Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by seanmichaelpritchard
Looking for the best full frame DSLR camera? This article will help you make a better choice.
Full frame DSLR cameras are the best choices for a photographer looking to invest in their equipment. Especially if you’ve recently taken, or are thinking of taking a photography course!
Here are the top five full frame DSLR cameras:
- Canon 5D Mark IV – Best overall Canon full frame DSLR
- Nikon D850 – Best Nikon DSLR for professionals
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – Best DSLR for sports, action and wildlife
- Nikon D780 – Best value for money Nikon DSLR
- Canon EOS 6D Mark II – Best budget Canon full frame DSLR
But first, let’s define what full frame DSLR cameras are.
DSLRs are digital cameras that combine the optics and mechanisms of a digital imaging sensor with an SLR.
The major difference between mainstream digital cameras and a DSLR is the reflex design option. When you push the shutter button, light passes through the lens and then to a mirror, which alternately sends the image to either a prism, which displays the image in the viewfinder, or the image sensor.
A DSLR’s viewfinder displays a picture that is not much different from what is taken by the camera’s sensor since it displays as direct optical via the main lens rather than using a separate subordinate lens.
So let’s get into it!
1. Canon 5D Mark IV – Best overall Canon full frame DSLR
Been looking for great canon full frame sensor digital cameras? Look no further.
Canon’s 5D series has always been a class leader, dating back to the outstanding image quality of the first 5D in 2005. Small, incremental improvements to ISO and AF performance were made along the road, but then came the Canon 5D Mark IV, and Canon photographers were finally given a glimpse into Nikon AF and high DR performance, resulting in a camera with excellent dynamic range, clean high ISO, and the greatest auto focus system yet seen in a Canon body.
Another interesting improvement was the introduction of a working touch screen — not just for faster and more intuitive image analysis, but also for actual shooting.
Video shooters exult at the ability to ‘rack focus’ by dragging their finger from one part of the screen to another, and for us stills shooters, the ability to focus and shoot with a tap on a DSLR is a revelation.
If you’re wondering which Canon full frame DSLR camera for video shooting is best, this may be it.
The only complaint I have about the Canon’s rear LCD is that it isn’t tilt-screen. For photographers already used to the DSLR tilt-screen feature, readjusting to a static screen can be…well…difficult. It may not be a deal-breaker for some, but it is an inconvenience when everything else is so well done.
The image quality is excellent, with excellent color and detail retention even at higher ISOs. Skin tones are stunning – a recurring theme in the 5D series.
When it comes to shooting in low light, the Canon 5D Mark IV delivers files at ISO 12,800 with substantially less noise than its predecessors and excellent clarity and color preservation.
The ergonomics of the Canon 5D Mark IV are fantastic, and for those upgrading from the Mark III, they are entirely intuitive with very little change. The battery life isn’t quite as remarkable as that of comparable Nikons, but that doesn’t worry me because the Live View functionality is so much better.
To summarize, despite the arrival of the Nikon D850, I believe the Canon 5D Mark IV is still a sound investment and a compelling reason to stay with Canon if you’re already a Canon shooter. It’s a well-made camera with superb image quality and genuinely useful capabilities that no other DSLR on the market offers.
- Excellent dynamic range, clean high ISO, and the great auto focus
- Great for stills and video
- Fantastic ergonomics
- Rear LCD screen isn’t tilt-screen
2. Nikon D850 – Best Nikon DSLR for professionals
Let’s start with that fantastic sensor, which has a 45.7 MP resolution similar to that of a medium-format camera. Commercial, architecture, landscape, and any other photography genre that usually requires as many megapixels as feasible is thoroughly covered.
Not to mention that it’s also a class leader DSLR camera for video shooting.
With the opportunity to choose between three distinct resolutions – full, medium, and small RAW, it truly is the pinnacle of versatility, nearly like having three cameras in one.
Aside from resolution, the Nikon D850 features the same class-leading EXPEED 5 image-processing engine as the Nikon D5.
Another highlight is the 153-point AF system, which has 99 cross sensors and provides more than 130 percent more coverage than the Nikon D810.
Whether it’s the click of the shutter, the familiarly bulky grip, or the old-school OVF, shooting with the Nikon D850 simply feels like genuine photography.
In terms of battery life, the Nikon D850 outperforms all other cameras in its price range. With the integrated battery, you can anticipate getting roughly 1,840 shots each charge, which is nearly three times the number of shots as the top mirrorless cameras on the market.
- Class leader DSLR camera for video shooting
- Opportunity to choose between three distinct resolutions
- 153-point AF system
- Nikon D850 is a pricey camera that is arguably only justified for pros or those looking to spend.
3. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III – Best DSLR for sports, action and wildlife
Fourth camera in the Canon EOS-1D X series, this DSLR is a knockout for many sports photographers, and those looking for a DSLR camera for video shooting.
The incredible Canon EOS-1D X Mark III turned out to be better than most expectations.
Not only is it an update to the 1D X workhorse series, which is beloved by professionals worldwide, but it’s also a significant step forward for DSLRs in general, boasting deep-learning AF, uncropped 4K (which had been missing from Canon cameras for quite some time), a revamped control system, and much more. This is a great DSLR camera for video shooting, especially for professionals!
If you require a camera that just shoots quick and well, with lightning-fast autofocus and an unbeatable burst rate, this is it.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is so amazing that, because of its on-sensor Dual Pixel CMOS AF, can compete with most mirrorless camera designs.
However, competitors such as Nikon Z9 and EOS R3 are lurking in the wings to end its dominance. With that said this is one of the best canon full frame sensor digital cameras.
- Excellent sports and action DSLR camera
- Uncropped 4K video shooting
- Fast autofocus and burst rate
- Mirrorless cameras starting to overtake even these high specs
4. Nikon D780 – Best value for money Nikon DSLR
Don’t listen to the cynics: the DSLR isn’t dead, and the Nikon D780 proves it.
One of the greatest full-frame cameras available, it provides a fantastic shooting experience that should appeal to aficionados of DSLR handling while still providing many modern features known to mirrorless users.
Its strong, water-resistant magnesium alloy body is large and weighty, but it trades that for a satisfyingly thick grip.
Image quality from the full-frame 24.5MP sensor on the Nikon D780 is also excellent, thanks to Nikon’s EXPEED 6 image processor.
Exposures are perfectly balanced thanks to a metering and scene recognition technology taken from the D850.
The lack of in-body image stabilization is unfortunate, but the excellent battery life rounded out what is a fantastic – albeit pricey – full-frame all-rounder.
- Excellent camera to handle
- Great battery life
- Strong, water resistant body
- Lack of in-body image stabilization
5. Canon EOS 6D Mark II – Best budget Canon full frame DSLR
The new sensor is perhaps the most noticeable difference, with the EOS 6D Mark II boasting a 26.2MP CMOS sensor that gives a significant increase in resolution over the EOS 6D’s 20.2MP chip and a lot more pixels than the EOS 5D Mark III’s 22.3MP sensor.
The new full frame sensor has a sensitivity range of ISO100-40,000 that can be increased to ISO50-102,400, matching the enhanced sensitivity ranges of both the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D digital cameras.
While all of these cameras possess identical ISO limits, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II has Canon’s DIGIC 7 processing engine, capable of processing information 14 times quicker than the previous DIGIC engine and should better handle image noise at advanced sensitivities.
While the latest DIGIC 8 engine has been discovered in the EOS R and RP, this was the first time the DIGIC 7 engine was employed in a full-frame EOS that was a DSLR. Previously, it had only been seen in some of Canon’s recent APS-C DSLR cameras and the PowerShot series.
While the viewfinder may appear to be a slight upgrade, the rear display is a completely different story. The 3.0-inch vari-angle display, which no longer sits flush to the body as it did on the EOS 6D, can not only be moved away from the body, but it is also touch-sensitive.
Canon’s five-axis digital image stabilization is also included for handheld video filming. The system, which is designed to operate with video but not stills, is used in conjunction with the brand’s IS-equipped lenses.
- Moveable and touch LCD screen
- Great DIGIC 7 processing engine
- Boasting a 26.2MP CMOS sensor
- No 4K video
The selections above are considered as the best DSLR cameras for most individuals to buy right now, based on their needs.
Factors considered include the price, availability, and other factors.
There is no such thing as a flawless camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will be more important factors in your decision too. Maybe you’ve even decided you’re looking for a more compact camera!
Now that you have a better idea of which camera is for you, check out the best photo editing software for photographers!
DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Get the latest news in your inbox
By signing up to my mailing list you will be the first to hear about brand new blogs, new prints and have access to subscriber only promotions!