Different styles of professional photography -- portrait, landscape, news, sports, wildlife -- call for DSLRs with various strong suits. One camera dominates them all, critic say: the Canon EOS-1D X (*Est. $6,780 body only). "If I had to choose just one camera to use for all types of photography, this would be it," says Mat Gallagher at Amateur Photographer.
The 18.1-megapixel 1D X shoots a screamingly fast 14 fps and dark nights are no problem. You can crank ISO all the way up to 204,800 and still get a pretty clear shot, and tests prove it. HD video looks "amazing" in Scott Bourne's evaluation for Imaging-Resource.com.
Not only that, but it's built like a tank -- a weather-sealed tank. When a TechRadar.com photographer was caught in a torrential rainstorm during the women's marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Canon EOS-1D X simply shrugged off the water and kept shooting.
Nikon's cream-of-the-crop D4 (*Est. $6,000 body only) can't quite match this Canon. The D4 is slower at 11 fps and lower-resolution at 16.2 megapixels, and dark-night shots look a little grainier. Not that the Nikon is a slouch; if you're married to a bunch of Nikon lenses, "it's probably not time for a divorce," says TJ Donegan at DigitalCameraInfo.com. The D4 also boasts a couple of features the Canon 1 DX lacks, including better autofocus at slim apertures, and a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter for remote shooting and viewing. This could make the Nikon a better choice for wildlife, night or extreme telephoto photography.