The Best Digital Cameras of 2017
Here a list of cameras that offer best features, high-quality pictures, best idea and provide value for money.
Buying a digital camera nowadays is a lot different from what it used to be a few years ago. With Smartphone’s camera getting better and better each year, there are fewer buyers in the market who actually want to get their hands on a digital camera. And this is the reason that there aren’t many budget-friendly options available in the market.
However, there are many entry-level SLRs that are having tough competition from mirrorless rivals. So if you are not on a pre-set budget, you can always opt for premium pocket digital cameras, that comes with large image sensors, bridge-sized super zoomers, or midrange interchangeable lens models that help bring the subject in close-up view.
While you don’t need an expensive camera to click pictures, having a good camera by your side always help you click and create amazing memories. In this article, we have zeroed in our favorite models, so read on if you want to know which is the best digital cameras of 2017.
The Pocket-Friendly Option
It is no secret that mobile companies are coming up with the phone having great cameras. However, some people still want to get their hands on pocket-friendly digital cameras. While you can choose from a number of options online, none is worth your money if you own a mobile phone that comes with a high-quality camera.
However, if you are ready to move up to the $100 to $ 200 bracket, you can get your hands on great options from well-established companies like Canon, Nikon and more. These companies offer slimline shooters pack zoom lenses which differentiate the cameras from smartphones. The cameras come with CCD sensor technology that limits the picture quality and cuts the video quality to 720p. Still, if you are looking for a small camera which can be carried on a vacation, you can still choose from an array of inexpensive options available as an alternative to a smartphone.
Next, moving up to $200 to $400 category, there are more cameras that come with very long zoom lenses, where 30x is the standard. You can still record a video of 1080p on Panasonic ZS60 that put 4k into one of its slim long zoom models. The ZS60 model comes with raw shooting capability, small electronic viewfinders, and quick autofocus. The image quality is far better than most of the smartphones as the real advantage comes from.
This price category also caters to waterproof camera models. Our current favorite is Olympus Tough TG-4 as it can easily undergo as deep as 50 feet, can shoot in raw form, and offers a macro ring light accessory. You can also get your hands on some competing models offered by companies such as Panasonic, Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon, and Ricoh.
The Premium Digital Cameras
When it comes to pocket cameras, you can find one with fixed lenses anywhere between the price ranges of $400 to $1000. In this price range, you get an interchangeable lens model. However, these slim cameras target a very specific market of photographers who own various SLRs or mirrorless cameras but are looking for an alternative option.
Previously a 1/1.7-inch class sensor was sported by the premium model, which offered a great advantage over the 1/2.3 inch type, which is found in the entry-level cameras and high-end smartphones. But the scenario was changed by Sony in 2013 as the 1-inch sensor class was brought in the spotlight.
The 1-inch sensor has approximately four times the surface area of the chip used in high-end smartphones. This leads to significant clearer images with high ISO. For this sensor type, the industry has settled in with the 20 MP of camera resolution. This helps deliver an excellent balance of noise control and image quality.
Moreover, with large sensor comes shorter zoom feature. You must have seen various models such as the Sony RX100 III with short 24-70 mm reach or slightly longer 4X lens used by canon G7 X Mark II. These lenses have the ability to capture a good amount of light throughout their range. For both the cameras, the optics required necessitates shorter zoom range and large font element.
Panasonic is another company that has a 1-inch model at a competitive price. The ZS100 model sports 25-250 mm f/2.8-5.9 lens and it is not good shooting in low light. However, if you are planning to take it along with you on your travel expeditions, it is a great buy. 1-inch sensor size offers the image quality through ISO 3200 and you can even get ISO 6400 quality if you are shooting in Raw format.
There are various other models out there that come with large image sensors and shorter zooms. Some even come with no zoom at all. While the Panasonic LX100 uses Micro Four Thirds sensor, the Canon G1 X Mark II offers great lens zoom. Other digital camera models such as Fujifilm X100T and Ricoh GR II uses APS- C sensors. They use the same size found in consumer SLRs, however, comes with high-quality fixed focal length lenses.
The X100T digital camera comes with a hybrid electronic finder that sets it apart from the competition. If you are willing to spend tons of money on a digital camera, you can move up to a more compact model that comes with a full-frame image sensor. At present, there are two high-end models present in the market. These are – Leica Q and Sony RX1R II.
The Panasonic FZ1000 has 16x lenses with excellent picture quality and wide aperture design. You can get your hands on the longest lens which comes in Canon G3 X. It is relatively affordable and comes with an autofocus system that leaves a lot to be desired but lacks a viewfinder. But the Sony RX10 III covers the 25x range and have a significantly brighter lens of f2.4 -4.
If you are a photographer who loves shooting pictures with an SLR but doesn’t want to buy an additional lens, you can opt for the 1-inch bridge model as it will easily serve as your camera. However, if you want to go in with all-in-one option, you need to pay a price for it. On the other hand, a 65x model such as the SX60 HS is the best bet if you are planning to buy a light kit that is versatile enough for great shots. However, it won’t keep up with the dim indoor lighting, but it can easily deliver great results in daylight.
SLR and Mirrorless – The Entry Level Lenses
Since ages, mirrorless and SLRs have been looked upon as two different classes or camera. While the categories still exist separately for professional photographers, for entry-level photographers, the line is still blurred.
The features that adorn the mirrorless models such as wireless connectivity, tilting touch-screen display and more are very slowly making their way in the SLR category. So while Canon has shown excellent improvement in autofocus of various models priced in the $1000 or higher category, consumers can easily get their hands on low-cost mirrorless models if they seamless and fast autofocus to record moving pictures.
Still confused about mirrorless digital cameras? Well, the mirror that mirrorless cameras lack is the one that helps the optical viewfinder to direct light from the lens. SLRs still offer this advantage to the photographer. Not having the mirror box allows you the advantage to having a slimmer model with less moving parts and an accurate autofocus. And with the latest digital cameras, the autofocus is fast. It is so fast that you will never miss shooting with an SLR.
If you are ready to live without a viewfinder and want to use and LCD to frame shots, you can easily get your hands on amazing mirrorless models for as low as $500. Like SLRs, different manufacturers are known to support different lens format. If you are purchasing a Sony mirrorless camera, you can choose to stick with Sony E and FE lenses. But if you are going in with Fujifilm, pick up the X lens system.
The exception here is the Mirco Four Thirds system. This is a lens format shared by Panasonic and Olympus. It is utilized by specialist cinema cameras and is designed by companies such as Blackmagic. As opposed to the 3:2 ratio, the MFT sensor format is 4:3 aspect ratio, is used by most SLRs.
Entry-level SLRs with optical viewfinders are offered by Nikon, Pentax, and Canon. Sony has continued supporting the A-mount SLR system that dates back to Minolta autofocus SLRs. The fixed mirror design and EVF give the advantage to use video focus system with same sensors.
Traditionally when it comes to autofocus, SLRs have been struggling. The contrast based method requires the focus point to move beyond the point of focus and come back in order to lock the focus. This can be distracting when following a moving object. SLRs have worked on this aspect and made the focusing process smoother. However, they are still not on the same level as a majority of mirrorless cameras.
With entry-level mirrorless models, you can easily get the back-and-forth effect which relies on contrast for focus. However, the effect is not as noticeable as with the SLR. If you are moving up to the midprice range point, which is in line with the entry-level SLR model price range you can see the on-sensor phase detection available in low-cost options, for instance – the Sony Alpha 5100 and Sony Alpha 6000. Both the cameras – Sony Alpha 5100 and 600 are comparable in price, shooting speed and grabbing shots. They help capture stills at 5.9 and 11.1 fps respectively.
For Serious Photographers
For all those who can easily cross the $1000 barrier, you can easily get your hands on premium mirrorless and SLRs. After crossing the barrier, you have a good understanding of the fact whether you want to buy an SLR or mirrorless digital camera. For all the serious shutterbugs out there, if you are purchasing a camera lying above $1000, you need to be careful while picking up the lenses and accessories.
Mirrorless cameras have become better and better in terms of tracking autofocus in the past few years. Top-tier camera models such as Sony Alpha 6500, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and Fujifilm X-T2 track subjects and fire off images quickly as compared to SLRs. So depending on which digital camera you are eyeing and what type of photography you do, you may find it easy to select the lens.
Micro Four Thirds camera uses either Panasonic or Olympus lenses. These lenses give them a leg up in the number of lenses available including the ultra-wide, fish-eye lens and telephoto primes. Fujifilm has a large number of lenses including 100-400 mm zoom which can be paired with a teleconverter to increase its reach.
However, there are not much of lens options available as with Canon and Nikon SLR systems. You have a large number of options with Nikon and Canon, including the third party option from Sigma. The SLR options such as Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary can’t be matched with the mirrorless version in terms of value. Customers also have access to AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 FL ED VR, the likes of which is not available in the mirrorless version right now!
The companies, Canon and Nikon offer strong mid-range and pro APS-C SLRs, under the price range of $200. The 7D Mark II and EOS 80D uses Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system for a lake view and it makes video autofocus flawless. Nikon has D7200 and D500 out of which D500 uses most advanced autofocus system that you will ever see in a camera falling in this price range.
If you are a photographer who wants to capture the best shots, distant objects, and want to take advantage of telephoto lenses, then you will definitely like the flexibility that Micro Four Third and APS-C comes with. There are a number of full-frame models that are aimed at such enthusiasts. The full-framed size is called so because it matches 35 mm film in dimension and is a preferred choice for event coverage, landscapes, reportage, and portraiture.
The Large sensor provides photographers with more control over the depth of field as being paired with wide aperture glass. There are various entry-level SLRs such as the Canon EOS 6D which fit the bills perfectly. If you are in the market and want to purchase interchangeable lens camera within your budget ($1000 to $2500), you have access to a wide range of options. Perhaps there are too many. If you have previously invested in a system, it would take a lot of efforts to make you jump from one model to another available in the price range that is close to performance, features and image quality.
If you are investing in a camera without investing in accessories or lenses, the first thing you should do is to identify which lens you would like to purchase. You may find that spending a little more on the camera is definitely worth the price if you are going to spend less amount of money than the competition. You can buy E-M1 Mark II or D500 and enjoy high burst rates for image capture. However, if you love landscape shooting and don’t really care about videos, the full frame model such as 6D or Alpha 7 II may be your choice.
Another thing you may like to consider is to make a choice between electronic and optical viewfinder. Modern electronic viewfinders are great and quickly track moving action. If you haven’t used one, you will be highly surprised at the amount of growth they have done so far. But for some photographers, there’s no substitute for an optical viewfinder and in such cases, SLRS are preferred over mirrorless.
Professional photographers love to shoot with Nikon or Canon SLR, however, there are some amazing alternatives available in the market. Sony has come up with a variety of full-frame mirrorless models that offers tons of resolution and 4K video recording. The Alpha 7S II lies on the other end of the spectrum and excels at extreme ISO settings and records 4K video without any resampling.
However, it is the Nikon D810 and Canon 5D Mark IV that wedding professionals are generally seen carrying along. These cameras are built to endure the rigors of everyday use and offer high-quality images that the profession demands.
For professional sports, you must have seen bigger cameras such as Canon 1D X Mark II and Nikon D5. These cameras don’t come with as much resolution as D810 or 5D but click great images at higher burst rate – 10 to 12 fps with continuous exposure and tracking. Sony hopes to shake up the market with its newly launched Alpha 99 II. This model matches the 1D X’s 12fps shooting rate abut also comes with an incredible 42MP resolution.
Moving beyond the full frame, there’s a territory of medium format photography. Previously, medium format photography was referred to anything which was larger than 35mm and smaller than 4 by 5 inches. Nowadays, you get 33 by 44mm sensor size which is used by different models such as Pentax 655Z SLR and Fujifilm GFX 50S.
If you go a bit higher, you can get your hands on a sensor which is about 54 by 40mm in size. One of the insanely expensive models is the Phase One XF 100MP. It offers Raw image capture at 100 MP resolution. Talking about its resolution, this is one of the most preferred digital cameras opted by professional photographers.
Here’s a list of the best full-frame SLRs that you may want to get your hands on. If you are still confused on which digital camera to choose, read our write-up on various cameras to see which model catches your attention.
|Name||Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||Fujifilm X-T2||Nikon D500||Ricoh GR II||Sony Alpha 6000||Sony Alpha 6300||Olympus Tough TG-4|
|Dimensions||4.6 x 5.9 x 3 inches||3.6 x 5.2 x 1.9 inches||4.5 x 5.8 x 3.2 inches||2.5 x 4.6 x 1.4 inches||2.6 x 4.7 x 1.8 inches||2.6 x 4.7 x 1.9 inches||2.6 x 4.4 x 1.2 inches|
|Weight||1.8 lb||1.1 lb||1.9 lb||7.8 oz||12.1 oz||14.25 oz||8.7 oz|
|Type||D-SLR||Compact Interchangeable Lens||D-SLR||Compact||Compact Interchangeable Lens||Compact Interchangeable Lens||Compact|
|Megapixels||30.4 MP||24 MP||20.9 MP||16 MP||24 MP||24 MP||16 MP|
|Sensor Size||Full-Frame (24 x 36mm) mm||APS-C (23.6 x 15.6mm) mm||APS-C (15.7 x 23.7mm) mm||APS-C||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm) mm||APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm) mm||1/2.3″ (6.2 x 4.6mm) mm|
|LCD size||3.2 inches||3 inches||3.2 inches||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches|
|Video Resolution||720p, 1080p, 4K||1080p, 4K||720p, 1080p, 4K||720p, 1080p||1080i, 1080p||720p, 1080p, 4K||720p, 1080p, 480p|
|See the product||SEE IT||SEE IT||SEE IT||SEE IT||SEE IT||SEE IT||SEE IT|
Featured in This Roundup
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV boasts of a large number of high-end features including the latest AF system, 30MP full frame CMOS imaging sensors and more. This camera is available at a lower price than the Canon’s EOS 5D series models. Your eyes will tell you the difference when you click a photograph. Canon full frame sensor delivers extremely clear images when viewed at less than 100% resolution.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV balances shooting rates and resolution. This is an ideal choice for professional photographers.
• Fujifilm X-T2
The Fujifilm X-T2 is loaded with much more surprises than its predecessor. It is priced slightly higher than X-T1 but it hugely impresses the user. Fujifilm promises a more powerful processor and revised algorithms. To get the best possible performance, the X-T2 introduces a use case-based AF-C setup system.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is a mirrorless camera which offers a high-quality photo. Moreover, it is backed by a strong lens library which does not disappoint the user.
• Nikon D500
Nikon D500 replaces the previous D300s. the highlights of this digital camera is an autofocus system which covers the sensors from edge to edge. It also has an added feature of 4K video capture and tilting touch screen LCD. This is a camera that will make its owners extremely happy. While it does not include an in-body flash, this is not seen as much of a disadvantage as fill lights can be used to click in dim light.
This is one of the best digital cameras in town and it puts company’s autofocus to test. The compact SLR body will satisfy enthusiast and professionals alike.
• Sony Alpha 6000
Sony Alpha 6000 is one of the fastest focusing cameras that gives high-quality images with its 24 MP APS-C sensor. The camera skips the SLR styling of some other mirrorless cameras with an integrated EVF. It lacks the in-body image stabilization system along with the viewfinder. It comes equipped with inbuilt flash and a multi-functional hot-shoe.
Sony Alpha 6000 has an eye sensor that automatically switches between the rear LCD and the EVF. It focuses instantly and its image quality matches its speed.
• Sony Alpha 6300
Sony Alpha 6300 enhances the autofocus system which was found in its previous model. It is available in black color only and is sealed against moisture and dust. It lacks in-body image stabilization but comes equipped with an excellent viewfinder. To use the camera to best of its capacity, you need to spend some time clicking pictures.
Sony Alpha 6300 is a premium mirrorless camera that professional photographers have been waiting for. Try it out today!!
• Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III wowed people with its small size and high image quality. WiFi is a necessary feature in this highly priced camera. Remote control is also possible as it is accessible via the camera menu. You can adjust the focal length, set exposure compensation, and fire the shutter. There are some additional apps that can be downloaded from the app store for enhanced performance.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III has earned editor choice accolades because of the amazing EVF and high-quality images. But it does not come cheap and you have to pay a big price to get your hands on this amazing camera.
• Olympus Tough TG-4
The Olympus Tough TG-4 is quite similar to its predecessor. It is Editor’s choice for photographers who want to get their hands on a pocket-friendly camera. It can be dropped, crushed, kicked or you can even go swimming with it and it will work just perfectly.
Olympus Tough TG-4 is a great digital camera that shoots amazing pictures. While not much has been done to tweak the design, still a number of features have been added.