Every season, the Phoblographer will give you its choice of cameras that they recommend to you: the readers. Many of you often ask, “What’s the best starter DSLR?” or something along the lines. Here are our answers for Winter 2010.
Best Image Quality
The Phase One P645DF is hand-down the best image quality I’ve seen on a camera in a while. It captures ridiculous amounts of detail very, very cleanly. I’ve spent some time with the camera while still writing for Photography Bay. If I could afford it and I did lots of commercial work, I’d get it.
Best Build Quality
If your camera can survive being stepped on by an elephant the way that a Phase One P645DF back can, then please proof me wrong.
Best Bang For Your Buck
Reasonably fast shooting, 24p 720p HD video, and great better High ISO performance than it’s big brother the Pentax K-7, the Pentax K-x is my choice of the best starter DSLR for beginners that just want to focus on images.
If you want good video, go with the Canon T1i.
This is a four way tie between the Leica M9/Canon 1D Mk IV/Nikon D3s/Sony A850. Leica rangefinders are designed so well and feel so good in your hands as well. I really wish that more cameras were made like the M9.
The 1D Mk IV also feels this way as it is designed to be a great still camera for sports shooters and even a great video camera. As a hybrid that can do all that it can, the controls are laid out very well and most things can be done with just two fingers while still looking through the viewfinder.
The Nikon D3s has a nice, solid feeling to it when you grip it. You know that when you’re holding it, you really won’t go wrong in your shooting of the Olympics or anything else. It’s also very comfortable to hold and you know when holding it that it will be your companion camera through all the tough times that you’ll go through.
The higher end Sony Alpha series should really be praised for their ergonomics. They feel good; like older film SLRs really. Additionally, the button layout of the A850 combined with quite possibly the simplest menus I’ve seen on a camera really make this camera great. Not to mention that you’re getting Full Frame at only $2000.
Best New Feature
The new Art Filters on the Olympus EP-2 will deliver some very interesting images that can help keep you inspired as a photographer. They’re also good for artsy/hipster types that don’t want to do photoshopping very much.
Best Portable Powerhouse
The Panasonic GH1 may possibly be seeing a successor soon, but even so it is still quite a powerful little camera. With so many different movie shooting modes and a physically larger sensor than the Four Thirds standard, it allows for better High ISO images as well as multi-aspect ratio shooting for anyone that wants it.
Best Long Term Investment
This has to go to the Leica M9. Sure, you’re spending a heaping wad of cash, but you can use lenses all the way back from the early 1900’s. Additionally, Leica cameras can literally last a lifetime. In a world where technology is changing by the second that is a relief to hear. They will always use the same M lenses and will always have the same feeling to them. A Leica film lover should be able to pick up a Leica M9 and work very easily with it as if it’s his old camera.
The best hybrid camera category goes to the Canon 7D. With 720p 60p HD, 1080p 24p and 30p HD shooting modes you really can’t go wrong. Additionally, you’ve got Dual Digic IV processors, 8fps shooting and loads of lenses available. You really can’t go wrong with such a product.