Best Cameras in 2018 Under $1500

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Best Cameras Under $1,500

$1,500 is the point where you realize that you're serious about taking pictures, where a hobby becomes a passion. Sure, you might not be a pro, but you're an enthusiast who cares about image quality, video capabilities, form, function, and performance. You're not just considering a camera at this point, but an entire system of camera bodies, lenses, and accessories. Maybe you're only interested in taking great vacation pictures, but you also have a creative vision and you're looking for a high-performance camera that will allow you the freedom to achieve it.

For you, dear reader, we recommend leaping over that $1,000 mark and into camera systems that are faster, newer, and more capable. They won't have all the how-to features built in to guide you; instead, they'll help you use your fundamentals to grow and learn and produce great content. And the best part? You won't be breaking the bank. 

Here are our favorite cameras in 2018 for under $1,500:

Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.0" vari-angle touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 7fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p

PROS: Weather-resistant body, 7560-pixel RGB+IR Metering Sensor

CONS: Crop sensor, 1080p video

The Canon 80D has a lot of features that used to be a LOT more expensive. Its optical viewfinder 45-point all cross-type AF system provides high-speed, highly precise AF in virtually any kind of light, while the Dual Pixel CMOS AF for Live View shooting and/or video is world class. Couple with the vari-angle 3.0" LCD, this is a fantastic vlogging camera save for its 1080p video resolution limitation. Still, in a world where editing 4K video is far more processor- and storage-heavy than HD, this will be a plus for anyone producing YouTube (or similar) content. 

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Fujifilm X-T3.jpg
Fujifilm X-T3

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.0" vari-angle touchscreen (1.04M dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 20fps | Video Recording: 4K/60p

PROS: 425-point AF system, amazing video options

CONS: No IBIS, noise handling isn't good

For a $1,500 mirrorless camera, Fuji's new X-T3, released only in September, is loaded with most of the bells and whistles you could ever want in a consumer-level camera for movie making, from H.264 and H.265 file formats, slow motion at 120p, and several film simulation modes to a 425-point AF system and 4K recording at 60p. In fact, besides the lack of IBIS, it's practically a filmmaker's dream. If that isn't enough, it's also an excellent camera for still photography including action shots, what with a burst mode of 30 fps at about 25% resolution reduction.


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Olympus PEN F   

Olympus PEN F

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.0" LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p

PROS: Fantastic image stabilization, High Image Quality

CONS: Slow Auto Focus, No Weatherproofing

The Olympus PEN F is a rangefinder-style camera born in the future with its heart in the past. It is, among many things, simple and FUN. Sure, you can't shoot 4K video or take it out in the rain, but you can shoot photos your own custom color or black & white profiles that look straight out of the Kodachrome days of yesteryear. Like the Canon 80D, the Olympus PEN-F is a steal as most often you can find it on sale for $999 and/or pick it up with a lens or two for just under $1,500. This is a great portable camera that can slip into any bag or purse easily and still take outstanding stills. Perfect for anyone who doesn't want a point-and-shoot, but doesn't want to lug around a bulky DSLR body either. As it's been out for a while and doesn't offer 4K, you can take advantage of its low price and still get a fantastic camera.

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Nikon D750 (Certified Refurbished)

Nikon D750

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3" LCD (1,229K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 6.5fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p

PROS: Good AutoFocus, 24MP full-frame sensor

CONS: Burst mode at only 6.5fps, no 4K video

There are many things we wish we could improve about the Nikon D750--the maximum shooting at burst mode and AutoFocus functionality, to name a couple--but there are also many things we love about it. This full frame body, which will only set you back around $1400, is excellent for photographers who want to clock in many hours to hone the craft with its 1,230-shot battery life, a high-res tilt-angle LCD, and a built-in WiFi, not to mention a variety of lenses available to expand their creativity.

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Sony A6500   

Sony A6500

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 2.95" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 11fps | Video Recording: 4K/30fps w/ 2.4x oversampling, 1080p/120fps

PROS: Amazing AF, Variable frame rate video

CONS: Weak Touchscreen, No exposure dial

The Sony a6500 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, with its 24.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor, takes everything we loved about the Sony a6300--the world's fasts AF & highest number of phase detection AF points (425) and gorgeous 4K video--and adds touchscreen functionality. A powerful little camera in a tiny body, battery life isn't amazing and its body might actually be too compact for some users' hands (for some, the D7500 is more ergonomic, but Nikon's video AF system is rubbish compared to Sony's) and it lacks a vari-angle display, so it makes vlogging a little more difficult. Still, Sony is pushing this category forward in amazing ways and if you shoot BOTH video and stills in 2017 or 2018, you have to consider a Sony.

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