However, look at the 5D Mark III and the D800/E. The majority of the market didn't give a crap about the 36 vs 22 MP and a lot more 5D Mark III's were sold. A lot more.
We do have to remember that Canon already had more market share, and thus more users invested into their system. And Canon is a much bigger company than Nikon, with more manufacturing and distribution capacity.
But, I am curious, where are you getting sales figures from to say "a lot more" 5D3's were sold? I hear different things from different people but it's all pretty much anectdotal...no actual figures.
Due to the volume of camera equipment they sell, and the diversity of markets they exist in across the world, Amazon's category rankings are usually used as an indication of the strength of any given product like the 5D III or D800. It is not a perfect example of every reseller or market, but it is a statistically significant measure. Historically, Canon cameras take and maintain the top spots, almost the entire first page in fact, of Amazon's DSLR rankings.
That is not necessarily a direct measure of the quality of a camera, for sure, but it is correlated, and is certainly a measure of popularity. One would think, by reading so many of the comments about Nikon here, that the simple existence of the D800 or D600 and the DR those two cameras are capable of achieving would make them orders of magnitude more popular than any of the competing cameras from Canon. In point of fact, that does not appear to be the case...at least based on Amazon's rankings.
Point is that a select few of us want a big MP camera, but just because Canon doesn't have one, doesn't mean they are behind or "not in the game." Quite the opposite when you look at DSLR sales. In fact, Nikon needs to "get in the game." The D800/E did absolutely nothing for them on a large scale while the 5D Mark III did a ton for Canon on a large scale. The way I heard it, for awhile Nikon couldn't manufacture enough D800s to keep up with demand, so I would hardly call that a failure. But again, where are you getting the numbers from to know what impacts these cameras had in terms of sales?
An inability to keep up with demand is a problem Nikon has had for a very long time. I've owned a DSLR for about four years, and was researching them for a couple years before that (drooling and wondering if I should buy one...when I should have just gone out and purchased something). I remember way back in 2006 that Nikon had supply problems.
I don't think that is a measure of popularity...I think that is a measure of Nikon's ability to produce supply in general. They just seem to have supply chain problems. I use Canon gear myself, but I am not against other brands. I love the competitive force Nikon is in the market place. However they seem to be a less than organized company, and that shows in many ways. Just look at their chaotic naming scheme for their DSLRs...I can't imagine a better example of a company that can't get it's S___ strait than Nikon DSLR names. There seems to be no order to when models are released, a severe lack of sequential numeric increase, little or no correlation between models (D700, D800, D600...released in that order, none of which seem to be directly related to each other), etc.
I think if Nikon could produce as many D800s as Canon produced 5D IIIs, I would still bet on the Canon 5D III to be the top seller.
You can use a 5D Mark III in a lot more situations than a D800/E and that is why it sold more units. How many more, and how did that relate to each manufacturer's existing market share?
Also, any situation in which you can use a 5DIII, you can use a D800. Neither camera is a limiting factor to the photographer.
I would dispute that. Assuming one uses the D800 as a full-frame camera, and does not use the 1.2x or other crop modes...then you are limited to 4fps. Frame rate is a CRITICAL factor in a lot of photography. AF system is another key factor. The D800 has a good one from a specification standpoint, but it has also had more than its fair share of problems. In the spirit of Nikon (as indicated by their lack of ability to maintain a consistent product supply and their braindead naming scheme), photographers who have contacted support to resolve the issue have been given the runaround, and it took months to even get Nikon to recognize the issue, let alone fix it in any way.
I wouldn't use a camera with a 4fps max frame rate or AF problems for the kind of things I shoot...which is primarily wildlife and birds. I currently use a 7D. It doesn't have the best sensor in the world by ANY means...relative to current sensors of today, the 7D sensor would probably rank at the BOTTOM of the list. But that doesn't matter to me. For one, the IQ is still great, even if it does rank at the bottom of todays list of sensors. More importantly, though, is the fact that it does 8fps. I don't think I could live with less, and if I had to, I wouldn't go lower than 6fps...trying to get the right moment with cameras that max out at 5fps is difficult at best, even with skill. In this respect, the 5D III barely makes the mark, with 6fps. The D800? Nope...4fps just won't cut it. I missed too many shots of just the right moment when using a 4fps DSLR in the past, I'll never do it again.
You could probably swap your statement. "In any situation you could use the D800, you could use the 5D III as well." The D800 does offer one thing the 5D III cannot directly match mark for mark...dynamic range. I wouldn't say that precludes the use of the 5D III for landscape photography, though. People were getting some of the best landscape photos in the world wit the 5D II! You just can't push shadows around as much...assuming you even need to.
What I really care about, as a purchaser, is what is going to make me want to buy another Canon camera. And I can tell you that another 20-ish megapixel sensor with pattern noise will not do it.
I can't argue with this one at all. I completely agree. Canon shouldn't be releasing any more cameras with 5 year old sensor technology. If the rumors about the 70D are true, I find that to be rather sad...repurposing the old 18mp APS-C sensor AGAIN...well, it is almost becoming insulting. I can sort of understand it...Canon doesn't want to release ground-breaking new technology in a mid-range consumer model. They want to reserve that shining moment for the 7D II. Still...I guess I would choose to release the 70D AFTER the 7D II, with ANOTHER new sensor...something different than the 7D II, maybe lower resolution or something (to help differentiate). However you slice it...Canon definitely needs to stop beating the dead horse...all that's left are a few splinters of bone and a drop of blood here and there...there isn't any more horse left to beat!!