Full-frame DSLRs are the king of the hill when it comes to professional photography. While many photographers are considering the move to full-frame mirrorless cameras, the market for full frame DSLRs still remain vast. The year 2017 has been a pretty important one for full frame DSLRs, with a number of launches taking place. The category itself is not a very active one by nature, seeing that most full-frame DSLRs are built with a considerably long shelf life. Nevertheless, this year’s entrants exhibit higher capability and versatility than before, and as a result, made for a compelling year in which the boundaries of a professional DSLR have been further pushed.
Zero1 2017 Winner: Nikon D850
When you look at a full-frame DSLR, you expect extreme performance capabilities at the core of the bulky bodies, and the Nikon D850 is hands down one of the very best performers ever. While the high resolution 46-megapixel full frame BSI CMOS sensor is something that we’d expected from the best of Nikon, what makes this one truly remarkable is its high speed shooting abilities. With the added battery grip, it can shoot at 9fps in continuous shooting with AF-AE lock on. The autofocus mechanism is one of the best we’ve used till date, aided by its widely impressive dynamic range and high native ISO performance. It uses a 153-point AF system linked to a 1,80,000-pixel metering system.
The BSI sensor improves low light photography by a wide margin, and this coupled with Nikon’s near-impeccable colour accuracy in photography now makes the D850 suitable for fast shooting in tricky lighting conditions as well. The Nikon D850 has also made major strides forward in the field of video shooting, presenting 4K video shooting at 30fps, and codes the UHD videos at 4:2:2 uncompressed output. Slow motion videos can be recorded at 120fps in 1080p full high definition, and all of these benefit in terms of the colour tone, noise, dynamic range and tonal accuracy produced thanks to the wide dynamic range, the high resolution full frame sensor and superior low light shooting abilities. You also get in-camera time lapse movie export at 4K, with 8K time lapse shooting.
Even in terms of functionality, Nikon has made significant improvements in overall performance. It now includes a 3.2-inch full touchscreen tilting LCD display, a joystick for AF point adjustment, illuminated buttons and Snapbridge – bringing WiFi and Bluetooth to Nikon’s full frame camera range for the first time. Its battery is rated for 1,840 shots, which will suffice for most prosumers for a full day’s assignment.
Summing up, the Nikon D850 is one of the most well-rounded full-frame DSLRs that you can buy right now, and is also one of the best performers. It is certainly the best performer of 2017, which sees it easily win the best full frame DSLR award of 2017.
Runner-up: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
The Canon 6D lineup received a major overhaul this year, with the new generation 6D coming with a 26-megapixel full frame Dual Pixel sensor. It retains the same 45-point autofocus mechanism from its crop-sensor Dual Pixel brethren, which fairs decently primarily because of the Dual Pixel abilities. Native ISO goes up to 40,000 and can be extended up to 102,400, and continuous shooting peaks at 6.5fps with AF/AE lock. Video performance has also been enhanced, and you can now shoot 1080p full HD videos at 60fps.
But, while the performance has visibly and obviously improved from the older 6D and is now notably closer to the 5D range, what truly makes the Canon EOS 6D Mark II remarkable is its ease of shooting. The body weight is significantly lighter than most of its competition, the sensor is capable enough of high resolution shooting, colour tones and noise performance in videos are quite good too, and the camera interface is very well simplified and easy to understand for even first-time photographers.
It is this that makes the Canon EOS 6D Mark II the perfect full frame camera for first time full-frame shooters. It is one of the easiest full frame cameras to shoot with, and with its improved abilities, makes for a compelling camera to buy.