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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.

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 3356, followed in second place by the Panasonic S1R with a rating of 3355. 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 335695 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
2. Panasonic S1R 3355100 Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
3. Sony A7R III 3355100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
4. Nikon Z6 330095 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
5. Nikon Z7 327699 Mirrorless 45.44K/30p Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
6. Sony A7 III 326596 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
7. Nikon D850 3212100 DSLR 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
8. Sony A9 321092 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
9. Canon R 319889 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
10. Sony A99 II 311792 DSLR 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
11. Leica Q2 3072- Compact 46.74K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
12. Zeiss ZX1 3019- Compact 37.44K/30p Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
13. Canon 5D Mark IV 300391 DSLR 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
14. Leica SL 295188 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
15. Canon 1D X Mark II 294488 DSLR 20.04K/60p Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
16. Pentax K-1 II 2935- DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
17. Canon RP 2934- Mirrorless 26.24K/30p Feb 2019 1,299 i i Canon RP
18. Pentax K-1 285796 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
19. Canon 6D Mark II 285685 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
20. Nikon D5 282588 DSLR 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5

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.

    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. Canon 5DS 50.3 243587 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
    2. Canon 5DS R 50.3 243586 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
    3. Panasonic S1R 46.7 3355100 Mirrorless4K/60p Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
    4. Leica Q2 46.7 3072- Compact4K/30p Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
    5. Nikon Z7 45.4 327699 Mirrorless4K/30p Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
    6. Nikon D850 45.4 3212100 DSLR4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
    7. Sony A7R III 42.2 3355100 Mirrorless4K/30p Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
    8. Sony A99 II 42.2 311792 DSLR4K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
    9. Sony A7R II 42.2 273798 Mirrorless4K/30p Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
    10. Sony RX1R II 42.2 237097 Compact1080/60p Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    11. Zeiss ZX1 37.4 3019- Compact4K/30p Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
    12. Pentax K-1 II 36.2 2935- DSLR1080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
    13. Pentax K-1 36.2 285796 DSLR1080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
    14. Nikon D810 36.2 256297 DSLR1080/60p Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
    15. Sony A7R 36.2 217295 Mirrorless1080/60p Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
    16. Nikon D800E 36.2 209796 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
    17. Nikon D800 36.2 209495 DSLR1080/30p Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
    18. Canon R 30.1 319889 Mirrorless4K/30p Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
    19. Canon 5D Mark IV 30.1 300391 DSLR4K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
    20. Canon RP 26.2 2934- Mirrorless4K/30p Feb 2019 1,299 i i Canon RP

    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 17.1 oz 5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8 in 2934 Mirrorless 26.2 Feb 2019 1,299 i i Canon RP
    2. Sony RX1R II 17.9 oz 4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in 2370 Compact 42.2 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
    3. Sony A7R II 22.0 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2737 Mirrorless 42.2 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
    4. Sony A7S II 22.1 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in 2614 Mirrorless 12.0 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
    5. Leica Q Typ 116 22.6 oz 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.7 in 2478 Compact 24.0 Jun 2015 4,249- i Leica Q Typ 116
    6. Sony A7R III 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 3355 Mirrorless 42.2 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
    7. Sony A7 III 22.9 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in 3265 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
    8. Canon R 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 in 3198 Mirrorless 30.1 Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
    9. Leica M10-P 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 2039 Rangefinder 23.8 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
    10. Leica M10 23.3 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in 1882 Rangefinder 23.8 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
    11. Sony A9 23.7 oz 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in 3210 Mirrorless 24.0 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
    12. Nikon Z6 23.8 oz 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in 3300 Mirrorless 24.3 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
    13. Nikon Z7 23.8 oz 5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in 3276 Mirrorless 45.4 Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
    14. Leica M Typ 262 24.0 oz 5.5 x 3.1 x 1.7 in 1744 Rangefinder 23.7 Nov 2015 5,195- i Leica M Typ 262
    15. Leica Q2 25.3 oz 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 in 3072 Compact 46.7 Mar 2019 4,995 i i Leica Q2
    16. Canon 6D Mark II 27.0 oz 5.7 x 4.4 x 3.0 in 2856 DSLR 26.0 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    17. Zeiss ZX1 28.2 oz 5.6 x 3.7 x 1.8 in 3019 Compact 37.4 Sep 2018 4,199 i i Zeiss ZX1
    18. Leica SL 29.9 oz 5.8 x 4.1 x 1.5 in 2951 Mirrorless 24.0 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
    19. Sony A99 II 29.9 oz 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in 3117 DSLR 42.2 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
    20. Canon 5D Mark IV 31.4 oz 5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0 in 3003 DSLR 30.1 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV

    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 2934- Mirrorless 26.24K/30p Feb 2019 i i Canon RP
    2. Pentax K-1 1,799 285796 DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2016- i Pentax K-1
    3. Nikon Z6 1,999 330095 Mirrorless 24.34K/30p Aug 2018 i i Nikon Z6
    4. Sony A7 III 1,999 326596 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 i i Sony A7 III
    5. Pentax K-1 II 1,999 2935- DSLR 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 i i Pentax K-1 II
    6. Canon 6D Mark II 1,999 285685 DSLR 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    7. Canon R 2,299 319889 Mirrorless 30.14K/30p Sep 2018 i i Canon R
    8. Panasonic S1 2,499 335695 Mirrorless 24.04K/60p Feb 2019 i i Panasonic S1
    9. Sony A7S II 2,999 261485 Mirrorless 12.04K/30p Sep 2015 i i Sony A7S II
    10. Sony A7R III 3,199 3355100 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Oct 2017 i i Sony A7R III
    11. Sony A99 II 3,199 311792 DSLR 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 i i Sony A99 II
    12. Sony A7R II 3,199 273798 Mirrorless 42.24K/30p Jun 2015- i Sony A7R II
    13. Nikon D850 3,299 3212100 DSLR 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 i i Nikon D850
    14. Sony RX1R II 3,299 237097 Compact 42.21080/60p Oct 2015 i i Sony RX1R II
    15. Nikon Z7 3,399 327699 Mirrorless 45.44K/30p Aug 2018 i i Nikon Z7
    16. Canon 5D Mark IV 3,499 300391 DSLR 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
    17. Panasonic S1R 3,699 3355100 Mirrorless 46.74K/60p Feb 2019 i i Panasonic S1R
    18. Canon 5DS 3,699 243587 DSLR 50.31080/30p Feb 2015 i i Canon 5DS
    19. Canon 5DS R 3,699 243586 DSLR 50.31080/30p Feb 2015 i i Canon 5DS R
    20. Zeiss ZX1 4,199 3019- Compact 37.44K/30p Sep 2018 i i Zeiss ZX1

    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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