October 8, 2021
Best Budget Full Frame DSLR

Best Budget Full Frame DSLR

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It is no news that digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are darn expensive. A few years ago, only those with fat bank balances dared to consider owning one, and it is definitely not for social media profiles. Instead, it is reserved for the professional photographer who understands the delicate art of photography.

Fortunately, the DSLR technology has grown in leaps and bounds, leading to more efficient production and a significant price reduction. Little wonder the devices are becoming more affordable. Now, even hobbyists can buy a full frame DSLR as their first camera.

The models presented here might be some of the cheapest full frame DSLR cameras available, but that doesn’t take away from their outstanding features. This list of the best budget full frame DSLR cameras can help narrow your search whether you are new to shooting or you are looking to upgrade.

One more thing; “budget” is a relative term, so you shouldn’t start wondering what is “cheap” about the price tags on the cameras mentioned here. Nearly all of the cameras on this list are above a thousand dollars. It is important to understand that this is a very reasonable and highly affordable price range compared to high-end options.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

canon eos 6d mark II dslr camera

Specs

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 26.2MP
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • Screen: 3.0″ LCD vari-angle touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 6.5 fps
  • User level: Professional/Enthusiast

If you are an experienced Canon shooter looking to take things to the next level, the EOS 6D Mark II might be worth considering. The device is a full frame camera with outstanding capabilities that will even impress professionals.

With this model, you get a touch-sensitive display, DIGIC 7 processing engine (Canon’s most recent image processor), a superfast AF system, and a 5-axis digital stabilization for when you want to capture videos.

Apart from not being the cheapest option on this list, this Canon 6D model’s major drawback is a lack of 4K video quality. While that may not be a deal-breaker for some people, you may want to consider other options if you are a videographer.

Pros

  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Highly sensitive AF system

Cons

  • Dynamic range below par
  • No 4K video

Nikon D750

nikon d750 dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24.3MP
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • Screen: 3.2″ tilting touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 6.5 fps
  • User level: Professional/Enthusiast

Here’s the thing; you’ll be extremely lucky to find a new Nikon D750, so it is best to grab it as soon as you find it if you are really interested in owning one. This full frame DSLR gives you the benefit of enjoying Nikon’s 51-point AF system, which is highly-rated in the brand’s offerings.

It doesn’t shoot in 4K, though. But it delivers crisp 1080p images at up to 60 frames per second. Of course, the camera is a bit dated, and the live view autofocus can be slightly slower than other leading models, but with a tilting rear screen, impressive dynamic range, and great low-light performance, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you are a Nikon shooter planning to upgrade to D750, the good news is that it comes at a very affordable price. But the bad news is that it might be difficult to come by.

Pros

  • Wide dynamic range
  • Tilting rear screen

Cons

  • Lacks 4K video
  • Relatively slow live view AF

Nikon Z6

nikon z6 dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24.5MP
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Screen: 3.2″ touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 12 fps
  • User level: Professional/Enthusiast

Compared to the newly released Nikon Z7 II, the Nikon Z6 is a bargain, plus it is still a great camera. It comes with 24.5 megapixels – not nearly as impressive as the Z7’s 46 MP, but it is more than enough megapixels for the price.

On the good side, Nikon Z6 offers a faster continuous shooting speed than the Z7. Plus, even though it is cheaper, it has better image quality and can capture uncropped 4K videos without issues with the crop sensor camera. In addition, it works well in low-light conditions.

Pros

  • High ISO image quality
  • 4K video

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life

Sony A7

sony a7 dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24.3MP
  • Viewfinder: Electronic
  • Screen: 3.0″ tiltable LCD
  • Max burst speed: 5 fps
  • User level: Professional/Enthusiast

For many enthusiasts, the Sony A7 tops the list of cameras that redefined photography. It was among the best budget full frame DSLR and still is, even though it is becoming a lot trickier to get your hands on one in more recent times.

It is a small camera that weighs a mere 14.67 ounces (battery inclusive), but that doesn’t take away from its capabilities. At roughly 25% smaller than most leading DSLRs, this model features a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor and an enhanced eye detection feature for creating sharp focus.

It also has five display modes with brightness and color temperature adjustments, along with knobs and dials for a wide range of customization.

For the drawbacks, this camera doesn’t come with a 4K video resolution. It maxes out at 1080p, which is still okay for many photographers. Also, you may want to invest in an extra battery or two, as the device might run out of battery juice pretty sooner than you imagine.

Pros

  • Excellent handling
  • 5-axis image stabilization

Cons

  • Lacks 4K video

Canon EOS RP

canon eos rp dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 26.2MP
  • Viewfinder: Electronic
  • Screen: 3.0″ fully articulating touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 4 fps (Servo AF), 5 fps (One-Shot)
  • User level: Enthusiast

The Canon EOS RP is arguably the cheapest full frame mirrorless system with great quality you can find anywhere. Like other leading DSLRs from Canon, it comes fitted with a vari-angle touchscreen, a remarkable autofocus feature, great ergonomics, and delivers brilliant low-light performance.

The lightweight, small-bodied Canon EOS RP also features 4K video resolution, although it lacks built-in stabilization. Other noteworthy features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote camera control and sharing to other devices, a 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, and a DIGIC 8 image processor.

It is undoubtedly not the most advanced model available, but considering the entry price coupled with the capabilities, it is definitely worth the purchase.

Pros

  • Features a DSLR lens converter
  • Lightweight and small form factor

Cons

  • RF lenses can be expensive

Pentax K-1 Mark II

pentax k 1 mark II dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 36MP
  • Viewfinder: Pentaprism
  • Screen: 3.0″ 3-way tilt
  • Max burst speed: 4.4 fps / 6.4 fsp (in APS-C crop mode)
  • User level: Professional/Enthusiast

Granted, Pentax might not be as widely popular as Nikon, Canon, or Sony, but you should check out the K-1 Mark II if you are interested in owning one of the best budget full frame DSLR cameras that can take some punishment and still perform excellently.

The rock-solid camera is built to last, with a weather-resistant camera body designed to withstand the harshest shooting conditions. It also has a very effective sensor-shift image stabilization that supports a wide range of lenses.

Its 5-axis stabilizer delivers striking anti-aliasing correction. It is combined with a 36MP full frame image sensor, and it is easy to see why this camera is worth buying.

It’s not perfect, though, as the live view autofocus leaves more to be desired. But it is a great choice if you prefer a big and solid DSLR camera for a reasonable price. Like the Nikon D750, this model also tends to be a bit scarce to find, so be sure to get one if you are lucky to find it in stock.

Pros

  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Battery life not very impressive

Sigma fp

sigma fp dslr camera isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24.6MP
  • Viewfinder: Nil
  • Screen: 3.15″ fixed LCD touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 18 fps
  • User level: Professional

Here’s another not-so-popular but great choice when it comes to affordable full frame cameras. The Sigma fp is definitely worth checking out if you do more video capture. The Ultra High-Definition 4K video resolution is something any professional videographer won’t want to ignore. It is compact with an industrial design that features multiple attachment points where it can be attached to a shooting gear.

The robust and lightweight aluminum camera is splash- and dust-proof, so you don’t have to worry about using it in less than ideal conditions. It might not be the best still camera in its price range (it can be ergonomically challenging to handle it without the screw-on grip), but the tiny device does a pretty good job of recording crisp videos.

Pros

  • Excellent video capture
  • Silent electric shutter

Cons

  • Fixed LCD
  • Continuous AF might not be reliable

Sony A7 III

sony a7 III dslr isolated on white background

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full frame
  • Megapixels: 24.2MP
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Screen: 3.0″ tilting touchscreen
  • Max burst speed: 10 fps
  • User level: Enthusiast

Sony took bits and pieces from its top-rated models and combined them in this budget-friendly A7 III, making it an ideal option if you prefer the brand’s affordable full frame DSLR camera.

You will be pleased with the 4K video capability of this model if you are a videographer. You also get other outstanding features, such as a 5-axis image stabilization system, a highly effective AF system, and a design that allows easy access to the various camera settings.

Pros

  • High speed with great image quality
  • 5-axis image stabilization

Cons

  • Megapixels similar to APS-C options

Conclusion

There are other great and affordable full frame cameras out there besides these models, but any of these options will give you exactly what you want.

Investing in the best budget full frame DSLR camera is all good and fine, but just because you have a sophisticated piece of equipment doesn’t automatically mean you will have better photos. If you don’t take great photos, they won’t come out looking great.

That’s another way of saying you should consider sharpening your skills before investing in DSLRs. But just in case you are already a great photographer, these cheap models are a great way to upgrade your shooting without burning a hole in your wallet.

Frequently Asked Questions

shooting with dslr camera
Image source: Pixabay

Is a Full Frame DSLR worth it?

Even the best budget full frame DSLR can cost up to a thousand dollars or more, which is why you need to first invest in good lenses before getting a full frame camera. A full frame camera is only worth it if you already have great lenses. If all you have are kit lenses, you may want to hold off on investing in a new full frame DSLR.

Should I buy a full frame or APS-C?

If you prefer using wide-angle lenses and you do more landscape, interior, and architecture shooting, a full frame camera would be the smart choice. That’s because the device will minimize distortions.

But if you majorly shoot wildlife, events, or you want an extended range, you will be better off with an APS-C camera.

Which is better between Mirrorless and DSLR cameras?

Think of your choice as having more to do with what you are trying to achieve instead of which is better. A mirrorless camera is typically more compact, lighter, and has the advantage of producing better video output. However, it does give access to lots of accessories and lenses.

On the other hand, a DSLR camera is generally better when it comes to battery life, optical viewfinder, and it has a wider range of lens selections.

What is the advantage of a full frame camera?

Full frame cameras provide greater flexibility in terms of depth of field. You can place more emphasis on your subject with a full frame DSLR than a cropped-sensor device, thanks to the ease with which you can apply the shallow depth-of-field effects.