
- Fujifilm X-E3 vs Canon G3 X
- Fujifilm X20 vs Fujifilm X-A2
- Nikon D90 vs Canon 7D II
- Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-420
- Olympus PEN-F vs Pentax K-70
- Panasonic TS7 vs Panasonic GH5