What Do You Think Is the Best Camera of the Decade?

What Do You Think Is the Best Camera of the Decade?

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.

Shot handheld with the Fujifilm from a rooftop in Tokyo.

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.

Honorable Mentions

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."

Nikon D850

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.

Fujifilm X-T3

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.

Log in or register to post comments

94 Comments

Previous comments
Jerry Norman's picture

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?

Simon Patterson's picture

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!

Douglas Turney's picture

Check out some of my articles. While some of them are about gear a lot of them are focused on non-gear topics.

Robert Montgomery's picture

My opinion . Nothing more, nothing less.

Miha Me's picture

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.

Brian Knight's picture

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.

darrell miller's picture

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.

David Pavlich's picture

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.

Simon Patterson's picture

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...

Terry Poe's picture

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.
https://marketanalysis.com/digital-camera-market/

Timothy Turner's picture

Before or after post processing.

Stuart Carver's picture

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.

Sony a7, I don't shoot Sony or mirrorless but I think the a7 range definately raised the bar in the camera industry.

Greg Wilson's picture

I would nominate Hasselblad X1D, because:
- It is the first really portable MF camera
- It has an outstanding design and build quality
- Every camera has an individually-calibrated sensor (no one else does that)
- Despite being a slow camera, it still beats everything else (including Fuji GFX cameras with the same sensor) in the colour department

Randy Nicholson's picture

This question like many others (like what are your rates) can be summed up as "What's the best topping on a pizza?". Everyone has different tastes and needs. What one person finds the best another will scoff (wait photographers being judgemental? nah)... I think the best camera is the one that can get the job done... so almost anything. My current personal favourite of the decade is Ricoh GRiii although I'm both a Fuji and Canon user/fanboy... Robert makes a good list for himself (that GFX 100 will be on my list some day I'm sure).

Robert Teague's picture

Without a doubt, the Nikon Z7 would be my choice. It represents a change of direction for Nikon.

Christian Lainesse's picture

Whatever camera allows you to create the images you want is the best camera of the decade, for you.

Doesn't matter. There is no best, just lots of good ones.

How could ANYONE possibly afford to be qualified to answer this question???

But, since I have owned and used an iPhone for roughly five years, the ease with which it consistently produces quality pictures with little/no effort makes me want to agree with AlexCooke...

My favorite camera of all the cameras I've owned to-date would have to be the Canon 1DIII coupled with the Canon EF 135mm f/2 lens. Hands down...

More comments