By T3 Online Last updated
Even a smartphone camera can't beat this list
The camera industry is struggling against the rise of smartphone cameras - they're connected, take decent images, and remain by your side at all times. But even the best smartphone isn't a patch against the entries in this category.
Whether a big and bulky DSLR is your thing, or you're better suited to a rugged GoPro, this category has something for everyone.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Enthusiast photographers tend to shoot a bit of everything and they need a versatile camera that can cope with a wide range of subjects and conditions.
The EOS 7D Mark II's weatherproofing means that it can be used in harsher conditions than all of Canon's other current SLRs apart from the pro-level EOS-1DX. Its autofocus system can get moving subjects sharp quickly, and keep them sharp as they move around the frame or towards/away from the camera.
The metering system, with its new 150,000-pixel RGB and infrared sensor, is also extremely capable and delivers correctly exposed images in a wide range of conditions.
All things considered, the 7D Mark II is Canon's best APS-C format model to date. It's not often that we recommend making a direct upgrade from the model immediately proceeding a camera, but this case is an exception. The 7D Mark II makes a great upgrade from theoriginal 7D.
Read our Canon EOS 7D Mark II review
Vote for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015
GoPro Hero4 Black
Despite increasing competition from rivals, the GoPro is still the definitive action cam, and the Hero4 Black produces broadcast-quality video at a price even casual adventure fans can afford.
The Hero4 Black is tough, adaptable and shoots really high quality video. The control interface has been improved over previous versions and it's now a lot easier to use – it's steady improvement like this that makes a great product, not just headline-making new features.
Having said that, being able to shoot 4K video at 30fps is an important step forward, but it's the ability to shoot full HD at 120fps that's perhaps the most amazing advance.
Extreme sports enthusiasts will love the out-of-the-box usability. You charge it, fix it on, record, upload it and you're done. Those who want more can delve into the settings to make the most of the new frame rates and resolutions, and creatives will love the versatility that features like ProTune promise.
Read our GoPro Hero4 Black review
Vote for the GoPro Hero4 Black in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a very capable camera that offers extensive and versatile control. However, its complexity should not be underestimated. There are automated options designed for less experienced photographers, but it's better suited to professional ones. Even these users are likely to experience a few frustrations in the early days while they get to know the camera.
Although there are quite a few restrictions that come with the High Res mode, it generates impressive images that contain far more detail than the standard 16MP files.
Read our Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II review
Vote for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015
The Samsung NX1 is an excellent camera and one that has successfully grabbed the attention of enthusiast photographers.
It feels great, is weatherproof, provides plenty of control within easy reach, is enjoyable to use and produces superb quality images.
A little more in the way of customisation wouldn't go amiss, including the ability to set AF point directly via the navigation controls, but this could be fixed with a firmware update if Samsung is willing.
Read our Samsung NX1 review
Vote for the Samsung NX1 in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015
Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera
The Sony FDR-X1000V is the company's most powerful action camera yet.
It matches the video capabilities of the GoPro Hero4 Black, shooting 3,840 x 2,160 4K video at 30fps and 1,920 x 1,080 full HD at 120fps. Sony says it has improved its image stabilization system, making it three times more effective. Is it the first true GoPro rival? Quite possibly.
Read our thoughts on the Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera
Vote for the Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015
The entry level arena is likely to remain hotly contested, but Nikon shows no sign of losing its grip of this important market.
With its high resolution, the camera satisfies those who crave megapixels without skimping on image quality. And despite initial reservations about removing an anti-aliasing filter on a camera aimed at novices, we've been unable to find any evidence of moiré patterning in stills shooting. Overall it seems like a good choice, leading to very fine detailed images.
An excellent buy for those who want to purchase their first DSLR.
Read our Nikon D3300 review
Vote for the Nikon D3300 in the Camera of the Year category in the T3 Awards 2015