The Complete Wedding Training System is Finally Here!

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Gear & Apps

Top 5 Cameras Of 2014 | Editor’s Award & Reader’s Choice Poll

By Anthony Thurston on December 21st 2014

2014 has been a crazy year in terms of awesome cameras coming out. Canon finally updated the 7D series, Sony released the A7s and introduced the world to what real high ISO performance looks like, and Fuji wowed us with their X-T1.

But it is the end of the year, and we would be remiss if we did not take a moment to highlight what we feel were the top five camera releases of 2014. Our Editor’s Award for the best camera release of 2014 can be seen below, along with the 4 runners up. Jump to the end of the post for our Reader’s Choice voting, and let us know what you think the best camera of 2014 is.

Sony A7s | Editor’s Award 2014

-slrl-editors-choice-a7sSure, the Sony A7s may not be the ‘best’ all around camera for general purpose photography that was released in 2014, but it was surely was one of the most exciting releases. In the A7s, Sony redefined what it meant for a camera to have good high ISO performance while maintaining stellar image quality.

[REWIND: Crazy A7s High ISO Demonstration]

In our eyes, there was no other advancement in the cameras of 2014 that quite had the impact of the A7s. No one was doing high ISO like this, and Sony just blew up the competition. That is why we choose the A7s as our ‘Best Camera of 2014’.

Canon 7D Mark II | Runner Up #1

canon-7d-mark-2Well, what is there to say? After 5 years of waiting, Canon users finally got the update to the 7D that they were all waiting for. While many of you were skeptical at first, it has become clear that the 7D Mark II is one of the best releases of 2014.

Read up on our two 7D Mark II reviews so far: Sports/Wildlife Perspective, Landscape/Adventure Perspective. (Wedding Coming Soon!)

Fujifilm X-T1 | Runner Up #2

SAM_0102While it may have been outshined in the mirrorless world by the first ever full frame mirrorless cameras from Sony, the Fujifilm X-T1 remains, in our eyes, one of the best releases of 2014. Everything about this camera makes it a great choice for newcomers and professionals from all walks of life.

Just this last week, Fujifilm released its version 3.0 firmware for this camera that is not even a year old yet, bringing tons of new features and fixes. Most cameras don’t even make it to firmware 2.0.

Panasonic GH4 | Runner #3

panasonic-gh4kPanasonic’s latest addition to their GH line really made, and still is making, waves in the videography community for its incredible 4K internal recording. But this is a great stills camera as well, making the GH4 a true dual threat camera. In our eyes, there was no better video recording stills camera released in 2014, from a video perspective.

Pentax 645Z | Honorable Mention

pentax645z
While the Pentax 645Z may not have the mass appeal of our winner and runners up, it was an important release of 2014. Not only was the 645Z a step forward for Medium Format in terms of features and performance, but it was also a huge step towards making the format attainable to normal photographers in terms of price.

Best Camera of 2014 | Reader’s Choice

What sort of community would this be if we did not give you all the opportunity to share your thoughts with us on the best camera of 2014? Do you agree with us on the A7s or did you think a different camera stood atop the pack? Vote & comment below and let your voice be heard!

Best Camera of 2014 | Reader's Choice Poll

  • (20%) Nikon D750
  • (16%) Fujifilm X-T1
  • (15%) Sony A7s
  • (13%) Canon 7D Mark II
  • (13%) Nikon D810
  • (6%) Sony A7 Mk II
  • (5%) Fuji X100T
  • (4%) Olympus OMD E-M10
  • (3%) Panasonic GH4
  • (3%) Pentax 645Z
  • (1%) Samsung NX1
Loading ... Loading ...

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. | |
  2. Jeff Gallagher

    High end cameras are nice but it is entry level that gets and keeps new photographers. No mention of the Nikon D3300? Shame on you. A great camera at a great price. Good, high ISO as well as high mp. What more could a newbie ask for to be enticed into digital photography?

    | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Jeff, on the one hand I agree that the D3300 is one of the greatest beginner DSLRs ever made. And if you’re not very concerned about autofocus or weather sealing, it actually makes one of the best professional quality travel cameras, ever. That sensor is just downright amazing, and that 18-55 compact kit lens is amazing too! The kit together is so lightweight that I really don’t consider mirorrless’ weight advantages for travel type stuff.

      However, I feel like the OVF DSLR system is, in short, a bridge to nowhere. It’s hard for me to recommend a DSLR when mirrorless cameras like the A6000 and others exist. It just seems like the inevitable future…

      =Matt=

      | |
    • Jeff Gallagher

      Good points, Matt. It can be hard to narrow down a “Best Of” camera when there is so much technology available. Maybe a list of criteria used to decide would have helped.

      | |
  3. Phil Bautista

    I personally would have voted for the Sony A6000 but it wasn’t an option so I voted for the Sony A7s. I’m a Canon user FWIW so brand loyalty didn’t play a part in those picks. With all due respect to the Nikon guys who picked the D750, maybe the reason why it didn’t make their list is because it’s a “Goldilocks” camera. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s just right. Not that there’s anything wrong with that cos I felt my pick (A6000) is just such a camera. As far as the sexy factor goes though, I can’t see how anyone can top ISO 409,600 sensitivity. One doesn’t have to be on any bandwagon to understand what this means. It won’t be long before Nikon demands more sensitive sensors from Sony and even brings up the possibility that Canon joins their fold too. Uber sensitive sensors which give us photographers the ability to “see in the dark” is not a niche need. Photographers have always been looking for ways to shoot better in dark situations which is why the camera makers have always made a point of highlighting low light performance when marketing a new product. Sony didn’t just raise the bar, they took it to a whole other level. This kind of technology doesn’t just apply to security personnel and astro photographers. Even photographers who engage in such mundane pursuits such as wedding, street, event and landscape photography (to name a few) are always looking for better performance in low light. The Sony A7s, for all its faults and shortcomings, is a deserving pick as Camera of the Year, because it is opening up our eyes to a whole new ball game.

    p.s. I know the ISO 409,600 limit is an expanded one and not a native resolution, but even the native resolution of ISO 102,400 is still mind blowing.

    | |
    • Matthew Saville

      In my own testing, IMO the A7s isn’t as much of an amazing sensor as it is amazing in-camera processing. If you look at the RAW samples on DPR for example, the camera is literally identical to the D4s and Df. That is to say, horribly noisy past ISO 6400 or 12800.

      The A7s only gets amazing when you look at JPG samples, and it doesn’t get truly amazing unless you’re shooting video.

      That’s not to say that the A7s doesn’t deserve a little recognition for breaking new boundaries for videography. I’d love to own one for low-light tutorials!

      But, as a camera, especially for RAW shooters, I think it’s hard to deny that it’s not that much of a camera, not compared to a D750 or D810 or 7D 2, or even the A7ii or X-T1

      | |
  4. Rex Barcarse

    Wow.. No D750 and D810 on the list? For me it’s the D810 for the dynamic range, image quality, superb focusing like the flagship D4s and best resolution.

    | |
  5. Raushan Kumar

    A perfect combination of everything. Its Great

    http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-bangalore/

    | |
  6. Austin Swenson

    The A7S makes me jealous, the D750 makes me lust, and the 7Dii makes me go “DoooooooD”, and there is no magic camera that would please everyone in terms of fps, high ISO performance, features, etc. but I can definitely appreciate all these cameras for the specific function that they are used for.

    | |
  7. Vince Arredondo

    My choice is Nikon D750. It made my jaw hit the ground twice: when I handled and used it and when I was editing my pictures.

    | |
    • adam sanford

      So what’s the secret sauce with the D750? It seems to be a hybrid of D810 features (AF, burst, etc.) and D610 features (resolution, 1/4000 max shutter, etc) with a tilt screen. That doesn’t strike me as best-in-class or particularly innovative — it just strikes me as a new price point.

      …Yet people are *raving* about it. Please help me understand. I am not asking as a critic so much as a guy who doesn’t ‘get’ it. Why is it so popular?

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Adam, it does have a lot to do with what you shoot, and what your priorities are in a camera. For me, the D750 is “magic” because it’s much lighter than the 700 / 800 series, and yet somehow feels better in your hand, has all the professional customizations that I need, …and to top it off, has no-compromises, flagship-grade AF.

      The flagship AF and pro feel is what sets it far apart from either the D610 or the 6D. (Oh and the dual card slots, versus the 6D)

      The feel of the camera, and the shooting speed / more manageable file size, is what makes it a better choice compared to the D810.

      The professional drawbacks, such as a lack of PC sync port and 1/4000 sec. shutter ceiling, are negated by the fact that the D700 originally had a base ISO of 200 anyways, and the fact that hotshoe PC sync port adapters are $19.99…

      But, that’s just me.

      BTW, keep an eye out for a D750 review / assessment, from the perspective of a wedding photographer!

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Thanks, Matt, as always. I keep hearing the D750 porridge is “just right” when you don’t have to manage 36 MP files any longer. It’s amazing what happens when you take something away from a camera.

      Again, on paper, the D750 doesn’t seem new so much as better balanced or right-sized to *do* more for some folks. More options are a win for us, that’s for sure.

      | |
    • J. Cassario

      A perfect combination of everything I need wrapped into one body sounds pretty new to me and just about the only camera I care to see on this list. Its the best camera Ive ever shot with, so Im pretty sure it can count as best of 2014 :)

      | |
  8. Greg Geis

    Also, Kudos to Anthony for not including what many would consider the obvious choice D750 like all the other publications, while still leaving room for it. It’s more entertaining than reading the same unanimous opinion.

    | |
    • Anthony Thurston

      haha, Thanks Greg. It wasn’t my intention to be so ‘controversial’, but you are right, it is certainly entertaining to read.

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Anthony, you can’t have a multi-brand awards or best-of story without the discussion board devolving into chaos. I’m actually impressed how respectful everyone has been.

      | |
    • Greg Geis

      Just goes to show SLR lounge edged out DP Review for the 2014 editors choice best readers award.

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Greg: Ugh for DPReview. I really like their content and find them to be pretty fair in reviews, but their discussion areas like the Mos Eisley of bratty fanboyism. Pass on that.

      | |
  9. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks for sharing all these great thoughts on cameras, but my choice will be the D750 for the image quality and AF system it delivers at 1/3 of the prices of the D4S.

    | |
  10. Jason Markos

    I did want to add, regardless of which order you think is best… it is an incredibly exciting time for camera gear!!

    | |
  11. Greg Geis

    I’ve always been a little perplexed on why FF mirrorless cameras generate so much love and excitement. Unless you have a compact prime attached, the size doesn’t seem like it would make much difference. To me, the two most important things are focus and image quality followed by frame rate and camera size. From what I’ve read the D750 and 5D3 high ISO images (not video) run with the A7S, and more importantly they can focus in much lower light.

    On the XT1, I get it, it makes me drool. The A7S I just don’t unless I was really into video. I’m not really sure why.

    | |
    • Matthew Saville

      I’m with you on that one, Greg. If they wanted to they could make an APS-C version of the A7s that came within ~1 stop of the A7s’ high ISO performance, in a much smaller and far more affordable package. I’m very much over the “full-frame advantage” for a lot of what I do, and find the Canon 7D mark II for example to be just as exciting as the Nikon D750.

      | |
  12. Arnold Ziffel

    I knew as soon as I read the title that the comment section would be interesting.

    | |
  13. Matthew Saville

    It’s hard for DSLRs to stay relevant in such a fast-changing market, even if they’re the best DSLR we’ve ever seen, mirrorless cameras are (rightfully) stealing the spotlight because they’re more exciting. This isn’t a list of which camera has sold more units, or is the best value, or the most useful for the most people. It is a list of which cameras impressed us the most, which cameras caused our jaws to hit the floor the hardest. And that camera, plain and simple, is the A7s.

    Let me put it this way: Even though in 2014 I purchased a D800e, reviewed the D810, and then dumped my D800e in favor of a D750, …the next camera on my buy list is the A7s.

    =Matt=

    | |
    • Holger Foysi

      You have a point, but it’s called “best camera of 2014”. It’s ISO performance and movie features are great, but the rest? Depending on preferences we have only 12MP, poor battery life and continuous tracking, silent shooting mode reduces image quality, 11bit compressed raw, only one single card slot for example. From your personal point of view it may be the right choice but in my opinion there are some features missing to make it to the top of the list. Nevertheless a great camera, no doubt about that.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Indeed Holger, you’re totally right, this article might have been better with the title “the most impressive camera feature / innovation of 2014″…

      | |
    • Jason Markos

      I here what you’re saying… But that then that doesn’t really explain the 7D being on the list.

      I’m no expert, and have no hands on experience of the D750… But it does seem like the reviews are remarkably unanimous that the D750 is an incredible package. With some sites declaring it the best camera of the year, and it currently top of the readers poll, it’s a surprise that it doesn’t even get a mention.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Jason, in my opinion (keep in mind I didn’t make this list) the 7D mk2 is an incredibly ground-breaking camera, in that it offers flagship sports AF tracking and FPS in a package that costs 1/3 what most other flagship sports cameras have ever cost in the past. It may not be exciting for the mirrorless fans who are touting 10-15 FPS and all the other mirrorless bells and whistles, but as a camera it is still a huge milestone in both image quality and performance, even without it being in a league of its own compared to the pricing of other similar cameras.

      | |
    • Jacob Jexmark

      How on earth is the 7D Mark II a huge milestone in image quality?

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Jacob, it’s not, and the author didn’t say it was. What it *is*, however, is a Canon 1DX stuffed into a crop body for about 1/4 the cost. This camera is built for war, has a best-in-industry AF system, a vast buffer, and will save birding/wildlife/sports guys thousands of dollars from need to buy longer superteles. It absolutely belongs on this list, IMHO.

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Apologies, Jacob — I didn’t see you were responding to Matt’s comment above.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Jacob,

      Compared to say, the 70D or a few others, the 7D mk2 might not be that significant of a difference on paper, but as a professional APS-C DSLR, it’s one of the first cameras that has given me an exactly equal (or even greater) level of confidence compared to say the 5D mk3… No other crop sensor camera has been able to do this… This does have a lot to do with the general performance of the camera, but it has a whole lot to do with the usability of ISO 3200. Yes, the FF’s are still better at high ISO, but the 7D mk2 is so close on their heels that I would use it without hesitation. That, to me, is unprecedented.

      | |
    • Jacob Jexmark

      I don’t consider 1 stop higher usable ISO as equalling a huge milestone in image quality (IQ is more than usable ISO 3200 imho) . Especially when their are other brands to consider. If you are a Canon shooter, then maybe yes. But a “huge milestone” on Canon sensors these days are a mere “meh” when all they are doing is playing catch up to to the competition. If we take IQ out of the equation though, we are talking an unprecedented performance from a DSLR that size. It has no equals. You are free to disagree of course, and I am sure you will ;)

      | |
    • Jacob Jexmark

      Dear SLRLounge, please give us an edit function. I get OCD seeing my spelling errors. :)

      | |
    • adam sanford

      Depends on what you shoot, Jacob. In the wildlife/sports/birding class of cameras, another camera with a better APS-C sensor (Samsung NX1, D7100, etc.) will have better IQ than the 7D2, but it also will miss a ton more shots due to a poorer AF system, slower burst and smaller buffer.

      How good is the IQ of the shots that you *miss*? The 7D2 will categorically *miss less*, and that is vital for sports/birding/wildlife shooters.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Jacob, I do understand that many folks simply won’t find themselves feeling the way I do as a full-time wedding photographer about the use of high ISOs. Every single stop is extremely precious. To be more precise, ISO 3200 seems to be the standard by which I measure all professionally acceptable cameras.

      2014 was a year of specialty cameras, plain and simple. The A7s, 7D 2, D810, D750, …all of them could seem useless to some, and yet the epitome of perfection to others.

      | |
    • Priscilla Del Valle

      When is the wedding review coming on the 7D Mark II? I’m looking to purchase a full frame I do some wedding work maybe 5 per year and the rest is portriat work any insight would be appreciated. Thank you

      | |
    • Priscilla Del Valle

      I like keeping up with you because I’m going to purchase the D750 and I am saving to purchase a Sony full frame mirror less. option Thank you.

      | |
    • Matthew Saville

      Hi Priscilla,

      I apologize for not being able to get the 7D mk2 wedding review done over the holidays. It’s been a bit hectic! But, congrats on deciding to get a D750. If any camera was ever the ultimate wedding camera, that camera is it. I truly love the thing!

      If you have the budget and don’t mind lugging around heavier, bigger bodies and lenses, I’m always in favor of getting a full-frame camera. The only reason I’m so much more in favor of people getting a crop sensor nowadays is because I know many people have tight budgets, and may only envy full-frame for un-justified reasons. Personally, I shoot both formats, and I love both.

      =Matt=

      | |
    • Priscilla Del Valle

      I would like a good affordable wedding full frame option. Thanks for the reply your insight is always appreciated and highly valued. I currently own nikon and camera lenses. I’m looking for a full frame need help!!! Thank you.

      | |
    • Priscilla Del Valle

      I’m such a jerk I apologize hope you had a great holiday! I’m patiently waiting. Hope you have a successful prosperous New Year!

      | |
  14. Holger Foysi

    As already stated the A7s is a nice “niche”-camera. But to call it best camera of 2014? In the mirrorless category perhaps, but otherwise I would have put D810 or D750 easily before it. It’s just 12MP, which is why you get this great high ISO performance (downsized to 12MP most FF cameras can compete up to 12800ISO or even 25600). 7Dii as #1 runner up? This time I have to disagree.

    | |
    • Trey Mortensen

      After seeing large prints with the A7s, I will have to argue against the “just 12mp” mentality. I’ve seen large prints above 11″x14″ (but not up to sizes like 20’x30′) with absolutely zero reduction in sharpness. Plus the high ISO ability is so far greater than any other camera on the market that it is the only true revolutionary camera while all the others (especially the D750) are just evolutionary. I’ve seen handheld shots taken at 50,000 ISO printed with almost no noticeable noise. I was floored. Plus it’s well documented how well the video does at high ISO’s.

      I guess it really depends what you consider to be the most important feature for camera of the year. Do you want the most balanced camera that can be professionally used right out of the box or do you want the result of the camera manufacturers pushing themselves? If it’s the former, then I would agree with the D750 vote. As much as I hate holding the A7 family in hand, what they are doing to the camera industry is so exciting, that the A7s gets my vote.

      | |