Should you upgrade to a full frame digital camera?

May 20, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Should you upgrade your digital camera to a full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera?

That depends, but before I offer my professional opinion, let me share some background. I am a professional nature/landscape photographer and I sell my photos through my website and in 6 League of NH Craftsmen galleries. I currently shoot with a Nikon D5600 (DX format: 24mmx16mm), and I have owned over 20 different types of cameras over the past 50 years (35mm, DSLR, twin lens, medium format SLR’s and a 4x5 view camera). My Nikon D5600 is a 24 MP camera which produces excellent quality photos up to 20x30 with no visible loss in image quality.

I recently purchased a Nikon D850 (FX format: 36mm x 24mm), full frame DSLR camera, thinking this would produce even higher quality prints. Most of my professional photographer friends had already upgraded to a full frame Nikon, Canon, or Sony, so I thought perhaps it was time for me too. Although I did a lot of research on the various models before selecting the Nikon D850, I didn’t do any research on the true comparisons of my Nikon D5600 vs. upgrading to a full frame camera.

For those of you who are considering an upgrade to a full frame camera, here are some things you should consider before making this investment.  Full frame cameras are much more expensive and usually require you to purchase lenses designed for full frame cameras.  So, your overall initial investment is likely to cost $3,000 - $5,000 with one basic zoom lens. I found the Nikon D850 to be significantly heavier and larger than my current DSLR camera, which is a consideration depending on the type of photography you enjoy. Images on the Nikon D850 (45.7 MP), shot in RAW, took significantly longer to upload into my Photoshop software. The final images were quite impressive, but I honestly couldn’t tell the difference compared with my Nikon D5600 camera. I’m confident that if I enlarged images way beyond 20x30 I would probably see a difference, but my customers tend to select photos no larger than 20x30.

After using the camera for a couple of weeks, I realized that the full frame camera advantages just didn’t justify my decision to upgrade, so I returned it for a refund. While experimenting with my full frame camera I also read some articles regarding the benefits and disadvantages of full frame cameras, which helped me make the decision to return my purchase and stick with my Nikon D5600.

Your final decision to upgrade to a full frame camera will likely be based on a number of factors, but I hope you found the above information useful.  

If you have any questions, or comments, please send me an email:  [email protected]


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