If you didn’t get the new gear you were hoping for during the holidays, it’s not too late for a little from-me-to-me present. And with some seriously powerful cameras released in 2016, why not start the new year off right and go for something that will completely change the way you shoot. So if you’re in the market for a new camera, or just want to drool over the new gear that’s out there, this list is here for you.
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Fans of Canon’s 5D series rejoice! The new Mark IV is even more powerful than the previous cameras in the series, with an upgraded 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor paired with an advanced DIGIC 6+ Image Processor. This means you’ll be capturing full-res RAW images at up to 7fps, super high definition DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) video at 30 fps and pulling 8.8MP stills from said videos. The Mark IV’s AF tracking is even faster and more precise than the cameras that came before it, with a 61-point High Density Reticular AF system. The ISO ranges from 100-32000, and can be expanded to a range of 50-102400, meaning both lowlight and highlight shooting scenarios are no problem for this beast of a camera. The Mark IV also features an AF Area Select Button, Dual Pixel RAW capture for better image quality than ever before, Wi-Fi with NFC, Movie Servo AF, and separate CF and SD card slots. It even features built-in GPS, perfect for those photographers on the go.
The Mark IV’s huge, 3.2-inch hi-res 1.62m-dot LCD monitor is not only a touchscreen, but it also uses a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, which helps you expose accurately under any range of lighting situations. The on-camera stereo microphone also records audio better than ever before, but the Mark IV still features an 3.5mm external microphone jack for extra powerful audio equipment. You’ll notice the high quality of this camera, even by simply looking through the Intelligent pentaprism Viewfinder II, which provides for an exceptionally bright and clear viewing image, with AF points highlighted in red and other shooting aids like the electronic level, grid, and flicker detection. Distortion and optical defects caused by different lenses are lessened with the help of the Digital Lens Optimizer technology. Shooting timelapses is easier than ever with a built-in intervalometer that can record 1-99 consecutive frames at intervals ranging from 1 second to almost 100 hours.
Buy: $3,499.00 body only
2. Nikon D500: 2016 was a big year for Nikon as well as Canon, with the release of the Nikon D500 – an impressive new DX-format DSLR with a 20.9MP CMOS DX sensor paired with an advanced EXPEED 5 Image Processor. This formidable new camera can deliver a fill-res burst rate of 10 fps and record 4K UHD video at 30 fps. It has a native ISO up to 51200, which can be bumped up to ISO 1640000 for even the darkest shooting conditions. AF speed and accuracy is increased with the new MultiCAM 20K 153-point system, which features 99 cross-type points.
The Nikon D500 can seem like a daunting piece of equipment, but its 3.2-inch 2.36M-dot tilting LCD touchscreen, which features an upgraded version of SnapBridge, makes this camera user friendly and fun to use. Although this beast of a camera weighs in at almost 2 pounds without a lens, its well-balanced and sensibly designed shape with well-placed controls also make it easy to handle. It can handle any range of challenging conditions with its dust and weather sealed protections. Pair this incredible camera body with a lens fit to match, like the Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6G ED Super Telephoto Lens.
3. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: For the mirrorless shooters, there’s some impressive new gear out there too. The new Mark II might not look much different from the previous model, but this new release features a 20.4 MP Micro FourThirds-format, which should tempt even most traditional DSLR enthusiasts. This mirrorless camera features an expanded AF array of 121 focusing points, which provide both phase and contrast detection and cover about 80 percent of the imaging area. This is Olympus’ fastest AF system to date and is competing with top professional DSLRs.
The Mark II can even capture full-res bursts at 60fps, and up to 18fps with full AF using the electronic shutter. It uses an advanced TruPic 8 image processor, which enables the 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system to produce 50MP equivalent images in High Res Shot Mode with slow moving or still life subjects. Video recording is also better than ever before with the Cinematic 4K video capture at 24fps, which allows for full control of aperture, shutter speeds, framing rates and bit rates. This small camera also features an HDMI out port, dual card slots that can be configured to record video and still, JPEG and RAW or mirrored storage on separate cards – just like on the pro DSLRs. Now you can also customize settings including Pre Focus settings to help with astrophotography, and AF limiters to help with high speed or sports photography. Selling at a price slightly easier to swallow than other top DSLRs, even the most ardent traditionalists might take a second look at this impressive, high powered mirrorless camera.
4. Sony Alpha a6500: For those who don’t want to break the bank on a $2,000 or more camera, Sony has a great new option for you. This new 24.2MP APS-C format model with an Exmor CMOS sensor and advanced BIONZ X image processor creates remarkable images, setting a new standard for its class. Its impressive new sensor design, enhanced UHD 4K video capture and full-res RAW burst rate of up to 11 fps for 21 frames will have you wondering why you forked over that extra cash for the more expensive DSLRs. Its AF is exceptionally fast, focusing as quickly as 0.05 seconds, and produces exceptionally high quality photos with a sensor that combines wide area 425-point phase detection with 169 contrast-detect zones.
The a6500 also features improved object identification, as well as faster and more precise tracking. The 14-bit RAW file output captures a remarkable range of tones and colors, and with an ISO that goes to 51200, this camera has no problem working in low light. Photos can be viewed and reviewed via a 2.36m-dot OLED EVF Tru-Finder, as well as a 3.0-inch 921.6-dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD monitor, making this camera user friendly and fun to use. This Sony also captures high quality UHD 4K 3840 x 2160p video at 30 fps, 25 fps and 24 fps in S-Log3 Gamma profile and in S&Q Motion in Full HD 1980 1080p at a range from 1-120 fps. The Super 35mm 16:9 aspect ratio captures video at 20MP with an output at 8MP in 4K. Some of the newest pro-caliber features include 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, a new front-end LSI chip, which helps with faster internal processing, improved ISO performance and a more powerful shutter.
5. GoPro HERO5 Black: For the fast action and extreme sport enthusiasts, GoPro released its upgraded 12MP Hero 5 Black and 10MP Hero 5 Session cameras. The Hero 5 Black features a touchscreen LCD, while the slightly smaller Hero 5 Session omits the screen completely. Both cameras feature an easy to use 1-button control and can capture 4K video at 30fps. They use software based image stabilization and their water and weather sealed bodies can be submerged to 33 feet, or even deeper with additional underwater housing. Photos and videos can be uploaded to the Cloud while the cameras charge, and both models feature voice control in seven different languages, with more coming soon. Both models are still compatible with previously released GoPro mounts, so you won’t have to buy all new accessories to fit the new cameras. Wide angle distortion is controlled more than ever before with the new Linear-View mode, which also helps to reduce wind noise and to provide stereo sound recording.
Honorable Mention: Sigma sd Quattro H: We love the new mirrorless camera options so much that we couldn’t leave the new Sigma sd Quattro H off the list. This unique camera features an upgraded 45MP APS-H format version of Sigma’s 3-layer Foveon X3 Quattro CMOS sensor. It captures an incredible range of tones and colors by delivering full-color information at every pixel point without interpolation. It features a Sigma SA lens mount, which is great for photogs who already have a selection of Sigma lenses to choose from. Its Advanced Dual True III Image Processing Engine captures continuously shot full-res images at 3.8 fps with an ISO that goes up to 6400. Other notable features include the camera’s Super-Fine Detail Mode, a bright and improved LCD and Sub Monitor, and a 2.36M-dot, high magnification electronic viewfinder. AF is also improved with up to 9 selectable phase detect and contrast detect points. The sd Quattro H also features a distinct and comfortable shape with a customizable control layout.
Buy: $1,199.00 body only