Are you in search of the most budget-friendly full-frame camera?
A full-frame camera features a sensor that is equivalent in size to the sensor found in a traditional 35mm single-lens reflex camera. The dimensions of a full-frame camera sensor are typically around 36 x 24mm. Full-frame cameras are the preferred choice for both amateur and professional photographers seeking exceptional low-light performance. This is due to the sensor’s larger size, which allows it to capture more light across a more extensive surface area.
However, there are some trade-offs with full-frame cameras. They tend to be larger and more expensive than cameras with cropped system sensors, like APS-C sensors.
Historically, full-frame DSLR cameras were primarily used by professionals and came with high price tags, making them inaccessible to most amateurs and enthusiasts. However, due to the fiercely competitive market and the constant introduction of newer models, prices have dropped significantly. This has made full-frame DSLRs much more affordable and accessible to photography enthusiasts. In fact, there is currently a wide range of budget-friendly options available for those in search of the best affordable cameras.
It’s important to note that while sensor size is a significant factor, it’s not the only consideration when it comes to photography. Having the versatility of a 35mm film size sensor can be a valuable asset.
Many photography agencies insist on photographers using full-frame cameras, especially in specialized niches. However, it’s no secret that these cameras often come with a hefty price tag. Therefore, finding an affordable full-frame camera can prove to be quite a challenge.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best budget-friendly full-frame cameras that provide professional-level imaging at reasonable prices.
Photographers, ranging from sports photographers to vloggers, have shown their love for this camera. It not only delivers exceptional photo and video quality but also boasts advanced features like image stabilization and 4K video capabilities. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all is its price.
5 Cheapest Full Frame Cameras in 2023
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II made its debut five years after the original Canon EOS 6D and brought significant updates, giving it a contemporary and fresh feel—a characteristic it still maintains. The original EOS 6D, while a capable camera, felt somewhat dated, but the EOS 6D Mark II is an entirely different proposition.
Featuring a resolution increase from 20.2 MP to 26.2 MP, it incorporates Canon’s latest DIGIC 7 processing engine. The camera comes equipped with a touch-sensitive vari-angle display and offers 5-axis digital stabilization for handheld video recording, although it tops out at 1080p, lacking a 4K video option.
The autofocus system receives a substantial upgrade, boasting 45 cross-type points, although the AF point array is concentrated towards the center of the frame. The system is sensitive down to -3EV and benefits from Canon’s exceptional Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a feature available in both Live View and movie modes. It’s a pleasure to shoot with, and the combination of features, flexibility, and value makes the EOS 6D Mark II one of the best Canon cameras available.
2. Sony A7 II
The Sony A7 II marked a significant milestone in the Sony Alpha mirrorless camera range as it was the first to incorporate sensor-shift image stabilization. Although it’s been around for a few years, it’s now available at an affordable price, offering a substantial upgrade over the original Sony A7. The camera is compatible with a variety of Sony lenses as well as third-party options from companies like Sigma and Tamron.
With an updated processor, the Sony A7 II operates much faster. It boasts a 117-point phase-detect autofocus system and a 25-point contrast-detect AF, ensuring sharpness regardless of where your subject is positioned within the frame. While it doesn’t feature the highest-resolution sensor, 24 megapixels are more than sufficient for printing images as large as A1. For those seeking to make the leap to full-frame photography, this is one of the most budget-friendly options available.
3. Nikon Z5
The Nikon Z5 is a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera that offers excellent value, being one of the most affordable full-frame cameras on the market. Despite its cost-effectiveness, it doesn’t compromise on photo and video capabilities.
With its 24-megapixel sensor, the Nikon Z5 delivers sharp and vibrant images. The larger pixel size contributes to an impressive dynamic range and ensures that you can capture low-noise images even in low-light conditions, even at higher ISO settings.
One standout feature of this full-frame mirrorless camera is the Nikon Camera Vibration Reduction (VR) system, which effectively counteracts camera shake, resulting in sharper images. This VR system also facilitates shooting in low-light situations by allowing you to use slower shutter speeds. Furthermore, it enables you to capture steady walking and tracking shots for videos without the need for a camera gimbal.
When it comes to autofocus (AF), the Nikon Z5 boasts one of the best systems in its price range, featuring 273 focus points. This system is not only fast and accurate but also provides near-full coverage of the frame. Additionally, the camera includes eye-detection technology and reliable subject tracking for moving subjects.
Videographers will appreciate the 4K video capabilities of the Nikon Z5. The resulting footage is smooth, sharp, and clear, and the AF system performs equally well for video as it does for still images. This camera is an excellent choice for vlogging and can double as a 4K webcam for conferences and live streaming. With two SD card slots, you won’t run out of memory space during your shoots.
The Nikon Z5 offers a range of creative features, including multi-exposure and time-lapse modes. You can explore focus-shift photography or apply various filters directly in-camera, eliminating the need for additional photo editing software.
4. Canon EOS RP
The Canon EOS RP stands out as the best-value full-frame camera currently available in the market. While it may be one of Canon’s older full-frame models, it remains a superb mirrorless camera with a comprehensive range of features.
The camera is versatile, catering to both photography and videography enthusiasts. Even if you’re relatively new to photography, you can pick up the EOS RP and start capturing impressive shots.
Equipped with a 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, the EOS RP may not boast the highest resolution compared to newer models, but it excels in delivering rich, true-to-life colors and sharp details. The larger pixels also contribute to an enhanced dynamic range, and the camera features excellent autofocus capabilities for still photography. Its ergonomic design ensures a comfortable grip, and it performs admirably in low-light conditions.
The EOS RP’s autofocus system is both fast and reliable when shooting stills, and it functions exceptionally well in low-light settings. It includes face and eye detection features, making it a particularly strong choice for portrait photography.
With 4K video recording capabilities, the EOS RP is well-suited for shooting video. While it may not have the highest frame rate or the most advanced autofocus for fast-moving subjects, it excels when capturing people in close-to-medium range scenarios.
Canon’s vari-angle touchscreen simplifies capturing shots from tricky angles, and the camera also offers webcam functionality, making it an excellent choice for streaming.
The Canon EOS RP is an ideal selection for someone seeking their first full-frame camera, and its affordability ensures that you’re getting an excellent deal.
Despite its age, the EOS RP remains a fantastic full-frame camera that is both user-friendly and capable of producing top-quality results. For more in-depth information, you can refer to our comprehensive Canon EOS RP review.
The Panasonic Lumix S5, despite its compact size, shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor found in the Lumix S1 but comes with improved autofocus capabilities.
It features a robust weather-resistant body and provides up to 6.5 stops of image stabilization when used with compatible lenses. The Lumix S5 stands out with its exceptional dynamic range and 4K video recording, along with the ability for 96MP high-resolution RAW+JPEG capture.
This camera is a formidable contender in its category. Notably, the Lumix S5 is smaller and more affordable than its predecessors, the Lumix S1 and S1R. It also offers a significantly lower price point than its successors, the Lumix S5 II and S5 IIX. The Lumix S5 is truly an exceptional camera in its own right.