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Author: Igor Letilovic

An amateur photographer, songwriter, musician, computer and technology geek and an occasional comedian, I'm a little bit of everything. I always aim to pursue things I'm passonate about and try to look on the positive side of things whenever I can. My mission is to wrap my articles in that aura of positive energy and keep a healthy balance between being serious about my work and spicing things up with a little fun now and than. After all, life's a game and there's always a different way to play it.

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Review: Powerful Compact Gear to Check

It’s always good to see that some manufactures are still covering all the segments of the camera market well despite the fall in popularity of some particular camera types and that people are still faced with the option to buy the modern versions of the devices they are interested in. While more and more people these days are either satisfied with everything their smartphone has to offer photography-wise or have plans for purchasing either an entry-level mirrorless camera or a DSLR, some still like the fact of having a very small camera that can easily fit anywhere and will still give them a lot of options when it comes to either learning about photography or making use of all the important functionality a dedicated camera has to offer.

If the image quality is not your primary concern but having an all-in-one pocketable camera that doesn’t cost much is, then you’re the right type of person who could be interested in a point-and-shoot rather than anything else that could be found on the market. For this reason, we’ve decided to cover as many of these devices as possible, since they are sadly ignored by many other websites that are also going through the motions of reviewing anything related to photography and it’s important that people have access to all kinds of information regarding their next potential purchase, even if the camera in question is not a very popular mirrorless camera or some new DSLR. This time around we’re looking at one of those devices that could be considered to be a hybrid between a superzoom and a compact camera, combining still a very good zoom range with a body that is light and easy to carry around.

It is the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, one of the company’s latest cameras belonging to the well-established line of SX devices and yet again bringing a combination of familiar features and some new ones to make it more competitive against other modern offerings from the likes of smartphones and mirrorless cameras. As is the case with all of the SX products, it is based around a smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor and most of you will know what kind of image quality you should expect to get out of it; if not, simply put, it will be on a very similar level to any of the current flagship smartphones, but with some advantages and also some limitations when compared to them. So, you certainly won’t be getting the SX740 HS primarily for the photo quality it will be able to produce, but rather as a replacement or an extension of the functionality offered by your smartphone with more impressive zoom range, control scheme, handling, manual controls, shooting modes and more. It’s also very important to remember that the SX740 HS is not a high-end compact camera, but rather one that sits somewhere in between an entry-level and a mid-range one, borrowing features from both and sitting right in the middle price-wise. While it doesn’t promise to be a groundbreaking camera that will blow you away with some new technologies, it does seem to be a reliable performer that will give you just the right amount of functionality for you to have fun while taking photos but also learn a thing or two about photography in the process.

Canon PowerShot SX740 HSGo to Amazon
We’ve already mentioned the sensor inside the Canon SX740 HS is a smaller one and no bigger than the one found in your average flagship smartphone and despite not being comparable to any mirrorless camera or a DSLR on the market in terms of the image quality it’s able to produce it will still serve you well in most situations if you’re not the one that likes to pixel peep a lot and you care more about colors and effects than the sharpness and raw image quality in general. Its resolution of 20 megapixels is plenty enough to produce reasonably detailed photos and the new Digic 8 processor will make sure that the JPEG algorithms are doing a fine job when it comes to applying the right amount of color, sharpness and noise reduction. Still, the sensor inside of the SX740 HS is only half of the story if you decide to talk about its photos since there’s also a 40x optical zoom lens attached on top of it.
Overall rating:
80
Design:
0
75
100
Image Quality:
0
80
100
Features:
0
80
100
Price:
0
84
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • NFC Connectivity
  • Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • Timelapse Recording
  • 40X Optical Zoom
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No External Flash Shoe
  • No Touch Screen
  • No Built-in Viewfinder
  • No RAW Shooting
  • Low Battery Life
  • No Environmental Sealing
Click to read the full Review
The unit in question brings an equivalent focal length of 24-960mm with the fastest aperture of f3.3 at the widest and f6.9 at the longest end. Optical image stabilization is also on board to battle any negative effects brought on by camera shake while you’re shooting at the longer focal lengths or resorting to slower shutter speeds to get cleaner images in low light. For Canon to be able to put such an impressive zoom range inside such a small camera some sacrifices had to be made and these will mostly be apparent in form of increased noise in your images if you find yourself taking photos in lower light conditions or at night. Luckily the ISO range of 100-3200 and the available shutter speeds that can go as low as 15 seconds will help you choose between being able to shoot handled or putting the camera on a tripod for even better results and with the optical stabilization thrown in the mix you certainly won’t be out of options even in the toughest of conditions. Sadly, there is no RAW support on board, but considering the fact that we are talking about a camera that’s targeted at casual photographers the fact that it’s missing doesn’t come as a surprise since they probably wouldn’t use such functionality anyway. We’ve already mentioned that the powerful Digic 8 processor is on board (this is the same one used in Canon’s most advanced full-frame mirrorless camera at the time of us writing this article, the EOS R) and thus, the SX740 HS should exhibit very good performance no matter what you decide to do with it. The days of sluggish and underpowered compact cameras are surely long gone now and it’s good to see that even those with not much money to spend on a camera will be able to get a product that won’t let them down by its lack of adequate performance.

Now, it’s not particularly clear how much focus points in total the SX740 HS has to work with, but our guessing would be that there’s 9 of them in total because of the official description of the camera’s Face & Tracking mode and while that’s not an impressive numbers of points, it will be sufficient for most tasks that don’t involve fast-moving subjects or action. The AF system in question is also of the contrast detect variety, meaning that it should be decently fast (although not as fast as phase detect systems), but also quite accurate and thus the entire focusing experience should be more than enough for everyday use. We also like the fact that MF Peaking is included and that the lens itself has the ability to focus as close as 1 cm to your subject if you enable the dedicated Macro mode, which makes it very useful for shooting any kind of things that would usually be impossible to focus on without a special macro lens (if we are talking about a mirrorless camera or a DSLR that is). The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS features build quality similar to most of the company’s compact cameras, meaning that its made out of plastic, decently sturdy and very light considering all the technology packed inside of it. Its lens is retractable, so it doesn’t an unnecessary amount of room when the camera is not in use, there are enough controls included for easy access to all the most important functions and the overall shape of the camera could be considered as a balance between good handling and maximum portability. As is the case with most point-and-shoots (especially at this price points) you won’t be getting a lot of options when it comes to expanding the camera’s functionality beyond what’s included in the box, meaning that you’ll only be able to find things like integrated pop-up flash unit, stereo microphones, a single SD card slot compatible with the UHS-I standard, micro-USB and the micro-HDMI ports and also a trio of wireless technologies, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. So, there are no headphone or microphone jacks and no integrated or optional viewfinder, something that could be considered as a flaw on a more expensive camera but not in case of the SX740 HS. The screen on the back of the camera is of decent size and resolution (3 inches and 922,000 dots) and can be tilted upwards at a maximum angle of 180 degrees, which would be perfect for anyone planning to record themselves or capture self-portraits, but sadly it’s not touch sensitive, which we believe was a cost saving measure for Canon to be able to sell the camera at such a low price. Luckily enough, they have finally listened to their customers and have decided to follow some modern trends on the market and have decided to bring 4K 30 fps as well as 1080p 60 fps recording on a consumer mainstream camera instead of pushing it only to more expensive models and their own video-centric devices. We have yet to see the quality of those videos, but we are very curious to see how the SX740 HS will perform in this regard and if we will be able to recommend it as a great purchase for anyone wanting to record 4K footage while on a budget.

Body and handling

It’s always interesting to see how lower end cameras hold up in terms of their build quality when compared to more expensive devices and what the manufacturers were able to within their limited price points. The Canon SX740 HS represents a camera that manages to bring a fine balance between decent durability, attractive design, good handling and excellent portability. While we wouldn’t recommend using it in any kind of harsh environments or bad weather because of the lack of environmental sealing (something that is still hard to find on budget compact cameras, unless they were specially made with ruggedness in mind, which also bring some sacrifices of its own) you should have no problems working with this camera for many years, even on a daily basis and even after you’ve dropped it a couple of times (we are confident that it would be able to survive a number of falls before any of its functions become affected by the possible damage). With a total weight of 299 grams, including its battery, the SX740 HS isn’t exactly the lightest point-and-shoot on the market but it still impressively portable considering it comes equipped with such a long zoom lens. If you are the person who cares more about the camera’s style than its features you will be pleased to know that besides being available in classic black color, you will also be able to find this product covered in silver, with its grippy parts being colored brown, which will certainly help it stand out from the crowd and fit in with your particular fashion choice. While we are on the topic of grippy materials, the ones located on the SX740 HS are placed on its front and the hand grip as well on the back where your thumb will usually rest while you’re using the camera, making it quite comfortable to hold despite its small size and point-and-shoot inspired design. There’s also not a whole lot of physical controls to be found (like you would on a DSLR or a mirrorless camera) since we are dealing it a device targeted at those people who would usually stick with Auto or Scene modes rather than tinkering with all the manual adjustments and only the most critical ones are available and can be found on the top and the back of the camera body, but even those are easy to use and offer nice feedback while being pressed or rotated.

Canon PowerShot SX740

Let us take a quick tour around the camera itself and see what those controls really are and what else can you expect to find if you decide that the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS fits your needs as your new camera. The front of the device features only the front grip, the lens itself and the focus assist lamp and nothing else, which does contribute to camera’s clean and understated looks, especially if you opt in for the all-black model. The left side of the body features the flash pop-up switch, the right side micro-USB and the micro-HDMI ports (which means that it will be an easy task to connect the camera to your computer or a laptop to transfer your photos and videos or to an HDMI-enabled screen to share them with anyone in the room) and the both sides have the right connectors that will allow you to attach a strap that will help you carry the SX740 HS with you without the fear of dropping it. The top of the camera is where you’ll find the built-in flash unit neatly tucked in inside its compartment, a grill where the two stereo microphones reside, the On/Off button, the zoom lever, the Movie button as well as the main mode dial filled to the brim with different options (but more on those a little later). The SD card slot and the NB-13L lithium-ion battery pack share the same compartment located on the bottom of the body which is also the area where the standard tripod screw mount resides.

Looking at the back of the camera will also reveal a combination of clean design and great functionality. Most of the back is dominated by the LCD screen itself, while the textured thumb rest and the rest of the controls are located on the far right. These controls include five different buttons (Framing Assist/Single-image erase, Wi-Fi, Playback and Menu) and also the four-way navigation controller which doubles as a control dial(together with four separate functions mapped to each of its directions and these are Macro/Manual Focus, Exposure Compensation, Info and Flash settings) and also the Quick Control Menu/Set button placed in its center. It’s pretty obvious that Canon went along the route of simplicity while designing the SX740 HS and that it isn’t a camera meant to be used by professionals or even more advanced users, unless they don’t mind having to slow their workflow down by having to press more than one button to gain access to some functions and aren’t bothered by the lack of secondary control dial or the touch-sensitive screen. Including a touchscreen would seriously improve the usability of this particular camera but we guess we’ll have to wait for an undetermined amount of time before such technology becomes so inexpensive that it becomes a valid option for camera manufacturers to include it even on their lower-end devices (which would make perfect sense due to the fact that their main purpose is to try and compete with smartphones more than anything else).

Canon PowerShot SX740

The user interface on the SX740 HS is very similar to one found on Canon’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras and is certainly a step up from PowerShot models a couple of years back. It is a clear indicator of company’s expertise when it comes to making their cameras as easy to use as possible, no matter if we’re talking about someone who has previously used a product from Canon, someone coming from a different brand or even the type of user that has never used a dedicated camera before. All of the menus are sorted in a logical manner, the font is perfectly readable, the iconography is easy to understand and to memorize and the overall responsiveness is top notch and up there with even more expensive cameras on the market. There are also a few key additions worth mentioning that make the whole experience so great and the first of those is the Quick Control Screen. It holds all the most important settings and functions, can be easily accessed with just a press of the button and is very intuitive to navigate. The other one is the Framing Assist – Seek feature, which will help you with keeping your subject perfectly framed while you zoomed in a lot by allowing you to zoom out for a moment, recompose your shot if necessary and zoom out to return to your previous focal length. The Auto Zoom feature is also an interesting one since it gives the camera the ability to automatically zoom in or out to keep your subject’s face the same size if it moves towards or further away from you. Both of these features will be a massive help for those people that aren’t used to shooting at long focal lengths and are trying to improve their technique. Now, we were also mentioning that a number of different shooting modes are also included and these are: Food (it will make any pictures of food more appetizing and boost the colors accordingly), Self Portrait (this mode includes special options that will enable you to apply skin smoothing effects, blur out the background behind you and also increase your brightness over the rest of the picture), Sports (in this mode the camera will focus continuously by itself to keep your moving subject in focus and will adjust the brightness of your photos depending on the conditions) and lastly, Specific Scenes, which will let you choose one of the predefined scene options that fit your current shooting situation the best. That mode also includes the very useful Handheld Night Scene option that will allow you to get even better images in low light than you would be using the more traditional shooting modes by talking a number of consecutive shots, combining them into one and thus decreasing the effects of the camera shake and giving you clearer pictures by reducing the overall amount of noise.

Canon PowerShot SX740

Before we move on to another important topic when it comes to reviewing any camera out there, and that is the performance, we need to examine one of the more modern aspects of any device and that is its ability to communicate wirelessly with other devices. More and more things in our daily lives included the internet, smartphones, social networks and more and thus it’s no wonder that a manufacturer like Canon is taking wireless capabilities very seriously, despite the fact that we’re dealing a with a camera that is more a budget offering than a professional one. So, the SX740 HS will also allow you to connect it to a smartphone or a tablet (either running Android or iOS), a wireless printer, a laptop or a computer and also directly to one of the internet services of your choice that you’ve previously selected with the help of the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY web service. What’s cool about the technologies inside this particular camera is that it allows you to either make use of Wi-Fi for faster transfer speeds, Bluetooth for less demanding tasks, but also NFC for quick pairing with an Android device just by tapping it and the camera together. To pair the camera with a smart device you’ll need to download and install the free Camera Connect app and go through the usual configuration process.

Doing so will allow you to view and transfer images from the camera to a smartphone, geotag them with the location data gathered by your smart device’s GPS system and also remotely control the Canon SX740 and take a photo or start recording a video clip without even touching the camera (very useful for those occasions where you need to set the camera on a tripod or take pictures of a group of people with you also being in it). To send images to a computer you’ll have to install the Image Transfer Utility 2 program and printing them on a wireless printer will only require you to establish the connection with the said device and you’ll be ready to go. So, there’s certainly no lack of wireless-related features on the SX740 HS and the same can be said for other things that it has to offer and is related to its usability as a modern camera. We would still like if Canon has somehow managed to include a touchscreen, but as always, with a camera in a budget price range, you can’t always get everything you want.

Autofocus and performance

For a long time, it was hard to compare the focusing capabilities of something like a DSLR with any compact camera no matter how expensive the latter one was and that trend hasn’t changed until the 21st century when the first RX100 model from Sony was released as a premium point-and-shoot whose aim was to bring as little compromise as possible but while retaining the many advantages of bigger and more capable cameras. While the SX740 HS isn’t exactly comparable to the latest RX100 model in terms of its focusing speed and advanced features, it still presents itself as a noticeable improvement over those entry-level compact cameras that were available on the market a couple of years back. The included contrast detect AF system does sound basic in its nature, but it does offer a couple aces up its sleeve and its overall performance may surprise you if you decide to look at it without having very high expectations. In daylight and while you’re shooting still subjects it should serve you perfectly well with the speed and accuracy very similar to any of the current smartphones and it will do so even if you find yourself shooting one or multiple people. Working with the camera in the low light conditions will result in slower focusing times but they’ll never reach the point of being too slow or to inaccurate to be unusable (this may hold true if you decide to shoot in pitch black conditions, but that is something that would prove problematic for even more advanced cameras out there). Shooting moving subjects is also possible thanks to the inclusion of all the necessary modes as well as a very fast burst rate (even if you want to retain the continuous AF capability), but honestly you still won’t be getting the same level of performance as with something like a mirrorless camera or a DSLR and you shouldn’t expect any miracles out of the SX740 HS in this regard. Of course, for all of those occasions where you’d want to focus manually Canon have included two modes dedicated for specific shooting conditions that will fix your focus at a certain distance (Landscape and Macro) as well as the regular manual focusing mode that will allow you focus using the control dial on the back of the camera and also do it very precisely thanks to the MF Peaking technology (it will place colorful outlines around the edges of your subject so you can judge your focus more accurately).

Canon PowerShot SX740

Moving on to all the modes that are related to focusing automatically will reveal four different ones that will help you adapt to different shooting situations. The One AF (this mode will use a single focus point in the center of the frame and will allow you to focus accurately on most types of subjects), Face+Tracking (as its name implies, this option is best to be used while you while you’re shooting people since it will give the camera the power to prioritize their faces over anything else and also try to keep them in focus even if they decide to move), Tracking AF (simply put, this mode will tracking any kind of subject on which you’ve placed the focusing box shown on your screen and will continue doing so as long as you keep the shutter button pressed halfway) and Servo AF will automatically try to reacquire focus when it detects any changes in your frame and any kind of motion and will do so without you even touching the shutter button. You will also be able to engage the AF Lock feature if you are sure that your subject will remain at the approximately same distance of you and your camera. When it comes to performance, in general, we haven’t observed any particular irregularities since the Canon EOS SX740 HS has managed to perform all of its duties and tasks at very satisfactory speeds and without any noticeable slowdowns, just like you would expect from a camera bearing the same processor found in a much more expensive device such as the Canon EOS R. The maximum shooting speed on this camera is rated at 10 fps when the focus is locked at the first frame and 7.4 fps with the continuous AF option enabled and both of these are quite impressive numbers for a compact camera of this class. While you shouldn’t expect that you’ll be maintaining such speeds for a very long time (even with a fast UHS-I card) you will be able to capture fast motion successfully with short but very quick bursts, which still makes the burst rate itself much more useful than those on a lot of other budget compact cameras on the market. The battery life on the Canon EOS SX740 HS is rated at a maximum of 265 shots and can be extended to up to 370 pictures if you turn on the power saving Eco mode and since the battery itself is replaceable you should have no problems carrying a couple of spares if your plans will require you to be far away from a power source for a long amount of time (those shooting more casually should have no problems with the battery life at all, even lasting them a couple of days thanks to the aforementioned Eco mode). There’s another great thing about the SX740 HS and its battery that’s worth the mention and that is the fact that it supports USB charging, which means that you’ll be able to charge the battery within the camera just by connecting the camera to something like a power bank, computer or even a wall outlet just by using your regular smartphone charger and a micro-USB cable (which is quite easy to find these days even if you misplace your own).

Video features and quality

Like most cameras within its price point and its class, the SX740 HS is quite a simplistic video recording tool and doesn’t offer a lot in terms of advanced features that would otherwise attract the attention of professional videographers. There’s no way to improve audio recording by connecting an external microphone, no way to monitor the recorded audio with the help of headphones, no Zebra patterns, no Log profiles for easier and more effective color correcting, no touchscreen for easier focusing just by tapping anywhere on the screen and no extreme slow-motion modes.

Despite all of those omissions we still consider it a camera that’s fun to record videos with and one that will certainly satisfy the needs of those that plan to capture footage for their personal needs rather for any kind of commercial use. The main reasons why we like it is the choice of resolutions and frame rates it offers, the video quality it is capable of producing, the included stereo microphones, image stabilization, capable AF system and also the Video Snapshots feature. Basically, the Canon SX740 HS will allow you to capture pleasant looking videos at either 4K resolution at 30 fps or 1080p resolution at up to 60 fps. So, you’ll have the choice of either the best image quality or the smoothest possible footage. The audio captured by the built-in stereo microphones is also of above average quality, the focusing system worked surprisingly well when it comes to focusing continuously (despite being of the slower contrast detect variety that usually lags significantly behind phase detect systems) and the image stabilization turned out to be surprisingly effective even after we’ve decided to zoom the lens in to its maximum focal length. The Video Snapshot feature also turned out to be quite useful since it has allowed us to grab 8-megapixel still images from the 4K footage essentially giving us a 30 fps burst rate, but with a reduced resolution. There’s also the Minature Model Effect mode that can also be applied to videos and can give them quite an unusual and different perspective (although it certainly not something you will use on a daily basis).

Image quality

We’ve already mentioned that the 20-megapixel sensor inside this camera is very similar in size to those found in most smartphones and thus, should produce very similar image quality. Well, that would certainly be the case if it had a fixed bright aperture lens like those devices (which makes it much easier to optimize their image quality and JPEG processing to make the most out of their simple hardware), but considering the fact that it has a rather complex image stabilized retractable 40x optical zoom lens this just isn’t the case. In good lighting conditions, you will be able to capture photos with a decent amount of detail, pleasant colors and very little noise, even if while you’re shooting at a full frame equivalent focal length of 960 mm.

Canon SX740 HS sample

Photo courtesy of Arnold Yam

If you decide to shoot in low light the rather slow maximum aperture of the lens and the higher ISO values that will often be used will affect the overall image quality in a noticeable way and you will only be able to get images of average quality (unless you put the camera on a tripod or you find yourself in a situation where you’re only capturing still subjects, where the Handheld Night Scene mode will give you cleaner images). The lack of RAW support also means that you won’t be able to take full control of how your images are being processed, but on the more positive note, Canon did include a couple of Special Effects that you’ll be able to use to give the captured photos a different look like the Smooth Skin, Grainy B/W, Soft Focus or the Fish-Eye Effect. Still, despite not being able to push its sensor to its limits in terms of image quality, the SX740 HS still has a zoom range that’s unparalleled by any current smartphone on the market and if you like to capture subjects that are far away you will surely be satisfied with the photos it will be able to produce.

Conclusion

It’s always great to see when the camera market is as competitive as it can be and that even the types of the devices that aren’t as nearly as popular as they once were are finding their place within all the chaos (since it’s becoming increasingly harder to recommend one camera over another and the competition between all the different brands has never been more fierce than it is right now).

The type we are talking about is the compact cameras (or point-and-shoot as others call them) and the Canon SX740 is one of those modern takes on the old an well established concept that has received a lot more competition these days with the ever rising popularity of smartphones and mirrorless cameras (even some DSLRs are getting smaller and more portable, like Canon’s own EOS 250D), meaning that its not easy to sell a camera such as the SX740 HS in today’s world as it was before. Still, despite all of that, it is still a device that will find its way in the hands of many different people thanks to its portability, design, flexible zoom lens, image stabilization, 4K video, good battery life, decent AF system and an excellent user interface that offers the same level of polish as any other Canon mirrorless camera or a DSLR released in the last couple of years.

No, you won’t be getting the best image quality possible, a lot of flexibility when it comes to different ports or even a touchscreen, but you will be getting a very solid portable camera that is lots of fun to use and is priced very competitively and there’s no arguing the fact that it’s something that many people will be interested in.

Nikon Z7 Review: A Flagship Mirrorless Camera for Nikon

The world of mirrorless cameras is an exciting one for sure. Now that they have become the most popular thing amongst most types of photographers (some professionals are still swearing by their DSLRs) it’s no wonder that all the major manufactures are trying hard to make themselves known with as much quality products as possible and that a battle like that often leaves us with many different cameras to choose from no matter what type of photographer or videographer you consider yourself to be. This means that you’ll be able to find everything from powerful flagship devices that almost look like their DSLR competitors, small cameras with aggressive price points that aim to share the same storage space as our smartphones, ones that are almost entirely centered around video recording and more. We’ve finally reached the point in time where most of the manufactures have equal tools to create impressive mirrorless cameras and that the market is ready to flourish with so many options available that it could make your head spin if you’re new to this sort of thing.

The camera we got the chance to review this time is one of those products that is sorely targeted at professionals that aren’t limited by the size of their wallets and that want great features, amazing image quality and ultimate reliability over anything else and are prepared to pay the premium to get it. We are talking about the Nikon Z7, which is the best mirrorless camera the company has to offer at the time of us writing this article. While it is a professional camera by nature and is more targeted at those interested in the likes of the Nikon D850, it still won’t compete with the likes of the D4s or the D5, since that category of cameras is still dominated by DSLRs and has only been breached a little with a camera such as the Sony A9. So, the Z7 is a mirrorless device that was made for those photographers that want a high-resolution sensor without having to invest in a much more expensive medium format camera, but who also want important features like in-body image stabilization, 4K video recording and decent battery life and don’t want to buy a bigger camera to gain access to all of them. While not especially targeted at those photographers who value speed over image quality, the Z7 still offers very fast shooting speed which is even more impressive considering the resolution of the photos the camera has to work with.

We’ve already reviewed its younger brother, the Z6, and have concluded that it was a great mirrorless camera for its price point, despite lacking some useful features such as the dual SD card slots (which is sadly also the case with the Z7) and being able to produce limited (but still very good) sharpness due to its AA filter sitting on top of its sensor (the Z7 does not include it and thus will be able to fulfil its true potential and make the most out of its high-resolution sensor). We surely have a lot of ground to cover, so let us list all of the important specifications before we dig deeper and find out everything we can about Nikon’s new and impressive full frame mirrorless camera.

Nikon Z7Go to Amazon
As you would expect from a first generation product (meaning Nikon’s first ever professional full-frame mirrorless camera) the Z7 borrows a couple of things from the company’s successful DSLR, the D850 and one of the most important things shared between two of those cameras is the image sensor. We are talking about a 45.7-megapixel full frame sensor that is also free of any kind of an AA filter, meaning that it will enable you to get extremely detailed photos in all situations, especially if you pair it with one of Nikon’s high-end lenses that can actually handle such a demanding sensor and make the most out of its capabilities.
Overall rating:
92
Design:
0
87
100
Image Quality:
0
91
100
Features:
0
97
100
Price:
0
92
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 5-axis Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • 46.0MP Sensor
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Good Low ISO
Cons
  • Low Battery Life
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
Besides offering great resolution for a full frame sensor, it also boasts great dynamic range and doesn’t produce too much noise at higher ISO values, which makes it one of the most capable sensors on the market for tackling many different types of photography and it’s good to see that its high megapixel count doesn’t come at a cost at overall image quality as was the case with some of the older cameras on the market. As all of that wasn’t enough to attract the attention of many professionals, Nikon have decided to go one step further and include 5-axis image stabilization with a rating of 5 stops to help you get sharp photos even in the more demanding situations where camera shake would be hard to battle or where shooting handled at slower shutter speeds is a requirement. It will also help you get much steadier videos, but we’ll talk more about that at a later time. You’ll also be able to shoot at ISO values ranging from 64 to 25600 (expandable to 32 at the low and 102400 at the high end), choose one of the 12 white balance presets (with 6 slots for custom ones), adjust the exposure compensation in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments ranging from +5 to -5 EV and also work with either 12 or 14-bit RAW files.

Just like the Nikon Z6, the Z7 also brings a hybrid AF system (meaning that it consists of both the contrast and phase detect points and will be able to adapt to more shooting scenarios that than more traditional systems) with a 90% frame coverage but also with a higher number of focus points to work with, 493 in total. In theory, this should allow you to easily track any moving subjects even if they are in the very edge of your frame and do it precisely because of such a high number of focus points. We’ll reserve our judgment after we perform our usual tests, but all indicators are pointing at a very capable AF system that will work great both for stills and videos, which is something that couldn’t be said about any DSLR that Nikon has released so far since none of them was very proficient at focusing continuously during video recording. Of course, the overall performance of the camera should also be top notch thanks to the powerful Expeed 6 processor and the support for the very fast XQD memory card standard (which will enable the camera to save image quickly and not take to look to clear its buffer after you’ve taken a burst of images with it). The Z7 is also capable enough to offer shooting speeds up to 9 fps (mighty impressive for a camera with a demanding 45.7-megapixel sensor), shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 and as slow as 30 seconds, a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec (we do wish that Nikon has gone up to 1/250 sec, but even the slower speed will be fine for most users), fast transfer speeds from the camera to your computer thanks to the USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard and its theoretical maximum speed of 5 Gbit/sec and, lastly an official battery life rating of 330 seconds (which will probably turn out to be slightly better as these ratings tend to be a little conservative). As is expected out of a flagship camera, the Nikon Z7 also brings excellent build quality, weather protection, an advanced control scheme and a fine selection of different ports and expansion slots. It’s made out of magnesium alloy and sealed tightly so it can be protected from things like dust and water but without affecting the overall weight too much (it’s 330 grams lighter than the D850 and that weight can come down even lower if you pair the Z7 with one of Nikon’s new native Z mount lenses, which are usually lighter than their DSLR counterparts).

While the new camera lacks a built-in flash unit (it would certainly be a nice addition to make it even more portable and feature packed) and dual SD card slots (a strange omission to see on a professional grade camera) it does not disappoint with its overall features and functions; it includes both the headphone and microphone jacks (together with integrated stereo microphones for more casual recording), USB-C and micro-HDMI ports, fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip and also the hardware necessary for Bluetooth communications, as well as very impressive tilting 3.2-inch TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 2,100,000 dots and a huge EVF with a magnification of 0.8x and a resolution of 3,690,000 dots. It can also be remotely controlled either with your smartphone or the optional MC-DC2 unit (all the location data needs will also be handled by your smart device as is the case with most cameras nowadays). To top it all of, Nikon has also decided to take some very important steps to make the Z7 as capable as they when it comes to recording movies to satisfy the needs of more advanced videographers, finally making it easy to recommend a Nikon camera both for photography and videography. The combination of the above-mentioned features as well as things like 4K and full HD 120p recording, 10-bit log over HDMI, full manual control over exposure (including the aperture, something that will be a familiar nuisance to deal with to previous Nikon DSLR users), Focus peaking and so on. We can safely conclude, even by only looking at the specs sheet, that the Nikon Z7 is destined to be a camera that has all the potential to finally convert some die-hard DSLR users to the new and ever-growing mirrorless trend, even with a couple of quirks here and there that prevent the transition from being a perfectly smooth affair.

Body and handling

There are certainly many reasons to purchase a mirrorless camera these days instead of a DSLR (portability, adaptability to many kinds of different lenses, built-in image stabilization, electronic viewfinder and so on) but for a long time the main reason to obtain a DSLR has always been the build quality and more importantly, the feel in the hand. No matter how small and light a mirrorless camera was, it was always a hard task to beat the ruggedness and the sheer comfort provided by a traditional DSLR (big grip, better weather protection, bigger and easier to use controls) but we’re finally starting to see a change in this trend with the likes of the Nikon Z6 and a few other cameras. Of course, cameras like the Panasonic GH5 do exist for a while now and they are doing a fine job of providing the same level of usability as a DSLR does, but also with a penalty to size and weight, which somewhat negates the advantage of having a mirrorless camera in the first place (at least if portability is your main concern). The Nikon Z6 presents itself as a fine balance between the build quality and usability you would expect from a DSLR and just the right portability you would get with a flagship mirrorless camera. It’s still far from being the most portable camera out there, even if you only compare it to full frame mirrorless devices, but it is still easy enough to carry around and it does offer that impressive image stabilized 45.7-megapixel sensor that you’ll be able to enjoy more often than while bringing something like the D850 with you. We’ve already said that the included LCD screen and the EVF are equally impressive units, but so is the entire control scheme with nicely positioned buttons and dials and a lot of them to work with. You will get the option to customize their behavior in a lot of different ways and also rely entirely on the touchscreen if that’s your cup of tea. The only bit of controversy surrounding the Nikon Z7 is its lack of a secondary memory card slot and there’s no sugarcoating it, some professionals will surely miss having it for a number of reasons and will surely have to deal with less intuitive workarounds to get what they want. In all honesty, we don’t consider it to be a deal-breaking omission since we do live in the world where it’s much easier than ever to quickly back up all of your work on something like a portable hard drive or your smartphone even with the help of some clever adapters or even wirelessly.

nikon z7

Now, let us take a look at the Z7’s exterior before we move on to examining its user interface, menu system, interesting features and wireless capabilities. The front of the camera consists from regular things like the lens mount, lens release button and the AF-assist illuminator/Red-eye reduction lamp/Self-timer lamp, but also the sub-command dial and the Fn1 and Fn2 buttons (conveniently placed around the lens mount for easy access). The left side of the Z7 houses a myriad of different ports; the microphone and headphone jacks, the USB-C connector, the micro-HDMI port and the accessory port, while the right side of the camera is only reserved for that single XQD card slot, with the battery compartment (), the tripod socket and the power connector (used for attaching the optional battery grip) being located on the bottom of the body. Looking at the camera from the top will reveal the main mode dial (together with a total of three custom modes), a hotshoe port, the integrated stereo microphones, the control panel (that’s the Nikon’s way of naming the secondary screen), a small speaker grill, the main command dial and an array of three buttons surrounding the shutter button and its power lever; the Movie-record, the Exposure compensation and the ISO buttons). Finally, we are left with examining the back of the Nikon Z7 and this is certainly the most crowded place of the entire camera. The top left is reserved for the Playback and Delete buttons, the middle is where you’ll find the EVF, the eye sensor, the diopter adjustment control and the tilting LCD screen, the top right houses the Disp button coupled together with the Photo/Movie selector and the AF-On button, while the rest of the controls on the back are located at the right side and these are the Sub-selector (or the AF selection point joystick), the ‘i’ button, the multi-selector and the OK button, as well as the Magnify, Reduce/?, Drive/Self-timer and Menu buttons. Well, there’s no denying the fact that very little mirrorless cameras on the market (especially the ones of its size) offer this much controls and ports at once and we’re sure that there are no professional users out here that should find themselves dissatisfied with all the buttons, dials and ports that they’ll have at their disposal if they decide that the Z7 is their next camera.

nikon z7

In terms of user interface and the menu system, what holds true for the Nikon DSLRs hold true for the Z7 as well; you will be dealing with software that will be familiar to anyone that has used any of company’s DSLRs before but also easy to master if you’re coming from other camera systems. Nikon, like Canon, is one of those companies whose highest priority has always been creating cameras that feel as intuitive to navigate as they are comfortable to use. Each and every menu is nicely labeled, easy to read, color-coded when necessary and sorted in the most logical way possible. It’s quite clear that a lot of effort has gone into this aspect of the camera and we surely appreciate it. We also like the fact that the interface is perfectly easy to navigate using the touchscreen and that all the items on the screen are big enough to be activated or tinkered with the use of a finger. There’s also one big improvement found on the Z7 over one of Nikon’s DSLRs in regards to the user interface and that is the ‘i’ menu (which is the shortest possible name for the fully customizable part of the interface reserved for putting the items and functions of your choice inside of it so you’ll be able to access them quickly at any time with just a press of the button). The menu itself looks very similar to the one we’ve seen on previous cameras, but for the first time, it can be operated via the touchscreen, making it more useful than ever before. The total number of different items that the menu itself can contain is very impressive, ranging from standard functions such as the Image Quality, White Balance, Flash mode or Wi-Fi connection, to more advanced ones like Choose image area, Flash compensation, AF-area mode and Electronic front-curtain shutter. And that kind of customization is only a small part of a thing on the Z7 that can be repurposed or set up the way you’d want it. Besides the custom shooting modes (U1, U2 and the U3) that can hold a bunch off different settings and adjustments that can always be brought up again on the fly, there’s also two fully customizable Fn buttons (three, if you count the L-Fn button found on some Z mount lenses) and the press of the AF joystick that can hold the most functions of all the other available controls (like the AF-On, FV lock, My Menu and the Framing grid display), but also things like Active D-Lighting, HDR, Auto Bracketing and Peaking highlights if you keep any of them pressed while your rotating one of the available dials (this doesn’t apply to the L-Fn button). The Movie Rec button can also be programmed to perform a number of different functions as well as the AF-On button. What makes the customization of these controls even more powerful is that they can perform entirely different tasks inside the movie mode, which is a great thing to have if you’re serious about photography as well as videography and you have your own particular preference for the type of work you do. In the end, you’ll also be able to program the shutter button to either start the video recording or take a still photo during recording and decide if you want to use the ring on your lens for manual focus or something like power aperture or exposure compensation.

nikon z7

Luckily, if there is one thing that most of today’s modern cameras have in common that’s their ability to communicate wirelessly with all kind of different devices, some more successfully than the others, but the most of the major features are there no matter the price point (we are of course talking about mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, since point and shoots tend to have a different story behind them). In that case, it’s no wonder that the flagship product such as the Nikon Z7 supports every important function out there neither is the fact that most of them will require you to pair the camera with a smartphone or a tablet to gain access to them. To pair the camera with a smart device you’ll need to download the SnapBridge application either from the App Store or Google play and that particular application will enable you to download pictures from the camera to the smartphone, embed your images with the location data gathered by your smartphone or tablet, remotely control the Z7 or get notifications about the availability of camera’s new firmware updates. If you decide to purchase the optional WT-7 wireless transmitter you’ll also be able to pair the camera to a computer, laptop, ftp server or some other device, further extending the wireless capabilities beyond those available out of the box. While we are glad that the Nikon Z7 is capable enough to provide its users with such features, it is certainly strange that some additional hardware is necessary to make them all accessible and that’s not something we were expecting to see on an expensive flagship camera. Still, aside from that strange quirk and the lack of the secondary memory card slot, the Z7 is still one of the most powerful full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market if you judge it by its build quality, handling, ease of use, customization options and all the functions it can perform wirelessly. We will see if the same can be said about its AF system and performance.

Autofocus and performance

The Nikon Z7 is currently the best mirrorless camera the company has to offer and thus, your safest bet if you want great focusing performance and you are really set on buying a mirrorless camera over a DSLR. It’s equipped with a very flexible 493-point Hybrid AF system with a very wide coverage of 90% and on paper, has all the technology it needs to exhibit excellent performance. While the Z7 is comparable to all the other flagship cameras in terms of its focusing capabilities, it certainly isn’t perfect and supports the fact that Nikon could have optimized it a little better for certain tasks. If you decide to purchase this camera to use it for portrait photography or landscapes, you will be able to enjoy fast and reliable focusing performance all of the time. Moving into low light conditions will degrade the speed and the accuracy somewhat, but not so much that it should bother anyone who’s shooting still subjects. Shooting people and detecting their faces should also be an easy task thanks to the quite capable Face Detect mode and manual focusing even the widest aperture lenses shouldn’t be too hard thanks to the inclusion of Focus peaking and that gorgeous, big and sharp LCD screen. Now, while the Z7 is a perfectly good camera for shooting still subjects, its performance does lag behind some of its competitors (even some of Nikon’s own DSLRs) when we look at how well it handles the job of tracking moving subjects. It actually turned out to be a very decent performer during our testing and we were certainly able to get some nice keepers while shooting anything or anyone moving in a fast manner, but there still turned out to be more soft or unfocused photos than we would like to see from a pricey high-end camera like this one. We aren’t sure if the problem is in the technology itself or in Nikon’s lack of expertise when it comes to making mirrorless cameras, but we certainly can’t recommend the Z7 to anyone that requires fast and accurate focusing while shooting sports or action, especially if its in any kind of low light conditions. Luckily for Nikon, those types of photographers aren’t the main target audience for this particular camera, but it would still be nice to see somewhat better tracking performance from a product that’s competing with the best out there when you start to factor in its price point.

There are four main focusing modes; AF-S (the best one to be in if your mainly shooting still subjects), AF-C (this mode will allow the camera to reacquire focus as long as you’re keeping the shutter button pressed in hallway, so it will be your safest bet for shooting moving subjects), AF-F (the Full-time AF combines both the AF-S and the AF-C modes and will automatically choose one or the other depending on the situation) and lastly, the Manual focus. The AF-Area modes will allow you to choose which focus points are being used at any given time and they consist out of 6 different modes; Pinpoint AF (best for taking photos of smaller subjects or while you’re trying to focus on any exact detail), Single-point AF (allows you to select one of the available focus points around the image frame and focus exclusively with it), Dynamic-area AF (this is an expanded version of the Single-AF point mode that is available only if the Continuous AF mode is enabled and will help you to keep your subject in focus if it suddenly starts moving around from its still position by using the points surrounding the one you’ve previously selected), two Wide-area AF modes (one small (S) and one large (L), both are best to be used for easier focus conformation on still subjects) and finally, the Auto-area AF, which is the mode that will automatically detect your subjects and pick the right number of focus points for it to stay in sharp focus (it can also be combined with the Subject tracking option which can be easily activated with the press of the OK button). If you decide that you should focus manually, for example in very dark conditions or while doing macro photography than you’ll be able to judge your focus without too much hassle thanks to the Magnify option, as well as the Focus distance indicator and the Focus Peaking feature (you’ll also be able to change the color of the outlines brought on by that feature).

In terms of numbers, the Nikon Z7 will take you around 1.5 seconds to power on, around a second to capture its first photo, a little more than 0.2 seconds to acquire focus and a little less than 0.5 seconds to capture shot after shot; none of these numbers are particularly groundbreaking and does present somewhat of a slower performance than what its bigger, the D850, was able to achieve, but they are still on a level we would expect from a flagship full frame mirrorless camera. The camera itself is capable of achieving a shooting speed of 9 fps, which is more than commendable for a device that has to deal with big 45.7-megapixel files, but it won’t allow you to retain such speed for too long. It all depends on what types of files you’re working with; shooting in JPEG will give you around 26 frames, 12-bit RAW around 23 and the most demanding 14-bit lossless RAW no more than 17 files till the buffer gets full and the performance slows down considerably. Do keep in mind that these tests were performed using a very fast XQD memory card, so your results will be different if you’re not using one of the best cards available. In the end, let us talk about battery life. This still remains one of the areas in which mirrorless cameras usually can’t compete with DSLRs and the same holds true with the Nikon Z7. The official endurance rating states that you’ll be able to get up to 330 shots while using the EVF and 400 shots by watching the LCD screen on the back, but we were able to get more than that during our testing. Still, we weren’t able to get nowhere near the numbers that are usually attributed to modern DSLRs (again the Nikon D850 sports a battery rating of up to 1840 shots), but they were above average for a portable mirrorless camera. Shooting videos, especially in 4K did hit the battery pretty hard and we would advise you to invest in a backup battery pack if you plan to indulge your self in longer recording sessions. In-body battery charging is also supported thanks to the included USB-C port but be aware that only the newer EN-EL15b batteries support this feature, not the older EN-EL15a and EL-EL15 that usually work perfectly with the Z7.

Video features and quality

You could certainly say that we live interesting times where a Nikon camera has finally surpassed a Canon camera in terms of its video recording capabilities and that can certainly be said in case of the Nikon Z7 if you compare it with the likes of the Canon EOS R or the 5D Mark IV. After years of chasing after competition and being considered as a company that produces excellent stills, but average video cameras, Nikon have finally managed to release a pair of cameras that are equally as capable of producing great footage and providing useful tools to more serious videographers as many of the more established video-centric models that have dominated the market so far. The Z7 is capable of recording videos in many different modes and resolutions, but there are four of them that are the most important; the full frame 4K, the Super 35 crop 4K (it will give you a field of you similar to a camera with an APS-C sensor, but will increase the image quality due to oversampling techniques), 1080p 60fps (the best mode to be in for a great balance of quality and speed) and yet another cropped mode, but also in 1080p and recorded at a very high framerate of 120 fps, perfect for all of your slow-motion needs. There are also two Log profiles worth mentioning, the Flat Picture profile which is reserved for internal recording and the more powerful 10-bit N-Log profile, which will give you noticeably more room when it comes to post processing your footage but will require you to use an external recorder. Sound recording is also covered very well thanks to the inclusion of the microphone and headphone jacks (as well as the built-in stereo microphones) and so are some other helpful features that will be appreciated by any professional like the aforementioned image stabilization (which proved to be quite effective in our testing and will be something you’ll be able to rely on to give you smoother footage on a daily basis), Electronic VR (for even steadier videos but wish some penalty to image quality and the field of view), Focus peaking, Exposure warnings, Timecode, Picture Control options and more. Lastly, it’s also important to mention that Nikon has done a terrific job of making the new hybrid AF system work well during video recording and that it is now on par even with the best performers out there, like the Canon EOS R and the Sony A7 III. This certainly wasn’t the case with any Nikon DSLR or a mirrorless camera before the Z6 and Z7 have reached the market and thus, it’s great to see that the Nikon has taken the job of making their new cameras as versatile as possible very seriously and have managed to turn them into great video production machines.

Image quality

We were expecting for the Nikon Z7 to offer very similar image quality to one the D850 is able to provide and we were right, you will get equally good photos out of both of these cameras. The 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor worked great inside of the D850, and it does so inside the Z7 as well, but this time around its capabilities are even greater thanks to the wonders of in-body image stabilization. While it’s not hard to find a stabilized F-mount lens it is still great to have an option to use older glass on a new camera and breathe new life into it. If you aren’t very familiar with the full frame sensor in question, then let us give you a short round-up of all of its characteristics.

nikon z7 sample

Photo courtesy of ziyunwang

It lacks an AA filter, meaning that you’ll be getting some noticeable moire effects but noticeably more sharpness; it will provide you with extremely good dynamic range and will often allow you to get HDR-like images while shooting in RAW without having to combine multiple shots and just by bringing back your shadows in editing and it will also give you very good low light capabilities and images with very little noise up until the ISO values of 6400. We also like that Nikon are processing their JPEGs in a very mature way and that they are also giving you the option to enable one of the predefined color profiles such as Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Dream, Toy, Sepia and Landscape as well create your own by adjusting a myriad of different image parameters that will affect the contrast, sharpness and the color saturation.

Conclusion

Well, it is always an exciting job to review one of the latest and greatest flagship cameras, no matter from which camp they’ve been released, and we’ve certainly had a lot of pleasure in examining the Nikon’s latest full-frame offering, the almighty Z7. Yes, it is very close to becoming a perfect camera for those seeking great image quality but are also having portability in mind but is brought down a little by its lack of a second card slot and averagely good subject tracking performance.

Now, if don’t consider yourself to be the person that will be especially bothered by these two things that you will have no problems enjoying a great full frame mirrorless camera that will bring you many hours of joy with its powerful sensor, advanced AF system, excellent build quality, rich control scheme, intuitive user interface and menu system, high levels of customization, in-body image stabilization, great 4K movie mode and much more things that can be taken straight from its list of specifications. You really can’t go wrong with this one and it all depends on two things; do you have the financial means to afford it and do you care about portability at all.

Canon 250D Review: A Budget Option to Consider

It’s no secret anymore that the that the majority of mirrorless cameras, some point and shoots and our smartphones are now the most popular things amongst those photographers looking for a portable camera to satisfy their photography and videography needs and that is has become increasingly harder for manufacturers to put DSLRs in many of those people’s hands, despite some of the advantages they still have over their smaller cousins.

Handling, durability and sheer number of available lenses are still the biggest selling points of any DSLR coming from a popular brand like Canon or Nikon and that is something that’s not going to change any time soon, but for a lot of people the size of their cameras has become increasingly more important and being able to take one with them at all times a major priority. So, what can be done to merge those two worlds together and create a camera that is portable enough but also a pleasure to work with just like any DSLR out there is.

Well, our search ended rather quickly after we’ve found out that such a device is available straight from one of the biggest camera manufacturers in the world, the Japanese giant, Canon. Interestingly enough, they have already fiddled with such a concept with their 100D and 200D cameras, but this time around they’ve come up with a successor to both of those cameras, the small, but mighty Canon EOS 250D (or rebel SL3 and EOS Kiss X10 as they call it in some other markets). It may not be the biggest upgrade over its predecessor, but it does improve on it in some key areas to make it even more competitive against the aforementioned mirrorless cameras and even smartphones to some degree. While it certainly won’t draw the attention of many photographers that have already grown accustomed to their very portable devices, it will attract those two are on the fence between choosing a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, especially if they are on a budget and aren’t looking for anything that falls inside the premium category.

The Canon EOS 250D presents itself as a camera that will be of interest to those previously coming from any of regular sized DSLRs, point and shoots with smaller sensors or just your modern smartphones (while the 250D isn’t comparable to them in size it does beat them in other aspects such as image quality and flexibility of being able to adapt different lenses) and without costing the amount of money that would make it hard to obtain to most people. Now, it is for us to determine if the Canon 250D successfully brings the best of both worlds in one aggressively priced package and does it bring enough features to overshadow its mirrorless counterparts in the eyes of consumers who want a camera that is easy to thug along above anything else. As is the case with all of our camera reviews, we will start our journey with a detailed look at the 250D’s specifications.

Canon 250DGo to Amazon
While the capabilities of a single camera lie in its feature set as well as image quality it can produce, we do need to establish what kind of photos you should expect to get out of the Canon EOS 250D before we talk about everything else it has to offer. After all, most of you will decide to purchase a camera like this one because of its ability to capture photos that are of better quality than those from a smartphone or a point and shoot and not so much to get serious about photography in general.
Overall rating:
79
Design:
0
75
100
Image Quality:
0
84
100
Price:
0
80
100
Features:
0
78
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • UHS-I Memory Card Support
  • Long Battery Life
  • Light Body
  • External Microphone Port
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • No Environmental Sealing
Click to read the full Review
The Canon 250D offers a very familiar 24-megapixel APS-C sensor found that can nowadays be found in many other company’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras and has proven itself time and time again as an essential part of Canon’s strategy to bring good image quality to everything from mid-range to low-end cameras and at a price point that can attract many different kinds of users. It’s no secret that Canon has been lagging behind their competition a few years back with their adequate, but not particularly impressive 18-megapixel sensors and that they needed something to bring them back into the game. Well, the sensor inside the 250D does exactly that and will allow you to get very good photos even in low light conditions and those situations where you’ll need to balance out the details retained in both the light and the dark areas (providing that you pair it with a decent quality lens, that is, which shouldn’t be a big problem considering that even Canon’s budget lenses are optically very decent and will give you very sharp results at apertures of f5.6 or f8). The said 24-megapixel sensor will also enable you to shoot at ISO values up to 25600 (51200 if you use the expanded mode), make use of the included RAW support for more effective picture processing outside of the camera and also take pictures with better noise reduction and sharpening algorithms thanks to the powerful Digic 8 processor. That processor is also responsible for giving the EOS 250D the ability to shoot at a speed of up to 5 fps and also the overall performance and responsiveness you would expect to get from a modern DSLR.The 250D is also no slouch when it comes to focusing capabilities, despite the fact that shooting in live view will yield better results than shooting through the viewfinder. This is due to the fact that the only 9 focus points are reserved for looking through the viewfinder (even though all of them are of the more sensitive cross-type variety), but the live view mode has the Dual Pixel AF technology to work with and it will give you the option to select a focus point from 3975 different positions across the screen. This means that you’ll either be able to average focus tracking performance and save on some battery life in the process if you choose to shoot through the viewfinder or get great overall performance but worse endurance if you decide to look through the screen on the back. It’s certainly nice to have that kind of flexibility on a DSLR. The viewfinder itself is an optical pentamirror unit with an accuracy of 95% and a magnification of 0.87x (certainly not the biggest and most accurate unit we’ve ever seen but it will do its job for anyone that isn’t very demanding about their cameras), but the LCD screen on the back of the camera is the more impressive out of the two being 3 inches in size, fully articulating, touch sensitive and sharp enough thanks to its resolution of 1,040,000 dots. The 250D itself may not be the most rugged camera in the world, but it is one of the most recently built ones we’ve seen in recent times considering its size, handling and portability. You may not be able to use it in any nasty weather, but it will serve you just fine during regular shooting sessions and even survive some drops if you’re not too careful with your gear. It also manages to offer a plethora of useful features found on most decent DSLRs like the hotshoe mount for connecting any wireless flash units, a built-in pop up flash more casual occasions, a single UHS-I compatible SD card slot that will easily support any memory cards fast enough to handle the 250D, a mini-HDMI and the micro USB ports (the same one used by most smartphones out there, so you should have no problem stocking up on a few different cables or finding one anywhere you go), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi coupled with Bluetooth for less demanding tasks, time-lapse video recording, built-in stereo microphones as well as the standard 3.5mm port for connecting an external one and lastly, a battery pack that will enable you to shoot up to 1070 pictures before having to touch a charger (this holds true if you mostly rely on the viewfinder since the LCD screen wastes a lot more power than the viewfinder).Lastly, we should mention the movie mode on the Canon EOS 250D, something that has been one of the more controversial areas of Canon’s latest DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The reason for that is Canon’s tendency to reserve all the best video recording features for their dedicated video cameras and moving very few of them down to their more mainstream offerings, like the 250D. For this reason, there are two main shooting modes available, one will give you good image quality and nice fluidity without any caveats (that is the 1080p 60 fps mode) and one that will give you even better quality but at the expense of slower motion and a severe crop applied to it (that is the 4K 24 fps mode). Still, the 250D does offer things useful to any type of person interested in capturing videos like the digital IS, a dedicated microphone jack, Dual Pixel AF and the fully articulating touch screen, so things are far from being bad because of the not so useful 4K mode. We’ll touch on that particular topic a little later, now it’s time to see how the 250D handles in daily use and is it a comfortable camera to work with despite its small size.

Body and handling

The Canon EOS 250D is very similar in design to any of Canon’s latest entry-level DSLRs, but with a couple of changes thrown into the mix. The most obvious ones have to be its dimensions and weight, which place it perfectly somewhere between a mirrorless camera and a normal-sized DSLR. With its rather narrow size parameters and a total weight of 449 grams (including its battery), it won’t fit in your pocket, but you could easily throw it in a small camera bag or a backpack and never feel burdened while carrying it around with you. This especially holds true if you pair it a small prime lens, like the Canon 40mm f2.8 or the 50mm f1.8, which will not only help it retains its small size, but will also give you sharp photos thanks to their good optical quality and without spending a lot of money on top of what you’ve already spent on the 250D itself. We also don’t have any particular complaints about its build quality, despite the lack of any kind of premium materials being used for its construction and also the lack of environmental sealing; we wouldn’t advise you to take the 250D into any kind of extreme conditions, but you also won’t need to be as gentle with it as you would with something like a modern smartphone, which is usually far more fragile and won’t withstand as much damage while being abused as a DSLR would. On top of good build quality, you’ll also be getting a great ergonomic design thanks to the very pronounced handgrip and textured non-slippery materials being placed on important parts of the body where you would usually place your fingers while holding the camera. There’s also more than one color available for those of you that have been bored to death with all-black DSLRs and want something more refreshing; that’s where the white model comes into play, which can also be found with equally white 18-55mm kit lens that will fit its exterior perfectly. If you’ve previously used a traditional Canon DSLR you will also notice a couple of changes made to the controls and their overall layout, like the newly redesigned shutter button, main mode dials and a few of the buttons, as well as the separated dial reserved for powering on the camera or switching to the movie mode.

The back of the camera remains largely the same, except for the slightly different four-way navigation controller that gives the 250D a more modern look, just like all the redesigned controls found on the top of its body. There may only be a single control dial available, which is something that more advanced users won’t appreciate, but considering how good the user interface on Canon’s DSLRs is and how well it works together with touch input, most people won’t be worried about such omission and will enjoy using the 250D for all the positive things it brings to the table.

canon 250d

Now, let us examine the Canon EOS 250D from every possible angle and see what its body is really all about. Starting with the front, you’ll find things like the shutter button, a pair of microphones (it’s good to see that camera manufacturers are starting to place the microphones in front of the camera rather than on top of it), the flash/AF-assist beam emitter, the lens release button and of course, the obligatory lens mount. The left of the 250D features the remote control connector and the external microphone jack, while its right side micro-USB and the mini-HDMI ports (all of the included connectors are neatly protected by sturdy flaps when they aren’t being used). The UHS-I compatible SD card slot and the battery slot reserved for the lithium-ion LP-E17 battery pack (the same one that powers the likes of the Canon 800D, 760D and the 750D, so some of you upgrading from those cameras will probably have a few of the spare ones lying around) share the same compartment located on the bottom of the camera, which is located right next to the standard tripod socket. The top of the body is where you’ll find the speaker grill, an integrated pop-up flash, the main mode dial, a single command dial, the ISO and the Disp buttons, as well as the power On/Off dial that can also be used to immediately switch to video recording mode. Lastly, let us take a look at the back of the Canon EOS 250D. It’s mostly dominated by the optical viewfinder and the fully articulating touch screen but it also includes things like the Info and Menu buttons, the dioptric adjustment knob, the Live View shooting/Movie shooting button), the AF point selection/Magnify and the AE lock/FE lock/Index/Reduce buttons, the Aperture/Exposure compensation button, the four-way navigation controller with the Quick Control/SET button inside of it (it can be used to quickly bring up an interface which holds all the most important settings that you’ll want to change or adjust while actively shooting with the camera) and also the Playback and the Single-image erase buttons. Well, we can say with utmost confidence that Canon has managed to include all the most important controls necessary for smoothly operating the camera despite having less space to work with than they would usually have with a more traditional DSLR.

canon 250d

Still, a lot of the included controls wouldn’t matter if the connection between the hardware and the software wasn’t good enough for the user to easily operate the camera and it’s always good to know that Canon has always been very serious about making the best user interface they could make at any given point in history and this also holds true for the EOS 250D. It’s as usable and as intuitive as on any other Canon DSLR, working perfectly with both the physical controls and touch input, but also well optimized for both those people who have just begun to take a more serious interest in photography and also those that are more experienced. We like the fact that the interface itself consists out of more classic parts that will help you easily access all of your most important settings and also some additional ones, but also those that are more focused on looking attractive to beginner photographers and will give them graphic representations of all those items that they should focus on before taking a photograph. Besides the traditional Auto mode, the 250D also offers a great selection of different Scene modes that will allow anyone just starting with photography to get more familiar with different shooting situations, subjects and lighting conditions. So, for example, you’ll be able to switch to Portrait mode to get pictures with thinner depth of field and more emphasis on the person in front of your camera, Landscape mode for the opposite and a wider depth of field, Sports to help you take better photos of moving subjects, Close-up for smaller subjects and so on. These are certainly a great addition when you’re finally ready to move away from the fully automatic mode, but you still aren’t prepared to tackle the full manual mode just yet. The 250D also brings a couple of useful features that will optimize the look of your photos, like the Auto Lighting Optimizer that will adjust the brightness and contrast accordingly to bring out a little more detail on those occasions where photos would turn out too dark or to bland and the Highlight tone priority option that will help with the possibility of getting images that are too bright and clipping away all the details found in the highlights. While you shouldn’t expect to get the same customization options like those found on a true mirrorless camera or a more expensive DSLR, you will still get the necessary features to do things like changing the increments in which the exposure will be adjusted, choose the ISO expansion range, change the functions of the SET and Disp buttons, make the Quick Control screen appear immediately after you power on the camera, register different items under My Menu section (perfect for gaining faster access to those features that you’ll only be using on some occasions) and so on.

Now, let us talk wireless communications, something that has become a very important part of modern electronic devices and it was only a matter of time before it would start to appear like an obligatory inclusion on even the lower-end cameras. While you can certainly do a lot more with any camera if you give it access to any kind of wireless technology (be it Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), most of the experience is centered around connecting it to a smartphone or a tablet with the intention of backing up your photos or sharing them on a social network of your choice. So, all you’ll need to do to gain access to all the smartphone-related features is to download the Camera Connect application (available for Android and iOS devices), perform the initial setup and you’ll be able to view images stored on your camera’s memory card, save them on the smartphone, shoot remotely and change a decent number of different settings without even touching the camera, enable the Auto transfer feature and also send the location data gathered by your smart device over to the camera itself and store it with the rest of the information available for each photo after it’s been taken. If you wish to pair the Canon EOS 250D with a computer or a notebook, you’ll also be able to do things like importing your photos and controlling the camera within the EOS Utility software which is conveniently available for both the Windows and Mac-based devices. The 250D can also be connected to a Wi-Fi-enabled printer that supports the PictBridge technology and can make printing your photos a breeze. Of course, there’s also the option to send your images to any Web Service you’ve previously registered on the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY website (this is one of those things that could certainly be replaced with something more intuitive, especially in 2019, but considering how reluctant Canon always was with adopting new technologies, we are happy to see that at least the sheer number of available features and functions is on the highest possible level). In the end, the Canon EOS 250D may not break any new grounds in terms of its features, but it does refine the already successful formula of a small and affordable DSLR who’s mission is to show that there’s some strength left in these types of cameras and that they can still compete with mirrorless devices on a level playing field.

Autofocus and performance

The Canon 250D is an interesting beast when it comes to its focusing capabilities and certainly the one that requires a little time to get the grasp of and become aware of all of its pros and cons. Its performance will sorely depend on your method of looking through the camera, whether it is through the optical viewfinder or the LCD on the back of the camera. Shooting through the viewfinder will give you fast, but simple focusing system consisting out of 9 all cross-type focus points and switching to live view will upgrade it to an equally phase Dual Pixel AF system, but with much more options in terms of different modes that would be especially helpful for tracking moving subjects. The said AF system is also much better for taking photos of sports and actions because its focus points cover much more of the image frame than those available while you’re using the viewfinder. On the flipside, using the viewfinder will save you a lot of power and thus increase the battery life considerably, so if you’re mostly shooting static subjects you’ll surely be able to get very good focusing performance even without resorting to the more advanced Dual Pixel AF system. If you’re however interested in recording videos, as you might as well be considering the fact that the EOS 250D presents itself as a great vlogging camera or one that will satisfy the needs of more casual photographers, the Dual Pixel AF technology will help you get consistent, reliable and fast continuous AF performance, especially if you pair the camera with one of Canon’s newer STM and USM lenses (the older ones may take a little more time to focus and could produce more noise because of their often old school focusing mechanisms). All in all, we surely aren’t dealing with the fastest focusing camera around, but factoring in its price and flexiblity, the 250D will most certainly satisfy the needs of the type of audience it is targeted at.

Now, let us dwell deeper inside the camera’s menu system and see what it exactly offers in terms of all the focusing modes and helpful features that would have an impact on its focusing capabilities. Of course, you’ll be able to choose between AF and MF modes but the autofocus mode itself is separated into three different ones, the One Shot (a mode best suited to still subjects), AI Focus (this is a mode that combines the One Shot and the AI Servo modes and switches to one or the other depending on the situation you find yourself in) and AI Servo (this one is your best friend if you find yourself shooting anything that moves since it will allow the camera to continuously search for changes in movement and adjust the focus accordingly as long as you keep the shutter button pressed halfway). Now, shooting in live view will give you some additional modes to work with and the first ones are so-called AF Methods. These are the face + Tracking (as its name implies, this method will instruct the camera to prioritize people’s faces over anything else in your frame and keep them in focus even if they move around), Sport AF (this mode is best to be used for shooting smaller subjects like insects or flowers since it’s the most precise one to pick smaller details), 1-point AF (this is the most traditional method for dealing with any kind of still photography)and Zone AF (this method will allow you to use a group of focus points that will be extra helpful for keeping track of any kind of moving subjects). Other helpful features are also available, like the Eye Detection AF (a perfect mode to be in if your shooting a portrait of someone) and the Magnified View (it will help you focus more accurately while you’re in the MF mode, but sadly, Focus peaking isn’t included like it is on most mirrorless camera and is still a feature that is reserved for just a few DSLRs on the market).

The overall performance of the EOS 250D is on the level you would expect to get out of a DSLR in its class and unless you need the fastest camera possible you shouldn’t have any problems with its responsiveness and the small amount of time you’ll have to wait for it power on, focus on your subject and take the shot. The touch input also feels great and is as smooth and as precise as that of any modern smartphone with a traditional capacitive touch screen. The fastest burst rate of 5 fps is a decent speed to work with for anything but the most demanding situations, but its usefulness will largely depend on the type of files you plan to work with. If you’re satisfied with only having JPEG images at your disposal, the 250D will allow you to shoot at the same speed as long as you have enough free room on your memory card but switching to RAW will limit the camera’s performance. You’ll only be allowed to shoot at a speed of 5 fps for about 10 shots (that’s also counting in the usage of a fast UHS-I card) but if you’re willing to accept having a little less information to work with, but still reap the benefits of RAW images, than you’ll always have the option to switch to C-RAW (or compressed format) and get around 37 shots per full burst. The battery life on this camera is also heavily dependent on what you’re exactly using it for. If you’re only a photographer and you’re satisfied with the focusing performance while shooting through the viewfinder than you’ll be able to get more than 1000 shots per charge if you don’t leave your camera on for too long between taking pictures. If you’re set on using the LCD screen as your main composition tool than you’ll be able to get half of that endurance at best and one full charge will also allow you to get around one and a half hour of 4K and around 2 hours of 1080p video footage. Sadly, USB charging is not supported and that still remains a feature mainly reserved for mirrorless cameras and rarely for any DSRLs. Luckily, it’s quite easy to find replacement batteries for the 250D, if you ever found yourself in need of a little more juice.

Video quality and features

This time around, we are dealing with yet another slightly controversial Canon DSLR in terms of its movie mode. Now, we should say it right from the start, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re dealing with a camera that has no place in a bag of someone interested in videography, just with one that has some unfulfilled potential because some of its features have been artificially limited. Now, let’s first deal with the good stuff. The Canon EOS 250D is capable of recording good looking 1080p 60 fps movies with very fast focusing capabilities thanks to the Dual Pixel AF technology and decent quality audio thanks to its built-in stereo microphones (even better quality if you connect an external microphone). There may not be a headphone jack available or even features like log profiles, Focus peaking or Zebra patterns, but the included fully articulating LCD touchscreen more than makes up for the lack of those specific functions considering the act that we’re examining a device that is more targeted at casual and amateur users than the professionals. The very polished user interface also allows for quick adjustment of any important setting and will also allow you to change those setting silently thanks to the touch-sensitive screen.

Shooting in 1080p will also allow you to use the digital zoom with very little loss in quality (from 3x to 10x), capture HDR movies with better dynamic range, apply different Creative Filters and also create Video Snapshots. The 250D also offers two levels of digital IS (or Image Stabilization), which is decently effective if you use it with a wide-angle or a short telephoto lens, even though it does reduce the overall field of view and image quality (we would recommend sticking with the first level of stabilization, unless you really need all the help you can get to battle the camera shake). This brings us to the unfulfilled potential part of the EOS 250D and that is its 4K mode. Yes, the footage itself is of pretty decent quality and is sharper than the 1080p footage, but you’ll have to give up a lot of options and features in the process, deal with much bigger files, replace the impressive Dual Pixel AF system with a more traditional contrast detect one, limit yourself to a maximum framerate of 25 fps and lastly, with a severe crop applied to the footage (2.6x in full frame terms, to be exact). This means that wide-angle videography is simply out of question at 4K resolution and that all of your lenses will be much more zoomed in than in 1080p mode. The only silver lining here is that those interested in shooting wildlife will get noticeably more reach out of their telephoto lenses, but that’s about it. We would advise you to stick with the much more flexible 1080p mode unless you absolutely need the best video quality and you are ready to accept a lot of compromises to get it.

Image quality

If there’s one category of this review which left us with no real surprises (which can be a good thing, since they often tend to be of the negative type) it has to be the image quality we were able to get out of the Canon EOS 250D. Since the camera in question shares the same 24-megapixel APS-C sensor with many other Canon cameras that have been present on the market for a couple of years now and we already know what to expect out of it and how capable it really is. It does lag behind slightly behind the latest APS-C sensors found in other manufacture’s cameras in terms of its dynamic range and low light performance, but it’s nothing that you would notice in day to day shooting unless you are directly comparing this camera with one from a different brand.

There’s still plenty of resolution available for getting sharp photos (especially if a quality lens is being used), enough room to get nicely exposed images even on those occasions where there’s too much light or your subject is located in a shadowed area and also, there’s the ability to bump up your ISO values to about 3200 before you start getting noticeably grainy images. You’ll also be able to get better images by shooting in RAW format but that’s something that holds true for all cameras. We also like Canon’s approach to processing their JPEGs since it offers a nice balance of sharpening, noise reduction and color adjustments and we also like the sheer number of available Creative Effects that you’ll be able to play with (like Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, HDR, Grainy B/W, Miniature effect and many more).

Conclusion

Well, we can surely say that we’ve had a lot of fun testing out the Canon EOS 250D and putting it through its paces and there is a number of reasons why that was the case. While it added 4K mode is only useful for certain applications, the viewfinder is on the small side when compared to more expensive DSLRs and mirrorless cameras and the inability to take the camera out in any kind of rough weather stop the 250D from being one of the best budget-oriented cameras out there, the great image and video quality it’s able to produce, its well-built, full-featured and impressively portable body, well-optimized user interface that works perfect for both the touch and physical input and great battery life among other positives still make it a compelling offering for those that still aren’t ready to fully invest their time and money into a mirrorless system, but want some of its features in a package that’s comfortable to use and looks more like a serious photography tool than a piece of technology that tries to look stylish and capable at the same time (which is the case with many mirrorless cameras within its price segment).

Fujifilm XF10 Review: A New Concept in Compact Cameras

A concept of a portable camera with a fixed lens is nothing new and those have been coming to the market in many different forms for many decades (be it in analogue or in a digital form) and have always attracted the interest of those photographers wanting only one complete package in a small form that they’ll be able to carry with them everywhere and just put it in a bag or a pocket (in case of those very little and inexpensive point and shoots) and forget about it until you need to take another picture. This was always the trend until the smartphones became wildly popular and started including almost the exact same sensors as many of compact, point and shoot and even bridge-type cameras and have even overtaken a lot of them in terms of pure image quality, the reason for that being the more simple optical formulas on lenses found on smartphone cameras, but also because the majority of them had fixed focal length and fixed aperture, making it much easier to optimized the JPEG algorithms to make to most of them. Those dedicated cameras that we’ve mentioned did have the advantage of variable aperture, the zoom lenses and better hardware controls (they still do), but that wasn’t enough of a reason for most people to ditch something they already carry with them in their pockets every day just to get a couple of bonus features.

So, camera manufacturers were forced to think differently and thus they’ve come up with a concept of a device that retains most of the benefits of any other camera, but also following the design philosophy of a modern smartphone in the case of its lens, now being fixed and much easier to create and to obtain decent image quality without having to make the final product very expensive. Now, that enough time has passed and with new advancements in technology, people have the chance to purchase a sleek, feature-packed, portable camera with a sharp wide-angle lens, a big APS-C sensor sitting behind it (meaning that there’s no real comparison in terms of image quality when compared to any smartphone on the market) and a touchscreen, just to make it much easier to operate for those that aren’t yet accustomed to using a real camera and want to control it just like any phone or a tablet.

Fujifilm XF10Go to Amazon
The camera we’re talking about is the Fujifilm XF10, which is heavily inspired by the company’s more premium X100 line up of products, but of course, bearing less features and also a price point that will be much easier to swallow for those that want a great little camera but aren’t interested in making a big investment to obtain it. So, let us see what the XF10 brings to the table in terms of its specifications and if it does enough to justify wearing a popular and reputable brand name such as Fujifilm.
Overall rating:
74
Design:
0
60
100
Image Quality:
0
65
100
Price:
0
87
100
Features:
0
84
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • RAW Shooting
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • External Microphone Port
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Long Battery Life
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • No Articulating Screen
  • No Environmental Sealing
Click to read the full Review
The first thing we need to discuss the XF10 is its imaging capabilities. Considering its overall size, many people would be surprised that it features a large 24-megapixel sensor inside of it, but it certainly does and is as capable of producing great images as any other camera featuring a similarly sized sensor. It’s not one of Fuji’s X-Trans sensors, but a traditional one with a Bayer color filter array, meaning that you won’t be getting the same color science found on Fuji’s more expensive models, but you can still expect to get a great dynamic range and noise performance. Actually, this is what you should be able to expect out of most modern cameras bearing large sensors, since we’ve reached the point in time where their imaging capabilities are starting to become very good even with devices in the lower price bracket because of their need to compete with smartphones and beat them in terms of photo quality, as well as other things like flexibility, handling and control (but we’ll touch on those things under the very next category). One area where smartphones are still taking the cake is in more advanced image processing, automatic HDR, instantaneous image stacking for noise reduction purposes and even AI, but thanks to being more powerful then ever, the dedicated cameras themselves are also coming with better JPEG algorithms as the times go by and will often enable you to get great looking photos even without resorting to shooting in the RAW format. Still, the sensor itself is not the only thing that’s responsible for the very satisfactory image quality the XF10 will be able to produce as the included 28mm equivalent f2.8 lens is also a very important factor in the entire equation. It may not feature the most exciting maximum aperture or image stabilized (meaning that you won’t be able to get very blurred backgrounds without coming close to your subjects or show in low light conditions without ramping up the ISO values), but it should be quite sharp wide open and even sharper when stopped down (that’s the benefit of creating and optimizing a lens for one particular camera since it gives you the chance to make the best out of its optics). It will also be very useful for street photography thanks to the 28mm focal length being very versatile and it can even double as a decent macro lens thanks to its minimum focusing distance of 10 cm (which is actually much better than what you’ll be able to find on regular 28mm lenses that aren’t created especially with macro photography in mind).The last thing that will have a big impact on your photos is, of course, your exposure and the Fujifilm XF10 will allow you to take full control over every exposure parameter and use ISO values ranging from 200 to 12800 (expandable to 100 at the low and 51200 at the high end), shutter speeds as fast as 1/4000 sec (1/16000 sec if you switch to electronic shutter), make exposure compensation adjustments between -5 and +5 EV and also work with three different metering methods (Multi, Average and Spot). When it comes to focusing speed, the Fujifilm XF10 should provide you with decent and reliable performance in regular use, but it won’t be perfect for shooting fast action or sports (although you shouldn’t expect a camera at its price point to be capable of doing it anyway). It brings a 91-point Hybrid AF system, meaning that it will be able to adapt to different shooting conditions and decide whether to prioritize speed over accuracy (like during daylight, when phase detect points will be faster, but also accurate enough) or the other way around (the contrast detect points will provide you with more precisely focused photos in low light than the phase detect ones will). The XF10 will also allow you to shoot at a speed of up to 6 fps, which is quite decent for shooting almost anything that moves, unless your subjects requires the camera to retain its shooting speed for a long time (which you certainly won’t be able to do with an entry-level device like this one) or its motion is too sudden or too unpredictable. So, in a nutshell, unless you are demanding photographers, you should have no problems at all with XF10’s performance.There are many reasons why you would want to pick the Fujifilm XF10 as your new travel companion (like its imaging prowess, low price or the fixed focal length but still flexible lens) but a lot of people will certainly seriously consider it as their next purchase due to all of its features being crammed into a body that you’ll be able to easily carry with you everywhere and not feel burdened by its size and weight at any point in time. Having so much technology in a body that weighs just under 280 grams is a serious boon to have if you value portability very much. You may not be getting perfect build quality or a camera that will be able to withstand the toughest shooting conditions, but you will be able to enjoy having things like a sharp 3-inch 1,040,000-dot TFT LCD touchscreen, a built-in flash unit, a microphone port (it will allow you to connect an external microphone that will allow you to record high-quality audio during video recording), USB 2.0 and micro-HDMI ports, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 LE connectivity (meaning that you’ll be able to connect the XF10 to a number of different devices and also save some power in the process) as well as an orientation sensor and a single SD card slot compatible with fast UHS-I memory cards. On top of all of that, the Fujifilm XF10 is also capable of recording 4K videos at 15 fps and 1080p (full HD) videos at up to 60 fps., both with stereo sound. Now, there are some caveats to consider when it comes to video recording and those will probably drive away the more serious shooters from buying the XF10 as your main video camera, but as you will soon discover, it will be perfectly fine for those primarily interested in taking stills and capturing videos only for their own private use, rather than doing it professionally. Which shouldn’t come as a big surprise, considering the low price point the XF10 is currently being sold at.

Body and handling

From the very moment you get to hold the Fujifilm XF10 in your hands, you’ll notice that it’s a one of a kind camera. Sure, the concept of a small and portable camera with a big sensor inside of it may not be anything new anymore, but there is always some room left to create something that can hardly be rivaled by anything else on the market and Fujifilm have certainly done exactly that with this one. The XF10 offers a fine blend of iconic design, good build quality, impressive portability and simplicity to attract the attention of any photographer in need of a camera that’s easy to use, fits in their pocket, takes great pictures and won’t burn a hole in their wallet. Yes, you’ll have to accept the fact that you won’t be bringing your new camera to shoot in the rain due to the lack of weather sealing and you won’t be able to change lenses as with most mirrorless cameras out there, but taking into account that you’ll be able to take high-quality photos anywhere you go and without any hassle, we believe that the aforementioned caveats aren’t enough to stop the XF10 from being a very successful product.

fujifilm xf10

We are dealing with a camera whose primary audience is people who are curious enough about photography to purchase a dedicated device for that particular job but want something that will be easy to put in a pocket or a bag and mimics the shooting experience they were previously enjoying with their smartphones. It also won’t disappoint you with its durability since its made mostly out of metal and it will also look nice among all the other modern gadgets you happen to own thanks to its stylish design (this holds true for both the all-black and the silver/brown variants, so you can look as stealthy as you want while dealing with street or portrait photography or concentrate more on looking good while fulfilling all of your creative needs). Only the most advanced photographers out there won’t like the oversimplified control scheme, the inability to attach an external flash unit or the lack of a viewfinder, but even they will be able to find something they like an out the XF10 thanks to the inclusion of the dual control dials, many different ports and also a highly customizable interface (of which we will talk about later and cover it in as much detail as possible). In a nutshell, most of you will be attracted to this camera and love everything it has to offer because of its beautiful but unobtrusive design, imaging capabilities and the price point and won’t mind the lack of some functionalities appreciated by more dedicated photographers.

Now, as is the tradition with all of our camera reviews, it is the time to take a closer look at the hardware aspects of a camera that’s presented to us and see what you’ll precisely get if you decide that the XF10 is the right choice for you. The front of the camera is pretty bare and features only the AF-assist illuminator/Self-timer lamp, the built-in flash unit, the fixed lens and its control ring (it can be customized to perform a number of different operations). The only thing that we would like to see here is a regular filter thread on the lens itself, since you’ll be forced to resort to third-party attachments to mount one on the XF10 and that’s certainly a less elegant solution (the same holds true for the included lens cap, which is also specially made for the XF10 and won’t fit any other lens or camera). The left side of the device is entirely void of any features while the right side is where you’ll find a trio of useful ports; a microphone jack and also the micro-USB and the micro-HDMI ports. The battery compartment (reserved for the NP-95 battery pack) and the UHS-I compatible SD card slot are merged into one and can be found at the bottom of the camera body together with the standard tripod screw mount. On the top of the XF10 you’ll be able to locate the included stereo microphones, a customizable Fn1 function button, the shutter and the On/Off buttons, as well as the front command dial (it’s coupled to the power button and is used to perform the program shift function, choose the shutter speed or adjust the aperture), the main mode dial (besides the way to access the regular M, A, S and P modes it can also be used to access the Advanced SR Auto, Panorama, Scene Position and the Advanced Filter modes) and the rear command dial (it can be used to adjust the exposure compensation or to change the shutter speed).

fujifilm xf10

Lastly, there’s the back of the camera. This is the part where the XF10 stands out the most from its competitors and follows a rather minimalistic and simplistic design language, with its touchscreen being the centerpiece of all the functions featured here and a giving its users the ability to concentrate entirely on their subjects while shooting and not having to worry with a bunch of different buttons and control inputs. You’ll either choose to operate the XF10 and its interface by touch or using the included AF joystick and only occasionally you’ll need to access the rest of the controls on the back and these are the Drive/Delete, Playback, Quick menu, Fn2, Menu/Ok and the Display/Back buttons).

It is quite clear that Fuji’s vision with this camera was to relieve you of as many distractions as possible and allow you to clearly see what you’re exactly shooting and make sure that you’ll be able to take a quick photo without having to worry about your settings and advanced options too much. Of course, as you evolve with your skills you’ll be fully exploring the more serious side and involved side of photography since the Fujifilm XF10 also offers a full set of manual functions for you to play with when you become comfortable with your new camera. The user interface in general is not the cleanest we’ve seen on the something like Nikon’s or Canon’s devices, but its still pretty easy to manage and unless you are constantly diving inside of the menus in search of more advanced options and features you should have no problems using it successfully on a daily basis and quickly changing your most important settings and making all the necessary adjustments. The Q (or the Quick Menu) is the most important aspect of the entire interface and manages to hold up to 16 separate user-selectable options in a very tidy way that will allow you to access all the items inside of it with ease no matter if you’re using the touchscreen or the included joystick. By default, it will help you choose your Shooting Mode, change the ISO, switch between different AF modes, pick one of the included Film Simulation effects and so on, but you’ll also be able to populate it with other things like Shutter Type, Microphone Level Adjustment, MF Assist, Photometry and more. The next thing you’d certainly want to customize the first time you pick up the Fujifilm XF10 is the included Fn1 and Fn2 buttons, as well as four swipe gestures conveniently named the T-Fn controls (they will allow you to flick your finger in for different directions when touching the screen and they will act as any other buttons on the camera). The majority of available functions are shared between the physical and virtual buttons with only exceptions being the AE-Lock, AF-Lock, AE/AF Lock and the Instant AF options, which are strictly reserved for the Fn1 and the Fn2 buttons. The list of shared items between the two consists out of 32 different options and these range from more simple ones like the Self-Timer, Image Quality, Dynamic Range and Focus Mode, to more specific ones such as the Flash Compensation, AE BKT Setting, Auto Image Tagging and the Control Ring Setting (that is the ring positioned around the lens can also be used to access a number of different functions like manual focusing, choosing the amount of zoom provided by the Digital teleconverter, switching between different Scenes, Filters and Film Simulation modes and so on).

Before we finish this segment of our review we need to establish how well a particular camera handles any kind of communication with a device such as a smartphone, tablet, computer, printer or something entirely different. Despite its relatively low price, the Fujifilm XF10 is still a modern camera equipped with all kinds of different technologies and we weren’t surprised even a bit after we’ve found out that it’s also well-equipped in regard to its wireless capabilities. Considering the fact that it includes both your usual Wi-Fi hardware (which is the best option for any heavier tasks that require fast data speeds) and also the Bluetooth 4.1 LE technology (it will be able to handle less demanding tasks and consume less power in the process than the Wi-Fi usually would), the XF10 right from the start includes everything necessary for it to become an affordable multimedia powerhouse. To connect the XF10 to your smartphone or a tablet, you’ll be required to install the Fujifilm Camera Remote application and complete the necessary configuration process (which is explained quite nicely and you should get the hang of it even if you’re less tech-savvy than the rest) and after you’ve done so you’ll gain access to all the included features that will allow you to control the camera and take photos remotely, transfer them from the camera to your smartphone’s memory, upload location data gathered by your smart device, release the camera shutter for more stable shots or while taking a group shot you also want to be a part of and lastly, you will also be able to update the camera’s firmware without having to download it from the manufacturer’s website first. The XF10 is also capable of uploading its photos directly to your computer over Wi-Fi with the help of Fujifilm PC AutoSave program and can also be paired with an Instax SHARE printer for some quick and straightforward printing (it is also good to know that you’ll have many tools to play with in terms of manipulating the look of your pictures inside the camera before printing them as a finished product).

In the end, we wouldn’t say that the Fujifilm XF10 is a camera that brings a lot of new things to the market, nor is it the one that will attract the attention of more serious photographers, but it does manage to include all the necessities you would expect to find in any modern device (like the touchscreen, lots of customization options, an impressively small body, good build quality and more) without carrying a price tag that will turn away those who are simply looking for a camera that will outshine their smartphones in terms of pure image quality but will also fit almost everywhere and not be cumbersome to carry around.

Autofocus and performance

If there’s one thing that successfully manages to separate the Fujifilm XF10 from the more expensive cameras and could persuade you to invest in one of those products, it has to be the performance. While the XF10 manages to stay competitive in terms of image and build quality, usability, handling, expansion options and wireless communications, it is noticeably less capable in terms of focusing speed and overall responsiveness if you decide to compare it with a mid-range or high-end camera or even a lot of flagship smartphones. It is expected of Fujifilm to cut some corners for the camera the likes of XF10 to come to fruition at its current price point and they’ve decided that the performance will be the thing that will receive the most cuts.

Now, we’re not saying that you’ll be dealing with a slow and unresponsive camera or that it will stop you from taking great photos in most conditions, but you’ll certainly notice that it could perform somewhat faster considering how fast most of the modern electronic devices have become in recent years despite their class and the prices they’re being sold at. The XF10 comes equipped with a 91-point hybrid AF system and a lens with a minimum focus distance of only 10 cm. This does mean that you’ll have a lot of flexibility when it comes to focusing on different types of subjects, but don’t expect you’ll be shooting any kind of sports or action with this camera. Not that you would want to with a focal length of 28mm, but the AF system itself simply isn’t sophisticated enough to keep up with anything moving in a fast or unpredictable manner and thus your primary targets with in case of the XF10 should be the ones that can remain still while the focusing system does its thing. This also means that shooting in low light will also require some patience on your behalf since you will have to deal with some focus hunting and reduced accuracy despite the usually highly adaptable nature of hybrid AF systems. We would advise you to stick with manual focus in the light levels are too low, which certainly isn’t as demanding of a task as you wouldn’t initially think if you’re used to focusing manually with your smartphone or your previous cameras considering that the XF10 has all the right tools to help you in those situations (we’ll talk more about those right after we cover all the AF modes).

Despite the average performance of the focusing system itself and an entry-level nature of the XF10, surprisingly enough there’s a lot of ways available to control its behavior and allow you to make it even more reliable if you know how to assess the situation you find yourself in and choose the right setting accordingly to its demands. First, there are your main modes like the Single AF (best to be used for static subjects and general photography), Continuous AF (this mode will give the camera more room to adjust its focus if there’s any kind of moving subjects in front of its lens) and of course, the obligatory Manual Focus. There’s also the familiar Pre-AF feature usually found on Fuji’s mirrorless cameras that will enable the Continuous AF option for both the AF-S and the AF-C modes without requiring that you press the shutter button halfway (in a way, it’s the closest you’ll get to shoot with a smartphone since they also exhibit the same behavior by default).

The Fujifilm XF10 will also allow you to further expand the usefulness of both the Single and Continuous AF modes by allowing you to play around with the available focus points. Thus, the Single AF mode offers the Single Point (most precise method of focusing since it only uses one focus point of your choice), Zone (this function will allow you to choose an array of focus points coupled together that will be an ideal solution for moving subjects), Wide (in this mode the camera will automatically decide on which subject to focus on and use any of the available 91 focus points) and All (this is a simple option that will allow you to switch between all the available modes by rotating the rear command dial) options, while the Continuous AF includes the Single point (uses a single user-selectable focus point to focus on any moving subjects, ideally those that move in closer to or further away from you), Zone (this mode will allow you to more easily capture any kind of predictably moving subjects), Tracking (the most powerful option of all the available ones and one that is recommended to be used for any kind of subjects that are moving too fast or in a less predictable manner) and lastly, the All option that does the same thing as with the Single AF method, allowing you to cycle between the Single Point, Zone and Tracking modes on the fly.

We’ve also mentioned that the XF10 offers a lot in terms of manual focus assist tools and that is certainly one of its biggest pros when you look at its feature set as a whole. The inclusion of things like Focus Peaking, the Manual Focus Indicator and Focus Zoom will allow you to easily take sharp photos in almost all lighting conditions, the focus ring located on the lens itself is precise enough and feels nice to use and the Instant AF feature is a really useful one considering the fact that it will give you the option to focus manually first and then engage the AF with the press of a button to make sure that you’re focused correctly.

While the XF10 isn’t a product we would recommend to those whose workflow or interests are heavily depended on the speed of their cameras, it does offer some options that will help you capture any kind of motion with more success than by taking one shot at a time. There are two available shooting speeds, one reaching a maximum of 6 and other sitting at 3 fps. Both of them will allow you to capture around 13 images at full speed before the camera slows down and the buffer starts to fill up. Do keep in mind that those numbers can only be achieved with the use of a fast UHS-I SD card and that you’ll need to invest in one to reach the full potential of the XF10. As an added bonus, you’ll also be able to take 8-megapixel images from the recorded 4K video, which is being captured at a framerate of 15 fps, giving you essentially a faster burst rate but with a noticeable hit to image quality. So, it’s up to you to choose if you’ll prioritize picture quality or performance, but it’s good to see that there’s an option to pick between the two.

Lastly, there’s the battery life and the Fujifilm XF10 certainly doesn’t disappoint in this category. It comes with a battery pack that’s small in size (which means that you’ll be able to easily throw couple extra batteries in a pocket or a bag) but does provide the camera with a respectable endurance of around 330 shots per charge. The ability to charge the battery inside the camera via the USB port is also added to the list of features and it will prove to be a very helpful one for those that record a lot of videos or often find themselves in locations where it’s not easy to find a power source to recharge your camera’s battery.

Video features and quality

With the XF10 primarily being designed as a pocketable high performing stills camera, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it’s as proficient at recording videos as it is with capturing photos. While far from being an unusable camera for even some serious video work it is still quite clear that video recording is its secondary function mainly reserved for those that occasionally undertake a video project or two while mainly catering to their photography needs. The first thing that has led us to that conclusion is the inclusion of 4K recording but with a very low framerate of 15 fps.

It’s not the first time we’re dealing with a camera that promises to bring the 4K recording to the table but at the same time limits its usefulness with a slow recording speed, but it’s quite strange to see one being released in 2018. This immediately shows that Fujifilm didn’t feel the need to concentrate on giving the XF10 the video production capabilities of the more expensive cameras in Fuji’s own line-up and have decided that the fans of the brand interested mostly in recording movies should look at the devices positioned in a higher tier than the low-end. Still, the XF10 does bring useful features such as 1080p 60 fps recording, a microphone jack (albeit of the 2.5 mm variety and without the ability to mount an external microphone on top of the camera due to the lack of a hotshoe port), continuous AF and Focus Peaking, digital image stabilization that doesn’t degrade the overall picture quality, manual control of exposure, high speed 720p recording that will allow you to play around with slow-motion effects and a couple of other smaller features.

The lack of more serious features like the headphone jack, fully articulating screen, zebra patterns, optical image stabilization and more only confirms our thoughts of the Fujifilm XF10 being at its best while used as a casual video recording tool, rather than something that can be filed under serious work and requires the help of more professional-oriented tools.

Image quality

Moving away from the things at which the XF10 doesn’t excel at as well as the more expensive cameras on the market bring us to the very thing it is capable of doing as good as many of those products and that is capturing great looking photos in all possible conditions. The trademark with many Fuji’s cameras of late has been the uncompromising image quality and the XF10 is no different in this regard. Its 28mm equivalent f2.8 lens is respectably sharp even wide open and is a great pairing for its big 24-megapixel APS-C sensor.

fujifilm xf10 sample

Photo courtesy of Peter Krumme

While there’s no optical image stabilization on board to help with low light photos, the photos still retain plenty of detail even at higher ISO values, meaning that going as high as the ISO of 6400 (which is already a lot for an APS-C sensor) will still leave you with very usable pictures in the end and thus the lack of any kind of stabilization isn’t such a big problem with the XF10. Shooting in RAW will not only allow you to take control over noise reduction and sharpness, but it will also allow you to reap the full benefits of the very good dynamic range offered by the sensor inside this camera and get images with nicely balanced exposure and an equal amount of detail in both the highlight and shadow areas. We also like the fact that Fujifilm has done a lot to optimize the JPEG algorithms and that most of you won’t have to resort to shooting in RAW to get pleasant looking photos most of the time, especially due to Fuji’s excellent color science.

fujifilm xf10 sample

Photo courtesy of Scott Shaw

If, however, you’re not satisfied with the default output you’ll always be able to resort to using many different effect and filters that the XF10 has to offer like the Toy Camera, HDR Art, Miniature and Pop Color or even Fuji’s trademark Film Simulation modes like the Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Monochrome and more or play around with different Bracketing options that involve AE, ISO, Film Simulation, White Balance and Dynamic Range.

Conclusion

Despite its low price point, the Fujifilm XF10 isn’t a camera that we could recommend to everybody on the lookout for a capable budget offering and we consider it to be a somewhat special product in its own right. If all you care about is getting as much functionality as possible for your money then the XF10 certainly won’t be a camera that will satisfy all of your needs, especially if you’re seriously interested in video recording.

We are dealing with a device targeted mostly at those people who value portability and image quality over anything else but still don’t consider themselves to be photography enthusiasts that are willing to invest a sizable sum to acquire a new camera. The XF10 is a simplistic product capable of capturing excellent photos without too much or any input required from the user to achieve satisfactory image quality, but also one that will offer you enough functions to play around with once you feel more secure about your skills as a photographer and are prepared to take the next step in understanding how things work with dedicated cameras.

It can be a companion to your smartphone’s camera or even a replacement if you don’t care too much about having more than one lens or 4K recording isn’t your top priority. It’s small, it’s stylish and despite some of its shortcomings still, a very capable camera that’s priced according to its capabilities and as such comes easily recommended to anyone interested in a powerful and affordable device that they’ll be able to have on them at all times.

Canon EOS RP Review: A Full Frame Mirrorless Beauty

If you’re by any chance following the current trends on the camera market, you are probably aware of Canon’s latest move to jump on the full frame mirrorless camera bandwagon and the release of their EOS R device. While it hasn’t received entirely positive reviews, it still turned out to be a pretty capable camera in its own right and one that can easily adapt any of Canon’s DSLR lenses that were ever released (even if they are of the APS-C variety) and even a lot of third party ones, besides the native RF glass that has received a lot of praises for its optical quality.

Now, the EOS R is still a semi-professional body that will certainly be out of reach to a lot of people and that would usually prompt them to invest in a cheaper full frame mirrorless camera from the likes of Sony or one with a smaller APS-C sensor inside. Luckily for Canon, they have recognized a big opportunity here to expand their new line up of full-frame mirrorless cameras and have decided to release the Canon EOS RP, a device that’s more suited for those photographers planning to buy their first full frame camera, but also one with all the advantages of a modern mirrorless system. It does bring even more compromises with it when compared to its bigger brother, but considering it cost less than that particular camera that is to be expected. Judging by its specifications, the highlights of the EOS RP are its full frame sensor (apparently very good when it comes to low light photography), 4K video recording, Dual Pixel AF system, great handling very reminiscent of a smaller DSLR, a high-resolution EVF, a touch-sensitive fully articulating screen, and both the microphone and headphone jacks. It certainly won’t blow you away if you’re already used to working with flagship cameras, but it will represent a big step up from a low-end mirrorless camera or a DSLR targeted at beginners (not only because of the bigger sensor, but also the advanced features it brings to the table).

Before we examine the Canon EOS RP in all of its glory and really get the feel of how it behaves in the real world, let us first take a look at all of its specifications.

Canon EOS RPGo to Amazon
Category-wise, the Canon EOS RP is positioned in the same place as the Canon 6D Mark II, which was the company’s latest mainstream-oriented full frame DSLR that’s present on the camera market since 2017. It’s no wonder that Canon has decided to build upon that particular camera, but also include the same 26-megapixel full frame sensor and a couple of other features that made the 6D Mark II a decently popular camera among those looking or an affordable entry into the world of full-frame devices.
Overall rating:
77
Design:
0
71
100
Image Quality:
0
80
100
Price:
0
75
100
Features:
0
80
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • UHS-II Memory Card Support
  • Light Body
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Timelapse Recording
Cons
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Low Battery Life
Click to read the full Review
The EOS RP will offer you similar image quality to one of its bigger cousin, meaning you’ll be able to get very sharp photos, good low light performance, but also the average dynamic range (which means that this won’t be an ideal camera for those interested mainly in landscape photography, especially if we’re talking about high contrast scenes). If there is one improvement you should expect to get in regard to image quality that has to be the more sophisticated JPEG processing algorithms and that is thanks to the new Digic 8 processor (an upgrade over the Digic 7 unit found in the 6D Mark II). As is the case with the Canon EOS R, the EOS RP also lacks the in-built image stabilization (IBIS) that can be found on many modern mirrorless cameras but considering its very low price point we believe that it wouldn’t be fair to complain too much about its absence. For those interested in this camera’s ability to provide you with the right tools to achieve perfect exposure it is important to note that it’s capable of achieving ISO values as high as 40000 (even 102400, when boosted) and as low as 100 (50 if boosted), a fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 sec, a maximum flash sync speed of 1/180 seconds (even though it doesn’t include a built-in flash unit and you’ll be required to connect an external one), an exposure compensation adjustments in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps and in the end, there’s the included EVF itself, as it will provide you with real-time exposure changes and will allow you to immediately see all the changes to the brightness of your image before you press the shutter button and also other aspects of its identity like colors, contrast and white balance.The Canon EOS RP also shouldn’t disappoint you with its performance (if you’re not the more demanding type of a photographer, that is). The aforementioned Digic 8 processor will make sure that the camera deals with all the necessary tasks smoothly and predictably well, while the Canon’s lightweight and well-optimized user interface will go hand in hand with a responsive touch screen and allow you to operate the camera with utmost confidence. We know that all of it sounds like some marketing lingo, but it’s actually the truth, the EOS RP is a very reliable camera, as was the case with almost anything that Canon has ever released on the market in the last decade or two. You will also be able to focus quick and accurately thanks to the included Dual Pixel AF technology, which uses phase detect focus points instead of the more traditional contrast detect ones and will allow for very quick focusing both in live view and through the viewfinder, good subject tracking performance as well as quick continuous AF capabilities during video recording. You’ll also be able to follow your subject around a large portion of your frame thanks to the maximum number of 4779 AF points the camera has to work with. Still, we wouldn’t expect the EOS RP to replace anyone’s high-end sports camera, but it should perform just fine for more casual and less demanding tasks. Another thing that indicates that it’s nature lies among those photographers more interested in still subjects is its maximum burst rate of 5 fps (which drops to 4 fps if you’d like to make use of the continuous AF option), which is a pretty conservative speed for a camera released in 2019. You’ll also probably need to be careful with your battery consumption since the included LP-E17 lithium-ion battery pack is rated at only about 250 shots per charge (again, another conservative number regarding the overall performance of the camera).On the more positive note, the EOS RP does offer a camera body worthy of any photographers admiration (at least if you’re one of those people that cares very much about portability, as well as handling and build quality). Canon promises the design quality that rivals the 6D Mark II and while we yet have to confirm if that is the case we can certainly say that the EOS RP does feel very good in the hand right from the first time you take it into your hands. It offers the same combination of aluminum and hard plastics, a versatile control scheme consisting out of two control dials, a flexible fully articulating TFT LCD with touch support and a resolution of 1,040,000 dots and also, a high resolution EVF with a resolution of 2,360,000 dots and a magnification of 0.7x (so, it may not be the biggest electronic viewfinder we’ve ever seen on a full frame camera but it’s still a very useful unit nonetheless). The port and the expansion slots selection is also a decent one, with a single UHS-II compatible SD card slot, micro-USB and the micro-HDMI ports, both the microphone and headphone jacks and also the necessary port to connect a cable required for remotely controlling the camera (even though you’ll be able to achieve the same thing using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, meaning you’ll also be covered well when it comes to all the wireless technologies). The last big deal regarding the Canon EOS RP that should be mentioned and is a big improvement over the 6D Mark II has to be the video recording. While the addition of a headphone jack is a big addition by itself, the choice of both the 4K 24 fps as well as the 1080p 60 fps capture will create a big change in your production quality if you’re coming from the 6D Mark II. There are some caveats though, as is the case with every Canon DSLR and mirrorless camera that has reached the market so far, but we’ll talk more about those inside the section of this review dedicated to examining the video recording capabilities of any camera that lands into our hands. So, the Canon EOS RP does seem like a very decent camera right from the beginning, especially when you take into account the very aggressive price point that Canon decided to attach to it, but as always, it will take a lot more effort than examining the specifications to fully understand how a product performs. For that reason, let us start by seeing how exactly does it handles in action and is it capable of providing its potential buyers with great shooting experience.

Body and handling

What’s impressive about the Canon EOS RP in terms of its design is its overall size and weight. You expect the mirrorless camera to be smaller and lighter than a normal sized DSLR, but when the RP is even smaller than some of Canon’s DSLRs with APS-C sensors than you really have a winner on your hands in terms of ultimate portability. While the 6D Mark II never was the biggest and the heaviest camera out there with a total weight of 765 grams, the RP itself is noticeably easier to lug around by weighing only 485 grams and housing all of its features inside dimensions of 133 x 85 x 70mm. What’s even more important to mention is that no sacrifices have been made to handling and the feel in the hand and in simple terms, the EOS RP feels just like a small DSLR when you’re holding it. It’s obvious that Canon didn’t want to accept any compromises in this regard and that their plan was to make the transition from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera as smooth as possible for their loyal customers and even those coming from other brands. We also like the included control scheme, which features enough buttons and dials to satisfy the needs of even the more demanding photographers out there and will make you feel right at home or if you’ve previously used a mid-range Canon DSLR or one of their top of the line APS-C mirrorless cameras. We also appreciate the addition of weather sealing, which will help you use the RP efficiently in those situations where the weather or harsh conditions would get in the way of you taking all the important pictures you need. Still, we wouldn’t suggest that you submerge the RP in the water or even take it in the heavy rain since it’s level of weather protection is not as high as on those high-end cameras that are much more expensive and were specifically made to be used in every possible situation in which the photographer finds himself in.

canon eos rp

 

Let us start with the front. Other than the usual stuff like the lens mount, the lens release button and the AF-assist beam/Self-timer/Remote control lamp, you’ll also be able to find the two of the microphones capable of recording stereo sound (on most cameras of this type they are usual located on the top, near the hotshoe port). Interestingly enough, Canon has decided to retain the same silver “R” logo that was also a part of the original EOS R and not change it to “RP” and thus, it will be hard to find any difference between the two cameras if you look at them from the front. The left side of the Canon EOS RP houses that impressive array of different ports (the remote control terminal, external microphone jack, headphone jack and also the micro-USB and the type-C HDMI ports), while the right side of the camera body is completely clear of any prominent features. Instead, the obligatory card slot has been moved to the bottom and now shares the same compartment as the battery. The top of the camera holds no less than four dials in total (the On/Off, mode, quick control and the main dials) but also a standard hotshoe port for all of your accessories like an external flash or a shotgun microphone, a Movie shooting button, the shutter button, the M-Fn (or the Multi-function button, which you’ll be able to customize to your own liking) and lastly, the Multi-function lock switch. In the end, it is time to see what the back of the EOS RP offers in terms of different functionality. First, there’s the obvious things like the fully articulating touchscreen and the EVF (coupled with its dioptric adjustment knob and the eye sensor), the Menu button, the AF-On, AE lock/FE lock and the AF point/Index/Magnify/Reduce buttons, as well as the four-way navigation controller with a Q/Set button in its center and the Info, Playback and Erase button located around it. You’ll also be able to assign different functions to each of the directional buttons on the navigation controller, but we’ll talk more about that when we touch on the topic of customization.

In conclusion, there are not many things to complain about when it comes to the EOS RP and its overall body design. The more serious professionals out there will miss having a couple more buttons to work with and will also be in need of a secondary card slot, but everything that this camera does offer is perfectly catered to the type of audience its targeted at and these are the casual photographers and enthusiasts not looking for a portable full frame camera that is less expensive than any flagship offering out there. If there’s one thing you can count on when purchasing a Canon camera is that you’ll be getting an exceptionally good experience while using its user interface or while digging through its menu systems. The company has perfected this area of their cameras years ago and it certainly shows on the EOS RP. No matter what you do while the camera is powered on, it always feels very smooth, responsive and finely optimized. This also holds true if you decide to pick the touch screen as your primary way of interacting with the camera since it feels no different than using one on a modern smartphone device. The interface itself has also been made in a way that it doesn’t matter if it’s being navigated with the help of the navigation controller or the touchscreen as the usability of the camera won’t be affected in any way no matter which input method you choose.

Now, let us touch on the topic of customization. It wasn’t something that was an integral part for a Canon’s non-professional DSLRs and cameras for a long time (you could change the function of a couple of buttons but often with some limitations to the available list of included options, which were often intentionally set by the manufacturer and there was no real reason why the list couldn’t be a lot longer), but the times are finally changing with the arrival of the EOS RP. No, it doesn’t have the useful and reprogrammable touch bar of its bigger brother, the EOS R, but there’s still a lot of ways in which you’ll be able to customize the device’s behavior. You’ll be able to assign different functions to a total of 9 buttons (Movie record, M-Fn, AF-On, AE lock, AF point, SET button and all the directional buttons located on the four-way navigation controller) and these range from things like Depth-of-field preview, Image quality and Picture Style to Magnify/Reduce, Eco mode and Wi-Fi functions options. The EOS RP will also allow you to choose which of the included control dials will be used to adjust the aperture and witch to change the shutter speed, but also program them to let you change the ISO or adjust the exposure compensation.

canon eos rp

You’ll also be able to reap the benefits of having an additional customizable control ring If you decide to purchase an RF-mount lens or one of the EF mount adapters with the same ring attached to them. Lastly, there are three separate custom shooting modes that can hold three separate sets of settings and adjustments and can easily be switch between with the use of the main mode dial on the top of the camera. We certainly like Canon’s commitment to bring a lot more customization options to the table and their effort really shows in the case of the EOS RP. Before we conclude this section of the review and move on to examining the performance and the AF behavior, we need to see how the camera handles all the tasks related to any form of wireless communication.

As is the case with any of the latest Canon cameras, you can connect the RP to four different things: a smartphone/tablet, a printer, a computer/laptop or directly to a web service of your choice. To pair it with a smart device you’ll need to install either the iOS or the Android variant of the Camera Connect application and enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device. After you’ve gone through a simple setup procedure you’ll be able to control the camera remotely, view the images taken with the camera on your smartphone or transfer them to its memory, add geolocation data gathered by your smart device’s GPS system to the photos themselves or enable the automatic transfer of images after they’ve been captured.

We like the fact that both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included as a means of communication as that will allow the camera to save on battery power and switch to Bluetooth for less demanding tasks. If you ever find yourself stuck in the process of learning about how to use the EOS RP’s wireless functions you can refer to the official manual for an insanely detailed explanation of how to make sure that everything is set up the right way and works as expected. While the wireless printing feature is self-explanatory, we should also say that you’ll need to register your desired web service on the Canon iMAGE GATEWAY website before you’ll be able to upload your images directly to it from the camera and that you’ll be using the EOS Utility application on your computer either as an additional method of remotely controlling the camera (which is a much better solution than a smartphone or tablet if your working in controlled environment like a photo studio) or as another way to back up your images automatically. If there’s one thing that’s missing on the EOS RP to complete the holy trinity of wireless functions, it’s the NFC. Now, it depends entirely on you if having such a feature is important but having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will surely be more than enough for most people’s needs.

Autofocus and performance

The Canon 6D Mark II was infamous for borrowing the AF system from the Canon 80D and has received some criticism because of that mismatch of features. While the said 45-point phase detect system as quite a capable one on an APS-C DSLR it just wasn’t good enough for a full frame one and resulted in very small focus points that were crammed in the middle of the frame and didn’t cover a whole lot of it. That wasn’t a big problem for photographers who were only shooting still subjects, but any kind of subject tracking was quite affected and resulted in a mediocre performance at best. The EOS RP may contain the same image sensor as the 6D Mark II, but if there’s one thing completely revamped over the older camera, it has to be a focusing system. While still being of the phase detect variety and also working together with Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology, it now has as much as 4779 focus points to work with that cover approximately 88% of the frame horizontally and 100% vertically. This essentially means that you’ll be able to place your focus points almost anywhere you’d like and quite easily just by dragging your finger along the touchscreen and lifting it up after you’ve achieved the desired position. This also means that you should expect to get very good continuous focusing during video recording while capturing 1080p footage (the Dual Pixel AF is not available during 4K recording, something that the more expensive EOS R is capable of). The EOS RP is also a little less sensitive in low light over the regular R (-5EV instead of -6EV with an f1.2 lens) but that still a very good light sensitivity by itself, especially when you compare it to what the rest of the competition has to offer. While we believe that the AF system itself has enough power to it to handle some sports or action photography, you are likely to be more limited by the speed at which this camera can shoot photos continuously, then the AF system itself (but we’ll talk more about that near the end of this section).

This brings us to all the focusing modes and all the features directly related to them. Starting with the basic ones, there are three of them: One Shot (your simplest form of focusing, you press the shutter button hallway once, the camera will focus on your subject and let you know about it and that’s it), Servo (this mode is best to be used for any kind of moving subjects as it will allow you to hold the shutter button hallway as much as you want and the camera will constantly search for any movements in front of it and adjust focus accordingly) and Manual focus. The second set of modes you should look at when deciding which types of subjects to shoot with the EOS RP are the AF Methods. These are: Face+Tracking (the camera will automatically look for people and their faces and prioritize focusing on them over anything else), Spot AF (this mode will give you the option to use the smallest size of a focus point as possible and allow you to more easily focus on specific parts of your subject), 1-point AF (works the same as Spot AF just with a focus point of a regular size), Expand AF area (the expanded version of 1-point AF that also places a number of surrounding focus points around the one you’ve previously selected) and lastly, there’s the Zone AF option, which will automatically select the right number of focus points located inside a single zone and depending on the shooting situation you find yourself in). The EOS RP also offers a very useful feature called Focus Bracketing, which can be used to take a high number of images that are focused differently with each shot and then combine into one photo with a very deep depth of field (with the help of Canon’s official software). This will be especially useful for macro photography since the often result in a thin depth of field and can be very challenging to acquire the correct focus without some special assists tools like the Focus Bracketing itself. Of course, like with any mirrorless camera out there, Focus Peaking and Magnify options are also available and will help you nail your focus in more demanding scenes (for example low light) or if you’re using an older lens that doesn’t feature autofocus (which a lot of you probably will since those manual lenses can prove to be very useful considering their often smaller size and lower price points).

We’ve already mentioned that the Canon EOS R is a camera that won’t let you down in terms of its responsiveness and performs as well as a modern digital camera should, but there is one area of its performance in which its capabilities are quite modes and that is its burst rate. Topping out at 5 fps (4 if you need the ability to focus continuously), it’s certainly far from being the fastest camera on the market in this regard and you won’t have an easy time trying to capture any fast moving subjects. One saving grace is the buffer depth if the right type of an SD card is being used (a very fast one, that is) since you’ll be able to shoot an unlimited number of JPEGs as well as RAW files before it fills up and even around 130 of them combined (which are excellent results for any camera, let alone one that doesn’t cost very much). We were also happy with the time it took for the buffer to clear and allow you to shoot again; it took no more than 2 seconds in case of JPEG or RAW files and around 10 seconds if we decided to shoot both of them. In the end, there’s the battery life. It’s yet another area in which the Canon EOS RP doesn’t impress, but doesn’t disappoint in any major way. You can expect to get around 300 shots from one battery pack, but that endurance could go up or down depending on how you use the camera; lowering the screen brightness or activating the Eco mode will certainly increase your shooting time with the camera, but recording a lot of videos will lower it, so it’s up to you to decide if you’ll require an additional battery or not.

Video features and quality

The Canon EOS RP turns out to be a strange beast if you look at its video recording capabilities. It is a blend good features mixed in with some omissions and oddities you may expect to find on a camera that tries to as competitive as possible price-wise within the market of usually quite expensive full frame cameras. First, there’s the resolution, frame rates and codec situation. You will be able to record 4K videos at 24 fps (albeit with a pretty strong crop of 1.8x applied to the footage) or 1080p videos at everything from 24 to 60 fps, which are quite positive things and will allow you to get very nice looking footage no matter the resolution (not the best out there, but still very usable) but there’s no option to record 4K videos at 30 fps or using the more powerful higher bit rate ALL-I codec (like on the EOS R) or editing videos using the Canon Log profile. What you see, is what you get, and you won’t get a lot of room to process your videos later on a computer, especially if you need a great dynamic range. The RP does offer a decent electronic stabilization solution (although at a cost of a tighter crop and overall image quality) but again, there’s no hardware-based stabilization system and the more serious shooters among you will have to resort to using a tripod or any other solution to get the smoothest footage possible. The EOS RP will get you covered for all of your audio needs thanks both the headphone and microphone jacks being included and will also provide you with great focusing performance thanks to the Dual Pixel AF system, but sadly, only if you plan to record 1080p videos since it isn’t available during 4K recording and instead relies on a less impressive contrast detect system. We do appreciate the addition of a fully articulating touchscreen, a combination of hardware which still eludes a big number of cameras in the market for some reason and also the Focus peaking for all of you relying on manual focus instead on AF. There are also features like the Video Snapshot (it automatically takes short clips out of all your videos and combines them into a single compilation video) or the 8-megapixel screen grab function that will allow you to take photos of decent quality straight from your 4K recordings. Lastly, the RP also offers 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording as well as 4:2:2 8-bit recording via its HDMI port and an external recorder.

Image quality

Since the EOS RP uses the same 26-megapixel full frame like the Canon 6D Mark II DSLR, it shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone that the newer camera produces images of very similar quality. So, if you pair the RP with a quality lens and you know how to control your exposure, then you’ll be able to get very high-quality images out of Canon’s latest mirrorless full frame offering. Bumping up the ISO also won’t hurt the quality of those photos too much, but you will need to be careful in those situations where you have to underexpose to save your highlights and lift the shadows back up in post-processing.

canon eos rp sample

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Bussieres

The EOS RP won’t give you as much room as other competing devices to brighten up dark areas without some cost in added noise and thus we advise you to use the very well implemented HDR features in those situations with such extremely unforgiving lighting. While shooting in RAW won’t show any difference between the RP and the 6D Mark II, shooting in JPEG will since the RP does have a more powerful processor and better JPEG processing sharpening and noise reduction algorithms. If you aren’t satisfied with the default Standard processing, you’ll always be able to switch to another Picture Style like Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail and Neutral, as well as create your own Styles by changing the Sharpness (and its strength, fitness and threshold), as well as Contrast, Saturation, Color tone, Filter effect and Toning effect (the last two are only available for shooting in Monochrome).

canon eos rp sample

Photo courtesy of Jackie Matthews

For the Filter effect itself, you’ll be able to choose from yellow, orange, red and green colors and sepia, blue, purple and green for the Toning effect. So, even if you aren’t interested in editing your photos away from the camera, there’s certainly a lot of options available to do it within its menus.

Conclusion

So, in the end, what do we think about the Canon EOS RP as a new offering from Canon’s line up of full frame cameras? Does it do enough to attract the attention of those photographers who are ready to make the transition to a bigger image sensor or those previously coming from any Canon DSLR that doesn’t fit into the high-end category or any of their APS-C mirrorless devices? Well, it certainly does, even with a couple of its less impressive aspects like the battery life, cropped 4K recording, no image stabilization and the averagely good dynamic range. If you are willing to accept those couple of flaws (and you should be, considering how much you’ll be paying for the EOS RP), you’ll be getting a camera that’s small in the hand and at the same time very comfortable to hold, easy to operate and even easier to navigate thanks to its intuitive user interface, fast to power on and fast to focus, capable of capturing pleasant videos and good photos in low light and able to use any Canon AF lens in existence (with the official adapter in case of the EF and EF-S lenses) except for the EF-M mount lenses.

There’s a lot to like about the Canon EOS RP, especially if you’re a semi-professional or a hobbyist photographer looking to get into the world of full frame cameras, but without spending the usual premium price attached to most of them currently available on the market.

Canon PowerShot SX70 HS Review

While point-and-shoot cameras aren’t as exciting as they used to be during those times when DSLRs where mostly reserved for professionals and our phones weren’t nearly as capable of taking good looking photos as they are today, manufacturers are still finding the way to make them a compelling purchase for those that want to do more with their photography but don’t necessarily need the features or the image quality provided by modern mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The biggest advantages of choosing a compact or a bridge-style camera as your main tool for taking pictures would be the flexibility of having a massive zoom range and also the overall handling and controls (since using a smartphone and its touchscreen isn’t the most ideal and the most comfortable solution for those that like to take a lot of photos). For these and many other reasons, almost every popular camera brand on the market is still producing cameras with smaller sensors, but with big features.

This time around we got the chance to check out the latest bridge-type camera coming from Canon, the SX70 HS. It’s aimed at those photographers that want to have as much flexibility as possible when it comes to zooming in and out and being able to take in a lot of the scene or focus on a particular subject in a matter of seconds. Canon has also brought a number of important improvements over the older model, the SX60 HS, namely the increased ISO range, faster shooting speed and better performance in general, better quality viewfinder, higher quality video recording (yes, the SX70 HS is capable of capturing 4K footage), lower overall weight and a couple of other things we will certainly mention through the course of this review. As always, before we start looking at more specific details that are a part of the Canon SX70 HS let us examine its specifications more closely and see how much it differs from its predecessor.

 

Body and handling

The Canon SX70 HS may not be the most impressively built camera we’ve ever seen, but it isn’t built cheaply either and perfectly fits under the requirements one would have for a device of its class. We wouldn’t advise you to drop it often or two use it under extreme weather (since it isn’t officially sealed from the effects of rain, dust, heat or cold nor is it made out of magnesium or aluminum) but we still wouldn’t worry too much about its ability to stand the test of time and remain perfectly functional after many years of heavy usage. It’s easy to notice that a lot of care has been put into creating a tightly assembled plastic body and responsive and tactile controls, but that particular decision has also been made to keep the overall weight down to a reasonable level. Even though it’s more advanced than its predecessor in almost every way, the SX70 HS is lighter and easier to manage after a long day of shooting and you’ll certainly want to carry it much more often with you on your travels or even casual walks or trips to the nearest park. This camera will also be a pleasure to work with for those who have used one of Canon’s products from the PowerShot line up and even one of their DSLRs because of its familiar user interface and the classic control scheme which includes all the important dials and buttons you would ever need, but the lack of a touch-sensitive LCD screen will make it a little more difficult to operate and get a grasp of for those people who are used to their smartphones being their primary tools for taking photos or recording videos, but on the flip side, it should motivate you, even more, to learn about your new camera and all of its important controls (since the method of using physical buttons is still the preferred one for the majority of photographers out there despite the fact that the touchscreens are more reliable than ever in these modern times).

canon sx70 hs

Now, keeping up with the tradition, let us see what exact features are included on the SX70 HS and its body. The front of the device holds the focus assist lamp and the centerpiece of the entire camera, the optically stabilized 21-1365mm lens, but also some additional things like the control ring, a lens hood/filter adapter thread, the Framing Assist-Seek and the Framing Assist-Lock buttons and also the zoom button. The aforementioned Framing Assist buttons are very interesting additions by themselves; the Seek button can be used to improve your composition when you’re zoomed in to your subject by zooming out, placing a white frame around that subject (helping you get a better view of the framing you’ll get while you’re shooting at the telephoto range and also allowing you to change the subject more quickly) and zooming back in when you release the button while the Lock one has been programmed to help you keep your point of interest in the center of your frame when you find yourself using the longer end of the zoom range by using the built-in image stabilization technology and trying to correct your hand movement which becomes quite apparent in these types of shooting scenarios and could otherwise leave you with a blurry photo or a poorly framed one. Moving on to the sides of the Canon SX70 HS, the left one is where you’ll find the external microphone jack, while the right one houses the remote switch port, as well as the HDMI and the USB ports. The top of the camera is where the stereo microphones and the pop-up flash units are located (although one thing is missing and that is the standard hotshoe port that would allow you to connect an external flash unit), as well as the Wi-Fi, On/Off and the shutter buttons (it also holds the zoom lever) and also the main mode dial (it will allow you to switch between different shooting modes and also create custom ones thanks to the included C1 and the C2 profiles) and also the main control dial. The tripod socket and the memory card/battery pack compartment can be found on the bottom of the camera, as is the case with most of the devices of this type.

Lastly, there’s the back of the camera. Besides the usual things like the articulating LCD screen and the electronic viewfinder (and its dioptric adjustment knob), you’ll also be able to find the Movie recording button, the four-way navigation controller (together with four functions mapped to each of its directions and these are Exposure compensation, Flash, Single-image erase and Macro/Manual focus) and also, the AE lock, AF point selector, Info, Playback and the Menu buttons. So, in a nutshell, there’s no shortage of buttons and controls to play with, even if you consider yourself to be an advanced user. Some of you could be bothered a little by the lack of a touch sensitive screen (something that you’d expect to find on any modern device), but such an inclusion would noticably increase the overall price point and make the SX70 HS a less compelling purchase for those that want to save as much money as possible on their new camera. Still, thanks to Canon’s expertise in creating excellent user interfaces on their products for many years now the SX70 HS couldn’t be simpler to use and even all the beginners among all of you that are interested in photography won’t have a tough time learning about all of its menus and the functions included inside of them. The main shooting screen (the one that will provide you with all the necessary information like your exposure adjustments, active modes, remaining number of photos you’d be able to take until your memory card is full and so on) is also easy to read and the user interface as a whole is very reminiscent of those that can be found on any recent Canon DSLRs (which means that it’s more intuitive than it ever was on any of company’s point-and-shoot or bridge-type cameras).

canon sx70 hs

We also appreciate the fact that Canon has found the way to include specific features and modes that will appeal to those that have just started to learn about photography, but also allow them to grow with their new camera and explore more advanced ones later on. Besides the regular Auto mode that will give the SX70 HS the control over all the important settings, you’ll also be able to find other important modes such as Hybrid Auto (it will automatically record a short video clip before you take your picture and will combine those clips into one that will act as a summary of your day shooting with the camera), Sports Mode (it will help you take better pictures of moving subjects), Special Scene Mode (this is the mode you should be in when you master your feel for composition and you’re ready to learn about different types of lighting scenarios) and more. The Quick Control Screen will be your main way of changing most of your settings other than the aperture and the shutter speed (like the Drive mode, Aspect ratio, Image quality, different AF options and so on) and is as easy to work with as the rest of the user interface. You’ll also be able to choose the amount of information displayed on your screen while your taking or viewing your photos by pressing the Info button, save custom sets of settings that will allow you to quickly adapt to different shooting situations (for example, you can have one that is optimized to shooting in broad daylight and one in low light), set up the built-in pop-up flash unit just the way you want it (with options like Flash exposure compensation, Shutter sync, Red-eye lamp and Safety FE), enable the Digital Tele-Converter option to get more reach out of the included lens, but with some expense to overall image quality and play around with a lot more features that will make your life easier and your time with the SX70 HS more fun and rewarding.

Lastly, we need to talk about all the wireless capabilities, something that has become an integral part of almost every device on the market that has to deal with any kind of communication with other devices in its vicinity. There’s a surprising number of features at offer here; the SX70 HS can either connect wirelessly to a smartphone or a tablet device, a computer or a laptop, a Wi-Fi enabled printer and also directly to a web service of your choice thanks to Canon’s own Image Gateway service. If you decide to pair the SX70 HS with your smart device you’ll be able to do things like sending your images automatically to the camera while your taking them, use the screen of your device as a remote viewfinder for those occasions when you have the camera on your tripod and you need maximum stability, change a myriad of different settings while shooting without even touching the camera and also geotag your photos with the help of your smartphone’s GPS system. Having both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at your disposal also means that the SX70 HS will try to save as much energy as it can when performing those tasks that don’t necessarily need the fast transfer speeds of Wi-Fi, since Bluetooth is noticeably more efficient technology by itself. Additional non-smartphone related features will also allow you to set up automatic transfer of images when the camera is connected to the same network as your computer, upload them to a web service of your choice within the Playback menu or easily print them by help of a wireless printer just by selecting that function within the aforementioned part of the user interface. In the end, the Canon SX70 HS may not be comparable with some of the company’s higher end devices (we wouldn’t expect it to be), but despite a few of its shortcomings (no weather sealing, touchscreen or a hotshoe port) it still manages to bring a lot to the table for a camera of its category and type like very good build quality, a very familiar control scheme, a pretty decent electronic viewfinder, a fully articulating LCD screen, an excellent user interface lifted straight from Canon’s DSLRs and mirrorless devices, a very flexible lens and quite an advanced set of Wi-Fi related features.

Autofocus and performance

With its 9-point contrast detect AF system the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS surely doesn’t sound like the most advanced camera around, but you’d be surprised how well it manages to hold its own after you’ve started using it in the real world. No, it won’t blow you away in case of subject tracking or focusing in low light, but it will perform even those demanding tasks on quite a respectable level considering the rather simplistic AF system the camera has to work with and the class of cameras it belongs with. Taking pictures of any kind of still subjects shouldn’t be a chore to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of how a camera works and even taking a photo of anything moving around your frame can be achieved with success if there’s enough light in your scene and you’re subject isn’t moving too rapidly or too unpredictable. You will notice some drop in performance when you get closer to the end of the zoom range, but that is to be expected from a camera capable of shooting at such extreme focal lengths. It’s also a joy being able to put it to your and enjoy the benefits of the built-in EVF (it helps a lot with nailing your focus, as well as the composition and the exposure) and its also great to see that the SX70’s lens is capable of focusing very close to smaller subjects, allowing you to take very effective photos of things like bugs or flowers.

canon sx70 hs

Like any other camera on the market the SX70 HS will allow you to choose between three basic focusing modes; the One Shot AF will be the one you’ll be using most of the time to take regular everyday pictures, the Servo AF will help you focus continuously and shoot any kind of moving subjects, while the Manual Focus option will give you the ability to nail your focus in dim lighting conditions or precisely choose the part of your subject that you want to make as sharp as possible. Canon has also decided to include a very helpful feature in form of Focus peaking, something that is essential to have if you want to focus manually with more success and without having to change your framing by having to magnify the things you see on your screen. There’s also another way to fine tune the focusing system of the SX70 HS and that is by choosing one of the built-in AF Methods. There are four of them in total and they are: Face+Tracking (this one is best to be used if there is any number of people in front of the camera and especially if there are any other details that could otherwise confuse the camera’s AF system if you do not specify that its priority should be people’s faces), Tracking AF (a simple tracking mode that will give you the option to pick your subject and tell the camera that it should try to keep it in focus even if it’s moving), Spot AF (this is the mode you should be using for shooting pictures of very small subjects that require very high precision or if you want to focus on one exact part of your subject or the scene) and lastly, 1-point AF (if you’re not shooting any kind of moving or small subjects, this is the method you should rely on most of your time as it will give you the best overall results).

Not only does the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS offer a lot in terms of it focusing capabilities and numerous ways to make the AF system adapt to different types of situations, but it also doesn’t disappoint in terms of its overall performance and responsiveness, shooting speed and also, the battery life. You won’t have to wait for more than a second for the camera to power on and become ready to take the first photo, but the same holds true for its focusing speed in general and also the shot to shot times. We still wouldn’t go as far as calling it one of the fastest cameras around or even comparable to a lot of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but compared to other devices in its category it exhibits quite a reliable and satisfactory performance and you’ll only ever feel it slow down is if you decide to shoot in very dark conditions, as you’ll sometimes have to wait for around two seconds for the AF system to become sure that it has correctly focused on your subject. The SX70 HS also offers a surprisingly usable burst rate of 10 fps (5.7 if you want the continuous AF option) and with the use of a fast SD card it will give you the opportunity to get around 20 RAW or 45 JPEG images after it fills up its buffer (which by its own may not be a very impressive performance, but it really is when you take into account the fact that it doesn’t take too long for it to clear the buffer and become ready to shoot again). You’ll also be able to get around 325 shots per one charge thanks to the included LP-E12 lithium-ion battery pack, which is about average for this type of a camera and will allow you to get through an active day of shooting and recording videos (unless you’re more interested in the video side of things, especially if it’s of the 4K variety). Those who take video production seriously will need to invest in an additional battery pack, especially due to the fact that the SX70 HS doesn’t support charging over USB, so you won’t be able to make use of your external battery packs that you probably carry with you on most of your travels.

Video features and quality

While the previous models from Canon’s range of SX cameras were mostly reserved for those enthusiastic mostly about photography, the company has finally decided to change their ways and put more focus on video recording with the release of the SX70 HS and also appeal to those who want a camera that can provide them both with good photos and videos. While there are a couple of reasons why the SX70 could be considered a respectably capable device to record movies with, the main reason why that is the case is surely its ability to capture content in 4K resolution. Couple that with the included 1080p 60 fps mode and you’ve got the best of both worlds; the ability to record highly detailed videos but also those that would allow you to create slow motion effect but also at a decent quality. Optical image stabilization is also on board, as we’ve mentioned earlier in the review and is as useful for handheld videos as it is for taking stills. It will allow you to get quite stable footage even if you don’t necessarily have the steadiest hands out there and will help immensely when shooting while you’re zoomed in a lot.

The built-in microphone jack will allow you to record very pleasant audio, the fully articulating screen will be much appreciated by anyone from the vlogging community, while the full-time Movie Servo AF feature will give you the option to concentrate more on capturing the right moment instead of having to worry about focusing correctly. The focusing capabilities themselves still don’t offer the same level of finesse and refinement as on those Canon cameras with Dual Pixel AF systems, but considering the limitations of contrast detect technology the company has done a pretty decent job of making the most out of it and some of its shortcomings when it comes to video recording.

Image quality

Now, on the most important part of this entire review, the image quality. This is something that hasn’t been the strongest suit of superzoom cameras in the past and there were very good reasons why that was the case; older sensor technology, slower processors, complex lens designs, the lack of support for the RAW format, less effective image stabilization system and so on. Now, even with the latest trends in modern technology reaching cameras like the Canon SX70 HS, it is still a challenge for manufacturers to find the right balance of camera size, image quality and the overall cost. Judging by the results we’ve achieved with this camera, both in ideal conditions and in low light, we can safely say that Canon has done a very good job of achieving the right balance for a fairy priced bridge style camera with a smaller sensor.

canon sx70 hs sample

Photo courtesy of Richard Griffin

While a combination of a 20-megapixel resolution and a 1/2.3-inch sensor may not have been an ideal matchup in the past, the advancements in the power of consumer cameras have allowed for much better processing algorithms and that is also the case with the SX70 HS. You shouldn’t expect impressive levels of sharpness or very large amounts of captured details, but you also won’t be getting soft or over sharpened photos either and realistically, you shouldn’t expect more from a complex camera such as the one mentioned through this review. Shooting in low light and at higher ISO levels will give you noticeable softer photos but shooting in RAW will give you some room to bring back the details that were previously lost due to noise reduction applied by the JPEG engine.

Lastly, we should mention all the filters and effects you’ll be able to play with if you make the SX70 a part of your photography gear. These are split into two groups: Creative Filters and Styles. Inside the Filters you’ll find things like the Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Fish-eye effect, Art bold effect and more, while the Styles themselves hold all the necessary tools that will allow you to adjust the look of your images by yourself but also some predefined ones like the Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Black and White and so on.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to be said about the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS as a camera that tries to compete with a whole lot of other devices. It was made to appeal to photography beginners, enthusiasts who want the convenience of having as much features as possible inside of a one package, those who were used to shooting with their smartphones or point-and-shoots but are curious about the prospect of having a huge zoom lens, those who want to shoot photos and videos of wildlife but aren’t ready to invest unbelievable amounts of money to get a similar reach with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera and a few other types of audiences.

We certainly wouldn’t put it together with the most exciting cameras currently available on the market, but that still doesn’t change the fact that a lot of things are resting on its shoulders. Still, Canon has managed to squeeze as much functionality as possible and still sell the SX70 HS at a reasonable price point. So, if you could accept getting average image quality and only decent focusing performance when compared to something like an APS-C or a Micro 4/3 camera and you could live without a touchscreen, a headphone jack or weather sealing, you’ll be able to appreciate the benefits of having an extremely flexible zoom range, optical image stabilization, a well-built camera body, very intuitive user interface, extensive Wi-Fi feature set, great handling, 4K video recording and more, in a device that won’t break your bank and will allow you to invest your money in other aspects of your life, but still enjoy photography as an art. If that ends up being the case than the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is certainly a camera worthy of your attention.

Nikon Z6 Review

With mirrorless cameras becoming all the rage these days, it was just a matter of time before we found ourselves swarmed by so many offerings that could make your head spin if you’re not completely sure what you’re looking in your next camera. With every familiar brand being present on the market and with a choice of many different sensors, body sizes, price points and so on, it has never been easier to find a device that could fit your every need and allow you to make the most out of your photography or videography requirements. Still, some manufacturers did take their sweet time to come up with products that could bring the attention of the most demanding users out there (two of them in particular) and were only dabbling in the entry-level and mid-end segment of the market up until now. We are of course talking about Nikon and Canon, the most prominent DSLR brands, but only recently in the position to offer mirrorless cameras that can compete with the best out there. Nikon has already tried to make the impact on the market with their Nikon 1 series of cameras but didn’t enjoy much success with them because of their relatively small sensors and a limited number of available lenses.

So, they’ve decided to take things more seriously this time around and tackle the enthusiast part of the market instead (which makes sense considering they’ve been creating excellent high-end DSLRs for many years now and have all the necessary experience to create a flagship camera) and the result of their effort is the new Z-series of mirrorless devices, with the Z7 model being the top-end and the Z6 the more mainstream offering. Both of them bring full-frame sensors, a plethora of useful features like in-body image stabilization, 4K recording, high-quality EVFs, sharp and responsive touchscreens, but also very decent battery life and very good build quality, making them a very interesting choice for existing Nikon users or those that were curious about the brand but weren’t excited at a prospect of owning a DSLR. This time around we are taking a look at the least expensive offering of the two, the Nikon Z6 (we will also be looking at the Z7 in the near future, so stick around our website for that particular review).

What’s great about the Z6 right from the start is that it doesn’t sacrifice a lot in terms of its capabilities and features to reach its lower price point and can still be considered a flagship camera for those that prefer smaller file sizes and don’t want to deal with more demanding 45-megapixel photos produced by the Z7 itself (like wedding and sports photographers that have to rummage through a large number of images because of the nature of their work). Now, let us see if Nikon has truly done enough to produce a device that will battle it out with the likes of Sony, Canon or Leica (the only companies so far that offer full-frame mirrorless cameras) and with the usually cheaper, but increasingly more powerful APS-C and micro 4/3 cameras brought on by the likes of Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic.

Nikon Z6Go to Amazon
The first thing that the Nikon Z6 brings to the table over other of company’s more mainstream-oriented full frame DSLRs is a newly designed sensor. With 24.5 megapixels it is still very similar to ones built inside of them when it comes to resolution, but thanks to its backlit (BSI) design it will bring cleaner photos, especially in low light conditions.
Overall rating:
85
Design:
0
91
100
Features:
0
80
100
Image Quality:
0
85
100
Price:
0
82
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 5-axis Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Good Low Light ISO
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • Low Battery Life
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
Impressive dynamic range we’ve come to expect from Nikon DSLRs should also remain and the only thing lacking here to make things almost perfect is the removal of an AA filter (you will get moiré-free images but not the amount of detail that can be captured with the Nikon Z6 or any other full frame cameras that don’t feature the said filter). However, it is also important to mention that the in-body image stabilization is also included on this camera, something that many different types of photographers and videographers will be happy to have on any of their devices. It will enable you to shoot at lower shutter speeds and get cleaner images at night (this will be especially helpful to those who own older lenses that aren’t already stabilized), use longer lenses more effectively, get a steady preview of what you’re currently trying to take a picture of and lastly, stable video footage if you’re recording it while holding the camera in your hands.

So, if you don’t need the have the highest resolution possible and you can live just fine with 24 megapixels, the Z6 will certainly allow you to get great looking images in every possible situation (we’ll talk about that in more detail later in the review). What about performance? Does one of Nikon’s new full-frame mirrorless cameras bring any particular improvements in that area? Well, it certainly does. You can expect to get the overall responsiveness similar to your flagship DSLR, but one of the most interesting things surrounding the Z6 has to be its 273-point hybrid AF system, which should make it a very flexible camera thanks to it combining both the phase and contrast detect technologies and being able to offer the same performance no matter if you’re shooting through the viewfinder or the OLED screen on the back. This is one of many benefits of the mirrorless design and we’ll talk more about them as we go through our review.

The new Nikon also offers a very fast burst rate of 12 fps, but with the caveat of focus being locked at the first frame (you’ll have to drop the shooting speed to 5.5 fps to get the full continuous AF support, which does make it a little less useful for those that were planning to use the Z6 solely a tool for sports or action photography). We expect for Nikon to release a dedicated sports mirrorless camera sometime in the future, but for now, you’ll have to stick to something like a Nikon D5 if you want a device that was made especially for those photographers whose priority is performance. The same can be said for the battery life.

Body and handling

As we’ve already mentioned in our introduction, the Nikon Z6 does indeed feel like a very solid piece of gear. It may be lighter than some of the company’s DSLR, but it certainly isn’t any more fragile; it’s just more portable and a lot easier to handle if you’re usually bothered by the size and weight of any professional full-frame DSLR. It offers a large number of different physical controls together with the very helpful touch-sensitive screen that works very well with Nikon’s user interface and is indeed a very reliable method of controlling the camera and going through its menus or adjusting different settings. We do wish that the screen itself could be fully articulated so you could see yourself while shooting (especially useful for those people that are recording vlogs or want some high-quality self-portraits) but it is still more useful than the fixed screens found on most cameras out there.

The electronic viewfinder itself is an even more useful addition and is one of the main reasons why you could consider replacing your DSLR with a mirrorless camera. It is big, bright and sharp and also bring such benefits as real-time exposure preview, focus peaking, magnification and plenty of shooting information that can be turned on and off at your leisure. If you’re a Nikon user that has already invested a lot into a number of different lenses (since the Z6 does support an official adapter that promises compatibility with the majority of company’s glass) and you’re considering taking a step into the exciting world of mirrorless cameras, there are only two sacrifices you’ll have to learn to accept if you decide to make the Z6 your own and that is the battery life and the single memory card slot.

nikon z6

If a single card slot isn’t the end of the world for you and you are already used to carrying one or two additional batteries with you at all times than it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you to make the decision to move to Nikon’s new system of mirrorless cameras (at least when it comes to build quality, handling, portability, built-in functions and the selection of different ports). All in all, we can say that using the Z6 left a very positive impression on us so far and we can’t wait what other surprises hide under its unassuming looks and tough outer shell. As is the case with the rest of our camera reviews we will continue with our tests by taking a closer a look at each and every detail found on the camera body itself and we’ll start with the front. This is where you’ll find the AF-assist illuminator/Red-eye reduction lamp/Self-timer lamp combo, the sub-command dial, two customizable buttons (Fn1 and Fn2) and of course, the obligatory lens release button. The left side of the camera is where you’ll find all the included ports (the microphone and headphone jacks, the USB and HDMI connectors, as well as the accessory terminal), while the right side houses the memory card slot. As is the case with most mirrorless cameras and DSLRs on the market the bottom holds the tripod socket and also the battery compartment (the Z6 uses the EN-EL15b lithium-ion batteries, the same ones that are also used in the more expensive model, the Z7).

The top of the device is where you’ll find the main mode dial (together with its locking mechanism and three custom modes), a hotshoe mount, the Monitor mode button, a pair of stereo microphones, the Diopter adjustment control, a control panel (this is how Nikon calls the secondary LCD screen), a tiny speaker grill, the main command dial, the Movie-record, ISO and Exposure compensation buttons and lastly, the shutter button combined with a power switch turning the camera on and off.

In the end, we are left with the rear of the Z6, the part of the camera you’ll spend the most time looking at while performing any of your photography or videography needs. We’ve already mentioned the high-quality EVF and LCD screen combination, but it’s also important to point out some other functions present on this particular part of the body. These are the Playback and the Delete buttons, the eye sensor (it will automatically turn on the electronic viewfinder the moment you put the Z6 to your face), the Disp button put together with the Photo/movie selector, the AF-On button that will help you with your back focusing needs, a sub-selector (or the focus point selection joystick), the simply named “i” button (it brings up a menu filled with frequently-used settings), the 8-way multi-selector with an OK button in the middle and also, an array of four controls which consists out of Zoom In, Zoom Out, Drive/Timer and Menu buttons. Well, you certainly won’t hear us complaining about any of the included controls on the Nikon Z6 since the company has done a tremendous job of transferring all the necessary buttons and dials found on their high-end DSLRs to the smaller and more portable body of the Z6. We can also say that we’ve never felt like any of them were hard to reach or uncomfortable to use (even though some of them are smaller in size than the ones found on bigger cameras).

Nikon also wanted to make sure that the user interface on the Z6 is very familiar to current users of their DSLRs and that there’s not much of a learning curve necessary to get a grasp of all the available features, functions and customization. Since you will be dealing with a modern mirrorless camera, there are some additional options available for you play with, but even those aren’t hard to access them after the first time you learn about their placement within the menus. The entire interface works very well both with the physical and the touch input and all the menus are also nicely color coded and instantly recognizable, as you would expect from any camera made by a company like Nikon (who are always praised for the way their user interface is designed). Now, let us say a few words about all the customization options available on the Z6.

The first important and useful thing is the new “i” menu, which lets you hand pick up to 12 different items from a long list of available options (such as Choose image area, Active D-Lighting, Metering, Focus mode, AF-area mode, Wi-Fi connection and so on) and quickly access those items at any given time. We also like the addition of custom shooting modes (all three of them) as they will allow you to save different sets of settings and adjustment that can be used for entirely different shooting scenarios (they can also be accessed quickly just by rotating the main mode dial to the right position). The Z6 also offers a lot of options when it comes to deciding how all the different buttons behave and it’s also important to mention that the camera will allow you to set different functions to those controls both for the stills and the video mode. The two Fn buttons on the front of the camera can either be pressed normally to perform an operation or they can work together with the available dials to do something entirely different. The aforementioned Fn buttons, as well as the L-Fn and the press of a joystick can be programmed to access functions such as AF-On, all the different types of metering, Bracketing burst, Framing grid display, My Menu and more, while the combination of those same buttons (with the exception of the L-Fn) and a turn of a dial can allow you to access things like Flash mode, Multiple exposure, Peaking highlights, Rating, Exposure delay mode and a couple more. You will also be able to change the behavior of the AF-On button, but the list of available options is much smaller and entirely tied in with exposure and focus. All of the mentioned customizations are available for the stills mode and are different when you switch to movie mode. The number of available options does shrink in size, but you can still do things like assigning the Fn1 and Fn2 to buttons to control the Power aperture, adjust the microphone sensitivity by holding one of them and turning a dial, control your exposure with the help of the AF-On button or the press of the joystick and decide if the shutter button in video mode will be used to initiate the start the video recording or capture 8MP still frames from the 4K footage.

nikon z6

As is the case with an ever modern camera (especially if we’re dealing with a high-end model such as the Z6) it features a wide array of functions and features related to wireless connections and the most important ones begin with your smartphone or a tablet. You will be required to download Nikon’s official SnapBridge application (available both for iOS and Android devices) and after you’ve completed the initial setup procedure you’ll be able to remotely control the camera, transfer images or use all the location data gathered by your smart device. There are also some additional features available like the power-saving mode, the automatic transfer of 2 megapixel images (ideal for those that like to upload their photos directly on social networks), full manual control of exposure for remote shooting (like the main shooting modes, ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, Exposure compensation and even White balance) and the easy access to all the information that falls under the Help category.

nikon z6

The Nikon Z6 will also allow you to connect it to a computer both using the wireless method and via the USB cable, but sadly, wireless printing is not available, and you will need to connect the camera directly a PictBridge compatible printer for those types of operations. Nikon also offers to distinct computer applications to help you transfer, organize and edit your photos and these are called the ViewNX-i and the Capture NX-D (despite their rather generic names they could actually prove to be very useful for beginner photographers who are in the process of learning of how to work with their new Z6 mirrorless camera). So, in a nutshell, you won’t hear us complain about too many aspects related to this camera’s body, handling, build quality and usability, although a second memory card slot wouldn’t paint a slightly prettier picture about the Nikon Z6.

Autofocus and performance

Since the Z6 is marketed as a more mainstream offering than its expensive sibling, the Z7, does it mean that you’ll be getting a noticeably worse focusing capability or performance in general? Well, judging by the extensive testing we’ve done on both cameras it will all boil down to what kind of photography you’re interested in. You won’t notice any difference between the two when shooting static subjects, even if the Z7 does have more focus points to work with (a total of 493 compared to Z6’s 273). Both of them have the ability to focus very accurately even in very dim conditions, but only within the special low light mode which reduces the refresh rate of the EVF and also makes the AF noticeably slower (which, again, will work just fine for still subjects, but shooting anything that’s moving is out of the question if the light levels drop too low). The Z6 will also be able to do a great job of locking on to moving subjects when there’s an abundance of light, but this is also where the differences between it and its expensive brother come into play. The higher focus point count of the Z7 allows it to do a better job of keeping track of those subjects with less predictable motion (especially if they are far away from the center of the frame), meaning that the Z6’s focusing system will only make it an interesting camera for less demanding sports or action photographers. For different types of photographers that aren’t dealing with anything that tries to run away from them, this will be a perfectly fine camera and will enable them to get perfectly focused photos 99% of the time (again, if the light levels are at least decent, as is the case with almost any other camera on the market).

nikon z6

Now, let us dwell in all the focusing modes, settings and features that can be found within this camera’s menus. The first thing you’ll have to check out is the main focusing modes. You’ll be able to switch between them by holding the Fn2 button and rotating the main control dial and they consist out of the AF-S (the Single AF mode that will allow you to focus on static subjects), AF-C (your to go mode for shooting anything that moves), AFF (or so-called Full-time AF, which is the continuously focusing mode reserved for video recording and will let the camera automatically change the focus when it detects any changes in front of the lens) and lastly, the obligatory Manual focus (MF) mode. Then there are all the different AF-Area Modes and these are the Pinpoint AF (a precise method of focusing that is best to be used for smaller subjects or particular details in your scene), Single-point AF (this mode will allow you to pick one focus point of all the available ones and is best to be used for static scenes), Dynamic-area AF (an expanded version of the Single-point AF that is reserved for continuous shooting and will use all the points surrounding the one you’ve selected if detects that your subject has started to move), Wide-area AF (you’ll be able to either pick the S or the L mode and these will give you more points to work with than the Single-point AF option), and the Auto-area AF, which is what most of you will be using for the majority of your time since it will allow the camera to choose the appropriate focus points for you. The Subject Tracking feature is also available if you enable the Auto-area AF mode and can be enabled just by pressing the OK button, positioning the shown reticle over your subject and pressing the OK button once again. For those of you that prefer to focus manually, Nikon has also provided you with all the right to tools to make it as straightforward as possible like the Focus distance indicator, magnification and also the Focus peaking (something that all the photographers coming from Nikon DSLRs will surely appreciate having).

Now, buying the Nikon Z6 will not only get you very good focusing performance, but also very good responsiveness in general. Our testing has provided us with numbers that tell a very positive story about this new mirrorless camera from Nikon; it took no more than 1.5 seconds for it to power on and take a single photo, 0.7 seconds to enter the playback mode and preview that photo and only around 0.2 seconds to acquire focus and capture an image (less than 0.1 seconds without the AF). Those respectable numbers are also accompanied by very decent burst shooting performance (even though it’s still not on the same level as that of many other flagship cameras on the market). If you decide to use the fastest available shooting mode at 12 fps, you’ll be getting around 47 JPEG or 35 RAW images (with the speed dropping to 9 fps in this case). However, if you need the continuous AF option, you’ll have to switch to 5.5 fps and expect to get a buffer depth of around 50 shots for both file types.

So, the Z6 will certainly be of use to more casual photographers and even the less demanding sports and action photographers, but not so much for those that prioritize performance over anything else when buying a new camera. A very similar thing can be said for the camera’s battery life, which is average at best for a full frame mirrorless device. Using the included EN-EL15b battery pack will give you a maximum of 310 shots if you’re mostly shooting through the viewfinder and 380 if you prefer using the LCD monitor and you’ll also be able to charge it inside the camera thanks to the inclusion of the USB Type-C connector. This won’t work for the older EN-EL15a and EL-batteries (which are also natively supported), but it’s always good to see when a company gives their users more options when it comes to using different types of batteries (since a lot of Nikon users will have a lot of spare ones just lying around). In a nutshell, we are pretty pleased with the job Nikon has done in making the Z6 a fairly competitive device performance-wise when compared to other full frame cameras on the market, but it would make it even a better device if the burst rate was a little faster and the battery life could keep up with the demanding large sensor and the included 4K recording capabilities for the entire day.

Video features and quality

While Nikon’s DSLRs weren’t the first choice for most serious videographers out there for many years (and there were good reasons why that was the case), the company has certainly managed to change its ways and release a number of very capable cameras in the last couple of years that are able to compete with most of products coming from the rest of the competition. The Z6, together with its bigger brother marks yet another milestone in Nikon’s history as a device that’s finally on the same level playing field when it comes to video recording capabilities as the best hybrid cameras out there (we’re not comparing it to more specialized video cameras that aren’t even close to its photography prowess). The first reason why that is the case is the addition of 4K 30 fps recording, but with an added bonus of oversampling for better image quality. The DX mode can also be activated for those that want to get more reach out of their existing lenses and a very impressive 1080p 120fps option is also here to appeal to those videographers that like to play around with slow-motion effects. Not only is it useful having so much flexibility on a portable mirrorless camera when it comes to different resolutions and framerates, but it’s also important to point out that the quality of all those combinations will be very good no matter what you’re doing with the camera.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that Nikon has invested their time and effort to make the Z6 such a great performer since we were only expecting decent quality at best. Add to that the addition of 5-axis image stabilization and the availability of Flat Picture profile (for those that like to tinker with their footage in any of the available video editing tools) and the only limit in getting great looking videos with this camera will be your own skills and nothing else. The Z6 also brings a full package of audio capture and monitoring features (headphone and microphone jacks, microphone sensitivity and headphone volume level adjustments and also the attenuator and wind noise filter functions) together with the full manual control of exposure (including the aperture, something that has been limited on so many Nikon DSLRs before) and the Zebra patterns. Focusing speed and accuracy have also been much improved over the company’s previous offerings thanks to the inclusion of phase detection focus points that can also work in live view making the Z6 quite usable in most conditions when left in the continuous AF mode. We still wouldn’t go as far as calling it the best performer in its class when it comes to this particular task, but the more important thing is that it’s still a huge upgrade over anything you were able to get on any Nikon DSLR in any point in time.

We also like that fact that 10-bit recording is supported when it’s being done with the help of an external recorder (it’s also using the so-called N-Log format) and that the rolling shutter effect that is present on every mirrorless camera is well controlled and not very noticeable in most conditions. We do wish that Nikon have managed to include a fully articulating screen to make the Z6 a camera that even the serious videographers could consider but considering the fact that very few full frame cameras have been blessed with such a feature we really can’t criticize the Z6 itself for not having it in its otherwise rich and versatile arsenal of different tools and features.

Image quality

While there are many expectations one could have for any new flagship camera from Nikon that’s reaching the market, the most important one for many photographers out that certainly has to be the stills image quality. The ability to get great looking photos in even the most demanding lighting conditions has been a part of many of Nikon’s DSLRs for many years now and they’ve successfully transferred those same capabilities over to their first full-frame mirrorless cameras as well and thus the Z6 is as good of a camera in this regard as any other that the company has released in recent times.

nikon z6

Photo courtesy of George Hornaday

Considering the fact that it has almost the same megapixel count and also includes an AA filter to battle the unwanted effects of moire (but at some cost to sharpness) the Z6’s overall image quality could easily be compared to the likes of Nikon D750. That particular camera was famous for having the excellent dynamic range and showing very reasonable amounts of noise at the highest ISO levels and you could expect to get very similar performance with the new mirrorless offering from Nikon. It won’t be able to resolve as much detail as the likes of the Z7 or the Sony A7R III, but those that aren’t planning to print in very large formats or aren’t in need of great cropping potential will be perfectly happy with the overall quality of photos the Z6 is able to produce.

nikon z6

Photo courtesy of Roland W. & Franziska L

In traditional fashion of modern digital cameras, this one also offers a lot of features to help you achieve a particular look to your images without having to edit them on a separate device and these are the Active D-Lighting feature, Vignette Control, Diffraction Compensation, High ISO NR as well as all the different Picture Profiles like the Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape and the ability to edit the preloaded ones as well as create your own by playing around with Sharpening, Clarity, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and more parameters.

Conclusion

There’s certainly a lot to be said about Nikon as a company and especially their history with DSLRs, as well as mirrorless cameras. The Z6 is not their first foray on the mirrorless ILC market since that place is reserved for the entire line up of Nikon 1 cameras (such as the J1, J2, V2, V2, S1 and so on). While none of them could be considered bad products by any stretch of the imagination, the didn’t yield much success because of their smaller sensors and a small number of lenses that were available for the system.

It took Nikon 3 years to regroup and present an entirely new line up of truly capable cameras that were catered to both the enthusiast and professional photographers and thus, the Z6 and the Z7 came to be. This time around, it is very hard to say anything bad about the Z6 (the choice of native lenses is fairly limited, but you do get the option to use most of Nikon’s DSLR lenses thanks to the availability of an official adapter). Simply put, it’s a capable device no matter how you look at it. It’s built very well, has the ability to produce great looking photos and videos, has all the necessary ports, an easy to use menu system and more.

It may not have the best endurance of all the cameras on the market and neither will it appeal to all the professionals that can’t live without a secondary card slot, but that doesn’t stop it from getting a very high recommendation from us and earning the place of being one of the best enthusiast-oriented full-frame mirrorless cameras available at the time of us writing this article. Well done, Nikon.

Nikon D7500 Review

While the mirrorless cameras are becoming all the rage these days, with more of them being released with every few months and with every major manufacturer having at least one very good product that is able to make a big impact on the market, the end of DSLRs (just like compact cameras) is imminent (at least when it comes to the mainstream market). Many people are finding more reasons to buy a smaller camera that will fit in more places and be less cumbersome to use (rather than an entry-level but still bulkier DSLR) and have even started to rely solely on their smartphones for their photography needs (since those have also become very capable of coping with all kinds of tasks related photos and videos).

So, we can surely conclude that it’s very hard to sell a DSLR to an average user in 2018 and that does that still insist in buying one are either led by the old idea that a bigger camera means better images (which is still a misconception a lot of people accept as the truth even today) or simply want still valid benefits of having better handling, battery life and lens selection (which is something a lot of casual photographers probably won’t’ bother with). This is where the mid and high-end camera market comes into play to save the day and is still one of those areas where DSLRs have a fighting chance against mirrorless cameras. There’s still a lot of devices from the two of the major brands that are still going strong and are competing fairly well (no matter if they’ve been released in 2018 or couple of years back).

The Nikon D7500 may be the best value you’d be able to find when it comes to a prosumer DSLR and this is why it deserves to forego our review treatment (even though it may not be all the rage in now since it was released in 2017). While it’s not as exciting as a lot of flagship cameras we get to play with and that is mentioned frequently in the photography community, it does bring a set of features that make it a very compelling purchase for any enthusiast that doesn’t wish to pay as much money for a high-end camera, but still wants a respectably powerful DSLR. The Nikon D7500 brings the company’s latest APS-C sensor, durable and weather resistant body, very good endurance, 4K video recording, a touch-sensitive screen, 100% accurate viewfinder, advanced AF system, fast burst rate, Wi-Fi and much more. The only thing that could rub some advanced photographers the wrong way is the lack of a dual SD card slot (which is a very strange decision by Nikon considering that those were present on the D7200). If you’re not bothered too much by the lack of that particular functionality (we would certainly advise you to finish reading our review before you decide if the Nikon D7500 is the right camera for you (since it certainly has a lot going for it despite having only one SD card slot). Even without comparing it to any mirrorless cameras currently, present on the market you can already tell that the D7500 is potentially very capable camera in its own right, despite lacking the portability and some other benefits of those types of devices (which is the case with practically all modern mid-range and flagship DSLRs). All in all, we’ve kept you waiting long enough; let us get to work and find out what this camera is really made of.

Nikon D7500Go to Amazon
Since it's not rare to see that some features found on higher-end models trickle down those that belong inside the mid-end category than it’s not all that surprising that the Nikon D7500 borrows one of its most important aspects from the Nikon D500, the image sensor. It is the same 20.9-megapixel unit without a low pass filter that was first introduced on the D500 and it aims to bring slightly improved noise performance, the same impressive dynamic range that graced each and every Nikon DSLR for years now and most importantly, less demanding file sizes (hence the smaller resolution) so the performance of the camera could be noticeably improved.
Overall rating:
89
Design:
0
84
100
Image Quality:
0
88
100
Features:
0
90
100
Price:
0
92
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Optical Built-in Viewfinder
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Good Low Light ISO
  • Long Battery Life
  • High Shutter Life Expectancy
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Carbon fiber composite body elements
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
It marks a shift in strategy for the company, as they’ve decided to make their best APS-C cameras more attractive to sports and action photographers rather than trying to make them the best all-around devices that could be used for such demanding tasks but aren’t as capable as the best on the market. The D7500 certainly won’t beat its bigger brother when it comes to performance, but it will certainly pose a treat for every other mid-range camera on the market with its excellent image quality and the rest of impressive features that we’re about to mention inside this category of our review. We wouldn’t worry about the reduction in resolution over the usual 24-megapixel sensors found in a lot of Nikon’s DSLRs since most of you won’t notice any reduction in detail worth mentioning while the performance benefits it brings are certainly well worth it. The said sensor is backed up by the very powerful Expeed 5 processor (the same unit which also powers the D500 and the D850 cameras) and also brings a very wide ISO range of 100 – 51200 (expandable to the lowest value of 50 and an insanely high one of 1640000).

You’ll also be able to shoot at shutter speeds of up to 1/8000 sec (great for capturing motion or using wide aperture lenses in bright light), work with external flashes at an X sync speed of up to 1/250 sec and also choose between the lossless compressed or 12 or 14 bit compressed RAW formats (giving you the choice to reduce your file sizes and gain more speed without having to switch to JPEG images and throw away the ability to post process your images the way you want to with little hit to overall image quality). While the D7500’s sensor has all the potential to provide you with great looking images even in the most demanding lighting conditions, the decision to include it was primarily made to bring the performance to another level and we it certainly seems that Nikon has succeeded in their intention. The new camera does include the same 51-point phase detect AF system found inside the D7200 but it was already a great system in its own right and will certainly perform even better this time around thanks to it being backed up by a more capable processor and a high-resolution 180k pixel RGB metering sensor which brings improved subject recognition and thus, better focusing performance for things like sports and action. Another thing included on the that makes it looks like a very interesting camera for those seeking a device that will allow them to shoot photos at very fast speeds but don’t possess the budget for something more expensive it the 8 fps burst rate (which is 2 fps more than the shooting speed of the D7200) and a promise of respectably deep buffer depths for both JPEG and RAW files.

Another thing you would expect to find on every mid-range camera is great build quality, lots of ways to interact with the camera and a great experience when it comes to composing and viewing your photos and the D7500 takes care of all three of them quite nicely. Its hardware is housed inside a traditional-looking weather sealed magnesium-alloy body that is very reminiscent of every other Nikon DSLR out there (thus, those currently loyal to the brand will feel right at home with this camera, even if they’ve only worked with their entry-level models) and feels as good in a hand as you would expect out of a camera of its type (the protection from the elements is also very appreciated). What’s also included is a nice combination of an optical viewfinder (100% accurate and very large for an APS-C camera thanks to its magnification ratio of 0.94x) and a decently sharp tilting 3.2-inch TFT LCD with a resolution of 922,000 dots (its certainly not the highest resolution screen you’ll ever find on a modern camera, but its perfectly usable for any kind of tasks). We also like the fact that Nikon decided to keep the built-in pop-up flash unit (it’s a very capable one due to its maximum reach of 12 meters) since having more functionality is always a good thing and a lot of people will be satisfied with the type of things they can do without having to invest in an external flash unit. What we don’t like is that they’ve decided to remove the secondary SD card slot and we certainly don’t understand the need for such an omission on a semi-professional camera like the Nikon D7500. Depending on how you approach your workflow it may or may not be a deal breaker for you but considering the fact that this is otherwise a very capable camera in every other regard we won’t invest too much criticism for the lack of only one feature.

The rest of the hardware features consist out of the obligatory USB and HDMI ports, microphone and headphone jacks as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE (the optional Nikon GP-1A GPS accessory is also supported for those people that wish to obtain location data without having to pair their smartphones with the camera). Lastly, let us say a few words about video recording as this is another category in which the Nikon D7500 could potentially be a very decent performer. The reason for that is the inclusion of the aforementioned microphone and headphone jacks, as well as the tilting touchscreen, 4K capture at 30 (albeit with a crop factor of 1.5x) and 1080p capture at 60 fps, electronic 3-axis image stabilization (only for Full HD and lower resolutions though), built-in stereo microphones, Zebra stripes to help you monitor your exposure more easily, Flat Picture profile for those that like to edit their videos on their computers and a few other features. Well, there’s certainly a lot going for the D7500, but as is the case with every review we have to look at the camera as a whole step by step and we will start by looking at its body from every conceivable angle and also by checking out its user interface and wireless capabilities.

Body and handling

There’s no denying the fact that the Nikon D7500 is one very solidly built camera and fits right within the demands of the category its fits in, which is an enthusiast-oriented product that will evoke the interest of both professional photographers or very dedicated hobbyists that just want to enjoy photography for what it is. It consists of mainly magnesium alloy construction with grippy materials being placed everywhere around the body and allowing for a very secure grip even in the camera becomes wet or dirty (since some of you will certainly use it in more demanding shooting conditions and its good to know that there’s little chance that you’ll drop the camera on any of your adventures). Nikon has also made the front grip deeper and has also added that very useful touchscreen that can be tilted to help you shoot at lower angles or high above you (we do wish that they have taken it one step further and included a fully articulating one but its still an improvement over the D7200 nonetheless). The control scheme is also worthy of praise despite being a pretty standard affair for this type of camera since it offers a button or a dial for almost everything and gives you the choice in deciding whether you wish to operate the D7500 using its physical controls or the touchscreen (there’s certainly a reason to use both of them, with the touchscreen itself being a quieter method of input that will allow you to make your exposure adjustments silently while recording videos). The included optical viewfinder is certainly a pleasure to use and is one of the best you’ll be able to find on a DSLR with an APS-C sensor to this date (Nikon has also added an eye sensor above it, just like the one you’ll find on cameras with electronic viewfinders and it will allow the camera to immediately turn off its LCD screen while you’re holding it to your eye). The additional screen on the top of the body is also something we always like to see and something that we’d like to be included on more mirrorless cameras (since most of them lack this feature).

Now, let us check the D7500 from all its angles and see what can exactly be found by some careful examination. The front of the camera holds the sub-command dial, the Fn1 and the Fn2 buttons, the AF-assist illuminator/Self-timer/Red-eye reduction lamp, the lens release button, the Flash and the BKT button, as well as the focus-mode selector accompanied by the AF-mode button. The left side is filled with all the different ports (microphone and headphone jacks, and the USB, HDMI and the accessory ports), while the right side holds the single SD card slot. The bottom of the D7500 is populated by the tripod mount, the power connector and the battery chamber reserved for the EN-EL15a lithium-ion battery pack. The top of the camera holds the main mode dial (together with two custom modes for storing your settings) and the release mode dial (used to help you switch between different drive modes), release mode dial lock release, a hotshoe mount, the movie-record, ISO and the Exposure Compensation buttons, the shutter button coupled with a power switch (it can also be used to turn on the backlight for the control panel LCD) and the top plate secondary monochrome LCD. The back of the D7500 also looks very familiar for a Nikon DSLR and features six buttons on the left side (Playback, Delete, Menu, WB, Qual, Metering and the info buttons), the obligatory optical viewfinder and the tilting LCD screen (also the new Eye sensor and the diopter adjustment dial) can be found in the center and the rest of controls including the AE-L/AF-L button, the main command dial, the 8-way navigation controller (with the OK button in its center and the focus selector lock around it), the i button (it opens a list specific items and these are the Choose image area, Frame size/frame rate, Movie quality, Active D-Lighting, Microphone sensitivity, Frequency response, Wind noise reduction, Set Picture Control, Monitor brightness, Multi-selector power aperture, Highlight display, Headphone volume and Electronic VR) and lastly, the Lv button and the live view selector are located on the right side.

All in all, it’s a fine set of controls and ports that will satisfy even the most demanding users out there and that is the power and the appeal of a camera like the D7500 within its price bracket (you are getting a product that feels very high-end in regard to a lot of its features but paying a lot less). As is fitting for an enthusiast-oriented camera it also brings a lot to the table in terms of useful features and customization options. You’ll be getting things like two User Settings modes (they will allow you to save a majority of your adjustments under two separate profiles that can be switched between very quickly with just a turn of the main mode dial), a Quiet Continuous shutter-release option that will allow you to shoot silently at up to 3 fps, a 1.3x crop mode that to help you get a little closer to your subjects without having to apply crop to your photos by yourself in post-production, White Balance fine tuning (using your multi selector and a square which consists of Amber, Blue, Green and Magenta color areas), a quick menu filled with a lot of secondary functions that are usually buried inside some sub-menus and can be accessed more conveniently with a single press of the i button (here you’ll find items options like Movie quality, Microphone sensitivity, Wind noise reduction, Monitor brightness, Headphone volume and so on), the Two-Button Reset feature (you’ll be able to reset a lot of settings to their default values just by holding the Exposure compensation and the Metering buttons for more than two seconds) and a lot more.

When it comes to all the customization options besides the already mentioned User Settings the D7500 will also give you the option to fine-tune the behavior of the AF system (from deciding if you wish to allow the camera to take a photo even if the focus is not confirmed, adjusting the sensitivity of focus tracking, to enabling the option to acquire focus with the help of the AF-On button instead of pressing the shutter button halfway), choose how precisely you’ll be able to adjust the ISO or the Exposure Compensation (either in 1/3 or 1/2 steps), change the size of the center-weighted metering area, enable the Electronic front-curtain shutter feature to help eliminate the blur caused by the shutter motion, enable the viewfinder grid display, reprogram the behavior of all the Fn buttons as well as the AE-L/AF-L, BKT and the Movie record buttons (you’ll also be able to pick separate functions for the Fn1, Fn2, AE-L/AF-L and the shutter-release buttons that will work only in movie mode), choose what exactly the main and the sub-command dials will do and a lot more things that you’d expect to find on a mid-range DSLR that tries to blur the line between a flagship and prosumer camera (the D7500 is certainly one of the finest examples of a devices that manage to do it very successfully).

Now, let us take a look at what this rather capable DSLR has to offer in terms of all the functions related to wireless communication, a category that a modern camera is required to excel if it wants to bring the attention of a mainstream audience. All of the operation done on the D7500 that has to do with Wi-Fi is done via the SnapBridge application (available for both Android and iOS users) and the smart device of your choice (either a smartphone or a tablet). After you’ve followed the necessary steps to pair your camera with your smartphone you’ll be able to enjoy a multitude of different features; transfer your photos, shoot remotely while also controlling a lot of different settings and parameters (like main shooting modes, ISO, Aperture, White Balance, Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation), make use of all the location data gathered by one of your smart devices and include it in your photos, synchronize the camera clock and also imprint your images with different data like time of recording, comments, copyright information, logos and so on. It’s also important to mention that the Bluetooth LE technology will allow you to save on battery power (as well as the power-saving mode built into the SnapBridge itself) and your photos will also be uploaded automatically to your smartphone or a tablet since SnapBridge will initiate the transfer even if your camera is powered down or your smart device is inside a bag or a pocket.

You’ll also be able to upload an unlimited number of 2-megapixel photos on Nikon’s Image Space cloud service just be registering an account, which will be very useful for those that plan to upload their images mostly on social networks where resolution isn’t something you’ll need to worry about because of all the compression applied on most of those websites. So, it’s all a rather complete package of useful features and we are left with no reasons to complain about any of them (as is the case with the majority of things related to the Nikon D7500 that fall inside this particular part of our review). So far, we are dealing with a very solidly built DSLR that doesn’t disappoint in a way when it comes to its design, user interface and wireless communication and it more than justifies its price point and the place it has in Nikon’s lineup of cameras.

Autofocus and performance

With each new iteration of their D7xxx series of cameras, Nikon has improved the AF capabilities and general performance and the same holds true with the D7500 as well. It is the most capable camera in the lineup yet and finally the one that comes very close to performing on the same level as one of the high-end flagship devices on the market. While the 51-point phase detect AF system is no different than the one built inside the D7200 the addition of the metering sensor found on the more expensive D500 DSLR has made it noticeably more capable to cope with more demanding shooting scenarios like low light photography and fast moving action. Not that the older model performed badly in any of those but the D7500 does take the entire lineup one step closer from becoming a preferred choice for many photographers that need a high-performance tool that will allow them to earn for their living without their gear getting in their way but don’t feel the need to spend a very large sum of money to acquire one of the flagship models (those types of cameras do tend to be one of the most expensive devices on the market).

nikon d7500 sample

Photo courtesy of Razali Mahdi

So, no matter if you’re shooting still or moving subjects, you can expect to get a very high number of perfectly focused shots with the help of a camera such as the D7500 and nothing but the user error should stop you from successfully tackling any kind of photography that comes to your mind. Now, let us move on to all the different focusing modes that will be available at your disposal if you decide that this DSLR is the right camera for you. There are three of the main modes to choose from: AF-S (this Single-servo AF will allow you to capture any kind of still subjects with ease), AF-C (a Continuous-servo AF mode that is especially useful for moving subjects since it will focus continuously as long as you keep pressing the shutter button halfway and also enable the predictive tracking technology if it detects any kind of moving subjects) and the AF-C mode, which is a combination of both the Single and Continuous AF mode and allows the camera to automatically switch between the two depending on the type of subject in your frame.

You’ll get an even broader choice of AF-Area Modes: Single-point AF (this mode will allow you to pick one focus point and focus ones with each press of the shutter button), Dynamic-area AF (it’s split between 9-point, 21-point and the 51-point areas and will allow you to take photos of different types of moving subjects), 3D-tracking (one of Nikon’s trademark modes that will help you immensely when it comes to those subjects that move in an unpredictable manner or would otherwise require you to move your camera to keep them in focus), Group-area AF (this one will allow you to pick a group of focus points and shoot those subjects that are hard to focus on with a single point) and the Auto-area AF (a mode that leaves it up to the camera itself to assess your current situation and choose one of those AF-Area Modes accordingly), but also some of them only reserved for shooting in live view and these are the Face-priority AF, Wide-area AF, Normal-area AF and the Subject-tracking AF (since the focusing performance in live view is nothing to write home about we won’t bother with describing those in any particular detail).

nikon d7500 sample

Photo courtesy of Ian J. Hicks

Of course, manual focus is also available but you won’t find any fancy features here like focus peaking or split prisms to help you out since that is still one of those areas ruled by mirrorless camera, since DLSR manufacturers (with the exception of Pentax) are still slow in catching up to everything the mirrorless devices are capable of and thus the D7500 bigger strength is definitely the automatic focusing. It is a very important thing to note of since it goes hand in hand with this camera’s ability to capture a lot of photos in rapid succession as it certainly has the horsepower needed to support its fast 8 fps continuous shooting speed. Its best performance comes out when it comes to JPEG images as it will give you an impressive buffer depth of 100 files, but it even handles RAW photos in a commendable way since it can handle almost 50 of them in one go (this number can also climb to 100 if you enable the 1.3x crop mode). It even manages to clear its buffer in a respectable amount of time; 10 seconds for a full array of JPEG and 15 seconds for RAW files).

Do keep in mind that you’ll need a very fast SD card to achieve these results but getting on or two is certainly not a particularly big investment in these modern times (it’s a shame that there aren’t two of them on this camera, since a feature like that would cement its position as a great sports option even more). In the end, we need to examine the battery life. The endurance rating of 950 shots is lower than the 1100 shot rating of the D7200 but that’s still very good performance in its own right (especially when you consider the fact that you’re dealing with such a high-performance camera and that its competitors of the mirrorless variety can’t touch its battery life). You won’t need to bother with carrying around a spare battery pack if you’re mostly a stills shooter that doesn’t speed a lot of time in live view mode and we would recommend getting an additional one only if you plan to record a lot of videos (especially if they are captured in 4K resolution). The Nikon D7500 is certainly a terrific performer in all the important areas and a great value for money for those photographers that want both the speed and the great image quality in one package that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to become a part of your arsenal.

Video features and quality

It’s true that Nikon cameras aren’t always the first choice of many serious videographers when it comes to choosing a new camera and there’s certainly a lot of valid reasons why that was the case. In a way, it’s still the truth, but things have changed a lot since the first Nikon DSLRs with built-in movie modes started reaching the market and the company is slowly closing in on the most capable video production cameras that are very highly regarded among professionals (at least when it comes to hybrid ones, meaning those that can be used both for taking photos and capturing videos). The D7500 is a showcase of Nikon’s willingness to make the movie mode on their DSLRs better than it ever was, even though there’s still room for improvement to be made for it to reach the levels of the best cameras on the market. The addition of 4K recording is the biggest step the company could have made for them to be taken much more seriously by more advanced users, but those will also have to accept the additional 1.5x crop factor that’s being applied to the footage itself. Whether this will make working with your camera a joy or a pain depends sorely on your shooting preferences; landscape videographers will probably want to remain in the 1080p mode since they will find it very hard to get very wide field of view to make the entire scenery fit inside the frame, while wildlife and sports shooters will certainly appreciate having noticeably more reach for free and without having to crop in their footage (and lose precious resolution) in post-processing.

The very positive thing to say about the D7500’s footage regardless of the resolution it’s being recorded at is that it’s of very good quality and that the majority of professionals should be very pleased with the end result they will get after a long day of recording (even if they like to apply any kind of corrections in their favorite editing programs thanks to the included Flat picture profile). They should also be happy with their sound quality because both the microphone and headphone jacks are included and so is a pair of decent built-in stereo microphones and also with all the available exposure adjustments (a full manual mode and also the Zebra patterns). The electronic VR (digital image stabilization) is also available and decently effective when it comes to canceling out the effects of a handshake but unfortunately, it’s only available in 1080p mode and won’t replace hardware-based solutions that many people have probably gotten used to having in their mirrorless cameras. If there’s one thing that stops the Nikon D7500 from being a very compelling device for a lot of enthusiast videographers out there it has to be its focusing performance during recording. While it performs exceptionally well for stills photography where most users will rely on the AF system tied in with the viewfinder, the included old school contrast detect solution that’s here to take care of all the focusing done in live view just isn’t capable enough to provide consistent and fast continuous focusing performance that you could rely on for any kind of critical work. Focusing manually is the only way to get pleasantly focused videos in any situation that includes moving subjects but getting great looking results will also take some time and effort because of the lack of Focus Peaking.

The bottom line is, if you’re planning to purchase the D7500 mainly for its stills capabilities and you just want to have some additional fun with video recording, then you probably won’t be bothered by any of less impressive aspects of the entire movie making package that this camera has to offer. The D7500 becomes a harder recommendation if we switch our attention to more serious users and it is entirely up to them to decide where their priorities lay and if they can find some workarounds for those features that aren’t implemented on a high enough level (since it could be worth it in the end for the high-quality videos they’ll be able to get out of this DSLR).

Image quality

There’s always one thing that sheds a bright light of positivity on Nikon DSLRs in our camera articles (and it’s also very beneficial to them that it all takes part in the second last category if you include the conclusions) and that is our talk about the quality of the photos they are able to produce. Even if you decide to revisit the past and get your mind back in those times when cameras such as the D90, D300s or the D700 where all the rage you will always find one thing that all of those products had in common in the eyes of reviewers and that is their top of the line stills capabilities. Some other manufactures may have implemented other features in a better way than Nikon did in those days, but not a lot of them could compare with the raw image quality the Nikon was able to produce (especially in the hands of professional photographers).

nikon d7500 sample

Photo courtesy of Yann Fourel

The D7500 builds very well on company’s legacy and brings an AA filter free 24-megapixel APS-C sensor that does wonders in everything from low light and high contrast scenes (thanks to very good noise performance and extreme dynamic range). You will also be getting pleasant looking JPEG images that aren’t overly processed in any way but can also be manipulated within the camera itself thanks to the inclusion of different Special Effects (like Night Vision, Super Vivid, Miniature Effect, Selective Color and so on) as well as the Image Enhancement tools that will be given at your disposal (like the ability to pick one of the predefined ones or adjust parameters like Sharpening, Clarity, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue by yourself).

Conclusion

We love it when any camera company provides us with a product with so little flaws as the Nikon D7500 since it becomes quite an easy job to summarize all of our observations about that particular device into one small and straightforward paragraph. It’s easy to recommend this camera to any kind of photographer that wants a DSLR with an APS-C sensor that’s fast, built up to very high standards and produces lovely pictures but also wants to save up some money for a quality piece of glass instead of investing it in a full frame camera. We would also inspire you to take a look at the D7500 from a standpoint of a semi-professional videographer thanks to its 4K recording, microphone and headphone jacks, picture profiles, touch AF capability and more.

There is only one audience that won’t feel completely at home with this camera and that’s the people interested in professional video production and that’s simply because of the fact that Nikon still haven’t managed to completely turn things around when it comes to their usual average at best movie modes on their DSLRs and the D7500 itself is more of a transitional product for the company than a full-fledged package comparable to the most capable cameras out there. This only holds true for video recording as everything else on is covered up to the modern standards set by the current camera market and that is always good to see in a DSLR in these times where mirrorless cameras are slowly replacing their usually bulkier competitors.

Pentax K-3 II Review

Picking a new camera isn’t always an easy task if you’re not loyal to any particular brand as there are so many things to take into account when deciding which one to buy. First, there’s the price, then the image quality you wish to get out of it, then the performance and its focusing capabilities, then the build quality and so on. While most people decide to play it safe and buy one any of the most popular cameras on the market (since it’s hard to go wrong with a product that’s accepted by a very large number of reviewers and photographers), some go down the completely different route and invest a lot of time into researching everything that is available within their price range and try to weigh in the pros and the cons. After doing so you’ll be met with a lot more choices that consist either of more mainstream brands or those that aren’t as common but can often bring exactly what you need in terms of their features (especially the more specific ones that sometimes aren’t even present on those cameras coming from more popular manufacturers).

We all know that the biggest players in the industry when it comes to DSLR cameras are Canon and Nikon and that is something that certainly won’t change any time soon no matter what the competition comes up with (unless we are talking about mirrorless cameras, which is something that even Canon and Nikon themselves have started to dabble within 2018 by releasing devices that are catered to professionals, rather than being made for more widespread audience like their previous mirrorless cameras), but there is still one company out there that has managed to survive the tough conditions of the camera market and release compelling devices despite the constant pressure from the big brands and that is Pentax.

It is certainly a manufacturer that is very well known inside the photography community but still haven’t managed to bring back their glory days of film cameras even with the help from a large company like Ricoh (who bought all the rights to produce cameras under the Pentax brand from Hoya back in 2011). Still, despite not having a huge success with their new digital cameras, the product we’re reviewing this time serves as a proof that they do possess enough strength to create a competitive DSLR and overcome all the challenges in their way and it is one of their most capable APS-C cameras, the K-3 Mark II. It is a very rugged fast shooting DSLR with an image stabilized sensor that is capable of delivering excellent image quality (something that Pentax have been doing right for a while now with their DSLRs and that is making the most out of the sensor they put inside them), full HD video recording coupled with both the microphone and headphone jacks, dual memory card slots (a really nice professional touch indeed), large LCD screen and a large optical viewfinder, Focus Peaking (something that still can’t be found on the majority of DSLR cameras, but has been included on those made by Pentax for a while now) and more. The only thing that could separate it from its competition by making their cameras look more appealing is the number of available lenses and the video recording capabilities (they have always been one of the weakest points of Pentax cameras), but we’ll reserve our final judgment after we’re done with our review.

All in all, despite the fact that the K-3 II was announced back in 2015, we are still very excited at the prospect of looking at it from a different angle and getting the chance to see how it holds up to all the cameras that had reached the market in the last 3 years after its initial release.

Pentax K-3 IIGo to Amazon
The Pentax K-3 II uses a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor free of any kind of AA filter, meaning it will give you excellent resolution no matter what kind of photography you’re interested in. To make the most of it you’ll still need a high-quality lens, but that’s only if we’re talking about the amount of detail in photos and not the rest of the factors that are used to determine the overall image quality.
Overall rating:
87
Design:
0
87
100
Image Quality:
0
89
100
Features:
0
91
100
Price:
0
82
100
Pros
  • Image Stabilization
  • FullHD Max Video Resolution
  • Optical Built-in Viewfinder
  • Built-in GPS
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Long Battery Life
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Sensor Shift High Resolution Mode
  • Anti Alias Filter Simulator
  • Astro Tracer feature for Astrophotography
  • Dual-axis Electronic Level
Cons
  • No Wireless Connection
  • No Articulating Screen
  • No Touch Screen
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
As is the case with all the recent Pentax DSLRs, the K-3 II also brings very good dynamic range and noise performance, both of them comparable to the very best APS-C cameras out there, although still not at the very same level as those sitting on the top of the imaging capabilities list. To even the odds, this camera brings a couple of important features that are nowhere to be found on most of the devices it is fighting against. The first such feature is the in-body image stabilization rated at up to 4.5 stops of shake correction. While not a very uncommon thing to see on today’s modern mirrorless cameras, it is still missing from every other DSLR on the market other than those made by Pentax themselves (yes, we know that Ricoh is the company that makes these, but for the sake of keeping things as simple as possible we will refer to them simply as Pentax through the duration of this review).

Besides being able to reap all the benefits of having image stabilization (like being capable of stabilizing any lens you decide to use with it), the K-3 II also brings two extra features to the table that are here to further improve on its imaging capabilities; the AA Filter Simulator and the Pixel Shift Resolution. The first one will enable you to remove any strange moire effects that might occur in some of your images because of the lack of an AA filter (so, you’re essentially getting the best of both worlds), while the second one uses the image stabilization technology to slightly move the sensor for a total of four captured images (capturing more information than what can be doing during traditional shooting) and combines them into one sharper and clearer image (it’s not an ideal solution of taking photos of moving subjects, but used with a tripod in any other situation will certainly give you better image quality).

The Pentax K-3 II also brings a native ISO range of 100 – 51200, nine white balance presets (including the necessary slots for storing three custom ones), a shutter speed range of 30 – 1/8000 sec and lastly, a maximum flash X-sync speed of 1/180 sec (although it doesn’t feature a built-in pop up flash and thus you’ll have to invest in an external unit). While you won’t find as many focus points to work with on this camera as on some of its competitors, the 27-point phase detect system inside of it does consist out of 25 cross-type points (which means they’ll be better at subject tracking than the regular one) and is able to work in conditions as dark as -3 EV and when you take all of that into account we still have high hopes for its performance and we believe that it won’t disappoint even when it comes to keeping up with more demanding work like sports or action.

There’s an additional factor that serves as an indication of the K-3 II possibly being a very good camera for those photographers shooting any kind of moving subject and that is its fastest burst rate of 8.3 fps. The speed alone should be good enough for the majority of users out there, but Pentax’s claims of buffer size being able to handle around 60 JPEG or 23 RAW frames (if they turn out to be true) also go in this camera’s favor to being considered a very capable camera for those that prioritize speed over anything else. Another reason you could be looking into buying a Pentax camera is the build quality, control scheme, expansion possibilities and also the very customizable user interface and the menu systems, since all three of them are always covered very well in the company’s DSLRs, no matter if they fit in the entry-level or the professional category.

The same holds true with the K-3 II; its body is made out of a combination of lightweight but still resistant magnesium alloy and heavier but more rigid stainless steel, weather and dust sealed to survive even during a rainfall, packed to the brim with dials and buttons and also very useful things like dual SD card slots, microphone and headphone jacks, GPS, a USB 3.0 compatible port, a mini-HDMI port and an orientation sensor. The only thing missing here is Wi-Fi (which can be remedied somehow by using a special Wi-Fi enabled SD card, but we’ll talk more about that later) but that’s easy to forget when you actually decide to use the K-3 II and take your first look through its large and bright 100% accurate optical pentaprism viewfinder with a magnification of 0.95x (0.63x in full frame terms) and at its 3.2-inch TFT LCD monitor with a very respectable resolution of 1,037,000 dots.

One last thing to mention is the video recording capabilities and this the only thing about this camera that doesn’t bring any high expectations considering the previous record of underwhelming video quality and feature sets that were the part of Pentax’s previous DSLRs. While the K-3 II does bring a mix of serious and fun features such as the microphone and headphone jacks, Focus Peaking, 1080p 30 fps and 60i recording, 4K time-lapse capture, digital filters and effects that also work for video, in-body image stabilization and more, the one important thing that could separate it from its competitors is the quality of its footage and that is something that we’ll have to determine before we can decide if this camera is capable enough to also be a good choice for videographers or it should be treated primarily as a stills tool.

Body and handling

There’s not a whole lot to complain about when it comes to the Pentax K-3 II and its body; it’s as solid as today’s cameras get. Thanks to it is made mostly of metal, it feels incredibly durable and substantial in the hand and could even be used as an effective cold weapon if you find yourself in any tricky situation (its total weight of exactly 800 grams also supports all of these claims and that makes this camera one of the heaviest mid-range DSLRs out there). If you’re looking for portability, then the K-3 II certainly won’t be an ideal device for you and you should probably invest in a mirrorless camera or some sort of an entry-level DSLR (since those tend to be lighter, smaller and much easier to carry around on a daily basis). This product was meant for power users and its serious exterior and a lot of straight lines certainly tell the very same story (at least when it comes to the standard all-black model).

Pentax is also very serious when it comes to protecting their DSLRs from the elements (at least with those models that have reached the market in the last 5 years or so) and the K-3 II is a prime example of how you should approach the topic of durability when creating a camera (we would feel very confident in carrying this particular device around in all kinds of weather and not worrying that it will be brought down on its knees while under the influence of mother nature). We do like that the hand grip is sufficiently large to allow even those people with larger hands to hold the camera comfortably and that most of the controls are positioned in predictable places for this type of a device, with the only exception being those found on the slightly recessed area found on the front left side of the camera body (those will take some time to get used to if you were coming from a different brand but they are still not hard to use after you’ve adjusted to them). The buttons and dials themselves also work as expected and we didn’t notice any variations in build quality from one control to the other.

pentax k-3 ii

We are certainly dealing with one serious piece of gear and no matter if you like Pentax as brand or not it would be hard to be impressed by the amount of effort the company has put into making sure that one of their DSLRs should have no problems coping with many different situations for years and years and working reliably for a long period of time. Now, let us take a moment or two to appreciate the level of craftsmanship on hand and see what exactly you should expect to find on your new K-3 II if it ends up being the camera of your choice. Things start to get very interesting right from the front of the camera body since it is already packed with different things. Here you’ll find the front e-dial, the lens unlock button, one mono microphone, the AF assist light and the Self-timer lamp/Remote control receiver and also the already mentioned array of controls and ports put slightly at an angle which contain the X-sync socket, the GPS button and the RAW/Fx button as well as the AF mode button and the Focus mode switch (besides allowing you to change your AF mode, it will also give you the ability to change your Focus Area).  The left side of the camera is where you’ll find the microphone and headphone jacks, the USB and the HDMI ports, as well as the DC input terminal (or hidden beneath rugged protective covers), while the right side holds the dual SD card slots and the cable switch terminal. The tripod socket, battery grip contacts and the compartment reserved for the Lithium-Ion D-LI90 battery pack are all located at the bottom of the camera body.

pentax k-3 ii

Looking at the top of the K-3 II will reveal the main mode dial and its locking mechanism (besides the usual shooting modes it also holds the three custom ones and the so-called “Green mode”, which is just another expression for fully automatic one), the standard hotshoe port, the shutter button coupled together with the Power On/Off/Depth of field preview switch, the Exposure compensation and the ISO buttons and in the end, a large LCD panel that we all love to see on any camera since its one of the most practical solutions for quickly viewing all of your current exposure adjustments, active modes and functions and more. All that is left is to look at the back of the camera and considering how much functionality is included on the rest of it, everything that can be found here is pretty standard for a DSLR (except for one or two exceptions). Besides the optical viewfinder and the LCD screen (sadly, of a non-touch variety), the back contains the Playback and the AE Metering/Delete buttons and a little diopter adjustment dial, the Live View/REC, AF and the AE Lock buttons, the rear e-dial, the capture mode selector and the Green button (a unique addition found on Pentax DSLRs that will allow you to reset your current adjustments or activate the Auto ISO feature), the four-way navigation controller and the OK confirmation button in its center (also, the four shortcuts mapped to each of its directions and these are WB, Drive/Timer, Flash and Custom Image setup) and lastly, the Info (it is used to change the amount of information present while you’re in live view mode), Menu and the Change AF Point/Card slot switch (yet another interesting addition that will give you the ability to switch your SD cards while in Playback mode) buttons.

pentax k-3 ii

The user interface and the menu systems on the Pentax K-3 II are certainly unique among other cameras on the market (be it a DSLR or a mirrorless camera). They aren’t exactly as intuitive or as pretty to look at those found on Canon or Nikon devices (their style is more retro and not as clean) but the sheer number of available functions, adjustments, customizations and features will quickly make you forget about any kind of outdated look (that is, if you consider yourself as a power user that likes to tinker a lot and make the most out of every camera you buy). You’ll be allowed to customize the behavior of the included e-dials and use them to change the Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO sensitivity, Exposure compensation and access certain modes, choose what the RAW/Fx (One Push File Format, Exposure Bracketing, Optical Preview, Shake Reduction), AF (Enable AF1 and AF2 modes or Cancel AF) and the Preview Dial (Optical or Digital Preview) controls do and also, save all of your important settings and exposure values under three separate custom profiles (U1, U2 and the U3). Then there are also some useful modes and features worth mentioning, like the AF Fine Adjustment (used to fine tune the focusing accuracy of your AF lenses), Interval Shooting (it will allow you to take a number of photos during a set period of time, combine them with the Composite function or even record Interval Movies), Histogram Display in live view, Highlight Alert to help you deal with overexposed areas in your frame, Astrotracer (it will help you capture starry skies without them becoming blurry due to slow shutter speeds that are being used in that kind of photography), HDR Capture and more. The one that made most headlines has to be the Pixel Shift Resolution, which promises to bring improved image quality by slightly shifting the sensor while taking four images and combining them in one photo with better color accuracy and details. So, is it something that could be considered a gimmick or does use it actually result in better quality images? Well, it certainly does as long as you’re keeping the camera on a tripod and there are no moving subjects of big importance in your frame (it doesn’t necessarily have to be people or animals, any kind of movement qualifies to be it a vehicle, leaves in the wind, flowing water and so on). Thus, it is only useful for photos of still subjects like landscapes or architecture, but we’ll certainly take even such limited usefulness over not having that feature at all.

Lastly, before we move on to the next category of this review, let us find out how the Pentax K-3 Mark II handles any kind of tasks related to its communication with other devices like smartphones, TV screens or computers. While it doesn’t have Wi-Fi built-in (although GPS is here for all of your geotagging needs), it is compatible with the special type of SD cards called Flucards and you’ll be surprised how much functionality those bring to the table beside the simple wireless transfer of photos (which of course means that you’ll have to install the necessary application on your iOS or Android smartphone). In addition to the aforementioned basic functionality it will also allow you to remotely control the K-3 II, adjust a number of different settings or release the shutter (so you should have no problems stabilizing the camera on a surface of your choice and taking stable photos shot at slower shutter speeds or group images with you in them). The said cards also support a wireless connection to a PC or a laptop with the use of one of their applications, which means that the K-3 II doesn’t exactly lack a lot of Wi-Fi related features even if it doesn’t have the necessary hardware for them built inside its body.

When it comes to connecting the camera to a TV set or a printer, you will still need to use the traditional cable connection methods and that is where the limitations of this camera’s wireless capabilities lie and it is up to you to decide if they are worth more to you than things like durability, handling, powerful control scheme or rich customization options (in our book, all of those things hold much higher priority when it comes to making a good camera).

Autofocus and performance

The Pentax K-3 II may not have as many focusing points to work with as some other modern prosumer or flagship cameras on the market (27 of them in total), but that has never really been a problem in case of a lot of DSLRs since those are of the fast phase detect variety (especially when you take into account that almost all of them are cross-type focus points, which are by nature more accurate than the normal ones). For all of those reasons, the K-3 II is able to perform very well in almost anything you throw at it, even when it comes to subject tracking and continuous AF. If you’re using the right mode and a nice lens, the camera will handle sports and action photography in a very reliable manner and give you a high count of photos that are focused nicely (its performance will only drop in low light and so will its hit rate, making it less ideal for those photographers that often shoot in dark conditions).

Another less impressive aspect of the K-3 II has to be its focusing capabilities while it’s in live view mode since it only has a traditional contrast detect system to rely on and its not nearly as fast as one that is tied in to the viewfinder (but can be more precise on some occasions, so it’s not without its uses). So, while not perfectly fit for all kinds of uses, this camera will still give you a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing which type of photography you wish to successfully tackle with it and even the numbers we got from our testing support this claim; it only took around 1 second for the camera to power on and take the first photo, around 0.15 seconds at average to acquire focus and less than 0.3 seconds to take one photo after the other one (around 0.6 seconds when it comes to RAW images). We’ve also managed to confirm the Pentax’s official numbers for buffer depths while the camera’s burst rate is being used and get very similar results at 8.3 fps (more than 50 JPEG files, over 22 RAW images and around 23 of them with both of those formats combined).

While those numbers aren’t anything too exciting in the camera world, they do support our thoughts of the Pentax K-3 II as being a solid and rather affordable choice for those photographers that want to shoot more than still subjects and landscapes, but aren’t interested in investing a lot more money into getting one of those DSLRs or mirrorless cameras that were made especially with performance in mind, as they tend to be much more expensive or even less capable in some other aspects which the K-3 II covers very well. One thing that could be have been improved for a camera of its class is the battery life, even thought it’s not bad by any standards. An endurance rating of 720 shots will allow you to shoot for an entire day if you’re mostly relying on the optical viewfinder and you aren’t recording a lot of videos, but we would advise you to invest in one additional battery pack if you fall into that second group of people. Lastly, let us see what Pentax have prepared for us in terms of all the modes, settings and functions directly related to focusing either manually or automatically and does the K-3 II bring enough of them to satisfy its target audience of camera enthusiasts. There are three main modes: AF.S (used for shooting still subjects), AF.C (a continuous focusing modes that will allow you to reacquire focus as long as you keep the shutter button pressed halfway and also take a photo without focus confirmation) and AF-A, which combines the Single and the Continuous mode and switches between them automatically depending on the type of subject that is in your frame.

Then there are also the different Focus Areas to choose from and these are the Auto (the camera will automatically pick any number of points from the total of 27 that are available), Zone Select (this mode uses a total of 9 focus points coupled together), Select (this one will allow you to choose your own focus point), Spot (uses a central focus point for those subjects in the center of your frame) and also, three Expanded Area AF modes (S, M, L and they only differ in the number of extra focus points that will be used along one selected by the user to help with more precise focusing). Since this is a Pentax DSLR we are dealing with, it is also a pleasure to use with manual focus and even older legacy lenses thanks to its inclusion of both the traditional method of enlarging the part of your frame to help you judge focus precision more easily and the even more useful Focus Peaking method, which will place colored outlines around the areas that are in focus without taking you away from your composition (both of those methods are certainly useful in their own ways). Add to that the in-body image stabilization and you should have no reservations in using the K-3 II with any of the retro lenses available all around the internet.

Video features and quality

We’ve finally reached the part of our review that will have to deal with one big question mark sitting above the Pentax K-3 II and that is its video recording capabilities (it is a very well-known fact that Pentax DSLRs have never been very popular among more serious videographers and there were certainly a lot of objective reasons why that was the case). Our aim was to discover if the company has upped their game and did they manage to finally make a DSLR that could be of interest to those wanting to record some semi-professional videos along their main job of taking photos (it would be unrealistic to expect that the K-3 II is the one Pentax DSLR that will suddenly become a video recording powerhouse that will overthrow the likes of Panasonic, Sony or Canon in terms of video production). Well, in a way they did, but there are still some rough edges to be found here and there that detract from the overall experience and it is still pretty obvious that Pentax’s priorities still lie in the realm of photography (which certainly isn’t a bad thing since more people are generally interested in stills than in video). The native recording mode on the K-3 II is 1080p at 30 fps, but there is also an interpolated 60 fps option available for those that absolutely need the extra smoothness and can deal with a noticeable reduction in image quality. We can’t say that the full HD videos produced by this camera are the most detailed videos we’ve ever seen, but thanks to the capable APS-C sensor they do possess pleasant colors, good dynamic range and low noise even at higher ISO levels.

Sadly, the on-sensor image stabilization doesn’t work during video recording (we can’t image why) and instead, the K-3 II relies on an electronic solution which crops the edges of the recorded footage to remove the effects of handshake (it is an effective method of stabilization but does result in lower image quality). On the other hand, continuous AF is available (although not nearly as fast as on the cameras that rely on phase detect focus points) and so is the Focus Peaking, which you will surely be relying on while recording any kind of important videos. Audio recording is certainly one of the strong points of the K-3 II due to inclusion of both the headphone and microphone jacks (we wouldn’t recommend you to rely on the internal microphone since it only records in mono) and so the choice of available option to change to look on videos right within the camera itself thanks to the included digital filters (Extract Color, Shading, Toy Camera, Invert Color, Retro, Unicolor Bold, High Contrast and Bold Monochrome).

All in all, as we’ve stated previously, the Pentax K-3 II brings enough video features to satisfy the needs of less demanding users, but those wanting a taste of more advanced functions should certainly look for another camera.

Image quality

Now, while the reason to seriously consider a Pentax DSLR still won’t be its video production capabilities, its imaging prowess certainly is quite a valid one despite the harsh competition out there. The K-3 II is a prime example of how to create a rugged camera that you’ll be able to take absolutely everywhere with you and also get as good of a stills quality out of an APS-C sensor as you can expect from today’s modern devices. Pentax have certainly found the right combination of hardware and software to make the photos look very good even in low light (you’ll be able to get usable results even at an ISO of 6400) and to allow you to get the right balance of details found in both shadows and highlights while editing your RAW files even without having to resort to the built-in HDR feature. We also like what Pentax is doing with the JPEG processing since it feels quite natural and never over processed (no overly boosted colors or contrast, or heavy-handed noise reduction or sharpening).

pentax k-3 ii sample

Photo courtesy of Ben Allison

The Pixel Shift Resolution feature also plays a big part in the image quality story of the Pentax K-3 II and so do all the available options that will allow you to fine-tune your photos without having to transfer them onto your computer and into some editing software like the aforementioned Digital Filters and the Custom Image settings (Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome and Cross Processing). So, if you don’t require the photo quality brought on by cameras with larger full frame or medium format sensors, you really couldn’t go wrong with the Pentax K-3 II as your main tool for taking high-quality photos.

Conclusion

It is finally time to put all of our findings of the Pentax K-3 II in a blender, pour them in a glass cup and serve them to you in a small and refreshing form. We are indeed dealing with a camera that feels different than the rest of its competition and offers a feature set that differs quite a lot in some ways. It does have its drawbacks which prevent it to be an ideal choice for some photographers but overall it will be a very good value for a lot of them.

No, we wouldn’t recommend it to those interested in serious video production thanks to its lack of some important tools that everyone expects to see on a modern device (4K recording, slow-motion capabilities, Zebra patterns, hardware image stabilization (even though its available for stills and a few others), but those generally interested in photography and some video recording on the side will find a lot to like about the K-3 II. This is certainly the build quality, handling, controls, a user interface that offers a huge number of functions, very capable AF system, fast burst rate with respectable buffer depth, class-leading image quality for a camera with an APS-C sensor, decent battery life, image stabilization, Focus Peaking and more. If you’re currently not tied in to any particular camera system and you don’t own a huge array of different lenses (since some of them may not be available for the Pentax mount), you should have no reason for not looking into K-3 II as your new device for taking high quality photos even in the roughest conditions possible.

Pentax are certainly on the right path of resurrecting their brand with this DSLR (this becomes especially obvious when you look at other camera models they’ve released after 2015) and there is no better thing for the general population of photography enthusiast and professionals than the competitive market that’s filled with as many competent brands as possible and Pentax have certainly become a strong competitor themselves.

Nikon D7200 Review

Have you ever dreamt of a DSLR that won’t burn a hole through your wallet, but will bring you a feature set that will make it a fierce competitor on the camera market many years after its release? Are you one of those photographers that cares more for getting the best bang for the buck instead of comparing specifications or wanting all the latest technology no matter the cost? Do you want a device coming from a very reliable brand that has been present in the game for a long time now and offers a huge line up of lenses that can fit the needs of both the amateur and professional photographers? Are you one of those people that still aren’t interested in the mirrorless trend and want a camera that feels more stable, more durable and will give you better handling with longer telephoto lenses? Then stick around, because we’ve got a perfect product for your needs.

It’s the Nikon D7200, one of the best DSLRs that the company has ever made in the last couple of years and one that is still relevant in 2018 even after its successor, the D7500, has been released. The D7xx series of cameras have always been extremely popular among those photographers looking for a prosumer camera but not in need of a full frame sensor and the D7200 certainly builds on that formula to bring even more compelling package than the older models did. The AA filter free APS-C sensor is still here to provide you with maximum details in your photos and so are the advanced phase detect AF system, dual SD card slots, fast shooting capabilities, great battery life, rugged weather sealed body, high-resolution LCD, 100% accurate viewfinder and so are the many other things that made these series of cameras what they are.

There are only a couple of things not included on the D7200 (purely because it was released in 2015) and that is 4K recording, touch-sensitive screen, Bluetooth and some of the advanced video recording tools that can now be found on current modern Nikon cameras (we are sure that you’ll be able to accept the fact that those features are missing considering the current price point this camera is being sold at). Now, it does have to deal with tough competition from Canon with the likes of 80D (and of course, the Nikon’s own D7500 and the D500 cameras) as well as a couple of different mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6500 or the Fujifilm X-T3, but despite its age, we believe that it has enough fighting spirit left inside its durable body to compete with all of those cameras at least on some level, with its price being the biggest differentiating factor when compared with the most of them. So, it all depends on what you’re exactly looking for in your new camera; if it’s the portability, it’s time to switch to mirrorless, if it’s a nicely balanced feature set that’s priced fairly and will allow you to get great photos in all lighting conditions, than keep on reading as we’re about to discover everything we can about the Nikon D7200 and all of the features that made it popular and gave Nikon the reason to continue on with the series despite the constant pressure from the many competitors coming from the mirrorless camp.

Nikon D7200Go to Amazon
The Nikon D7200, like the most of Nikon’s DSLRs that have been released in recent years, also features a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, but there’s more to its capabilities than it meets the eye. It lacks an optical low-pass filter, which will live it more vulnerable to more effects but will allow you to get the most out of those megapixels and quality lens you decide to pair with the camera (a fair trade-off to get more sharpness, if you ask us).
Overall rating:
82
Design:
0
78
100
Image Quality:
0
84
100
Features:
0
76
100
Price:
0
91
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • NFC Connectivity
  • FullHD Max Video Resolution
  • Long Battery Life
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • 2 Storage Slots
  • Top LCD Display
  • Good Low Light ISO
  • High Shutter Life Expectancy
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Magnesium alloy and Carbon fiber composite body elements
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • No Articulating Screen
  • No Touchscreen
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
While it brings noise performance similar to all the other Nikon DSLRs (which are still one of the best performers in this regard compared to all the other cameras that also use APS-C sensors) it manages to raise the bar in terms of dynamic range and is considered to be one of the best devices out there in terms of coping with demanding scenes that bring a big disbalance between shadows and highlights (even when it comes to full frame and medium format cameras and that certainly says a lot about Nikon and their ability to get the most out of their sensors no matter their size).

On top of its ability to produce stunning images, the D7200 will also allow you to take a lot of control over your exposure thanks to its ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 102400), fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 sec (meaning should have no problems using lenses with fast apertures even in broad daylight or freezing any kind of movement or action), a built-in pop-up flash with a maximum range of 12 meters when used at an ISO of 100, the external flash sync speed of 1/250 sec and also, the ability to adjust the Exposure compensation in 1/3 and 1/2 increments and inside the +5 to -5 EV range. While these series of cameras were always about great image quality, they were also very capable of providing great focusing performance and excellent responsiveness no matter what you decide to use them for and the story is no different in the case of D7200. First, there’s the 51-point AF system sensitive to -3EV and also including a total of 15 cross-type focus points (making it potentially a very good option for sports photography, especially because Nikon have also included their famous 3D tracking tech), two different burst rate options (a 6 fps mode and a faster 7 fps that adds an additional 1.3x crop factor on top of the 1.5x crop brought on by the APS-C sensor itself), better buffer depth when compared to the D7100, improved battery life and an overall snappier performance thanks to the more powerful Expeed 4 processor.

There’s also the new Multi-CAM 3500DX II AF module on board (which is the one that is responsible for the better low light sensitivity) and also the already familiar drive modes like the Continuous low or high speed, Quiet Shutter Release and also the Mirror-up mode and they all add up to a camera that has all the necessary tools to cope with any kind of conditions that demand quick responsiveness, decisive and fast focusing performance and good capabilities for keeping the focus tight even in low light. Since the D7200 could easily be considered a flagship-grade camera for many of its features, its no wonder that it also has a body worthy of one. Not only is it made out of magnesium alloy and protected from the elements, but it also brings a familiar Nikon design (big grip, lots of buttons and dials and that red accent on the front), a fairly big optical pentaprism viewfinder with an accuracy of 100% and a 0.63x magnification in full frame terms, big and sharp 3.2-inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1,228,800 dots (the sad thing is that it’s neither touch sensitive nor placed on hinge so it could be tilted or articulated in any direction), built-in stereo microphones (as well as the headphone and microphone jacks for those that put a lot of importance on audio recording), Wi-Fi with NFC, mini-HDMI and min-USB 2.0 ports, two SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible memory card slots and also the ability to pair with Nikon’s optional GP-1 GPS unit and the MB-D15 battery grip (even though most of you won’t need one, considering how good the battery life is on its own).

We’ll talk more about the Nikon D7200’s body, controls, handling, usability, user interface and Wi-Fi related features in the very next section of this review but let us end things by mentioning what this camera can do in terms of video recording (especially for today’s standards). We already know that it covers all the basics in terms of audio recording, but the rest of its features may not be to everyone’s liking since Nikon (at the time of its release) were still trying to decide if they should take video capture on their DSLRs seriously or will they just marginally improve thing with each new generation. For this reason, the D7200 isn’t a big step forward over the D7100 and won’t be the first choice for any serious videographer out there since it lacks things like 4K recording, Focus peaking, Zebra patterns, aperture control during recording (yes, the old limitation of some Nikon’s cameras that were lacking the necessary motor to gain control over it), but will be a good enough device for more casual users who are only shooting video occasionally thanks to its 1080p 60 fps recording (although with a 1.3x crop applied on top of it), flat picture profiles for easier editing, continuous AF functionality and the aforementioned dual SD cards slots (since they will allow you to always keep a backup of everything captured with the camera, which is a feature anyone would want to have on their device, no matter the manufacturer and the class).

Body and handling

If you’ve ever wondered how a nicely designed mid-sized enthusiast-oriented DLSR should look like, then the Nikon D7200 is a certain fine example of a design philosophy that just works. The first you want to make sure is done right when designing such a camera is to keep the build quality at a high level and Nikon have managed to do so with magnesium alloy construction, tightly assembled body parts, weather sealing gaskets where needed, anti-slippery materials and buttons/dials that feel just right when being pressed and offer decent feedback. It all feels very reassuring in the hand and oozes out the confidence that the D7200 will be able to handle almost everything you threw at it and survive even in the less flattering weather conditions. The grip on the front of the camera could be a little larger for this size of a DSLR, but most photographers will find it comfortable enough, especially if you pair it with the optional battery grip. We also like that Nikon have managed to keep the weight down as much as possible, since it’s certainly not the heaviest DSLR around at 765 grams (including its battery) and won’t be cumbersome to carry around, especially if you pair it with one of smaller primes like the Nikon’s own 50mm f1.8 or the 35mm f1.8 lenses.

The button layout is the traditional affair for Nikon DSLRs and almost everything is easily reachable when you hold the camera in your hands or to your eye, but if you’ve never used one of the company’s previous cameras it will take you some time to get used to that row of buttons located on the left side of the screen, which shouldn’t be such a demanding task. The optical viewfinder found on the D7200 is large, bright and accurate (meaning it’s a pleasure to use) and we can say mostly the same things about the LCD screen as well, with the exception of it not being touch sensitive (something that can traditionally be found on any camera released in 2018 and many others released prior to this year). All in all, Nikon have certainly done a very good job of designing a camera that not only looks powerful but feels the same way while being operated (you’ll never want to go back to a simpler DSLR after you’ve used this one).

nikon d7200

Now, as we always do in our reviews, we’re going to take a look at camera body itself in more detail, pinpoint each of its important parts and explain what needs explaining along the way. The front of the Nikon D7200 holds the AF-assist illuminator/Self-timer/Red-eye reduction lamp, the sub-command dial, the Pv (it’s used for enabling the depth-of-field preview) and the Fn buttons, the lens release button, the infrared receiver, the Flash and the BKT (it will take you to the necessary part of the user interface reserved for taking multiple photos with different exposure values) buttons and lastly, the AF-mode and the focus-mode selector combo. The left side of the camera is where all the different ports are located (microphone and headphone jacks, the USB and the HDMI connectors, as well as the accessory terminal used to attach the GP-1 GPS unit, the WR-1 wireless remote controller or the MC-DC2 wired remote control unit), while the right side is reserved for the NFC contact point and the dual SD card slots. All the ports and slots are hidden behind rugged and weather sealed protection covers and as long as you keep the closed you should have no problems at all with the likes of moisture and dust getting into your camera. Naturally, the battery chamber (for the EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery pack), tripod socket and the contact cover for the MB-D15 battery grip are all located at the bottom of the camera body.

The top of the Nikon D7200 is where you’ll find the main mode dial (among all the standard modes, it also features two custom ones, the U1 and the U2) combined with the release mode dial and its locking mechanism, stereo microphones, a hotshoe port, a large control panel ( a secondary screen that will allow you to quickly view all your important shooting information more quickly than by looking at the screen on the back), the Metering mode/Format button, the Movie-record and the Exposure compensation buttons, as well as the shutter button coupled with the power switch. The D7200’s rich control scheme and set of all the external features continues with its back, since this is where the optical viewfinder (and its obligatory diopter adjustment dial) and the LCD screen lie together with the Playback and the Delete buttons, a vertical array of controls that consists from the Menu, Help/Lock/White Balance, Zoom in/Quality, Zoom out/ISO and the i (or the quick settings) buttons, the AE-L/AF-L button and the main command dial, the multi selector/Ok button/focus selector lock combination, the Lv button which lies in the center of the live view selector (it will allow you to quickly switch between the stills and movie mode) and a lone Info button sitting right beside the little grill reserved for the single mono speaker.

nikon d7200

Unlike some other mirrorless cameras and DSLRs on the market, the D7200’s navigation controller (or multi selector how Nikon calls it) can’t be programmed to hold shortcuts to some of its functions, but it’s a non-issue with this camera considering the fact that most if not all o them can already be found on the somewhere else on the camera body in form of dedicated buttons. So, other than the lack of a touchscreen (and an articulating one of that matter), the Nikon D7200 does more than enough to provide its potential users (be it the advanced ones or the more casual photographers) with enough buttons to give them the chance to use the camera without having to look at the LCD screen at all to adjust any important option. The user interface on this camera is the same one that you’ll find on any other Nikon DSLR and thus the current Nikon shooters will feel right at home with it, while the rest of photographers will need to invest some time to learn how to use it to its full potential (since the menu systems themselves are jam-packed with different options to adjust and features to enable).

nikon d7200

We like how clean the main shooting screen is and how easy it is to adjust any exposure parameters thanks to their oversized font in comparison with the rest of the interface and we also appreciate that Nikon took the job of organizing everything on the camera in a logical manner (something that some manufacturers are still trying to figure out even on more modern cameras). Now, we wouldn’t be talking about an enthusiast-oriented DSLR if it wasn’t equipped with a large number of helpful functions and modes, as well as enough room for customizing its controls and user interface, so let us mention some of the things we’ve discovered while exploring the D7200. The info button is used to show you all the important information on one screen (like the ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, AF mode and so on), as well as more specific indicator for things like Wi-Fi connection, Exposure compensation, HDR, WB bracketing and so on, while the i button is here to help you bring up a special menu containing much of the same functions that you were able to observe using the info feature, but this time giving you the ability to change their values or turning them on or off.

Both screens will show different items depending on if you’re shooting through the viewfinder or in live view mode. The D7200 also offers an extensive set of features that are related to bracketing or taking multiple shots like the White Balance Bracketing (in this mode the camera will take more than one image of the same scene, apply different White balance value to each of them and give you more options to adjust the color temperature of your image afterwards), Active D-Lighting Bracketing (you’ll be able to take two or more photos with each of them having different strengths of the Active D-Lighting effect applied to them and thus get an image with more dynamic range) or the more straightforward Multiple Exposure option that will allow you to take two or three RAW images of different exposures and merge them into a single photo. We also like the User Settings options which allow you to set up your camera in a different way for each of the two available profiles and easily switch between them using the main mode dial, the Quiet shutter-release mode (it will enable you to take a single shot without the camera immediately dropping its mirror and choose when you want it to happen by for example moving away from your subject before doing so) and the all the options available for changing the function and the behavior of the OK, Fn, Preview and the AE-L/AF-L buttons, as well as both of the command dials.

nikon d7200

In the end, let us see if a DLSR from 2015 has enough going for it in terms of its wireless capabilities and does it compare to today’s cameras in this respect. The first thing to take note of is the addition of NFC, which won’t mean much for users of iOS devices (it is the limitation of the OS itself, not the camera), but will enable those who prefer the Android platform to establish the necessary connection between the Nikon and their smart device more quickly than using the more traditional methods of pairing. The application you’ll be using to communicate with your smartphone or a tablet is the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility and it will give you access to a wide array of different functions; you’ll be able to view your photos on your smartphone’s screen and download them to its memory, share them quickly with the rest of the world via MMS, e-mail or social sites, remotely control the D7200 and use your smart device’s screen as an additional live view mode that will allow you to take photos in difficult angles (like macro work or self-portraits) or while the camera is on a tripod and lastly (and also change some settings) and lastly, use the GPS data gathered by your smartphone and apply that info to your photos so you can always know where they were taken and so you can organize them more easily on your computer.

There is one functionality missing on the D7200 that has to with Wi-Fi and that is the ability to wirelessly connect to a laptop or a computer, something that can only be found on Nikon’s newer models of cameras. Some photographers will miss being able to wirelessly transfer photos to their computers, but the Nikon D7200 is such a capable camera even without this functionality that the majority of people won’t be bothered at all by this little omission and will enjoy it for everything else it brings to the table with its build quality, advanced control scheme, easy to understand user interface, neatly organized menu system and a full set of features related to its communication with smartphones and tablets.

Autofocus and performance

Nikon has always done a pretty decent when it comes to creating enthusiast-level cameras with capable AF systems and one the product that has been criticized the most for its subpar focusing capabilities is the first in their series of D7xx cameras, the Nikon D7000. Luckily for them, they have acknowledged its issues and have put all their efforts into improving things as much as possible with the D7100 and they’ve done a really good job of upping the reputation of this particular line up. The D7200 is here to take that reputation even further by using the very same 51-point phase detect system, but also improving on a couple of important things that would make it even more stable platform to work with and set it as far away from the D7000 and its unreliable AF system (even though it was pretty advanced for a number of reasons at the time of its release and some of its important modes still remain to this day on many of Nikon’s DSLRs).

Even though a lot of great cameras have reached the market since the D7200 first saw the light of day, it’s overall focusing performance is still very good by any modern standards. Shooting still subjects is not a challenge at all for this camera and it even holds its own quite well in low light thanks to its sensitive focus points. It’s also noticeably better at subject tracking than its predecessor and with the right lens and the combination of settings will allow you to get respectably high hit rate even for the most unpredictable subjects. It’s the weakest point remains the live view focusing (something that can be said for even the best of Nikon’s DSLRs out there) and that is because it uses the slower contrast detect AF system and it simply can’t keep up with anything that moves (the lack of a touchscreen makes it even less useful than it already is). It is best to use it only on those occasions when the main phase detect system has trouble focusing accurately (which can happen once in a while) since it is more accurate by nature and will focus perfectly 99% of the time. So, if pair the D7200 with one of Nikon’s professional lenses, you will be able to use it as your main tool for shooting sports and action, but only if you can live with a slower burst rate and a shallower buffer depth than those found on today’s flagship speed-oriented cameras.

Alright, let us take a little time to look inside the menus and see what Nikon have included in regard to the different focusing modes that will allow you to take control over that capable 51-point AF system. There are three main ones: AF-A (the Auto-servo AF mode that automatically switches to continuous AF when it detects a moving subject in the frame), AF-S (Single-servo AF, which is the one you should be using most of the time and for shooting anything but the moving subjects) and the AF-C (Continuous-servo AF, which is the mode that will reacquire focus as soon as it notices any kind of movement or changes in your frame and as long as you’re keeping the shutter button pressed halfway). Of course, the Manual focus option is also available, together with the usual magnification tool that will allow you to enlarge a part of your frame and get a better view of the details on your subject. As is the case with the majority of DSLRs on the market, the D7200 doesn’t feature Focus peaking and the most practical way to use it would be to rely on its AF system rather play around with focusing manually.

There’s also a total of four AF-Area Modes that you’ll be able to choose from while shooting through the viewfinder and these are the Single-point AF (this mode will allow you to select any of the available 51 focus points and instruct the camera to only use that point to acquire focus), the Dynamic-area AF (it will allow you to select focusing zones that consist of either 9, 21 or 51 focus points and you’ll be able to switch between them depending on how unpredictable and fast is the subject you’re trying to capture), 3D-tracking (this mode will allow you to quickly track subjects that are moving in any kind of unpredictable manner and is one of the staples of Nikon DSLRs even to this day) and the Auto-area AF (an all Auto mode that will leave it to the camera to decide which focus points are to be used for any given situation) as well as another four areas only reserved for the live view mode: Face-priority AF, Wide-area AF, Normal-area AF and Subject-tracking AF (although they may sound useful on paper, considering how underwhelming the focusing speed in live view really is we would advise you to save your time and stick to the ones made for shooting though the viewfinder).

Nikon has also promised to bring some improvements to the burst rate capabilities over the D7100 and they have certainly delivered; this camera can now shoot at 6 fps with a buffer size of over 100 Normal or around 47 Fine JPEG images and almost 30 12-bit RAW files, at 5 fps and with a buffer size of around 17 photos when set to the highest 14-bit RAW quality and at 7 fps if you can deal with the added 1.3x crop factor. The battery life has also been improved and now sits at more than 1100 shots, instead of the 950 the D7100 was capable of achieving. This means that you won’t have to bother investing into a backup battery pack, unless you are planning to stay away from any kind of wall socket for an unnaturally long period of time (shooting in the wilderness, desert or any other natural environment, for example).

Video features and quality

This is one of those cameras that market the transition for Nikon from being a camera manufacturer strictly focused on the stills side of things to become one that finally decided to put more effort on the movie mode and everything that goes with it. We still wouldn’t consider the D7200 to be the direct competitor to the best video recording hybrids on the market (like the Panasonic GH5 or the Sony A7 III), but it should serve the less demanding professionals just right with its decent capabilities and features. If you’re not in need of 4K recording, then the 1080p 60 fps recording will be fine for most use case scenarios (unless you’re planning shoot any videos that will require the use of wide-angle lenses, since you’ll be required to drop the framerate to 30 fps to avoid the 1.3x crop factor that is being applied to 60 fps footage). You’ll also be able to manually control your exposure and audio levels while recording, but with the aperture value being locked at the beginning (meaning you’ll only be able to change it if you switch from live view to the viewfinder and not during capturing your videos). There’s also no electronic or hardware stabilization of any kind included, so be sure to invest in a set of lenses that have it built in or learn to carry around a tripod or a gimble with you anytime you plan to do some serious work.

Luckily for lovers of high quality sound, the Nikon D7200 is equipped both with both the headphone and the microphone jacks and will allow you to adjust both of their levels to get the perfect audio recording experience and you’ll also be able to use the included stereo microphones (which are pretty decent in their own right) if you don’t plan to invest in any additional gear. Those that like to post process their videos after recording them should also be happy with the addition of the Flat Picture Control profile, which will give them better dynamic range and a lot more room to adjust the colors to their liking without having to deal with those added artifacts and noise that would appear if you were editing regular footage. Continuous AF is also available and a little faster than the rest of the traditional live view AF systems we are used to seeing on the majority of DSLRs, but it’s still not accurate or stable enough for any kind of professional use and we would recommend sticking to manual focus when it comes to capturing anything of big importance. We would also like to see a touchscreen being included since we love having the ability to touch the screen to focus, but we are not surprised that it’s missing here considering how old school the live view focusing system really is. All in all, there is a number of limitations present on the D7200 in terms of its video recording, but if you can learn to live with those you will be able to capture some nice looking videos, even in more demanding conditions thanks to the low-noise sensor.

Image quality

If you aren’t interested in the D7200 because of its build quality and controls or its performance or its battery life, then you’re most certainly looking into purchasing it for its ability to capture excellent stills in low light and to easily deal with any high contrast scenes with is thanks to its extremely good dynamic range (which is still a good reason to purchase a Nikon DSLR or a mirrorless camera even in 2018). You’ll also get a lot of resolution in your photos if you pair the camera with a decently sharp lens and quite natural and laid back processing if you stick with shooting JPEGs.

Diving in to the Picture Control menu will also allow you to tweak the processing to your liking with the help of the Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape and Flat styles which can also be individually customized using the Sharpening, Clarity, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue, Filter Effect and Toning parameters. You’ll also be able to create custom profiles, get more balanced exposures with the help of the D-Lighting feature and get a lot more detail in both shadows and highlights thanks to the included HDR mode. Special Effects like the Color Sketch, Minature Effect, Selective Color and Silhouette are also available for those that like to be more laid back with their photography and like to experiment a lot.

Conclusion

The Nikon D7200 is a great example of a camera of how a camera that was made right from the very beginning can stand the test of time and compete on the market even three years after its release. It still has one of the most capable APS-C sensors around (especially when it comes to noise performance and dynamic range), great build quality and handling, an advanced control scheme, large and accurate viewfinder, excellent battery life, very respectable AF system and continuous shooting capabilities, a lot of control over JPEG processing and more.

It is somewhat lacking on the video recording front when compared more modern cameras (no 4K, Focus peaking, Zebra patterns, articulating touch screen, image stabilization or fast focusing), but those people that are primarily shooting photos and want to be able to occasionally capture full HD videos of respectable quality will be very satisfied with the D7200 as a whole and will be able to save some money for a nice lens instead of spending it all on of the more recent models.

Fujifilm X-T3 Review

With the mirrorless cameras becoming all the rage these days, it is no wonder that the market is being overflown with great products from all sides and all the familiar brands coming very close to each other in terms of popularity and the quality/reliability of their products. All of this is great news for us customers, since no brand can’t afford to release a subpar device any more (even if its part of the budget or the entry-level segment) because of how strong the photographic community has become and with many objective reviews floating around to help you make as much of an educated purchase as possible. This also means that the more popular and more praised manufacturers out there were also forced to step up their game once again and create even better cameras just so they can retain their place on the market.

Most of the mirrorless cameras are usually split between their price points and also the kind of sensor that is built inside of them. While the full frame and micro four-thirds sensors both have their charm and are catered to completely different types of users, the APS-C sensors were always the middle ground used to connect a lot of users sitting on the opposite sides of the sensor game. Even though they’ve dabbled in the medium format cameras market lately, the Fujifilm is and always will be one of the market leaders when it comes to producing capable, but also eye-catching mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors.

This time we got the privilege to look at one of their latest and very exciting flagship cameras, the Fujifilm X-T3. Although its predecessor still remains a great choice for those looking for a top-end mirrorless camera (especially with its drop in price now that its successor has arrived), the X-T3 promises to improve on many of the last model’s familiar strengths and also create new ones in the process. It brings a new X-Trans sensor, a much more advanced AF system, exceptionally fast burst rate, expanded video capabilities (it’s certainly great to see that Fuji is catching up to the competition in this regard and that they’re now more committed to creating successful hybrid cameras rather than putting most of the attention to producing still images), sharper and more enjoyable electronic viewfinder, expanded ISO range and more.

Judging it sorely by it specifications (we’ll talk more about them in just a moment), the Fujifilm X-T3 looks like one of the most capable APS-C cameras on the market (or even among all of them, if getting the best possible image quality isn’t you top priority) and definitely sounds like a device that will be fun to shoot with, but also very competent when it comes to tackling any type of professional work (this could also hold true for video recording if all of the included features and functionality turn out to be working hand in hand with one another, something that we’ve always wanted to see on a Fujifilm camera). Also, that iconic Fuji design still remains and manages to create a nice blend of the old and the new and we can’t wait to see if the company has managed to brings some improvements to that area as well. So, let us be done with the introductions (and premature praises) and really see what kind of technology can be found on Fuji’s flagship APS-C camera for 2018.

Fujifilm X-T3Go to Amazon
The first thing to keep in mind when taking a look at any digital camera (if image quality is important to you) is to see what kind of a sensor can be found inside its body. Fujifilm flagship cameras, in particular, are always known for their X-Trans sensors (we won’t go into all the detail about what makes them different from the more traditional ones) and the great stills quality that they were able to produce (making them one of the most capable among all APS-C units).
Overall rating:
80
Design:
0
78
100
Image Quality:
0
82
100
Features:
0
84
100
Price:
0
77
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • 2 Storage Slots
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Low Battery Life
Click to read the full Review
This time around, Fuji has finally decided to surpass the 24-megapixel limit that many manufacturers are still sitting at when it comes to their APS-C cameras (with the only exception being Samsung, but sadly, they aren’t present on the market anymore) and include a 26-megapixel BSI sensor this time around. While we are sure that the modest increase in resolution won’t bring dramatic improvements to sharpness, it’s always good to see technology moving forward and manufacturers moving away from their comfort zones. The said sensor also promises things like pleasant color rendering, low noise at high ISO values and also great dynamic range and considering we are dealing with a top-end Fujifilm camera we are pretty certain that it will deliver on those promises and set a new standard for the company.

The X-T3 is also the very first Fujifilm camera to be coupled together with the new X-Processor 4 (it promises great image quality, but most of its power is used to improve the performance and enable the camera to shoot faster), supports ISO values ranging from 160 to 12800 (expandable to as low as ISO of 80 or as high as 51200), 14-bit RAW files, exposure compensation adjustments from -5 to +5 EV, HDR, white balance bracketing and much more. While it’s mechanical shutter allows it to use shutter speeds as high as 1/8000 sec (typical for a modern flagship camera), it’s the electronic shutter part that gives it the ability to crank it up all the way up to 1/32000 sec (despite the increase in rolling shutter effect using the electronic shutter, sports and action shooters will certainly appreciate having the option to freeze the motion even further if the occasion demands it).

While we’re on the topic of photographers in demand of fast focusing cameras bearing high burst rates, they should definitely keep the X-T3 when the times comes to make the upgrade, since it does bring many features to the table that will appeal to that exact type of audience. The new 425-point Hybrid AF system brings a nice increase in the number of available focusing points (together with all the improvements and optimizations you would expect from a newer model including those made to AF Tracking and Face/Eye detection AF), but the more impressive thing is certainly the much faster continuous shooting speed (which now sits at 20 fps instead of 14 fps on the previous model). There’s also the additional 30 fps mode, which adds a 1.25x crop to images, but we are certain that some photographers will find themselves using this one just to squeeze out a little more speed and also give their telephoto lenses slightly more reach.

You should also keep in mind that both of these modes only work with the use of an electronic shutter and that the burst rate for the mechanical one is rated at 11 fps, which is still a very good speed for a high-end mirrorless camera. We would also like to praise the addition of dual SD card slots (both compatible with the fast UHS-II standard) as they will allow you to get both the fast buffer clearing times and the backup times and obviously give you a bigger piece of mind if you’re one of those professionals that shoots a lot of photos on a daily basis. Fuji have decided to keep their familiar design language with he X-T3 as well (you certainly won’t hear us complaining about that) and also the rugged build quality (magnesium alloy construction and weather sealing are both included) while still managing to keep the overall weight to a very manageable 539 grams (the same can be said for the camera’s overall dimensions). A lot of professional mirrorless cameras are slowly trading their portability and weight for bigger grips, improved durability and better handling and we are all for it when you consider the fact that they’re still a lot easier to carry around than the largest and heaviest DSLRs out there.

The X-T3’s body also includes important things like the microphone and headphone jacks, micro-HDMI and USB 3.1 Gen 1 compatible ports, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE (but no pop-up flash this time around since Fuji have figured out that the potential buyers of this type of camera probably already own a separate external flash unit) while also bringing a very good tilting TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots and an even better electronic viewfinder with a magnification of 0.75x (in addition to its Sports Finder mode which gives you a more zoomed in view by adding a 1.25x crop to your images, resulting in around 16.6 megapixels of data to work with) and a resolution of 3,690,000 dots. This brings us to the video recording capabilities and the X-T3 surely does sound like one of Fuji’s most feature packed cameras ever in this regard due to including things like 4K 60 fps UHD/DCI capture, F-log support, fast continuous AF during recording, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording over HDMI and 4:2:0 H.265 internally, focus peaking, zebra exposure warnings and so on.

The only feature that’s nowhere to be found is the in-body image stabilization (now the Canon EOS R is not alone in being one of 2018 flagship cameras that are lacking this functionality) and you’ll have to be sure to get lenses with OIS built-in or to invest in a gimble or a tripod to get stable footage with this camera, making it a less ideal choice for those videographers that like to shoot a lot of handheld videos, but more than fine for anyone else, which still makes it more powerful than any other Fujifilm camera for this kind of job.

Body and handling

As we’ve said it before in many of our previous reviews, if you’re buying a Fujifilm mirrorless camera, you’ll either get a nice design and decent build quality or even better design and very good build quality, there is no third possible option. Fuji is one of those companies that have managed to nail the aesthetic of their mirrorless devices and are holding on their formula very firmly, with only making slight changes in their design when the need arises to add more functionality to any new product. The X-T3 is their latest camera to follow in the footsteps of all their previous flagship models (accept for the X-H1 and the GFX 50S, but those are special cameras in their own rights) by bringing the same iconic look and two different variants: a stealthy all-black version and the silver and black model that is more reminiscent of older film cameras. It’s also the same combination of faux-leather materials and metal appreciated by almost every photographer out there, with the addition of weather sealing (this means that you shouldn’t have to worry about carrying the X-T3 with you to do any kind of photo shoots in harsher environments or conditions) and again, a lot of physical buttons and dials.

The control layout remains very good, especially when you consider the fact that this camera has got a lot of controls to work with as they are scattered literally everywhere around the body. Only the back of the camera is a little cleaner than usual, but that is due to the addition of the three-axis tilting touchscreen and the confidence from Fuji that you’ll also be able to use the camera mostly by tapping and swiping to adjust and access things, which means completely silent operation (something that will be especially useful to those that like to shoot videos as some microphones tend to pick up the noise made by the included physical controls). The only thing that could be slightly better on the X-T3 is its hand grip, since it is somewhat on a small side when compared to other high-end cameras that have arrived on the market in 2018. It should be fine if you have normal sized hands, but those of you with more chunky ones should look into investing in the optional MHG-XT3 grip as it will give you more room to hold the camera securely, especially if a heavier and bigger lens is attached to it.

Now that we’ve given you our impressions of handling and build quality, let us examine all the available functions and controls more closely and see if this camera’s design is as impressive as everyone expects it to be. Right from the front of the camera, the things start to get exciting since this is where you’ll find the front command dial, the Fn button, the AF-assist illuminator/self-timer lamp, the lens release button, the sync terminal and lastly, the focus mode selector (so, a lot of stuff).

fujifilm x-t3

The left side of the X-T3 houses all the ports and jacks protected with a detachable connector cover, while the right side holds the remote release connector and the memory card slots. The vertical battery grip connector, the tripod mount and the battery chamber al located at the bottom of the camera.

fujifilm x-t3

The top of the camera body is where most of the available dials lie; there’s a little one used for making diopter adjustment and three large ones used for adjusting the ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and exposure compensation. The last three dials are also one of biggest selling points of the X-T3 and will allow you to adjust your exposure without even having to look at any of the screens to see all the important values (we also like the fact that both the ISO and the shutter speed dials feature lock release mechanisms to account for any accidental adjustments as well as the additional functionality of giving you the option to switch to Extended High, Low or Auto ISO or to automatic shutter speed, Timer or Bulb modes right from the dials themselves). The rest of the top plate is filled with the hotshoe mount, the FN button, the stereo microphones and the On/Off switch. In the end, let us see what can be found on the rear of the camera body. Aside from the obvious (the LCD screen and the EVF), the X-T3 also includes the Delete and the Playback buttons, a rear command dial, the AF-L and the View Mode buttons, a little indicator lamp, the Quick Menu button, a very useful Focus stick that will allow you to quickly select your desired focus points, the four-way selector with the Menu/Ok button in the middle and on the very bottom of the right side, the Display/Back button. All navigation buttons that form the four-way selector also count as Fn3, Fn4, Fn5 and the Fn6 buttons and can be programmed to access things like Image size or quality, Film Simulation effects, Histogram, Drive Setting, Focus Area, Shutter Type and a whole lot more features and functions.

fujifilm x-t3

While the user interface on the X-T3 is pretty solid and easy to understand, its intuitiveness isn’t its biggest strength, since that role belongs to all the customization that can be done to make the camera work as you want it to. The first useful thing that you’ll be able to do is to pick the items that will be shown on and around you’re screen while you’re composing an image or recording a video and thus, depending on your habits and needs, you will be able to pick the exact info shown on your screen (for example the Shooting mode, Focus mode, Frames remaining, Mic Level, Histogram and more). There’s also the ability to enable the Virtual Horizon feature and also the Framing outlines (an option that will make the borders on the frame more visible against dark backgrounds). We also like the fact that Fuji has included the option to adjust the volume and the sound type of the camera’s shutter and also the brightness and the color of the LCD screen and the EVF, something that will certainly help you get the best shooting experience and cater it to your particular needs.

Another important feature that can be found on the X-T3 and is essential to its usability is the Quick Menu. As you would expect from its name, it is a customizable and easily accessible menu (just by holding its dedicated Q button) that can hold many different types of user selectable functions like the Touch screen mode, Movie mode, White balance, Self-timer, EVF LCD brightness and color and more. Your next order of business should be choosing the behavior of the included function (Fn) and touch function (T-Fn) buttons. The list of available items to choose from is massive and both types of function buttons can be programmed to enable access to things like Grain effect, Dynamic range, Focus Check, ISO Auto setting, IS mode and a lot more, with only limitation being that the AE Lock, AE/AF lock, AF-On and the AWB lock options cannot be assigned to the touch function buttons (something that really shouldn’t bother anyone, since the flexibility of physical function buttons is much more important anyways). On top that, you will also be given the option choose the role of the of the directional navigation buttons (either to use them as function buttons or as the means of positioning the Focus area), all the command dials (either one of them can be set to adjust the aperture or the shutter speed, but only the front dial has three separate profiles attached with two of them giving you the option to change your ISO and the exposure compensation. Lastly, we should also mention that you’ll be allowed to pick your desired High or Low ISO settings found on the sensitivity dial, which parts of the touch screen will remain active while you’re using the EVF, at which frame rate will the viewfinder operate (60 of 100 fps) na also, use the My Menu feature to pick your most frequently used options and place them under one menu that can be brought up with he Menu/Ok button (it’s certainly something that goes hand in hand with the Q Menu option).

fujifilm x-t3

Now, let us talk about everything the Fujifilm X-T3 offers in terms of its connectivity, both the wireless and the wired one. Most of the wireless-related features revolve around pairing the camera with a smartphone or a tablet (which can be done by using the Fujifilm Camera Remote application ) and those include the ability to control the X-T3 remotely, transfer any of the captured photos your phone’s memory, upload location data to the camera and also update the camera’s firmware. Most of those use the more energy efficient Bluetooth connection, while the photos themselves will be transferred via Wi-Fi (a logical choice, considering its much faster than Bluetooth). You will also be able to connect the camera to your PC via the Fujifilm PC AutoSave program and upload your photos, use tethered shooting with the help of the Fujifilm X Acquire application, Tether Shooting Plug-in and the Hyper-Utility Software, create JPEG copies of your RAW photos thanks to the Fujifilm X RAW Studio and also save and load your camera’s settings using the Fujifilm X Acquire (that’s indeed a lot of software to get a grasp of, but it is certainly worth it to learn your way around them for the massive gain in available communication options).

Lastly, you could also decide to connect the X-T3 to an instax SHARE printer for some quality prints and also to an HDMI-compatible screen for some easy sharing of all the work you’ve done with the camera. All in all, it is really hard to find any potential flaws in Fujifilm X-T3 design and build quality, as well as its user interface and all the features related to its communication with other devices. It offers quite an impressive and complete set of features that will certainly be appreciated both by the professionals and hobbyists and enable them to use the camera just the way they want to, with almost no limitations when it comes to customization and a long list of helpful tools for all kinds of different use case scenarios. It doesn’t take very long for it to power on and take the first shot (around 1 second), it constantly focused in under 0.1 seconds during all of our testing (unless we’re talking about low light photography, but it remained fairly snappy even under such demanding conditions) and also, it didn’t take it longer than 0.4 seconds to write a single photo on the memory card and get ready for the user to take the next one.

fujifilm x-t3

The subject tracking performance is also much improved over the X-T2 and new 425-point hybrid AF system puts the new model right on the top of the list of APS-C cameras when it comes to its focusing consistency, accuracy and decisiveness. Only in rare occasions did it manage to lose a subject for a moment, but even than it quickly came to its senses and started tracking it again properly (the overall performance does very much depend on the focus mode being used and also finding the right settings for fine tuning the camera to fit your type of job).

Autofocus and performance

It’s no secret that back in the day mirrorless cameras used to lag noticeably in performance and responsiveness when compared to even some of the entry-level DSLRs and that manufacturers have been struggling for a long time before they’ve managed to produce ones that are able to level the playing field. While some of them still tend to lag behind a modern DSLR in this aspect, more advanced models like the X-T3 are ready to take their larger competitors to head to head in this particular battle. The Fujifilm X-T2 was already a camera that could hold its own against all the fierce competition, but the X-T3 is here to bring even better shooting experience and all our numbers and test results are certainly a reflection of nothing but success.

While the Nikon D500 could still be considered as the best performer among APS-C cameras in regard to tis overall capabilities, the X-T3 is certainly the best mirrorless camera out of the bunch, making it a great choice for those that want a lighter and more portable body, but still a very capable focusing system housed in a durable body. Now, let us see if Fuji has managed to include enough options and settings to allow the professional user to make the most out of the powerful focusing system and also, to allow more casual users to get great results just by choosing any of the available modes. Switching between main focusing modes on the X-T3 is a trivial task thanks to the focus mode selector found on the front of the camera; it will allow you to choose between Single AF (used for stationary subject since it locks the focus when the shutter is pressed halfway), Continuous AF (this mode will allow the camera to constantly adjust focus depending on the changes in your scene) and Manual focus modes. Both of the AF modes have separate sub modes attached to them, so the Single AF has the Single Point (used for very precise focusing), Zone (the camera will use any number of focus points within the selected zone), Wide (a wide area of focus points is being used to focus on a high-contrast subject)and All, while the continuous mode also has Single Point (in this case the camera will track any moving subject on which you place your focus point and is best used for those subjects that move closer to you or are moving away), Zone (focuses on a subject within the selected zone and works best for those that move in a predictable manner) and All, but replaces the Wide mode with the Tracking one (uses the entire frame and all the available focus points to look for any motion making it the best mode to be in for subjects with less predictable behavior or those that move on many different focusing planes).

fujifilm x-t3 sample

Photo courtesy of RHMImages

Focusing manually with the X-T3 is a breeze thanks to the number of assist tools available like the Manual Focus Indicator (it will show you the exact distance at which you’re currently at), Focus Zoom (if enabled, the camera will automatically enlarge the selected focus area after you rotate the manual focus ring on your lens), Focus Peak Highlight (adds color to the high-contrast outlines so you can more easily spot areas that are in focus), Digital Split Image (splits the center of your image into four different parts and helps you nail focus by correctly aligning them) and lastly, the Digital Microprism (turns your frame into a grid pattern when you haven’t focused on your subject correctly and creates a perfectly sharp image after you’ve done so).

It’s really interesting to see the direction in which the modern mirrorless cameras are going; while their AF systems are getting better with each new generation, they are also becoming increasingly more capable of working with manual focus and thus, it’s never been easier to use legacy lenses in the whole digital age than it is now. Now, since the X-T3 does very well in keeping up with moving subjects, it is also expected that its burst rate does the same and we were very pleased to discover that it certainly lived up to our expectations. There are three shooting speeds available: 30, 20 and 11 fps and each one of them brings different buffer depths. Using the 30 fps mode will yield around 70 JPEG or 33 RAW images, the 20 fps one will give you around 65 or 35 and the 11 fps (the only one that uses the mechanical shutter) will enable you to get over 180 JPEG or 36 RAW files. So, you’ll certainly be getting plenty of room when it comes to balancing speed and image quality.

fujifilm x-t3 sample

Photo courtesy of psinderbrand

There’s only one area in which the X-T3 doesn’t break any new ground and that is the battery life. While its rating of 370 shots for the EVF and 390 for the LCD monitor is slightly above average when compared to another mirrorless camera, you will still be required to carry an additional battery pack for those busier shooting days or use the USB charging feature to plug in an external battery bank on those occasions where you have the camera in your bag or you’re constantly recording videos (especially if its in 4K resolution).

Video features and quality

We and many other reviewers were always somewhat critical of Fujifilm for their lack of attention to video recording on a lot of their cameras through the years, but times are certainly changing for the company and they’re devices are more capable than ever in this regard in now in 2018. It seems that they have almost reached the limits of what they can do in terms of stills image quality and all the available lenses and that it was only logical that they have started putting some serious effort into improving one the weakest aspects of their past cameras. Well, the X-T3 is the perfect showcase of that very effort, since it is the most capable Fujifilm camera to this date in terms of video recording capabilities.

As expected out of a modern mirrorless camera it includes obligatory features such as 4K recording, microphone and headphone jacks, a tilting touch screen, hybrid AF (because phase detect points do wonders for video recording when it comes to continuous focusing) and a capable sensor bearing great dynamic range and noise performance, but those things alone aren’t enough to make a professional camera for video production and thus Fuji have decided to take it to the next level with the X-T3. The first thing they’ve done was increasing the bitrate to an impressive 400 Mbps (resulting in very clear and sharp footage that is free of any compression artifacts), added the Zebra exposure warnings (they will allow you to easily judge the correct exposure while recording), 1080p 120 fps capture  (allowing for very effective slow-motion capture and that of better quality than one found on the X-T2 and X-H1 cameras), Movie Silent Control mode (it gives you the option to only use the touch screen as your main method of control and thus, not produce any noise while recording and adjusting your settings), focus peaking and a magnified view, external 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI recording and lastly, the all-important F-log profile (which will give you more headroom while post processing your videos).

The only thing missing on this impressive set of features is in-body image stabilization, but only the type of your particular workflow will decide if the X-T3 is a perfect camera for you or not (and by that we mean that it’s a very impressive video production tool if you can live without that one feature). It’s great to see that Fujifilm is succeeding in creating a line up of cameras that will finally enable existing Fuji fans or those that were always curious about the brand to produce high-quality video content that can rival even the fiercest competition out there.

Image quality

Everyone already knows that if you’re looking into buying a great APS-C mirrorless camera for shooting stills that getting a Fujifilm device is one of the best choices you could make. For years now, they’ve been leading the pack because of their great image processing and high-quality sensors, but the competition has started catching up to them and for this reason alone the X-T3 isn’t as impressive anymore as some of its predecessors used to be in their prime time.

The new 26-megapixel BSI sensor brings slightly more resolution and a little less noise at its lowest ISO value (which is now 160 instead of 200), but other than that it produces photos that are very similar to X-T2 when you crank up the ISO sensitivity to higher values (from 1600 and up). This means that the X-T3 isn’t a camera that will be able to beat the best cameras out there in terms of its stills quality, but rather compete with them on the same level. (which is far from being a bad thing, since such a fact doesn’t lessen its imaging capabilities in any way since it is still a very powerful camera in its own right).

fujifilm x-t3 sample

Photo courtesy of RHMImages

We believe that the lack of real evolution in photo quality is because of Fuji’s focus on improving the performance and the video recording capabilities over the X-T3’s predecessor and we wholeheartedly agree with the decision (since this new model is a much more complete camera than the X-T2 was). Fuji has also perfected the JPEG processing algorithms for all of you that aren’t planning to shoot in RAW format and we really like the fine balance they’ve managed to strike between accurate colors, sharpening and noise reduction. The rather popular Film Simulation modes are also on board (Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg. Hi, Pro Neg.Std, Eterna, Acros, Monochrome and Sepia), as well as all the image adjustments (Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Long Exposure NR and the Lens Modulation Optimizer) and the Advanced Filters (Toy Camera, Minature, Pop Color, High-Key, Low-Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus and six different Partial Color effects).

All in all, while Fuji haven’t managed to create a mirrorless camera to raise the bar in photo quality this time around, they did up their game in improving all the other aspects that are instrumental in determining if a camera is worth its price and we are really happy that the imaging capabilities didn’t suffer in any way while the company was following their path of creating the best product possible.

Conclusion

Once again Fuji have made it very easy to review one of their flagship cameras (and we mean easy when it comes to having very little bad things to say about a product, since the hard thing to do was to examine every important feature and finding the time to include it in this article just for the sheer number of them that are included) and there are many reasons why this is true in case of the X-T3. It brings a new generation of X-Trans sensors, excellent Hybrid AF system, great build quality and a very flexible control scheme, easy composition of images and videos thanks to the high-quality LCD and EVF units, fast burst rate and deep a deep buffer, dual SD card slots, microphone and headphone jacks, 4K recording at 400 Mbps, extensive manual focus tools, F-log, 120 fps 1080p recording and a whole lot more.

There’s only one thing that stops it from being an almost perfect device and that is the Fuji’s decision against including the IBIS or in-body image stabilization. While it won’t be a deal breaker for the majority of people looking for a high-end mirrorless camera we still would have liked to see it included so we could give the Fujifilm X-T3 a perfect 10/10 score (it is more like a 9.5/10 when you consider the rest of the positive aspects of this camera). Still, we are happy to see that the mirrorless cameras are becoming more capable with each passing year and that they are finally becoming equal to DSLRs when it comes to professional photography and videography and there is nothing better for the end user than having more options to choose from when deciding what they’re next purchase will be.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 VI Review

We all know that the popularity of point-and-shoot (or compact cameras as some tend to call them) is at an all-time low since a lot of people started regarding their smartphones as good enough cameras that also have a huge benefit of being the device that they carry with them at all times. For this reason alone there is rarely any new entry-level compact camera worth mentioning that has reached any kind of mainstream success in the last couple of years and the only part of the market still left unconquered by smartphones is the one that carries more advanced devices like superzooms and those with bigger sensors, like 1-inch or micro 4/3.

While smartphones are more capable than ever in terms of the image quality they are able to produce, but also the flexibility of having multiple sensors and lenses (usually short telephoto or wide angle) they are still handily beat by compact and bridge cameras in that regard, since no amount of software processing is enough to beat more complex optical designs and hardware in general. Still, among a lot of different things, only one stands out as the reason for the rebirth of compact cameras and that is the arrival of first 1-inch sensors, which tend to strike a very nice balance between compelling image quality and the ability to add versatile zoom lenses on top of them without having to sacrifice the camera body size too much.

One of the first manufactures that started the trend of powerful compact cameras is Sony with their RX100 line up of devices and they are still the most popular choice among advanced photographers even to this day. This time we’re taking a look at the sixth iteration of those products, the Sony RX100 VI and as is always the case with new models, it improves on many aspects of its predecessor (which certainly isn’t a trivial thing to do, considering the RX100 V is an already great camera in its own right and by any modern standards). Still, since technology is moving forward at a rapid pace, camera manufacturers always have to think ahead of time and try their best to anticipate the newest upcoming trends and cater to al the demands any photographers could have (while there’s still a lot of them who only care about basic functionality and reliability, the number of those that require very specific feature sets is increasing). Long ago, the only thing people had to worry about their cameras was the lens choice and getting the correct focus and exposure, but now you can’t even hope to release a widely successful camera without including as many bells and whistles and possible and filling the list of features with as many items as you can (even if some of them won’t be used by the majority of photographers).

Sony has decided to find a nice balance between making a quality product and bringing a rich feature set with the RX100 VI (as we’re about to see in the very next section of this review), but there is one interesting question we would like to find the answer for after we’ve concluded this article and that is the question of image quality limits that the current 1-inch sensors have already reached by now (while the bigger sensors are constantly evolving). Are the imaging capabilities still good enough when compared to that of current mirrorless cameras just to get all the benefits in portability or are the premium compact cameras in dire need of some new advances in sensor technology to keep up with rest of the market? Let us look at one of the best 1-inch cameras out there and finally satisfy our curiosity about the current state of such devices.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC RX100 VIGo to Amazon
Just like the camera that came before it the RX100 VI also includes Sony’s trademark 20-megapixel 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor and will produce results that are very similar to its predecessor (at least when it comes to shooting in RAW).
Overall rating:
81
Design:
0
78
100
Image Quality:
0
84
100
Features:
0
87
100
Price:
0
73
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • NFC Connectivity
  • Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • RAW Shooting
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • Timelapse via optional app
  • Panorama Shooting
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • Low Battery Life
  • Heavy Body
  • No Environmental Sealing
Click to read the full Review
JPEG algorithms should be improved and more optimized, which means that you will be getting more balanced images and more usable ones while shooting at higher ISO (since applying the right amount of noise reduction is always something the camera manufacturers have to battle with and the RX100 VI is no exception to this rule). So, you certainly won’t be upgrading to this newer model to get slightly improved image quality, but you could for the entirely new lens that comes with it. Sony went with a very different approach with this camera when compared to the rest of the devices in the RX100 line up and that’s increasing the zoom range but reducing the maximum available aperture. Thus, you’ll be getting a 35 equivalent focal length of 24 to 200mm (a pretty flexible range for such a portable camera, especially when you consider that it's optically stabilized) and the fastest available aperture of f2.8 at the wide and f4.5 at the telephoto end.

Once again, that kind of a lens won’t please everyone as some will like the much better zoom range but miss the low light capabilities found on the RX100 V (the story was similar before, with some photographers not liking the rather short zoom range). If you want our subjective opinion, we like Sony’s decision of going with zoom over maximum aperture since the longest focal length of 70mm found on the older model still wasn’t enough to capture photos of any kind of distance subjects and shooting at 200mm will certainly rectify that particular issue. The lens itself also has a minimum focusing distance of 8 cm (making it a great choice for doing macro photography) and also works in tandem with the 3.8x digital zoom, which is good for those people that can accept some drop in image quality to get more closer to their subject.

That kind of a zoom range will go perfectly with Sony’s advanced on-sensor 315-point phase-detection AF system (which has been performing wonderfully on the RX100 V and it shouldn’t be any different this time around). Couple that with a powerful Bioniz X processor, an eye-watering burst rate of 24 fps and a very fast shutter speed of 1/32000 sec (thanks to the included electronic shutter) and the RX100 VI suddenly seems like a decent backup camera for shooting sports, action or wildlife (something its predecessor wasn’t capable of simply because of its limited lens). While the viewfinder on this camera is the same as the one on the previous model (an OLED unit of very good quality, resolution of 2,360,000 dots and a 0.59x magnification), the tilting 3-inch 1,228,800 dot LCD has received a massive upgrade; it’s now touch-sensitive, a first for any of the RX100 series of cameras.

We really don’t know why it took so long for Sony to include a feature that has been present on a lot of cameras released in the last three or four years, but it is certainly good to finally see it included on a high-end compact camera such as the RX100 VI (it is quite silly that it was missing on the older models, considering the fact that they were also considered flagship compacts in their own time). The RX100 VI retains the very small and pocketable dimensions that graced each of its predecessor, making it one of the smallest enthusiast cameras among its competition (it’s even smaller and lighter if you compare it to any mirrorless ILC out there, let alone a DSLR), but also one of them that gives out the most premium feel when being held in the hand (thanks to the precision crafting done to its aluminum body and the feel of its controls). While it does not include microphone and headphone jacks, nor the standard hotshoe port that would allow you to connect an external flash (we’re not surprised by their absence considering the very little amount of room Sony had to work with while designing the RX100 VI).

Still, it does feature important functions like Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, NFC, micro-HDMI port (it supports uncompressed 4K 30 fps output), micro-USB port, a single SD Card slot that supports both the SD and the Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick Pro Duo cards, stereo microphones, a built-in flash with a range of 5.9 meters when the ISO is set to Auto and a lithium-ion battery rated at 240 shots and compatible with USB in-camera charging. Besides being a favorite stills tool for many photographers that like to travel light, the RX100 models are also quite popular among the video recording crowd thanks to including things like no-crop 4K recording, good continuous AF performance, 1080p 120 fps slow-motion capture, zebra exposure patterns, focus peaking, Log modes (yes, more than one) and also a couple of features that we will keep to ourselves until we reach the section of this review dedicated to video recording (it wouldn’t be an interesting review if we spill the beans about every feature of any camera right at the beginning, wouldn’t it?).

So, we can already conclude that the RX100 VI isn’t a camera that will satisfy the tastes of every photographer and videographer out there, but it could be a dream camera for those that value portability over anything else, but still aren’t prepared to sacrifice a lot of image quality to get a device that will easily fit in their pockets.

Body and handling

The Sony RX100 VI doesn’t bring a lot of changes in its design when you compare it to its predecessor and the rest of the series, but it does look as iconic and as recognizable as all of them do. It’s made out aluminum, making it durable and lightweight at the same time (weighing only 301 grams together with the battery) and looks very sleek thanks to its sleek lines and the lens that is nicely tucked into the body without protruding too much. It’s still not as comfortable to hold as most of the mirrorless cameras and DSLRs since it doesn’t have any kind of front grip and because of its narrow dimensions (people with bigger hands should probably look at a different type of device), but on the flip side it is one of the most portable compact cameras out there and its small size is even more impressive when you take into account that it packs a large 1-inch sensor inside of its body.

Its buttons and dials are also on the small side when compared to larger devices, but also made with precision and give a very pleasant feedback when being used. A big part of the Sony RX100 VI’s design and identity are certainly its EVF (something that is still very rare to find on a compact camera of any type) and an articulating TFT LCD touchscreen that will be perfect for taking self portraits or shooting vlogs (which is one the biggest reasons why you would want to buy a camera like this one). Another good thing about the RX100 VI is that it even the beginner photographers will be able to enjoy using it since Sony decided not to include too many buttons and dials (just the right number of them to allow you to access some of the more important features) and instead give you the option to play around with more advanced options using the touchscreen (which works perfectly well for any kind of input) or to dive deeper into the menus to spend some time customizing the camera. If there is one thing left for Sony to include on the next iteration of their RX100 cameras it has to be the environmental sealing but considering all the moving parts the camera has (especially the pop-up flash and the EVF), it will certainly take a lot of brain power to come up with a solution to that problem, so you shouldn’t hold your breath to wait for its arrival.

sony rx100 vi

All in all, we are very pleased with everything Sony has done here as it seems that they’ve left no stone unturned and have managed to bring a fine balance between usability and portability. Now, let us see what exact thing you’ll be able to find on the RX100 VI when you take it in your hands and play with it for the very first time. Since the camera’s trademark design is most apparent from its front, it’s only natural that we start our little tour of the RX100 VI right there. Besides the lens and its control ring, you will find nothing else but the self-timer lamp/AF illuminator and the camera’s distinctively clean design. The left side is where the viewfinder pop-up switch and the N mark lie (this particular spot is where you’ll have to touch the camera and your Android device to initiate the pairing via NFC), while the right side houses the micro-HDMI and the micro-HDMI jacks and also the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna.

The bottom of the camera is where you’ll find the tripod socket hole and the compartment which contains both the NP-BX1 lithium-ion battery pack and the SD/Memory Stick Pro Duo compatible memory card slot. By looking at the top of the RX100 VI from left to right you will immediately find one of the most unique aspects of this camera and the rest of the series, the pop-up EVF (it’s certainly a nice thought out solution that will enable you to feel more involved when taking photos and a better shooting experience than using the LCD screen) as well as a lot of other things including the pop-up flash, the eye sensor, the flash pop-up switch, a pair of stereo microphones, the On/Off and the shutter button equipped with a zoom lever and lastly, the main mode dial (which includes the Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure, Memory recall, Movie, High Frame Rate, Sweep Panorama and the Scene Selection modes). All that is left is to take a look at the back of the RX100 VI and see if the rest of the included controls are enough to successfully complete its entire package. The large portion of the back is dominated by the tilting touchscreen, while the rest of the available area is occupied by the Fn/Send to Smartphone and Movie buttons, the Menu button, the control wheel with a single button placed inside of its center and also the Playback and the Custom/Delete buttons. The control wheel itself also acts as a four-way navigation controller and by default, it will allow you to quickly access the Display Setting, Exposure Compensation, Self-timer/Drive mode and the Flash Mode function.

sony rx100 vi

Well, we can safely conclude that the control scheme on the Sony RX100 VI won’t awake any particular excitement in more demanding or professional users, but it certainly works well in tandem with the included touch screen and things like the pop-up flash and electronic viewfinder units and will enable you to use it either as a point-and-shoot (always left in its Auto mode) or a fully controllable compact camera with relative ease and without having to waste a lot of time adjusting to its capabilities. There are a few things that will make your life easier while using the RX100 VI and allow you to have more control over the camera without having to spend time going through the menus or having to press too many buttons.

The first is the important thing to take note of is the lens control ring and it will let you change different sets of settings depending on the mode you’re in, in addition to giving you the ability to customize its behavior. Then there’s the Fn button accompanied by the Function menu. Just pressing it once will bring up a special overlay over your screen that can be populated by up to 12 different functions of your choice (it also won’t interfere with your composition since its transparent and located at the very bottom of the screen). The Quick Navi screen is also a very important addition and was especially optimized for being used while you’re looking through the viewfinder (a big benefit of having an EVF over a regular optical viewfinder) and will allow you to adjust things like Shutter speed, ISO, Aperture, Exposure compensation and more, but also provide useful information such as the Histogram, your currently selected Aspect Ratio and also the Virtual horizon.

Now, let us also mention a few interesting features that could also help your workflow or allow you to have more fun with your new camera. These are the Recall feature (which will allow you to quickly bring up some of your most often-used settings or modes just by using the left or the right side of the control wheel), the High Frame Rate Mode (as the name implies, it will give you the ability to record movies at very high frame rates and thus capture motion in a more artistic manner), the My Menu (it can contain up to 30 different items and is a great feature for gaining quicker access to less-used functions that will otherwise take a lot longer to find in the menus), Superior Auto mode (a more advanced version of the regular Auto mode since it will allow you to get properly exposed photos of backlit subjects or in low light condition since it will instruct the camera to take multiple images into one higher quality one), Smart Teleconverter (it will allow you to magnify and crop you’re your image as much as you desire and assign those exact parameters to one of the available custom keys), Dual Rec (very useful feature which will enable you to capture still images while you’re recording a video and without having to stop or pause the recording) and many more other features that we don’t have the room to mention as it would take a very long review to unite them all under one article.

sony rx100 vi

Lastly, as is customary for this part of our camera reviews, we will be looking at how to wheel the RX100 VI copes with regard to many different types of communications. Most of you would want to connect the camera to one of your smart devices (like an Android or iOS phone or a tablet) and the only thing needed to do that will be your devices and the free PlayMemories Mobile application. You’ll be able to form one of the three methods of connecting the RX100 VI to your smart device (NFC One-touch remote, QR Code or the SSID, but do keep in mind that NFC pairing is only supported with Android devices as the iOS ones don’t support it). Besides using your smartphone or a tablet as a remote viewfinder, you’ll also be able to transfer your photos and also read the location data gathered by your Android or iOS devices. Additionally, Sony has also a number of different options when it comes to choosing the file size of your images and videos before sending them on another device (for photos, there are the Original, 2-megapixel and VGA sizes and for videos there’s a choice of Proxy or Original videos, with the Proxy footage acting as a backup lower resolution files to your primary recorded videos). The RX 100 VI will also allow you to send your images to a computer or a laptop connected to the same wireless access point as the camera (you will only be required to install the PlayMemories Home program before being able to access this functionality) and view them on a Wi-Fi enabled TV set.

Well, Sony has really taken wireless communication seriously, since their new compact camera can literally connect to any sensible device with Wi-Fi you could imagine and do it so in a simple and straightforward manner. All of this goes very well together with its excellent build quality, useful pop-up EVF, customization options, 180-degree articulating touch screen nicely suited for selfies and lastly, the very compact size that not many cameras with large 1-inch can boast about. Sony is once again proving that the camera doesn’t necessarily mean to be big in size to hold big features inside of it.

Autofocus and performance

The Sony RX100 VI includes the company’s top of the line 315-point Hybrid AF system for compact cameras and its performance and pedigree show right from the moment you take the first photo. It covers approximately 65% of the image area and mostly consists out of fast phase-detect focus points (the 315 of them) and 25 additional contrast-detect points that which are slower, but more accurate and will help with more precise focusing when it comes to still subjects or low light photography. And this camera’s focusing system isn’t just pure marketing and tech talk, since it really does provide excellent performance in the real world and we’ve got the numbers to prove it; shutter response times of well under 0.2 seconds (the time it took for the camera to focus and take a picture, both at the wide-angle and the telephoto range), shot to shot times of under 0.1 seconds while the focus is locked or set manually and an average time between each RAW photo of exactly 0.5 seconds.

These are all very respectable numbers for this class of cameras and Sony certainly wasn’t blowing smoke when marketing the RX100 VI as one of the fastest devices of its type in 2018. They are also positioning this camera as a portable backup body to dedicated sports and action photographers, which is certainly the role it will be able to fulfil if its longest focal length of 200mm is enough of a reach for you (yes, it’s AF system is really that capable of keeping track of even fast moving subjects).

sony rx100 vi sample

Photo courtesy of mikeselsewhere

Since we are talking about an advanced compact camera it is only natural that it includes a plethora of focusing modes and their accompanying settings, so let’s check them out. There are five main modes to choose from: Single-shot AF (your standard mode for shooting still subjects like architecture, landscapes, products and so on), Continuous AF (this mode allows the camera to focus continuously as long you’re keeping the shutter button halfway and is best for shooting any kind of moving subjects be it people, wildlife or vehicles), Automatic AF (this mode automatically switches between the AF-S and AF-C subjects when it detects the conditions you’re shooting in), Direct Manual Focus (this one combines the AF and MF by giving you the ability to manually fine-tune your focus after the camera has focused on your subject automatically) and the obligatory Manual Focus.

There’s also a great choice of available Focus Areas available and these are the Wide (covers the whole range of the screen when looking for subjects to focus on), Zone (uses a smaller frame box that can moved around the frame a put on a relatively larger targets), Center (this mode is best to be used when something is in the middle of your frame), Flexible Spot (this one will allow you to focus precisely on very small subjects and also to change the size of the focus box with the use of the control wheel), Expand Flexible Spot (the extended version of the standard Flexible Spot mode which adds a second layer of focus points around the existing focus frame) and lastly, the Lock-on AF (as the name implies this is the mode you should be in if you need to track any kind of a moving subject). Of course, you will also be able to focus on any part of your frame using the Touch AF option and also enable the Eye AF feature while shooting portraits since it will allow the camera to precisely detect people’s faces and keep them in perfect focus. As expected, manual focus is also available and so is a healthy number of useful functions that go with it like the Focus Magnifier, Focus Peaking and the MF Assist.

sony rx100 vi sample

Photo courtesy of Jessica Piludu

If there was one aspect of the RX100 V’s performance that could be immediately noticeable just with a quick glance at its specs sheet, it was certainly the impressive 24 fps burst rate (something that still can’t be found on any mirrorless camera or a DSLR to this day) and the RX100 VI improves on that performance by bringing a deeper buffer and allowing for more images to be shot in rapid succession. The caveat is that the 24 fps mode only works together with the electronic shutter, but that won’t be something that will bother too many people (the mechanical shutter still supports a very fast framerate of 10 fps). At the highest shooting speed, you can expect to get around 110 RAW or 230 JPEG frames and even more if you switch to the 10 fps mode with around 120 RAW or 280 JPEGs. There’s also a third and the slowest 3 fps burst rate available, but we didn’t bother with testing it since the other two are so good in their own right and you’ll never feel the necessity to use any other mode. You will, however, feel the need to recharge the camera often or carry around a spare battery pack if you’re the more demanding type of user.

The Sony RX100 VI’s endurance rating of 240 images is standard for such a small and demanding device, but is still below the battery life of today’s mirrorless cameras and DSLRs and even the more energy efficient (but much less capable) compact cameras out there and thus our advice would be to immediately put a second battery in your shopping cart while ordering the RX100 VI or to keep a power bank in the other pocket or a backpack because this camera also supports USB charging for topping up its battery while it remains in its compartment.

Video features and quality

The Sony RX100 VI has to be one of the most capable compact cameras on the market in terms of its video recording capabilities and the amount of attention that Sony has been putting in recent years into making devices that are equally good in recording videos as they are in producing photos shows even with the smallest of them all. You may not find things like microphone and headphone jacks or the built-in ND filter with this one, but you’ll be surprised how the rest of the RX100 VI looks like considering the fact that it’s a device that is as easy to carry around with you like your modern smartphone.

As is to be expected, this camera does capture 4K footage of very high-quality thanks to all the processing and oversampling that’s being done behind the scenes, but it’s also capable of producing 1080p videos at up to 120 fps and lower resolution ones that can go all the way to 960 fps (this means that the fans of slow-motion movies will have a lot of fun with the RX100 VI and all of its modes). Optical image stabilization (or SteadyShot, how Sony likes to call it) is also included and is very effective at smoothing out any effects of handshake (especially if you enable some of the additional stabilization modes that apply a slight crop to your footage and eliminate the shaky frames around it).

More advanced video features like the Zebra warnings, Focus peaking, Log profiles (S-Log3 and the Hybrid Log-Gamma), manual audio adjustment are also included and so is the ability to enable Continuous AF that can even track your subjects (although the AF system works noticeably better in stills than the video mode). So, the only Achilles heel of the RX100 VI and the rest of its series remains and that is the audio recording. While the lack of a headphone jack isn’t something we would ever expect to find on a camera like this one, it would be really nice if Sony has managed to include any kind of an external microphone jack (even if it’s of the smaller 2.5mm variety).

The quality of the audio recorded by the built-in stereo microphones will be good enough for most users out there (it’s far from being bad and unusable), but Sony has still missed their chance when it comes to creating an ultimate pocketable video camera and crushing the competition without mercy and the inclusion of a microphone jack would certainly be enough for them to achieve exactly that. Well, let’s hope that they’ll be more determined with the next iteration of the RX100 series when it comes to pushing the mark in terms of video recording.

Image quality

Now, among many reasons, you would have for deciding to check out the camera like the Sony RX100 VI your top priority certainly has to be the image quality benefits you would get over more basic compact cameras and any kind of smartphones that many people use as their main devices for taking photos. If it really is your most requested thing out of any pocketable camera, then you’re in luck, since Sony has managed to retain the impressive stills quality found on the older models even if the RX100 VI is somewhat of a different beast when compared to all of them.

While the 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor is everything you would expect it to be (it’s well known to be able to hold its own when it comes to high contrast scenes or low light), but the more important factor here is the new lens that sits on top of it. Many of you would expect a drop in optical quality due to increased zoom range and more complex design, but we are happy to report that the RX100 VI produces photos that are as sharp as does capture with its predecessor and that Sony has done a fantastic job of keeping the lens quality at the very high level. The only real differentiating factor between the older and the newest members of the RX100 will be the low light performance.

The reason for that is the lower maximum aperture that the RX100 VI offers because of its longer zoom lens, the higher ISO values you’ll have to use while shooting at night and the increased amount of noise you’ll get in your pictures. That is something that will bother all the image quality purists out there, but we stand by our opinion that the tradeoff in noise performance is totally worth it getting the option to shoot at focal lengths above 70mm (it makes the camera a lot more flexible and suited for many different types of uses that require a telephoto lens).

Sony RX100 VI sample

Photo courtesy of Jessica Piludu

As is the custom with any of today’s modern cameras, the RX100 VI also comes equipped with many options you’d be able to play around with to change to look of your photos without having to edit them on another device. These are the Creative Styles (Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia and the six Style Boxes that can contain custom ones), Picture Effects (Toy Camera, Pop Color, Posterization, Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color, High Contrast Mono, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Mono, Minature, Watercolor and Illustration), the Soft Skin Effect (it will smooth out the skin of your subjects) and lastly, the Auto Obj. Framing (this mode will automatically detect a subject in your frame that stands out the most and crop your photo to create a potentially better composition).

Conclusion

Once again we are met with one of Sony’s finest products from a family of cameras that are getting more capable and more powerful with each new generation and are slowly eating away at the competition. The Cyber-shot RX100 VI is yet another prime example of company’s strategy to be the best in this class of cameras and the success of their attempt shows no matter how you decide to look at this device and how interested you are to have one in your pocket. It shows us what exactly can be done with a lot of investment in new technologies and the perseverance to keep up with the same plan until you perfect the product you are working on.

The RX100 VI is not only an attractive piece of sleek aluminum, but also a great stills and video camera coupled with a very fast AF system, extremely fast shooting speeds, highly customizable user interface, an EVF that neatly tucks into the camera body when not in use, a touchscreen that can also be used for self-portraits, USB charging, class-leading set of Wi-Fi related features, high-quality 4K recording and a plethora of high framerate modes and lastly, a lens that extends the zoom range of the RX100 as much as it extends the overall flexibility and adaptability of the RX100 VI as a potential tool for sports and wildlife photographers.

The same lens also brought some critique from the die-hard fans of the series since low light capabilities had to be sacrificed because of its inclusion and those types of photographers should certainly look elsewhere for a new compact camera, but the majority of them will certainly be happy with all the improvements and a lot of things that were left unchanged because they were already as polished as they can be. We can’t wait what kind of innovation Sony will bring to the next model that reaches the market, but for now, the RX100 VI remains at the top of the list for best compact cameras in 2018.

Nikon Coolpix P1000 Review

There aren’t too many original or unique point-and-shoot cameras to be found on the market anymore and the reason for that is certainly the fact that they haven’t been enjoyed a lot of popularity since people have decided that their smartphones are more than capable enough of giving them the kind of photos and videos that could be easily posted online or kept on a hard drive as nicely recorded memories. Even the phone manufacturers themselves aren’t innovating as much as they used to when it comes to imaging (unless you like all the software trickery and heavy processing that is slowly becoming a trademark in the smartphone industry) and in a way, it’s harder than ever to pick any of those that are currently available as a decent replacement for a dedicated camera (although the less demanding photographers out there would like to lead you to believe that this isn’t the case and that you can do almost anything you want just with a smartphone).

In this case, the truth is split in two different ways and this time around we’ll be taking a look at all the arguments you could still have when it comes to purchasing a compact or a point-and-shoot camera over just accepting the fact that a smartphone is perfect for you despite some of its shortcomings. The camera we are about to review carries a very similar sensor to those that can be found in most flagship phones, but still manages to build an entire system of useful characteristics and features around it that make it one of the best products of its type on the entire market. That camera is the Nikon Coolpix P1000, a latest addition in the company’s line up of superzoom point-and-shoot devices (some also call it a bridge-style camera) and also the top of the line one, meaning that once again Nikon is on the path of creating a product that will feel as close to a DSLR as possible (at least when it comes to its design and feel), but also bring the kind of zoom range that can’t be matched by any DSLR or a mirrorless lens on the market.

We’ll talk about exact numbers in just a moment, but one thing is for sure, we are certainly dealing with one of the most flexible cameras on the market here (even if it probably won’t be able to satisfy the needs of more advanced or demanding photographers when it comes to its image quality or the lack of a flagship feature or two). Still, the Nikon P1000 wasn’t created to become the main tool for professionals and instead tries to cater to a more casual audience that wants to have an all-in-one camera, aren’t interested in having to purchase separate lenses to get the similar zoom range and want something that can handle a wide array of shooting situations out-of-the-box.

While it’s not nearly as portable as any of the smartphone and doesn’t exactly fall into the category of compact cameras, it does present itself as a perfect companion to your phone when the need arises for more direct control, zoom and better handling (which are certainly the main reasons why you should consider the P1000 as your next purchase).

Nikon Coolpix P1000Go to Amazon
The Nikon Coolpix P1000 comes equipped with a 16-megapixel sensor of the standard 1/2.3-inch size (at least one that is traditionally found on cameras of its type and also in point-and-shoots as well), but it does bring improved noise performance and better light gathering capabilities thanks to the fact that it features backside illumination (BSI).
Overall rating:
61
Design:
0
67
100
Image Quality:
0
42
100
Features:
0
73
100
Price:
0
60
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • External Flash Shoe
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • RAW Shooting
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • External Microphone Port
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Touch Screen
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Heavy Body
  • Low Battery Life
Click to read the full Review
Its image quality should be fairly similar to one produced by any of the modern smartphones, but more natural and less processed since it doesn’t include all the advanced software solutions found on today’s phones that add more contrast, sharpness and noise reduction which often results in somewhat unnatural images. You will be able to adjust the look of your photos right from the camera itself and also play around with RAW files if you’re the kind of photographer that likes to have full control over all the image processing done to your shots. Trying to get the right exposure also shouldn’t be an issue to anyone because of the native ISO range of 100-6400, exposure compensation adjustments of +2 to -2EV and also, the available shutter speeds of 60 to 1/4000 sec.

Now, the big deal about the P1000 isn’t the sensor itself, but the lens that sits on top of it. It is an optically stabilized unit (offering an impressive stabilization rating of 5 stops), with a fastest aperture range of f2.8 to f8 and a 35mm equivalent focal range that goes from decently wide 24mm and to monster telephoto range of 3000mm (you could even go as far as 6000mm if you don’t mind stepping into the digital zoom territory and you can deal with the noticeable loss in image quality). All that range equals to an optical zoom rating of 125x and the P1000 is the first camera in the world that manages to offer such a wide zoom range. Despite the fact that its rather small sensor (at least when you compare it with the likes of 1-inch sensors or above) and the very complex optical formula of the lens its paired with certainly won’t give you stunning images in terms of pure quality, it is hard not to be impressed by such an achievement from a fully technical standpoint and also by taking into account everything you’ll be able to achieve with such combination (especially if you’re shooting wildlife or you’re in a situation where you need to be far enough to not disturb your subject).

Nikon has also done a lot to bring a very effective stabilization system, so you’d be able to use the camera handled even while shooting at 3000mm (it’s not something you would be able to do if we were dealing with a camera equipped with a larger sensor). Still, we are slightly worried about one thing and that is the focusing performance and the reason for that is the pure lack of information of the type of the AF system that is built inside of the P1000. We are pretty certain that it is of the contrast detect variety, but we weren’t able to find out the number of focus points at its disposal and thus, without doing some testing, it is hard to get any kind any kind of idea of how it will perform in more demanding tasks like low light and subject tracking (we believe that it will do just fine for more standard tasks, like shooting still subjects).

The P1000 does bring quite a fast 7 fps to the table, so we hope that such a feature is at least some indication of the direction the Nikon was going with this camera when deciding how it should perform. The lens itself also has the ability to focus really close (30 cm at its normal and 1 cm at the macro range), which makes this camera a decent macro shooter (especially when you consider the fact that the smaller sensor will give you a lot of depth of field to work with and focusing shouldn’t be too much of an issue). There’s also a plethora of different focusing modes available including the Tracking functionality, but we’ll talk more about those in the separate section dedicated to focusing and performance.

Body-wise, the P1000 is the largest available bridge-style camera on the market and the reason for that is its massive lens and a pop-up flash that had to be positioned away from the body itself (so it doesn’t cause any issues with shadows). At 1415 grams, it's even heavier than most DSLRs out there and thus, it’s not a device you would want to carry with you at all times (unless you’re keeping it in your backpack or a larger than average camera bag). Still, it is a very well built and designed camera despite its shortcoming when it comes to portability considering the fact that it manages to include things like the fully articulating 3.2-inch 921,000-dot TFT LCD screen (although it’s a shame that it does not touch sensitive), a very sharp electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a resolution of 2,359,000 dots, stereo microphones (and a dedicated microphone port), UHS-I compatible SD card slot, micro-HDMI and the USB 2.0 compatible ports, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE and lastly, the already mentioned pop-up flash unit with a rather impressive range of 12 meters (together with a standard hotshoe mount to use an external flash).

If there is one last improvement that the P1000 brings to the table over its predecessor it has to be the addition of 4K recording, something that is great to see any modern camera, let alone the one with such an insanely flexible zoom range and a nicely executed stabilization system. We still don’t know how good those 4K videos will really look like (and how much of an impact the said lens and the smaller sensor will have on the overall results), but we believe that it will be more than usable for the kind of audience the Nikon P1000 is targeted at.

Body and handling

Despite being the biggest superzoom camera on the market, the P1000 isn’t as cumbersome to handle as you would have thought just by looking at its design and dimensions. Nikon has done a great job of balancing the body and distributing its weight just the right way, so it doesn’t feel very front heavy when the lens is zoomed in all the way and on top of that, the large front grip will certainly allow you to hold on to the camera very securely at all times and thus, most of you out there shouldn’t have any special issues when it comes to operating the P1000 (unless your photo sessions tend to last more than a couple of hours, in which case you will have to take a break or two to give your hands some rest before you’ll be able to shoot as effectively as possible once again).

We would certainly like to see weather sealing included on the camera in this price range (the P1000 certainly isn’t a cheap device), but in Nikon’s defense, the challenge of putting environmental protection on such a complex camera was probably too great to become cost-effective (who knows how far the price point would go if something like that was actually included). The same can be said for the overall construction, which does consist of plastic materials (not the cheap feeling type though) and that was also a logical choice in the case of the P1000 (it is plenty heavy enough as it is without having to deal with something like magnesium alloy or aluminum). Overall, this camera looks and feels like a regular sized mid-range DSLR that has chubbed up considerably and has one of the longest and largest lenses available for its mount sitting in front of its sensor (it’s entirely up to you to decide if you are willing to sacrifice portability to get the chance of using such a unique piece of gear).

nikon p1000

We certainly appreciate the fact that Nikon has managed to complete the entire package with a plethora of available buttons and dials (including the dual dials and a lens control ring), very good electronic viewfinder and the articulating LCD screen and also, two available options when it comes to zooming in and out. The lack of a touchscreen is the only thing that we could consider to be somewhat of a flaw, but other than that, the P1000 looks like a very convincing superzoom bridge-style camera when it comes to its exterior.

Now, it’s time to confirm our findings by taking a little tour around the camera body itself and making sure that everything sits in its place and that there are no nasty surprises waiting to be found. As always, we’ll start with the front of the camera and that beautifully big 24-3000mm lens. The lens itself protrudes quite a bit from the camera body, especially when its fully extended, but the extra space on the barrel has been used to include a control ring, the side zoom control slider and also, the snap-back zoom button, which activates a very useful feature that will be of great benefit to those that often shoot at the telephoto range and tend to lose the sight of your subject since it will allow them to immediately zoom out, recompose their image and returned to their previous focal length.

The only other item remaining on the front of the P1000 is the red-eye reduction lamp/AF-assist illuminator, as there wasn’t any room left to include anything else. The left side of the camera includes the micro-USB and the micro-HDMI ports as well as the accessory terminal (it will allow you to attach the optional MC2-DC2 remote cord and the WR-R10/WR-1 wireless remote controllers), while the right side is completely void of any ports or buttons. The tripod socket and the battery-chamber/memory card slot covers are located at the bottom of the camera body. The top of the P1000 is where you’ll be able to find the eyelets for attaching the camera strap, the pop-up flash and the hotshoe port, a pair of microphones, the main mode dial (also containing a special U or the User settings mode that will allow you to save all of the important settings that you usually work with within the P,S,A and the M modes), a command dial, the power switch/power-on lamp, the Fn (function button) and lastly, the shutter button/zoom control combo (this zoom lever will also allow you to magnify your view while looking at your captured images).

nikon p1000

The back of the camera holds the usual things like the articulating LCD screen and the EVF, but also the diopter adjustment control, a mono speaker, the eye sensor (allowing the camera to automatically turn on the electronic viewfinder after you put the camera to your eye), the Monitor button and the AE-L/AF-L/Focus-mode selector, the Movie-record button, the Playback and the Display buttons, the rotary multi selector coupled with the OK (apply selection) button and in the end, the Menu and the Delete buttons. The multi selector itself can also be used to access four separate functions: flash mode, self-timer/smile-timer, focus mode and the exposure compensation, aside from allowing you navigate through the menus and select/adjust any of the items contained within them.

All in all, it’s a pretty rich control scheme for a bridge-type camera, but once again (we know we’ve mentioned it before) it would be almost perfect if Nikon had taken an additional step while designing it and decided to include a touchscreen, since it is something that we’re slowly getting used to seeing on a lot of cameras in 2018 and is a generally useful feature to have on any camera. Luckily for Nikon, they have done an excellent job in creating a user interface that is easy to navigate, easy to understand (thanks to the simple and effective iconography), sorted in a logical manner (we are mentioning this since some manufacturers still can’t seem to decide in which manner should they organize the menus on their cameras) and nicely color coded.

We also like the addition of things like the Function menu (it will allow you to quickly adjust your image quality and size, the ISO, white balance, access the Picture Control feature, select the AF area mode and more), the Moon and the Bird-watching scene modes (they will automatically optimize your camera’s settings for such shooting scenarios), the Active D-Lighting feature (it will allow you to get wider dynamic range in your JPEG photos), the Zoom Memory (you’ll be able to select different focal lengths going from 24, 28, 35, 50mm and so on and let the lens automatically zoom in or out to one of those selected numbers), Zoom Microphone (the camera will try to adjust the recorded audio in accordance with your current framing and the distance of your subject), the Easy Panorama feature (it will allow you to either choose the Normal 180 degree or the Wide 360 degree options, move the camera in any of the two or four directions and combine it all into one photo that can contain much more information than the traditional ones), the ability to capture still images while recording a movie with just the full press of the shutter button and lastly, the Electronic VR feature (which will make your videos even more stable than just using the hardware-based stabilization, but it will require you to switch to a resolution lower than 4K).

So, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 does offer a lot of features that will help you in all kinds of different situations, but let us see what it brings to the table in terms of Wi-Fi and cable connectivity. The Snapbridge application (available for both Android and iOS devices) will allow you to easily connect the camera to any of your iOS or Android devices and do transfer images, location data or use the remote shooting function (it will allow you to use the screen of your smart device to view and change some of the settings and to shoot photos while being away from the camera). We also like that Nikon is making use of the Bluetooth LE technology for a lot of operations since it’s a lot more energy efficient than Wi-Fi and will leave you with noticeably more battery life if you tend to use the wireless communications frequently. The P1000 is also no slouch when it comes to connecting it to different devices the old-school way; with the use of various types of cables. You can either connect it to your TV via its HDMI port or pair it over USB with a printer or a computer (as a standard mass storage device or through Nikon’s ViewNX-i software that will allow you to organize and edit them in a more useful manner).

nikon p1000

The only thing missing from the list of supported connectivity features is the ability to record videos using the remote shooting function, which is only reserved for only two of Nikon’s latest cameras, the Z6 and the Z7 and thus we can’t consider it to be any kind of a flaw in the case of the P1000. Overall, in terms of usability, handling, build quality, controls, viewing experience and all the connectivity options, the Nikon P1000 is a very solid a feature-complete package that even some advanced users could be very happy with (although some of them will be bothered by the lack of a touch-sensitive screen, dual SD card slots or the headphone jack, but this isn’t a camera aimed at professional users anyways).

Autofocus and performance

Despite the fact that the Nikon P1000 is using a no-name contrast detect based AF system (we aren’t quite sure why they’re so abstinent when it comes to providing more information about it) we are happy to report that its capabilities and performance turned to be very satisfactory through the course of our testing (at least for its class of cameras, that is). In good lighting conditions and with lens set at its widest focal length it took only around 0.135 seconds for it to acquire focus and get ready to capture the image (that time increased to approximately 0.174 if we decided to work at the telephoto end and its certainly very impressive that the camera has managed to retain a big portion of its performance since most of the superzooms do slow down at this point).

nikon p1000 sample

Photo courtesy of liam_m_ryan

The focusing speed did drop noticeably in low light and some focus hunting started creeping in, but that was mostly when we were fully zoomed in and the camera’s sensor wasn’t receiving as much light as it would at the f2.8 aperture available at the wide end (that is just the nature of the design of this types of cameras and something you will have to learn to work with). The P1000 also doesn’t offer any kind of breathtaking performance when it comes to following moving subjects (although you could use it for some light work where your subjects aren’t moving in a very fast or frantic manner) and for a lot of other cameras that could become a potential problem when it comes to shooting wildlife (something that was part of Nikon’s marketing strategy for this camera), but the simple fact that you get so much zoom range to work with means that you’ll be to stay very far away from your subject without it even being aware of your presence and thus tracking its moment often won’t be necessary and the autofocus system will do a decent job of providing you with fast and accurate focusing. The only thing that was a little slower than average is the time it took for the camera to write the images on the SD card (a little less than 1.5 seconds), but only the less patient among will notice something like that while shooting out and about.

It is finally time to dive into the menus and see what items related to focusing the P1000 can be found there with a little digging around. It’s quite easy to switch between different focusing modes on this camera; you can use the focus-mode selector to pick either the manual or the autofocus (and press the down button on the multi selector to switch between AF, Macro and the Infinity modes). The Macro close-up setting will allow you to focus closer than the regular 30 cm minimum focus distance would allow, and the Infinity mode is best to be used for any kind of subjects that are very far away (especially if you’re shooting in the dark and you don’t have any source of light available to focus on).

nikon p1000 sample

Photo courtesy of Marilyn Dewar

The P1000 will also allow you to use different AF Area modes: Face priority (best to be used for shooting people as it will prioritize their faces over anything else in the frame), Manual (spot, normal or wide), Subject tracking (the name of the mode says it all, just pick your desired subject, focus on it once and the AF system will automatically follow it around the frame) and also, the Target Finding AF (it is turned on by default and allows the camera to automatically any moving subjects it detects). Manual focus capability is also well covered on this camera since it will allow you to enable up to 4x magnification, highlight the areas that are in focus with the peaking feature and also give you the ability to program the control ring on the barrel of the lens to act as a manual focus ring.

We were also surprised to see that the P1000 offers a decent amount of options when it comes to continuous shooting. It’s default fastest shooting speed sits at 7 fps and we were able to measure buffer depths of around 10 photos both for RAW and JPEG formats (so nothing to write home about, but good for more casual usage), but what makes this camera more interesting are the additional ones: 1 fps Continuous L mode with a buffer of up to 200 photos, the Continuous Hi 60 fps (at a resolution of 1920×1080), the Continuous Hi 120 fps (at 640×480) and lastly, the pre-shooting mode which captures around 20 JPEG images at a resolution of 1280×960 at a speed of 15 fps before you commit to pressing the shutter button. While none of them may be too exciting for more advanced photographers, they are perfect additions to those users that were planning to post most of their images to social networks and shooting in lower resolution wouldn’t be that big of a deal just to get noticeably better performance.

Now, there is only one aspect of the Nikon P1000 that falls into this category of our review that we would rate as below average when compared to its competition and other cameras in its price range has to be the battery life. The endurance rating of 250 shots is far from impressive on a 2018 camera and you will certainly be required to keep the camera topped up via USB charging or keep an extra battery pack with you if you wish to go through a mildly demanding shooting day without it dying on you just when you were beginning to have fun with it (this especially holds true if you decide to make use of its 4K recording capability). So, if you manage to take care of that little hindrance and you aren’t trying to pretend that you are using a dedicated sports camera (which it could be easily mistaken for just by its size and its lens) working with the Nikon P1000 should be nothing more than a positive experience and we really couldn’t ask more form a such a flexible and powerful superzoom camera.

Video features and quality

You wouldn’t think that a Nikon camera like the P1000 would be especially good at delivering the goods on the video recording front (since it clearly seems focused on the photography side of things), but we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s a much better tool for that particular job then we anticipated it to be.  Its headline feature has to be the capability to record footage in 4K resolution and the difference in image quality over the P900 (which only supported 1080p recording) is very noticeable, even if watch the videos from both cameras on a screen with lower 4K resolution.

The new camera also retains the slow-motion capabilities of its predecessor with the 1080p 60 fps, but also includes some neat additional ones like the 1080p 15 fps, 720p 60 fps and the 480p 120 fps (they can either be played at a faster or slower speed than the default one). Autofocus while recording is also available and can either be set to AF-S (locks the focus at the start of recording) or the AF-F (lets the camera focus continuously) mode and we can say that the focusing speed and accuracy turned out to be pretty decent (although still not at the same level that is offered by professional cameras) and reliable enough to use for more relaxed and casual clips (the use of manual focus and peaking is recommended for more crucial situations).

The Nikon P1000 will also allow you to fully control the exposure in your videos, adjust the sensitivity of any connected external microphone (although there is no headphone jack on board for more precise audio monitoring), enable the Wind Noise Reduction, Electronic VR and the Zoom Microphone features, apply different Picture Styles (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome and two separate Custom settings) and Filter effects, adjust the white balance and more. We wouldn’t go as far as to call it a camera that can compete with the best video production devices out there, but it certainly manages to hold its own within its camera class and even beat out some of its competitors in a couple of ways. We sincerely hope that Nikon will complete the package with the next iteration of this model by adding the headphone jack and the touch capabilities to the list of features and thus create a very powerful superzoom camera that could peak the interest of even some of the more demanding videographers out there.

As it currently stands, it is a very good video recording tool for those looking for a capable stills camera that can also shoot good movies when the need arises (especially if your subjects are very far away and out of reach for most devices out there).

Image quality

It is quite hard to judge the results from a camera like the P1000 when it comes to still photography as there are many different factors to take into account before you could make the final call and say if it’s good or not; there’s the smaller sensor size when compared to superzoom cameras with 1-inch sensors, a complex lens design and optics that will always be challenging for the said sensor, the quality of JPEG processing algorithms, the inclusion or the lack of RAW support and more.

In our opinion, Nikon have done a pretty good job of balancing all of those aspects of the P1000 and get the best out of everything it offers in terms of image quality. The 16-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor is a very good pairing for the 24-3000mm lens and allows the camera to produce sharp results even at the very end of the zoom range (the included RAW support will also allow you to get even more details by applying careful sharpening in post-production). The same can be said for the P1000’s dynamic range and noise performance, since both of them are on the level you would expect to see out of the more advanced superzoom camera and will benefit from RAW processing even though the JPEG algorithms are fairly good at producing nice colors and contrast and applying the right amount of noise reduction depending on the ISO value you decide to work with. The P1000’s 1-inch sensor competitors will surpass in terms of raw image quality, but on the flip side, their lenses don’t offer nearly the same amount of versatility when it comes to tackling different kinds of photography.

nikon p1000 sample

Photo courtesy of jessica mann

We would also like to mention that this camera also offers a decent number of options that will allow you to tune the look of your JPEG images including all the Picture color effects (yellow, orange, red, green and the Enhance contrast feature), more special ones (Soft portrait, Selective color, Cross screen, Fisheye, Minature effect, Painting, Vignette, Photo illustration and the Portrait)as well as the ability to adjust things like image sharpening, contrast and saturation. So, in a nutshell, even though the fact that the P1000 finally brings RAW support (something that a lot of photographers have missed having on the P900), it is still packed with so many features for image manipulation and a very balanced JPEG processing engine that you can be very confident that you will be able to get very pleasing images even without sitting at your computer and carefully editing them.

Conclusion

Well, the Nikon Coolpix P1000 is certainly one of the more interesting cameras we got to review in quite a while and despite many positive things it that come included in its package (good build quality, great control scheme, intuitive user interface, very useful EVF, a wide array of wireless and wired capabilities, a lot of useful features contained within its menus that can seriously impact your user experience and image quality, 4K video recording, strong pop-up flash, very decent stills quality and so on), the biggest selling point and the differentiation factor has to be its one of a kind lens.

The zoom range of 24-3000mm has yet to be matched by any other camera manufacturer, no matter if we’re talking about devices with fixed or interchangeable lenses  and there are many reasons why a lot of different photographers would like to make a unique beast such as the P1000 in their arsenal (despite the fact that it won’t be able to reproduce the image quality of other cameras with bigger sensors, or be as portable, or offer as powerful video recording capabilities). If just the thought of being able to shoot as wide as 24mm and then zoom in to the 3000mm in a couple of seconds and without having to change lenses sounds appealing to you, than the Nikon P1000 is certainly a no-brainer purchase for you, since there’s literally no other camera on the market to compare it with (unless we are talking about its predecessor, which is still a very capable camera in its own right, but of course, not as exciting or as feature-packed).

We really hope that the P1000’s arrival will attract the attention of other camera brands and inspire them to create a similarly unique product as there’s nothing that benefits the customer as more competition on the market.

Nikon D850 Review

Up until couple of years ago, for many photographers the only way of being able to get a flagship camera (especially if they are interested in capturing sports and action) was to get one of high-end DSLRs coming from the likes of Canon and Nikon (since no other company was coming close to their part of the enthusiast market, even though there were some good mirrorless cameras available at that time. Now, in 2018, things are very different and no matter if you pick any of the popular flagship DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, you’ll be able to get a very similar feature set that’s packed with advanced features and great image quality.

This kind of situation has also put a lot of pressure on those DSLR aforementioned manufacturers to create even more competitive products and to also jump on the mirrorless bandwagon themselves (we’ll talk more about those devices in one of our upcoming reviews). This time we’re focusing on one of the biggest competitors any mirrorless camera has in 2018, a DSLR that has been praised by main as one of the most groundbreaking ones ever made, the Nikon D850. It is one of those products that try to bring as many impressive features as possible at a price that will be easily accessible by every professional out there and even by some enthusiast and hobbyists with deeper than average pockets. It’s certainly more expensive than a lot of mid-range and high-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras on the market, but only a couple among them will be able to match its specifications to some degree.

Nikon has really been pushing the boundaries with their DSLRs for the last couple of years and are now doing the same with their new mirrorless cameras (we are anxiously awaiting our chance to review them), but the D850 is their first flagship product that seemingly brings no compromises on any of its functions and capabilities (even when it comes to video recording, something that wasn’t always one of the strongest suits of Nikon’s cameras). It’s equipped with a high-resolution sensor, durable body, very large battery pack, extremely capable AF system, a whole range of wireless technologies, great viewfinder and LCD units, impressively fast burst rate (considering the amount of data that has to be processed in a short amount of time) and a lot more features that we have yet to cover through the entirety of this review. Among the few possible reasons you could have against the decision of investing in a camera like the D850 (like the omission of a pop-up flash or the relatively high price) the biggest one could be this camera’s inability to compete with any of the mirrorless cameras in terms of portability, as it is one of the biggest and heaviest modern DSLRs out there (not comparing it with specialist devices like the Nikon D5 or the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II).

So, it will all boil down to deciding what you value more, being able to easily carry the camera with your or having a more secure hold and better durability.

Nikon D850Go to Amazon
What would a revolutionary flagship DSLR be without an entirely new sensor that aims to bring nothing but ultimate image quality that can be achieved with the use of all technological achievements that have surfaced from before the time of its release. This is why the D850’s 45.7-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor is one of its biggest selling points and a perfect basis for one seriously capable camera.
Overall rating:
89
Design:
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85
100
Image Quality:
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92
100
Features:
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95
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Price:
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Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • NFC Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touchscreen
  • 4K Timelapse
  • 8K Timelapse
  • No horizontal crop on 4K Videos
  • Autofocus at f8 using 15 focus points
  • UHS-II Memory Card Support
  • Magnesium Alloy body elements
  • Focus Bracketing
  • Illuminated Buttons
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • High Shutter Life Expectancy
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Long Battery Life
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Good Low Light ISO
  • 2 Storage Slots
  • Top LCD Display
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
Not only does it bring excellent resolution (thanks to the very high megapixel count and the lack of an AA filter), but also class-leading low light performance and dynamic range (meaning that not only it will easily become a favorite camera to those that like to work in dimly lit conditions, but also to serious landscape photographers as well). You will rarely have to rely on any kind of HDR techniques to get great results with this DSLR since shooting in RAW will give you plenty of room to get the right balance between highlight and shadow areas. Shooting in JPEG format also shouldn’t be a problem for most use cases thanks to the powerful Expeed 5 processor and its ability to work with complex and advanced image processing algorithms. The only thing missing from the D850’s arsenal when you compare it to some of its mirrorless competition is the in-body image stabilization but considering the fact that most of its potential buyers will certainly invest in at least a few of Nikon’s high-end stabilized lenses, it will only present itself as a potential issue to very few users.

Besides this camera offer compelling photo quality, it has a very powerful array of exposure adjustment parameters: an ISO range of 64-25600 (expandable to 32-102400), a fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, a flash sync speed of 1/250 sec, WB and AE bracketing (including 14 white balance presets and 6 custom slots). The Nikon D850 also promises to bring a number of improvements in performance over its predecessor (which was certainly a capable camera in its own right, but definitely not the fastest around) and aside from better responsiveness in general operation, it brings notable upgrades in three major areas: focusing speed and accuracy, burst rate shooting and battery life). The included 151-point phase detect AF system and the 180K RGB metering sensor were brought directly from Nikon’s other flagship camera, the D5, meaning that you can expect to get the best focusing performance that the company can currently offer with any of their high-end DSLRs. While you won’t notice any special improvements over the D810 when shooting still subjects, you will notice them if you switch your attention to sports and action or too low light photography. The now faster burst rate of 7 fps certainly won’t put the D850 in the same league as some of the speed demon cameras already available on the market (like the Sony a9, Canon 1D X Mark II or the aforementioned Nikon D5), but it does make it a lot more versatile than its predecessor and you will be able to use it as a backup camera for shooting any kind of demanding events.

You will also benefit from the endurance of 1840 shots in those situations as well as the great build quality and environmental protection (the D850 will be able to handle any kind of abuse you throw at it because of its solid construction and you won’t ever have to worry about the weather effects damaging your expensive investment). The benefits of having a rugged and bulky camera body also begin to show after you take a look at all the included physical controls, meaning their size, tactile feedback, ease of use and their total number (one thing that still remains one of the main strengths of today’s DSLRs over mirrorless cameras).

A combination of a big casing and a flagship camera also means a plethora of ports and expansion slots like the microphone and headphone jacks, USB 3.0 compatible port, mini-HDMI port and also dual SD card slots (with support for both the UHS-II standards and the XQD memory cards). In regard to the available wireless technologies, the Nikon D850 includes all of them (Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 LE), except for GPS, who’s functionality has been replaced by your smartphone’s location services anyway and thus won’t have a negative effect on your camera’s battery life.

It’s also worth mentioning that this camera also includes a state of the art TFT LCD 3.2-inch tilting touch screen with a resolution of 2,359,000 dots and a very big optical pentaprism viewfinder with a magnification of 0.75 and a 100% accuracy. The only thing missing from the otherwise impressive list of hardware features has to be the built-in pop-up flash, but that isn’t such an unreasonable omission when you take into account the fact that we’re dealing with a professional camera and any photographer who decides to invest in it will certainly have a dedicated flash unit at hand and wouldn’t have even bothered with an integrated one if it ended up being included. If there is one thing that completes the D850 as one of the most exciting cameras on the market it is its video capabilities (which present themselves as a major improvement over those that could be attributed to the D810).

While we wouldn’t consider it to be the best device on the market for video-specific work, it is still a great offering for existing Nikon users thanks to things like 4K recording (both in full frame and crop mode), the tilting touch screen, focus peaking, 1080p 120 fps slow motion capture, Flat Picture Control profile, Zebra exposure warnings, microphone and headphone jacks (together with the integrated stereo microphones), 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI output, real time audio capture adjustments and more. That’s a lot of features to be found on a DSLR that is more focused on being an attractive proposition to photographers, but also marks the beginning of Nikon’s serious attempt of finally trying to bring more serious videographers to their system of DSLRs and also, allowing their existing user base to also tackle this kind of work professionally.

Body and handling

It is very hard to find any faults with the camera body of a device like the Nikon D850, as it is a professional DSLR through and through. It’s made out of the most durable materials, weights as heavy as a mid-size DSLR can in this day and age, has great handling due to its ergonomic design and features every function you could imagine finding on any modern camera in 2018. It is by no means the most portable camera on the market (mirrorless ones still win in that regard), but it does make up for it in terms of handling, feel in the hand and the resistance to drops and elements.

From the very first time you take it in your hands, you will notice how nicely your fingers wrap around its deep and non-slippery grip and how most of the controls are easily accessible while you’re holding the camera. The feel of those controls is also second to none as they offer a nice feedback when being pressed or rotated and it is very hard to change any setting by accident with this camera. It is also nice to know that you will be able to carry the D850 anywhere with you if you pair it with a weather-sealed lens, no matter if you’re shooting in the rain, walking through the dust storm or working in very hot/cold conditions.

nikon d850

While the overall body design is very reminiscent of the Nikon D810, there are two major differences present; the lack of a built-in pop-up flash and the addition of a tilting LCD screen. The removal of the flash unit also wasn’t for nothing as it did bring the improved ruggedness and weather resistance, as well as more room for the new optical viewfinder with a larger magnification of 0.75x. The addition of the screen whose angles can be adjusted is certainly a very welcome feature to be found on any camera and it is nice to see it reaching even the very high-end models like the D850 (it seems that the potential problems with build quality and durability due to its inclusion are a thing of the past now).

Now, as is the custom with all of our camera reviews, it is finally time to see what the D850 really brings to the table in the flagship camera realm in terms of its controls, ports, expansion slots and the rest of hardware features that can be found on its exterior. Starting with the front, you’ll be able to find the sub-command dial, the Pv and the Fn1 buttons, the self-timer lamp, the BKT button, the lens mount and the lens release button, the flash sync terminal and the ten-pin remote terminal covers and lastly, the focus-mode selector (it will allow you to switch between AF and the MF modes). The right side of the camera is the place for the dual SD card slots, while the left side contains microphone and headphone jacks, as well as the USB and HDMI connectors. The contacts for the optional MB-D18 multi-power battery pack, the tripod socket mount and the compartment reserved for the large EN-EL15a lithium-ion battery pack are all located at the bottom of the camera body.

The top of the Nikon D850 is where things really start getting serious. You won’t find a traditional mode dial here, but instead a combo of a drive mode dial (it will allow you to switch between things like a single photo, continuous shooting and silent modes) and four buttons on top (Qual, WB, Metering and Mode). While the same combination of controls was already found on the D810, it is still an interesting implementation that can’t be seen on any other manufacturer’s DSLRs or mirrorless cameras and we certainly like what Nikon has done here. The rest of the features contained on the top of the camera are the release mode dial lock release, the stereo microphones, a traditional hotshoe mount, the Movie-record button, the power switch and the shutter buttons, the exposure compensation and the ISO buttons and lastly, one of the most useful things you’ll ever find on a professional DSLR, the secondary monochrome LCD that will allow you to easily read most of your important information without even having to look at the screen on the back (which will certainly increase the camera’s endurance).

In the end, let us see what is happening at the back of the D850. Aside from the obvious things like the LCD screen and the viewfinder, you will also notice a big array of buttons going from the top and the bottom left of the screen (Playback, Delete/Format, Menu, Lock, Zoom in, Zoom out/Flash, Ok and the Fn2), the eyepiece shutter lever and the diopter adjustment dial, a little mono speaker grill, the AF-On button, the main command dial, the multi selector (which also has the focus selector lock attached to it), the info and the i (it will allow you to do things like changing the image area, enabling the Active D-Lighting feature, enabling the Electronic front-curtain shutter, adjust the LCD brightness, activate the Split-screen display zoom and more) buttons and lastly, a combo of the live view selector lever and the live view button.

nikon d850

So, it’s pretty obvious that the D850 represents a top of the line DSLR in terms of its body and all the controls that surround it. No matter what type of functions you are used to working with on your camera on a daily basis, this one will have you covered with a dedicated button or a dial for those functions (or a separate menu to access those that aren’t so common). Aside from their controls, one of the biggest strengths of many DSLRs over mirrorless cameras is still their user interfaces and menu systems and this is also the case for the D850. No matter if you have very little experience with dedicated cameras or you are a professional photographer (it doesn’t matter if you’ve never used a Nikon camera before) you should be able to learn your way around the camera very quickly (especially if you take some time to customize all the menus and buttons so you can always know where everything is).

Still, usability isn’t the only reason why the interface or the control scheme on the D850 is so good, another one being the sheer amount of modes, features, functions and customization options that are available and that every photographer out there will appreciate having. The first one has to be the addition of the secondary LCD screen, as it will give you everything from your exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture and ISO, to number of exposures remaining, image quality and image size visible at all times with just a quick glance (even in the dark, since the screen itself comes with a backlight that can easily be activated just with a press of the button).

Add to that that all of the D850’s buttons are also backlit (something that is very rare to find on any of today’s modern cameras) and we are certainly having one of the most usable devices in low light on the market. Another feature we would like to mention is the Split-Screen Display Zoom feature, which splits your image frame into two separate parts, puts them side by side, magnifies them and gives you the ability to focus on them one at a time, making it even easier to nail critical focus in those situations where there are multiple important subjects in front of you. More interesting features include two of the Silent Live View modes (both of them will allow you to reduce the effect of the vibrations caused by your camera’s shutter with only difference being that the Mode 2 will allow you to shoot at higher burst rates, but only in the DX mode and at normal JPEG quality).

Lastly, we would like to mention the Negative Digitizer option. It is a very unique feature that will allow you to take photos of your color or monochrome film negatives (the use of a macro lens is recommended) and save them as JPEG files (together with the ability to adjust the color and exposure before saving the images). Now, before we take a look at yet another exciting aspect of the D850 (the behavior of its advanced AF system), we would like to see what kind of functionality it offers on the wireless communications front. Besides including a trio of the most important technologies (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC).

There were no surprises here, as we’d soon find out that this camera brings every feature in the book, most importantly all of them necessary to connect the D850 with your iOS or Android smart device. All you will really need is the free Snapbridge application installed on your device and you’re good to go. After the initial pairing process, you’ll be able to perform things like image transfer and backup, firmware update, make use of all the GPS location data gathered by your smartphone and lastly, use it to control the camera remotely and change your shooting mode, shutter speed, white balance, ISO, exposure compensation and the aperture (so, you’re basically getting a full control of your camera’s exposure just by using your smartphone).

In the end, there’s isn’t much left to say about the Nikon D850 within this particular category. Besides the lack of a built-in pop-up flash, it’s pretty much the closest you’ll be able to get to a perfect DSLR in 2018 when it comes to its usability, handling, build quality and wireless communication.

Autofocus and performance

It’s great to see when companies are incorporating some of their biggest technological achievements on more than one camera and not just reserving them for one most expensive lineup. For this reason, the D850 has received the same AF system as Nikon’s top-end DLSR, the D5 and manages to bring the kind of a performance that even the most demanding sports or action photographer would be happy with. As you would expect, shooting still subject isn’t any kind of challenge with this camera, even in low light and only in when you incorporate any kind of moving subjects in your workflow is where it starts to spread its wings and separate itself from the less-advanced devices on the market and compete with the very best DSLRs and mirrorless cameras out there.

If your technique and settings are right, you should have no issues getting perfectly focused photos more than 90% of your time, which means that only a couple photos on your memory card could end up not being in focus, which surely won’t be a problem if you make use of camera’s burst shooting capabilities. When you also take into account that it only takes less than 0.1 seconds for the D850 to focus and capture an image and 0.2 seconds form the first time you power it on, you will certainly get the picture (no pun intended) about how fast of a camera we are talking about (especially if you remind yourself that it has a 45.7-megapixel sensor to work with).

Now, let us dig through the D850’s menu system once more and discover all of the options it offers in regard to setting up its AF system and making all the necessary adjustments for it to work as well as it should. Besides the manual focusing modes, there are also two main AF modes available: AF-S (Single servo-AF that is best used for taking photos of stationary subjects) and AF-F (Full-time-servo AF is your mode for shooting moving subjects as it will give the camera the ability to focus continuously as long as you’re keeping the shutter button pressed halfway).

nikon d850

Photo courtesy of Robert Mackler

Additionally, you’ll also be able to choose one of the available AF-Area modes: Face-priority AF (Best to be used for portrait photography since it will allow for the camera to look for any faces in your frame and try to keep them in focus), Wide-area AF (this is the mode to be used for taking any kind of landscape images since it will take a very large portion of your composition into account when trying to acquire focus), Normal-area AF (a standard mode that will allow you to focus on a portion of your image), Pinpoint AF (it is a more precise variation of the Normal-area AF mode that uses a smaller and more precise AF frame ) and lastly, the Subject-tracking AF (in this mode the camera will keep any of your selected subjects in focus and prioritize it over anything else as long as the mode itself is active).

It’s also good to know that you’ll be able to easily access any of these modes just with the press of the AF-mode button and by rotating the sub-command dial.  On top of all of those things, the D850 offers one important feature that was only previously seen on Pentax DSLRs (and a number of Canons, but not without having to install an unofficial firmware, which certainly brings a couple of risks with it). We are talking about focus peaking and it’s really refreshing to finally see it included on a proper flagship grade full frame DSLR (something that we’ve been asking from the big boys in the industry for what now seems like an eternity). No matter if you’re a videographer or someone used to working with manual lenses or manual focus in general (especially if you’re a macro photographer) you will certainly enjoy the benefits of having such a highly regarded feature included on the D850.

A great AF system wouldn’t be of much use on an expensive high-end DSLR if it wasn’t coupled with a useful continuous shooting mode and luckily this camera certainly offers a lot in this regard. Your fastest shooting speed will depend on whether you’re using the D850 on its own or you’ve paired it with an optional MB-D18 battery grip and the EN-EL18b battery; the default shooting speed is rated at 7 fps but is boosted to 9 fps when the battery grip is connected). Both of those numbers equal to a very good performance, over 200 JPEGs or RAW files at 7 fps and around 55 JPEGs or 20 RAW images at 9 fps before the camera will have to take some time to save all those files and compose itself.

These numbers become even better if you enable the DX mode since it will drop the resolution down to around 19.5 megapixels and give the camera more breathing space. All of our tests were done using a fast XQD card and thus, using a more traditional SD card will certainly yield very different results (so, it’s up to you decide if you wish to invest in a rather pricey memory card to get the best performance, but in all honesty, even using a less expensive one will give you plenty of room when it comes to continuous shooting).

nikon d850

Photo courtesy of Paul Mills

Another thing you should keep in mind about the D850 is that it’s AF performance slows down considerably when you switch to live view since Nikon still haven’t managed to include any kind of hybrid or phase detect focusing system that would parallel the likes of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF or any of the flagship mirrorless cameras on the market as it is still a traditional contrast detect solution found on most of the DSLRs. It isn’t as slow as some of them used to be (it could be because of all the processing power inside the D850) but shooting any kind of sports or action will require you to keep using the viewfinder (something that does take away from the camera’s flexibility, especially when it comes to recording videos). To end things on the more positive note, this is one of the top cameras on the market in regard to its endurance. It uses a special EN-EL15a lithium-ion battery which enables it to capture around 1840 shots without having to be recharged or replaced. That is certainly an outstanding battery life and noticeably better than the 1200 shots that the D810 could squeeze out from its battery pack.

This also means that the D850 will last you a pretty long time if you record video footage, even in 4K, but as with any camera on the market, we would recommend you to invest in an additional battery pack just to be safe (another reason being that the D850 doesn’t offer to charge over USB while the battery is inside the body, like a lot of mirrorless cameras do).

Video features and quality

We are all aware of the fact that Nikon’s cameras never where the ones to excel at video recording and instead were usually at the top of the charts for their stills quality, but over a couple of years the company has worked hard to change that negative trend and the D850 is their latest showcase of a Nikon camera that could also attract the attention of serious videographers and not only those interested in photography.

A huge upgrade over the D810 has to be the addition of 4K recording, which certainly brings much better image quality than the 1080p record ever could on the previous model. It can also be recorded either in the full frame or the DX crop mode, which means that you’ll be able to give your telephoto lenses some extra reach while recording sports or wildlife and still get good video quality. On top of that, the D850 also bumps up the framerate for full HD recording and can go as high as 120 fps, thus allowing you to get some really dramatic slow-motion footage without too much hassle. Important things like headphone and microphone jacks, audio monitoring, touch AF and continuous AF (although we’ve seen faster implementations), picture profiles, zebras, focus peaking and electronic VR are all included and really turn the D850 into a capable video production tool, but things aren’t as perfect as we would like.

While the quality of recorded videos isn’t one of our concerns (it is great, even in low light), the limitations surrounding the focus peaking and the electronic VR are somewhat unnecessary on a camera of this type. While both of them work fine in 1080p mode and at frame rates of up to 60 fps, they become disabled the moment you switch the camera to 4K or 1080p 120 fps recording, which is certainly a shame considering those two modes are the biggest selling points for the D850 as a video camera.

Luckily, the 8K time-lapse and the 4K stills grabbing are both included and make our overall impressions a lot more positive, but the Nikon D850’s video recording capabilities still lack just a little more polish to be able to provide the same level of excellence as the best cameras out there for this kind of a job. Still, we are happy to see that Nikon is more serious than ever when it comes to creating a camera that will be able to excel at just about everything you threw at it and we are certainly pleased in seeing nothing but upgrades over the D810 and all the necessary steps being taken to improve the shooting experience and the value of the D850 as a professional video recording tool.

Image quality

Now that we’ve done with examining all the aspects of the D850 related to video, it is time to tackle one this camera’s most prominent abilities and that is taking high-resolution images of exceptional quality in almost all lighting conditions. While it may sound like we’re trying to oversell the D850’s imaging capabilities because of all the praise, it is simply because our testing and the resulting photos gave us no reason to do anything else but to applaud Nikon for doing a fantastic job of keeping the stills capabilities at the same high level of their previous full frame cameras, but also managing to increase the megapixel count in the process and bringing it almost on the same level of a camera like the Canon 5DS R, but also surpassing it in terms of noise performance and dynamic range.

nikon d850

Photo courtesy of SLCESAR

In the DSLR world, the Nikon D850 is the same as the Sony A7R III is in the mirrorless one, a rare breed of a camera that manages to bring a very high-resolution sensor to the table without hurting the image quality too much in the process and making it incomparable with the more traditional devices bearing 24-megapixel full frame sensors.

While a lot of photographers will be using the RAW mode to get the most out of the D850, we are also pleased to see that those shooting in JPEG format aren’t forgotten as Nikon did include Picture Control profiles as well as the ability to adjust the image parameters to each one of them (those parameters are the Sharpening, Clarity, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue, Filter effects and toning). Besides the Auto and Standard profiles, the rest of them consist of more specialized ones: Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape and Flat. You should also know that all of them are also available in the movie mode and it will be a great way to adjust the look of your videos inside the camera and before recording and without having to transfer them to your computer for color grading purposes (which tend to be very time consuming and require the use of a very-high-end machine for decently fast export times).

Conclusion

Our thoughts about the Nikon D850 being one of the best DSLRs on the market at the time of us publishing this review certainly haven’t changed as we’ve discovered every detail we could about its build quality, performance, ease of use, stills and video quality, endurance and more.

It’s certainly a camera that deserves a lot of praise because it’s not easy to say a lot of negative things about it and the only area in which it doesn’t perform perfectly well is video recording (we certainly saw that coming from the very beginning). It does bring almost every important feature out there that would attract the attention of professional videographers (including its 4K recording capabilities), but it’s confusing implementation of things like electronic stabilization and focus peaking, slow AF during recording (and in live view in general) and the lack of regular Log profiles (and a few other video-centric features) positions it somewhat below the best video cameras in the business and more into the category of being “good enough”.

Still, considering it does so well in terms of the rest of its capabilities (some of those being the excellent build quality, advanced control scheme, great focusing and burst rate performance, top of the line image quality and battery life and so on) it is quite easy to recommend the Nikon D850 to any photography and DSLR enthusiast out there (and some less demanding videographers as well) as long as they can handle its high price point and an above average weight.

Canon EOS R Review

Yes, it’s true, we’ve finally reached that point in time where mirrorless cameras have become so popular that even the two of the biggest DSLR manufacturers have decided to throw their own fighters into the brutal fight for dominance on the market. While a couple of brands have enjoyed more popularity than others in the last decade, all the released cameras from this year (and some of those products that are slated for release in 2019) are ready to shake things up again and force those manufacturers that were playing it safe to innovate once again in a mission to retain their current audience and also gain some additional fans.

Still, why there are many newly released mirrorless cameras that have caused some buzz within the photography community, there is one that could be singled out as the device that has been most talked about (both for its good and some less impressive aspects as well). You probably would have guessed it if you follow the current trends as we are about to take a look at one of most controversial cameras of 2018, the Canon EOS R. The company certainly didn’t have it easy with their last full frame camera (the Canon EOS 6D) due to all the criticism they’ve received for purposely underequipping it, so it wouldn’t hurt the sales of their flagship DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark IV.

So, they couldn’t afford the same with their first mirrorless full frame camera, the aforementioned EOS R and luckily, they didn’t, but it still carries some unpopular traits that were part of Canon’s cameras since forever and that’s mostly to company’s unwillingness to go all the way with their cameras (despite that they possess all the manpower and the resources to do it) and make a truly impressive flagship product that will include all the good things that made Canon’s devices so popular (like their ergonomics, build quality, Dual Pixel AF, intuitive user interface and an impressive array of compatible lenses) but also all the features that the competition is using against them to draw away their potential audience (like the in-body image stabilization, full frame 4K video, dual SD card slots and a few other ones that we will mention in our review). Still, even when you take into account the Canon’s stubbornness when it comes to adopting all the latest technologies, the Canon EOS R still remains a mirrorless full frame camera that has a lot to offer and is easily the most advanced Canon camera to this date when it comes to photography (even though its positioned below the 5D Mark IV in terms of its price point).

While any big company deserves every criticism they get when releasing a pricey product that doesn’t deliver on all fronts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product itself is bad and that there isn’t a lot of users out there that would enjoy it thoroughly if you put it in their hands. We do believe that the Canon EOS R does include a lot of great features and that it will turn out to be a very good camera in its own right, but as always, we’ll try to keep an objective (but also positive) perspective on everything and see if this camera has what it takes to find its own place in the already crowded market or will it be written of as some niche product only reserved for Canon’s most loyal fans that also have very deep pockets. Well, let’s find out and begin our review by looking at the overall specifications of the EOS R.

Canon EOS RGo to Amazon
So, what kind of image quality can you expect to get out of Canon’s first full frame mirrorless camera? Well, one that is very similar to the likes of the Canon 5D Mark IV, since it does sport the very same 30-megapixel sensor. This means that you’ll be able to get great quality photos while shooting in normal conditions and in low light, buy you won’t get as much room as the competing cameras when it comes to high contrast or backlit scenes that require as much dynamic range as possible (although the EOS R and the 5D Mark IV for that matter are far more capable in this regard than any Canon cameras that came before them and thus we are talking about a noticeable upgrade in image quality over those older models).
Overall rating:
88
Design:
0
87
100
Image Quality:
0
94
100
Features:
0
92
100
Price:
0
80
100
Pros
  • 30.3M Megapixel
  • Same Full-frame CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 8 Image Processor as 5D Mark IV
  • Articulated Screen
  • Face Detect Function
  • High-Resolution EVF Focus Peaking
  • Multi-Function Bar
Cons
  • Heavy Body
  • No stabilization
  • One SD card slot
Click to read the full Review
If you pair the camera with a lens of nice quality (which is something you would certainly want to do if you decide to purchase an enthusiast oriented device like this one) and you know how to master your exposure, you’ll be able to get some really nice images with the EOS R. This camera also shares its processor with the Canon EOS M50 and this is the Digic 8 unit, Canon’s latest and greatest one that brings the ability to shoot 4K videos using the MP4 format and the H.264 compression but is also here to keep the overall responsiveness at a high level and this is certainly true for the EOS R, since it quite fast in its operation.

Other things directly related to image quality and exposure that need to be mentioned are the support for C-Raw (Canon’s new compressed format), the native ISO range of 100 to 40000 (expandable to 50 at the low and 102400 at the high end), the fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 and the slowest one of 30 seconds and also, six built-in White balance presets. If there is one thing that would improve the Canon EOS R’s performance and image quality even further in challenging conditions it would be the inclusion of on-sensor image stabilization and sadly, such feature is nowhere to be found. It’s hard to understand why Canon have decided to omit such an important feature from their best mirrorless camera and accept all the inevitable criticism that is bound to come their way and lessen their chances of attracting some new audience to their cameras (as things stand, this camera will mostly be appreciated by current Canon users since they’ve learned to accept that they’ll have to trade some functions to get experience other benefits of company’s cameras that are still valid now in 2018).

Still, we believe that a lot of people are blowing this image stabilization thing out of proportions since it’s quite easy to find a stabilized lens of any kind in these modern times and completely solve that particular problem (there have also been a lot of cases where the lens-based stabilization turned out to be more effective than the one build inside the camera itself). Also, the EOS R brings more than one electronic stabilization modes for video recording that are decently effective at giving you even smoother footage, but of course at the expense of having to deal with some light cropping (if you activate the first mode).

Video recording is certainly one of those areas where the EOS R brings a number of improvements over the 5D Mark IV and ends up being much more capable device for that kind of work. While they both share the same restriction when shooting 4K movies (that being the addition of the 1.8x crop factor), the EOS R does bring more efficient codec, focus peaking, the aforementioned electronic IS, built-in C-log profile (you will be required to send the camera to Canon for upgrade to get it on the 5D Mark IV) and that useful fully articulating touch screen that is loved by many different types of videographers (and it’s an excellent unit that is 3.2 inches in size and with a resolution of 2,100,000 dots). Most importantly, Canon’s Dual Pixel AF is also included and in its most advanced implementation yet. For video recording it works as expected, but this time around its also a main focusing method for stills since the EOS R is a mirrorless camera and there is no need to separate focusing systems between shooting in live view or through the view finder. It brings an impressive coverage of 88% of the frame and a total of 5655 focus points you’ll be able to choose from (which means incredible precision when it comes to picking the exact position to focus on and something that has never been seen on a mirrorless camera before). You can also expect to get very good tracking performance and a decently big buffer size when shooting at the burst rate of 5 fps (there’s also the 8 fps mode, but it locks the focus on the first frame).

Moving away from the conservative shooting speed brings us to the last part of the Canon EOS R that will make it an interesting choice for those that value handling, great controls, a full array of ports and an excellent build quality above all (even though dual SD card slots are missing) and that is its body and its design. This camera looks and feels like a small DSLR and there’s nothing you would want more from a mirrorless camera in terms of its ergonomics (there are a lot of mirrorless cameras on the market that bears more impressive specs than the EOS R, but it handily beats almost all of them in the amount of comfort it offers while you’re using it). Add to that the environmental sealing, secondary screen, very large and sharp EVF with a magnification of 0.76x and the resolution of 3,690,000 dots, microphone and headphone jacks, USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, mini-HDMI port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE and a large LP-E6N battery that is the same unit found in many of Canon’s DSLRs and the EOS R certainly doesn’t look nearly as bad as some people would lead you to believe (a lot of them clearly hold a grudge against Canon as a company and aren’t judging their cameras in an objective manner).

Body and handling

While you may not be buying the Canon EOS R because of its specifications and because you are trying to get as much features for your money, you could surely do it because comfort and handling are your top priority above everything else. Canon has managed to find a perfect balance between build quality, portability and ease of use, which is something that can hardly be said for many mirrorlesses and compact cameras out there. If you’re one of those photographers that have previously only been using a DSLR, then you’ll feel right at home with the EOS R. Its big front grip will allow for your fingers to perfectly wrap around it and hold the camera really steadily and securely, even when using a long telephoto lens.

With the weight of 660 grams, it’s certainly not the lightest mirrorless camera around but is still light enough for you to be able to carry it with you without having to deal with any fatigue after using it for prolonged periods of time. We also like the addition of weather sealing (which is apparently on the same level as one found on the 6D Mark II) which will give anyone shooting in harsher conditions some piece of mind that nothing will happen with their new and expensive investment. Then there are things like the fully articulating touchscreen, the top LCD panel and the new Multi-function bar that also add a lot to the overall usability and the flexibility of the camera. A lot of reviewers have reported that they didn’t like the added touch sensitive Multi-function bar and they had to deal with too many accidental presses, but our opinion is quite opposite of that one. We’ve never used the bar accidentally during our testing (not even once) and even though it may not be as comfortable to use as a physical button or a dial (which do offer nicer feedback while being pressed) it is a highly customizable piece of hardware and can really make your life easier when setting up the right way (we’ll talk more about it very soon).

canon eos r

Now, before we dwell deeper inside the Canon EOS R’s core and menu systems, its time to take a little tour of its exterior. Let us begin by examining the front of the camera. Here you’ll find the AF-assist beam/Self-timer/Remote control lamp, the stereo microphones, the DC coupler card hole and the lens release button. There’s a lot to be said about the new RF-mount, but there are two things that stand out the most: the three official adapters that Canon have released to support its current EF and EF-S lineup and the one extra feature that can be found on all the current and future RF lenses and that is the additional fully customizable control ring (besides the regular things like zoom and focus rings). The great thing about said adapters is that not only do they work with any of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses ever released, but besides the regular one there’s also one that has the control ring built into it (so even your DSLR lenses can gain that functionality) and also the one that features a filter slot to allow you to use ND or polarizing filter on any lens that you decide to mount on the Canon EOS R (no more worries about not being able to use filters with your ultra-wide angle lenses or having to worry to buy many different varieties to fit the different filter sizes of all of your lenses).

The left side of the camera holds a plethora of different ports (the remote control port, USB-C, HDMI and the microphone and headphone jacks), while the right side is reserved for the UHS-II compatible SD card slot. The bottom of the camera is where the tripod socket and the battery compartment lie. Looking at the top of the camera reveals the On/Off dial, the standard hotshoe mount, the top LCD (just like on DSLRs, it is also used to showcase any important shooting information while consuming much less power than the EVF or the screen on the back of the camera, with the added bonus of always showing you’re currently active mode even while the camera is powered off), the Mode button and the Quick control dial (with the standard main mode dial now gone, you will be switching between your shooting modes with the press of the Mode button and by rotating the said dial), the LCD panel info switching/Illumination and the M-Fn buttons, the Movie shooting button, the main dial and lastly, the shutter button. In the end, let us see what the back of the EOS R holds. The top is occupied by the Menu button, the dioptric adjustment knob, the EVF and the viewfinder sensor, the Multi-function bar and the AE lock/FE lock and the AF point/Index/Magnify/Reduce buttons, while the rest of the EOS R includes the fully articulating touch screen, the Info button, a four-way navigation controller with the Set/Quick Control/Setting button in its center and also the Playback and the Erase buttons.

canon eos r

We can all conclude that the control scheme in the EOS R is a little less traditional than ones found on other Canon cameras but is still one of the best ones we’ve seen form any recent modern camera. It features everything you would want to find on a high-end mirrorless camera and also adds a very familiar Canon-made user interface that is very easy to understand and works great both with the physical buttons and the touchscreen. The company have really perfected their formula when it comes to giving their users a great experience when it comes to operating their cameras and making it irrelevant if those users are just beginning to get the grasp of photography or they’re more seasoned shooters.

Now, one of the major differences between the EOS R and a traditional Canon DSLR is the amount of customization possibilities that can be found on every corner of its menu system. We’re still not talking about the most advanced camera in this regard when compared to its competitors, but it still a big step in the right for Canon as a company and will certainly bring a smile to the face of their current audience (because in all truth, the EOS R is a product created primarily with Canon fans in mind and they will certainly appreciate a large number of new features and functions that this device brings to the table). Now, in regard to customization, the first thing you’d want to do is to set up all the available physical controls to give you access to your most important options or to make them behave the certain way that would benefit your workflow. There are three menu items available that you’ll be digging into to satisfy your customization needs: Customize buttons, Customize dials and Customize M-Fn bar. The controls that are available to be reprogrammed under the Customize buttons tab are split between the stills and the movie mode (meaning you’ll be able set them up differently for each of those modes) and these consist out of 13 different buttons. The list of items to choose from is decently big and consists of things like AF stop, Set AF point to center,  Eye Detection AF, Metering start, Exposure compensation, Set ISO Speed and on (the only limitation present here is that not all of the buttons can be used to access every function available, something that we hope Canon will improve on with the next generation of their full frame mirrorless cameras).

canon eos r

Then there’s the Customize dials menu and it will allow you to change the behavior of both the control dials included on the camera, as well as the one found on the RF mount lenses themselves. The last one is the most interesting one since it contains all the available options that will allow you to set up the newly added M-Fn touch bar. Now, while it’s true that learning to use it to its full potential will take some time for a lot of photographers, it will be worth it for everything it offers. All of the included options will be useful for all kinds of types of users (the adjustment of White balance, easy control over the magnification for manual focusing, audio level adjustment, changing the AF methods and more), our first choice would be to use it to control your ISO values. Not only will you be able to swipe left or right to adjust the ISO, you’ll also be able to tap one side of the bar to instantly access one user-defined ISO value and the other to enable the Auto ISO function, a type of use that any kind of photographer will certainly enjoy (all those reviewers and users that weren’t patient enough to learn how to cope with the M-Fn bar are certainly losing a big chunk of functionality that the EOS R brings to your fingertips). On top of all of those options you’ll also be able to adjust the rotation of the control dials (clockwise or counterclockwise), save three different sets of settings under the available custom menus (C1, C2 and C3), create a separate screen of less-commonly used settings under the My Menu option, decide how much information is display on your LCD and inside your viewfinder and so on.

This brings us to the last matter that needs to be discussed and that is the Wi-Fi functionality. Canon has been doing a great job in this particular area for quite some time now and the story is no different in case of the EOS R. There are four categories of available features: communication with a smartphone (either an Android or iOS device), uploading images to a Web service, printing them via a Wi-Fi printer or connecting the camera to a computer with the use of Canon’s own or a third-party software. Pairing the EOS R with a smartphone and the Camera Connect application will allow you to view or save your images to your smart device, use the remote shooting function (together with the ability to change a lot of different settings) and also gather the GPS data, while doing so with a computer or a laptop will also allow you to remotely operate the camera and upload your photos.

Printing wirelessly is pretty self-explanatory and so is the uploading to different web services once you’ve finished the initial setup through Canon’s Image Gateway website. The addition of Bluetooth is also a nice bonus to help you save power while doing anything else but an image and video transfer and nicely rounds up all the functions that will be given at your disposal if you decide that the EOS R is the camera for you. And it certainly should be on the top of your list if you care about having a rugged portable camera that handles like a dream, has a very intuitive user interface and a healthy number of customization options that will allow you to make the camera feel like your own.

Autofocus and performance

While the Canon EOS R has been a target of harsh critique from a whole lot of people for many different reasons (some certainly deserved), there’s certainly a few things it manages to do right and one of them has to be everything related to focusing and performance. It’s certainly one of the most impressive mirrorless cameras on the market in this regard and this all due to Canon’s well known Dual Pixel AF technology. This time around it takes care of everything, from shooting still through the EVF and in live view, to video capture, but is also coupled together with a couple of useful addition as well. It now features an 88% horizontal and 100% vertical frame coverage, has as much as 5655 AF points to work with (yes, you’ve read that correctly), Touch and Drag AF functionality (it will let you select any part of the touchscreen as an area inside of which you’ll be able to drag your finger and select your desired focus point while looking through the EVF), great focusing support when shooting at dark apertures such as f8 or f11 (making it a great to use with teleconverters) and an impressive ability to acquire focus in low light conditions rated as low as -6 EV (that is, if you’re using a lens with an aperture of f1.2, but is still something that can’t be achieved with any other camera on the market). The overall focusing performance turned out to be excellent and it didn’t matter what we were doing with the EOS R, with only the subject tracking performance not working perfectly on some occasions (it will still enable you to get a very high capture rate, but just shy of the best cameras for sports and action).

canon eos r sample

Photo courtesy of Takeshi Watanabe

Now, before we move on to continuous shooting capabilities and battery life, let us dive into the EOS R’ menu systems and see what kind of focusing modes it hides behind its lovely user interface. Your main modes will be the One-Shot AF, Servo AF and of course, Manual Focus, but it’s the additional AF Methods that make this camera such an impressive performer. These are the Face+Tracking, 1-point AF, Expand AF area, Expand AF area: Around, Zone AF, Large Zone AF: Vertical and lastly, the Large Zone AF: Horizontal. This essentially means that Canon is giving you as many options as possible for fine tuning the AF system, so you’ll be able to cope with any shooting situation. Since we are dealing with a flagship mirrorless camera, its also of no surprise that Canon has taken things one step further in terms of manual focus.

The large and sharp EVF does a great job of allowing you to see every little detail on your subject even without other focus assist tools, but the Magnify and Focus peaking features are both here to provide a lot of help in more trickier situations and so is one new feature brought from Canon’s lineup of video cameras, the Focus Guide (which displays a little white box with three arrows on top of it, spreads these arrows around depending on the direction you’re focusing in and turns the box green when the focus is acquired). Let us throw around a few numbers from our testing to showcase the EOS R’s performance in even more detail; it took around 2 seconds for it to power on and capture the first image, only 0.1 second to focus and take one photo and around 0.3 seconds between each captured shot (both for JPEG and RAW files).

At it, its fastest burst rate of 8 fps (though it does lock the focus at the first image) it was able to shoot around 65 RAW and 125 JPEG images before any drop in shooting speed could be observed and the buffer was getting close to being full. You can expect to get similar or even better buffer depths if you switch to 5 or 3 fps modes (which will also allow you to use the camera’s very good subject tracking capabilities). So, while the EOS R doesn’t manage to beat its competition in terms of its pure shooting speed, it does offer a consistent and reliable performance that will allow you to tackle some sports photography if you aren’t in need of absolutely fastest available burst rates that you can find on a modern camera.

Lastly, let us talk about battery life. This is a rather interesting topic, since Canon is very conservative with their official rating of 370 shots (without using the added Eco mode), which doesn’t sound like an impressive endurance by any standard, but then again, every reviewer out there (including us) was able to surpass the official rating and get anywhere between 600 and 1200 shots per charge and rarely reach numbers that go below them.

canon eos r sample

Photo courtesy of Green Muar

We don’t know why Canon is lacking in confidence so much when it comes to EOS R’s endurance, but we are still happy that we can report that it turned out to be one of the best performers on the mirrorless camera market instead of the rather average one according to Canon themselves. We should also mention that the camera supports USB charging, but only by using the optional PD-E1 USB Power Adapter and according to some users on the internet, it also works with selected USB-C compatible power banks (but since they aren’t officially supported, you’ll have to do your own research to find what works and what does not).

Video features and quality

Canon’s cameras have always presented themselves as a solid choice for casual and semi-professional users and the very same can be said for the EOS R. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to one of the company’s dedicated video cameras if you want a solid feature set and a hybrid device that will also allow you to produce great photos. Being able to record in 4K 30 fps at a very high bitrate of 400 Mbps is the EOS R’s headline feature, but it does come with one caveat and that is the 1.74x crop that’s being applied to the footage itself. Now, while the quality of recorded videos is still very good (although not the best we’ve ever seen), the added crop will be a blessing for some and a curse for others; it all depends on what kind of videographer you really are.

Those recording the types of videos where getting the most range out of telephoto lenses is of high importance will actually love the 1.74x crop as it will allow them to get closer to their subjects without having to use a teleconverter, but on the other hand, creators of landscape videos will have a hard time getting the most out their full frame ultra-wide angle lenses. On the positive side, the EOS R does support EF-S lenses and investing in some UWA glass made for APS-C sensors will allow you to get a very wide field of view and resolve the problem of the added crop.

Another thing that separates this camera from a professional one when it comes to video recording is the lack of in-body image stabilization. This means that you will be able to get decently smooth footage using the available electronic stabilization modes (although they will crop your footage even further and add more softness), but you will need to invest in an optically stabilized lens if getting steady handheld videos is of any importance to you. Besides lacking Zebra exposure patterns and the available histogram being gone once you hit the record button, the EOS R does include a plethora of useful features: Dual Pixel AF, Focus peaking, C-Log recording, excellent battery life, 10-bit HDMI output, the fully articulating touch screen, many different video modes, 1080p 60 fps and 720 120 fps recording, microphone and headphone jacks, manual audio adjustments, the different picture profiles, the customizable controls and more.

The continuous AF performance during recording is still very stellar due to the already mentioned Dual Pixel AF technology and the articulating touch screen is still as helpful as ever for any kind of recordings, especially if you’re doing any kind of macro work or you’re a devoted vlogger. So, in all honesty, the Canon EOS R can’t be compared with the best cameras out there (be it mirrorless or DSLRs) on a merit of its video recording capabilities, but it despite that, it will still find its audience among less demanding videographers that are also into photography, but aren’t dealing with any big projects that require very high production values or some specific recording tools that aren’t available on the EOS R.

Image quality

What the Canon EOS R lacks in terms of its video production capabilities it more than makes up with its ability to capture high-quality photos with the help of many different tools: its handling, user interface, control scheme, AF system, burst rate and battery life. While none of them will have a direct effect to your image quality, they will allow to get more consistent results on a daily basis and have and an easier time working with the camera in more demanding conditions.

The 30-megapixel full-frame sensor built inside of this camera is the same unit found in one of the company’s flagship DSLRs, the 5D Mark IV and possesses all the necessary qualities to allow you to get very respectable results. It has good dynamic range, great noise performance, excellent color reproduction and enough resolution to give you plenty of details if you’re using a good quality lens (we recommend any of Canon’s L lenses, especially the new ones that are native to the RF mount). We also like the JPEGs that come out of the EOS R since they bear that familiar Canon look and don’t go overboard with things like sharpening or noise reduction.

canon eos r sample

Photo courtesy of norbelthomas

You will be able to get sharper and cleaner images with some of the devices that the competition offers, but only if you’re always dealing with very tough shooting conditions and if you’ve got deep enough pockets to invest in lenses that can make the most out of higher resolution sensors. We also like the fact that Canon have included a lot of options for correcting the optical flaws of some of their lenses (like Peripheral illumination and Distortion corrections, as well as the Digital Lens Optimizer feature), the Auto Lighting Optimizer (it will allow you to get more dynamic range out of your JPEGs), Highlight Tone Priority (for getting more details out of your bright areas) and also, the different Picture Styles (Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome and three User Defined profiles).

There are no fancy effects this time around, which is quite understandable considering the fact that we’re dealing with a professional grade camera and that they’re more suited for younger and more casual audience that won’t spend too much time playing around with RAW files in post-processing.

Conclusion

We can all conclude that the Canon EOS R is not a perfect camera and won’t be found on top of many lists, but that is something that could be said for any camera that Canon has made in the recent history (with the only exception being the 1D X Mark II, which is to be expected given its eye-watering price point) and still doesn’t take away from a lot of positive things that justify its existence. It offers very good image quality, great battery life, durable and ergonomic body, excellent EVF, fully articulating touch screen that is also very sharp, top of the line focusing performance thanks to its Dual Pixel AF system, 4K video recording, microphone and headphone jacks, intuitive user interface, stable and long-lasting burst rate and more.

It may not look like the most advanced piece of gear when directly compared to its competitors thanks to cropped 4K footage, lack of dual SD card slots, no image stabilization (except the electronic kind), no Zebra exposure patterns and a couple of other quirks that could have been ironed out a little more, but as a standalone camera it is still a very capable tool that a lot of hobbyists and professional photographers (even some videographers that can live with its limitations) will be very happy with and will allow them to get the job done, earn their paycheck and go home with a full wallet.

Especially if they are existing Canon users, since they will feel very familiar with a lot of aspects of the EOS R (especially its menu systems), but be able to use all of their Canon glass (and a lot of third-party lenses, but we advise you to check the interweb for those that are compatible) thanks to the well-engineered adapters that the company offers at a small price and even bundled with the EOS R itself for some markets. Even if they still haven’t managed to make a dream camera that we’ve always wanted from them, Canon certainly knows what they’re doing to keep their business alive and you know, brand loyalty is a powerful thing.

Canon 700D / Rebel T5i Review

The fact that DSLRs aren’t enjoying as much popularity as they were half a decade ago is well known to almost everyone following the photographic industry and its everchanging trends and that certainly won’t change anytime soon because of how good the today’s mirrorless cameras are and because of everything they promise to bring in the future. Even the modern smartphones have managed to take a piece of a market from DSLR manufacturers because of their increasingly better image quality and features and also the unparalleled portability and convenience (the best camera is the one you carry in your pocket, isn’t it?). Still, all of this doesn’t mean that there still aren’t a lot of people in the world who put their trust in their DSLRs, are used to them and like how they look and feel (this holds true both for professionals and more casual photographers).

They are still great cameras for learning about photography, using long and bulky telephoto lenses and also for getting the best battery life around. A lot of users also appreciate the fact that there is a huge number of available first and third-party lenses (especially on the second-hand market) and it isn’t always necessary to spend a lot of money to get a decent setup (which is something that can’t be told for many mirrorless camera systems). For a lot of these reasons, the camera we are looking at this time can still be considered a very compelling product, despite being 5 years old and bearing an entry-level etiquette. We are of course talking about one of Canon’s most popular consumer cameras, the EOS 700D (or Rebel T5i, as they call it in other markets). It certainly isn’t the most exciting device anymore and may not bring anything particularly original to the table that isn’t already included on most of today’s cameras, but it still has very decent specifications of its own and presents itself as quite a well-rounded package for less demanding users looking for good image quality and good handling on the cheap.

You’ll get a large APS-C sensor, decent battery life, slim and easy to handle body, an articulating touchscreen, a true optical viewfinder, a microphone jack, stereo microphones, full HD video recording, support for wireless Eye-Fi SD cards and a lot more. Most importantly, you will be getting a true Canon experience with their intuitive user interface and reliable operation (something that is still the main reason why many photographers aren’t switching systems, despite the fact that a lot of manufactures are doing better than Canon in terms of some of the new technologies and features). All in all, despite its age, the 700D certainly isn’t ready to become ancient history and still has some life left inside its familiarly designed body and for that reason, we have decided to tackle this review and see how well it holds up to all of today’s fierce competition.

Canon EOS 700DGo to Amazon
The Canon EOS 700D brings an already well known 18-megapixel APS-C sensor that has been featured both in Canon’s cameras before and after its time and is still a decent performer for today’s standards (especially when compared to a lot of popular products with smaller sensors).
Overall rating:
73
Design:
0
62
100
Image Quality:
0
70
100
Features:
0
78
100
Price:
0
80
100
Pros
  • Articulating Screen
  • FullHD Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Optical Built-in Viewfinder
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
Cons
  • No Wireless Connection
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Low Battery Life
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Poor Low Light Performance
  • No AF Micro Adjustment
Click to read the full Review
The megapixel count is high enough to give you plenty of details in your photos, while the dynamic range and the noise performance will allow you to get quite satisfactory photos in low light and in the case of shooting high contrast scenes where there’s a big disbalance of bright and dark areas. So, while the 700D’s image quality may be far from being class leading, most of the benefits of having a large APS-C sensor remain unchanged and it will still be able to produce far superior results than any of the modern smartphones (which is certainly one of the types of devices this camera tries to battle with considering its more catered to casual photographers). The said sensor isn’t entirely the same unit found on some of Canon’s DSLRs that came before the 700D as it does bring one new feature and that is the Hybrid CMOS AF technology.

While we surely can’t expect for it to bring the performance improvements to live view focusing you would expect out of Canon’s cameras with Dual Pixel AF systems, it should still bring at least a more consistent experience when compared to the traditional contrast detect focusing still found on many DSLRs even to this date. To control your exposure Canon have also included the support for RAW files, a shutter speed range of 30 to 1/4000 sec, maximum available ISO value of 25600, exposure compensation adjustments going from -5 to +5EV and also six white balance presents including the one slot for a custom one. Considering the fact that the 700D is an entry-level camera by design, some sacrifices had to be made for it to retain its highly competitive price point and its performance is one of them (not to say that it’s a slow camera by any means).

The included Digic 5 processor should do a fine job of keeping the camera’s performance on a decent level when it comes to power On/Off times and saving photos and videos to the memory card, but the 9-point phase detect AF system certainly won’t be as versatile as those found on today’s beginner-friendly mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. By that, we mean that you shouldn’t expect to be shooting any kind of sports or action with the 700D (unless you do have some experience with photography and you know how to make the most out of your equipment) or working in low light without having to resort to focusing manually to get the best results. Still, despite all of these facts, the 700D will give you very fast focusing performance in decently lit conditions and you will be able to reap the benefits of having a DSLR if you’re doing any kind of normal photography that doesn’t require you to follow your subjects around. A burst rate of 5 fps is an added bonus here and its usability will only be determined by how long it can be sustained before any noticeable drop in speed or how long it takes before all of the photos are written on the memory card (we’ll test this out a little later).

The next thing everyone should take into account when deciding if this camera is right for them is its design, build quality, controls and the available ports and while we will examine all of those items in a lot more detail within the next section of the review, let us give you at least a basic insight about everything the 700D has to offer in this regard. It’s certainly one of the most portable and lightest DSLRs on the market as it manages to beat even some mirrorless cameras out there with its small dimensions (like for example, the Panasonic GH5 or the Fujifilm X-H1). Despite that, it also brings excellent ergonomics thanks to its rounded shape and protruding grip and a very decent endurance of 440 shots thanks to its Lithium-Ion LP-E8 battery pack (again, beating the aforementioned mirrorless cameras while weighing less at the same time).

Another important part of this camera’s design has to be its optical viewfinder and the fully articulated Clear View II TFT LCD touchscreen; both are very usable in their own right, with the screen itself being very flexible and sharp thanks to its resolution of 1,040,000 dots and the viewfinder being decently large and accurate with a magnification of 0.85x and a 95% accuracy (it’s still nowhere near as good and big as any of the viewfinders found on modern advanced DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but still quite enjoyable to use if you’re not one of the more demanding users or you don’t necessarily plan to use manual focus without using the live view mode on your camera (considering it’s much easier to nail focus that way thanks to the magnify feature). On top of all of that the 700D also includes features like built-in Xenon flash unit, a traditional hotshoe mount, a 3.5mm microphone jack (together with built-in stereo microphones), mini HDMI and USB ports, a single SD/SDHC/SDXC compatible slot, an orientation sensor and the compatibility with the optional GPE2 GPS unit.

Sadly, things like the headphone jack, Wi-Fi (which can be rectified to some degree with the use of an Eye-Fi SD Card), Bluetooth and NFC are missing on the 700D and these are the products of its time and position on the market. It is up to you to decide how much you need all the Wi-Fi-related functions on your camera and if you could live without them and just rely on your smartphone for quick posts to social media and any of the available cloud services. Still, in our opinion, the lack Wi-Fi functionality doesn’t hurt the 700D too much as it certainly has enough features on it specs list to satisfy the needs of many different kinds of photographers and videographers, as you are about to see immediately after reaching the next section of the review.

Body and handling

If you’re looking for an easy to use DSLR that will give you both the manual control of a dedicated camera and all the helpful Auto and Scene modes of a point-and-shoot, all wrapped up in a very comfortable to hold the body, then you should feel right at home with the Canon 700D. While the lack of some buttons and dials, weather sealing and magnesium alloy construction is something that would bother almost any professional user out there, it is perfectly fine that they are missing on a camera of this type.

The 700D (and all the other similar cameras) were primarily made fulfil two goals: providing an intuitive and a beginner-friendly friendly platform for those people in the process of learning about photography and wanting to make an upgrade from their smartphones and compact camera and also, giving everyone out there the opportunity to feel the joy of having a device with interchangeable lenses that is also comfortable to handle and as portable as it can be (you could argue that there are many mirrorless cameras out there that are more portable than the 700D, but they often tend to sacrifice ergonomics, battery life and durability to reach their narrower dimensions and thus they certainly weren’t made for everyone).

This is one of those cameras that manages to bring a fine balance between a very simplistic control scheme, lightweight and decently durable body and flexible options when it comes to composition and viewing experience (thanks to the combination of an optical viewfinder and a fully articulating and very responsive touchscreen). The aforementioned touch screen is a center piece of 700D’s usability and will help those that are used to using their smartphones for photography to make a smoother transition to their brand new DSLRs and Canon have certainly made a very smart decision to include this kind of technology on one of their most mainstream series of cameras (even back in 2012 when the 650D released).

canon 700d

Now, let us see what exactly the Canon 700D’s exterior holds and we’ll fill you in about all of its aspects as we go along. Starting with the front you’ll find the Flash button, the Red-eye reduction/Self-timer lamp, the Remote control sensor and also the obligatory lens release button. All the available ports, including the remote control terminal, the headphone jack and the USB and HDMI ports are located on the left of the camera and protected by appropriate rubber flaps, while the right side is reserved for the SD card slot and the DC cord hole. As is the case with most DSLRs out there, the tripod socket and the battery compartment are both located at the bottom of the device. The top of the 700D holds the stereo microphones, a hotshoe mount (it will allow you to connect something like an external flash or a shotgun microphone), the main mode dial (you will be using it to determine how much control you want to give to your camera over your exposure and colors), the ISO speed button (used to adjust the sensor’s sensitivity to light), the Power switch, the main dial (it will allow you to control your shutter speed) and lastly, the shutter button.

In the end, let us check the back of the 700D. Besides finding the LCD monitor and the viewfinder (together with its dioptric adjustment knob), you will also be able to make use of the included Menu and Info buttons, the Live View shooting/Movie shooting button, the Magnify+/AF point selection and the Magnify-/AE lock/FE lock/Index buttons (the first will help you to magnify your view while focusing or looking at any of your photos and the second one will allow you to reduce the amount of zoom or to lock your exposure), a little speaker grill, the Aperture/Exposure compensation and the Quick Control buttons (this one is used to bring up a separate interface consisting out of all the most frequently used settings and functions), the four-way navigation controller and the SET button (the controller itself also has functions mapped to each of its directions: Drive/Timer, White Balance, AF Operation and Picture Style), an access lamp that will worn you when the camera is writing something on the SD card and in the end, the Playback (for accessing your photos and videos) and the Erase buttons.

Well, now you can easily see by yourself what we’ve meant when saying that we like the 700D’s control scheme. It is that tried and true layout that Canon has been including on all of their DSLRs (with slight variations, of course) since the beginning of the digital age and one of the biggest reasons why so many users still put a lot of trust in their products. It is that familiarity, predictability and a great user experience that makes a Canon DSLR and that also holds true for the one this article is about. The 700D does not offer nearly as many customization options as any of the mirrorless cameras or even modern DSLRs, but it makes up for it with a straightforward and easy to navigate user interface and menu systems that are nicely organized, color-coded and full of helpful tooltips that will allow you to learn about all the included functions and everything they do without having to reach for the manual every time.

canon 700d

 

The interface itself is also perfectly tied in with the included touchscreen and thus many of you out there that have never used a DSLR before won’t have to feel threatened by all the buttons and dials and will get the chance to keep up with all of camera’s features at your own pace and decide if you’d like to stick with touch input as your preferred method of controlling the camera or decide that it’s the right time to make the most of all the physical controls. As is the case with almost any DSLR out there, the 700D also includes a plethora of different shooting modes to choose from like the Scene Intelligent Auto (the camera will automatically adjust all of your settings and also initiate the Continuous AF option if it detects any moving subjects), Creative Auto (it will allow you to control your depth of field, drive modes and decide if you wish for the flash to be used), Portrait (this mode will help you to make your subject stand out from the background more easily and give you that nice blur effect if you pair your camera with a telephoto lens), Special Scene Mode (it contains the Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and the HDR Backlight Control modes) and much more. We also like the way the Quick Control interface was implemented as it offers a different set of functions depending on your active shooting mode and thus, you will always know what kind of adjustments will be available at your disposal (shooting in the Manual mode will give you the widest selection). Now, the 700D also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to advanced shooting options, as it will give you enough of them to play with, so you could learn everything there is about controlling the exposure, making image adjustments, changing your white balance and so on.

You’ll be able to pick your metering mode (allowing you to get accurate exposure in different lighting conditions), enable the High ISO Speed and Long Exposure noise reduction (which will give you cleaner if you decide to shoot in low light, but you still didn’t get the chance to play with RAW files and found about the correct way to edit them), turn on the Lens Peripheral Illumination/Chromatic Aberration Correction feature (it will improve the image quality of your Canon lenses by way of correcting some of their possible optical flaws), control your sound recording levels while capturing a video clip (and also enable the Wind filter/Attenuator feature), adjust the behavior of the integrated pop-up flash unit or an external one (changing the flash sync speed, metering, exposure compensation and so on) and everything else you would expect to find on a modern DSLR.

The only thing you won’t find hidden in any menus is the Wi-Fi option, as this is something that still wasn’t the standard on Canon’s cameras back in the day and considering the fact that the 700D was always targeted at the less tech-savvy audience, it’s no wonder that such feature is missing. If all you’re interested in is to be able to transfer your images wirelessly to another device, then you’re in luck as this camera does support the Eye-Fi standard of Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards. Otherwise, the Canon 700D may not be the right camera for you and you should be on the lookout for one of the company’s more recent offerings. Other than bearing that little flaw, the 700D acts as a great showcase of good design and a well-rounded feature set and there’s not much more you could ask from a very affordable entry-level DSLR released back in 2013.

Autofocus and performance

As we’ve already mentioned, the Canon 700D comes equipped with quite a basic 9-point phase detect AF system that won’t be exciting to any kind of advanced users but will be perfectly usable to more casual photographers. Taking photos of still subjects isn’t an issue with this camera (even when it comes to using its live view mode, considering the fact that it offers slower focusing speeds than what’s the case with shooting through the viewfinder) since its central focus point is very accurate and will allow you to get perfectly focused photos in all but the dimmest conditions (you will have to resort to focusing manually for those cases).

Using the rest of the focus points and doing any kind of photography that involves moving subjects will be a challenge for those that aren’t used to shooting with DSLRs and just want for the camera to do everything for them automatically. You will be able to shoot sports and similar events on some occasions, but it will require you, as a photographer, to know which focus mode you should be in and to keep your expectations on a reasonable level (in regard to the total number of correctly focused photos that you’ll be able to get).

Canon has also made slight improvements to the focusing speed and accuracy of the contrast detect system used in the live view mode (meaning you will notice the improved performance when comparing the 700D to some of the company’s older models or those DSLRs that only rely on more traditional focusing systems), but honestly, it’s still not comparable to Canon’s newer cameras that include their Dual Pixel technology (which relies on phase detect focus points). Thus, if you were planning to take photos with your new DSLR only by relying on the LCD screen, then the 700D probably isn’t the right camera for you, but in all honesty, you shouldn’t be buying a product of this type without trying to get used to looking through the viewfinder (something that is the preferred method of shooting with all DSLRs, despite all the advancements made to their respective live view modes).

canon 700d

Photo courtesy of Ebroh

So, let us see if an entry-level camera like this one manages to bring all the important focusing modes and features that would allow you to improve your knowledge about focusing in general and give you a clearer picture on how those things work on standalone camera. The 700D feels like any other Canon DSLR in this regard (at least when it comes to its basic functions) meaning that it’s main focusing modes consist out four options: One Shot (works like any other traditional focusing method, you press the shutter button halfway, the camera focuses and retains it until you let go), AI Servo (a mode that’s best to be used when there’s a lot of things happening in your scene, since it will enable you to constantly refocus just by keeping the shutter button pressed halfway), AI Focus (it’s a combination of the previous two modes that will automatically switch between the One Shot and the AI Servo depending on what’s going on in front of your lens)and Manual Focus (MF).

The 700D will also give you the ability to pick any of your desired focus points with the press of the AF point selection button (aside from allowing the camera to pick them automatically), to perform manual focus more easily with the help of the Magnify feature (you’ll be able to zoom in at the part of your frame containing your subject of choice) and lastly, to choose your preferred AF method when shooting in live view (Face+Tracking, FlexiZone-Multi, FlexiZone-Single or the Quick mode).

Now, let’s get to some numbers and benchmarks and really see how the Canon 700D performs in a number of different operations. It took it 0.7 seconds to power on and capture a photo, 0.3 seconds to view it its gallery, around 0.2 seconds to focus after the shutter button has been pressed (this time falls to just under a second in live view mode) and 0.3 seconds between each shot (this was true for both the RAW and the JPEG photos). All of this numbers mean that the 700D performs as well as an entry-level DSLR should, but the burst rate sustainability of around 15 shots for JPEG and 6 for RAW files also mean that you will never mistake it for a camera that will be able to retain its good performance for more than a couple photos at a time.

Considering the fact on most occasions very few people will ever decide to use the burst mode, it’s of no surprise that something like that isn’t one of this camera’s stronger suits and only the more serious photographers out there would see it as a potential problem.

Video features and quality

The Canon EOS 700D is certainly an interesting camera to get if you’re into recording videos (more interesting than you would expect from a 5-year-old model). No, it doesn’t offer things like 4K or 1080p 60 fps shooting modes, Dual Pixel AF and focusing peaking or even more advanced features like Log profiles, in-body image stabilization and Zebra patterns (although, in all honesty, a lot of them still aren’t included on a big number of modern Canon cameras) and instead offers a basic, but very useful feature set that revolves around good video quality and giving you the means to achieve it without too much hassle. First, you’ll get the option to of either automatic or manual exposure control over your footage (just like you’ll be able to focus using Continuous AF, Touch AF or manual focus).

The 700D is one of Canon’s first DSLRs to offer real autofocus during video recording (most of them will allow you to initiate focus just once before you start to shoot, which is of course far from an ideal solution). While it’s speed in reality is average at best when compared to the capabilities of more modern cameras (or even your smartphones) the usefulness of having such a feature far outweighs its performance as not everyone will be skilled enough to properly focus manually and will often get worse results than leaving it to the camera to do it for you. The addition of both the stereo microphones and a dedicated 3.5mm jack (together with manual microphone level adjustments) will make anyone that cares about their audio quality very happy, just as the inclusion of the ability to control the look of your videos inside the camera (with things like Picture Styles, White balance correction, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Peripheral illumination correction and Highlight tone priority) will please those that want to have the option to get the most out of the captured footage without having to transfer it to a computer and dwell into the time consuming job of working within one of video editing programs.

In the end, this camera also offers an interesting feature called Video Snapshot and it will give you the opportunity to record short video clips and combine them into one movie (allowing you to capture all the small, but memorable moments without having to capture long videos and edit them afterwards).

Image quality

If there’s one reason why a lot of casual people where and still are buying DSLRs (and mirrorless cameras too, for that matter) it is to get the image quality that no compact cameras or smartphone could ever reach (at least when it comes to shooting in more challenging conditions).

Despite being an older model, all those reasons to buy a DSLR still hold true in case of the 700D. Its big 18-megapixel APS-C sensor is perfectly capable of producing very sharp and detailed photos in good light (if you pair it with a right lens, of course), give you the real depth of field (you won’t have to rely on artificial software background blur found on modern smartphones) and also a very good low light performance (very usable results up to an ISO of 3200). Its dynamic range is on the average side of things but using all HDR features or playing around with RAW files will allow you to get pleasing photos even when the light is not on your side).

canon 700d

Photo courtesy of Joanna Mutton

Those of you still in the process of learning about the all the bells and whistles the camera has (and not ready to make use of the RAW support) should do just fine when it comes to giving their photos a completely different look thanks to the inclusion of Picture Styles (Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome and three User Definable modes) and a plethora of different Creative Filters (Grainy B/W and Soft focus, as well as the Fish-eye, Art Bold, Water painting, Toy camera and the Miniature effects).

So, in a nutshell, your overall image quality will mostly be depended on the type of a lens you decide to mount on your camera and you’ll be happy to know that you’ll have a lot of Canon’s native lenses to choose from since almost all of them (even the cheapest ones) usually offer at least decent optical characteristics and won’t hold you back in terms of getting sharp images.

Conclusion

In summary, the Canon 700D certainly manages to stand the test of time for a lot of its features and capabilities, most importantly its image quality, ease of use, design and handling, performance and video quality. It is held back a little by the lack of Wi-Fi, 4K recording, a more capable AF system (at least when it comes to shooting moving subjects) and an unimpressive burst rate (not the speed itself, but the capability to sustain it), but all of these cons are reflected within its price point and it does help it to stay highly competitive even amongst the more recent offerings (the choice of lenses that can be adapted to it also plays a big part in its desirability as an entry-level DSLR).

The bottom line is, if you’re on a tight budget, but still determined to get something a lot more capable then your point-and-shoot or a smartphone, you surely won’t be disappointed with the camera the likes of the Canon 700D, as it will offer you pretty much everything a dedicated camera can (with a few exceptions) and give you the opportunity to get more pleasing photos and learn about the craft of photography at the same time.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH4 Review

For a long time now the more serious videographers out there had no choice but to invest a lot into getting large and bulky video cameras or less expensive and easier to handle camcorders that weren’t nearly as capable as their bigger counterparts in terms of image quality and overall features. The trend was slowly changing when camera manufacturers started putting movie modes on their DSLRs, but it even that was far from being an ideal solution for those users looking for a stable middle ground. This is where mirrorless cameras came into play, with Panasonic being one of the pioneers of creating products that were putting more focus on video recording than stills photography and they haven’t strayed too far from that tradition even now in 2018.

While it’s true that today’s Micro Four Thirds sensors are quite capable of producing high-quality stills that could be used in professional work, they are still outshined in that regard by many APS-C and full frame sensors because of their bigger size and better light gathering capabilities. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the case when it comes to video recording and this is the reason why so many Micro Four Thirds cameras have become very serious and powerful video production tools, but are still sold at very acceptable prices and could be purchased even by someone who just wants great video quality for their own personal use and doesn’t plan to do any kind of professional work. Although Panasonic have already released their newer GH5 and the GH5s cameras, this time we are taking a look at their venerable predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH4, since its drop in price has made it even more of an interesting purchase for those that want to save some money, but still need a very flexible product that will be able to deliver the goods.

The GH4 is certainly a camera that stood the test of time and is still the first choice for many videographers out there even to this day and there are many reasons why that’s the case; great build quality, advanced control scheme, extensive video recording options, good stills and great video quality, fast performance, respectable battery life, very flexible mount that can accept a countless number of first party, third party and legacy lenses and so on. While its successor, the GH5, does improve on a lot of these things, it still doesn’t bring enough to make the GH4 look like an outdated product without any value on the market.

As we are about to show you through our extensive review, it is still a very capable performer when it comes to professional video work and it certainly possesses all the right tools to allow you to do some high-quality work that will help you stand out from the crowd. First, let us see how its specifications hold up when compared to today’s mirrorless cameras and can it still be considered one of Panasonic’s flagship products.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH4Go to Amazon
The sensor built inside the Panasonic Lumix GH4 is a very familiar beast, being a 16-megapixel micro Four Thirds unit. While common among mirrorless cameras now, it used to be a real flagship sensor for the Four Thirds systems and for that reason it’s still a capable one even in 2018.
Overall rating:
83
Design:
0
75
100
Features:
0
91
100
Image Quality:
0
86
100
Price:
0
80
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • 3D Shooting Capability
  • Flash Sync Port
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • 4K Photo
  • Post Focus Mode
  • Dual-axis Electronic Level
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Poor Low Light Performance
Click to read the full Review
You shouldn’t expect to be able to get photos that will compete with modern APS-C and full frame cameras in terms of high ISO performance or raw dynamic range, but for normal shooting conditions, the GH4 should do a fine job of producing enough details and colors that are pleasing to the eye. After all, not many people will be buying a camera of this type primarily for taking stills and it’s quite obvious that Panasonic’s priorities while creating it where all about producing a fairly priced powerful video recording tool rather than trying to compete on the photography front. It would be great if the said sensor was stabilized (as many of them are on today’s mirrorless cameras) as it would greatly help for those of you that like to shoot handheld videos, but using an optically stabilized lens, a gimble or some type of a rig will solve that problem entirely and thus, we believe that not many users will be bothered by this too much.

The sensor itself is also powered by the Venus Engine IX quad-core processor which among other things brings notable improvements to noise reduction, gamma and diffraction corrections, HDR processing and more. The natively supported ISO range goes from 200 to 25600 (expandable to an ISO of 100), there are four aspect ratios to choose from (1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9) and five white balance presets and lastly, the available shutter speeds are ranging from very slow 60 fps to very fast 1/8000 sec (meaning you’ll be able to take very dramatic long exposure shots while your camera is sitting on a tripod and also use fast lenses wide open even in bright sunlight without having to reach for something like an ND filter).

The aforementioned quad-core processor also enables the GH4 to shoot at an incredibly fast burst rate of 12 fps (incredibly fast for a camera not particularly focused on shooting sports and action that is) and the camera also includes a decently capable 49-point contrast AF system bearing Panasonic’s trademark Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology. Considering its contrast-only nature we don’t expect it to do wonders when it comes to subject tracking or continuous AF performance (this also applies to video recording), but it should do just fine for normal and less demanding shooting tasks. A lot of you will be using it only in manual focus mode, which isn’t hard to do thanks to its numerus focus assist features and very impressive viewfinder and OLED screen units (the EVF itself brings a resolution of 2,359,000 dots and a 35mm equivalent magnification of 0.67, while the articulating screen on the back is 3 inches in size and also has a decent resolution of 1,036,000 dots). This means that no one should feel displeased with the shooting experience on the GH4 no matter if they prefer to use the viewfinder or the screen on the back, as Panasonic has certainly saved no expenses in making them as high-quality as possible. The same can be said about the camera body itself made from magnesium alloy materials and also environmentally sealed, the exact traits you would expect to find on a flagship mirrorless camera and also, the rich control scheme consisting of every button and dial you would want to have if you were a professional photographer or a videographer. We also like how the GH4 feels in the hand as it reminds us one of smaller DSLRs; lightweight enough to retain the benefits of being a part of the mirrorless design and substantial enough to allow for a nice and secure grip even when using bigger telephoto lenses).

There’s also an abundance of different ports available including the headphone and microphone jacks and the standard USB 2.0 compatible and HDMI ports (capable of outputting very clean 10-bit 4K 4:2:2 signal) in addition to a very powerful built-in pop up flash with a range of 17 meters, a standard hotshoe port and the SD card slot, Wi-Fi chip with support for 802.11b/g/n standard, the Wi-Fi Direct technology and both the WPA and the WPA2 encryption standards, support for the optional DMW-RSL1 wired remote unit and lastly, the obligatory orientation sensor and the stereo microphones.

The only thing lacking here is the inclusion of dual SD card slots (which is something we’re used seeing on professional cameras) and it’s entirely up to you to decide about the importance of having that particular feature on your next camera (it’s not any kind of a deal breaker in our opinion, but of course, yours may vary). Before we move on to the next category of this review and that’s the one dedicated to examining the camera body, build quality, usability, handling and more, we will summarize all the important aspects of GH4’s video recording capabilities and these are; 4K recording at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps and at 96 fps (using the special variable framerate mode), focus peaking, zebra patterns, color grading profiles, markers and guide lines, real-time sound monitoring and audio level control, time code display, black level control, luminance range adjustment and much more.

A lot of those options and features will only be known by the most dedicated videographers out there and their addition clearly shows how serious and bold Panasonic where when deciding to position the GH4 as a replacement for more bigger and expensive specialized video recording cameras and one that would cost you much less money and will allow you to adopt many different types of lenses.

Body and handling

From the very first moment you pick up the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and start shooting with it, you will immediately notice one thing: that it’s a very solidly built camera well worthy of its once premium price point. It may not feel as heavy as most DSLRs, but it does have a perfectly ergonomic design allowing for a very secure and grippy hold (even if you’ve got larger than average hands) without hurting your hands form all its weight after you decide to use it the entire day. It’s that perfect blend of holding something that feels very natural and familiar while also being a capable tool that will spark your creativity and give you as much control as possible over the way you’re approaching your photography.

The addition of weather sealing is just icing on the cake and will really give you the confidence boost needed when deciding if you should be taking your new camera out during a light rain fall or on your summer vacation where there could be some potential danger of sand or dust tempering with your plans. We’ve already mentioned the impressive control scheme and port selection, but we should also point out the GH4’s touchscreen as it’s nearly as usable as all the available physical buttons and dials since it enables you to silently change all your important settings, do it quickly and with almost no lag, customize a lot of the user interface and also make necessary adjustment while shooting at less conventional angles like for example doing macro photography or self-portraits.

lumix gh4

So, now that we’ve given you our impressions of using the GH4 in the real world, let us see what can really be found around its exterior. The front offers the self-timer indicator/AF assist lamp, the flash synchro socket, the lens release button and the NFC antenna (it will allow you to easily initiate a connection between the camera and the smart device of your choice). The right side of the GH4 holds the SD card slot, while the left side houses all the available ports (microphone and headphone jacks as well as the AV out/Digital and HDMI sockets. The tripod screw socket, battery compartment, unit connector interface and the battery grip connector can all be found at the bottom of the camera body.

The top of the camera is where you’ll be able to find the Drive mode dial (used for turning on the Timer option or switching between single or burst shooting modes), the large pop-up flash unit accompanied by the button used to raise it up from its housing, stereo microphones, a hotshoe connector, the main mode dial with its locking mechanism and the power On/Off lever (also the three separate custom profiles), the WB, ISO, Exposure compensation and Fn1 buttons, the Wi-Fi activity indicator light and in the end, the shutter button and the front dial. Now, all that is left is to look what the back of the GH4 holds. Aside from the obvious things like the EVF (together with its diopter adjustment dial and the eye sensor) and the touchscreen there’s also the Playback and the LVF/Fn5 buttons, AF/AE lock button and the AFS/AFC/MF lever that surrounds it, the motion picture button, Q.Menu/Fn2, Auto Focus Mode/Fn3 and the Disp buttons, the four-way control dial with the Menu/Set button in its center (the said dial can also be rotated) and lastly, the Delete/Cancel/Fn4 button. Now you’ll finally come to realization to why we’ve already praised the GH4’s control scheme without even singling out each and every part of it and there’s no denying the fact that it’s one of the best aspects and selling points of this camera. We believe that there are no advanced or professional users out there that wouldn’t appreciate having so much control at their fingerprints, let alone having a touch-sensitive screen and all the necessary options to make them feel at home with their cameras and be as productive as possible with minimal side backs or distractions brought on by a convoluted menu system, hard to use controls or an unintuitive user interface.

Panasonic has certainly done a very good job of balancing their capable hardware with an appropriate software solution, since their user interface is quite straightforward and easy to navigate, but most importantly very flexible and full of settings that will allow you to set it up just the way you want it. The first interesting feature worth mentioning is the Quick menu consisting of all the most frequently used items and settings that most users would want to have quick access to at all times and you can easily bring it up just by pressing its dedicated button (it can also be rearranged and customized to user’s liking and include items like the Photo Style, Metering Mode, Burst Rate, HDR, Flash mode and so on). The second one is the ability to switch between many different display information types which will give you the option to be as clean as possible or filled to the brim with different information like the histogram, the guidelines, exposure meter, tilt sensor readings and more.

The next thing on your to-do list should be the customization of all the available function buttons (including the virtual ones) and the rest of the controls that can be reprogrammed and those are all the Fn buttons (they consist out of five physical and five on-screen ones and can be set up to access a whole plethora of different functions like the Wi-Fi, Zoom Control, Aspect Ratio, Zebra pattern, Histogram and a lot more), as well as the rear and front control dials (you can choose which one will be used to adjust the aperture and which one will take control over the shutter speed). Lastly, there’s the possibility to register three different sets of settings using the Custom modes located on the main mode dial, something that will be invaluable to those who often shoot in different conditions and using different equipment and don’t have the time or the luxury to change their settings and make the necessary adjustments in danger of losing the moment and not getting that perfect shot.

While not directly related with what we’ve said above, we feel the need to talk about a few specific features that will enable you to get better image quality when dealing with specific conditions or shooting scenarios (or Image Correction Functions, how Panasonic likes to call them) and these are: i.Dynamic, i.Resolution, HDR, Long Shutter NR, Shading Compensation and Color Space. The i.Dynamic feature will help you get more balanced exposure in contrast in those conditions where there’s a big difference in light intensity between your subject and the background; the i.Resolution will try to apply more sharpness to your images where the camera deems it necessary and thus make all of the captured details stand out more; HDR will combine three differently exposed photo in to one photo with much wider dynamic range; Long Shutter NR can be used to remove the noise that can appear while you’re working with longer exposures and night photography; Shading Compensation should be very useful on those occasions where your live preview will be dimmer because of dark shooting conditions or smaller apertures since it will try to increase the brightness of the screen to allow you to see more of your scene and lastly, Color Space will allow you to choose the right color profiles depending on what you’re planning to do with your photos (sRGB is best to be used if your images will be viewed on any kind of digital equipment, while the AdobeRGB will be perfect for any kind of printing since it offer better color accuracy than sRGB).

Now that we’ve covered most of the important aspects regarding the Panasonic Lumix GH4’s software let us see how well it handles all the tasks related to wireless and wired communications, something that every modern camera is required to cope with without showing any particular weaknesses and without lacking any of the most important functions. Thanks to having a dedicated Wi-Fi button, connecting the GH4 to another wireless-enabled device will be a walk in a park to anyone who knows at least a little about the internet technologies as simply pressing it once will provide you with all the necessary information to establish a connection without much hassle. The use of NFC is also an option for those that own an Android-based tablet or a smartphone and will enable you to form a connection in a couple of steps less than the number that would be required when going with the more traditional route.

Once you’ve picked the connection method of your choice (do keep in mind that NFC can only be used with smartphones and tablets) the list of functions that you’ll be able to benefit from will sorely depend on the type of the device the camera is connected to; pairing it with a smartphone will enable you to remotely control the GH4, transfer images to your smart device’s memory, upload them to a web service of your choice or geotag them with the location data gathered by your smartphone (you will need to install the Panasonic Image App to gain access to those features) while connecting it to a TV or a printer will obviously allow you to view your photos on a big screen or print them without having to be physically near the printer. You will also be able to send images to your PC or a compatible AV device via the LUMIX CLUB service.

All in all, the truth of the matter is, Panasonic hasn’t really left us with anything to complain about in terms of the GH4’s design, user interface or the wireless capabilities and we can all agree on the fact that we are dealing with a serious piece of camera gear, no matter how much time has passed since it has arrived on the market and despite the fact that it has already been succeeded by a newer model.

Autofocus and performance

While having a camera with a 49-point contrast detect AF system doesn’t sound like anything to be excited about in 2018 (in case of flagship products, of course) Panasonic has certainly managed to do everything they could back in 2014 to keep the GH4 as competitive as possible with today’s modern cameras (even though we wouldn’t compare it with the very best, considering its more focused on video production than on photography). Most of the good performance that the GH4 is able to provide in the more demanding conditions is thanks to its Depth from Defocus technology, something that Panasonic include on all of their top tier cameras.

lumix gh4 sample

Night photo sample – Image courtesy of jessica garcia

So, what does it exactly do and how does it improve the overall focusing capabilities? Well, the said technology works by instantly measuring the distance between you and your subject by comparing two images with different depths of field and then feeding the processed data to the AF system, resulting in noticeably faster focus acquisition when compared to more traditional contrast detect based systems. It also brings faster continuous AF performance, something that both the sports photographers and videographers will appreciate, but in all honesty, we would still pick a camera with a phase detect or Hybrid AF systems for any kind of serious work that includes one or the other activity. That’s not to say that the Panasonic GH4 can’t be used for shooting fast action, it just won’t give you as many keepers as some of the more powerful flagships on the market (although, in its defense, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as those cameras, so it all depends on the type of budget you are working with).

Still, it is Panasonic’s flagship camera from a couple of years and for that reason it comes packed with different focusing modes and features that will allow you to maximize the usefulness of the included 49-point contrast detect DFD system and it is time to go through most of them and give you a bigger picture of what you can really expect to get with the GH4 in this particular area.

Let’s start with the main ones, as there are four of them: AFS (the best mode used for still subjects like shooting landscapes and architecture or doing any kind of product photography), AFF (this mode automatically refocuses if it detects any kind of movement in your frame, but otherwise acts the same as AFS), AFC (the more aggressive variation of the AFF option that constantly tries to keep a moving subject in focus and also predict its next position) and also the obligatory Manual Focus (MF) mode. The secondary focus consists of slightly more items and will help you even more in adapting to your particular focusing needs; in the Face/Eye Detection mode the camera will automatically detect your subject’s face and eyes and try to keep them in focus, the Tracking option will follow a moving subject and adjust its exposure as it detects any changes in lighting and enabling the use of all the available focus points with the 49-Area mode will allow you to focus on those subjects that aren’t located in the center of your frame.

lumix gh4 sample

Image courtesy of riesebusch 

The are also modes like the Custom Multi (this will give you the option to create your own AF area and adjust it horizontally, vertically or using your own shape), 1-Area (best used for subjects in the center of your frame, also allowing you to change the position and the size of the AF area) and lastly, the Pinpoint mode (enables you to use an especially small and precise focus area that will be quite valuable if you shoot more tricky subjects like flowers or insects). Of course, focusing can also be easily done using the touchscreen, which is quite responsive and allows for very quick and precise changing of the AF area position and switching between all the available modes.

Considering the fact that the Panasonic GH4 is a modern mirrorless camera, it’s no wonder that it also offers a plethora of tools to help you focus manually like the Focus Indicator, MF Assist (enlarging a portion of the screen), Peaking and the MF Guide. The GH4 will also allow you to manually focus those lenses without a focusing ring on their barrel (using the left and the right buttons on the navigation controller), change the size of the enlarged area enabled by the MF Assist feature, set the color of Focus Peaking and also its overall sensitivity.

Lastly, before moving to the portion of this review dedicated to video recording, let us tackle the GH4’s burst shooting capabilities and also its battery life. It offers a very fast shooting speed of 12 fps, but its usefulness to you will depend on the fact of which image format you’re planning to use; going with RAW will give you a burst of close to 40 images at full speed, while switching to JPEG will increase that value to as close many as 230 shots, which is of course a considerable improvement. Considering the fact that today’s cameras often offer very good JPEG processing and plenty of options to tune the look of your photos without having to transfer them to another device, we believe that staying in the JPEG mode when your fast shooting needs arise shouldn’t be an issue at all (unless you are working in very low light conditions and need all the flexibility brought on by the RAW format). There’s also a special Continuous Super High Mode at an offer and it will allow you to take 120 4-megapixel JPEG images at an amazing speed of 120 fps (it’s not something you will use every day, but still an interesting feature to have for those occasions where shooting speed will be your only priority).

Do keep in mind that all of our results were achieved using a fast UHS-II compatible card and that using a more standard option will give you shallower buffer depth while using the normal 12 fps burst mode, but on the positive side, your shooting speed won’t be affected at all. The Panasonic Lumix GH4 also manages to hold its own against its competition when it comes to battery life since it does offer a CIPA standard rated endurance of 530 shots when its screen is in the use and 500 when the EVF comes into play. However, considering the fact that most of you will be buying the GH4 because of its advanced video capabilities, it would probably be wise to invest in an additional battery pack if you were planning to go all the way and work only with 4K footage as it will certainly hit the battery a lot harder than taking photos ever could.

Video features and quality

While it’s true that the only reason you could have for buying the Panasonic GH4 is to get its excellent video quality at a very attractive price point, it is still a camera that will mostly be embraced by those videographers that tend to do professional work and know their way around the many advanced features included on this device, but not found on most of mirrorless cameras and DSLRs on the market (even at the time of writing this article and four years after the GH4’s arrival).

You can certainly buy many products that offer things like 4K recording, headphone and microphone jacks, articulating touch screens, decent continuous AF performance, Focus peaking and a wide choice of different bit rates and resolutions to choose from, but the GH4 goes a step above that and includes many of those features that will only be familiar to those very professionals that would pick a camera like this one for keeping up with their demanding jobs (and also an abundance of those known by almost everyone, but still very useful in their own right). We are talking about Zebra patterns, Silent Operation (which allows you to operate the camera just by using its touch screen), audio level adjustment during recording, 10-bit 4:2:2 external recording, AF tracking, 96 fps slow-motion recording, log picture profiles (allowing you to color grade your footage in post processing and get the most image quality out of the sensor), 4K Photo Mode (allowing you to grab 8 megapixel stills frames from your videos and essentially getting a 30 fps burst rate), Synchro Scan feature (it will allow you to reduce flickering and horizontal stripes on images) and much more (including all the customization options we’ve mentioned earlier in the review since the movie mode also benefits from them as well).

There’s only one thing lacking on this camera’s extensive video-centric specs list and that is the in-body image stabilization. This is something that could only bother those on tighter budgets or set on using only legacy lenses but considering the fact that a lot of good native glass available for the micro 4/3 systems already feature optical image stabilization, this isn’t as big of an issue as it may sound at first.

So, the GH4 certainly does bring enough features to satisfy the needs of everyone from casual video shooters and vloggers, to those that doing much bigger projects, but not interested in working with more expensive and bulkier dedicated video cameras.

Image quality

The Panasonic Lumix GH4 may not be on the top of the list as a next possible purchase for many photographers out there considering the fact that its sensor is far more capable at producing very impressive videos than photos, but it does handle most of the shooting scenarios pretty well. Pair it with a high-quality lens and you will have no problems getting sharp images in all lighting conditions aside from shooting in darkness or any kind of situations that will require you to use ISO values that go over 3200.

lumix gh4 sample

Image courtesy of riesebusch

Landscape photographers will certainly appreciate the GH4’s above average dynamic range as it will allow them to push those shadows quite far before they start to get unusable images and every user out there that will stick to only shooting JPEGs will be happy to know that Panasonic has managed to balance their image processing algorithms pretty well, leaving you with only slight traces of oversharpening in some images and a finely tuned noise reduction applied to higher ISO shots.

More adventurous users will also be happy to play with the included Photo Styles (Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom and Cinelike), the ability to adjust things like Contrast, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Saturation, Color Tone and Hue, as well as the four available Filter Effects (Yellow, Orange, Red and Green).

Conclusion

It’s finally time to blend our experiences and findings with the Panasonic Lumix GH4’s promised features and performance and see if it really is as impressive of a camera as most of the photography world portrays it to be and is it still worth buying over its successors, the GH5 and the GH5S.

Well, considering the fact that it’s more affordable now than it ever was before and now fits inside a price range of a modern mid-range camera, it does remain present itself as a very interesting choice to those who want a capable 4K recording machine, but don’t necessarily need all the latest features and aren’t working in low light most of the time (since the GH5 and the GH5S produce noticeably better footage at higher ISO values). The GH4 is also a pretty capable stills camera when compared to the other micro 4/3 devices on the market and the reason for that is its great battery life, control scheme, build quality and shooting speed/performance.

So, deciding if the Panasonic GH4 is the right camera for you shouldn’t be too hard if you know where your priorities lie and we hope that we’ve given you enough data to work with so you can make a confident and an educated decision about your next purchase.

Olympus PEN E-PL9 Review

There’s no denying the fact that the mirrorless cameras market is currently in full bloom with the amount of different offerings coming from every major manufacturers on the globe, ranging from entry-level devices aimed at beginner photographers and also those that are trying to fulfil the desires and the needs of the most demanding users out there and with the slow decline in popularity for compact cameras and DSLRs, a lot of room has been made for many different companies to spread their wings and try to attack every part of the market with more compelling offerings with each passing year. Still, one of the busiest and most competitive parts of the camera market has to be the entry-level segment, since it’s the only one faced with the high threat of current modern smartphones and their often very good imaging capabilities (making it hard to convince a lot of users to buy and carry a separate device with them when their smartphones are already covering a majority of their needs, including those related to taking photos and recording videos).

Luckily, for all the manufacturers out there, the need for dedicated devices (even at the consumer and mainstream level) still exists thanks to the superior image quality and flexibility brought on by mirrorless cameras that yet has to be matched by the modern smartphone (even though some of them have started experimenting with larger than average sensors, advanced image stacking techniques and multiple lenses of different focal lengths). For all those reasons, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 presents itself as a very compelling camera to those who want to do more with their photography than what is currently offered by their phones and their limitations.

The E-PL9 will certainly be more comfortable to hold after longer periods of shooting, easier to control thanks to its physical buttons and dials, more versatile thanks to its interchangeable lens nature (you can forget having to rely on digital zoom, portrait modes and any kind of software tricks to be able to get closer to your subject or separate it from the background) and in the end, bring better endurance and save your phone’s battery (which could easily be depleted with its camera is in constant use). Thus, it all depends on your general interest in photography and the curiosity of discovering what else lies beyond your smartphone’s screen and we believe that the Olympus PEN E-PL9 offers enough features at a very competitive price point to attract anyone interested in a portable device that will allow them to take better quality photos of those moments and memories that they want to keep a record of.

Even though we already have a general idea of what kind of a device the E-PL9 really is (at least judging it by its specs and the overall history of the PEN line up), we still have to examine it in as much detail as possible to fully form our honest opinion about its possibility of being the next candidate for a new addition in your pocket or a camera bag and for that reason we would like to encourage you to keep on reading and join us in our discovery of many different capabilities that this modern entry-level mirrorless camera aims to bring to the table.

Olympus PEN E-PL9Go to Amazon
Starting with its sensor, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 brings a very familiar and an already proven 16-megapixel Four Thirds sensor backed up by a powerful TruePic VIII processor and in return will give any kind of a photographer the ability to take photos of very good quality in almost all lighting conditions (especially if you decide to pair it with an optically good lens). You can expect to get decent sharpness, pleasing colors and contrast, good noise performance in low light (very clean images up to an ISO of 3200) and more than usable dynamic range to help you deal with more demanding scenes that won’t be easy to properly expose and achieve a perfect balance of dark and light areas. On top of all of that, the E-PL9’s sensor is also stabilized with the help of a 3-axis sensor-shift system with an effectiveness rating of 3.5 stops. So, it’s not as effective as the 5-axis solutions found in more expensive and advanced mirrorless cameras, but it will still allow you to drop your shutter speeds while shooting at night (to get more light in and also less noise) and get smoother videos while recording them handheld. (the advantage of being able to stabilize any lens that you decide to mount on the camera still remains and is still one of the most compelling reasons to have a camera with in-body image stabilization).
Overall rating:
69
Design:
0
80
100
Features:
0
75
100
Image Quality:
0
61
100
Price:
0
60
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Built-in Viewfinder
  • No External Viewfinder Option
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Low Battery Life
Click to read the full Review
With the image quality being covered by the 16-megapixel Four Thirds sensor the next important thing that had to be incorporated into this camera for it to be able to compete at a high level is a capable AF system and things are certainly looking good for the E-PL9 in that regard. While it may not bring an advanced Hybrid AF system autofocus system found on pricier mirrorless cameras it still includes quite a capable 121-point contrast detect AF system that should coupe rather nicely with anything you decide to throw at it (even if it’s subject tracking or working in low light). It’s certainly a nice increase from the 81 focus points found on its predecessor and the focus points themselves are also nicely spread around the image frame to allow for the camera to more easily focus on those subjects not being strictly in the center of the frame.

The only area in which the contrast detect system used to noticeably suffer in the past is in the case of continuous AF during video recording, but we believe that the E-PL9 will be able to produce decent performance even in that particular use case scenario (the AF systems on mirrorless cameras have come a long way in the last couple of years and have become more capable than ever before). Still, some further testing will be required for us to see if the E-PL9 does indeed bring significant advancements in that particular area, but we are already having very high expectations about its potential performance. It also promises to deliver the goods in regard to its shooting speed; a burst rate of 8.6 fps and the fastest shutter speed of 1/16000 sec (thanks to its electronic shutter) should really give you plenty of room when it comes to capturing fast moving subjects, especially when you take into account the built-in image stabilization and the wide-spread focus points.

The native ISO range of 200-6400 (expandable to 25600) will also allow you to easily fine tune your exposure and so will the built-in flash unit with its respectable range of 7.6 meters and features like slow sync, fill-in, red-eye reduction and more. A traditional hotshoe mount is also available for those of you that would like to use more powerful and more advanced flashes. Design-wise, the E-PL9 is quite a simple camera that will mostly appeal to those not interested in complicated control schemes and having a lot of different ports at their disposal. It offers just the necessary buttons and dials you would expect to find on a portable mirrorless camera and arranges them in a very traditional way. It also lacks things like headphone and microphone jacks and environmental sealing, but it does include a pair of stereo microphones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and a UHS-I compatible SD card slot. A viewfinder is also nowhere to be found (which is quite expected for this class of cameras), but the included 3-inch articulated touch sensitive TFT LCD with a resolution of 1,040,000 will more than makes up for it and will allow you to have a pretty good shooting experience when it comes to framing your photos and videos and also controlling the camera in tandem with its physical controls.

What stands out the most about the E-PL9 in terms of its exterior has to be its stylish design, which will certainly attract anyone wanting their camera to be a capable production tool as well as a fashion statement and is indeed one of E-PL9’s biggest appeals considering its relatively low price point. Still, for more dedicated users, that selling point could easily be the included 4K 30 fps recording option, something that will enable you to capture stunning video footage in almost all lighting conditions. While 1080p recording is still an acceptable option for most beginners and casual videographers, it’s still great to see that even the entry-level cameras are slowly catching up to the 4K trend as even our smartphones have reached that goal even a couple of years ago from now (as it’s certainly somewhat of a game changer and not a just a marketing gimmicks as some people will lead you to believe).

All in all, the Olympus E-PL9 does let off a very positive vibe in regard to its existence as a camera that you’ll be able to carry with you anywhere, get photos and videos that will beat those produced by your regular point-and-shoot camera or a smartphone and learn more about photography in general (manual exposure settings, lens choices, flash photography and more).

Body and handling

As we’ve already mentioned, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 is certainly one stylish attention-grabbing camera (as was the case with many previous PEN models before it). Its combination of silver accents, faux leather materials (available in four different colors), simple button arrangement and compact size certainly does make it stand out from a lot of cameras within its price bracket and makes it look more expensive and premium than it really is. Holding it in your hand will tell a different story about its overall ruggedness and build quality, but we still wouldn’t go as far as calling it a product that feels cheaply made or will fall apart at the first serious drop. It may not have what it takes to withstand the elements or be thrown around a lot, but you will be able to keep it in pristine condition for a long time if you’re at least somewhat careful with it and you don’t use and abuse it too much. The E-PL9’s weight of only 380 grams (including the batteries) will allow anyone to put it in a small bag or a backpack and keep it with them at all times (especially if you decide to pair it with a smaller prime or a pancake lens). Its decently large hand and thumb grips will allow you to hold it very securely in your hands without being afraid of the possibility of dropping it and the flexible tilting screen will give you the ability to easily take self-portraits or record vlogging videos (another area this camera will be able to cover well if audio quality is not your utmost priority).

olympus pen e-pl9

We also do like the fact that Panasonic have managed to cram all the components necessary for seamless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication between your smartphone and other devices into the E-PL9’s small camera body and thus allowing those users who like to post their photos on social networks or immediately share them via any of the popular online services to do it quickly and without much hassle when it comes to the initial setup. The addition of a viewfinder would be a very nice addition, there’s no denying that fact, but we do understand the reasons behind the decision Olympus have made to not include it on this model and that’s because of two major factors; price and ease of use. While the E-PL9 may appeal to a few advanced photographers, most of them will be making the upgrade from their smartphones or compact cameras and most of them rely on using their respective screens as main methods of looking through their lenses or navigating their user interfaces, so we certainly won’t consider the lack of a viewfinder on the E-PL9 as something potential buyers should have to worry about.

Now, as is the case with most of our camera reviews, it is the time to take a short tour around the camera body and decide if the product at our hands has enough going for it to be considered a device that is easy to use or get a grasp of. Starting with the front of the Olympus PEN E-PL9 you will find the usual things like the focus assist lamp, slightly protruding hand grip, lens release button and the lens mount itself. What does stand out is a clearly visible Olympus PEN logo, but of course it’s nothing more than a small artistic touch brought on by camera’s designers. Both sides of the camera include the necessary connectors for attaching a carrying strap with only the left side being void of any kind of ports and expansion slots and the left side being the one that features the obligatory USB and HDMI ports. The battery/SD card combo compartment and the tripod mount are located at the bottom of the camera (the battery unit itself is of lithium-ion variety, is rated at an endurance of 350 shots per charge and holds a model number BLS-50).

olympus pen e-pl9

The top of the Olympus PEN E-PL9 features the pop-up flash unit, a standard hotshoe mount, stereo microphones, the main model dial containing everything from the Program, Auto and Scene modes to the dedicated Manual mode, a dedicated control dial with the shutter button on top of it and an On/Off button. The back of the camera features the flash pop-up button, a small mono speaker, the articulating touch screen, the Shortcut/Index playback and the Fn/Magnify buttons, the Movie/Share, Menu and Info buttons, the four-way navigation controller with the Ok button located in its center (the controller itself will also allow you to quickly access four different functions: Exposure compensation, AF target, Sequential shooting/Self-timer and the all of the Flash related options).

The last two buttons located right beneath the navigation controller are the Delete and Playback buttons and together with the rest of the included controls nicely round up the E-PL9’s control scheme (which fits in perfectly within the expectations we would have for a camera at its price range). Things like dual control dials and a few buttons dedicated to a few specific functions are missing and you’ll have to rely on the touch screen to gain access to them and handle them quickly enough. This shouldn’t be a problem to anyone but the more demanding photographers since Olympus done a pretty good job of optimizing the user interface to react well to touch inputs and also making it a non-issue to navigate even if you’ve never used an Olympus or a mirrorless camera before. You will always have the option to stick with the very helpful Auto mode before tackling the more advanced features and thus the transition between using a simple point-and-shoot camera and a more powerful photographic tool won’t be too jarring and too much of a chore.

olympus pen e-pl9

Now let us see what the E-PL9 offers in terms of customization and all the necessary tools that would allow you to set up your camera the way you want to. First, there are different shooting options. You’ll be able to two switches between four different information displays (Basic, Image Only, Level Gauge display and Histogram display), use more mode-specific Displays like the Live Guide, Scene mode, Advanced photo mode and the LV super control panel (a special screen that holds the majority of important settings and functions you would usually work with on a daily basis)or play around with advanced features such as Panorama, HDR, Live Time, Keystone Compensation, AE Bracketing, Focus Bracketing and more.

When it comes to customization, in general, you’ll be able to change the functions of Fn and the Record buttons, choose a particular zoom speed at which your electronic zoom lenses could work with, choose processing options inside the Picture Mode, improve focusing performance in dimly lit condition by enabling the AF illuminator feature and access a plethora of different sub-menus including the AF/MF, Button/Dial (used to change the function of buttons and dials), Disp/PC (Control Settings, Info Settings, Live View Boost, Flicker reduction, Displayed Grid, Peaking Color and more), Exp/ISO/Bulb (Exposure Shift, ISO-Auto Set, Noise Filter, Noise Reduction, Live Bulb and so on), Custom (X-Sync, Slow Limit, Flash + Exposure compensation and + WB), WB/Color, Record and lastly, the Utility (Pixel Mapping, Level Adjust, Touchscreen Settings, Sleep, Eye-Fi and Certification) menus. So, the E-PL9 may not be the customizable powerhouse we are used to seeing from more expensive mid-range or flagship cameras, but it does manage to offer just the right amount of functionality and useful features to make it a very usable device to those people looking for something simple, but still advanced enough to give them the control over most of the important aspects surrounding any dedicated camera.

olympus pen e-pl9

In the end, let us see what it manages to offer in terms of wireless communications and if any significant sacrifices had to be made for it to reach its competitive price point. All of the Wi-Fi functions are closely tied in with smartphone use (as is to be expected from a modern mainstream-oriented camera) and are split between three different applications: Olympus Image Share, Image Palette and Image Track. The first application will allow you to send the images from your camera to your smartphone or a tablet and use the remote shooting function (using your smartphone’s screen to control the E-PL9 from distance), the Olympus Image Palette is here to give you the option to apply picture effects to your photos the moment they are sent to your smart device’s memory and lastly, the third app is here to fulfil all of your GPS and location tagging needs.

If, however, you decide to connect the E-PL9 to any of the compatible devices via either the USB and the HDMI cable you will also be able to pair it with your PC to transfer your photos or update the camera’s firmware, with a printer and use Direct printing via the PictBridge option or simply connect it to an HD TV set and easily share your photos and videos with your family, friends or co-workers. After we put all the information we’ve gathered about the Olympus PEN E-PL9 and its usability, design, shooting options, helpful features and wireless communication capabilities together we get a clear picture about a camera that may not be the most advanced piece of technology out there, but is certainly the one that manages to hold its own against its competition and offer a package that is as functional as it is pretty to look at.

Autofocus and performance

We’ve already mentioned that we had high hopes for Olympus E-P9’s performance from the very beginning considering its upgraded 121-point contrast detect AF system and a powerful processor also found in more expensive and advanced cameras such as the E-M1 Mark II and we are happy to say that this initial testing and findings have revealed the exact kind of performance we were hoping to find. Shooting still subjects wasn’t a chore the E-PL9 and it even faired well when it came to subject tracking and low light photography. Its accuracy and speed in those demanding conditions were pretty decent and even very good if you compare it to other cameras it tries to compete with. It wouldn’t be our top pick for shooting sports or action, but it will do just fine for shooting pictures of your family, friends, pets and so on. This especially holds true if you learn your way around all the focusing modes the camera offers, as some of them will certainly help you achieve better results if you’re aware of the type of photography you are going after in any specific situation.

olympus pen e-pl9

So, let us dive into those features and modes Olympus have decided to include on the E-PL9 and see how much control it will give you over its AF behavior. You will get five main focusing modes to choose from: Single AF (this mode is best suited for shooting still subjects), Continuous AF (best used for shooting moving subjects as it will allow the camera to constantly reacquire focus as long as the shutter button is being pressed halfway), Manual Focus (for those demanding occasions where the use of AF isn’t recommended, such as macro photography or working in very dark conditions), Simultaneous use of Single AF and the MF mode (this mode will allow you to fine-tune your focus even after the camera has confirmed that it has focused on your subject) and lastly, the AF tracking (the improved version of the Continuous AF mode that will give you the option to pick one subject and try to keep it in focus even if it’s moving around the frame).

Now, no modern mirrorless camera would be complete without having a few additional focusing features and the E-PL9 is no different in this regard. The Super Spot AF is here to allow you to zoom on the part of your frame while you’re adjusting focus and thus you’ll be able to focus on very small subjects or very specific details, while the Face-priority AF/Eye priority AF features will prove very useful to portrait photographers since they will instruct the camera to focus on people’s faces or more specifically, one their eyes (these kinds of modes are still one of the most compelling reasons for owning a mirrorless camera). The Olympus E-PL9 will also allow you to pick your AF targets and select between three of them: All Targets (the camera will automatically pick which focus points to use), Single Target (you will be given the option to move one focus point around the frame making this method the most accurate out of the three) and the 9-Target Group (which is similar to the Single target mode but adds 8 additional focus points to allow you to focus on slightly larger area). In the end, there are all the different manual focus assists that we’re used to finding on most of today’s mirrorless cameras: focus peaking, scale focusing and also the magnify option (all of them especially helpful to those of you that like to use legacy manual lenses with their micro 4/3 cameras since a lot of them are easily adaptable using dead simple adapters). The E-PL9 brings a very respectable burst rate of 8.6 fps (a slight increase over 8 fps found on its predecessor), but it’s effectiveness sorely depends on the type of image format you’re shooting with; if you decide to go with RAW you will be able to get a maximum of 20 frames before any slowdown occurs, but switching to JPEG dramatically improves things by giving you an unlimited buffer size and it’s far from being a bad thing considering the fact that we’re dealing with an entry-level camera whose users will stick with shooting JPEGs most of the time anyways.

The last thing we need to talk about is the battery life and it is yet another area in which the E-PL9 manages to provide a satisfying performance. This camera will provide you with around 350 shots before the need arises to charge or swap its battery and that is certainly plenty of endurance to get you through a couple days of taking photos (assuming that you’re not one of the more heavier users out there and if that was the case than the E-PL9 certainly won’t be the camera to fulfil your needs). Do keep in mind that your battery life could also vary depending on your usage of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies and thus, using them in moderation will be the keep of keeping the battery alive for longer periods of shooting. So, as was the case with the previous part of our article we’ve found no particular faults that could be attributed to the Olympus PEN E-PL9 and its performance-related feature set and results during our testing proved to be above or within the margins of an entry-level mirrorless camera.

Video features and quality

A common trait shared among many beginner-friendly cameras has always been: good imaging capabilities, but only decent or subpar video recording and that trend have been reemerging for many years now with these types of cameras. Still, one important factor has influenced camera manufacturers to take video capabilities more seriously and that has been the arrival of a modern smartphone. Despite having rather small sensors when compared with bigger cameras, a lot of them have been more than capable of producing videos of very high quality and even in 4K resolution and at 60 fps. While 1080p recording is still widely accepted by many users as “good enough”, it was only a matter of time before camera manufacturers had to take things more seriously and equip their less advanced models with features that should put it on the same or higher level than that of any flagship smartphone.

The E-PL9 is a prime example of that policy being applied to a mainstream mirrorless camera, as it does bring the obligatory 4K recording to the table (captured at a very respectable bitrate of 102 Mbps as well). Full HD 60 fps and 720p 120 fps recording are also here to give you even more flexibility of choosing between image quality and shooting speed (you will certainly be able to produce very pleasant slow-motion footage). Microphone and headphone jacks aren’t included, but a pair of decent stereo microphones is, and you should have no problems recording any kind of events with the E-PL9. The same can be said about using the continuous AF option (or Touch AF for that matter). Unless you are planning to shoot very fast subjects, the autofocus system will be able to keep up with anything you decide to throw at it and you will only experience a few hiccups and focus hunting here and there (mostly in low light conditions, where the focusing speed does noticeably slow down).

We also like the fact that Olympus has allowed the use of many effects available for stills to be applied to movies as well as it is certainly a very straightforward and intuitive way of giving your videos many different kinds of specific looks without having to go through often tedious process of creating them yourself in any of the available post-processing software. In the end, one final feature worth mentioning has to be the in-body sensor shift 3-axis image stabilization. There’s no denying the fact that it helps a lot when it comes to stabilizing video footage and the difference between having it turned on and off was very noticeable in our testing (even if the implementation itself is not the best we’ve ever seen on a mirrorless camera, but something like that is to be expected on a product with such aggressive price point).

All in all, anyone from casual users to occasional vloggers should be very happy with everything the Olympus E-PL9 has to offer with its video recording and that is exactly what we were hoping to see on a camera of its caliber.

Image quality

While the E-PL9 has managed to surprise us on a couple occasions with its solid feature set and performance, its stills image quality ended up being as predictable as possible (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Everyone in the photographic community is already well aware of the capabilities of the type of 16-megapixel Four Thirds sensor found inside this camera as it has been featured in many others in the last couple of years. It’s still a decently capable sensor by modern standards with everything from its resolution, dynamic range, color reproduction and noise performance holding up nicely against what the competition has to offer, but its maximum potential has already been reached by all the technological developments that have happened since the first camera featuring that same sensor has reached the market.

We would certainly like to see the newer 20-megapixel Four Thirds sensor appearing on the E-PL9, but at least we can report that Olympus have perfected the JPEG algorithms and processing with the inclusion of one of its flagship-grade processors with very nicely saturated colors and a fine balance between noise reduction and sharpening, which makes this one of the best entry-level mirrorless cameras on the market for those that aren’t interested in playing around with RAW files and putting the time necessary for editing them themselves. For this reason alone, E-PL9 brings a number of different picture styles and effects including the Color Filters (Yellow, Orange, Red and Green), Monochrome Color (Sepia, Blue, Purple and Green) and also, the Picture Modes (i-Enhance, Vivid, e-Portrait, Grainy Film, Vintage and many more). Of course, you will also get the option to create custom profiles and make fine adjustments to things like Sharpness, Contrast and Gradation, all within the camera’s user interface and without having to transfer your photos on a PC or any other type of a device.

Conclusion

As it is accustomed for our reviews it is time to say a few last few words about every camera and summarize our findings in hopes of giving you a balanced mixture of pros and cons and finally, an objective opinion as possible, all to help you make an educated purchasing decision. The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is certainly a camera catered to a specific type of audience and one that will not attract a lot of interest from those with more serious and professional tendencies, but will instead appeal to more casual users who are in the process of learning about photography, moving away from their smartphones or point and shoots or want an affordable, but still stylish camera that will go well with their sense of fashion.

Despite its low price point, the E-PL9 doesn’t bring any meaningful sacrifices that would bother its targeted audience and instead manages to create a nice mix of good image and video quality, intuitive controls, powerful connectivity, reliable performance, lots of useful features (image stabilization, articulating touchscreen, wide array of available filters and picture styles, pop-up flash and more) and an eye-catching design. It’s a very good contender for being one of the best budget-oriented mirrorless cameras on the market in 2018 and that’s certainly saying a lot about Olympus as a company and their ability to deliver the goods even at the lower price tier of cameras.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS70 Review

In a world dominated by mirrorless, smartphone and DSLR cameras (yes, they are still very popular both among the regular and professional users) it has become increasingly more rare to find an interesting and affordable point-and-shoot camera that will be able to stand out from the crowd with its features and competitive price.

While there are a slew of more advanced compact cameras bearing larger 1-inch sensors available on the market (and have enjoyed a lot of popularity), those with smaller and more traditional 1/2.3-inch sensors are receiving a lot less attention from the manufacturers and most of them are either your cheap and simple point-and-shoots or large and bulky bridge cameras bearing very long lenses. You will be able to find some rugged and weatherproof cameras that also feature the same 1/2.3-inch sensors, but those have always been those products that will appeal only to particular types of audience (mainly those that spend a lot of their time shooting in harsh and unpredictable environments).

The rise of modern flagship smartphones has also managed to complicate things even further as a lot of them are now as capable as most entry-level compact cameras in a couple of ways (some of them can even be compared to more advanced dedicated cameras in terms of their features and speed). The camera we get to review this time is the one that tries to be a product that blends the best of both worlds (the functionality of a dedicated compact camera with a slew of modern features that can also be found on many of our smartphones) and also do it while retaining a very low price point for everything it has to offer. We are talking about the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70, one of the more interesting portable 1/2.3-inch cameras that has reached the market in 2017 (in some markets it’s called the Lumix DC-TZ90, just for your info).

Now, for the reasons why it manages to show some indemnity amongst the very tightly packed crowd of entry-level point-and-shoot cameras. Besides the 30x optically stabilized and relatively small lens, it also manages to include RAW support, good macro capabilities, a very good contrast detect AF system, a touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder (yes, you’ve read it correctly, an entry-level compact camera with a built-in viewfinder), an electronic shutter (which allows it to shoot at very fast shutter speeds), fast burst rate, a built-in flash unit, stereo microphones, Wi-Fi, decent battery life and lastly and most importantly, both the 4K and 1080p 60 fps video recording (something that is still very rare to find on some entry-level mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, let alone a compact camera).

While the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 is far from being one of the best point-and-shoots on the market (that honor still falls to the likes of Sony’s RX100 VI camera) it does look like it could be one of the most feature-complete entry-level compact cameras that money can buy at the time of us writing this review. It does look Panasonic have managed to fit anything that would be of importance to a beginner, casual or amateur photographers in a package that will easily fit in almost any pocket, let alone a camera or a regular bag. Now, let us take a closer look at its specifications and see if things really are as positive in terms of Panasonic ZS70’s features as they currently seem to be.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS70Go to Amazon
The first thing important to mention about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS70 has to be its sensor (even though it is not one of its biggest selling points). It’s a 20.3-megapixel BSI-CMOS unit and works in tandem with the capable Venus engine processor to give it good JPEG processing algorithms and sufficient shooting speed to cope with all kinds of situations and tasks (still, you wouldn’t mistake it for a sports camera, that’s for sure).
Overall rating:
84
Design:
0
87
100
Features:
0
89
100
Price:
0
76
100
Image Quality:
0
85
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • RAW Shooting
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Long Battery Life
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Post Focus Mode
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • Timelapse Recording
Cons
  • Heavy Body
  • No Environmental Sealing
Click to read the full Review
The sensor itself will provide you with enough resolution and dynamic range to give you decent images in good light, but thanks to its smaller pixels and the averagely fast maximum aperture of the lens sitting on top of it, it won’t be able to match the low light performance of those cameras bearing bigger 1-inch sensors and brighter lenses. The lens itself features quite a standard maximum aperture range for a superzoom lens (going from f3.3 at its widest and f6.4 at the long end) but will give you a very good zoom range in return (24-720mm, which equals to around 30x in optical zoom terms). Optical image stabilization is also on board to help you get better photos in low light or when shooting at long focal lengths and the minimum focusing distance of only 3 cm will allow you to get very close to smaller subjects and get some respectable macro shots. While the averagely bright maximum aperture will limit your ability when shooting handheld at night (especially if you like to zoom in a lot), its still impressive to see such a flexible lens in such a small and easily pocketable body and thus the sacrifice in low light capabilities is justified in this case.

The Panasonic ZS70 will also allow you to use ISO values ranging from 80-3200 (expandable to 6400), decently fast shutter speeds that can go as high as 1/16000 sec thanks to the built-in electronic shutter (the minimum shutter speed you’ll be able to reach is 4 seconds) and the addition of RAW support will give you a decent amount of headroom when it comes to adjusting things like white balance, sharpness, highlights, shadows and more beyond those values that the camera would choose automatically for you if you were only shooting JPEGs. It’s always great to see the RAW capability being included on a point-and-shoot camera and we wish that more manufacturers would follow in Panasonic’s footsteps and allow their potential buyers to get better image quality out of their devices and go more in-depth with their photography. The Panasonic ZS70 is also no slouch when it comes to performance as it also manages to deliver very convincing features in that particular area. The first and the most important one is its 49-point contrast detect AF system that works in tandem with Panasonic’s familiar Depth From Defocus technology. This means that its focusing capabilities are very similar to those found on many of Panasonic’s mirrorless cameras, something that can’t be said for a lot of compact cameras on the market whose AF systems are usually inferior to those found on bigger and more expensive cameras. This even gives the ZS70 some potential when it comes to subject tracking and focusing performance for video recording (which should be a joy to use thanks to the inclusion of a touch-enabled screen).

No particular compromises also weren’t made in regard to the shooting speed, since the camera itself is able to shoot either at 10 fps with focus locked at the first frame or at 5 fps with the continuous AF capability enabled (while we aren’t expecting impressively big buffer sizes, these are still very commendable speeds for a budget-friendly point-and-shoot camera). Add to all of that a very decent battery life of 380 shots and you’ve certainly got quite a small but powerful camera on your hands. The Panasonic ZS70 also manages to bring a lot of good things to the table in terms of the rest of its functions, including its design and video recording capabilities. It features a solidly built body (although it’s not weather sealed), simple, yet effective control scheme that will be easy to understand both to beginners and more advanced photographers, stereo microphones for respectable audio quality (but as is expected, no external microphone or headphone jacks), a rather small but still very useful 1,166,000-dot electronic viewfinder, sharp and decently bright 3-inch tilting TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots, built-in flash unit with a maximum range of 5.6 meters (without the way to connect an external unit due to the lack of a hotshoe mount), standard USB and HDMI ports as well as a traditional SD card slot, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity and lastly, 4K 30 fps recording that tops out at a bitrate of 100 Mbps.

So, our early impressions of the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 are very positive as it is certainly one of the more interesting budget-friendly compact cameras we’ve encountered lately and really manages to bring a lot of interesting features for a very fair asking price. It’s most obvious flaw has to be the lack of any serious expandability and a lens that isn’t too bright, but both of those things are unavoidable if you’re on a lookout for a camera of this type as they are just too small and too aggressively priced to be as feature-packed as a lot of mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. It certainly seems like the ZS70 is able to deliver on things that really matter on a point-and-shoot camera and that is the most important fact to consider if you decide to compare it with other cameras on the market.

Body and handling

Since we’re dealing with a camera that exists mainly to bring joy to those people who like to carry a camera with them at all times and don’t want to bother with more advanced devices, it’s really important for a manufacturer like Panasonic to nail the build quality, design, handling and the overall comfort of use. You are certainly expecting for your new and shiny camera to last for a decent amount of time and be able to handle all the hurdles it meets during its lifespan (as long as you don’t throw it too often or let it come in contact with any kind of harmful elements like water and heat) and we are glad to be able to say that the Panasonic ZS70 doesn’t disappoint in terms of its build quality. While it’s construction doesn’t contain a lot of premium materials and doesn’t bring any environmental protection, it is still a camera that is put together very tightly, and you can really feel that you’re holding a quality product when you put it in your hands and that’s despite its low weight of 322 grams. The addition of grippy materials on the hand grip and the protruding thumb rest on the back of the camera certainly add another positive note to the entire experience and this also holds true for all of the included controls as they offer a decent amount of tactile feedback and are easy to get used to even if you’ve never used a Panasonic camera before. We also wish to say that we’re very grateful that the company has decided to put an electronic (EVF) viewfinder on the ZS70 as it brings more natural shooting experience that using the LCD screen and having it away from your eye. While its far from being the best unit out there, it will allow you to learn about the benefits of having a viewfinder and may change the way you feel about photography and give you the chance to be more connected with your camera and the moment you’re trying to capture (there’s a reason why most professionals are using the camera lifted to their eye rather than shooting from the hip).

Now, we’ve already mentioned that the ZS70 doesn’t bring a lot in terms of different ports, mounts and slots but let us see what it has to offer in regard to rest of its exterior and are there any pleasant surprises to be found there upon closer examination. As is the case with most of our reviews, we will start by looking at the camera from its front. This is where you’ll be able to notice the integrated Xenon flash unit, the focus assist light, the small but stylish Leica logo (which doesn’t meant that the company has had a lot of say in terms of the ZS70’s hardware but instead have decided to work with Panasonic to bring the most out of the camera’s JPEG processing engine) and also the lens itself with a very useful control ring sitting at the end of its barrel (it will allow you to use the step zoom feature, adjust your shutter speed and aperture, switch between the available Picture effects and a lot more functions that you’ll be able to choose from while programming its behavior). The left side of the camera holds a little speaker grill, while the right side houses both the USB and the HDMI ports neatly tucked in behind a protective flap.

The tripod mount and the compartment that holds the battery and the SD card slot are located at the bottom of the ZS70. The top plate of the camera is where you’ll be able to find the built-in stereo microphones, the main mode dial, the shutter button coupled with a zoom lever, the Motion picture button (it will allow you to quickly start and stop your video recording) and lastly, the power On/Off button itself. All that is left is to take look at the rear of the Panasonic ZS70 and that is where you’ll find rest of the included controls and also the touchscreen and the EVF units. The diopter adjustment dial for the viewfinder and the LVF/Fn2 button are located at the top left of the camera while the 4K photo mode/Fn1, Post Focus/Fn2, Playback, Q Menu/Delete/Fn3 and the Disp buttons, as well as the four-way navigation controller/rear control wheel with four shortcuts mapped to each of its directional buttons (Macro/MF, Exposure compensation, Drive mode/Timer and the Flash options).

Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-ZS70

Aside from the fact that the Panasonic ZS70 features a very solid control scheme the things that stand out the most about it have to be all of the included function (Fn) buttons as those are very uncommon to find on a camera of this size and price point. It’s pretty clear that Panasonic isn’t ready to give up on their reputations of offering the most customizable cameras out there, even if it means that those also have to be featured on a budget point-and-shoot device. Luckily enough, those features don’t necessarily mean that the ZS70 is a camera that’s complicated to navigate through and can’t be used for more simple and straightforward photography (similar to the one you would get by using a modern smartphone). Panasonic has managed to create a very clean user interface that is easy to make sense of no matter if you prefer using the touchscreen as your main way of interacting with the ZS70 or the physical controls and all of this holds true despite the fact that some potential buyers will be the beginners only wanting to play around with different filters and just press the shutter button after they’re finished or those advanced ones that want full control over their exposure and as much control as possible over any aspect of their cameras. Now, for all of the controls, you’ll be able to customize. We should start with the lens control ring as it certainly plays a big role in ZS70’s usability. Just like the control wheel on the back of the camera, it can be used to adjust the Shutter Speed and the Aperture, to switch between different Picture effects or to perform precise Step zooming which is the only operation that can’t be assigned to the rear control wheel). Besides those two control rings the ZS70 also offers an extensive set of software customizations and functions that will allow you to easily and quickly access any of your most important settings and features including the Quick Menu option and the ability to use up to five different virtual function buttons (together with the four hardware ones). There’s a long list of items that can be tied in with the included Fn buttons like the 4K Photo Mode, Wi-Fi, White Balance, AF Mode, HDR, Aspect Ratio, Metering Mode and so on. Many of those functions can also be accessed with one of the control rings, but you’ll mostly be using those to quickly change your Shutter speed and the Aperture, as that is the most intuitive way to use the camera in its fully manual mode.

Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-ZS70

Now, no modern point-and-shoot would be complete without adequate functions related to wireless communication and the Panasonic ZS70 is no different in that regard. The type of functionality you can expect to get is split it into six different categories: smartphone/tablet communication, displaying your photos on a wireless-enabled TV set, wireless printing, sending pictures to AV device, transferring them to a PC or uploading them directly on the internet using the WEB services. To connect the ZS70 to your tablet or a smartphone you will be required to install the Panasonic Image App (available both for Android and iOS) and complete a very straightforward setup. After you’ve done so you’ll be able to access a full array of features such as image transfer, remote shooting, social network upload, location data gathering and lastly, the combining of motion pictures you’ve recorded with the Snap Movie function. The rest of the features not related to smartphone use consist of those five categories we’ve already mentioned and manages to round up the ZS70’s wireless capabilities very nicely making it one of the most capable compact cameras on the market in this is regard (especially at its price point). The same can be said for its control scheme, design and the usability and the customizability of its user interface and a lot of its physical controls. The inclusion of an integrated viewfinder is just a cherry on the top, despite it not being the most impressive unit we’ve ever seen on a dedicated camera. Panasonic has really managed to create an advanced point-and-shoot camera that will appeal both to more advanced users not obsessed with image quality and more casual ones that want to do more with their photography that what they were previously able to do with their smartphones, no matter if we’re talking about budget or flagship devices.

Autofocus and performance

Despite it being a camera that wasn’t made to satisfy the demands of the most advanced photographers out there, the fact that Panasonic has managed to incorporate a 49-point contrast detect AF system with their Depth from Defocus technology shows how much they cared in turning the ZS70 into a product that doesn’t cut corners where it doesn’t need to in terms of its functionality. It’s good to see that you don’t have to invest in a high-end camera anymore to get a portable device with powerful focusing capabilities.

The ZS70 does have to work within the limitations of its contrast detect system (meaning slower continuous AF performance that what the phase detect systems are able to achieve) but thanks to having a decent number of focus points to its side and Panasonic’s advanced algorithms, you can expect to get very respectable responsiveness even if you decide to shoot moving subjects, take photos in low light or even while recording videos. We are also happy to report that the focusing performance didn’t drop in any meaningful way even after we’ve found ourselves shooting at the telephoto end of the zoom range (something that often occurs on compact cameras of this type). Using the touchscreen to acquire focus was also a pleasure to use since the camera has managed to register our taps instantly and quickly reposition its AF frame anywhere we’ve wanted it to. This kind of experience is very reminiscent of using a higher quality smartphone since they also rely on responsive touchscreens and intuitive user interfaces to give their users an effortless and easy to master focusing capabilities.

Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-ZS70

The ZS70 also manages to avoid another thing that plagues a lot of point-and-shoot cameras and that is the lack of different focusing modes, assists and general options to adjust its behavior since it does bring a lot of them to the table and that is certainly something that will be appreciated by those with a deeper understanding of photography. There are three main focusing modes available: AFS (ideal for still subjects like landscapes, architecture, flowers and so on), AFC (best used for moving subjects like people, animals and vehicles) and AFF (a flexible focusing mode that combines the capabilities of both the AFS and the AFC options and gives the camera itself the ability to determine if you’re shooting a still or a moving subject). Some additional secondary focus modes are also included and these are: Face/Eye Detection, Tracking, 49-area-focusing, Custom Multi, 1-area-focusing and lastly, the Pinpoint-focusing. Each of those will allow you to adjust the behavior of the AF system even further and give you the ability to adapt to many different kinds of shooting situations. You will also be able to choose the shape of your focus point areas while using the Custom Multi mode and these are the Horizontal, Vertical and Central patterns as well as the option to set your custom shape.

Adjusting the focus manually is also something that shouldn’t be to much of a problem with the Panasonic ZS70 thanks to the features like the MF Assist (which enlarges the portion of the screen where your subject is located), MF Guide (it is a distance scale that will show you if your current focusing position is located closer to the macro or the infinity range of lens itself) and lastly, the Focus Peaking (which adds color to the portions of your image that are in focus). All in all, we are very happy with all of the included features and the kind of a performance that the ZS70’s focusing system is able to provide considering this camera’s price and the position on the market.

The same can be said for its overall responsiveness (including the power on and shot to shot times) as well as its burst rate shooting. The speed it can shoot at tops out at a very respectable 10 fps and you’ll be able to fire away around 10 images in one burst before the speed slows down and the buffer has to clear itself (this holds true no matter if you’re shooting in the JPEG or RAW format). One of the most impressive aspects of this camera and its performance has to be the battery life.

While an endurance of 380 shots is far from being the best endurance achieved by some dedicated camera it is still very good for a small and pocketable device such as the Panasonic ZS70 itself. Many portable cameras are having issues with balancing their portability and battery life, but luckily this one isn’t one of them and will allow you to easily shoot for more than one active day without having to reach out for a charger. Things will change for the worse if you decide to record 4K footage, but the ZS70 also supports in-body battery charging over its micro-USB port and will allow you to make great use of something like the external battery pack or any other solution.

Video features and quality

While the Panasonic ZS70 certainly offers a lot more advanced features that will improve your experience of taking stills, video recording is still represented in more than a respectable matter for a mid-range compact camera. You won’t be seeing things like microphone or headphone jacks here (something that still hasn’t become a standard for the cameras of this size) or any kind of Log profiles to help you with post-processing, you will be getting full manual control of exposure, built-in stereo microphones, fast continuous AF capabilities, a touchscreen, optical image stabilization and most importantly, a wide array of resolution and frame rate combinations to choose from. No matter if you need highest resolution possible or fast frame rates for capturing any kind of movement or action, this camera will have you covered since it brings everything from 4K 30 fps and 1080p 60 fps recording, to high-speed capture modes like the 720p 120 fps and 480p 240 fps.

While the video recording capabilities of dedicated cameras are becoming noticeably better with each new generation of devices, the ZS70 presents a huge upgrade over a lot of its competitors and will allow even the less technically inclined users to produce videos of satisfying quality (especially if they decide to make use of the included 4K mode). It’s also great to see that Panasonic has decided to include a couple of picture effects that also work for video recording and one of them is the very familiar and fun Miniature effect that will allow you to give your footage an entirely different perspective. We should also mention that we were quite satisfied with the quality of the audio recorded by the integrated microphones and also the speed and accuracy of the 49-point contrast detect autofocus (it performed better than we’d expect from a contrast detect system).

The addition of a Silent Operation mode will also help you to minimize the amount of unwanted sounds picked up by the stereo microphones by moving all of the most important controls on the touchscreen itself. In the end, the ZS70 is a pretty capable little camera when it comes to video recording and will give you most of the important features and functions to allow you to record very pleasant footage no matter the shooting conditions. Only those that are interested in high-quality audio or advanced video editing should find themselves looking elsewhere for one of the more advanced offerings on the market (namely a mirrorless camera or a DSLR).

Image quality

Now, if there’s one area in which the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 doesn’t stand out too much from the rest of the compact cameras bearing the sensor of its size is the stills image quality. While it will certainly have a slight upper hand in sharpness over some of its competitors’ thanks to its Leica branded lens, it still won’t provide you with any kind of groundbreaking photos thanks to the small sensor and averagely bright maximum aperture. Optical image stabilization does help a lot in low light conditions to keep the noise somewhat under control, but you will be able to get good quality photos only if you keep your ISO values under 1600. We do like the colors that this camera is able to produce with its JPEGs and its dynamic range is also within the expectations for this type of a device (HDR mode is also available for some of the trickier scenes, so the ZS70 shouldn’t disappoint you even a bit in this regard).

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Photo courtesy of Lars-Erik Nilsson

Of course, the addition of RAW support is a big bonus for any compact camera and will give you the ability to play around with your exposure and noise reduction/sharpening in post processing and get even better results than the camera itself is able to produce by default. There’s also a lot of picture effects to choose from inside the Creative Control Mode; some of them like the Expressive, Old Days, Retro and Impressive Art will allow you play with different combinations of color, vividness and contrast, while something like Toy Effect, Miniature Effect, Fantasy or Star Filter will go beyond that and warp the look of your images to give them less realistic, but more unique look. It’s also great that those aren’t just predefined effects with static processing and that you’ll be given the option to adjust their strength and intensity before applying them to any of your photos.

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Photo courtesy of Jer-Wio Kuo

All in all, the Panasonic ZS70 may not be one of those cameras that were made to break some new grounds in terms of the quality of its stills (it does at least include RAW support), but when you combine its decent imaging capabilities with a lot of its hardware aspects like the long zoom range, an integrated viewfinder, customizable control scheme, optical image stabilization you do get a very well rounded package that will satisfy even some of the more advanced photographers out there who can accept a little sacrifice in image quality to get a lot of functionality in a portable and relatively inexpensive body.

Conclusion

With the compact/point-and-shoot camera market reducing in size with each passing year it is very rare to find a truly innovative or a really interesting budget-friendly product among the sea of devices with very similar feature sets. Sony’s RX100 series of compact cameras have been the ones attracting the most attention from the public for a while now, but those belong in the premium segment that and thus won’t be purchased by the majority of people interested in getting a portable camera of their own. This is where Panasonic stepped in with the Lumix DMC-ZS70 with the intention in bringing a capable and advanced compact camera to a wider array of users by selling it at a noticeably lower price, but without sacrificing to a lot of features and functions in the process.

We are talking about a camera that takes familiar the most important aspects of regular compact cameras like the lens with a big optical zoom, lightweight and portable body, a small but still capable 1/2.3-inch sensor and intuitive user experience with more advanced ones like a tilting touchscreen, an electronic viewfinder, full manual controls, deep customization, a very good AF system, both the 4K and high-speed video recording, great battery life coupled with USB charging capabilities, excellent Wi-Fi capabilities and more. In a nutshell, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS70 is one of the most advanced compact cameras using a traditional 1/2.3-inch sensor that the money can buy at the time of us writing this article. Thus, the choice of picking the ZS70 as your next camera falls to two important things: your budget and the kind of image quality are you looking to get.

If you aren’t too demanding when it comes to the type of photos you’d like to get, then buying this camera should be a no-brainer simply for the fact that it’s a really good device no matter how you look at it. And no, there isn’t a smartphone in the world that could achieve what this camera can do other than matching or beating it in image quality department. It’s a dedicated camera through and through and those even slightly more curious about photography than your average Joe will learn to appreciate it for everything it offers.

Fujifilm X-H1 Review: A New Mirrorless Story for Enthusiasts

We all know that kind of a company Fujifilm are and how their modern cameras have forever changed the market and once again increased the popularity of dedicated cameras among the mass audience. While they’ve managed to bring a decent number of successful compact cameras and one medium format product (the GFX 50S) in the hands of many photographers, their main forte for years has been the mirrorless cameras. No matter if we’re talking about powerful ILC devices like the X-T20, X-T2 and the X-Pro2, the very popular entry-level modes such as the X-A5, X-T100 and the X-A2 or any fixed lens camera from the X-100 line up, Fuji’s cameras always stand out amongst the crowd in terms of their picture quality, design and the choice of lenses and they’re popularity is certainly well deserved. Still, any successful company has to try to bring something entirely new now and then (just like the Fuji have done with their GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera that has managed to bring a lot of influence on the medium format devices market and bring a lot more portability and lower pricing than ever before).

The camera we are dealing with this time tells an entirely different story and is even trying to create an entirely new class of products by bringing a DSLR and a mirrorless camera closer than ever before and merging them together. We are talking about the Fujifilm X-H1, the company’s biggest APS-C mirrorless camera and the most powerful one they’ve ever built. This time around, Fuji has decided to throw away the portability to bring as many features as possible to those professionals and enthusiast longing for a fast and capable APS-C camera that handles similarly to a normal-sized DSLR. It includes the latest X-Trans sensor (which means very good dynamic range and noise performance), fast shooting speeds, excellent build quality and control scheme, advanced video recording capabilities, in-body image stabilization (for the first time in a mirrorless camera coming from Fujifilm), very good expandability, advanced Hybrid AF system, flexible touchscreen and a large and sharp EVF) and more.

It’s a professional camera through and true and is trying to appeal both to photographers and videographers at the same time (something that couldn’t be said about a lot of Fujifilm’s older mirrorless cameras that were mainly focusing on stills rather than video recording). The only thing that could scare away some people is the X-H1’s price (which almost rivals some of the most capable full frame cameras like the Sony Alpha a7 III) and it’s certainly not a camera that could fit the needs of every photographer out there. It all comes down to what kind of speed you want to have on your camera, what kind of image and video quality and are handling and durability very important to you.

The X-H1 won’t rival a full frame camera in terms of stills quality, but it does overshine a number of them in terms of other things we’ve mentioned in the previous sentence (and for some users, it will be all they ever need in a camera). Now, before we take a look at all of its aspects more closely, let us take a glance at its specifications and all the important features it brings to the table.

Fujifilm X-H1Go to Amazon
Since we’re dealing with a professional camera, the first thing we need to examine its imaging capabilities (namely its sensor, processing power, exposure settings and so on). The first thing that many of you will wonder about the X-H1 is it’s if its able to make use full use of its X-Trans pedigree and does it bring excellent image quality like the rest of Fuji’s mirrorless cameras do. Well, it certainly does and throws something extra into the mix. It features the same sensor already found in company’s venerable X-T2 camera, which means that you’ll be able to enjoy good resolution, great color range and accuracy and also excellent dynamic range and noise performance.
Overall rating:
79
Design:
0
75
100
Image Quality:
0
86
100
Features:
0
81
100
Price:
0
74
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • External Microphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Timelapse Recording
  • 2 Storage Slots
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • Low Battery Life
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
It is one of the best APS-C sensors you could find on any camera up to date and is as close as you’ll be able to get to full frame image quality by using a smaller sensor. One new addition found on the X-H1 (that currently can’t be found on any other Fujifilm mirrorless camera) is the 5-axis in-body image stabilization. This is a huge deal for Fujifilm as it makes this camera a very powerful one both for photographers and videographers and thanks to its 5EV rating it will ensure that you get the chance to use slower shutter speeds in low light conditions (and get sharper and cleaner photos) and also much smoother videos when you’re shooting them handheld. The increase in size and weight of the camera body is a worthy tradeoff for this feature alone. The rest of the things that will allow you to tailor the image quality and the exposure to your particular liking are the native ISO range of 200-51200 (expandable to 100 at the low and 51200 at the high end), minimum shutter speed of 30 sec and maximum of 1/8000 sec (it can go up to 1/32000 sec if you decide to use the electronic shutter instead of the mechanical one), the top flash sync speed of 1/250 sec and the exposure compensation adjustment range that goes from -5 to +5EV. To top it all off, Fuji also decided to include the support for 14-bit RAW files, which will give you even more room for making fine adjustments in post-processing (especially if your line of work is all about color accuracy).

The X-H1 is also backed up by a very powerful X-Processor Pro chip, which ensures that the performance and image processing are all kept at the highest levels possible. This is also the reason why this is one of Fuji’s most powerful cameras to this date; it brings a 325-point Hybrid AF system, a maximum burst rate of 14 fps and the kind of responsiveness any professional would be happy with (more on that later in the review). The Hybrid AF system itself promises great focusing performance even when it comes to tracking moving subjects (as the Fujifilm X-H1 itself is the camera that aims to compete with the likes of Canon 7D Mark II or the Nikon D500 and sounds like a device that would do great for things like sports events, journalism and any kind of fast moving action).

There is one caveat to its shooting speed and that is its requirement to use an optional camera grip to achieve the burst rate of 14 fps and also to enable the electronic shutter mode (meaning there is more risk of rolling shutter effects if you pan the camera to fast while trying to capture motion). You will still be getting 11 fps with the use of the grip (or 8 fps without it) if you decide to use a mechanical shutter, so it might not too big of a nuisance for most of you (considering the fact that the X-H1’s battery life isn’t great by default and the addition of a grip would certainly help with that). The grip itself also promises to increase the overall responsiveness of the camera and also adds a headphone jack (which isn’t present on the camera body) and thus its far from being a product that won’t be useful for a lot of photographers and videographers.

The Fujifilm X-H1 cuts no corners when it comes to built quality thanks to its magnesium alloy construction and weather sealing (this makes it an excellent camera for wildlife photographers shooting in tough and unpredictable conditions who also need as much reach possible and fast shooting speeds). Another occasion where no compromises were made is when it comes to including a capable screen and EVF units, since both of them are quite sharp (the 3-inch tilting touchscreen itself sports a resolution of 1,040,000 dots while the EVF itself is even sharper with a resolution of 3,690,000 dots) and are sufficiently bright for use even under direct sunlight. You can also expect to get a very rich control scheme coupled with a wide array of customization options (which has always been a trademark of Fuji’s mirrorless cameras), a lot of available ports and expansion slots (traditional hotshoe mount, micro-HDMI port, micro-USB 3.0 port, a microphone jack and also dual SD card slots that are compatible with the UHS-II standard). The only thing missing here is a headphone jack and you will be required to purchase the aforementioned grip (the exact model is the VPB-XH1 Vertical Power Booster grip) to gain that functionality.

Considering the fact that the added 4K recording will certainly hit your battery hard, using a grip to get much better endurance certainly sounds like a good idea. While we’re on the topic of video recording, we should mention what the X-H1 manages to bring to that particular category. Aside from the already mentioned 4K recording, 5-axis image stabilization and the headphone and the microphone jacks, it also includes support for Log profiles, Zebra patterns, Focus peaking, a 120fps 1080p mode, full manual control of exposure, integrated stereo microphones and more. If you’re an avid Fujifilm user or a serious videographer that finally wants to give a try to one of their cameras, the X-H1 will be your best choice for that kind of work.

All in all, the Fujifilm X-H1 is one of those mirrorless cameras that somehow manages to include every functionality you could ever imagine on a modern flagship camera and does so without costing an arm and a leg to find its way in your hands (it’s still far from being a budget offering but it really does bring a lot of bang for the buck despite its high price point).

Body and handling

The body of the Fujifilm X-H1 has to be the one thing that stands out the most among all of its other aspects and features. Currently, it’s the Fuji’s only oversized camera in their lineup of mirrorless devices (without counting the GFX 50S, which is a bigger camera due to its large medium format sensor). It is a camera meant for those people who want all the benefits of a mirrorless system, but also want an ergonomic design similar to a DSLR or one of Panasonic’s GH4 or GH5 cameras and are willing to sacrifice portability in the process. The X-H1 has a significantly better grip than your traditional mirrorless camera (including any of Fuji’s own products), added features like the in-body image stabilization and a little top plate LCD, brings much better balance when being used with a telephoto lens (which many of photographers would want to do with this particular camera considering its big focus on performance) and there’s also the weather sealing and more room for a more usable control scheme.

fuji x-h1

So, the X-H1 is certainly a camera that will be very comfortable to use for those that want something bigger and beefier, but those used to smaller mirrorless camera (and their benefits of portability and weight) should certainly try it out first (in a store or by renting it) before considering it as their next purchase. At 673 grams (without any lens), you will certainly feel its presence in your hands or around your next after shooting with it for some time. The build quality of the X-H1 is also top-notch thanks to the magnesium alloy construction and you’ll certainly be able to use it in some very harsh conditions without having to worry about its durability (this also holds true for dropping it). Its control scheme closely resembles ones found on some of other Fuji’s mirrorless cameras, but its expanded even further with some additional buttons and dials (it features dedicated controls for all of the important functions and a lot of those can also be reprogrammed to your liking).

Now is time to end all the introductions and take a look at the X-H1’s more closely and pay attention to any of the important details that make it the advanced camera it really is. Let us start with the front, as this is when the story immediately gets interesting. Besides the usual things like the AF-assist illuminator/Self-timer lamp, a pair of stereo microphones and the lens release button, you will also find the Fn2 button (one of the customizable ones), the front command dial, the focus mode selector and the flash sync terminal (much more features than you would find on most cameras, even some professional ones). The left side of the X-H1 holds all the available ports (headphone and microphone jacks as well as micro-USB and the micro-HDMI connectors) while the right side features the memory card slot cover that protects the included dual card slots. The battery compartment, the tripod mount and the vertical power-booster grip connector cover are all located on the bottom of the camera.

Looking at the top of the Fujifilm X-H1 will reveals the ISO adjustment/Drive dial (with a locking mechanism on top of it), the diopter adjustment dial, a traditional hotshoe (it will allow you to mount an external flash, which is important since this camera doesn’t come with one built into its body), the Shutter speed/Metering dial, the secondary LCD monitor (and the button to active its backlight), the Fn1/Exposure compensation button and lastly, the shutter button and the On/Off switch located around it. All that is left is to look at the back of the X-H1 and you’ll certainly be able to find a lot more features there in addition to those found on the rest of the camera body. Beside the screen and the viewfinder, you will also notice the Delete and the Playback buttons, the View mode button, the AE-L and the AF-On buttons, the rear command dial, the Quick menu and the focus stick, the Disp/Back button and lastly, the four-way navigation controller with the Menu/Ok button in its center. Well, there’s no denying the fact that Fuji had very serious intentions when it comes to turning the X-H1 into one of the most advanced mirrorless cameras out there in terms of its control scheme and build quality and they’ve definitely managed to make it happen. It’s always good to see when a company goes one step further in creating something of true excellence (like replacing an ISO button and a traditional shutter speed dial, with dedicated dials that will allow you to make exposure adjustments without having to look at any of the included screens or the EVF).

fuji x-h1

While the Fujifilm X-H1’s main focus lies on physical controls, rather than virtual ones, it still brings one of the best touchscreen experiences ever found on a Fuji mirrorless camera (with improvements like the inclusion of an AF touchpad, better use of the user interface and very good overall sensitivity). The menu systems themselves are well-balanced and relatively easy to navigate (they could use some further refinement but as a whole, they provide a very good user experience and only those that have never used a Fujifilm camera before will have to spend a certain amount of time to get used to them). Still, usability and user-friendliness aren’t the main reasons the interface on the X-H1 will be appreciated by many professionals as its customization options are its most impressive aspect and real thing that should cause some excitement among them.

The first thing you’d want to do when starting to play around with your new Fuji camera is to adjust its display settings and choose which indicators and information are displayed while you’re shooting in live view (it’s up to you to decide how clean or how busy it will look). After that, you should also take a look at a list of items that can be displayed on the secondary LCD monitor and also choose the color of its background (it can be either black or white). When you’re finished with making those adjustments, you should check out all of the customization options available for the X-H1’s physical controls. The first important thing to make note of is the included Quick menu (brought up by pressing the Q button located on the back of the camera). It will give you the ability choose up to 16 different items from a list of functions and settings, pick their position and store them on one easily accessible screen (this is a great way of keeping a collection of most used and less important functions in one space, without having to waste the time by looking for them inside separate menus). Then there are all the available functions that can be assigned to all the function (Fn) buttons (ranging from things like Image size and quality, MF assist, Flash function setting and EVF/LCD brightness to Flicker reduction, Color, Sharpness, Dynamic range and so on). The My Menu feature is also a very useful one as it will allow you to store a list of your most frequently used options and will complement the Quick Menu option quite nicely.

Now, before we end this section of the review and move on to another important matter (which is the performance), it is time to see what the Fujifilm X-H1 brings to the table in terms of wireless connectivity. Since it features both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 it is quite easy to connect it to a smartphone, tablet or other devices and save some power and time in the process (thanks to quick pairing and the low amount of energy wasted by the Bluetooth module). To connect the X-H1 to a smart device (it works both with Android and iOS products) you’ll need to download the Fujifilm Camera Remote application and choose one of the two connection methods. After you’ve done so you’ll be able to browse images taken with the camera directly on your smartphone or a tablet, download them, use the location data gathered by your smartphone or simply remotely control the X-H1 and use your phone’s or tablet’s screen as a large viewfinder (a number of manual options you can play within that mode is also available). You will also be able to connect the camera wirelessly to your computer if you decide to install the Fujifilm PC Autosave application and automatically backup images or using the tethering feature with the help of Hyper-Utility Software. You should also have no problem printing your images wirelessly if you own one of the Instax SHARE printers.

All in all, Fuji have done a tremendous job when it comes to creating such a well-rounded camera like the X-H1. It manages to offer everything from the excellent build quality, handling, controls and expandability to a nicely crafted and highly customizable user interface to the wireless capabilities that cover any kind of features you would expect to get on a Wi-Fi enabled modern mirrorless camera. When it comes to body and handling category, it is pretty obvious that the X-H1 deserves a perfect score and passes our test with flying colors. Now, let us see if it holds up to our expectations when it comes to focusing, performance and endurance.

Autofocus and performance

The 325-point Hybrid AF system built inside of the Fujifilm X-H1 is the same system as one found in one of their most popular mirrorless cameras (the X-T2) but has been optimized to provide better performance (especially when it comes to shooting in low light or using any kind of lenses with large apertures). Thanks to its hybrid nature, the said AF system has the ability to adapt to many types of situations and try to balance speed and accuracy according to the lighting conditions or the types of subjects you’re working with.

Shooting anything that doesn’t move won’t present itself as any serious challenge for the X-H1, so everything depends on how well it handles the more demanding tasks. While the focusing speed and accuracy in low light do show noticeable improvement over the X-T2, the subject tracking performance remains largely the same. This means that the camera will be able to hold its own when it comes to action, sports or any kind of other photography that includes moving subjects but it’s still not at the same level as some of its competitors (especially the more expensive ones). It’s indeed a very good performer for the camera of its class, but you won’t be able to get a 100% shot rate with subjects that move in a more unpredictable manner and you’ll also need to make sure that you’re using one of Fuji’s better quality lenses (since your focusing performance will largely depend on their design and not all of them perform the same on more modern bodies). Still, the X-H1 will allow you to get a lot of keepers even in those unpredictable situations thanks to its incredibly fast burst rate (more on that in a bit) and a lot of available settings that will allow you to adjust the behavior of the AF system.

Now, let us see what kind of focusing modes you can expect to find on this camera. You’ll get a choice of three main focus modes (you’ll be able to conveniently switch between them thanks to a dedicated focus mode selector located at the front of the camera); Single AF (your regular focus mode suited for still subjects), Continuous AF (a mode that will allow the camera to constantly reacquire focus as long as the shutter button is being pressed halfway and is best for shooting any kind of moving subjects). Additionally, you could enable the Pre-AF option and gain the ability to focus continuously even without having to press the shutter button. Then there are all the available focus area modes; Single Point (uses only of focus point to allow you to precisely focus on a small subject or a part of a larger one), Zone (it will allow you to choose one of the included zones and use all the focus points that fit into its predefined size), Wide (depending on the situation, this mode will use a single point or a group of them form all the available 325 focus points) and lastly, the All mode is a combination of all the three main focus zones and will give you the option to switch between them on the fly by using the rear command dial. Interestingly enough, all of them serve a different purpose if you switch to the Continuous AF mode (only the Wide option is replaced with one simply called Tracking) and can be used to fulfill different subject tracking requirements (for example, the Single Point mode is best to be used for subject coming towards you, while the Zone option is more ideal for subjects moving in a less predictable manner).

The Fujifilm X-H1 also brings a really comprehensive control scheme that will allow you to adjust the AF behavior quickly and efficiently; the focus stick will allow you to choose your desired focus point by moving it in any direction and pressing it will instantly enable the center focus point while rotating the rear dial will give you the ability to cycle between different frame sizes and pressing it in will revert back to a default frame size. Focusing manually with this camera is also a joy thanks to a myriad of different features that will help you immensely with getting perfect focus in all kinds of situations. Everything from Focus zoom and Focus peaking, the manual focus and the AF distance indicators and even the Digital Split Image option are available and helpful in their own way (the X-H1 is one of the most feature packed cameras on the market when it comes to incorporating different focusing aids).

Now, it’s also no slouch when it comes to performance in general and will not leave you waiting for too long for it to power on and allow you to take your first shot. This is all due to its powerful processor and Fuji’s optimization and even gets better if you connect it to the optional power grip. Now, when it comes to burst rate shooting the story gets a little complicated as the aforementioned grip will dictate how much shooting speed you’ll be able to squeeze out of the X-H1. By itself, it will give you a 14 fps burst rate with the use of an electronic shutter (and a buffer size of around 40 JPEG or 23 RAW images) and a burst rate of 8 fps with the use of a mechanical one (with a buffer size of 80 JPEG or 25 RAW photos). Attaching it to the Vertical Power Booster Grip will increase the shooting speed for the mechanical shutter to 11 fps and without almost no hit to the buffer depth for the RAW files (it is reduced to 70 images when it comes to JPEGs).

The grip itself also plays an important role in improving the Fujifilm X-H1’s considerably from what its battery is able to provide by default (you will be able to get an endurance rating of 900 shots instead of the unimpressive 310 shots). It is strange to see that Fuji hasn’t managed to fit a larger battery pack in such a big camera body, but at least the solution conveniently lies in the officially provided battery grip. The availability of USB charging is also a great addition as it will allow you to charge the battery without having to remove it from the body (it works no matter if you connect the camera to an external power bank, your computer, laptop or plug it directly into a wall socket).

All in all, the Fujifilm X-H1 certainly lives up to all the expectations you could have for its performance and will be a great camera to own for anyone looking for a mirrorless APS-C device that will give them flagship-grade focusing capabilities and responsiveness.

Video features and quality

The days of Fujifilm cameras providing great stills quality, but inferior video recording capabilities have finally come to an end and the X-H1 is the company’s latest representation of a camera that retains the photographic prowess you would want to get from one of Fuji’s mirrorless devices but also brings a lot in terms of options to the end-user in regard to available resolutions, control over audio and exposure, stabilization, picture profiles and more. The camera will allow you to easily balance between framerate and resolution thanks to the inclusion of two most important modes: 4K 30 fps recorded at a high bitrate of 200 Mbps and the 1080p 120 fps mode that is ideal for shooting fast action that will be turned into the slow-motion footage.

The 4K footage itself does feature a slight crop of 1.17x but in return reduces the rolling shutter effect that is very noticeable on many of today’s cameras. The image quality that can be achieved both in those conditions where there’s an abundance of light and in those that are lacking it is certainly very good and worthy of a modern mirrorless camera, but still nothing groundbreaking or good enough to bring down those cameras that are considered to provide the best looking footage. Thanks to the inclusion of an external microphone jack and the headphone jack (if you pair the camera with its optional grip) the audio recording is well covered on the X-H1 and so is its ability to provide you with raw footage that can be processed as you see fit due to inclusion of the F-Log profile (the Eterna Film Simulation mode is also available).

The camera also feels well-equipped to provide good focusing performance as it will give the ability to use a total of 91 focus points, adjust their behavior, tracking sensitivity or enable the Face Detection mode (Focus peaking is also here for those that prefer to focus manually). We should also mention the addition of a Movie Silent Control feature. It is a special mode that will allow you to access all of the important video recording functions just by using the touchscreen as your main input method (hence the name Silent), which is a great addition for those that want to record audio using the internal microphones and don’t want to create any unnecessary noises by using the physical controls.

Image quality

We weren’t met with any particular surprises (neither the good or the nasty) when examining the X-H1 from the angle of the quality of its stills. Since it features the same sensor found in the likes of the Fujifilm X-T2 and the X-Pro2, its capabilities are equal to those two cameras. This means very good detail retention, pleasant colors (and the variety of Film Simulation modes that will allow you to easily change their look), good dynamic range and one of the best abilities to handle high ISO values on any of the available APS-C cameras. The JPEG engine on the X-H1 is also nicely optimized and brings very mature noise reduction and sharpening algorithms (so you don’t have to hesitate to shoot only JPEGs on an occasion or two).

fuji x-h1 sample

Photo courtesy of Jose Antonio Lagier Martin

Add the very capable in-body image stabilization into the whole mix (as it will give you some extra headroom if you find yourself taking photos at night), the optical quality that the most of Fuji’s lenses possess and you’ve got a very capable device on your hands that will be able to deal with any kind of photography you decide to throw at it.

Conclusion

Fuji has certainly created a very interesting camera in form of the X-H1. It may not be a product that will be to everyone’s liking or will be able to fulfill the needs of every professional photographer and videographer out there (thanks to some limitations posed by the APS-C sensor in comparison with full frame, the increase in weight and size over the more portable mirrorless cameras on the market and the relatively high price point) but it is still a very solid camera with many strengths to its side.

Some of these are the solid build quality, excellent control scheme, great picture quality, very good EVF, advanced focusing system, expansive wireless capabilities, fast shooting and operational speed, good battery life and a complete set of ports and expansion slots (when the camera is coupled with its optional vertical grip), very good video recording capabilities and more.

Whether the Fujifilm X-H1 is a camera suited to your own needs will depend only on two facts; are you looking for an advanced APS-C camera in a DSLR-like package and does your financial situation allow for one to find its way in your hands.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Review

While the compact cameras don’t enjoy the same popularity as they used to (because of how capable our smartphones have become and how accessible the mirrorless cameras are right now price-wise). Still, most of the companies still aren’t giving up on the format and are always looking for ways to introduce them to as many people as possible by giving them more functionality than ever before and improving their image quality significantly. This is where the 1-inch sensors came into play and have rejuvenated the popularity of compact and point-and-shoot cameras once again as they’ve finally managed to bring their image quality closer to DSLRs and mirrorless devices and in the same time bring it to a level that’s still out of the grasp for today’s smartphones. Still, most of those cameras are still out of the reach for some people due to their relatively high prices (as they are usually more of an advanced than consumer-oriented cameras) and it was only a matter of time before some camera manufacturers decided to create devices catered to a more widespread audience.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is one of those cameras and it aims to combine the image quality brought on by the 1-inch sensors with a user experience that will allow even the beginner photographers to get to easily get to grasp with what the advanced compact cameras have to offer (while also costing far less than a lot of competing products). Aside from its capable sensor, the Canon G9X Mark II also brings other interesting things to the table like its trendy design and good build quality, optical image stabilization, powerful processor, decent zoom range, macro capabilities, a high-resolution touchscreen, built-in flash unit, fast burst rate, Full HD 60 fps video recording, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and more.

Since it’s more of a camera that would be of interest to beginner and amateur photographers, it does not feature headphone and microphone jacks, a hotshoe to allow the use of an external flash, weather sealing or a viewfinder, but the omission of these features is what allowed Canon to sell the GX 9 X Mark II at such a competitive price point and bring it into hands of more people who are interested in bringing their photography on another level, but without sacrificing the portability and the ease of use many of them have grown accustomed to by using their smartphones or previous compact cameras as their main shooting tools. It’s certainly interesting to see how different companies have to rethink their business strategies because of the everchanging camera market and if they will be able to adapt to the current conditions (especially when it comes to competing with smartphone manufactures, as they have certainly made things much more complicated for the likes of Canon by introducing quite capable cameras into the types of devices we all carry with us at all times).

So, let us see if the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II has enough functionality and the charm to find its place in the bags and pockets of many different types of photographers around the globe.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark IIGo to Amazon
While the reasons to purchase a more advanced compact camera will vary from person to person, most of them will make that decision because they want to get good image quality in a very portable form and for that reason we will start the close examination of the Canon G9 X Mark II’s capabilities by looking at all of its aspects that directly affect its ability to produce satisfactory images and videos.
Overall rating:
77
Design:
0
85
100
Image Quality:
0
70
100
Features:
0
65
100
Price:
0
87
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • NFC Connectivity
  • Image Stabilization
  • FullHD Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • RAW Shooting
  • Face Detection Focusing
  • Light Body
  • Manual Focusing
  • Manual Exposure
  • Timelapse Recording
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • No Articulating Screen
  • No External Flash Shoe
  • No Built-in Viewfinder
  • Low Battery Life
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Poor Telezoom Coverage
  • Optical Zoom only 3X
Click to read the full Review
Its 1-inch sensor is a 20-megapixel BSI-CMOS unit and it should bring a nice balance between resolution and low light performance thanks to its specific design. You shouldn’t expect results that could rival a DSLR or a mirrorless camera when it comes to shooting at night, but the daylight performance will outshine your smartphone or a regular compact camera any day of the week. Canon has also included a very capable Digic 7 processor to help with the overall performance but also to provide more mature JPEG processing (meaning better color reproduction, sharpening and noise reduction).

As is expected, RAW support is also included and will allow you to get even better results with the G9 X Mark II if you know your way around post-processing software. Thanks to its Wi-Fi support, the camera will also enable you to easily transfer your photos to a smartphone or a tablet and edit them in a more straightforward manner with many of the applications that can be downloaded for the Android and iOS system (thus, you won’t be required to shoot in row to get better images or change their overall look with relative ease).

The lens sitting on top of that 20-megapixel sensor is a 28-48 mm equivalent unit with a maximum aperture of f2 at 28 mm and f4.9 at 84 mm. This means that shooting in low light shouldn’t be an issue as long as you’re staying away from the end of the zoom range (as the aperture of f4.9 will provide some challenge) and that is also the case thanks to the inclusion of optical image stabilization (it will allow you to get better control over your shutter speed and produce sharper and more stable photos with less noise to them). The lens also has a minimum focus distance of only 5 cm and will allow you to get very close even to smaller subjects and get some unique types of shots (especially if you use the built-in flash unit as it will give you more illumination and better-looking photos). When it comes to exposure, the ISO values that will be available to you range from 100 to 12800 while the shutter speeds that you’ll be able to shoot with can go as low as 30 sec or as high as 1/2000 sec (this fast of a shutter speed will give you the ability to make use of the maximum aperture of f2 even in bright light and give you more room to play with your depth of field). There’s also an ND filter on board for those occasions where lighting is too harsh or you want to achieve slower shutter speeds in daylight to get different types of effects.

Despite being targeted at a less demanding audience, the G9 X Mark II is still a member of the G series of cameras and thus also aims to bring good performance in addition to its image quality. Its contrast detect based 31-point AF system may not feature the Canon’s familiar Dual Pixel AF technology, but will be capable enough for most types of uses, (even for shooting moving subjects thanks to Canon’s algorithms and many of available focusing modes). The very familiar and powerful Digic 7 processor is certainly to thank for the fast boot, shot to shot and focusing times you’ll be able to enjoy with this camera, but we should also mention the optimizations that Canon have done to create a very smooth and easy to navigate user interface (something that has always been a trait of most of their cameras through the years). Also, the available burst rate of 8.1 fps also fits in well with Canon’s philosophy of providing decent performance with their G series of cameras, but the G9 X Mark II does manage to lag behind bigger and more advanced cameras in terms of battery life (since the size constraints come into play even more with this camera than those with more spacious interiors and more room for bigger battery packs). In return, the G9 X Mark II does offer a very stylish and easy to handle body that will easily fit into anyone’s rucksack, bag, pocket and compartment and never become a burden after being used for prolonged periods of time (which is certainly one of its biggest strengths along the image quality it can provide and its price point).



The body itself doesn’t offer a lot in terms of expandability (only the standard SD card slot, as well as the USB and HDMI ports) but it does bring important features such as Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, an orientation sensor, time-lapse recording, stereo microphones and a fixed 3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots. Lastly, the G9 X Mark II also offers 1080p 60 fps recording, something that is great to see on a camera like this one despite the lack of 4K recording and features such as the microphone and headphone jacks or the Zebra patterns and Log profiles (Focus peaking and a pair of capable stereo microphones are included though and so is the fixed touchscreen that will help you with faster focus acquisition). So, even before dwelling deeper into this review we can already tell that the Canon GX Mark II is the type of a compact camera that aims to bring as little compromise in image and video quality as possible, but while also keeping the feature set light and more accustomed to those that are more interested in casual photography than any kind of professional work.

In a way, the G9 Mark II X could be called one of the best entry-level point-and-shoot cameras that money can buy, but before we can declare that statement as a fact, we need to see how well it handles in our testing. Let us start with its body construction, handling and usability.

Body and handling

Despite not being a dream camera for professionals and enthusiasts (as is the case with some 1-inch sensor cameras on the market) it is still a unique one thanks to its size, control scheme and built quality. It’s one of the smallest cameras of its type out there (even smaller than Sony’s RX100 offerings) but also one that is built to very high standards. At 206 grams of weight, it’s very light but doesn’t feel cheap thanks to its metal construction (it’s a win-win combination for those people that are looking for a product that is easy to carry around but still very durable). It also comes in two colors, brown and black and both of those make an entirely different fashion statement (the brown one is flashier and stylish, while the black one looks more serious and understated). The only thing it lacks is weather sealing, but that kind of omission is expected to be found on such an aggressively priced camera such as the Canon G9 X Mark II and probably won’t bother a lot of people. Still, despite its modest dimensions, the G9X Mark II remains a camera that is both comfortable to use and to hold (thanks to the faux leather material being placed on all the strategic positions and the front grip being as pronounced as possible for a portable compact camera).

The camera’s control scheme is a balance between three things: the control ring located around the lens, the included touchscreen and lastly, a modest number of physical controls that can be found around the body itself. It’s certainly not a device that will be appreciated by those photographers that are used to operating their cameras strictly by using the physical controls as it mostly relies on the touchscreen as the main method of operating the G9 X Mark II. This kind of user experience will certainly make the current smartphone users feel right and home and help them learn about their new camera and its capabilities more easily than by having to remember the function and location of each physical button or dial (something that could feel cumbersome to a lot of beginners who have never used a dedicated camera before). All in all, the Canon G9 X Mark II is an excellent camera in regard to its body when put in the right context and that means its target audience, which will mainly consist of first-time photographers or those coming from less advanced devices like smartphones or cheaper entry-level compact cameras.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Now, let us see how much functionality Canon has managed to fit on to the exterior of this tiny camera and does it really bring enough balance between virtual and physical controls to bring a user-friendly experience to the type of buyers it is catered for. As is the case with all of our reviews, we will start by checking out the front of the camera. You won’t find many things here other that already aren’t featured on many other cameras (like the focus assist light and the lens itself), but there is one thing that isn’t the part of the majority of compact cameras and is essential for the G9 X Mark II’s user experience; its lens control ring. It will allow you to easily change and adjust a number of different settings and parameters (there’s a long list of functions that can be assigned to it) and do it without even having to think about it (since your fingers will naturally rest on the lens barrel anyway to give the camera a better grip). The left side of the G9 X Mark II features a dedicated Wi-Fi button to allow you to establish a quick connection between the camera and your smartphone, while the right side holds the HDMI and the USB ports (we also like the addition of a couple of obvious screws on both the sides as they give the camera a slightly industrial look and really add to its overall durability). The tripod socket and the SD card/battery compartment are located at the bottom o the camera. The top of the Canon G9 X Mark II holds the small pop-up flash unit (bearing a range of around 6 meters) and a dedicated lever that allows it to rise up from its housing, stereo microphones and a single mono speaker, the On/Off button, the shutter button/zoom lever combo and lastly, the main mode dial itself. The back of the camera is entirely dominated by the 3-inch touchscreen; there’s no viewfinder, no navigation controller and no other fancy controls. Here you’ll only find the little thumb rest featuring the same faux leather material found on the front of the camera and an array of four buttons: Movie, Q/SET, Menu and Info.

Thanks to the well-designed user interface, it’s neither hard or cumbersome to control the G9 X Mark II with the use of a touchscreen and the entire experience is very reminiscent of the one you would have while using your smartphone (even better because of the overall design being centered around photography and thus, it’s even easier to pick out different settings and make any necessary adjustments). Canon’s expertise in creating great software to back up their cameras really shines through here and is still one of the company’s biggest strengths when it comes to their products. Still, as the G9X Mark II targets the less demanding audience, it’s of no wonder that it brings two shooting modes catered to those who want an experience similar to using a point-and-shoot camera; the Smart Auto and the Hybrid Auto modes. The Smart Auto mode is fully automatic and will allow the camera to pick any necessary settings for you depending on your lighting conditions and ambiance, while the Hybrid Auto mode is the one that will give you the option to create short movie clips recorded before you take each of your shots during the day and combine them into one bigger highlight video. There’s also the matter of customization and it all starts with the control ring found on the lens. It can either be used as a replacement for a navigation controller (meaning that you could pick any of the settings that need to be adjusted just by tapping their icon on the screen and turning the ring to make the necessary adjustments) or to directly adjust the Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, exposure, White balance without any other input being required beforehand. You could also program it to perform step zooming, adjust the aspect ratio or to pick one of the predefined Lighting Optimizer effects. Another physical control that can also be reprogrammed is the Movie button and there’s a large number of settings that can be assigned to it (like the Drive mode, ISO, White balance, ECO mode, ND filter and so on). You will also be able to choose the amount of information displayed while you’re composing your shots (making it either filled to the brim with all the different readouts and notifications of active features or as minimalistic and clean as possible). One Custom shooting mode is also included as a way of allowing you to save a collection of your settings and adjustments so they can be recalled at a later time, as are both the Quick Set and My Menu options. The Quick Set menu will allow you to create a grid of up to 11 different items consisting of decently big list of functions and settings that you could access quickly at any given them just by using the Q/Set button on the back of the camera, while the My Menu feature will store all of your handpicked menus (up to six of them), allow you to arrange them in any order and enter any of them quickly from one single menu, rather than wasting time to search for them each time you need to use a specific function.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Now that we’ve established that the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a simple, yet very powerful camera when it comes to its user interface and all that is contained inside of it, it is time to see if it offers the same level of polish with its wireless capabilities. Right from the beginning things do sound very promising as Canon have included a familiar trio of wireless communication options: Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. This essentially means that you’ll be able to either connect the G9 X Mark II to a smartphone or a tablet the more traditional way (only using Wi-Fi) or using the quicker method with the help of NFC (that is if you own a compatible Android device since Apple’s smartphones still don’t support that kind of communication for establishing a connection between a phone and a camera). Bluetooth is here to allow for a more efficient transfer of smaller files (like the GPS data) as it is less taxing on battery life than Wi-Fi itself and also to provide a similarly fast method of establishing the connection with your iPhone as you would while using an Android device and NFC. The G9 X Mark II will also allow you send images to your smartphone, remotely control the camera (with a decent number of functions that can be accessed that way), upload them to a web service of your choice via Canon’s iMAGE GATEWAY feature, send them on another camera or print them on a Wi-Fi enabled printer. In some cases, you’ll also be able to pick the size and quality of your photos or add a comment to them before sending them out.

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

All we can say is that we are very happy with the amount of work Canon have done to bring a very compelling shooting experience even to a budget-priced camera such as the G9 X Mark II; everything from the body quality and handling, the user interface and the control scheme and the wireless connectivity is handled in a way that is befitting to a modern compact camera and we are left with no compelling reasons for any kind of criticism.

Autofocus and performance

While the Canon PowerShot G9 Mark II may not be a camera that will wow anyone with its performance and focusing capabilities, Canon have certainly implemented enough of capable tech inside its body to make it perform as well as a camera within its price range would and that will certainly be enough for the majority of people buying this type of a device. It brings a 31-point contrast detect AF system and none that performs noticeably better than the system found on its predecessor. It will do you just fine for shooting still subjects (even in low light), but it will also perform very well if some light subject tracking comes into play (like taking photos of family, friends, street photography, clubbing and so on). This is also where the majority of improvements lie over the first G9 X as it one of the major areas in which it was struggling to perform within our expectations. So, despite not having a state of the art AF system, this camera won’t leave you waiting for too long when it comes to focusing speed and accuracy. It also manages to include a myriad of different modes to help you cope with many different situations and tailor the behavior of the AF system to your exact needs. First, there are the manual focus options. In addition to the usual focus assist tools like the magnification and Focus peaking, you will also be able to make use of the include Macro mode (which will limit the focusing range of your lens to allow you to capture smaller subjects without having to deal with the big focus jumps) and also the Safety MF feature (which essentially allows for manual focus adjustments after the automatic focus acquisition). Focus Bracketing is also available and will allow you to get more depth of field in your shots by combining three differently focused images into one image. When it comes to AF modes, there’s plenty of them to choose from; aside from the traditional all Auto mode (it will use the entire range of 31 focus points and choose which ones to use depending on the situation) there’s also the 1-point AF (it uses a resizable focusing frame that can be placed on any subject inside your image frame), Face+Tracking (the best mode to be in if you’re shooting portraits or people in motion as it will automatically search for their faces and try to keep them in focus), Servo AF (the usual continuous AF mode that will try to detect any kind of movement and adjust the focus accordingly) and lastly, there’s the Touch AF feature (it works the same as the 1-point AF method with only difference being that it’s tied in with touchscreen use). There’s also the option to enable the AF lock by pressing the Menu button with the shutter button being pressed halfway, which is great for those occasions where you want to shoot with your focus being fixed on something.

Besides having quite a capable AF system, the G9 X Mark II also manages to bring quite a good overall performance for a camera in its class. It has the startup times of around 1.3 seconds, shot writing times of little more than a second, focusing speed that hovers around 0.18 seconds (and is even faster when the lens is set to its telephoto range) and an average time it takes for it to take an image is 0.66 seconds. Even its burst rate is more usable than you would expect considering its high speed of 8.1 fps thanks to the buffer size of 30 shots for Large Fine JPEGs and 20 shots for RAW files. You will be required to use the fastest SD cards available to reach that kind of a performance, but it’s still very good to see a budget-oriented compact camera with decent burst rate capabilities. There are only two things related to performance in which the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II doesn’t exactly impress and that is its battery life and the time it takes for its flash unit to recharge itself (it can take up to 10 seconds). The overall endurance of around 235 shots may not feel out of place on a very portable compact camera like this one but is still a number that will require you to invest in an additional battery pack if you like to stay outside for longer periods of time and shoot a lot of photos and videos. Luckily enough, there’s an Eco mode included that will bring prolong the battery life of 315 shots (with some sacrifices, of course) and the support for in-body USB charging is also included for those that are used to carrying external power banks with them. All in all, besides its mediocre endurance, the G9 X Mark II manages to bring a very good overall performance and is certainly worthy of being a member of Canon’s G-series of cameras.

Video features and quality

There’s no denying the fact that the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a very simple camera when it comes to recording videos and isn’t one of those devices that offer many advanced features that more serious videographers would appreciate. For that reason, there’s no headphone or microphone jacks, 4K recording, Zebra patterns, Log profiles or advanced slow-motion capabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the G9 X Mark II is incapable of providing their users with enough basic tools to allow them to produce videos of satisfying quality. First, its capable of recording very nice 1080p 60 fps footage that even manages to hold its own in low light conditions thanks to the larger than average sensor (for a compact camera) and the bright maximum aperture of f2. The same footage will also give you some room to play around with slow-motion effects because of the 60 fps framerate. Full manual control over exposure will give you the ability to fine-tune your image quality in all kinds of conditions while, the included touchscreen will help you with faster focus acquisition, the stereo microphones will allow you to record audio of decent quality and the in-body image stabilization will make sure that your videos don’t look too wobbly while you’re holding the camera in your hands during recording.

We would also like to mention one of the more interesting additional features that can be found on the G9 X Mark II and that’s the Star Time-Lapse Movie recording. It will allow you to create some truly unique videos by creating a time-lapse recording consisting of images shot at different set intervals and capturing the movement of stars and their trail. There’s a lot more fun features like that one included (we advise you to consult the manual to find what they are and what they do), but we need to move on with the review and finally examine the stills image quality that the Canon G9 X Mark II is capable of providing.

Image quality

While the G9 X Mark II has the right base to produce very good quality images, some cost-cutting measures have been applied to the quality of its lens as it’s not the sharpest unit amongst other compact cameras bearing the same 20-megapixel 1-inch sensors and thus it won’t compete with the higher-end devices in terms of sharpness. Also, the noise reduction algorithms often tend to be too aggressive and smear away a noticeable amount of detail when the camera is being used at higher ISO levels (the sharpening itself is much more laid back and we didn’t notice any kind of unnatural look to the images that too much sharpening tends to produce). These are the only two flaws we were able to find in terms of G9 X Mark II’s image quality. Luckily enough, both of them can be reduced in effect if you decide to shot in RAW, as it will give you a lot of room to apply a balanced amount of sharpening and noise reduction and get noticeably better photos than with the default JPEG processing (although the colors are really good by default, something that has been a trademark of many of Canon’s cameras).

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II sample

Photo courtesy of Steve Arnold

Dynamic range and noise levels are on par with other 1-inch sensor cameras and are miles better than what your smartphone or a more traditional compact camera is able to provide. Those of you who are used to playing around with different effects and picture styles will be happy to know that Canon has put a lot of attention of this part of imaging and thus, you will get many of those effects and modes to play around with. First, there are the instant filters and effects like the Toy Camera Effect, Miniature Models, Fish-Eye Lens Effect, High Dynamic Range and more. Then there are the more special modes like the Starry Skies, Star Portrait, Star Nightscape and Star Trails. If you’re a fan of astrology and you’d like to get creative with anything that involves the night sky and the starts, this camera will certainly give you a lot of tools to satisfy your creative urges.

So, despite not bringing the sharpest images around, the G9 X Mark II still has enough going for it in the image quality department to remain a good purchase for those looking for a more advanced portable camera. It is simply a good performer and only the enthusiast photographers will be able to find anything wrong with anything it can provide in the imaging department.

Conclusion

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is certainly an interesting piece of photography gear. It is one of those cameras that are trying to blur the lines between entry-level and mid-range products and borrow features form both of them while retaining a very competitive price point. It brings a capable 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, excellent build quality, sharp touchscreen and a fluid user interface, low weight and great handling, good quality 1080p 60 fps video recording, stereo microphones, USB charging, a capable 31-point contrast detect AF system, many different shooting modes and picture effects, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, image stabilization, RAW shooting, great burst rate and more. While it does sacrifice things like the viewfinder, microphone and headphone jacks, environmental protection, 4K recording and a better quality and more versatile lens, it does so while retaining a compelling asking price that is well within the reason for everything it does and doesn’t offer.

It is certainly not a camera that will attract any kind of attention of enthusiast and professional photographers (unless they are looking for a simple back up camera) but will make any type of amateur and beginner users very happy and provide them with a very pleasurable shooting experience and the image quality that is still unrivaled by any smartphone out there.

Check out other younger Canon PowerShot family members Canon PowerShot G16 or Canon PowerShot ELPH 360.

Sony Alpha A7 III Review

It’s quite easy to notice that Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras have started to bring a lot of attention from many different types of photographers and amateurs as more and more people are starting to recognize their value (having a portable camera that they can easily carry around with them and that can rival any other types of professional and mainstream DSLRs or other mirrorless cameras. Since the A7 and the A7R reached the market back in 2014, their successors and their other cousins have always been created to cover the needs of almost every type of users out there and priced accordingly, but this time around the company has decided to change their game around and bring one of those models to the next level and thus make it more interesting for both the amateur and professional photographers.

We are talking about the Sony A7 III and its job is to attract even more attention to the Sony brand and their line up already popular full-frame mirrorless cameras by seriously upping the specifications and bringing it closer in functionality to the likes of A7R III and the A9. It manages to improve on its predecessor in almost every way; more capable sensor, faster burst rate, more advanced AF system, touch-sensitive screen, improved user interface, 4K recording, longer lasting battery life, USB 3.0 support, dual SD card slots, more effective image stabilization, better design and more. While the newer models of cameras are always bringing a number of improvements over their older counterparts, the A7 III is almost in the entirely no class of its own when compared with the A7 II.

So, in a way, it wasn’t released to replace the A7 II but to sit beside it as a more capable option for those enthusiasts that aren’t interested in the likes of the A7R III, A7S II or the A9. Thus, Sony has managed to enrich their line up of full-frame mirrorless cameras even further and judging by its specifications, the Sony Alpha A7 III certainly looks like a product that will be very popular amongst enthusiast photographers and videographers and one that manages to brings a balanced set of features that will enable it to compete with many different types of cameras coming from the competition (no matter if they are focused on those interested in stills or video production).

Sony Alpha A7 IIIGo to Amazon
While the Sony Alpha A7 III doesn’t change the total megapixel count found on its predecessor (it is still a 24-megapixel sensor) but it does improve on images quality aspects other than sharpness like the dynamic range and noise performance (especially due to its BSI CMOS design). So, if you aren’t in need of more resolution for your type of work you will certainly be able to tackle any type of photography that is centered around challenging lighting conditions and will require the use of higher ISO values or some heavy post-processing.
Overall rating:
82
Design:
0
85
100
Image Quality:
0
83
100
Features:
0
87
100
Price:
0
74
100
Pros
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • NFC Connectivity
  • 5-axis Image Stabilization
  • Articulating Screen
  • 4K Max Video Resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • Long Battery Life
  • External Microphone Port
  • External Headphone Port
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Remote control with a smartphone
Cons
  • Heavy Body
Click to read the full Review
Also, more mature JPEG processing algorithms are also included for those that don’t have the time to process the RAW files or want the best burst rate performance (which always favors JPEG over RAW files). To top it all off, Sony have also included the in-body image stabilization and have also made it slightly better than the one built inside of the A7 II and the functionality such as this one goes hand to hand with A7 III’s great low light capabilities and also its video recording pedigree and for that reason it is one of the most adaptable and flexible full-frame cameras on the market. The available ISO range on the A7 III goes from 100 to 51200 (it can be expanded to 204800), while the shutter speeds can go as fast as 1/8000 or as low as 30 sec, meaning you will have a lot of control over your exposure at all times.

Now, the A7 III also doesn’t lag behind other flagship cameras when it comes to its performance since it manages to bring things like the 10 fps burst rate, a 693-point Hybrid AF system with a 93% frame coverage, a 1/250 sec flash sync speed (but no built-in flash unit of its own) and a very good endurance rating of 710 shots (thanks to the new type of larger batteries that Sony have started to include on their latest enthusiast-level cameras). It will be interesting to see how well these performance metrics tie in with the A7 III as it surely has the potential to be a very versatile camera that could be used effectively both for shooting still and moving subjects (something that surely can’t be said for a lot of other cameras on the market, since it’s never easy to find a perfect balance of image quality and speed).

Besides its stills capabilities, this camera also tries to bring a nice set of video-centric features and make it an even more capable modern device for producing high-quality photos and movies. Video recording is yet another area in which the A7 aims to bring you the choice between quality and performance thanks to it including both the obligatory 4K 30 fps recording and a lot faster and smoother option, the 1080p 120 fps capture. Also, no matter which of these options you decide to go for you will still be able to benefit from the included in-body image stabilization, stereo microphones, the standard inputs for external microphone and headphone units, Log profiles, Focus Peaking, Zebra patterns and also the included hybrid AF system thanks to its inclusion of phase detect focus points and the Touch AF capability.

Sony also promises even better than the usual 4K quality thanks to the oversampling technology, but we will see about further down the review and after our extensive testing. As is expected out of such an advanced camera, the Sony Alpha A7 III also has a lot of positive aspects to its side in regard to build quality, handling, design, expandability and functionality. It features a very familiar design but still a refined one over its predecessor (more on that later). It’s made out of magnesium alloy, features weather sealing, dual SD card slots, a rich control scheme that will make both the enthusiast and amateur users happy, refined buttons and dials, more customization options and an overall heftier body to allow for more room for that larger battery pack. Current Sony users won’t have to spend any time on learning about new techniques, while the users of other camera brands shouldn’t have big problems with adapting to the A7 III as well, since Sony has managed to put every external aspect of this device in the right place making each one of them easy to reach and to get used to.

While the viewfinder on the A7 III is similar to one found on its predecessor (thanks to the resolution of 2,359,296 dots), the LCD screen itself brings slightly reduced resolution (now sitting at 921,600 dots) but those finally include touch capabilities and, in our opinion, some sacrifice in resolution is acceptable for the camera to gain entirely new functionality that will make it easier to operate to some users (especially those who like to focus by tapping on the screen).

As is to be expected from a modern 2018 camera, the Sony A7 III also brings features such as the USB 3.1 Gen 1 5 Gbit/sec and micro-HDMI ports, Wi-Fi and NFC, an orientation sensor and also the aforementioned dual SD card slots (one of those supports the very fast UHS-II technology). There’s a lot more to be said about this camera, but we will reserve those facts and findings for the rest of this review and we will start by revealing everything we’ve learned about the A7 III’s body, software and wireless capabilities.

Body and handling

The body of the Sony A7 III is a fine representation of the evolution of Sony’s full-frame E-mount cameras and as is the case with every model before it brings a few notable refinements that will result in better overall shooting experience. This time around, the body itself is heavier (now sitting at 650 grams instead of 600 of the A7 II) and slightly larger but considering the fact that the battery life and handling were noticeably improved because of the extra size we believe that most of you won’t feel that the A7 III is any less portable than its predecessor and will appreciate the added endurance and comfort.

The new camera allows for much more secure hold thanks to the increased grip size and all the available controls remain in a very familiar location but are now easier to feel under your fingers and easier to use. When it comes to building quality the Sony A7 III brings everything you would expect out of a flagship camera: magnesium alloy construction, weather sealing and a nice non-slippery texture included on the grip and the thumb rest on the back of the camera. We also like the addition of an AF joystick, which will make it easier to change your focus points while you’re shooting through the viewfinder (it’s also easy to do it by looking at the screen thanks to its touch capabilities).

sony a7 iii

Sony has also done a lot when it comes to improving the usability of its user interface and also bringing more customization to the table, but more on that in just a moment. Some changes have been made to the viewfinder and the LCD screen as well; the EVF is now slightly bigger thanks to its magnification of 0.78x, while the screen itself is now less sharp but also touch sensitive (it can still be tilted in up and down motions, which is great for those shooting at more challenging angles). Lastly, the built-in 5-axis image stabilization also received an improvement in effectiveness and can no reduce the effects of shake of up to 5 stops (instead of 4.5 found on its predecessor) and thus it will be easier to retain slower shutter speeds while shooting in low light and also get smoother video footage while you’re doing some handheld recording.

Now that we’ve given you a taste of what the Sony A7 III is all about when it comes to its body, let’s break it down in even more detail by examining each of its sides and pointing out all of their important parts. Starting with the front you’ll find the AF illuminator/Self-timer lamp, the lens release button, the remote sensor, the front control dial and also the obligatory Alpha and A7 III branding standing out from their brushed metal background. The right side of the A7 III holds the media slot cover switch, the N mark (or the NFC contact point) and also the dual SD card slots, while the left side holds the all the available ports (the microphone and headphone jacks, the micro-USB port, the type-C USB port and the micro-HDMI jack). The top of the A7 III features the speaker, stereo microphones, a standard hot shoe mount, main mode dial with two custom shooting modes, the exposure compensation dial (going from –3 to +3EV), two dedicated custom buttons (C1 and C2) and also the shutter button/power on/off lever combo. The standard tripod socket, battery compartment and the battery cover release lever can all be found at the bottom of the camera body. In the end, let us look at the back of the new Sony. As is the case with most cameras, it is dominated by the viewfinder and the screen, but also features a lot of other functionalities including the C3 and the Menu buttons, the diopter adjustment dial, the Movie, AF-On/Enlarge image, AEL/Image index buttons, the rear command dial, the AF point selection joystick, the Fn/Send to smartphone, Playback and Delete/C4 buttons as well as the confirmation button and the main control wheel located around it (which also acts as a four-way navigation controller that can hold up to four different shortcuts at once, like for example those that will act as the Disp, Timer/Drive and the ISO buttons).

sony a7 iii

While the Sony A7 III features the number of controls the majority of professionals would be satisfied with, its real power lies in its rich user interface and customization options. Sony has certainly received a lot of criticism for the somewhat overwhelming and unorganized menu systems found on their previous full-frame mirrorless cameras and for that reason the software on the A7 III has been optimized to bring improved user interface and easier access to all the important and less important functions and features. The addition of a touchscreen certainly helps with the overall experience and having a secondary method of input and control is always a good thing to find on any camera (especially as its much easier to focus using the Touch AF function when shooting in live view than using the shutter button). The only thing that could be improved on the next iteration of the Sony A7 camera when it comes to its screen is its responsiveness. While the user interface itself is pretty responsive by modern standards, it doesn’t react as well as it should touch input and we aren’t sure if that’s the fault of an unoptimized software of the quality of the screen itself, but it’s something you should keep in mind if you were thinking of purchasing the A7 III to use it mostly with the help of the touchscreen. Still, the customization options are as rich as you would expect from a flagship camera and that is one of the main reasons to get a camera like this one. You will be able to change the behavior of up to 13 buttons in total and they will be able to provide alternate functions after you switch from stills to video mode. There’s also the Recall Custom Hold option that will allow the A7 III to perform different functions while you keep one of the customizable buttons pressed instead of pressing it once. On top of that, the custom shooting modes are also included, and you can easily access them by switching to one of them using the main mode dial. They will allow you to save different separate sets of your shooting settings including your detailed exposure adjustments and will be a great use of those who shoot in unpredictable situations and don’t have time to change their settings on the go. For those that do need such functionality, the Fn (function) button will provide you with a settings menu that can contain up to 12 different user-picked items that can be easily manipulated either by using the physical buttons or the touchscreen. The Fn button can also be used to activate the Quick Navi feature, which is similar to the Function menu but works only while shooting through the viewfinder (which means that you would have to move your eye from the viewfinder each time to look at the screen to adjust something or activate a function).

The last thing we need to cover before moving to the next section of this review is the Sony Alpha A7 III’s wireless capabilities. Hardware-wise it brings all the necessary features: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC; this means that you’ll be able to pair it with a plethora of different devices and pair it quickly if they support the NFC standard (both the Android-based smartphones and tablets are supported). While the lack of built-in GPS is evident, the alternative of using your smart device to collect the required location device works perfectly and will also save some of your camera’s battery life. If you connect the A7 III with a smartphone or a tablet you’ll be able to transfer your JPEG images, remotely control the camera, gather location data or upload your photos to social services. The remote control functionality offers a variety of different options you can play with including the shutter speed, aperture, white balance, ISO, drive modes and so on. The only thing that is missing on the A7 III when compared to its predecessor are a different application that you could install and extend the camera’s capabilities, but since most of those features are already included out of the box and considering that the implementation of those apps was somewhat clumsy and unintuitive, we believe that most photographers won’t miss them very much. All in all, aside from the less than ideally responsive touchscreen, there’s not much left to complain in terms of the Sony A7 III and its build quality, handling, design, user interface, customization and the wireless capabilities. It’s certainly a flagship mirrorless camera through and through when it comes to all of these things. Now, let us see if we will be able to say the same about its performance, which includes the focusing prowess, behavior while in use, shooting speed and lastly, the endurance.

Autofocus and performance

Right from the start, the Sony Alpha A7 III promises great things about its performance and its AF system is to thank for that. All you out there are certainly aware of one of Sony’s breakthrough mirrorless products, the Alpha A9, which has marked the company’s serious push into the professional sports cameras market. Well, the A7 III borrows one of its most important features, the 693-point Hybrid AF system. Aside from having an impressive number of focus points to work with it is flexible enough to provide excellent performance for all types of different situations thanks to its hybrid nature (having both the phase detect and contrast detect focus points) and also a very high 93% coverage of the image frame. This means that no matter if you’re shooting still or moving subjects, the A7 III will be able to capture them in all their glory. It also performs very well when it comes to continuous AF during video recording thanks to that phase detect focus points and having a touchscreen will certainly help you to quickly change your focus point without having to stop recording. Most importantly, those planning to make the upgrade over from the A7 II will be happy to know that the AF system inside the A7 III is vastly superior in every regard and is actually one of the biggest reasons you could have for jumping on the upgrade wagon. The other one would be the video recording capabilities, where things are certainly looking good looking at the A7 III’s specification, but we’ll talk about those in a lot more detail in the very next section of this review.

Now, no flagship camera’s focusing power would be complete without having a lot of different modes and settings to back it up and thus let us see what this one has to offer in that regard. There are five main focusing modes to choose from: Single-shot AF (best to be used for still subjects), AF-C (your traditional continuous AF mode that will keep your moving subjects in focus as long as the shutter button is being pressed halfway), AF-A (a mode that combines the AF-C and AF-S into one that will allow the camera to switch between them automatically depending on your shooting conditions), DMF (a combination of AF and MF in which you’ll be able to focus automatically and then fine tune it’s accuracy with help of manual focusing) and lastly, the traditional MF or Manual Focus mode (the A7 III also brings a number of focus assist features, including the venerable Focus Peaking). After you pick one of the available main modes, you should take a look at all the included Focus Area modes: Wide (automatically picks the right focus points for you), Zone (allows you to pick one of the focus zones that will be able to cover a part of your frame), Center (focuses on those subjects that are located in the center of the frame), Flexible Spot (best to be used for smaller subjects and specific details as it will allow you to move a smaller focusing frame and pinpoint the area you wish to focus on), Expand Flexible Spot (works the same as the Flexible Spot method but adds more focus points to increase the accuracy) and also, the Lock-on AF (a mode that will allow you to track your subjects using any of the available Focus Areas, as long as you’re in the Continuous AF mode). Another optional, but important focus mode to take note of is the Eye AF feature and as its name implies it’s optimized for portraiture as this is where it’s important to keep your subject’s eyes in focus (it also works together with the Continuous AF mode, which is great for those photographers that like to move a lot but want to keep their model in focus while they’re doing it).

The added joystick on the back of the camera that can be used to change focus points while you’re shooting through the viewfinder also rounds up the entire experience quite nicely and makes the A7 III one of the most capable and advanced mirrorless cameras on the market in terms of its focusing capabilities. It also doesn’t disappoint in terms of its responsiveness as you can expect to get very fast power on, shot to shot and focus acquisition times, as well as very good read and write speeds thanks to the availability of the UHS-II compatible SD card slot. The same slot will also allow you to get deep buffer sizes when shooting at the maximum burst rate of 10 fps (which also supports AF). Your buffer size will vary depending on the amount of compression applied to your images; you’ll be able to get almost 180 JPEG shots for the Standard and around 160 shots for the Extra Fine quality, while using the compressed RAW method will give you 90 shots and using the uncompressed one 40 photos until the performance slows down and the buffer fills up. Another area in which the A7 III marks a new beginning for Sony (and mirrorless cameras in general) is its endurance. Thanks to the addition of a noticeably bigger battery pack, the endurance has been increased to 710 shots per charge (up from 350 shots of the A7 II). This is a truly excellent battery life for a portable mirrorless camera and is even better when you take into account the addition of USB charging (which will allow you to charge the battery without having to remove it from the camera). There’s really nothing negative to be said about the Sony A7 III and its performance as the company have done a fantastic job of improving on every aspect of the A7 II and putting the new model in a league of its own, one that allows it to compete with the best cameras out there and even beat some of them in a couple of categories. It’s really a prime example of a high-performance mirrorless camera.

Video features and quality

Sony has become a really strong player in the video recording department with their latest cameras and the A7 III is here to prove the company’s commitment to remaining one of the leading manufacturers in this area. The first thing that comes to mind when talking about the A7 III and its video recording capabilities its ability to capture 4K videos at 100 Mbps and at 24 fps (those are also oversampled from 6K footage and thus very sharp even for 4K standards) and doing it without applying any crop to the field of view in the process. Still, it’s not the only trick it has in terms of the resolutions it can handle, as it will also allow you to record dramatic 1080p videos at 120 fps. Both of these types of videos are recorded using the XAVC S codec and can be edited and improved with the help of the right post processing software thanks to them supporting S-Log2, S-Log3, and HLG profiles. For those that like to save some room on their memory on their SD cards, Sony has also included an additional compression profile to sit beside the XAVC S 4K and XAVC S HD profiles, the AVCHD recording format (it is the most efficient one and also retains the compatibility with most devices out there).

Improvements have also been made to reduce the rolling shutter effect and important features such as the Zebra patterns and Focus peaking are also included any will provide you with a lot of help when it comes to achieving the perfect exposure and accurate focus. The A7 III is also well-equipped on the audio front thanks both the headphone and microphone jacks finding their way onto the camera body, as is also the case with all the necessary tools to control the microphone levels. The capable 693-point Hybrid AF system does a lot of work to ensure that the autofocus performance is kept at very high standards, something that should always be the case with a modern flagship camera (which it still isn’t for some). We would even dare to say that it comes very close to Canon’s popular Dual Pixel AF technology in terms of its speed and accuracy and it’s great to see that other camera manufacturers are catching up to Canon in this area. Since the A7 III also features a touch-sensitive screen, focusing with this camera is a breeze no matter if you’re an advanced or an amateur user. Add to all of that the full suite of manual exposure controls, the very effective 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization and the ability to customize a large number of buttons to perform a different set of functions that can be set only to work in movie mode and it becomes quite obvious that the Sony Alpha A7 III is one of Sony’s best mirrorless cameras that could appeal to professional videographers. Now, let us see if the same can be said about its ability to capture quality photographs.

Image quality

We’ve already established the fact that the Sony A7 III presents itself as a great choice for those professionals that need a portable full frame mirrorless camera that will give them the right tools to record high-quality audio and sharp 4K footage but is it as capable when it comes to providing its potential buyers with satisfactory photo quality. Well, as you could have already guessed, it does a very good job in that regard. While it may not feature as much megapixels as some of the other modern flagships (including the Sony’s own A7R III camera) it does manage to produce very sharp photos when paired with a quality lens thanks even with its resolution of 24 megapixels thanks to the very weak AA filter and Sony’s mature JPEG processing algorithms. It even manages to outperform the more expensive Sony A9 in regard to sharpness. Still, it’s the biggest strength isn’t in the resolution it’s able to produce, but in dynamic range and noise performance. It is easily one of the best cameras on the market in terms of its capabilities to cope with those two areas. You can rest assured that you’ll be able to cope with any kind of lighting conditions (as long as you shoot in RAW, of course) with the A7 III and get results that range from very usable to simply excellent.

sony a7 iii sample

Photo courtesy of michel1276

So, getting a fine balance of light and dark areas and as little noise as possible shouldn’t be an issue with this camera. The advanced 5-axis in-body image stabilization surely helps whenever the great low light performance is necessary as it will allow you to keep your shutter speeds and ISO sensitivities at their lower values. Such a good image quality will also give you a lot of room when it comes to reducing your file sizes thanks to the included compressed RAW option and will also yield bigger buffer size when using the camera’s fast 10 fps burst rate. Of course, no modern camera would be complete without a comprehensive set of different effects, creative styles, picture profiles and other similar features and the Sony A7 III is filled to the brim with those. First, there are the Creative Styles which can range from simple ones like Vivid and Neutral, to more advanced like Landscape, Autumn leaves and Light. You can also create your own profiles and save your own adjustments for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Then there are the different Picture Effects, which will drastically change the look of your photos and give them an entirely new feel (like the Toy Camera, Posterization, Retro Photo or the Pop Color effects). Lastly, you’ll also be able to choose one of the two included Color Space profiles; sRGB is your standard profile, while the AdobeRGB is best to be used for prints that require even wider color space than the usual.

Conclusion

We are once again being faced with one of those rare occasions where we have a product on our hands that doesn’t feature any prominent flaws and manages to cover every possible area of photography and videography well enough to satisfy the majority of professional users on the lookout for a powerful and portable full frame mirrorless camera. Sony have certainly created a very impressive successor to the A7 II that not only improves on most of its aspects but also turns a camera that used to be catered to less demanding enthusiasts and amateurs into one that even the most hardcore users wouldn’t be able to resist (providing they don’t need the highest resolution photos possible).

If you’re a serious videographer who needs as portable camera as possible, but also one that will provide you with things like 4K recording, microphone and headphone jacks, a very capable AF system, image stabilization, log profiles, Focus peaking, Zebra patterns and more, than the purchase of the Sony A7 III should be a no-brainer to you. A similar thing can be said when it comes to photography, since excellent image quality, durable and comfortable to use body, fast burst rate, great battery life and a very advanced and highly customizable control scheme are all included with this camera and your only dilemma will be in deciding whether the resolution of 24 megapixels is enough for your needs or your line of work requires more than that.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Review

Today, we have another mirrorless camera at our hands and this time it’s a special kind of a camera. While it’s not a rare occasion that we get to review a flagship product or any camera that manages to stand out from the crowd with the help of its features, it’s not very common that we get a chance to take a look at something really special and catered to a particular niche audience. This time we get to talk about one of the video-centric professional SLR-like mirrorless cameras and it’s the newest version of Panasonic‘s line up of powerful moviemaking products, the Lumix DC-GH5S.

While some may immediately think that it was released as an upgrade or a replacement for the already well-established Panasonic GH5, we wouldn’t put it in such position as it is actually a model on its own that was meant to exist side by side with its older brother (or cousin if you will). It features the newest micro 4/3 sensor that was optimized for shooting in low light conditions (such as the one built inside of Sony’s A7S and A7S II models), more video recording features than ever before, the same impressive build quality and control scheme, an AF system that’s capable enough to provide good speed and accuracy even in the darkest scenarios and a few other features and functionalities that we will mention later in the review.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5SGo to Amazon
In a nutshell, you could look at the GH5S as a camera that will mostly be of interest for serious videographers and not many photographers and the GH5 as a device that will be attractive to more stills shooters, but still a valid option for professional video work, if you're not faced with extreme lighting conditions or you, require some specific features that are only available on the newer model. Now, let's examine the GH5S more closely and see Panasonic has come up with this time around with their newest flagship mirrorless camera.
Overall rating:
78
Design:
0
71
100
Image Quality:
0
80
100
Features:
0
84
100
Price:
0
76
100
Pros
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 4K Recording
  • Articulating Touch Screen
  • Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • UHS-II Memory Card Support
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Selfie Friendly LCD Screen
  • Remote control with a smartphone
  • Magnesium Alloy body elements
Cons
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Low Battery Life
  • Heavy Body
  • Low Resolution Sensor
Click to read the full Review
The first thing that jumps out the most by looking at the GH5's specifications (aside from name that isn't too easy to pronounce) is its sensor. Instead of going the more traditional route of increasing the megapixel count with each new generation of cameras, Panasonic have decided to take an opposite route and decrease the resolution of the sensor to 10.2 megapixels (the real resolution is actually more like 12.5 megapixels but only due to the nature of the sensor itself not all of it can be used effectively). They’ve also increased the size of the sensor to allow it to acquire its Multi Aspect feature and the new dual gain design. The immediate benefit of such design is noticeably bigger pixel size than of those found in GH5’s 20-megapixel sensor and thus, better noise performance and dynamic range (both of which were the limitations of even the most current 4/3 sensors when compared to their APS-C and Full Frame competitors).

So, the GH5S aims to solve that issue with its new sensor and bring the ultimate video quality in a mirrorless body but not without limiting its capabilities as a capable stills tool. While both of the benefits it brings are also translated to the photo quality, the 10.2-megapixel resolution itself will give you less resolved details and not much room for cropping in post-processing (both of those are the benefits of having a modern ILC camera, even if it’s of the micro 4/3 variety). In that case, only those whose work consists of shooting in night time conditions and who still want all the benefits of having a 4/3 camera (like the more portable body and the versatile lens mount) will find some use out of the Panasonic GH5S as a professional stills camera. Other users should probably look into investing their money somewhere else.

When it comes to exposure-related features, there are some improvements to be found over the GH5 but also some sacrifices made in the process as well. You will now be given the ability to use a very wide ISO range of 160 to 51200 (expandable to 80 at the low and 204800 end), lots of different shutter speeds going as slow as 60 sec to 1/8000 sec (even 1/16000 in the electronic shutter mode), Flash X sync speed of up to 1/250 sec and to adjust the Exposure compensation in 1/3 EV steps and from -5 to +EV, which are all certainly very positive things one can say about any camera. Still, including all of these resulted in two compromises: the lack of in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and the removal of the built-in pop-up flash unit. While we could understand the omission of the flash unit (since this isn’t a photography-oriented camera and this time more room was left to implement some other functionality instead), the lack of image stabilization is certainly strange to see on a video-centric camera like the GH5S. Still, the fact remains that most professionals will be using some kind of special rigs or gimbles to give their footage the steadiest look possible and probably won’t be bothered by this and this could be the reason why Panasonic hasn’t bothered to include IBIS in the first place.

When it comes to performance, the GH5 certainly has the big guns: a powerful Venus Engine 10 processor (it will ensure that the camera is performing well and consistently at all times