Different photographers have different needs and/or budget limitations. For instance, as I travel extensively overseas by planes, weight and size is a major concern for me when selecting photo equipment. A pro photographer always traveling with assistants, or mostly by car may not have the same restriction. Many “photo experts” would argue that there is no “bad” camera per se when one considers the image quality possible even on the cheapest models.
That being said, there are each year some new products which fail to impress either by their features, or by their questionable design and/or ergonomic choices , or simply in terms of pricing compared to their competitors.
Hence here is my “worst” list for 2015. These are two recent camera models that I would not recommend to anyone :
Canon G5X. This product was announced alongside a more entry-level model named G9X. Canon compact cameras have been very popular for the most part and it is likely that because of Canon name and distribution network this new G7x would sell in large numbers. This model is supposed to be the “expert”model in the product line-up (retail price is at $750) but yet does not allow continuous shooting in RAW mode. You can only make ONE picture before the shutter stops to clear the buffer. Therefore you can forget taking pictures of your kid or pet running in the garden , or simply any kind of street event. I was able to take some pictures at the fair when the camera was introduced and there is definitely a price to pay for the relatively small size of the camera. I have normal average male hands and the camera did not feel that easy to hold and operate.Image quality is unchanged from the Gx7 model.
On a different size of the spectrum in terms of size,another oddball in my opinion is the new Leica SL. this big camera body sports a relatively average 24MP 35mm sensor and use the same mount as the Leica T. But since the Leica T has a smaller APS sensor, your choice is limited to ONE zoom lens for the time being if you want AF lenses which cover the full 35mm sensor. With an adapter you can use the M lenses which are great but only in manual focus. While the camera is weather-sealed and features a very high resolution EVF, I still cannot fathom what is the market for this camera outside the die-hard Leica geeks.
Think about it : The Leica SL costs $7,450 body only and more than $K12 with its 2.8/4 24-90mm zoom lens. If size is not an issue for you, you can get a Nikon D750 with its 24-120 zoom lens and get better image quality in a more usable body and features a long list of AF lenses in the Nikon or Sigma catalog. the Leica SL is FIVE TIMES as expensive as the Nikon D750. So even for those who believe that the Leica signature is worth extra money , it is a reach.
If you have larger hands or need ultimate quality , you can get another big weather sealed body for $500 by buying the Pentax 645Z (here).The sensor size is more than 2.5X times the surface of the leica SL and has a modern 50MP sony sensor and therefore offers MUCH better image quality than the SL, has more AF lenses options, better controls and menu organization…
This blog is about traveling light so covering the Pentax 645Z would not make much sense but there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this model is the absolute best model for your buck for photographers who need the ultimate image quality along with great camera controls for their work.
There is also something else to keep in mind for a photographer who is willing (and able) to spend that kind of money is the lack of choices in AF lenses for this new model. Leica has now FOUR different lens systems for its interchangeable cameras : M lenses, S lenses for its manual format camera, T lenses in APS sized sensors and SL lenses in 35mm. This is a recipe for disaster and one can be sure that at least ONE of this new mount is not going to see much activity. If you do not believe me, look at how many new APS lenses Sony has been introduced for its APSsensor cameras since it developed its A7 series with a 35mm sensor.
There are however, some interesting products on the horizon. And since 2016 is a Photokina year (the largest and best fair for photo equipment which is held every other year in Cologne -Germany) one can bet that 2016 will be a more prolific year than 2015 was in terms of innovative models. At the CES show that started today there are already some interesting announcements: Along with its new flagship 35mm DSLR the D5 Nikon has finally released its successors to the D300s with the Nikon D500.
Panasonic just introduced today its new TZ100 which will be in direct competition with the Canon G5x and the Sony Rx100’s. Panasonic should announce in the spring a GM1/GM5 successor; the GM line being the “mini” line in the m4/3 rd camera system.