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Best Digital Cameras of 2013

Introduction

Here we present the best digital cameras of 2013. Each winning camera is chosen as the best-in-class in its respective category among models currently availableAs of November 2013. Some may not be available in all markets yet.. Unlike last year, many cameras managed to hold on to their leading positions or be replaced by a similar successor. Runner ups are chosen only when offering a very similar performance or distinct advantage.

Explosive growth among mirrorless cameras brought a number of models into new categories with matching prices. For this reason, we categorized these digital cameras into the same levels as DSLRs: entry, advanced and professional. As with DSLRs, image-quality is very similar across categories but features and controls are the greatest differentiators.

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.

Choices can transcend boundaries between digital camera types and so, like last year, the best performing camera for different photography subjects is awarded in its own section. Winners were chosen for outstanding performance regardless of camera type or price. Consult this list if one type of photography dominates your art.

Ultra-Compact

The ultra-compact is the most portable type of digital camera. It fits in most pant pockets and can be taken unobtrusively anywhere. While it compromises in image quality, ergonomics and features, it delivers more photo opportunities simply because it is rarely left behind.

Ultra-compact cameras are under pressure from cellular phones. Most manufacturers therefore introduced fewer ultra-compacts in 2013 than previous years and a number of them public ally announced their shifting away from such cameras.


Best Ultra-Compact 2013

Canon Powershot S120

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsHigh 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.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.

This ultra-compact uses a larger-than-usual 12 MP sensor which delivers improved image quality over its modern peers. The Canon S120
Canon Powershot S120
features an ultra-wide-angle 5X optical zoom lens equivalent to 24-120mm with an bright F/1.8 aperture at the wide end. This lets it gather 2 to 4 times more light than other ultra-compacts and gives it an unrivaled lead in low-light performance.

This digital camera is also the most ergonomic ultra-compact. Its dual control-dials give it efficient access to its full manual-controls. Framing is via a sharp 3" LCD with 460K pixels and yet it manages to squeeze-in built-in WiFi too.


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What you will like
Excellent manual-controls
Bright ultra-wide-angle lens
High ISO capability
Very fast and responsive
9.4 FPS burst of 635 images
Bright and sharp LCD
What you may not like
Lens dims quickly when zooming in
Still has a small sensor
No hand-grip at all
Short battery life

The Canon Powershot S120 takes over from its predecessor with a slightly brighter lens in a fractionally larger body. The S110
Canon Powershot S110
still measures up well and there is also an Canon S200
Canon Powershot S200
available in Canada but not the USA which is a lighter version with the S110's lens and a lower-resolution CCD sensor.

Travel-Zoom

Small ultra-zoom digital cameras are plentiful. With sizes varying between ultra-compact and compact, these models pack at least 8X optical zoom. Just a few years ago, this was only possible with much larger models. Inevitably the size of the lens determines the compromise between focal-length and optical quality, although sensors are roughly the same now across most fixed-lens cameras from a given company.


Best Travel-Zoom 2013

Fuji Finepix F900 EXR

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.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.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.

The impressive Fuji Finepix F900 EXR
Fuji Finepix F900 EXR
brings back Phase-Detect AF to the compact F-series where this technology started. This cameras features a unique 16 megapixels EXR CMOS II sensor that delivers a class-leading dynamic-range and comparatively low image-noise while also incorporating ultra-fast AF at the sensor-level.

Its 20X ultra-wide-angle optical zoom lens has built-in stabilization, reaching 500mm in a camera that closes down to a mere 1.5" thick. It sports advanced features with full manual-controls, 1080p HD video capture, ultra-fast 11 FPS continuous drive and WiFi.


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What you will like
Stellar dynamic-range
Low image noise
Impressive optical performance
Superb stabilization
Class-leading fast autofocus
What you may not like
Complex feature interactions
No physical aperture
Short battery-life
AF slower in video

 

Ultra-Zoom

Large cameras are very capable. In addition to a complete feature-set, these cameras can be equipped with outstanding optics and ergonomically-designed bodies. Compared to DSLR cameras, large cameras provide WYSIWYG live-preview with relatively fast auto focus and are not prone to sensor dust. Their only true limitation is having a fixed lens.

No new high-end ultra-zooms were introduced in 2013, so last year's winner keeps its top-spot in the category. That being said, there is now an almost ultra-zoom that is expected to deliver vastely superior image-quality, the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX10
. This unique camera offers an 8X optical zoom lens with a constant F/2.8 aperture. The lens is paired with a relatively large 1" CMOS sensor.


Best Ultra-Zoom 2013

Fuji X-S1

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Electronic View FinderElectronic View FinderStabilization: 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.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringWeatherproof - 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.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

The Fuji X-S1
Fuji X-S1
is an advanced ultra-zoom and the only weather-sealed model ever made. It is equipped with an ultra-wide-angle 26X optical zoom with a fantastic mechanical zoom which is infinitely precise, very fast and completely quiet.

This ultra-zoom is very feature-rich with full manual-controls, including a fly-by-wire focus, digital level, high-speed drive, 1080p HD video capture and Fuji's EXR technology which delivers stellar dynamic-range and relatively low image noise.

The X-S1 is fast and responsive with great image quality for its class. It is durably built and ergonomic. It includes an ultra-sharp 1.4 MP EVF, large 3" LCD and hot-shoe.


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What you will like
Mechanical ultra-wide to super telephoto lens
Stellar dynamic range
Low image noise
Good image sharpness
Excellent built quality
DSLR-style ergonomics
What you may not like
Poor white-balance in artificial light
Weak Eye-Start sensor
Poor preview coverage
Limited shutter-speeds above base ISO

Premium Compact

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 2013

Fuji X100S

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 X100S
Fuji X100S
features the a latest generation 16 megapixels APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor. This incredible sensor offers ultra-high image-quality with low-noise and critical sharpness due to its lack of anti-alias filter. It is also not prone to moire because the special arrangement of its color-filter-array. The II version of the sensor adds built-in Phase-Detect AF which improves performance and makes AF with the X-series comparable to top-end mirrorless cameras.

The Fuji X100S follows the runaway success of its predecessor and includes the same unique hybrid viewfinder that instantly switches between EVF and OVF mode, plus a high number of direct mechanical controls.

The catch is that the compact size of the X100S, despite having a DSLR-sized sensor, it is fixed 23mm F/2 lens. That lens is incredibly sharp but offers a fixed angle-of-view which is restrictive and not suitable for all photographic subjects. See the Fuji 100S full-review for details.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low noise
Very good sharpness from wide-open
Flexible rendition of colors and tones
Leaf-Shutter allows High-Speed-Sync
Built-In 3-Stop ND Filter
Excellent EVF clarity
Superb build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus in low-light
Some over-exposure
Some cast under tungsten lighting
Two dials needed per exposure parameter
No direct Self-Timer access

Runner Up

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 II

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.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.Accepts Memory Stick Duo memory.Accepts Memory Stick Duo memory.

The Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 II
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 II
is barely larger than an ultra-compact, yet it fits a 20 megapixels 1" CMOS sensor, improved with 40% more sensitivity over the RX100. The bright 3.6X wide-angle optical zoom lens retracts in the camera to make it 1½" slim when powered off.

The RX100 II boasts full manual-controls, including manual-focus, and dual control-dials plus a mode-dial to efficiently access its features. New to the II version is a multi-interface hot-shoe which accepts an optional EVF.

Even with its high megapixels count, it can shoot continuous at 10 FPS and capture full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS. Framing is done via an ultra-sharp 1.2 megapixels 3" LCD.


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What you will like
Very compact
High resolution
Good sharpness
Fast and responsive
Advanced video features
What you may not like
Lens dims down to F/4.9 at telephoto
Limited dynamic-range
Front control-dial rotates freely
Battery charges in-camera
Below average battery-life

Entry Mirrorless

Mirrorless digital cameras are designed to bring the versatility of interchangeable lenses to a small form-factor while delivering high image quality. The latest generation of mirrorless cameras succeeded rather well, even matching the image quality some modern DSLRs. They have also taken great strides in improving speed which initially lagged considerably behind.

Many entry-level models offer the same image-quality as high-end ones because they share the same sensor, only in a smaller body with fewer controls and less durable components.


Best Entry-Level Mirrorless 2013

Fuji X-M1

16 Megapixels16 MegapixelsHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.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

Fuji started at the top of mirrorless cameras with the Fuji X-Pro1
Fuji X-Pro1
and has been moving down by reusing sensors designed for their high-end models. The X-M1 uses the same stunning 16 megapixels X-Trans CMOS II sensor as the X100S above and all but one of their mirrorless offerings.

It delivers class-leading image-quality and speedy Phase-Detect autofocus in a compact body. Still, unlike most entry-level units, the X-M1 offers dual control-dials and a traditional mode-dial. Its compact body lacks room for a viewfinder which is typical for this level of camera.

The Fuji X-M1 manages to exceed the image quality of most cropped-sensor DSLRs and produces sharp images with very low noise and superb colors.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image-noise
Excellent sharpness
Great color accuracy
Good number of controls
Solid build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus in low-light
Limited selection of lenses
No option for an EVF

Advanced Mirrorless

Fuji designed its X-series of mirrorless cameras for advanced shooters and launched the original X-Pro1 with a set of high-end prime lenses, each featuring a true aperture ring. The camera itself offered mechanical dials for most controls and a classic design with a unique hybrid viewfinder.


Best Advanced Mirrorless 2013

Fuji X-E2

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-E2
Fuji X-E2
is the ultimate mirrorless from Fuji. It offers the latest generation 16 megapixels X-Trans CMOS II sensor paired with a fast EXR II processor.

As described above, this sensor delivers ultra-sharp images without an anti-alias filter and a fast Phase-Detect AF system, making it highly usable for moving subjects.

The Fuji X-E2 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.

The excellent design of the X-E2 favors the use of direct mechanical controls which makes it quite efficient. Its relatively compact body feels extremely sturdy.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Excellent sharpness
Great color accuracy
Excellent EVF
Plenty of direct controls
Superb build quality
What you may not like
Slow autofocus in low-light
Some usability issues
Limited selection of lenses

Professional Mirrorless

Only recently did mirrorless cameras become suitable for high-end professional photography. While a master of photography can manage with almost any camera, professional work demands quality, speed and reliability. A working pro needs to constantly produce quality images in demanding conditions and often with a variety of subjects. There are many types of photography where retakes are impossible, so missed shots are lost forever.


Best Professional Mirrorless 2013

Olympus OM-D E-M1

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.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.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.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

Olympus and Panasonic pioneered the mirrorless market with their Micro Four-Thirds format. With its lead, Micro Four-Thirds remains the most complete and extensive of all mirrorless formats with over 40 lenses from 5 different manufacturers.

While promising image-quality in a compact form, and delivering on that promise, the appearance of high-end models has been relatively slow. It took a few generations to improve autofocus speeds and the latest crop of mirrorless cameras feature ultra-fast Contrast-Detect and Phase-Detect AF systems which match that of many DSLRs.

This year, Olympus launched a truly professional mirrorless with the OM-D E-M1. Its 16 megapixels CMOS sensor delivers stunning image-quality. It offers 5-axis image-stabilization and a hybrid AF system. This weathersealed mirrorless camera is also freezeproof which makes it usable in adverse weather when paired with a weathersealed lens.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1
Olympus OM-D E-M1
is very speedy. It offers 10 FPS continuous shooting with a deep buffer for up to 95 images. Its superb 2.4 megapixels EVF has 100% coverage at 0.7X magnification while refreshing fast enough to follow action.

This combination of image-quality and performance, plus a mature system, allow the E-M1 to easily take its place as a professional digital camera.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent image-quality
Superb image-stabilization
Good metering system
Reliable white-balance
Impressive EVF
Plenty of direct controls
Class-leading build quality
What you may not like
Slow AF with Four-Thirds lenses in low-light
Colors could be more accurate
Not Exposure-Priority
Overly complex
Relatively short battery-life

Entry 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 2013

Pentax K-50

16 Megapixels16 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.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt 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.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Runs on standard AA batteriesRuns on standard AA batteriesAccepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.

The Pentax K-50
Pentax K-50
is a 16 megapixels APS-C DSLR which produces images of exceptional quality. While being the size and price of an entry-level model, the K-50 provides more professional features than its peers. This includes a 100% coverage viewfinder, a weather-sealed body which is freezeproof to -10C (14F), 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, class-leading dynamic-range and natural image colors. This is also one of the fastest models in its class with a top shutter-speed of 1/6000s and 6 FPS drive mode.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Excellent image noise
Exceptional dynamic range
Generally fast and responsive
Built-in Shake Reduction
Automatic Horizon Correction
100% Coverage viewfinder
Weather-sealed and freezeproof
Support for both AA and Lithium-Ion batteries
Excellent ergonomics and controls
What you may not like
Autofocus speed below average
Comparatively limited lens lineup
Short battery-life with supplied battery
AA Batteries require optional adapter

While no other entry-level DSLR has a comparable feature-set, the Pentax K-50 faces competition from the Pentax K-5 II
Pentax K-5 II
which has dropped in price recently. It offers the same feature-set with more controls in a more durable body and even a dual IR-receivers and stereo sound-input.

Advanced DSLR

Today's Advanced DSLRs show exceptional image quality, great speed of operation and a wealth of features. These cameras are designed for efficient operation and can be used for all types of photography without much bulk. Choice of lenses abounds with a growing number specifically designed for cropped-sensor, saving cost and weight compared to comparable full-frame models.

The Pentax K-5 IIs remains the best digital camera among Advanced DSLRs. While a higher-resolution Pentax K-3
Pentax K-3
was recently launched, it only matches the performance of the K-5 IIs at low ISO sensitivity, showing more noise and softness starting at ISO 800.


Best Advanced DSLR 2013

Pentax K-5 IIs

16 Megapixels16 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.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt to keep the horizon level.Automatic Level: Corrects for some degree of tilt 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.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.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review

The 16 megapixels sensor of the Pentax K-5 IIs
Pentax K-5 IIs
takes image-quality to the next level for APS-C DSLRs by removing the usual anti-alias filter and maximizing sharpness.

The Pentax K-5 IIs brings unprecedented level of image quality to cropped-sensor DSLRs, challenging even larger full-frame cameras on many fronts. Plus, its keeps all the fantastic and unique features of the K-5 including built-in stabilization, automatic horizon correction, 100% coverage viewfinder and the best weatherproof protection among ILCs.

This DSLR has an extended ISO range that reaches 51200, plus the most sensitive autofocus system on the market, a dual-axis digital-level, 7 FPS drive and full 1080p HD video recording. The K-5 IIs has the most efficient controls of any current digital camera and excellent ergonomics.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image-noise
Exceptional image sharpness
Class-leading dynamic-range
Built-in Shake Reduction
Automatic Horizon Correction
Ultra-sensitive autofocus system
Quite fast and responsive
Weather-sealed and freezeproof
Class-leading ergonomics and usability
What you may not like
Slow AF compared to high-end DSLRs
Higher potential for moire artifacts
Noticeable image review delay
Comparatively limited lens lineup

Pentax simultaneously release the K-5 II
Pentax K-5 II
which is identical except for its use of an anti-alias filter like most digital cameras which use a Bayer color-filter-array.

Professional DSLR

Professional full-frame DSLRs feature the best image quality and performance for demanding photographers. The trade-offs are always increased cost of both camera and lenses as well as added bulk. These cameras are extremely versatile and with the right lenses, suitable for all types of photography.

There were only two new full-frame DSLRs this year. The entry Nikon D610
Nikon D610
and the classically-styled Nikon Df
Nikon Df
. While the Df uses the same sensor as the D4 below, it does not match it in terms of speed or autofocus and is aimed at a different market.


Best Professional DSLR 2012

Nikon D4

16 Megapixels16 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.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.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.Accepts XQD memory.Accepts XQD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

The Nikon D4
Nikon D4
embodies DSLRs like no other and takes the essential qualities of professional digital cameras to the extreme:

  • Stellar low-light performance with a maximum ISO sensitivity of 204,800!
  • Blazing-fast autofocus that works in low-light.
  • Ultra-fast continuous drive up to 11 FPS.
  • Solid and durable weatherproof construction.
  • Choice of lenses among one of the industry's largest lineups.

This full-frame DSLR is literally and figurative a heavy-weight. Without a doubt, it delivers images of outstanding quality and top-notch performance. Its large body with integrated vertical grip puts a great number of controls at your finger-tips.

The Nikon D4 is extremely feature rich, including the requisite 100% coverage viewfinder and dual control-dials on both grips for this type of camera, plus full 1080p HD capture with uncompressed HDMI output, a built-in viewfinder shutter and an Ethernet port for remote control and image transfer. It is only lacking a built-in flash and freeze-proof construction.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Extremely low image noise
Superb dynamic-range
Class-leading 11 FPS continuous drive
Fast 51-point autofocus with 3D subject-tracking
Ultra-fast and responsive
Wealth of external controls
Uncompressed full 1080p HD video over HDMI
Extremely solid weather-proof construction
What you may not like
Poor automatic white-balance in artificial light
Second card-slots requires XQD memory
No built-in flash
Quite heavy and bulky

Runner Up

Nikon D800E

36 Megapixels36 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.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.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.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.Accepts Compact Flash Type I memory.

The Nikon D800E
Nikon D800E
is the highest-resolution DSLR on the market and it maximizes image sharpness by not having an anti-alias filter like its twin, the Nikon D800
Nikon D800
.

The 36 megapixels full-frame CMOS sensor using in the D800E and D800 competes with Medium-Format digital cameras with similar resolution in most cases and actually better image noise and dynamic-range.

While physically smaller than the D4, the D800E is really a professional DSLR too. Its weather-sealed body includes a 100% coverage viewfinder with built-in shutter, dual control-dials and even a built-in flash.


Buy From Amazon.com
What you will like
Class-leading resolution
Excellent image sharpness
Good dynamic-range
Fast 51-point autofocus with 3D subject-tracking
Generally fast and responsive
Solid build quality
Uncompressed full 1080p HD video over HDMI
What you may not like
Poor automatic white-balance in artificial light
Slow 4 FPS maximum speed at 36 MP
Asymmetric card-slots use CF & SDXC
Below average LCD visibility
Demands the highest quality lenses

Best Digital Cameras By Photography Subject

Each class of digital camera fits the needs of certain users. This is one reason buyers often look for a specific type of digital camera. Another reason is the preconceived notion that one type performs a certain way. In fact, that is mostly true but 2012 has blurred these boundaries like never before.

With this in mind, we award cross-category distinctions here for common photography subjects. Most winners from last year kept their top-spot but are now more affordable. Here they are in no particular order:


Best Landscape Photography Digital Camera - Nikon D610
Nikon D610

Nikon D610

In 2012, Nikon launched the D600
Nikon D600
as the lowest cost full-frame DSLR. This year, they updated it with a nearly identical D610 which is slightly faster and more quiet. The D610 retains the excellent image-quality of its predecessor with its comparatively large pixels which give it lower noise and higher dynamic-range than the Nikon D800E
Nikon D800E
and Nikon D800
Nikon D800
twins.

Best Travel Photography Digital Camera - Pentax K-5 IIs
Pentax K-5 IIs

Travel photography images are taken under a variety of conditions with more constraints than most. The Pentax K-5 IIs is ideal for travel photography since it can produce outstanding images down to very low light thanks to its class-leading high-ISO performance and built-in stabilization that even works with the brightest lenses. It is also similar in size to an entry-level DSLR except with extremely efficient controls. Traveling photographers are more at the mercy of the weather than most and the K-5 family handles it better than any other interchangeable lens camera.

Best Street Photography Digital Camera - Olympus OM-D E-M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5

Street photography requires quick speed, light weight and discretion. A DSLR provides the former but struggles with the latter two. Mirrorless cameras provide the opposite. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 takes exception to this by delivering truly fast autofocus while remaining compact. Both eye-level and hip-level shooting are possible with this mirrorless thanks to an excellent EVF and tiltable LCD.


Best Action Photography Digital Camera - Nikon D4
Nikon D4

Action photography, particularly indoor action photography, is the most demanding of a digital camera. To freeze action, a camera needs a fast shutter-speed which requires a high-ISO for proper exposure when light is not so bright. Just as importantly, it needs to have the subject in focus and fire quickly to capture action at its peak.


Best Social Digital Camera - Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 II
Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 II

With so many people using cellular-phones to immortalize social occasions, one could be forgiven to think that photography in typical social settings is demanding. A combination of low light and moving subjects normally calls for a DSLR but carrying one into a social setting is awkward at best. The Sony RX100 II strikes the ultimate compromise under these circumstances by fitting a large sensor in a very compact camera.


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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

    2014.10.27

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    Nikon D4s Review

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