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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.

Full-frame

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: Sony A9 III

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 Sony A9 III is currently the top-ranked full-frame with a Camera Elo of 3201, followed in second place by the Sony A7R IVA with a rating of 3146. The table below lists the 20 highest ranked full-frame in descending order of their Elo. It also reports the cameras' DXO Mark sensor quality score, 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.
 
Sony A9 IIISony E 320196 Mirrorless 24.04K/120p Nov 2023 5,999 amazon.com
2.
 
Sony A7R IVASony E 314699 Mirrorless 60.24K/30p Apr 2021 3,499 amazon.com
3.
 
Nikon Z9Nikon Z 312598 Mirrorless 45.48K/30p Oct 2021 5,499 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon R3Canon RF 310196 Mirrorless 24.06K/60p Sep 2021 5,999 amazon.com
5.
 
Sony A1Sony E 309698 Mirrorless 49.88k/30p Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon ZfNikon Z 308996 Mirrorless 24.34K/60p Sep 2023 1,999 amazon.com
7.
 
Canon R5 CCanon RF 308996 Mirrorless 44.88k/60p Jan 2022 4,499 amazon.com
8.
 
Nikon Z8Nikon Z 307998 Mirrorless 45.48K/30p May 2023 3,999 amazon.com
9.
 
Canon R5Canon RF 307995 Mirrorless 44.88K/30p Jul 2020 3,899 amazon.com
10.
 
Sony A7R VSony E 3068100 Mirrorless 60.28k/24p Oct 2022 3,899 amazon.com
11.
 
Leica SL3L Mount 304597 Mirrorless 60.38K/30p Mar 2024 6,999 amazon.com
12.
 
Panasonic S5 IIL Mount 304196 Mirrorless 24.06K/30p Jan 2023 1,999 amazon.com
13.
 
Sony A7 IVSony E 304197 Mirrorless 32.74K/60p Oct 2021 2,499 amazon.com
14.
 
Nikon Z7 IINikon Z 3020100 Mirrorless 45.44K/60p Oct 2020 2,999 amazon.com
15.
 
Leica SL2-SL Mount 301995 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Dec 2020 4,895 amazon.com
16.
 
Sony A7R IIIASony E 3017100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Apr 2021 3,199 amazon.com
17.
 
Sony A7C IISony E 301196 Mirrorless 32.74K/60p Aug 2023 2,199 amazon.com
18.
 
Canon R6 Mark IICanon RF 300196 Mirrorless 24.04k/60p Nov 2022 2,499 amazon.com
19.
 
Leica Q3 28 mm f/1.7 298496 Compact 60.38K/30p May 2023 5,995 amazon.com
20.
 
Sony A7C RSony E 297296 Mirrorless 60.24K/60p Aug 2023 2,999 amazon.com
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

You can access more detail on the listed cameras by clicking on the camera's name. Alternatively, you can compare two full-frame cameras 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.
     
    Leica SL3L Mount 60.3 304597 Mirrorless8K/30p Mar 2024 6,999 amazon.com
    2.
     
    Leica Q3 28 mm f/1.7 60.3 298496 Compact8K/30p May 2023 5,995 amazon.com
    3.
     
    Leica M11Leica M 60.3 2839100 Rangefinder- Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
    4.
     
    Sony A7R IVASony E 60.2 314699 Mirrorless4K/30p Apr 2021 3,499 amazon.com
    5.
     
    Sony A7R VSony E 60.2 3068100 Mirrorless8k/24p Oct 2022 3,899 amazon.com
    6.
     
    Sony A7C RSony E 60.2 297296 Mirrorless4K/60p Aug 2023 2,999 amazon.com
    7.
     
    Sony A7R IVSony E 60.2 296299 Mirrorless4K/30p Jul 2019 3,499ebay.com
    8.
     
    Sigma fp LL Mount 60.2 283196 Mirrorless4K/30p Mar 2021 2,499 amazon.com
    9.
     
    Canon 5DSCanon EF 50.3 209087 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699ebay.com
    10.
     
    Canon 5DS RCanon EF 50.3 209086 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699ebay.com
    11.
     
    Sony A1Sony E 49.8 309698 Mirrorless8k/30p Jan 2021 6,499 amazon.com
    12.
     
    Leica SL2L Mount 46.7 296095 Mirrorless4K/60p Nov 2019 5,999 amazon.com
    13.
     
    Panasonic S1RL Mount 46.7 2898100 Mirrorless4K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 amazon.com
    14.
     
    Leica Q2 28 mm f/1.7 46.7 266496 Compact4K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 amazon.com
    15.
     
    Nikon Z9Nikon Z 45.4 312598 Mirrorless8K/30p Oct 2021 5,499 amazon.com
    16.
     
    Nikon Z8Nikon Z 45.4 307998 Mirrorless8K/30p May 2023 3,999 amazon.com
    17.
     
    Nikon Z7 IINikon Z 45.4 3020100 Mirrorless4K/60p Oct 2020 2,999 amazon.com
    18.
     
    Nikon Z7Nikon Z 45.4 275699 Mirrorless4K/30p Aug 2018 3,399ebay.com
    19.
     
    Nikon D850Nikon FX 45.4 2601100 DSLR4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 amazon.com
    20.
     
    Canon R5 CCanon RF 44.8 308996 Mirrorless8k/60p Jan 2022 4,499 amazon.com
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    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 2667 Mirrorless 24.0 Jul 2019 1,899 amazon.com
    2.
     
    Sigma fp LL Mount 15.1 oz 4.4 x 2.8 x 1.8 in 2831 Mirrorless 60.2 Mar 2021 2,499 amazon.com
    3.
     
    Canon R8Canon RF 16.3 oz 5.2 x 3.4 x 2.8 in 2874 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2023 1,499 amazon.com
    4.
     
    Sony ZV-E1Sony E 17.0 oz 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.1 in 2942 Mirrorless 12.0 Mar 2023 2,199 amazon.com
    5.
     
    Canon RPCanon RF 17.1 oz 5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8 in 2642 Mirrorless 26.0 Feb 2019 1,299 amazon.com
    6.
     
    Sony RX1R II 35 mm f/2.0 17.9 oz 4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in 2190 Compact 42.2 Oct 2015 3,299ebay.com
    7.
     
    Sony A7CSony E 18.0 oz 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4 in 2933 Mirrorless 24.0 Sep 2020 1,799 amazon.com
    8.
     
    Sony A7C IISony E 18.1 oz 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.5 in 3011 Mirrorless 32.7 Aug 2023 2,199 amazon.com
    9.
     
    Sony A7C RSony E 18.3 oz 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.5 in 2972 Mirrorless 60.2 Aug 2023 2,999 amazon.com
    10.
     
    Sony A7R IISony E 22.0 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2312 Mirrorless 42.2 Jun 2015 3,199ebay.com
    11.
     
    Sony A7S IISony E 22.1 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2233 Mirrorless 12.0 Sep 2015 2,999ebay.com
    12.
     
    Leica M11Leica M 22.6 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2839 Rangefinder 60.3 Jan 2022 8,995 amazon.com
    13.
     
    Leica Q Typ 116 28 mm f/1.7 22.6 oz 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in 2144 Compact 24.0 Jun 2015 4,249ebay.com
    14.
     
    Sony A7R IIIASony E 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 3017 Mirrorless 42.2 Apr 2021 3,199 amazon.com
    15.
     
    Sony A7R IIISony E 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 2789 Mirrorless 42.2 Oct 2017 3,199ebay.com
    16.
     
    Sony A7 IIISony E 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 2640 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2018 1,999 amazon.com
    17.
     
    Sony A7 IVSony E 23.2 oz 5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1 in 3041 Mirrorless 32.7 Oct 2021 2,499 amazon.com
    18.
     
    Canon RCanon RF 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 in 2670 Mirrorless 30.1 Sep 2018 2,299ebay.com
    19.
     
    Leica M10-RLeica M 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2344 Rangefinder 40.9 Jul 2020 8,295ebay.com
    20.
     
    Leica M10-PLeica M 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2251 Rangefinder 23.8 Aug 2018 7,995ebay.com

    The most affordable full-frame cameras

    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 264285 Mirrorless 26.04K/30p Feb 2019 amazon.com
    2.
     
    Nikon Z5Nikon Z 1,399 282395 Mirrorless 24.24K/30p Jul 2020 amazon.com
    3.
     
    Canon R8Canon RF 1,499 287493 Mirrorless 24.04k/60p Feb 2023 amazon.com
    4.
     
    Sony A7CSony E 1,799 293395 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Sep 2020 amazon.com
    5.
     
    Pentax K-1Pentax K 1,799 240096 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016ebay.com
    6.
     
    Sigma fpL Mount 1,899 266794 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Jul 2019 amazon.com
    7.
     
    Nikon ZfNikon Z 1,999 308996 Mirrorless 24.34K/60p Sep 2023 amazon.com
    8.
     
    Panasonic S5 IIL Mount 1,999 304196 Mirrorless 24.06K/30p Jan 2023 amazon.com
    9.
     
    Nikon Z6 IINikon Z 1,999 296494 Mirrorless 24.34K/60p Oct 2020 amazon.com
    10.
     
    Panasonic S5L Mount 1,999 284694 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Sep 2020 amazon.com
    11.
     
    Nikon Z6Nikon Z 1,999 270495 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018ebay.com
    12.
     
    Sony A7 IIISony E 1,999 264096 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 amazon.com
    13.
     
    Pentax K-1 IIPentax K 1,999 257293 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 amazon.com
    14.
     
    Canon 6D Mark IICanon EF 1,999 244585 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 amazon.com
    15.
     
    Sony A7C IISony E 2,199 301196 Mirrorless 32.74K/60p Aug 2023 amazon.com
    16.
     
    Sony ZV-E1Sony E 2,199 294296 Mirrorless 12.04K/60p Mar 2023 amazon.com
    17.
     
    Nikon D780Nikon FX 2,299 282195 DSLR 24.34K/30p Jan 2020 amazon.com
    18.
     
    Canon RCanon RF 2,299 267089 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018ebay.com
    19.
     
    Sony A7 IVSony E 2,499 304197 Mirrorless 32.74K/60p Oct 2021 amazon.com
    20.
     
    Canon R6 Mark IICanon RF 2,499 300196 Mirrorless 24.04k/60p Nov 2022 amazon.com
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    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:

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