Despite the rise of the smartphone camera, there’s still a ton of innovation happening in actual camera cameras. The options for those of us who like to document, preserve and create with real cameras and lenses are better than they’ve ever been.
2015 saw the beginning of the rise of camera drones, large-sensor fast-lens compacts are now available from all the key manufacturers, compact mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras are reaching new heights in performance & lens options, and the DSLR nears 35mm perfection.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite cameras of 2015 along with some of Popular Photography’s contenders for their annual Camera of the Year. Here’s a look at them, the runners up and the winner.
Canon EOS 5Ds
Despite not being the winner, Canon’s EOS 5Ds, with its 50 plus megapixels, is the highest resolution 35mm DSLR on the planet, and scored best in Pop Photo’s resolution lab test. It’s most appealing to landscape, portrait, wedding and commercial still photographers.
Here’s an interesting device aimed squarely at photographers with iPhones. This 20 megapixel one-inch sensor, for lack of a better term, “lens Camera” plugs into the lightning connector on the iPhone for shooting directly to the phone using it as the viewfinder. One of Pop Photo’s contenders, this f/1.8 lens camera from DxO, the photo Software company and authority on lens tests, makes some beautiful images, but it is not cheap at $599. Without Android compatibility and with actual Wi-Fi enabled one-inch sensor cameras available at similar prices it’s not quite ready for prime time.
Canon PowerShot G5x
This one-inch sensor compact from Canon isn’t a Pop Photo contender but we really like it. This camera is really small! With a built-in eye-level electronic viewfinder, a high-resolution fully articulated touch screen, built-in flash & flash hot shoe and tons of physical controls this 20 megapixel camera is definitely one to consider for your always-with-you camera.
One of Pop Photo’s contenders, this is the highest resolution micro 4:3 mirrorless camera available at 20 megapixels and sports dual image stabilization, which combines sensor and lens shift image stabilization for better results. The all-weather magnesium alloy body has a large grip and lots of physical controls. True in-camera 4K video capture and Wi-Fi/NFC make this highly desirable for the person who needs great video and small lenses.
Nikon Coolpix P900
The zoom power of the COOLPIX P900 is nothing short of spectacular. This camera has a 2000mm optical zoom – that’s 83x real lens zoom! With its DSLR styling and sure grip, swiveling Vari-angle display, eye-level electronic viewfinder, full PSAM mode control dial and Wi-Fi connectivity it had to make our list.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
There’s nothing not to like about this little camera. It’s sophisticated yet understated, and as easy to use as it is to look at. Positioned as the entry OMD model, the spec sheet looks a whole lot like its more expensive big brother, the E-M1.
DJI Innovations Phantom 3 Standard – Camera Drone Kit
Although not on Pop Photo’s list, camera drones are a hot trend and getting more and more popular by the day. They are available at many prices and configurations but the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is our pick as it’s a complete kit and won’t break the bank.
Sony A7r Mark II
And the winner is… With the only BSI (Back Side Illuminated) Full Frame sensor in the world, the “Sony A7R II’s mix of high-level performance and boundary-pushing technology” made it the standout winner of Popular Photography’s coveted camera of the year award. With a small footprint and compatibility with nearly any lens ever made for 35mm cameras (adapter required of course) this stunning 42 megapixel camera was also one of our favorites of the year.