Best digital cameras 2012 – DSLR, compact system camera

by Enche Tjin on November 20, 2012

End of the year has arrived, it’s time to write about the best camera in 2012. I hope this May help readers find the right camera before leaving for vacation this December. I divided the category into three: Compact system camera (small, interchangeable camera), DSLR camera with APS-C sensor, and a full frame DSLR camera.

Mirrorless cameras / Compact System Camera

No fewer than 20 of mirrorless cameras (without mirrors) has been announced this year. These cameras shaped like a compact camera but you can change lenses. Many has relatively big image sensor equal to those of DSLR cameras. Sensor size varies from less than 1 inch to APS-C (DSLR camera equivalent). In this category, the best camera on this year falls on Olympus OMD EM5 ($1300, with 12-50mm lens). This camera has a classic design, has an electronic viewfinder, fast autofocus speed, touch screen. And also there are is built-in image stabilization in the camera body. It has splashproof. And the important one is the micro four third system is well developed and rapidly with a number of lenses and accessories from Olympus, Panasonic and other vendors who joined the Micro four thirds system.

Left: Olympus OMD EM5, Right: Sony NEX 6

Left: Olympus OMD EM5, Right: Sony NEX 6

One more camera that I recommend in this category is the Sony NEX 6 (10 million with 16-50mm lens). Its image sensor is slightly larger than the micro four thirds system cameras, and have some nice features such as high electronic viewfinder, has minimalist/moddern design and has hybrid autofocus, a blend of compact and DSLR camera without the bulk, as a bonus, NEX 6 has WiFi which allow you to transfer images to your other devices/internet. The drawback is the lens selection is currently limited compared to a DSLR camera system or a micro four thirds.

DSLR cameras with APS-C sensor

For advanced DSLR camera category (with APS-C sized sensor), the only one camera worth to mention is Pentax K5 II, this camera is a tough camera but not very bulky. It is capable to withstand cold weather, water and dust.

For the beginner DSLR camera category, Canon once again competing tight with Nikon. Each camera has feature has improved feature equal to that of mid-class DSLR camera. Both are quite capable but still easily learned by beginners due to friendly interface. Camera menu is designed as simple as possible with illustrations or additional notes to facilitate photography learning. Canon T4i/650D has its advantages on touch screen feature and smoother autofocus when you use LiveView / video recording (only with STM lenses), while the Nikon D5200 potentially creates sharper the picture when paired with a high quality lens.

Left Canon T4i/650D, Right Nikon D5200

Left Canon T4i/650D, Right Nikon D5200

Full frame DSLR Camera

Full frame DSLR cameras are booming this year. I noted there were 7 full frame DSLR camera that was announced in 2012. Of these, my recommendation falls to the Canon 5D mk 3. In my opinion, this camera balances features, speed and image quality. Image quality is especially good in dark lighting conditions (high ISO). There are also two other full frame cameras are somewhat affordable (under $2000), Nikon D600 and Canon 6D. Judging from the comparison of features alone, the Nikon D600 seems to have small advantage.

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