The best high-resolution camera should have strong imaging capabilities, good autofocus, and solid shooting capabilities. High-resolution cameras used to be DSLRs, but things have changed in recent years as the mirrorless offerings from Sony and Nikon have expanded their capabilities. If your needs are more specific, check out our list of the best Wi-Fi and DSLR cameras. For everyone else, read on for our list of the best high-resolution cameras.
Best Package: Canon EOS 5DS R
If you’re looking for a high-resolution camera, Canon’s EOS 5DS R is the crème de la crème, with an incredible resolution of 50.6 megapixels. Make no mistake, EOS is determined to be the best shooter, and while it offers 1920 x 1080 video recording at 30 fps, this full-frame camera is a still. The high price only applies to the camera body, not the lenses, but Canon offers several EF-series lenses that can be used with the EOS. In addition to the lenses, Canon has added a low-pass filter to take advantage of the 50.6 megapixel CMOS sensor to produce an even higher resolution and clearer image.
The camera body is typical Canon style, black and textured with no special features to make it stand out. However, it offers great ergonomics when shooting handheld, and the weatherproof housing protects it from the elements. The 3.2 fixed position LCD screen combines 100 percent coverage with a viewfinder that offers 0.71x magnification, which is excellent. To make shooting easier, Canon has added an incredible 61-point autofocus, one of the most accurate DSLR cameras on the market. If your photo needs an amazing amount of detail, this is the one for you.
Best Resolution: Sony A7R II
Sony’s A7R II full-frame mirrorless camera offers an incredible 42.3 megapixel resolution and the largest back-illuminated sensor on the market. There’s no doubt that Sony’s A7R II is a weatherproof and ergonomically pleasing camera, the only real downside being its shorter battery life (it can only take 340 shots before charging). However, due to the excellent low-light performance and the built-in image stabilization, you have to take the short battery life into account. The CMOS sensor itself offers exceptional resolution and noise performance, so photos and videos are absolutely stunning. In addition, the sensor’s 399 autofocus detection points are so good that they can even focus on the subject if it moves.
The recording of 4K video is notable because it’s not usually offered on high-resolution full-frame cameras that focus primarily on photo results. Shooting 4K in full frame or Super 35 with a wide range of manual controls delivers convincing results, giving Sony incredible value for money.
Whether it’s video or stills, the built-in five-axis image stabilization adds precise blur compensation by compensating for camera shake by moving vertically, horizontally, panning, panning or rolling to ensure stable image and video recording. The 3″ Xtra Fine LCD screen comes with an electronic Tru-Finder viewfinder so you can see everything in the shot before taking it out.
Best Budget: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
While it may be the only camera on this list under $1,000, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers a 16-megapixel Tropic VII image processor. Up to 40 percent smaller and lighter than a traditional DSLR, the Olympus has a waterproof and ergonomic body that is splash, dust and freeze resistant. It has a powerful five-axis image stabilization system that reduces blur caused by camera shake and high-speed shooting at 10 frames per second. Like most full-frame cameras, the Olympus includes video, but it outperforms some of its more expensive competitors by offering Full HD 1080p video recording at 60, 30, 25 and 24 fps.
One area Olympus falls into with its budget listings is battery life. At 310 shots, it’s short, but the partnership between image quality and cheap pricing means a secondary battery (sold separately) isn’t out of the question.
Best Battery Life: Nikon D850
Equipped with an EN-EL15 rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the Nikon D850 can take 1,840 photos on a single charge (that’s around 70 hours of 4K video). It’s the latest version of Amazon’s DSLR, and it sure will be. It lasts all weekend without recharging when you take it with you on vacation.
On the back of the Nikon D850 is an illuminated full-frame touchscreen image sensor with no optical low-pass filter. The heavy-duty camera uses 45.7 megapixels for extreme resolution and superior dynamic range for quality-less long-range shooting. It can capture nine frames per second at full resolution without reducing the image resolution. You can record 4K Ultra HD video and 8K time-lapse video with an interval timer. There’s also slow motion recording up to 120 FPS at full 1080p resolution.
Best video: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon’s quest to dominate the full-frame market continues with the EOS 5D Mark IV camera and its 30.4 megapixel DIGIC CMOS sensor. The higher resolution of the Mark IV offers an excellent balance between resolution and dynamic range, while maintaining Canon’s reputation for superior color printing. To ensure you always get the perfect shot, Canon has added a fast and accurate 61-point autofocus system and a continuous shooting speed of up to 7fps, so you can easily capture fast-moving subjects. The latter makes the Mark IV perfect for shooting weddings, portraits and sporting events.
Canon designed the Mark IV to be rugged, and while it is ergonomically comfortable and lightweight for a 1.8kg full-frame camera, the weatherproof addition makes it suitable for all weather conditions. Furthermore, Canon has added 4K video resolution at 30fps with a very easy to use interface and a quick method of extracting 8.8 megapixel still images from video footage. Add in an ISO range of 100-32000 and an expansion of 50-102400, and it’s easy to see why the Mark IV is a full frame photographer’s dream. Rounding out the feature set is a 3.2-inch fixed-position LCD touchscreen that lets you scroll through menus and select options, as well as scroll through images and zoom in, making you feel at home thanks to the world of smartphones.
Best Splurge: Pentax 645Z
The Pentax 645Z may have been released in June 2014, but its 51.4 megapixel CMOS sensor is still a photographer’s delight. With a battery life of over 650 photos, the 645Z is proof that age doesn’t always matter. Being a mid-range camera, there’s no doubt that the price is very high before you even buy the lens, so it’s definitely not aimed at the casual shooter. The medium sized image does a great job of enlarging images without losing detail and does it better than a standard DSLR camera.
The Pentax has a bit of a learning curve, but once you learn the features of the camera, it’s a landscape photography dream come true. It might be easy to summarize the Pentax as an oversized DSLR with a larger sensor, but at 3.42 lbs, you’ll know when you’re holding a Pentax. Despite its heavy weight, it is ergonomically designed to be comfortable and ready in the blink of an eye. The 3.2-inch tilting LCD screen is perfect for viewing photos right after taking them. It has 27 autofocus points that help track your subject with manual focus and possible with a bright viewfinder.
Ultimately Pentax is image quality and it’s incredible. The photograph is colorful and full of life and its dynamic range (up to ISO 204,800) can be pushed to the limit. Full HD video recording up to 60fps is as excellent and vivid as you can imagine with a high resolution shooter. So, if you want to record and print in as much detail as possible, the 645Z calls out your name (and your wallet).