Zero1 Awards 2018 – Cameras – Entry-Level Full-Frame DSLR

December 6, 2018 — by Digit0


Every few years, the entry-level DSLR sees infusions of new technologies, thanks to the threat posed by smartphones. Given the rate at which smartphones are improving and people preferring convenience over image quality, DSLR makers have their work cut out for them. This year, there haven’t been many launches in the entry-level DSLR segment, with Canon launching a handful of options and Nikon having completely refrained from launching anything in the segment.

This made the fight a little biased towards the Canon camp. Interestingly, the market trend has been consistently indicating the declining sales of the entry-level DSLR segment around the world, and a growing shift towards mirrorless cameras. While Nikon hasn’t launched anything in India since the Nikon D850 which launched in 2017, the company did release their full frame mirrorless Z6 and Z7 in India right after their international announcements. Let’s get into the details of the winner in this category.

2018 Zero1 Award Winner: Canon EOS 3000D

When we tested the Canon EOS 3000D, we knew we were handling a really great camera for beginners. The 9-point AF system with its 1 cross-type point enabled the camera to take photos in a whole host of shooting conditions reliably. The shutter response was good which when coupled with the AF system, meant that there were negligible missed shots. The autofocus slowed down slightly in low light situations, but the ISO performance was impressive, allowing us to push it all the way to ISO 6400 without a worry, which is impressive for an entry-level DSLR.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the EOS 3000D is the quality of the images, both RAW and JPG. For shooting video, you will need to invest in an image stabilised lens so that you can make the best of what the sensor can produce. FullHD video coming out of the Canon EOS 3000D looks wonderful and if you’re just looking to capture some home videos, this is an ideal camera for it. Good image quality combined with impressive high ISO performance and an adequately fast AF system is why the Canon EOS 3000D wins the Zero1 Award for Entry Level DSLR.

Best Buy: Canon EOS 1500D

The Canon EOS 1500D is in many ways the same camera like the EOS 3000D, but with a few, but important differences. The 24-megapixel sensor offers more resolution than the EOS 3000D, resulting in an adverse impact on the high ISO performance. The autofocus system is still a solid performer. Canon has developed one of the most responsive and intuitive touchscreen systems for DSLRs, but the Canon EOS 1500D does not have one. At the entry level price point, you’re getting basic, raw performance with a small drizzle of features. Of course, if a touchscreen is absolutely necessary for you, you will have to increase your budget.

However, based on the number of queries we receive for a great camera that costs as much as (or lower) than a high-end flagship, the Canon EOS 1500D is a no-brainer. However, we should warn you that anything above ISO 3200 on the EOS 1500D and you will be seeing noise in your photos. Best way to avoid that would be to pair the camera with a nice prime lens with a wide aperture to let in more light. Because of all the positive aspects, we consider the Canon EOS 1500D the best buy for entry-level DSLR.


Zero1 Awards 2018 – Cameras – High-end Mirrorless

December 6, 2018 — by Digit0


Just five years ago, no one would have believed that mirrorless cameras would become a tool much loved by professional photographers. This year, we saw Sony release two full-frame mirrorless cameras aimed at different types of professionals, but this is something they’ve been doing for three years now. What really marked the “arrival” of professional mirrorless cameras is Canon and Nikon both jumping into these treacherous but innovative waters.

With this consideration, this year’s Zero1 awards, for the first time, look at a diverse offering when it comes to professional mirrorless cameras. Zero1 Awards is Digit’s platform that recognizes and rewards products that yield the absolute best performance, price no bar. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at the winner of the Best High-end Mirrorless Camera award for 2018 and a few important mentions that we have featured as well.

2018 Zero1 Award Winner: Sony A7 Mark III

The Sony A7 Mark III might appear to be the third generation, full-frame mirrorless camera by name, but in reality, Sony has refined its technologies over multiple cameras before launching this one. The Sony A7 Mark III borrows heavily from the Sony A9, taking its superior AF (Auto-Focus) system and the same 24-megapixel back-side illuminated sensor, minus the DRAM-layer.

This allows the A7 Mark III to shoot at speeds up to 10 frames per second in RAW, with AF Tracking enabled. The dual SD Card slots help in ensuring the integrity of recorded images and the battery life gave us closer to 985 shots using the viewfinder and monitor interchangeably which is pretty impressive. The images from the Sony A7 Mark III retained details and colour accuracy all the way up to ISO 125000, requiring little to no noise reduction. There’s very little about the Sony A7 Mark III to criticize, with top-notch performance. Based on its all-round performance, the Sony A7 Mark III wins our Zero1 award.

Runner-Up: Nikon Z7

We tested the Nikon Z7 with the expectations that it would match the performance of the Nikon D850, which set the benchmark for high-resolution full-frame sensors. With a 45 megapixel sensor, the Z7 delivers RAW files with a latitude for exposure correction of a little over 3-stops, allowing the dynamic range to be extended greatly in post.

The burst mode delivers on its promise and the AF system manages to keep up with most fast-moving subjects. The low light performance yields clean RAW files up to ISO 6400 but requires employing noise reduction for anything higher than that. While the Nikon Z7 does have incredible sensor performance, it loses out to the Sony A7 Mark III in terms of AF and burst speed, including its AF tracking capabilities.

Best Buy: Canon EOS R

Canon’s maiden full frame, mirrorless camera comes with a 30-megapixel full-frame sensor that not only delivers impressive performance for photos and videos but also plays home to 5665 autofocus points that make this camera an absolute beast when it comes to focussing performance.

It is, however, held back by its slow burst mode of 5fps when AF Tracking is enabled, otherwise, the camera can hit 8fps with AF locked. This results in a reduced overall performance score, but considering the price, the Canon gets our best value recommendation, since it is pretty much a steal.