We round up the best professional DSLRs on the market at the moment

Canon EOS 1D X

Price: £4,845.00 (body only)

Key features:

  • 18.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 14fps High-speed mode
  • 61-point autofocus

Many professionals shopping for a DLSR will look no further than the mighty EOS 1D X, and with good reason. With its lightning-fast performance, tank-like build quality and near-perfect output it’s arguably the best DSLR in the world.

There’s too little space here to even sketch the 1D X’s features, but among the highlights are the 18.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, dual DIGIC 5+ processors and 14fps continuous shooting speed.

The Canon EOS 1D X is designed for hard use every day, from trackside at the Olympics to the streets of Mogadishu, and is equally at home in both. Truly an awesome camera.

Read our Canon EOS 1D X review

 

Canon EOS 5Ds R

Canon_5DSR-front34-squarePrice: £3,200

Key features:

  • 50.6MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-6,400 (standard), 50-12,800 (expanded)
  • 61-point autofocus

The highest-resolution full-frame DSLR yet made, the Canon EOS 5DS R represents an attempt by Canon to retake the megapixel crown from upstarts such as the Sony Alpha 7R and the Nikon D800 series.

Together with its partner the EOS 5DS (which is identical save for the inclusion of an optical low-pass filter), the 5DS R is based heavily on the design of the deservedly popular and successful EOS 5D Mark III, with a selection of extra features such as a new mirror assembly to minimise vibrations and a new USB 3.0 connector.

It’s one of the most impressive cameras we’ve ever seen, and for photographers who need the ultimate resolution it’s a superb choice.

Read our Canon EOS 5DS R review

 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon_5D_MK_III_front-561x500Price: £2,999

Key features:

  • 22.3-million-pixel CMOS sensor
  • 61-point AF system
  • ISO 100-25,600, expandable to ISO 50-102,400

It’s one of the most popular DSLRs of all time for a reason. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a no-brainer upgrade over the Mark II and is an all-around excellent piece of kit.

Borrowing its 61-point AF system from the EOS-1DX, the 5D Mark III was the model to bring the 5D series firmly into the realm of the professional photographer.

With a 63-zone metering system, Canon’s Digic 5+ processor and an expandable sensitivity range of ISO 50-102,400, the EOS 5D Mark III is a truly versatile performer and a great addition to any photographer’s stable.

Read our Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

 

Nikon D4S

Price: £5,200 (body only)

Key features:

  • 16.2-million-pixel, FX (full-frame) CMOS sensor
  • 11fps shooting with AF and metering
  • ISO 50-409,600

For professional photojournalists, the only real choice has always been between the various Canon EOS 1D variants, and the single-digit Nikons. The latest and greatest of these is the D4S.

The D4S shares the same 16.2-million-pixel, full-frame (36×23.9mm) CMOS sensor as the original D4, but now features the new Expeed 4 processor, offering and ISO range extended to 409,600 and 11fps shooting with AF and metering.

The build quality is of the highest standard demanded by the world’s top professionals. This is a camera that will never, ever, let you down.

Read our Nikon D4S review

 

Nikon D810

nikon-d810-300squarePrice: £2,699.99

Key features:

  • 36.3-million-pixel, full-frame (FX-format) sensor
  • ISO sensitivity range of 64-12,800 (extendable to 32-51,200)
  • New S Raw format, a 9-million-pixel, uncompressed 12-bit raw file

Being the first full-frame DSLR to do without an optical low-pass filter, the Nikon D810 wrings the maximum amount of detail out of its impressive 36.3-million-pixel resolution.

It also performs well in low light thanks to its native ISO sensitivity of 64, and the fast 51-point AF will be welcomed by the enthusiast wildlife photographer.

There’s also highlight priority metering, which makes the most of the sensor’s hige dynamic range, and a quiet well-damped shutter that reduces image blur due to vibrations.

Read our Nikon D810 review

 

Pentax 645Z

Price: £6,800 (body only)

Key features:

  • 51.4-million-pixel medium-format-sized CMOS sensor
  • 27-point AF system
  • 7.7cm (3.2in) tilting 1037K-dot LCD monitor

For those times when even a full-frame DSLR isn’t enough, Pentax offers the ultimate in high-resolution digital photography. With a 51.4-megapixel sensor measuring 44mm x 33mm the 645Z is like nothing you’ve used before.

Most medium-format digital cameras are intended for use in a studio environment, but the 645Z has Pentax’s usual fully weatherproof body and a range of matching lenses, so you can take it outdoors too.

Despite costing nearly £7000, at less than half of the price of the next-cheapest digital medium format camera the 645Z is actually a bit of a bargain. As an alternative to a full-frame DSLR it’s well worth a look.

Read our Pentax 645Z review

Sony Alpha 99

Price: £2,300 (body only)

Key features:

  • 24.3-million-pixel, full-frame, Exmor CMOS sensor
  • 3in, 1,228k-dot articulated LCD screen
  • Hybrid dual AF system

The Alpha 99, a few years old now, was released as Sony’s replacement for its highly regarded A900 full-frame DSLR. Using the company’s proprietary translucent mirror technology, it’s just over half the weight of the Nikon D4S or Canon EOS 1DX.

Internally the A99 features a 24.3-million-pixel, full-frame, Exmor CMOS sensor. It has an unusual AF system, with 102 phase-detection points on the main sensor, as well as a 19-point phase-detection AF sensor.

While Sony may be a relative newcomer to full-frame cameras, the A99 excels in image quality, features and handling, and is half the price of its main rivals.

Read our Sony Alpha 99 review