High-end full frame roundup (2014)
14 Which high-end full-frame camera should I buy?
Which camera should I buy?
We recommend: Nikon D750
All things considered, even though we're not quite done testing it, the D750 may be the best DSLR we've ever used. We’re still putting the finishing touches to our full range of tests, but all signs point to the Nikon D750 being the full-frame camera to buy. In just about every category, it outdid its main competitors, the Canon 5D Mark III and Sony a99. Autofocus on the D750 is close to best in class (the D810 offers a slightly larger AF area, but less sensitivity in low light), and subject tracking on the D750 is top notch. It also blows past the Canon in terms of dynamic range; to the point that some of our editors question whether its 24MP sensor is in fact 'magic'. Initial tests suggest that it is not - more likely just very well-applied science.
The Nikon D810 was a close competitor for the top spot here, but the lower price point of the D750, coupled with its lighter body design, built-in Wi-Fi, articulating screen and faster burst made it our winner. The Nikon D810 is an excellent choice for anyone requiring class-leading resolution—the 36MP sensor and lack of AA filter mean the D810 can function as both a sharp full-frame and APS-C sensor body in one; DX lenses will still have 16MP to call their own. We did find the D810 to offer more dynamic range, specifically at ISO 64, and a faster top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec. For most people, though, these difference are probably not worth the extra cash.
Best budget full-frame camera: Sony Alpha a7
The Sony a7 is the most affordable camera in the roundup, making it an easy choice for this spot. The Nikon D610 is the next most affordable, though we tend to think most Nikon shooters would be better off springing for the D750, and all it offers, instead of the D610. Price aside, the Sony a7, along with the more expensive a7R and a7S, offers a full-frame sensor in the smallest ILC package available. Raw image quality coming out of the a7’s 24MP sensor is impressive, as is its video quality. Like the first camera in any new system, it is not without its quirks. But overall, it’s a pleasure to shoot with, and won’t lighten up your wallet too much (compared to the competition).
Best camera for video: Sony a7S
The Sony a7S beat out what some might think is the obvious competitor, the Canon 5D Mark III, for a variety of reasons. These include its incredibly strong low light shooting capabilities, with an insanely high maximum ISO of 409,600. The Sony also uses all of its 12.2MP sensor during video capture, with no line skipping. Other features like an articulating screen, the ability to capture video in the XVAC S codec, the ability to capture a large dynamic range (considerably more than the 5D Mark III) in video using the S-Log2 profile, and its significantly cheaper price tag give it the tip of the hat.
We did not consider the Nikon full-framers in this category, not because their video quality and feature set aren't good (they are very good) but because both Canon and Sony offer far more versatile lens mounts for non-proprietary lenses, which makes a huge difference to serious filmmakers.
|Body Only, Base|
|w/ 18-140mm, Base|
|w/ 24-120mm, Base|
|w/ 24-70mm, Base|
|w/ 55-200mm, Base|
|w/ 55-300mm, Base|
|Nikon D810 FX-Format DSLR Camera Body + Nikon MB-D12 Battery|
|Nikon D810 FX-Format DSLR Camera w/ 24-120mm Lens + Nikon...|