If you’re looking to get your hands on a full-frame camera and you’ve decided you want it to be a Nikon camera, you may be wondering what the best Nikon full-frame DSLR is.
If we’re being honest, the “best” is a subjective term and ultimately depends on what you’re looking for in a camera and at what price-point you’re hoping to buy a camera at.
The answer to the question of which is the best Nikon full frame DSLR includes not one but three cameras. One each for the entry-level, mid-range, and professional segments.
The Best Nikon Full Frame DSLRs:
- D6 (Professional’s Choice)
- D850 (Mid-range and also our all-round choice)
- D780 (Best Nikon Full frame DSLR Entry Level)
Nikon D6 – The New Flagship DSLR
The D6 isn’t for the faint-hearted. As Nikon’s flagship camera, it carries some serious tricks up its sleeve and sports some impressive specs. This is the best Nikon full-frame camera for professionals and with its current price tag, only those with a ton of cash will be able to purchase this beast.
The D6 is powered by a 20.8 megapixel CMOS sensor, similar to the older D5. And while there are several similarities between the two, there are some really noticeable changes. Auto-focusing is blindingly quick, and so is the frame rate. The camera comes with the EXPEED 6 image-processing engine for ultimate performance.
When it comes to auto-focusing, this camera has a 105-point AF system, all of which are cross-type. These AF points are backed by triple sensor technology. So, that means the camera has a much denser AF point arrangement.
Additionally, all of the AF points on the camera are selectable. This gives a lot more composing freedom. The AF system can also detect contrast up to negative 4.5 EV.
All of these features are sure to make for a great shooting experience, no matter your area of expertise.
For those of you who are in need of a fast frame rate, the D6 will not disappoint. Offering 14 fps for a maximum of 200 frames, you’re sure to be satisfied with what the camera offers.
And if you prefer shooting in live-view, the D6 is capable of capturing full-resolution frames at a frame rate of 10.5 fps. Live view shooting becomes imperative in situations when you want to capture frames in silent mode.
The new D6 has Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity built-in. For those photographers used to more dated camera models, these will be welcome additions.
Between the three cameras listed here if we had to pick just one that really combines the best of everything that we dream for in a full-frame DSLR then we would have picked the D850. It is by far the best Nikon full-frame DSLR in terms of all-round performance and price.
The D850 packs in the highest number of megapixels, at 45, among all of Nikon’s current full-frame DSLRs. As a matter of fact, it has the highest resolution among all of Nikon’s current DSLRs.
Plus, there is no optical low pass filter on the sensor. Which means that the camera is able to reproduce a lot of sharpness.
The camera pairs the sensor with an EXPEED 5 image-processing engine. Although this is slower than the latest EXPEED 6 image processor this still is a formidable unit and capable of handling a large resolution with a decent frame rate as well. This is something that is rare in the DSLR segment where cameras would either give you high resolution or high frame rates and never both at the same time. The D850 is one of those rare exceptions. 7 frames per second for a maximum of 51 frames consecutively before the buffer overruns.
On top of that, you have the option to plug in the optional battery grip. This will boost the frame rate even further. If you are a sports shooter or love wildlife photography especially bird photography you will love the 9 fps frame rate. The extra number of frames can make all the difference in a number of shooting situations.
To add to that the D850 has a BSI sensor. BSI sensors are the best when it comes to low light photography. This is because the wiring on these sensors is at the back of the sensor surface leaving extra space for the light-sensitive photodiodes to capture light without any hindrances. The result is a higher signal to noise ratio, lower noise, and overall cleaner images.
Build quality on this camera is extremely good. The underlying chassis of the D850 is made of magnesium alloy and has been given weather sealing. The camera can effectively repel moisture and dust when working outdoors.
The Best All-Round Choice
Excellent resolution, autofocusing and handling.
Nikon’s D780 is a mid-range full-frame DSLR. It currently is one of the most affordable full-frame DSLRs by Nikon. If you have been looking to upgrade to a full-frame Nikon DSLR the D780 is definitely a camera worth taking a look at.
Though the D780 has a similar resolution as the D750, the real difference is in the inherent sensor technology. The D780 has a back-illuminated technology sensor. That invariably suggests that the D780 is capable of producing cleaner images at higher ISO compared to other similar non-BSI sensor-equipped cameras.
Normally when we compare DSLR cameras we tend to compare the number of megapixels, i.e., the resolution of the camera as against its competitors. In that sense, the entry-level full-frame DSLRs by Nikon mostly have around 24-megapixel resolution. And the D780 has the same.
The D780 has a relatively fast frame rate offering 7 fps. As a sports or wildlife photographer, this could mean the difference between getting a stunning image and missing the moment forever. But the live view shooting is what gives you a lot more frames. 12 to be exact, even when using the silent shooting mechanism.
The D780 is a great choice for video shooting because it gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of the shooting resolution you can choose. You could choose between full HD and UHD. UHD recording is possible up to 30 frames per second and full HD up to a maximum of 120 frames per second. Along with that you also get N-Log Gamma and HLG which gives you a much higher amount of control when editing your videos.
Great Budget Full-Frame
BSI sensor. EXPEED 6 image processor. Faster autofocusing.
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your “master guide” here at PhotoWorkout.
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