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To this day, the developers of professional photographic equipment are trying to maximize the quality of the image and make it indistinguishable from the direct perception of reality by human vision. No one has yet managed to reach this level, but every year, with every step, manufacturers of leading camera and optics manufacturers are approaching this task. Of course, exclusively professional cameras are capable of the highest quality. It is to them that the next review from the editors of the online magazine Simplerule will be devoted.

Rating of the best professional cameras

Nomination Place Name Price

5 best DSLRs

5

Nikon D750

82 900 ₽

four

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

92 200 ₽

3

Pentax K-1

165 990 ₽

2

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

167 500 ₽

one

Nikon D850

170 000 ₽

5 best mirrorless cameras

5

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

66 772 ₽

four

Fujifilm X-T4

108 500 ₽

3

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

130 890 ₽

2

Nikon Z7

169 800 ₽

one

Sony Alpha ILCE-7RM4

209 190 ₽

5 best DSLRs

In 2020, there are two types of professional full-frame cameras – SLR (DSLR) and mirrorless (SLC). In the first selection, we will look at the best and most familiar “DSLRs”. Of course, their task is the same as that of SLC cameras, which is to obtain a high-quality image. But there are significant differences that influenced the opinion of users.

Even 5-7 years ago, photographers were mainly divided into those who shoot only with Nikon equipment and those who shoot only with Canon equipment. But now this question is no longer so relevant, and a new one has appeared: shoot with SLR cameras or mirrorless ones? It is difficult to answer unambiguously, since it is obvious that SLR and mirrorless cameras have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, let’s pay attention to the advantages of DSLR cameras:

  1. an optical viewfinder showing an undigitized picture;
  2. phase focus, which is inherent only to DSLRs;
  3. monochrome display;
  4. a huge “park” of optics;
  5. battery lasts longer than mirrorless cameras.

These are the most striking differences between SLR cameras and SLC cameras and this is far from an exhaustive list. What other functions and technical components these cameras have, we will consider further with specific examples.

Also Read: 10 Best Travel Cameras

Nikon D750

Rating: 4.6

Nikon D750

Let’s start the first part of the review with a professional SLR camera from Nikon. This model was announced in 2014, and to this day it is widely popular with users due to its unique options. The average price of such a camera is 1200 USD.

If we talk about the ergonomics of this camera, then the first thing I would like to pay attention to is the swivel LCD screen. This is a rare solution for full frame Full frame DSLRs and may seem controversial to many. But in this case, such an idea is appropriate, because this is a real find for professionals who shoot video or do macro photography. The display rotates 90 degrees both up and down. The camera has as many as two slots for SD memory cards. You can record the materials you shoot on both cards, but how exactly you specify in the settings.

This is one of the lightest Nikon DSLRs – it weighs 750g without batteries. This was facilitated by an interesting composite hull design. Three parts – bottom, top and back are made of magnesium alloy. And the front side has a metal reinforcement in the area of ​​the bayonet connector. However, you cannot touch the metal with your hands due to the fact that all contact points are covered with rubber pads. In addition, the camera body is equipped with a high level of protection against dust and moisture.

The Nikon D750 has a built-in CMOS sensor with an effective number of pixels of 24.3 million. This is one of the few Nikon cameras that has a matrix with an “anti-moir” filter that prevents wavy patterns in the frame. Paired with this sensor is a powerful Expeed 4 processor. The work of this pair is as follows. A matrix with an anti-moire filter takes over part of the processor’s work, thereby “unloading” it.

As for ISO, this SLR camera allows you to practically not worry about the “grain” in low light and set ISO values ​​​​from 100 to 12800. These are standard camera indicators. There are no serious problems over the entire range of ISO values. Noise, of course, appears starting from ISO 6400, but they do not critically spoil the image.

Advantages

  • high operating ISO values;

  • comfortable ergonomics;

  • fast and accurate phase autofocus;

  • swivel LCD screen;

  • compactness and light weight;

  • large battery capacity.

Flaws

  • slow autofocus in Live View shooting mode.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Rating: 4.7

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

A professional camera from Canon was announced in 2017 and made a mixed impression on users. Indeed, the camera has collected a noticeable percentage of negative and, it seems, unfounded reviews. In order to dispel the prevailing opinions, we will consider in more detail those points that most of all aroused indignation among some photographers, namely: complaints about photosensitivity and ergonomics. The cost of such a camera is about 1450 USD.

The design and ergonomics of this camera’s controls have been evolutionarily improved by Canon’s leading engineers for about 15 years. The ergonomics of the Canon camera are well thought out, and if there are any flaws, then they are insignificant. Namely, this is a swivel 3-inch LCD screen, which deviates from the carcass itself to the side and completely rotates around its axis. In addition, the touch screen allows you to control not only in the quick settings, but also in the main ones.

All buttons on the camera are conveniently located, as Canon should be. The camera has an excellent grip, due to which the hand will practically not get tired during long and continuous work. There is also a built-in secondary screen that allows you to control all the main settings without being distracted by the main display. The camera has a fairly capacious battery, which lasts for 1200 frames.

This DSLR has a full-frame CMOS sensor (6240 x 4160) with a color depth of 42 bits and a new DIGIC 7 processor. As for ISO, everything is pretty good with it. At ISO 6400, you can safely take pictures in RAW format. The noise that appears will be insignificant and will not critically spoil the frame. The camera copes well with ISO 12800, frames with such a light sensitivity can even be printed on A3 format. And with a value of 25600, images can be easily displayed on social networks, and if you try on post-processing, they can be reproduced on paper, but in A4 format.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II’s phase detection autofocus is pretty good. It includes 63 focus points and 45 of them are cross points. The face focus mode is tenacious and covers 70% of the subject area, which is important when shooting video.

Advantages

  • comfortable ergonomics;

  • capacious battery;

  • the matrix copes well with high ISO values;

  • convenient management;

  • fast autofocus;

  • there is a GPS module.

Flaws

  • one memory card slot.

Pentax K-1

Rating: 4.7

PENTAX K-1

This is the first full-frame Full frame camera from Pentax, released in 2016. The camera immediately made a good impression on photographers and remains relevant to this day. Pentax surprised the competition by releasing a full-frame SLR camera made from scratch, not only having no previous lineup, but no full frames at all. In the same 2016, the Pentax K-1 received the highest rating of the TIPA World Awards as an expert class camera. The average price of this camera is 2100 USD.

This professional camera is equipped with a CMOS sensor and has 36.4 million pixels. The matrix does not have an anti-moire filter, but you can enable a unique anti-moire mechanism if necessary. It is based on the circular vibration of the matrix during shooting with a span of 1 pixel. After that, the process of restoring sharpness takes place – this task is taken over by the processor. Matrix shift allows you to implement a high-definition mode, while shifting in a circle by 1 pixel.

The camera shoots Full HD video at 30fps at 1080p resolution. But recording is also possible at 60 frames / s, only with a resolution of 720p. In video mode, a customizable dynamic range expander and backlight compensation work. It also supports full manual control of exposure parameters and even built-in visual control of audio recording. The length of the video clip is standard – 29 minutes 30 seconds. Pentax K-1 shoots video at bitrates up to 30 Mbps, and this is a pretty good result for a SLR camera.

This full-frame camera has another interesting feature. In addition to simple interval shooting, the camera has an Astrotracer mode (astroguide), which works with the help of GPS. It is designed to capture the stars. The operation of this option is as follows. First, the camera automatically determines its position and the direction of the lens, and then moves the sensor in accordance with the rotation of the earth, so that the stars are imprinted on the frame as sharply as possible. It is worth noting that the camera has an opposite time-lapse mode called “star stream”. That is, “time-lapses” are obtained with extremely short intervals and thus leave traces of the stars, as if smearing them.

Advantages

  • there is a GPS module;

  • high-quality video for a SLR camera;

  • Astrotracer mode;

  • capacious battery;

  • comfortable ergonomics;

  • quality matrix;

  • accurate autofocus;

  • two memory card slots.

Flaws

  • insufficiently fast tracking autofocus.

Also Read: Top 10 Compact Cameras

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Rating: 4.8

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The 5D Mark IV is a carefully crafted professional full-format camera with virtually no discernible flaws. This camera is considered a high-end hybrid photo-video device, as well as fully adapted to the most complex creative and work tasks in both photography and video. There are countless accessories available for the Canon 5D Mark IV that turn your DSLR into a professional cinema camera. The average market price of such a device is 2400 USD.

It is impossible not to pay attention to the high-quality 30-megapixel CMOS matrix, if only because most full-frames have a sensor with 24 million pixels built in. Of course, the multi-pixel matrix has a significant advantage, since the area of ​​​​each pixel sensor is approximately 2.5 times larger. Consequently, the dynamic range appears much more accurately and the colors of the image do not degrade when changing the settings in the camera.

The proprietary Dual Pixel system working in Live View and video mode measures and focuses on 80% of the frame area. Dual Pixel is in fact the same phase autofocus, only the phase sensor includes one sensitive element, and Dual Pixel, as the name implies, is something like rangefinder focusing, with this system all the pixels of the matrix work, they are also form images. In addition, the camera is equipped with another interesting focusing technology – Dual Pixel RAW. This is a well-thought-out system that allows you to correct the focus and shape of the bokeh after shooting.

While the insides of the Canon 5D Mark IV have been vastly improved over the other models in the 5D Mark line, the controls and design have remained largely unchanged and uncomplicated at the same time. And for this, one cannot but praise this brand, since most photographers can always figure out this camera without difficulty, regardless of whether they have worked with this company before or not. The professional camera has a magnesium body of increased strength and a higher dust and moisture protection class, compared to the previous Canon 5D Mark III model. Now this is almost the upper limit of security for mirror systems.

Advantages

  • the matrix copes well with high ISO values;

  • Live View mode with Dual Pixel RAW technology;

  • accurate white balance;

  • convenient control and ergonomics;

  • two slots for memory cards;

  • high resolution matrix of 30 million pixels;

  • touch screen.

Flaws

  • no significant deficiencies were identified.

Nikon D850

Rating: 4.9

Nikon D850

Another “monster” in the world of photography is a professional SLR camera from Nikon. This camera was released in 2018 and not only met the expectations of many users, but surprised with its high technology. And in the same 2018, the Nikon D850 was recognized as the best SLR camera according to the experts of the TIPA World Awards, and we fully agree with this assessment. The cost of this camera is approximately in the same price range as the Canon 5D Mark IV model discussed above.

The camera has a built-in high quality CMOS matrix with a large number of pixels – 45 million. The camera can easily cope with high ISO values, so the value of 6400 can be safely considered working. At ISO 12800 and even higher, color degradation will not be horrendous.

Phase detection autofocus includes 153 focus points, of which 99 are cross-type. The sensors cover three-quarters of the frame horizontally and more than half vertically. A full-frame camera has a well-thought-out focusing system when shooting in poorly lit places. For example, while working in a photo studio, you most often have to catch focus in almost darkness. Nikon developers have foreseen this moment and adapted the focusing system so that it is able to focus down to -4 stops in lighting and this is considered one of the high performance.

The camera has a signature ingrained design that has been honed over the years by the manufacturer. The camera’s ergonomics are well balanced and comfortable. The Nikon D850 has a rather large viewfinder, which has a 100% field of view coverage and good optical offset. The buttons and mode control unit are located on the left side of the body and are backlit, which is considered convenient when working in a studio or during astrophotography, where they often shoot with slow shutter speeds and with a tripod. The camera is equipped with two screens, one of which is auxiliary, and the second is the main one. The 3-inch LCD touch screen is able to tilt away from the body and rotate to your preferred position.

Advantages

  • comfortable ergonomics;

  • fast autofocus;

  • high detail images;

  • the matrix copes well with high ISO values;

  • rotary screen;

  • button illumination;

  • high shutter speed.

Flaws

  • no major problems were found.

5 best mirrorless cameras

At the beginning of the article, we talked about two types of professional cameras and found out that most photographers are wondering: which is better DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. So, many users believe that SLC cameras are the future, and it’s hard to disagree with this because they have one big advantage – compactness. Thanks to its simplified design, which does not have mirrors, an optical viewfinder and phase sensors, unlike a SLR camera. But full-format DSLRs are far behind in their manufacturability. Therefore, it is difficult, and even pointless, to give preference to one or another type.

Let’s look at the main advantages of mirrorless professional cameras:

  1. compactness;
  2. less expensive camera manufacturing process, due to the small number of mechanical parts;
  3. not as complicated camera design as a SLR camera;
  4. The reliability of the camera is increased due to fewer moving parts.

SLC cameras can be a great solution to work with, especially if you often go on long trips. Our experts have compiled a small selection of top premium compacts from well-known manufacturers.

See also: 6 best cameras for shooting video

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Rating: 4.6

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Let’s start the next part of the review with a mirrorless camera from Olympus. This is not a full frame camera, but it is the first professional model developed by Olympus engineers. This camera definitely deserves attention, as it has some interesting features. In addition, this is an ideal option to test yourself after a semi-professional technique. The average cost of such a model is about 1180 USD.

The camera has a built-in matrix with the number of effective pixels of 20.4 million and with dimensions of 17.3 x 13mm. The sensor is almost square in shape, and its aspect ratio is 4/3 (Four Thirds). Therefore, in order to get the most complete frame, you need to photograph visually in 4/3 proportions.

The camera is equipped with a 5-axis matrix stabilizer, as in previous Olympus OM-D models. The stabilizer does its job well in this camera, and that’s because its effectiveness depends on three factors:

  1. the mass of the moved matrix block is 4 times less than that of full frames;
  2. the ratio of the power of the stabilizer to the mass of the sensor;
  3. the speed and accuracy of the processor’s reaction to the displacement of the device.

But the interesting thing is that this camera has as many as two quad-core True Pic 7 processors. Due to this, the matrix moves in real time.

The Olympus OM-D Mark II is equipped with a hybrid focusing mode, including 121 phase detection points, all of which are cross-type, and the same number of focus points are triggered by image contrast. As a result, the system focuses very quickly. In addition, autofocus works confidently down to -3 stops of illumination.

This mirrorless professional camera has an electronic-mechanical shutter that works out shutter speeds from 1 minute to 1/8000 second, in mechanical mode. And from 1 minute to 1/32000 second in electronic mode. Of course, the camera has an interval shooting mode and a pre-recording mode of a series of 14 frames before pressing the shutter. In addition, firmware is often released on the official website of the company, which can be installed absolutely free. For example, one of them is focus stacking, it allows you to increase the depth of field in macro photography and works in-camera. It also contributes to shooting landscapes with an infinite depth of field at an open aperture.

Advantages

  • high-quality 5-axis stabilizer;

  • two quad-core True Pic 7 processors;

  • fast autofocus;

  • electronic-mechanical shutter perfectly fulfills short shutter speeds;

  • Four Thirds system format;

  • dust and moisture protection;

  • swivel touch screen.

Flaws

  • Doesn’t handle high ISO well enough.

Fujifilm X-T4

Rating: 4.7

FUJIFILM X-T4

The compact professional camera from Fujifilm is not only distinguished by its exceptional design in retro style, but is also considered one of the best in its lineup. The X-T4 model was announced by the manufacturer in 2020 and almost immediately was approved by most of the professionals due to its unique features. The approximate price of this camera is 1900 USD.

The camera itself is made in the style of a film camera, which causes warm feelings and nostalgia, although it weighs much less – 526g. It has a metal body and a 3-inch touchscreen monitor. The swivel LCD screen tilts to the left and can be fully rotated around its own axis. Fujifilm X-T4 has a convenient and most complete control. All main and auxiliary camera settings can be controlled using the buttons located on the camera body.

This SLR camera is equipped with an X-Trans CMOS IV sensor with an effective 26.1 million pixels. This sensor is paired with an advanced X-Processor 4 quad-core processor. power supply”. The new 2200 mAh battery contributes greatly to the speed and duration of the camera. The capacity and power of this battery allow you to shoot for a long time (600 photos) and constantly work in Boost mode, without “putting to sleep” the viewfinder.

Fujifilm X-T4 is equipped with matrix stabilization, which, according to official data, works out up to 6.5 stops. This is quite a big value, and indeed such high-quality stabilization works very well in practice. But you need to understand that this is a photo stabilizer, and since electronic gyroscopes are used for its operation, small “sticking” in the frame may appear during panoramic shooting, like most cameras. Also, when shooting video, the camera automatically turns on additional 3-axis stabilization on the matrix.

Advantages

  • comfortable ergonomics and control;

  • quality stabilizer;

  • capacious battery;

  • advanced X-Processor 4 processor;

  • interesting design;

  • excellent color reproduction in images;

  • two slots for memory cards.

Flaws

  • The camera gets a little warm when shooting 4K video.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

Rating: 4.7

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

This model of a mirrorless camera is considered to be almost the largest among the cameras in this segment and its weight reaches 899g without batteries. But such a weight is not accidental for the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1, because it is not only a full-frame camera, but also a multifunctional and high-tech system, which takes into account almost everything, from matrix stabilization to dust and moisture protection. Hence, there is such a considerable weight and cost, which is approximately 2500 USD.

The camera has two memory slots, one for SDXC memory cards and the other for XQD. These cards are much better protected from the environment than the previous models of the DC line, thanks to the metal body of the camera, which has high-quality protection against dust and moisture. In addition, the camera tolerates critical temperatures quite well, its performance remains the same both at -10 and at +40 degrees.

As for power, the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 has a very capacious 3050 mAh battery, on average this charge is enough for as many as 1150 photos. If this battery is not enough for you, then the camera has a special battery pack that contains another of the same capacious battery. Contrast type autofocus includes 225 detection points and all of them cover the focusable object by 100%. In addition, tracking autofocus is quite tenacious and focuses well during video shooting.

The camera is equipped with a full-frame CMOS sensor with an effective 24.2 million pixels, which is designed and manufactured by Panasonic. This sensor allows you to work quietly at ISO values ​​up to 3200. Noise or so-called grain appears at ISO 6400, and strong color degradation will practically not appear.

The electronic viewfinder of a full-format camera is equipped with a matrix with 5,750,000 dots and covers 100% of the entire field of view. And this is the maximum limit. For a complete understanding, one can cite as an example viewfinders with a much lower resolution – 3260000 points, in which the transfer of image sizes is already indistinguishable from high-quality optics. The 3.2-inch LCD touch screen design is convenient because it allows you to rotate the display to any angle and in any direction – you can’t do without it when shooting video.

Advantages

  • two slots for memory cards;

  • protection against dust and moisture;

  • large battery capacity;

  • fast autofocus;

  • the matrix works well at high ISO values;

  • accurate electronic viewfinder;

  • comfortable ergonomics.

Flaws

  • no significant deficiencies were identified.

See also: 11 best monitors for photographers

Nikon Z7

Rating: 4.8

Nikon Z7

Considered to be the smallest of all Nikon full frame system cameras, this mirrorless professional camera weighs only 585g without batteries. Most users appreciated this model, and especially those photographers who shoot only on Nikon cameras. Namely, because they have the opportunity to use the entire “park” of optics with the help of an adapter. Not every mirrorless camera has such an adapter between the mount and lenses. The average price of such a model is 3000 USD.

The Nikon Z7 mount is specially designed for the new camera system. This is a fairly large hole size for fullframes. The bayonet is so large that it even rises above the body of the camera. The engineers made the right decision by developing such a large diameter, as it allows the matrix to move smoothly along the 5 axes of stabilization. The Nikon FTZ adapter does the job perfectly. When photographing on a reflex lens through an adapter, you will not feel any difference, since the difference in focus can be thousandths of a second.

The camera has a built-in CMOS sensor with an effective number of pixels of 45.7 million and a color depth of 42 bits. The camera handles high ISOs well. At 12800 ISO there is slight color and contour degradation. The ISO range of the camera ends at 25600, followed by the extended ISO. But working with this value is not recommended, since the image quality will be “disappointing”, and for any camera, ISO 25600 can be considered critical.

The Nikon Z7 has a powerful Expeed 6 processor that processes the signal from the sensor quickly. The monitor and viewfinder of the camera constantly require high power, and this processor has them. The mirrorless camera comes with an EN-EL 15A battery, one charge lasts an average of 330 photos. The peculiarity of this battery is that it can be charged via the USB cable inside the camera.

The hybrid autofocus system in this full frame has 493 points and all of them cover the focusable object by 100%. Focusing on the face is quite tenacious and works much better than in the Nikon Z6. Also, the camera has autofocus illumination, which is important when shooting in poorly lit places.

Advantages

  • powerful Expeed 6 processor;

  • the matrix copes well with high ISO values;

  • the ability to charge the camera from a USB cable;

  • fast autofocus;

  • 5 axis matrix stabilization;

  • touch and swivel LCD screen;

  • comfortable ergonomics;

  • compactness.

Flaws

  • one memory card slot.

Sony Alpha ILCE-7RM4

Rating: 4.9

Sony Alpha ILCE-7RM4

We conclude our review with a full-length mirrorless camera from Sony. With the release of the new R4 model, the manufacturers of this company finally approved their seventh series as a professional and high-quality equipment. Sony Alpha ILCE-7RM4 is definitely a good and advanced full frame solution. This camera is perfect for professional photographers working in conjunction with advertising agencies and design studios. Allows designers to freely crop in post-production without loss of resolution. The average price of such a fullframe is about 3700 USD.

The camera has an Exmor R CMOS sensor with a resolution of 9504 x 6336 and a large number of effective pixels, namely 61 million. Such a multi-pixel sensor allows you to more accurately process frames and “pull” any necessary information from them in RAW format. Also, using Pixel Shift technology, you can increase the number of pixels from 61 million to 240 million. To get such a large number of pixels, the camera first takes 16 frames, sequentially shifting the sensor. Then, using the Sony Imaging Edge photo editor program, you can stitch these images and create a single frame with 240 million pixels.

The Sony Alpha ILCE-7RM4 camera does an excellent job with high light sensitivity. ISO 6400 can be considered a working value, with this figure you will hardly notice noise or the so-called grain. With ISO 8000 there is slight degradation of color and contour in the image, but this value can also be considered acceptable for work. With a light sensitivity of 12800, the noise appears already brighter, but not critical. Well, at ISO 25600, the image is only suitable for social networks and only if it is not enlarged.

The hybrid autofocus system includes 567 phase focus points and 425 contrast focus points. All of them cover 75% of the area of ​​the focused object. There are modes in the autofocus design that allow you to detect the eyes of people and animals in the image in real time. Tracking autofocus on the face works quickly and without delay. An electronic viewfinder with a field of view of 100% very accurately conveys the subject being shot. And the 2.95-inch LCD touch screen makes it easy to capture videos from multiple angles with its 176-degree tilt and 270-degree rotation.

Advantages

  • Exmor R CMOS sensor with 61 million pixels;

  • Pixel Shift technology;

  • the sensor works fine with high ISO values;

  • fast autofocus;

  • capacious battery;

  • swivel LCD screen;

  • big buffer.

Flaws

  • high price.