Nikon’s smallest FX-format DSLR, the advanced level Df pays homage to Nikon’s F-series 35mm film cameras, yet it features technology similar to the pro D4 DSLR.
It sports a pentaprism and top cover, constructed of magnesium alloy, and mechanical controls for settings, so users can feel the adjustments. Dedicated dials control ISO, exposure compensation, release mode and exposure mode. Design elements from previous generations include a leather-textured top and grip, and a body-mounted shutter button with a threaded release port. $2,749.95. nikonusa.com
The Pentax K-3 boasts a 24MP APS-C-format CMOS sensor and user-selectable floating image sensor mechanism that emulates an optical anti-aliasing filter to give users the choice to leave it off for superior resolution and detail, or turn it on to eliminate moiré.
Built-in sensor-based shake reduction provides a four-stop advantage in handheld shooting. Support for smartphone connectivity is included, and remote shutter release, viewing and image transfer are possible with a Pentax Edition Flu card. $1,299. ricoh-imaging.com
Panasonic added the DMC-GM1 in its new GM series, with a nod to fashion and a large 16MP Digital Live MOS sensor based on the Micro Four Thirds system. The camera delivers a hybrid approach with both HD movie recording and high-res still photo capture—all with the press of a button. With a pocketable metallic alloy frame that’s highlighted by aluminum dials and brushed metal, the GM1 features full manual control, intelligent auto modes and creative features, including 22 filter effects.
Using its 3.0″ touch screen, photographers can frame the shot, set the focus and trigger the shutter with a single touch. $749.99. panasonic.com
The flagship Micro Four Thirds OM-D E-M1 is targeted at advanced photographers looking for a compact system camera that rivals full-frame DSLRs. It works with all Zuiko Digital and M.Zuiko Digital lenses.
Its 16.3MP Live MOS sensor and a TruePic VII processor support 10-fps shooting and reduce noise at high ISOs. Dual Fast AF selects the best method based on lens and settings: 37-point on-chip phase-detection AF or 81-point contrast-detection AF. Its built-in electronic viewfinder is as large as a full-frame DSLR’s, with 1.48x magnification, a 2.36m-dot LCD and a 0.029-sec display time lag, allowing users to experiment with effects before capture. $1,399.99. olympusamerica.com
Samsung’s NX30 compact system camera is designed to deliver professional quality, with a 20.3MP APS-C sensor, a hybrid autofocus system with phase detection, a 100–25,600 ISO range and 9-fps continuous shooting—with interchangeable lenses and Samsung’s Smart features.
With a DSLR-like form factor and reduced size and weight, the NX30 incorporates a 2,359k-dot electronic viewfinder with a tilting feature that makes shooting at low angles easier and a 3.0″ rotating Super AMOLED touch screen for composing and reviewing. It also supports Samsung’s i-Function system, allowing various camera settings and effects to be accessed from a button on the lens. $999 with 18–55mm lens. samsung.com
The X-E1 is a serious enthusiast camera that provides DSLR functionality but looks and handles like a classic rangefinder 35, complete with analog dials. It delivers on its sleek high-tech image, too, with a 16.3MP APS-C-format X-Trans CMOS sensor that has a unique color pixel array claimed to reduce noise and increase resolution. It also offers an ultra-high-res 2.36-million-dot OLED eye-level viewfinder, a 2.8″, 460k-dot LCD monitor, and Full HD 1080p video capture with stereo sound. The X-E1 uses a unique Fuji X-mount (with a 10-pin data bus) that’s only 2.5mm thick, contributing to the camera’s slim profile. $1,199 with XF 18–55mm f/2.8–4 OIS lens. fujifilmusa.com
Whether shooting photos or Full HD video, the Nikon 1 AW1 is waterproof to 49 ft., shockproof to 6.6-ft. and freezeproof (14° F). It provides GPS to identify the longitude/latitude where images were captured, an altimeter, a depth gauge, an e-compass and a virtual horizon indicator.
Other features include a 14.2MP CX-format CMOS sensor; ISO 160–6400; a 73-point hybrid autofocus system; 15-fps bursts with AF; a waterproof flash; underwater white balance settings and distortion control; auto mode; creative controls; motion snapshot; simultaneous still and video capture; and slow motion capture at 400 or 1,200 fps. $799.95 with 1 Nikkor AW 11–27.5mm f/3.5–5.6 waterproof lens. nikonusa.com
Sony’s α7R full-frame compact system camera is designed for creativity, customizability and portability. For pros and enthusiasts, the α7R employs a 36.4MP 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor—the highest resolution in Sony’s α line—with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and image detail. Its Fast Intelligent AF technology was developed for quick, accurate autofocus, and there are three selectable sizes for the flexible spot AF frame.
Other features include a tiltable 3.0″ LCD; Full HD 60p video recording; Wi-Fi and NFC transfer to smartphones; and a moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body. For customization and control, there are nine customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions, including front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial. $2,300. sony.com
The high-tech, signature feature of Canon’s middle tier DSLR is Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, where each pixel on the 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor integrates two separate photodiodes to provide both image capture and autofocus functions. The result is a dense network of phase-detection sites across the entire frame, providing faster AF and enhanced focus tracking that’s especially important when shooting HD video and full-res bursts at 7 fps.
Other features include Canon’s top-end Digic 5+ image processor; a 3.0″, 1,040k-dot, vari-angle touch-screen LCD; Full HD video capture at 30, 24 and 25 fps; a 19-point all cross-type AF system; ISO 100–12,800, expandable to 25,600; and built-in HDR. $1,349 with EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM lens. usa.canon.com