Christmas 2015 digital camera shopping guide

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.

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Fujifilm X-T1 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.

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Canon EOS 7D mark II review

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.

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Canon Powershot N review

Canon Powershot N is a somewhat unusual camera at the first glance. It consists of lens in the front, a touch-screen at the back and that’s it. There is no grip and very few buttons. Compact camera market is disappearing a bit by bit every day and manufacturers are trying everything they can to keep customers. This can seen by ultra-zoom flood in the last two or three years and many advanced models like Sony RX100, Nikon Coolpix A and many others. With Powershot N, Canon tried a bit different approach, making it different than almost any other camera on the market.

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Nikon D5200 DSLR review

D5200 is second model in current Nikon DSLR lineup, just above D3200 and below the newly announced semi-pro D7100. In terms of features and especially size or ergonomics it is pretty much the same as both its predecessor the D5100 or the current base model D3200. Since I already published D3200 review and D5200 is rather similar camera, I will cover only the differences and overall user experience in this review.

Compared to its predecessor, the D5200 has a new 24 MP sensor, more advanced focus system with 39 AF points, 2016 pixel color sensitive metering sensor and stereo microphone for video recording. The Auto-ISO option is also upgraded and now allows automatic setting of minimum shutter speed based on the lens focal length – pretty important for zoom lens users. Movie aficionados will love the option of manual setting of shutter, aperture and ISO during movie recording. Everything else is practically the same as on D5100.

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Olympus M-Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 is the fast portrait prime lens for micro four-thirds system cameras. With 2x crop factor it has the equivalent field of view of 90mm lens. If you have a micro 4/3 camera with any kit lens (14-42, 12-50 or 14-150) and are looking to buy first lens beyond the kit, this is probably the one you should get. It works without adapter on any camera with micro four-thirds lens mount, such as Olympus PEN and OMD or Panasonic G series cameras.

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Nokia Pureview 808 review

Nokia Pureview 808 made quite the stir on the market earlier this year. The main reason – highest resolution sensor; not only amongst mobile phones, but even higher than all other digital camera except medium format beasts like Hasselblad, Phase One or Pentax 645. Is it just a marketing stunt or are the 41 megapixels actually usable in real life – that’s what I was eager to find out.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

5D Mark III is the latest full frame model from Canon, following the footsteps of its very popular but aging Mark II model. It brings a wide range of improvements and I was eager to try it in the field.

Canon had a habit of breaking price barriers in the past. First, it did it with 300D model back in 2003, which was the first DSLR priced at 1000 USD. In 2005. 5D saw the light of the day as first “affordable” full frame camera on the market. A lot of customers expected this price and feature breaking trend to continue, but it never happened again. All other cameras have had just incremental enhancements, feature by feature, and price level remained almost the same.

Several years later, in 2008. Mark II did shook the market again, but this time in a very unexpected way: video recording. Relatively large sensor made it especially appealing for indie movie makers who needed shallow DOF and large selection of different lenses. Very soon, camera became a selling hit, making its way even into mainstream video production (do you remember the episode of Dr. House shot entirely with Mark II cameras?).

Although it had its quirks and a lot to be desired from a professional full frame camera, Mark II became a sort of standard work-horse amongst a wide range of professional users, especially for wedding and landscape applications.

This year the latest incarnation hit the shelves – the 5D Mark III. It has a completely new and advanced AF system, higher burst rate and a range of improved options. The problem is, many believe it is what Mark II should have been from beginning, and there are still a few functionalities left out, like uncompressed HDMI output. Unfortunately, the price is still very high, slightly higher even from the only current competitor – Nikon D800. There was a hope Canon might introduce a really cheap full frame body, but instead we got a perfected high-end beast.

So is it worth 3000 Euros? Let’s find out.

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