To say that 2018 was a great year for camera gear and photography enthusiasts it would be a big understatement. This year we saw entirely new camera systems from the Big Two (Canon and Nikon), a new direction for an old MFT stalwart, and two companies that have not only found their stride but are absolutely crushing it in their respective market categories (Sony and Fujifilm). Here are our picks for the best cameras and lenses released in 2018.
Announced in late February 2018, the Sony a7III was as well-kept a secret as there’s been bipartisanship in politics – which is to say we all knew this one was coming. That said, we’d be remiss to say that it didn’t just meet our expectations but absolutely crushed many of the shortcomings that we’ve come expect from Sony’s FE-mount camera system. The Sony a7III features a full-frame 24-megapixel, Backside Illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, a jaw-dropping 693 autofocusing points which nearly cover the entire sensor, and adds sensor-shift in-body image stabilization all for under $2,000. Combined with improvements to the already phenomenal Eye-AF, this is a workhorse full-frame camera priced comfortably within reach of enthusiast photographers.
The Canon EOS-R was another highly anticipated and often-rumored camera that was officially announced about a week before this year’s Photokina. While there have been many words and hours of YouTube video dedicated to the camera, the EOS-R’s release was mostly eclipsed by all the things it “perceivably” wasn’t – a pro camera for lack of dual memory card slots. That’s BS. We got a short hands-on with the EOS-R and found the foundation for what Canon cameras of the future will be. The EOS-R sports a 30-megapixel Dual Pixel AF CMOS full-frame sensor (like the one found in the 6D Mark II) with some future-minded features like the touchpad dial replacing the staid joystick control dial. Sure, right now its functionality is a bit limited but we see where Canon is headed with this and we like the direction. As far as image quality and performance, while walking around Canon’s terrace lit for ambiance, the EOS-R was quick to focus and the EVF performed without lag or blackout. In other words, exactly how’d you expect a pro camera to perform.
This list has been full-frame heavy thus far and while the mentioned cameras above have earned their spot, we’d be trippin’ if we didn’t mention the Fujifilm X-T3. The X-T3 features the latest X-Trans CMOS 4, backside illuminated APS-C sensor in its famous silhouette. It’s a beautifully designed camera that packs a ton of advancements to an already rock solid camera. Building on the successes of the X-T2, the X-T3 eschews the need for a battery grip for longer than 9-minute 4K recording and can still fire off 11 FPS in RAW+JPEG with a mechanical shutter and 30 FPS when using the electronic shutter. The X-T3 is a low-light killing, fast auto-focusing beast of a camera and we can’t recommend this one enough.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk. III
Technically announced in 2017, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III (E-M10 Mk.III) caught our attention in early 2018. Whether you’re looking for a starter camera or need a lightweight system that travels well, the E-M10 Mk.III is easily one of the best rounded cameras that can be had for a song. Sure, it doesn’t have the fanfare of the full-frame cameras that have been announced, but who cares? If the ability to create beautiful images without breaking your back and bank account, the E-M10 Mk.III is our favorite all-arounder in 2018.
No love for DSLRs? We’re not quite ready to give up on those slapping mirrors. Released in late 2017, we couldn’t help but take notice of the Nikon D850. Built for working photographers, every aspect of shooting with the D850 is a masterclass in meeting the needs of pros. Need a high-speed, high-resolution image crunching beast? The D850’s 46-megapixel sensor can crank out 7fps in a body that’s built like a tank. Damn the post office, if you’re a pro the D850 absolutely delivers.
Three Lenses That You Must Check Out
Cameras are only as good as the glass in front of them and these lenses were the ones that caught our eye in 2018.
The Sigma 14-24 F/2.8 Art lens for Canon, Nikon, and Sigma cameras is one of the most celebrated lenses of 2018. Providing shooters with a super wide-angle field of view at a bright, constant f/2.8 aperture with nearly no distortion, the Sigma 14-24mm is a must for any landscape or astrophotographer.
Easily one of my favorites this year is the Canon RF-50mm F/1.2 L USM for Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. Aside from being solidly built, it is an L lens after all, which means it’s weather-sealed and made with the best glass elements Canon can source, the images that this lens produces is absolutely gorgeous. If you’re considering jumping onto Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera bandwagon, this lens needs to be in your repertoire.
For those of us shooting wildlife or sports, 2018 brought the introduction of Fujifilm’s super telephoto prime, the XF 200mmF2 R LM OIS WR; with a 305mm F4 equivalent focal length, the XF 200mmF2 R LM OIS WR is a beast of a lens that delivers consistently sharp images with a superbly fast autofocusing speeds. Despite its large build, the XF 200mmF2 R LM OIS WR is well-balanced when paired with the Fujifilm X-T3 (even more so on the larger X-H1). This is a pro-grade lens with a pro-level price tag, which is the only thing that’s keeping us from picking one up now.
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