The Week I Dread (But You Don't)

We’ve left the traditional summer selling season and are now starting the upcoming holiday one. One thing people are trying to figure out is which cameras are actually be offered by which companies, and what should they consider.

As you probably realize, I’m aggressive in labeling cameras “current” or “older.” If a new model of a camera is launched (e.g. Mark III), then the older model data (e.g. Mark II) gets moved to the older camera folders on this site. 

But a number of camera makers overbuild products during their product cycles, and thus leave those older products on the market. Some keep making older cameras but reduce their price just to have lower cost products on the market. Figuring out what is actually truly considered truly available and not just an unsold relic that your dealer still has sitting around. 

So to answer that question, I did some homework for you. By brand, here are the models the manufacturer is still selling. In the bullets, below, I also indicate what I believe to be the true “current” models in bold. I’ve added parenthetical comments about likely inventory status and any real holiday discount as I write this.


Canon is all about generating market share, so they often keep older models on the market at low prices.

  • EOS M (APS-C)
    • M50 Mark II (mostly just creator kits with a US$100-130 discount)
  • EOS RF-S (APS-C)
    • R100 (US$50 to US$100 off)
    • R50 (US$80 to US$100 off)
    • R10 (US$100 off)
    • R7 (US$100 to US$200 off)
  • EOS RF (full frame)
    • RP (US$100 off)
    • R3 (US$1000 off!)
    • R5 (US$500 off)
    • R5C (US$500 off)
    • R6 (US$300 off)
    • R6 Mark II (US$200 off)
    • R8 (US$200 off)

As if to further confuse you, the model number in the RF-S line goes down as the camera gets more advanced, but for full frame a higher model number indicates a less capable camera.

What would I consider buying this holiday? The R7 and R10 are interesting APS-C cameras, though they need more lens support. The R6 Mark II and R8 are both comfortably in the state-of-the-art mid-range for full frame enthusiasts.


Fujifilm for awhile was cycling new cameras constantly, but is currently slimming down their lineup while pushing more up-scale for awhile:

  • XF
    • X-H2S (US$200 off)
    • X-H2 (US$150 off)
    • X-Pro3 (has been discontinued, but may be still available)
    • X-T5
    • X-T4 (discontinued, but may be still available in places)
    • X-S10 (US$100 off)
    • X-S20
    • X-T30 II (official status unknown, back-ordered most everywhere)
  • GFX (medium format)
    • GFX50S II (US$800 off)
    • GFX100 II 
    • GFX100S (US$1600 off)

What would I consider buying in the Fujifilm line? Well, I actually bought one recently, and it was the X-S20, a really solid basic APS-C camera. I'm less enthused about the 40mp cameras, the X-H2S still doesn't equal a D500 in focus performance in the hands of a trained user, and I've just had and seen in others too many inconsistencies (bugs, sample variation, etc.) that tend to take away the gains of the medium format cameras over a full frame one.


Nikon is relatively easy. At this point the original Z6 and Z7 are officially gone, which leaves a lineup with all current models:

  • APS-C (DX)
    • Z30
    • Z50
    • Zfc
  • Full frame (FX)
    • Z5
    • Z6 II
    • Zf
    • Z7 II
    • Z8 
    • Z9

For Nikon holiday pricing, see this article on My recommendations are also on that site.

Micro 4/3rds

The two m4/3 companies are a mix of old and new:

  • OMDS
    • OM-1 (US$300 to US$400 off)
    • OM-5 (US$200 off)
    • OM-D E-M10 Mark IV (old Olympus product, likely on its way out)
  • Panasonic
    • BGH1
    • GH5 Mark II (US$300 off)
    • GH5S (US$300 off)
    • GH6 (US$500 off)
    • G100 (US$250 off)
    • G95 (US$300 off)
    • G85 (made a comeback, but low stock, US$150 off kit)
    • G9 (US$400 off)
    • G9 II 
    • G7 (US$150 off)

It was strange to see the Panasonic m4/3 lineup sort of resurrect. I'm not sure what happened there, but the lineup is once again full. If you're looking for performance in an m4/3 camera, you have two choices now: OM-1 or G9 II. The problem with the "I want small" choices that remain is that they're not state-of-the-art in many ways, including autofocus.

Panasonic Full Frame

  • S5 (US$800 off)
  • S5 II (US$300 off)
  • S5 IIX (US$100 off)

In some ways, the S5 II is the Oldsmobile of the full frame mid-range choices. A bit different, basically good, but seemingly not a choice most would make. It's a highly competent camera. It's holds up well against the Nikon Z6 II and Sony A7 Mark IV, and may even slot in between those two. At discount, it becomes a camera you should consider, particularly as the L-mount lens set keeps growing.


Sony’s is one of the worst offenders in keeping products around. In particular, several older A7 and A7R models are malingering on the market. Moreover, there’s a sneaky bit hidden in plain sight: the new models were increased in list price, thus making any sales markdowns on the older ones look even more tempting.

  • APS-C 
    • A6100 (US$200 off)
    • A6400 (US$150 off)
    • A6600 (US$200 off)
    • A6700 
  • Full Frame
    • A1
    • A7C
    • A7CR
    • A7 Mark II (US$600 off)
    • A7 Mark III (US$500 off)
    • A7 Mark IV (US$200 off)
    • A7 Mark IIIA (US$200 off)
    • A7R Mark IVA (US$200 off)
    • A7R Mark V (US$400 off)
    • A7S Mark III
    • A9 Mark II
    • A9 Mark III (new camera available at end of February)
  • Vlogging
    • ZV-E1 Mark II
    • ZV-E10 (US$100 off)

Personally, I'm less thrilled by Sony's lineup than I used to be. There's nothing wrong with most of them, but Sony now has the old Nikon problem of lineup inconsistency and too much model generation hangover. I can recommend an A1. I can recommend an A7 Mark IV. Once I've completed testing, I'd probably recommend the A6700. From there we get into handling choices (the C and E type models), and speciality use. The one thing I'd tend to recommend against is buying any of the non-bold models. They might have been state-of-the-art when they first appeared, but all of them are now well behind that. I'd need even more discount than Sony is given to consider them.

That’s basically the current camera situation. I’d characterize bold entries as “safe to buy,” while non-bold would be buying at the tail end of a product’s life cycle. There’s nothing wrong with buying at the tail end of the lifecycle, but you should be getting a significant discount for doing so, in my opinion.  

Sony Goes Global, Shutter That Is

bythom sony a9iiiangle

Today Sony announced the A9 Mark III model, with the big news being a new 24mp image sensor with global shutter capabilities. 

To understand the big news, you have to first understand the situation as it stood until today. The digital cameras we've been using all use what's called a rolling shutter. In a rolling shutter, data is captured and moved off the image sensor a few rows at a time. The time it takes in getting from the top of the frame to the bottom means that motion in the scene can result in distortion. 

In a camera such as the Sony A1 or the Nikon Z8/Z9, this rolling shutter is extremely fast, and that allowed Nikon, for instance, to completely remove the mechanical shutter. Removing mechanical things that can break is good for us, it makes cameras more reliable long term. It also means a camera can be made to be completely silent, which if you've ever been at a press conference with a dozen photojournalists clacking their shutters, you'd know to be a good thing ;~).

On the other hand, we have cameras with rather slow rolling shutters, too, such as the recent Nikon Zf. The reason why that camera still has a mechanical shutter is that the rolling shutter for the image sensor used would cause issues on motion. The difference between a rolling shutter and a global shutter is a bit like sitting in a theater: for a play, the curtain slowly rises to reveal the scene (rolling shutter) while for a movie the first scene instantly appears (global shutter). 

So why do we have rolling shutters, at all? Isn't the image sensor just a chip with "instant access"? One reason has to do with things that happen when you boost bandwidth (speed of transfers). It's partly the issue of how much data an image sensor is creating. You need extremely fast channels to get the data to the image processing chip, and the speed of electronics is one of those things that parallels Moore's Law: as semiconductor technology progresses, there are very predictable and real gains to be made, but nothing is instantaneous, even in digital.

Unfortunately, moving things really fast also has a tendency to induce read noise and thermal issues (and thermal issues can create noise of their own). There are also manufacturing and cost challenges that come into play, though as you're probably well aware, over time semiconductors solve those problems in subsequent generations. It's taken awhile for sensor makers to build affordable image sensors that get through all the possible issues, which is what Sony has done with the A9 Mark III.

What are the benefits of a global shutter?

  • No need for a mechanical shutter (simplifies build, improves long term reliability)
  • No motion artifacts seen in the frame
  • No stabilization motion artifacts
  • Potentially very high frame rates possible
  • Flash sync at any speed
  • Flicker free individual stills

The downsides are primarily going to be, at least initially, cost to produce, can produce more heat, and have higher noise than a sensor with the same design, but with rolling shutter.

Which brings us to the Sony A9 Mark III. The A9 Mark III features a 24mp stacked image sensor with a global shutter. This allows it to capture 120 fps (and 4K/120P). The viewfinder is blackout free, and Sony is claiming this is their fastest camera yet, with the best autofocus system they've deployed. 

Because next week is the 10 year anniversary of the full frame Alpha mirrorless line era, which started with the A7, it seems that the A9 Mark III was introduced now even though it's still quite a ways off from delivery. Sony says "Spring 2024". 

Besides the A9 Mark III, Sony introduced the 300mm f/2.8GM OSS, which Sony claims as the lightest 300mm f/2.8 available. Also available Spring 2024.

I've put up my usual data pages for the new products, but since actual final product delivery is a ways off, I'll reserve more comments until the product is actually delivered.

Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: | general:| Z System: | film SLR:

sansmirror: all text and original images © 2024 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2023 Thom Hogan
All Rights Reserved — the contents of this site, including but not limited to its text, illustrations, and concepts, 
may not be utilized, directly or indirectly, to inform, train, or improve any artificial intelligence program or system.