Best Cameras in 2018 Under $2000

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Best Cameras Under $2,000

Spending up to $2,000--sometimes for a body-only--represents a huge investment for enthusiasts and working pros, and it's a little intimidating to make it. But there's no need to worry here since you're at a budget level where you literally can't lose. Seriously. This $1,500 to $2,000 budget range is our absolute favorite, hands down, because every single camera company is producing something amazing at these price-points. That means that every single camera on this list produces incredible photos, with most of them sporting features and performance specs that were originally developed for $6,000 camera systems, features you're not getting for one-third the price. 

So, at this level, quality isn't the question. In fact, if you're taking bad photos with these cameras, it's probably not the camera at fault. Instead of what's the best, the question you need to be asking yourself is, what do I need? 

What type of photographer are you? What subjects do you shoot? What size sensor do you need? Have you already invested in certain types of lenses? Do you shoot still first, video first, or both? And what do you prefer in terms of ergonomics, special features, and weight?

Each of these sub-$2,000 cameras will allow you to grow and produce great work; it'll just be up to you to figure out which system fits your particular needs. 


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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Fujifilm X-H1.jpg
Fujifilm X-H1

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.0" vari-angle touchscreen (1.04M dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 14fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: Solid video capabilities, in-body image stabilization

CONS: AutoFocus is only ok, battery needs improvement

While this 2018 release by Fuji performs impressively for both still photography and video shooting, the X-H1 is truly designed with videographers, vloggers, and filmmakers in mind. So consider this for if you're looking for the perfect, higher-end gift to that person in your life or if you're looking to treat yourself. 4K at 30p movie recording, "F-Log" log-gamma option, effective IBIS, and the cinematic ETERNA film simulation are just some of its movie-making features. Though if you're more of a still photographer who is looking to venture into videos, this is the perfect upgrade. Its battery life of 35 minutes (4K videos) or 310 shots for a full charge isn't that great, but a battery grip is available to get more juice if you're willing to shell out some extra bucks. 


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Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II

Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.4MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" fully adjustable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 60fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: 60 FPS, Really good image stabilization

CONS: Micro Four Thirds

Olympus has really stepped up its game with its flagship OM-D EM1 Mark II. And though the name is tricky and hard to remember, the images taken with this camera are not. For a Micro Four Thirds camera, this mirrorless is an action photographers dream. With up to 60fps, there isn't anything you'd miss, as it's basically slow-motion video at that point anyway. It also has a silent shutter mode that is imperceptibly quiet, helping you capture your images like a spy. Throw in the camera's 4K video capability and compact design, and it's a run and gunner's dream.

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Nikon Z6.jpg
Nikon Z6

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.5MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.2" tilting touchscreen (2.10M dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 12fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: Excellent handling, IBIS, Z-mount larger

CONS: Single XQD card slot, AF not very good

One of the cameras from Nikon's latest Z series, which is designed to compete with Sony's a7 and a9 series as well as carry in a more compact body many of what makes the Nikon D850 great, the Z6 boasts a remarkable round-up of features. The most notable of them is its larger diameter mount that lets more light in and works well in low-light situations. It's also got a fast burst mode of 12fps, 4K recording, and enough weather sealing to survive rugged conditions, among other things. It's the best, under $2000 gift for the adventurer and outdoors-person in your life.


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Nikon D500

Nikon D500

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 20.9MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.2 Tilting Touchscreen LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: UHD 4K/30 fps

PROS: Dedicated thumb joystick for changing focus, Incredible battery life

CONS: Very large, 4K crop videos & AF

The Nikon D500 will reward you with it's tough as nails weatherproof body and flagship DX functionality. It's a crop sensor, which might not swing it for some of you at this price point, but don't let that fool you. This is a camera that's up to the task. It can take cinematic 4K UHD videos -- although there is an additional crop factor here and Nikon's contrast AF is mediocre at best -- has built-in Wi-Fi + Bluetooth capabilities, and will shoot almost anything you need professionally or otherwise. If you're stills-first OR don't need to shoot action video and/or have a partner to handle focus duties when you're shooting vlogs, the Nikon D500 is a fast DSLR with an incredible image sensor. 

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Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.3MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.2" adjustable LCD | Max Burst Shooting: Up to 30fps at 6k | Video Recording: 4k/60p, 1080p @ 180fps

PROS: 400 Mbps 10bit 4K video, Ultra slow-motion HD video

CONS: Low-light performance, AF can be slow

The Panasonic GH5 is for someone who wants to do as much or more with video as they do with stills. This is a camera people for people who want to shoot short films, commercials, and weddings. It's an incredibly powerful device even with a micro four-thirds 20.3-megapixel sensor. On the flipside, the still images aren't as good as the E-M1 Mark II, and its low-light video capabilities aren't great above 800 ISO (hello, noise) thanks to the smaller image sensor. Also, there are some issues with the camera's video AF performance (it's best to use a single point when recording oneself). While this camera will work for someone who shoots stills AND video equally, the GH5 is for video shooters first. 

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Sony a7 III.jpg
Sony A7 III

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 2.95" vari-angle touchscreen (921K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: 693 phase detection and 425 contrast AF points, IBIS, 4K capabilities

CONS: Continuous shooting could be better, yellow skin tones

The resolution and continuous shooting speed on this full-frame beauty leave something to be desired if you're an experienced or pro shooter, but for novices, the a7 III is more than just a sound investment, especially because of how fast its AutoFocus is--as good as Sony's a9 camera, which is designed for action and sports photography. Couple that with its video capabilities that include 4K and high-speed recording as well as its decent dynamic range, an impressive battery life of 610 shots, and most important of all, stunning images, this is a camera for truly creative expressions.

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