Steve's Digicams Best Cameras of the Year (2018-2019)!

Steve's Digicams Best Camera Gift Guides

2018 has been an amazing year for photography. Many incredible images were taken, shared, and won awards. Great updates on our favorite photo editing software--from Lightroom to Luminar--were released. And a bunch of amazing photography gear--cameras, lenses, gimbals--hit the shelves to the delight of photographers and the gear obsessed alike.

Nikon AND Canon both unleashed their first full-frame mirrorless cameras into the world. Sony launched the a7R III's equally-impressive little sister, the a7 III. Fujifilm released several APS-C bodies as well as a medium format beauty. And of course, not one to be left behind, GoPro released a new action cam, one that boasts HyperSmooth video capabilities.

What does that mean to you? Well, if you are due for an upgrade or itching to spend your extra dough, great options are on hand for you. Here are our top five -- well, technically, seven --recommendations for you based on our experiences shooting with this year's and last year's best cameras.

5. GoPro HERO 7 Black

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Sensor size: 1/2.3 | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: none | Display: 2-inch touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 30fps | Video Recording: 4K at 60p

PROS: HyperSmooth action videos, TimeWarp
CONS: Images at low res

GoPro action cams have notoriously bad still images, which isn't surprising considering their relatively low maximum resolution for photos. But while the newest GoPro release, HERO 7 Black, still only has 12MP, it does boast this feature called the SuperPhoto, which basically allows you to take HDR images with local tone mapping and noise reduction.

And even if that's not good enough for you, GoPros are action cams anyway. That means they're really meant for shooting videos, which is where this camera shines. It offers 4K recording at 60p, 8x slow-motion capture, super smooth TimeWarp videos, and HyperSmooth videos, alongside a quite effective face, smile and scene detection, waterproofing down to 10m underwater, and voice control--all the makings of the perfect sports video camera with which to capture your epic adventures.

With all of those great video features, butter-smooth stabilization, much-improved internal audio recording, and a $400 price tag, it's the best GoPro ever.


4. Nikon D850 & Sony A7R III (TIE)

Nikon D850

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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

Sony A7R III

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Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 42.4MP | Viewfinder: electronic | Display: 3-inch wide type TFT | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K at 30p

PROS: Excellent images, great IBIS
CONS: Slow buffer

You'll be hard-pressed not to fall in love with these two full-frame powerhouses with their impeccable image quality, excellent dynamic range, great autofocus, and other fantastic features. The Nikon D850 and the Sony A7R III are perhaps two of today's top full-frame contenders, which is why they're tied in fourth place (fourth because while they might be the best of the best, offer medium format-esque resolution, but they're also priced higher than what many enthusiasts can afford.)

DSLR fans will love the $3,300 Nikon D850, which not only takes beautiful 45.7MP photos with its great dynamic range, accurate metering, up to 9fps on continuous, and laser-fast autofocusing. It also offers 4K recording, amazing handling, rugged build quality, and a touchscreen display out of which you'll get a lot of use.

Similarly, mirrorless users will worship the $2,800 Sony A7R III, which offers users 42.4MP stunners thanks to its 15-stop dynamic range, fast AF, 10fps burst shooting, and in-body image stabilization. Then there are its 4K video capabilities, dual SD card slots, and an ergonomic design, among a few other things.

If you want the best of the best and have the money to shell out for one, you'll definitely want one of these two bodies.

3. Canon EOS R

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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

With a lower price tag--$500 less than the a7R III--Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera, the 30.3MP Canon EOS R takes our third spot. But it's more than just the price. This body, which has many of the 5D Mark IV's features, offers excellent image quality and amazing ergonomics so you can take sharp photos easily and comfortably. Even better? Canon's new RF-mount lenses are all STUNNING, especially the new 50mm F1.2.

It also offers 4K video recording, albeit cropped, at 30p, is easily customizable so you can make it very much your own, has a vari-angle display and a set of new RF lenses to expand your creative potential with this new body, and 5,655 manually selectable AF points.

While we'd love to see Canon add dual card slots, IBIS, and uncropped 4K video, the Canon EOS R is a joy to use and, along with those new lenses, our choice for this year's best portrait or studio camera.

2. Nikon Z6 & Sony a7 III (TIE)

Nikon Z6

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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

Sony A7 III

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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

Also tied, but in second place for their more affordable price tags and excellent features, are the Nikon Z6 and Sony A7 III, which are kind of like the Nikon Z7's and Sony A7R III's lower resolution sisters. 

But in place of pixels, these two cameras power up with extra speed and, of course, value. The Nikon Z6, $1300 cheaper than the Z7 while retaining the same rugged build and improving burst shooting (up to 12fps), high ISO performances, and full-frame full pixel readout 4K video with 10-bit 4:2:2 external recording.

On the other hand, the Sony A7 III, $800 cheaper than the A7R III, has a faster autofocusing system (plus the killer EyeAF), better expandable sensitivity range, longer battery life, and slightly superior performance in low-light situations.

There are pros and cons to each system, but in our opinion, you can't go wrong with either. They're currently the best values in full-frame hybrid cameras today.

1. Fujifilm X-T3

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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 great

Sometimes, it's the underdog that comes out on top, and one of Fujifilm's APS-C releases this year, the Fujifilm X-T3, definitely comes out swinging despite its quieter launch. This 26MP body is perhaps the best enthusiast/pro value of 2018 due to all the features you get in its super affordable $1,500 price tag.

For a small, affordable camera, the X-T3 sure is packing, with impressive super sharp image quality, autofocus that rivals some of the best full-frames out there, a wide sensitivity range, and more video capabilities than the manufacturer's flagship for videographers. There's also weather sealing and a whopping 20fps on continuous at full resolution.

The X-T3 is an amazing combination of quality, features, and affordability, which is why it tops our list for the best cameras you'll want to buy for 2019.