Full frame is where you go when you want the best quality out of a dslr camera, it isn’t a cheap option but as well as quality you get the best shallow depth of field and always a professional build quality. Can I just say I love my Canon 6D
Tech Radar does the honours again
Most professional photographers swear by full-frame DSLRs. They’re larger and heavier than APS-C-format models, but are built to survive daily abuse.
What’s more, with the same megapixel count, a full-frame sensor will have much larger photosites (pixels) than an APS-C chip because it has roughly twice the sensor area. Result? Better image quality at higher ISO sensitivities.
Full-frame DSLRs aren’t just for pros though, as lower-cost versions are out there if you want great image quality on a tighter budget. But it’s worth remembering that you’ll still need full-frame-compatible lenses, and these rarely come cheap.
Canon EOS 5DS
Proof that more can mean better: the 5DS sets a new standard for DSLR photography
Sensor: 36 x 24mm CMOS | Megapixels: 50.6 | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert
Stunningly detailed images
Great AF, metering and white balance
Huge file sizes
With 50.6 million effective pixels, the 5DS is by far the highest resolution full-frame DSLR on the market. The same goes for the 5DS R, which is identical to the 5DS, but features an anti-aliasing cancelation filter over the sensor to help resolve a little more detail. Pixel-packed sensors can be compromised, but not here. Image quality is superb, with fantastic detail, well controlled noise and good dynamic range. The 5DS is now the benchmark for full-frame image quality, but it’s not quite perfect. There’s no Wi-Fi or Ultra HD video recording, and huge image file sizes necessitate decent memory cards and a fast computer.
It may have recently been ousted from the top spot, but this is still a terrific choice
Sensor: 35.9 x 24.0mm CMOS | Megapixels: 36.3 | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,228,800 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert
AA-filterless, high-res sensor
5fps continuous shooting
No built-in Wi-Fi
Large file sizes
Ok, so the 5DS has stolen some of the D810’s thunder, but not much. Images from Nikon’s megapixel monster are bursting with detail, whilst its 1200-shot battery life puts the 5DS in the shade. We’re also fans of the D810’s clarity micro-contrast adjustment with its video-friendly Flat mode for maximum dynamic range. The 51-point AF system copes well with tricky focussing situations, mainly because both the AF and metering systems are taken from the range-topping Nikon D4S. Relatively compact dimensions and the unusual (at this level) inclusion of a pop-up flash further ensure that the D810 doesn’t disappoint.
8. Canon EOS 6D
Canon’s most affordable full-frame DSLR punches above its weight
Sensor: 36 x 24mm CMOS | Megapixels: 20.2 | Autofocus: 11-point AF, 1 cross-type | Screen type: 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level:Enthusiast/expert
High image quality
97% viewfinder coverage
The 6D is Canon’s answer to the D610 and is the least expensive model in the company’s full-frame DSLR range. Its 20.2-megapixel sensor may sound outclassed, but there are hidden depths. Image quality is superb and photos impress with a three-dimensional feel that’s the result of the larger sensor’s ability to create shallow depth of field effects. However, the 6D’s real trump card is price. It’s one of the cheapest routes to a new full-frame DSLR, and though its autofocus system and continuous shooting speed are nothing special, you do get integrated Wi-Fi and GPS. If you can do without a built-in flash, the 6D is decent value.
Nikon’s professional workhorse keeps shooting where lesser cameras struggle
Sensor: 35.9 x 24.0mm CMOS | Megapixels: 16.2 | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 921,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert
11fps continuous shooting
Massive ISO range
Big and heavy
No built-in Wi-Fi or GPS
Where the Canon 5DS and Nikon D810 push detail boundaries, the D4S is built for speed. 16.2 megapixels doesn’t sound great, but it enables rapid 11fps continuous shooting and exceptional low light performance. This is one of the few aspects where the D4S improves on the preceding D4, as its ISO range now stretches to 409,600 in expanded sensitivity, making this a real ‘see in the dark’ camera. Also helping to justify the intimidating price tag is the outstanding 51-point autofocus system that excels when shooting fast moving and dimly lit subjects, whilst top-notch engineering and weatherproofing help compensate for the sheer bulk.
6. Canon EOS 1D X
Uncompromising build, ergonomics and shooting speed make this top pro pick
Sensor: 36 x 24mm CMOS | Megapixels: 18.1 | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert
Excellent noise control
No in-camera HDR
Choosing between the 1D X and Nikon D4S will most likely depend on which manufacturer you’re already tied to with your lens system, but the two cameras are otherwise closely matched. The 1D X is an amalgamation of the older 1D and 1Ds models, blending their two specialities of speed and resolution. But speed is the real selling point here, thanks to a 12fps burst mode which can be expanded to 14fps in the Super High Speed Shooting Mode. The 18.1MP full-frame sensor sounds a step backwards from the 21.1MP chip inside the old 1Ds Mark III, but Canon has opted to sacrifice resolution to improve high ISO image quality.
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