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The best full-frame cameras

Full-frame cameras are high-end digital imaging devices that feature sensors that are similar in size to 35mm film (36 x 24mm). These relatively large sensors make it possible to capture high quality images even in poorly lit environments. They also tend to offer large dynamic range to reflect differences between dark and bright parts of a scene, and feature a rich color depth to allow for fine tonal gradation, for example, of skintones. On the downside, full-frame sensors are more expensive to produce and require larger lenses to cover the entire sensor area.

There is a wide and growing choice of full-frame cameras on the market. It is not easy to decide which one is best. Indeed, what does it really mean to look for the best full-frame? The camera that offers the best imaging experience? The one with the highest sensor resolution? The one that is most portable? The full-frame camera that does not break the bank? The answers to these questions come down to personal preference, but hopefully the listings below will prove to be useful for your camera decision process.

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The highest rated full-frame cameras

Top Elo
Camera with highest Elo: Nikon Z7 II

The Camera Elo represents a comprehensive rating that takes the body, sensor and feature characteristics of digital cameras into account. It is based on the outcomes of thousands of pair-wise comparisons undertaken via the CAM-parator app.

The Nikon Z7 II is currently the top-ranked DSLR with a Camera Elo of 3209, followed in second place by the Nikon Z6 II with a rating of 3203. The table below lists the 20 highest ranked DSLR in descending order of their Elo. It also reports the cameras' DXO Mark sensor quality score (as far as these are available), which can be taken as indicators of pure image quality. For both the Camera Elo and the DXO score, higher values represent better performance.

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The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Lens
Type
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Camera
Type
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon Z7 IINikon Z 3209- Mirrorless 45.44K/60p Oct 2020 2,999 i
2.
 
Nikon Z6 IINikon Z 3203- Mirrorless 24.34K/60p Oct 2020 1,999 i
3.
 
Leica SL2-SL Mount 3201- Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Dec 2020 4,895 i
4.
 
Panasonic S1HL Mount 3078- Mirrorless 24.06K/30p May 2019 3,999 i
5.
 
Canon R5Canon RF 304895 Mirrorless 44.88k/30p Jul 2020 3,899 i
6.
 
Leica SL2L Mount 3042- Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Nov 2019 5,999 i
7.
 
Panasonic S1L Mount 303495 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 2,499 i
8.
 
Sony A7CSony E 303095 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Sep 2020 1,799 i
9.
 
Panasonic S1RL Mount 3027100 Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i
10.
 
Panasonic S5L Mount 3019- Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Sep 2020 1,999 i
11.
 
Sony A7R IVSony E 301699 Mirrorless 60.24K/30p Jul 2019 3,499 i
12.
 
Sony A9 IISony E 301293 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Oct 2019 4,499 i
13.
 
Sony A7S IIISony E 3010- Mirrorless 12.04K/120p Jul 2020 3,499 i
14.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIICanon EF 300391 DSLR 20.04K/60p Jan 2020 6,499 i
15.
 
Canon R6Canon RF 295990 Mirrorless 20.04k/60p Jul 2020 2,499 i
16.
 
Sony A9Sony E 295592 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Apr 2017 4,499i
17.
 
Sony A7R IIISony E 2950100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017 3,199i
18.
 
Nikon Z5Nikon Z 2946- Mirrorless 24.24K/30p Jul 2020 1,399 i
19.
 
Nikon D780Nikon FX 2945- DSLR 24.34K/30p Jan 2020 2,299 i
20.
 
Leica SLL Mount 291988 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Oct 2015 7,450i

You can access more detail on the listed cameras by clicking on the camera's name. Alternatively, you can compare two DSLR using the search boxes below. Just enter two model names into the input fields and you will promptly be taken to a respective comparison.

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    The highest resolution full-frame cameras

    Perhaps your primary aim is to capture images with great detail, for example in landscape photography, or to have the ability to crop images heavily in post processing while still maintaining good image quality. In this case, the best full-frame might be the one with the highest sensor resolution. The following table lists the 20 full-frame cameras with the highest megapixel count. Again, clicking on the camera's name will reveal further detail.

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    The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Sony A7R IVSony E 60.2 301699 Mirrorless4K/30p Jul 2019 3,499 i
    2.
     
    Canon 5DS RCanon EF 50.3 233786 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i
    3.
     
    Canon 5DSCanon EF 50.3 230587 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i
    4.
     
    Leica SL2L Mount 46.7 3042- Mirrorless4K/60p Nov 2019 5,999 i
    5.
     
    Panasonic S1RL Mount 46.7 3027100 Mirrorless4K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i
    6.
     
    Leica Q2 28 mm f/1.7 46.7 282196 Compact4K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i
    7.
     
    Nikon Z7 IINikon Z 45.4 3209- Mirrorless4K/60p Oct 2020 2,999 i
    8.
     
    Nikon Z7Nikon Z 45.4 291299 Mirrorless4K/30p Aug 2018 3,399i
    9.
     
    Nikon D850Nikon FX 45.4 2909100 DSLR4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i
    10.
     
    Canon R5Canon RF 44.8 304895 Mirrorless8k/30p Jul 2020 3,899 i
    11.
     
    Sony A7R IIISony E 42.2 2950100 Mirrorless4K/30p Oct 2017 3,199i
    12.
     
    Sony A99 IISony A 42.2 285492 DSLR4K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i
    13.
     
    Sony A7R IISony E 42.2 264198 Mirrorless4K/30p Jun 2015 3,199i
    14.
     
    Sony RX1R II 35 mm f/2.0 42.2 231697 Compact1080/60p Oct 2015 3,299 i
    15.
     
    Leica M10-RLeica M 40.9 2287- Rangefinder- Jul 2020 8,295 i
    16.
     
    Zeiss ZX1 35 mm f/2.8 37.4 2692- Compact4K/30p Sep 2018 5,999 i
    17.
     
    Pentax K-1 IIPentax K 36.2 2785- DSLR1080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i
    18.
     
    Pentax K-1Pentax K 36.2 273996 DSLR1080/60i Feb 2016 1,799i
    19.
     
    Nikon D810Nikon FX 36.2 261597 DSLR1080/60p Jun 2014 3,299i
    20.
     
    Sony A7RSony E 36.2 244995 Mirrorless1080/60p Oct 2013 2,299i

    The most portable full-frame cameras

    A well-known proverb states that the best camera is the one that you have with you. As such, a smaller and lighter camera will likely get more use than a bulkier and heavier model. The table below lists the 20 lightest full-frame cameras that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their weight.

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    The Lightest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Type
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Sigma fpL Mount 14.9 oz 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8 in 2752 Mirrorless 24.0 Jul 2019 1,899 i
    2.
     
    Canon RPCanon RF 17.1 oz 5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8 in 2699 Mirrorless 26.2 Feb 2019 1,299 i
    3.
     
    Sony RX1R II 35 mm f/2.0 17.9 oz 4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in 2316 Compact 42.2 Oct 2015 3,299 i
    4.
     
    Sony A7CSony E 18.0 oz 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4 in 3030 Mirrorless 24.0 Sep 2020 1,799 i
    5.
     
    Sony A7R IISony E 22.0 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2641 Mirrorless 42.2 Jun 2015 3,199i
    6.
     
    Sony A7S IISony E 22.1 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2501 Mirrorless 12.0 Sep 2015 2,999i
    7.
     
    Leica Q Typ 116 28 mm f/1.7 22.6 oz 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in 2360 Compact 24.0 Jun 2015 4,249i
    8.
     
    Sony A7R IIISony E 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 2950 Mirrorless 42.2 Oct 2017 3,199i
    9.
     
    Sony A7 IIISony E 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 2837 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2018 1,999 i
    10.
     
    Canon RCanon RF 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 in 2906 Mirrorless 30.1 Sep 2018 2,299 i
    11.
     
    Leica M10-RLeica M 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2287 Rangefinder 40.9 Jul 2020 8,295 i
    12.
     
    Leica M10-PLeica M 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2097 Rangefinder 23.8 Aug 2018 7,995 i
    13.
     
    Leica M10Leica M 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 1994 Rangefinder 23.8 Jan 2017 6,595 i
    14.
     
    Sony A7R IVSony E 23.5 oz 5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1 in 3016 Mirrorless 60.2 Jul 2019 3,499 i
    15.
     
    Sony A9Sony E 23.7 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in 2955 Mirrorless 24.0 Apr 2017 4,499i
    16.
     
    Nikon Z5Nikon Z 23.8 oz 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in 2946 Mirrorless 24.2 Jul 2020 1,399 i
    17.
     
    Nikon Z7Nikon Z 23.8 oz 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in 2912 Mirrorless 45.4 Aug 2018 3,399i
    18.
     
    Nikon Z6Nikon Z 23.8 oz 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in 2882 Mirrorless 24.3 Aug 2018 1,999 i
    19.
     
    Sony A9 IISony E 23.9 oz 5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 in 3012 Mirrorless 24.0 Oct 2019 4,499 i
    20.
     
    Canon R6Canon RF 24.0 oz 5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in 2959 Mirrorless 20.0 Jul 2020 2,499 i
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    The most affordable full-frame camera

    A camera is only as good as the lens that is placed in front of its sensor. Thus, the best full-frame is one that leaves room enough in the budget to purchase a high quality lens to go with it. More generally, budgetary considerations are almost always important when deciding on a camera purchase, so that the following listing should be of interest. It displays the 20 least expensive full-frame cameras that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their launch prices (camera only). The latter provide a good idea on the market position of the cameras, but it is often worthwhile to check the current pricing, as all except the most recent models might be available at discounts or as great deals on the pre-owned market.

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    The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Mount
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Canon RPCanon RF 1,299 2699- Mirrorless 26.24K/30p Feb 2019 i
    2.
     
    Nikon Z5Nikon Z 1,399 2946- Mirrorless 24.24K/30p Jul 2020 i
    3.
     
    Sony A7CSony E 1,799 303095 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Sep 2020 i
    4.
     
    Pentax K-1Pentax K 1,799 273996 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016i
    5.
     
    Sigma fpL Mount 1,899 2752- Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Jul 2019 i
    6.
     
    Nikon Z6 IINikon Z 1,999 3203- Mirrorless 24.34K/60p Oct 2020 i
    7.
     
    Panasonic S5L Mount 1,999 3019- Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Sep 2020 i
    8.
     
    Nikon Z6Nikon Z 1,999 288295 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018 i
    9.
     
    Sony A7 IIISony E 1,999 283796 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 i
    10.
     
    Pentax K-1 IIPentax K 1,999 2785- DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 i
    11.
     
    Canon 6D Mark IICanon EF 1,999 257485 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 i
    12.
     
    Nikon D780Nikon FX 2,299 2945- DSLR 24.34K/30p Jan 2020 i
    13.
     
    Canon RCanon RF 2,299 290689 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018 i
    14.
     
    Panasonic S1L Mount 2,499 303495 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 i
    15.
     
    Canon R6Canon RF 2,499 295990 Mirrorless 20.04k/60p Jul 2020 i
    16.
     
    Nikon Z7 IINikon Z 2,999 3209- Mirrorless 45.44K/60p Oct 2020 i
    17.
     
    Sony A7S IISony E 2,999 250185 Mirrorless 12.04K/30p Sep 2015i
    18.
     
    Sony A7R IIISony E 3,199 2950100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017i
    19.
     
    Sony A99 IISony A 3,199 285492 DSLR 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 i
    20.
     
    Sony A7R IISony E 3,199 264198 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Jun 2015i

    Further Reading

    Additional information on the calculation of the Camera Elo can be found on a respective Elo methodology page. Moreover, there are other rankings of cameras by category that might be of interest:

    You are here Home  »  Best Camera  »  Best Full-Frame

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