The best full frame mirrorless camera in 2022: Sony vs Canon, Nikon & Panasonic
The best full frame mirrorless cameras are where you want to be if you want the most advanced cameras around right now. Mirrorless is where all the most exciting professional imaging technology is right now – the highest resolutions, the fastest burst speeds, the most sophisticated autofocus and the most advanced video specs. As such, these also tend to be among the more expensive cameras, although, as we'll see, there are bargains to be had too in the world of full-frame mirrorless.
As such, we've split this guide up into sections, to help you navigate to the type of full-frame mirrorless camera you want. Below, we've run through the different categories we've split the cameras into.
• On a budget: here are the full-frame mirrorless cameras you can get on the cheap – relatively speaking, that is. They're still going to be pricier than beginner or smaller-sensor cameras, but these full-frame mirrorless cameras offer incredible value. There's a mix of older models that are still widely available, and newer models that are pitched towards the budget end of the market.
• High resolution: no messing around – these are the full-frame mirrorless cameras with the most pixels possible, for super-detailed images and high-quality prints. If you're a committed pixel-junkie, you may also want to check out our continuously updated guide to the highest resolution cameras you can buy today.
• Fastest burst: the best super-fast mirrorless cameras for sports and action, a competitive category that the the new Nikon Z9 and Canon EOS R3 are kicking around the block.
• Best for video: mirrorless cameras are some of the best consumer video cameras around, so we've also included the full-frame cameras best for video, plenty of which have been used on professional productions.
We've kept the cameras on this list to the best of the best – if you're looking for more choices, then you can check out our guides to the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) and the best 4K cameras for filmmaking (opens in new tab). If you're budget-conscious (and who isn't these days), then our guide to the cheapest full frame cameras (opens in new tab) you can get right now may be helpful.
So let's get started!
The best full frame mirrorless cameras in 2022
One camera in this section has become cheap because it has been out a long time, one was made cheap (but it's none the worse for that) and another has been made cheap with some really aggressive pricing. The thing is – they're all great first-time full frame cameras!
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1. Nikon Z5 Nikon's budget full frame mirrorless camera deserves more respect! Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 24MP Monitor: EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage Continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps Viewfinder: EVF Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p User level: Enthusiast Today's Best Deals View at BHPhoto (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) View at Walmart (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Easy to get to grips with + 5-axis IS system Reasons to avoid - Only 4.5fps burst shooting - 4K video gets a 1.7x crop
Do you know what? We feel a bit sorry for the Nikon Z5. It's often overlooked, but at today's prices it's a very modern, very well featured camera that's the perfect introduction to full frame mirrorless photography. Rather than starting with a clean sheet of paper, Nikon's pretty much used the same design for the Z5 as it did for the original Z6 (and Z7 for that matter). The most noticeable thing on the body that differs from the Z6 is the arrival of a more beginner-orientated mode dial in place of the LCD top-plate display. The Z5 also borrows much of the tech inside the Z6, with the most noticeable difference being the sensor. The resolution might be the same, but the Z6 benefits from a back-illuminated chip and images from the two are very similar, with the Z6 having the edge at higher ISOs.
In our review, we felt that the Z5 did pretty much everything you could ask from an
entry-level mirrorless camera, albeit at a price that's maybe just a shade too high. It's worth keeping an eye on the best Nikon Z5 deals to see if you can snag it at a discount. The 4K video is a little restrictive with a 1.7x crop, while the burst shooting speed is a modest 4.5fps. The Z5 is better than its budget rivals the Canon EOS RP and Sony Alpha A7 II, and it does shoot 4K video where they don't.
Read more: Nikon Z5 review
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2. Sony A7 II This 24MP full frame mirrorless Sony even has in-body stabilisation. All it's missing is 4K video Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 24.3MP Lens mount: Sony E Screen: 3in tiltable, 1,228,800 dots Viewfinder: Electronic Max burst speed: 5fps Max video resolution: 1080p User level: Enthusiast/professional Today's Best Deals View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + 5-axis in-body image stabilization + Great handling Reasons to avoid - No 4K video - Large lenses negate size advantage
For a long time, the original Sony A7 was the cheapest full frame camera you could get, but it's proving pretty hard to find these days and its replacement, the A7 Mark II is, to be fair, a much better camera. The big advantage that you you get with the Alpha A7 II is built-in optical stabilisation. This allows you to get steadier shots in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and works with any of the range of E-mount Sony lenses (opens in new tab).
We recently re-reviewed the Sony A7 II to see if it could still compete in today's market, and found ourselves pleasantly surprised by what a capable camera it still is. Autofocus and start-up times are also faster than those on the A7, the former thanks to a 117-point phase-detect AF system that works in combination with 25-point contrast-detect AF, ensuring sharpness no matter where the subject lies in the frame. This 24-megapixel CSC is also pretty small for a full-frame camera.
Prices for the A7 Mark II are falling just as they did for the original A7 before it, and right now this is one of the cheapest options for full frame upgraders.
Read more: Sony A7 II review, updated for 2022 (opens in new tab)
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3. Canon EOS RP Canon's cheapest full-frame mirrorless camera still packs a punch Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 26.2MP Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots Continuous shooting speed: 5fps Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots Video: Cropped 4K UHD up to 25/24p User level: Enthusiast Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Size, weight and low cost + Fully articulating screen Reasons to avoid - 1.6x crop and no Dual Pixel AF in 4K - Weak battery life
The EOS RP was Canon's second full frame mirrorless camera, and it's smaller, lighter and a lot cheaper than the first, the EOS R. It's designed to be a compact, affordable and easy to use entry point into Canon's full frame mirrorless system, and it succeeds brilliantly. When we reviewed the camera we loved the clear and sharp images it was capable of creating, and having the vari-angle touchscreen was hugely handy for compositions.
Its small dimensions mean it can sometimes feel overbalanced by larger lenses, though, and the 4K video mode comes with some caveats – the image frame is cropped by a factor of 1.6 and you can't use Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system unless you drop the resolution to full HD.
In a handy touch, the inclusion of an EF lens adaptor means you can use existing Canon DSLR lenses alongside the growing RF lens system. This is a great little camera if you're ready to accept its limitations.
Read more: Canon EOS RP review (opens in new tab)
We've ranked these cameras in order of resolution, but see our comments on each before deciding which is best for you. We do have to explain the absence of the 50MP Sony A1, however. The fact is, it's so good at everything that it could have gone in three of our categories – resolution, speed AND video (not value, obvs) – but we had to choose somewhere so we've put it in the 'best for speed' category below. You can take it as read that it also qualifies for the 'best for resolution' and 'best for video' sections too.
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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4. Sony A7R Mark IV/IVA It's the highest resolution full frame camera yet, but that's not all it does Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 61MP Lens mount: Sony FE Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440,000 dots Viewfinder: Electronic, 5.76m dots Continuous shooting speed: 10fps Video: 4K cropped(oversamped)/uncropped up to 30/25p User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + 61 megapixel resolution + 10fps continuous shooting + Advanced Eye AF Reasons to avoid - Unbalanced with bigger lenses - Expensive, naturally!
* Note that the A7R Mark IV has been swapped for a newer A7R IVA version, with the same basic specs but a higher resolution rear screen and improved battery life. Make sure you know which you are getting when you order.
With its 61-megapixel sensor, the Sony A7R Mark IV inevitably comes top of this particular category. The 'R' models in Sony's A7 series cameras are designed first and foremost for resolution – and the Sony A7R Mark IV certainly delivers. The previous A7R Mark III set the standard for a time, but the A7R Mark IV brings a new record-breaking 61-megapixel that has the highest resolution of any Sony – or indeed any full frame camera.
In our review, we were impressed by plenty of other specs on the A7R Mark IV, including 10fps continuous shooting – an amazing achievement at this resolution – advanced Eye AF and 4K video. The 10fps frame rate doesn't make it a sports camera, though, as it lacks the outright speed, responsiveness and buffer capacity for that, and Sony's 4K video seems stuck in a bit of a timewarp right now compared to the advances being made by rival makers. The Eye AF and Real-time tracking are excellent, but we found having to switch to the Super 35mm crop format for the best quality video to be a nuisance. But still, this is the only full frame mirrorless camera to beat the mighty new Sony A1 for resolution.
Read more: Sony A7R Mark IV review (opens in new tab) • Sony A7R IV vs A7R III vs A7R II (opens in new tab)
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5. Nikon Z7 II Huge resolution, high-speed shooting and 4K video but not perfect Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 45.7MP Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100K dots Continuous shooting speed: 10fps Viewfinder: EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage Max video resolution: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 30p, cropped 4K UHD up to 60p User level: Enthusiast/Professional Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Excellent image quality + Lovely handling + 5-axis IS system + Best-in-class build quality Reasons to avoid - EVF resolution lower than rivals - Tilt-angle display, not vari-angle
The Z7 II is Nikon's flagship full frame mirrorless camera and an update to the original Nikon Z7. All the changes that we’ve seen on the Z7 II compared to the Z7 are certainly welcome, but we can’t help feeling that Nikon’s played it a bit safe. We’d like to have seen even more of a jump to really make it a serious threat to the likes of the Canon EOS R5 and Alpha A7R IV.
But still, the Nikon Z7 II has a lot going for it. It might not have a standout feature that sets it apart from its competitors, but when we reviewed the Nikon Z7 II we found that it delivers solidly across the board. Nikon's changes – dual processors and dual memory card slots, for example – have made a great camera even better.
Read more: Nikon Z7 II review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Rod Lawton)
6. Leica M11 The latest, greatest rangefinder camera from the masters Specifications Type: Digital rangefinder Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 60.3MP Monitor: 2.95-inch fixed touchscreen, 2330k dots Continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps Viewfinder: Direct vision rangefinder type, 0.73x magnification, parallax compensation Max video resolution: None User level: Enthusiast/Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Moment (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Amazing focus accuracy + Sublime handling Reasons to avoid - Inevitably expensive - Tricky to get used to
While the Leica M11 is a 60.3MP camera, it's actually something more than that – it's got a clever 'triple-resolution' design that lets you knock it down to 36MP or 18MP. This means that in situations where a less detailed file will do, you aren't clogging up your cards with pixels you don't need.
This is an M-series rangefinder camera, and focusing with its direct vision viewfinder is a different experience to anything else on the market. You move the focusing lever or ring on your M-series lens until the 'ghost' image in the viewfinder lines up with your subject. When the image in the viewfinder is sharp, so is your photo. If it sounds tricky, that's because it is, but once you master it, you'll be amazed at how intuitive it feels, and how accurate your results are. As we said when we reviewed the camera, it's an experience unlike anything else.
The Leica M11 brings rangefinders well and truly into the modern day, with its Maestro III that delivers 15 stops of dynamic range, its 64-50,000 ISO range, and its combination mechanical/electronic shutter. There's even a USB-C port for charging. It comes at a heck of a price of course – this is Leica, after all – but it's an outstanding camera, a fine representative of a series that blends the best of old and new.
Read more: Leica M11 review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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7. Sigma fp L Sigma's oddball hybrid camera is crude in many respects... but look, 61MP! Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 61MP Monitor: 3.15-in fixed touchscreen, 2,100K dots Continuous shooting speed: 10fps Viewfinder: Optional EVF-11, 0.5-in, 3.68m dots Max video resolution: 4K UHD up to 30p, 8-bit CinemaDNG up to 25p User level: Enthusiast/Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at BHPhoto (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Big megapixel count + Small physical size Reasons to avoid - Slow, janky video AF - Electronic shutter only
The Sigma fp gets its number two spot in this section purely by virtue of its resolution. In terms of features and responsiveness, it's not really the equal of its rivals here, though it is an intriguing hybrid stills/video camera that could yet prove to be the start of something new.
Given how many things the Sigma fp L is at once, it's amazing what a small body the camera has. Sigma is keen to market this full-frame mirrorless model as a hybrid stills and video camera – so it shoots both 61MP stills and is a full-on cine shooter, able to capture 8-bit CinemaDNG format internally, or up to 12-bit CinemaDNG when hooked up to an external SSD via USB.
Switching between stills and cine mode is nice and easy, and the whole camera is pleasingly easy to control (though its small size makes it quite unbalanced when it's paired with big lenses). The compromises have to come somewhere, you might be thinking, and you are right; when we reviewed the Sigma fp L, we found there to be some drawbacks. While the video quality is brilliant, the video autofocus is pretty slow and unreliable. What's more, the camera only has an electronic shutter, not a mechanical one, and its sensor has quite a slow readout speed. So while it can shoot at fast shutter speeds, and at an impressive-sounding burst speed of 10fps, fast-moving subjects run the risk of getting blurred or distorted.
This is a quirky and interesting camera though, and if you can forgive a few niggles, you may find yourself charmed by it. If you invest some time in getting used to it, the Sigma fp L has serious potential in both stills and video.
Read more: Sigma fp L review (opens in new tab)
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8. Canon EOS R5 As if 45MP wasn't enough, there's the astonishing 8K video... Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 45MP Monitor: 3.15-inch fully articulating touchscreen, 2,100k dots Continuous shooting speed: 12fps mechanical shutter, 20fps electronic shutter Viewfinder: 0.5-inch OLED EVF, 5,690k dots, 100% coverage Max video resolution: 8K DCI or UHD at 30p User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Incredible image quality + Exceptional 8K video Reasons to avoid - Recording limits - 4K video is average
The EOS R5 is such a powerful and effective all-rounder, so why is it languishing at the number 5 slot? It's purely because its resolution is a whisker below that of its rivals', and that's our criterion here. The fact is, though, that a couple of megapixels here and there makes no difference, and the EOS R5 is a quite superb camera.
It is flagship mirrorless camera – for now – and seems to be trying to corner every segment of the market at once. As we noted in our full Canon EOS R5 review, this is simple a camera that's good at everything. Its 45MP sensor produces images of incredible detail, and it has the class-leading autofocus system of the EOS-1D X Mark III (below), with a whopping 5,940 AF points for photography and 4,500 for video. As if that wasn't enough, it also offers 12fps continuous shooting. The EOS R5's video specs are nothing short of next-generation, including uncropped 8K Raw video internally at up to 29.97fps in 4:2:2 12-bit Canon Log or HDR PQ (both H.265) in both UHD and DCI – this is cinema-quality stuff – though the R5 is affected by heat buildup and recording limits.
We've put the EOS R5 in our 'Best for resolution' section, but it could also go in 'Best for video', 'Best for sport' or 'Best of just about anything'! This also applies to the brand new Sony A1, which has another five million pixels, but also another $2,000+ on the price!
Update: Canon has also introduced the EOS R5 C (opens in new tab), a video-first version of this camera that shoots internal 8K 12-bit up to 60p and offers Dual Base ISO. But, most importantly, it possesses an integrated cooling fan to solve the overheating issue that dogged the release of the EOS R5. For this reason, Canon described it as a camera with "no limitations", although it, uh, does in fact have recording limitations (see here (opens in new tab) for a breakdown of what they are).
Read more: Canon EOS R5 review (opens in new tab)
Best for speed
(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)
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9. Sony A9 Mark II We thought the original Sony A9 was fast, and then Sony makes this... Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 24.2MP Lens mount: Sony E Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,440k dots Viewfinder: EVF, 3,686k dots Continuous shooting speed: 20fps Video resolution: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 30/25p User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Blistering burst shooting + Best AF system we've used + Unrivaled connectivity Reasons to avoid - Menus remain obtuse - Isn't it time for CFexpress? - No Olympus style Pro Capture
To quote from our own review, the Sony A9 II is the fastest, most ferocious full-frame sports camera we've ever used. Its blistering speed and autofocus performance are matched only by its phenomenal connectivity, which promises to be a game changer for pro shooters. However, we would love to have seen Sony implement something akin to Olympus' Pro Capture feature, so that you never miss the critical moment. It's a bit of a disappointment to find Sony's not yet ready for the new super-fast CFexpress format (and if ever a camera needed high-end cards, it's this one) and Sony's not really made any attempt to move its 4K video tech any further forward – so no 10-bit capture or 60/50p frame rates just yet.
Read more: Sony A9 Mark II review (opens in new tab)
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10. Nikon Z9 The new king of mirrorless speed Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 45.7MP Monitor: 3-inch bi-directional tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots Continuous shooting speed: 20fps RAW, 30fps hi-res JPEG, 120fps lo-res JPEG Viewfinder: Super-bright OLED EVF, 3.69m dots, 100% coverage Max video resolution: 8K up to 60p (via upcoming firmware) User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at BHPhoto (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + 120 fps burst mode + Impressively good value Reasons to avoid - RAW tops out at 20fps - Screen not fully articulating
Blitzing aside the competition in terms of raw speed (and, for that matter, RAW speed), the Nikon Z9 is set to become the new professional standard when it comes to full-frame sports shooting. It's capable of burst shooting at a whopping 120fps – granted, this takes the resolution down to 11MP, from a maximum of 45.7MP, but in all honesty if you're producing that many images, you don't want files much larger than this.
The Nikon Z9 hugely impressed us in our full review of the camera. It's cheaper than the Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3, and in speed terms blows the socks off them both (though they both have other advantages of their own, whether that's resolution or high-ISO performance). Nikon's AF has also finally caught up with that of its rivals, cementing the Z9's status as a true sports shooter.
Read more: Nikon Z9 review
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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11. Sony A1 This incredible powerhouse of a camera has a price to match! Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 50.1NP Lens mount: Sony FE Screen: 3-in tilting, 1.44m dots Viewfinder: Electronic, 9.44m dots Max burst speed: 30fps Max video resolution: 8K User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + 50MP resolution + 8K video + 30fps continuous shooting Reasons to avoid - Stratospheric price!
The Sony A1 is everything that Sony says it is. It’s a technological triumph, a camera that really can do everything. Previously, cameras might offer speed, resolution or video capability, but the A1 offers all three, and even beats dedicated sports and video cameras at their own game.
So is this the perfect camera? Not quite. As we noted in our review, the price is, and will remain, a major obstacle, and its appeal is limited to photographers who need everything it does, not just one or two of those things. This, together with its huge price, prevent it from being right at the top of this list. If you want resolution, the Sony A1 is second only to Sony's own A7R IV/IVA and the quirky Sigma fp L, but if you also want super-fast burst speeds and 8K video, then the A1 is one of the best you can get, with only the Nikon Z9 to rival it. In typical Sony style, though, it's a camera that does everything you want and some other things you might not that still bump up the price.
Read more: Sony A1 review (opens in new tab)
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12. Canon EOS R3 An outstanding professional mirrorless speedster Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame CMOS Megapixels: 24.1MP Monitor: 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 4.15 million dots Continuous shooting speed: 30fps electronic (540 JPEG / 150 RAW), 12fps mechanical (1,000+ JPEG / 1,000 RAW) Viewfinder: Electronic 0.5-inch, 5.76m dots, 120Hz, 100% coverage, 0.76x magnification Max video resolution: 6K up to 60p, 4K up to 120p, 1080p up to 60p User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at BHPhoto (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Incredible Eye Control AF + Blackout-free shooting Reasons to avoid - Outpaced by Z9 - No 8K
The Canon EOS R3 is a technical masterpiece. At first glance, some of its specs may seem puzzling – only 24.1MP resolution? No 8K video? But Canon is being canny (Canon-y?) here, and giving sports shooters what they need. Just as with the Nikon Z9 above, someone shooting at the maximum burst speeds of 30fps doesn't want huge files, as it'll make their workflow unmanageable. So Canon has put the emphasis on speed and responsiveness, and the result is a super-fast, seemingly telepathic camera so advanced it can adjust its focus point using the position of your eyeball.
That was the big question on our minds when we set out to review the EOS R3 – does the Eye Control AF actually work? Answer: uh, wow. Yes, it does. It works very well. It's not for super-fast moving subjects like birds in flight, but for general purpose shooting, it is absolutely seamless, and really makes you feel integrated with the camera.
In terms of raw burst shooting speed, the EOS R3 is considerably outgunned by the Nikon Z9. But the EOS R3 is arguably a better featured overall package, even for sports shooters.
Read more: Canon EOS R3 review
(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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13. Sony A7 IV Sony's new do-it-all camera is a stunning blend of speed, resolution and 4K video capabilities Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 33MP Lens mount: Sony E Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots Continuous shooting speed: 10fps Max video resolution: 4K User level: Enthusiast/expert Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Autofocus performance + 33MP resolution + Huge burst mode buffer depth Reasons to avoid - Complex matrix of video options - Pro/semi-pro pricing
The Sony A7 IV signals a step up in ambition for Sony's ‘vanilla’ A7 model. Traditionally, the Sony A7 has been the range’s entry-level camera, with the ‘R’ models adding resolution and the ’S’ models adding speed/sensitivity. But there’s nothing ordinary about the Sony A7 IV, and while it does technically supersede the A7 III, it’s an altogether more advanced camera that, we think, targets a higher-level audience. Compared to the A7 III, the A7 IV is a major step up – but in price as well as features.
We feel bad it's so far down our list, but that's not because it's a lacklustre camera, as we noted in our review – it's because of the way we've organized these cameras. The 33MP A7 IV may not have the megapixels to get in our 'Resolution' section, or the video clout to get in our 'Video' section, but it misses both only by a whisker. However, its 10fps burst shooting and unlimited raw buffer capacity (yes, really!) with a CFexpress Type A card DEFINITELY make it a real speed demon that's priced for enthusiasts and a great all-rounder too.
Read more: Sony A7 IV review
Best for video
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14. Sony A7S III The best mirrorless camera there is for 4K video, but stills are 12MP only Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 12.1 Lens mount: Sony FE Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, Fully articulating 3-inch touchscreen 1,440K dots Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 9,437K dots Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps Max video resolution: 4K User level: Professional Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Walmart (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Incredible low light performance + Stunning AF, even for video Reasons to avoid - No 6K or 8K video - Still images only 12MP
This is actually a very close run thing, but the A7S III has a much more advanced AF system than the Lumix S5, below, and that might be the clincher for most filmmakers and vloggers. It’s taken Sony five years to upgrade the video-centric A7S II to a Mark III, but the wait has been worth it for keen enthusiast and professional moviemakers. It might not boast 6K or 8K video resolution of some of its rivals, and with only 12.1MP it’s not a powerhouse super-stills machine either. But apart from a big and expensive cinema camera, it’s the only camera that can shoot 4K at 60p full frame with no crop, recorded internally, in 10-bit 4:2:2 with no limitations on recording time and with all the advanced AF functions still working. The 12MP resolution means the A7S III is pretty poor as a stills camera, but an absolute natural at 4K, so it is tilted more towards video than stills. However, sports fans should note it can shoot stills at 10fps and has an incredible 1,000-shot raw buffer (using new CFexpress Type A cards).
Read more: Sony A7S III review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Adam Duckworth)
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15. Panasonic Lumix S5 Panasonic's compact full frame mirrorless camera is just stunning Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full frame Megapixels: 24.2MP Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k dots Lens: L-mount Continuous shooting speed: 7fps Video: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 60/50p User level: Intermediate/expert Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Best in-class video performance + Magnesium frame and vari-angle screen + Dual SD card slots Reasons to avoid - HDMI port not full-size - Only contrast AF
The Lumix S5 is decent enough as an entry-level full frame stills camera, but it goes absolutely above and beyond for video features at this price. Despite its compact size, the Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the Lumix S1, but with improved AF. It also has a tough weather-resistant body and delivers up to 6.5-stops of image stabilisation with compatible lenses. Its standout features include class-leading dynamic range and 4K video recording, as well as 96MP high resolution RAW+JPEG capture. It’s tough to beat in this category. Panasonic has stuck to its contrast-based DFD autofocus system which still doesn't quite match the latest phase-detect systems from rivals, but a speed and algorithm upgrade has closed the gap. The Lumix S5 is smaller than the Lumix S1 and S1H before it, and cheaper too. It matches the Lumix S1 for stills and beats it for video, coming close to the capabilities of the far more expensive Lumix S1H. What a camera!
Read more: Panasonic Lumix S5 review (opens in new tab)
How we test full frame mirrorless cameras
Our testing procedure involves putting cameras through their paces both in real-world shooting scenarios, and in the lab. We've put every one of these full-frame mirrorless cameras to the test to get a feel for how they handle in day-to-day use, as well as a carefully controlled lab to measure resolution, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. We use ISO resolution charts to measure resolution, and DxO Analyzer test equipment for dynamic range and noise analysis. With these extensive testing procedures, we build up a clear, objective picture of how the camera performs.
• These are the best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) today
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• These are the cheapest full frame cameras (opens in new tab) you can get right now
The Best Full-Frame Cameras for 2022
There are real advantages to the format, which features a sensor with roughly twice the surface area of APS-C models. It gives photographers more control over depth of field, generally better images in difficult light, and access to higher-resolution capture than you'll find in cameras with smaller sensors.
There's never been a better time to make the jump to a full-frame digital camera. Over the past few years, models with 24-by-36mm image sensors—the same dimensions as a frame of 35mm film—have become more and more affordable. And while the smaller APS-C sensor format is still the de facto standard for entry-level SLRs and mirrorless cameras, you don't have to move too far north of $1,000 to go full-frame.
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Sony a7R IV Best for Uncompromised Resolution and Speed 5.0 Exemplary Bottom Line: The full-frame mirrorless Sony a7R IV outshines its high-resolution competition with an outstanding autofocus system and a superlative image sensor, delivering class-leading performance. PROS 60.2MP full-frame imaging.
60.2MP full-frame imaging. 10fps Raw capture.
10fps Raw capture. Real-Time Tracking autofocus.
Real-Time Tracking autofocus. 5-axis image stabilization.
5-axis image stabilization. Big, crisp EVF.
Big, crisp EVF. Tilting touch LCD.
Tilting touch LCD. Dual UHS-II slots. CONS Lower-pixel cameras are better for video.
Lower-pixel cameras are better for video. Phase detection doesn't extend to edge of frame.
Phase detection doesn't extend to edge of frame. Big file sizes. Sold By List Price Price Amazon $3,498.00 $3,498.00 See It (Opens in a new window) B&H Photo Video $3,198.00 $3,198.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Sony a7R IV Review
Canon EOS R3 Best High-Speed Mirrorless for Pros 4.5 Outstanding Bottom Line: The Canon EOS R3 is loaded with high-tech features, including an autofocus system you control with your eyes, but still nails all of the fundamentals, making it a phenomenal camera for sports and wildlife pros. PROS Intelligent autofocus with excellent subject recognition
Intelligent autofocus with excellent subject recognition 14-bit Raw imaging at up to 30fps
14-bit Raw imaging at up to 30fps Large HDR viewfinder with OVF simulation
Large HDR viewfinder with OVF simulation Supports CFexpress and UHS-II SD memory
Supports CFexpress and UHS-II SD memory Ample wired and wireless connectivity options
Ample wired and wireless connectivity options Sized-down gripped body handles beautifully
Sized-down gripped body handles beautifully 6K60 Raw and 4K120 video modes CONS Eye Control focus isn't magical
Eye Control focus isn't magical Finicky USB-C charging support Sold By List Price Price Amazon $5,999.00 $5,999.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Walmart $6,999.00 $5,999.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Canon $5,999.00 $5,999.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Canon EOS R3 Review
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Best Starting Point for New Photogs and Vloggers 4.5 Outstanding Bottom Line: The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is a slimmer, more affordable full-frame camera, with loads of appeal for photographers shopping for an entry-level or midrange model. PROS Excellent 24MP full-frame sensor
Excellent 24MP full-frame sensor 5-axis IBIS
5-axis IBIS Improved DFD focus system
Improved DFD focus system 10-bit 4K60 video
10-bit 4K60 video 5.9K ProRes Raw with Ninja V
5.9K ProRes Raw with Ninja V Dust and splash protection
Dust and splash protection Superb ergonomics
Superb ergonomics Dual SDXC card slots CONS L-mount lens library still growing
L-mount lens library still growing Tracking focus limited to 6fps Sold By List Price Price Amazon $1,997.99 $1,697.99 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Review
Sony a1 Best for Blackout-Free Photography at 30fps 4.5 Outstanding Bottom Line: The Sony a1 is a true do-it-all camera, one that is equally adept at high-speed sports imaging, slow-working landscape photography, and professional video. It's priced to match, but it delivers. PROS Stacked full-frame 50MP sensor
Stacked full-frame 50MP sensor Up to 30fps Raw photography
Up to 30fps Raw photography Superior autofocus and subject tracking
Superior autofocus and subject tracking Internal 10-bit 8K recording
Internal 10-bit 8K recording 4K120 for slow motion
4K120 for slow motion 5-axis stabilization
5-axis stabilization High-magnification viewfinder
High-magnification viewfinder Dust and splash protection
Dust and splash protection Dual CFexpress/SDXC card slots CONS Rear display should be better
Rear display should be better 8K video chews through battery Sold By List Price Price Amazon $6,498.00 $6,498.00 See It (Opens in a new window) B&H Photo Video $6,498.00 $6,498.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Sony a1 Review
Sony a7 IV Best 33MP Stills and 10-Bit 4K for Hybrid Creators 4.5 Outstanding Bottom Line: With a stabilized 33MP sensor, 10-bit 4K, and fast autofocus, the Sony a7 IV is a compelling full-frame camera for creatives. PROS Stabilized full-frame imaging and video
Stabilized full-frame imaging and video 33MP resolution leaves room to crop
33MP resolution leaves room to crop 4K60 video with 10-bit color sampling
4K60 video with 10-bit color sampling Tracks subjects at up to 10fps
Tracks subjects at up to 10fps Configurable controls
Configurable controls Subject recognition for people, animals, and birds
Subject recognition for people, animals, and birds Large lens library CONS 6fps burst shooting at highest quality settings
6fps burst shooting at highest quality settings Omits Pixel Shift multi-shot mode
Omits Pixel Shift multi-shot mode Rear display not as crisp as competitors
Rear display not as crisp as competitors Eye detection focus isn't spot-on with current firmware Sold By List Price Price Amazon $2,498.00 $2,498.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Best Buy $2,499.99 $2,499.99 See It (Opens in a new window) B&H Photo Video $2,498.00 $2,498.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Sony a7 IV Review
Leica M10 Monochrom Best for Pure Black-and-White Imaging 4.0 Excellent Bottom Line: The Leica M10 Monochrom is the dream camera for devotees of classic black-and-white photography. PROS 40MP full-frame monochrome sensor
40MP full-frame monochrome sensor Optical viewfinder with rangefinder focus
Optical viewfinder with rangefinder focus Luxurious fit and finish
Luxurious fit and finish Crisp touch LCD
Crisp touch LCD Dust and splash resistant
Dust and splash resistant Nearly silent mechanical shutter
Nearly silent mechanical shutter Add-on EVF available
Add-on EVF available Wi-Fi CONS Premium pricing
Premium pricing Doesn't do color or video
Doesn't do color or video Manual focus isn't for everyone Sold By List Price Price Amazon $7,944.95 $7,944.95 See It (Opens in a new window) Adorama $8,295.00 $8,295.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Leica M10 Monochrom Review
Canon EOS RP Best Full Frame on a Budget 4.0 Excellent Bottom Line: Canon wants to bring full-frame photography to the masses with the affordable EOS RP. It's a solid camera for the price, but Canon needs to release more low-cost RF-mount lenses to pair with it. PROS Compact body with full-frame sensor.
Compact body with full-frame sensor. Vari-angle LCD.
Vari-angle LCD. Integrated EVF.
Integrated EVF. Quick, accurate autofocus.
Quick, accurate autofocus. Macro stacking and time-lapse tools.
Macro stacking and time-lapse tools. Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi. Attractive price. CONS Small EVF.
Small EVF. Low-cost native lenses not available yet.
Low-cost native lenses not available yet. Inconsistent face and eye detection.
Inconsistent face and eye detection. 4K video suffers from heavy crop.
4K video suffers from heavy crop. Sensor shows limited dynamic range.
Sensor shows limited dynamic range. Small battery.
Small battery. No built-in flash. Sold By List Price Price Amazon $999.00 $999.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Canon EOS RP Review
Canon EOS R6 Best for Speedy Focus and 20MP Stills 4.0 Excellent Bottom Line: The EOS R6 is Canon's best mirrorless camera, with a stabilized, full-frame image sensor and an outstanding autofocus system, but video-first creatives will want to look elsewhere. PROS Outstanding 20MP image sensor
Outstanding 20MP image sensor Quick, smart autofocus
Quick, smart autofocus Subject tracking at 20fps
Subject tracking at 20fps Large, crisp EVF
Large, crisp EVF Swing-out touch LCD
Swing-out touch LCD Dual UHS-II SDXC card slots
Dual UHS-II SDXC card slots Strong 4K video quality CONS 4K60 recording limited by heat
4K60 recording limited by heat Fewer pixels than most competitors
Fewer pixels than most competitors Battery life could be better
Battery life could be better Lens system still has room for growth Sold By List Price Price Amazon $2,899.00 $2,599.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Canon EOS R6 Review
Canon EOS R5 Best for 45MP Imaging and 8K Video 4.0 Excellent Bottom Line: Still photographers will find little at fault with the high-resolution Canon EOS R5, but heat management issues will leave video-first creatives looking elsewhere. PROS Superb 45MP full-frame sensor
Superb 45MP full-frame sensor Fast, accurate autofocus
Fast, accurate autofocus Subject tracking at up to 20fps
Subject tracking at up to 20fps Big, brilliant EVF
Big, brilliant EVF Swing-out touch LCD
Swing-out touch LCD 5-axis IBIS
5-axis IBIS CFexpress and UHS-II SDXC card support
CFexpress and UHS-II SDXC card support 8K and 4K video look great CONS Video record time limited by heat
Video record time limited by heat Expensive CFexpress memory required for some features
Expensive CFexpress memory required for some features Battery life could be better
Battery life could be better Lens system still has some room to grow
Lens system still has some room to grow Priced higher than competitors Sold By List Price Price Amazon $3,899.00 $3,699.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Adorama $3,899.00 $3,899.00 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Canon EOS R5 Review
Nikon Z 7 II Best for Hi-Res Images and 4K60 Video 4.0 Excellent Bottom Line: The full-frame mirrorless Nikon Z 7 II is a bit faster than its predecessor and supports dual memory cards, both important for pros. Its autofocus isn't quite as futuristic as its rivals, but it undercuts them on price, and its 45MP image sensor is still one of the best around. PROS Superb 45MP full-frame sensor
Superb 45MP full-frame sensor 5-axis IBIS
5-axis IBIS 4K video at up to 60fps
4K video at up to 60fps Tilting touch LCD
Tilting touch LCD Magnesium build with dust and splash protection
Magnesium build with dust and splash protection Legacy lens support via FTZ adapter
Legacy lens support via FTZ adapter SnapBridge wireless CONS Not many third-party lenses available
Not many third-party lenses available Omits multi-shot sampling mode
Omits multi-shot sampling mode Raw video support costs extra Sold By List Price Price Amazon $2,996.95 $2,796.95 See It (Opens in a new window) Read Our Nikon Z 7 II Review
Buying Guide: The Best Full-Frame Cameras for 2022
Mirrorless, SLR, or Something Else?
Choosing the right full-frame model for you isn't the easiest prospect. You'll need to decide if you want to go with an SLR or mirrorless model—or to buck expectations and opt for a rangefinder or fixed-lens camera instead.
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Mirrorless systems have overtaken SLRs in performance. You'll enjoy wider autofocus coverage, faster burst rates, and much better video than with a traditional optical viewfinder model. If you're not ready to move on, you can still get an excellent SLR from Canon, Nikon, or Pentax.
If you're thinking about moving to mirrorless, you can look to an adapter to take your existing lenses. Canon and Nikon both offer adapters for their respective systems, and other accessories, like flashes, can be used without the need for adapters.
Sony a7 III (Photo: Zlata Ivleva)
The advantages of mirrorless systems are palpable. There are fewer moving parts, and engineers are able to put the autofocus system directly on the sensor, so there's never a need to make focus calibration adjustments, and focus points can extend all the way to the edge of the frame. And, while there's certainly an adjustment period needed for photographers used to optical viewfinders, the fact that an EVF is able to show you a preview of what a photo will look like with current exposure settings makes it easier for photographers to get the exposure where they want it.
Video is the other arena in which mirrorless cameras outpace most competing SLRs. Putting focus on the sensor means that cameras are able to keep up with moving subjects when recording movies, and several models from Canon, Nikon and Sony offer in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which does a very good job steadying handheld video.
Nikon Z 7 II (Photo: Jim Fisher)
There are still plenty of great photos made with SLRs, and while they might not offer as many advanced features as upstart mirrorless rivals, they still have their place. Professionals with years of muscle memory may find that familiar ergonomics trump technical advantages. Others may find that they prefer an old-school, optical viewfinder.
And there's the road less traveled. There are cameras with full-frame sensors, like the Leica M10-R rangefinder series, which is a purely manual focus camera with an optical viewfinder and absolutely no video support.
There are even a few cameras out there with 24-by-36mm sensors and permanently attached lenses. The Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrom, and the Sony RX1R II represent the current crop.
Fixed-lens outliers aside, most photographers buying into full-frame will go with an interchangeable lens camera. And before you settle in on a particular camera, you should make sure it's part of a system that will meet all of the challenges you face as a photographer.
Canon EOS R3 (Photo: Jim Fisher)
Canon has two full-frame systems available. Its well-established SLR series uses the EF lens mount and offers cameras ranging from entry-level to professional. In 2018 it added the EOS R mirrorless family, which uses the RF mount, but can also use EF lenses via an inexpensive adapter.
Panasonic Lumix S5 (Photo: Jim Fisher)
In addition to its iconic M rangefinder series, Leica launched its own mirrorless system, with autofocus, in 2015 with the SL camera. It lived in its niche for a few years, but that changed at the 2018 Photokina conference. Leica announced that Panasonic and Sigma were joining it to form the L-Mount Alliance. Panasonic has released five models so far, and Sigma is shipping its compact fp and fp L, two of the smallest full-frame cameras.
Like Canon, Nikon has two full-frame systems. You can opt for an SLR, which uses the F-mount, and the mirrorless Z-mount system, launched in 2018.
Nikon Z 5 (Photo: Jim Fisher)
Nikon has continued to support its SLR system with new full-frame releases, including 2020's D780, pleasing optical viewfinder devotees. Most of its newer cameras use the mirrorless Z mount. Current full-frame models include the entry-level Z 5, midrange Z 6 II, and high-resolution Z 7 II.
Pentax K-1 (Photo: Paul Maljak)
Pentax is an iconic SLR brand, but doesn't give owners much choice when it comes to full-frame cameras. It's released two—the K-1 and K-1 Mark II—and the Mark II's upgrades are minimal. Both are built around a 36MP sensor, include weather protection, and offer in-body stabilization.
Sony technically has two systems, but its A-mount SLR series is no longer in production. You may still be able to find a99 II second-hand, but it's a camera that only makes sense for photographers with a stash of Minolta and Sony A-mount SLR lenses. If you're in that boat and ready to move on to mirrorless, the Sony LA-EA5 adapter is there to bring your favorite SLR lenses to a mirrorless camera.
Sony a9 (Photo: Zlata Ivleva)
The Sony E mirrorless system is one of the most popular, and fully developed, in the mirrorless segment. After nearly a decade on the market, the company has delivered models tuned for high-speed action, high-resolution capture, and for video. There are loads of lenses available, both first- and third-party, and Sony continues to sell older models with reduced pricing, broadening the appeal for entry-level buyers.
If you're still not sure what system is right for you, we cover all the options, including those with smaller than full-frame sensors, here.
Get the Right Camera
It's easy to buy a full-frame camera—you just need a credit card. It's getting the right one that can be tricky. Once you've settled in on the right system, make sure the model you choose meets your needs. Photographers interested in action should look for one with great autofocus and a fast burst rate, while fine art and landscape specialists will seek out high resolution and extreme dynamic range.
You can take a look at our latest reviews to see what's just come to market. We also have some tips for enthusiasts who want to get more out of their camera, and guides with instructions on getting great shots of fireworks and lightning.
The 7 Best Mirrorless Cameras (2022): Full Frame, APS-C, and More
You know what's the least important part of taking a great photo? Gear. The vision you have and the work you put into realizing it are far more critical.
That's not to say gear doesn't matter, just that it's best used in service of something larger, not obsessed over. That's why this guide doesn't get too deep into the weeds of megapixel counts, sensor sizes, and pixel peeping. All these cameras are capable of producing amazing images; which one is right for you depends more on your needs than the size of the sensor.
But choosing the right one can be confusing. I've spent years now testing dozens of cameras in all kinds of shooting scenarios to come up with what I think are the best choices for different types of photographers.
Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, like the Best Compact Cameras, Best Camera Bags, and Best Action Cameras.
Updated August 2022: We've added some more buying advice and updated pricing and availability throughout.
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