What were the most influential cameras released this decade?
Another decade is coming to an end, and it got us thinking: with possibly hundreds of cameras (we think!) released in the last 10 years, what were the most influential cameras released this decade?
Before we share our picks, it's worth touching on some of the changes that have occurred in photography from 2010 to 2019. The decade has seen some major shakeups in the traditional hierarchy of the photography camera brands, with the 'big two' Nikon and Canon, now joined by relative newcomer Sony to become the 'big three' – something that's pretty remarkable when you consider that Sony only stepped into photography seriously with the Sony A7 back in 2013.
'Mirrorless' is undoubtedly the buzzword that's defined photography in both the amateur and professional space this decade – with every major camera manufacturer (and some minor ones too) now placing a stake on this technology for the future.
Speaking of technology, if the decade from 2001-2009 was defined by megapixels, the decade from 2010-2019 was defined by both frame size and autofocus, with cameras that match full-frame sensors with impressive autofocus now the norm and not the exception.
Finally we have to touch on smartphones, as the last decade has really seen this technology mature greatly, with the compact camera the most obvious victim of their dominance. Today, smartphones have pretty much nailed the shoot > edit > share > workflow, something camera companies will surely have to start factoring into their user experience in the coming decade.
So in no particular order, these are the three cameras that we think were the most influential this decade.
Even two years on from its release, the Sony A9 is like no other camera we've used. The combination of a no-blackout EVF and an incredibly tenacious autofocus meant for the first time with the A9 we had a mirrorless camera that knocked through that invisible wall that kept action sports and wildlife photographers doggedly sticking to their DSLRs – autofocus performance.
The experience of shooting this camera at 20fps for the first time still sticks in our minds as one of those groundbreaking moments in the rise of mirrorless technology.
Sure, before the GFX-50S came along there were medium format digital cameras – but they existed in a rarefied space only for the most well-healed of photographers (Think the Phase One IQ3 100MP Trichromatic that retails for $49,990 with an XF body and lens). And although the GFX-50S was still an expensive camera at release with its $8,999 price tag, it was the first time that a camera with a digital medium-format sensor was really attainable.
Sure, the autofocus was primitive, but the dynamic range and typically beauitiful Fuji tones meant that for studio and landscape photographers, the GFX remains a gamechanger.
The Nikon D850 really felt like it was the Japanese company's attempt to throw everything they had at making the ultimate DSLR, and at the time of its release in 2017 a number of reviewers even said that if this was the last gasp of the DSLR, it would go down in history as one of the all-time greats.
From it's huge 45.7MP full-frame sensor, great video capabilities and impressive autofocus, the Nikon D850 is still two years on one of the best DSLRs we've ever used.
Honourable mention: the smartphone
Although smartphones were around before 2010 (The first-generation iPhone was released in 2007), arguably this last decade is where the technology matured to become a serious threat to traditional cameras – with the current crop of smartphones like the iPhone 11, Google Pixel 4 and Huawei P30, among others, packing seriously impressive stills and video photography chops that mean some photographers are now ditching their SLR or mirrorless cameras entirely.
What will be really interesting is 2020 onwards – after all, the cameras are so good in the current generation of smartphones, we can only wonder, what will they do next?
What do you think were the most influential camera releases of the decade? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.