Flagship Cameras Compared from Canon, Nikon and Sony

When Nikon announced their flagship DSLR the Nikon D6 following the Canon EOS 1DX mark III and the Sony A9 II, the “big three” camera manufacturers had each released a flagship full-frame camera body in the space of six months. In this article we compare the main specifications of all three bodies.

The Nikon D6, Sony A9 II and EOS 1Dx mark III compared

We have not yet had our hands on a Nikon D6 so cannot do a working comparison of the cameras. However, now the specifications are released, we can put the stats of each camera side by side. There are some similarities as the manufacturers compete for the same audience: The cameras all feature built in wifi connectivity as well as Ethernet ports for Wired LAN connections. The resolution is low across all bodies, they are made for fast and high quality image recording, and fast transmission which a low file-size helps with. Mirrorless technology is the main differentiation in the bodies with those brands adopting newer technologies achieving higher burst rates for continuous shooting – significant for sport photography in particular.

Full write ups on the cameras are on our blog for further reading:
[gdlr_button href=”https://www.fixationuk.com/nikon-launches-the-d6/” target=”_self” size=”medium” background=”#FFE100″ color=”#000000″]Nikon D6: Feb 12th 2020[/gdlr_button]
[gdlr_button href=”https://www.fixationuk.com/canon-launches-the-eos-1dx-mark-iii/” target=”_self” size=”medium” background=”#BF1920″ color=”#ffffff”]Canon EOS 1DX mark III: Jan 7th 2020[/gdlr_button]
[gdlr_button href=”https://www.fixationuk.com/sony-a9-mark-ii/” target=”_self” size=”medium” background=”#FFA500″ color=”#000000″]Sony A9 II : Oct 3rd 2019[/gdlr_button]


Nikon D6Sony A9 IICanon EOS 1DX mark III
Camera TypeDSLRMirrorlessDSLR
Launch Price£6,299£4,799£6,499
Sensor SizeFull FrameFull FrameFull Frame
Video (Max)4K UHD 30p
XAVC S 4K 30p
4K Raw 59.94fps
ISO Range100 – 102,400100 – 5,1200100 – 102,400
Extended ISO50 – 3,280,00050 – 204,80050 – 819,200
AF Points105693191
Shooting Rate14fps20fps16fps
Memory CardsDual XQD / CFexpressDual SD UHS-IIDual CFexpress
Lens MountNikon FSony-ECanon EF
USB PortUSB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type C)USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type C)USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type C)
LAN Terminal1000BASE-T Ethernet1000BASE-T Ethernet1000BASE-T Ethernet
Wireless LAN built-inYesYesYes
Weight (g)12706781440
Size WxHxD mm160 x 163 x 92129 x 96 x 76158 x 168 x 83
Battery life (CIPA rating)35806902850
Nikon D6 image

Nikon Launches the D6

Nikon launches the D6 camera body! Full specifications for the flagship DSLR are now available. Nikon has designed the new camera to suit the demands of sport and press photographers with developments in speed, autofocus and ISO performance.

The Nikon D6 is expected to ship in spring 2020 and the launch price is £6,299. The sales team have an order list, to put your name down, or for more details on any of the camera specs, call our team on 020 7582 3294 or email sales@fixationuk.com

D6 Autofocus

Nikon calls the autofocus system in the Nikon D6 their “most powerful AF system yet” with 105 selectable cross type sensors capable of achieving focus at -4 EV at all points. Focusing with teleconverters and long lenses is now easier: Fifteen of the camera’s cross-type AF sensors are able to focus at apertures as small as f/8.

Subject tracking is improved with more custom settings available to fine tune the AF behavior. When using auto area AF photographers can now define the AF starting point, and prioritise focusing on a subject’s eyes in both Auto-Area AF and 3D tracking modes.

Image Quality and Speed

The sensor in the Nikon D6 is a 20.8 megapixel CMOS for high quality stills and 4k UHD video recording. The images are processed through a Nikon Expeed 6 chip. ISO 100 – 102,400 can be extended to 50 – 3,280,000 equivalent for extreme low-light photography. Metering is provided by a 180K-pixel RGB sensor, this unit also supports AF tracking

Shooting speed is crucial for sport and action. The Nikon D6 can shoot up to 14 frames per second with full Autofocus and Auto Exposure operation. In Silent Photography mode the rate is reduced to 10.5 frames per second with Auto Exposure tracking only.

Build and Networking

Dual card slots are no surprise in a professional body. Nikon confirm that the D6 will be compatible with XQD and new CFexpress cards. The fastest card technology available today will give photographers the benefit of fast read, write and image transfer speeds. Images can be transferred direct from camera via wired LAN connection 1000BASE-T which is 15% faster than the Nikon D5. Wireless image transfer is possible with the addition of the WT-6 transmitter. When transmitting, key images can be selected to send first, jumping to the top of the queue for Wired LAN and WiFi image transfer.

Ergonomic changes: Nikon has modified the camera port layout to make it easier to connect cables and use ports while the WT-6 is attached. There are more ways to check, select and transfer images from the higher resolution rear LCD display. The simplified workflow on the D6 offers users more ways to select and transfer key images using the high resolution touch-screen monitor.

Aside from ergonomic tweaks to make the camera easier to use, the main layout remains consistent with the Nikon D5 so established Nikon users will find the layout instantly familiar. The flagship series from Nikon is incredibly robust with weather sealing to keep out dust and moisture. The vertical release grip houses one EN-EL18c Rechargeable Li-ion Battery. The camera is compatible with earlier EN-EL18 batteries.

The Nikon D6 is expected to ship in spring 2020 and the launch price is £6,299. The sales team have an order list, to put your name down, or for more details on any of the camera specs, call our team on 020 7582 3294 or email sales@fixationuk.com


Canon EOS 1DX mark III

Canon’s new full-frame flagship DSLR was launched in January 2020. This professional body is tough and designed for working at high speed, check out the full details below.

[gdlr_stunning_text background_color=”#f3f3f3″ button=”Contact us” button_link=”/contact-us/” button_background=”#009bc1″ button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_border_color=”#009bc1″ title=”Trade in Bonus £300″ title_color=”#009bc1″ caption_color=”#a0a0a0″]Save on a new Canon EOS 1DX mark III when you trade-in any working interchangeable lens camera. Canon are offering a £300 trade-in bonus on top of the value of your traded in kit.
Contact our sales team for a free quote. Offer ends 14/07/2021

The EOS 1DX mark III features technologies adopted from recent mirrorless releases, while it keeps the familiar form of a full-frame DSLR. Designed for professional photographers the EOS 1DX series have been the standard body for professional sports, wildlife and press photographers working across the world. The EOS 1DX mark III will help you push the boundaries of speed and low light in your photography.

The Canon EOS 1DX mark III is £6499 including VAT, initial deliveries scheduled early March. To place an order call us on 0207 582 3294 email our sales team on sales@fixationuk.com

Key technologies:

The EOS 1DX mark III will showcase the greatest technical developments from Canon to date. We set out the key features and comparisons to the 1DX mark II below.

Data transfer

Canon’s EOS 1DX series camera bodies are in the hands of sports photographers every day in stadia around the world. To compete in today’s digital imaging market, images from major events have to be sent to picture desks as quickly as possible to beat the competition. The 1DX mark III makes image transfer easy: The body can send images direct via the ethernet port at twice the speed of the EOS 1DX mark II using FTP transfer from camera. The EOS 1DX mark III has a built-in wifi transmitter for file transfer to local devices – ideal for news-gathering on the move and shooting for social. The new WFT-E9 wireless file transmitter boosts the wifi speed to double that of the EOS 1DX mark II. Canon states that the network setup has been simplified to enhance the professional workflow.


The EOS 1DX mark III autofocus system has been enhanced with a deep learning auto-focus algorithm trained on real-world examples of sport photography. The AF system can track athletes’ faces, even when obscured by masks and googles. The AF system can also identify when a subject is upside down, such as in diving competitions and extreme sports, to better maintain sharp tracking auto focus. The camera features phase detection pixels on the imaging sensor – a major technology from the world of mirrorless cameras – this allows the camera to track focus while shooting at continuous 20fps

AF Smart Controller

The AF-on button has been combined with the AF control joystick in both vertical and horizontal orientations, so you can move and activate your AF points from a single button. The “smart controller” uses a sensor instead of a moving joystick, making it more durable and enabling it’s operation even when wearing gloves. The camera automatically disables the vertical smart controller when in landscape orientation to reduce the risk of accidentally moving the AF point.

CF Express Cards

Another new card type. In fact, CFexpress is a new version of the XQD cards found in Nikon cameras since the Nikon D4. This does mean that existing CFast cards and Compact Flash cards are not compatible with the EOS 1DX mark III, but CFexpress cards are faster, allowing for 20fps rates without buffering, and 4K video recording. Canon are giving a free CFexpress card and reader with pre-orders while stocks last. Ask our sales team for more info.

Specification comparison:

Canon EOS 1DX mark III
vs Canon EOS 1DX mark II

To download the full specification PDF click here.

Sensor: 20.1 megapixel vs 20.2 megapixel
ISO: 100-102,400 vs 100-51,200
Continuous Shooting Viewfinder: 16fps vs 14fps
Continuous Shooting LiveView: 20fps with AF vs 16fps no AF
Shutter Life*: 500,000 vs 400,000 actuations
Weight: 1.44kg vs 1.53kg
Battery Life: 2850 vs 1210

AF Points Viewfinder: 191 vs 61
AF Points Live View: 3869 vs 0
Lowest EV for AF: -4 vs -3
Lowest EV for Live View AF: -6 vs N/A

Memory Cards: 2x CFexpress vs 1x CFast 1x CompactFlash
WiFi Transmission: Built in WiFi and Bluetooth with WFT-E9 optional vs Wifi via afaptoe WFT-E8 only
Ethernet: Hi-Speed Gigabyte Ethernet vs Gigabye Ethernet
USB: 3.1 Gen2 with Type-C port vs USB 3.0
GPS: yes, built in vs yes, built in

Movie & Video:
4k & more Res: 5.5K Raw(60P), 4K DCI (60P), 4k UHD(60P) vs 4K video (60P)
HD Video: Full HD (120P) vs Full HD (120P)
Movie Crop: Full Width DCI, 1.3x Crop vs 1.3x crop
RAW recording: Yes vs No

To place an order call us on 0207 582 3294 email our sales team on sales@fixationuk.com

*Shutter ratings are only guaranteed within the 1st year of use


Cameras that changed everything – The Nikon D1

We look back at a camera that kicked off a revolution: The Nikon D1

Today’s young photographers would find this hard to imagine, but in 1999 there was only one serious name in the professional SLR market, and that name was Kodak.

Kodak can be credited with inventing photography – its engineer Steve Sasson created the first digital camera, with a resolution of 0.01MP, in 1975. Thereafter the firm patented many digital technologies, many of which we still see in use today.

However, while Kodak made many great advancements in digital technologies, the same could not be said for its digital cameras. The firm was focused intensely on its film business, and its digital lineup consisted largely of unwieldy and inefficient digital SLRs, all of which came with a five-figure price tag. Other firms, most notably Fujifilm and Nikon were beginning to make movements into the digital realm, but thus far it had been slow going. Many pro photographers, especially in the fast-paced world of newspapers, were thus far sticking with the tried and true 35mm film cameras they were used to.

The point being, while Kodak was dominant in the market in the 1990s, it had left itself deeply vulnerable to a strong, solid competing camera. And at the tail end of the decade, that challenger arrived.

The new contender

The Nikon D1 was first unveiled to the world on June 15th 1999. It wasn’t the world’s first commercially available DSLR – that was the Kodak DCS100, released in 1991. It wasn’t the first Nikon-branded DSLR either – the Nikon E2 had been released in 1995. However, it was the first DSLR manufactured and released entirely by Nikon – ‘home-grown’, as DP Review put it at the time – as the E5 had been built in conjunction with Fujifilm.

This, coupled with an exciting-looking spec sheet, meant the Nikon D1 was eagerly anticipated by the pro market.

nikon_d1_front&backImage courtesy of steves-digicams.com

What made the D1 special?

While the Nikon D1 was by no means the world’s first DSLR, it has been called the world’s first practical DSLR.

What made it practical? Well, first off, the price. On release the D1 retailed at just under £3,000, at a time when competing DSLRs were selling for more than double that. Its nearest rival, the Kodak DCS 620, cost over £6,000. This by itself would be a major incentive, but the D1 had several other key advantages over the DCS 620 as well.

For a start, Nikon managed to build a body for the camera that was not only light and portable, but also durable and tough. At the time, DSLRs were bulky monoliths, difficult to carry and difficult to handle, and while by today’s standards the D1 would be considered bulky, it was still notably easy to use compared to the competition. It boasted a 2.74 megapixel CCD and saw the introduction of Nikon’s DX sensor size.

Another trump card for the D1 was its speed. A burst shooting mode of 4.5fps seems impossibly quaint now, but in 1999 it was positively blistering. This coupled with a maximum shutter speed of 1/16,000sec – made possible by a unique on/off sensor design – and ultra-fast flash sync to make for a camera that could keep up with the demands of pros. The fact that it was compatible with CompactFlash cards for large storage and fast transfer of high-resolution files just sweetened the deal.

There was another feature that to us nowadays seems incredibly quaint, but at the time was a big deal – the Nikon D1 was the first DSLR to shoot JPEGs, at a time when the proprietary file type was the bulky, unwieldy TIFF.

So it wasn’t first. Nor was it groundbreakingly original. But it was tough, it was fast, and that was enough to tempt 35mm users into jumping on board.


It wasn’t perfect. The Nikon D1’s major malfunction was its battery usage. The Ni-Mh batteries required to power it were not only enormous, they didn’t last very long and quickly lost their capacity to take a full charge. More cripplingly though, once the batteries got low, the camera would continue to shoot but its image processing centre would shut down, meaning it would record only blank frames! Successors to the D1 would fix this, but it was a significant flaw that could have severe consequences for the unaware.

The camera had other flaws too, which contemporary reviews pointed out. Some observed that the camera was easily susceptible to dust incursion, leading to black spots on images. There were also issues with highlight rendition, meaning any image even a little overexposed would be in severe danger of being blown out completely.

d1-in-situ© Ashley Pomeroy


As mentioned, the D1 wasn’t perfect, and subsequent cameras would soon surpass it by correcting some of its most egregious flaws. It was, however, the camera that got newspapers using DSLRs. The combination of speed, functionality, durability and low price point did what previous DSLRs hadn’t quite managed, and tempted a significant proportion of the 35mm-wielding professional market to cross over, and since then of course they’ve never looked back. Kodak never regained the foothold it had enjoyed in the pro-DSLR market, and since then Nikon has continued to go from strength to strength. All thanks to the humble D1!



Hands-on with the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II: Pro Sports Photographer Dickie Pelham

We grab a quick chat with pro sports photographer Dickie Pelham about his time with the latest Canon flagship DSLR

FC Barcelona vs Arsenal. Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg. Pic Richard Pelham. 16.03.16. Luis Suarez celebrates his goal.

All images in this post were taken by Richard Pelham on the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II

Pro sports photographer Dickie Pelham has had the opportunity to test out a pre-production sample of the EOS 1DX Mark II. Chief sports photographer for The Sun newspaper, he’s been using the camera in a variety of situations, from fast-paced football games and boxing matches to detailed studio work.

We managed to grab a little time on the phone with Dickie, as he headed to Manchester for his next job, to chat about his experiences with the camera. For a more technical breakdown of some of the EOS 1D X’s features, take a look at Matt’s close-up examination of the autofocus system. For a quick rundown of Dickie’s first impressions, read on…


IBF World Featherweight title LEE SELBY v ERIC HUNTER . Pic Richard Pelham

First impressions

Dickie says the first aspect of the EOS 1D X Mark II that impressed him was how much better it coped at high ISOs and in low light, which is a key factor when you’re shooting at ultra-fast shutter speeds.

‘You can really crank the ISO up on it,’ Dickie says. ‘And you don’t get any banding in the blacks, so you can really give it some. When I’m shooting boxing I can see beads of sweat coming off the boxers that aren’t disappearing into the background. On the 1D X Mark I you might not have got that.’

In the release announcement, Canon made much of the EOS 1D X Mark II’s beefed up autofocus, and in using the camera Dickie has found that the firm’s claims were certainly not exaggerated.

‘Autofocus is much, much better. It’s definitely been overhauled—it’s a lot faster, it locks on faster and stays locked on as well. I use it on the spot mode with the outer points as well, and it’s very nice.’


Leicester v Everton Barclays Premier League 7/5/16 Pic Richard Pelham.

Dickie says that while he was blown away by the RAW results achieved with the Mark II (the words he used to describe them were: ‘Wow. Very, very good’), it was also important to note that the JPEGs it produced were also of exceptional quality – a necessary feature for sports work.

All this was nicely complemented by another headline feature, the improved motor drive which allows the EOS 1DX to shoot at blistering maximum frame rate of 16 fps.

‘I slowed it down to twelve frames per second,’ Dickie says. ‘That motor drive is just so beautiful, and so responsive. The motor drive makes it a different camera completely – it feels beautiful to fire up.’

He also found that the streamlined operational speeds were a welcome boost to workflow.

‘File transmission is definitely, definitely faster than the 1D X,’ he says. ‘It makes a big difference as well when you use the new CFast cards – I was lucky enough to get some cards out of Lexar to try it with, and they were very, very good for workflow.’

ANTHONY JOSHUA V CHARLES MARTIN Ibf Heavyweight Championship of The World THE O2 09/04ƒ/2016 Pic Richard Pelham

While this is of course hugely useful for sports and news photographers who need to get work done quickly, faster image transmission will be welcomed by snappers of all disciplines.

‘I was recently doing a big, big studio job, and we had 4,000 images to handle and caption and it just got done so quickly,’ Dickie says.

Getting used to the camera

We suggest it sounds very much like Dickie finds the camera not only useful from a technical standpoint, but also genuinely enjoyable to shoot with?

‘It is, yes,’ he says. ‘Also, a couple of people have said to me that some of their lenses in the past have been a little bit woolly, and now with the 1D X II they have gotten a lot sharper. And I have noticed that my 70-200mm is a lot sharper now that I’m using the Mark II. So maybe the camera complements the lens.’

Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg IBF and WBA Bantamweight Championship of the world . Pic Richard Pelham.

Part of the enjoyment of the camera also sprang from the parts that Canon hasn’t overhauled. Dickie says he appreciates the “if it ain’t broke” approach that the manufacturer has taken to the menu system.

‘The menu has not changed one bit, so really you just take it out of the box and it’s like using an EOS 1D X Mark I,’ he says.

‘Old gits like me can’t be bothered to read manuals! You’ve got football mode, you’ve got cricket mode – you stick it on Number One and get on with it.’

Dickie switched to the original EOS 1D X two years ago, and while he says he’s never regretted that decision, the EOS 1D X Mark II has enough improvements to make the upgrade a no-brainer.

‘This camera has definitely gone up a gear,’ he says.

Leicester v Everton Barclays Premier League 7/5/16 Pic Richard Pelham.

Dickie Pelham is chief sports photographer for The Sun. He can be found on Twitter @DickiePelham and at his website dickiepelham.com.


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