What is a Full-Frame DSLR Camera?

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Updated December 2, 2022

If you are new to the world of snapping photos on a digital camera, you may wonder what is a full-frame DSLR camera. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex, and this type of camera integrates mirrors and prisms for increased visual clarity.


  • DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex, and this type of camera integrates mirrors and prisms for increased visual clarity.
  • A full-frame DSLR features a large 35 mm image sensor that goes beyond what is normally found with standard DSLR offerings.
  • This full-frame sensor allows for even more detail, unique photographic effects, dynamic range, and low-light performance.

What Does Full-Frame DSLR Camera Mean?

Before learning the benefits of a full-frame digital camera, it helps to understand the definition. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex, and this type of camera uses mirrors and prisms to increase the image quality if you are looking for a good digital SLR camera. Full-frame in this equation refers to the image sensor size if you are learning how to use a DSLR camera.

Insider Tip

Make sure to shop around to find a budget-friendly full-frame DSLR, as this type of camera can get quite expensive.

A full-frame camera includes a 35 mm image sensor that mimics the standard film format, even if you are comparing a Sony A7 vs a Sony A6300.

What is the Difference Between Full-Frame DSLR and Standard DSLR?

The difference is the size of the image sensor. When you just say “DSLR,” that leaves the image sensor size wide open, and this means the sensor is typically smaller than 35 mm. However, a full-frame DSLR camera indicates a camera with DSLR technology and a large 35 mm image sensor.

Benefits of a Full-Frame DSLR Camera

There are a number of benefits to choosing a full-frame DSLR camera.

Low-Light Performance

The larger size of a full-frame image sensor allows for better visuals when snapping photos in low-light conditions. Standard DSLR cameras include a wide range of lighting options, known as the ISO setting, but a full-frame DSLR can handle unique lighting needs right from the get-go. This makes these cameras perfect for astrophotography, as normal DSL cameras typically stall out when taking detailed night photos.

Shallow Depth of Field

Full-frame DSLRs allow for a shallower depth of field than their cropped counterparts. Why is this useful? It is absolutely necessary for certain types of photos, such as creating a blurred bokeh effect. As a matter of fact, many unique effects are assisted by this shallow depth of field.

STAT: Of those living in a household where the total income was 100,000 U.S. dollars or more per year, 58 percent said that they owned Canon products. (source)

Higher Detail and Resolution

The larger image sensor included with full-frame DSLR cameras makes some stunning photos with greater detail and a higher resolution when compared to standard-size DSLR cameras. In other words, this type of camera is great for professionals.

Full-Frame DSLR FAQs

How to get the most out of any camera?

Whether you are using a Canon EOS, a Mark II, a Mark IV, or a mirrorless camera, get the most out of your purchase by adding some full-frame lenses and adjusting the settings to improve image quality.

Which sensor size is right for you?

Full-frame cameras ship in a variety of image sensor sizes, and they all offer a decent dynamic range. Choose larger sensors if you want to take huge photos, and go with mirrorless cameras if simplicity is your must-have feature.

When do I choose a full-frame camera?

Use a full-frame sensor when you are looking to take large photos that remain completely intact and go above standard full-frame cameras. Models such as the Canon EOS and Mark IV allow for taking larger-than-average stills.