The best full-frame DSLRs are always among the best cameras on the market. Although the term “mirrorless” is very fashionable these days, many photographers of all stripes still find that a DSLR offers an unbeatable combination of reliability, ergonomics, and image quality. Whether you’re a novice, an amateur, or a seasoned professional, a full-frame DSLR can be the ideal solution to take your photos to the next level.
Manufacturers clearly agree that the day of the DSLR hasn’t come yet, and are constantly releasing new models to sit comfortably next to their mirrorless offerings. That’s why we have regularly updated this list to include new models from 2020 onwards, such as the new Nikon D780, the revolutionary Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, and the Nikon D6 tank, all of these fantastic cameras are equipped with the latest imaging technology and show that the full-frame DSLR still has life!
Best Full-Frame DSLRs
In compiling this list, we have weighed all the different factors that users are likely to consider when choosing a camera, including price so that you can be sure to get the best value for your money. Read on, because we have the best full-frame DSLRs you can buy now.
1. Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Now that it is a few years old, the price of this full-frame camera has gone down and it is now accessible to those who do not make photography a full-time job. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the best DSLR camera with a full-frame sensor in this price range. The EOS 6D Mark II takes excellent pictures in a variety of conditions, and we also like the fact that it can take pictures at 6.6 frames per second and has a fully articulated touch screen. Its dual-pixel CMOS autofocus has a good 45-point average but does not cover the entire sensor.
We’d also like this camera to have more than one memory card slot, but its battery has a rated life of 1,200 shots, making it easy to get ready for a day of shooting. For those who want a full-format DSLR without spending a cent, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a good option. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
2. Nikon D780
The Nikon D780 takes the phase-detecting autofocus on Nikon’s mirrorless Z6 model sensor to offer DSLR with mirrorless camera live view performance – great! In fact, the D780 is like an upgraded and upgraded version of Nikon‘s ever-popular D750 full-frame DSLR. Not only does the D780 feature advanced AF in live view mode, but it’s also equipped with a high-resolution tilt-touch screen, 4K UHD video, two UHS-II-compatible memory card slots, and a continuous shooting speed of up to 12 frames/s in live view mode.
Combine that with its solid design and comfortable grip, and you’ve got a camera that’s an instant classic. We’d just like the price to come down a bit, though – being brand new, it’s a bit expensive at the moment. It also reminds us how good (and cheap) the older Nikon D750 is at the moment. If all you need is a good quality classic camera, the D750 is still a great buy. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
3. Nikon D850
Fans of mirrorless cameras often complain about the size and weight of DSLRs, and they are right. The Nikon D850 is a camera that makes a lot of noise compared to the new Nikon Z models. But this size works in your favor if you photograph with big and heavy lenses, and most pro lenses are big and heavy! This is a handling factor that many users without mirrors do not take into account. As a digital SLR, the D850 has a bright, clear optical viewfinder that many photographers still prefer to a digital display, no matter how good it is.
The D850’s 45.7-megapixel sensor produces fairly superb image quality, but it can still maintain a shooting speed of 7 frames per second or 9 frames per second with the optional battery handle. Even without the handle, the D850 has an incredible 1,840 shots – more than any of its competitors without the mirror – and is equipped with two memory card slots: one for the new XQD card format and one for regular SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
4. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
This is indeed the case. After Sony launched a huge challenge with A9 II, many photographers wondered if there could really be serious competition, especially in the DSLR world. The answer turned out to be an absolutely resounding “yes”, as Canon has developed the incredible EOS-1DX Mark III, with so many incredible features that it’s hard to know where to start. An in-depth AF learning experience that improves as you use it!
An incredible smart controller that makes the simple use of the camera an infinitely better experience! An uncropped 4K video (well, Canon…)! These mirrorless traps are presented in a body that also has the advantages of a DSLR, like an optical viewfinder. The best of both worlds? Without a doubt. One of the best cameras on the market, all in one? It would be difficult to argue the contrary. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
5. Nikon D6
If you are a professional photographer, if you mostly (or entirely) photograph pictures and if you already own a lot of Nikon lenses, the D6 is an obvious choice. This high-performance camera tank will do everything you need and more, with a powerful camera housed in a rugged, impact-resistant body. It will shoot and shoot, accurately and reliably. However, with professional cameras like this one, it’s worth considering them in the context of their competition – and if you’re looking to upgrade to a professional model for the first time, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Sony A9 II both offer better features, with better video specifications and faster frame rates. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
6. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The EOS 5D Mark IV is Canon’s all-time best DSLR camera if you want a reasonably high megapixel count without sacrificing continuous shooting speed, and clean, noise-free image quality at very high ISO levels. On paper, its features are unspectacular compared to those of the Nikon D850, but for many professionals, a 30-megapixel resolution is more than enough – and 4K video makes it the best film camera for many DSLR users, even if the crop factor is quite high.
Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS AF gives the ESO 5D Mark IV outstanding autofocus performance, even in movie mode and live view. It has a proven track record of versatility, robustness, and reliability – all key benefits for professional photographers. Recently, however, Canon has turned to its EOS R cameras without full-frame mirrors. It is therefore unclear if and when we will see a successor to the EOS 5D Mark IV. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
7. Pentax K-1 Mark II
Another classic DSLR option for those looking for the best Pentax cameras to buy, offering many features while handling itself in a way that is familiar to photo enthusiasts. Again, as it is a Pentax, we have built-in vibration reduction, but the real selling point is the full-frame sensor with its 36.4 million pixel resolution. The scissor-action rear screen and extended exposure modes, as well as the two SD card slots, are also impressive.
It’s not all good news; the camera only offers a modest maximum burst speed of 4.4 fps in full-frame, which, while sufficient, won’t impress sports or action photographers. There’s also no phase-detection hybrid AF system for its live view mode and “only” Full HD video capability rather than 4K, but we’re fortunate to have the same precise and powerful 33-point AF system as its predecessor. But at the end of the day, excellent image quality at an affordable price awaits you with this Pentax DSLR. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
8. Canon EOS 5DS R
The EOS 5DS R is virtually identical to the old EOS 5D Mark III in terms of appearance and handling, which is not a bad thing. However, Canon has redesigned the new body to be stiffer but slightly lighter, and there is a new shutter unit that reduces vibration. When it comes to capturing detail and texture, the EOS 5DS R is simply epic. In fact, some Canon EF lenses aren’t on the list of approved lenses for this camera because they’re not sharp enough to do the camera justice. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
The compromise is that high ISO images are relatively noisy, and that’s probably why Canon has limited the standard sensitivity range to a maximum setting of ISO 6400, so it’s not necessarily the best option if you like low-light shooting. The model was released at the same time as the more affordable EOS 5DS, which is largely the same model, except that the effects of its optical low-pass filter are not canceled. The EOS 5DS R and its 50-megapixel sensor were revolutionary at the time, but the camera is now quite outdated by modern standards, and 50 megapixels hardly make headlines anymore.
9. Sony Alpha 99 II
Larger and stronger than the A7R series of compact system cameras, the A99 II is not, strictly speaking, a DSLR, but close enough in design and intent to be considered alongside them. It offers safer handling and feels better balanced with most full-frame lenses. There is a hybrid autofocus system, but unlike the A7R II, it includes phase detection on both the image sensor (399 points) and a separate AF module (79 points). The five-axis sensor provides image stabilization, as does a 2.36 MP OLED electronic viewfinder, while the rear monitor offers full articulation rather than simple vertical tilt.
The camera is also equipped with a 12 frames-per-second continuous shooting system with autofocus tracking and live measurement. In recent years, Sony’s focus has shifted from its SLT bodies to its A7 and A9 compact system camera ranges, challenging the future of the system. Nevertheless, even if it’s not the best full stop Sony camera, for the moment we really like A99 II. So why is it so far on our list? We think it’s the end of Sony’s SLT camera range, and although there is a good selection of A-mount lenses at the moment, we don’t expect much more. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.
10. Nikon D610
The Nikon D610 is still the cheapest full-frame DSLR, but stocks are dwindling and you may have to hunt a bit to find one now. If you don’t need the latest features, the D610 is worth considering, even now. Of course, it may not have all the features of the D750 (above), such as a tilt screen or Wi-Fi, but it does have a 24.3MP full-frame sensor, two card slots, Full HD video, and a 3.2-inch LCD (fixed) screen. The image quality is excellent and the autofocus system works very well, although it is not quite the latest module offered by Nikon. The D610 would be an excellent full-frame camera for the first time, or a backup camera for a more advanced model. Overall, this is one of the best full-frame DSLRs.