The 7 Best Large Resolution Cameras of 2021

Shop for the cameras that have the most megapixels

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The Rundown
The crème de la crème, offering an incredible 50.6 megapixels of resolution.
Best Resolution:
Sony A7R II at Amazon
Offering an incredible 42.3 megapixels of resolution paired with the largest backside-illuminated sensor on the market.
A fantastic budget-friendly shooter that makes an excellent camera, especially if you’re into landscape and portrait image capture.
Best Battery Life:
Nikon D850 at Amazon
Able to take 1,840 still images on a single charge, or about 70 hours of 4K video.
Featuring 4K video resolution at 30fps with a super easy-to-use interface and a quick method for grabbing single images from your video footage.
Best Splurge:
Pentax 645Z at Amazon
If you’re looking to capture and print at the highest level of detail.
Best Mirrorless:
Nikon Z7 at Amazon
The Nike Z7 is a high-resolution mirrorless camera that manages to pack powerful imaging capabilities into a lightweight body.

The best large resolution camera should have strong imaging capabilities, good autofocus, and solid recording abilities. High-resolution cameras have typically been DSLRs, but that's been changing in recent years as mirrorless offerings from Sony and Nikon up their capabilities. If your needs are more specific, you should take a look at our list of the best Wi-Fi cameras and best DSLRs. For all others, read on to see our list of the best large resolution cameras.

Best Overall: Canon EOS 5DS R

Canon EOS 5DS R
What We Like
  • 50.6MP resolution

  • Excellent still images

  • Durable, weather-sealed body

  • Great magnification and autofocus

What We Don't Like
  • Video recording an afterthought

  • Design doesn't stand out

If you’re looking for a high-resolution camera, Canon’s EOS 5DS R is the crème de la crème, offering an incredible 50.6 megapixels of resolution. Make no mistake about it, the EOS is determined to be a primary shooter and while it offers 1920 x 1080 30fps video capture, this full-frame camera is all about the still photo. The hefty price tag is just for the body only, no lens included, but Canon offers a slew of EF-series lenses that can be utilized with the EOS. Lenses aside, Canon added a low-pass filter to help take full advantage of the 50.6-megapixel CMOS sensor to deliver even higher resolution images and increased sharpness.

The body of the camera itself is typical Canon style, black and textured with no real special features that help make it stand out from the crowd. That said, it offers fantastic ergonomics in the hand while shooting and a weather-sealed body protects it against the elements. The 3.2 fixed-position LCD pairs with a 100 percent coverage viewfinder that offers .71x magnification, which is excellent. To aid with shooting, Canon added a whopping 61-point autofocus that is among the highest precision of any DSLR on the market today. If a staggering amount of detail is what your photography needs are all about, this is the one to buy.

Resolution: 50.5MP | Sensor Type: Full-frame | Max ISO: 50-12800 | Optical Zoom: 1x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Best Resolution: Sony A7R II

Sony A7R II
What We Like
  • Largest backside-illuminated sensor on the market

  • Great built-in image stabilization

  • Excellent low-light performance

  • 4K video recording

What We Don't Like
  • Short battery life

Sony’s A7R II full-frame mirrorless camera offers an incredible 42.3 megapixels of resolution that's paired with the largest backside-illuminated sensor on the market. There’s no question that Sony’s A7R II is a weather-sealed, ergonomically pleasing camera that’s only real flaw is its shorter battery life (it can shoot just 340 images before recharge). However, the excellent low-light performance and built-in image stabilization will have you all but ignoring the short battery life. The CMOS sensor itself offers superb resolution and noise performance, so still images and video that are nothing short of spectacular. Additionally, the 399 on-sensor autofocus detection points are so good, they can focus on the subject’s eyes even while in motion.

The inclusion of 4K video is notable since it’s not generally offered with full-frame high-resolution cameras where the focus is very much on still photo results. Capturing 4K in full-frame or Super 35 format with a full spread of manual controls provides compelling results that help make the Sony an incredible feature-to-price purchase.

Whether it's video or images, the five-axis in-body image stabilization adds accurate compensation for blur by offsetting camera shaking by moving vertically, horizontally, pitching, yawing or rolling to ensure stable image and video capture. And the three-inch Xtra Fine LCD display is offered in tandem with a Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder to make sure you see everything in frame before snapping away.

Resolution: 42.3MP | Sensor Type: Full-frame | Max ISO: 102,400 | Optical Zoom: 1x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC

Best Budget: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
What We Like
  • Smaller and lighter than DSLRs

  • Rugged body

  • Affordable price

  • Solid video recording capabilities

What We Don't Like
  • Short battery life

While it may be the lone camera on this list under $1,000, Olympus’ OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers a 16-megapixel TruePic VII image processor. Up to 40 percent smaller and lighter than the traditional DSLR, the Olympus has an ergonomically friendly weather-sealed body that’s splashproof, dustproof and freezeproof. And even though it's the cheapest on the list, it doesn't skimp on features. It has a powerful five-axis image stabilization system to reduce blur resulting from a shaky camera hand and 10 frames per second high-speed shooting. As with most full-frame cameras, the Olympus includes video, but goes beyond some of its higher-priced competition by offering 1080p Full HD video capture at 60, 30, 25, and 24fps.

One area where the Olympus does fall with its budget listing is battery life. At 310 photos, it’s short, but the partnership of image quality and budget pricing means a (separately purchased) secondary battery isn’t out of the question. Beyond battery, the Olympus helps view captured photos and peruse the menu on a three-inch LCD display that flips out to the side and rotates 270 degrees in total. The interactive electronic viewfinder offers complete control at eye level for capturing day or night shots whether you’re in the studio or on a mountaintop. Throw in Wi-Fi for transferring photos to a smartphone or computer and the result is a fantastic budget-friendly shooter that makes an excellent camera, especially if you’re into landscape and portrait image capture.

Resolution: 16.1MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 100-25,600 | Optical Zoom: N/A | Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Best Battery Life: Nikon D850

What We Like
  • Long-lasting battery life

  • Can record 4K video

  • Solid image quality and good dynamic range

What We Don't Like
  • On the more expensive side

Built with an EN-EL15 rechargeable li-ion battery, the Nikon D850 is able to take 1,840 still images on a single charge (that’s about 70 hours of 4K video.) It’s the No. 1 New Release in DSLR Cameras on Amazon, and it’s sure to last you an entire weekend without the need for charging if you take it with you on vacation.

The Nikon D850 is designed with a backside touchscreen illuminated full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter. The heavyweight camera uses 45.7 megapixels for extreme resolution quality and superior dynamic range for far distance shots, never skipping on quality. It’s able to capture nine frames per second with full resolution without any decline in image resolutions either. You’ll be able to record 4K Ultra HD videos, as well as an 8K time lapse using an interval timer. There's also a slow motion capture up to 120 FPS at a full 1080p resolution.

Resolution: 45.7MP | Sensor Type: full-frame BSI | Max ISO: 32-102,400 | Optical Zoom: 1x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi. NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 LE

Best Video: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

EOS 5D Mark IV
What We Like
  • Excellent balance between resolution and dynamic range

  • Fast and accurate autofocus

  • Tough, but comfortable and lightweight build

  • 4K video recording

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Canon’s quest to dominate the full-frame market continues with the EOS 5D Mark IV and its 30.4 megapixel DIGIC CMOS sensor. The larger resolution of the Mark IV offers a superb balance between resolution and dynamic range while still maintaining Canon’s reputation for top-notch color output. To assist with capturing the perfect shot every time, Canon included a fast and accurate 61-point autofocus system, as well as up to 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed to make sure you capture fast-moving subjects with ease. It’s the latter bit that makes the Mark IV perfect for photographing weddings, portraits and sporting events.

Canon designed the Mark IV to be tough and, while it’s ergonomically comfortable and lightweight for a full-frame camera at 1.8 pounds, the addition of weather sealing makes it suitable for the elements. Additionally, Canon added 4K video resolution at 30 fps with a super easy-to-use interface and a quick method for grabbing 8.8-megapixel single images from your video footage. Throw in ISO range from 100-32000 with 50-102400 expansion and it’s easy to see why the Mark IV is a full-frame photographers dream. Rounding out the feature set is a 3.2-inch fixed-position LCD touchscreen that allows you to thumb through the menus and select options, as well as swipe through images and pinch-to-zoom, which feels right at home due to the smartphone world.

Resolution: 30.4MP | Sensor Type: full-frame | Max ISO: 50-102,400 | Optical Zoom: N/A | Connectivity: Wi-Fi. NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 LE

Best Splurge: Pentax 645Z

Pentax 645Z
What We Like
  • Great battery life

  • Large tiltable LCD monitor

  • Excellent image quality

  • 60fps 1080p video recording

What We Don't Like
  • Older than other models

  • High price tag

  • Hefty weight

Pentax’s 645Z may have been released in June 2014, but the 51.4-megapixel CMOS sensor camera is still a photographer’s delight. With a battery life that exceeds 650 photos, the 645Z is proof that age doesn't always have to matter. As a medium format camera, there’s no question the price tag is going to be very high before you even add in the purchase of the lens, so it's definitely not geared for the casual shooter. Medium format excels at enlarging photos without losing detail and does so better than a standard DLSR camera.

There’s a little bit of a learning curve with the Pentax, but once you get a hold of the camera’s feature set, it’s a dream come true for landscape shots. It might be easy to sum up the Pentax as an oversized DSLR with a larger sensor, but at 3.42 pounds you’re going to know when you’re holding the Pentax. But despite its hefty weight, it’s ergonomically designed to be both comfortable and at the ready on a moment’s notice. The tiltable 3.2-inch LCD monitor is perfect to preview images right after capture. There are 27 autofocus points to help track a subject with manual focus equally as viable with the bright viewfinder.

Ultimately, the Pentax comes down to image quality and it is incredible. Photography is colorful and full of life, with dynamic range (up to ISO 204,800) that can be stretched to the limit. Full HD video capture at up to 60fps is outstanding and as vibrant as one could imagine with such a high-resolution shooter. So if you’re looking to capture and print at the highest detail, the 645Z is calling your name (and wallet).

Resolution: 51.4MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 50-204,800 | Optical Zoom: 1x | Connectivity: N/A

What We Like
  • Fantastic color

  • 45.7MP sensor

  • Great ergonomics

  • Native lens line-up great so far

What We Don't LIke
  • XQD card is expensive and overkill

  • Not many native lenses released yet

  • FTZ adapter adds a lot of bulk

  • Middling autofocus performance

The Nikon Z7 is a full-frame mirrorless camera that doesn't compromise on performance. The advantage of being a mirrorless means that it has a more lightweight body but doesn't compromise on image resolution or features. Our reviewer certainly found that to be the case here. Jonno liked that the Z7 has a substantial grip and solid construction despite the lighter weight. It also uses a new lens mount created for it which does limit some options for other lenses unless you want to use an adapter.

The big selling point here is the 45.7-megapixel sensor. Performance is impressive, matching the Nikon D850, if not surpassing it. It excels at color, detail capture, and ISO performance. Video quality is solid with the Z7 being capable of capturing 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps. There's an in-body image stabilization system that makes it easier to shoot handheld in stationary settings. The continuous autofocus performance stands out as a particular bright spot in its ability to keep a moving subject in focus.

All of this adds up to a fantastic camera that can take beautiful photos. It's expensive, but it's buoyed by its many features and capabilities in a relatively compact body.

Resolution: 45.7MP | Sensor Type: full-frame mirrorless | Max ISO: 64-25,600 | Optical Zoom: N/A | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

"The Nikon Z7 takes exceptional photos, with some of the best color we’ve seen from a camera, mirrorless or not." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Nikon Z7

Lifewire / Jonno Hill 

Final Verdict

The best large resolution camera is the Canon EOS 5DS R (view at Amazon). It has everything you'd want in a snappy shooter, it comes with a 50.6-megapixel sensor, can record 108-p video at 30fps, and has a 61-point autofocus. Beyond that, it has a nice 3.2-inch LCD to cover 100 percent of the viewfinder. As a runner-up we like the Sony A7R II (view at Amazon). It's a full-frame mirrorless camera meaning it's smaller and lighter than a DSLR, but it still has a 42.3-megapixel sensor and supports 4K video recording. It even has in-body image stabilization.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Beren is a tech expert with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. He specializes in general consumer tech, mobile devices, and telecom.

Jonno Hill is a professional photographer and videographer who studied design, motion graphics, and video production in college. He's previously been published in PCMag.com.

FAQs

How important is resolution?
Resolution is an overall measure of how many pixels make up an image and thus a good indicator of image sharpness/clarity, and will matter largely depending on what you're shooting and for what purpose. For amateurs, particularly those on a budget, it's not as much as a concern, but for pros looking to wow their clientele with beautiful footage, high resolution is absolutely crucial.

What features do you need?
This again depends largely on your use case, but most photogs will benefit from high-quality zoom functionality, a large, clear viewfinder for previewing the action, and manual balance, exposure, and focus adjustment controls.

What are the top video camera brands?
While there's a growing field of competition in the camera space, there are a number of brands who have an established pedigree with good reason. These brands tend to provide reliable, high-end cameras supported by generous warranties and customer service, and include manufacturers like Canon, Nikon, DJI, and Panasonic.

What to Look for in a Large Resolution Camera

Compatibility

When you buy an interchangeable lens camera, the manufacturer is essentially locking you into its hardware ecosystem—so don’t take this decision lightly. For example, Nikon lenses can’t be used on Canon cameras and vice versa. If you already own an array of hardware from one brand, your best bet may be sticking to it.

Design

While most DSLR cameras look largely the same, there are small nuances in their shape and button layout that can make or break your shooting experience. If possible, hold the camera in your hands and play around with different settings to make sure it’s comfortable to shoot with. Generally, if you're looking for a portable body you don't want to get a camera that's much heavier than three pounds. You also need to consider the weight of lenses and accessories since all of those things can add to bulk. A mirrorless camera is a nice option since they tend ot be less bulky than DSLRs.

Price

Any photographer knows that between the cameras, lenses, and peripherals, photography can be an expensive hobby. Luckily, there are still plenty of reasonably priced camera options on the market. However, a cheaper price tag often comes with compromises, like a smaller image sensor or lack of 4K video. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to prioritize which features are important to you as you’ll likely need to make some sacrifices. High-end cameras will run you upwards of $2,000, while more budget options can be found for under $1,000, though there's significant compromises in quality the lower you go.

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