At the beginning of January, I was among the first journalists to bring you quick preview of the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100. The camera looked very promising and finally I got a production sample for a week to play with. I was very anxious to check if the camera lived to its expectations and to find out if this might be the best travel camera of 2016.
It’s the time of year when a lot of people get new gear, so it’s time for a shopping guide. What makes this article different from most of similar ones is that I will recommend gear I have reviewed personally and liked it enough that I would consider buying it myself. That means I will skip a lot of good cameras because they have something that would bother me if I had them; it doesn’t mean cameras not listed here suck: they are just not to my personal taste. If for some camera category I think there are no good cameras I will simply recommend avoiding purchase and saving the money towards something better.
I will focus down to what is available on the market right now and at current price points. That means some good but currently in my opinion overpriced cameras might not be recommended at all. Sorry but for most of us money dictates what we can afford.
Panasonic GX8 is the latest and beside GH4 the most advanced Panasonic mirrorless to date. With the current price of around 1200 USD without the lens it is not what one might call affordable, but in return offers a rather unique set of features some of which are not found anywhere else. It is still the only camera with tilting electronic viewfinder what turned out be a great feature I used all the time. Build qulity is superb and includes weather sealed magnesium body with a wide range of manual controls most of which are fully customizable. Fully articulated LCD has touch control and uses OLED technology just like EVF. GX8 offer 4k video straigh out of the camera as well as full range of manual video controls. A detail that might be most interesting is the fact it has on sensor stabilization which can work together with in lens stabilization. If you allready have Olympus micro 4/3 lenses (which are not stabilized – Olympus uses only on-sensor stabilization) or a huge set of old manual legacy lenses, GX8 can stabilize all of them. The camera is extremely fast in operation – both in terms of auto focus and overall response and can operate in full silent mode – essential for street photography. Anyway, take a look at my detailed video review:
And click continue reading to see some image samples:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 is the latest pretender for ultra zoom throne. While not having insane optical zoom range – only 24x when competitors have 50x-83x, it makes it up with other specifications most of which are way above those found in competing cameras like Nikon P900, Canon SX60HS or Sony HX400. Panasonic FZ300 is the only one with constant F/2.8 aperture through the entire zoom range, 4K video recording and weather sealed body. It also offers RAW file format, articulated touch LCD and OLED electronic viewfinder, 1/16000 shutter speed, 12fps burst mode, 4k photo mode (30fps in 8MP resolution), microphone input, full manual controls both for video and photo, built-in flash with wireless flash control, hot-shoe and most advanced control configuration options in the class.
Well, there’s no point keeping you in suspense; for me this is the best ultra zoom ever made. It has more options and better image and video results than any other similar camera. Yes, it is the most expensive one and 24x does not sound as much, but in reality it is enough for all typical usage scenarious. Take a look at my (longest yet) video review.
Fuji is a company that love to makes different products. X-T1 is theirs current top of the line model – mirrorless camera made primarily for advanced users. It doesn’t have a mode dial and no “green” Auto shooting mode – if you fo not understand what all the dials on this camera do, it is definetly not for you. Aperture is controled on the lens, shutter has its dial on the top – just like on Leica rangefinders. Advanced users will enjoy this camera a lot – once glance on the dials and you know what your settings are. Beside that, X-T1 features one of the best electronic viewfinders on the market – 2,36 million dot monster finder that appears to be even bigger than optical finders on full frame cameras. At the heart there is a 16 megapixels image sensor. In my video review of this camera you can find out many other details and check image quality.
Canon EOS 7D mark II is the new flagship DSLR from Canon with APS-C sized sensor. It is aimed mainly to sports, wildlife or professional photo journalists. Its main selling points are the advanced 65 point AF system and 10 fps burst with insanely big buffer (around 1000 shots in JPEG). Previous 7D was on the market since 2009; that’s 5 years. There are few digital cameras that survived that long and this alone tells you 7D was a sucess. Creating the Mark II was no easy task since some things were allready really great. On paper, maybe it doesn’t look that different form 7D mark I, but the new stuff that was added or improved on Mark II is really usefull and you can feel it in use. Check out the video review and full resolution samples below to see what I thought of the new 7D mark II.
I have just published my video review of the D5500, the latest amater DSLR from Nikon. The camera packs a full range of advanced features, starting from 24 megapixels APS-C sensor without AA filter, 60p full HD video recording, tilt and touch LCD, built-in WiFi and 5fps continuous shooting to name just a few. Some might object there are to few differences compared to previous D5300 and they are pretty much right about it. If you own D3200, D3300 or D5300, this new D5500 is pointless upgade, bt for anyone with an older model than those just mentioned, this is quite a good choice. Check the video review to see what I concluded after a week of shooting with the D5500.
And for those wanting to check full resolution samples, just click on the “continue reading”.
Canon Powershot G7X is an advanced compact camera. It is small enough to fit entirely in an average palm but has almost all the bells and whistles demanding users might want. Most important – it uses one of the biggest sensors ever put in a camera this small; 1″ type (13.2 x 8.8 mm). This is probably the same sensor made by Sony and used in popular RX100 models that shook the market some time ago due to high image quality from a tiny camera. Therefore, I was very curious to see how Canon performs.
Nikon Coolpix S32 is an affordable waterproof camera. You can bring it down to 10m (33 ft) of water and it should be able to survive drops from 1.5m (5 ft). It features 13 megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom. It also record full HD video and comes in several happy color variations.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ60 (ZS40 in North America) is what I like to call compact ultra-zoom. Inside its thin body there is a 30x optical zoom (24-720mm) and 18 megapixel sensor. Besides a 3-inch LCD, TZ60 has an electronic viewfinder what is still a rare detail in this camera category. You can use it in full automatic exposure mode, but it still offers complete manual controls, RAW file format and 1080/60p video mode. Built-in GPS will appeal to travelers as is the case with Wi-Fi connectivity.