Describing the state of camera development in 2022 is a difficult task, partly because when you think you’ve identified the trend, a new camera immediately comes out afterward and bucks that idea. The main trend I can identify regarding cameras in 2022 is that the field is in a state of flux; we’re clearly in a transitional time, but we haven’t fully transitioned into “the future” (of camera development).
Video and content creation is a topic that’s seemingly on everyone’s mind but, at the same time, a number of high-profile releases from this year are clearly targeted at the high-end stills photographer. And, despite smartphone photography getting better and better every year, manufacturers still see immense value in producing cameras that are geared toward the entry-level user. To look back at the cameras released in 2022, we can clearly see that there are big changes and notable releases on the horizon for nearly all manufacturers, but we’re also not quite ready to give up everything that’s familiar and reliable just yet.
9: Nikon Z30
Still reeling from the high of last year’s Z9 release, Nikon only launched one mirrorless body in 2022: the Z30. Akin to the retro-styled Zfc, the Z30 takes nearly the same feature set and imaging capabilities and transforms them into Nikon’s first vlogging-intended camera. It sheds the electronic viewfinder for a more compact form and also gains some selfie-style controls for easier use during single-person shoots. It also has an improved on-board mic, digital e-VR stabilization for steady footage, and can handle livestreaming directly from the camera body.
Check out our hands-on review of the Nikon Z30.
8: Canon EOS R7
Canon was the last of the major manufacturers to expand its mirrorless system into APS-C, but the brand made a strong initial go with the EOS R7. Like a mirrorless follow-up to the beloved EOS 7D from the DSLR era, the R7 is the more advanced of the two APS-C RF cameras and has a relatively high-res 32.5MP sensor, impressive 4K 60 video specs, fast 30 fps shooting, and a host of other features any shooter would love to have. It’s just the camera Canon needed to coax those APS-C-format-loving, DSLR-shooting stalwarts (I’m looking at you, birders and wildlife photographers) over to the world of mirrorless.
Click to read our original announcement of the EOS R7 and watch our video on Canon’s mirrorless entry to APS-C.
7: OM SYSTEM OM-1
Early in 2022, OM SYSTEM launched its first camera, and its flagship, the OM-1. Forging the transition from Olympus to OM SYSTEM, this camera still retains the Olympus insignia on the viewfinder housing and also keeps a handful of familiar tech and design features. As an OM SYSTEM model, though, it is being positioned as the adventurer’s camera, thanks to its robust weather sealing, broad photo and video capabilities, and a small overall size (thanks Micro Four Thirds sensor) that’s not a burden to carry every day. In terms of new tech, it sports a brand- new 20.4MP stacked sensor, which offers improved readout speeds, better rolling shutter performance, and even improved noise and dynamic range. The OM-1 is a strong initial effort from OM SYSTEM and reflects its unique place in the camera market; it’s both new and familiar at the same time.
Watch our video review and read the OM-1 announcement, here.
6: Canon EOS R6 Mark II
One of the final releases of the year, Canon announced the second generation of its all-rounder camera, the EOS R6 Mark II. It’s the sort of do-it-all body of Canon’s lineup, with highly capable photo and video specs, that’s appealing to shooters looking for the most versatility in a single camera. The Mark II version of the R6 brings some major improvements over its first-gen predecessor, too, including a new 24.2MP full-frame sensor, 4K 60p recording using the full width of the sensor, support for 6K ProRes RAW recording via HDMI, a faster 40 fps shooting rate with an electronic shutter, and improved AF and subject detection. In addition to performance updates, this Mark II model also gets a revised top plate for better handling, sports the new Multi-Function Shoe for more intelligent hot shoe accessory compatibility, and keeps the 3.69-dot EVF and 1.62m-dot vari-angle touchscreen LCD for clear monitoring and simple handling. It’s a solid update to a solid camera and the list of updates make it a more enticing model for photographers looking to dabble in video without losing the familiarity of what makes Canon’s 6-series cameras so desirable for everyday shooting.
Check out our announcement for more information on the R6 Mark II.
5: Panasonic Lumix GH6
In last year’s list, I put the GH5 II/GH6 in the final spot, mainly as a placeholder for the then development-announced GH6. Now, it’s 2022 and the Lumix GH6 is very real and it’s spectacular. As the sixth generation of this series, it’s no surprise that the GH6 is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera for videographers. That’s been the winning formula for GH cameras, and the GH6 continues this trend with some of the most powerful video specs around among mirrorless cameras: 5.7K 30p & 4K 120p recording, internal ProRes 422HQ, HFR and VFR modes for high-speed recording, 5.8K anamorphic shooting, pre-installed V-Log, and it sports a newly developed 25.2MP sensor that’s still unique among Micro Four Thirds models. It’s the go-to model for video shooters who value the compact profile and mirrorless design of a GH body with the versatility and adaptability of Micro Four Thirds.
Take a look at our GH6 landing page for more highlights and specs, our hands-on review video, and some popular dedicated accessories.
4: Leica M11
Leicas can be polarizing cameras, but the M11 Rangefinder, released early this year, stands out not only due to its classic design and luxurious appeal, but also for a number of technological improvements that make this a much more contemporary camera than M cameras tend to be. First, it sports a full-frame 60MP BSI CMOS sensor and utilizes pixel binning, or what Leica calls “Triple Resolution Technology,” to give smaller resolutions without the need to crop into the sensor area—you can use the full 60MP resolution or downsize to 36MP or 18MP, without losing field of view, and gain a slight dynamic range improvement. Some of the other distinctions the M11 has over past M cameras is a new base design that no longer has a removable plate and, instead, features a USB-C port and accepts the BP-SCL7 battery just like the Q and SL systems. Also, this camera has 64GB of built-in memory in addition to a single SD card slot. The M11 proves that this classical-looking camera needn’t be an outdated one; it maintains the appeal of a true rangefinder camera with stills-only shooting and manual focus operation, but also adds a bit of tech that only helps to benefit the overall user experience.
Watch our hands-on review video and check our announcement, here, for more details on this contemporary rangefinder.
3: Hasselblad X2D 100C
The sole medium format camera released in 2022, Hasselblad’s X2D 100C is also one of the most impressive mirrorless cameras of the year. It’s no longer headlining news that medium format has gone mirrorless, but it is a big deal that a 100MP camera is relatively accessible and both usable and versatile. The latest Hasselblad essentially keeps the same impressive Scandinavian lines and form factor as the X1D but adds the boosted resolution, improved autofocus, in-body image stabilization, a better EVF, a new tilting rear LCD, and a built-in 1TB SSD—it’s an impressive list of upgrades that moves the X2D to the head of the medium format class. They’ve done a great job at addressing many of the possible shortcomings of the X1D platform, and the added resolution is a plus for medium format expectations; but the upgraded speed and usability, which rivals many full-frame and smaller format cameras now, is arguably the bigger change for this system and what makes it truly stand out in 2022.
2: Sony a7R V
A late entrant to the top cameras of 2022, Sony made a big splash this fall with the fifth-generation a7R V mirrorless camera. A member of its high-resolution “R” series, the a7R V features the familiar 61MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor along with updated processing by way of a new BIONZ XR platform and AI Processing Unit. The AI Processing Unit, in particular, is the most notable update of the a7R V and brings improved autofocus with more intelligent subject detection and tracking. The a7R V also sports 8K 24p and 4K 60p video recording, the top-end 9.44m-dot OLED EVF, a new 4-axis multi-angle LCD, and a variety of other usability updates to make the a7R V the best “R” yet. Why this release is so striking is that it makes the a7R V a pretty strong competitor to the a1, which has been Sony’s flagship for a while now and the best all-around camera for most applications. The a7R V borrows a lot of the functions from the a1, but puts it in a more consumer-leaning design; it lacks the built-in Ethernet port and the stacked sensor that largely suits those photographing sports and action. For most shooters, the a7R V provides all the tech and resolution you want with fewer unnecessary functions for everyday use.
Take a look at our hands-on review video and announcement of the Sony a7R V, here.
1: FUJIFILM X-H2S & X-H2
Finally, the top camera of the year is a two-part affair with FUJIFILM’s X-H2S and the X-H2. We’re including both cameras in the top spot because they have more similarities between them than differences; and the differences, while notable, relate only to the unique sensor of each body. Either way you look at it, these are two seriously impressive cameras with standout video specs, a new stacked sensor option for APS-C, and a new high-res benchmark for APS-C.
The X-H2S was the earlier release of the two and is the first FUJIFILM camera to sport a stacked sensor design. This 26.1MP X-Trans 5 Stacked BSI design gives this camera its exceptional readout speeds and greatly reduces rolling shutter, making it better suited to high-speed shooting and video applications. The X-H2, on the other hand, has a higher-resolution 40MP X-Trans 5 BSI sensor that is not a stacked design, but the added resolution is a boon for stills shooters. For video, both cameras offer 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording, with the X-H2S offering a 4K 120p option and the X-H2 offering an 8K 30p option (and 4K recording at up to 60p). The X-H2S is where the speed is, the X-H2 is where the resolution is.
The similarities between these two cameras make up the rest of their feature sets, namely an updated AF system that’s backed by AI and deep learning technology for improved subject recognition and tracking, better face and eye detection, and greater low-light sensitivity down to -7 EV. In terms of physical appearance, the two cameras are nearly identical with a nice 5.76m-dot OLED EVF, vari-angle LCD touchscreen, dual memory card slots, and a top settings LCD, as opposed to the physical dials from something like an X-T5 or X-Pro3.
These cameras are a perfect snapshot of where camera tech is in 2022, even down to the fact that there are two options depending on the type of shooting you prefer. Video is a major part of most camera designs nowadays and FUJIFILM is embracing it with its latest releases while not losing sight of the strong photo background they already have with its X system history. What’s also unique about these cameras is that they’re simultaneously flagship models in the X system, as well as cameras meant for the everyday shooter; no longer is there such a strong division, and hobbyist photographers and videographers are now expecting the latest tech in their cameras, too.
What are your thoughts on our Top Mirrorless Cameras of 2022? Did we miss any cameras? Was your favorite camera ranked too low or was anything ranked too high? Let us know your thoughts and top picks for 2022 in the Comments section, below.