Holiday Gift Guide – Best Cameras of 2021

Dec 6, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Holiday Gift Guide – Best Cameras of 2021

Dec 6, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The season of giving is upon us – which becomes immediately obvious whenever you walk into a store and you’re overwhelmed by Whamageddon. If you want to avoid the Christmas music and prefer to do your shopping online, then have no fear, DIYP’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guides are here to rescue you with some of our favourite new releases of the year, as well as a few old favourites that always seem to find a place in our gear bags.

In this post, we’re going to be taking a look at cameras, but keep an eye out for upcoming guides featuring Lenses, Lighting, Tripods, Sliders & Gimbals, and other accessories and gadgets!

Nikon Z fc (Amazon / B&H) – $956.95

A big hit in Japan and Nikon’s first camera truly targetting vloggers as well as the usual serious enthusiast photographers, the Nikon Z fc marks Nikon’s commitment to producing what appears to be a pretty solid APS-C format Z mount mirrorless camera. It takes many of its cues from its slightly older sibling, the Nikon Z50, but comes in a much better enclosure with a flippy out LCD for easier shooting.

Panasonic GH5 II (Amazon / B&H ) – $1,697.99 $1,497.99

The long-awaited successor to the Panasonic GH5 was expected to be the GH6. That’s still on its way but for now, we have the GH5 Mark II. While it might seem an iterative update at first, it offers some significant improvements over the original 2017 classic. It keeps the same sensor but sees a new and more powerful Venus processor for a more responsive IBIS system that provides up to 6.5 stops of stabilisation with new AF tracking modes and a larger buffer. It also sees increased internal video capabilities with better 10-bit codec support, 10-Bit 4:2:2 over HDMI (possibly raw over HDMI coming in the future) and you can even use it as a webcam straight into your computer’s USB port.

Sony A7 IV (Amazon / B&H) – $2,499

The Sony A7 IV is Sony’s new “standard” model mirrorless camera. Sitting at their full-frame entry-level, it beats out the Sony A7 III in pretty much every respect, bringing a higher-resolution 33-megapixel sensor, new and faster image processor, faster and more accurate autofocus system, the new Sony menu system, and 4K video at up to 60fps. A greater bit-depth allows for log footage that captures more dynamic range and better colour than its predecessor, too.

Sony FX3 (Amazon / B&H) – $3,898

Following on from last year’s release of the Sony A7S III, Sony announced the FX3 – a video-centric version of what is essentially the same camera. It’s been trimmed down and had its exterior modified to make it more suitable for shooting video and you can see a comparison chart here. But gone is the EVF, providing a more streamlined form factor to make it leaner and easier to fit into compact camera rigs.

Canon EOS R3 (Amazon / B&H) – $5,999

Despite the price, the Canon EOS R3 is not Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera, although it’s definitely a beast of a machine. It’s odd that Canon doesn’t see this is as a flagship when it’s clearly the mirrorless equivalent to the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III, but we’re still expecting the Canon EOS R1 to come out at some point. If you’re a Canon shooter who needs a fast full-frame camera for sports and wildlife, though, this is definitely the one for you.

Nikon Z9 (Amazon / B&H) – $5,496

The Nikon Z9 is Nikon’s newest flagship body and their first flagship mirrorless camera, blowing its D series DSLR predecessors away in pretty much every respect. A 45-megapixel camera that shoots 8K video with full-resolution stills at up to 30 frames per second, this thing is an absolute monster proving that just when you thought Nikon was out, they’re definitely still in the game.

Sigma fp L (Amazon / B&H) – $2,499

Many of us were hoping that we’d have a full-frame Foveon camera from Sigma, but it is not to be just yet. They’re working on it, but for right now we have to live with a more traditional Bayer sensor. Sigma’s doing pretty good with Bayer sensors, though, and this year they released the Sigma fp L. Pretty much identical externally to the original Sigma fp, the fp L brings with it a 61-megapixel sensor in the smallest full-frame mirrorless body in the world.

Fuji GFX 50S II (Amazon / B&H) – $3,999

The Fuji GFX 50S II marks a real turning point for digital medium format mirrorless cameras. Priced at only $3,999, it’s cheaper than flagship bodies from all of the three major full-frame manufacturers and even bundled with a 35-70mm “kit lens”, it’s only $4,499. And while it doesn’t have the speed of the Nikon Z9, Canon EOS R3 (not a flagship but more expensive) or Sony A1, that huge sensor allows you to create images that the others simply cannot.

Insta360 GO 2 (Amazon / B&H) – $299 $269

While we may not have a new 360° camera on the list this year, we do have a new camera from Insta360. Technically, two new cameras. The Insta360 GO 2 (review here) and the Insta360 GO 2 64GB edition (Amazon / B&H). This tiny wearable camera shoots footage up to 2560×1440 to either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and comes with its own case to charge it back up when out in the field.

DJI Action 2 Power Combo (Amazon / B&H) – $399

DJI seems to have taken a leaf out of the Insta360 playbook with this one by making the second generation of their popular action camera modular. The DJI Action 2 features a 1/1.7″ sensor with an f/2.8 lens offering a wide 155° field of view and is waterproof to a depth of 10 metres. You can shoot 4K, 2.7K and 1080p video up to 120fps to its 32GB internal storage and you can add a microSD card up to 256GB if you need more.

GoPro Hero 10 Black (Amazon / B&H) – $449

GoPro is back with its newest iteration of its flagship Hero action camera this year, the GoPro Hero 10 Black. Offering video up to 5.3K resolution and 4K at up to 120fps, the Hero 10 Black is no slouch. It also shoots jpg or raw stills at 23-megapixels with 19.6-megapixel frame grabs from video. It also features GoPro’s newest HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilisation algorithms.

Overview

So this is our cameras list for this year. As usual, it’s been tough list to pick from this year. We’ve seen some great camera releases from just about every camera manufacturer in 2021 and none of them seems to show any signs of slowing down. If anything, we might see more releases next year than this year!

What’s been your favourite new camera in 2021? Were this year’s camera announcements all that you hoped they’d be? What are you most anticipating for 2022?

Keep an eye out for upcoming guides coming over the next couple of days covering lenses, lighting, tripods, sliders & gimbals as well as accessories!

Are you new to photography? Still trying to figure out what camera you want to buy? Check out our beginner camera buying guide here.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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