5 Best Full Frame Cameras for the Money – 2019

5 Best Full Frame Cameras for the Money – 2019

The end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 has been explosive in the full frame camera market with Nikon and Canon introducing two and one mirrorless models respectively in late 2018 and Panasonic Lumix releasing 2 mirrorless models in 2019.

This fierce competition for the top end of the market bodes well for us photographers but also poses the question of which are the best full frame cameras for the money in 2019.

In this post I have listed my top 5 choices based on performance and value for money.

Please note I have not had an opportunity to review the new Panasonic Lumix S1R and S1 and they are excluded from this list – for now.

As soon as I have had a chance to review and play with them I will update this list accordingly and it may become a “Top 7” or even a  “Top 10”.

In the meanwhile I think you have plenty to go on here.

Why Buy a Full Frame Camera?

An interesting question with a plethora of top quality crop sensor cameras as well as micro 4/3rds and even some amazingly high quality phone cameras available.

Why buy a full-frame camera indeed?

Here’s my short answer to that; because you can or because you want to. 

After all there are a lot of different motor cars available in a wide range of prices.  There is a market for all them and a vehicle to suit everyone’s taste and pocket – there is no difference when it comes to cameras or any other consumable product.

Full frame cameras are designed for the photographer who wants the highest quality images.  Quality in this instance is based on detail, resolution and dynamic range – all of those three things are centred around a quality sensor coupled with top-end lenses.

The sensor is the main component to high quality images and with the 36mm x 24mm sensor there are more pixels (light gathering dots) per square inch than on smaller sensors APS-C sensors, micro 4/3rds and phone cameras.

The production costs of the larger sensors are largely responsible for the higher cost of full frame cameras – however with technology advances prices have come down dramatically and the price gap is now much narrower.

Originally seen as the preserve of the professional photographer the lower cost of full frame cameras have now become popular with professionals and amateur enthusiasts.

Here are my “best 5” full frame camera picks between mirrorless and DSLR and based on value for money.

Enjoy!

Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Full Frame camera

#1 Nikon Z6 Mirrorless

The cream-of-the-crop has to be the newly released  Nikon Z6 Mirrorless

What an amazing mirrorless full frame camera Nikon have come up with in this little beauty!

There is so much that is good about the Nikon Z6 and almost nothing bad.

First off the handling is incredibly comfortable with buttons all located within easy reach.  Brilliant features, coupled with fast and accurate 273 point focusing, superb image quality and an unbeatable price should make Nikon’s Z6 the number one choice for many photographers for a long time to come.

An impressive burst speed of 12 fps is among the fastest available and coupled with the 24.5MP sensor delivers fantastic results with great color reproduction and fine detail, even in low light conditions.

One of Nikon’s biggest selling points has always been the availability of the full range of Nikon lenses and with the new FTZ adapter existing Nikon users are able to use their existing F mount lenses and in some cases even older lenses, albeit it with a couple of limitations.

In the meanwhile Nikon are very busy producing high quality Z lenses to add to the three that were introduced on launch and we can expect a great range of lenses over the coming years.

Personally I think this particular model will in crease the number of converts to full frame models and at this price – why not?

Read the full review here.

Key Specs
Processor: Expeed 6  Sensor: BSI CMOS  Resolution: 24.5 Megapixels  
Native ISO Range: 100- 51200  Screen: Tilting Touchscreen  Maximum Burst Speed: 12 fps  Focus Points: 273  Video: 4K at 30p

The Good

  • Excellent ergonomics and easy handling
  • Superb image quality
  • 12 fps
  • In Body image stabilisation

The Bad

  • Only one card slot (XQD)
  • Relatively small buffer 

And The Really Pretty

  • It’s Available
  • Check the current price
Nikon D850 FX (full frame)

#2 Nikon D850 DSLR

Before you shout me down … I will quite happily concede that the Nikon D850 should be #1. 

It was a tough call and in the end it was the $ amount that won out.

The Nikon D850 is probably the ultimate full frame camera on the market that produces beautiful images with incredible detail – the results are simply breathtaking.

Taking into account the specs its no surprise that the D850 produces such amazing images. With the an outstanding dynamic range, an excellent 7 fps with 52 image buffer, a body built to last, superb handling and a highly advanced 153 point focusing system the Nikon D850 will take some beating.

Yes it is pricey but like a Rolls Royce well worth the money.

Should I have made it number 1 despite the price?

Key Specs
Processor: Expeed 5  Sensor: BSI CMOS  Resolution: 45.7 Megapixels 
Native ISO Range: 64 – 25600   Screen: Tilting Touchscreen  Maximum Burst Speed: 7 fps  Focus Points: 153  Video: 4K at 30p

The Good

  • Produces breathtaking images rich in detail
  • Large buffer
  • 7 fps
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Not enough superlatives to describe this camera

The Bad

  • Live view focus can be a bit slow 
  • Price?  Nah it’s worth every cent

And The Really Pretty

  • Everything about this camera is not just pretty – it’s beautiful
  • Check the current price

#3 Sony Alpha A7iii

This little beauty takes all the credit for setting a high bar. Sony did a wonderful job with the A7iii and it is still fantastic value for money, only just surpassed by Nikon’s Z6.

Still great value for money the Sony A7iii was the best entry-level full frame camera until the Nikon Z6 came along and I think it takes credit for the great camera Nikon had to produce to knock it off #1 spot.

Regardless of what else is on the market the A7iii still takes amazingly crisp images, has an advanced focusing system with very good built-in 5 axis stabilisation, shoots at 10 frames per second and has one of the best videos on the market.

You cannot go wrong with this little beauty, its still taking as good images as the day it was launched.

Key Specs
Processor: BIONZ X  Sensor: BSI Exmor R CMOS  
Resolution: 24.2 Megapixels  Screen: Tilting Touchscreen  Maximum Burst Speed: 10 fps  Focus Points: 693  Video: 4K

The Good

  • Fantastic dynamic range
  • Auto-focus is exceptionally quick with 693 focus points
  • 10 fps
  • Pin sharp detail in images

The Bad

  • Battery life is lacking
  • The touchscreen has limited control
  • Limited lens options but that is improving daily

And The Really Pretty

  • The size and the price! This one is hard to beat in the “Value for Money” stakes
Canon 5D Mk iv - Canon's most popular full frame model

#4 Canon 5D Mark IV

Hard to believe that a camera with the capabilities of the Canon 5D Mk iv comes in a t number 4 on my list – there are some seriously good cameras out there!

Another camera that produces sharp and detailed images – the 5D Mk iv has proved particularly popular with studio photographers and portrait work in particular.  However it is not limited to studio work – it simply excels in that area.

Its 30.4 megapixel sensor. 61 point focus system and excellent 4K video make it the second best DSLR ever – it was #1 for a long time until the launch of our current number 1.

Originally introduced as an upgrade to the Canon 5D Mk iii the 5D Mk iv is packed with a host of features and despite its age it is still a fantastic camera.

Read the full review here.

Key Specs
Processor: DIGIC 6 + Sensor: BSI CMOS  Native ISO Range: 100 –  32,000  Resolution: 30.4 Megapixels  Screen: Touchscreen  Maximum Burst Speed: 7 fps  Focus Points: 61  Video: 4K 30p

The Good

  • Still a great performer
  • Captures amazing detailed  images
  • 7 fps
  • Fabulous auto focus system

The Bad

  • Might be a bit pricey now compared to competitors
  • Video is a bit sluggish – again compared to newer models (but still pretty good)

And The Really Pretty

  • Any camera who’s nearest competitor is the Nikon D850 has to be exceptional.
  • The Canon 5D Mk iv is going to be producing quality images for a long time to come
Nikon D750 Review Front Buttons

#5 Nikon D750

For an all round camera the Nikon D750 is pretty hard to beat – especially at the current price.

She’s getting a bit long in the tooth but, like the Canon 5D Mk iv, is proving that the specs and features for this original full-frame entry level camera were pretty much spot on.

The advanced 51 point AF system, 24.3 megapixel sensor, a cracking body with easily accessible buttons and seriously good weather proofing, tilting screen and the ability to shoot at 6.5 fps make this a popular camera amongst enthusiasts (in particular) and professionals.

Its an extremely well priced camera that has all the features you need to produce amazing photos.

Read the full review here.

Key Specs
Processor: DIGIC 6 + Sensor: BSI CMOS  Native ISO Range: 100 –  32,000  Resolution: 30.4 Megapixels  Screen: Touchscreen  Maximum Burst Speed: 7 fps  Focus Points: 61  Video: 4K 30p

The Good

  • Still much sought after
  • Superb ergonomics and easy to handle
  • 6.5 fps
  • Advanced 51 point auto focus system
  • Great price!

The Bad

  • No touch screen
  • Limited full HD video

And The Really Pretty

  • Real value for money here.
  • The Nikon D750 is a real workhorse
  • Nikon’s huge lens selection to choose from

5 More Great Cameras ...

This was truly a fascinating exercise as there had to be “losers”.

Like an Olympic 100 meter sprint final (or even the heats, or any other sport for that matter) there can only be 3 medalists.  That doesn’t make the rest of the athletes any the less skilful, it just means on the day someone else performed better, and most times by fractions of a second.

The following is a list of “also rans” that could quite easily have slotted into the top 5.

Sony A7R iii

A great camera with slightly higher specs than the Sony A7 iii – except with less focus points than it’s little brother.

One has to weigh up if the extra megapixels (42.2 in this baby) and a few other less significant features are worth the extra dollars.

On that basis the A7R iii didn’t quite make the grade but it is an extremely good camera that is capable of meeting any professionals demanding needs.

 

Nikon D5

Nikon’s flagship camera with some truly amazing specs.

With 12 fps it is ideal for sports and extreme fast action and wildlife.  Axcellent in in low light conditions with a exceptional noise free ISO even at 51,200!

You name it the Nikon D4 can do it and do it brilliantly.

Again though it was the price tag that kept it out of the top 5.

 

Nikon Z7

An identical body to Nikon’s Z6 the Z7 is an excellent camera that is easy to use, very fast and responsive.

It has exceptional in-body stabilisation and 493 focus points.  Maximum burst speed is 10 fps and it comes with a 45.7 megapixel sensor.  

Awesome camera that has had nothing but praise from all users.

While it din’t make the top 5 here because of price it will take the top slot in many reviews.

Canon EOS 6D Mk ii

A fierce competitor of the Nikon D750 the Canon 6D Mk ii is another great camera that will do any photographer proud.

It was Canon’s entry-level full frame camera fro a long time and has an outstanding record.

26.2 Megapixels, a vari-angle touchscreen, 45 AF points, 6.5 fps and a 1080 video all go to make this an outstanding camera for any enthusiast.

Unfortunately time and advanced technology have kept it out of our top 5.

Canon EOS R

The introduction of Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera was much anticipated and it is good to see them and Nikon producing mirrorless cameras.

The ESO R has a lot of features and some new innovations – such as the M-Fn control bar, tilt touch screen, over 5,000 AF points (just amazing), 4 k video and an 8 fps burst speed to name a few.

A new RF lens mount introduces what is believed to be the direction Canon is taking and we expect great things from the new lenses as they are produced.

As good a camera as this is the timing of the launch unfortunately coincides with Nikon’s 2 new cameras that are superior and less expensive.

Conclusion

As I said this was a fascinating and quite difficult exercise (but fun).

I’d love to hear your thoughts of what you think is the best full frame camera for money in 2019.

  • What do you have and why do you like or dislike it?
  • What would you but today and why?
  • Do you agree with my list?
  • what would you change?

Let me know in the comments below and let’s discuss it further.

 

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