18 Top Interchangeable Lens Cameras

July 25, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

Flagship Models

Sony a9

While Sony’s second-generation a7 series gave photographers a mirrorless option to compete with the likes of Canon’s 5D series or Nikon’s D800, Sony didn’t have an answer for the high-performance flagship cameras like the D5 or 1D X Mark II. Until now. The a9 is Sony’s attempt to take the last DSLR beachhead, and it delivers an impressive spec sheet. The 24-megapixel a9 is packed with 693 phase-detect and 25 contrast-detect AF points covering 93 percent of the sensor. It clocks in with a class-leading burst mode of 20 fps with AF tracking engaged for a total of 222 RAW + JPEG images. The a9 has a native ISO of 100-51,200 (expandable to 50-204,800) and performs AF/AE tracking calculations up to 60 times per second. AF performance clocks in about 25 percent faster than the a7 R II, Sony says, and eye tracking is 30 percent more accurate. It can record 4K video (3840 x 2160) at 30p or full HD up to 120 fps. A new battery delivers 480 shots per charge.

PRICE: $4,500

Nikon D5

The D5 boasts a 20.8-megapixel full-frame sensor with a native ISO of 100-102,400. This industry-leading ISO performance can be pushed still further to ISO 50 or 3,280,000. The autofocus system is populated with 153 AF points—the most of any DSLR to date—including 99 cross type points and 15 points supported to f/8. The D5 is capable of focusing on objects in low light down to -4 EV at the central point and -3 EV at all other points. As far as continuous shooting is concerned, you’ll hit 12 fps with continuous AF engaged. Fix focus on the first frame and shoot in mirror-up mode and you can push speeds to 14 fps. The D5 records 3840 x 2160 video at 30, 25 or 24 fps and full HD video
at up to 60 fps.

PRICE: $6,500

Ricoh Pentax K-1

The first—and for now still the only—full-frame DSLR from Pentax, the K-1 boasts a 36.4-megapixel CMOS sensor with no anti-aliasing filter. There is an AA filter simulation mode that can mimic the effect of an optical low-pass filter by slightly shifting the image sensor. The shifting sensor is also responsible for in-camera image stabilization good for up to 5 stops of correction, per CIPA standards. The autofocusing system uses 33 phase-detect points (including 25 cross-type focus points in the center) when focusing through the viewfinder and contrast detection when in live view. There are a pair of SD card slots, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

PRICE: $1,899

Sigma sd Quattro H

The sd Quattro H takes the unique Foveon image sensor technology previously used in Sigma’s APS-C cameras and super-sizes it to an APS-H-sized imager. As you’d expect, the bump in size delivers a corresponding bump in resolution and the sd Quattro H produces the equivalent of a 51-megapixel image—a resolution high-water mark for the mirrorless category. The camera is dust and splash proof and offers a 2.3-megapixel electronic viewfinder and 3-inch display.

PRICE: $1,199

Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon’s workhorse DSLR has been given a new feature update this month to enable a Log color profile. According to Canon, the new Canon Log profile offers suppressed contrast and sharpness and increased dynamic range of up to 800 percent or 12 stops (at ISO 400 or above). Starting in the summer, you’ll be able to choose between the original 5D Mark IV and a slightly more expensive model with the Log profile option. Beyond that, the Mark IV features a 30.4-megapixel CMOS chip with a native ISO range of 100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400).  The AF system has been updated with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for improved AF during video recording and live view. The Mark IV has 61 AF points (all effective at f/8 and all user-selectable) including 41 cross points. The camera’s 3.2-inch display is fully touch, including for AF point selection. The Mark IV records 4K video at 4096 x 2160 at either 30p or 24p.

PRICE: $3,599 (with Log); $3,499 (without Log)

Panasonic GH5

Panasonic’s hybrid mirrorless offers a little something for everyone. For filmmakers, you’ll receive high-quality 4K recording—you can save a 10-bit 422 file at 30p to an SD card or shoot 4K at up to 60p. Full HD frame rates top off at a blistering 180 fps. The 20-megapixel GH5 builds on Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode with a new 6K Photo mode that isolates an 18-megapixel still image from a short 6K clip. Still photographers will enjoy the fact that there’s no low-pass filter on the GH5, plus its improved autofocusing from Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus technology, which has had its speed doubled from previous iterations. Like other Lumix models, the GH5 supports dual image stabilization so that the camera’s stabilizer can work in tandem with compatible image stabilized lenses from Panasonic.

PRICE: $2,000

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

If you want Sony a9-level speeds in a smaller, less expensive body, Olympus’ E-M1 Mark II can burst at 18 fps using an electronic shutter or 15 fps with a mechanical shutter with AF tracking. In Pro Capture mode, you can tap the electronic shutter to start buffering JPEG and RAW images to the camera’s memory before you fully start shooting. The 20-megapixel E-M1 Mark II records 4K video, boasts 5-axis image stabilization and a 50-megapixel High Res Shot mode to coax even more detail from your images.

PRICE: $2,000

Fuji X-T2

The X-T2 uses a 24-megapixel APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS III image sensor with no low-pass filter. It’s the first Fuji camera to support 4K video recording (3840 x 2160 at 30P/25P/24P) for up to 10 minutes per clip. Its AF system boasts 325 AF points, including 91 zone-focusing points. Roughly 40 percent of the imaging area is covered with phase-detect AF pixels. It has a native ISO range of 200-6400, which can be extended to ISO 100 and 51200. There’s an OLED EVF with a speedy 100 fps refresh rate and almost no blackout time.

PRICE: $1,600


Canon 1D X Mark II

The 1D X Mark II is based around a 20.2-megapixel full-frame sensor with a native ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to 50 and 409,600). A pair of DIGIC 6+ image processors give the camera some serious speed–the 1D X Mark II clocks in at up to 14 fps with AF engaged and up to 16 fps in live view mode. When shooting in JPEG, the camera will keep bursting until you run out of memory space on your card. The 1D X Mark II has a 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type points. All the AF points are selectable and supported to f/8. 4K video recording (4096 x 2160) to 60 fps is available in camera when recording to CFast memory. Full HD recording is available up to 120 fps for slow motion.

PRICE: $5,990

Leica SL

Leica’s first full-frame mirrorless, the SL sports a 24-megapixel sensor capable of 4K recording. The sensor has no optical low-pass filter to coax out that much more sharpness. The SL features a 3-inch display and a very high-resolution electronic viewfinder, plus a backlit display of settings on the top of the camera. Shutter speeds top out at 1/8000 sec. with a bulb mode option for a 30-minute exposure. It has a pair of SD card slots with support for fast UHS II memory in the first and slower UHS I cards in the second, in addition to a USB 3.0 port and HDMI output. You’ll have Wi-Fi and NFC, plus built-in GPS for geo-tagging images.

PRICE: $7,450


Mid-Range Models

Olympus PEN E-PL8

The E-PL8 features a 16-megapixel image sensor that shifts to provide 3-axis image stabilization in the camera body good for 3.5 stops of correction, per CIPA standards. Pair the PEN with select Olympus lenses with their own optical stabilization and you’ll enjoy enhanced stabilization as the lens and body systems work in tandem. The PEN offers an 81-point AF system with both phase and contrast detect points with facial and eye detection algorithms. You’ll hit around 7 fps in continuous shooting when focus is fixed on the first frame and image stabilization is on.

PRICE: $550

Fujifilm X-T20

The successor to the X-T10 features a new APS-C sized 24-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro image processing engine. The new sensor/processor duo combine to push the camera’s ISO settings up to 12,800 and deliver faster autofocusing. The X-T20 has 91 AF points (up from 49 in the previous model). Phase-detect AF pixels cover approximately 40 percent of the imaging area. The X-T20 can burst at up to 8 fps for up to 63 JPEGs using a mechanical shutter. Switch to the electronic shutter and you can hit a continuous shooting rate of 14 fps. The X-T20 can record video at 3840 x 2160 at 30p for up to 10 minutes at a clip. It can also record full HD at up to 60p in one of the camera’s nine film-simulation modes.

PRICE: $900

Canon EOS 77D

Canon’s Dual CMOS AF technology has been making the rounds across a growing number of the company’s DSLRs and the 77D is no exception. Armed with Dual CMOS AF, the 77D can focus faster and more accurately during video recording and live view still shooting. There are 45 all cross-type AF points on the sensor. Beyond snappy focusing, the 77D features a 24-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor with an ISO range of 100-25,600. Canon’s newest DIGIC 7 processor is on hand to combat noise and help drive a 6 fps continuous shooting mode. The camera offers an RGB+IR metering sensor that employs Color Detection AF to detect skin tones. According to Canon, when a skin tone is detected, AI Servo autofocusing locks onto skin-colored AF points, then tracks the subject based of the original AF point’s color information, maintaining focus on the person as they move.

PRICE: $900

Nikon D7500

The D7500 inherits many features from Nikon’s flagship DX format DSLR, the D500. The camera incorporates the same 20.9-megapixel image sensor with no optical low-pass filter and a native ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to a whopping ISO 1,640,000) as found in the D500. It boasts a 51 point autofocusing system with 15 cross type sensors and a burst mode of 8 fps in continuous AF for up to 50 RAW images or 100 JPEGs. There’s also a new Auto Picture Control function that analyzes a scene and automatically generates a tone curve within the camera. On the video front, the D7500 records 4K movies (3840 x 2160) at 30p and full HD movies at 60p. You can use Bluetooth low energy to automatically transfer JPEG images to your mobile device along with Wi-Fi for quick transfers and remote control over the camera. The D7500 has a weather-sealed body and delivers 950 shots per charge.

PRICE: $1,250

Ricoh Pentax KP

This durable DSLR is sealed against the elements and offers a 24-megapixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. It has an ISO range of 100-819,200 and a 5-axis image stabilization system good for up to 5 stops of compensation. Like several other recent Pentax DSLRs, the KP has no AA filter and incorporates an AA filter effect which lets you adjust the strength of moiré reduction (or turn it off completely). There’s also a Pixel Shift Resolution mode to create a single photo with less noise and more accurate colors. The KP uses a 27-point AF system with 25 cross-type points with metering available down to -3 EV.

PRICE: $1,100

Panasonic G85

The G85 may not win a megapixel war with its 16-megapixel sensor, but there’s no optical low pass filter, so you can squeeze out more sharpness. Better still, the camera’s 5-axis image stabilizer can be paired with select Panasonic lenses to deliver up to 5 stops of image correction. You can record 4K video at 30p or full HD at 60p with Panasonic’s 4K photo modes, post focus and focus stacking features.

PRICE: $900

Sony a6500

The a6500 features a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100-25,600 (expandable to 51,200). Like its predecessor, the camera’s major claim to fame is an over-abundance of focus points. There are 425 phase-detect points and 169 contrast-detect points with a sensitivity range to -1 EV. Burst speeds can hit 11 fps through the viewfinder or 8 fps in live view—same as the a6300. Unlike its predecessor, the a6500 has in-body, 5-axis image stabilization good for up to 5 stops of image correction, per CIPA.

PRICE: $1,400

Leica TL 2

This APS-C mirrorless camera retains the aluminum unibody build of the original TL, but improves the innards to deliver higher-resolution images and faster performance. The new TL2 features a 24-megapixel APS-C-sized image sensor with an ISO range of 100-50,000. It uses a contrast-detection autofocus system with 49 AF points. According to Leica, it can acquire focus three times faster than its predecessor. It’s able to burst at up to 7 fps using a mechanical shutter and up to 20 fps using an electronic one. On the video front, the TL2 records 4K video (3840 x 2160) at 30p. Full HD recording is also available up to 60p. You can mount both TL and SL series lenses directly to the TL2, and Leica will offer adapters for both M and R series lenses as well. Leica will also sell the Visoflex electronic viewfinder as an accessory for the TL. The viewfinder has an eye sensor and built-in GPS unit for geo-tagging images.

PRICE: $1,950