There are okay snappers. There are good snappers. And then there are the bad boys of the camera world. Featuring top-notch sensors, advanced image processors, various creature comforts, and a slew of other shebangs, these flagship cameras can turn bland, boring images into sharp and color-accurate photos deserving of a spot on your wall. We’ve compiled capable compact, mirrorless, and DSLR units in this list so that when it’s time to ready-set-go, you’ll know which shooter you’d want to be on your holster.
Canon EOS 1DX Mark II
While bigger things usually perform slower—think 10-wheeler trucks, 7-footer athletes, Snorlax—don’t expect the same from the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. It’s guaranteed to run circles around lighter cameras even though it has the characteristic bulky body of full-frame DSLRs. How? It’s being driven by Dual DIGIC 6+ image processors that, combined with 61 autofocus points, Al Servo AF III+, 360,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, and Digital Lens Optimizer, is able to process up to 14 full resolution RAW images per second as well as 4K 60 fps videos without breaking a sweat. In terms of quality, the 20.2 MP full frame CMOS sensor will help you get noise-free, well-lit, and aptly colored images even in worst-case scenarios. This impressive beast sells for an equally jaw-dropping, body-only price of PHP 279,998.
Canon EOS 80D
The EOS 1DX Mark II will definitely be overkill for those who don’t make a living out of photography. If you’re an enthusiast and you’ve started to outgrow your entry-level DSLR, step up to the Canon EOS 80D. At its core is a 24.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, DIGIC 6 image processor, 45-point hybrid autofocus system with cross-type points, 7,560 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, Color Tracking AF, and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, all equating to a much improved shooting experience compared to its 70D predecessor. Better yet, its body is dust- and moisture-resistant, and is built from polycarbonate and magnesium alloy so you’ll have no fear taking out into the streets and beyond. It retails for PHP 70,998 with an 18-135 mm IS USM lens.
The Nikon D5 is the brand’s current flagship and it is as powerful as it is intimidating. Inside its full-size, double-grip body is a 20.8 MP FX-format CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 102400 and Expeed 5 processor for high resolution, richly colored, and grainless outputs. It’s able to quickly get a lock on fast-moving subjects with its 153 phase detection points (99 cross-type) and 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor. Add to those its 4K UHD video recording, double card slots, support for radio-controlled advanced wireless lighthing, wired and wireless file transfer, and a very intuitive touch screen and you have a package that’s hard to find fault in. As you’d expect, Nikon’s high-end poster child carries a steep tag, currently pegged at a body-only price of PHP 311,900.
Don’t let the numbers fool you; the D500 is not 100 times better than the D5. It belongs to a class of its own and while it sports some of the things that make the D5 great, the D500 comes in with a tinier, though still highly capable, 20.9 MP DX-format CMOS sensor. Coming with a smaller ISO range of 100 to 51200, it struts its bigger brother’s Expeed 5 processor, 153-point phase detection AF system with 99 cross-sensors, and 3.2-inch touch-enabled LCD. It also boasts ergonomic controls, is great at tracking subjects, and can capture great-looking images at par with the cameras on this list. You can get the body for PHP 96,900, or you can get it with a 16-80 mm kit lens for PHP 148,900.
Nikon 1 J5
You don’t have to punish your wallet trying to buy an ultra high-end shooter if all you want to do is dip your toe in the photography pool. However, that doesn’t mean that you’d have to compromise your potential with a bare-bones unit. The Nikon 1 J5 straddles the line between pocket-friendly and feature-packed perfectly with its 20.8 MP CX-format BSI CMOS sensor, 105 phase detect autofocus points, host of shooting options, and lens flexibility. Yep, you can use any Nikkor DSLR lens on its portable body using the optional FT-1 Mount Adapter. It also has on-board Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for seamless sharing of your photos. Price-wise, the Nikon 1 J5 is a compelling purchase at PHP 25,900 for the unit with 10-30 mm kit lens.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE August 2016 issue.
Words by Chris Noel Hidalgo