2.12.2020

Favorite camera ever?


A commenter named, Ray, asked me if there were cameras I regretted buying. I responded, honestly, that I never (rarely) regret having bought a camera but I do regret selling a few of them. When I look back at some of the images I was able to take with the Sonya99 I wince just a little about letting it go. 

But rather than focus on regrets I feel like celebrating the cameras I've had that I really liked. I'll keep it to digital otherwise we'd be here all day.

My top ten: 

Kodak DCS760. Nothing above ISO 100 please; and if possible let's keep it at ISO 80...but the colors (see above). 

Nikon D610.

Nikon D700.

Panasonic G9.

Olympus E-1.

Fuji XH-1.

Sony R-1.

Sony RX10-3.

Canon 5Dmk2.

Sony Nex-7.

If you want to play along let me know your favorite digital cameras in the comments. It was actually a fun exercise for me trying to nail down not which cameras were the absolute best from a technical point of view rather, the ones I had the most fun shooting and got the best results from because they were friendly enough and competent.

Thanks!

54 comments:

Derrick said...

Owned Canon 20D, 50D, 5DII, Fuji X-Pro1, X-Pro2, X-T3, GFX 50S, Sony Nex 5, A7RII, A7III, A9, A7RIV.
Favourite of the bunch are the Canon 5DII, Fuji X-T3 and GFX 50S.

Malcolm said...

I have not owned the same range of cameras that most people seem to have, and I'm no pro so these cameras are 'good enough' for me, but the ones I've enjoyed using the most are:

Canon 5D (Mk I)
Fuji X100S
Canon 1D (Mk I)

Michael Kohnhorst said...

All time favorite and current daily user - GH5. Also was very fond of GH3 and GX7. Analog favorites were Contax G2 and Contax 167 MT.

Eric Rose said...

Analog - Rolleiflex TLR, Nikon N90s, Nikon F2. Digital - Nikon D700, Panasonic GX1, Panasonic GH5.

That's not say I don't like my Blad, 4x5 field camera, Leica(s) or even my Olympus XA, but the ones mentioned above create magic when I have them in my hands.

Eric

Unknown said...

Kt,
The first dslr which I purchased was the Nikon D2H. Truly a dinosaur of a camera at this point in time. When I purchased it( I believe it was either 1999 or 2000) I found myself using as often as possible. It became part of me and its operation was automatic. I occasionally use it now and still find its response and ease of use could not be better. Still one of my favorite digi cameras. Hardly my first choice now (I have too many to choose from now) it was an eye opener at the time.

Munim said...

Probably my Sony DSC-R1 from 2005. The simple controls, the weird but good ergonomics, the very nice lens, totally usable sensor for my purposes. The best aspect of it for me though, is it's electronic shutter that syncs with off-camera flash up to 1/1000 at full power. Probably limited by my Pocket Wizards!

Anonymous said...

Mine:
Sony A7 Mk1
Sony A6000
Ricoh GX100
Ricoh GR
Sony RX100 Mk1
Olympus Pen-F
Superheadz Digital Harinezumi
Apple iPhone 11
Olympus TG4
For all I know, I might like newer iterations of these cameras even better but since I'm already pretty happy, figured that Ignorance = Bliss.

Jeff in Colorado

Gato said...

A lot of Sony on your list, and quite a few on mine.

My all-time favorite digital was the quirky little Sony 828. Painfully slow by today's standards, but in my opinion a great idea.

One of my all-time favorite lenses was the Sony 14-70 for APS mirrorless, but I could never find a camera I really liked to pair it with.

I, too, owned an A99. When it hit it the images were fabulous but I found it a pain to use.

That said over the last 10 years I have owned about a half dozen Sonys and a couple of Nikons, but so far I have always come back to Panasonic.

My all-time favorite over all the years is still my Deardorff, a 5x7 with a 4x7 back. I doubt I'll ever use it again, but I'll probably never sell it either. I bought it as a basket case and spent about 6 weeks of free time putting it back together, used it mostly as a portrait camera and made a number of my all-time favorite photos with it. It's on the shelf behind me watching over me as I type.

TMJ said...

Olympus E1
Sony Nex-7
Ricoh GR (APS-C)
Canon 6D

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I should have also included Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 on my list.
Jeff in Colorado

Anonymous said...

Canon 1D Mark II
Nikon D700
Nikon Z6
Fuji XT3

Alf said...

My favorites, wich I am still using:
-Fuji Xpro-2, no intention of upgrading to Xpro-3
-Panasonic GX-7
-Olympus Pen-F

I am getting aquitanced with the Fuji X-T3

I also own a Canon 5 Mark IV, but it is much less fun. Am I a "rangefinder" photographer? Probably yes.

As an amateur, I am only talking about cameras with wich I have fun.

Best regards,

Alfonso

Tom said...

Digilux 2/DMC LC-1
X100
XT1 with kit zoom
RX1RII

Jon Porter said...

My all-time favorites over the last 50 years:

35mm – Nikon FM2N & F4
120 SLR – Bronica 6x7 & Mamiya 645
120 Rangefinder – Fuji GW690III
Digicam – Nikon D810 & Olympus EM1-2 (My current digitals)

Camera I most regret selling: Bronica 6x7 (Replaced several years ago with a Mamiya RB67. No electronics, but is definitely NOT hand-holdable!)

John W said...

Over the years i owned and/or used everything from a Minox (and if you know what that is I know how old you are) to a 4x5. The faves are:

The Contax G2 -Gorgeous camera and lenses and the most ergonomically perfect camera I've ever held.
The Sony R-1 - A strange beast in many ways but the lens was worth the price of admission. I still have it.
The Fuji X-T1 - A film camera with a sensor inside. An absolute joy to use. And those Fujicron lenses ... oh those lenses.
The Nikon V3 - Yes! You read that right! This little camera deserved a lot better from Nikon and the critics. Yes, it has many flaws
and quirks, but treat it with a little care and respect and the results can be surprisingly good. And it's light,
compact, fast and the lenses are Sharp! Sharp! Sharp! My favourite street camera and go anywhere camera. I
picked up a V1 body for peanuts and had it converted to infrared. All my V3 lenses work fine with it.

rickt183 said...

Canon Elan IIe
Nikon D70

Ross Nolly said...

Nikon FM2n
Panny LX100
Holga 120n

Roger Jones said...

My Best Digital Cameras

1. SDQ-H

2. Sigma SD1M for IQ

3. Sigma SD15 for over all IQ go any where with me

4. Nikon D810

5. Nikon D700

6. Nikon D2Hs

7. Nikon D1x

8. Olympus E1

9. Olympus E330

I still own and shoot with the above cameras except for the Olympus's. I shoot the Foveon for IQ the Nikon D810, and D700 for speed, the D2Hs, and D1x for a CCD sensor

Antonio Ramirez said...

My favorites are, in the order in which they were purchased: Canon 20D, Leica M9P, Leica M (Type 240), Nikon Df, Nikon Z6. I still own the last three, and at this point I believe the Nikon Z6 is my favorite digital camera ever.

eric erickson said...

KT, like you I never regretted buying any of my many cameras, too many to mention. But I have regretted selling a few. The one I most regretted selling was my D 700. I have recently been shooting with the Z series Nikon with all the fancy new glass, but my old 700 and the 24-120 f4 lens produced some amazing images. I still have the 750 and very likely won’t sell it despite the fact that I rarely use it because I have regretted selling the D700. It was a great camera, a legend. Nice post I am sure you will get a lot of comments.

Dave Jenkins said...

I'll bite.

Film Cameras:
Olympus OM2n, my all time favorite camera.
Pentax 6x7. Used it for nearly 20 years. I think it gave me the highest percentage of keepers of any camera I've ever owned.

Digital Cameras:
Canon 5D Classic. Used it for eight years. Beautiful files, but got really tired of cleaning the sensor but still having to zap dust spots out of the skies in my architectural shots.
Canon 20D. A good camera, very underrated.
Canon 6D. Pretty much like the 5D, only with automatic sensor dust removal.
Fuji X-Pro1. A quirky, engaging camera, the only one since the Oly OM2n for which I have actually felt something akin to affection. As Bobby Tingle says, "...it's all about the shooting experience. It is not a tool meant to get out of the way of working. Instead, the X-Pro is meant to be part of the process of making the photograph.

Ash said...

For me it's the Fuji X-T1 with the 35mm 1.4 lens.

Having three dedicated dials for ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture helped me learn.

James said...

1. Olympus OM-D E-M5. The colors.
2. Sigma DP2 Quattro. Again, the colors. You really have to work for the photos, but when you get a hit, you hit hard. I'm not a practicing pro. For me, photography is the inner art of seeing. If I don't get the shot captured, it's ok, I did the part that counts. So I'd rather get that one photograph a year.

Maybe I should get a view camera.

Mark the tog said...

No digital cameras have ever moved me the way my first SLR, a Pentax H3V, did.
That was a silken wonder with endlessly smooth,creamy images.
The other camera that made my heart skip a beat was my Leica M4 bought used in 1974 with what was then my life savings plus a loan/gift from my mother.
Equally smooth and silken in operation but with negatives that practically chewed your fingers off with sharpness and snap.

Honorable mention goes to my Mom's Beautyflex 120 TLR that somehow always made great images very slowly. The finder was abysmally dim and the focus was an educated guess but the smell of the camera and the feel in the hand was half the pleasure of the photo session.

Joe said...


I'll second the Sony R-1: mine went to a good home with a college student.

I'll also nominate the Olympus E-M5, both original and Mark II versions and the Pentax K-5. With a good, weather-resistant lens like Olympus 12-40/2.8 Pro zoom, these are excellent as a go-anywhere-anytime camera in the car that, when used carefully, make files suitable for quite large prints. They're still working hard, along with a few later models in the product line such as the Pentax K-1 MII.

For all-around use, my all-time favorite, though, remains the Olympus digital Pen-F. It just feels right in so many situations, particularly with smaller prime lenses. The sole drawback is the inexplicable lack of weather-sealing on a camera in this price range, which may partially explain the relatively slow sales of this model. Files are lovely and easy to print.

My most regretted sale was a 120mm Goerz Dagor wide-angle lens for 4x5 and 5x7 film negatives. I've always like the large format negatives that it produced, very sharp but with lovely color and smooth tonal transitions, and it wasn't even a post-WWII coated lens.

David said...

All time favorite camera is still the Pentagon six with the large Arsenal ttl prism.
Next would be the Olympus Em1mk1, even though my dials aren't as responsive now. But thats why I have the grip on.
Then its up in the air to the rest of the cameras I own.
One that I didn't get along with was the Kodak SLR/n. I really wanted to like that camera. But it just didn't mesh with me.

Currently have Olympus E510 full spectrum, E3, Em5mk2, Em1mk1 full spectrum, Panasonic GM5, Nikon DF and Sigma SD14.

Tim Gray said...

Fujifilm X30
Pentax K-7
Canon 10D

Mamiya RB67 Pro-SD
Mamiya 7/7ii

John Talbert said...

Wista 4x5
Nikon F3HP
Nikon F with eye level prism
Olymous OMD-EM10 MKII great colors easy to use

Dogman said...

All time favorite digitals:

Fuji XPro2 & XPro1
Nikon D810
Nikon D610
Nikon D700
Fuji X100S
Canon 50D
Canon 7D
Olympus E620

All time favorite film cameras:

Leica M6
Nikon F2

Why these? All of them just seemed to work perfectly for me at the time for anything I wanted to do. Some still do.

WayneP said...

Favorites? The ones I’ve used the most and got most comfortable with:
Hasselblad 500 series
Nikon F2 w/o a meter
Contax G2
Nikon D300
Fuji 100s

Working on a few others but there yet...

Anonymous said...

RX1

MikeR said...

I had the most fun when I learned about CHDK, which opened up some capabilities of my Canon Powershot A530, and later the A590. That led to a deep dive into HDR, further satisfying some inner need to geek out. Really, it wasn't about the cameras, it was about fooling around.

Lumix GF1, which I bought used in 2012, eliminated any rational reason for keeping the Canons, and I loved that camera. I had it IR-converted, for when I get the IR bug. (Ref "geeking out," above). M43 adapters also led into a quickly amassed collection of old lenses, (almost entirely sold off now). (There's that g-word again.)

Current most-used cameras are Lumix LX7 & LX100, but I have a Nikon D700, that I have set to monochrome, while also exploring (IOW, playing with) Epson's Advanced B&W printing. (I did say something about geeking out, didn't I?)

Anonymous said...

i too keep coming back to Panasonic. G9 is the best, but can't get rid of GX8!

Anonymous said...

Favourite film camera - Olympus OM1

Favourite digital cameras

Sony F707
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Sony NEX 7
Sony a6500

Greg heins said...

All right, I'll bite. Leica M2, Rollei TLR, H'blad 500C in the day, Pentax K-1 and 645Z now. In the hope of improved IQ, transitioning from Pen-F to Fuji X-T30 for the carry-all-the-time camera. Jury not yet in...

James Moule said...

My favorite camera of all time was the Leica IIIg. I carried two bodies and five lenses in a Benser case. However film was too much of a problem for travel photography—over heating, X-Rays, etc.

Since then I have owned dozens of digital cameras. The standouts along the way:

Sony RX 1. However the fixed 35 mm lens was too limiting.
Nikon D700 with the 24-120mm lens

Now I use:

Sony A9ii with the 24-105mm f/4 lens for all around photography
Sony A7Riv with a collection of Zeiss fixed focal length lenses for landscape photography
Olympus OMD E-M1 with the 300mm prime for wildlife photography. I can shoot 600mm equivalent hand held

TMJ said...

"....let me know your favorite digital cameras in the comments."

Digital cameras. I am surprised how many commentators didn't answer your very straightforward question.

pixtorial said...

This is harder than it seems at first go!

My all around favorite is the Fuji XT2. My daughter and I both use our pair for all manner of still and video projects. She shot her first serious short film with one, and I've used them for theatre and music events with great results. They are a joy to shoot, we Love the Fuji color, and they are "right size" for us (i.e. not too small, less bulk than DSLRs).

Next would be the Nikon D610. It was my first (and only) full frame DSLR, and it taught me a lot about what full frame is and isn't. After a series of Nikon bodies (D50, D70, D7100) it was familiar, easy to shoot, and predictable. Not a perfect camera, but still a great one. If I have any regrets about parting with a camera it would be that one. I should have kept it and the Nikkor 50 1.8G and 85 1.8G lenses.

My first DSLR was the venerable Nikon D50. I basically learned photography with it. I shot tens of thousands of photos with it, and it was arguably one of the most accessible DSLRs ever produced. The subsequent D40 and later D3xxx cameras never quite caught the magic of the D50 in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Kirk,

May I say I'm shocked, shocked, I say, to see there are others that miss the Sony R1! I expected you and I would be the only two. It was a superb design hampered by the available tech of its day. A great lens attached to as good a sensor, EVR and processor as they had, and a good basic line up of menus that were easy to use and highly understandable. Imagine what the second generation would have been had Sony Hadn't sold their soul for Minolta. And what happened to the brilliant engineers responsible for this design? It would seem that they were tossed aside as Sony gave their entire camera division to the Minolta staff. It seems so common over here that I am sad to see it invade Japan, that a solid successful company absorbs a smaller less successful company and turns all or part of their operations to the staff of the failed company.(see Boeing McDonnell Douglas "merger.")

imagine, an R! with the same lens, a 24MP sensor with no anti Aliasing filter, snappier AF, a better EVF and ability to write to card faster. I can dream, can't I?

Mike Marcus said...

As for my favorite camera, it would be the Pentax MX, which I said more than once when using it, "... I love this camera." No other camera has produced that response in me. I have had a number of Canons that I liked but not that I loved. The Pany G9 has a strong start to move into my "love" category, but I need to use it more first. The G9 is followed closely by the Pany GX8 for travel. I suspect both will stay with me and keep me out of the next shiny MFT camera market maybe forever. My evolving love affair with MFTs started with a Pany G1. Among other MFTs that I have had but, in the end, returned them to the used market includes the Oly EM5.1 and EM1.1, mostly due to their menus. And, while I now have a Sony a7ii and while I do like the images it produces, the menu really sucks and its ergonomics is not far off from that. So, any in the a7 series are unlikely to enter my love category and at some time it too will again enter the used market after my next search ends for a FF mirrorless with IBIS that I might love.

dicky said...

My favourite camera is the Nikon D700.
I moved on to Oly and Fuji mirrorless to reduce the weight I was carrying, but the Big Nik still feels the most natural and intuitive to use.

Michael Ferron said...


I am not sure I have yet had a favorite camera. I have purchased many that I thought might be but still the search continues.

Davonroe said...

I love the cameras I have now: Panasonic GX8, FZ1000, and LX100. My Fujifilm s9000 was all I had when a designer friend asked me to shoot her work that ended up in a magazine, so I have a soft spot for bridge cameras. My favorites from the film era were the Olympus XA, Pentax 645 and the Bronica RF645.

Noons said...

The Nikon D80 gave me some of the best colours ever in a digital camera.
Pity it was such a low-res camera and hardly any good above ISO100.
Nowadays, it's the Olympus EM5MII that is attached to me almost everywhere!

Noons said...

Oh, and for film:
Nikon F2AS and Nikon F6.
Without a shadow of a doubt!

Craig said...

I always loved my Minolta Dimage A2 - was small, 28-200 lens was great and despite the horrible ISO, I got some of my best photos out of it.

Sony A700 - fit my hand like a glove, although I much prefer my A-77's EVF over the OVF on the A700.

I've really come to appreciate the Panasonic FZ-1000 I bought after reading about your experience with it.

I'll always keep and treasure my Olympus OM-2n.

Nigel Hodges said...

Perhaps like others, even as an amateur, I've found that I've spent more time in the digital era searching for the camera that stops me looking for other cameras!
So, my favourite cameras....
Film era: all Nikons - F80, F65, FM2.
Digital - this is more complicated and it has been coupled with my desire NOT to have a large brick like object wreaking havoc on my back and taking the fun out of photography!
Favourites:
Fuji X100F - my current go-to when I want to take a single camera and wander!
Panasonic FZ330 - light, quick to focus and resists dust!
Liked but......:
Nikon V2 - fabulous focus, great in good light but not a low light camera!
Fuji X10 - ergonomics great, small and light with lots of control but slow to focus!
Panasonic TZ60 - compact and carryable especially on a trip where the prime aim isn't photography....but lens loved to suck up dust!
Didn't like: Nikon D40. Just didn't do it for me!

Craig Yuill said...

I am not sure I have even used ten digital cameras (unless phone cameras are included). But I would list my favourites as the following ones.

* Canon PowerShot A80 - my first digital camera, which produced prints that were as good as any of the (decent) point-and-shoot film cameras (i.e. Olympus Stylus Infinity Zoom) I had been using up to that time.
* Nikon D7000 - my first DSLR, which is still in use today - and still can be used to take great photos.
* Nikon V1 - a small digital camera that was equally good for both stills and video; and which replaced the Sony HD video camcorder I had been using.
* Nikon V2 - the V1 with better ergonomics and a decent UI, but decidedly ungainly looks.
* Nikon D7500 - which I only used (once) for two hours, but showed how eight years of technological improvements can significantly improve upon the D7000's exposure and AF capabilities.

I am surprised at how many here included the Nikon D700 and Nikon 1 V-series cameras in their lists. And where are the phone cameras? There have been some very good ones out there (iPhone X and 11 Pro, Pixel 3 and 4, etc.).

Malcolm said...

I can't help noticing that gear posts lead to a lot of comments! Since you followed your gear post with a favourite photos post how about asking us about our favourite photos that we've taken, with how and why? I know you can't put photos in comments but an instagram link maybe?

Perhaps you could limit it to a genre, portrait, architecture or street if you like.

Just a thought :)

MB.Kinsman said...

My favorite digital cameras: Canon 40D, Fujifilm XT2, XPro2, XH1 and 100F, Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Panasonic G9. Was disappointed with Canon 5DmkII, XTI, and Olympus OM-D E-M1 (too slow for street work, good for other genres),

Peter Williams said...

Nikon D3s, it was a huge and heavy beast, but it seemed like it was part of you, think about squeezing the shutter button and it was done. So responsive, so intuitive, so fast, so solid, so reliable, so confidence inspiring. Eventually the 12 Mpx became a limitation when printing for sale and exhibition. But it was just magical to use.

Barry Wells said...

Sony NEX 7, because after years of SLRS and DSLRs, I knew the moment I picked it up that Mirrorless was the future.

Hugh said...

Canon 100D. SL1 in the USA. Tiny, light, good enough. Pairs brilliantly with the 50/1.8. I can use it one-handed while riding a horse.
Had one stolen in a fancy hotel, next two passed on to my adult daughters, and I’m looking for my fourth one now. Bargains used.

Tim Auger said...

Film: Canon AE-1 (faithful performer for decades)
DSLR: Pentax *istD
Fixed lens: Fujifilm X30

I have had a bunch of other cameras, some of them technically 'better', but none that gave me more of a compulsion at the time to get out and take some pictures. My M4/3 Panasonics get more use these days, but my Pentax DSLRs have given me more pleasure. Now lightness is a big priority and the Pentax K5 doesn't get out as much.