Best Full Frame DSLR System

EOS 5D mark II, A900, D700 … which one is the best full frame camera for you? We prepared a comparison chart for you. You may have a clear picture of the pros and cons of each offering.

Full Frame D-SLRs comparison chart

α900 (Sony)
Sony A900
D700 (Nikon)
Nikon D700
EOS 5D MarkII
Canon EOS 5D mark II
EOS 5D
Image sensor Full-size 2460 effective megapixel CMOS sensor Full-size 1210 effective megapixel CMOS sensor Full-size 2110 effective megapixel CMOS sensor Full-size 1280 effective megapixel CMOS sensor
Image-processing engine BIONZ × 2 EXPEED DIGIC 4 DIGIC II
ISO sensitivity ISO200-3200 (Extended by ISO100 ~ 6400) With ISO Auto ISO200-6400 (Extended by ISO100 ~ 25600) ISO100-6400 (Extended by the ISO50 ~ 25600) With ISO Auto ISO100-1600 (Extended by the ISO50 ~ 3200)
Movie shooting function None None Yes (1920 × 1080 dots, H.264 format) None
Auto focus 9-points TTL CCD line sensors

center dual cross types + 10 assist sensors

• EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100) detection range

• Predictive focus control for moving subjects

• 51 focus points (15 cross-type sensors)

• Multi-CAM 3500FX

• AF working range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, normal temperature)

• AF fine tuning possible

• Contrast Detect in Live View (Tripod) mode

• 9-point TTL CMOS sensor

• 6 “Invisible Assist AF points”

• Centre point cross type F5.6 or faster

• Center point additionally sensitive with lenses of F2.8 or faster

• AF working range: -0.5 – 18 EV (at 23°C, ISO 100)

• 9-point TTL

• 6 “Invisible Assist AF points”

• CMOS sensor

• AF working range: -0.5 to 18 EV (at 20°C, ISO 100)

LCD monitor 3 inches (921,000 dot) 3 inches (920,000 dot) 3 inches (920,000 dot) 2.5-inch (230,000 dot)
Built-in flash None Yes None None
Dust reduction CCD-shift dust reduction mechanism ’sensor shake’ dust reduction Ultrasonic vibration self-cleaning None
Viewfinder 100%, about 0.74 times magnification 95% of view, about 0.72 times magnification 98% of view, about 0.71 times magnification 96% of view, about 0.71 times magnification
Live View None Yes (By the phase difference AF, Contrast AF) Yes (By the phase difference AF, Contrast AF) None
Continuous shooting speed About 5 frames / sec. About 5 frames / second (MB-D10 mounting frame at about 8 f/s) About 3.9 frames / sec. About 3 frames / sec.
Maximum burst for continuous shooting 105 (JPEG, FINE) 12 (RAW) 10 (RAW + JPEG) 100 (JPEG, L / Fine) 17 (RAW) 78 (JPEG, L / Fine) 13 (RAW) 8 (RAW + JPEG L / Fine) 60 (JPEG, L / Fine) 17 (RAW) 12 (RAW + JPEG L / Fine)
Recording media Compact Flash (UDMA) + Memory Stick Duo Compact Flash (UDMA) Compact Flash (UDMA) Compact Flash (UDMA-compatible)
Video output terminal HDMI, video output HDMI, video output HDMI, video output Video output
The number of shoots per battery charge 880 pictures (at the time of shooting the viewfinder) 1000 (when shooting the viewfinder) 850 pictures (at the time of shooting the viewfinder), 200 (Live View shooting) 800 pictures (at the time of shooting the viewfinder)
Body size, weight 156.3 × 116.9 × 81.9mm, 850g 147 × 123 × 77mm, 995g 152 × 113.5 × 75mm, 810g 152 × 113 × 75mm, 810g
Release date October 23, 2008 July 25, 2008 November 2008 October 2005
Actual selling price at the time of release US$2999.99 US$2,999 US$2,699 US$3,299

Best Full Frame D-SLR

From the above comparison chart, you can see that each D-SLR has some Pros and Cons. We can highlight some important points.

Sony A900 Pros

  • Highest pixel CMOS sensor
  • Biggest and clearest optical viewfinder (100%, about 0.74 times magnification)

Sony A900 Cons

  • Lowest ISO range
  • Missing Live View feature
  • Biggest body size

Nikon D700 Pros

  • Best ISO range
  • Best auto focus
  • Built-in flash
  • Best battery life

Nikon D700 Cons

  • Smallest view % viewfinder (95%)
  • Heaviest body

Canon EOS 5D mark II Pros

  • Best ISO range
  • Full HD movie capture
  • Smallest and lightest body
  • Lowest price

Canon EOS 5D mark II Cons

  • Worst auto focus
  • Lowest magnification viewfinder (0.71 times)
  • Slowest continuous shooting speed
  • Worst battery life

Choosing the best Full Frame D-SLR

It depends on what types of photo you are going to take with the full frame D-SLR.

For all purpose general use, pixel count is not so important, Nikon D700 would be the clear winner because of its pros: best ISO range, best auto focus, built-in flash and best battery life. Meanwhile, a lot of people would choose EOS 5D mark II over D700 because of Full HD movie capture and higher pixel count.

For taking picture of birds, you would need very good auto focus, fast continuous shooting and high pixel count; and you don’t need Live View for taking birds photos. Sony A900’s good auto focus, fast continuous shooting rate and highest pixel sensor best fit to this job.

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Posted in Canon, Nikon, Sony | No Comments » September 28th, 2008

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