Best Digital Cameras for the Enthusiast for 2017


For enthusiasts and professional photographers, there is a wide choice of high end digital, mirrorless and digital SLR cameras available. Semi-professional and professional photographers tend to predominantly use Canon and Nikon digital cameras and SLRs. High end full frame and medium format digital SLRs can be very expensive once you total the cost of the camera body, lenses, accessories and flash equipment. Fortunately for the enthusiast, there are many mid-range digital cameras and SLRs which offer some high end features and are attractively priced. Some of the features to look out for when choosing an enthusiast digital camera include:

Speed - the digital camera must have minimal shutter lag for fast picture taking.

Zoom lens - the zoom lens must be 3x or longer and must be capable of producing sharp high quality photos.

Manual controls - aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual control can be useful in achieving creative results, controlling depth of field, action shots and for macro photography.

Battery Life - the digital camera battery must be able to last for a reasonable time before recharging is required.

Large LCD - the LCD viewfinder must be 3" or larger to accurately view and compose the picture.

Except where otherwise stated, all the digital cameras recommended for the enthusiast have the above features.

Other features/additions which can be useful include:

Raw format - Unlike jpegs, raw images are not compressed and processed in any way by the camera and have to be adjusted on a PC using the appropriate raw conversion program. Large memory cards or external storage devices will be required if the raw format is used frequently.

Powerful zoom - A wide angle zoom for landscapes and interiors can be useful. Also a long telephoto zoom lens is also desirable for distant shots.

Optical image stabilizer - for reducing camera shake when shooting in low light conditions while using slower shutter speeds.

A hotshoe - for adding an external flashgun or for attaching studio flash via an adapter.

Optical or Electronic Viewfinder - in addition to high resolution LCDs, digital SLR cameras also have either a pentamirror or pentaprism viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras and some compact cameras have mainly electronic viewfinders with high end models having 2.36 million dots which can rival optical viewfinders in many areas. Good quality eye level viewfinders have many advantages such as shooting in bright sunlight.

An SLR camera is the ideal camera in terms of image quality, range of accessories and speed of operation but some of the compacts listed below come very close to matching SLR quality.


Fujifilm X-Pro2

For: - 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. Shoots at 8 fps.
- OLED/Optical eye level viewfinder with 2.36m dots.
- HD 1080p videos. B and W film simulation. RAW & jpeg.
- Weather sealed body. Shutter speed upto 1/32000 sec.

Against: - No 4k video.
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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4

For: - High end DCI Cinema 4k or UHD 4k video.
- Magnesium alloy weather sealed body. Shoots at 12 fps.
- 3 inch articulated OLED screen with 1,036,000 dots.
- Electronic viewfinder with 2,359,000 dots.

Against: - 16 MP sensor is becoming dated.
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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

For: - 30.4 MP full frame CMOS sensor. Shoots at 7 fps.
- 4k video at 30p and 24p. 8.8 MP frame grab.
- Weather sealed body. Increased dynamic range.
- Touch screen LCD. Optical viewfinder with 100% coverage.

Against: - No major issues.
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Nikon D750

For: - 24 MP full frame sensor. Shoots at 6.5 fps.
- 3.2 inch LCD with tilt. HD video. Wi-fi.
- Compact, water and dust resistant body.
- Optical viewfinder with 100% coverage.

Against: - No major issues.
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Pentax K-1

For: - 36.4 MP full frame sensor with no anti alias filter.
- Pixel shift resolution system. HD 1080p video. Shoots at 4.4 fps.
- Weather resistant body. 5 axis sensor shift image stabilization.
- Built in GPS and Wi-Fi. 3.2 inch articulated LCD. Optical viewfinder.

Against: - Only a few modern full frame lenses available.
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