Published on November 13th, 2019
Want better photos than your phone can provide? Okay, we admit it – it’s an impossible question to answer, but we’ll do our best to make sure you end up buying the right camera for you.
We test and rate hundreds of cameras and lenses each year, ranging from pocket-friendly shooters to high-end medium format systems. The best camera for you depends on what you need. We’ve rounded up the very best options across all main categories.
Each camera stands out in some way from a sea of rivals, be it because it’s simply the best at what it does in its category or because it offers something unique and groundbreaking, or because it delivers so much for your money.
Here’s everything you need to know to pick the best digital camera for you.
1. Fujifilm X100F
The Fujifilm x100f is the latest premium compact digital camera to join the x series family. It is the ultimate in premium compact digital camera, equipped with the advanced hybrid viewfinder of enhanced convenience.
While maintaining the elegant design and same 23mmf2 focal length that has proven to be popular, the new camera has been developed in pursuit for easy operability, reflecting requests from users of previous models
The previous generation of Fujifilm’s popular enthusiast “compact” with an APS-C-size sensor, the X100T, had been around for over two years before Fujifilm debuted the X100F, and the camera had only gotten one significant update since it launched in 2011, when the original X100 graduated to the X100S.
And while the X100F has essentially the same design, albeit with a few layout tweaks, Fujifilm has made some notable improvements in the camera.
That, combined with a dearth of cameras in its category — fixed-lens compacts with large-ish APS-C sized sensors makes the X100F pretty much the only game in town at a reasonable price. Thankfully, it’s worth the money.
2. Nikon D7200
24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor EXPEED 4 Image Processor No Optical Low-Pass Filter 3.2″ 1,229k-Dot LCD Monitor Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps Multi-CAM 3500 II DX 51-Point AF Sensor Native ISO 25600, B&W to ISO 102400the exhilarating image quality, low-light capabilities and speed of a Nikon DSLR are available with the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC).
Introducing the D7200, the new star of Nikon’s DX-format line-up. Bring your creative vision to life with photos and videos that shine with sharpness and clarity.
One of our favorite DSLRs in the past few years is the Nikon D7100, which was introduced way back in February 2013.
The D7200 isn’t a radical upgrade by any means, yet it still adds some important features, most notably a larger buffer, improved autofocus performance in low light, 60p video, Wi-Fi with NFC, and 15% better battery life.
The D7200 is Nikon’s high-end APS-C camera, and is the only DX format camera in the company’s current lineup to support autofocus on screw drive lenses.
It finds itself in the same class as the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Pentax K-3, and Sony SLT-A77 II DSLRs as well as the Fujifilm X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, Samsung NX1, and Sony Alpha 7 II mirrorless cameras. In other words, it’s a very crowded field.
3. Nikon D500
The Nikon D500 Digital SLR Camera Body is ready to go wherever your passion leads you, capturing everything with stunning clarity, speed and resolution.
From busy, low-light cityscapes to thrilling wildlife scenes and fast action shots, the D500 is the ideal companion to your wanderlust. Marvel at the clarity of its cinematic 4K UHD video.
Be amazed at its ruggedness and versatility. And, once you’ve captured your gorgeous photos, admire them on the D500’s high resolution tilt touchscreen display and share them via the built-in SnapBridge (Wi-Fi + Bluetooth) capabilities. No matter what you shoot, you can be sure that the D500 will be up to the task, time and time again.
After 6 years neglecting the power APS-C action photographer, Nikon released the mostly impressive D500 dSLR, the little sister to the pro-full-frame D5.
With the same autofocus and metering systems as that model, a high-sensitivity 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor, a large tilting touchscreen and 4K video, it hits most of the essential targets for a camera in its class. Only a couple of flaws knock it slightly off course.
4. Sony Alpha 6000
79-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor. The compact, lightweight camera delivers superb image quality – via newly developed 24.3-effective-megapixel (approx.) Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine – as well as highly intuitive operation thanks to an OLED Tru-Finder and two operation dials. The charging time is approximately 310 minutes.
Sensor – Anti-Dust System – Charge protection coating on Optical Filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism. Audio – Built-in stereo microphone
Review: Tom’s Guide
It’s been a number of years since Sony released its a6000 mirrorless camera—the company now has three successors—but as the original has come down in price to around $500, it’s become a great camera for amateurs who want to step up into the world of interchangeable lens cameras.
With its 24-megapixel sensor, rapid autofocus system and high-speed continuous shooting, the a6000 can generally keep pace with fast-moving subjects.
If photographing kids at play in the yard or the local soccer game is your thing, the a6000 may be a perfect fit.
More important, the a6000 is a solid general-use camera that delivers on many fronts, making it one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy, especially for beginners.
5. Sony Alpha A7
No other full frame, interchangeable-lens camera is this light or this portable. 24.3 MP of rich detail. A true-to-life 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder. Wi-Fi sharing and an expandable shoe system. It’s all the full-frame performance you ever wanted in a compact size that will change your perspective entirely.
There’s no question that the cheaper model of Sony’s full-frame interchangeable-lens duo looks mighty attractive, thanks to its lower price tag.
The less-expensive 24-megapixel model (Alpha ILCE-7, aka A7) boasts faster performance and a better autofocus system than its slower, AA-filter-free 36-megapixel sibling (Alpha ILCE-7R, aka A7R).
But despite those advantages, I still generally like the A7R better for its superior image quality. However, compared to similarly priced and bigger full-frame dSLRs, the A7 is a very attractive alternative as long as you don’t need to shoot action.
6. Nikon D3300
Capture every special moment in the lifelike quality it deserves–and have a great time doing it! With its included zoom lens, the new ultra-compact AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, the D3300 is a small, easy to use HD-SLR.
Capture beautiful 24.2-MP photos and 1080p Full HD videos with vibrant colors and softly blurred backgrounds, then share them instantly with your compatible smartphone and the optional WU-1a Wireless Adapter.
Whether you”re creating high-resolution panoramas, adding fun special effects or recording dazzling HD video with sound, the D3300 will bring you endless joy, excitement and memories–just like the special moments of your life.
The Nikon D3300 may have been replaced by the D3400, which itself was updated by the D3500, but that’s no reason to discount this entry-level DSLR.
While it lacks some of the fancy tricks of pricier DSLRs, the D3300 still offers everything the beginner needs to take great pictures.
It’s a cheap way into a sprawling system that includes all kinds of different lenses, and it’s super simple to use, having been designed very much with those completely new to photography in mind.
7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Express Yourself – Anywhere You GoThe FZ1000 is the Panasonic LUMIX flagship bridge camera with ultimate image quality.
The superb images produced with a large 1–inch sensor and all–new lens fully express the limitless depth and sunlit warmth of nature. Its 16x optical zoom brings everything up close, from tiny birds on tree branches to animals crossing the distant horizon.
Choose photos or videos in crisp 4K resolution. The DMC–FZ1000 is all you need to capture the world around you, in all its natural beauty.
If you were on the fence between an entry-level digital SLR and a compact camera with a long zoom lens, the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 might be all the camera you need.
Digital SLRs deliver high-quality photos and HD video and fast performance, but a DSLR might be too much camera for you in price, size and weight and that’s without adding a long zoom lens to the equation.
You can get smaller, lighter, long-zoom compact cameras at lower prices, but they come with a loss in image quality, features and control, and in most cases, aren’t nearly as quick to focus and shoot.
8. Panasonic Lumix ZS100
Perfect for travelers, the Panasonic LUMIX Digital Camera DMC-ZS100K brings the legendary optical performance of a 10X (25-250mm) leica dc vario-elmarit lens with amazingly stable O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) to a highly portable point-and-shoot travel camera.
With a powerful, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor, the Leica Dc Vario-elmarit camera lens features a super bright F2.8-5.9 aperture range that is optically stabilized with Panasonic’s hybrid O.I.S. technology to add striking depth of field dimension to your photographs even in low-light conditions.
The high-resolution power of 4K video technology captures up to 4X the resolution (3840 x 2160) of standard Full HD, enabling you to create printable photos with 4K photo’s blistering 30 frames per second burst feature.
Post Focus and Focus Stacking provide for additional creative freedom by allowing you to change depth of field or focus points after you take the picture.
The LUMIX ZS100 also features the hands-on manual feel of a lens-mounted control ring and thumbwheel, rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display and high resolution 1,166K-dot eye-level viewfinder that remains clear even in bright sunlight.
Convenient travel-ready technologies like USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity to your mobile device make the LUMIX DMC-ZS100K a digital camera that everyone can enjoy. Wi-FI – IEEE 802.11b/g/n
It’s an attractive look, with very clean lines. Those lines present an ergonomic issue, however. There’s a very modest handgrip, but it’s so smooth that I don’t feel comfortable simply holding the camera—it seems as if it’s ready to slip out of my hands at any point.
I would like to see some texture around the grip. That said, there are strap lugs and a tripod socket, so it’s easy enough to secure it to your person using the included wrist strap, or add a strap of your choosing.
The 10x lens extends from the barrel when you power on the camera, and telescopes even further out as you zoom. It covers a 25-250mm range (full-frame equivalent), with an aperture that maxes out at f/2.8 at the widest angle and dwindles to f/5.9 when zoomed all the way in.
Compare this with a camera like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, which features a more modest 24-100mm range, but does so with an aperture that starts at f/1.8 (capturing more than twice the light as the ZS100 at its widest) and narrows to just f/2.8 at 100mm—a setting at which the ZS100 maxes out at f/5.2, nearly two stops dimmer.
9. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Panasonic retakes the lead in the advanced compact competition with its LX100. Really good photo and video quality, a great set of features and (for the most part) class-leading performance, result in one of my favorite compact cameras ever.
Despite a full auto mode, however, newbies might face a steep climb up the learning curve. At $900 (£800, AU$1,200), it’s also pretty expensive if you’re just looking for an upgrade to better photo and video than whatever you’re using now.
Some of the most beloved premium compact cameras in the last decade are Panasonic’s LX-series. They always offered larger-than-average sensors but, from the LX3 onwards, the big draw of those cameras has been their fast lenses.
The last LX model was the Lumix DMC-LX7, introduced back in fall of 2012. Since then, LX-series enthusiasts have been chomping at the bit for something new.
Given the rise of cameras with 1″-type sensors from the likes of Sony, Samsung, and now Canon, LX-series enthusiasts were hoping for the same in the next model.
Well, we’ve got bad news for you: the new Lumix DMC-LX100 doesn’t have one. Instead, Panasonic has somehow managed to squeeze in a Four Thirds sensor, whose area is twice as large as a 1″ sensor and five times bigger than the 1/1.7″ sensor in the LX7.
10. Sony A7R II
Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with APS-C, Auto Focus & 4K Video – ILCE 6300L Body with 3” LCD Screen & 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens – E Mount Compatible – Black
The Alpha A7R II has recently been replaced by the Alpha A7R III, which offers numerous performance improvements, while it should be able to deliver an even broader dynamic range.
If the budget can stretch to it, then the newer model is the one to go for (or Nikon’s D850), but you might be able to pick-up the A7R II at a great price.
Sony has had ambitious plans for the camera market ever since it bought Konica Minolta’s camera business in 2006.
But after some initial excitement there were only sporadic periods of activity, and the attention of many photographers and industry observers waned somewhat.