Picture this: You’re walking through the city and you see architecture that captivates you or a person on the street who delights you. You reach for your smart phone but the photo you take doesn’t wholly capture the energy you wanted. The lighting is off and there’s no true focus on the subject.
Another scene: you’re hitting every national park you can in one road trip and you witness all sorts of amazing wildlife and towering scenery along the way. You want so badly to capture every moment for eternity, or at least for your lifetime, but your smart phone camera just ain’t up to snuff. The scenery whizzes by too quickly resulting in blurred photos.
What’s the point we’re trying to make? No matter where you’re journeying in the world on your locum tenens assignment you deserve a camera that captures the awe you felt in the moment.
We’re not bad-mouthing smart phone cameras by any means. In fact, for the globetrotters who double as hobbyist photographers a smart phone will often suffice. After all smart phone cameras have come a long way over the past couple years. With megapixels ever increasing – plus the ease of use as far as Wi-Fi connectivity – it’s just fine to be content with your smart phone.
But sometimes you want a better quality photo or video, don't you? Because even with the rapid technological progress of smart phone cameras you still can’t beat a digital camera. The megapixels are greater and most digital cameras nowadays come with Wi-Fi connectivity (depending on the model of course).
Granted those two features aren’t the only selling points of a digital camera. And we’re not here to sell you on the hottest cameras, either. We’re simply here to enlighten you, to broaden your picture-taking horizons.
Go ahead and read through the list then you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to upgrade. Keep in mind, in order to fit such an expansive topic into one blog we’re sticking to the best digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) and mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILCs) of 2016.
And since we’re aiming for brevity here’s a crash course in these two types of cameras: DSLRs, put simply, use a mirror to direct light from the lens to the optical viewfinder (OVF). The mirror allows you to see what the camera will capture. Mirrorless cameras on the other hand don’t employ mirrors – a relatively newer technology – but instead capture light right onto the image sensor where you can see electronically what the camera will capture through the electronic viewfinder (EVF). If you’d like to read in greater detail about the differences between the two types of cameras, check out this article. If you'd like to learn more about the pros and cons of each type of camera, here's a great read.
The reigning advantage of both DSLR and mirrorless cameras over smart phone cameras and point-and-shoots is that you have a lot more manual control, plus the lenses are interchangeable. This gives you the capacity to achieve grander photography and videography in one package. But enough with the gritty tech talk. Let’s get down to the best digital cameras of 2016 – from entry-level to professional.
Entry-level DSLR – Nikon D3400
For those of you who are already well versed in the photography world, you know that a lot of photographers are either very pro-Nikon or very pro-Canon. There are diehards who swear by one brand over the other. You may even be one of them. We ask you to set aside your differences and take the Nikon D3400 for what it is: a really great entry-level DSLR. It offers 24.2 megapixels, great battery life and Bluetooth connectivity.
Mid-range DSLR – Canon EOS 80D
The Canon EOS 80D was actually released not too long ago – back in March to be exact. It comes packed with some great features over the previous model, the 70D. What you get is a new image sensor and a faster autofocus system. What hasn’t changed is the fact that these cameras – both the 70D and the 80D – are excellent for shooting action, plus they also have a convenient articulating touchscreen.
Professional DSLR – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Some terms you may hear as you’re searching for your next camera is crop sensor (APS-C) vs. full-frame sensor. Most entry-level to mid-range cameras (both DSLRs and mirrorless) utilize APS-C sensors – meaning it crops the frame. Or “…only part of the image produced by the lens is captured by the APS-C size sensor.”
As you reach both the professional DSLR and mirrorless cameras you’ll get what’s called a full-frame sensor. In other words, “full frame refers to a sensor size that has the same dimensions as the 35mm format.” It captures the entire image produced by the lens.
One full-frame camera to look out for that was released not very long ago is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Its predecessors, the Mark II and the Mark III both made a huge impact on the photography and videography world. Essentially these cameras became veritable workhorses for videographers wrapped up in a small, convenient package.
Entry-level Mirrorless – Sony a6000
While the Sony a6000 is not a new camera (it was released in April 2014), it still is a staple among the mirrorless community. It’s often lauded as having one of the best autofocusing systems in its class, even rivaling that of many professional DSLRs. And if you’re an action photographer you’ll be pleased with its ability to shoot 11 frames per second. Another fantastic feature: you can achieve that cinema-quality look with the camera’s ability to shoot in 24fps HD video.
Mid-range Mirrorless – Sony a6300
You guessed it: the Sony a6300 is the new and improved version of the a6000. It was released just this year back in March. Though it still sports the same 24 megapixels, what has improved is the overall image quality. And with increased image quality comes increased focusing capabilities.
You also get better low-light performance. This may not seem like a huge selling point but believe us, it is. When you find yourself in a dark living room wanting to snap a picture of your family during the holidays, the low-light capabilities save the day. One final upgrade: it can shoot in 4K video!
Professional Mirrorless – Sony a7r II
By now you might think we’re strictly Sony fans when it comes to mirrorless cameras. While the author is a Sony a7s II owner he restricts his bias as much as possible (the ‘s’ version has better low-light capabilities than the 'r' version).
The very fact that Sony has made some amazing advances in the mirrorless technology world lands it firmly in first place among many lists, for its focus speed, its resolution and its low-light capability among many other advantages. The Sony a7r II is no different. In fact, it’s a beast for anyone wanting 42.4 megapixels and a highly intuitive autofocusing system.
Well that’s it for the best digital cameras of 2016. Now get out there and start snapping pictures and shooting video. Always feel free to share your photos and footage with us from your locum tenens assignments. And if you’re looking for great locales to shoot in, look no further than these healthcare opportunities.