PW

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.

DSLR

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.

The highest rated full-frame cameras

Top Elo
The camera with the highest Elo: Panasonic S1

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 Panasonic S1 is currently the top-ranked DSLR with a Camera Elo of 3380, followed in second place by the Sony A7R IV with a rating of 3360. 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.

Best Full-Frame: The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Camera
Type
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
1. Panasonic S1 338095 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
2. Sony A7R IV 3360- Mirrorless 60.24K/30p Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
3. Panasonic S1R 3351100 Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
4. Sony A7R III 3344100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
5. Nikon Z6 326095 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
6. Sony A7 III 323096 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
7. Nikon Z7 322399 Mirrorless 45.44K/30p Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
8. Canon R 316189 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
9. Sony A9 315292 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
10. Nikon D850 3151100 DSLR 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
11. Leica Q2 308396 Compact 46.74K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
12. Sony A99 II 304392 DSLR 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
13. Zeiss ZX1 2973- Compact 37.44K/30p Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
14. Canon RP 2950- Mirrorless 26.24K/30p Feb 2019 1,299 i i Canon RP
15. Canon 5D Mark IV 295091 DSLR 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
16. Pentax K-1 II 2940- DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
17. Canon 1D X Mark II 290488 DSLR 20.04K/60p Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
18. Leica SL 287088 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
19. Pentax K-1 286996 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
20. Canon 6D Mark II 284985 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II

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.

~

    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.

    Best Full-Frame: The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Sony A7R IV 60.2 3360- Mirrorless4K/30p Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
    2. Canon 5DS 50.3 236387 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
    3. Canon 5DS R 50.3 236386 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
    4. Panasonic S1R 46.7 3351100 Mirrorless4K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
    5. Leica Q2 46.7 308396 Compact4K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
    6. Nikon Z7 45.4 322399 Mirrorless4K/30p Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
    7. Nikon D850 45.4 3151100 DSLR4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
    8. Sony A7R III 42.2 3344100 Mirrorless4K/30p Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
    9. Sony A99 II 42.2 304392 DSLR4K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
    10. Sony A7R II 42.2 266898 Mirrorless4K/30p Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
    11. Sony RX1R II 42.2 236597 Compact1080/60p Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    12. Zeiss ZX1 37.4 2973- Compact4K/30p Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
    13. Pentax K-1 II 36.2 2940- DSLR1080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
    14. Pentax K-1 36.2 286996 DSLR1080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
    15. Nikon D810 36.2 245497 DSLR1080/60p Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
    16. Sony A7R 36.2 210095 Mirrorless1080/60p Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
    17. Nikon D800E 36.2 197696 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
    18. Nikon D800 36.2 197495 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
    19. Canon R 30.1 316189 Mirrorless4K/30p Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
    20. Canon 5D Mark IV 30.1 295091 DSLR4K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV

    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.

    Best Full-Frame: The Smallest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Canon RP 485 g 133 x 85 x 70 g 2950 Mirrorless 26.2 Feb 2019 1,299 i i Canon RP
    2. Sony RX1R II 507 g 113 x 65 x 72 g 2365 Compact 42.2 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    3. Sony A7R II 625 g 127 x 96 x 60 g 2668 Mirrorless 42.2 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
    4. Sony A7S II 627 g 127 x 96 x 60 g 2570 Mirrorless 12.0 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
    5. Leica Q Typ 116 640 g 130 x 80 x 93 g 2421 Compact 24.0 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
    6. Sony A7R III 650 g 127 x 96 x 74 g 3344 Mirrorless 42.2 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
    7. Sony A7 III 650 g 127 x 96 x 74 g 3230 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
    8. Canon R 660 g 139 x 98 x 84 g 3161 Mirrorless 30.1 Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
    9. Leica M10-P 660 g 139 x 80 x 39 g 2004 Rangefinder 23.8 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
    10. Leica M10 660 g 139 x 80 x 39 g 1857 Rangefinder 23.8 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
    11. Sony A7R IV 665 g 129 x 96 x 78 g 3360 Mirrorless 60.2 Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
    12. Sony A9 673 g 127 x 96 x 63 g 3152 Mirrorless 24.0 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
    13. Nikon Z6 675 g 134 x 101 x 67 g 3260 Mirrorless 24.3 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
    14. Nikon Z7 675 g 134 x 101 x 67 g 3223 Mirrorless 45.4 Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
    15. Leica M Typ 262 680 g 139 x 80 x 42 g 1699 Rangefinder 23.7 Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
    16. Leica Q2 718 g 130 x 80 x 92 g 3083 Compact 46.7 Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
    17. Canon 6D Mark II 765 g 144 x 111 x 75 g 2849 DSLR 26.0 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    18. Zeiss ZX1 800 g 142 x 93 x 46 g 2973 Compact 37.4 Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
    19. Leica SL 847 g 147 x 104 x 39 g 2870 Mirrorless 24.0 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
    20. Sony A99 II 849 g 143 x 104 x 76 g 3043 DSLR 42.2 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II

    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.

    Best Full-Frame: The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Canon RP 1,299 2950- Mirrorless 26.24K/30p Feb 2019 i i Canon RP
    2. Pentax K-1 1,799 286996 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016- i Pentax K-1
    3. Nikon Z6 1,999 326095 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018 i i Nikon Z6
    4. Sony A7 III 1,999 323096 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 i i Sony A7 III
    5. Pentax K-1 II 1,999 2940- DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 i i Pentax K-1 II
    6. Canon 6D Mark II 1,999 284985 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    7. Canon R 2,299 316189 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018 i i Canon R
    8. Panasonic S1 2,499 338095 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 i i Panasonic S1
    9. Sony A7S II 2,999 257085 Mirrorless 12.04K/30p Sep 2015 i i Sony A7S II
    10. Sony A7R III 3,199 3344100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017 i i Sony A7R III
    11. Sony A99 II 3,199 304392 DSLR 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 i i Sony A99 II
    12. Sony A7R II 3,199 266898 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Jun 2015- i Sony A7R II
    13. Nikon D850 3,299 3151100 DSLR 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 i i Nikon D850
    14. Sony RX1R II 3,299 236597 Compact 42.21080/60p Oct 2015 i i Sony RX1R II
    15. Nikon Z7 3,399 322399 Mirrorless 45.44K/30p Aug 2018 i i Nikon Z7
    16. Sony A7R IV 3,499 3360- Mirrorless 60.24K/30p Jul 2019 i i Sony A7R IV
    17. Canon 5D Mark IV 3,499 295091 DSLR 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
    18. Panasonic S1R 3,699 3351100 Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Feb 2019 i i Panasonic S1R
    19. Canon 5DS 3,699 236387 DSLR 50.31080/30p Feb 2015 i i Canon 5DS
    20. Canon 5DS R 3,699 236386 DSLR 50.31080/30p Feb 2015 i i Canon 5DS R

    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  »   »