Best camera of 2017

Mirrorless cameras stand second to none thanks to this engineering marvel

Best Camera of 2017 AwardEvery year, Digital Trends editors hand pick the most exciting products we’ve had the privilege of handling this year. Make sure to check out award winners in categories from cars to computers, plus the overall best product of 2017! Read on for the photography products that floored us this year. 

Winner

Sony A9

Camera companies continued to outdo themselves in 2017, making it that much more difficult to decide which camera should be considered this year’s best. But Digital Trends’ photo team didn’t lose focus when it came time to choose the top pick: the Sony A9.

Sony introduced several engineering marvels in 2017. There’s the RX10 IV, a high-performance bridge camera with a long-zoom fixed lens; the tiny RX0 that packs a 1-inch sensor; and the A7R Mark III, a tuned-up addition to the lauded A7R-series. Each of these cameras merit an award consideration — in fact, we even debated whether the A7R III should be in first place. In the end, it’s the A9, with its groundbreaking features, that won us over.

Designed with action photographers in mind, the mirrorless A9 uses a newly developed, 24.3-megapixel “stacked” full-frame sensor that achieves a readout speed that’s 20-times faster than a non-stacked sensor. Working with a new Bionz X image processor, the camera is capable of shooting an impressive 20 frames-per-second continuously in uncompressed RAW (it’s a bit of an overkill, to be honest). And to make this camera even sweeter, the A9’s electronic viewfinder does not suffer from blackouts — an achievement for mirrorless camera EVFs in general.

The best mirrorless cameras are now on par with their mirrored DSLR cousins.

It also has a terrific autofocus system, with 693 phase-detection points and 25 contract-detect points. Coupled with a terrific lens like Sony’s G Master 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS, you’re guaranteed to capture a lot more sharp photos in burst mode than with many other cameras.

Granted, at $4,500 (body only), we know this isn’t a camera for everyday shooting. It wins our vote because of how far mirrorless camera technology has come. Once derided for sluggish performance, the best mirrorless cameras are now on par with their mirrored DSLR cousins. And if there’s a camera that’s showing us where the technology is heading, it’s the A9.

Read our Sony A9 hands-on review

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Runners Up

What can we say, we still have a soft spot for the DSLR. The D850 from Nikon shows that DSLRs are still relevant in the conversation, and it’s easy to see why photographers are in love with this full-frame camera. It has a 45.7-megapixel sensor that captures some of the most beautiful and detailed images we’ve seen. It’s not the fastest camera you can buy, but it isn’t a slouch either. Videographers will appreciate its ability to not only shoot in 4K at 30 fps, but from full width of the sensor (all other Nikon DSLRs crop into the sensor when shooting 4K). Like photos, the videos are excellent, making this the most well-balanced DSLR money (and a lot of it) can buy.

Read our full Nikon D850 review

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Nikon D850

Videographers adore Panasonic’s GH-series cameras for their ability to shoot terrific videos in a highly compact body, and the GH5 doesn’t disappoint. Fast and quiet, the GH5 can shoot in 4K at 60 frames per second. Sure, you may not need 4K/60 right now, but you can scale it down for great-looking 1080p video. It also has Panasonic’s nifty 4K Photo features, like post focusing, focus stacking, and 30-fps bursts, and 5-axis image stabilization helps to get things very steady, even if your hands aren’t. We love the quality of both stills and videos, but if it’s the latter you shoot more of, the GH5 is made for you.

Read our full Panasonic GH5 review

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Panasonic Lumix GH5
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