For the first time, we have a repeat pick for the #1 spot, and the final vote numbers were even stronger this month than last for the Sony a7R II. It was not picked unanimously as the best camera out there right now, but it did make every voter’s list in some capacity.
So what are the Camera Power Rankings? Each month we poll a list of journalists, photographers and experts from around the world on what still cameras they think are the best on the market right now for working professionals. Though the gear is only a fraction of the equation, most of us who are deep in this industry face a daily onslaught of questions from our friends and their friends: What camera should I buy? What do pros use? Though the answers are always more nuanced than they expect, we generally try and help. This list helps narrow the list, put a finger on the pulse of the industry, and serve as a decent “overall these are your best options” for just about anyone serious about photography.
This month we saw quite a bit of stability, with the most jostling coming in the middle of the rankings. In the numbers, the most we could see was a bit of a loss in favor for the Nikon D810 (though it did not translate to it falling in the rankings in the final numbers) and a bit of a surge in love for both the Sony a7R II and the Canon 5DS/5DS R.
#1 – Sony a7R II
(No Change) Most all have had a chance to play with the a7R II to this point, and for the most part the camera lived up to the exceedingly high expectations. The autofocus is gratefully much better than in the original a7R, the images are stunning and the ISO performance is killer. But it’s not flawless. Roger Cicala of LensRentals tempered feelings a bit:
If you read about it or use a good one, there’s no question it’s a game changing camera, and in many ways the best camera on the list. [However,] it’s having too many early adopter problems. I’d buy one… in about 6 more months when the kinks get worked out. And while this is a camera-only list, the lack of lens lineup means using adapters for most people, which in my opinion makes a camera more difficult to use.
#2 – Nikon D810
(No Change) Sitting firmly at #2, the D810 was another common pick in the rankings, making just about everyone’s lists. The speed, accuracy and all around experience with the D810 is vastly superior to just about anything else out there. I’m sure that there are many folks who would love to stick the a7R II sensor in this body and call it a day… and I’m sure Nikon knows that as well.
(No Change) I personally think that the 5Ds and 5Ds R is the biggest leap for Canon in years, and there are many who think it’s one of the best cameras you can get. Roger Cicala put it really well: “It’s not the best camera on the list, but it’s changing the way more people shoot photo and video than any other except the a7 R II.” Having that kind of profound impact on what and how people capture images has to be rewarded, and so the Canon 5Ds and 5Ds R remains unchanged at #3.
#4 – Pentax 645z
(Up 2) Rising back up a few notches, the Pentax 645z is one of the most unequivocally loved cameras on the market… if you’ve shot with it. For many, Pentax isn’t even on the radar at all. Once you try the Pentax, see the images, and gawk at the experience, you’ll be a believer too.
#5 – Fuji XT-1
(Down 1) Considered Fuji’s best camera right now, the X-T1 is still the only APS-C or smaller camera on this list. That’s a big deal, considering how overlooked the format is. The reason the Fuji stays strong in our Power Rankings is due to the shooting experience and how exceptional the images look. It’s a really solid camera that’s quite affordable. There is a lot to love in the X-T1.
#6 – Phase One XF
(Up 1) The experience of shooting with the Phase One XF must be amazing, because this camera has slowly worked its way up the rankings since it was first announced a few months ago. If you haven’t checked out Phase One recently, they’ve totally overhauled the UI of the camera to be a more tactile, enjoyable experience. You want to shoot with it, but you just don’t want to pay for it. This body is expensive, and that blocks it for many shooters who would otherwise enjoy what it offers. But you know, that’s why the Pentax 645z is ranked so highly…
#7 – Nikon D750
(Up 2) This is easily one of the best DSLRs available. Overall, it’s a great, great body at an even better price point. If you love Nikon and want to go full frame, this is the camera you should consider (if you can’t afford the D810). Best part about this camera? The grip. That grip needs to be on every DSLR.
#8 – Sony a7 II
(No Change) It’s being rather overshadowed by the new a7R II, and Sony’s new flagship has basically made this one obsolete. That said, the a7R II is really, really expensive. The a7 II is quite affordable by comparison, and the images it creates are on par with the D810. The body is nice, robust and likable. It’s not shiny and new, but it’s still a solid pick.
#9 – Sony a7s
(Up 1) We were hoping the a7R II would rival the a7S in ISO performance, but it’s not even close. The a7S is still king of the hill when it comes to low light mastery and that’s probably not going to change until the next iteration of this line is released. A fabulous camera, it’s more suited to video than stills, but it will make a great photograph. Roger Cicala’s take: “It’s bulletproof, getting more and more people shooting video, great dynamic range, very reasonable price point.”
#10 – Canon 5D Mark III
(Down 5) To be honest, I am not sure why it has taken so long for the 5D Mark III to fall this low. It’s dated, but still a tried and true camera. It just lacks the shine and luster of the cameras listed above it, and at it’s price point, there are many other better choices that will get you either a better shooting experience or better quality images (or, heck, both). Still, the 5D Mark III is a solid, dependable workhorse. It’s not bad by any means, and still deserves some love.
- Roger Cicala, LensRentals
- Jaron Schneider- Resource Magazine, Commercial Videographer
- Zach Sutton, Portrait Photographer & Editor of LensRentals
- Anthony Thurston, SLR Lounge
- David J. Crewe- Portrait and Landscape Photographer
- Blair Bunting – Advertising Photographer
- David Kai-Piper- Fashion Photographer
- Adam Ottke- Fstoppers, Portrait and Travel Photographer
- Hanssie Ho- SLR Lounge, Portrait Photographer
- Mike Wilkinson- Fstoppers, Resource Magazine, Commercial and Adventure Videographer
- Casey McCallister- Landscape and Adventure Photographer
- Michael Bonocore- Resource Magazine, Commercial Videographer and Travel Photographer
- Karaminder Ghuman- Resource Magazine, Portrait and Headshot Photographer
- Adam Sherwin- Resource Magazine
How are votes calculated? Each voter submits his/her top ten cameras. Each #1 pick gains 10 points, #2 picks gain 9 points, and so on and so forth. All values are calculated together and a final score is given to each camera.