With the decade drawing to a close, there is a lot to review, like which camera was the best. I'm not looking for sales stats, official awards, or the general consensus. I want to know what you think the best camera of the decade is and why.
There will technically be a camera that won the most categories for the decade, but statistics can be misleading and somewhat gerrymandered. So, instead, I think it'll be interesting to see people put forward cases for what they believe is the best camera of the decade. It can be any camera that was released between January 2010 and December 2019; my only requirement is that you can support your argument.
I had a knee-jerk reaction to this question, and after exploring my opinion a little more, I do truly believe it's the best camera of the decade. So, here it is, and here's why.
Fujifilm GFX 100
I was hesitant to pick the Fujifilm GFX 100 without sitting down to justify it first, as I knew I had a few biases to wrestle with: recency and confirmation. Recency bias should be obvious: the GFX 100 came out in the last year of the decade. However, confirmation bias is due to having good hands-on experience with this camera, loving it, and even being at the launch event in Tokyo. But after trying overturn my gut reaction and being unsuccessful, I'm comfortable in saying that for me, the GFX 100 is the best camera of this decade.
There are a number of reasons I call to support this claim, and I will briefly go through them. The first is the 100-megapixel sensor, which is utterly obscene. I was taking photos from the top of skyscrapers and able to zoom in on people. It isn't always necessary — and the downside is the obnoxious file sizes — but the sheer quantity of information is staggering. For the sort of commercial work I do, it wouldn't be simply a nice extra either.
Then, there is the price. While there are medium format cameras for under $10,000, this is the first that is genuinely boxing with the likes of Hasselblad and Phase One, just without the house deposit price tag attached. The price is made all the more impressive with the strong glass selection (albeit not that extensive,) excellent IBIS, hybrid AF, 5 fps shooting, and 4K video. It just felt like a complete medium format system with an achievable price tag.
I am aware that if I were to be forced to look at which camera ticked the most boxes over the last decade, the GFX 100 probably isn't it; it is large, it is heavy (though I like that), and it still isn't cheap. But what it produces is bordering the unrivaled, and how I felt while shooting with it is something I can't ignore. When paired with the Fujifilm 110mm f/2 R LM WR, it felt difficult to create an ugly image. The only experience is this: do you remember when you used your first nifty fifty wide open? If it was early enough in your photography career, you likely couldn't believe how great the images looked with all that cinematic bokeh. To me, it felt like a more "grown up" version of that.
The GFX 100, while the most impressive camera of the decade to me, wasn't without competitors for my favor. There were a few others that were in consideration, and I want to give them a quick public nod.
Sony a7 III
Arguably, Sony started to make strides in the professional camera market just before the a7 III, possibly with the a7R II. However, for me, they just started firing on all cylinders when they released the a7 III. It was as if mirrorless cameras had finally come of age and were worth taking seriously. It wasn't particularly expensive, it now had a good selection of Sony glass (a previous criticism of Sony) as well as excellent adaptors, and it was performing exceptionally well in just about every category I wanted to mark it on; fps, size, battery life, video, IBIS, dynamic range, EVF, customizable interface and buttons, and so on. The a7 III represented the change in my stance from "DSLRs just work well for me" to "ok, mirrorless is probably the future."
My experience with Nikon isn't comprehensive, but I have had a chance to use the D850 and have spent time talking to people who use it, and one thing has always been clear: it's a powerhouse. Our own Patrick Hall called it the best DSLR Nikon have ever released and most agree on that front. With 46 megapixels to play with, stunning ISO performance, and almost unparalleled image quality, the D850 certainly deserves some praise.
Before you start shouting that I'm a Fuji fan boy — though that's becoming truer and truer as time goes on — I don't yet own a Fujifilm camera, nor am I some ambassador, nor is this sponsored in any way. I've shot with Canon cameras for over a decade and Sony for about 18 months, but Fujifilm just keeps doing it right. Nearly a year ago, I wondered aloud what they had to do to start taking charge of the Western camera market, and one of the prompts for that thought was the X-T3. This little mirrorless is quick, ergonomic, cheap, and without question (I'll fight you over the this), the prettiest digital camera I ever did see. It's no wonder there seem to be so many of them about.
What Is Your Camera of the Decade?
I want to know what our community thinks on this topic. As I mentioned, I have no issue with what camera you pick, for what purpose (stills or video), or why, just as long as it was released between 2010 and 2019 and you can justify your selection. The reasons don't even have to be that good. I definitely have some intangible affinity for the Fujifilm GFX 100 without fully being able to unpack why that is; I just loved shooting with it.
So, what is your camera of the decade? Share in the comments section below.
iPhone. No other device more profoundly changed the culture, production, and consumption of images. Yes, it first came out in 2007, but of iPhone sales since its introduction in 2007, 98.4% have been sold in the decade beginning in 2010, with the number of images taken by iPhones in that decade comprising over 99% of the total images taken by iPhones. By impact, it is a 2010s device.
Rarely agree with Alex but he's right on this one.
Best and most influential are 2 different things. Just ask Nirvana.
And to be clear, that's not a knock on either. I happen to like both.
Best and influential are two different things
While they are different, the best camera is the one you have on you and I would argue that if most photographers look back at some of the most memorable photo's they have taken over the decade, many will have been taken through the lens of an iPhone.
I don't believe that's the intent of this post.
Maybe so, but if we are looking for the camera with the best sensor, just pick any camera made in the last two years? Why poll the whole decade when sensor tech today is obviously superior to something in 2012.
I'd say smart phone rather than iPhone, considering Apple has ~15% of the worldwide market.
not as much about market share as much as changing the industry. They really started.. or made computational photography mainstream.. yes google was doing it too.. but Apple was better at it in the begining.
I disagree. The question was best. If the iPhone is the best camera of the decade, we'd all be shooting with it. And honestly, who are we to say what camera is better or the best without actually using them all?
Most popular sure, best? Not even close. If that were the case you could say 5d Mark II for the video of DSLR explosion or Sony for mirrorless revolution. I definitely think Sony and Blackmagic would win awards for adding the most features to cheaper cameras.
Smartphones were (and still are) a huge influence on photograohy but Apple was not even close to be the most profound. The phone company that was the first to make phones a viable camera was by far Nokia.
And if going to 2007, the D3 was the camera that made digital photography what it is today. No other camera made such an impact on photography.
What a surprise Alex that you would say the iPhone! Never saw that coming or what did I read that somewhere else. I agree with you.
I wasn't going to say it...
Yeah there is still 10% and a few weeks of the decade to go.
The text in the first paragraph said
"any camera that was released between January 2010 and December 2019".
That's ten years. And it's the logical way to consider decades.
2020 starts the next decade.
As I head for smaller, lighter cameras and lenses I choose the Fuji XT3. The build, the buttons, and the specs are so good. Others are great too, but XT3 is top 1 for me.
A Canon 5D IV for me. Just seemed to hit the sweet spot on mega pixels, image quality and ergonomics. A very reliable camera. A great all rounder . I can only blame the photographer when the photos are bad. The camera is great and beyond what most people need in terms of image quality.
A lot of other good cameras around for sure. It’s been a great decade and will be hard to make a step improvement from this level of quality around today.
But you can't make phone calls with it. Deal breaker for so many it seems. What about email and cat videos? Yeah, well, it may be an excellent camera ......
Too many to even consider a best, but smartphones have been massive for getting people who didn’t think they are interested in proper photography starting to consider composition and light.
Agreed but im not talking about that.. im talking about those people who had zero interest in anything past pointing their phone at something and snapping it, those people are now considering the art of leading lines, rule of thirds and capturing the best light.. even my Mum composes her phone shots now lol.
Its absolutely a thing, i have a lot of friends on Instagram who are not photographers and they are all posting shots on there with a sense of composition and subject, even if they arent as polished as an experienced photographer you can see they have taken time to capture the shot rather than just point and tap, even stuff like applying the AI depth of field means people are caring more about the end photograph than they did.
While I disagree with Alex above specifically on the iPhone (best vs. most popular), I'd actually argue for something that bridges the gap between the accessibility of the iPhone and the features of a higher end DSLR / Mirrorless. What Sony did with the RX100 series, for example, is nothing short of phenomenal. The m3 is my personal favorite due to the wider aperture vs. longer focal lengths of the later versions, making it very accessible for lower light situations. While I understand the use cases for APS-C and micro 4/3 cameras (and there are plenty of great ones), I think that a significant percentage of consumer / travel users would benefit from an RX100 over something between that and a full frame camera. Better sensor than an iPhone and full manual controls without resorting to 3rd party software & a variety of touchscreen adjustments. And as popular as they are, I still feel like they're underrated.
I recently bought a RX100m7 and have to agree with Dave. It is a really fun camera that creates high quality images and video. I am very impressed with the auto focus and focus tracking capabilities of this tiny camera.
Can this blog somehow be less gear focused?
Gear posts are popular, but looking at the last 10 Fstoppers articles, only 4 are about camera gear. So I'd say the variety and balance is pretty good.
And the titles are pretty clear about the subject, when the subject is about gear. You can skip them, you know!
Check out some of my articles. While some of them are about gear a lot of them are focused on non-gear topics.
My opinion . Nothing more, nothing less.
I'll answer for the next decade: JWST
Referring to the James Webb Space Telescope? I'm so out of it I have to look up many things.
Unsurpassed optical system.
People will almost always chose the one that they are invested into. The only people that could answer this objectively are professionals who routinely test/review new systems.
Those who routinely test/review new systems often miss details that are important to real working photographers. They are more in the world of testing than the world of photography.
I would say the Sony A7iii, it is the camera that pretty much signaled the shift to mirrorless for good and kinda set the standard for that format. Everyone else in that space is playing catch up to that camera.
Panasonic G9. I've seen comments from others stating they've been a photographer for over 50 years and it's the best system they've ever used. Huge range of outstanding lenses, small, light, economic, and extremely capable.
I'm a sony shooter at this point.. but for the decade.. i'd probably say the 5dmkIII.. Many are still shooting it.. (many people are still shooting the 5dmkII) it was a phenominal camera when it came out.. and still holds up today. its a solid strong workhorse.
if we're talking most innovative.. i'd say the Sony Alpha series.. eye focus and its sensors really showed the world what a mirrorless body could do.
Over all, I would say that Fuji put a shot across the bow with the GFX50s. It brought a very well thought out camera with a really nice sized sensor and some really nice lenses for a very reasonable price, relatively speaking.
But for my money, the Nikon D850 is the best FF camera out there, and I'm a Canon shooter. I love my 5DIV, but were I starting from scratch and knowing what I know now, I'd be all in with the D850.
Sorry, but the I-phone is a phone. In my world, it's a 'camera' that I use if I'm at Lowe's and see something that my wife might like. I take a picture, send it to her, then delete the picture. It's not a real camera in my lexicon.
D800 / D800E: Of course, the D850 is better, but the D800/E was a (resolution) revolution and is still very much up to date. Consider the age, it is from 2012, it performs on par with the newest DSLR cameras.
There's no such thing as the absolute "best camera". Perhaps there's such a thing as the "best camera for you" but that's completely different.
All the cameras mentioned are terrific. But so are all the other cameras from mainstream manufacturers...
I believe we have not seen yet the best camera of the decade. The future belongs to the software-defined camera, OS-powered, with open SDK and free from proprietary restrictions of camera manufacturers.
The concept is here and maybe we'll see a physical implementation before this decade ends.
Before or after post processing.
I love how DPreview has the same article and people are more concerned with trying to convince everyone that there is another year to go until the decade finishes than actually talk about photography, real flat earth stuff going on there.