Best DSLR & Mirrorless Cameras for Pros & Advanced Photographers
Steve's Digicams Best Cameras...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.