August 8

5 Best Enthusiast Advanced DSLR Cameras

Best Cameras for the Advanced Photo Enthusiast

So we’ve received a lot of feedback about our choice for the 5 BEST beginner SLR cameras, as well as our choice for the 5 WORST beginner SLR cameras.  While not everybody agrees with our ratings, at least we are generating discussion (and that’s never a bad thing!).

One of our most favourite photography class students recently asked us to cover what we think are the best advanced enthusiast cameras.  He is, like many of our photography class students; in the boat where they’ve had a camera for many years and are debating on upgrading their system. Amateur enthusiast photographers have a completely different set of requirements from beginners and that’s why we rate the cameras on a different system.  Some of what we deemed the worst SLR cameras for beginners are actually some of the best for amateurs.

Note that we would define an amateur as a photographer that has a solid grasp of aperture, shutter speed and ISO; and comfortably photographs in either full manual or aperture priority (and knows why they’re doing it!).  Most photography course graduates of our Digital I Beginner photography course will be considered amateur photographers provided that they stay with it and practice for a few weeks after the course.

Like many of our comparisons, the best cameras that we choose are based on our experience of hands-on photography courses.  Without anymore delay, here are our top pics for SLR cameras for amateurs and photo enthusiasts!

  • Nikon 7100
  • Fuji X100
  • Nikon D600/D610
  • Canon 6D
  • Canon 7D


Nikon D7100

The Nikon D7100 is the best crop sensor body that you can buy from the company!  We almost chose (this close) the Nikon D5200 instead , but the biggest element that swayed us was the  Nikon 7100’s commander mode.  What’s that you ask?  It’s a fancy dandy trick that higher end Nikons (and not Canons) have.  With the built in flash, the Nikon D7100 is able to trigger the flash of multiple off camera systems.  Cameras equipped without this have to rely on the use of a pocket wizard or cactus.  Next time a Canon user makes fun of your built in flash, tell him or her that it’s not for casting light but a commander flash.  Take that Canon.



Quite frankly the FujiFilm naming convention is just so confusing.  They have the (wait for it) X-Pro 1, X-E2 and 1, X-M1, X-A1, X100s, X20, X10 and so on (yes they actually have more models).  Some have view finders, some don’t.  Some have built in flash, some don’t.  One even has a fixed 35mm lens.  It’s all very confusing and to be honest we don’t feel that the company is doing itself any favours with all the Xs going around.

With that being said, common points that all the Fuji Film cameras share throughout the family are an amazing range of lenses (including a number of high speed primes… a favourite of yours truly), high quality build and fit and finish, and the lightest weight in our list by a lot.

From our understanding, the Fuji Film X-Pro 1 is the flagship of the Fuji mirror less lineup.  Picking up the camera, a user is instantly whisked back to a time when everything felt tough and overbuilt. Aluminum brick is an apt descriptor for this magnificent camera, in an artistic way.  Combine that magnificent tactility with a stunning range of prime lenses (14mm f/2.8, 18mm f/2, 23mm f/1.4 just to name a few) and you have a recipe for success.  High ISO capabilities and impressive image quality just add to the pile of good things of which there are many.

Don’t kid yourself, this camera is amongst the best and has even been compared to the Leica M9, retailing at a cool $8000.  Heavy praise for the Fuji Film X-Pro 1 that lists at just under $1700.


Nikon D600/D610

The original “affordable” full frame camera, the Nikon D600 revolutionized the market late last year.  Recently released, the Nikon D610 essentially is an ever so slightly upgraded D600 with a new shutter mechanism.

One year later and the D600/610 twins still are considered some of the best photographic hardware you can get as an enthusiast photographer.  One of our photography class instructors even swears by his and is his camera of choice.  The Nikon D600/610 offers a balance of affordability, light weight, and ease of use while also having many of the pro features demanded by today’s professional photographers.

The darling of the photographic press, the Nikon D600/610 is an excellent first full frame camera for the photo enthusiast.  Note: if you’re in the market for this camera, we suggest opting for the D610.  While it’s primarily the same camera, Nikon had some oil splattering sensor problems with their early D600 models.  We have not seen it before but those are the rumours.


Canon 6D

A direct competitor to the Nikon D600, the Canon too is an excellent piece of hardware!  While not as highly rated in photography reviews (with the exception of Ken Rockwell), as the Nikon D600 the Canon is nonetheless an amazing camera body.  From our experience, the Canon 6D seems to also have better ISO performance and ‘feel’, but don’t take our word for it.

An amazing system in it’s own right; the Canon 6D will make many a photo enthusiast very happy.


Canon 7D

The Canon 7D is due to the replaced by the Canon 7D Mk2 in early 2014 if the rumours are correct.  Don’t let that put you off as the Canon 7D has by many been considered the top crop sensor camera in the world since it’s release.  As an added bonus, you shoul//d be able to get some smashing deals on this fantastic piece of hardware.


So there you have it! Whether you agree or disagree there are some great cameras in here. Just remember that before you head off and purchase one of these you should take a photography course in one of our great cities, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga & Kelowna. See you soon!


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