2014: What was the biggest and best camera release this year TO YOU?

2014: What was the biggest and best camera release this year TO YOU?

Unless someone drops a bomb on us at Photo Plus this weekend, 2014 has been the least exciting year in camera releases in the past 5 years IMO. For my tastes, there has been ONE camera, maybe TWO that were announced and released SO FAR this year that were truly ground breaking and exciting. For cameras, Photokina was a bit of a bummer for my tastes IMO. Sure, there were some cool cameras announced like the Panasonic LX100 and there are cameras coming in November that will be fantastic but nothing really “exciting”. Years past have brought us the Sony A7, Leica M 240, Leica Monochrome, Sony RX1 and RX1r, Sony RX100 series, and the Fuji X100 series. This year we have the latest Fuji X100T, which is an improvement yet again on the X100 series, and will be one of the good ones IMO. Nothing groundbreaking, but fun. The Leica T was released this year and took off big but then stalled a bit and I feel it is due to the lenses being overpriced for the T system. The X was another update that was welcome but with the close focus aperture issue, not one that excited me.

For me, there was ONE camera released this year that ticked al of my boxes, that struck a nerve and is the one I am still using every day since it arrived to me.

The Sony A7s. 

SAMSUNG CSC

Yep, a mirrorless full frame with a measly 12MP is my current favorite camera and for many good reasons. It’s a nice size, it works great with Leica M mount wide angles, even the Voigtlander 15mm, it has the best low light and high ISO performance I have ever seen and the AF is amazing, even in darkness. Using Leica M mount lenses with manual focus is a breeze and gives us that same Leica signature that is due to the lenses. No need for a Leica M unless you really want the beauty, build and experience of a Rangefinder. The Sony A7s is a wonder camera and an artists camera. Fantastic with the best color and AWB of the A7 series, superb with B&W images and small enough to take anywhere.

Almost any lens is adaptable on it as well via adapters. Many companies are now making Sony E mount lenses as well.

feet

Sony did it right with the A7s and I am so glad they went with 12MP as my max MP count that I can get into is about 20 give or take a few million. But 12mp is fantastic. Keeps the file sizes low. Keeps the editing quick and it has enough resolution to print huge if you so desire. I have seen 40″ prints from the A7s that were GORGEOUS and shot at high ISO’s over 10,000 in low light conditions. Amazing things can be done with the A7s that can not be done with 99% of other cameras. You can buy one HERE. 

I love my Olympus E-M1. I love my Leica M and MM. But the star of my collection is actually that A7s. 

The cameras that interest me this year are the Panasonic LX100 and the Fuji X100T. That is about it. I know Sony has something big up their sleeve but not sure when they will announce it, if at all.

SAMSUNG CSC

I also tested and tried out the Lytro Illum recently and was not a fan. It took me back to the days when I reviewed the original, which I actually prefer due to the size and fun factor. Putting that tech in a large cumbersome body is not so fun, especially when the results are lackluster and you need dedicated software just to view the images. LIMITED DR, NOT USABLE INDOORS, BEST WITH CLOSE UPS, LOW RESOLUTION, BIG BULLKY BODY. Ugg.

I feel the future of camera design lies with Sony, Fuji and yes, even Leica. Olympus and Panasonic is up there as well but the others seem to be lacking when it comes to releasing something that gets the masses excited. I remember when Fuji released the X100 (the 1st version) and the excitement was THROUGH THE ROOF! These days, excitement seems to be lackluster from what I am seeing online and in social networking. Sure, there is some excitement but nothing that makes us say WOWOWOWWOWOW! For me the DSLR’s that have been released have been more of the same old same old.

So, is there a camera that was released this year that excited you? If so, leave a comment and let me know which one it is! From what I see most are excited about the $899 LX100 and the Leica red dot version, the D-LUX Typ 109 at $1195.

 

109 Comments

  1. Well I am kind a late but also got me the A7s and must say it is fantastic. I agree the Voigtaender 15mm is great, the Voigtlaender 50mm f1.5 is fantastic and my old Konica 40mm f1.8 is a everyday compact solution and very very good and a total surprise is the Konica 135mm f3.2 which I got a few years ago for Euro 14.- on eBay. I could not be happier if there would not be a camera called A7sII (:

  2. Oh, yes. The one that excited me most is the camera in my Samsung Galaxy S5. Welcome to the future. Rectification: 95% of all consumers is already taking photos with their smart/cell phones. Just some (and I don’t mean professionals) are still buying cameras and often buying/selling/buying/selling the latest models. Sad.

  3. I’ve been using the A7R for just over a year now. My three lenses of choice are the Rokkor 24 2.8 the Rokkor 58 1.2 and of course the Minolta 85 1.4 which is ridiculously good for portraits on this body. It’s not a camera that suffers fools, you have to shoot properly and yes on occasion it reminds me to get my act together

  4. good morning

    thanks for your site and the article you wrote i love it the information really useful also the pictures is gorgeous .. so A7s its wonderful choice .. but why in all the site there is no one talk about panasonic GH4
    for me its the beast you have pretty size camera and wight powerful capability also 4k wowow not just 4k its record dirct to the memory thats awesome even if u dont have 4k screen the result after downscale it to 1080p is wow you also can get pictures from 4k video its will be 8 m but its very nice
    just tell me your thoughts about it
    i know my be the reasone its not full fram but really m43 become with gh4 an dslr kicker..

    note:
    sorry for my bad english

    best regards

  5. I was a M9 user and couldn’t feel right to enlace it with new M… Afterwards sensor damaged and I had to buy either M (although I was not impressed with the results of the new sensor) or try to use my M9 at least wide open all the times where the sensor damage is not noticed…. Then I saw Steve’s A7s review as well as some others, mentioning how well the camera performs with M lenses and I bought one.

    I think it was one of the best decision (along with my M9 purchase) I have ever made… Everything fine and smooth with A7s… It opens a lot of new shooting opportunities for me… Therefore my candidate is definitely A7s…

  6. I will add my voice to the chorus of acclaim for the Sony A7S. I have been and remain a strong Nikon user and supporter. Four years ago I took my Nikon D3S and the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED on a trip to Italy. I returned with some of my favorite photographs that I have taken in the last 40 years.The flexibility of the system and the IQ of both the lens and the sensor were the best combination for a single walk-around and do-everything package. From the brightest outdoor landscapes to the dimmest indoor portraits, this combination yielded great photographs.

    I returned this fall year to Italy carrying the Sony A7S and Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 ZA Vario-Sonnar T*. I returned with even greater photographs than ever before and not because I have become a better photographer. Until I used the A7S, I believed my Nikon D3S was the undisputed king of the low – light, hand held, hi IQ cameras. The A7S beats it by a fair and very visible margin. It is also water and dust resistant. Though not as heavy duty outdoor rugged as the D3S, the A7S is a very well built, solid, precision engineered instrument. It also weighs and costs a fraction of what the bruising D3S does. I have also shot with a wide variety of other high end digital cameras and lenses. The A7S, for my purposes, is the best by far.Bravo and keep the Carl Zeiss FE lenses coming …

  7. I’m a dslr user (need fast AF for work) and I also like to go out and shoot with smaller cameras for fun.
    From all non-dslr cameras I’ve gotten my hands on I would still choose Leica M9 with cron 28 2.8 asph & lux 50 1.4 asph. I still regret I sold it a while ago.
    I got a chance to try M240 and although many of you would disagree, but the color and characters I get out from this camera reminds me my 5dIII. The M9 CCD sensor and lenses make a miracle.

  8. Yeah the A7s is a strange, wonderful little camera.

    I have a M240 but have hardly picked it up since getting the A7s. It’s just such an addictive little camera.

    It’s 12MP sensor makes you think twice about taking it out but every time I load up images taken with it I fall in love more.

    Supernaturally clean at 100 ISO and at 80,000 ISO the the grain on this camera is just so beautiful.

  9. Lenses only, for me.

    M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom with matched 1.4x TC. This lens brings an entirely new level of performance to native µ4/3 telephoto work. This is a significant advance in the mirrorless market.

    Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 for µ4/3. Just stunning, despite the princely price.

  10. 3 Releases marked my year 2014:

    1) The stuck Shutter release of my M240 and the release of the camera >2 months after having it sent to service.
    2) The Leica T was a revolutionary release in the camera-industry, for the UI. Certainly not for price, performance. And yes, far superior than the evolutionary elements of an A7S, that just followed what sony did before in the hardware and video sections (reduce size of existant stuff). Does it have the same significant impact as an A6000 or A7S? no.
    3) the iPhone 6plus, as the all purpose best software-supported mobile camera (photo and video). See excellent AF, Low-Light, and OIS performance.

  11. No one talk DSLR sir ?
    I’m just happy with the canon 6D … with 35mm f2 ver.1 … yes it’s big compare to mirrorless … so what ? 🙂

  12. 2014, to me is the year of death knell to the tiny sensored cams. Sony A7 series just turned everything upside down. Pick any cam from that series.

  13. Steve? You are my guru. Because of you I bought my first digital camera; the Leica X1. Since then, because of you, I bought the Fuji X100 and I now own the Fuji X100S as my only camera. You are a HUGE influence on me. I HATE big cameras. I once shot a wedding with a Nikon D800. It was the latest and greatest (at the time) but after 8 hours of shooting, my wrist was about to fall off. That was a one time thing, so I thought. Mirrorless forever. I might be wrong. My eye has been on the Nikon D750. I have been blown away with the reviews and the size of D750 seems very sweet to me. I am trying to be a pro photographer. The learning curve is steep, especially with off-camera lighting. For me, right this second, if I could have any camera in the world, it would be the Nikon D750. Check out the YouTube videos shooting Canon gear with the Profoto B1, especially using TTL. Profoto has recently announced support for Nikon as well. Mirrorless is awesome. I love the purity of it but it’s the hotshoe that is the achilles heel of mirrorless cameras. Fuji? Sony? Olympus? Give us awesome speedlights and strobes, not as an after thought but as an integral part of your systems.

    • All Nikon full frame DSLR’s are great but I have zero interest in them for myself, never ever would use them. Lenses are huge, bodies are typical DSLR style and shape and not comfy for me, and there is nothing the D750 can do than the Sony A7s can not. I much prefer the A7s over ANY full frame DSLR for many reasons but mainly the size, the fact I can use Leica M mount lenses on it with ease and that even if I want, I can attach Nikon lenses (would not do it though). Low light is best there is..I am wanting for nothing.

      • It’s because I respect your reviews so much that I just wish that you would get a Nikon D750 and give it a try. I have never wanted a DSLR until the D750. It is smaller and lighter than most DSLR’s. I think Nikon is starting to realize that they must scale down their cameras to compete with the mirrorless market and the D750 is the first iteration of this change. Also, a side-by-side comparison with the A7s would be awesome. If you come to the conclusion the A7s crushes the D750 than so be it. It would be a fascinating juxtaposition nonetheless.

  14. I’d like to see a head to head test of the A7s and D750. Focus speed in all conditions, low and high ISO images.
    The D750 is meant to be Nikon’s new low light champ, so I’m curious to see how far up the ISO range they need to go before the A7s separates itself from it, even though one has 24mp while the other has 12.

    • I would assume both cameras are more than appropriate in regards of high iso IQ. I am a long time optical viewfinder pretender, but now also think about selling my 5dIII and use the A7s and A7 instead.
      Why? The 5dIII sits in the closet to often. Most of the better Canon lenses are pretty big (2470/2.8II, or the better 50mm lenses) Or if you want a 50mm as sharp as the 55/1.8 Sony you probably have to look at the Sigma ART 50mm which is much bigger than the 55/1.8 Sony.
      Same for the Zeis2470/4.0OSS.
      I have kids so fast AF is a plus but the A7s/A7 seem pretty fast.
      If I was a sports shooter or reportage shooter where maximum speed and getting every shot would count clearly a good DSLR and a good C-AF has advantages. But I feel for my use the A7 series can do 95%.
      Plus I don’t need many more lenses than a good 2470/70200, 35 and 55mm. And I can live with f4 very good for a full frame camera.
      My biggest concern is that I think the logic of buttons and menus is better in DSLRs and the A7 series leaves me a bit cold in this regard.

  15. Sony A6000. Great new camera for about the price of a used one.

    Still, did you guys delete my comments, or did they never post?

  16. I am also excited about the Sonys A7-series.
    However my experience with Leica M lenses is that while they work on the A7s the M can bring out more IQ in the corners. So for me I still prefer the M if I plan to use Leica primes.
    However I am surprised how good the Zeiss 24-70 works and since I don’t need much more less than 24-70, 70-200 and 1 or 2 primes I now plan to get rid of my DSLR if the A//A7s prove to work as good as I feel at the moment.

    • I prefer to use the Leica primes on the A7s for a few reasons but one is closer focusing…which is a godsend. As for sharper corners, lenses like the 35 lux, 50 lux, 75 cron, etc, for me, are just as sharp if not sharper on my A7s than they are on my M. Color is different, with AWB and accuracy going to the Sony. I love both though but the A7s has become my #1 over the M..1st time that has happened since the M8 was launched.

  17. Sony A7S. I’m going to save to purchase one. It seems like the evolution of my Canon EF film camera, discrete, with the right size, and a nice selection of lenses (I’m not a professional photographer so I don’t need to cover every focal length) just a better camera would be an hypothetic RX1 successor with fixed zoom lens or a new Sony R1 with an updated sensor.

  18. For me this year has been more about lenses than cameras. And in the lens category there’s been interesting things happening in the FE mount. New products like the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 and the Zeiss Loxias have made this a good year for fans of the Sony A7 line.

  19. Probably the E-M1 for me. Not necessarily the best camera on all counts, but the most mature one on the mirror less market. But I will hang on my old V1 for a little longer and see what next year will bring.

  20. Just saw an A7R in the “flesh” this weekend at this little biplane airport I occasionally go to hang out. I just could not believe how small it was… I am still maintaining my two kits MFT and FF…as I just still find nothing that hast the response time as my FF for action photography. …but is is getting better and better. The A7s brings it even closer…but not enough for me to change out a whole system yet. Cool stuff.

  21. Hi Micro 4/3 PanLeica Fans out there-As always Steve Fan-daby-dosey site and all the Invaluable advice from the D-Analogue folks out there-For me it has to be the New Panasonic full frame HD with improved image but for around 4 grand I agree to wait until 2015.
    My friend in UK has been giving my updates thru his co-workers in R&D British military? Well…
    The New Frontier will be a Full Frame lens that is set to mimic the Human eye in terms of heat gathering and works of the principle of light as Heat Source-all ready in use in High Tech CCTV Spy camera’s.
    For Example a Fixed camera that can See around corners ( I know what some of you might be thinking) But this IS already in use.
    Real time HD 3-D Holographic Projection interface (Think of various Sci-Fi)
    My bet IS still on Panasonic and Here’s hoping the Pro-Consumer market will blow our socks off.
    How about a Red dot version of a Full Frame Micro-Four thirds-The Yellow Leica L on the bottom left looks a bit dated for now as for low light lens…I swear by the (80’s Vivitar MF 1.7 Rebranded with Leica Copy Optics…) Works for me hand held setting on Night Illuminations UT Starlight Roof reflection Test Frames.
    Sorry for the long wait folks awaiting on a PC Post friend to Help! set up my web-site TBA in 2015.
    I shot his wedding with my G1 with a standard M 4/3 kit zoom lens.
    All the Best Steve and Hippy shooting folks.

    P.S. I’m also going Back to the Future with a M6 0.85 Repaired Refurb Light-Circuit and scanning B&W film using a Found Scanner that a friend liberated from a Building scrap yard.
    I will be posting Soon I hope by early Next Year at the latest.
    Paul
    Circle

    • OK, I’ll bite… what cells in the human eye are “heat-sensing”? There are many “heat-sensing” technologies available, most working on simple Infra-red emission. I happen to know a great deal about the human eye, so please be specific. And to be clear I will state that as far as I know there are no “heat-sensing” cells in the human eye.

      Around corner cameras have been in the making for years now and the technologies I am familiar with eliminate sting signals and gain the hell out of the softer intermodulated signals from “around the corner”

  22. The Sony A6000.

    I’ve had my NEX-6 for a year now, and was gutted when the A6000 was released – if only I had waited a little longer!

    I’ve been using Zeiss Touit lenses with my NEX-6 and have been absolutely thrilled with the results, and that is after using a Canon 5D Mark II for a few years with decent L-Series lenses. The A6000 indicated that Sony will (hopefully) continue to develop their APS-C line. There’s a few nice upgrades on the A6000 such as the fast AF and 24 mp sensor that have me eyeing it as an upgrade. Tremendous value for the money.

  23. Nikon D750. I’ve been waiting for Nikon to release a smaller workhorse type camera to replace my old D3 and D3s that did have ginormous 36MP files – I just don’t need that much information.

    The D610 filled in for a bit, but it had it’s limitations with AF accuracy in dark DARK Wisconsin venues. The DF was a bit better, but it wasn’t as good as the D3s. The D750 is better than any Nikon camera I’ve ever used, and it’s price is a steal compared to the $5,000 I spent on the D3 and the $5,200 I spent on the D3s.

    I’m still interested in grabbing the Sony a7s and a few Leica crons, but it won’t be the workhorse that pays my bills.

  24. Mr. Toad agrees, Sony A7S, which may be my next (& last) camera as my retirement present 1 year from now. I just hope they keep it at 12mp and don’t offer an updated 24mp! I miss my Leica X1 which was 12mp and I no longer have but put out beautiful pics (see my website). While Mr. Toad– being an odd toad who doesn’t go out much at night– doesn’t shoot dark scenes (bars, streets, etc) preferring the harsh light of mid-day; but for indoor shooting of family which Mr. Toad is sometimes forced to do, the A7S will solve a problem, as he doesn’t like to use flash for anything. So, unless a new FF Sony A8S, magically the size of my RX100M3 comes out, or Sony comes up with something else unresistable in the next year, perhaps with curved sensors, the A7S will probably be that last camera, and will be purchased on this wonderful site.

  25. I bought the Leica T with i use with both Leica M Elmarit 28 and Cron 50. My “coup de coeur” for this year. In january it was the A7r: Try it with the Zeiss 55, 1.8. I love it. Both charming, and, most important, little cameras with extra IQ.

  26. I agree with the Sony A7s. I am very partial to the Nikon 1 V3. It is a quirky less than perfect camera but its strength is its speed. Most Dslrs are no where near as fast. Even the D4s struggles. I think it will get the photo the other’s miss. It may not have the best image quality. It may only have a 1 inch sensor. I can live with its shortcomings because Topaz DeNoise fixes most of them.

    For someone who has tried to photograph small children being children or a daughter that is a dancer and doesn’t sit still, it’s brilliant.

    An honourable mention would be the GH4. The Super video 4K small camera with great still capability. Professional video results from a small package with a bigger lens range than the A7s.

  27. The most interesting cameras this year for me were the Pentax 645Z, SigmaDP2 Quattro, and the A7S. Neither of these were interesting enough to get me to upgrade, but I am sure next year will be a good year for cameras. Some great lenses came out this year though. Sigma 50mm ART, Otus 85mm and the Canon 16-35 zoom are great.

  28. It’s not the sexiest, but I’m head over heels (man heels) for the Nikon D750. I’m a wedding photographer and I have owned the Canon 5D mark III, the 6D, the Nikon D3s and Nikon D600. After extensively using all of those cameras in the most challenging low light scenarios you could find, nothing compares to the D750 AF. It’s almost impossible to make it fail. That’s how crazy good it is. On top of that the price is great, the grip is super comfortable, the camera is light, I love the flip screen and you have WiFi. Now I can die as a happy man.

  29. For me it’s the A7S and the Loxia line of lenses.

    But I will stick to my trusty A7 until the second generation A7-series come out. A7S is nice, but the promised A6000-style autofocus is definitely worth waiting for.

  30. Leica T is kind of interesting. Could be the way of the future of how we operate and shoot with cameras. Too few lenses and too pricey for what it does. Samsung’s NX1 is the one I am going to watch, I get the feeling these guys mean business in the semi pro APSC department. The NX1 seems to be a speed demon and a fairly exciting prospect for sport and action shooters. Can’t wait for quality reviews. I myself feel content with my Pentax K3 and half a dozen ltd. primes. Don’t feel like upgrading at all.

  31. For me, it was the Sony A6000.

    Pro:
    – Fast AF (including CAF)
    – Low Price (for this level of IQ)
    – Lots of manual control

    Con:
    – I am not sure if Sony makes lenses for APSC cameras any more.

  32. I agree with you Steve when you say that 2014 has not been so special about new gear. Thumb up for the A7s, though I find the layout of buttons uncomfortable, compared to those of Olympus Em1. Sigma could have been something really interesting with the Quattro serie, but it’s still too early.
    Leica T has “just” a cool design that will be cold when used on winter days.
    Leica m-p 240 is a refined version of the previous 240 model but still I’m waiting for a new version of Monochrom.
    I name these cameras simply because they were on my wish list, but since I have learnt to ask myself “do I need it?” I can keep GAS at bay easily.
    The only thing I would buy, as I wrote, is a new version of Monochrom, offering a live view when needed. Why? Because with it I buy a new experience and a different way of shooting.

  33. For me the biggest release was the GH4. I am a “hybrid” shooter and I feel this camera fits my run and gun style best. The photos are incredible and the video really knocks my socks off. The second biggest release for me is the Panny/Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2. Yes I know it’s grossly expensive but it’s pure perfection on micro four thirds and I can’t live without it. The third most exciting release was theSony A7s. I sold my E-M5 for the A7, but at the time there were only two native FE lenses and for the price I wasn’t blown away. Yes the A7 definitely had better IQ, DR, etc. but adter paying just under $1.2K for a used E-M5, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, and the 12-40mm f/2.8, the over $2.2K A7 with 35mm FE f/2.8 I didnt feel the price justified the average bumb in image quality. I ended up missing then speed, smaller lenses, quieter shutter, better battery life, IBIS and my more diverse lens collection. I sold my A7 and pre-ordered the GH4. Now I have:

    Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8
    Panny/Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4
    Panny/Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2
    Canon FD 24mm f/2.8 S.S.C.
    Canon FD 50mm f/1.4
    Fotodiox ND Throttle adapter
    SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x

    That’s it for me Steve, love your site very much.

  34. Yep, gotta go with the A7s.

    I suspect the nothing-dramatic D750 might also end up as a stand out, because it looks like a good all-rounder if you’re a straight up AF guy. It’s quite light, it might turn out to be best high ISO of the cameras that don’t specialise in it, it’s got a tilt screen (finally), and I think it will do better than mirrorless for moving subjects. It’s a good price too. There’s nothing new about it, but it’s super refined.

  35. Just wanted to add that have seen a couple of very exciting lens releases this year, including: Olympus 40-150mm 2.8, Fuji 56mm 1.2, Panasonic 42mm 1.2, Panasonic 15mm 1.7, Nikon 58mm 1.4.

    • I’m with you here, retow. Not a single camera stands out this year for me, but a few lenses do, and I would pick the Panasonic 42.5mm above all else!

  36. I agree on the best one, it`s the A7s. Among the pocket sized ones I give the crown to the Sony RX100III. But the most exciting one I found in the quirky Sigma DP2Q. A lightweight IQ monster, which sets the benchmark for landscapes and stills. One of the best cameras remains the 2012 released Sony RX1(r) imho. Amazing how many times the name Sony appears in my and many others posts.

  37. The Nikon D750! I rented an A7s from lensrentals dot com and was disappointed in the EVF, irritated by green tinted pictures and infuriated by continuous tracking autofocus so poor that a person pacing back and forth stymied it. It’s amazing to me that Sony didn’t have enough sense to put the A6000 focusing system in the A7s.

    I’m a M4/3s shooter and never imagined that I would wind up going backwards to a DSLR but I’ve lost too many shots for lack of continuous autofocus that works and I MUST have the superor low light power of a full frame sensor.

    It scares me to be investing in an antique platform but the D750 has unmatched autofocus performance, outstanding low light performance, a civilized shutter sound, twice the resolution (why give up the ability to crop?) and best of all, I’m not stuck waiting for lenses to show up. The apperance of the 20mm f/1.8G just makes the deal sweeter.

    I do hate loosing the silent shutter option though. Wake up camera makers! Silent shutter should be a standard feature.

    But my bottom line is, I don’t care so much about the size of the camera. It just has to get the shot.

  38. This seems to have been a year of incremental upgrades: faster, more features, nicer to use, but nothing that really expands my picture-taking universe. The A7s is an exception, thanks to its low-light capabilities — but with its 12mp file size and paucity of AF lenses, it’s still a niche-within-a-niche product that doesn’t have enough utility for me to justify its price.

    I suppose it wouldn’t do to announce that SHP’s Camera of the Year is “the camera you already have,” but that’s were I wound up…

  39. For me, it’s the LX100. The size, the sensor, the focal range, the aperture, the video performance, stabilization, … Did I forget something? I will only miss the touch screen and the EVF could have been better but I don’t want to wait for the LX100 Mark II so it will be under the Christmas Tree 😀

  40. My best bet would be Sony a6000. For me I think the APS-C sensor format is good enough. And the Sony/Zeiss 16-70 f4 and the Zeiss FE 35mm f2.8 are great on the a6000. The low light auto focus could have been better though… I had a Contax G2 some time ago and its autofocus beat any mirrorless out there. Wonder how they managed it?

    • How the Contax G2 managed it was by using phase-detect autofocus with a wide base via separate windows that worked non-through-the-lens! And on the G2 (although not the G1) there also was infrared triangulation to “rough in” the distance before the phase-detect system took over. The only problem? Since the AF windows, viewfinder, and lens all saw slightly different angles, you couldn’t be absolutely SURE the AF system had focused on your intended subject, especially in close-ups. I liked my Contax a lot, but the uncertainty about focusing — plus the fact that the AF system couldn’t accommodate faster or longer lenses — eventually made me bail. In all honesty, we’re better off now…

  41. You know it may end up being the A7s for me after all. I just got an A7 under the current price drop and the 35mm 2.8 and 55 1.8 to go with it and so far I am extremely pleased with the results. The camera itself takes a little getting used to menu wise, but all in all I’m happy.

    I’ve always loved Zeiss glass and I’m thrilled to have some native AF Zeiss options and the Zeiss Loxia lenses should be a breeze to focus on the A7 cameras too. These Zeiss lenses, while expensive, are well worth it.

    I’m going to give it a little more time, but I am seriously considering the A7s to compliment my A7. If the A7s can keep up with my Df in AF capabilities and replace the Nikon as my concert shooter I very well may sell my Nikon bodies and most of the lenses.

  42. 2013 and 2012 were much more exciting. 2012’s Leica M Monochrom remains my favorite camera ever. 2013’s Leica X Vario, despite its many flaws, is perhaps the ultimate travel camera for me. I tried the T and love the lens options, but hate the touchscreen interface. The LX100/D-Lux twins are very promising, we shall see how the EVF is in real life.

  43. A7S for me. It’s success also is important for the sensor industry in that it underpins the investment for R&D for increased light sensitivity and less noise. Well done Sony for being different.

  44. After the M9 (i sold it long time ago), the A7s is the second camera i’m totally in love with. Seriously, this is perfect. I can use it with many of different lenses (canon, leica, nikon, pentacon, M42) and with the amazing low light performance, give me total freedom. The video ability is really important to me. This the first time I feel i have the perfect tool in my hand for everything : still and motion. THANKS SONY.

  45. My stepdaughter has been getting into photography a bit so the LX100 interest me as a possible eventual upgrade to the LF1 I plan to get her for christmas thanks to the evf for shooting in the bright sunlight. For me it’s all about the X100T because it brings a used 100s within my price range lol

  46. A7s !!! – the camera that prompted me to sell my 5D3 and all lenses last week except for two primes for use on the A7s with an adapter. I’m keeping the E-M1 because I really like it and it’s lens selection including the Panasonic 200-600mm equiv. which is a very good birding lens and the only one I’m willing to carry. Bottom line is I love the A7s. I plan to buy the next generation of the A7r as a second body for this Sony system.

      • Shot it Daily July, Aug, Sept, and 1/2 of Oct. but there is a chance I might change my mind after 3 more months and I do agree with your premise that it takes a long time to master/evaluate any camera.

  47. I am most excited by the Leica D-Lux Typ 109. In January, I was eager to get the Sony FDR-AX100 since it was the first compact 4K camcorder and it used a 1″ sensor (large for that class of camcorder). I was going to pair that with the Leica D-Lux 6 (love the multi-aspect sensor and stellar wide lens) as my compact travel kit. But now I can have both high quality stills and 4K video together in one lightweight compact camera, with an even larger 4/3 sensor! All this for nearly half the cost of the UHD camcorder alone.

    Like you Steve, I am also very impressed by the IQ and low-light superiority of the A7s. It will be the first digital system camera I plan to use with my Leica R lenses. I am still waiting to see what Loxia wide angle primes will be forthcoming, perhaps the new Sony Zeiss 16-35 will suffice.

    With these two cameras, 2014 was the year all my boxes were ticked in both system and compact categories.

  48. Im a little late but i got caught on the Fuji Xt1 I liked it but wasn’t too thrilled with speed and image quality so I finally caved and got the Olympus Em1 and I must say it’s a way better camera for me. I should have gotten it long ago when I got rid of the Canon 6d.

    But out of the new I would say it’s the Sony A7s I will get one eventually or something exactly along these lines preferably with in body image stabilization.

  49. Sony A7S all the way. I’ve since ditched all my Leica M kit including lenses. The FE 24-70 works superbly on the A7s. The new 16-35 is even better. And the FE 55/1.8 is as good (perhaps better) than both my 50 CRON and LUX ASPH.

    • Will disagree 100%. The 55 1.8 is not better than the cron which as a unique look all its own, and is almost perfection on the A7s. I own the 55 1.8 and a 50 Cron, and I never use the 55 1.8 even thought it is fantastic. It has no real character, is a bit sterile and it is large. The cron is tiny, amazing character and the colors are gorgeous using it. The zooms, for my tastes, are way too large. While they are fantastic, they are about the same size as DSLR lenses, which goes against the whole “keeping it smaller” thing. The A7s and M lenses are a match made in heaven.

        • Agreed. A “crazy” comparison please. I, too, would like to see just how much better the 50 Summicron is over the Sony 55/1.8.

          • Comes down to a few things. SIZE and BUILD. The leica is much smaller and much better made. Also, BOKEH and CHARACTER. Leica will win as the Sony, while sharp as a tac, is a bit sterile in character. The Leica has the classic cron character which is amazing for portraits. Of course the cron is 2X the cost new over the Sony/Zeiss but buy it used and you can get one for $1300 or so. Different color signature as well with the cron. Personal preference as always..some will prefer the Leica, others will prefer the AF Sony.

          • Agreed, size and build favours the Leica. But I’ve been shooting with 50 CRONs for 20 years and bokeh is nothing special and certainly not better the Sony 55/1.8. The 50 LUX ASPH, on the other hand, is smooth as butter but it has other issues like field curvature which makes it very difficult to achieve sharp focus on anything off-centre. The Sony 55 has a very flat field, like the 50 CRON. Like Mac, I would like to see a comparison between your 50 CRON and the 55/1.8.

      • Hi Steve! I also own an a7s and love it! I only have the 55mm f1.8 and I’m looking into getting another lens, maybe something wider. The 16-35 seems interesting, but expensive and large for an f4. What are your three favorite lenses to use with the a7s and can you recommend an adapter that is required for the lenses you are using? Thank you!

        • Hello,

          I have the 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 and those are both fantastic but my fave lenses to use are M mount lenses from Voigtlander or Zeiss or Leica (if you have the $$, I really do not). I love the way the A7s works with M glass. Small, well made, and easy to manual focus. Gives a feeling that you are working for the photo instead of aiming and pressing a button. I have the Voigtalnder 15, the Petzval lens, a couple of old Leica 50mm lenses (classic Leica lenses are affordable). The Zeiss 50 ZM planar is fantastic on the A7s while being small and tiny. But for wide, I love the Voigtlander 15 as it is so small and distortion free.

        • I wish someone would comment on their experience with the A7S and the Voigtlander Nokton Aspherical 35mm f/1.2 Lens II.

  50. For me, different point of view and different question: what was my biggest disappointment of what was not announced/confirmed/at show: The Fuji X-ProII ! So I make work with what I have!…. ( although: if that don’t wow me, I could buy and live with the Sony A7s! )…. Daniel

  51. Sony a7s of course. But I’m not buying it for the price they sell in the u.k. It’s shocking that the price is about 700 dollars more than the rest of the world e.g. America and Australia.

  52. I always enjoy reading your coverage of whats new, and frankly, I would be a happy camper to use ANY of the new releases shown at Photokina / PhotoPlus this year.

    Asking what is the biggest and best “For Me” …..well, I am going to go completely against the grain, and probably to the horror of every marketing executive in the photo gear industry, and give a completely honest answer to that question.

    2014 has been an absolutely thrilling year of new gear acquisitions for ME, and I will explain why in a minute.

    My actual requirements for photography are pretty simple – for work and professional use, I only need a camera that can capture high quality images of small things (like jewelry, watches, bike parts, and painted miniatures) … and preferably not too bulky or fragile so I can take it with me on the bike without major dramas. Thats it.

    There are plenty of cameras that do this set of tasks well, so I ended up with a Leica D-Lux 6 to do the job a couple of years back. Throw on an EVF and a cheap polarizing filter and Im all set ! In fact, it does the required job so well … that I cant see any need to upgrade it any time soon. It is also incredibly versatile, so the only limiting factor between this camera and a truly great photograph is definitely the person behind the viewfinder.

    There are always going to be better options for IQ, sharpness, bokeh, low light ISO performance and megapixel count … always. Just accepting this and getting on with the job can be a most liberating !

    Anyway – back to the original question.

    What I WANT is an M240, a Monochrom, a Fuji X-E, an LX100, a Sony A7, a Petzval lens, a new Olympus OM, a Leica T … and I really really really want one of those very cool Leica M’s without the chimp panel on the back. Yeah !

    No can do ! No can do … any of the above, any time soon. Not going to happen between now and Christmas.

    So …. my big camera gear discovery of 2014 has been …… old school 35mm film cameras. Particularly old soviet gear. There is a huge wealth of them available, many of them beautifully restored, cleaned and tuned up for next to nothing. These are beautiful mechanical jewels that feel superb in the hand.

    Couple that with an ever expanding range of 35mm film stock now hitting the market …. and I am all of a sudden in creative heaven.

    Each time a new roll of film is loaded, it is like getting a entirely NEW camera., with a completely different response to the play of light through the lens.

    Some highlights of this absurd retro adventure include :
    – Kodak Ektar …. just superb
    – C41 processed black and white film
    – Revolog film stock. (check this stuff out !!!)
    – Cinestill 800Tungsten cinematic film (check this out too !!!)
    – Sebastemulsion experimental offerings
    – Maco high speed B+W surveillance film
    – Very cheap B+W film + Caffenol
    – Loading film back to front to redscale the image
    – Real double exposure effects in-camera
    – The lure of Medium Format and beyond. $500 gets you into a Hartblei rebuilt Kiev88 … hmmm.

    So from here on, my camera bag contains a good quality digital camera, spare batteries, at least 1 35mm film body, and a stock of different films.

  53. Once Sigma makes some fast Primes for the new Sony Mirrorless Full Frame Mount, everyone needs to watch their back. Reasonably priced Autofocus lenses will send these Sony cameras into the stratosphere with enthusiasts.

  54. Honest Steve I don’t really have a “hot” pick for 2014. I did consider trading my camera for the updated M240 but just couldn’t justify it yet as I still haven’t mastered my current body’s capability. (Still love the CCD rendering) So you could say I’m happy with my current camera body. But, I did add a couple lenses this year and one in particular that has helped me enjoy my hobby more than ever.

    Cya in a little over a week for the big southwest trip! Hopefully I will recover from this week of travel before I have to unpack and repack again as I’m off to Europe and then who know’s where! (8>)

  55. For me, the Nikon D750 which has, I’m led to believe, the same sensor as the Sony A7. Image Quality, low-light performance, superb AF and so much more.

  56. The usual candidates will pop up here. So what about a dark horse? And one name that won’t immediately flow off the tip of most tongues – the Samsung NX1.

  57. A7s all the way… with my 50 Lux asph and Voigtlander adaptor close focus. Thanks for your advises and your time Steve!

  58. I guess the Panasonic GX7 was a little earlier huh ? It’s still the only interchangeable lens, flip & touch screen, with silent mode and an evf. A ‘street photography’ dream ?

  59. I think you are spot on with the Sony. My best buy this year is the Fujifilm X-E2, with this i have the 18-55, 14mm, 35mm and last month purchased the 56mm. The 56mm is outstanding, but has given me challenges to really master it, i have put the other lenses in the cabinet and just using the 56mm, it’s an exciting lens, love it.

  60. I love my A7 and wish I could afford to bump up the A7s! No complaints though 🙂

    Steve – which soft-release shutter button are you using there? Looks awesome on the camera. I’ve never used one but I’ve been curious about their benefit and maybe i’ll now take the plunge.

    Thanks for this GREAT site!

  61. I agree with you Steve, the LX100/Leica D-Lux Typ 109. A long awaited improvement. But I also really like the Panasonic GM5. I love my little GM1 and the viewfinder should make a big difference.

  62. The Sony A7s look supersweet but it is almost up there with Leica in terms of price for the body. The A7s and the Fuji X-T1 are the cameras that get my GAS going every now and then but I get soo sweet results from my Olympus EM-1 and its lenses that I don´t cave in to it… Had the price for the A7s been around the same as the original A7 I would own one already…
    I love the idea of the LX100 but I wish Panasonic would have released a camera like that as the next GX8. I Want to be able to switch lenses and the GX7 did not do it for me, I went with the EM-1 instead. I have been looking at Panasonic though because I’d like more options when shooting videos and I would like to be able to use the glass I already own.
    The Sony A7s is in my opinion the BRAVEST release this year. To release a 12 MP full frame camera in 2014 was a gutsy move, and I feel it paid off.

    Cheers!

  63. I am very much in line with your comments Steve: nothing super exciting this year compared to previous ones, and the 2 cameras which stand out for me are the Leica T and the Sony A7R.

    I would pick the Leica as my choice of the year. I can close to buying it but refrained myself as even for a Leica I was not 100% sure to get value for my money. But there is no denying it is a gorgeous camera, a potential new direction for Leica, and the handling has not been seen before and could inspire other manufacturers. So while it is probably more imperfect and less value for money the Sony, the T gets my vote for the novelty factor.

  64. Can’t really think of any new camera that got me excited. Perhaps the X-T1, but it may have been a 2013 release (even though avialble in 2014).

    Other than that all camera manufactures have disappointed me. I love Nikon, but they are not really making the system I want anymore. Fuji is close, but far from perfect. Olympus have had some great cameras, but I’m not too fond of the m4/3 sensor. Panasonic disappointed me with not being able to follow up the GF1. Sony? Had the Rx100 for a while, but didn’t really bond with it. Not really interested in the A7-cameras, but curious about them. Leica disappointed me with the Leica T. I really want a Leica, but manual focus is not for me anymore.

    I’m also a p&s fan but haven’t found a reason to replace my Ricoh GR. The LX100 is a little on the large side. So is Fuji with their X30. Canon and their G7X don’t really get me worked up either.

    So, I guess I agree with you. Hopefully 2015 will be better and I really hope Canon and Nikon soon will get serious in the mirrorless market!

    • Canon and Nikon will get serious about mirrorless. It’s not a question of if, but of when. I would guess within the next 24 months we will have announcements, if not full blown products. And odds are they will alter the playing field when they arrive.

      If you can afford to wait, I’d probably wait.

      • Let me see; Door number one: sit around waiting for Canikon to produce a full frame mirrorless camera or Door number two: shoot TODAY with an A7S?!? I’ll take door number TWO! By the time the big two join the fray, Sony will be on it’s second generation of FE A series cams. Just go get yourself an A7S and a Zeiss Loxia or FE 55 1,8 and enjoy…don’t waist your life waiting!!!

      • I’m sure eventually Nikon will try to improve on their current mirrorless offering, with a larger sensor than their current 1-series, but to get the benefit of size they would have to also go with a reduced flange distance, and that means new lenses. There simply is no shortcut here.

        So they would also have to begin building a new lens line-up, and that can take years (as demonstrated by Sony, mFT, Fuji). In the mean time, it would be a tough sell for a reduced size Nikon mirrorless, but one that required a bulky adapter (similar to Sony’s A to E-mount adapter) to mount legacy f-mount lenses on.

        As for Canon? Well who knows… they’ve already had a double stab at APS-C mirrorless and that was pretty poor. No guarantee they’d do much better with their third stab!

  65. This is going to get monotonous but ditto on the A7s. Such a wonderful little camera in terms of all around excellence. No, it won’t scratch the rangefinder itch but it doesn’t pretend to.

    I’ve also come to enjoy using the Zeiss Contax G lenses via the Techart adapter on the 7s. The Planar 45/2 is unique enough to make me want to shoot it over the wonderful 55/1.8 on many occasions.

    • Exactly what Chad has said. I am mainly using my M lenses, and while I have the FE 55, it doesn’t get much use due to how much I enjoy M lenses and Manual focusing with the camera….it’s truly awesome!

  66. Since I acquired my Sony A7R less than a year ago and my A7S in July I have to consider them as “this year” and both have had a major impact on my photography! However, the best is definitely the A7S.

    I’ve been a photographer for close to 50 years and a Canon fan-bois for a good portion of that time… No more! Sony has become the innovator in photography.

    • I’m with you actually… I just got the A7 myself. Call me late to the game, but when you can now get a full-frame mirrorless body with a great sensor for between $1000 and $1500, that’s what I call exciting. Maybe it’s partially my age, but I love waiting a while after first release and then taking advantage of all the great deals. Hard to believe what can be had these days for such relatively low prices.

      Call 2014 the “year of value…”

  67. Most definately the A7s for me coupled also with the Canon f/0.95. I’m awaiting delivery of a Minolta Rokkor 58mm 1.2 and have high hopes for it against my Noct Nikkor 58mm.
    The Nikon D750 is also the first Nikon I’ve ever bought as I move away from Canon.
    The compacts that grabbed me were the LX100 and Canon G7x although neither was purchased.

    • The 58 f1.2 is big and heavy on the A7S, but gives great results, with soft separation between foreground & background. It has a rather long focusing “throw” or twist (..180 degrees from close to far..) so isn’t as quick to focus as, say, an old Olympus OM 50 1.2.

      More contrasty and with much less weird background swirl than the Canon 0.9, comparing the Rokkor’s results to a 50mm, its shift from sharp to blur is more like a Noctilux f1 or 0.9, but not as contrasty as the current Noctilux ..at a fraction of the price.

Comments are closed.