DPReview TV’s Best and Worst of 2020
Since 2013, Chris and I have been taking a look at the best and worst cameras of the year while playing a drinking game. This year required a very different format than usual, shooting outside for hours on end with a socially distanced crew. Given the circumstances, without even factoring in the alcohol we consumed, some details were bound to be lost. Here we present our reasoning for the products we chose as the best and worst of the year.
Watch our Best and Worst of 2020 video to see all the fun.
Best Lens Third Place – Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S
Competing with the incredibly impressive Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS and the Panasonic 70-200mm F2.8 Pro, the Nikkor stood out as the sharpest option. Chris and I are also huge fans of the custom controls and display on the new professional Z mount glass. The F-Mount 70-200mm F2.8 FL ED VR was an incredibly capable lens, and we’re thrilled to see that this new Z-mount version improves on it.
Best Lens Second Place – Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG DN Art
Sigma has a reputation for two things: great optics, and Art Series lenses so big that they could be used in deadlifting competitions. That all changed this year with the new ‘I’ series primes and this stunning 85mm F1.4. The third-party lens manufacturers no longer just produce ‘budget’ options but are often surpassing the major camera manufacturers with their well-rounded, innovative glass.
Best Lens Of 2020 – Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM
Ultra-wide zoom lenses are notoriously difficult to get right, yet Sony absolutely floored us with their latest. Sharp corner to corner throughout the zoom range, with incredibly snappy focus motors, all in a surprisingly light package, there was nothing to complain about with this lens. Yes, you certainly pay a premium for this performance, but after looking over our images, it’s hard not to argue that it’s kind of worth it.
Best Hybrid Camera Third Place – Fujifilm X-T4
I adore the ‘Eterna’ Film Simulation for video work and often find myself grabbing a Fujifilm X-T3 whenever I don’t have time to grade my footage. However, the tilt-only screen is a real pain when filming myself, and the lack of IBIS is noticeable even with static handheld shots.
The X-T4 addresses both of those concerns and adds a larger battery to boot! The removal of the headphone jack and overheating issues kept this from ranking higher, but we suspect a video-centric model might be coming to address those concerns.
Best Hybrid Camera Second Place – Panasonic S5
The L-Mount camera for the rest of us! While every other L-Mount body is aimed at a specific niche, the S5 aims to satisfy photographers and videographers of all types. I was very impressed when this camera shipped with 10-bit internal recording with the full V-Log gamma (something you still have to pay for with the upmarket S1). The latest firmware kicks it up even further with external Raw video recording and more assist tools.
The video autofocus is improved, but still not fully reliable in the most common modes, so it doesn’t quite take our top honor.
Best Hybrid Camera of 2020 – Sony a7S III
More than two years ago, I was making jokes about the interminable wait for this camera. However, Sony took the time to get it right. The a7S III might not have the headline-grabbing specs that Canon heralded while flying too close to the sun, but it offers nearly everything a working videographer could ask for.
Rolling shutter is minimal, there are endless codec and frame rate options, and the entire interface was replaced with a much more usable system. When the original a7S launched, it seemed to be everywhere, and I expect much the same for this little workhorse.
Best Stills Camera Third Place – Nikon Z5
Who knew you could make an entry-level full-frame camera with so few compromises? The Z5 brought the Z6/7 ergonomics and EVF to a much lower price range without sacrificing dual card slots or battery life. Sure, the burst rate is slow, and the image quality slightly less impressive than its big brother, but the Z5 is sure to make many enthusiasts and probably even a few pros very happy.
Just not video people. Like me.
Best Stills Camera Second Place – Fujifilm X-S10
On the topic of sensible compromises, the X-S10 gives you much of what makes the X-T4 great, but in a lighter, more affordable package. Fujifilm also threw in one of the few camera grips in memory that Chris and I can agree to love.
Fujifilm X-series cameras have long catered to a niche of photographers who grew up shooting cameras with dedicated exposure dials and classic aesthetics. The X-S10 is designed to help DSLR shooters transition to mirrorless with the same comfort level, and we think they succeeded admirably.
Best Stills Camera Of 2020 – Canon EOS R5
While the R6 is probably the better camera for a larger audience, we had to give the R5 our top honor this year for breaking so many technical boundaries. Their last high-resolution body, the 5DS, was capable of incredibly sharp results but felt limited and dated in most other respects.
The EOS R5 brought us 45 Megapixels, but with none of the common downsides. Dynamic range is near the top of its class, and rolling shutter is so well controlled that I thought I screwed up my testing. Most importantly, the major appeal of the RF-mount is Canon’s outstanding lens lineup, and the R5 sensor allows you to take full advantage of all the glorious detail those lenses can offer.
Sure, the price is high, and the overheating will turn off hybrid shooters, but in five years I think this will be the camera from 2020 that we all remember.
Worst Lens of 2020
When Fujifilm made it known that the previously announced 33mm F1.0 was becoming a 50mm F1.0, Chris and I were both a bit disappointed. The XF 56mm F1.2 was very close in both focal length and depth of field control, where the 33mm F1.0 would have offered XF shooters a unique aesthetic. We held out hope that we’d be proven wrong, but the 50mm F1.0 failed to impress us.
Considerable stopping down is required to achieve truly sharp results, and Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration (LoCA) was some of the worst we saw this year. The inclusion of weather resistance means this might be a great choice for outdoor portraiture when incredibly shallow depth is required, but we had a tough time finding an audience that would be well suited to this lens.
Worst Camera of 2020
Panasonic has all the technology to make a great vlogging camera. They have very effective in-body image stabilization, the ability to shoot full-sensor 4K video, and some easily editable video profiles.
Unfortunately, none of these are included in Panasonic’s camera designed for vlogging. Shooting cropped 4K without IBIS was extremely frustrating, and using the digital stabilization only exacerbated things. The decision to include the V-Log L profile was a nice gesture, but restricting the camera to 8-bit capture limited its usefulness. We’d far prefer to have Panasonic’s 8-bit friendly ‘Like-709’ or ‘Flat’ profiles.
Some saw the G100 as the return of the GM-series ultra-compact cameras, but the inclusion of the large (but quite nice) EVF makes the G100 much less pocketable than those beloved cameras. In short, we’re not sure who we would recommend the G100 to, and that makes it our worst camera of 2020.
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