Best New Cameras 2019: Canon 90D, FujiFilm X-Pro3, Nikon Z5 and more
Phone cameras tend to steal much of the spotlight these days, but this is an exciting time for dedicated cameras too.
Full-frame models that create exceptional images in all light conditions are more portable and affordable than ever. And now 4K video capture is all-but a standard feature, mid-range cameras are great film-making tools.
So what can we expect from 2019? We’ll get a better view of what DSLRs look like in a world where every camera manufacturer is up to speed with mirrorless, in the Canon 90D. The Nikon Z5 may set new standards for “affordable” full-frame photography. And we’ll get to shoot 8K video with camera that fits in a coat pocket.
Here’s our full list of the 2019 cameras we’re looking forward to snapping with.
What is it? Higher-end APS-C DSLR
Will there be a Canon 90D? The latest rumours would suggest so. It would replace the Canon 80D from February 2016, a camera that now seems rather out-of date.
Some think the 90D, or its name equivalent, may have a slightly different position, though. Canon has jumped into mirrorless in a big way. And this arguably leaves less room for more traditional high-end APS-C DSLRs.
Why? A camera like the EOS RP has some of the size benefits of APS-C. And these days EVFs are finally good enough to take the place of traditional viewfinders without obvious compromise.
As such, a “Canon EOS 90D” may take the place of both the 80D and 7D Mark II. We have no clue as to when such a camera may arrive, but it needs to have 4K video and far better burst shooting than the EOS RP. This shouldn’t be hard, as that full-frame model only manages 5fps.
What is it? A more affordable full-frame Nikon
Nikon and Canon are, as ever, at war. The new battleground is the full-frame mirrorless camera.
Canon is ahead in the budget mirrorless space, with its EOS RP. The Nikon Z5 is likely to be its response.
No solid details are known about this rumoured model, but it is likely to cost around £1,200-1,500 body-only.
What we want to know most: will it have in-body image stabilisation like the Nikon Z6? This would give it a clear advantage over the Canon EOS RP. Leaving it out is also the easiest way to stop the Nikon Z5 competing directly with its higher-price siblings, though.
There are other ways for it to nudge ahead of the already-popular EOS RP. Canon’s budget FF mirrorless lacks a “flat” video shooting mode and phase detection AF for video, which Nikon could easily add, in theory.
Whether it should is another question. The Nikon Z5 will in part cater for Nikon DSLR fans who want to use their full-frame lenses on a smaller body, so not cannibalising its own sales is just as important as squaring up to Canon and Sony.
However, as folk who recommend the best way to spend your money, we are fans of fervent competition.
What is it? The best of FujiFilm mirrorless, as a rangefinder
The original FujiFilm X-Pro1 was a mirrorless camera poster child. But is there room for a third-generation X-Pro?
Either way, the camera will arrive in 2019 according to an unnamed “trusted source” cited by FujiRumors, . Big FujiFilm fans as we are, the question is: can it compete with the X-T3? It is one of the most desirable mirrorless cameras in the world.
That comparison raises opportunities and issues. The X-Pro series to date has used a rangefinder-style optical viewfinder. It lets you see the area around the frame of your image, but the distinct appeal of OVFs (optical viewfinders) has decreased now electronic viewfinders are so capable.
FujiFilm’s mirrorless range converted DSLR purists, but many may have been won over by the X-T series already.
There’s an opportunity here, though. The X-Pro3 may be used as a vehicle to show off new in-body stabilisation. This is a weakness of FujiFilm cameras. The FujiFilm X-H1 is the only model with the feature.
The X-H1 has 5-stop IBIS, but in practice the best Panasonic mirrorless cameras outperform it for handheld shooting. If FujiFilm makes a killer handheld rangefinder, we’re (most likely) in.
Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark III
What is it? A classic mid-range MFT for today
This year marks 100 years of Olympus. It would be a shame if the anniversary was not marked with a good release or two.
Olympus confirmed to Imaging Resource that an OM-D E-M5 Mark III is on the way. We just don’t know when yet.
Assuming Olympus sticks to the Micro Four-Thirds format, the ways it can improve the now-ancient E-M5 II are obvious. The current model can only shoot 4K video in the Time Lapse mode. Normal video is limited to 1080p.
We’re long overdue an update. Expect a weatherproof body, a newer focus system than the OM-D E-M10 Mark III’s 121-point AF, potentially a fully articulated screen. And 4K video at 30 frames per second, if not 60fps.
The E-M5 is a middle-rank model that sits between the accessible E-M10 and larger E-M1. It will likely cost around £800-900 body-only.
Sharp 8K MFT camera
What is it? A small, “affordable” 8K video mirrorless camera
Sharp showed off a truly unusual Micro Four-Thirds camera at the Las Vegas NAB show in April 2019. It’s an early prototype in a frankly ugly shell that can shoot 8K video.
This uses the entire resolution of its 33-megapixel sensor, which reportedly has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Right now there’s no full menu system for its unusual articulated 5-inch screen, the AF doesn’t work properly and it does not handle motion well.
But Sharp doesn’t have as much stake as Panasonic or Olympus would with such a “concept” camera, as it is not one of the big names in the consumer camera world.
There’s also a question of how useful this camera would be for most. It does not have in-body stabilisation. And as it uses the full view of the sensor, there’s no room cropping room for software stabilisation of 8K video.
We’re still interested, more to see how well it performs rather than as a potential candidate for the Christmas list. It’s a bit pricey for most of those anyway, at “under $5000”. Compare that to Sharp’s £60,000 8K 8C-B60A broadcast video camera, though, and it sounds like a bargain.
Canon EOS R Pro
What is it? A top-end full-frame mirrorless camera
The Canon EOS R was Canon’s most important camera of 2018. It was the company’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, and marked the start of a brand new lens family called “RF”.
However, in some ways it wasn’t quite the zero-compromise model some expected. The EOS R does not have in-body image stabilisation and resolution is a fairly conservative 30 megapixels. There’s room for an even higher-end camera, which some expect to be called the EOS R Pro.
For the way we like to shoot most of the time, in-body stabilisation would be the biggest upgrade here, letting you use non-IS legacy Canon lenses (with an adapter) and still get stabilisation. This is important for handheld shooting.
Some believe there may even be two new EOS R models in 2019, one focusing on very high megapixel shooting, with a sensor of 75 megapixels or more. This sounds extremely ambitious, the sort of resolution you might see in a medium format model rather than a full-frame one.
This would direct it to quite a narrow audience. Even the high-resolution Sony A7R III sticks to a less ambitious 42.4 megapixels, and such a megapixel count would affect performance in higher ISOs. But for shooting in a light controlled studio? The results could be impressive.
Recent whispers from Canon Rumors, though, suggest that an entry-level EOS R model will arrive before an EOS R Pro, and do away with the somewhat polarising touch bar feature. Expect to hear more news around the CP+ photography show in late February 2019.
Fujifilm GFX 100S
What is it? A 102-megapixel medium format mirrorless camera
There’s no need to trade in rumours with the Fujifilm GFX 100S. FujiFilm has already announced the camera’s development, and that we can expect it in 2019 (with an official announcement expected in mid-2019).
It is the big brother to the GFX 50R, a 50-megapixel medium format model announced at the same time, during Photokina 2018.
The Fujifilm GFX 100S is more than just that camera with more megapixels crammed-in, though. It will have in-body stabilisation, because FujiFilm says the sheer resolution will otherwise make taking sharp images handheld too difficult.
It will have phase detection across the sensor, and a body comparable in size to a traditional full-frame pro-style DSLR. At first, its $10,000 price sounds intimidating. However, compare its obvious rival, the Hasselblad H6D-100c, and it starts to seem a great deal. That camera costs £31,080. And its modular design is far more unusual.
The Fujifilm GFX 100S will also shoot video at up to 4K resolution, 30fps.
What is it? A video-focused high-end alternative to the X-T3
Medium format cameras do not have a huge mainstream appeal. They’re pricey and large. Which is why many might prefer to get their hands on the FujiFilm X-H2 in 2019.
Right now, the latest rumours suggest it might not be out next year. This is no huge surprise when the precursor X-H1 was only announced in February 2018, and would need to offer significant abilities the brilliant FujiFilm X-T3 does not have.
Granted, in-body stabilisation is one of the most important, missing from the X-T3. It does make sense for FujiFilm to wait a little longer, though, until video recording more advanced than 4K/60fps is possible. But there is still a chance it’ll arrive in late 2019.
What is it? A no-nonsense full-frame DSLR
The Nikon D750 is one of our favourite full-frame DSLRs. At four years old, it’s due for a replacement, though. And 2019 looks to be the time, with plans for a Nikon D760 rumoured.
When you replace a camera of such vintage, it’s not hard to find ways to make it more advanced. The Nikon D750 has 51 focus points, up to 6fps burst and video that caps out at 1080p, 60 frames per second.
All of these have been beaten by the Nikon D850, but that’s a higher-end model. What can we expect in the Nikon D760? 4K video capture seems like a must now that it’s standard in mirrorless models. The more recent Canon 6D Mark II doesn’t, but this now seems a missed opportunity.
Given the Nikon D750’s excellent ergonomics, we hope Nikon doesn’t change too much.
Sony A7S III
What is it? A videographer’s full-frame mirrorless
Sony’s reign as the king of full-frame mirrorless cameras is coming under fire. It has more experience than anyone else, so you’d hope it will come up with something special to take on the competition from Panasonic, Canon and Nikon.
The most likely camera to turn up next is the A7S III, the video-focused sibling of the Sony A7R III and A7 III. There’s quite a lot of chatter online about both this camera and the follow-ups to the current models, the A7 IV and A7R IV. These are expected in 2020-2021, though, and with Panasonic’s full-frame models on the way, Sony’s S-series model is the most pressing issue.
The current Sony A7S II can only shoot 4K video at up to 30fps, which Panasonic will beat in 2019. 60fps 4K is expected in the A7S III, and some even suggest 8K (30fps) capture is a possibility.
Sony has said “it will take some time” to prepare the A7S III, though. There’s every chance it may slip into 2020 along with the A7 IV, but we remain hopeful of seeing it in 2019.
Sony Alpha A7000
What is it? Higher-end APS-C mirrorless camera
The follow-up to the Sony Alpha A6500 mirrorless camera is not overdue just yet, but rumours suggest a Sony A7000 or A6700 is on the way. For a while it seemed the camera might even arrive in 2018. There has been little news since then, but a 2019 release seems plausible.
The current A6500 is an APS-C mirrorless camera, the highest-end model of this kind Sony makes. Sony calls it the “palm-sized all-around all-star”, but a few upgrades are needed to let it maintain that reputation.
Rumoured specs include up to 20fps burst shooting, 4K video capture at up to 60 frames per second and a 32-megapixel sensor. This is a fairly high megapixel count for an APS-C model.
Sony RX100 VII
What is it? Sony’s best compact, with bonus extras
The Sony RX100 is perhaps the most regularly updated camera line of the moment. We usually get a new model every year, with just the one gap in 2017 since the first RX100 in 2012.
Sony is expected to use its IMX 383 sensor in the next version. And this chip is already on the Sony sensor division’s books.
It’s a one-inch sensor, the size of all RX100 sensors, and has resolution of 20 megapixels. Again, this is nothing new. It is the same resolution as the current Sony RX100 VI.
However, further improvements in shooting speed are expected. The RX100 VI can already shoot at a blistering 24fps, but the IMX 383 increases this ceiling to a theoretical 50fps. That’s at full resolution, too. The other likely upgrade is 4K, 60fps video capture.
What is it? Leica style rangefinder without a screen
Every so often a camera from a start-up appears that has real enthusiast appeal. Pixii is one of 2019’s off-kilter choices. It’s a rangefinder in the vein of a Leica M10, and uses Leica’s M-mount lenses. The Pixii looks charming too.
However, it’s unusual. There’s no display on the back. Instead, it connects to your phone to let you review images.
Thankfully, there’s a small monochrome screen on the top so you can view certain settings, and the battery life. At around 3500 Euros (£3163), the Pixii is quite pricey for an unknown brand’s camera, but is still substantially lower-cost than a Leica. Then again, most things are.
What is it? Top-end fixed-lens compact
Compact cameras outside of hero models like the Sony RX100 don’t get all that much attention these days. But the Zeiss ZX1 is rather special, a direct rival to the Sony RX1R II, which is now more than two years old.
It has a 37.4-megapixel full-frame sensor with a fixed 35mm f/2 lens. Image quality per cubic inch should be fantastic. It also has an advanced Full HD OLED EVF and a 4.3-inch 720p rear display.
The basic concept is very similar to other full-frame compacts. And while we don’t know the price, you can bet the Zeiss ZX1 will be very expensive, likely more than £2500, perhaps substantially so. However, it also has “built-in” Adobe Lightroom software, which should let you process RAW images without transferring them to a laptop.