Did you know that you can get fully-featured full-frame cameras without breaking the bank? You didn’t? Well, this roundup is for you. If you want to move into the world of full-frame cameras without giving your bank manager (or significant other) a heart attack, you’re in the right place.
Many people will lead you to believe that you need to spend thousands of dollars to get great full-frame cameras these days. We’re here to tell you that this is fake news. You can spend well under $2,000, and in some cases, under $1,000 and still get a full-frame camera that is capable of producing the goods.
The full-frame cameras we’ve listed here have modern features like advanced autofocus systems, incredibly powerful sensors, top-notch build qualities, and some even have IBIS. So, if you want a full-frame camera in 2022 that offers incredible features and performance and you want to spend less than $2,000, check out the options below.
One of the smallest full-frame cameras — Canon EOS RP
The Canon EOS RP is a few years old now. Still, the Canon EOS RP is one of the best thrifty full-frame cameras on the market. What makes the Canon EOS RP special, you ask? Well, the biggest selling point is the 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, which offers impeccable image quality. On top of this, there’s a great EVF, a fully articulating LCD touchscreen and so much more.
Autofocus performance is outstanding thanks to the 4,779 selectable AF points which are powered by Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus. There’s also eye and face detect autofocus to boot. To round things out, the RP is privy to one of the most user-friendly menu systems in the game. At under $1,000, the Canon EOS RP is easily one of the best affordable full-frame cameras on the market.
A solid all around performer — Nikon Z 5
When talking about thrifty full-frame cameras it’s impossible to ignore the Nikon Z 5. Most people overlook this camera and that’s a shame because this 24-megapixel option is incredibly capable and it costs less than $1,400!
The Nikon Z 5 is more than good enough for most genres of photography. The camera is rapid and accurate with 273 selectable focus points. The native ISO goes up to 51,200, you can fire off 4.5 frames per second, there are five stops of IBIS to play with. There’s a large touch screen, dual card slots, a bright tiltable LCD, USB charging and more. All for under $1,400 (under $1,300 when on sale). If you want a full-frame camera and you don’t want to break the bank, this is a camera you need to take a closer look at.
One of the toughest full-frame cameras — Pentax K-1 II
The Pentax K-1 Mark II is one of the most underrated full-frame DSLRs of all time. For the price, the feature set in the K-1 Mark II is unmatched. The image quality from the 36.4-megapixel sensor is fantastic. The K-1 II is meticulously crafted and solidly built. It has some of the best weather sealing of any camera on the market. The Pentax K-1 II is also packed with amazing technology and has one of the best optical viewfinders you’ll ever use.
Inside you’ll find 5-axis IBIS, a self-leveling sensor, dual card slots, and a unique swivel LCD. Astrotracer, which rotates the sensor and tracks the stars, is also brilliant. There are handheld and tripod-based hi-res imaging modes, dials and custom buttons galore, and so much more. It’s an absolute bargain at under $1,800. Used, you’ll pay around $1,300. It’s one of the best full-frame cameras under $2,000.
It has everything a modern creator needs — Panasonic Lumix S5
The full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5 gets many things right, including image quality, build quality and weather sealing. The Lumix S5 performs incredibly well in all situations and all-weather scenarios including the rain, blowing dust, and the cold. How would I know? I’ve owned and used this camera professionally for a year now.
But, the autofocus system, Brett! What about it? It’s perfectly fine for photography. I have never had a single issue with the camera and I have used it to track motocross riders zooming around a track, birds flying, and I have used it at badly lit events. The Lumix S5 has never let me down. There are two card slots, a fully articulating screen, and the battery life is solid. The ergonomics are superb, and the images from the 24-megapixel sensor are stunning. Grab it when it’s on sale for under $1,700 and you’ll have a killer full-frame camera that won’t let you down.
A bargain in the world of full-frame cameras — Sony a7R II
OK, yes, the Sony a7R II is a little old now. Still, the Sony a7R II is one of the best thrifty full-frame cameras you can get your hands on. Why? This mirrorless camera packs a whopping 42.4-megapixel sensor, 5-axis IBIS, dual card slots, 399 autofocus points, Wi-Fi, NFC, 4K video modes and much more.
On top of the impressive camera specs, the Sony a7R II has access to the largest mirrorless lens library. Not only can you get a great full-frame camera on the cheap, but you’ll also have access to some incredible (and super affordable) lenses as well. At under $1,400 new and less than $1,000 used, this camera is hard to ignore.