Best Pro Camera

If you’re shopping for a professional camera, you’ve come to the right place! At Camera Labs I write in-depth reviews of cameras but understand you’re busy people who sometimes just want recommendations of the most outstanding products. So here I’ll cut to the chase and list the best pro cameras around right now. Note like my other guides they’re also listed by review date, not in order of preference.

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Best Pro Camera

Canon EOS 1Dx III review

I've now spent some time with the 1Dx Mark III, from a Canon field test in Spain to my own independent tests with a final production model later, and what I’ve seen so far is very impressive. Canon’s packed in a wealth of important upgrades crucially without getting in the way of the handling experience that pros have become familiar with. Owners of previous models can pick up the Mark III and just start shooting without skipping a beat. Of the new features, I was fascinated by the use of an imaging sensor for viewfinder autofocus duties. It makes a lot of sense, and driven by Deep Learning it did a great job at recognising and tracking people in often complex scenes. Coupled with the faster burst speeds, DIGIC X processing and swift card writing, this is a camera that effortlessly handles action at the highest level - as it should. I was also fond of the new Smart Controller which quickly allows you to reposition the AF area, and it’s a relief to finally find a camera company offer an alternative to JPEG for compressed images, with the HEIF format having a lot of potential. In terms of video, the 1Dx Mark III also becomes Canon's most capable model below the Cinema series, making it an extremely flexible camera for stills and movies. Arguably the most controversial aspect is that it’s still a traditional DSLR, but Canon firmly believes this is still its best technology for the very specific requirements of demanding pro sports photographers.

Check prices on the Canon EOS 1Dx III at B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Sony A9 II review - preview

The Sony A9 II builds-upon what was arguably the most innovative professional sports camera to date: it takes the 24 Megapixel stacked full-frame sensor of the original A9 with its silent 20fps electronic shooting, zero blackout and minimal disrtortion, but combines it with the latest processing for improved performance along with enhancing a number of body features. The core resolution, burst speed, buffer and AF coverage remain the same as the A9, but the Mark II version inherits a bunch of upgrades introduced on the Ar IV including 10fps mechanical bursts, twin UHS-II slots, 5GHz Wifi, USB C, better stabilisation, improved weather-sealing and some tweaked control positions. The viewfinder remains the same as the A9 for speed, but the wired ethernet port now runs ten times faster at Gigabit speeds, supports full remote control for unattended locations and allows ten banks of FTP settings for different venues. Voice memos can also be added to images, which a new phone app can convert to text and re-embed into images for easier identification. So while the core features remain essentially unchanged from the original A9 running firmware v6, the improvements to workflow along with the upgrades inherited from the A7r IV make for a more professional camera which arrives at a time when there’s even more native lenses in the system for sports photographers. Check prices at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Sony A9 review

Sony's A9 is a supremely confident full-frame camera that successfully takes on established high-end DSLRs for pro sports and event photography. It'll accurately focus almost anywhere on the frame and shoots long bursts of 24 Megapixel images at up to 20fps in complete silence, without any vibrations, and with no viewfinder blackout either. The silence in particular is invaluable for shooting discreetly at events and weddings, but also opens up shots at quieter sports too. The handling is so assured, it's easy to forget the A9 additionally sports built-in stabilisation, decent 4k video, 1080p at 120fps, and effective Wifi with Bluetooth. Sony also used the A9 to debut better controls and a much improved battery that banishes issues with older models. Sure, it's not perfect: there's no Picture Profiles for video, the touchscreen is underused, there's no built-in intervalometer or bulb timers, and the use of SD cards with only one slot that exploits UHS-II is under-specced compared to pro DSLRs. But overall the A9 remains a very impressive camera that even a year after launch still feels revolutionary. Pro sports and event shooters should consider it very seriously.

Check prices on the Sony Alpha a9 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review

Canon's EOS 5D Mark IV is the long-awaited fourth model in the enormously popular series of full-frame DSLRs. Coming over four years after the previous EOS 5D Mark III, the Mark IV boosts the resolution to 30.4 Megapixels with a new full-frame sensor that supports Dual Pixel CMOS AF for confident refocusing during Live View and movies. It accelerates continuous shooting from 6 to 7fps, inherits the 61-point AF system and 3.2in touch-screen of the EOS 1Dx Mark II, and can film 4k movies (in the DCI Cinema format) up to 30p, along with 1080 / 60p and 720 / 120p. The body shares essentially the same control layout as before so will be immediately familiar to owners of the Mark III, but now features improved weather-proofing along with a built-in GPS and Wifi with NFC. It represents a significant step-up from the Mark III, but high-end videographers will be frustrated by the tight crop and high bit-rate when filming 4k, and the lack of Log profiles, peaking, zebras and 4k on the HDMI output; indeed if you're only into shooting 4k video, I'd recommend Sony's A7s Mark II for full-frame or the A6300 for APSC. But Canon is keen to retort the Mark IV is more about stills and it does these very well. It's undoubtedly a powerful all-rounder, just no longer the no-brainer the Mark III was for video.

Check prices on the Canon 5D Mark IV at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

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