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Sony A7R V review
4:06 pm | January 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2023
• Sony's best AI-powered autofocus performance
• Launch price: $3,899 / £3,999 / AU$5,899 (body only)
• Official price now: $3,199 / £3,699 / AU$5,499 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The full-frame A7R V's max 61MP resolution is only matched by Sony's own A7C R and various Leica cameras including the Q3. Put simply, in this sensor format you won't get better detail in your pictures. Furthermore, it's autofocus is powered by a dedicated AI chip for improved subject detection, and that's still the best AF performance in any Sony camera, now matched by the A9 III. It's one of the best professional cameras that has also dropped in price on Sony's website since its January 2023 launch, making it better value, too. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony A7R V: Two-minute review

Sony released the first high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera – the A7R back in 2013 – and we’ve had an updated model every couple of years since, culminating in the fifth iteration of the series, the A7R V. A lot has changed in the cameras since then in terms of the ergonomics, handling and, of course, the technology employed. But with more rivals on the scene now, the A7R V is up against some stiff competition from the likes of the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z 7II.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Being the newest model on the block, and offering some impressive specs, the A7R V ultimately has little to worry about, despite not providing the highest performance in all areas. Features include a new 61MP sensor and Bionz XR processing engine, up to eight stops of in-body image stabilization, increased burst shooting and AI-powered subject recognition to improve autofocus. Then there’s video capture up to 8K at 24fps and 4K up to 60fps.

Sony A7R V specs

Sensor: 61MP BSI full-frame CMOS
Processor: Bionz XR (with AI processing unit)
Autofocus: 693-point phase-detection
AF subject recognition: human, animal, bird, insects, car, train, automobile
EVF: 9.44-million dot Quad XGA
In-body stabilization: up to eight stops
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Continuous shooting buffer: 184 raw (compressed)
Video: 8K/24p, 4K/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2

Image quality is, as you’d hope, excellent for both photos and video. But with the high-resolution sensor, you’ll need to use Sony’s best lenses in the G and GM ranges with the resolving power to complement the camera. It’s unlikely that you’d be using lower-end lenses if you’re prepared to pay approximately  $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900 for a camera body so it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re upgrading from a lower-resolution A7 model and already have some cheaper lenses, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

Sony A7R V: Release date and price

  • Went on sale in December 2022
  • Launched with a list price of approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900
  • Price close to medium format

The A7R V was announced in October 2022, and was available to buy from December 2022, costing approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900. We might have expected a slightly higher price given the launch price of the A7R IV and the consequent rise in camera prices over the last year or two.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on front

(Image credit: Future)

That said, the cost of the camera is getting close to that of medium-format models. For instance, the Fujifilm GFX 100S costs approximately $6,000 / £4,800 / AU$9,300 body-only. Those shooting faster subjects such as sport and wildlife, and/or video, the A7R V is undoubtedly the better option, but landscape, portrait and studio photographers could benefit from the larger sensor (1.7x) and higher 100MP resolution of the GFX 100S.

  • Price Score: 4/5

Sony A7R V: design

  • Versatile 4-axis articulating touchscreen
  • Moderate 10fps continuous shooting
  • Dual SD/CFexpress Type A card slots

The overall design of the A7R V is extremely similar to that of previous models, with most innovations occurring under the hood, although there are a few design tweaks that improve upon the A7R IV. Current Sony users will almost certainly feel at home, and newcomers should be able to navigate the main settings with little to no problems. 

On the back of the camera is a new 4-axis 3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, which allows the screen to be tilted and flipped out sideways, and twisted to face forwards; perfect for both stills photography and video. This makes the screen slightly bulkier than on the previous two models, which only had a tilting screen, but this doesn’t impact overall handling. The electronic viewfinder is the same one as on the A7S III, and features an excellent 9.44-million dot resolution with 0.9x magnification.

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The Sony A7R V on a table from above with screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table with dual hinge screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)

Moving up to the top of the camera, the exposure compensation dial is now unmarked, and like most of the buttons and dials it can be set to perform another function if users wish, although having it set to exposure compensation is the most convenient option, despite the almost infinite ways in which you can customize Sony cameras. 

Just like previous A7R models, there are two card slots on the side of the grip that can be set to record in several different ways when two cards are installed. On the A7R V, the card slots can take both SD and CFexpress Type A cards, with the latter being the faster of the two options. This is great if you prefer the cost and capacity benefits of SD cards, but to realize the full speed potential of the camera, considerably more expensive CFexpress Type A cards are a must 

The Sony A7R V close up of the ports

(Image credit: Future)

Shooting speed has also been improved, and the buffer is also larger, with a continuous shooting speed of 10fps available. Sony claims that up to 583 compressed raw images can be captured in Hi+ mode with compressed raw files. For testing, we used a 128GB Kingston Canvas React Plus SD card with transfer speeds of up to 300MB/s. This allowed us to separately shoot 170 JPEGs in Fine quality, 100 Compressed raw files and 50 uncompressed raw files before the camera began to stutter. It’s a far cry from the claimed buffer performance, but is still respectable, and more than most photographers would ever need.

This card was absolutely fine for shooting 8K video, and the camera was able to shoot for 30 minutes. The camera body did heat up during recording in a 64.5F / 18C room, which wasn’t an issue, but in warmer temperatures when shooting outdoors this could be problematic. One way to aid heat dissipation in warmer temperatures when shooting video is to open the battery door on the bottom of the camera, although this presents obvious risks. 

  • Design 5/5

Sony A7R V: features and performance

  • Subject-recognition autofocus
  • 8-stop image stabilization
  • Improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

While the A7R IV didn’t offer a great deal more to entice A7R III owners to upgrade, the A7R V aims to address the deficiencies of its predecessor, and is a much more well-rounded camera overall. The improvements Sony has implemented, alongside the inclusion of some welcome new features, make it significantly more attractive, whether you’re upgrading from an earlier model or switching to Sony from another brand.

One new feature, which is designed to address sensor dust complaints from A7R IV users, is the ability to have the shutter close when the camera is switched off. This might work, but after only using the camera for a few weeks it’s impossible to test this claim. Although, given that  DSLR shutters close after each shot has been taken, and these cameras still suffer from sensor dust, whether it’ll be effective is questionable. 

The Sony A7R V on a table without a lens

(Image credit: Future)

Image stabilization has been improved, with up to eight stops of compensation available when shooting stills. During testing, it was easy to shoot sharp handheld images with a shutter speed of around 1/8 sec, and with a particularly steady hand it was even possible to shoot as slow as one second. For video, Active Mode image stabilization aids smooth handheld shooting, and can be paired with some lenses that feature optical image stabilization for even smoother video.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting has also been improved. In this mode the camera captures 16 frames, with the sensor position shifted slightly between each, which can then be merged into a huge 240.8MP image that’s claimed to be better corrected for minor movement in scenes. This requires Sony’s Image Edge Desktop software to be used, but it would be much more convenient if these composite images were merged in-camera.

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The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight close up of top controls

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

The A7R V features 693 AF points and offers Real-time Recognition AF, enabling you to select from Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train and Airplane. The Human option is much more advanced than simply eye or face detection, and can identify people in wider scenes. The feature generally works well across subjects, but it’s not perfect, and turning off subject recognition requires delving into the camera menu. The best way to switch Real-time Recognition AF on and off is to include this in My Menu, which is the camera’s custom user menu.

My Menu is incredibly useful overall, because Sony cameras are infamous for their labyrinthine menu systems. Another feature worth including here is Bulb Timer Settings. With this, when shooting in Bulb mode you can select any exposure duration from two to 900 seconds, which is incredibly useful when shooting long exposures. With this setting turned on, you can use the self-timer to release the shutter and the camera will time the exposure for you – fantastic when using a Big Stopper.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)
  • Features and performance 4/5

Sony A7R V: image and video quality

  • New 61MP Exmor R sensor boasts 15 stops dynamic range
  • Impressive ISO handling
  • Sharp video up to 8K video

Image quality in many respects comes down to the optics you attach to the camera, with higher-quality lenses naturally offering the best possible image quality. And with the A7R V, this is certainly the case – you’ll get the best results using higher-quality Sony G lenses such as the 20mm F1.8 and 90mm F2.8 Macro and the flagship G Master lenses. The high-resolution sensor is unforgiving when the camera is paired with cheaper and lower-quality optics, so you do need to avoid these if you want the A7R V to achieve its potential.

With high-quality lenses, image quality for both stills and video is excellent thanks to the new 61MP Exmor R sensor and Bionz XR processing engine. Dynamic range is advertised at 15 stops, and you can certainly increase the exposure of underexposed raw files considerably before image degradation becomes problematic. Photo capture is available in 14-bit raw, compressed raw, HEIF and JPEG, so you’ve got plenty of options.

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A long exposure seascape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of a bridge against a sunny sky taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A modern building on a sunny day taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

ISO performance is impressive within the native ISO 100-32,000 range, with the expanded range taking settings from ISO 50-102,400. The best quality comes at settings up to ISO 1600, with images shot at up to 6400 still looking reasonably good, and those taken at up to ISO 25,600 providing usable results. Beyond this, noise and color loss become very evident, leaving images pretty much unusable.

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Inside an abandoned building taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Beach homes in the sun taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A river and sunny landscape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A cityscape reflected in water on a sunny day  taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

Video quality is equally impressive, with 8K video available at 24fps, 4K up to 60fps, and FHD up to 120fps in NTSC or 100fps in PAL, with a 4:2:2 10-bit color depth available. Color profiles include S-Cinetone and S-Log3 among others, so there’s plenty to keep hybrid stills/video shooters happy. Videographers will find the A7S III is a better camera overall for shooting video; you could certainly shoot professional video with the A7R V, but it’s not the best Sony A-series camera for the job.

  • Image and video quality 5/5

Should I buy the Sony A7R V?

The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Sony A7R V review has you wondering about alternatives, here are two rivals to consider.

Sony A7R V: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

Fujifilm X-H2S review
2:50 am | September 7, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Still the only 'stacked' APS-C sensor
• Launch price: $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only)
• Official price now: $2,499 / £1,999 / AU$3,999 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The X-H2S remains the quickest camera around with APS-C sensor. It's the only camera in this format to feature a stacked sensor that offers unparalled speed for action photography and video, with 40fps burst shooting and 6.2K 10-bit internal video, plus in-body stabilization. It's still the most expensive APS-C mirrorless camera, but price reductions particularly in the UK make the X-H2S one of the most compelling video cameras and stills camera especially for sports and wildlife. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Fujifilm X-H2S: Two-minute review

The Fujifilm X-H2S is an incredibly powerful mirrorless camera for sports and action photographers who also want to shoot pro-quality video. It’s expensive for an APS-C camera and features like 40fps burst shooting will be overkill for many. But the X-H2S is also a hybrid camera with few peers, and its all-round performance also justifies that price tag.

The key to its power is a new, stacked 26MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS APS-C sensor. So-called ‘stacked’ sensors, which have a design that delivers incredibly fast read-out speeds, have so far only appeared in flagship full-frame cameras like the Nikon Z9, Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. But the X-H2S brings some of that performance to a camera with the comparatively ‘low’ price of $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only).

The X-H2S may have a smaller sensor than those full-frame cameras, but it’s definitely capable of pro-quality results. Thanks to the combination of that new sensor and an X-Processor 5, it offers blackout-free continuous shooting at 40fps (with the electronic shutter), plus some impressive subject-tracking skills, and the option of shooting 6.2K/30p or 4K/120p video with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Fans of Fujifilm’s signature retro look, which usually includes the tactile dials seen on old film cameras, might be disappointed by the design of the X-H2S. It’s very much a modern brute of a camera, with a more clinical focus on performance. But while it lacks the charms of the X-T series, the X-H2S is an incredibly fun camera to use.

It has one of the best electronic viewfinders we’ve used, while the subject-tracking autofocus (which now recognizes animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains) makes it by far the best Fujifilm X-series camera for shooting moving subjects. Video shooters are also incredibly well-served by a sparkling spec sheet that includes internal ProRes recording.

There’s no denying that the X-H2S is expensive, and many photographers will probably be better off buying an X-T4 plus a lens or two with the considerable spare change. After all, 40fps burst shooting isn’t ideal for your editing workflow and Fujifilm’s autofocus, which is still a little short of the flagship performance offered by its rivals, is more hit-and-miss in this top mode.

But if you do regularly shoot speeding subjects and also need a pro-quality video camera that’s more travel-friendly than many of its full-frame rivals, the X-H2S makes a very compelling argument for being top of your shortlist. 

Fujifilm X-H2S: Release date and price

  • Available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only)
  • Similar price to some full-frame cameras like the Sony A7 IV
  • X-H2S has a smaller sensor but superior performance to its full-frame rivals

The Fujifilm X-H2S is available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only). Some new X-H2S accessories are also now available, including the VG-XH vertical battery grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) and, for video shooters, a FAN-001 Cooling Fan ($199 / AU$369).

This price makes the X-H2S one of the most expensive APS-C cameras around and it’s a pretty big step up from the Fujifilm X-H1, which arrived in 2018 for £1,699 / $1,899 / AU$3,399. But the X-H2S does combine a new 26.1MP stacked sensor with the X-Processor 5, which allows it to make improvements across the board to autofocus, video, burst shooting and more.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The X-H2S faces stiff opposition in its price bracket, including the Canon EOS R6 ($2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499), Sony A7 IV ($2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299) and Panasonic Lumix S5 ($1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,199). 

All of those cameras have larger full-frame sensors, but none offer the speedy all-rounded performance of a stacked APS-C sensor, which is the USP of Fujifilm's new flagship.

  • Price: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: design

  • Has ‘PASM’ control setup rather than Fujifilm’s traditional dials
  • Excellent 5.76-million dot viewfinder and articulating screen
  • Tough, weather-sealed body with useful top-plate LCD

The Fujfilm X-H2S looks and feels like a professional camera. This may disappoint fans of Fujifilm’s retro dials, but its pronounced grip, top-plate LCD screen and overall heft helps to balance out the longer lenses you'll likely want to pair it with. The X-H2S also has one of the best electronic viewfinders (EVF) we’ve used on any camera.

Weighing in at 660g, the X-H2S is slightly smaller and lighter than the X-H1. But it also borrows many of its design cues from Fujifilm’s medium format GFX series. Its top plate, for example, is pretty similar to the one on the Fujifilm GFX50S II.

This all means that the X-H2S does away with Fujifilm's signature array of manual dials, instead adopting the PASM (Program, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Manual) approach favored by its rivals. You’ll largely be changing shutter speed or ISO using the front and rear dials, which will be a comfortably familiar experience for most non-Fuji fans.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

While some may miss the dedicated dials of the X-T series, this approach makes sense on a camera like the X-H2S, where settings like shutter speed will be largely tweaked while looking through the viewfinder at speeding subjects. Fuji has also previously stated that many photographers have been put off from switching to the X-series because they find its dials too confusing.

This PASM dial, with its seven custom modes, sits to the left of the viewfinder, though it’s a shame there’s no handy ‘drive mode’ switch underneath for quickly switching between. Still, on the right-hand side of the top plate you'll find that useful LCD screen (for quickly checking settings like shutter speed, aperture and ISO) on the right next to buttons for ISO, white balance and video recording. 

Unlike cameras like the Canon EOS R7 and Sony A7 IV, the X-H2S only has a standard hot-shoe rather than a 'multi-function' one that can power or transfer data to external accessories. If you regularly use flashes or external microphones, you might find the setup of those rival cameras to be a bit simpler and cleaner due to the lack of cables.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Around the back, the Fujifilm X-H2S is pretty similar to the X-H1. There's a fully articulating touchscreen, which flips around the front for video shooters. One of the main changes is a new AF joystick, which is larger than before and has moved up next to the viewfinder. While we initially found this AF stick to be a bit of a stretch for our thumb, we soon got used to it and found the X-H2S to be very comfortable to shoot with.

One significant upgrade that the X-H2S has over the rest of the X-series is that impressive 5.76-million dot OLED viewfinder. Thanks to its size (it has an equivalent 0.8x magnification), resolution and 120fps refresh rate, we found it to be one of the best viewfinders we’ve used. The resolution remains high whatever focusing method you’re using and it makes the EVFs on the rest of the X-series, and even rivals like the Sony A7 IV, look dated.

Overall, the X-H2S has great handling and is a lot of fun to use. The lack of a drive mode switch beneath the main dial is a bit annoying, as is the absence of a focus mode switch on the front. We also wish the front and rear dials were still clickable like on other Fuji cameras. But the X-H2S otherwise offers a very polished, and customizable, shooting experience for both stills and video shooters.

  • Design and handling: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: features and performance

  • Maintains 40fps speeds for over three seconds with CFexpress card
  • Impressive subject-tracking autofocus, if not quite class-leading
  • Useful in-body image stabilization and no overheating issues

The X-H2S is by far the most powerful Fujifilm camera to date and one of the best hybrid cameras for stills and video that you can buy. It may not offer the dynamic range or low-light performance of full-frame rivals like the Sony A7 IV, but it more than compensates with the burst shooting, autofocus and video skills that are unlocked by its stacked sensor. 

Like the OM System OM-1, the X-H2S focuses mainly on speed for wildlife and sports shooters (hence the ‘S’ in its name). It can blast through stills at 40fps (raw or JPEG) when using the electronic shutter, all with full AF / AE tracking and with no blackout in the viewfinder. But how usable is this burst shooting in practice?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

We did some burst-shooting tests using both a CFexpress card and SD card to find out. You can see our results below. The conclusion is that you’ll definitely want to use a CFexpress card to unlock the true potential of the X-H2S. 

This will let you hit the top 40fps speed for just over three seconds until the buffer slows things down, or over five seconds when shooting at 30fps. While the 20fps mode isn’t quite unlimited, we found you can keep going for at least 15 seconds at these speeds, which is more than enough for most situations.

There are a few caveats to add to this, though. Firstly, we found the autofocus performance to be a little more hit-and-miss when shooting fast-moving subjects like motocross riders at 40fps. 

This means that you’re better off switching to ‘only’ 20fps or 30fps during particularly challenging scenes. Also, while the rolling shutter is minimal when using the electronic shutter, it hasn’t been completely eliminated for fast panning shots. This means you’ll still want to use this camera’s 15fps mechanical shutter mode on some occasions.

Lastly, the final thing to bear in mind when shooting at 40fps is that it’ll leave you with some considerable photo-culling to do before editing. So while it’s definitely a useful more to have for extreme situations, you may not ultimately use it that often for those reasons.

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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)

How does the X-H2S’ autofocus perform overall? In our tests, very well. It isn’t a huge leap up from the Fujifilm X-T4, and its tracking isn’t quite as unerringly confident as the systems on flagship rivals like the Canon EOS R5 or Sony A7 IV. 

But it’s still certainly good enough for high-end sports and wildlife shooting, once you’ve tailored it to your needs.

A football player pointing and shouting

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the usual ability to track human faces and eyes, the X-H2S can track animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains, as long as you’ve selected the right one in the menu. 

One day, cameras will be able to automatically apply the right AF mode to whatever you’re looking at, but for now you still need to manually pick your subject in the menus.

We found the eye detection worked well for portrait shots or soccer matches, proving pretty sticky whether our subject was moving or not. Animal detection, meanwhile, was versatile enough to recognize subjects like foxes and lock onto their eyes. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Switching to car and bike autofocus mode at the Goodwood Festival of Speed produced similarly impressive results, with the X-H2S quickly drawing a tracking box around our speedily-moving subject before locking onto a face or head. 

For cars, it’d often default to the front of the car if it couldn’t find a helmet through the windshield. Our autofocus hit-rate was again best when using either the 15fps or 20fps burst modes, so we generally stuck to these for the best results. 

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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to stabilization, the X-H2S is pretty similar to the Fujifilm X-T4. On paper, these cameras offer six-to-seven stops of compensation when shooting handheld, although in our experience that’s closer to four-to-five stops with most lenses and does vary depending on which lens you’re using. 

Still, you certainly get a useful helping hand when using longer lenses and the combination of in-body stabilization with Fujifilm’s digital image stabilization (DIS) can produce tripod-style results when handholding. It’s less useful for moving shots, though, so you’ll definitely still need a gimbal when doing walk-and-talk style vlogging.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Lastly, battery life and overheating. The X-H2S offers a fairly standard battery performance for a high-end mirrorless cameras, lasting for 390 shots per charge when using the EVF or 580 when shooting with the LCD. That might sound a bit limiting, but you’ll get a lot more shots than that in reality when using burst mode – we took over 1,000 photos before needing to change batteries. You can also add an optional VG-XH grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) to triple the camera’s endurance.

Video shooters will be pleased to hear that the X-H2S doesn’t have any overheating limitations either. Without any of the old recording limits that we’ve seen on previous Fujifilm cameras, we were able to shoot in 4K for over two hours before the battery gave out. This makes it a good choice for those looking to shoot longform interviews, particularly as the eye-tracking works best in fairly static scenes.

  • Features and performance: 5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: image and video quality

For photos, the Fujifilm X-H2S offers no major image quality upgrades over its cheaper siblings like the X-T4. That might sound a bit disappointing considering the camera’s price, but the benefits of its new 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS sensor are its fast readout speeds, which mainly affect autofocus and burst shooting (alongside video).

Those features can definitely help you get shots that aren’t possible on cameras like the X-T4, particularly when it comes to moving subjects. But because the X-H2S has the same 26.1MP resolution as previous X-Trans IV cameras, you won’t see any major quality improvements in the shots themselves.

This is no bad thing. We’ve long been impressed with the results produced by X-series cameras, including the ‘color science’ behind that unique X-Trans design. And it’s no different on the X-H2S, which produces some lovely JPEGs and raw files with a good few stops of editing leeway.

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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Our ISO tests produced very similar results to our X-T3, with results very acceptable up to ISO 6400 before smoothing becomes visible due to some increased luminance noise. This is where full-frame cameras still have the slight edge, but the X-H2S’ results from ISO 12800 or above are still certainly usable in emergencies.

Fans of Fujifilm’s Film Simulations – which are based on its classic film stock – will also be pleased to see that all 19 options, from Classic Chroma to Eterna, are available to add a quick bit of personality to JPEGs.

But it’s video where the X-H2S really does feel like a step up from previous X-series cameras, particularly when it comes to the resolutions, frame-rates and bit-depths that are available. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

You can shoot 6.2K/30p video internally with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth, or 4K/120p slo-mo video if you're prepared to accept a 1.29x crop. Unfortunately, there is also a slight crop when shooting Full HD/240p video and that mode is pretty soft, but the sensor's speedy read-out speeds largely control any rolling shutter issues.   

Pro videographers will also be pleased to see support for the flat F-Log2 profile, which offers 14 stops of dynamic range for color-grading in post. If you bring a CFexpress card to the party, there's also support for three Apple ProRes codecs: ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, and particularly useful ProRes 422 LT. Perhaps our only complaint here is how labyrinthine all the menus are.

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A man's face on the sidelines of a football match

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A BMX rider doing a jump on a track

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a supercar in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)
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The grill of a supercar at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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Three boys watching a crowd

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a racing car in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)

Whatever settings you choose, the X-H2S’ video quality is generally clean and crisp, even if its slo-mo modes are slightly disappointing – the 4K/120p mode incurs a 1.29x crop, while the 240p mode is best avoided. But overall the X-H2S is a powerful, pro-quality video camera, which is pretty impressive when you consider how capable it is for stills, too.

  • Image and video quality: 4.5

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-H2S?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don'y buy it if...

Fujifilm X-H2S: also consider

Testing scorecard

Panasonic Lumix GH6 review
3:30 pm | March 4, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: February 2022
• Video-focused model with Panasonic's older contrast detection AF
• Launch price: $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,699 (body only)
• Official price now: $2,199 / £1,399 / AU$3,699 (body only)

Update: February 2024. It's been two years since Panasonic launched the GH6 and back then it was the best video tool for the money albeit with one weakness; its autofocus performance for video. Since then, Panasonic has introduced an all-new and improved phase detection AF system for video in its full-frame Lumix S5 II / S5 II X and the micro four thirds Lumix G9 II. However, the GH6 can be had for less in 2024 and still packs a powerful punch for video creatives, especially if autofocus isn't crucial to your workflow. It still very much merits its place in our best video cameras guide, but will it get directly replaced with a newer model with phase detect AF? Let's wait and see. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Panasonic Lumix GH6: Two-minute review

Last year’s Panasonic Lumix GH5 II was just the appetizer: for would-be filmmakers looking for a small camera with huge creative potential, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is the true main course. 

And what a feast it is: the new flagship in Panasonic’s Lumix G range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras based on the Micro Four Thirds mount, the 25.2MP GH6 fits a dizzying array of movie skills into its compact body. There’s 5.7K video at 60fps and Apple ProRes 422 HQ recording, 7.5 stops of in-body image stabilization, 4-channel XLR audio recording and a monitor that can be tilted in almost any direction.

The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a tripod

(Image credit: Future)

With full-frame cameras proving popular with filmmakers right now, some might question whether a Micro Four Thirds camera like the GH6 remains an attractive proposition. To us, its appeal is clear: while full-frame sensors might perform better in low light, make it easier to achieve a shallow depth of field in shots and deliver a wider dynamic range, Micro Four Thirds cameras are generally smaller, lighter and more affordable. And because the sensor is smaller, it’s easier to stabilize more effectively.

All of the above applies with the GH6, and its thoughtful design, superb handling and the sheer wealth of video options on offer make it a tool that’ll suit all but the most demanding of mirrorless movie makers. It’s no slouch when it comes to still photography either – its contrast-based autofocus performance (while still not as impressive as some hybrid systems from Panasonic’s rivals) seems markedly improved over the GH5 II’s, and small touches like the dual tally lights and record buttons make a difference too.

After a couple of weeks with the GH6 we’re left in no doubt that this is Panasonic’s most powerful Micro Four Thirds camera to date, and the best MFT camera for filmmakers full-stop. It's also one of the best YouTube cameras out there right now, and certainly one of the best video cameras.

Panasonic Lumix GH6: Price and release date

The Panasonic Lumix GH6 is available to buy now for a body-only price of $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,699. If you don't have any Micro Four Thirds lenses to get started, you can also get a 12-60mm zoom lens kit for $2,799 / £2,199 / AU$4,799. 

That makes the GH6 slightly more expensive than the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II, another video-focussed hybrid mirrorless Micro Four Thirds model. That camera costs £1,499 / AU$2,499 body only or £1,699 / AU$2,699 with the same 12-60mm lens. 

The GH6 is also pricier than the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5, an L-mount mirrorless model that costs $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,199. It isn't Panasonic’s most expensive video-centric mirrorless camera, though: the Netflix-approved Panasonic Lumix S1H L-mount camera launched for $3,999 / £3,599 / AU$5,999 (body only).

The Panasonic Lumix GH6 on a blue background

(Image credit: Panasonic)

In terms of rivals, the GH6 is in a similar bracket to the Sony A7 IV ($2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299), Canon EOS R6 ($2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499) and Nikon Z6 II ($2,600 / £2,549 / AU$4,399) but, depending on where you live, slightly cheaper than all three. 

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro ($2,495 / £2,254 / AU$3,935) is also an interesting alternative given it can also record Apple ProRe, but it does lack many of the creature comforts (like continuous tracking autofocus and a functional stills shooting mode) that the GH6 provides.

Your decision on whether to go for the Panasonic Lumix GH6 or one of its many rivals could also hinge on the discounts we see in the incoming Black Friday camera deals. While the GH6 is a relatively new camera, we did see the Lumix GH5 II get some impressive discounts in Amazon's Prime Day sales earlier this year. So if you're on the fence, we definitely recommend waiting to see what the Black Friday deals bring. 

Panasonic Lumix GH6: Design and handling

The GH6’s body shape is immediately familiar: it’s that well-worn, DSLR-inspired design used by most of Panasonic’s Lumix G series. It might not be particularly original, but it works: there’s a big textured grip to wrap your right hand around while your left supports the lens, and a nice clear OLED electronic viewfinder with 3.68-million dots for composing, previewing and reviewing your shots no matter how bright the weather conditions.

Speaking of weather conditions, the body is sealed against dust and water ingress (it’s not officially IP-rated as far as we can see, but Panasonic calls it “dust and splash resistant”) and is built on a rugged magnesium alloy frame for toughness. It’ll also work to temperatures as low as -10ºC/14ºF.

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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a tripod

(Image credit: Future)
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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)
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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)

The physical buttons, wheels and dials are thoughtfully positioned, and as frequent users of the GH5 II we found the GH6 to be pleasingly familiar to control and use. Panasonic has considerately placed a second video record button on the front of the camera (the first is up on the top plate), which is really helpful for vlogging and other self-shooting work. There are also tally lights both front and back to make it clear when you’re recording, which you don’t get on the GH5 II.

The 3-inch touchscreen is the best we’ve seen on a recent Panasonic Lumix GH model, with a super-flexible design: not only does it flip and twist, it also tilts – just like the screen on the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S1H. Not only does that give you greater scope for shooting at unusual angles, it also lets you attach both a USB and a full-size HDMI cable to the GH6 without blocking your view of the screen.

The body itself is lightweight and compact considering its impressive array of specs – a key benefit of the small physical size of its image sensor. Without a lens attached but with an SD card and battery inserted, the GH6 weighs just 823g, and measures 138.4 x 100.3 x 99.6mm, which makes it only slightly bigger than the GH5 II. The added bulk here seems to come as a consequence of the new forced-fan cooling system, which causes the screen to bulge out from the back slightly. But it’s still a fairly trim package overall, with handling that makes it a joy to use in the vast majority of situations.

Panasonic Lumix GH6: Features and autofocus

Being a video-first hybrid, the connectivity of the GH6 appears to have been given lots of thought. 

There’s a full-size HDMI Type A that can output video up to C4K 4:2:2 10-bit at 60fps, headphone and microphone ports and XLR microphone compatibility (via the optional DMW-XLR1 accessory), while the USB-C port with 10Gbps transfer speed that can also be used as a constant power supply, a battery charger and (following a recent firmware update) for direct recording to a 2TB external SSD.

There are two card slots, one for standard SD and the other for CFexpress Type B cards (a first on a Lumix G camera, and vital for recording video in some of the more demanding formats like ProRes). CFexpress cards are expensive, so do factor that in when budgeting.

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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)
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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)
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The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future)

The contrast-based DFD autofocus setup is similar to that of the GH5 II, with a wide range of options available, including automatic tracking of moving objects and detection settings that will recognize and track human, animal and eye/face subjects. The tracking generally works well – a lot better than on previous Panasonic cameras, we feel – but you do occasionally notice a “pulse” when the AF system is hunting down a lock.

This just seems to be a side-effect of contrast detection, and one that users will need to accept, but the GH6 does seem markedly better here than the GH5 II. One useful way you can avoid too much hunting here is to use the new autofocus limiter option, which lets you set a range for the AF – it won’t attempt to focus on anything outside of that; handy if you’re filming a subject that isn’t moving about too much.

A lot of filmmakers use manual focus, of course, and the GH6 is impressive here, too: when you begin to twist the lens ring to focus, the screen or viewfinder shows a zoomed-in preview of your subject to help you get things perfect, and you can also turn on focus peaking to identify the sharpest areas in a contrasting color.

Last and certainly not least, the GH6’s 5-axis image stabilization system has been given an algorithmic upgrade over the GH5 II’s, and Panasonic claims it now offers up to 7.5 stops of correction – to the point where you can shoot a 100MP photograph in the image-stacking High Resolution mode handheld (previously, a tripod was required). 

We tried that and it worked really well, but it’s superb for video too: if you want to record to-camera vlogs while walking, or film moving subjects with an almost gimbal-like steadiness, the GH6’s stabilization makes it one of the best cameras we’ve seen at smoothing out motion in a way that seems natural.

Panasonic Lumix GH6: Image and video quality

There’s a truly mind-boggling level of customizability to the video here. We were impressed by the GH5 II’s wealth of formats, resolutions and frame rates, but the GH6 takes things to even greater heights. 

The lengthy list of video options might seem like overkill to the casual user, but filmmakers will be rubbing their hands together at the creative possibilities offered by the likes of Apple ProRes, 5.8K anamorphic, 5.7K resolutions and variable frame-rate recording, as well as the fact that almost all the recording modes are 10-bit rather than 8-bit.

At launch, ProRes 422 and 422 HQ is available only for 5.7K recording (at 60/50/24fps), but a forthcoming firmware update should add options for using it at lower resolutions including Full HD and Cinema 4K ProRes. Currently, you can also shoot 4K at up to 120fps and Full HD at up to 240fps (ideal for slow motion playback and speed ramping) and 10-bit Cinema 4K 4:2:2 at up to 60fps.

Panasonic has included a wide range of picture profiles (called “photo styles” here) including Cinelike D2, Cinelike V2, Like709, V-Log and HLG. So there’s a lot of scope for filmmakers who want to color grade their footage afterwards. 

The GH6 also comes with a new feature called Dynamic Range Boost which Panasonic claims expands V-Log’s dynamic range from 12+ stops to 13+ stops. In testing, we didn’t spot a big difference coming from using it, but we suspect it’s something that will be more noticeable to those meticulously grading and color correcting their footage in Premiere, Final Cut Pro or Resolve.

Unlike some of its mirrorless rivals, the GH6 shouldn’t experience overheating issues that limit the length of its recording times and necessitate a long cooling-off period before recording can resume. Panasonic has fitted it with a new forced-fan cooling system which it claims will remove all overheating problems, so the only thing limiting recording length should be storage capacity. We certainly experienced no issues with heat during our testing period.

The only imaging issue we suspect the GH6 might face is its low-light performance. The small physical size of the sensor on Micro Four Thirds cameras often means their light-gathering abilities seem limited in comparison to the larger APS-C and full-frame sensors employed by other mirrorless cameras. But if you're aware of that and are willing to work around it, we can’t see it being a huge barrier to achieving good results. As you can see from our test footage above, our twilight shots came out fairly well.

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A quay of boats in Ramsgate

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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Ferns on a backdrop of blue sky

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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The bust of a man's head

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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A man standing in front of a date palm

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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The leaves of a plant

(Image credit: Panasonic)

While the video side of the GH6 is definitely the one getting all the attention, like previous GH Lumix cameras it’s a hybrid camera with a lot of thought put into the still photography side of things. There’s a mechanical shutter, the standard M/A/P/S selection of shooting modes and a wide range of options for specialist stills shooting, including the aforementioned 100MP image-stacking High Resolution mode and some extremely fast burst shooting (up to 75 shots per second with the electronic shutter).

The small sensor size and relatively small ISO range (50-25600 for still photography in extended mode, or 250-12800 in V-Log) hint at the GH6’s main issue when compared to full-frame rivals: it’s not particularly comfortable in low-light situations. It will do a passable job, but we wouldn’t advise anyone to shoot an indoor wedding or concert photos with one of these – it’s far more comfortable outdoors in abundant light.

Should I buy the Panasonic Lumix GH6?

The Panasonic GH6 camera sitting on a tripod

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Nikon Z fc review
6:02 pm | September 9, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2021
• A pricier and tougher full-frame Nikon Zf was consequently announced
• Launch price: $959 / £899 / AU$1,799 (body only)
• Official price now: $959 / £879 / around AU$1,699 (body only)

Update: February 2024. If you love the retro look, the Nikon Z fc is still arguably the best value mirrorless camera since its September 2021 release. It goes up against the Fujifilm X-T30 II, and neither of these beginner cameras have been replaced yet. If money is no object then the Nikon Zf full-frame camera with the same analog Nikon FM2-inspired look is the sturdier option with better specs, but the Z fc remains a beautiful camera to have by your side and one of the best travel cameras. In fact, Nikon is yet to launch another APS-C camera since the Z30 designed for vlogging, so its 20.9MP sensor and 4K video spec is yet to be bettered for Nikon fans. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Nikon Z fc: Two-minute review

The Nikon Z fc is the company's second mirrorless camera with an APS-C crop sensor, after the Nikon Z50. Under the hood, the two cameras are virtually identical, but it's clear from the outside that the shooting experience is altogether different. Much of this review, therefore, focuses on the new design of the Nikon Z fc. 

The current Nikon Z lineup now consists of two APS-C cameras, two second-generation full-frame models, the Nikon Z6 II and Nikon Z7 II, plus the Nikon Z5. The native lens lineup is much more developed for full-frame, with 17 lenses to the two dedicated APS-C zoom kit lenses. However, the new Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens launched alongside the Nikon Z fc that we had during this test is an aesthetic pairing and a compelling 42mm f/2.8 equivalent lens.

The Nikon Z fc camera on a park bench

(Image credit: Future)

So what is behind this new camera's name? 'F' stands for 'fusion', as in of the old and new. This rhetoric exists in the full-frame Nikon Df from 2013, and likewise here we have a digital camera inspired by the company's own legacy analogue cameras. 

In the case of the Nikon Z fc, a beginner mirrorless camera, homage is paid to the 30-year-old Nikon FM2; the form factor and dimensions viewed from the front are practically the same. The FM2 is deeper on account of its film holder and its larger full-frame format which physically requires more depth. 

As for the 'c', in the name, it indicates that the camera is for 'casual' use. This could be anything from the competitive price, the smaller sensor format compared to full-frame, the vari-angle screen, the modest single UHS-I SD card slot, or the lack of weather-sealing. 

No, we wouldn't want to bash this beautiful camera for beginners around too much. And that's a slight shame – we can't help wish this was a 'Nikon Z f' rather than a Nikon Z fc. The camera it's inspired by, the Nikon FM2, was a serious full-frame workhorse that could take a bullet for you, with a mechanical shutter able to rattle off frames with no battery power. It's a camera that lasts, while the Nikon Z fc is aimed at an altogether different photographer.

Still, the Z fc is a beautiful, casual camera with a capable specification; 20.9MP sensor, 4K video up to 30fps, continuous tracking AF for people, animals, faces and eyes, and an inspired vari-angle touch screen. The Z fc is the affordable option too; if you want a digital camera with ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation dials, you're looking at the twice-the-price Fujifilm X-T4, or if you can live without the ISO dial, then the Fujfilm X-T30 II enters the frame.

For travel snappers or those who want a camera that's as pretty as the photos it takes, the Nikon Zfc is one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy, as well as of course one of the best travel cameras. Keen photographers who need features like dual card slots will want to look elsewhere, and we're hoping for a full-frame version, but not many modern cameras are as fun to use as this.         

Nikon Z fc: Release date and price

The Nikon Z fc is available to buy in a variety of bundles. If you just want to buy the camera body-only, it'll cost $959 / £899 / AU$1,499, but you can also buy it with different lenses, or in a lens kit with both wide-angle and telephoto zooms.

The ideal kit for street photographers will likely be the Nikon Zfc with the new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE prime lens, which together will cost $1,199 / £1,129 / AU$1,899. If you'd rather go for the Zfc with the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens, that kit will set you back $1,099 / £1,039 / AU$1,699.

The Nikon Z fc camera on a shelf

(Image credit: Future)

In Australia, there's a two-lens kit also available for AU$2,000 that bundles the Zfc body with the 16-50mm glass mentioned above, as well as the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR zoom.

In the UK, there's also a vlogging kit priced at £1,169 that includes the NIKKOR Z 16-50mm VR silver lens, a Sennheiser on-camera directional microphone with wind protection, and a SmallRig tripod grip. The tripod grip features a magnetic recess that holds the Nikon ML-L7 remote control (included).

Nikon Z fc: Design

  • It's a stunning camera
  • Inspired vari-angle touch screen
  • A new retro-styled 28mm f/2.8 Z lens

You don't have to be a fan of the Nikon FM2 to appreciate the design of the Nikon Z fc. It's a beautiful-looking camera. We remember the Nikon FM2 well – an aspirational camera for enthusiasts – and the attention to detail in reimagining the FM2 for today is painstakingly admirable.

There is everything to like about the Nikon Z fc. From the front, it's virtually the same dimensions as the FM2, meaning this is one dinky camera, barely a handful. Its form factor, design cues, everything sings FM2. Even the typography is inspired by it. 

The view from the top is equally impressive. While thinner than the FM2, it still packs exposure dials for ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation dial. We love the tiny window with an LCD display of the current aperture setting. Nikon has gone most of the way there, but wait, the lenses. 

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The top of the Nikon Z fc camera on a shelf

(Image credit: Future)
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The shutter speed and exposure compensation dials on the Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Future)
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The ISO dial of the Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Future)

A new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens was launched alongside the Z fc, and like the camera it certainly looks the retro-part. But why is there no aperture control ring on this special edition full-frame lens? With that full complement of exposure dials on the camera's top plate, we sorely missed an aperture control ring on the lens and you won't find one on any other Nikon Z lens.

You can change the sole control ring on the 28mm lens from focus to aperture, but you can't have both at the same time. Otherwise, you shift aperture by using the camera's front command dial, but it's not nearly as intuitive as on the lens, especially when you're already shifting the shutter speed dial with those same right-hand fingers. 

Ultimately, the lack of dedicated lens aperture control ring becomes a reason to use the Z fc in auto, foregoing the top dials for exposure changes (the main point of this concept). Like with the majority of Fujifilm’s X-series lenses, we hope new special edition legacy lenses are launched for the Z-series that feature an aperture control. Still, if you don't shoot in aperture priority, who cares, right?

The ISO dial on the top of the Nikon Z fc camera

(Image credit: Future)

In understanding those exposure dials, the built-in program mode switch that includes auto, the implementation of in-camera auto ISO, you can get the exposure effect you want super-quick. By the way, in-camera auto ISO handles a charm just like high-end Nikon cameras, meaning minimum acceptable shutter speed can be manually selected.

Elsewhere, the Z fc's flip touchscreen that's on hand for selfie-shooters and vloggers is totally the right call here, but for additional reasons. This type of screen can be folded away completely – revealing a protective dappled leather finish instead. You can pretend it's screen-less in a way that's not possible with fixed or tilt screens. We're not quite in Fujifilm X-Pro 3 territory – a camera that simulates a loaded film roll on its rear – but the look is spot on. 

With a circular eyecup design for the EVF (electronic viewfinder), the look from the rear is complete. The EVF is a reasonably large display with a feature set and performance that is competitive at this price point; 2.36-million-dots and a refresh rate of 60fps. You'll have to press your eye in right up close to get a clear view though. 

The Nikon Z fc camera on a shelf

(Image credit: Future)

As for the touchscreen, it is super simple to use. You get touch focus with subject tracking, shutter response, full menu navigation and playback control, this is how touchscreens are meant to be. And the footprint of the touchscreen is minimal, adding very little to the overall size of the Z fc. 

Around the exposure dials are little hints that this is a camera for today. The shutter speed dial has a switch to shift from shooting stills to video (the Nikon Df couldn't shoot video at all – a philosophical choice). Sadly, the in-camera menu remains the same whether you are shooting photos or video. Separate custom menus would be welcome for photo and video to make navigating your options much simpler. 

The Nikon Z fc possesses a magnesium alloy 'skeleton' which is very impressive at this price point. However, there's no weather-sealing, which lives up to the 'casual' name. It might be due to its great looks, but we were particularly conscious to look after the camera.

The battery of the Nikon Z fc camera

(Image credit: Future)

From our time with the Z fc, we found battery life par-for-the-course, getting a full day of moderate use that this camera is technically designed for. Go video heavy or swing towards those extended continuous high sequences and the picture is different, of course. However, it is now possible to charge the camera on-the-go via the USB-C input. Handy. Speaking of inputs, there is a 3.5mm microphone port, plus mini HMDI. 

Elsewhere, what you get with the mirrorless tech is an option for a silent shutter. Paired with the flip screen for subtle waist-level viewing, the Z fc represents an unobtrusive shooter ideal for travel and street photography. 

Faced up to the similarly-priced Nikon Z50, we prefer the Z fc design. There's the vari-angle screen and USB-C charging, plus exposure compensation is operational when in auto exposure mode. Some may prefer the feel of the deeper handgrip of the Z50, especially with longer lenses, though there is an optional grip for the Z fc. 

Nikon Z fc: Features and performance

  • Tracking AF with priority for people and animals
  • 11fps burst shooting
  • Single UHS-I SD card slot

For all its retro charm and emphasis on manual control, the Nikon Z fc is no slouch and comes packed with a competitive feature set. 

Start up time is brisk, with the camera able to shoot within a second of powering up. No dawdling here. Z-series lenses focus quickly and quietly for general scenes, offering a manual focus override, too. There's on-screen touch tracking auto-focus that is sticky on your subject and the Z fc detects faces and eyes with a reasonable speed, accuracy and reliability. 

With the viewfinder in play, you can hit the OK button to bring up a manual AF selection area, too, though you cannot swipe the open touchscreen for autofocus area selection.

The viewfinder of the Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Future)

High-speed action sequences can be made at up to 11fps in the 'extended' mode, with continuous auto focus and auto exposure. However, the camera only supports the older and slower UHS-I SD card, meaning those sequences are sustained for around 22 frames – that's two seconds – and you'll need to wait some time for those frames to be processed to gain full speed operation again. 

The continuous high mode is much slower at 5fps, though you will get around 35 frames, so the burst is longer. Again, it takes a little while to clear those files to regain full capture capability. In short, the Z fc is good for quick flashes of action, but it really doesn't support sustained action scenarios.

Nikon Z fc: Image and video quality

  • 20.9-million-pixel APS-C sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • Basic Z-series 'DX' lens choice

With the same 20.9-million-pixel APS-C sensor as the Nikon Z50, we can expect the same image quality from the Nikon Z fc. And aside from a few handling tweaks that may impact the shots you are getting – like the at-hand exposure compensation dial – things are indeed the same, which is no bad thing. 

The 20.9MP sensor has a great handle on noise, with all settings up to ISO 6400 looking clean, especially those under ISO 800. It's a general rule of thumb to avoid the top two ISO settings if you want to avoid the adverse impact of noise, in this case ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200. Dynamic range impresses and the implementation of a HDR mode is simple and effective.

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Some boats sailing in a bay

The exposure compensation dial is active when the Nikon Z fc is in its 'Auto' exposure mode, making creative under-exposures like exposing for the highlights a breeze. (Image credit: Future)
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Profile shot of a man wearing a hat taken on the Nikon Z fc

The new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens is an aesthetic pairing to the Z fc and provides a full-frame equivalent focal length of 42mm. Combined with the f/2.8 aperture and it is well suited for environmental portraits. (Image credit: Future)
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Crates of fishing ropes and buoys

A resolution of 20.9MP is competitive rather than class-leading, but is more than enough to get good size prints, wide dynamic range and solid control over noise in a variety of shooting scenarios. (Image credit: Future)
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Profile photo of a boy taken on the Nikon Z fc camera

(Image credit: Future)
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Some beach huts overlooking water, shot on the Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Future)
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A person running down a road under tree cover

(Image credit: Future)
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Photo of a grassy field in a bay taken on the Nikon Z fc

(Image credit: Future)
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A red phone box surrounded by foliage

(Image credit: Future)
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Grassy coastline in front of the sea

(Image credit: Future)
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A rocky bay at dusk

(Image credit: Future)

There's a host of auto white balance (AWB) options, with the possibility of maintaining warm tones as one option. Colors in general look great from the off, though dominant colors in a scene can impact the temperature and hue in other colors – for example, a dominant blue can make skin tones look a little yellow, or a green vista results in overly magenta elsewhere, and so on. It's still a standard issue for AWB.

The standard color profile gives a refreshing subtle degree of saturation more akin to a neutral color profile in other systems. In-camera raw editing enables adjustments to exposure ±2EV, white balance, color profile and picture mode among others. 

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Silhouette of a girl running across the beach

Impressive on paper, the top speed of 11fps with continuous AF and AE is limited in real-world use no doubt in part to the write speeds of the single UHS-I card slot. This is no action camera. (Image credit: Future)
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A bay under a cloudy blue sky

(Image credit: Future)
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Beach houses in a bay in front of trees

(Image credit: Future)
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An inflatable unicorn in a swimming pool

The 'standard' picture setting gives a pleasant color rendition, and if you shoot in raw format edits can be made in-camera to the color modes and picture styles. This image was converted to black and white. (Image credit: Future)
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An old outhouse covered in foliage

Perhaps the biggest downside of the Nikon Z fc is that there are just two native Z-series lenses dedicated for the APS-C format, limiting the types of pictures possible with the camera. Here I would've liked to go wider than the 16mm setting of the 16-50mm kit lens. (Image credit: Future)
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Girl walking down a seaside promenade

The vari-angle screen is useful for easy-shooting at a variety of angles, in addition to the front-facing selfie mode. (Image credit: Future)
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A cow grazing in a field

(Image credit: Future)
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Fishing ropes, crates and equipment

(Image credit: Future)
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A wave crashing against a seaside walk

The 'standard' picture setting gives a pleasant color rendition, and if you shoot in raw format edits can be made in-camera to the color modes and picture styles. This image was converted to black and white. (Image credit: Future)

Perhaps one thing holding back the image quality of the Nikon Z fc is the availability of native lenses. The lens roadmap for Nikon mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensors looks vaguely promising, but at the time of writing there are better lenses available for the rival Fujifilm X-series. 

Should I buy the Nikon Z fc?

The Nikon Zfc camera sitting on a red table in front of a bookcase

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review
1:40 am | December 8, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Fourth-gen MFT camera from Olympus (now OM System) for beginners
• Launch price: $699 / £699.99 / AU$1,299 (body only)
• Official price now: $699 / £699.99 / around AU$939 (body only)

Update: February 2024. After the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV launch, Olympus was purchased by OM Digital Solutions and new cameras are consequently branded OM System instead. So far though, there's been little change in newly branded models besides firmware-level improvements, and the E-M10 Mark IV is still yet to be replaced. That makes it an excellent value camera system for beginners; lightweight, small, feature packed and with a superb selection of lenses for all budgets and photography genres. It doesn't have the latest autofocus or video specs when compared to newer rivals, while it's dated micro USB connector doesn't allow charging on the go, but the overall E-M10 Mark IV package remains compelling today especially for newbie photographers.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Two-minute review

Despite its complex name, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a simple, compact entry-level mirrorless camera. And if you're a beginner or keen photographer looking for a compact body that takes consistently attractive photos, it's a camera that has to be on your list.

Sure, the E-M10 Mark IV is lacking some of the more advanced features being touted by its pricier rivals, like phase-detection autofocus, 4K/60p video and microphone/headphone inputs. But it does a brilliant job as a stills camera that can shoot a little bit of quality video when needed, and is one of the best cheap cameras you can buy right now, as well as being one of the best travel cameras for those who've spent all their money on flights.

This beginner camera's approachable button layout and combination of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi functionality means it's primarily designed to tempt smartphone photographers over to an interchangeable lens camera. And as a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera, it has one of the widest selection of lenses around.

Although the Micro Four Thirds system was originally created by Panasonic and Olympus, a wide range of companies have now produced quality, affordable lenses for MFT-compatible cameras. This makes it a great system for beginners to invest in.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

One big thing this camera has in its favor is superb in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This system is the same as the one used in Olympus' award-winning flagship E-M1 series, and it works a treat for capturing images at slower shutter speeds handheld.

The E-M10 Mark IV is Olympus’ answer to cameras like the Panasonic Lumix G100, Fujifilm X-T200 and Sony ZV-1. And it manages to stand out with its classic OM-D styling, super-compact body and that excellent IBIS system. The 20MP resolution isn’t going to grab any headlines, but it's a significant and welcome step up over its predecessor's 16MP sensor, and keeps it within range of the competition.

While it's a great first camera for beginners, we'd also recommend the E-M10 Mark IV to more experienced photographers on a budget or those looking to downsize from a DSLR. It doesn’t deliver the battery or image quality performance of high-end mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, but it could be a great option as a recce or second camera. For those situations, and at this price, it's a terrific beginner mirrorless camera and certainly one of the best cameras for photography around.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Price and release date

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV was released in August 2020 and was available to buy immediately for a body-only price (in black or silver) of $699 / £699.99 / AU$1,299.

Naturally, there is also a kit lens bundle available, with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ bundle we tested costing $799 / £799 / AU$1,499. Australian fans can also buy the E-M10 Mark IV with a longer M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II zoom lens from for AU$1,799 (around $1,285 / £985).

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

Despite being relatively new, we've already seen some discounts on the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, which bring its price more in line with rivals like the Fujifilm X-T200. That said, if you're on a tighter budget, it's worth checking prices on this camera's E-M10 Mark III predecessor.

While the latter lacks the new sensor or flip down screen, you can currently pick it up for $449 / £449 / AU$799, which is impressive value.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Build and handling

  • Ergonomic grip and button layout
  • Tough polycarbonate body
  • 3-inch touchscreen more flexible than before

The first thing that strikes you about the E-M10 IV is its diminutive size. It’s small enough to fit into the pocket of regular fit trousers – and that’s with its 14-42mm M.Zuiko f/3.5-5.6 pancake kit lens attached.

We've always been huge fans of the twin control dial setup of the E-M10, as it allows you to make adjustments to both shutter speed, aperture or exposure compensation with ease when shooting manually.

The mode dial that sits beside them provides straightforward access to the camera’s nine shooting modes, including video. There’s also a dedicated video record button, placed sensibly on the shoulder of the camera for quick access. 

There isn’t much room for buttons elsewhere on the camera, but Olympus has managed to place controls that cover most key functions without making the camera feel cluttered. There’s also touchscreen access via the rear LCD, further boosting the camera’s usability.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

The 3.0-inch LCD touchscreen is the most ambitious of the series so far. This time, the E-M10 IV’s screen tilts upwards 90-degrees for shooting at hip level, and also flips downwards 180-degrees in the other direction. This positions it under the camera for selfies and vlogging. It’s good to see more flexibility introduced, but it does present a potential issue for people who want to self-shoot while using the camera on a tripod.

The E-M10 IV's 2.36m-dot OLED viewfinder, unchanged from the previous model, provides a clear view of the scene ahead with settings overlaid on top. This means that once you’re familiar with the layout, you won’t need to take your eye away from the viewfinder to make adjustments.

The share button on the top left shoulder doubles as a quick menu when taking pictures. But in playback this provides simple access to the camera’s share-to-smart device functionality.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Features

  • Class-leading image stabilization system
  • Powered by TruePic VIII imaging processor
  • Advanced Photo mode is handy for beginners

The E-M10 Mark IV is powered by a TruePic VIII imaging processor, which works to deliver reduced noise in images captured in low light and has a native ISO sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400. This can be expanded to ISO 80 (LO) and ISO 25,600 (HI), but you’d be wiser to take advantage of the camera’s quality five-axis in-body image stabilization system (IBIS) before you crank the ISO up to those numbers.

This IBIS system is same as the one in Olympus' award-winning flagship E-M1 series, and it's excellent. It boosts the E-M10 Mark IV's handheld shooting capabilities and means you can pack light and don’t need a tripod to get fantastic shots, even at night.

Also borrowed from the upper tier of OM-D cameras, is the updated 121-point autofocusing system, which can better detect and track faces and eyes.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

Aside from these features, there aren’t other big spec or physical changes of note from the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It’s a sensible update, one that focuses on improving the camera’s stills capabilities. 

Olympus has included its trademark scene (SCN) and Art Filter modes, which function as you might imagine, placing 'creative' looks over images. We're not huge fans, but they can be fun to have a play with. We're more keen on the Advanced Photo (AP) section of the mode dial.

AP mode makes it super easy for people to create otherwise complex images, such as live composites for capturing star trails and light painting, long exposure images with live progress displayed on screen, multiple exposure images and more. These are a great way to explore photo creativity.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Autofocus

  • 121-point Contrast Detect AF
  • Improved face detection and subject-tracking from Mark III
  • Now also has eye detection

Autofocus systems need to be predictable, even if they're not the fastest. The E-M10 Mark IV’s autofocusing system may not be the most advanced in this camera class, but it functions consistently and that’s the main thing we want from a camera’s autofocus. 

Hybrid systems that incorporate on-sensor phase detection AF, such as the AF system featured in the Sony ZV-1, are superior and better suited for things like vlogging. This is because they are quicker at detecting faces from a range of angles and will stick with them more tenaciously without hunting for focus.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

This unedited photo shows the E-M10 Mark IV's impressive dynamic range. (Image credit: Future)

If you’re more concerned with photography, though, the E-M10 Mark IV’s focusing system is capable of handling a range of moving subjects, including wildlife, field sports and planes. Although it’s worth noting that its top continuous burst mode speed of 15fps (electronic shutter) can only perform at such speeds with fixed focus. 

Its 121 AF points cover a large amount of the frame, but its tracking capabilities are a little patchy, particularly when subject backgrounds are busy. 

We had the most consistent and pleasing results when sticking with AF-S and centre point focus. Use that and this camera can focus fast, even in low light.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Image and video quality

The E-M10 Mark IV is the most photo-centric camera in its category. While its rivals are more geared towards video shooters, this cameras wants to be a great stills camera first and foremost – and it does a solid job.

Carrying a high resolution 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor helps the E-M10 Mark IV capture a significantly more impressive dynamic range compared to smartphones and other small sensor cameras. This is most visible when looking at high contrast or night mode scenes. The physical advantage of a larger sensor means the E-M10 Mark IV has great light-gathering powers.

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

The E-M10 Mark IV's quick focusing can help you freeze the perfect moment. (Image credit: Future)
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Even when you shoot handheld the IBIS system can help you capture some excellent detail. (Image credit: Future)

Pushing the camera’s ISO sensitivity to its limits, the results were usable, although details begin looking smudged past ISO 6400 when viewed at 100%. The ability to take better pictures in low light is further supported by the camera’s five-axis in-body image stabilization. This manages to keep images sharp when shooting handheld as slow as 1/8th of a second, which is a significant advantage for dimly lit scenes.

The IBIS system also works quite well during video recording when walking and panning. While the E-M10 Mark IV can be used to capture attractive looking video, it's not heavily geared towards video shooters.

The omission of a microphone input or USB-C port, which could be used to adapt a microphone or headphone input, is another giveaway that this camera isn’t focused on video. It’s also capped at 4K/30p and FHD/60p resolutions. There’s a high-speed movie mode, but it’s only 120fps at 720p resolution. In terms of video specs, this is one of the most unambitious cameras released since the E-M10 Mark III in 2017.

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Shoot in raw and you can recover some shadow and highlight detail... (Image credit: Future)
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

...compared to this original shot, where the shadows and highlights have been crushed and blown. (Image credit: Future)
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

The E-M10 Mark IV's HDR mode can be useful in mixed lighting situations like this... (Image credit: Future)
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

...compared to the original, non-HDR photo. (Image credit: Future)

It is, though, a different story for stills. We were really impressed with this camera's basic kit lens – its 14-42mm pancake lens option is a fantastic starting place for someone upgrading from a phone. 

It offers a versatile focal range that covers everything from landscapes to portraits. Plus, given the super compact size of this camera/lens combo, it makes for an ideal travel companion. It will capture quality shots without attracting too much attention, so it’s also ideal if you enjoy capturing more candid imagery.

The camera’s battery is rated to around 360 shots and under 30 minutes of video. This is typical for cameras in this class and at this price point. In use, we found it got us through a day of walking around, with it powering down into battery saver mode. 

If you predominantly use the electronic viewfinder (EVF) when shooting and aren’t recording a lot of video, this camera should get you through a day trip before needing to charge. There’s no dedicated battery charger in the box, mind, so you have to charge the battery in the camera via USB micro B input. Again, it’s a shame to miss out on a USB-C input here, as it also means the camera cannot be used while charging.

Should I buy the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV?

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Nikon Z6 II review
1:03 am | November 19, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: November 2020
• Successor rumored for later in 2024
• Launch price: $1,999 / £1,999 / AU$3,499 (body only)
• Official price now: $1,599 / £1,859 / AU$2,699 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The Nikon Z6 II was first pitched in 2020 around the $2,000 mark and a highly capable all-rounder at that price point, delivering a faster processor and longer burst rates than the first-gen model it replaced, while offering the same 24.5MP stills from its full-frame sensor. It's also a capable filmmaking tool, especially when paired with an external monitor through which you can get 4K recording in raw format. In short, image quality in any light is excellent in what is a speedy operator for action photography. The Z6 II's subject detection autofocus performance lags behind today's rivals and it's not as capable as the camera's own human detection AF. And now there are rumors of a long awaited replacement on the way – the possible Z6 III – that could become the best mirrorless camera for most people. Until then, there are few better full-frame mirrorless cameras at what is now a reduced price point. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Nikon Z6 II: Two-minute review

The Nikon Z6 II is the follow-up to the company’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the Z6. Now over three years old, the Nikon Z6 is the former holder of our best mirrorless camera crown. But there's still room for improvement, and with the Z6 II Nikon has opted to retain the core spec and design of the Z6, while addressing its weaknesses. 

To that end, pretty much all the main features of the Z6 II are inherited from the Z6. This includes the excellent full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor, which delivers images with excellent levels of detail, plenty of dynamic range and a very good high-ISO noise performance. 

Compared to one of the Z6 II’s closest rivals, the 20.1MP Canon EOS R6, the extra pixels here give you that bit more flexibility when it comes to framing and cropping, whereas the EOS R6 has a slight edge at higher sensitivities. Comparing the Z6 II to its other close rival, the Sony Alpha A7 III, there’s really not much between them when it comes to results.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

While the sensor remains the same, Nikon has equipped the Z6 II with a second EXPEED 6 image processor. This brings a number of performance improvements, most notably an increase in burst shooting speed, from a maximum of 12fps to 14fps. That’s faster than the Alpha A7 III, and a match for the EOS R6 (although the R6 can shoot at 20fps using its electronic shutter). 

The extra processor has also allowed Nikon to improve on the 273-point AF system that’s in the Z6. As well as general performance improvements and the ability to focus in darker conditions, human and animal eye/face detection are now available in Wide area AF mode. It’s a solid system that’s great for general photography, although if you’re going to be shooting lots of action (or portraits), then the focusing systems in both the EOS R6 and A7 III have the edge here.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

The Z6 had a strong set of video specs, including the ability to shoot oversampled 4K for footage with plenty of detail. For the Z6 II, Nikon has tweaked the video capabilities to enable 4K capture up to 60p, although this won’t be available until around February 2021 via a firmware update. The Z6 II also gains a number of output options that include the capture of 10-bit HLG HDR footage to an external recorder. For these reasons, we think the Z6 II is one of the best video cameras you can buy right now.

With the Z6 II using the same design as the Z6, there are few surprises when it comes to build quality and handling. The magnesium alloy body parts, weather sealing and comfy grip make the Z6 II feel more durable than rivals, while Nikon has managed to squeeze in a UHS-II SD card slot alongside the XQD/CFexpress card slot, resolving one of the key weaknesses of the Z6. 

There’s no getting around the fact that the updates found in the Z6 II are modest at best; however, while existing Z6 owners shouldn’t be tempted to upgrade, if you’re looking for a quality full-frame mirrorless camera you’re not going to go far wrong with the Nikon Z6 II. It's undoubtedly one of the best cameras for photography

While rivals might outclass it in some areas, the Z6 II has consistency on its side, performing strongly across the board. If you can live without the upgrades though, do check out the Z6 – it’s still on sale for now, and the money you’ll save over a Z6 II will go a long way towards a new lens. 

Nikon Z6 II: Release date and price

  • The Nikon Z6 II launched on October 14, 2020
  • It costs $2,600 / £2,549 / AU$4,399 with the 24-70mm f/4 lens
  • You can also buy the Nikon Z6 II body-only

The Nikon Z6 II was announced in October alongside the Z7 II, and is available to buy now.

Like the Z6, the Z6 II can be purchased with the excellent Nikon 24-70mm f/4 S standard zoom for $2,600 / £2,549 / AU$4,399. If you’re looking to upgrade or invest in a second body you can buy the Z6 II body-only for $2,000 / £1,999 / AU$3,399, while those looking to pair the Z6 II with their F-mount DSLR lenses can add the FTZ lens adapter for around $150 / £150 / AU$250.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

The Nikon Z6 II will naturally be compared to Sony’s Alpha A7 III, while the arrival of the Canon EOS R6 means many will also see that camera as a key rival. The A7 III is almost three years old now, but it still packs a serious punch and will cost you in the region of $2,880 / £2,650 / AU$4,640 with Sony’s 24-105mm f/4 G, which is a little more versatile than Nikon’s kit lens. 

The EOS R6 is also priced a bit higher than the Z6 II at $2,799.99 / £2,849 / AU$4,799, although this comes bundled with the relatively slow and variable-aperture 24-105mm f/4-7.1 lens, which isn’t quite a match for the lenses paired with the Z6 II or A7 III. 

Nikon Z6 II: Design

  • Design is virtually identical to the Z6
  • Now features a second card slot
  • Tilt-angle display not perfect for video

The Nikon Z6 II arrives just over two years since the Z6 launched, and Nikon has opted to keep the new camera’s design virtually identical to that of its predecessor. 

While this might seem unimaginative on Nikon’s part (and also a way to save some R&D costs), the decision to use the same body is no bad thing – the Z6 is one of the best-handling mirrorless cameras out there, with controls falling easily to hand and key settings quick to access. The joystick (officially known as the sub-selector) is also weighted nicely, while all this is complemented by a large and comfy hand grip and well-defined thumb rest. 

Simply put, the Z6 II is one of the most pleasant mirrorless cameras to shoot with.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

Sticking with the same design does, however, mean the Z6 II uses the same tilt-angle display as the Z6. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you’re predominantly shooting stills, but those shooting video (and self-shooters in particular) might be disappointed not to see a fully articulating vari-angle display worked into the design of the Z6 II. 

That gripe aside, the Z6 II feels really durable, with magnesium alloy top, front and back covers, and the same excellent level of weather sealing as Nikon’s pro-spec DSLR, the D850.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

Not everything has stayed the same though. One thing that compromised the Z6 was its single XQD card slot. While this is a media format that can be incredibly reliable, XQD cards are significantly more expensive than even the best SD cards. 

Nikon listened to complaints about this, and on the Z6 II it’s managed to squeeze in a second UHS-II SD card slot to accompany the XQD/CFexpress slot. The addition of the SD slot makes the camera more accessible to more users, while those upgrading from the Z6, or who already use the XQD format, will be able to use their existing cards. 

There are benefits when it comes to shooting too, with the extra slot providing options for simultaneous backup, overflow storage or recording JPEGs while the XQD/CFexpress slot takes care of raw files. 

Nikon Z6 II: Features

  • Full-frame 24MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • 3.69 million-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 4K video recording up to 60p

For the Z6 II, Nikon has opted to stick with the same full-frame 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor that’s in the Nikon Z6. This enables a native ISO range that runs from ISO100 to 51,200, and which can be expanded to ISO50-204,800. 

While the Z6 II keeps the same sensor, Nikon has managed to squeeze in a second EXPEED 6 processor. This delivers a number of improvements, the most notable of which is an increase in burst shooting speed to an impressive 14fps, up from an already quick 12fps on the Z6.

The Z6 II also uses the same 273-point AF system as the Z6, though there have been some improvements here too. Overall performance has been improved, while human or animal eye/face detection is now available in the Wide-Area AF modes, rather than just the Auto-Area mode. Focusing in low light should also be better, as the Z6 II can focus in light levels as low as -4.5EV (improving on -3.5EV of the Z6), while a low-light AF mode sees the Z6 II able to achieve focus at an incredible -6EV.

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

The Z6 already had some impressive video credentials, and the Z6 II improves on these further. As well as using the full width of the sensor to capture 4K footage at up to 30p, the Z6 II is also able to shoot 4K60p. 

A little caveat here though: there will be a 1.5x crop when shooting at this rate, and the upgrade won’t be available until around February 2021 via a firmware update. The Z6 II will also be able to continue shooting when connected via USB-C for recharging, which wasn’t possible with the original Z6. 

Other key features remain the same though, including the excellent 3.69 million-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) and 5-stop in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system. 

Nikon Z6 II: Performance

  • Fast burst shooting speed
  • Very capable AF performance
  • Better battery life than the Z6

While the Nikon Z6 II can shoot at 14fps, the details are in the small print – at this maximum rate, you’re limited to 12-bit raw files and a single AF-point. 

If you want a little more dynamic range in your files, and want to take advantage of the Z6 II’s tracking AF, this drops to a still very good 12fps – that’s faster than the Alpha A7 III’s 10fps, and a match for the EOS R6’s 12fps (though the R6 can shoot at up to 20fps using its electronic shutter). The buffer should be more than enough for most scenarios as well, with the Z6 II able to handle 124 12-bit raw files or 200 JPEGs at its highest frame rate. 

The Z6 II’s 273-point AF system has 90% coverage across the frame, which is good in isolation, although it’s left trailing the 693-point system in the Alpha A7 III and the class-leading 6,072-point AF system in the EOS R6.

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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

Those predominantly shooting people (or pets) might favor the systems in the Z6 II’s rivals, as they’re a bit more sophisticated when it comes to eye and face tracking, but the Z6 II still does a very good job here, locking quickly and accurately on to the subjects we tested it on. 

It’s a similar story if you’re tracking subjects – use the Z6 II in isolation and you’ll be very impressed with the speed of acquisition, but it’s not quite a match for the EOS R6 (which uses pretty much the same AF system as the flagship Canon EOS-1D X Mark III). 

The built-in 5-stop image stabilization system in the Z6 II is a consistent performer. Again, it’s not quite as impressive as the EOS R6’s 8-stop system (which is lens-dependent), but you can happily shoot at super-slow shutter speeds and come away with sharp, shake-free images. 

Another key area Nikon has addressed with the Z6 II is the battery. The Z6 could only achieve an official figure of 310 shots (though it performs better in real-world scenarios), and the Z6 II gets an improved EN-EL15c battery that’s rated for 410 shots using the LCD and 340 with the viewfinder. This is a welcome improvement, although here again the Z6 II still lags behind rivals like the EOS R6 and Alpha A7 III. 

Nikon Z6 II: Image and video quality

  • Same image quality as Z6
  • Excellent sharpness and detail
  • Good high-ISO performance

As we’ve mentioned, the Z6 II uses exactly the same sensor as the Z6 – and that’s good news, as results from the Z6 were pretty much class-leading. 

The full-frame 24.5MP BSI sensor in the Z6 II delivers excellent levels of detail. If you need to regularly print above A3 you might be swayed by the 45.7MP sensor in the Z7 II (or the D850), but the resolution on offer here should satisfy most shooters.

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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

Thanks in part to the back-illuminated technology in the Z6 II’s sensor (which is missing from the lower-priced Z5), it performs well across the sensitivity range, delivering great results at higher ISOs, although if you’re shooting JPEGs it’s worth bearing in mind that the default noise reduction can be a bit heavy at higher ISOs, which can result in the unnecessary loss of detail. 

Dynamic range is also very good if you’re shooting in raw, with plenty of flexibility in post to recover detail in the shadows and pull back highlights. 

A quick note on lenses to conclude – the 24-70mm f/4 is a solid choice that performs very well, but since its launch more than two years ago Nikon’s S-series lens range has expanded significantly, and includes some excellent f/1.8 primes and f/2.8 zooms. 

Should I buy the Nikon Z6 II?

Nikon Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony A6100 review
1:23 am | February 20, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: February 2020
• One in a long line of APS-C cameras and it might not get updated
• Launch price: $749 / £830 / AU$1,349 (body only)
• Official price now: $599 / £649 / AU$ not available from Sony directly (body only)

Update: February 2024. Launched alongside the A6600 in August 2019, the A6100 is the entry-level APS-C mirrorless from Sony and was long touted as the best beginner mirrorless camera by TechRadar. It's almost five years old now and technology has moved on, but Sony was ahead of the curve back then and so the tech spec still isn't bad. You get 24MP stills with Sony's phase detection autofocus that still performs well today, but the 1.44m-dot EVF and limited tilt-touchscreen look dated now, plus you don't get in-body image stabilization. Still, there's even more APS-C lenses to choose from now and the A6100's reduced price and good availability secondhand for even less still makes it a compelling choice for beginner photographers. The pricier A6600 was essentially updated by the A6700 as the flagship model in 2023, but there's no sign of a A6100 replacement yet, and so you're still getting the latest entry-level model. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony A6100: Two-minute review

The Sony A6100 is the natural successor to the wildly popular Sony A6000, a beginner-friendly mirrorless camera that is still available to buy new today, five years after its launch. That's the sign of a popular, enduring camera.

Both cameras are the entry-level models in Sony's range of mirrorless APS-C sensor snappers. 'APS-C' refers to the camera's sensor size, which is significantly larger than the ones found in smartphones, but smaller than the full-frame chips found in pro-friendly models like the Sony A7 III.

Much of the A6000’s core features remain in the A6100: there's the familiar body design, a sensor with the same 24MP resolution, a similar EVF and tilting rear LCD screen (though the A6100's screen is now touch sensitive), and an 11fps burst mode. 

However, there are some very welcome improvements in the A6100 too. Overall, this is a much more user-friendly camera. The general handling and performance is enhanced, particularly through its excellent continuous autofocus system.  

We now have a camera that more readily competes with today’s entry-level mirrorless shooters from other brands, of which there are many more since the day the A6000 launched. Despite this, the Sony A6100 is a worthy successor to one of the best beginner mirrorless cameras of all time when it comes to sheer sales.

Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

Sony A6100: Features

  • 24.2MP APS-C sensor 
  • 4K video at 30fps, 100Mbps 
  • Slow and quick motion Full HD videos 
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity

Sony sticks with a 24.2MP APS-C sensor, which is the same as the one found in the more expensive Sony A6400 and Sony A6600 cameras. Its resolution is par for the course and plenty for an entry-level camera. 

Sony A6100 key specs

Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
Lens mount: Sony E-mount
Screen: 3-inch 922K-dot tilting touchscreen
Burst shooting: 11fps
Autofocus: 425 selectable points
Video: 4K/30p
Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Battery life: up to 420 shots
Weight: 396g

While the A6100 can shoot 4K at 30fps, it does this with a slight crop – shoot 4K at 25fps, though, and it uses the full-width of the sensor (which means full pixel readout with no pixel binning), and fills the 16:9 rear LCD display. There is an S&Q setting (Slow & Quick Motion videos) that captures Full HD slow motion videos up to 100fps (4x) or quick motion videos down to 1fps (25x).

You do get a lot for your money with the Sony A6100. There’s the same 1.44 million-dot EVF, hotshoe and pop-up flash, all squeezed expertly into what is a very compact body. Plus, that LCD screen is now touch sensitive and can pull out and up into a selfie position. 

Images can be captured and shared wirelessly using a smartphone or tablet connected by Wi-Fi through Sony’s app called ‘Imaging Edge Mobile'. An easy connection can be made using NFC, or via the usual QR code method as well.  

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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

Sony A6100: Build and handling

  • Small and solid polycarbonate build, with reasonably-sized controls 
  • Solid 420-shot battery life 
  • USB charging 
  • Tilt-touch screen with selfie mode 
  • Single SD UHS-I card slot 

Overall, we really enjoyed our time with the Sony A6100. We paired the camera with a couple of slightly higher-end lenses – the FE 24‑70mm f/4 and FE 35mm f/1.8 – which are both a sensible size and weight match. 

Depending on the lens, the A6100 is small enough to fit into a jacket pocket. This is thanks to its form factor – it stands at just 67mm high and has a very flat profile without the pentaprism 'hump' seen on rivals like the Fujifilm X-T3.

The polycarbonate body feels solid and the external controls are robust, while the textured hand and thumb grips provide a firm hold. Praise be for the slightly larger grip than the one in the A6000. 

Considering the compact size of this camera, a mighty number of controls and features are packed in. You get a pop-up flash that can be tipped back by hand for indirect fill light. There’s a hotshoe to attach optional accessories such as an external microphone, which is then connected via the microphone port on the side. (Unsurprisingly, there is no room for a headphone jack).

There's also a built-in EVF, which is a plus for a camera at this price. It’s not the easiest to use and the resolution remains at an average 1.44 million-dots. To get the latest high-resolution EVF, you’ll need to fork out extra for the Sony A6400 or Sony A6600.  

The tilt LCD touchscreen can be pulled out and up, and then flipped vertically above the camera into selfie mode. By today’s standards, the 3-inch screen has a relatively modest 920,000-dot resolution. It’s a 16:9 screen too, meaning that full resolution 3:2 photos do not fill the display and therefore appear on the small side – a similar scenario also happens on the 16:9 display on the Fujifilm X-A7.   

Given the A6100 is an entry-level camera, it is perhaps a little counter-intuitive that its touchscreen functions are so limited. The screen can be used to select the AF points and track subjects, plus pinch-to-zoom and scan an image in playback. But you can't navigate menus or make setting selections. Still, AF selection is arguably the most helpful touch function. 

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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

Tiny, fiddly buttons are often a pitfall of such small cameras, but not so here. All of the buttons are clearly labeled and reasonably sized. There are two control dials – both are on the rear and naturally controlled using your thumb. Another dial on the top front would have been very welcome to bring your index finger into play instead.  

A 420-shot battery life is very competitive at this level. We used the camera during cold winter months and found that battery life drained a little quicker than expected. However, USB charging is massively helpful. It's worth noting here that there is no battery charger included with the A6100, just the USB cable.

With the camera continuously connected to a power bank, the battery tops up every time the camera is switched off, which proved very handy during our wintry outings. On-the-go charging for mirrorless cameras is a true solution for their more limited battery lives.  

The A6100 records images onto a single SD card, but isn't compatible with the latest UHS-II cards that possess superior read and write speeds. It’s no surprise, yet the result is some functional lags when using the camera for continuous shooting. 

One handling issue worth mentioning – which is not unique to the A6100 but quickly noticeable on a camera like this – is how 'Auto ISO' favors a lower ISO setting over a quicker shutter speed when shooting in Aperture priority mode.  

For example, with the lens set to a 24mm equivalent focal length, auto ISO will naturally select a shutter speed of around 1/30 sec, no matter what scene is being captured. That’s fine for static subjects, which will remain sharp, but any movement from people will be blurry.   

We often chose to shoot in full 'Manual' mode with auto ISO, to ensure the desired shutter speed and aperture. However, stick the camera into its Auto mode and scene detection comes into play with more sensible shutter speeds chosen.  

It takes more time to familiarize yourself with what the A6100 can do than most other entry-level cameras. That’s no bad thing, but we’d firmly recommend a little research on ways to set up the camera for quick control and to ensure you are getting the best out of it. For example, customizing the continuous AF settings and adding your most used controls to the main Function (Fn) menu.  

Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

Sony A6100: Performance

  • 425-point phase detection autofocus 
  • Excellent continuous tracking autofocus 
  • 11fps mechanical shutter 
  • 1200-zone evaluative metering 

Where the A6100 shines brightest is through its rapid and reliable autofocus system for both photography and video. It has the same AF system as the flagship Sony A6600, a camera that's almost twice the price. 

There are several Focus Modes and Focus Areas to choose from. After playing around with these settings, we settled on continuous AF with the 'Tracking: Expand Flexible Spot' focus area for virtually all scenarios.  

With this AF setup in play, focusing for general action – family shots, a specific subject within the frame – is extremely reliable. Honestly, there were times that we forgot that this is an entry-level camera because the A6100 is so reliable for sharp focusing. 

A burst mode of 11fps is, on paper, solid. However, in use the reality of 'continuous high' shooting is a tad disappointing. In our experience, the length of bursts do not quite match the claims of up to 67 frames. Also, the camera takes time to buffer those sequences before full performance is available again.   

Despite the Bionz X processor, the limitations of a UHS-I SD card slot are clear. We found the 6fps 'Continuous Mid' shooting mode a more sensible choice. The A6100 is still very competitive at this level, but the Olympus E-M5 Mark III is only a little more expensive and offers UHS-II compatibility with unlimited burst shooting.

The A6100 uses a 1200-zone evaluative metering system. In many circumstances – and of course this is to taste – we found exposures a little bright and opted to dial in around -0.7EV exposure compensation.  

For us, the Imaging Edge Mobile app provided a hassle-free connection and worked very well for image uploads and remote control shooting. The same cannot be said for all brands, so kudos to Sony here.  

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Sony A6100

A high frame rate like the 'Continuous High' at 11fps increases your chances of capturing the crucial moment. However, the sequences don’t last long before the camera’s buffer is full. Moreover, the camera takes some time to be ready to shoot again. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

The AWB: Ambient setting gives pleasing colors while maintaining warm tones. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

We found the evaluative metering makes exposures a fraction too bright and often opted to dial in some negative exposure compensation. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

If you brighten low key images like this it is clear there is plenty of crisp detail in shadow areas. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

Face detection AF works quickly and, for the best part, focuses on what’s important, the eyes. (Image credit: Future)

Sony A6100: Image and video quality

  • 24.2MP resolution holds its own 
  • ISO 100-32,000 (extended to ISO 51,200) 
  • 4K videos look good and helped by reliable continuous AF 
  • Vibrant colors but no flat/natural color profiles

Sony's APS-C cameras have offered a 24MP resolution for almost ten years. Even today, few venture higher or lower than 24MP. It’s a sensible choice in the entry-level A6100, though one has more cause for complaint in the flagship Sony A6600.  

The 6000x4000 pixel resolution equates to an A3-print size at 350ppi, though by reducing the ppi you can make a high quality print up to A2 – that’s surely enough for most photographers. 

Video quality is solid. 4K videos at 25fps are taken from the full-width of the sensor and the quality is helped no end by the reliable and intelligent continuous tracking autofocus.  

Of course, image quality is affected by the lens attached to the camera and the 16-50mm Power Zoom kit lens of the A6100 has a poor reputation. But add a different lens – such as the two we used – and you’ll get crisp images with plenty of detail all the way up to ISO 3200. 

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Sony A6100

In general, color rendition is accurate and pictures look great straight out of the camera as JPEGs. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

This image is taken at ISO 6400 and detail is still reasonably sharp in the bright areas. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

We found the evaluative metering makes exposures a fraction too bright and often opted to dial in some negative exposure compensation. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

The APS-C sensor has a wide dynamic range – this unedited image was shot in a standard mode without increasing the dynamic range in any way. (Image credit: Future)
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Sony A6100

The tilt-screen is ideal for clear viewing when shooting at low angles. (Image credit: Future)

For most subjects, the ‘Standard' Creative Style creates realistic tones and accurate colors for JPEG images straight out of the camera. Sony’s color profiles are gradually turning around and indeed we have seen an improvement – those jumping from the A6000 will appreciate the difference. 

For more critically observed subjects, skin tones for example, things are a little too saturated for our liking, even in the least punchy Standard Creative Style (again, that’s down to personal taste). We’d love to see a more natural or flat color profile included for photos and videos here – most other brands offer at least a ‘Natural' profile.  

To get a ‘flatter' tonal range from which to make edits to saturation post capture, your best bet is decreasing the contrast in the Standard Creative Style (or to shoot in Raw format). However, it’s not possible to make any image edits in-camera. 

Dynamic range is very good. A lot of detail can be recovered from shadow areas that appear black, and a reasonable amount can be found in bright highlights. You’ll get notable patches of chroma noise and overall luminance noise in shadow areas of low contrast images taken at ISO 6400 and higher, though.

Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

Sony A6100: Verdict

Considering the design, price point and feature set, the Sony A6100 is arguably the most enticing camera in Sony’s A6000 series today.  

Firstly, the body design that's consistent throughout this series does feel more suited to beginners and those growing their skill level.  

Image quality and autofocus are also on a par with the more expensive Sony A6400 and Sony A6600, which is impressive. The main gripes that we have of all A6XXX series cameras – mainly handling and performance limitations – are also less forgivable on the flagship models than they are here.  

So what do the more expensive models have going for them? Well, the flagship Sony A6600 has a much better battery life, in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), a higher resolution EVF and a metal, weather-sealed body. But it’s virtually twice the price. 

Crucially for Sony, the A6100 refreshes the A6000 and holds its own against today’s growing competition. There is class-leading continuous autofocus and in most other areas, such as battery life, the camera is very competitive.  

We expect the A6100 to be the most popular of the current A6XXX series and for good reason – it’s well-priced and is a brilliant little camera once you get to know it.  

Sony A6100: Also consider

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(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS M50

Perhaps the most obvious direct rival to the A6100, the Canon EOS M50 is a little older than Sony's entry-level camera, but also a lot more affordable. It shows its age in many areas, with the A6100 offering superior autofocus, battery life, video powers and native lens choices. But if you can't stretch to the A6100 or have existing Canon EF or EF-S lens that you'd like to use with the EOS M50 (via an adaptor), it's well worth considering for beginners.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS M50 review    

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Nikon z50

(Image credit: Future)

Nikon Z50

It's a fair bit pricier than the Sony A6100, but the Nikon Z50 addresses one of our main complaints with Sony's APS-C cameras – handling. Just like Nikon's DSLRs, the Z50 has a nice, chunky grip and balances better with longer lenses, which is something to bear in mind if you like sports or wildlife shooting. Both cameras can shoot at 11fps continuously and lack in-body image stabilization. Sony has the edge with autofocus and its native lens selection, but the Z50 is a better option for those coming from DSLRs (particularly Nikon ones, as you can use F-mount lenses with an adaptor).

Read our in-depth Nikon Z50 review

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you don't need a viewfinder and want something a little smaller than the A6100, then the Fujifilm X-A7 is well worth considering. Combining a 24.5MP APS-C sensor, 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen and the ability to shoot 4K/30p video, it's a nice little all-rounder that shoots crisp, sharp images and pairs nicely with Fujifilm's range of X-Series prime lenses. 

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-A7 review