Canon has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the EOS-1D X Mark III to create their finest DSLR ever made. Professionals get Canon’s latest technology that includes a powerful Digic X processor, which facilitates 16fps continuous shooting via an optical viewfinder that offers clear viewing with no infuriating electronic lag. Greater dynamic range and detail is recorded in HEIF files than JPEGs, it has an initiative smart controller for rapid focus point positioning, and records full-width 4K/60p video. It’s larger and heavier than its mirrorless competition, however it benefits from a huge battery (2850 shots with the viewfinder) and presents everything a working pro needs. It’s an extraordinarily impressive and class-leading DSLR.
A former flagship model in Nikon’s DSLR lineup, the D5 comes with the advanced features and bomb-proof build quality that professional action, sports and wildlife photographers expect in order to shoot the fastest and most unpredictable of subjects in the harshest of environments. Although 12fps is no longer considered rapid by today’s standards, the D5’s 153-point autofocus system with 99 sensitive cross-type points is extremely capable and a large 200-shot raw buffer capacity sees it shoot for long periods without interruption. Faster continuous shooting at up to 14fps, faster ethernet communication and wider autofocus coverage are a few reasons to consider its successor, the Nikon D6.
The 1D X Mark II is a thoroughbred and former flagship model in Canon’s DSLR lineup. Its powerful performance and advanced features will appeal to users who call for an immediate response with no let up in speed. Capable of rattling out 170 raw files at up to 14fps (16fps in live view), it pairs fast continuous shooting with an incredibly sophisticated 61-point autofocus system. Every focus point is available down to f/8 when telephoto lenses and teleconverters are used, plus it has what seems like never-ending battery life and substantial handgrip that balances well with large lenses. All of the above are reasons why it’s highly regarded and still chosen ahead of mirrorless rivals by many.
The Nikon D850 isn’t only a master of resolution; it’s a fast performer that delivers a low-light performance that’ll leave users in awe of its back-illuminated sensor. We regard it as it the finest full-frame DSLR Nikon has ever made. Not only is its body seemingly indestructible, it can be used to photograph virtually any subject or situation and return images that exceed the most demanding of professionals expectations. It’s more cumbersome than mirrorless alternatives and requires the MB-D18 battery grip to shoot at up to 9fps, but its larger body accepts a long-lasting battery (capable of 1840 shots or 70 minutes of video) and allows buttons to be spread out without feeling cramped.
Canon hits the sweet spot of what serious photographers look for from a versatile DSLR with the EOS 5D Mark IV. It builds on the success of the EOS 5D Mark III, but goes to the next level in terms of image quality and performance thanks to its sensor, which provides a superior low-light performance and wider dynamic range. Videographers can take advantage of pre-installed C-Log for generous exposure latitude and easy colour grading during post processing, however the crop it applies when recording 4K video and its fairly restrictive fixed screen are two areas where the EOS R6 and EOS R5 present an advantage.
Built around a proven DSLR body design, the EOS 5DS R resolves incredibly fine detail in its files, making it a quite-brilliant choice for anyone who shoots landscapes, portraits, architecture and intricate subjects that deserve to be captured in high resolution. Canon users familiar with the EOS system will be able to pick it up and use it from the get go, plus it’s built to withstand the harshest of conditions in the great outdoors. Its monster files take up a lot of space and its fixed screen isn’t ideal for all applications, but other than these points, it’s a high resolution DSLR that’s hard to knock.
Sister model to the Canon EOS 5DS R, the EOS 5DS shares the same 50.6MP full frame CMOS sensor, albeit with a low-pass filter in front of the imaging sensor to counteract the effects of false colours and moiré patterning. An on-board vibration control system mitigates shutter shock effectively and files return unprecedented levels of detail that allow tight cropping during post processing. Its rudimentary video capabilities will direct videographers elsewhere, but for commercial studio work and subjects that warrant being captured in stunning high resolution, the EOS 5DS makes a fabulous choice and is a robustly made one at that.
Sitting below Canon’s professional EOS 5D Mark IV, the EOS 6D Mark II is a versatile general-purpose DSLR that has a number of likeable qualities. Lighter and not as cumbersome as its senior relatives in the EOS lineup, it boasts a fabulous vari-angle touchscreen, provides a snappy autofocus performance and lets you send images to mobile devices wirelessly via Wi-fi. The tightly grouped arrangement of autofocus points, single card slot and absence of 4K video won’t necessarily be of concern to novices or enthusiasts, but advanced users are likely to find the EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS R6 or EOS R5 a better match for their demanding needs.
Capturing fast moving, erratic subjects in pin-sharp focus at high speed is the D500’s forte. It manages this by blending a 20.3MP APS-C size sensor, outstanding 153-point autofocus system and 10fps burst shooting with a deep buffer that allows up to 200 raw files to be captured continuously to an XQD card. The 1.5x crop factor lets users obtain greater reach from their lenses to fill the frame with their subject and the extended ISO range of 50-1,640,000 is staggering, however in real-world use image quality does start to degrade beyond ISO 6400. All things considered, the D500 currently stands out as Nikon’s finest example of a crop-sensor DSLR.
Enthusiasts who are after a well-rounded DSLR that handles well, features an optical viewfinder and delivers extremely satisfying images will be made up by what the D750 brings to the table. Its full-frame 24.3MP CMOS sensor puts in a respectable performance at high ISO settings with ISO 3200 being eminently useable. Images are punchy in terms of colour and its professional-grade autofocus and metering systems work admirably in challenging shooting situations. Those who desire in-body image stabilisation, 14fps continuous shooting, 4K/60p video with ProRes raw capture and in-camera charging are likely to choose the Nikon Z 6 II, but don’t let that take anything away from the D750. It’s a very likeable and incredibly robust DSLR.
With the EOS 90D you get Canon’s cutting-edge APS-C CMOS sensor technology housed inside a well constructed body that’s comfortable to hold in the hand. The superb layout of its controls includes a useful multi-controller joystick for precise focus point positioning and thanks to a healthy 1300-shot battery stamina there’s no fear of being caught short of power. The EOS M6 Mark II offers the same sensor and processor combination in a smaller mirrorless package, however the 90D’s trump card is that it’s served by a greater number of EF lenses. Its handling with large lenses is better too, plus it features a traditional optical viewfinder that some may prefer.
A stalwart in Canon’s DSLR lineup, the EOS 7D Mark II presents a host of useful features for those who love to shoot action, sports or wildlife. With its APS-C size sensor offering a useful 1.6x focal length magnification, users get greater reach from a lens, which in turn allows the frame to be filled tightly by their subject. The chance of capturing the perfect shot is increased by being able to shoot full-resolution JPEGs at up to 10fps until the card is full. Tank-like build quality, long lasting battery life and a built-in GPS module are areas where it has the edge over some newer mirrorless alternatives. Solid and reliable, it’s well matched with enthusiasts.