For the past 10 years I’ve been a Canon user, always being happy with cameras and upgrading to newer models as they become available. I started with the Canon 350D and after 4 years moved to a Canon 600D. Over the years I got better quality lenses, but in the last 6 months I’ve been particularly wanting to improve on low light image quality. The APS-C canon models have improved and the latest 760D and 7D Mark II do offer better quality at higher ISOs. But not enough of an improvement. I therefore decided that full frame was the only option. My brief was to have a full frame camera that has: full frame sensor, built-in flash, tiltable screen, has good quality lenses available and to not be too much bigger or heavier than my 600D.
In terms of the Canon offerings, the Canon 6D is the cheapest full frame DSLR. The problem with the 6D is that it’s 3 years old and lags a long way behind competitor offerings in terms of performance. Also it lacks some of the key features I desire including the tiltable screen and built-in flash. There is rumoured to be a 6D Mark II which may include some of these features, but that has not yet been announced and who knows when it will be. As yet, there is not a full frame Canon compact system camera available, although again this is rumoured to be in development.
I’m open minded to non-DSLR options and also looked into compact system cameras. In my research I found the best of the available mirrorless models to be the Sony A7 Mark II. This fulfils most of the requirements in my brief. This was a serious contender for me, but when looking in detail, there were two main issues – 1) Lack of good quality lenses. Sony have some lenses available, but not too many. Even though you can use converters for Canon lenses, people report issues such as slow focusing. 2) Image quality. Although the camera has a full frame sensor and ranks fairly well on DxOMark in real-life usage noise really is below standard and not a huge improvement over APS-C sensors.
After much deliberation and research, the camera I chose in the end was the Nikon D750. This fulfilled all the items in my brief, although is at the limit in terms of what I find acceptable regarding size and weight. Switching from Canon to Nikon wasn’t a decision I took lightly – it means new lenses, external flash, batteries and other accessories. There is are also the new controls and user interface to become accustomed with. Having started to use the camera, I’m glad to say that it lives up to its reviews and lab tests in terms of image quality. I can now look forward to taking more photos with great image quality, with a particular improvement in low light scenarios.
My feeling with Canon is that (unlike Nikon) they are scared to offer a good full frame camera for a relatively low price. They are worried this will take market share away from their ‘pro’ level cameras such as the 5D Mark III. I feel it’s a similar story as to why they don’t yet have a full frame compact system camera. The most recent financial results from Canon show that profit is somewhat down, so maybe Canon will be forced to change, otherwise I suspect their market share will continue to erode.