Engadget has posted an article on the best cameras under $1,000. Go check it out …
Enthusiast cameras like Sony’s A7R III, the Nikon D850 and Fujifilm’s X-H1 get a lot of attention. The good news is that nowadays, you can spend less than $1,000 for a camera body and get almost as much as you would with a model with three times the price. Cameras like Nikon’s D5600, the Sony A6300 and Fujifilm’s X-T20 handle both photos and video superbly. As you’d expect, though, each model has a different combination of strengths and weaknesses. This guide is meant to help you figure out which best fits your needs.
Fujifilm’s $900 X-T20 wins on several counts. First off, it has a larger APS-C 24.3-megapixel X-Trans III sensor that instantly buys you better bokeh and low-light performance. It offers a 2.3-million dot OLED EVF and touchscreen, which its pricier X-T2 sibling doesn’t have, giving you tap to focus and shoot plus swiping and zooming to review images. It can focus in just .06 seconds and shoot in burst mode at 5 fps.
There’s also 4K video at 30 fps, a microphone input and various creative filters for the amateur crowd. And don’t forget Fujifilm’s impressive and reasonably priced lens collection. Most importantly for many of its fans, the X-T20 has classic, retro good looks and is easy to operate, thanks to no fewer than five dials for mode, exposure compensation, aperture, ISO and shutter speed. On the downside, the X-T20 lacks in-body stabilization.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Speaking of beautiful, easy-to-use and impressively specced cameras, let’s talk about the $650 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It beats the X-T20 in one key area: Namely, it has 5-axis in-body stabilization, something sadly lacking in all Fujifilm models except the new X-H1. The OM-D E-M10 Mark III also has some drawbacks like the smaller 16.1-megapixel, Micro Four Thirds sensor and lack of a microphone port.
It equals the X-T20 with 4K video and features a 2.36-million-dot viewfinder and the same image processor as the one on Olympus’ super-quick OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It’s also small and light, and Olympus has a wide and impressive selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses, including the new f/1.2 prime lens lineup with enough bokeh to help you forget about that smallish sensor. As with the X-T20, the E-M10 Mark III is lovely and packs manual dials, saving you from plunging into menus.
Sony Alpha A6300
Sony’s top-of-the-line APS-C camera is the $1,300 A6500, but the older $800 A6300 (above) isn’t that far behind. The 24.2-megapixel model was ahead of its time, packing 4K video with full sensor readout at 30 fps, uncanny fast .05-second phase-detect autofocus with 425 pixels, 11 fps burst speeds and a maximum 51,200 ISO range.
The drawbacks are a clumsy menu system, lack of mechanical dials and poor battery life. All told, though, shooters who do both video and audio will be better off with the A6300 than many of the pricier models out there.
Canon EOS 77D
Canon’s $800 EOS 77D and Nikon’s D5600 are the best midrange DSLRs released recently and are close in specs, but the 77D gets the nod as our top pick. Released last year, it inherited some nice features from Canon’s higher-end models. That includes a fast, accurate 45-point phase-detection system and Canon’s Dual Pixel AF — the best in the business for live view and video modes. Max burst shooting is 6 fps, and ISO tops out at 51,200 (extended), though shots beyond ISO 12,800 are extremely noisy.
If you can live without 4K and settle for 1080p at 60 fps, the 77D actually has a lot to offer for video. You get surprisingly good electronic stabilization that works in concert with the optical lens IS, a flip-out screen for easier self-shooting and vlogging, and fast, accurate Dual Pixel autofocus. It also has WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC, so it’s easy to remotely control the 77D and download photos.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Trying to find the third-best DSLR shows the problems with this category. A few cameras, like Nikon’s D7200 and Canon’s 80D, are worth considering, but they were released in 2015 and 2016, respectively. In a market where things change so quickly, I chose Canon’s $750 EOS Rebel T7i.
While it doesn’t ooze excitement, the T7i does key things well. It’s nearly identical to the EOS 77D, with 6 fps shooting speeds, WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth connections, a top ISO of 51,200, and a flippable screen. It focuses quickly and accurately whether in regular or live view/video mode, thanks to the phase-detect and Dual Pixel autofocus systems. And yet it’s much smaller and lighter, making it a good travel camera for folks who must have a DSLR.
Sony RX100 V
As with the mirrorless category, it’s tough to choose a winner here. But the $980 Sony RX100 V’s pure technical competence and tiny size make up for its operational minuses, which is why it’s often used as a second camera by professional photographers.
Where to start? The 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch sensor RX100 V can shoot an astonishing 24 RAW photos per second and handle 4K, 30 fps video with a full sensor readout. Low-light capability is great for a compact, aided by the f/1.8-2.5 24-70mm lens, and it uses Sony’s latest BSI sensor tech with 315-point phase-detect AF.
Panasonic Lumix ZS200
I picked Panasonic’s Lumix ZS100 as one of the top compact cameras for my recent camera-buying guide. Since then, the company has released the ZS200, which succeeds and improves on it in most ways. You still get a 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel sensor; 5-axis in-body stabilization; a 2,330K-dot EVF; and 4K video at 30 fps.
What the new model brings is a new L.Monochrome black-and-white shooting mode and a 15x, 24-360x zoom (35mm equivalent), a big jump from the last model’s 25-250x lens. In exchange, unfortunately, you lose a stop of speed, jumping from f/2.8-5.9 to f/3.3-6.4. Nevertheless, the wider zoom range will probably be more useful for the ZS200’s intended tourist market, helping vacationers snap distant wildlife or beach action.
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Panasonic’s aging LX100 gets on this list because it’s the only model for less than $1,000 with a sensor larger than one inch. It packs a Micro Four Thirds, 12.8-megapixel chip and f/1.7-2.8 24-75mm equivalent lens, letting you easily separate subjects from backgrounds with plenty of bokeh.
Despite hitting the market in 2015, the LX100 also offers 4K video, embarrassing more-recent models from the likes of Canon.
Buy the following items from Amazon …
- Fujifilm X-T20 – USD $899
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III – USD $849
- Sony a6300 – USD $898
- Canon EOS 77D – USD $799
- Canon EOS Rebel T7i – USD $899
- Sony RX100 V – USD $948
- Panasonic Lumix ZS100 – USD $548
- Panasonic Lumix LX100 – USD $640