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Photography is an expensive hobby, but if you’ve been wanting to upgrade to a full-frame camera for a long time, there’s no wider choice at all price points. Whether you’re looking to buy a mirrorless or DSLR, new or used, there are some great and affordable options, especially now that we’re in the middle of sales season.
Of course, Black Friday camera discounts have ended, but some of these discounts are still available. While discounts on some trade events aren’t as great as they seem, we’re getting record low prices on full-frame cameras like the Nikon Z5. These deals are just the start – look around for used items and you’ll find some great options for under $500/£500.
Before we dive into them, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, a full frame camera is not necessarily “better” than a crop sensor alternative, or the right choice for you. It all depends on what you like to shoot or shoot. The benefits of full frame are wide dynamic range, strong low-light performance, and pleasing bokeh effects, but they come at a price – both in terms of economics and the overall size of the system, this may bother you.
Also, the appeal of a “cheap” full-frame camera is often a mirage. The whole point of an interchangeable lens camera is to be able to use different lenses for creative effect, and interchangeable lenses are rarely cheap. Choosing a full-frame camera is not just about choosing the right body, it’s also about choosing the right lens system.
However, an affordable camera body is always a good start, and there are ways to build a full-frame system without spending a lot of money – like converting an old Canon or Nikon DSLR lens, or using used glass, too. So let’s take a look at the best value full-frame options right now – and why they’re the best option for today’s 35mm equivalent.
The popularity of full-frame cameras has skyrocketed in recent years, in large part because major camera brands — Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Leica — have developed new mirrorless systems based on the sensor format.
It will take several years for these systems to mature, but by the end of 2022 we will have a good opportunity to make a choice. Professionals and wealthy hobbyists can splurge on top-of-the-line full-frame cameras at high prices, while those of us on a budget can find great value for our money in bargains on previous generation models or used items.
Unfortunately, the arrival of a new full-frame camera doesn’t always translate into an immediate price reduction over its predecessor. Some popular models, such as the Canon EOS R6, will continue to command high prices as the pace of innovation in new models inevitably hits a ceiling.
But it’s also fair to say that we rarely see the full frame deals we have these days.
Let’s start with the best deals after Black Friday for those who want to get something new. In the US, you can get the Nikon Z5 for $996 (opens in a new tab), the lowest price ever and a great deal if you’re a photographer (not a videographer) first. If you want a compact, travel-friendly body, the relatively new Sony A7C retains its $1,598 Black Friday price (Opens in a new tab). It’s not cheap, but it’s more affordable than some APS-C cameras like the Fujifilm X-T5, and Sony still has the widest selection of full-frame lenses. The Z5 is also a newer camera than the Canon EOS RP, which is now $999/£1,049.
In the UK, the price of the Nikon Z5 has also dropped to an all-time low of £999 on Amazon (opens in a new tab), or you can get a kit with a 24-50mm kit lens for just £1,199 (on the Opens in a new tab) . We also recently took a look at the Sony A7 III and while the new Sony A7 IV is now on sale, it’s still a great camera that’s reduced to £1,276 with an Amazon voucher. It may be four years old, but the A7 III has a tried and tested sensor, offers 10fps burst shooting, is complemented by a variety of lenses, and is still getting a firmware update last year that offers features like real-time animal eyes. autofocus.
What if you prefer a DSLR? These are harder to find new ones now, but there are still good full-frame options out there that offer the same value as their US and UK mirrorless successors.
However, when it comes to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the real value lies in the growing used market. The growing popularity of used cameras is mixed: increased competition means prices remain fairly high, but greater choice has led to growth in well-respected markets in the US and UK. A quick glance reveals the impressive value of full-frame photography available now.
For a more in-depth look at how to negotiate in the used market, check out our separate guide on how to buy a used DSLR or mirrorless camera. One of the main things to be wary of is gray imports or “imported models” – for example, this Canon EOS 6D Mark II from Walmart (opens in a new tab) is described as the latest and therefore does not come with a full manufacturer’s warranty repair. .
Just like mileage on a used car, it’s also a good idea to check your camera’s shutter count, or “action”. The maximum quantity is usually between 100,000 and 300,000 depending on the model, but reputable sellers indicate this. Talking of which, some good places to start in the US are B&H Photo Video (opens in new tab), MPB (opens in new tab), Adorama (opens in new tab) and KEH (opens in new tab), while in the UK some of your best bets are MPB (opens in new tab), Ffordes (opens in new tab), Wex Photo Video (opens in new tab) and Park Cameras (opens in new tab).
So which full frame models can you buy right now? If you’re willing to accept basic autofocus and limited battery life, you can find an original Sony A7 in “good condition” (released 2013) at MPB for $494/£464. It won’t be the smoothest photo you’ve ever taken, but its CMOS sensor still delivers impressive quality if you’re willing to shoot handheld.
Having risen in the mirrorless camera class, the Sony A7 II has an even better price to offer, with a ‘like new’ sample (opens in a new tab) priced at just $654 / £669. Meanwhile, the Nikon Z6, which is largely identical to the current Z6 II except for the processor and video tech, is in “good” condition for $899 in the US.
You can find the best value for money with a full frame SLR. The successor to the company’s first truly affordable full-frame camera, the Nikon D610, which is still capable of great photos (if not 4K video), costs just $494/£454 in “mint” MPB condition. If you want a newer model, the Nikon D750 is available for $639 / £699 in “mint” condition.
Naturally, it’s worth digging through used car listings to find a model that meets your specific needs. But the thing is, there are now proven full-frame cameras in almost every price bracket under $500/£500, including some particularly powerful new mirrorless options for under $1,000/£1,000. Until now, this has not been the case.
For many of us, these are difficult financial times and a new camera is not always the best solution to improve your photography skills. Using your existing camera or phone to complete some of your best photography projects is a great way to keep an eye out for a new case or system.
But a combination of holiday sales, the maturation of the mirrorless camera market, the growth of the well-known used market, and stagnation in camera innovation means that if full-frame cameras are what you need to move photography forward, there are rarely as many of them as there are now. cheap things.
Mark is a camera editor for TechRadar. Mark has worked in tech journalism for 17 years and is now trying to break the world record for most camera bags hidden by one person. Previously, he was Camera Editor for Trusted Reviews, Associate Editor for Stuff.tv, and Feature Editor and Review Editor for Stuff Magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for magazines such as The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and The Arena. In a past life, he also received the Daily Telegraph’s Young Sports Reporter of the Year award. But that was before he discovered the uncanny joy of waking up at 4am to head to London’s Square Mile for a photo op.
Post time: Dec-06-2022