Choosing among the best full frame DSLRs
The digital SLR technology has been improving in leaps and bounds in the last decade. Back in 2004 when I obtained my first digital camera, digital SLRs were still beyond the reach of most. Plus, to be fair with film cameras the cost benefit ratio was still in favor of analog film cameras. However, standing at this day, there is absolutely no comparison between the digital cameras from those days and those from the current best full frame DSLRs.
Things have been changing again and this time it’s going against DSLRs. Sitting on the last quarter of 2015 and looking at the camera page of a major online retailer all I can say is DSLRs are vying for a place to survive in a market that is increasingly being flooded with smartphones and smaller cameras.
They are also trying to remain significant in a market that is seeing a flood of cheaper mirrorless cameras that offer full DSLR functionality at half the bulk and at times lesser price.
In spite of the fact that DSLRs still tingle the cash registers at major camera manufacturers, sales are dwindling and the market is increasingly becoming open to smaller and more user friendly cameras.
Here are the 6 best full frame DSLRs (2016) we shortlisted for you:
1. Nikon D4S
The D4S is the Nikon flagship full-frame DSLR. It is designed primarily for sports and action photographers though enthusiasts will like it for any type of photography. The full-frame 36mm x 23.9 mm sensor has a resolution of 16.2 megapixel and is paired with Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processing system.
It shoots at a continuous burst speed of 11 fps (faster than the older D4 that it replaced) for a maximum of 200 shots with autoexposure and autofocus enabled. It has a fast and accurate autofocusing, thanks to a 51-point Multi-Cam 3500FX AF sensor and 91K pixel RGB sensor.
The D4S also shoots full HD videos at 60fps with the ability to choose auto ISO during manual exposure. There are a bunch of other features that should interest a cinematographer.
2. Nikon D810
The current favorite among Nikon fans for indoor and studio photography works. The D810 has an incredible 36.3 megapixel CMOS sensor. This camera is capable of producing large files the size of 7360 x 4912 pixels.
But the specification that should excite a photographer is that the D810 not only misses an OLPF (like the D800E) it actually does not have an AA filter. Resultantly, the images are expected to be razor sharp. Paired with the sensor is Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processing engine.
For those who love to shoot RAW but does not quite handle the file size bulk the presence of S RAW will be a welcome change. Continuous shooting speed is however limited to only 5 fps. Thus, fast action or sports is something that you will have problems with. It shoots full HD videos at 60/30/24 fps.
3. Nikon D750
Built around a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and powered by EXPEED 4 image processing the Nikon D750 is a feature rich camera that could in many ways be considered a compromise between the D810 and the D610.
It has the improved version of the 51-point Multi-Cam 3500FX AF sensor that the flagship D4S (as well as the D810) comes with, a 91,000 pixel RGB sensor metering system and native ISO sensitivity of 100-12800.
The D750 may not have the same resolution as the D810 but it is certainly more capable in terms of continuous shooting speed (6.5 against 5). It also shoots videos at full HD at 60fps while giving you the flexibility of a tilting LCD screen.
In keeping with the modern trend the camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. In many ways if you are looking for a good value for money full-frame camera the D750 is a great choice.
4. Canon EOS 5D Mark III
For some the EOS 5D Mark III is the most complete DSLR camera. It has everything that you need, 22.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5+ image processing engine, a large 3.2” 1.04m dot Clear View II LCD monitor, 14-bit RAW.
It has a 63-zone iFCL metering system. Native ISO sensitivity of 100-12800, full HD video recording at 30, 25, 24fps with stereo sound input via external mic and 6 fps continuous shooting speed. Unlike both the D750 and the D610, the 5D Mark III is capable of shooting at a fast shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second.
5. Canon EOS 5DS /5DS R
The EOS 5DS R can flatten the sails of all the other cameras on this list if the only parameter for comparison is sensor resolution. It has a massive resolution of 50.6 megapixel producing gigantic image files of 8688 x 5792 pixels.
The 5DS and the 5DSR are technically the same camera, but the 5DS has an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and the 5DS R has a filter apparatus that cancels the effect of that filter. In other words the 5DS R produces sharper frames than the 5DS.
To match the fantastic resolution of the camera dual DIGIC 6 image processors have been used for better performance. Other not so obvious features include a mirror slow down mechanism that reduces the speed at which the mirror inside flips. This adds to an overall better stability of the camera (and adds to the overall image sharpness). The camera also sports a 61-point High Density Reticular AF system that has 41 cross-type AF points and EOS iTR.
The 5DS/SR is capable of shooting full resolution videos at 30, 25, 24fps.
6. Canon EOS 1DX
You can’t get wrong with the EOS 1DX. As a matter of fact none of the cameras discussed on this list are bad. They are all good. Just that some of them are better suited for a specific type of photography. However, they are all extremely good cameras for all everyday shooting needs. Like the Canon EOS 1DX for example. This is an extremely good camera for shooting sports or fast action.
It shoots at a phenomenal 12 fps continuous speed in RAW+JPEG mode. Set it to JPEG only and the camera ups the ante to 14 fps. At that speed you will likely run out of memory but never miss a moment. It scores over the D4S in this department. Plus it also outscores it on native ISO sensitivity. It has a native ISO sensitivity of 51,200 which is expandable to 204,800.
We hope you like this selection of the best full frame DSLRs and if we missed any camera model or you want to share your experience or ask a question, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.
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