Yes, it's that time again, we're taking a short break from our daily editorial duties and looking back at what the past year has to offer. And while we're at it, I promise not to take that into account the word "virus" even used once in this article (oops, just done). So are you ready to go Then buckle up. Here are the mirrorless cameras of 2020 and the finalists of the CineD Awards!
There is always some kind of "love and hate" relationship when an "end of the year" article is written. Especially this year. "Love", it's really great to see how much has actually happened this year and how our film industry has developed, but at the same time "hate" as this has not been an easy year for many, be it co-creators, producers and distributors alike .
Cameras of the Year 2020 Image Credit: CineD
Cameras, cameras and more cameras
It's been a very fruitful year for manufacturers. Apart from the bigger brothers (Canon C70, C300 III, Sony FX6, Panasonic BGH1, RED KOMODO, etc.), most of the well-known manufacturers of mirrorless cameras have been extremely busy delivering their offerings. FUJIFILM introduced the X-T4 earlier this year, followed by Sony's ZV-1 vlogger camera (see our review here). A separate ranking article with the larger cameras will be published later this month.
Then came the Canon EOS 1D-X Mark III – which of course isn't a mirrorless camera, but I decided to mention it here because of its high quality video / photo capabilities (see our review here).
On the heels of this wonderful DSLR came the Canon duo, the EOS R5 and EOS R6, and if you're like me, an online magazine editor, these two alone could be wasting your time on various test tasks like measuring “for how long it can hold "or" how long it takes to revive it between takes "(see our Canon EOS R6 review here and fixed! Canon EOS R5 overheating fixed with DIY internal heat sink).
And then when you thought you had a moment to breathe, the Sony a7S III appeared. This long-awaited successor to the aging Sony a7S II stormed the arena and immediately caught the attention of other filmmakers. Would it take you a minute to rest? Sorry, no time as the Panasonic G100 was announced next (see our review here). To me, this little beautiful MFT interchangeable lens mirrorless camera was misrepresented to its potential audience. In the emerging world of vloggers, it was difficult to compete against the excellent autofocus of the Sony ZV-1. But this is another story.
3-2-1 and the Panasonic LUMIX S5 has been announced (read our review here). This lightweight full-frame L-mount camera is by far my favorite from the LUMIX quartet (S1H, S1R, S1, S5). What can I do. I like it when they are small, flexible to use and react quickly.
And just before that section closed, the FUJIFILM X-S10 was shipped. Classically beautiful shell and rich in functions. Perfect for those who need to blend in seamlessly with their environment (read our review here).
Nikon? Olympus? Sorry to you guys We should have taken a closer look at some of their cameras. Hopefully next year. The above are of course not all releases of the current year, but they are significantly larger sensor products that we got our hands on.
Bad performance – no
I can't stop thinking about our level of aspiration, the minor complaints, the mostly "not good enough" approach that we all sometimes show. Maybe this is the sign of the times, but seriously, what happened to us? When in the history of filmmaking (or taking pictures) was it so easy and affordable to have such a wide range of film tools? I'll go a step further and conveniently say that there are few (if any) “bad” mirrorless cameras that can record video right now. I hope we can agree that the "tools" have reached a certain peak, and what actually might lag behind is the ability of many to tell stories. Personally, I still have a LOT to learn how to master the art of storytelling, but I know for sure that if I am making progress, it is not because of a particular tool.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to the topic we all gathered here today – and present our selection of the best mirrorless cameras of 2020. I hope you didn't mind the epilogue.
I actually wanted to include “older cameras” in this category (older, like in 2019, not to say that this is actually old). Here I would like to mention cameras like SIGMA fp and Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1R. The reason is simple: in the course of 2020, these cameras received a fairly extensive firmware update that really took them to the next level of performance.
Everything you need to know about the “life injection” the SIGMA fp received can be found here. It remains to be seen whether the next SIGMA offerings will be a revolution, or rather an evolution, but one thing is certain: if you are looking for an exceptional micro-sized film tool, consider the SIGMA fp.
Panasonic LUMIX S1 / S1R
The Panasonic LUMIX S1 was our 2019 mirrorless camera of the year, and in retrospect we don't regret choosing it. Together with the Panasonic LUMIX S1R / S1H and S5, the LUMIX camera family has made progress this year by giving owners even more flexibility in internal and external video recording with the latest free firmware.
Mirrorless cameras of 2020
Now is the time to honor our chosen cameras – but more importantly, give a stage and a lot of respect to those who made them. Please remember that no manufacturer intentionally wants to supply a less powerful camera. When I know many people from different companies who orchestrate the development of these amazing and advanced light capturing monsters, I can tell you firsthand that they are proud, honest, humble and true to their brand. And off we go, in no particular order.
FUJIFILM X-T4 Image Credit: CineD
FUJIFILM X-T4 – For the best price / performance value
This AMAZING camera, which was first presented in February of this year, has proven to be a reliable companion for many of my recordings. I've literally traveled the world with it and it has never let me down. The camera is stylish. The internal 4K 10bit recording is mostly robust. The video menu (separate from the photo menu) is also easy to navigate. Its auto focus looks like a pleasure. IBIS works very well – and if all of these aren't enough, I think it has one of the best (if not the best) audio preamps ever to be found in a mirrorless camera.
Now one of the questions that must be asked: is an S35 sensor a thing of the past with so many new full-frame cameras? I don't think so, but I've heard (too) many voices doing that. For the money, there is currently nothing that beats the value for money ($ 1699).
Sony a7S III Image Credit: CineD
Sony a7S III – For the best complete package
Ok, let me be transparent here and share a real moment. Ueda-san (Sony representative): “Johnnie, this is the new Sony a7S III. It can record high quality 10-bit 4: 2: 2 video at up to 120 frames per second, has a completely new menu, overheating is well controlled, IBIS has been redesigned, autofocus performance is significantly improved (with Eye- Tracking AF) and its lowlight features are insane. What do you think"?
Me: 30 seconds of silence from the lambs. Thoughts run through my head and my pulse speeds up. After regaining consciousness I could only ask, "And do you think it's enough?"
So first an apology. Ueda-san, the market loves your camera and so do we! When you look at the full package, this extremely portable, full-frame camera has so much to offer, and just as importantly, it delivers exceptional image quality – be it in daylight or in almost total darkness. What a wonderful, balanced deal, but for a price.
Canon EOS R5 Photo credit: CineD
Canon EOS R5 – For technical performance
Ok guys tell me the truth Are you surprised to find this camera in our list of finalists? Well, I am not. Shooting restrictions aside, the Canon EOS R5 is the first to allow internal 8K RAW shooting in mirrorless cameras. One day we may look back and discard 20 minutes of constant internal RAW recording, but I'm sure it won't be long before this concept is adjusted or simply improved. Imagine, all you have to do is turn the dial to “8K”, enjoy the warmth of Canon older skin tones, and get going and taking photos.
Don't forget to bring lots of CFexpress cards and take a 10-minute coffee break between recordings. The reward is provided in the editing suite. Prepare to be blown away by the effects of 8K footage (if you have the right monitor for it). Either way, downsampling to 1080p looks even better if you're aiming for broadcast.
Cameras of the Year 2020 Image Credit: CineD
It's no secret that camera manufacturers are going through tough times. The competition is fierce across the board, and cell phones don't make it any easier – as no camera manufacturer can come close to what cell phone companies can invest in research and development. Like it or not, these are two ways of thinking and doing business. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately something fundamental needs to be done to properly withstand "mobile imaging" (for both video and photos).
It's not that we have all the answers here, but maybe additional camera features won't be enough in the not too long term and camera manufacturers could focus on developing “concepts” to stabilize their segment.
Whatever the future holds, our award-winning cameras represent true innovation and spirit. Now the ball is in our hands. Have fun filming and congratulations to FUJIFILM, Sony and Canon!
Which camera would you crown as your favorite for this year, and more importantly, why? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.