Best Nikon SLR: which one is right for you?

Nikon D810

Sensor: full-frame (FX) format CMOS Resolution: 36.3Mp Autofocus: 51 AF points (15 cross-type) Max shooting rate: 5fps LCD: 3.2-inch 921,000-dot Video resolution: 1080

Nikon D810

• Read our full Nikon D810 review.

The Nikon D800 redefined the full-frame camera market, with 36-megapixel sensors still unbeaten in the full-frame market. The D800E was a slightly more expensive variant that reduced the strength of the anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, delivering even sharper fine detail albeit at the (theoretical) risk of moiré interference effects when photographing fine textures or patterns.

This turned out not to be a problem, and Nikon has since replaced the D800 and D800E with a single model. The resolution is the same, at 36 megapixels, but the anti-aliasing effect has been removed entirely.

The sensor has been redesigned, the ISO range has been increased (it's now ISO 64-12,800, expandable to ISO 51,200) and the continuous shooting speed has been increased from 4fps to 5fps. That's pretty impressive for a full-frame camera shooting 36-megapixel files – and if you shoot with DX format lenses in 'DX crop' mode, this goes up to 7 frames per second.

The resolution of the D810 is its main selling point, but its modest size, weight and cost (for a pro camera) have made it appealing to well-heeled amateurs, not just professional photographers.

Nikon D4S

Sensor: full-frame (FX) format CMOS Resolution: 16.2Mp Autofocus: 51 AF points (15 cross-type) Max shooting rate: 11fps LCD: 3.2-inch 921,000-dot Video resolution: 1080

Nikon D4s

• Read our full Nikon D4S review.

Instead of going all out for image resolution, the D4S, like the D4 it replaced, has a relatively modest pixel count of 16.2M. This is combined with a new Expeed 4 image processor, also featured in the D5300. The net result is a blisteringly fast continuous shooting rate of up to 11fps with autofocusing.

The D4S also breaks new ground for sensitivity with a maximum expansion setting equivalent to ISO 409,600 and a native range of ISO 100-25,600.

There's also an oversized memory buffer, so that you can take long sequences of shots in very quick succession. Thankfully, a class-leading shutter unit takes the strain, with a life expectancy of 400,000 cycles.

As Nikon's latest flagship camera, the D4s boasts all the advanced features and top-notch build quality you'd expect, though many of its high-level features aren't unique. The D4S has the same autofocus system and newly designed metering module as the much less expensive D810.

It's the continuous shooting speed and huge buffer capacity that set this camera apart, though, and for sports and press photographers, this will prove far more important than outright resolution.