We round up the best professional DSLRs on the market at the moment
Canon EOS 1D X
Price: £4,845.00 (body only)
- 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.
Canon EOS 5Ds R
- 50.6MP full-frame CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-6,400 (standard), 50-12,800 (expanded)
- 61-point autofocus
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.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- 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.
Price: £5,200 (body only)
- 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.
- 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.
Price: £6,800 (body only)
- 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.
Sony Alpha 99
Price: £2,300 (body only)
- 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.