It’s that time of year again! Black Friday and Christmas are on the way, which means it’s time for our annual gift guides. Maybe you’re buying something for a friend or loved one. Perhaps you’re just treating yourself. But let’s take a look at some of the cool, new toys from the last year.
First up, cameras. This year really has been the year for mirrorless, hasn’t it? Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Canon have all released some rather impressive cameras this year. A couple have stirred a little controversy, too. But they’re not all that’s been announced this year!
This 360° camera is the popular follow up to the Insta360 One. But it comes with some significant upgrades. Higher 5.7K resolution, faster frame rates, increased dynamic range with HDR and better stabilisation to name just a few. It’s not quite released yet, but it’s available for pre-order and should start shipping during November.
Although technically announced at the end of last year, the Panasonic G9 didn’t start shipping until January 2018. I had the opportunity to play with a pre-production model at the end of 2017, and it was a very impressive and capable camera. Far more stills oriented than the GH5 released last year.
While the G9 might’ve come first, the Sony A7III was the one camera this year that truly made a great number of people sit up and go “Wow! All that for only $2K?”. Even if you weren’t a Sony shooter, it got you excited for what your brand of choice might hit back with. It set a new standard in what a “basic” model should include and at what price point. Since its release, it’s proven to be a pretty fantastic camera for the money, forcing the competition to really step up its game.
You probably thought I was going to list the Nikon Z7 here, but I really think the Z6 is the better buy of the two cameras. The Z7 is nice, although still doesn’t seem to quite beat the D850 in many aspects. But for the price of the Z6, compared to the rest of Nikon’s lineup, it looks like a very attractive option for somebody who’s getting a little more serious about their photography, while not dependent on dual card slots.
It’s impossible to mention the new Nikon mirrorless without talking about the new Canon EOS R. It also suffers from the same single card slot issue as the Z6 & Z7 that will put many users off, but it’s still proven itself to be a fairly formidable camera. Also like the Nikon, it supports 10-bit video output through the HDMI socket – something that Sony has thus far failed to deliver.
Fujifilm has really been pushing themselves this year. March saw the release of the more video-centric Fujifilm X-H1, but the camera that’s really impressed this year has been the new X-T3. Although the X-T3 doesn’t contain the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, it gains a more advanced sensor and processor and Fuji’s most advanced autofocus system to date. And it even beats out the X-H1 when it comes to video, offering 4K60p, 10Bit 4:2:2 and higher bitrates.
Even though Fuji first announced a small form factor 50-megapixel medium format camera back in September 2016 at Photokina with the GFX 50S, the new GFX 50R brings medium format down to the sub-$5,000 price range. Medium format is now cheaper than the highest end 35mm DSLRs, and the same price as the Sony A9 mirrorless.
Sure, they’re different cameras for a different purpose, but if you’ve been thinking about taking the jump to medium format, the Fujifilm GFX 50R makes that option much easier.
When it comes to the more video oriented cameras, despite the fact that the Nikon Z6, Z7, Canon EOS R and Fuji X-T3 all now offer 10Bit video (at least externally), it’s the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K that’s really stolen the show. It may house a relatively small Micro Four Thirds sensor, but the Pocket 4K shoots 4K DCI 12Bit RAW video right in camera. And with the expected update to implement Blackmagic RAW, this is going to be a breeze to edit with.
After some not so great feedback over the Hero 6, GoPro seems to have hit a home run with the new Hero 7 Black. The dynamic range and quality has been kicked up a notch, and the electronic image stabilisation blows away all previous generations of GoPro. If you know somebody who’d love an action camera, GoPro seems to once again be king.
Flying cameras count, too, and the big one this year has been the new Mavic 2. Available in two different models, the Pro version features a Hasselblad camera with a 1″ sensor. It has an adjustable aperture, shoots 10-bit DLog, 10-bit HDR and can now do hyperlapse. It’s faster, flies longer and is quieter than the previous generation Mavic Pro and offers an excellent flying experience while getting great photos and video.
Phase One XF IQ4 150MP – $51,990+
When you have the absolute highest image quality demands, and you’ve just won a $1.5 billion lottery, no other camera will do. Phase One is well out of the price range of most photographers, but you can’t deny the beauty of Phase One’s XF IQ4 150-megapixel modular system or the images it can create.
When it comes to cameras, there isn’t really a right and wrong. All of the big name manufacturers are producing outstanding equipment that can easily keep up with the needs of most people. But sometimes we have a particular need that demands one brand or specific camera over another.
What did we miss? What’s been your favourite new camera of 2018? Are you holding off buying to see what’s coming in 2019?