Looking for a really good full-frame camera? You probably know that Nikon is one of the top camera manufacturers out there, and their full-frame options rarely disappoint. From the outstanding flagships that excite even the most experienced photographers to the incredibly affordable entry-level cameras that are perfect for enthusiasts – Nikon’s range of full-frame cameras caters to everyone.
At A Glance: Best Nikon Full Frame Cameras
In this detailed review, we will tell you all you need to know about the best full-frame Nikon cameras you can get, including DSLR and mirrorless options. And now, let’s get into all the best full-frame cameras from Nikon!
Nikon’s Flagship Full Frame DSLR
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Latest Mirrorless Full Frame Camera
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Best Budget Full Frame Camera
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Best Mid-Range Option For Enthusiasts
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Best Mirrorless Full Frame Camera
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Best Full Frame Camera For Astrophotography
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The D6 is Nikon’s best and most expensive full frame camera. It’s definitely an option aimed at professional photographers who will not settle for anything less than top notch quality.
This full-frame camera was released in May 2020, so it’s a pretty new toy that not many people have had the opportunity to play with.
The full-frame camera features Nikon’s most powerful autofocus system yet, with 105 focus points max. The DSLR boasts a max standard ISO sensitivity of 102,400, and that can be further expanded up to a whooping ISO 3,280,000.
This camera is also great for shooting video, as it can record 4K footage at 30 fps. If you go down to Full HD, you’ll be able to record at 60 fps – not quite as impressive as their mirrorless flagship counterpart, but still much better than you’d get on most other full-frame DSLRs
Additionally, the D6 features a top continuous shooting speed of 14 fps, which is about 40% faster than their flagship mirrorless camera. And more than twice as fast as their entry-level full-frame DSLR.
The largest downside of this outstanding camera is its price point – it costs as much as a decent used car, so it’s definitely not something everyone can afford. And it’s a pretty bulky beast that weighs about 44.8 oz without a lens.
But that’s because of the insanely durable body that’s made from magnesium alloy. This full-frame camera features extensive weather sealing, and it represents the pinnacle of Nikon’s dust and water resistance technology.
There are lots of other things to love about the D6, like the touch sensitive 3.2” monitor, the built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, and the eye sensor that automatically switches between viewfinder and monitor displays. But suffice it to say – if you’re looking for the absolute best thing you can get your hands on and money’s not an object, this is exactly what you are looking for.
The Z7 is Nikon’s newest and best mirrorless camera. It features a full-frame sensor with 45.7MP, and a max continuous shooting rate of 9 fps. The Z7 body weighs a mere 20.7 ounces, which is why this is one of our favorite cameras for backpackers. It is ultra-lightweight, and it is an excellent option for everyone who wants professional quality images from a portable camera.
This Nikon mirrorless camera features a tilting touch-sensitive monitor with a 3.2” diagonal. The monitor brightness has 11 levels that you can manually control, so it will be convenient to use even in really bright conditions.
And there’s always the electronic viewfinder, which even has an eye sensor that automatically switches between the monitor and viewfinder displays. One thing I really like about the Z7’s EVF is that you can turn off the setting makes the viewfinder and LCD monitor display similar colors, brightness, and contrast. With the setting, the EVF feels more like the optical viewfinder of DSLRs – whether that’s a good or bad thing is a whole different matter that I won’t get into right now.
Nikon Z7 full-frame mirrorless camera is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps, and you can get up to 120fps if you scale down to Full HD. This is is amazing for slow-motion videos, especially with the incredibly fast 493 single-point autofocus.
This camera has a max standard ISO sensitivity of 25,600, but you can expand that up to 102,400. However, there is a lot of noise at the highest expanded ISO setting, so you might not want to use it too often.
The Z7 is thought to be one of the best full-frame mirrorless cameras ever manufactured, and it is priced accordingly. The body alone will set you back almost $3,000, and if you add a lens into that equation, the price just continues to skyrocket. Is it really worth that much money? Go to the Z6 review and find out!
The D610 is Nikon’s most affordable full-frame camera, and it’s the one I would recommend the everyone who can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on a DSLR. It’s still not a cheap camera, but full-frame options don’t get cheaper than this.
Also, the D610 was released way back in 2013, so you can often find really good deals for this camera that put it under $1000. But that’s just for the body – a decent lens kit will still set you back more than a couple of grand. Which is an excellent deal, compared to the prices of Nikon’s other full-frame cameras.
You could grab a renewed camera body for some $600-700 – an absolute bargain for this type of camera.
Nikon D610 features a 24.3 MP sensor, with a max (expanded) ISO sensitivity of 25,600. This full-frame camera is capable of shooting videos in 1080p resolution, but the best frame rate you’re going to get is 30fps. You can get up to 60 fps, but you will have to scale down to 720p.
The fastest shutter speed D610 offers is 1/4000, and the slowest one is 30 seconds – more than enough if you want to get some really amazing long-exposure photos in low light. This camera has a built-in flash that’s suitable for a max distance of 39 ft, and it is possible to adjust flash compensation from -3 to +1 EV.
The entry-level DSLR has a fixed 3.2” monitor, but it is not touch-sensitive. Also, the camera does not have built-in WiFi, but you can get Nikon’s WiFi adapter that plugs into the mini USB on the left side of the camera body.
In general, it’s these little features that make the entry-level camera so affordable. The D610 is still an excellent option for beginners and people who are just discovering the joys of a full-frame 35mm format sensor.
The Nikon D780 is a semi-professional full-frame camera, quite similar to the D850. But the D780 is much younger than its full-frame brother – the Nikon camera was released in January 2020, so it’s relatively new on the market.
It’s also a lot cheaper than its older brother, so it’s a decent contender not just for professionals, but also for enthusiasts. The camera has a 24.5MP full-frame sensor with a max ISO sensitivity of 51,200. It is capable of recording 4K video at 30 fps, and you can get up to 120fps if you switch to Full HD instead of 4K.
And all video you capture will be perfectly clear and focused, thanks to the 51-point AF system. This camera actually has the same autofocus algorithm as the long-standing D5 flagship, as well as EXPEED 6 image processing. Which means impressive clarity and detail in every single photo (and video) you take.
The D780 features a magnesium alloy and carbon fiber body, with extensive weather sealing around all the moving parts and buttons. It’s a very durable camera that performs outstandingly well even in really rough weather conditions. And it’s seriously lightweight at just 29.7 oz, making it a great choice for any adventure.
One aspect in which this full-frame camera excels is long exposure photography. With a long exposure M mode that lets you leave the shutter open for a whooping 900 seconds (15 minutes), the D780 will be your go-to for capturing star trails and waterscapes.
This Nikon full-frame camera also boasts a touch-sensitive LCD monitor with a 170° viewing angle, giving you maximum flexibility when trying to get those impossible shots.
It is also important to note that the D780 has a battery life of some 2260 shots on a single charge – some 400 shorts more than the $1000 pricier D850.
The Z6 might have been updated with a newer model in the past couple of years, but it’s still a worthy contender. For one, the fact that there’s a newer model means that this one experienced a serious price drop, making it a very attractive option for photography enthusiasts.
And honestly, the difference between the Z6 and the Z7 isn’t even that big. I dare say that it’s definitely not a $1500 difference, which happens to be just how much the Z6 is cheaper than its younger brother.
This full-frame mirrorless camera features a 24.5MP sensor with a max ISO sensitivity of 51,200. That’s actually double the max sensitivity of the Z7, which means better low light performance. Sure, the Z7 does feature a sensor with nearly twice as bigger a resolution, but do you really need more than 25 MP? Even the flagship D6 maxes out at 20MP, and that’s a $6000 professional DSLR camera!
Another reason to go for the Z6 instead of the Z7 is the max continuous shooting speed. The newer mirrorless camera experienced a downgrade in this aspect, considering that the Nikon Z6 features a max continuous shooting speed of 12 fps.
The only aspect in which the Z6 is drastically worse than the pricier Z7 is the number of focus points. It features a 273-point sensor AF that covers 90% of the frame, which is 220 fewer focus points than the Z7.
This Nikon camera also features a weather-sealed body that weighs 20.7 oz, and which is the exact same size (and weight for that matter) as the body of the Z7. On top of that, the Z6 is equipped with a tilting, touch-sensitive monitor, built-in WiFi, and even built-in image stabilization.
Also, the Z6 has the exact same downsides as the Z7 – no built-in flash and a disappointing battery life of 330 shots. Unless you desperately want the better autofocus and excessive 45MP sensor, I’d say go with the cheaper camera and spend the difference on a really good lens.
The D810A is Nikon’s take on a full-frame camera specifically designed for astrophotography. It boasts the slowest shutter speed of 900 seconds, as well as a noise-free performance at the highest ISO sensitivity of 12,800, for outstanding shots of the starry night sky.
This camera was designed exclusively around astrophotography and it has several features that back up that claim. There’s the IR filter, which is optimized for H-alpha red tones – this result is a sensitivity of 656 nm wavelength, which is four times more than you have on an average DSLR.
This also means that the sensor of the D810A is not really suitable for general photography. You can still get decent photos, but they will look a bit off, which isn’t really acceptable for such a high price point.
If you wanted a more versatile camera that’s also suitable for astrophotography, I recommend you go with the D780 – it also boasts the slowest shutter speed of 15 minutes, but without the extra features, making it a much more versatile option.
The D810A has a 36.3MP sensor that ensures very sharp images, a max continuous shooting speed of 5 fps, and the ability to record Full HD video at 60fps. It can’t record in 4K, there’s no built-in WiFi and the fixed monitor is not touch-sensitive.
Let’s talk about the battery life of the D810A – while Nikon claims that you can get up to 1200 shots from a single charge, that doesn’t appear to be the case in practice. For some reason, this camera consumes a lot more battery than the brand’s other full-frame DSLRs, and in reality, its battery life is much shorter. Some people are reporting that they can’t get more than 200-300 shots per charge when shooting in RAW format and spending a lot of time in the menu.
The D850 is Nikon’s mid-range professional camera. It has all the features a professional photographer needs, but with a more reasonable price point than its flagship cameras. It’s still a pricey DSLR, but that’s completely justified considering its outstanding capabilities.
This full-frame camera features a 45.7 MP image sensor, with an ISO sensitivity range of 64 – 25,600. It has a tilting, touch-sensitive 3.2” display, as well as dual card slots and a battery life of 1,840 shots. The camera is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, with the possibility of recording at 60 fps if you go down to Full HD.
This full-frame DSLR is also extremely durable, with a magnesium alloy and carbon fiber body that provide the camera with outstanding shock resistance. On top of that, the D850 features extensive weather and dust sealing, which allows you to shoot even in really harsh weather conditions, without worrying whether or not the camera can handle it.
One thing I find disappointing about the D850 is that the max continuous shooting speed is only 7 frames per second. That’s half of what the D6 offers, and just 1 fps more than you can get with the D610 – a camera that’s just half the price of this one.
But, unlike the more affordable DSLR, the D850 has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing you to transfer and view your photos as you are shooting them. It also has a dynamic 135-point autofocus system, which supports both 3D tracking and group area AF.
All in all, if you’re looking for a full-frame camera that can do it all but it’s still not outrageously expensive, the D850 is the best option for you. It’s easily Nikon’s best DSLR, in terms of image quality, price point, durability, battery life, and even weight (32.3 oz).
You didn’t really think I forgot about the D5, did you? The camera’s was Nikon’s full frame flagship for four years, and it’s still one of the best full frame DSLRs that exist. The fact that even a renewed camera body costs a small fortune clearly proves that.
The D5 is an outstanding full-frame camera with a 20.8MP sensor. It has a max ISO sensitivity of 102,400 that expands all the way to 3,280,000 – same as the D6. You can record 4K video at 30fps, but you can get 60fps only if you scale down to Full HD.
This camera features a generous grip, for maximum stability and security when shooting. However, that’s also one of its downsides – the D5 is a bulky gadget that weighs a little over 3lbs. Try carrying a 3lb dumbbell on a strap around your neck and see just how fast you’ll start to feel the pain.
The Nikon camera has a shutter speed of 1/8000 to 30 seconds, which gives you a lot of room to work with. However, if you’re specifically interested in long exposure shots, I think you’ll be better of with the D780 – not even the flagship DSLRs can beat its 900-second shutter speed capability.
The D5 features a top continuous shooting speed of 12 fps, which goes up to 14 fps with the mirror up. That is only 2 fps less than the D6, which isn’t too bad for a camera that’s four years older.
However, one area where the D5 is clearly worse than the latest flagship is connectivity. It does not have built-in WiFi or GPS – but honestly, that’s kind of expected for a 2016 DSLR.
One important thing to note is that the D5 body is available in two versions – one has dual CF card slots, while the other boasts two XQD card slots. The latter is the better option if your main purpose for getting a full-frame DSLR is shooting 4K video – for everything else, you can stick with the standard CF cards.
The Nikon Df is perhaps the most exciting and disappointing full-frame camera at the same time. It’s an excellent blend of old-school looks and new-age technology, but with some core issues that are really hard to overlook.
In other words, this is a camera with a very specific audience. If you’re looking for an all-around great full-frame camera, the Df is not for you. But if you’re nostalgic about the feel and look of film cameras, you might just fall in love with this one.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first – the Df is a full-frame camera that costs more than $2,500 but is not capable of recording videos. It does not have built-in WiFi, the monitor is fixed and not touch-sensitive, and the grip is seriously lacking compared to other full-frame DSLRs.
And all of that is okay because the Df isn’t supposed to be a high-tech modern DSLR. It’s supposed to be a blend of old-school controls, feel and look, with modern technology. The Df is supposed to make you feel like you’re somehow shooting digital photos on a film camera, and that’s exactly what it does.
It has a max ISO sensitivity of 12,800, a top continuous shooting speed of 5.5 fps, built-in HDR, and a shutter speed that ranges from 1/4000 to 30 seconds.
One of the best things about this full-frame camera is lens compatibility. You can actually use non-Ai lenses with the Df, which is absolutely amazing. And mind you, this full-frame camera features the image sensor of the D4 flagship, so expect stunning image quality.
On top of that, the dials are actually fun to use and make it super easy to adjust the different image settings. You get different dials for everything (ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, exposure), and you can review the exact settings you’re using on the big LCD in the back – the only piece of hardware on this camera that’s not exactly old-school.
The D750 full-frame camera is another great mid-range option. It’s priced just under $2,000, but you can often find it discounted by $500 or more – this puts it in a price range that’s acceptable to enthusiasts, making it one of the best options for people who are not professional photographers.
This camera features a 24.3MP sensor, with the ability of recording Full HD video at 60fps. It does not have 4K capability which is a shame, but it’s not that big a deal considering the price point. The top continuous shooting speed is 6.5 fps, and the ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 12800.
The shutter speed is also quite good – the fastest is 1/4000, while the longest period of time you can leave the shutter open is 30 seconds. Not impressive, but definitely more than fair for a mid-range full-frame DSLR.
The D750 features a 51-point AF system with 3D metering, for perfectly focused video every time. This is actually a really good camera for filming videos – it allows you to record compressed and uncompressed footage at the same time, and to manually control ISO, shutter speed, and aperture while you are still recording.
In addition to that, this Nikon camera has built-in WiFi, which makes it really easy to transfer photos from the DSLR to other devices. The WiFi feature also allows you to control the camera remotely – you can even use your phone as the display. And it features a tilting monitor, which makes shooting in Live View mode a lot easier.
Overall, the D750 is by no means the most exciting or thrilling Nikon full frame camera out there. But for the price point, it’s definitely one of the best mid-range full-frame DSLRs, especially for photography enthusiasts.
The first thing you need to figure out is whether you want to get a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and I can’t give you the full list of pros and cons right now, but I can tell you the basic differences.
Mirrorless cameras are lighter and more compact, which makes them an excellent option if you’re constantly traveling or going on outdoor adventures where you need a portable camera. DSLRs are everything but portable – they are heavy and bulky, and if you wear them around your neck, you will start to feel the pain in a couple of hours.
However, DSLR cameras have the advantage when it comes to lens selection. They’ve been on the market for about 20 years longer than mirrorless options (more than 25 years if we’re talking just about Nikon), so you have way more options when it comes to lenses. Especially with other popular lens brands like Sigma and Tamron.
Which means better deals and a lot more used and refurbished options. Keep in mind that mirrorless cameras weren’t exactly popular before 2017-208 – it was with the introduction of Nikon’s Z6 and the Canon EOS R that mirrorless cameras finally became a valid alternative to a full-frame DSLR.
Additionally, DSLRs usually have a longer battery life than mirrorless cameras. Just look at Nikon’s cheapest full-frame DSLR, vs. their most expensive mirrorless camera – the D610 has a battery life that’s nearly three times longer than that of Z7!
It’s impossible to say that one type is flat out better than the other, but we can say that one camera type is better for a particular purpose. If you travel a lot and want a lightweight camera that’s easy to pack and doesn’t weigh as much as a newborn with a decent lens, then opt for a mirrorless one. But go with a DSLR came if you prefer the safety of that full-sized grip and the optical viewfinder.
Full frame cameras are very expensive gadgets, and the really good ones cost thousands of dollars. And mind you, that’s just for the body – if you want to get a lens kit, or even a bundle with more than one lens, be prepared to shell out more than $10,000.
If that number is way too high for you, definitely consider going for a refurbished body, instead of a brand new one. Not only can you save thousands of dollars, but you won’t even notice that the camera was used before.
DSLR (and mirrorless) cameras are very tough and durable gadgets. They don’t have a lot of moving parts, so there are really very few things that can break inside of the camera. In fact, there’s just one thing that can malfunction, and that’s the shutter – pretty much the only moving part inside a camera body.
That’s why you should always check the shutter count of a used camera, and compare it against the expected maximum shutter count manufacturers recommend. But, keep in mind that many DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are known to outlive their expected shutter life by tens, and even hundreds of thousands of photos.
I’ve linked a used option wherever possible, and you can find the links in the mini-reviews. If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend going with a used camera body and then spending the money you have leftover on a really good lens or two.
Can’t decide on just one full-frame camera? Then go with one of our top three picks, depending on your budget and skill level!
Nikon’s flagship full-frame DSLR is the D6, and it’s the one to get if you’re looking for the brand’s absolute pinnacle of full-frame technology. It boasts an outstanding max continuous shooting speed of 14 fps, full support for 4K video recording at 30fps, an incredibly sharp 20.8MP image sensor, and an ISO sensitivity that expands to an astounding 3,280,000. The camera has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, it features a touch-sensitive 3.2″ LCD monitor, and it has a battery life of some 3,580 shots on a single charge. But it is a really pricey gadget, making it a valid option only for professional photographers or ultra-rich enthusiasts.
In case you really want a mirrorless camera, I have to recommend the Z6. It is an amazing mirrorless camera with a 24.5MP image sensor, and the capability of recording 4K video at 30fps. The Z6 features a max ISO sensitivity of 51,200, a top continuous shooting speed of 12 fps, and a 273-point autofocus system for perfectly sharp photos and videos. It might not be the latest full-frame mirrorless camera Nikon has to offer, but it’s definitely the best one you can get without spending a small fortune.
If you are a photography enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with the D610. Especially if you have no experience with full-frame cameras – the D610 is the perfect camera for people who are just discovering the joys of that FX sensor, but who can’t afford to drop a small fortune on a camera. It has a great battery life, it is capable of recording Full HD videos at 30fps and it has a max continuous shooting speed of 6fps. But the main selling point of the D610 is that you can often find it on sale for under $1000, which is a steal for a full-frame body.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices of all the Nikon full-frame cameras featured in this review. And be sure to check out our related posts, for ideas on other amazing DSLR, mirrorless, and even point and shoot cameras we absolutely love!
But first, let’s talk about what exactly a full-frame camera is.
Before we get to the best full-frame camera from Nikon, let’s talk for a second about what exactly that means. A full-frame camera is a camera that has a sensor that is almost the same size as the classic 35mm film. On average, the sensor of a full frame camera measures 24 x 36mm (give or take 0.1mm). The average DSLR has an APS-C sensor that measures 22 x 15mm. But, what does that mean in practice?
It means that full-frame cameras can capture a larger surface area than a basic DSLR. Have you ever taken a photo and thought, damn I wish I had a wide-angle lens so I could capture more in a single shot? Well, that’s what a full frame camera will do for you – it allows you to capture larger surfaces, thanks to the bigger sensor.
Some people say that becoming an excellent photographer is as simple as switching to a full-frame camera. And, while you might get photos that look different, the quality still depends on the type of camera you are using, as well as the lens and your skill level. But you will definitely get photos that look different, and in many cases, they will look better than they would on a standard DSLR.
That’s the main thing you need to know.