6 biggest camera breakthroughs of 2021

Technology is changing at an incredible rate, but for years it seemed like the world of photography was changing at a comparative rate. After all, 13 years ago the first commercial mirrorless camera came out (the Panasonic G1) – yet many of us still use mirrorless cameras.

While there have certainly been innovations since then, the past two years have been more like the biggest players in the industry catching up on mirrorless issues, rather than pushing through radically new technology.

• Read more: The best cameras for photography

However, this was not the case in 2021. This year has seen staggering breakthroughs in both imaging technology and its application. Of course, this has helped Canon and Nikon to release flagship cameras with the latest features.

However, it wasn’t just the big budget professional cameras that ushered in the innovation; even analog instant cameras (arguably the original mirrorless cameras) have broken limits in the past 12 months. In the end, of course, sophisticated technology doesn’t automatically mean sophisticated images.

What these new developments mean, however, is that some aspects of photography and videography are now easier than before. Here are our picks for the biggest breakthroughs in camera technology in 2021 …

Ultra-fast frame rates

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

It all started in January this year, when Sony launched the Sony A1 with its 30fps burst shooting, although that super speed was later matched by the Canon EOS R3 in October. However, Nikon then passed its two rivals in November by putting all of Sonic the Hedgehog on us and launching the Nikon Z9, which can capture staggering continuous bursts of 120 fps.

AF with eye control

(Image credit: Canon)

No, it’s not a gadget! Although Canon introduced it years ago with little initial success, it’s back and it really works this time around. The Canon EOS R3 has eight infrared blasters in the electronic viewfinder that map your eye, track where it looks, and put a point of focus on everything you look at. It’s a shortcut between autofocus and manual focus that we never thought we needed.

Pocket Polaroids

(Image credit: Emma-Jayne Simmonds)

The fun isn’t limited to big, expensive mirrorless cameras; even the humble Polaroid, whose basic photochemical technology hasn’t changed much in decades, did something drastically different. The Polaroid Go is an instant camera that’s literally designed to fit in your pocket. While the Instax Mini 11 is a fairly small camera, the Go is positively about the size of a pint.

Cinematic video

(Image credit: James Artaius)

It’s not just traditional cameras, either – phone cameras have made huge strides in 2021 as well. Arguably the biggest development is the Apple iPhone 13, which now has a mode. cinematic video. This uses a depth-sensing time-of-flight sensor and intelligent software to simulate shallow depth of field and slow filmic focus prints that allow the user to create stunning video footage.

8K stereoscopic 3D VR

(Image credit: Canon)

We scratched our heads when we first saw the Canon RF 5.2mm f / 2.8L Dual Fisheye Lens, but it’s at the heart of the new EOS VR system. When mounted on the Canon EOS R5, it allows you to capture 180 ° stereoscopic 3D footage in 8K resolution, allowing you to control the position of the camera during playback in video and VR applications at ridiculous resolution.

Adios, mechanical shutter

It all started in 2008, when Panasonic got rid of the mirror, and now manufacturers are getting rid of the shutter as well. Okay, technically the Nikon Z9 isn’t the first interchangeable-lens camera to do away with the mechanical shutter, but it’s the first to do so without any apparent compromise in terms of the rolling shutter, thanks to the sensor. super-fast stacked.

Read more:

Best cameras for sports photography
The best instant cameras
The best camera phones
The best 360 cameras


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