Choosing the best full-frame camera for you is a big decision – these cameras are a fine choice for those who want uncompromising image quality in a practical package, so often come with rather hefty price tags.
The decision also used to be much simpler than it is now. A few years ago, most people would choose a Nikon or Canon DSLR. But today there’s a wide choice of mirrorless and DSLR models from Nikon, Canon, Sony and Panasonic.
Only Sony made mirrorless full-frame cameras when they first arrived and had several years’ head start. But Sony has been joined by Canon, Nikon and Panasonic, with all racing to get their systems populated with tempting camera bodies and high-performing lenses to match. There’s no doubt full-frame photography is not only more exciting than ever, but more accessible too.
So what makes a full-frame camera so special? It has the same kind of sensor area as 35mm film, much bigger than the sensors of the APS-C and MFT cameras, and radically larger than those of most compacts.
This allows for larger photo-sites on the sensor, which deliver better light-gathering, 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 cost has dropped and lower-cost models have started to appear, many serious amateurs and enthusiasts can now enjoy the benefits of full-frame photography, in DSLR or mirrorless form. You can even get full-frame compact cameras, although these are both niche and pricey.
We reckon the best full-frame camera right now is the Nikon Z6, thanks to its blend of excellent performance, light body, masses of features and a relatively low price. It’s just as great for video as it is for stills and we love the way it handles.
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