Best Cameras of 2020 – Photography, Hybrid Cameras, Prime Lenses & More
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
EDIT (20/12/2020): Winners and video added
You might have seen our Top 5 Picks for phones, cameras, audio and laptops last year, but this year, we’re doing it different (like how the year has been) and big. We have close to 40 products nominated for Best of 2020 across 13 categories.
The team has spent plenty of hours reviewing most of the products entrusted to us by brands, putting them to real tests to see if they live up to your expectations and sharing our thoughts about them. Before we share the winners of each category, here is a sneak preview of our nominations of best cameras and lenses that made the cut in 2020.
We’ve hyperlinked the reviews down below in the nomination list, so click on the names to check out the full reviews and let us know which one you think will win!
Nikon Z7 II Credit: Nikon
Best camera for photography nominees
We’re starting off with the Fujifilm X-T4 , a camera we tested out before the Circuit Breaker period here in Singapore. The build quality was fantastic, it had a convenient flip out display, it had really good image quality and the autofocusing was fast and accurate. Fujifilm has done some great things with the XT line, and the XT4 was a great camera to use, especially with the battery grip.
The Nikon Z7 II, another camera we just recently reviewed, also impressed us. The colours that come out of a Nikon camera are fantastic, and there’s the new dual Expeed 6 processors and autofocusing is much better. The ergonomics feel great, but it’s the image quality that really stunned us.
The best camera for photography, in our opinion, is the Canon R5 . There’s 8K video, Dual Pixel Auto Focus II system, a fully articulating touchscreen display and more. When we first tried it out, we were impressed by the industry-leading animal eye tracking. Even for humans, it locks on fast. It just takes the guesswork out of photography. Noise control is excellent, even at higher ISO, and it’s just a great camera.
Sony a7S III Credit: Sony
Best hybrid camera nominees
We’re going to see a bit of overlap with the Best Camera for photography category because most of the cameras we talked about just now also do really good video. Case in point, we have the Fujifilm X-T4 once again. Sure, it’s using an APS-C sensor and not a full-frame sensor, but Fujifilm’s colour science, the lenses and more all come together to make it a good camera for video. You can shoot in log if you want, the autofocusing is good and the video is beautiful coming out of the XT4.
Up next, the Canon R5. There’s 8K video recording, but pretty much nobody’s gonna use it because it bogs down every computer system, even Mac Pros to some extent. That’s why the new M1 chip is important, and we’ll talk about that in a future review. It also does 4K 120fps, and that Dual Pixel Auto Focus II is really useful here as well. There’s the overheating issue, but with firmware updates coming to alleviate some of those issues, the Canon R5 is a beast of a camera for hybrid.
We finally get to number 1, and this should come as no surprise, it’s the Sony A7S III. It’s one of our favourite cameras of 2020, and it’s a phenomenal camera for video. The tracking? Second to none. Sony have also revised the camera menu system, which makes changing your settings much easier now. The colour science is improved, there’s no overheating, battery life is good and we finally get the flip out swivel display, which is a godsend. It only does 12MP stills, but the images are actually quite fantastic.
Tamron 70-180mm f2.8
Panasonic S Pro 70-200mm f2.8 Credit: Panasonic
Nikkor Z 70-200mm f2.8
Best telephoto zoom lens nominees
We’re starting things off with a lens from a brand that we’ve covered quite extensively, and that have always surprised us at the price point and how well they perform when compared to Sony’s own lenses. It’s the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 . It’s a beautiful lens and it comes in at much less than the 70-200mm f2.8 G Master lens from Sony. It’s a fantastic lens to use and we highly recommend it at the price point.
Next up, we have the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f2.8. This lens is really neck and neck with our top pick, but whichever lens you choose will be great. The Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f2.8 is a fantastic zoom lens and no matter which camera it’s paired with, be it the Leica SL2, S1R, S1H or even the Sigma FP, it’s a high performing lens and Panasonic has knocked it out of the park with their S Pro line.
It’s tough to pick between the Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f2.8 and this lens, but we think the Nikkor Z 70-200mm f2.8 lens comes out on top. It’s a stunning lens, and while it’s not a small lens, the image quality is great. The F mount 70-200mm lens was known to be one of the best out there, and this Z mount 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens has surpassed it.
Fujifilm XF 50mm f1
Sigma 65mm f2 DG DN I Series
Nikkor Z 50mm f1.2 S Credit: Nikon
Best prime lens nominees
Let’s start with the Fujifilm XF 50mm f1 , which really surprised us. At f1, it’s bitingly sharp wide open with great bokeh, great falloff and great separation. It’s a big lens and it does require an ND filter, but you’ll be well rewarded with beautiful bokeh and very fast autofocusing.
Next up is the Sigma 65mm f2 DG DN I Series, which blend’s Sigma’s more modern design from the contemporary series and the optical quality from the ART series. The lens is sharp and you get beautiful bokeh, fast autofocusing and it has one of the best designs we’ve seen on a Sigma lens thus far. The image quality is great, and even coming close to Leica’s SL Summicron 50mm f2.
The Nikkor Z 50mm f1.2 S takes top honours though. We tested a pre-production copy, but it impressed us enough to make it to the top. It’s a big 50mm lens, it feels almost like an 85mm lens, but the image quality is stunning. You get circular bokeh, beautiful background separation, images are sharp and it’s a stunning lens.
Leica SL2-S Credit: Leica
Hasselblad 907X 50C Credit: Hasselblad
Best designed camera nominees
Not all cameras are good looking, some perform better than they look, but this category is all about the aesthetics while still performing well.
Starting with the Fujifilm X100V, it’s a small, little rangefinder-esque camera that is the latest installment in the X100 series which has been a cult favourite for a while now, but the X100V is so refined that we don’t know where the series will go next. It’s beautifully made and feels excellent in the hand. The lens is fantastic, image quality is great and the silver and black combination on the body looks wonderful.
We have the newly announced Leica SL2-S next. With the same design as the SL2, there’s a small change with black lettering instead of white for the “Leica” word, and overall, it’s just a beautiful camera. Leica’s cameras feel the best in the hand, with their robustness and build quality.
Our top pick for the best designed camera, though, is the Hasselblad 907X 50C. It’s a beautiful homage to the V series camera system, with the small body incorporating black and chrome elements. It looks like a 500 series camera in a way, with the digital back that you can put on or remove, there’s also the flip up display, you can add an external grip or viewfinder and it’s a beautiful camera. There’s nothing else better looking than it on the market right now.