Best DSLR & Mirrorless Cameras for Pros & Advanced Photographers

Steve's Digicams Best Camera Gift Guides
Best DSLR & Mirrorless Cameras for
Pros & Advanced Photographers

Here we are at the top of the camera food chain, the best of the best, a list of rugged DSLR and mirrorless cameras that offer the most performance capabilities, alongside superb image quality and higher bitrate 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.

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

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 14fps 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.

or
amazon.jpg

Canon EOS R.jpg
Canon EOS R

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 30.3MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.15" touchscreen LCD (2.10M dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 8fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: Wide range of lenses, great image quality

CONS: Cropped 4K video, no IBIS

In answer to Nikon's new Z-system, or perhaps to catch up to Sony's alpha system, Canon recently released its EOS R mirrorless, which they are touting with the "Be the Revolution" slogan. This camera, which was released with new RF lenses, offers impressive image quality and excellent handling, not to mention great weather sealing, making it versatile no matter where you take it. Is it a revolution? Not quite; though considering that the camera's new design is still in its early stages and there's definitely a lot of potential.


amazon.jpg

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.


amazon.jpg


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, Expensive

The Nikon D500 pushes the budget limit right up to under $2000 limit. However, it will reward you with its tough-as-nails weatherproofed 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.

or
amazon.jpg

Nikon D850   

Nikon D850

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 focus uses contrast detection only, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection isn't always reliable

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 autofocus is blazingly fast and dynamic range is so good there's virtually no risk of moiré. It's a stunning still photography camera that also shoots excellent full-frame 4K video. Its only flaw is the Live View AF system. To be clear, this AF system is quite accurate, but it's far too slow and terrible for fast moving subject. 

or
amazon.jpg


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 outdoorsy person in your life.

or
amazon.jpg


Nikon Z7.jpg

Nikon Z7

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 45.7MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.2" touchscreen LCD (2.10M P) | Max Burst Shooting: 9fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: 4K video capabilities, compatibility with all Nikon lenses, Z-mount is excellent

CONS: Single XQD card slot, AF is nothing amazing

Nikon's Z-series is one of the best and biggest releases this year, and they've really created the cameras to impress both mirrorless and DSLR fans especially because it's reminiscent of the brand's best camera yet, the D850. Not only does the Z7, the more expensive of the two mirrorless cameras, give users an awesome resolution of 45.7MP and the bigger Z mount, but it is also lighter than the D850, has excellent ergonomics, and can survive extreme weather conditions so that it handles better than its DSLR counterpart. Is it worth the investment? Remember that it's compatible with the plethora of F-mount lenses too, thanks to the mount adapter that Nikon designed.

or
amazon.jpg
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.

or
amazon.jpg


Panasonic GH5Panasonic 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, 1080/180p

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) due 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 definitely for video shooters first. 

or

amazon.jpg

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. Yet 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.

or

amazon.jpg

Sony A7R III   

Sony A7R III

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 42.4MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" tillable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p

PROS: 5-axis image stabilization, Face Detection Focusing, Stunning images

CONS: Body less ergonomic than DSLRs

Sony just floored the world with its new a7R III. They launched a shot across the bow of Fuji and Olympus and other makers of mirrorless cameras. The a7R III combines 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 beautiful 4K HDR3 video quality, wide 15-stop4 dynamic range and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop. It now has dual memory card slots too, so you won't have to worry about a card getting corrupted. This camera takes everything the Nikon D850 did well... and then adds in image stabilization & video AF. The only thing the Sony doesn't have is as much glass as Canon or Nikon. But that's changing, and what Sony does have is very, very good.

or
Buy from Amazon.com

Sony A9

Sony A9

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 us. 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. 

or
Buy from Amazon.com