As an Apple-toting photographer, the thing I look forward to most about each iPhone update is the camera. This year's 6s and 6s Plus promised not only higher resolution, but better all-around pics, 4K video, and more. Now that there are other terrific smartphone cameras in the mix, the iPhone has to try extra hard to capture your photo-loving heart.
Ever wondered why Leica cameras are so expensive? There is a reason, a very good one -- they take amazing photos, whether you want to snap them manually or let the camera do the heavy lifting. There's a new Leica that, in some ways, is the best Leica yet; it's not the cheapest but it's also not the most pricey. The Leica Q is a $6000 fixed-lens mirrorless camera par excellence.
If you have an active lifestyle, action cameras are great. They're fun to stick on a car to document a road-trip, or for a day trip to the beach or weekend at the snow. Sony's newest and best Action Cam, the FDR-X1000V, can capture beautifully detailed 4K footage or some super-smooth slow-mo and will make you seem way cooler than you actually are, although its design isn't quite perfect.
You know how people call every kind of facial tissue "Kleenex," even if it's technically from another brand? These days, GoPro is practically synonymous with action cameras. I can't use any other action cam without someone asking me, "Is that a GoPro?" But there's a damn good reason why GoPro is on top of the world.
When I reviewed the Samsung NX1 earlier this year, I really liked its combination of large, versatile sensor, sturdy body and genuinely smart instant photo sharing. It made for a genuinely good all-rounder for photo enthusiasts. Now, Samsung has stuffed all the power of its pro-level NX1 into a camera that's a lot more compact, pocketable as well as cheaper.
It may look like an asthma puffer, but you can take it into the water, strap it to your bicycle or clip it to your shirt for a run -- all activities with the potential to leave you out of breath. Then you can share its video and photos directly from your smartphone. HTC's Re action camera is one of the smartest you can buy, even if the range of mounts available currently leaves a little to be desired.
For most people, cameras are about taking photos. That's what they've been about since the Kodak box Brownies and Leica Is of the start of the 20th century. But at this point in time, this mark in our 21st century, cameras are about sharing photos. It sounds twee, but that's the reason that Flickr's most popular camera is an iPhone.
Bridging the world of taking good photos and sharing your experiences is a difficult task, and within the last few years we've seen some interesting, noble but ultimately imperfect experiments like the Polaroid Socialmatic and Samsung's own Galaxy K Zoom. But I think someone has finally got it right. Samsung's NX1 is the mirrorless camera that brings forth the strongest challenge yet to its professional full-frame competitors from Canon, Nikon and Sony.
Fujifilm's X100 series cameras are not for the masses. They are expensive, don't zoom, and don't fit in your pocket. And yet, if there's a single modern digital camera that has reached near cult status in the past few years, it's the X100. Enthusiasts flock to the retro-styled, fixed-lens shooters in droves. The latest iteration, the X100T, adds a handful of improvements that may go unnoticed by most, but to the seasoned photog they are heavenly additions to an already hallowed piece of gear... but doesn't fix one nagging flaw.
What's better than having a thermal camera capable of finding the freshest cinnamon buns -- among other prey? The FLIR ONE accessory gave iPhones Predator-like thermal vision which turned out to be as awesome as it sounds, and now a company called Seek Thermal is promising the same with an iOS and Android-friendly smartphone accessory that makes a few compromises for a cheaper price tag.
It's difficult to find a mid-range camera these days that stands out from the crowd. Professional cameras are a long way ahead of the pack when it comes to image quality and durability, but the cheapest of the cheap DSLRs are now also impressively powerful and easy to use at the same time -- which leaves the middle of the market as a very hard place to be. But cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Canon 7D have carved out a niche for themselves nonetheless.
But even the best cameras need an update every now and then. The semi-professional grade Nikon D7100 attempts to address a few of the shortcomings of the now-four-year-old D7000, and add a few much-requested features at the same time. Can Nikon improve significantly on one of the best and most highly regarded cameras of the last few years?
The recent surprise announcement of Sony's a7 Mark II had people reeling about the first-ever 5-axis in-body stabilisation on a full-frame camera. We recently got our meathooks on one of the new cams and wanted to show you just a bit of what it can do before giving it a more comprehensive report.
In 2004, I had a Sandisk 512MB SD card. It was the bomb. In my little Canon PowerShot S80, it captured all the 8-megapixel, 3MB images I needed it to. 10 years later, just last week, I loaded up a loaner Canon 7D Mark II -- in all of its 20-megapixel, 35MB RAW-snapping glory -- with the new Sandisk 512GB SDXC Extreme Pro. Five hundred and twelve gigabytes.
The Leica M Edition 60 is the company's 60th anniversary limited-edition version of its latest M rangefinder. It costs around $20,000 and has no display and no buttons (aside from the shutter). To some, it's ridiculous. To most, it's unaffordable. But after shooting with it for a couple of hours, I can say that if nothing else, it's incredibly charming.