In this article we will compare the incomparable and choose the best camera from those that our editorial team has tested recently. For this reason, some new items, such as the Nikon D6, will unfortunately not be included in the selection. But you must admit: it would not be entirely correct to write about what you did not hold in your hands. Also these may be the most expensive cameras of the year 2021.
We deliberately do not limit the price range of the sample, so be prepared for the fact that the price of some models may be shocking. However, in most cases we are talking about professional tools that cannot be cheap. No one is surprised, for example, by the high cost of excavators against the background of comfortable cars? Well then let’s go.
List of Selected Most Expensive Cameras of 2021
1. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
This camera was created for the Tokyo Olympics, which, unfortunately, will not take place in 2020. But there is a camera, and it really is an achievement of Japanese engineers. The new “1D” can be safely called the best DSLR to date. We were able to make sure of this when shooting with one of the pre-production samples. Very fast and tenacious autofocus when working with the viewfinder is provided by a fundamentally new AF sensor.
For the first time in the history of DSLRs, it is made in the form of a solid crystal, like an image sensor. This sensor provides sensitivity from -4 to +21 EV, works with 191 points (151 cross-type). Its resolution is 28 times higher than any of Canon’s classic phase-detection AF sensors. But even on the matrix in Live View mode, the camera focuses just fine.
The second first-ever feature of the EOS-1D X Mark III is the “infinite” buffer in RAW. No, of course, the length of the series is limited by the size of the flash drive and the capacity of the battery. And yet, thanks to fast CFexpress cards, the camera can shoot virtually endless bursts at up to 20fps (up to 16 through the viewfinder) and AF tracking. We tried not to release the shutter button for quite some time: the camera was shooting, shooting and shooting…
Finally, this DSLR was the first to record 12-bit RAW video to a memory card at 5472×2886 resolution at up to 60fps. Such characteristics are considered a rarity in professional video production, and have never been encountered in the photo world before. The bitrate is gigantic: up to 2600 Mbps. If you don’t want to bother with RAW, then you can shoot regular 4K video up to 60 fps.
This professional reportage camera has many more interesting features, some of which we revealed in our preliminary test. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III price at the time of this writing is 6,4999 dollars without a lens.
2. Sony A9 II
Sony A9 II is an improved and modified version of the high-speed “A9” from Sony. It is noteworthy that the camera is not positioned as the top or the best in the line of cameras. It is just high-speed. Continuous shooting up to 20fps with electronic shutter and up to 10fps with mechanical shutter. Naturally with autofocus. And it is here wow!
Autofocus is the pride of the Nine. Before us is a mirrorless camera, so focusing is carried out by sensors located directly on the matrix. The principle of operation is hybrid, that is, accuracy is also achieved by evaluating the contrast of the image. Artificial intelligence algorithms are used to track objects. The camera can recognize people’s faces, eyes, animal faces. Capturing a dynamic moment is not a problem: just press the button and the camera will figure it out.
An important advantage of this model is also a powerful stabilization system based on matrix shift. It helps to increase the shutter speed when shooting statics handheld and lower the ISO. However, the matrix is low-noise, the sensitivity can be quite high.
This model has many advantages. Here and silent shooting, and compatibility with very high quality professional optics G Master. Yes, today this camera is no longer at the very top of the Olympus of characteristics, but its price is also different from the previous hero of our collection ($4,498 at the time of this writing).
3. Sony A7R IV
The Sony Alpha 7R IV is the sister of the nine mentioned above. They have many common hereditary features: intelligent autofocus, built-in stabilizer, excellent system optics… But the super talent of the R-series seven is different – resolution. At the time of this writing, this is the most multi-megapixel full-frame camera capable of shooting at 60 megapixels.
Previously, only slow medium format cameras could provide such detail, and there was no need to talk about fast autofocus or continuous shooting. Sony Alpha 7R IV captures 60-megapixel images in any genre. Unless it’s worth raising the ISO. The matrix quickly starts to make noise and lose its advantages.
The Sony A7R IV can be a great tool for landscape, advertising and studio photographers, while not limiting his specialization and participating in any other shooting. By the way, 4K video with a frequency of up to 30 frames/s is also within its power.
For the opportunity to shoot 60-megapixel footage, you will have to pay about $2,998. And don’t forget about the optics: you can’t use a cheap 60 megapixel lens.
4. FUJIFILM GFX 50R
If you think 60 megapixels in a full frame is too much, then here’s a mid-format solution for a similar price. Yes, a medium format sensor 44 × 33 mm for the cost of a full frame.
There will no longer be as fast autofocus and continuous shooting. The FUJIFILM GFX 50R retains many of the classic mid-format features. It makes you think more about the frame and not “pour” bursts to the right and left. Included with optics, the camera is larger and heavier than full-frame mirrorless cameras. But both the pixel size and the matrix area are larger. And this is the image quality. Fifty honest medium format megapixels. At the same time, compared to many other medium format solutions, the FUJIFILM GFX 50R seems to be a light feather and a compact gadget.
The strength of the FUJIFILM GFX 50R lies in the balance of price, size, weight and performance. For each of these parameters separately, it can lose to competitors, but if you need a mobile medium format for reasonable money ($3,499 at the time of this writing), then there are no alternatives to this camera.
5. Nikon Z 7
The Nikon Z 7 delivers “only” 45 megapixels and has a full-frame sensor. This resolution is sufficient to print a full-wall image. So if you do not have excessive ambitions and are not chasing a record resolution, it is worth looking at this model of the legendary Japanese manufacturer.
Everything a modern camera needs is in the Z 7: eye and face autofocus, high-speed shooting, 4K video, sensor shift stabilizer. The Z line is very sophisticated and has some amazing lenses. And the camera stands against the background of competitors of quite sane money: a little more than $3,096 at the time of writing the review.
6. Panasonic Lumix S1H
The Panasonic Lumix S1H is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks like a camera, but in fact it is a video camera. You can shoot in 5.9K from the full width of the full-frame sensor or 4K at 60 fps. There is a matrix cooling system, which made it possible to remove the limitation on the video recording time.
There are no RAW recordings even on an external recorder at the time of this writing, but the manufacturer is working with Atomos on this. The ability to record RAW with HDMI is expected in future firmwares.
From cameras, its closest relatives, the Lumix S1H received an L mount and compatible optics, a stabilizer based on a sensor shift. From camcorders, which are traditionally strong Panasonic, got many interface solutions like an oscilloscope and a vector scope, useful image processing functions: Dual Native ISO or work with gamma-curve profiles.
At the time of this writing, Lumix S1H can be purchased for $3,997, which is significantly less than the price of “real” video cameras with similar characteristics.
These are the most expensive cameras for the year 2021 till now, I will add more to this list after review of some recently launched models. Do you know any other model who is suitable for this most expensive cameras list; please comment bellow and I’ll try to review and add here.