2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $500-800
Best Overall/Best Value: The Sony a6000
We really cannot say enough good things about the Sony a6000. Though we have it in the $500-800 category, due to its MRSP, it can often be acquired, body only, for closer to $500. And what does that get you? AF performance in line with the best in its class, great image quality, solid video quality/features with AF and no hunting, and a nice EVF, packed into a compact, enthusiast-friendly body. It's not necessarily the best in all of these respects (especially when paired with the convenient but unimpressive kit zoom), but its appeal comes from its all-round capability, and its ability to do a few things really well. If you'd like to hands-off track an erratically moving child, for 11fps stills or for video, the a6000 with a fast prime is your ticket. If you want to grow into a camera for your longer reach photography - birds-in-flight, running sports - and following action critically isn't too crucial for you, the a6000 is the camera you can learn to use manually and take control over. Or even if you just want a potentially overpowered travel camera, it certainly won't hurt. It's the broad list of things this camera does so well that make it our top recommendation.
Best for Video: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
The Panasonic G7 is one of the easiest-to-use, 4K-capable cameras we’ve ever reviewed. On the stills side, image quality and AF performance is solid, with easy to use features like face detection, and general tracking of your subjects no matter where they move to within the frame, all well implemented. Whether you’re a stills photographer, or a filmmaker novice, or the next Kubrick, the G7 offers tons of helpful tools and features to get your shot. And unlike the Samsung NX500, the only other 4K-capable camera at this price point, there is little additional crop factor when capturing 4K with the G7. We only wish it had a headphone jack.
Also consider: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II
The E-M10 II is a great all-around camera, with advanced features, priced reasonably well. The core of its appeal comes from its level of direct control, good viewfinder and its excellent JPEGs, which make it (along with the Fujifilm X-T10), a really satisfying camera for any enthusiast photographer. The clincher is the addition of faster autofocus and 5-axis image stabilization for both stills and video that make it a more well-rounded option than the Fujifilm. And the focus stack assist features is a nice add on for macro and landscape shooters.
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