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The best cameras for every type of user
Finding the best cameras can be a daunting task. A quick search will produce a long and convoluted list of options from different brands, all touting long spec lists, confusing features, and astounding price differences. What’s worse is you might not even know if you’re getting too much or too little for your specific needs. Where do you even start to look?
We’ve done all the hard work and research for you. We’ll give you our top camera picks for every type of user in this list of the best cameras. Keep in mind these aren’t simply the most advanced cameras in their categories, either. We’ve curated this list to feature the best value possible, focusing on both quality and cost.
Do you need a dedicated camera, or will your phone do?
It’s a common saying in the world of photography: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” This means that, while dedicated cameras have their benefits, you can capture a great image with any camera you have when the right moment arises. You shouldn’t get picky and miss a photo opportunity just because you don’t have the ultimate gear with you.
Truth be told, smartphone cameras have gotten so advanced many of you might not need a dedicated camera at all. Especially considering advanced camera phones feature a bevy of lens options, excellent image quality, fun effects, and plenty of features. Some are praised for their post-processing, often aided by computational photography. Not to mention these fit in your pocket, and you likely already carry a phone anyways.
If your current phone isn’t taking the pictures you want, we also have lists of the best picture-taking handsets out there. And they don’t need to be expensive to output great results!
The benefits of a dedicated camera
With all that said, chances are you fell upon this article for a reason, and you’ve probably already decided a smartphone simply isn’t good enough for your photographic needs. We wouldn’t blame you; there are many benefits to a dedicated camera.
For starters, smartphones users tend to struggle with battery life, at least to a certain extent. Using your phone as a primary shooter means it will die much faster, especially considering the camera can be a significant battery hog. The benefits of dedicated cameras extend far beyond battery life, though.
Ultimately, image quality still relies very much on sensor and glass quality. And when it comes to sensors, size matters. A larger sensor will almost always perform better at capturing light and handling noise. Furthermore, it’s much easier to increase the resolution.
Then there are the more tangible advantages. Cameras are a second thought on smartphones; their form factors weren’t made with photography in mind. Dedicated cameras tend to be much more ergonomic and comfortable for shooting photos. They can also be made with various materials to enhance grip and build quality.
We can’t forget about lenses. Mirrorless and DSLR cameras offer interchangeable glass, which means you can customize your experience to your shooting needs as you go. These larger lenses also make it possible to achieve far better results than the crammed tiny glass elements on a smartphone — not to mention there are a plethora of options out there for all kinds of shooting needs.
The best cameras available right now
- The Sony A7 IV comes from a family of cameras that have genuinely changed the industry. Thanks to its great image quality, super-fast autofocus, superior design, and impressive general feature set, this one is the best. It’s an industry favorite.
- The Canon EOS RP is for those who still want a full-frame camera like the one above, but don’t want to spend too much money on it. It offers an outstanding experience for less than half the price.
- The Sony A6000 is the best camera on a budget. It’s affordable, yet very capable, and you can use it as a great stepping stone until you’re ready to get deeper into the world of photography.
- The Sony Alpha 1 is for the most demanding of users. It is a professional camera with zero compromises that can be rivaled only by the very best in the industry. It’s super expensive, but worth every penny in the right hands.
- The Fujifilm GFX50S II is the best camera for those who want to venture into the world of medium-format photography without spending a fortune.
- The Sony RX100 V is a point-and-shoot camera with professional aspirations. The unit is small, well built, and can take stunning imagery considering the size and price.
- The Nikon D3500 is for the beginners among you. It’s affordable and fantastic as a learning camera, but don’t think it’s not a capable shooter. Its DSLR nature makes it a very versatile camera you can grow with and shoot amazing photos with.
- The Sony ZV-E10 is the best choice for vloggers. It features the portability of a point-and-shoot, an integrated improved mic, and interchangeable lenses for customization.
- The Nikon Z fc is a capable camera, but we’ve mainly added it to this list to please those who value aesthetics and true craftsmanship. This camera is a stunner!
- The Fujifilm X-T4 is for those who plan to stick with APS-C, admire great designs, and like physical dials for better manual controls. It’s a quality camera that doesn’t need a full-frame sensor to be pro.
- The GoPro Hero 10 Black is the best camera for adventurous people. It’s tiny, rugged, super portable, simple to operate, and captures stunning content.
- The Sony RX100 VII is for those looking for the right travel camera. It’s small, powerful, and has a very convenient zoom range.
- The Polaroid Now Plus will please all the retro photographers. It’s the best instant camera around, featuring a comfortable build, fun looks, and larger film sizes.
Sony A7 IV: The best camera overall
Shall we start with the champion? The Sony A7 III quickly became one of the most popular cameras of all time, and the Sony A7 IV does a fantastic job filling its shoes. While it’s not exactly an affordable shooter, it’s a little marvel of technology that offers a lot of value and is loved by enthusiasts and professionals alike.
The body comes with a 33MP full-frame Exmor R sensor. Sony claims this unit also features a Bionz XR image processing engine that’s eight times more powerful than its predecessor (which was already blazing fast). The camera can handle 4K video recording at 60fps, 7K oversampling, real-time Eye AF, (works with humans, animals, and birds!), and super-fast focusing speeds.
Other great features include a touchscreen, a 15-stop dynamic range, presets, 5-axis OIS, 10-bit recording, and more.
- Fast performance
- Outstanding image quality
- Beautiful design
- Great for video
- 10fps continuous shooting
- It’s a bit pricey for most
- Sony lenses can be expensive
Canon EOS RP: The best full-frame on a budget
Full-frame sensor cameras have become the industry standard for great quality imagery and lowlight performance, but boy, can they get pricey! The Canon EOS RP breaks the pattern by introducing a full-frame camera that can cost less than some APS-C ones.
A larger sensor is nice, but Canon cut corners in multiple areas. The build quality isn’t as great for starters, featuring a plastic design that isn’t as great to hold or look at compared to more premium options. It also won’t perform nearly as well as more expensive alternatives in this list of the best cameras, but it will still do very well.
The camera comes with a nice 26.2MP sensor, 0.05-second autofocusing speeds, face-tracking and eye autofocus, a flippy touchscreen, and even fun features like Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity. You get to record 4K video too, but at 24fps.
- Incredibly affordable for a full-frame camera
- Great image quality
- Fast autofocus
- Plenty of features, modes, and presets.
- Lacking build quality
- 4K video recording limited to 24fps
- Slower continuous shooting at 5fps
Sony A6000: The best camera on a budget
The Sony A6000 is among the best cameras you can get if you want to spend as little as possible while getting a camera that can shoot some serious photos and videos. It’s aging, but like a fine wine, it seems to hold its value amazingly.
The camera has super-fast autofocus, with 179 AF points, and can shoot up to 11fps continuously. The APS-C sensor features a 24MP resolution, and the screen can tilt up and down. NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity makes transfers a breeze. It can also record 1080p video at 60fps. This is a great set of features considering the price.
Related: The best Sony lenses you can find
What really makes the Sony A6000 special is that it can perform very well and serve as a great stepping stone into the world of photography. It’s definitely a camera you can grow with. As you purchase more lenses and equipment, it has enough performance, image quality, and features to keep up with you for a long time. It also uses the same mount as full-frame Sony cameras, though. This means you can take your lenses with you when you’re ready to upgrade. I would make an effort to buy only full-frame lenses, if this is your plan.
- Great image quality
- Fast performance
- Snappy autofocus
- Small body
- It’s getting harder to find
- Oldest camera in this list
- Video could be improved
- The screen tilts, but doesn’t flip over
Sony Alpha 1: The ultimate best for demanding professionals
The Sony Alpha 1 is for those who want no compromises and are willing to pay the price for that. This full-frame camera is a beast, and it is made for the most demanding professionals. Prepare to be impressed.
The Alpha 1 comes with a 50.1MP sensor. It can shoot continuous stills at 30fps with AF/AE tracking. It supports 8K video recording at 30 fps, and 4K clips can be upgraded to 120fps. It can calculate autofocus 120 times per second. You even get 16-bit RAW output.
Of course, you also get Sony’s Eye AF, face detection, speedy tracking, various modes, fun effects, and more. It’s likely best suited for action and sports photographers who really need all that extra raw power and speed.
As a side note, we would like to mention that a great alternative to Sony’s Alpha 1 could also be the Nikon Z9. It’s just as stunning, and it even beats Sony in terms of continuous shooting, which can reach an astounding 120fps. The rest of its specs are just as impressive, but the design is one of the main reasons we think you might go with Nikon. The Nikon Z9 is very reminiscent of DSLR cameras. It’s more ergonomic and even features portrait orientation buttons.
- Blazing performance
- Stunning image quality
- Super fast autofocus and continuous shooting
- 8K at 60fps video
- All of Sony’s great features
- Extremely expensive
Fujifilm GFX50S II: The best camera for moving to medium format
Pro-level full-frame cameras are powerful, fast, and offer fantastic image quality. However, photographers know there is a level above that 36mm by 24mm full-frame format. The next step is medium format, and these sensors can measure anywhere between 43.8 × 32.9mm and 53.7 × 40.2mm. Similarly, the larger sensor means even better lowlight performance and improved definition.
Why aren’t all photographers moving to medium format cameras, then? For starters, they can be expensive. Like, crazy expensive! The higher-end versions go for well above $50,000. This is why the Fujifilm GFX50S II earns a spot on this list of the best cameras, as it grants you access to the medium format world without paying a fortune. In fact, it’s cheaper than some of the high-end full-frame cameras in this post.
The Fujifilm GFX50S II has a 51.4MP 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor. That larger sensor is about where we stop being impressed, though. Other features are very basic. It can shoot continuously at 2.2fps, and video recording is limited to 1080p at 30fps. You still get some cool features like Eye AF, a touchscreen, and wireless connectivity, though.
- Very affordable for a medium format camera
- Pristine image quality and lowlight performance
- High MP count
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Face and Eye AF
- Compact for a medium format camera
- Performance could be better
- Only 2.2fps continuous shooting
- Lackluster 1080p at 30fps video recording
Sony RX100 V: The best point-and-shoot camera
Sony’s RX100 series has been praised for many years, and its fifth iteration is our favorite. But why? It’s not even the latest version! The Sony RX100 V was the last to feature a 24-70mm lens with an f/1.8 maximum aperture. Sony then switched to a 24-200mm lens with an f/2.8 maximum aperture. We believe the wider aperture is more valuable than that much zoom prowess. And the changes in performance, features, and design are nearly non-existent.
Read more: These are the best point-and-shoot cameras
The Sony RX100 V is actually quite capable for such a small point-and-shoot camera. It has a 20.1MP one-inch sensor, can record 4K video at 30fps, and supports 24fps continuous shooting. It can also focus in just 0.05 seconds, and has a capable BIONZ X image processing sensor.
We also can’t ignore the design. The tiny camera has an elegant look and sports a body that’s mostly made of metal.
- Very portable
- Great glass and wide aperture
- Good image quality
- Fast and capable autofocus
- Great 24fps continuous shooting
- Pretty expensive for a point-and-shoot
- Smaller one-inch sensor
- Not as ergonomic
Nikon D3500: The best camera for beginners
A beginner photographer needs a special kind of camera. It needs to be affordable, but have pretty good image quality, manual controls, and an interchangeable lens system. This combination will make it possible for the user to learn the ins and outs of photography, while starting to venture into different glass options. We believe the Nikon D3500 is a great starting point.
This just so happens to be the only DSLR on this list. This tech is starting to get old, but there are two reasons why we’re recommending this one. For starters, DSLR cameras tend to be much more affordable. But we also like DSLRs as learning tools because they don’t help the user as much. This camera is pretty slow and requires more effort to output a good image that’s in focus. Automatic modes also aren’t as great, as the camera isn’t as smart as its mirrorless counterparts. In the end, this means the user will be forced to learn the fundamentals and get things right manually. This experience will build a strong foundation as a photographer.
The Nikon D3500 comes with a 24.2MP APS-C sensor. It can shoot 5fps in continuous shooting and records video at 1080p at 60fps. It only has 11 focus points, which pales in comparison to all other cameras listed here. It’s also pretty slow at focusing, as are most other DSLRs. It’s affordable, and there are many affordable lenses for it, as DSLR glass is starting to age.
- Plenty of lens options
- Great build quality
- Comfortable manual controls
- Very few focusing points
- Not many extra features
Sony ZV-E10: The best camera for vloggers
The Sony ZV-1 was the first vlogger-focused camera released by the company. It was a higher-end point-and-shoot with a specialized microphone. Now there’s a successor, and Sony took things up a notch with the ZV-E10.
This camera comes with an APS-C sensor and a mirrorless interchangeable lens system. It also sports a 24MP resolution and can record 4K video at 30fps. Of course, it comes with a nice flip-out vari-angle screen. It also comes with a three-capsule directional mic, outfitted with a windscreen.
You also get all the stunning features that made Sony famous. There’s super-fast autofocus, Eye AF, livestreaming support, no video recording time limits, wireless transfers, and 11fps continuous shooting. The price is also pretty accessible for a camera with these capabilities, which also serves as an all-in-one vlogger bundle.
- Very portable design
- Flexible screen angles
- APS-C sensor
- Interchangeable lenses
- More complex than its predecessor
- Small size might be ruined by the lens, depending on which one you use
Nikon Z fc: The best-looking camera
The best cameras are great at making art, but not all qualify as art. Certain camera designs deserve a whole other type of praise. Some of these devices go beyond functionality and even make you feel proud to hold them. The Nikon Z fc might be for you if you care about camera aesthetics.
Of course, beauty is subjective, but here at Android Authority, we believe the classic film camera look has a level of beauty we no longer see in modern shooters. The Nikon Z fc mimics that look, without sacrificing the benefits of a modern camera.
While it looks old, the Nikon Z fc is a mirrorless camera with a 20.9MP APS-C sensor. It can record 4K at 30fps and comes with a vari-angle screen. All those dials and manual controls are still functional. You’ll also get to enjoy modern features like Eye AF, wireless transfers, and a vast portfolio of mirrorless lenses.
The Nikon Z fc is a bit expensive for what you’re getting, though. Just know that you’re paying a premium for that exquisite design and superior craftsmanship. If you want a similar camera for much less money, go for the Nikon Z50. They’re nearly the same in terms of specs and features.
- Great manual controls
- Sturdy design
- Modern mirrorless features
- Comes in many colors
- A bit expensive
Fujifilm X-T4: The best APS-C camera
Full frame cameras are great, but there are plenty of reasons you might want to stick with APS-C sensor cameras. Both the camera bodies and lenses tend to be much more affordable, for starters. APS-C cameras are usually smaller, too. And you can still create amazing imagery and video with them, especially with the latest advancements in camera tech. The only problem is that all the best features and designs are usually exclusive to full-frame cameras. Where are the good APS-C cameras for an enthusiast or professional?
They’re hard to find, but we believe the Fujifilm X-T4 is the closest you can get to an APS-C camera that a serious photographer can enjoy. It has a solid build and that classic look with manual dials Fuji is known for. Performance is also top-notch. It has one of the fastest autofocusing systems out there, as it can lock onto a subject in 0.02 seconds. The mechanical shutter can handle 15fps in continuous shooting, and it can record 4K video at 60fps.
The 26.1MP APS-C sensor is no under-performer, either. It has a 14-stop dynamic range, which is very high and even full-frame sensors struggle to get to that level.
- Pro-level performance
- Great image quality
- Capable video recording
- Stunning design and build
- APS-C lenses are more affordable
- Pricey for APS-C
- Limited lens selection
GoPro Hero 10 Black: The best action camera
GoPro still can’t be beaten in the world of action cameras. The GoPro Hero 10 Black is small and portable enough to be able to mount it anywhere, but it’s also competent.
This tiny shooter can output 23MP images and 5.3K video at 60fps. It can also do 4K at 120fps, which is outstanding even in serious video cameras.
The whole housing is waterproof (up to 33ft) and built to handle plenty of torture. After all, it is an action camera meant to be used in extreme circumstances. GoPro also sells cool accessories you can mount on the GoPro Hero 10 Black. These include a lens, microphone, a display, and a light.
- Super portable
- Outstanding video quality
- Very simple to use
- Rugged and waterproof
- Limited customization
- Not the best for photo
Sony RX100 VII: The best travel camera
We recommended the Sony RX100 V as the best point-and-shoot camera, but that’s because we were primarily focusing on image quality, thanks to the wider aperture lens. Travel photographers need more zoom flexibility, making the RX100 VII a more suitable alternative. It has a 24-200mm lens with an f/2.8 max aperture!
What makes it such a great travel shooter is mostly its design and quality. It’s small and can fit in any pocket, making it an easy camera to carry around and operate. The build quality is great, and the image quality is also exceptional.
You still get all the fantastic features Sony is known for. It has real-time tracking and Eye AF. It can shoot up to 20fps continuously, and records in 4K at 30fps. You have to deal with nothing else, as the lens is integrated and can’t be changed. It’s great quality Zeiss glass, too. You can be sure this camera will take stunning shots of your adventures.
- 24-200mm zoom
- Solid design and build
- Great image quality
- Pocket friendly
- Great performance and features
- Only a 1-inch sensor
- No interchangeable lenses
- Max aperture closes as you zoom in
Polaroid Now Plus: The best instant camera
Polaroid was responsible for bringing instant cameras to the world. Its first one was the Model 95, launched back in 1948. Fast-forward to 2022, and the company is still making instant cameras. While not as popular as before, these continue to be great retro imaging devices primarily used for fun and capturing personal moments in style.
If you’re looking for the best instant camera, your best bet is the Polaroid Now Plus. It has an amusing design that’s reminiscent of classic cameras, but also very modern and fun. It’s also straightforward to operate, and there are very few buttons on it. It’s a straightforward experience.
This specific instant camera comes with five lens filters, offering some level of creativity. You can also take advantage of an app to unlock aperture priority, tripod mode, light painting, double exposure, and manual mode. It’s also the most affordable camera on this list. You’ll need to continuously buy i-type film, though, which can get expensive.
- Simple to operate
- Very fun
- It comes with lens filters and app features
- You get physical photos right after shooting
- You’ll need to buy film regularly
- Film runs out, so get the shot right every time!
- Limited use and customization
Any other camera accessories and equipment I should get?
You’ll soon find out buying a camera is only the beginning. You might quickly need lenses, accessories, lighting, and other items to help you in your photographic journey. You could go all out or become a photography minimalist. Either way, you’ll likely need more than just the camera. Here are some of our recommendations.
Learning the fundamentals and improving your technique
Also, remember that photography is about much more than pointing a nice camera at a subject and pressing a button. You have to learn the fundamentals and keep your skills polished to take truly amazing photos. We can get you started with these guides.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What is a DSLR camera?
A: DSLR stands for “digital single-lens reflex.” It refers to a digital camera that uses mirrors to direct light to the viewfinder and uses a single lens to frame, focus, and shoot the image. These cameras became popular because they provided a direct view of what the lens was seeing, so you could frame the shot correctly and shoot precisely the area you were seeing.
DSLR cameras have also become synonymous with interchangeable lens systems. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, but DSLR shooters do allow for exchanging lenses in most cases.
Q: What is a mirrorless camera?
A: A mirrorless camera is pretty much what it sounds like; it’s a camera that uses no mirrors. Instead of reflecting light within the camera’s body, mirrorless cameras send beams directly to the sensor. This sensor then processes the information and displays it on your camera’s display or viewfinder (which is technically just a smaller display). This method allows for smarter implementations and more features, as well as faster processing.
Like DSLRs, mirrorless cameras have also been recognized for their interchangeable lens systems.
Q: What is an APS-C sensor?
A: APS-C stands for “Advanced Photo System type-C.” It refers to an image sensor size that measures 25.1 x 16.7mm and has a 3:2 ratio.
Q: What is a full-frame sensor?
A: A full-frame sensor is an image sensor that measures 36 x 24mm. It follows the 35mm film standard set before digital cameras came into the picture (get it?!).
Q: What is a medium format sensor?
A: A medium format sensor is even bigger than a full-frame sensor. These enlarged sensors can measure anywhere between 43.8 × 32.9mm and 53.7 × 40.2mm.
Q: Are there any other sensor sizes?
A: Yes, there are many sensor sizes. They can be as small as 1/2.5 of an inch. Popular sizes on dedicated cameras are one-inch and Micro 4/3.
Q: Which camera do I need for professional work?
A: There is no such thing as a “professional” camera. Instead, the person using the camera is the pro. A good photographer can use any camera and take amazing photographs with it. All that said, professionals tend to like cameras that have a full-frame sensor and an interchangeable lens system. They’ve also taken a liking to mirrorless cameras, as of late. These offer outstanding performance, super-fast autofocus, more features, better lowlight performance, and more overall versatility.
Q: What is dynamic range?
A: Check out our full explanation of what dynamic range is. In short, it refers to how much information a camera can capture in the darkest and brightest sections of a scene.
Q: What is aperture?
A: We also have a post dedicated to aperture. It refers to the hole through which light enters the camera. It can be widened or closed to change the lighting effects, and is a main setting in most cameras.
Q: What is RAW?
A: RAW refers to an image file format that’s uncompressed. It takes all the data available by the light and gets rid of nothing. This means the file is much larger, but offers much more liberty during editing. Learn more about RAW here.