Gear Reviews

Go full-frame without breaking the bank

Wanna step up to full-frame without denting your wallet? Here’s 5 great options…

Full-frame photography is the holy grail that most image-makers aspire to. The advantages of full-frame are numerous; no more crop factors to content with, great performance in low light and higher resolutions are all tempting – especially for photographers who make their living taking photos. However, if this is the first time you’re stepping up to full-frame, the chances are that you may not want to blow your budget on the most expensive options. The good news is however that there are a number of great options (both DSLR and mirrorless) that offer full-frame sensors at sensible prices. Let’s take a look at some of these affordable options…

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Canon 6D MkII

Price: £1039 (body only)

The successor to Canon’s hugely popular EOS 6D (arguably the world’s first budget-friendly full-frame camera), the 6D MkII sees a number of improvements to tempt photographers. Built around a 26.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor, which is paired with Canon’s powerful DIGIC 7 processor engine, the 6D MKII offers weather-sealing, meaning the camera can be used in harsh environments.

Boasting a 45-point autofocus system that includes Canon’s acclaimed Dual Pixel AF technology, and images can be lined up using the optical viewfinder or via LiveView using the 3-inch 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle LCD which includes touchscreen technology.

Featuring a vast ISO range of 100-40000 that can be expanded to 50-102400, meaning photographers will be able to keep shooting in low light conditions. The 6D MkII packs a maximum burst rate of 6.5 frames per second and other features include built-in GPS and Wi-Fi too. When it comes to video specs, the 6D MkII can shoot Full HD footage at 60p, enabling videographers to use the footage at half-speed for a slow motion effect.

Weighing 765g, the 6D MkII features an incredibly high-capacity battery that delivers 1200 shots on a single charge – perfect for those who are travelling and may not have access to charging points. 

Nikon D750

Price: £979

Nikon D750 boasts a full-frame 24.3-megapixel sensor paired with the brand’s EXPEED 4 processor engine and is a great option for Nikon shooters stepping up from crop-sensor DSLRs. Built for everyday professional use, you won’t be surprised to hear that the D750 features weather-sealing, to protect the camera from the elements and includes a number of features that will make a big difference out in the field. Let’s start with the native ISO range of 100–12800, which is extendable to 50-51200, ensuring very low noise at the bottom end and the ability to shoot in near darkness at the top end.

The D750 also offers an incredible battery life of 1230 shots off a single charge, ensuring you’ll spend less time changing batteries. The D750’s advanced 51-point autofocus system is sensitive down to -3 EV, enabling the camera to secure focus in low light conditions and image can be reviewed on the huge 3.2-inch LCD, which features a tilting design to help compose awkward high/low viewpoints. 

A maximum burst rate of 6.5 frames per second will help you capture the action when shooting sports and wildlife photography and if you need to capture video as well as stills, the D750 shoots Full HD footage up to 60p. The D750 is a durable camera and the Kevlar/carbon fiber–composite shutter unit is rated for 150,000 actuations.

Sony A7II

Price: £909

Another slightly older camera that still has plenty to offer is Sony’s A7II – a full-frame mirrorless camera that is built around a 24.3MP resolution that is capable of capturing 14-bit RAW files. Priced as an absolute steal compared to newer models, the a7II even offers photographers a 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) system to help keep shots sharp and the sensor steady during an exposure – in fact the system buys back 4.5-stops of compensation for the users.

Compatible with Sony’s extensive range of E-mount lenses and can also take advantage of A-mount lenses via an adaptor. The a7II features an advanced hybrid autofocus system with 117-points to lock on to subjects and a burst rate of 5 frames per second will help users capture the action. Featuring a robust magnesium alloy body and weighs just 599 g (With battery and media), making it a smart choice for those looking to move away from heavier models. Image can be composed using the 2 359 296 dots Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) or the 3-inch (1228k) TFT LCD, which features a tilting design. 

However, it’s video specifications where the a7II really offers amazing value and can capture Full HD footage at 6p. What’s more however, the a7II features Sony Sl-Log 2 profile, enabling videographers to push the colour-grading of footage even further. The Sony a7II also features ports for headphones and an external microphone so enhanced audio can be captured and monitored.


Canon RP

Price: £1029 (body only)

The EOS RP is Canon’s entry-level full-frame mirrorless body, yet includes a huge amount of features found on the more expensive EOS R. Built around a 26.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor and powered by Canon’s powerful DIGIC 8 processor, the RP is a truly lightweight option, with the body tipping the scales at just 485g (with card and battery), which should find favour with travel photographers who don’t want to be weighed down.

Like the EOS R, the EP boasts a very advanced autofocus system and offers an incredible AF point count of 4779 and Face Detection, which will make portraiture a breeze. Images can be lined up using the 2.36m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) or via the 3inch 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD. The EOS RP uses Canon’s range of RF lenses but, thanks to an adaptor, can also make use of all the EF glass used on Canon’s range of DSLR cameras. With a decent ISO range of 100-40000, the RP can shoot in JPEG or RAW file format and offers a maximum burst rate of 5 frames per second.

Along with some great features to creating stills, the EOS RP is also an excellent option for making video content too. On top of the 3-inch LCD that can be flipped round to film Vlogs, the RP is capable of shooting ultra high-quality 4K footage at 25p, along with Full HD at 60p. What’s more, a port for headphones and an external mic will enable users to record and monitor enhanced sound. Users can even extract a 8.3-megapixel JPEG still image from 4K movie sequences.

Nikon D610

Price: £636

If you don’t mind your camera being a slight bit older than the newest models, the Nikon D610 could well be right for you. This is because the Nikon DSLR is one of the most affordable full-frame options on the market and now costs what you would pay for a compact camera, enabling aspiring professionals (even those with a modest budget) to step aboard the full-frame train. Despite being more mature than other options in this round up, the D610 still offers decent resolution and is built around a 24.3-megapixel sensor.

The fully weather-sealed body is suitable for us in harsh environments and the battery life is also impressive, with 900 shots capable from a single charge. A maximum burst rate of 6 frames per seconds should still be enough to capture action sequences and a quiet burst mode will prove particularly useful when shooting wildlife subjects who are typically skittish and easy to scare off.

Landscape shooters may wish to experiment with the in-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature and image can be reviewed using the large 3.2-inch 921-dot VGA LCD monitor. The D610 is even capable of shooting B-roll as it offers Full HD capture and sports two SD card slots, enabling photographers to make an instant back-up or choose to record stills on one card and video on the other. A 39-AF point autofocus system includes 9 cross-type points and enables the use of a teleconverter to extend the focal length of your lens.