Full frame cameras might not be as budget-friendly as their cropped-frame counterparts, however, there is an increasing number of full frame cameras on the market that offer excellent value for money. In many cases, you get a lot for your money, and we have picked out some of the best, least expensive full frame cameras on the market today. If you are an enthusiast looking to upgrade, or a professional looking for a cheaper option for situations when you don’t want to take your top-of-the-range gear, there is sure to be an option here to suit.
Perhaps you are wondering what exactly is a full frame camera, and what are the advantages of choosing this type of camera? The term ‘full frame’ refers to the size of the sensor in the camera – these cameras have larger sensors than cropped frame cameras. This is advantageous for many reasons. The larger sensor captures more light, meaning these cameras perform better in low-light situations, allowing you to shoot at a lower ISO and therefore avoiding noise in your images. Another advantage is the dynamic range – a full frame camera is able to capture more detail in darker parts of the image compared with a cropped frame.
However, the main drawback of choosing this type of camera is the change in the zoom on your lenses. If you are used to shooting with a crop frame body, you will notice that your subjects appear less ‘zoomed in’ on a full frame when using the same lenses. So, keep this in mind if you are also buying new lenses to accompany your cheap full frame camera.
- Considerations When Choosing Full Frame Cameras
- Top 10 Best Budget Full Frame Cameras
- Our Best Buy
Considerations When Choosing Full Frame Cameras
There are a few things to think about when choosing cameras of this type. Let’s take a look at some of the main things that should be kept in mind when comparing the different options.
Here, we are going to look at the cheapest full frame cameras, as some of the top-of-the-range models can cost thousands. However, it is still a good idea to set a budget and also factor in any new lenses you wish to buy. Lenses can add a huge cost to your new camera, so your cheap full frame camera might go up in price considerably if you are adding a few lenses to the bundle, too.
We will be focusing on models from some of the biggest names in the photography world here – Sony, Nikon, and Canon mainly. If you plan on using lenses you already have, it may be necessary to stick to the same brand to ensure they are compatible. Staying with the same brand you are already familiar with will also mean it is easier to learn to use the camera.
Full frame cameras come in two main types – mirrorless cameras and DSLR. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so think about the type of camera you would prefer and which is best suited to your needs.
The higher the number of megapixels the camera has, the better quality the images will be. This is particularly important when it comes to printing photos – a high number of megapixels is necessary if you intend to print your photos out.
Many DSLRs have an excellent battery life, but if you intend to use the camera for a full day shooting, check how many shots can be taken on a single charge. Or, consider buying a backup battery to double the battery life of the camera.
This is a big consideration – there is no point in buying a camera if the resulting images are of low quality! Full frame cameras generally produce great quality images but take a look at sample shots from your chosen camera before committing to buy.
If you also intend to use the camera to shoot video, the video quality will also be an important consideration. Many cameras nowadays are capable of shooting 4K video, but 1080p quality will be sufficient for many users. You might also like to look at other video modes that might be available, such as time-lapse or slow motion.
Many cameras have an LCD measuring around 3 inches but look for other useful features such as a touchscreen and/or a vari-angle screen. Also, look at the number of dots – more dots means more detail will be shown on the LCD – ideal for reviewing photos on the screen.
Top 10 Best Budget Full Frame Cameras
Let’s now take a look at ten of the best, cheapest full frame cameras.
1. Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Our first favorite cheapest full frame camera is the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. This full frame DSLR boasts a 26.2MP CMOS sensor as well as the DIGIC 7 image processor. The camera comes with GPS for geotagging your images, and it also has various options for connectivity including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC. The Canon EOS 6D offers excellent image quality and long-lasting battery life as well as a 45-point AF system.
The wide ISO range of 100-40000 means this camera performs well when natural lighting is limited. The Canon 6D can also shoot video in 4K quality, even in time-lapse mode. The EOS 6D Mark II is dust and water-resistant so it can be used in challenging conditions without having to worry about it getting damaged.
2. Nikon D750
Our next best full frame is another Nikon, this time it’s the D750. It is capable of recording Full HD videos at 24, 25, 30, 50, or 60 frames per second, and also features the EXPEED 4 image processor. It is great for recording videos as it is possible to manually control settings such as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed when shooting video. The Nikon D750 can shoot at a continuous rate of 6.5 fps so it is great for shooting sports or wildlife. The LCD screen can tilt to different angles, so it can always be seen even when shooting at awkward angles or in very bright sunlight.
The Nikon D750 is equipped with an optical viewfinder and is capable of manually focusing if this is how you like to shoot. Or, you can make use of the 51-point autofocus system. This is effective down to -3 EV, so it is ideal for shooting in lower lighting. The native ISO range of the D750 is 100-12800, but it can be expanded to 50-51200.
3. Sony a7 III
Type: Mirrorless | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E-mount | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 921k dots | Viewfinder: OLED | Max burst speed: 10 fps | Max video resolution: 4K video
The Sony a7 III is our next pick – a mirrorless camera from the ever-popular Sony a7 range. This full frame mirrorless camera offers a 15-stop dynamic range, meaning images show a great level of detail even in darker parts of the scene. The Sony a7 III has perhaps the widest ISO range of all the cameras we have featured here, at 50-204,800. This means it performs very well in lower lighting conditions, and there is no noise in brighter shooting conditions. The continuous shooting rate is very fast on this camera, at up to 10 frames per second. At this rate, you can use the silent or mechanical shutter and have the AE/AF tracking on.
The battery life is very good on this full frame mirrorless camera – it lasts over 600 shots using the viewfinder and over 700 if shooting using the LCD screen. In terms of video, the camera can shoot at 4K and can capture around 200 minutes of footage on a single charge. The autofocus system on this camera is outstanding, with almost 700 phase-detection autofocus points, covering 93% of the frame.
4. Sigma FP
Our next pick is the smallest and lightest full frame camera in the world, so it is perfect for those looking for something that can easily be popped into a pocket, or for taking when traveling. Despite the compact size, this camera has a durable aluminum body that is splash-proof and dust-proof. The Sigma FP offers a very fast continuous shooting rate of up to 18 frames per second. Like many new mirrorless cameras, this model is capable of shooting 4K video at either 24, 25, or 30 fps.
The Sigma FP is equipped with a touchscreen for intuitive control and it also has electronic image stabilization to ensure your shots are always free from blurring. The camera has different focus modes including continuous AF, single AF, and manual, and there is the option to instantly switch between still and cine modes. This is a very versatile camera – it can be attached to a drone or a tripod for shooting different types of scenes. It comes with a 45mm f/2.8 lens to start shooting right away. This is a high-quality and versatile lens that can be used for many different types of photography, including architecture and portraiture.
5. Nikon Z6
One of Nikon’s most popular full frame mirrorless cameras is our next pick – the Z6. This camera has impressive features including the backside-illuminated 24.5-megapixel sensor and 273-point phase-detect autofocus system. The continuous shooting speed is very fast on the Z6, at up to 12 frames per second. Videographers will love the many different video options available on this model. Regular videos can be shot in 4K, whilst time-lapse footage can be shot at a very impressive resolution of 8K. It is also possible to shoot slow-motion video footage in 1080p quality at a rate of 120 fps.
The Nikon Z6 offers excellent low light performance, with a very high maximum ISO value of 51200. The EXPEED 6 image processor greatly helps in reducing noise when working at higher ISOs, and the Z mount is excellent at gathering more light from the scene. These factors combined give excellent, sharp results, even in near-dark conditions. The Nikon Z6 features a tilting touchscreen for intuitive control and easy viewing in bright sunlight. Like many mirrorless cameras, the Z6 is capable of shooting almost silently – perfect for capturing intimate, important moments.
6. Pentax K-1
Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 36MP | Lens mount: Pentax K-mount | Screen: 3.2-inch, 1037k dots | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Max burst speed: 6.5 fps | Max video resolution: 1080p
Our next cheap full frame camera is the K-1 from Pentax. This highly-rated camera features an impressive 36-megapixel full frame sensor, and the camera is weather-resistant for use in extreme conditions. The body of the camera is made from magnesium alloy, so it is also dustproof as well as durable. To improve the sharpness and reduce the noise in your images with this camera, you can use the handheld pixel shift resolution to combine four images into one excellent quality image.
The Pentax full frame DSLR produces stunning, rich colors and is sure to make your favorite places look even better. The shake reduction is excellent on this camera, so you can be sure your shots are always sharp and crisp. It also has excellent ISO sensitivity – up to a massive 819200. There is an APS C sensor mode if you wish to achieve a crop sensor look on your images. For example, if you have a very wide-angle lens such as an 8mm fisheye, you will see the camera interior and need to crop it out unless you use the APS C mode.
7. Canon EOS RP
Type: Mirrorless | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-mount | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1040k dots | Viewfinder: OLED | Max burst speed: 4 fps | Max video resolution: 4K video
Our next cheapest full frame camera comes in at under $1000, but despite this budget price tag, it has a range of excellent features. The EOS R has a 26.2MP full frame sensor and a vari-angle, 3-inch tilting touchscreen. The Canon EOS R is also capable of recording video in stunning 4K resolution, so it is ideal for vlogging and making movies as well as photography. You can also find the DIGIC 8 image processor in this camera as well as a dual-pixel autofocus system, which is accurate and fast. In fact, this camera can autofocus in around 0.05 seconds, and the AF system covers 100% vertically and 88% horizontally.
The EOS R is Canon’s smallest and lightest full frame camera, and it can even be converted to a webcam using additional software. This is ideal for working from home if you want a high-quality video on conference calls. The EOS R is excellent when it comes to low-light performance. The autofocus system is effective right down to EV -5, so getting your shots sharply focused in near-dark conditions is no problem.
8. Sony a7R II
One of Sony’s cheapest full frame mirrorless cameras is the a7 II. Despite the budget-friendly price tag, this camera features the world’s first 5-axis in-body image stabilization system, so photographs won’t suffer the effects of camera shake. The OLED viewfinder on the a7R II boasts an impressive 2.4 million dots, so you can see the scene in a stunning level of detail when shooting. Finished images are similarly sharp and detailed thanks to the camera’s 42.4-megapixel sensor. Ensuring your images are in perfect focus is easy with this camera thanks to the 399-point hybrid AF system.
The Sony a7 II is a durable camera which is suitable for professional use, but comes with a price tag enthusiasts can also afford. It has a high maximum ISO of 102,400, meaning it can capture images in near darkness. Burst shooting is possible at a rate of 5 fps on this camera – ideal for capturing a fast-moving subject. Connectivity is good on this model – it comes with Wi-Fi and NFC. The Wi-Fi can be used to connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet with the compatible app installed. This will allow you to remotely control the camera as well as instantly download photos and movies.
9. Nikon D810
Kicking off our guide to the best full frame cameras on a budget we have the outstanding D810 from Nikon. Whilst this might not be the cheapest option out there, it offers excellent value for money, featuring a 36.3-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, with no optical low pass filter. The D810 also features the EXPEED 4 image processor, which is 30% faster than on previous models. The 51-point autofocus system will ensure you never take an out-of-focus shot again. The native ISO range on the D810 is 64-12800, but this can be expanded to 51200 for extreme low-light shooting.
If storage space is limited, it is possible to shoot 16MP RAW images, rather than full resolution. The Nikon D810 can capture video footage in 1080p resolution and has a 3.2-inch LCD to use when shooting video. The maximum continuous shooting speed on this model varies from 5 fps to 7 fps. The faster rate is only available when using the additional MB-D12 battery grip, or switch to DX mode to achieve a burst rate of 6 fps.
10. Nikon Z5
The last cheap full frame camera we are looking at today is the Nikon Z5. Nikon’s mirrorless camera features a 24MP full frame sensor and is also capable of shooting 4K UHD videos. There is image stabilization built into the camera body to ensure photos and videos are always sharp. To further help ensure shots are crisp, the 273-point autofocus system is ideal. The AF is also capable of eye tracking on various subjects – dogs, cats, and people. It can even focus near the edges of the frame, so it doesn’t matter where the subject is in the scene.
The Nikon Z5 contains dual SD card slots and can connect to a smartphone or PC to remotely control the camera. There are some interesting and useful features to unleash your creativity when shooting with this camera. These include focus shift, multiple exposure, and creative picture controls.
Our Best Buy
After looking at ten great options, our favorite cheap full frame camera is the Sony a7 III. This entry level full frame camera has many impressive features, notably the fast burst rate of up to 10 frames per second and the ability 4K video. It also has a very wide ISO range, all the way up to a very impressive 204,800. The excellent battery life of up to 700 shots is another reason why we love this camera – it won’t let you down in the middle of a shoot!
If you are still wondering about which camera to choose, we have a few more helpful tips below.
What is the Cheapest Full Frame Camera?
Of those featured above, the cheapest full frame camera on the list is the Canon EOS RP. Coming in at under $1000, this camera offers great bang for your buck and offers comparable features to some more pricey models. The image quality is excellent on this model and it even performs well at a high ISO value. The camera is one of the smallest and lightest of this type, so it’s a great choice for those who travel often.
Which Canon Full Frame Camera is the Cheapest?
If you are a fan of the Canon brand, the best-priced camera to go for is the Canon EOS RP, as discussed above. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is also well-priced for the features it has.
What is the Lowest Priced Nikon Full Frame DSLR?
Nikon shooters on a tight budget would be best to go for the Z5. It can record 4K video and has a reasonably fast shooting speed, and of course, offers great image quality for a cheap full frame camera.
Last update on 2022-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API