Best DSLR & ILC Cameras: Advanced & Pro Level
2017 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
Best DSLR and ILC Advanced Pro Cameras 2017!
Here we are at the top of the photography food chain. The best of the best. A series of rugged DSLR and ILC cameras that offer the most performance capabilities along with superb image quality, not to mention higher bit-rate 4K video recording. If you absolutely adore photography and find yourself in challenging shooting conditions where you need to focus and shoot quickly, if you're a professional who needs to reliable gear, if you already own top quality glass but have found your camera body showing its age, then these are all extraordinary cameras well worth your consideration. They're not cheap -- with prices ranging from around $2,000 to $6,500 -- and don't all offer the same levels of performance or image sensors, but they each shine in their own way.Here are our picks for the Best Advanced or Pro-Level DSLR & ILC Cameras for 2017, presented in alphabetical order.
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 20.2MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.2" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 14fps (up to 16fps in live mode) | Video Recording: 4K/60p, 1080p at up to 120fps
PROS: Might be the best camera you can buy
CONS: Almost $6,000, Heavy
You're only buying this camera if you're a professional, or someone with unlimited resources and just wants the best DSLR Canon has ever made. The EOS-1D X Mark II is fast - up to 14 fps or up to 16 fps in Live View mode can be captured at a burst rate of up to 170 RAWs with a CFast card. With an improved 61-point AF system and expandable ISO with its full-frame sensor, you can get sharp images quickly, even in dim light. 4K video can be recorded at up to 60 fps with smooth AF and strikingly clear detail, while 1080p HD can go as high as 120fps, making for buttery-smooth slow motion. Just make sure you eat your spinach, because you're gonna need those Popeye forearms to pick this beast of a camera up.
Sensor size: Full-Frame | Resolution: 30.4MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.2" touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 7 fps (at full resolution) | Video Recording: 4K/30p
PROS: Full Frame sensor, High ISO capability
CONS: Motion JPEG 4K, and crop sensor 4K
Everyone knows about the legendary Canon 5D Mark series. It built its stellar reputation by being the cream of the crop of the Canon line when you want to shoot both stills and video. It shoots 4K, but its recording codec isn't great and it doesn't use the full sensor for 4K. (Basically, the Panasonic GH5 is better at 4K video). However, the 5DM4 can practically see in the dark and is perfect for weddings, press events, and fashion shoots because it's reliable and takes stunning images. With its full-frame sensor and 61 points of autofocus, it won't be the camera's fault if you miss the big shot.
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" tri-direction tilting screen | Max Burst Shooting: 11fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p
PROS: Great Electronic Viewfinder, X-Trans CMOS sensor
CONS: No internal stabilization, No touchscreen
The Fujifilm X-T2 is the size of vintage 35mm cameras and is just as light and portable, yet it delivers everything you need. It has a stunning EVF, easy to use manual dials, high-speed AF, compatibility with an extensive range of high-performance interchangeable lenses. With 4k video and usable film-like filters, this is a camera that can challenge cameras that are hundreds of dollars more. It's the first camera to give legitimacy to the mirrorless camera line. It's a powerhouse of machine masquerading as hobbyists camera. Get one.
Sensor size: G Format CMOS (1.7x the area of full frame sensors | Resolution: 51.4MP | Viewfinder: Electronic (Detachable) | Display: 3.2" tillable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 3fps | Video Recording: 1080/30p
PROS: Outstanding dynamic range in RAW, Fast Buffer Clearing
CONS: Slow Auto Focus, Limited native lens selection
The Fujifilm GFX 50S is a powerhouse of resolution. Its ginormous 51.4 Megapixel G-Format sensor is made for landscape or fashion photography, and is ranked as one of the best image sesnors ever made. Seriously. You'll be able to pull details out of over or underexposed areas thanks to its high dynamic range. This is the camera for someone who's not in a hurry. It can't keep up with action at all with its slow 3 frames per second continuous shooting and non-4k video. However. If all you care about are sharp images with a lot of detail, this camera can elevate your game.
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 images like a spy. Throw in the camera's 4Kvideo capability and small compact-yet-rugged design and it's a run and gunner's dream.
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, Expensive
The Nikon D500 features one of the best APS-C sensors ever made, and this camera is FAST. Combine with a rugged, weather resistant body, and ISO capabilities, and you've got a camera that you can use for action, sports, wildlife, landscapes, and more. It also records cinematic 4K UHD videos (although there's an additional crop factor), includes built-in Wi-Fi + Bluetooth capabilities, and feels great in the hand. (The only reason not to buy a D500 outside of the crop factor with wider lenses? Check out the next camera on our list.)
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 45.7MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.2″ Tilting Touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 7fps (9fps with battery grip) | Video Recording: 4K/30p, 1080p/120
PROS: Full-frame 45,7MP image sensor, 4K video
CONS: Live View AF is slow
The brand new Nikon D850 might be the best DSLR Nikon has ever made. After a few years of losing ground to Canon and Sony, Nikon is back with a vengeance. Its 45.7 MP Back Side Illuminated CMOS sensor is an animal that can capture images up to 102,000 ISO (though no one would recommend you shoot that high). Its optical autofocus is blazingly fast and dynamic range is so good there's virtually no risk of moiré. In terms of negatives, there's really only one: the contrast detection AF system used for Live View mode is really slow. The full-frame 4K video footage is excellent, but if you're shooting alone (vlogging) or have lots of z-axis motion, this camera's AF system won't be able to keep up, which is a shame because it's a stunning beast of a DSLR.
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
PROS: 4K 4:2:2 10bit HDR video recording, HD up to 180fps
CONS: Battery life, Slow AF unless you use single point
The Panasonic GH5 is a professional quality video camera that is also good at taking stills. It's a camera that provides frame rates you won't' find in any other ILC this side of the Canon 1DX Mark II, which makes this a bargain by about $4,000. You can shoot short films and weddings and commercials or start a YouTube channel with this thing. That said, this micro four-thirds sensor suffers in lower lighting scenarios, the still images can't keep up with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, and the AF system isn't great for hand-held vlogging (unless you stick to single point and don't move around your frame). Also, for wider-angle glass, you'll probably need a speed booster adapter. Still, Panasonic's GH5 is a stunning video camera (that also does stills) for its price point.
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.3MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" vari-angle touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 20FPS | Video Recording: 4K/60p
PROS: Incredible 20fps continuous shooting, Time-lapse Recording
CONS: Loses high-end video features of the GH5
Panasonic's new G9 is the GH5's stills-oriented sibling. It's meant to take on the E-M1ii while retaining many of the same impressive video frame rates as the GH5. Basically, with this camera, you get the same sensor, but it's tuned for taking photos and there's a pixel-shift mode for product shots and architectural photography that produces 80MP RAW images. Plus, you still get 4K up to 60fps and 1080p up to 180fps... the only downside is that you don't get 6K anamorphic or the 10bit 4:2:2 video recording (you're limited to 8bit 4:2:0). This powerhouse mirrorless camera is perfect for the stills-first shooter who would also like to make good-not-great video content.
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 42.4MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" tillable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4k/30p, 1080p/120
PROS: Amazing sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, Face Detection Focusing
CONS: Less ergonomic than a DSLR, only one UHS-II card slot
Sony just floored the world with its new a7R III, combining a high-resolution 42.4 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with impressive shooting speeds at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as full-frame/crop 4K video quality, and an impressive 15-stop dynamic range. It now has dual memory card slots too, so you won't have to worry about a card getting corrupt. Probably the best camera of the year, the A7R III is as amazing as the Nikon D850 and throws in in-body I.S. and excellent video AF.
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.1MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" tillable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 5fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p
PROS: Full frame 24MP sensor, Electronic shutter eliminates blackout
CONS: Expensive, Only one slot UHS-II compliant
The Sony A9 is an action photographers dream. It's massive back illuminated full frame sensor captures stunning detail at 24.1 MP up to 20fps. You'll get your shot, trust me. The only question is after the release of a7II, is this camera still worth buying if it costs more? The A9 has half the MP of the a7 RIII but the pixels are larger on the A9 and the A9 should have virtually no Moiré with its anti-aliasing filter. It's going to come down to your needs.