It's been a heck of a year for new cameras. New film cameras, new medium format cameras, new high-speed sports cameras, new pinhole cameras… we've seen manufacturers push the technical limits of photography to new levels, and we've seen them resurrect the most fundamental processes of film photography.
With so many cameras being released in 2022 (even if many of them have been hard to actually buy, given the never-ending parts and supply chain issues), we've all got our favorites – the cameras that have wowed us the most, or that we've enjoyed shooting with more than any other.
Here's what each member of the DCW team picked as their favorite camera of the year – and surprisingly, they're not all technical powerhouses!
I came this close to choosing the Hasselblad X2D 100C, which is by far the best pure camera I've used this year. However, in terms of the most fun camera I've used this year, I have no choice but to pick the Jollylook Pinhole. It's a $69, fully manual, hand-cranked camera with bellows focusing, a pinhole shutter that you have time in your head (or on your phone), and that takes Instax Mini film.
It's photography stripped all the way back to the basics, and it's an absolute blast to use. And I'll never forget a dad taking photos of his little boy with a mirrorless camera in the middle of Bath, only to stop for a moment and geek out at me tinkering with this wooden camera on a tripod. "Look at that man, he's using a proper camera!"
Fujifilm has always felt like a traditional brand for traditional photographers (whatever that actually means). So consider my surprise / excitement when I found out that it was releasing a hybrid camera for fast-paced genres like wildlife and sports! I love the format, size and retro design of Fujifilm's X-series cameras, but until 2022 I'd never considered buying one for everyday use.
With the Fujifilm X-H2S (and later in the year, the Fujifilm X-H2 and Fujifilm X-T5) Fujifilm has brought its APS-C cameras to an even wider audience – those that want their camera to look nice, feel nice, as well as perform under pro conditions. A pro I'm probably not, but I do shoot a lot of paid assignments (everything from pets to products to tech reviews), and the X-H2S can keep up with all of those areas. Fast 40fps burst shooting? Tick. Weather sealing? Check. Plus an all-important LCD top plate that's annoyingly absent on my Canon EOS R6. For a great all-rounder and an alternative to full-frame mirrorless cameras, the X-H2S has (almost) everything.
With more people shooting film nowadays, I am surprised that there are so few decent film cameras actually being made (in fact, no DSLRs are being made at the moment). So I was really pleased to see Leica bringing back the M6. Sure it is not new, as this 35mm camera was first launched in 1984 – but it has not been manufactured for 20 years. Now this classic rangefinder interchangeable-lens camera has been reborn for a new generation of film photographers (wealthy ones!).
Sony A7R V
Sony this year launched the A7R V mirrorless powerhouse camera with a newly developed AI processing unit. And while the closest I've ever got to using a camera this awesome was that one time when I briefly rented a Sony A7R III, I quickly fell in love with this camera – so there's no doubt that the Sony A7R V would absolutely blow me away. Maybe in four or five years' time, I'll actually be able to afford one at a second-hand price.
No camera has made me long after it the way that the Fujifilm X-T5 has this year. We can talk about the amazing specs, the 40MP sensor, the 6.2K at 30p in 4:2:2 10-bit video, the 7-stop IBIS, or the 425-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF System. But what makes me weak is the gorgeous retro styling and compact size of this camera – to have all that tech in such a small, beautifully made package is a marvel. As a lifelong Canon shooter, I am itching to jump ship.
I'm choosing the Leica M11 due to its multi-resolution sensor and its classic looks. It paves a way for the M system in the future, which I am really excited to see.
As a bit of a diehard Fujifilm fan (despite being a Sony shooter) my favorite camera of the year has got to be the impressive Fujifilm X-H2. It's the third camera in the X-H series of cameras and without a doubt one of Fuji's best releases ever.
Arguably all cameras these days are hybrid cameras, but the X-H2 really takes things up a notch, especially for APS-C cameras. It has the highest resolution sensor of all cropped cameras, at a whopping 40MP, but it can also shoot 8K video, 20fps in burst mode, has a range of film simulations to choose from, and has a very user-friendly handling and memory system. It's a little more pricey than other Fujifilm cameras but 100% worth it.
No, this certainly isn't the best camera of the year – but I'd argue it's the most important for Nikon. For many years we'd recommended the Nikon D3500 and its predecessors to anyone wanting an entry level interchangeable lens camera to get started in creative photography. But now that DSLRs are almost extinct, Nikon was without a compelling entry-level Z-mount mirrorless camera to pick up the baton from the D3500, as the Nikon Z50 was simply too expensive.
Sure, the Z30 is nowhere near as well priced as the D3500 was, but it's at least somewhat affordable when compared to the Canon EOS R10 (which will set you back close to a grand with a kit lens) and it finally gives Nikon an answer to the Sony A6100 and Sony ZV-E10. But the best thing about the Z30 isn't really the camera itself – rather it represents the most accessible entry point into the wonderful Z-mount lens range, which includes some of the best camera lenses we've ever tested.