Shoot for the JPEG: The Cameras We Love With Stunning JPEG Images

If you like to shoot for the JPEG and want a camera that will let you back away from photo editing, these are the cameras worth a look.

We recently posted an opinion piece about why you should shoot for the JPEG instead of the RAW. RAW files certainly have their place, and they can allow all manner of edits during post-processing, but not all photographers want to spend countless hours behind their computers: they’d much rather be out shooting. After all, this is what we love to do more than anything. If you’re a photographer who wants to break free from the rigors of editing images, and you just want to shoot and enjoy the images you create, the cameras we rounded up after the break are the ones you need to take a closer look at.

There is no don’t about it; when it comes to getting the absolute most out of your images, editing the RAW files your camera produces is the way to go. Having complete control over your images is great, but it can also be incredibly time-consuming. Unless I am shooting for a client, I find myself aiming to shoot for the JPEG more often than not these days. It’s such a nice feeling to know I don’t have to edit pics every time I take my camera out. Image processors inside modern cameras are incredibly powerful: they can work wonders with your images. When you also consider the film simulations and art filters many manufacturers now include in their cameras, it makes even more sense to have fun with the JPEGS your camera can produce.

A straight, out-of-camera JPEG from the Canon EOS M6 II

All of the cameras we have listed below can produce outstanding JPEGS. You can pick these cameras up, shoot to your heart’s content, and then instantly share your images without having to transfer files to your computer to tweak a myriad of settings. It’s quite liberating. If you want to shoot for the JPEG, check out the cameras below.

Shoot for the JPEG With Fujifilm’s X Pro 3

When it comes to cameras that produce mind-blowing JPEGS, the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 tops the list. This beautiful, 26.1 megapixel, rangefinder-style camera is packed with gorgeous film simulations that can give your images a unique look right out of the camera. You can mimic some of Fujifilm’s emulsions (Provia, Acros, Velvia, Classic Chrome and more) right out of the box, which means you will love the images it produces and you’ll never have to step near a computer for photo editing if you don’t wish to. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Superia is beautiful (Classic neg)
  • We love the lack of a major screen
  • Autofocus can be fine-tuned for different situations
  • Everyone loves the look of Classic neg
  • You can push the shadows for forever and get details – the highlights not as much, but they’re still there
  • The screen helps you stay focused and aware
  • USB C charging ensures that you can keep using the camera
  • Video features deliver pretty video
  • Arguably, you don’t need to edit the RAW files because the JPEGs let you do so much
  • For street and documentary shooting, the hidden screen will keep you in the zone when shooting
  • Face detection is fantastic when not trying to track erratic movements
  • Acros and clarity enhancements are going to make you fall in love with Fujifilm all over again
  • The Chrome effect for skies is subtle and very nice
  • Autofocus is fantastic for events and most professional work
  • Fujifilm’s collection of small primes pair wonderfully with this camera
  • The best camera to embrace high ISO noise on the market
  • Using the OVF will prolong battery life at the expense of slower autofocus
  • This is less of a street camera than a documentary and event shooter’s camera
  • Multiple exposure mode is a very welcome addition
  • Very good battery life

Cons

  • Has problems keeping subjects in focus when they’re continuously moving
  • When you need the screen, it’s a bit of an annoyance; like when photographing a portrait subject in motion
  • This camera desperately needed Blackout Free EVF shooting
  • Touchscreen menu navigation should be on this camera
  • Autofocus needs improvements
  • Enhancing the clarity makes the camera take extra time to render the image
  • The battery life in long term use is about on par with the new Sony Z batteries
  • For street shooting, the wide and tracking AF area still lets you select a zone, but it shouldn’t. This can throw off shooting in real-life street situations
  • Shooting from the hip? You may accidentally hit the function button and not the shutter release
  • Exposure dial needs a locking mechanism
  • Multiple Exposure mode saves the final images only as JPEGs

Buy now: $1,729

Shoot for the JPEG With the Olympus OMD E-M1 III

Shoot for the JPEG

Like Fujifilm, Olympus has been bundling unique and creative filters into their cameras for many years. The JPEGS from the E-M1 III are always fantastic, but they can be even better when used in conjunction with filters such as Monochrome, Vintage, Pop Art, Grainy Film, Pinhole, Diorama, and more. We called the E-M1 III a travelers gem, so if you want a camera that can come along with you on your travels and produce images that don’t need to be touched, check out the Olympus E-M1 III. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Feels nice when shooting for a long time
  • We like the shutter sound
  • Good continuous autofocus which does tracking
  • The processor is fantastic
  • The art filters continue to make Olympus unique amongst other camera brands. Shooting surfers with the cross-process and the vintage filter was so fun. Same with grainy black and white.
  • Live composite is so incredibly pleasant, along with Starry AF
  • It survived sand and saltwater
  • Continuous AF+Tracking works well with wide angles
  • The custom shooting mode switch on the back is something every adventure brand should have
  • This is the foundation for an Olympus camera we’d want to bring with us everywhere
  • Handheld high res shot continues to be one of the best things ever
  • Face detection works on monkeys

Cons

  • Battery life in the heat and the cold
  • C-AF + Tracking is useless with telephoto lenses
  • Why no touchscreen menus?
  • Olympus’s menu system continues to give headaches
  • Some of the parts seem very dated
  • A top screen LCD could have made shooting easier
  • Why couldn’t it have Dual UHS-II Card slots?
  • Above ISO 1600, you really need the art filters to take the most advantage of the otherwise too-grainy sensor
  • Could really use no blackout in the EVF
  • We couldn’t find spot metering AF linked to the face (or at least it didn’t work for us)

Buy now: $1,799

Shoot for the JPEG With the Ricoh GR III

In our review, we said that the JPEG images that came from the Ricoh GR III were so good that the option to be able to shoot in DNG simply wasn’t needed. The color profile simulations that can be used to enhance your images are simply fantastic, and we were overjoyed with the results out of the box. If you want a pocket-friendly APS-C camera that’s perfect for street photography with its 28mm f2.8 lens, the GR III is the way to go. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • We are smitten with the JPEGs and the color profile simulations
  • Snap focus is nice
  • Sharp image quality
  • The small size of the camera
  • Good battery life if you leave the screen off
  • USB charging
  • Touchscreen
  • Image stabilization is nice

Cons

  • We don’t really care for the RAW files. You may as well just embrace the flaws of the otherwise unique image quality.
  • Autofocus is very slow: I’m not even sure why it’s there to begin with.
  • No weather sealing is a big problem.
  • This camera desperately needed a faster aperture lens. Otherwise, the sensor should have started at ISO 200.
  • Deep menus
  • No pop-up flash
  • Lots of folks have been having issues with firmware updates

Buy now: $899.95

Captured with the affordable Leica TL2

Pro Tip: When you shoot for the JPEG, the files your camera produces will be much smaller in size when compared to RAW files, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security because you can still fill an SD card up quite quickly with JPEG images. Always make sure that you have plenty of spare SD cards in your camera bag or on your person so that you always have more storage space for when you max out a card, or if one becomes corrupted.

Shoot for the JPEG With Canon’s EOS M6 Mk II

Shoot for the JPEG

The Canon EOS M6 II stole our JPEG loving heart when we reviewed it at the end of 2019. We love the form factor, the 32.5 megapixel sensor is the largest available in any APS-C platform, and it is capable of greatness. Couple it with the image processor that turns out clean, colorful JPEG images that are full of detail, and you have a winner on your hands. Every image in our review was a JPEG straight from the camera: that’s how much we loved the output from the Canon M6 II. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful colors
  • The sound of the shutter will appeal to long-time photographers
  • It feels like a solid, impressive camera
  • Canon’s implementation of the Touch and Drag AF system is the best it’s ever been with the Canon EOS M6 Mk II
  • Pretty stellar battery life
  • You’ve got more megapickles than you need. U DONT NEED MOAR MEGAPICKLES!!!!

Cons

  • We really wish it were weather sealed
  • An integrated viewfinder would have put this over the top

Buy now: $849

Shoot for the JPEG With the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark III

Shoot for the JPEG

You can expect the same great quality JPEG images from the Olympus E-M5 III as you can from the company’s E-M1 III and E-M1 II thanks to the same sensor, and inclusion of all of the great art filters. The biggest difference is that the E-M5 III is smaller, lighter, and quite a bit cheaper. We loved the gorgeous retro styling of the Olympus E-M5 III, we lauded the weather sealing, and of course, we loved the images it could produce. If you want a Mirrorless camera that has a small form factor and that can pump out great images when you shoot for the JPEG, the E-M5 III might be for you. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful retro styling
  • Excellent image quality
  • Robust weather sealing
  • Reliable image stabilization
  • Accurate autofocus
  • Compact form factor
  • Built-in Live Composite and 50 MP High Resolution shooting modes are highly effective

Cons

  • Form factor can be too compact for some
  • Plasticky build quality
  • Single UHS-II SD Card slot
  • Lacks dedicated joystick
  • Poor battery life
  • Convoluted menu systems

Buy now: $999

Shoot for the JPEG With the Leica TL2

Shoot for the JPEG

When we first got our hands on the Leica TL2, we weren’t quite sure what to make of it, but soon we found out that this little gem of a camera was very good. While we weren’t blown away with the versatility of the RAW files, we loved the JPEGS that this 24.3 Megapixel APS-C Leica produced. The build quality is excellent as you would expect, and it can fire of 7fps with the mechanical shutter and 20fps with the electronic shutter. Pair this camera up with some great L mount glass, get the exposure right in-camera, and enjoy the results that the JPEGS will give you. It’s that simple. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super solid build quality
  • Nice, big screen
  • Simple touchscreen interface, but can get complicated depending on how you configure it
  • Feels better in the hand than you’d think
  • Good image quality
  • Fantastic battery life

Cons

  • Autofocus is fast, but not fast enough for something like street photography

Buy now: $1,699

Shoot for the JPEG With Fujifilm’s X-T30

Shoot for the JPEG

It would be remiss of us to forget about the little Fujifilm that could; the Fujifilm X-T30. This camera is small in size, but it packs a big punch. The little brother to the X-T3 features the same 26.1 Megapixel X-Trans sensor as the X-T3 and the X-Pro 3, and it features all of those glorious Fujifilm simulations as well. Shoot for the JPEG and X-T30 will allow you to back away from the computer and spend more time out shooting, which is what we all want to do. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid construction that we’ve come to expect and love about Fujifilm cameras
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Almost everything that made the X-T3 such a hit

Cons

  • Lacks in-body image stabilization and weather sealing
  • Rear touchscreen-only tilts up and down
  • Perhaps a tad too compact
  • The new joystick is awkwardly placed on the rear of the camera body
  • Unremarkable battery life

Buy now: $899