The Best Full Frame DSLRs of 2018

The Best Full Frame DSLRs of 2016

A Sensor as Big as Film

For a long time full frame DSLRs—cameras with image sensors as large as a 35mm film frame—were only for pros and well-heeled shutterbugs. Most folks buy an SLR with an APS-C image sensor, a little less than half the size of full frame in terms of surface area. But there are advantages to a bigger sensor, including a larger, brighter viewfinder and the ability to create an extremely shallow depth of field with wide-aperture lenses. You’ll still have to part with a good chunk of change to get an entry-level full frame model like the Nikon D610 or the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, but there’s no doubt that costs are dropping, making these cameras available to more and more photographers.

Entry-Level and Pro Choices

The least expensive bodies start at around $ 1,500, but can be had for less if you catch a sale. They don’t pack all of the features you’ll find in pricier models geared at pros. SLR bodies that sell for a few thousand dollars feature more advanced autofocus systems, better weather sealing, and more durable designs so they can withstand the rigors of frequent use by working professionals.

Pentax has a lone full frame SLR model. The K-1 falls outside our top ten, but is a solid option for users in want of a high-resolution, full frame model, and it comes in under $ 2,000.

Related Story See How We Test Digital Cameras

If you’re a sports shooter or a photojournalist, instant and accurate focus, fast burst shooting, and tank-like durability are required. Canon and Nikon offer pro bodies that are up to the task. Both companies have relatively new models—the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Nikon D5. These pro bodies have superb autofocus systems that allow them to rattle off shots in rapid succession and lock onto focus nearly instantly. The top-end autofocus systems require larger camera bodies, and both models squeeze huge batteries into integrated vertical shooting grips.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Other Full Frame Options

A big SLR isn’t the only way to get a full frame sensor. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II is a small compact with a fixed 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens, but you pay for its size and top-notch glass. The Leica Q features a similar design, but its full frame sensor is married to a wider 28mm f/1.7 lens and its price crosses the $ 4,000 mark.

Sony has a full line of mirrorless cameras with full frame sensors in its Alpha 7 II series. And Leica’s line of rangefinder cameras has been full frame for some time.

We’ve yet to review a full frame DSLR that’s been a disappointment in terms of image quality, but all have their own strengths and weaknesses, especially in regard to autofocus and burst shooting capability. Check out the Best DSLR Lenses we’ve tested to help you make a decision. And when you’re ready to start shooting, read our 10 Beyond-Basic Photography Tips.

Featured Full Frame DSLR Reviews:

  • Nikon D850

    MSRP: $ 3299.95

    Bottom Line: The Nikon D850 offers the best of all worlds: extreme resolution, fantastic image quality, fast shooting, and an exceptional build. It’s our favorite pro SLR.

     Read Review

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

    MSRP: $ 3499.00

    Bottom Line: The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV balances resolution and shooting rate, making it an ideal camera for professional photographers.

     Read Review

  • Nikon D5

    MSRP: $ 6499.95

    Bottom Line: The top-of-the-line Nikon D5 SLR doesn’t disappoint thanks to best-in-class autofocus, 4K video recording, and a full-frame image sensor.

     Read Review

  • Nikon D750

    MSRP: $ 2299.95

    Bottom Line: The Nikon D750 delivers pro-level performance at a reasonable asking price, making it our Editor’s Choice for full-frame DSLRs under $ 2,500.

     Read Review

  • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

    MSRP: $ 5999.00

    Bottom Line: The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is a pro-grade SLR with a best-in-class shooting rate, a full-frame image sensor, and an extensive lens library.

     Read Review

  • Canon EOS 5DS

    MSRP: $ 3699.00

    Bottom Line: Canon’s EOS 5DS D-SLR has a high-resolution sensor that filters out color moir�, but it sacrifices a little detail in the process.

     Read Review

  • Canon EOS 5DS R

    MSRP: $ 3899.00

    Bottom Line: The Canon EOS 5DS R offers the most resolution you’ll find in a full-frame SLR, but its high ISO capabilities are limited.

     Read Review

  • Nikon D610

    MSRP: $ 1999.95

    Bottom Line: The Nikon D610 is a very minor update to the D600; its burst rate is slightly faster, but otherwise it’s the same camera.

     Read Review

  • Sony Alpha 99 II

    MSRP: $ 3199.99

    Bottom Line: No other camera can capture high-resolution images at an extreme burst rate, making the Sony Alpha 99 II an attractive option for shooting fast-moving action.

     Read Review

  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II

    MSRP: $ 1999.00

    Bottom Line: The Canon EOS 6D Mark II improves upon its predecessor with 26-megapixel resolution, improved Live View focus, and a 45-point autofocus system, but its sensor isn’t as good as competing mode…

     Read Review

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