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A New Generation of Full Frame Bodies

Published: 18/09/2012
By: larry

Photokina starts today (Sept 19) in Cologne and runs through this weekend, so all the new gear is being announced. The single biggest news relating to real estate shooters is probably the round of new full frame camera bodies that have been announced for the Photokina show. There are 4 new full frame cameras announced for the show:

  1. Sony Alpha SLT-A99 $2798 See dpreview preview
  2. Cyber-Shot RX1 $2799 See dpreview preview Note that this is not appropriate for real estate shooting because it has a non-removable 35mm lens.
  3. Nikon D600 $2096 See dpreview preview
  4. Canon 6D $2099 See dpreview preview

Of course the first question in everyone's mind is how do these new Nikon and Canon bodies compare to the D800 and the 5DMKIII that came out this summer. Here are the major things that catch my eye:

  1. D600 vs D800: D600 has 12 megapixel smaller sensor, less sophisticated auto exposure bracketing (D800 has 2 to 9 steps at 1, 2 or 3 stops), less sophisticated auto focus system, ability to operate as DX (cropped sensor) mode, 50,000 fewer cycles.
  2. 6D vs 5DMKIII: 6D has less sophisticated auto focus system, slower frame rate, 180 grams lighter, built-in WiFi and GPS, SD card but no CF cards, 3% less view finder coverage, 2.1 megapixels smaller sensor, $1360 less. The 5DMKIII is better for sports shooters but other than that, I can't see why Canon bothered with the 5DMKIII. There is not that much difference to account for the difference in price.

Andrew Hughes' reaction to the D600 announcement was:

Why can't Nikon make the D600 "2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 or 2 EV"?
Or "2 to 5" or "2 to 7" frames... I assume this is just a firmware change? Putting my niche Real Estate Photography aside and thinking more main-stream... with the popularity of HDR these days, why would I either have to buy a very old D300s or a very expensive D800 to be able to shoot more than 3 brackets automatically? The idea of "upgrading" to an FX camera like the D600 with this limitation is... crazy!

I would recommend that anyone that wants to shoot more than the 3 AEB brackets that most camera bodies shoot should use the Promote Controller for HDR or EF rather than waiting for Nikon or Canon to improve their AEB. By the way, many of the best HDR and EF  real estate shooters swear that three bracketed images are all you need if you are shooting them right.

16 comments on “A New Generation of Full Frame Bodies”

  1. D600 pricing in europe is insane. 2100€ vs 1600€ in USA. D800 is 2600€ in europe.
    we have yet to see some real world tests with these new cameras.

  2. Larry, I was seriously considering the Canon Canon D6 over the 5D3, however I read in the comments section at DP Review the maximum sync speed is only 180/sec. According to Srobist Blog, the D600 only has a syn speed of 200/sec. At these syn speeds doesn't that limit their use for real estate photography? When shooting interiors at high noon and want to pull the view into the scene I'm
    often shooting at 200/sec. Sometimes I can get enough of the view at 160/sec. Can anyone confirm the sync speeds for D6? Thanks.

    Alvaro Colindres
    Realtor and Photogrpahy
    Coldwell Banker Riveras

  3. I was planning to move up from my D700 to the D800 sometime soon, but when the D600 was announced I thought it had enough of the specs (rumoured at the time) to warrant waiting and seeing what it looked like. I do like the sound of most of the specs to be sure, but the AEB issue as discussed above seems an strange one to limit a full-frame camera to, and also the sync speed issue is important for me.
    More importantly is the price here in the UK/Europe.. it is just too close to what you pay for a D800 for it not to be worth just saving that little bit extra and buying the D800. If the D600 was priced at around 1600 £/Euro's then yes, the attraction would be there, but not when it's only couple of hundred less than the D800.

  4. @ Alvaro - Great question for those are my money shots too. But it's rare that I get up that high. Would love another opinions.

    I too have been wavering on the mark III and now I think I'm sold on the 6D. As long as the reviews don't surface poorly. I was in line when the 7D came out and now I'm salivating again.

  5. I love my 5D Mark III and at first I figured the difference may be the ISO but after looking at the review I may wish I had $1360. But really Im still happy because the 5D Mark III rocks! I learned a long time ago that no matter what your buying if you buy the best it only hurts the day you buy it but if you buy something thats cheaper you will be sad everyday you use it. I dont think that will be the case with this 6D

  6. The new digital bodies are becoming so frustrating. I have always recommended to anyone starting out in photography, to invest their money in fine glass, as new bodies change rapidly, but fine lenses will serve you well for many years.
    I shoot with a D-700 and D-300, and wish I could shoot and process HDR in camera and sync at hi shutter speeds. My feelings are that camera manufacturers (especially on the higher end bodies) should be able to make the cameras upgradable.
    Instead of having to buy a new body, you should be able to send it back to the manufacturer for an upgrade.
    I would also like to see PC connectors (which I always hated) on more bodies as I use them all the time to fire my Pocket Wizards (for my off camera flashes) while keeping my on-camera flash mounted also.

  7. I'd like to point out one really interesting thing about Canon that you can't do with Nikon. The Magic Lantern open-source firmware for Canon cameras is really amazing. It lets you do all kinds of things in-camera that you otherwise can't, like time-lapse photography, better bracketing, rack focus, etc. I have been using it on my DIGIC4/T3i for a while and it's really great. They are working on DIGIC5 compatibility now. Access to open-source firmware is one of the key reasons why I went with Canon over Nikon.

  8. The maximum EV step for the D800 is 1 stop, not 3 as stated above. In other words, where it says "(D800 has 2 to 9 steps at 1, 2 or 3 stops)", it should be "(D800 has 2 to 9 steps at 1/3, 2/3 or 1 stops)".

  9. Thanks Bruce,
    The D-800e is going to be a consideration when funds ar available, but perhaps juts for fine art.
    I would like a small compact super wide digital (if one was available) for real estate that had HDR built in. Has anyone used a hi-end mirror less camera with HDR and an auxiliary lens?

  10. I'm shooting both real estate AND HDR landscape, so this new Canon 6D looks like exactly what I need. Full frame. Internal HDR (real estate only). GPS (travel/landscape). Wi-Fi. I'm still stuck in the dark ages with a 30D and it is really starting to hurt pretty bad. 8 MP just doesn't go very far these days.

  11. I've been shooting homes in the Lower CT River Valley for some time. I use the Nikon 10-24 for almost all interior work, and I love it. My D5100 is very good, except for the viewfinder, which makes me miss my old F3.
    But the real challenge here is not the equipment. It is prying those iPhones and silly little point and shoot cameras out of the hands of the local realtors who don't understand the value of photographs. On the Internet, the photos are all those buyers are looking at.
    I like to say I work for the people who are smart enough to hire me.

  12. @George - So right you are! A full frame body will NOT make or break your business. Real estate photography is mostly a marketing and training exercise!

  13. At the moment, I'm doing only HDR real estate work. Since my unaltered Canon 5D MK II would only do a 3-shot bracket, I had to use Magic Lantern firmware to get the number of brackets I think I need to do proper HDR. The only caveat is that the increments for the exposure spread are 1/2-stop and not 1/3-stop.
    I had a Canon 5D MK III on loan for two weeks and it coulld do a 2- to 7-shot bracket with up to a 3 stop spread available between each bracket shot. It was also very easy to set up in the menu.
    In looking at the 6D specification, I'm not sure what the AEB options are. I hope I haven't overlooked someone's explanation in previous posts. What are it's capabilities? It's listed as: "±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)" in dpreview. The Canon 5D MK III is listed as: "±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)". The unit I had would do a total of 7 bracketed exposures. Could someone translate this for a doddering old man?

  14. Another issue to look at with the 6D vs. 5D Mark III.... weatherproofing. I know I have spent many a day in the snow, rain, drizzle, etc. shooting houses. Having a weatherproof camera is a must, and I don't believe the 6D offers that.

  15. I wonder what the actual video at low light will be like with the 6d. Specs are one thing, but the mark iii can shoot in extreme low light and was a huge step above even the mark ii for real estate video, especially in those basements with minimal light.. I can shoot at 6400+ and get usable video where as with the mark ii at 2500 it was needing noise reduction plugins like neat.

    If you are shooting video the mark iii was a huge step up and if in the 6d matches the video in low light, it would definitely be big news and a steal.

  16. @ Eric Hilton - Your comments about glass are spot on - If I had self control that is what I would invest in, but...

    I have invested in the 5d3. I love it. I am speaking from the video side of things. Great low light camera. I also like the in camera sound...Still Not perfect but better than any of the previous canon dslr's. Moire and aliasing issues are much much better on the 5d3 vs. 5d2.

    For video - I think you need to go big. dslr's are great and there is a place for them - but I think more is needed. There are several new camera's coming out (or that are already out) that really fascinate me - I am going to be investing in either the canon c100, sony fs-700, or possibly the Black Magic. This comparison on canon rumors really opened my eyes. -

    The 5d3 is great but there are limitations. For video I think a true prosumer or pro video camera offers so much more. Really like the sony fs-700(slow motion - 250fps is sick)

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