logo
RSS Twitter YouTube

Best Digital Cameras of 2015

Introduction

The digital camera market is reshaping to adapt to new market conditions. Every year since 2012, fewer digital cameras were introduced with 2015 getting only 65 new models, down from 85 in 2014 which is a staggering 24% drop. Compare that to 2012 with 146 models launched. As fewer new cameras enter the market, manufacturers have been working to create more distinct offerings and introduce new categories.

Here we present the best new digital cameras of 2015. While several models improved image-quality and performance over previous years, many of the Best Digital Cameras of 2014 remain the best this year too. Luckily, most are still current and available from major retailers:

  • Best Ultra-Compact: Fuji XQ1
    Fuji XQ1
    and a nearly identical Fuji X-Q2
    Fuji X-Q2
    actually launched in 2015 for some markets.
  • Best Travel-Zoom: Fuji Finepix F1000 EXR
    Fuji Finepix F1000 EXR
    which has limited availability, while the Olympus Stylus SH-2
    Olympus Stylus SH-2
    shows the most promise among new Travel-Zooms of 2015.
  • Best Entry-Level Mirrorless: Fuji X-M1
    Fuji X-M1
    . Launched in 2013 and still current.
  • Best Advanced DSLR: Unbeaten yet sadly discontinued, the Pentax K-5 IIs
    Pentax K-5 IIs
    remains the top performing cropped-sensor DSLR to date. The Pentax K-3 II
    Pentax K-3 II
    provides an even greater feature-set while taking a slight drop in image-quality at high-ISO.
  • Best Professional DSLR: The top-notch Nikon D4S
    Nikon D4S
    remains unchallenged with the Nikon D810
    Nikon D810
    delivering awesome performance at a lower price-point.

Fuji stands out among manufacturers by having significantly cut down on its introduction of new cameras while allowing many to evolve with major new features and performance improvements via firmware upgrades. Pentax introduced the fewest models of any manufacturer yet still emphasizes models which deliver more features and tougher construction than the competition.

Understandably, ultra-compact cameras have had the least new models with only 8 launches in 2015. These cameras face pressure from constantly-improving cellular phones despite keeping a notable lead in ergonomics and performance. This forced manufacturers to concentrate on compact digital cameras with larger sensors for better image-quality and travel-zooms which offer far more versatility.

Without further ado then, here we present the best digital cameras of 2015. Each winning camera is chosen as the best-in-class in its respective category. Emphasis for selection is on image quality above all else. All models below are chosen for outstanding image quality, feature set and performance relative to cameras in the same category. If you are not sure which category would suite you better, consult the Choosing Basics section of the buying guide.

Compact

Compact digital cameras previously occupied the smallest market-segment, unable to surpass image-quality of ultra-compacts without matching their convenience of portability. This changed slowly with the introduction of brighter optics. Sony took this to the next level by adding a relatively large 1" sensor in their Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100
which they launched in 2012.


Best Compact 2015

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 IV

20 Megapixels20 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Memory Stick Duo memory.Accepts Memory Stick Duo memory.

Sony perfected their formula over four generations, introducing the exceptional RX100 IV
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 IV
in 2015. This digital camera squeezes a 20 megapixels 1" CMOS sensor, bright 3X optical zoom lens and even a high-resolution EVF into a very compact body.

The Sony RX100 IV is an outstanding electronic, optical and mechanical achievement. The newly designed stacked 20 MP sensor offers ultra-high-speed read-out to capture 4K Ultra-HD and full 1080p HD video with frame-rates up to 1000 FPS. Full-resolution images can be captured at 16 FPS with a hybrid shutter capable of a top 1/32000s speed.

A Vario-Sonnar T* lens by Zeiss offers a flexible 24-70mm range with an ultra-bright F/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture yet retracts almost entirely in the camera body. From the top of the RX100 IV a mid-sized 0.39" EVF with 2.4 MP pops up. Plus, the back of this digital camera offers a 1.2" MP titling LCD.

High image-quality, class-leading speed and an almost pocket-size body makes the Sony Cybershot RX100 IV one of the most compelling digital cameras on the market.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
High image-quality
Ultra-Bright maximum aperture
Extremely fast shutter and drive
Smallest 4K Ultra-HD camera
Incredible popup EVF
What you may not like
Limited zoom reach
Autofocus speed slower than peers
Control-Dials not used optimally
Pricey for a compact
Short battery-life

Premium

Premium compacts are digital cameras with an extensive feature set in a relatively compact body. They rarely fit in a pocket but neither do other cameras with the same feature set. Sensor-size has been getting bigger among premium compacts, delivering very good image quality.

Premium cameras have shown strong growth with new models from every manufacturer. This category easily is the most difficult to assess because each model offers such different compromises.

The similar price of premium compacts and mirrorless digital cameras is causing some dilemma. Mirrorless cameras are clearly more versatile yet that brings the hassle of changing lenses and sensor dust, which not everyone is willing to deal with. On the hand, premium compacts deliver an all-in-one camera with outstanding image quality.


Best Premium Compact 2015

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

With the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
, Panasonic launched the most outstanding new digital camera. Technically launched at the end of 2014, the LX100 made its way into our digital camera reviews in 2015, delivering the best perfect balance of versatility and performance from a fixed-lens camera.

This premium compact captures 12 megapixels images at multiple aspect-ratio4:3, 3:2 & 16:9. without loss of resolution or viewing-angle, using a 16 MP Four-Thirds sensor slightly cropped to a 2.2X FLM. Its ultra-bright 24-75mm F/1.7-2.8 optical zoom lens therefore always allows for ultra-wide coverage.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 offers extensive controls, including dual control-dials and plenty of buttons. It features a built-in large 2.8 MP EVF and 3" LCD with 920K pixels. The LCD is fixed for extra durability and avoid problems of many modern digital cameras, particularly those with an EVF, by not being touch-sensitive.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent image-quality
Bright maximum aperture
Very good sharpness
Multiple aspect-ratio sensor
Compact with 4K Ultra-HD
Excellent EVF sharpness
Superb build quality
What you may not like
Short zoom reach
Color and White-Balance accuracy issues
EVF and LCD not Exposure-Priority
Expensive among premium cameras
Larger than competitors

Ultra-Zoom

While the megapixels race stumbled a little as they pushed beyond 12 megapixels, the optical zoom race picked up again with several cameras taking overtaking the previous champion. These new ultra-zooms with huge optical zoom are extremely convenient and provide otherwise impossible versatility in a single fixed-lens design, often with an advanced feature-set and DSLR-like ergonomics.


Best Ultra-Zoom 2015

Nikon Coolpix P900

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Electronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringBuilt-In GPSBuilt-In GPSAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

The Nikon Coolpix P900
Nikon Coolpix P900
leads ultra-zooms by a huge margin with an unprecedented 83X optical zoom, equivalent to a 24-2000mm range. Its lens is optically stabilized and paired with a 16 megapixels high-speed CMOS sensor which delivers cleaner output than previous-generation 1/2.3" sensors.

This prosumer digital camera offers a truly rich feature-set, including several which are rarely seen among ultra-zoom such as Time-Lapse Video, Interval Timer, GPS and WiFi. Plenty of manual-controls are available along with dual control-dials and a high number of controls. It has a large 3" and a tiny 0.2" EVF with decent 920K pixels resolution and Eye-Start sensor.

The new compromise this year is that a two ultra-zooms, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
and Canon Powershot G3 X
Canon Powershot G3 X
, are now equipped with much larger 1" CMOS sensors to step up image-quality, albeit with much shorter optical zooms. These also put more demands on the lens which is why the P900 produces sharper output than the FZ1000.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Unmatched 24-2000mm optical zoom
Smooth usable output until ISO 1600
Sharpness consistent across frame
Extremely effective image stabilization
Dual control-dials and zoom controllers
What you may not like
Slight image softness starts at base ISO
Details smudged from ISO 800+
Inadequate Color and WB accuracy
Dim telephoto aperture noticeably slows AF
EVF and LCD not Exposure-Priority
Tiny low-contrast EVF

Mirrorless

Mirrorless are the fastest growing type of digital camera. They have matured over the last few years and many models now offer professional features and usability with image quality and performance which matches closely that of DSLRs. Lens lineups have considerably expanded with ultra-wide to medium telephoto being well covered, plus a few specialty lenses.


Best Mirrorless 2015

Fuji X-T10

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsElectronic View FinderElectronic View FinderHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

The Fuji X-T10
Fuji X-T10
is one of the most satisfying surprises of 2015. Launched as a slimmed down version of the fantastic X-T1 reviewed here
Fuji X-T1
, the new X-T10 provides streamlined controls in a smaller body. It notably loses an ISO dial and weather-sealing compared to the Fuji flagship mirrorless yet delivers class-leading image-quality and impressive performance.

The X-T10 offers the latest generation 16 megapixels X-Trans CMOS II sensor paired with a fast EXR II processor. This sensor delivers ultra-sharp images without an anti-alias filter and a fast Phase-Detect AF system which works very will in good light.

This mirrorless features an ultra-sharp EVF with an essential Eye-Start sensor that greatly helps with usability and precise framing. The view is sharp enough to focus manually with great precision.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Excellent sharpness
Superb dynamic-range
Great color accuracy
Excellent EVF
Plenty of direct controls
Superb build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus in low-light
Not Exposure-Priority
No direct ISO control
Soft control-dial detents

DSLR

Entry-Level DSLR cameras use the same large sensor as advanced models to give equally impressive image quality while remaining much faster than the majority of digital cameras, including mirrorless models. These cameras are often choice models for high image quality at a low cost, particularly for shooting moving subjects.

Best Entry-Level DSLR 2015

Pentax K-S2

20 Megapixels20 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Continuous DriveContinuous DriveFull 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Full 1080p HD Video: 1920 x 1080 resolution or more.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.

The Pentax K-S2
Pentax K-S2
is a 20 megapixels APS-C DSLR which produces high-quality images. While being the size and price of an entry-level model, the K-S2 provides more professional features than its peers. This includes a 100% coverage viewfinder, a weather-sealed body, dual control-dials, built-in Shake Reduction and Automatic Horizon Correction.

Having the 100% coverage viewfinder and horizon correction improves photography by freeing the photographers from worries. The dual control-dials allow to operate the camera more efficiently while the weatherproof construction lets the K-50 be used in adverse weather With the use of a weather-sealed lens..

Its sensor produces images with low noise, good dynamic range and natural image colors. This is also among faster models in its class with a top shutter-speed of 1/6000s and 5.5 FPS drive mode.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Great image quality
Reliable metering
Quite fast and responsive
Built-in Shake Reduction
Automatic Horizon Correction
100% Coverage viewfinder
Weather-sealed body
Excellent ergonomics and controls
What you may not like
Autofocus speed below average
Rotating screen makes it less sturdy than predecessors and is no longer freezeproof
Comparatively short battery-life
Comparatively limited lens lineup

Camera Bag

Clear

Your camera bag is empty. To add a camera or lens click on the star next to its name.

Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:

Updates

    2016.04.21

  • 2016.04.21

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Review

    The only premium travel-zoom! 20 megapixels 1" high-speed CMOS sensor paired with a stabilized 25-250mm F/2.8-5.9 optical zoom. 50 FPS Drive, 4K Ultra-HD video, 1/16000-60s Hybrid Shutter, Post-Shot Focus, 4K Live-Cropping, Time-Lapse Video and more. Dual control-dials plus a built-in EVF with Eye-Start sensor.

  • 2016.02.04

  • 2016.02.04

    Canon EOS Rebel T6s Review

    Canon EOS Rebel T6s Review

    Newly designed Rebel with dual control-dials and top status LCD. 24 MP APS-C sensor, Hybrid AF III with 19 all-cross points and on-sensor Phase-Detect AF. 5 FPS Drive and full 1080p HD video capture.

  • 2016.01.05

  • 2016.01.05

    Canon Powershot G3 X Review

    Canon Powershot G3 X Review

    Ultra-zoom with a 25X optical zoom lens and large 20 MP 1" CMOS sensor in a weather-sealed body with dual control-dials, a lens ring and efficient controls. Captures full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS with internal or external stereo sound.

  • 2015.12.19

  • 2015.12.19

    Best Digital Cameras of 2015

    Best Digital Cameras of 2015

    The best new digital cameras of 2015. Plus, find out which ones of 2014 still lead their category. Compact, Premium Cameras, Ultra-Zooms, Mirrorless and DSLR are all covered.

  • 2015.11.30

  • 2015.11.30

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review

    16 megapixels Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless. 2.4 MP 0.5" EVF with Eye-Start sensor plus dual control-dials. 4K Ultra-HD video, 8 FPS continuous-drive, hybrid shutter with 1/16000-60s shutter-speeds, ISO 100-25600 and Contrast-Detect DFD autofocus system sensitive to -4 EV.

  • 2015.11.03

  • 2015.11.03

    Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR Review

    Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR Review

    Nikon constant-aperture super-telephoto zoom with 200-500mm range and the latest Vibration-Reduction effective to 4.5 stops. Built-in super-sonic AF in a sturdy weatherproof body.

  • 2015.10.26

  • 2015.10.26

    Nikon Coolpix P900 Review

    Nikon Coolpix P900 Review

    In-depth review of the Nikon P900 ultra-zoom with an unprecedented 83X stabilized optical zoom lens paired with a 16 MP BSI-CMOS sensor capable for 7 FPS continuous drive and 1080p HD video at 60 FPS. Built-in 0.2" EVF with 920K pixels and Eye-Start sensor, rotating 3" LCD with 920K pixels, WiFi and a built-in GPS.

  • 2015.10.22

  • 2015.10.22

    Lightroom Architectural Photography

    Lightroom Architectural Photography

    Learn how to process architectural photography images using Adobe Lightroom.

  • 2015.10.20

  • 2015.10.20

    Weatherproof Mirrorless Comparison

    Weatherproof Mirrorless Comparison

    In-depth comparison of weather-sealed mirrorless digital cameras. Covers features, capabilities, image-quality and performance of the Fuji X-T1, X-T1 Graphite, Nikon 1 AW1, Olympus OM-D E-M1, E-M5 Mark II, Panasonic GH4 and GX8.

  • 2015.10.13

  • 2015.10.13

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Review

    Panasonic flagship mirrorless, the first 20 MP Micro Four-Thirds digital camera. Built-in image-stabilization, 2.4 MP 0.44" EVF with 0.77X magnification. 8 FPS Drive and 4K Ultra-HD video. Fully weather-sealed and feature-rich.