The Best Full Frame DSLRs of 2018

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.

–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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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…

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…

See Also : The 10 best full-frame DSLRs in 2017 | TechRadar

Most entry-level and mid-price DSLRs sport an APS-C sized sensor, with the physical dimensions of the chip measuring 23.6 x 15.7mm (22.2 x 14.8mm on Canon DSLRs).

A full-frame sensor on the other hand has larger dimensions of 36 x 24mm – the same size as a frame of 35mm film, hence the name ‘full-frame’, and offering a surface area 2.5x larger than an APS-C sized sensor.

This allows for larger photosites (pixels to you and I) on the sensor, delivering better light gathering capabilities, which in turn means better image quality – especially at higher sensitivities.

Full-frame DSLRs used to be the preserve of professional photographers, but as the costs have dropped and lower-cost models have started to appear, many serious amateurs and enthusiasts can now enjoy the benefits of full-frame photography.

We should also mention full-frame mirrorless cameras. These aren’t DSLRs strictly, but the Sony A7 series cameras like the brilliant Alpha A7R III and Leica SL are muscling in on the full-frame DSLR market, and are particularly interesting for those who also need to shoot video.

We should also mention full-frame mirrorless cameras. These aren’t DSLRs strictly, but the Sony A7 series cameras like the brilliant

and Leica SL are muscling in on the full-frame DSLR market, and are particularly interesting for those who also need to shoot video.

To find out more, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences . Or to get an idea of what kind of DSLR you can get at different price points, try this: Best DSLR . Otherwise, here’s our pick of the best full-frame DSLRs you can buy right now:

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 45.4MP | Autofocus: 153-point AF, 99 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

It may be pricey, but the Nikon D850 is the ultimate full-frame DSLR you can buy right now. The 45.4MP full-frame sensor delivers detail-rich images with brilliant dynamic range and excellent high ISO noise performance, while the advanced 153-point AF system is hard to beat. Add in 7fps burst shooting, a rock-solid build and refined handling and the D850 is pretty much at the top of its game for any subject you want to shoot. A brilliant piece of kit that won’t disappoint.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 30.4MP | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

The 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything the Mark III offered. This includes a brilliant new 30.4MP sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, an advanced 61-point AF system that’s incredibly sophisticated, a pro-spec performance, 4K video and some very polished handling. Put this all together, along with a host of other features and it all combines to make the EOS 5D Mark IV one of the best DSLRs we’ve seen. Now overshadowed by the mighty D850 (above) as our full-frame DSLR of choice.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 36.3MP | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,228,800 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert

The D850 might have replaced it, but the D810 is still a brilliant full-frame DSLR. Images from Nikon’s 36.3MP monster are bursting with detail, while its 1200-shot battery life puts the 50.6MP EOS 5DS in the shade. The 51-point AF system copes well with tricky focussing situations, mainly because both the AF and metering systems are taken from the now ex-range-topping Nikon D4S . Excellent handling and relatively modest dimensions further ensure that the D810 doesn’t disappoint.

The D850 might have replaced it, but the D810 is still a brilliant full-frame DSLR. Images from Nikon’s 36.3MP monster are bursting with detail, while its 1200-shot battery life puts the 50.6MP EOS 5DS in the shade. The 51-point AF system copes well with tricky focussing situations, mainly because both the AF and metering systems are taken from the now ex-range-topping

. Excellent handling and relatively modest dimensions further ensure that the D810 doesn’t disappoint.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 50.6MP | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert

With 50.6 million effective pixels, the Canon EOS 5DS offers the highest resolution of any full-frame DSLR on the market today. Pixel-packed sensors can be compromised, but not here. Image quality is superb, with as you’d expect fantastic detail, well controlled noise and good dynamic range, making it the ideal choice for the landscape or studio photographer. It may have the resolution, but performance isn’t great, while there’s no Wi-Fi or 4K video recording. Huge image file sizes necessitate decent memory cards and a fast computer.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting, 1,228,800 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 6.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Admittedly the first four our quite pricey options, so if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, then the Nikon D750 should be at the top of your list. The D750 still packs a cracking 24.3MP sensor and is as weatherproof as the D810, yet it’s roughly 25% cheaper. Compared to its baby brother, the D610, the D750 has a superior 51-point AF system, as well as more advanced metering and video capabilities. That’s not forgetting the wider sensitivity range, useful tilting screen and Wi-Fi connectivity. Its continuous shooting speed of 6.5fps isn’t quite as fast as some may have hoped for, but on the whole the Nikon D750 is a well-rounded, well-priced choice for enthusiast photographers.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 20.8MP | Autofocus: 173-point AF, 99 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

The D5 is Nikon’s latest flagship DSLR, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. 20.8 megapixels might seem a bit stingy, but it means the D5 can shoot at 12fps continuous shooting, while the extended ISO range of ISO 3,280,000 has never been seen before in a camera. That’s even before we get to the autofocus system – with a coverage of 173 AF points (99 of which are cross-type), the sophistication and speed of the AF is staggering. The ability to shoot 4K video is restricted to three minutes however, but that aside the D5 is a phenomenal camera that’s used by professionals the world over.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 20.2MP | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,620,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 14fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Choosing between the EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 will most likely depend on which manufacturer you’re already tied to with your lens system, but the two cameras are otherwise pretty closely matched. With the EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon has created a very powerful and versatile camera that’s a great choice for professional sport and news photographers thanks to a blistering 14fps burst shooting. It doesn’t have the outrageous sensitivity range of the Nikon D5, but it’s very capable in low light, delivering excellent images within its standard sensitivity range.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 42.2MP | Autofocus: 399-point AF, 79 cross-type | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle display, 1,228,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Sony has made some significant changes from the original A99 for this latest iteration, and the result is a camera that should satisfy a broad range of users. The high-resolution 42.2MP sensor at the camera’s heart is the A99 II’s greatest asset, while 4K video quality is also very good. At the same time the camera maintains much of what we loved about the A99, with excellent handing and the benefits of the SLT system presenting very real advantages over more traditional DSLRs. The arrival of the mirrorless Alpha A9 though takes the shine off a little.

Sony has made some significant changes from the original A99 for this latest iteration, and the result is a camera that should satisfy a broad range of users. The high-resolution 42.2MP sensor at the camera’s heart is the A99 II’s greatest asset, while 4K video quality is also very good. At the same time the camera maintains much of what we loved about the A99, with excellent handing and the benefits of the SLT system presenting very real advantages over more traditional DSLRs. The arrival of the mirrorless

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Autofocus: 45-point AF, all cross-type | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 6.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Canon has certainly made some significant improvements over the outgoing EOS 6D, packing in a host of new features including a fresh sensor, a faster processor, a much more credible AF system and a stronger burst rate. It’s a much more well-rounded and better specified camera than the EOS 6D, but it’s not without its issues. These niggles dull what is otherwise a very nice full-frame DSLR that’s a pleasure to shoot with. It will certainly please Canon users looking to make the move into full-frame photography, but others might be better served elsewhere.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 36MP | Autofocus: 33-point AF, 25 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting, 1,037,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 4.4fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/expert

The K-1 from Pentax offers a rugged build and a full-frame sensor at a relatively affordable price. It’s not cheap, but it compares favourably with the likes of the Nikon D810, Canon 5D Mark III and Sony Alpha 7R II. Pentax’s Pixel Shift Technology is clever, and it’s great that the company has managed to produce a mode that can be used when the camera is hand-held, although the impact is subtle. Less of an all-rounder than the 5D Mark III, the K-1 makes an excellent camera for landscape, still life and portrait photography, or any genre that doesn’t require fast autofocus and which benefits from a high pixel count for detail resolution.

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 42.2MP | Autofocus: 399-point AF | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast/expert

If you want to go full-frame, you’re not just restricted to a DSLR. Sony’s growing range of mirrorless full-frame cameras offer a great alternative and the new Alpha A7R III looks like it could be a tempting proposition for a lot of DSLR owners. The high resolution 42.2MP sensor promises huge dynamic range, combined with 10fps shooting and an advanced AF system, and you’ve got a camera that can mix it with the best that Canon and Nikon have to offer.