If you’re looking for a new camera, choosing one is difficult enough in the first place. If you want a camera that looks the part as well, your choice becomes more difficult, but only because you have a bevy of beauties to pick from. Here are a few of our expert choices for a top-of-the-line, retro-styled digital camera.
The Nikon Df is a beast of a camera, rivaling the Nikon D810 in outright size. The 16-megapixel Df looks like the old film cameras that Nikon made in the second half of the 20th century, with the same faux-winding front buttons and knurled metal knobs — but inside its mirror hides a full-frame digital sensor that is very much from the new millenium.
The $3199 Nikon Df gets a special mention in this list, because it’s the only digital SLR in a line-up of otherwise mirrorless or fixed-lens bodies. Being a DSLR you can twist on any of Nikon’s hundreds of AF-S, AF-D and older SLR lenses without any third-party adapters needed, and you get a proper, massive, bright optical viewfinder of the kind that still can’t be replicated by electronics.
The Leica X Vario, which has the same 16-megapixel sensor as the signficantly newer Leica T, is a fixed-lens camera — you can’t swap out the 28-70mm equivalent variable aperture zoom with another lens — but it makes for a particularly beautiful all-in-one package.
Of course, you could step up from the $2999 Leica X Vario — a long way up — to the Leica M, which is the retro mirrorless body of every camera nerd’s dreams. Of course, if you’re buying a $8000 camera that happens to be the cheapest part of your kit, with a line-up of lenses that cost more than a small car, you probably weren’t considering the measly X Vario anyway.
Sony’s Alpha a7s is the third and arguably greatest camera in the Japanese company’s full-frame mirrorless range, following the a7 and a7r. It boasts the smallest pixel count at only 12 megapixels, but each of those pixels are relatively massive and allow the a7s to shoot at an incredible maximum ISO of 409,600. This is proper ‘turn night into daytime’ stuff, and it’s brilliant.
I have the $2599 Sony a7s in for review at the moment — expect that in the next week or two — and I absolutely love it. It’s surprisingly compact, it is incredibly capable in low light, it has an amazing (albeit small) lens line-up, it charges over USB — there is very little that this camera is not extremely good at.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is, by extension, part of the PEN family of mirrorless Micro Four Thirds cameras that rebooted the retro trend. It looks vaguely like the OM-Series film cameras upon which the series is based, but it’s a world apart and a full 40 years newer.
The $999 OM-D E-M10 sets itself apart as the only retro mirrorless camera on this list with image stabilisation built into its body — it’s also the cheapest. It’s compatible with the entire family of Micro Four Thirds lenses, as well as a huge number of legacy film lenses from hundreds of brands.
The Fujifilm X-T1 is one of those mirrorless cameras that you just want, as soon as you pick it up. It is, like Fujifilm’s original X100 retro and the other X-Series family members, incredibly solidly constructed and suits Fujifilm’s slowly expanding range of extremely high-end prime and zoom lenses.
The $1649 X-T1 is notable in that it’s weather resistant, suiting Fuji’s WR lenses, and has an electronic viewfinder with an incredibly high magnification ratio. If you’re a fan of chunky dials and dedicated control wheels for every shooting setting you could ever want, the X-T1 is your perfect camera.