Comparison of full-frame DSLR cameras from 2012

The new Nikon D600 camera. Photo by Nikon.


By Andrew Hudson Published: September 22, 2012 Updated: February 5, 2016

Comparison of full-frame DSLR cameras from 2012

Camera:Canon EOS 6DNikon D600Nikon D800Sony α99
Pixels (effective):20.2 MP24.3 MP36.3 MP24.3 MP
Sensor size:Full frame (36mm × 24mm)
Sensor type:CMOS
Optical viewfinder:YesYesYesNo
Weight1:
Body+battery+memory
(Body only)

755g
(680g)

850g
(760g)

1,000g
(900g)

812g
(733g)
Screen size:3.0"3.2"3.2"3.0"
Autofocus points:113951192
Frames per second4.55.546
Built-in flash:NoYesYesYes?
Max ISO:256006400640025600
Built-in GPS:YesNoNoYes
Price3:$2,100$2,100$3,000$2,800
Specifications:CanonNikonNikonSony
1. Weight: CIPA standard, with battery and memory card, without body cap, without lens. In brackets: camera body only.
2. The Sony α99’s main focusing system — a 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors — is complemented by a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the main image sensor.
3. List price, body only (no lens)

What size is Full Frame?

Canon full-frame:35.8 mm × 23.9 mm
Nikon full-frame ("FX"):35.9 mm × 24.0 mm
Sony full-frame:35.8 mm × 23.9 mm
Sources: Canon, Nikon, Sony

What is “full-frame”?

The term “full-frame” means that the physical size of the image sensor is 35–36 mm wide. This is the full “35mm” size of traditional roll film.

Sensor sizes compared. Image from Wikipedia

The size “35mm” comes from the 3-¼″ movie film made by George Eastman (Kodak), for the cinematography work of William Dickson and Thomas Edison in 1892.

“The 35 mm width with 4 perforations per frame became accepted as the international standard gauge in 1909, and has remained by far the dominant film gauge for image origination and projection despite challenges from smaller and larger gauges, and from novel formats, because its size allowed for a relatively good tradeoff between the cost of the film stock and the quality of the images captured.”
Wikipedia, 35 mm film

When Eastman modified his 35mm cinema film for still photography, he increased the size slightly to 36mm × 24mm, which became a de-facto standard following his patent in 1908.

Until recently, most SLR cameras used smaller-sized sensors as they are easier (e.g. cheaper) to produce. But a larger size sensor (for the same megapixel resolution) gives more space per pixel to record light, thus producing a better quality image.

Larger sensors are used in medium-format and large-format cameras, but they cost a lot more. Smaller sensors are used in APS, Four Thirds, Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and smartphone cameras, but they are generally lower quality.

One advantage of full-frame sensors is that they can take full advantage of the same lenses used for 35mm SLR photography.

Nikon’s term for full-frame is “FX.”

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Comments

Comments


Reply by Jk

December 31, 2012

Hi, I think you missed Canons 5D Mark III. Cheers


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

January 6, 2013

CANON 5D Mk III

Hi JB,

You are right. Thanks for the note. I will add the Mk III.

Andrew


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