The 10 Best Cameras for Summer

1 minute read

Don’t believe the marketing hype: the number of pixels, the array of creative filters, and the numerous dedicated buttons – none of that really matters. Today, what you’re looking for is a camera that’s easy to use while offering the best image quality in most situations.

A camera that packs 24 megapixels won’t necessary offer the best results compared to one with just 12 megapixels – especially in low-light conditions. If you’re looking to make sharp photographs at a party without having to carry a bulky Digital SLR, you can’t go wrong with the Canon PowerShot S120 or the Sony RX100 III. But if you’re after a camera that can handle fast action shots – kids running around, for example – the Fujifilm XT-1 is your camera of choice.

Whether you’re after the fastest compact camera or the most stylish one, TIME LightBox offers its selection of the 10 best models in time for the summer season.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent.

Leica TMade from a single block of aluminum, the Leica T offers “clean lines, smooth surfaces and formal minimalism at its best,” claims the German luxury camera maker. You wouldn’t expect any less from Leica, and yet, while this interchangeable lens camera produces great images, it’s not the easiest to use and can be rather slow. The Leica T will appeal to the affluent amateur who favors style over substance – not that there’s anything wrong with that. It retails from $1850, body only.
Nikon D3300This entry-level Digital SLR is full of surprises – from its 24.2-megapixel resolution to its shooting rate of five frames-per-second and Nikon’s fast EXPEED 4 image processor. Sure it lacks Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, but Nikon makes up for it by offering great image quality – thanks to the lack of an Optical Low Pass Filter – and improved battery life in a relatively compact body. It retails from $649.95.
Samsung NX30Priced at $999.99, the Samsung NX30 can seem costly, but it packs a 20.3-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, a three-inch swivel Super AMOLED touchscreen and offers an impressive burst rate of nine frames-per-second. Plus, its Hybrid Autofocus system is one of the fastest for a camera of its class – ensuring that you’ll rarely miss the action. There’s still room for improvement, especially when it comes to Samsung’s over-reliance on plastic as its material of choice, but the NX30 doesn’t disappoint.
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark IIFor many professional photographers, Canon’s Powershot G range was synonymous with compact reliability – especially in low-light conditions. But, in recent years, the series has suffered from better-equipped competitors. The G1 X Mark II is a decent attempt at turning things around, even though it lacks an optical viewfinder. Its fast lens, with a maximum aperture of f/2, delivers crisp results while the camera’s manual control options will delight advanced users. It retails from $799.
Fujifilm XT-1Fujifilm’s latest interchangeable lens camera system looks like an incredibly small Digital SLR, but that don’t let it fool you. It’s been consistently rated as one of the best cameras of its class thanks to its 16.3-megapixel APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor, which offers a non-Bayer color filter array that eliminates the need for an optical low-pass filter. This results in sharper images. Retailing at $1299, body only, the XT-1 is pricey but worth every single dollar.
Canon PowerShot S120Don’t be fooled by its size; the Canon PowerShot S120 is a powerhouse, especially in low-light conditions. And while it faces increased competition from Sony’s RX100 range of cameras, its ease-of-use and pocket-able nature makes it a strong contender in the field. The S120 offers a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, a sensitivity range of up to ISO 12,800 and a 5x zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 – all for $449.99.
Apple iPhone 5SPhotographer Chase Jarvis says it best: “The best camera is the one that’s with you,” and you can’t go wrong with Apple iPhone 5S. Sure, it doesn’t have Nokia’s 40-megapixel resolution or Samsung’s selfie mode, but it remains one of the fastest camera phones on the market while offering impressive results even in low-light conditions. Plus, with thousands of cameras apps available on iTunes, the possibilities are endless. It retails from $649.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5Waterproof. Shockproof. Dustproof. Freezeproof. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 might have been released 18 months ago, it still remains one of the best all-condition compact cameras on the market. The camera’s16-megapixel sensor and 4.6x optical zoom lens offer good results – but none that will match its water-adverse competitors. But if you’re looking for a camera to take with you in the clear waters of the Bahamas, you can’t go wrong with Panasonic’s FT5. It retails from $399.99.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic While Polaroid might have given up on instant photography, Fujifilm continues to support its Instax Mini system. The 90 Neo Classic camera has been designed to appeal to older users, with its retro look and various shooting modes – there’s even a Kids mode for parents with active offspring. The camera retails from $199.99 with packs of instant film available from $7.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad review of Sony’s latest Cyber-shot RX100 III. With its large 20.1-megapixel sensor, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400 and its fast 24-70mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, you just can’t go wrong. Not only does it offer great results in auto mode, but the RX100 III also offers full manual controls, making it an ideal companion for amateur and professional photographers alike. Of course, the closer you get to perfection, the higher the price: $799.

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