2012 brought a number of important products on the market, offering a bunch of news revitalizing the whole sector. Of course, all this activity (170 new models until 2012, so far) often increases the difficulty of choice in the world of digital cameras. This article is a reasoned summary of the various options that are offered today to the professional and the advanced enthusiast, novelty that in some cases are able to put in doubt what has already been purchased in the light of new capabilities, versatility and image quality.
We believe this year will be remembered for the consolidation of a range of cameras with DSLR capabilities (and outputs) but with reduced physical dimensions. Excluding micro four thirds, born around 2009 and consolidated in recent years both in terms of performance and shutter speed, the 2012 revolution was the increasing tendency to put sensors in physically smaller camera bodies similar to the first Leicas M. This is the main news of 2012, sometimes declined in a “classic” sense of revival of the past (Fujifilm) sometimes in a technological and futuristic sense with touch screens (Sony NEX), up to smartphones disguised as cameras with OS Android (Samsung Galaxy CAM).
On the side of the DSLR, Nikon D800 and D800E were certainly the big news, with an effective resolution until recently possible only medium format bodies, while Canon 6D and Nikon D600 have brought digital reflex under the psychological threshold of 2,000 euro. What follows here is, in our opinion, the menu of choices for this year, starting in reverse order, from the last announced camera to the older one. It’is a list of 20 models to choose from depending on your needs. All models are able to produce good pictures, despite the inherent limitations related to costruttutive choices and their price range. A “dynamic” list with no intention to be exhaustive, but that is the choice of our team of photographers..
The declination for fans of Nikon 1 J2. Made around a 14Mpixel sensor, with optics of Nikon 1 series. We do not like the 1-inch sensor, but the camera can be interesting for fans.
The new Leica M, with renewed 24Mpixel sensor, liveview and electronic viewfinder. A reference point for the brand, but also a camera that winks at new products of other competitors. For professionals who look with interest to the hybridization of an “old” concept.
Without the frills of 240, but with a renewed sensor compared to M9. For professionals traditionally linked to the brand of Wetzlar.
Good performance cheaply. The fifth evolution of cameras based on the Micro Four Thirds sensor, in an intermediate size between the large OM-D EM-5 and the small E-PM2. With an articulated rear display. For beginners wanting a small and portable camera.
Something between 5D mkII and 5D mkIII. Sensor updated but with a traditional (and not very fast) autofocus. Economic for a “semi-pro” body, good for an advanced enthusiast or as a second body for a professional photographer.
The direct competitor of the 6D, but with higher resolution and rear display a bit bigger. Interesting for anyone who has not been attacted by the resolution of the D800. As for the 6D, for the advanced enthusiast or second body for professional.
The high-tech variation of the mid-size camera with interchangeable lenses. Big sensor, good quality but too “Japanese” for our tastes. For the enthusiast technologist. 16 Mpixel against 24 of the NEX-7.
The Sony competitor of EOS-6D and Nikon D600. Interesting its video features. For the enthusiast that makes video and owns Sony lenses.
The “low-tech” model (from the point of view of interface) of NEX. 35 mm fixed, sensor of the SLT-A99, high quality, price around 2000 €. Somehow the competitor, technically most titled of the Fujifilm X100. For professional who wants an additional body that would compete with a Leica M + a 35 summicron, at a fraction of the price.
We present here only as an interesting technology object, we had no way to test it live. As smartphones have gradually evolved into cameras so this camera uses the OS Androids. It has everything except the phone, so photosharing, wifi etc.
Given the trend towards the world of the small cameras, Canon could not fail to respond. Here, then, a nearly compact with interchangeable lenses and adapters for EF lenses. We are not fully convinced but it will be interesting for fans of the brand.
The only real quality compact camera of our selection 2012. Starting from the lucky LX3, passing through the LX5, this series of small cameras offers excellent quality and speed. Of course, the small sensor can not be miraculous, but the quality is acceptable for a generalistic use.
A camera of great charm and bravery. We have dedicated an entire article here on The Visual Experience. For purists of black and white. Large dynamic range, little noise.
We report in our list for its ability to shoot footage at 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels). Interesting for those who use the DSLR for quality video. For advanced videographers who still photograph.
Sigma DP1 Merril e DP2 Merrill
With Foveon sensor, not fast in shooting but with a surprising output quality. These cameras are for those who want the image quality above all in a compact body. The difference between the two lies in the focal length of the optics fixed mounted, respectively 28 and 45 mm.
The “big” between the micro four thirds, with the same commands of the glorious OM, with an output quality comparable to a DSLR. For enthusiasts who want to be serious about photography.
The second “compact” of our selection is a camera for an “extreme” use, equipped with GPS. For anyone who wants to photograph in “extreme” conditions without the risk of breaking cameras.
A camera that sets the standard of high resolution in 2012, allowing Nikon to take a step forward compared to Canon. So much has been written of the D800 and we do not feel to add anything else, if not to recommend it to professional who needs large prints. Waiting for Canon response, hopefully next year.
Great quality, excellent usability. We have already spoken of this camera here on The Visual Experience. Recommended for enthusiasts and professionals who are looking for quality and usability from the great tradition of the past.
Nikon D800 between DSLR. Fujifilm X-Pro1 between the mid-size cameras with interchangeable lenses. Sony RX1 between cameras with fixed optics, but also the Sigma for competitive price and quality of output . Panasonic LX7 between the compact. And Pentax to bring on the snow for Christmas.