Best camera of 2021
2021 has been another disrupted year, with global supply chain problems still a major factor in the availability of all consumer goods, including new camera equipment. However, plenty of great new gear was released this year, and while we’ve reviewed a lot of it, we can’t get our hands on everything. And that’s where you come in.
Our editorial team has had its say already, in our annual DPReview Awards, but which of this year’s new cameras was your favorite? This your chance to let us know. And if you think we missed something, please leave a comment.
Voting in three categories (cameras, prime and zoom lenses) runs through December 19th, and once the vote has closed we’ll run a fourth and final poll drawn from the winners of the first three to determine your choice for overall product of the year. Look out for that one early in the new year.
Canon went big in 2020 with the EOS R5 and R6, so we didn’t expect the company to release a ton of new cameras this year, but the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics provided a showcase for Canon’s first truly flagship mirrorless camera, the EOS R3. Combining some of the the best technologies from the EOS-1D X Mark III and EOS R5 in a new body with an ultra-fast stacked 24MP CMOS sensor, the EOS R3 is a powerful tool for pros and enthusiasts alike. Is it your camera of the year?
Fujifilm had a busy year, releasing no fewer than four mirrorless ILCs, two each in the company’s X and GFX APS-C and medium-format lineups. The X-E4 and X-T30 II are relatively minor updates of two popular older models, while the GFX 100S is an all-new (mostly) 100MP medium format monster, in a form factor not much bigger than a high-end full-frame ILC.
Meanwhile, the GFX 50S II takes the excellent ergonomics and exterior design of the 100S and combines them with the company’s first-generation 50MP sensor, to save cost. As a result, the 50S II is the least expensive medium-format ILC we’ve ever seen, and, like its big brother, it’s an absolute pleasure to shoot with.
Do any of these four cameras get your vote?
Leica had a quiet year on the camera front, and while rumors are starting to swirl about an M11 coming potentially in the next few weeks, the company hasn’t (yet) announced a camera in 2021. We’re including the SL2-S in this year’s poll, though, because it sneaked onto the market in the very final weeks of 2020, and missed out on a spot in last year’s readers’ poll. Essentially a lower-resolution, more affordable alternative to the flagship SL2, the SL2-S is at least targeted at a more mass-market audience – so did it appeal to you?
It’s amazing to think that only last year, Nikon released a new flagship DSLR, the D6. Following the recent announcement of the Z9, that launch, like so much of what happened in those few pre-pandemic weeks of 2020, feels like the distant past. The Z9 is starting to ship now, and so far, we’re impressed. Not only is it a vast improvement over the D6 in terms of resolution and technology, it’s a significant upgrade from the previous-generation Z-series Z6 II and Z7 II.
Meanwhile, the Z fc sits at the opposite end of Nikon’s mirrorless lineup, bringing retro styling and photographer-friendly ergonomics to the company’s APS-C camera line. Did either of these cameras spark joy for you this year? Cast your vote and let us know.
OM Digital Solutions (formerly Olympus)
2021 was the year that Olympus cameras and lenses became OM Digital Solutions cameras and lenses, but inevitably, even after the sale of the old Olympus imaging division, there were still some products in the existing pipeline. The PEN E-P7 appears to be one of them – a midrange mirrorless ILC, released this summer in Europe and Asia at a fairly attractive price-point, but not widely available elsewhere.
We’ve never seen one in person… but maybe you have, and you love it, and you’ve been waiting for months to make your feelings known! Let us know by casting a vote.
Just like last year, Panasonic’s 2021 camera launches this year have been notably video-focused. Both the BS1H and GH5 II offer powerful video features and are aimed at high-end users and production companies. The BS1H is a full-frame ‘box’ design, intended for use in modular and remote setups, whereas the GH5 II is a more compact camera built around the Micro Four Thirds mount, which includes support for mobile live-streaming.
Did either of these cameras rock your world in 2021? Let us know.
Ricoh / Pentax
Ricoh released two cameras this year, the Pentax-branded K-3 Mark III and the GR IIIx. While both might appear to be (and strictly speaking are) iterative updates, K3 Mark II and GR III owners alike will find much that’s different.
The K-3 III is a vastly better camera than the K-3 II, reflecting the several years that separate their introductions onto the market. With a suite of smart, photographer-friendly features and excellent build quality, the K-3 III is one of the best (and probably one of the last) APS-C DSLRs on the market. Meanwhile, the Ricoh GR IIIx takes the form and functionality of the popular GR III and marries them with a new 40mm equivalent lens, providing a slightly longer option for fans of the pocketable GR series.
Do either of them earn your vote?
Speaking of iterative updates, Sigma’s only camera release this year was the fp L, a development of the original fp with a new 61MP sensor, aimed more at stills photographers than its 24MP predecessor. The fp L offers almost the same ergonomics though, built around the same ‘modular’ concept, and launched alongside an add-on electronic viewfinder.
The fp L is a unique camera and won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if it’s compact, high-resolution full-frame imaging that you’re into, it’s worth a second look. Does it earn your vote for camera of the year?
2021 was a busy year for Sony, with no fewer than four new cameras, including two full-frame stills models, a high-end video camera, and the compact, vlogger-friendly ZV-E10. Technically, Sony also released ‘A’ variants of the older a7R III and a7R IV, but we’re not counting them in this year’s poll.
Of the cameras that Sony released this year, the a1 is arguably the most impressive, offering high-resolution, high-speed shooting in a pro-grade body which is half the size of contemporary sports and action DSLRs (and smaller than both the Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9). The a7 IV, meanwhile, is almost a third of the cost, but aimed at enthusiast and hobbyist photographers and videographers who don’t necessarily need the sharpest of cutting edge technologies. The FX3 is effectively the important bits of the a7S III inside a more specifically video-focused body, and, lower down the lineup, the ZV-E10 is being marketed to vloggers and online content creators.
Did any of these cameras earn a place in your gear bag this year?
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