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Year in Review

As we reflect on the year, we revisit the most significant product launches, highlighting the best camera of 2023, the rise of AI in photography and the standout compact camera that captured global attention.

Year In Review 2023 Biggest Camera Launches

The year saw several significant milestones as Sony celebrated a decade of innovation in full-frame mirrorless cameras, closely followed by unveiling the A9 III, which is notable for arriving with world's first global shutter. Meanwhile Canon celebrated 5 Years Of Canon EOS R Mirrorless Cameras, an anniversary that was further highlighted by the launch of new Canon cameras for 2023, including the beginner-friendly EOS R100, and ultra-compact Canon EOS R50.

Yet it was perhaps Leica that truly captivated the photography community this year, as they took the compact camera segment to unprecedented heights with their next generation Leica Q3, hailed as the best compact camera of 2023.

Whether you love photography, video and content creation or vlogging, join us as we celebrate the biggest releases of 2023 in our year in review.

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Computer generated image of weather sealing in 90mm macro lens

The rise of AI photography

In 2023, AI generated photography made a significant impact in the photographic community, particularly following an incident where a German photographer won the Sony World Photography Awards with an AI-generated image, only to later relinquish the award. This event sparked widespread discussion and debate as AI photography swept through the community.

Love it or hate it, AI is here to stay, impacting the way we engage with photography forever. It’s also become prevalent in digital cameras, with AI models used ever more frequently to recognise and track subjects in the pursuit of perfecting autofocus.

AI is also widely used by software editing apps, with Photoshop and Lightroom in particular embracing AI to not only clean up noisy images, but completely switch out elements of an image in favour of computer generated elements, made entirely from user prompts.

While AI technology sparked a whole new conversation about the nature of image creation and manipulation, Leica chose to uphold the fundamentals of real-world photography. They have done this by launching their next-generation rangefinder camera with pioneering technology, which authenticates the provenance of an image. Discover more below.

Leica M11-P is the first camera with content authentication

The year content authenticity became a thing

As AI transforms the landscape, Leica responded by upgrading their rangefinder lineup with the M11-P Digital Rangefinder. This is the first camera with content authentication in line with Content Authenticity Initiative standards. While this feature might not be applicable for all photographers, it is poised to become essential for fields such as sports photography and journalism, among others.

This wasn’t Leica’s only groundbreaking announcement of 2023, as this innovative company also released one of the most sought after compact cameras of not just the year, but the decade so far. This release further cemented Leica's reputation as a leader in innovative camera technology.

Shooting with the Leica Q3 - the best compact camera of 2023

Best compact camera of 2023

The release of the Leica Q3 garnered significant global attention, and is arguably the best compact camera of 2023. It surpasses its predecessor in almost every respect, yet preserves the fundamental imaging capabilities of the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 lens, a hallmark of its desirable photographic results.

In a feat of German engineering, Leica has achieved the impossible, by packing features into a fixed-lens compact camera that rival those of flagship mirrorless models. This impressive device boasts a high-resolution 60 megapixel sensor, 8K video in ProRes, and introduces a new Hybrid AF system, showcasing Leica's commitment to pushing the boundaries of camera technology.

Cliff hanging action with the Nikon Z8

Best mirrorless camera in 2023

2023 saw numerous camera releases, which standout as contenders for the best mirrorless camera of 2023. Every brand launched incredible models, all bristling with technology, making it easier to create more impressive images and videos.

The table below highlights the biggest 15 or so mirrorless camera launches of the year (and one film camera), with technology highlights from each brand. Notably, all but two or three employ deep learning artificial intelligence within their AF systems.


Camera launch



Canon EOS R50

Canon chose to concentrate on bolstering their mirrorless range with two new EOS cameras. Both of these new Canon cameras of 2023 offer technology which was previously unheard of at this price point, and the hybrid R50 includes a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF II deep learning AI, 15fps stills and 4K/30p video.


Canon EOS R8

Released as Canon’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera, also with a 24.2MP, an unheard of 40fps burst shooting, 4K/60p video and signature Dual Pixel CMOS II AF deep learning AI.


Nikon Z8

In a surprising move which took the mirrorless market by storm, Nikon launched a more compact version of its flagship Z9 camera, which seemed to offer virtually all of the benefits, with very few drawbacks. The Z8 has proven incredibly popular with hybrid creators, thanks to its high-speed 45MP stacked sensor, stunning 8K/60p video and numerous features for professional creators.


Nikon Z f

If I could have any camera from 2023 it would very probably be the Nikon Z f. It combines the best of old and new worlds of photography, with legacy lens support, yet ultra-modern features including deep learning AF, 4K 30/60p video and Pixel-shift shooting. Oh and it looks gorgeous too, perfect for street photography.


Fujifilm X-S20

Fujifilm updated their APS-C and medium format ranges in 2023. The X-S20 offers an affordable entry to the popular X-series with 6.2K video, 20fps burst shooting and AI-driven Face/Eye AF subject detection.


Fujifilm GFX 100 II

The next generation medium format camera in Fuji’s GFX range arrived in 2023, with a host of upgrades cementing it as one of the most capable handhold-able medium format cameras available. It’s a true hybrid beast, with a fast readout 102MP sensor, cinema-ready 4K/60P and even 8K/30P video, a respectable 8fps burst shooting and upgraded exterior. It also employs X Processor 5 AI face and subject detection AF, seen in other Fuji cameras.


Leica M6

The Leica M6 departed from the digital trend out as the first film camera to be released in many years. This marked a significant moment, combining quintessential photography with bullet-proof German build quality, and there’s not an AI tool in sight.


Sony ZV-E1

Sony had a prolific year of new releases with six camera launches, solidifying its position as the number one full-frame mirrorless brand of the past decade. The ZV-E1 is a high-end vlogging camera with every conceivable technology to assist vloggers in the pursuit of perfect content creation.


Sony ZV-1 II

This generation camera continues Sony’s push to create vlogging-specific cameras for creators. It adds 4K 30p video, electronic stabilisation, product showcase mode, and directional audio recording.


Sony a6700

It was a while in the making, but the wait was worth it for Sony’s updated APS-C camera. It arrived in 2023 with a 26 megapixel BSI sensor, the BIONZ XR and an AI autofocus processor. The compact format body is capable of recording 4K/60p 4:2:2, 10bit video and cropped 4K/120p in-camera.


Sony A7C II

The next-gen A7C mark II packs all of the latest technology in Sony’s repertoire, which include a 33MP full-frame Exmor R sensor, dedicated AI processor and enhanced exterior. Despite its compact proportions this is a seriously powerful mirrorless for hybrid users, 10fps burst and 4K 60p (Super 35) video.


Sony A7CR

Alongside the launch of the A7C II, a new high-resolution C-model was introduced, which features a 61MP sensor for photo-orientated hybrid creators.


Sony A9 III

Although not available until January, the third generation A9 III was announced in 2023, heralding a new era for photography thanks to featuring the world’s first global shutter. This enables it to achieve flash sync at any speed, as well as 120fps blackout-free burst shooting with zero lag. The A9 III also records 4K 120p without cropping and is set to break through previous barriers for sports, wildlife and professional photographers of other genres.

Panasonic Lumix

Panasonic Lumix G9 II

Panasonic launched three Lumix cameras in 2023, including the second generation flagship G9 II micro four thirds body. Expectations were high and it delivered on all fronts with significant improvements to both stills and video. It captures 25.2MP photos, 5.7K 60p video, offers enhanced deep learning subject detection, an incredible ISO range of 50-25,600 and much more on the way, with G9 II Firmware Update 2.0 adding RAW video recording over HDMI.


Panasonic Lumix S5 II

This generation video-centric hybrid camera added highly effective Hybrid Phase Detection Autofocus thanks to a new 24MP sensor, as well as 6K video recording and new realtime LUTs.


Panasonic Lumix S5 II X

In a simultaneous launch, the blacked-out X S5 II camera is similar, aside from the ability to record 5.8K Apple ProRes to SSD, plus wireless IP streaming, and USB tethering out of the box. Both offer state-of-the-art features for moviemakers and have proven extremely popular with solo creators and YouTubers.

Streaming with the DJI Osmo pocket action camera

Best action camera of 2023

As more creators embark on making YouTube channels and sharing action-packed content, manufacturers are responding by designing increasingly powerful, durable, and user-friendly cameras. In 2023, the Insta360 Ace Pro 8K emerged as the world's first action camera capable of capturing 8K video, as well as incorporating state-of-the-art Leica imaging into the compact camera.

Earlier in the year we saw the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 launch, which redefined our preconceptions of Gimbal Cameras are capable of. It offers a 1-inch sensor, 4K/120fps video recording and 3-Axis mechanical stabilisation, vastly surpassing what smartphones are capable of, in terms of video recording and stabilisation.

Sony 300mm lens of the year very possibly

New lens releases in 2023

The mirrorless camera market enjoyed a surge of new lens releases from all brands, complemented by third-party models from Sigma, Tamron, and Voigtlander. New releases included lenses covering virtually every focal length, with some unique zooms like the Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G and Canon RF 10-20mm F/4 L IS STM.

Sony further expanded its mirrorless lens lineup with the introduction of a second-generation G Master lens, notably the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II, as well as the updated Sony FE 70-200mm F/4 G OSS II. Both of these managed to reduce in size and weight, while improving on aspects like image quality, focus breathing and AF speed.

Back to Canon’s release of the year, which also saw the RF 24-105mm F/2.8 L IS USM Z Lens. This marks a new generation of hybrid lenses, designed specifically for professional stills and video creators, with more to follow in the coming months.

Vlogging with Fujifilm camera in 2023

OM System joined the foray, with the OM System 90mm Macro lens, which is an impressive first close-up lens that offers 2x magnification, 7-stops combined body stabilisation and P53 dust and moisture sealing.

Telephoto photographers enjoyed a year of new releases for wildlife and sports photography, with lenses such as the Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports for Sony and the Olympic-ready Sony FE 300mm F/2.8 GM OSS Lens.

The Nikon Z 180-600mm F/5.6-6.3 VR Lens was another significant telephoto lens launch from 2023, providing everything from 5.5 stops of VR and TC compatibility, to its extremely low weight of under 2kg.

Canon also launched the RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM Lens, with a similar zoom range and equally impressive features as the Nikon.

For those looking for a premium telephoto, the Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L lens stands out for professional sports and wildlife photography. Priced at £11.5k, it represents a significant investment, but offers performance and quality, which make it a valuable asset for photographers in these fields.

These are just a few of the releases from 2023. To explore a broader range of options to suit various budgets and requirements, browse our extensive collection of mirrorless lenses here.

Gareth vlogging with Sony ZV 1 mark II

Park Cameras in 2023

Park Cameras enjoyed a fantastic year, marked by our return to events such as SWPP and Birdfare. These, along with other photography events, provide us with an opportunity to connect with our customers, engage with brands, and share our passion for photography with fellow creators.

The company's YouTube channel experienced impressive growth, reaching 40,000 subscribers, with an audience engaged to hear from our resident expert, Gareth Evans. We also introduced dozens of new brands, with the likes of Shimoda Camera Bags, Spypoint Trail Cameras and Sky-Watcher amongst many more.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our customers who supported us in 2023. Indeed, it's the community of photographers, videographers, and creators across all skill levels that truly drives the innovation of new camera technology.

Your passion, feedback, and evolving needs are what inspire manufactures to continually push the boundaries and develop new products, which in turn inspires us to help you on your creative journey.

If you're considering an upgrade, our winter sale is the ideal chance to buy the latest cameras, lenses, and compact cameras at discounted prices. Additionally, we offer a wide selection of used cameras, all backed by a 6-month warranty, providing a budget-friendly option without compromising on quality. We're excited about the upcoming year and have lots of plans in store and hope to see you then!

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By Nick Dautlich on 20/12/2023

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