Friday, December 27, 2013

Most Signifcant Cameras Of 2013

Looking back at 2013 a number of significant cameras were released. While I've noticed many 10 ten lists are made up of the best, the most popular, or the most initiative cameras, this list is a little different. The list starts at #10 and works its way to the most significant.

10. Nikon D610 - While the D600 was a decent camera, problems with quality control left consumers with a perception that the camera had issues. No matter how large or small the volume of cameras that really had an issue. Nikon finally dealt with the dust/oil problem of the D600, and that meant a line had to be drawn. Thus a "new" camera came into being with slightly changed specs.

9. Olympus E-P5 - Olympus updated their compact high end camera body. The PEN series of cameras were the first truly interesting micro 4/3s bodies on the market, taking a classic style and putting it into a modern package. The E-P5 continuous this line, and modernized it with a current generation sensor and auto focus.

8. Nikon D7100 - Nikon updates their high end DX body with a 24MP sensor that lacks an Anti-Aliasing filter. While there is nothing revolutionary about the D7100 it represents a continuation of a great line of camera bodies by Nikon. There is nothing wrong with taking something that was already very good and making improvements, to make it just a little bit better!
7. Canon 70D - Canon APS-C sensor camera users have been stuck with the aged, and by modern standards poorly performing, 18MP sensor for far too long. Canon finally made some effort to deal with that problem with the 70D. While the increase in low light performance and dynamic range were not great, it is a step in the right direction. The 70D also features the best, for video recording, live view auto focus found in a DSLR. Like the Nikon D7100 there is nothing revolutionary about the 70D, it shows that Canon is at least trying to improve on an already good camera line.

6. Fuji X-M1 - Up to this point Fuji cameras with an X-Trans Sensor have only appeared in camera in the upper end of the consumer market. With the arrival of the, somewhat feature stripped, X-M1 the senor has became available to the mid-range and entry level market.

5. Pentax K-3 - A significant upgrade over the K5II, in terms of speed and auto focus. No longer are there two high end cameras in the Pentax lineup (split as the K-5II and K-5IIs in the last generation). The K-3 was also the only prosumer APS-C DSLR released in 2013.

4. Ricoh GR - The first truly pocketable APS-C sensor camera (fixed lens) on the market. While other compact APS-C cameras have come into the market, Fuji X-100s and Nikon Coolpix A, neither of those cameras would be considered truly pocketable. The Ricoh GR has a very photographer friendly design, while remaining small.
3. Sony A7 and A7r - These Sony cameras are the first, non-rangefinder, full frame mirrorless cameras on the market. While there is nothing revolutionary about them (unless you consider taking the mirror out of a camera revolutionary), the cameras have caught the attention of many photographers. These cameras are easily the most compact full frame cameras with interchangeable lenses. While neither will win an award for being the fastest or best cameras on the market they do show that Sony is, once again, willing to make something photographers have been asking for. Only time will tell if Sony will put in the effort to make enough lenses for the lineup, in order to make the bodies worth having.
2. Nikon 1 AW1 - The Nikon 1 AW1 represents something that has been missing from the camera market since the Nikonos cameras lost favor at the end of the film era. While an underwater camera is nothing new in and of itself, the AW1 represents Nikon's interest in making high quality cameras for those who enjoy making images under the surface of the water. While the AW1 is not designed to handle deep water diving, they are great cameras for people who enjoy snorkeling without having to resort to the tiny sensors of underwater point and shoot cameras, or the big, bulky and expensive underwater housings for DSLRs. If the line gains some high quality wide angle primes designed for underwater use it could become a very popular underwater camera.
1. Olympus OM-D E-M1 - Olympus stepped up their game with the OM-D EM-5 in 2012, and has done so once again with the OM-D E-M1. The E-M1 is arguably the best M4/3s body to date. The E-M1 is the first truly professional oriented body for the mount, in that it offers extremely high performance auto focus (usable for some action photography), and responsive controls. While the Panasonic GH3 is a good camera, it is aimed at those who are more interested in a high quality, but light weight video camera. As for the rest of the M4/3s line? While small cameras might be what consumers, and professionals want for the enjoyment of photography, I don't think many photographers would argue that the OM-D E-M1 is a large camera. Considering that the M4/3s mount has the best set of lenses available for a mirrorless system, and now a truly high end body, I can see Olympus doing extremely well in the year to come.