Best Full Frame Camera

Best Full Frame Camera

Looking for the best full frame camera to take awesome and high-quality photos? Do full frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have better image quality than crop sensor cameras? For you to make it easy, I’ve gathered 12 best full frame cameras for any purpose and budget.

12 Best Full-Frame Cameras

best full frame camera

Full frame is a digital camera sensor the size of which is identical to classic film camera sensors of 35 mm (36x24mm, to be precise). The primary benefits of full-frame camera bodies are more powerful dynamic range and low light operation. Thanks to full-frame sensors, the separate pixels are enlarged, therefore, they are capable of gathering more light.

As a result, at high ISO settings, the camera takes pictures without any noise. Besides, a full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera features a wider dynamic range. It means that they will capture and render the richness and intensity of colors, including midtones, bright and dark areas to the full extent.

If you are a still life or portrait photographer, you will surely appreciate a more stable depth of field of full-frame models. So read my guide to 12 best full frame cameras available today.


1. Sony A7 III

Sony A7III best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $2200

 
Pros+
  • Rapid and manageable autofocus system
  • Incredible price/quality ratio
  • User-friendly control thanks to the modified buttons layout
  • Refined battery life
Cons-
  • Not weatherproof thin plastic port covers
  • AF point illumination leaves much to be desired
  • Cold weather + bulky gloves result in problems with handling
  • Confusing menu system
 
 

If my goal is to take noiseless pictures within the range of ISO 50 and ISO 1600, I opt for the Sony A7 III. However, while photographing at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, you might notice noise in RAW images. I may even increase ISO up to 12,800 or 25,600 and yet receive decent shots. In this case, later I will need to reduce noise in Lightroom. In the range of ISO from 50 to 12,800, the rendered colors look vibrant and lively.

As for ISO 25,600, the saturation almost doesn't decrease. Some call the A7 III the best full frame camera since these powerful features aren't expected from this kind of models at such affordable price. Nevertheless, I wasn't fully satisfied with the quality of its construction in comparison with DSLR analogs. Still, this camera is a great combination of secure AF which covers 93% of points and remarkable quality of videos/shots.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

This lens generates splendid background bokeh which contributes to the overall depth of the picture and turns it into a piece of art. Moreover, the model boasts of steady resolution regardless of chosen focal distance or zoom setting.

 

sony 16-35mm photo sample

Taken by Sony A7 III


2. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II

canon 1dx mark ii best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $5500

 
Pros+
  • Touchscreen with tap-to-focus features
  • Fantastic operation and arrangement of controls
  • Flicker detection
  • Exceptional autofocus system
  • Can record 4K videos at 60fps
Cons-
  • Tracking of iTR subject falls short of accuracy
  • iTR may cause occasional mis-focus
 
 

According to many reviews, this model is referred as the best Canon full frame camera. While using Canon EOS-1DX Mark II, I was able to make some remarks. Firstly, JPEG images taken with the device are characterized by slight flatness and coolness.

Regulating auto white balance helped achieve more or less warm shades in the shot. Secondly, autofocus case mode requires optimization of separate parameters. It might take some time trying to understand the most suitable settings for a certain scene, but if you manage to do it, the final pictures won't disappoint you.

Even though the manufacturer equipped the model with the metering sensor of maximum resolution ever found in DSLRs, you can't be 100% sure that Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) isn't going to let you down.

This iTR improvement might come in handy in case some you need to capture motion. All in all, I would recommend this Canon full frame device to those, who photograph fashion, sports, events or aim at an effortless recording of top-quality videos.

View more reviews of the best DSLR cameras and best mirrorless cameras with a full frame sensor that will help you take amazing and sharp photos without noise at high ISO.
 

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Among the benefits of this universal model are precise and swift autofocus along with the weather-proof build. Its zoom range covers a variety of focal lengths ensuring you to shoot sharp portraiture and landscapes. This is an ideal lens for Canon full frame camera that may definitely compete with prime models.

 

canon 24-70mm photo sample

 Taken by Canon EOS-1DX Mark II


3. Sony a7R III

sony a7r iii best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $3200

 
Pros+
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Pretty manageable and swift
  • Outstanding electronic viewfinder
  • Controls are arranged in a convenient way
  • Produces qualitative shots in every condition
Cons-
  • The handgrip is located very close to the lens
  • When the autofocus area is moved with the joystick, it is invisible
  • The rear screen moves only up and down
 
 

Sony a7R III is deservedly called the best full frame camera by many experts. It pleases users with incredible dynamic range, particularly at ISO 100. The model is capable of capturing a considerable extent of details in dark shadows almost noiselessly. In this way, you may preserve highlighted details in the scene with the highest contrast. At the photo editing stage, you just “turn on” shadows in the RAW picture.

The 42.4MP sensor ensures you will obtain maximum resolution at low sensitivities with very low noise even if the ISO is increased. Aside from terrific detailization at low sensitivity, the model produces impressive shots at unexpectedly high settings. At ISO 12.800 or 25.600, you will absolutely take high-quality photos without noise. The flexibility of RAW shots is another advantage.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS

This lens is really versatile. It combines both telephoto and wide-angle capabilities, so changing lenses isn't a must. Its full-frame 24mm to 240mm zoom range makes it possible to shoot everything you can imagine – from travels and landscapes to portraiture and wedding photos.

 

sony 24-240mm photo sample

Taken by Sony a7R III


4. Nikon D850

Nikon d850 best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $3300

 
Pros+
  • Rapid AF viewfinder to shoot silently in Live View
  • Decent battery life for 1840 shots
  • 45.7-megapixel sensor provides stunning detailization
Cons-
  • Wireless SnapBridge connection should be upgraded
  • Key exposure settings aren't featured in touchscreen operation
  • Lacks phase detection AF in Live View
 
 

I decided to test the universal D850 thoroughly in order to give it a chance to show its capabilities to the fullest. I began with shooting landscapes and was pleasantly surprised with such a detailed sensor. I have already tried using other DSLRs from Nikon, but the D850 is by far the best Nikon full frame model. Among its significant features are swift focus speed and high resolution.

I would like to focus special attention on the tilting screen which enables users to take low-angled and very detailed shots. The rear display is responsive due to touch control and precise color rendering for examining final pictures. I constantly take advantage of the rear dial together with the double-tap mechanism to achieve 100% zoom fast and control focus while shooting.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED

Having this lens at your disposal, you won't need to buy other ones. The model is very versatile and sharp all over its zoom range. The lens for professional camera Nikon produces fascinating pictures and doesn't take much time to focus. Keep in mind that it generates visible distortion at the ends.

 

Nikon 28-300mm photo sample

Taken by Nikon D850


5. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

canon eos 6d mark ii best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $1300

 
Pros+
  • 5-axis movie image stabilization
  • Remarkable battery life
  • Due to Dual Pixel AF, Live View mode focusing is very fast
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
Cons-
  • All AF points are grouped in the center of the frame
  • No headphone port for audio control and 4K video recording
  • The usage of exposure compensation with Auto ISO is complicated
 
 

Every professional photographer likes Canon EOS 6D Mark II combines for its high image quality and a relatively affordable price. The resolution has been increased to 26 megapixels. All over the ISO range, the JPEG pictures taken with this device turn out to be clear. Shooting at ISO 800, you might notice a slight noise. If you set ISO to 4000, the images will be satisfying as well.

The model produces luminance noise, but not a lot of chroma noise at this setting which is quite admirable. The buffer volume has also been increased to 21 RAW files. Personally, I disliked the camera's dynamic range and the coverage which is way too centralized.

Besides, the autofocus needs upgrade. Being the cheapest full frame camera on the list, it is still a decent device that impressed me with its vari-angle touchscreen. I could suggest purchasing Canon EOS 6D Mark II for amateur photographers, who have just started the photography path.

If you are an amateur photographers who is looking for a perfect camera, I recommend you reading my review of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners and about the best cheap cameras that are a good starting point for photography career.
 

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM

This lens is recommende for a Hybrid IS system. It generates 4 stabilization stops which compensate for shift and angular kinds of camera shake. As a result, efficient stabilization is ensured (even in macro). The model provides impressive detailization all over the zoom range. Soft and appealing backgrounds are achieved thanks to a circular diaphragm with 9 blades.

 

canon 24-70mm photo sample

Taken by Canon EOS 6D Mark II


6. Leica Q (Typ 116)

leica q best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $4500

 
Pros+
  • Top-grade lens
  • Familiar exposure controls
  • Exceptional picture quality
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Pleasing controls and operation
Cons-
  • Lacks a grip on the front
  • Rather large to be called a compact model
  • Way too expensive
  • Disappointing video recording features
 
 

This Leica model is often praised for its impressive capability to work in a low light environment. Its full-frame sensor of 24.2MP ensures not only the stability of the lens but taking practically noiseless images in the dark without any tripods.

Leica Q (Typ 116) is the best full frame camera which makes it possible to take advantage of the lens' highest aperture to the fullest. After the shutter speed is raised more than 1/2000 sec, an electronic shutter kicks in.

When the speed is increased up to 1/16000, you may photograph at f/1.7 at sunlight and don't even need to attach the neutral density filter to the tip of the lens. Its prime quality catches the eye and the magnificent smooth bokeh appears with shallow depth-of-field effects. Nonetheless, but the lens won't assist you in taking very close shots.

Leica Q (Typ 116) photo sample

Taken by Leica Q (Typ 116)


7. Nikon Z6

Nikon z6 best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $2000

 
Pros+
  • Classic but upgraded operation
  • 4K video filming capabilities
  • Burst shooting at 12fps
  • High-resolution EVF
  • Touchscreen interface
Cons-
  • In comparison with a DSLR, battery life is disappointing
  • Only one XQD card slot
  • The screen doesn't articulate completely, simply tilts
  • Buffer depth is limited
 
 

The Nikon Z6 operates perfectly across the whole ISO range. I compared and examined shots taken at ISO100 and ISO1600 and didn't notice any striking differences whatsoever. The model's focusing proved to be precise and swift.

The final pictures taken with the camera may boast of splendid dynamic range and incredible detailization. I can assure you that this is the best Nikon professional camera capable of photographing at pretty slow shutter speed in poor light environment.

I really enjoyed its integrated image stabilization which allowed me to achieve sharp pictures while shooting with hands. Even though the Z6 is lightweight and compact, it is dust- and waterproof. This is certainly the best full frame camera that deserves the attention of photography enthusiasts.

Recommended camera lens:

NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S

This 24-70mm lens for Nikon full frame cameras from Z line is actually a remake of a traditional zoom lens. With this model, you are free to shoot very close pictures and wide-angle scenes. Featuring a focal length range along with top quality, it might be a perfect match for videographers and fashion shooters.

 

nikkor 24-70mm photo sample

Taken by Nikon Z6


8. Canon EOS 5DS

canon eos 5ds best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $3500

 
Pros+
  • Detailed shots
  • Full frame sensor
  • Brilliant AF, white balance and exposure
Cons-
  • Lacks Wi-Fi
  • Huge file sizes
  • GPS is absent
 
 

Canon EOS 5DS can be easily called the best full frame camera as it produces noise-free JPEG images from ISO 50 up to ISO 1600. The noise first appears at ISO 3200. This is fantastic performance for a 50.6 megapixel, 35mm device.

The settings of 6400 and 12800 show more noise, however, it is quite acceptable. You may receive soft JPEG images. You will have to sharpen them in Camera Raw a little bit or change in-camera settings.

The camera allows taking quite nice photos at night with a max shutter speed of 30 seconds. Moreover, it features a Bulb mode that helps get enough light in any situation. Besides, Canon EOS 5DS has six various Picture Styles and the possibility to create your unique ones.

Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer custom settings are the other benefits. The HDR mode has 3 images which are taken at various exposures in order to create a single photo with better dynamic range.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

It has a wide-angle range of 11-24mm. It makes this lens a perfect choice for shooters who specialize in interior and landscapes photography.

 

canon 11-24mm photo sample

 Taken by Canon EOS 5DS


9. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon 5d mark iv best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $2800

 
Pros+
  • Fantastic performance in poor light
  • Fast focusing speed
  • 30MP sensor ensures detailed pictures
  • Brilliant touch screen
Cons-
  • No swivel screen
  • Too few focus points
  • Battery life is enough to take only 500-600 shots
 
 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is another best full frame camera. It has 30.4 MP that makes the model a perfect choice for wedding shooters who have to process tons of photos. The image is quite large for cropping but still doesn’t slow down a working process. You can easily capture sharp shots with saturated colors.

Get ready to take noise-free images even at the highest ISO level. ISO 25,600 also produces just a little noise in case you take close-up shots. Shooters can use the camera screen for focusing on speed and precision if want to take still-life. The model can also boast of a good AF. It allows focusing and recomposing on any desired object that lies on the outer edges of the frame.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM

It is a good fit for a full frame DSLR camera. The lens has a Hybrid IS system with up to four stops of stabilization. It compensates shift and angular types of camera shake. As a result, shooters get excellent stabilization even in macro photography. In addition, the lens is dust and water resistant. It has fluorine coating and rear elements which minimize fingerprints and smears.

 

canon 24-70mm photo sample

Taken by Canon 5D Mark IV


10. Pentax K-1 Mark II

pentax k-1 mark ii best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $1900

 
Pros+
  • Fantastic external control
  • The solid and weather-proof  build
  • Brilliant image quality, high resolution
  • Embedded stabilization guarantees sharp images
  • Compatible with a wide range of new K-mount lenses
Cons-
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Lacks a touch-sensitive screen
  • Slow live view autofocus
 
 

Pentax K-1 II continues the best full frame camera list. It takes excellent RAW files capture at low ISO. At high ISO, you get perfect noise performance as it captures 4 times more light than an autonomous file, lowering the comparative shot noise contribution. Prepare to get some blurred details at higher ISO. If compare Pentax K-1 Mark II with its predecessor, the camera has less grain.

Remember that this model is not suitable for video or sports shooting. Of course, you can try it but the potential is very limited due to the AF system and 4.4fps shooting speed. Pentax K-1 II also allows recording Full HD footage at up to 60/50fps in interlaced mode.

Recommended camera lens:

Pentax D FA 24-70mm f/2.8ED SDM WR

It allows getting very detailed shots with good contrast. The lens delivers high-resolution pictures because it uses only a central area of the image circle.

 

pentax 24-70mm

Taken by Pentax K-1 Mark II


11. Sony Alpha 99 II

sony alpha 99 ii best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $3200

 
Pros+
  • Adjustable screen
  • Seamless LCD/EVF use
  • Universal feature set
  • Brilliant image quality
  • Quick focusing system
Cons-
  • Quite weak battery life
  • Can be slow
  • Lacks touchscreen
  • Embedded RAW files processing is absent
 
 

Sony Alpha 99 II offers a fantastic image quality. However, sometimes you may get underexposed shots. So, it's better to shoot in RAW in order to pull back all necessary details. As for colors, shots are very bright but still realistic. Details are at a high level. This full frame camera features 2 settings for automatic white balance. The “white” setting is more realistic and correct.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony DSLR Lens 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM II

The lens eliminates reflections and ensures high-quality images with reduced aberration. It also allows getting a high contrast for brilliant resolution all over the zoom range. It is fully compatible with the best full frame DSLR to shoot wildlife and outdoor sports. It is also great if you wish to take photos of flowers and portraits thanks to a 4 foot (1.2 meter) minimum focus.

 

sony 70-300mm photo sample

Taken by Sony Alpha 99 II


12. Leica SL

leica cl best full frame camera

 
 

Price: about $6000

 
Pros+
  • Great electronic viewfinder
  • The fantastic photo quality
  • Good noise performance and detail
  • Supports 4K video recording
  • Stable, weather-proof build oozes quality
Cons-
  • Too expensive
  • Large and bulky
  • Confusing controls
  • A small range of lenses
 
 

Leica SL can easily compete for the title of the best professional camera in the world. It shows astonishing results at low ISO. You can notice a little noise gliding into a shadow area if you zoom photos. However, it is still possible to use the shots for printing or web publication.

Shooters should use 2 top ISO levels only when there is no other option to take a photo. JPEG may seem quite inconvenient. You can notice that colors are muted with a greenish cast that may lead to zombify portrait subjects. The noise reduction is on a 'low' mark by default. It leaves a lot of luminance noise at a higher ISO level and washes out Chroma noise.

Recommended camera lens:

Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. Lens

This lens enables you to take amazing photos. The lens offers image stabilization as well as shots similar to Leica's primes. The lens is weather-proof and solid. The size is its weak point as it is big and bulky.

 

Vario – Elmarit – SL 24-90mm sample photo

Taken by Leica SL


List of 12 Best Full Frame Cameras

IMAGE NAME DETAILS  
sony alpha a7 iii full frame camera Sony Alpha A7 IIIOUR CHOICE
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon eos-1dx mark ii full frame camera Canon EOS-1DX Mark IIBEST CANON
  • 20.2 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
sony a7r iii full frame camera Sony Alpha a7R III MirrorlessBEST SONY
  • 42.4 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
Nikon d850 full frame camera Nikon D850BEST NIKON
  • 45.7 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon eos 6d mark ii full frame camera Canon EOS 6D Mark IIFOR BEGINNERS
  • 26.2 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
leica q full frame camera Leica Q (Typ 116)BEST COMPACT
  • 24.2MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
Nikon z6 full frame camera Nikon Z6
  • 24.5 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon eos 5ds full frame camera Canon EOS 5DS
  • 50.6 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
canon eos 5d mark iv full frame camera Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • 30.4 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
pentax k-1 ii full frame camera Pentax K-1 IIWEATHER SEALED
  • 36 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
sony alpha 99 ii full frame camera Sony Alpha 99 II
  • 42.4 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE
leica sl full frame camera Leica SL
  • 24 MP
  • CMOS
VIEW PRICE

How to Choose Full Frame Camera?

To choose a good full frame camera that will help you get amazing high-resolution photos, mind the following characteristics below.

1. Resolution

Megapixels are the factor which determines whether the camera has a good photo quality or not. Shooters who are going to zoom in images should choose a camera with a high megapixel rate. Of course, some people may not notice the difference as all above-mentioned cameras allow taking nice shots.

But as for landscape shooters and those, who plan to print large photographs will surely see the difference. They should be very attentive while focusing and setting other technical parameters in order to get a high-resolution photo.

2. Weight and Size

Size and weight were not the main factors while choosing the best professional camera for photographing models. Shooters put bulky devices into a bag along with a set-up. The situation changed when Sony specialists presented a7 Series of full-frame mirrorless cameras which had a body weight about 20 ounces. All in all, shooters should not expect that lightweight cameras with lenses attached will occupy little space. Of course, they are lighter but not as much as most people think.

3. DSLRs vs Mirrorless

For many years digital SLRs were at the top of the full-frame camera chart. However, Sony developers managed to change this situation, having presented their a7 series. As a result, shooters got a full-frame camera with smaller bodies than DSLRs. Of course, the developers needed some time to improve obvious bugs. Afterward, quick innovations took place and the world saw the a7 line. Nowadays, many photographers prefer mirrorless cameras to DSLRs. 

Read more about all similar features and differences between mirrorless vs DSLR cameras to buy a good camera body for your purposes.
 

4. Battery Life

Most shooters choose mirrorless cameras because of a compact size and available features. However, such models still have some weak points. Battery life is really short. Mirrorless professional photography cameras have not much space for batteries and a photographer has to take addition batteries if intend to shoot all day long.

Luckily, developers are trying to change this tendency in recent models. For example, Sony a7R III has more space for a battery than its predecessors. Of course, it is not the same as in DSLR cameras but still quite acceptable for most people.

5. Optical vs Electronic Viewfinders

A viewfinder is another important option if compare the following camera types. DSLR features an optical viewfinder (OVF) and the best full-frame mirrorless camera boasts of electronic viewfinder (EVF).

An optical viewfinder shows the image which the lens sees but not an electronic rendition. Lots of shooters like a real-world experience of an OVF type. Finally, the choice of a camera type depends on the personal preferences of a photographer.

Some shooters appreciate a compact design, great video capabilities and plenty of modern features which can be found in a mirrorless model. Others prefer fantastic battery life, a wide range of lens models, and optical viewfinder which is typical for a DSLR.

6. Shooting Speed

Some shooters do not need a fast shooting speed that is measured in frames per second (fps). However, it is a must for sports and action photography. Anyway, you’ll have to face some sacrifices opting for an ultra-fast camera. Resolution is the first of them. For example, Sony Alpha a9 (20 fps) is 24.2 megapixels’ device while the a7R III (10 fps) is 42.4 megapixels one.

Canon 1D X Mark II (14 fps) is 20.2 megapixels while Canon 5D Mark IV (7 fps) is 30.4 megapixels. The second issue is the cost of the best full frame mirrorless camera. As a rule, action models are more expensive than their counterparts.

It is not a problem for a professional action shooter who needs rapid shooting speed. But it is not so important for those, who specialize in other photography genres apart from reportage and sports shooting.

7. Lens Cost

Shooters shouldn’t ignore the cost of the lens when choosing the best professional camera. A full-frame sensor will surely expose the weaknesses of poor-quality lenses. Mind, the lens offerings are more expensive than their crop-frame analogs.

Portrait photographers may spend less money on the 50mm and 85mm lenses which are very popular. Zoom options are better than ever before.

It offers a nice compromise between cost and image quality. It doesn’t matter what lens category you choose. It is better to do necessary calculations to find out the final cost of the camera with lens.

You’d better avoid buying cheap models and invest money in a better option. Remember, the right choice is a guarantee of long and reliable camera work.


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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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