Canon and Nikon Released the Worst Cameras of 2018

Canon and Nikon Released the Worst Cameras of 2018

I've been sitting here for a bit, wondering what the worst gear release by a major manufacturer was in 2018, then I realized the answer was crystal clear.

We talk a lot about the best gear of the year, but that got me thinking: what was the worst gear of the year? I could easily go for something hideously bad, but then I thought that "worst" should also be measured by expectations and context. When a company you've never heard of sends you a camera that clearly shows they've bit off more than they can chew, the results are hilarious, but I have a hard time calling that the "worst," because expectations were never high for that camera. Rather, the more I thought about it, "worst" should be a label applied to products put out by companies that know better, that can do better, and that know their customers want (and would mostly happily pay for) better. That's the type of gear that you feel truly let down by.

When I thought of it that way, the answer to the question was blindingly obvious: the Canon EOS R and Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 cameras. These were by far two of the most highly anticipated pieces of photography gear not just in 2018, but of the last several years. Finally, Canon and Nikon were responding to the ever-growing success of Sony and Fujifilm. Finally, after years of consumer frustration, migration to different brands, and rumors flying about, the real deal. Finally, we were going to see what the two oldest photography companies with the most history would be capable of when they threw their weight behind mirrorless technology seriously. Except, it turns out they were only sort of serious.

Let's get something out of the way first: yes, they're capable cameras that you can take great pictures with. I'm not disputing that. What's so frustrating, though, is that Canon and Nikon could have done so much better. They have the experience and the funds to do so. Rather, what we got was almost an insult to photographers: the bare minimum to appease the growing chorus demanding a response to the companies that have made great strides in the mirrorless realm. These are the cameras released by companies with the hubris to believe that the inertia of their market shares, brand names, and photographers being invested in their systems will keep them in the game. They've chosen wringing every last bit of momentum out of the old state of affairs over leveraging their market positions to push forward all the more.

Perhaps particularly infuriating was Nikon's ad campaign leading up to the release of the Z 6 and Z 7. If you don't remember it, it was a series of YouTube teasers steeped in melodrama, as silhouettes danced and Nikon dropped grandiose hints about how 100 years of camera experience were going into this revolutionary device. They dragged on for weeks, teasing photographers into thinking that whatever Nikon was planning, it was going to be something that officially put Sony on notice. At that point, it seemed like Nikon was not only going to match Sony, but blow them clear out of the water, and given Sony's progress (the remarkable a9, the a7R III, the first camera that doesn't make one pick between resolution and fast frame rates), we expected something spectacular. The teaser video below seems really silly in retrospect. 

Canon didn't go so overboard with the buildup to their release, and while we've all come to expect Canon to build solid cameras that evolve at a glacial pace, we hoped that with them finally acknowledging a paradigm shift led by a company with the polar opposite philosophy that they might recognize the need to at least meet them at the same level if not surpass them. That, of course, did not happen. They tripped over their own shoelaces just like Nikon did.

A lot of people make the argument that Sony has been at the full frame mirrorless game longer than Canon and Nikon and thus has the advantage of several generations of development. I don't buy that argument. Sony may have a couple years up on Canon and Nikon in full frame mirrorless development, but Canon and Nikon have decades on Sony in camera development. And were the issues highly technical things — things that take intense research and development to solve and integrate into a complete system, I might give them a pass. Thing like dynamic range and sensor architecture? I might be inclined to give the companies a pass.

But those weren't the issues. The issues were the most basic, fundamental sorts of things — common sense to the point that most people had assumed they were now unquestionable standards at this level. Things that Canon and Nikon had watched Sony make mistakes with and evolve from. The most glaring? The single card slots. It's not exactly a secret that cameras of this level are used by professionals and serious amateurs for whom in-camera backup is not a luxury, but an expectation and often, a dealbreaker. To make matters worse, Nikon inexplicably went with the expensive and proprietary XQD format.

Then there's the ludicrous 1.83x crop factor for 4K on the EOS R. Middling autofocus performance from all three cameras. No IBIS in the EOS R and a lack of IS in some of its lenses. Lackluster continuous rates on the Canon. A limited buffer with long write times and exposure lock on the first frame on the Nikon. The battery life of mirrorless camera two generations back. As Tony Northrup put it regarding the Z 7: "they promised me my D850 in a mirrorless form, and that was not my experience.”

This is what I like seeing.

I will give credit where it's due. One thing that does excite me is seeing Canon and Nikon (to a lesser extent with the 58mm f/0.95) taking advantage of their new mounts to push the boundaries of lens development. Seeing a 28-70mm f/2L zoom and the spectacular albeit ludicrously expensive 50mm f/1.2L is awesome. More of those, please. 

That doesn't change the fact that these cameras felt like getting a gas station gift card that your brother picked up on the way to the house on Christmas morning because he waited until the last minute and had to address the occasion somehow. And it's upsetting because big bro has plenty of money and knows you well enough to put thought and resources into something that will really wow you. Let's see if Canon and Nikon can do better in 2019. I know they can. Come back to the forefront, Canon and Nikon. Excite your customers again. Make the market more competitive. Show us what you're really capable of.

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Previous comments
Caleb Berg's picture

Just because you love Sony so much, you have to peddle this ignorant horse shit opinion. Or are you just paid by Sony for it. That makes sense.

Alex Cooke's picture

You must have missed the comment I made above where I said 90% of my kit is Canon, including two bodies and a ton of lenses. I own one Sony product. One.

Yin Ze's picture

I have used Nikon digital since D1 and lenses from 17-35 to 400/2.8. This is not "ignorant horse shit opinion" . Have you tried Sony? If you did and you depend on gear to make money because it allows you to beat the competition you will realize that getting nikon/canon mirrorless is a bad financial decision. That is why 6 of my colleagues bit the bullet and are switching to sony.

Caleb Berg's picture

Then 6 of your colleagues are ignorant like you. Differences in gear branding and basic functions, like 1 or 2 card slots, never allows you to beat the competition. Only good shooting and better marketing do.
Yes, this article has so little content of any value, and absolutely NOTHING new to report, but a click-bait FALSE headline. So it is, ignorant, horse-shit ABSOLUTELY.

Yin Ze's picture

Oh, stop it Kale. Theoretically we can do well with a FM-2 and roll of 36-exposure of film. While equipment is not a substitute for skill and vision top of the line equipment can give you an extra edge over the guy shooting with the fm-2 next to you. And please do not insult industry veterans who recognize Sony for what it is: a better tool they can buy now and not in 2-5 years.

A CAMERA THAT CAN'T FOCUS PROPERLY IS NOT THE WAY FORWARD and Nikon should be called out on it.

You are the one being ignorant and arrogant. If gear doesn't matter then all 2020 Olympic photographers should cover the games with Z6 and EOS R. Or FM-2.

I work in nyc and no pros i have seen at the big events are using Z6 for anything serious. I did see R being used during US Open(canon was letting photogs use it) but the camera was way too slow compared to DSLR according to one photog who used it.

Josh Godin's picture

Clickbait masterclass is now in session.

Deleted Account's picture


That said, my camera took a turn for the worst and I was forced to upgrade. I didn't move to mirrorless, though. Cameras are very much a personal choice. I bought what works for me and my style of shooting.

Yin Ze's picture

I switched to Sony A9 in November and couldn't be happier especially with the rebates. While camera systems are tools the tools that i waited nikon/canon to make did not materialize for another year. i used nikon for work for 18 years and also had a 1dx which i loved but it was too big, loud, and conspicuous like Nikon gear.

the a9 lets makes my life way less stressful and the 24 1.4/35 1.4, 35/2.8, 50 primes are really really good. i have to often shoot in tense situations and have been punched in the head because of a loud nikon shutter. now i can shoot away and the absence of shutter sound makes people less prone to threatening or assaulting you. my (health) insurance premiums should go down because of sony.

i was hoping to stay with nikon or explore canon but life is short.

i also love how easy it is to shoot video interviews with face tracking. sony makes it so easy to create video for the client and adds another revenue stream.

i feel blessed with this new gear. i do hope canon and nikon get their $41t together. I really loved the feel of the Z6/7 and the viewfinder but it couldn't track well. The canon r felts really solid in my hand and the lenses are killer but the camera is nowhere as responsive as a9.

Brian Smith's picture

Bold talk coming from someone who just reposts other peoples YouTube videos for 80% of his articles. Can we nominate you as “most disappointing FStopper of 2018”?

Alex Cooke's picture

Sure! Do I get a trophy if I win? Maybe a gift certificate to Olive Garden?

Michael Dougherty's picture

On my Z7, the only mistake Nikon made was not putting a bracket button on the upper left side on the viewfinder like they've done on my D850 and D500. You have to go into the menu system to turn bracketing on and off. What were they thinking?

Yin Ze's picture

I wish it was the only mistake Nikon made on Z7 but the AF issues are a dealbreaker. It would have been easier for me to stay with Nikon. I love the 850 but needed the benefits of mirrorless. HEY KALE: FT-Z adaptor doesn't even work properly TRY TELLING CLIENT "SORRY image it out of focus' but not my fault because i have "good shooting and better marketing" to make my images stand out:

Michael Dougherty's picture

I'm only an amateur so I don't have clients but my Z7 works great for landscape but I'm not zooming back and forth and looking for instant auto focus as in the video. I use my D850s for that, especially with longer zooms. I am now using the Z7 with the new Tamron 17-35 and 70-200 F2.8. Tamron just made available the firmware so these lenses are now compatible with the Z7. I also just got a Shoten Minolta A-mount to Z7 adapter and Sony A-mount lenses now work with IBIS in the Z7 body and auto aperture in a electronic-less lens. (I have a number of A-mount lenses from when I used to shoot with A-mount Sony lenses.)

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

seriously, if you are a pro, you are just a pro joke !

I even suspect you never ever touched a Z7, but only come with vidz about what some youtubers/influencers have the feeling is not working fine.

If you were a pro, or a clever enthousiast, you never pick a device without trying it or studying about it.
Do D5 or D8xx users complain about D70 or D3xxx features and performances ? Do D5/D850/D500 users cry for Fuji X100 shortcomings ?
Seriously, it is painfull as hell seeing fstoppers boasting such lame and unbalanced rants about device authors never used nor ever were interested for.

And if ever a perfect product would be released, thoses sames whiners will still bark on something that hurt their feelings, was it the color of the box or the sound the battery door could make when closing it... But heck, if you are self claimed PRO or photography genius, of course, Internet is the right place to please a misplaced pride.

By the way, I don't need to buy any of those camera neither, but I don't have to spit on them because an overly marketed datasheet is available somewhere else. If you feel so, get that thing instead of crying. Canikon would have hired your skills if ever they were a least significant, but this may be a little bit to hard to swallow for so many whiners.

Yin Ze's picture

Nicky: listen up. I had ample opportunity to test out the Z7 but could not rely it for fast action. This is in line with other colleagues who have also tried Z6. Maybe it's good for landscape or slow lane photography.

Just looking at BH Photo shows the Z6 and Z7 continue to be in stock and there ample used units from people who returned the z7. Wasn't it more than a year that the 850 was out of stock? Well the z7 and z7 are "in stock" everywhere unlike legit hits like 850 and a7iii were after release. I think Nikon users smell something despite Nikon saying the air is mountain fresh.

As I said, it would be easier to stick with Nikon but they left me, and many others, with no good choices in transitioning to mirrorless. Just look at their laughable lens lineup calendar. "The front line of the lens revolution" for Nikon is 35/1.8, 50/1.8, 24-70f4 and the ungodly expensive/impractical 50/.95mm.

Their new philosophy should be: "ready! fire! aim!"

I don't need to "pleazze a misplaced pride".

I use the best tool that makes me money.

Unfortunately that tool is $ony and not Nikon but the return on investment is worth it.

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

Hey, it is the author and people like you who are telling the Z6/Z7 and EOS R are the worst piece of photocamera ever released !

Sorry, but if you are a pro who bought an Z7 before it was even released, it was exactly a really bad professional move. Never seen any serious investment without knowing what you are really getting.
Why didn't you jump to SONY Alpha 7 first iteration ? it was absolutly marvelous on the paper !

Like everyone, you need the best tool for the job, and pick the right one based on real life experience.

You have needs that ask low light and fast AF, get the tool for it !

YOU switched to Alpha 9, fine, perfect ! So what is the point ?

Did you really need to get a new Nikon mirrorless body ? Do you really believe Canikon could make at first shot a far better device than SONY that would trigger a system swap ? this is not serious at all, it is just childish.

But why trash talking on Z7/Z6 like you are all doing here, author of the clickbait article included, when you know it is not suited to you own needs, and maybe with your friends/colleagues that have same needs, but can be fitting perfectly for another range of pro/amateurs photographers ?
Does the Z7/Z6 be absolutly bad for slow AF users already invested in Nikon system because SONY Alpha 9 has a better datasheet ? Z6 for videographers ?

Not sure I manage to paint the spot I want to explain, not my native language, but please, could you admit that all this bashing using broad words like 'worse device released' is too much and useless on this website ? Lame title choice, why not just tag it 'Alex personnal opinion on that' ?

About Nikon Z lenses calendar, you are still a joke... Really wanted the holy trinity and the royal flush of f/1.4 primes ? Even then I am sure same lamers would be whining like you : "bouhouuu no 800mm f/4 available, what a joke !!! I want this lens right now !"
Just connect to earth again, Nikon lenses roadmap is far from being lame, at least they give us informations about it and it is far from being deceptive. But you seem to have some problems to cope with frustration about GAS.

Yin Ze's picture

Nicky, calm down. First off Nikon promised seamless integration with older lenses using F-UTZ adaptor. Matt Granger tested the adapter with 20 lenses and the results were embarrassing for Nikon. I expect that level of performance from third-party adapters. Not OEM. Nikon was deceptive in stating it would be seamless to transition using F-UTZ adaptor.

So now professionals cannot easily transition to mirrorless using older lenses. Which meant my pro lenses would not work as well as they do on Nikon DSLR which can cost me money if I miss a picture. I can't take that risk. I lose more money missing a picture(and client) in the long run than from investing in a system that can deliver in any condition.

And the fact there is no pro zoom lenses such as critical 70-200/2.8 make switching now pointless.

I DID NOT SWITCH to Sony Alpha mK 1 because the AF/batterry powed sucked. I did not switch to Fuji XT-1 because ther AF sucked. For same reason I did not buy Z6/Z7 because the AF sucks.

After transitioning to Sony I am getting photos that the loud Nikons would not be able to because I would get kicked out. Working certain events where the silent shutter does not disrupt makes a HUGE difference. And having the images in focus make the effort all worth it.

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

Wow ! Did you notice you are breaking through open doors ?

Didn't you notice the 70-200 f/2.8 is scheduled for mid end 2019 ? So why bother until then ? So why barking there is no 'pro grade' native Z lenses if they are only coming in the next 24 months ???

About youtubers and lenses tests, the more I see them the less confidence I get into thoses influencers... Seriously, the joke about tamron lenses not working making it a failure onto a new camera body cannot be taken seriously. Do you realise that this guy managed to score zero AF ability using an AF-D lens onto FTZ + Z body, is that only serious ??

But if this crap suffice to you, good for you.
On the other fence, do you whine so much on adapted lenses not working properly onto Alpha cameras ? I see nobody whine but claim how wonderfull it works, when it works... but no one seems to remind how many adapters and firmware updates were needed to get there... But of course, Nikon had to release the perfect thing directly... like lame people whish and dreamed of !

And again, why the heck still worrying about Nikon MILC if you are already pleased with SONY system ? why bark and spit on Nikon ? Do Nikon make you loose business when you are using SONY or CANON ? Still not spoting the problem ?

Oh, by the way, I trust a bit more Ken who have no reason not to bite Nikon when they fail anywhere :

So, who is right ? You have doubt, skip the thing as you already have what is usefull for you. Why the heck whine and cry ?

Yin Ze's picture

Nicky, listen carefully. You automatically lose face when you attempt to bolster your argument by using Ken Rockwell as a source ("I trust a bit more Ken").

That lens roadmap does not exactly specify when the lenses will be released as the red line extends from 2019-2021. So not sure why you state "mid-end 2019" Nikon press release states "Information in the roadmap, including release dates, are subject to change."

Knowing Nikon I guess it will be towards the end of that scale. "24 months" is a long time to wait. Life is short.

The reason I am "whine and cry" is to defend Alex article from people like you who will defend Nikon to death.

- " do you whine so much on adapted lenses not working properly onto Alpha cameras ? " - ah, SONY DID NOT MAKE AN ADAPTOR AND CLAIM ALL THEIR LEGACY LENSES WOULD WORK FLAWLESSLY.

"The Mount Adapter FTZ allows you to use your favorite F-mount DSLR NIKKOR lenses on the Z system cameras. Utilize the outstanding performance and resolving power of your approx. 360 NIKKOR F-mount lenses including over 90 NIKKOR lenses that have full AF/AE compatibility. (Full AF/AE supported when using FX or DX AF-S Type G/D/E, AF-P type G/E, AF-I type D and AF-S/AF-I Teleconverters)"

- "But of course, Nikon had to release the perfect thing directly... like lame people whish and dreamed of !"

Nikon doesn't have the luxury of releasing a crappy offering considering how good the xt-3 and a7iii and a9 are. I can excuse a lot of things but bad AF is inexcusable.

Jure Makovec's picture

hm ... I used Z6 and Z7 a lot (70% of the time) with the FTZ adapter. 16mm Fisheye, 14-24, 24-70, 50 1.4 and 1.8, 70-200, 200-500 and 200-400 - all worked like a charm. and trust me, I did some intensive shooting and guess what - not any lens related problem (AF, image quality, f-stop, it all just worked). so, either, I am one lucky bastard and had in my hands two extra specimens ... or people just try something and due to some different setups - it's rubbish. yes, the first few shots were total "wtf", but then I dig deeper, read the manual, read a few tips and the next the used those tips and the problems were gone. I took me about 3-4 days to get used to the camera, yes, it is similar and familiar to Nikon users, but you have to find out through shooting, which things work well in different situations.

that's why I always say - you have to spend more time with a camera, than just for a few hours to get the proper idea of what camera is capable of.

Yin Ze's picture

Hi Jerry, I am very happy for you. I wish a sports photographer colleague with 26 years with Nikon who tested the z6/z7 extensively had "read the manual", "dug deeper", "read a few tips'. He was very excited about mirrorless but will be sticking to D5 and D850. I will pass on your experience with the golden prototype and tell him "You're holding it wrong".

Jure Makovec's picture

yes, please, do that. again. if you go to the store, and go out for a five minute walk with new camera, to shoot the neighbour's door and a tree across the street, you can have an opinion but I believe with every camera you need quite some time to get the best out of it.
if your friend did that - I apologise sincerely. but in the past couple of years I heard so many wrong things about different cameras based upon 5 minute encounters that it just makes me ... sad? (can't find the right word in English, but that's the closest one) ...
and then someone, who even did not have the cameras in his hands (for a longer period of time) goes on and even writes an article on one of most popular photography pages ... you get my point?

and - yes, Z6, Z7 (and EOS R) are far from perfect, but I had Z7 with me for whole December and used it alongside the D850 and Z7 offered me some new views and angles and could prove really nice sidekick to the prime DSLR.

p.s.: it's not Jerry, it's Jure (like George in English or Yuri in Russian ... ;) )

Yin Ze's picture


Hi, i have spoken to several people who own the Z6/7 and they readily admit AF needs to be improved. It is the main reason I did not buy z6/7 as they don't live up to the AF on D5 and 850.

Jure Makovec's picture

Hm ... yes, I would agree ... I mean, Z6, in my opinion, performed better AF-wise than Z7. but yes, AF needs improvement, but ... how to say this ... not in tracking department, but more or less in the way you set up the AF modes and how to implement them (i.e. face recognition and that wide AF area are working well, but to start it and select the area and all, it is a bit too cumbersome ...)

and yes, definitely not on par with D5, on par with D850 (at least Z6). for now I see Z6/Z7 more or less as a companion to one trustful DSLR, but with the announced updates that might change soon. :)

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

I already guess most of your friends that feel like you about the Z6/Z7 are using SONY alpha cameras, and of course all theirs Canon and adapted lenses are working better than on native bodies...

I don't care about Nikon MILC, but I don't understand why you have to justify so much theses bodies are lame ? Nikon asked you to buy 20k$ per year of their gears and you may die if not doing so ?
Same for your friends and family ?

Didn't you notice how your crusade to slash Nikon MILC is ridiculous ?

Yin Ze's picture


Sorry to burst your bubble but my colleagues who freely admit to the Z6-Z7 AF deficiencies ARE PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT THE Z6-7. I agree with them the grip, menu, viewfinder and image quality are tops but this means nothing if the image is out of focus. The Z6/7 is like Ferrari with a bad wheel alignment.

It is not a crusade. It is simply the facts. Even dpreview stated as much so blame them, too:

On z7
"AF Tracking less reliable than Nikon DSLRs and competition
AF Tracking cumbersome to engage"

Five ways the Nikon Z7 could be improved (hint: four of them involve AF)

Stop being a nikon fan-boi.

James dewet's picture

Reading the comments make me realise that people are not even entitled to their own opinions. The Mirrorless movement has become the new holy grail of photography. It has almost become a sin to say you don't find any benefit in Mirrorless technology. You are then called all kinds of names. This clearly shows the point that gear obsession has overtaken the craft of photography. The excuse that "working professionals" require to use the latest, and creative directors demand the latest gear. Yes, I encounter " working professionals" everyday at the highest end of the industry still working with equipment that is 3,4,5 years old. To be honest, your opinion about the Z and R series being the worst cameras made in 2018 releally reflects a level of ignorance and arogance. Especially given the fact that you have not even used the Z series. Mybe qualifying the fact that you have not even used the Z upfront would have saved a lot of people wasting their time to read your article. I can qualify that I have used both Z6 and Z7 but so no benefit replacing any of my cameras or even adding to my gear. My biggest recent regret is buying a Sony a7ii. Not because it was bad but because there is no Sony service.

Bobby Ellis's picture

As someone who's tested both the Z7 and the Canon, you need to get off your acid.

You haven't even shot the Nikon and yet you're declaring it one of the worst cameras of the year?

For what? A card slot?

Jesus fucking Christ.

Alex Cooke's picture

Love your jockey shot!

Abe Steiginga's picture

What a rubbish article ...

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