In this article, we are going to talk about such an important parameter of a camera as the size of the camera matrix and reveal what a full frame camera is.
As a rule, manufacturers and marketers usually like to operate with the number of megapixels. They claim that the quality of shots depends mostly on the number of megapixels and many amateurs believe them. However, is this statement is true? Of course, the camera’s resolution is an essential factor that really has an influence on the image quality, but what is much more important is the size of the matrix!
What is Matrix?
A matrix (also called photosensitive matrix, sensor or photosensor) is a chip made of photodiodes, which is an essential part of any digital camera.
In modern cameras, the matrix is an element that replaces roll films, used in old models. If older cameras drove the image through the lens to a roll film and stored it there, modern ones drive it straight to the matrix, which, in its turn, processes the image and transfers it to the SD card or internal storage.
What Does the Term “Full Frame” Stand for?
If you have never heard this term before or simply don’t have an idea of what it stands for, here is a simple definition – it is one of the terms that define the camera’s sensor size. The size of such a matrix is approximately equal to the frame size of a 35-millimeter roll film that was used in old photo cameras.
What are the key technical specs of full frame DSLR cameras? It is worth to start with mentioning that such sensors are expensive to manufacture, which means that full frame cameras, as a rule, come in rather big sizes, large weight, and are often very expensive. At the same time, they show outstanding performance and image quality. Due to all these factors, full frame sensor DSLR cameras are considered professional and used mostly by pro photographers. However, such models can perform great even in the hands of amateurs and beginners, if they have basic skills and are ready to spend lots of cash on a camera.
Now, when you have a better idea of what full frame means, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages it has!
Let’s look at a few features that make full frame DSLRs so attractive.
In our opinion, the main advantage of full-frame cameras is the quality of the viewfinder. If you have ever used an old film SLR, you were probably impressed with the size and brightness of the viewfinder. In this case, you will be pleased with the quality of viewfinders featured in full-frame cameras as, in these terms, they significantly outdo models that have smaller sensors.
If you have never checked how the full-frame viewfinder works, be sure to try! With it, it is much easier to manually focus the lens and control the zone of sharpness.
Depth of Field
This advantage is often overlooked. However, it is quite important. Full frame cameras actually give you more control over the depth of field.
Better Performance in Low Light
Full frame sensors allow you to capture more light, which significantly improves the performance of the camera in low light conditions. Thus, you get better sharpness, focus, and quality when shooting in dark environments.
You probably know about the effect of multiplying the focal length, which is given by cameras with a cropped sensor.
Full frame models, on the contrary, give you a broader perspective. These cameras have larger focal length, which will be a significant advantage for many professional and amateur photographers.
High ISO Indicators
Cameras equipped with larger sensors normally have better ISO performance with noise reduction.
Color Depth and Dynamic Range
Larger sensors are more powerful. Thus, they can identify a larger tonal range, giving you better color depth and improved quality of details.
While there are many significant advantages, full frame cameras are still not suitable for everyone. Some people prefer models with smaller sensors due to several disadvantages of full frame. Here are the key cons you have to keep in mind:
As was already mentioned earlier, full frame cameras are much more expensive. Thus, not everyone can afford one. However, due to the growing popularity of such models, we can expect to see some more affordable options soon. After all, not all full frame DSLRs that are available on the market today are extremely expensive, there are some models that can be purchased at a fairly low price.
Slow Frame Rate
Another significant disadvantage of a bigger (and more powerful) sensor is that it processes too much information, which is why its flame rate in a burst mode is quite slow.
Finally, one more disadvantage of a full frame camera is its weight and size. DSLR cameras are generally known for being big and bulky. However, those that feature a full frame sensor are often even bigger. This may not be a significant drawback for people, who are not planning long photo trips. However, if you are going to carry your camera with you for many hours, that might be a problem!
Top Five Semi Professional DSLR Cameras
So, you now know everything you should about the full frame sensors, their pros, and cons, and you still think of getting one? Then, you are probably wondering which model to choose. Luckily for you, we have already tested and evaluated different options available on the market to give you a list of the best cameras in this segment!
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
We are going to open up our top list with one of the best Canon DSLR full frame sensor cameras that you can get in 2019! This model offers top-notch performance at a price that won’t make you go bankrupt!
- Excellent AF system
- Articulated touchscreen
- Will suit both professionals and amateurs
- Excellent performance
- Relatively low price
- Low video quality
- The viewfinder doesn’t have 100% coverage
Technical specs: This model has a resolution of 26.2MP. It is equipped with a high-quality optical viewfinder and 6.5fps burst speed. Its video resolution is a bit low – only 1080p. It will suit even amateurs.
Canon EOS 5DS R
This is another top-notch option among Canon full frame DSLR cameras. Its price is slightly higher compared to the rest of the options on this list. However, it is definitely worth it. It has the highest number of megapixels compared to many other models. Also, it is mostly designed for professionals.
- Excellent textures and details
- Outstanding quality of images
- Lighter than some models
- Reduced vibration
- Not good for novices
- Creates noisy high-ISO images
Technical specs: This model boasts of an impressive full frame sensor with a resolution of 50.6MP. It features a fixed screen and optical viewfinder. Its maximum burst speed is 5fps, and it has max video resolution of 1080p. This camera is designed for professionals.
Our next option is one of the best professional Nikon cameras DSLR. It is one of the cheapest options on this list, and it offers lots of value for money! This camera is quite simple in use, which makes it a perfect option for a first-time camera. Finally, it shows excellent performance in different conditions and various types of photography, so it is a great deal!
- Smaller weight compared to similar models
- Excellent quality
- Full HD video
- 24.3MP full-frame sensor
- Great autofocus system
- No NFC or Wi-Fi
- Doesn’t feature flip screen
Technical specs: This full frame DSLR has a resolution of 24.3MP and features a 3.2in display. It has a standard optical viewfinder, supports Full HD, and offers 6fps shooting speed. It is suitable for amateurs and beginners. But, unfortunately, it comes without tilting screen, Wi-Fi, and NFC.
One more model designed by Nikon takes a deserved place in our top list. This model surprises with its versatility and the value for money it offers. It also gives you perfect image quality although it comes at a fairly low price. One more highlight of D750 is its excellent AF system that has 51 focus point and shows accurate and fast performance.
- Value for money
- Excellent image quality
- Fair price
- Tilting screen
- Excellent autofocus with 51 points
- Doesn’t feature a touchscreen
- Doesn’t support 4K
Technical specs: This model has a resolution of 24.3MP. It is equipped with a tilting screen but doesn’t feature a touchscreen. It has an optical viewfinder. In addition, this camera has a maximum burst speed of 6.5fps and video resolution of 1080p. It is designed for both professionals and amateurs.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon DSLR full frame cameras are very reliable and functional, which is why our last option is also a camera developed by this brand. It offers a decent amount of megapixels, features a high-quality touchscreen. Also, it is the only option in our list that supports 4K video recording. Of course, all these benefits make Canon EOS 5D Mark IV stand out from the crowd, which is why it is also the most expensive model on this list.
- Support for 4K
- Excellent AF with 61 focus point
- Fast autofocus
- Doesn’t feature tilting screen
- Designed for professionals
Technical specs: This model has a resolution of 30.4MP, which is a decent indicator for this type of camera. It features a fixed touchscreen and an optical viewfinder. It supports 4K video resolution and has a maximum burst speed of 7fps. This camera is designed for professionals.