The best cameras in 2024

Fujifilm X-T5 on tripod
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Wondering what are the best cameras for your budget? Don’t worry, we’ve got you totally covered.

Before you take the plunge and get shooting though, you need to decide what it is that you want and, perhaps more importantly, what you need. Cameras come in a variety of different form factors, sizes and prices, ranging from $100 for casual cameras all the way up to $10,000 for pro-level bodies.

Here, we’ve focussed on the lower end of that price range, listing the best cameras up to $2,500. That’s not to say, however, that for that money you won’t get a fantastic camera. Indeed, many camera bodies up to and at the $2,500 are more than enough even for professional use, so will certainly suit enthusiasts. Within this budget, there are also still a huge range of options, allowing you to select the perfect camera for your needs, whether it be a full frame mirrorless camera which allows you to swap lenses; a DSLR which operates in a similar way and provides similar benefits with a few key differences; point and shoot cameras which feature a lens built in and fit in your pocket; instant cameras for a retro look and experience; or action cameras that will deliver incredible video.

Each model on this list has been tested extensively and evaluated by Tom’s Guide experts to rate its image and video quality, features, handling and value for money. So you can rest assured that our opinions and recommendations are reliable, and will help find the best camera for you.

Whether you’re after one of the best action cameras, best DSLRs, best mirrorless cameras, or best cameras for vlogging, all you have to do now is read on.

Written by
Peter Wolinski
Written by
Pete Wolinski

Pete heads up the cameras coverage here at Tom's Guide. He bought his first camera, a Fujifilm, back in 2015 and remains a passionate photographer to this day, both at work and in his spare time. He's also big into action cameras, using them to document his exploits on a motorcycle. Pete loves geeking out about cameras and comparing specs to help you find the right product for you. 

The quick list

The best cameras you can buy today

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We've split this list into a few different sections. Most manufacturers have ceased making DSLR cameras now, with the exception of Pentax, so our best ILC cameras list is essentially all mirrorless. We've broken that down into a few groups: beginners, enthusiasts, content creators, advanced and video. We've then covered DSLR separately, followed by compact cameras, action cameras and instant cameras. 

The best camera for beginners

If you're just starting out on your photographic adventures, these are the cameras to choose. Just because something is a beginner's camera, that doesn't mean its bad or will take poor images — usually quite the opposite. Rather, these cameras prioritize price at the sacrifice of features that established photographers tend to want or need. They'll usually not pack very powerful video features either (although that isn't always true...)

Canon EOS R50 attached to tripod

Sony a6100 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best camera for beginners

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2
IBIS: No
Max shooting speed: 15 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.62 million dots
Size/weight: 4.57 x 3.36 x 2.70 inches; 13 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 440 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely 4K video
+
Great for vlogging
+
Good kit options for vlogging
+
Outstanding AF
+
Surprisingly good ISO performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Overheats when shooting 4K
-
Very few native RF-S lenses
-
No headphone port
-
Scant direct controls
-
A little pricey (but worth it)

The Canon EOS R50 is our pick for the best camera for beginners. It's small and lightweight to come with you wherever your new photography or vlogging passion takes you. Meanwhile, it's well built, so it should last until you're ready to upgrade in the future.

It delivers beautiful stills, 4K video in 30p, natural colors straight out of camera, and Canon's ferocious autofocusing system. Indeed, it's the AF which really seals this camera as the best for beginners, as Canon has essentially packed into the R50 an (only slightly) slimmed down version of the AF found in its high end professional bodies — which is epic. There's also a flip out screen for vlogging, a dedicated product mode for demos and great vlogging and beginner kit options.

As with any beginner camera, there are a few compromises. It's a little pricey for a beginner body, and this is because realistically it isn't aimed at total newcomers. However, we think the features the R50 packs warrant the extra spend over the actual Canon entry-level body, the EOS R100, which is very basic. It could do with a few more direct controls on the body and when shooting at maximum resolution, the camera did start to overheat. None of these things change the fact that this is still a really great starter camera that will last you a while!

Read more in our Canon EOS R50 review.

The Fujifilm X-E4 camera showing its front

(Image credit: Theano Nikitas/Tom’s Guide)
The best street photography camera for beginners

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26.1
IBIS: No
Max shooting speed: 30 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.62 million dots
Size/weight: 4.77 x 2.87 x 1.28 inches; 13 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 460 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful images
+
Handsome design
+
Rangefinder style
+
Very compact design

Reasons to avoid

-
Few on-body controls
-
No IBIS
-
Pricey

Fujifilm makes a range of cheaper cameras, but we'd recommend the X-E4 as the best camera for beginners wanting to enter the Fuji lineup. The X-E4 is a beaitiful camera to look at, with its retro aesthetic and trademark Fuji dials.

Its compact design and rangefinder layout make the X-E4 a great camera for street photography — even if you're more experienced, it's still a fantastic street camera — especially when you bear in mind Fuji's lineup of compact APS-C lenses. There are also Fuji's legendary film simulation color profiles, many of which lend themselves to street photography. Images produced by the 26MP sensor are beautiful, and the classic dials result in a more traditional experience when shooting. There are very few controls on the body of the X-E4, which can make for a challenging experience, but this all adds to the fun. 

There's no IBIS (although that is expected in this price range) and the battery life isn't great, as the X-E4 still uses Fuji's older NP-W126S battery, so you'll want to buy a spare battery (thankfully third party ones are cheap).

There are cheaper Fuji cameras out there, but we think the X-E4 is the best balance of cost and features. 

Read our full Fujifilm X-E4 review.

Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
An affordable and competent mirrorless camera

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 20.9
IBIS: No
Max shooting speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.2 inch touchscreen LCD, 1.04m dots
Size/weight: 5 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches; 14 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 300 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Great image quality
+
4K video
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No IBIS
-
Poor battery life

The Nikon Z50 isn't a full-frame mirrorless camera like the Z6 and Z7 models, but it's available at a much cheaper price of around $850 (body only) and comes in a much smaller package, making it a great choice for Nikon fans who don't want to spend upwards of $1,000.

It offers a solid feature set including a 3.2-inch touchscreen that flips down by 180-degrees and a sharp 3-inch electronic viewfinder, and its 20.9MP stills are detailed and colorful. It's a fine performer in low light, too, handling noise well up to ISO 6400. The lack of in-body image stabilization counts against it, as does a low CIPA battery rating of only 300 shots. But otherwise it's an impressive option that'll give you space to grow as a photographer.

Read our full Nikon Z 50 review.

The best camera for enthusiasts

So, you're taking your photography a little more seriously now? Perhaps you're upgrading from a beginner camera or older camera. The enthusiast/intermediate market section is wide, so prices can vary. In general, they won't cost you as much as fully-fledged professional cameras, but have the specs to be used professionally if you needed to. They're a long-term camera that'll last you a long time and will take your photography to new levels. 

Fujifilm X-T5 on tripod

Fujifilm X-T5 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best camera for stills enthusiasts

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 40.2
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 20 fps
Max video resolution: 6.2K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.69 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Tilt-Type LCD, 1.84 million dots
Size/weight: 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.5 inches; 19.6 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 580 shots

Reasons to buy

+
High-res 40.2-megapixel image sensor
+
Tenacious autofocus system
+
Super-fast shutter speed and drive rates
+
Intuitive controls
+
Beautiful design

Reasons to avoid

-
Rear touchscreen not fully articulated
-
No top panel info display
-
Mediocre high-ISO image quality
-
Shallow buffers

The Fujifilm X-T5 is the best mirrorless camera for enthusiast photographers. It may look and feel retro, but under the hood it boasts Fujifilm’s latest 40.2 MP X-Trans CMOS 5 image sensor and X-Processor 5 pairing. The high resolution sensor delivers outstanding image quality and leaves plenty of flexibility for cropping or large-format printing. With so many megapixels to play with, a manual shutter speed of 15 fps and electric shutter speed of 20 fps is impressive. However, in testing, the X-T5's buffers filled very quickly due to the lack of CFExpress ports, so you wont be able to utilize those faster shooting rates for long. Nevertheless, with a deep-learned AI autofocus system, the X-T5 will be able to keep up with even fast-moving subjects.

The ISO range is expandable to 51,200, and while its noise suppression is effective (it has to be when packing this many pixels onto an APS-C sensor), it does lead to an artificial smoothing effect and a loss of detail in images shot at higher sensitivity. Still, we came away with usable images even at ISO 12,800. Strong light metering and a range of Fujifilm’s beautiful color simulation profiles helps the X-T5 offer users a quality result without the need to be a post-production master, while its compact and lightweight design and 5-axis IBIS make it an excellent option for on-the-move shooting. Video performance is decent, offering up to 6K at 30p and 4K at 60p, but this camera is primarily designed for demanding enthusiasts and professional photographers — and there it excels.

Read our full Fujifilm X-T5 review.

Nikon Z f sitting on table

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A fantastic full frame retro with a few drawbacks

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 30 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: 0.5 inch OLED EVF, 3.69 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Tilt-Type LCD, 2.1 million dots
Size/weight: 5.7 x.4.1 x 2 inches; 22.9 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 430 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely image quality
+
Great retro looks
+
Solid build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Only shoots 4K/30p
-
One SD port is Micro-SD
-
Frustrating controls

We absolutely love the Nikon Z f, and think it's one of the best intermediate and enthusiast cameras, especially if you'd rather have a full frame camera over the Fujifilm X-T5's APS-C sensor.

The Z f has a huge amount going for it. It uses a handsome retro design, similar to the X-T5 and comes with brilliant build quality. Its full frame sensor produces lovely images and video, and it has dual card slots for peace of mind when shooting (especially on paid jobs).

Unfortunately, one of those SD slots is a Micro-SD slot, which will hamper write speeds. It also presented some frustrating handling and control issues during our testing: its grip is very small, while the ISO dial does not feature an Auto ISO setting. It's also very expensive.

Given all the above, and that the Fuji X-T5 is both cheaper and features a higher resolution sensor, we still think that's the enthusiast camera to go for unless you really must have full frame.

Read our full Nikon Z f review.

best camera: Sony Alpha a6600

Sony a6600 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
An oldie, but still a goodie

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2
Max shooting speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 60 fps
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2.3m dot OLED
Screen: 3-inch articulating touchscreen LCD
Size/weight: 4.7 x 2.7 x 2.3 inches; 17 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Real-time autofocus tracking
+
Extended eye autofocus
+
5-axis image stabilization
+
High-capacity battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one memory card slot
-
Ageing

Despite its age, the Sony a6600 still has a lot to offer the enthusiast photographer: an excellent sensor processor that deliver rgeat images, AI-enabled eye autofocusing in both still and video, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 4K/60 fps video, and a speedy 11 fps shooting speed. Top that with a battery that can last up to 720 shots, and you've got one of the best camera options for the price. 

In our Sony a6600 review, we were impressed with the image and video quality, as well as the camera's handling. It's made of a solid magnesium-alloy frame, and is both dust and moisture-resistant. It has a large, bright electronic viewfinder, as well as a 3-inch touchscreen that flips up a full 180 degrees and down 74 degrees. If you don't want to pay full freight for one of Sony's full-frame a7 cameras, the a6600 is the one to check out.

The a6600 is now ageing a little, though, and has been succeeded by the a6700, which is geared more towards video. There are also other APS-C mirrorless cameras that boast stronger photo and video credentials, such as the Fujifilm X-T5. Nevertheless, the a6600 is still a decent video performer, especially if you're already a user or a fan of Sony.

Read our full Sony Alpha a6600 review.

The best camera for content creators

These are the best cameras if you're shooting content for YouTube, online or social media. That isn't all they can be used for, of course, and many of them make excellent photography cameras too. However, these cameras balance powerful video features with usability and price.

Fujifilm X-S20 on tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best camera for content creators and vloggers

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26.1
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 30 fps
Max video resolution: 6.2K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.84 million dots
Size/weight: 5 x 3.4 x 2.6 inches; 17 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 750 shots

Reasons to buy

+
6.2K video
+
Beautiful images
+
Great IBIS
+
Cheaper than rivals
+
Vlogging features

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than X-S10
-
Single SD slot
-
Slightly awkward controls

If you're a vlogger or content creator looking for best camera for YouTube or Social media content creation, look no further than the Fujifilm X-S20. It was really difficult choosing between this and the Sony a6700 for this category, but in the end we think the award has to go to the Fuji, thanks to its higher resolution video, wider range of vlogging features and, most importantly, lower price.

The X-S20 shoots beautiful 6.2K video at 30p, which is great for producing high quality vlogging content. There's also 4K/60p if you want to shoot in 60fps, which is better for faster paced content. There's a fantastic AF system with modes for people, faces, eyes, animals, and even vehicles, plus IBIS for smooth handheld footage. There are numerous specific vlogging features, too, including a vari-angle screen, a dedicated Vlog mode on the dial (which provides access to a touch screen menu with key vlogging features), a background defocus mode and a product priority mode (which changes AF to deprioritize faces — great for product demo vlogging). These aren't huge features, but they make the X-S20 a much easier camera than the Sony a6700 for less experienced vloggers who want an easy to use production tool. The lower price also helps with attainability.

What's more, while the X-S20 will be easier for newcomers, that doesn't mean it lacks the specs for more advanced users either — it's just as capable as the a6700. 

If you're also interested in stills, the X-S20 takes beautiful photos, as you'd expect from a Fuji camera. For stills only, though, we'd recommend the Fuji X-T30 II or Fuji X-T5. If you already have an X-S10, the X-S20 is a decent upgrade, but only if you'll be shooting lots of video, where its beefed up battery and video specs will be most noticeable.

Read our full Fujifilm X-S20 review.

Sony a6700 camera sitting on desk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Pipped by the X-S20 for content creators (but only just)

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 11fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 120p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch tilting TFT, 1.04 million dots
Size/weight: 4.7 x 2.7 x 3.0 inches; 17.4 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 570 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent autofocus and tracking
+
Compact and lightweight
+
Solid image quality
+
Fantastic video features
+
Vlog-friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one memory card slot
-
No focus control joystick
-
Modest EVF

If you want to produce high quality video for YouTube or social media without breaking the bank, the a6700 is a fantastic choice. This camera packs incredible autofocus, 4K video oversampled from 6K at 60p, and can shoot 120fps slow motion at 4K. It's built beautifully, can take lovely photos and also gives you access to the huge number of Sony E-Mount lenses. There's also an awesome Auto Framing mode which gives solo shooters the effect of having a camera operator follow them through frame.

The EVF isn't the best in the price range, and there's no focus joystick on the back, which is a pain for photography. If you're relying on your video camera for any paid work, then the single UHS-II card slot is a big issue, as you won't have a backup of your footage or photos if your SD card goes kaput. 

The main rival of the a6700 is the Fujifilm X-S20. We think the Fuji just pips the a6700 for vlogging, thanks to its Product Priority Mode and other vlogging features, as well as its lower price. These make it more attainable for newcomers to video, as well as those with more experience. The Fuji also shoots higher resolution video than the Sony at 6.2K versus the a6700's 6K oversampled 4K. 

There are a couple of reasons to buy the Sony over the Fuji though. If you shoot a lot of slow motion, the a6700 features 4K/120fps recording for high resolution slow motion. The Fuji shoots at a higher 240fps, but only up to Full HD. There's also a larger range of lenses for Sony (although only by a small margin and you certainly won't be short of lenses with the Fuji). If you're already invested in the Sony E-Mount, this will be the video camera for you.

Read our full Sony a6700 review.

Canon EOS R10 on table

Canon EOS R10 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A lightweight APS-C camera with some powerful video specs

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2
IBIS: No
Max shooting speed: 23 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 60p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2.36 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Tilt-Type LCD, 1.04 million dots
Size/weight: 4.82 x 3.4 x 3.3 inches; 15.1 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 430 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic autofocus
+
Strong video credentials
+
Good value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels cheap
-
Lack of native RF-S lenses

The EOS R10 can be had for around $1,000 with a kit lens, which is great value for money. It's definitely a big step up over DSLRs and even the EOS R50, so if you're looking to take photos and video more seriously, it's ideal.

The EOS R10 also offers some impressive video features for content creators, shooting 4K/60p and offering up to 10-bit color for a wide color gamut. This could make it a great camera for vlogging, especially in a home setup. It also features Canon's fantastic autofocusing modes, which will also be great for vlogging, but also for different types of photography, such as sports and wildlife. This camera is also super lightweight and relatively compact — ideal for street or travel photography. 

However, the EOS R10’s lightweight design causes the body to feel cheap in-hand. Currently Canon’s RF-S lineup of bespoke APS-C lenses for their mirrorless R-System, is also lacking, meaning you’ll have to settle for non-native full frame RF lenses if you want fast maximum apertures or prime lenses. This camera also lacks IBIS, which is incredibly useful for handheld video — this is a big reason to choose the slightly pricier Fujifilm X-S20 or Sony a6700.

Read our full Canon EOS R10 review.

Nikon Z 30 attached to tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A very affordable camera for beginner content creators

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 20.9
IBIS: No
Max shooting speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: None
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD, 1.04 million dots
Size/weight: 5.1 × 2.9 × 2.4 inches; 14.3 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 330 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Very cheap
+
Video-oriented
+
Fully articulating touch screen
+
Shoots 4K

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 4K/30p
-
No viewfinder
-
Battery life poor

If you're just starting out on content creation, are on a budget and want a camera that will produce more professional video than your smartphone, the Nikon Z 30 could be a great option. Its lack of an EVF is a big hint to this camera's intended purpose — it's aimed primarily at video. 

The Z 30 will shoot 4K/30p video, which isn't quite fast enough for high octane action footage (that needs 60p), but is fine for slower paced vlogging and YouTube content.

Other cameras in this price range are the Canon EOS R100, which we wouldn't recommend for video, due to its lack of an articulating touch screen. If you can stretch to the EOS R50, that's probably a better shout given it'll shoot 4K/60P and comes with Canon's fantastic AF. If you can't, or you already have Nikon lenses, the Z 30 is a great camera given its price.

Read our full Nikon Z 30 review.

The best camera for advanced users

Side view of Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Canon EOS R6 Mark II (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best hybrid camera for advanced users

Specifications

Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.2
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 40 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 60p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.69 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.62 million dots
Size/weight: 5.45 x 3.87 x 3.48 inches; 1.5 lbs
Battery Life (CIPA): 760 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible autofocus
+
Blistering 40-fps burst rate
+
Professional video specs
+
8-stop IBIS
+
Great low light performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Modest megapixel count
-
No BSI sensor
-
No OLED info panel

The original Canon EOS R6 long held the position of the most expensive camera on our best mirrorless cameras list. And the Canon EOS R6 Mark II continues that legacy. That said, while it's pricey, you get a lot for your money, The R6 Mark II is a camera designed for serious enthusiasts and professionals, with a feature set to match.

The EOS R6 Mark II is a professional hybrid camera, meaning it's designed for both stills and video. Its relatively modest megapixel count of 24.2 means it won't be the best for large photography printing jobs, but on the flip result in larger photosites (essentially pixels) than on a higher resolution sensor and therefore better low light performance. For video, there's 4K at 60p in 10-bit color, HDR PQ and C Log 3 available, all of which provide greater post-production flexibility for pro filmmakers.

Canon's deep-learned AI autofocus is just phenomenal, and can track human eys and faces, animals and vehicles, making this a versatile tool for different genres of photography.

If we're nitpicking, we'd have liked to see Canon's highest level BSI (Back Side Illuminated) sensor equipped, and pro users might have liked an OLED top panel display, as you'd find on the similarly priced APS-C Fujifilm X-H2S, and the EOS R5 (this camera's bigger sibling). However, if you have the budget, this is the camera to get.

Read our full Canon EOS R6 Mark II review.

Sony A7 IV attached to tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The fourth iteration of Sony's legendary A7 line

Specifications

Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 33
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 10 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 60p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.68 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.03 million dots
Size/weight: 5.16 x 3.78 x 3.15 inches; 1.45 lbs
Battery Life (CIPA): 580 shots

Reasons to buy

+
33MP full frame sensor
+
Fantastic AF
+
Dual card slots
+
Professional handling

Reasons to avoid

-
4K/60p is cropped
-
Slow shooting rate

The Sony A7 IV continues the legendary legacy of the A7 mirrorless lineup. While it doesn't pack the resolution or hardcore features of the A7R line, the A7 IV is the all-rounder that provides professional features for a reasonable price. This is a great camera for anyone entering semi-pro or professional work, or dedicated enthusiasts who want a tool for serious photography. 

The A7 IV packs Sony's fantastic AF, plus a high resolution 33MP full frame sensor, dual card slots and 4K/60p video. Its design priotizes handling speed, with its chunky grip and range of custom Fn buttons that allow you to map the camera exactly how you want. It's built like a tank and, of course, being a Sony, you'll have access to a huge number of full frame lenses from Sony and third party manufacturers.

The drawbacks? The A7 IV's shooting speed is relatively sedate compared to the other cameras we've listed in this section — only 10fps. If you need to shoot high speed photos, this isn't the camera for you. 4K/60p is only available in a crop; the rear screen is rather low resolution; and the 580-shot battery, while not exactly poor, won't last as long as the 700+ shot batteries in the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and Fujifilm X-H2S.

Read our full Sony A7 IV review.

A photo of the Fujifilm X-H2S against a grey background.

(Image credit: Peter Wolinski / Tom's Guide)
The best camera for high speed photography

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 40 fps
Max video resolution: 6.2K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 5.76 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.62 million dots
Size/weight: 5.37 x 3.66 x 3.33 inches; 1 lb 8 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 720 shots

Reasons to buy

+
40fps drive rate
+
6.2K/30p
+
CFExpress Type-B
+
Shoots Apple ProRes internally
+
5.76M dot EVF

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 26MP
-
Heavy
-
AF struggled with small widlife

The Fujifilm X-H2S is Fuji's flagship APS-C professional camera, and the best APS-C camera you can buy... kinda. It's one of two best APS-C cameras you can buy, as the X-H2S has a sibling: the X-H2, which is focused on video and resolution.

The X-H2S features Fuji's 26MP sensor and latest X-Processor 5 image processor, which create stunning images with remarkably low noise given the sensor size. Thanks to its 40fps maximum drive rate, this camera is perfect for sports and widllife photography, especially coupled with Fuji's latest AF tracking modes, that bring Fujifilm cameras up to par with rival cameras from Sony and Canon. 

Importantly, the X-H2S features a CFExpress Type-B card, which minimizes write times and allows for virtually no down time between high speed 40fps bursts, and a generous 170 RAW files and 184 JPEGs on continuous shooting. It's this CFExpress port that puts the X-H2S above the Lumix G9 II, which can shoot faster but does not feature a CFExpress port, so tends to get bogged down after bursts.

The CFExpress port also allows some impressive video specs, including internal Apple ProRES RAW recording in 6.2K/30p. If you want more resolution, the 40MP sensor in the X-H2 delivers high res photos and 8K video, at the expense of shooting speed.

This camera is heavy for an APS-C body and the AF can sometimes struggle shooting very small, fast wildlife, but it's one hell of a camera.

Read our Fujifilm X-H2S review.

Panasonic Lumix G9II attached to tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best M43 camera you can buy

Specifications

Sensor: Micro 4/3
Megapixels: 25.2
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 75 fps
Max video resolution: 5.8K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.68 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.84 million dots
Size/weight: 5.29 x 4.03 x 3.55 inches; 1.45 lbs
Battery Life (CIPA): 370 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Rapid 75fps shooting rate
+
Lovely build and design
+
Beautiful image quality
+
Fantastic AF
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
No CFExpress to match drive rate
-
Destructive noise above ISO6400
-
Poor battery rating

The Lumix G9 II is Panasonic's flagship Micro Four Thirds stills camera. It is aimed at enthusiast, semi-pro and professional photographers who need super high drive rates, and boy does this camera deliver that: it has a whopping 75fps continuous shooting rate.

That makes this camera perfect for sports and wildlife. It also features Panasonic's new hybrid PD/CD-AF, meaning the G9 II has tracking modes that can match Sony, Canon and Fujifilm. It'll track humans, eyes and wildlife, among other things. This finally brings Panasonic cameras into competition at the top end of the mirrorless market. 

The G9 II is also built like a tank, and has lost the bulbous design of the previous model, sharing a body with the brilliant Lumix S5II. This camera is priced moderately for such a serious piece of kit, undercutting the other cameras in this section by a fair margin.

Unfortunately, this camera loses out to the Fujifilm X-H2S. Why? Its 75fps drive rate is impressive, but is undermined by only SD card slots versus the X-H2S' CFExpress port, which allows much less downtime after high speed shooting. There are also natural drawbacks to the M43 sensor, which produces incredibly destructive noise above ISO6400. 

Read our full Lumix G9 II review.

The best camera for video

If you want the ultimate in video features, while also being able to use your camera for stills photography, you'll want one of the best cameras for video. Many of the other cameras in this list can shoot video very well, but these cameras are designed with video features first in mind.

Panasonic LUMIX S5IIX attached to tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best advanced camera for video

Specifications

Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.2
IBIS: Yes
Max shooting speed: 30 fps
Max video resolution: 6K @ 30p
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3.68 million dots
Screen: 3.0-inch Vari-Angle, 1.84 million dots
Size/weight: 5.29 x 4.03 x 3.55 inches; 1.64 lbs
Battery Life (CIPA): 370 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Pro video specs
+
Fantastic build quality
+
Much improved AF
+
Brilliant IBIS
+
Intuitive controls

Reasons to avoid

-
AF still a little lightweight
-
No CFExpress slot
-
Battery life mediocre vs rivals

The Lumix S5IIX is the best advanced camera for video in our price bracket. Costing under $2,000, this camera will offer enthusiasts and semi-pro videographers all they need to produce professional quality video for their projects. Heck, it should even be more than enough for pro filmmakers too. 

The Lumix S5II and S5IIX (they are separated only by a few additional video features on the S5IIX, some of which can be added to the base S5II via a paid firmware update) are the successors to the legendary Lumix S5, and follow very much in its footsteps. The S5IIX features a huge range of video resolutions and formats, compression types and bitrates, allowing users to customize their content to workflow, quality and storage requirements. 

The camera features Panasonic's incredible IBIS system to keep everything stable when shooting handheld, and most importantly uses Panansonic's latest AF system — this is now a combined phase and contrast detection system, fixing one of the main issues on the original S5. As a mirrorless hybrid, it also takes beautiful images with lovely color rendition and all the benefits of a full frame sensor in regards to depth of field and low light performance. 

Drawbacks? There are very few and we almost awarded this camera 5 stars. The AF is still a little spartan versus rivals in terms of detection modes — this is primarily why the R6 Mark II is still the better tool for hybrid advanced users and pros. There's no CFExpress port for fast data speeds when not shooting to SSD or external recorder — this is something you'd find on the Lumix GH6. And the 370-shot battery life isn't when compared to rivals. That said, for the money, this camera is phenomenal.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix S5IIX review.

We have covered an even wider lineup of mirrorless cameras in our roundup of the best mirrorless cameras — head there if you'd like to see more cameras compared.

The best DSLR cameras

With the exception of Pentax, most manufacturers have now turned away from DSLR and now focus on mirrorless cameras. However, you can still find DSLRs, so we've rounded up the best here.

Best camera: Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600 (Image credit: Future)
Best DSLR under $1,000

Specifications

Type: DSLR
Sensor: DX-format CMOS
Megapixels: 24.2
Max shooting speed: 5 fps
Max video resolution: 1080p @ 60 fps
Viewfinder: Optical
Screen: 3.2-inch swiveling touchscreen LCD
Size/weight: 5.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 inches/16.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Top-notch image quality
+
Responsive performance
+
Solid set of practical and creative features

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimal manual control for video
-
No 4K video

Sporting a 24-megapixel sensor, 3.2-inch swiveling touchscreen and compatibility with a huge range of lenses, the Nikon D5600 is the best camera for most people looking for a Nikon DSLR. In our tests, we found it took great photos, and has a nice wide usable ISO range. We also liked its battery life; rated at 970 shots, we were able to easily make it through a day's worth of shooting. With Nikon's traditional d-pad and a number of dials and knobs, it's great for experienced photographers looking for full-featured manual controls, while still including a number of assisted shooting modes to help teach and educate beginners. 

One of our quibbles with the D5600 is that it can only capture video at a maximum resolution of 1080p/60 fps. However, that's not unreasonable for a camera at this price, and it has a dedicated microphone jack. All in all, it's a great kit.

Read our full Nikon D5600 review.

The Pentax K-3 III DSLR, showing the front of the camera and lens

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best enthusiast DSLR

Specifications

Megapixels: 25.7MP
Lens Type: Interchangeable
ISO Range: 100-1,600,000
Image Stabilization: 5-axis in-body
Video (Max Resolution): 4K (cropped) @ 30 fps; FHD @ 60fps
Shooting Speed: 12 fps
Display: 3.2-inch, 1,620k dots
Wi-Fi: Yes
Battery Life: 800 shots
Size/Weight: 134.5 x 103.5 x 73.5mm / 735g

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar image quality
+
Excellent image stabilization
+
Excellent build and handling
+
Plenty of controls
+
Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No flip-out LCD
-
4K video is cropped
-
Autofocus struggles in some scenarios
-
High price

The Pentax K-3 III is the newest DSLR on the block, and it's a very good one — albeit with a few irritations. On the plus side, image quality from the new 25.7-megapixel APS-C sensor is outstanding, serving up bags of detail and accurate colors. Noise is supremely well controlled, and together with 5-axis in-body image stabilization that helps you get great shots in low light. Build quality is also excellent, with full weatherproofing, and there are plenty of manual controls; it's a fine camera to use.   

Against that, autofocus can miss the mark at times and 4K video is only available in cropped mode. It won't rival the best mirrorless cameras in those regards, but as a straight still shooter it's an excellent addition to Pentax's line-up. 

Read our full Pentax K-3 III review.

The best compact cameras

These cameras have a built-in retractable zoom lens, will fit right into your pocket, but still offer great photo and video performance. Here are our favorites.

best cameras — Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Terry Sullivan/Tom's Guide)
The best compact camera for vloggers

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1-inch-type CMOS
Megapixels: 20
IBIS: No, but built-in optical IS
Max shooting speed: 20 fps
Max video resolution: 4K @ 30p
Viewfinder: No
Screen: 3.0-inch Tilt-Type LCD, 0.92 million dots
Size/weight: 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches; 9.5 ounces
Battery Life (CIPA): 260 shots

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful yet easy-to-use features
+
Very good quality video and stills
+
Excellent AF
+
Very good quality audio

Reasons to avoid

-
May not be versatile enough for advanced vloggers
-
Image stabilization could be better

The Sony ZV-1 is the only entry in our best camera list that's aimed squarely at vloggers — and if filming yourself for videos on YouTube or similar is important to you, then it's well worth considering.

Although based on Sony's RX series of high-end point-and-shoot cameras, it comes with a number of features to make vlogging that bit easier. For instance, it has a swiveling touchscreen LCD screen that opens on the side rather than vertically, so it doesn't get in the way while filming. And it has several specialist modes, including one that smooths out skin and one that swiftly switches focus from person to product. There's also a directional mic and an included wind muff to improve audio performance.

Autofocus is generally good and the 4K video and 20MP stills are high quality too, but image stabilization isn't the best — if you're shooting on the go, a DSLR or mirrorless camera on a gimbal will be a better bet. Still, it's well priced and can also act as a webcam thanks to a firmware upgrade.

Read our full Sony ZV-1 review.

The best action cameras

Action cameras will go anywhere with you and record the whole adventure in high quality video. These are our favorites, which combine beautiful video with excellent stabilization and great smartphone apps, all wrapped up in affordable and compact packages.

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

(Image credit: Future)
The best action cam overall

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5.3K/60 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 27 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:10 (5.3K/60p)
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 5.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Bluetooth support for audio
+
Cheaper than previous model
+
Outstanding video performance
+
Horizon lock feature
+
Intuitive to operate

Reasons to avoid

-
Specs largely unchanged from Hero11
-
Premium editing features paywall

The GoPro Hero12 Black is the best action camera you can buy. While it's largely unchanged from its predecessor, it costs $100 less than the Hero11 did at launch — something we were happy to see given such a moderate specs boost.

Video performance has been boosted over the Hero11, despite having the same resolution sensor: the Hero12 shoots 5.3K/60p versus the Hero11's 5K/30p, for higher resolution, smoother footage. There's now also support for bluetooth headphones, so you can use your wireless earbuds to record clean audio without the need for a separate microphone.

Water resistance is the same, as are the design, screens and dimensions. Horizon stabilization and image stabilization are again unchanged, but these were fantastic in the Hero11 anyway, so that's no bad thing. Unfortunately, premium editing features are again locked behind a paid subscription.

Read our full GoPro Hero12 Black review.

DJI Osmo Action 4 attached to tripod

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best GoPro alternative

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 4K/60 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 10 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 80 (4K/60p)
Water Resistance: 59 feet
Size: 2.77 x 1.74 x 1.29 inches
Weight: 5.1 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Great image quality
+
Large sensor
+
D-Log recording
+
Decent internal audio
+
4K/120p slow-mo
+
Awesome mounting options

Reasons to avoid

-
GoPro Hero12 Black similarly priced
-
App missing core editing features
-
No resolutions over 4K

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is the best GoPro alternative. It's a moderate step up from the Osmo Action 3, packing a bigger sensor for improved low light performance, plus beefed-up image stabilization. 

The biggest advantages the Action 4 has over a GoPro Hero12 Black are its larger sensor, much deeper 59-foot (18m) waterproof rating, and the huge range of awesome mounting options and accessories available. Sure, GoPro offers accessories, but can you get a bite mount to hold the camera between your teeth when surfing? Didn't think so. Living up to its DJI pedigree, the Osmo Action 4 also features an impressive internal mic, so you may not need to buy an external one for higher quality audio. It will also hook up wirelessly with the fantastic DJI Mic 2.

However, the GoPro Hero12 Black still has the Action 4 beat in some key areas, such as image stabilization performance, maximum resolution and app features. Given the Hero12 Black costs a similar price at launch, the Osmo Action 4 feels a little overpriced, so if you don't need the underwater rating or accessories it's difficult to recommend it over the GoPro. 

Read our full DJI Osmo Action 4 review.

Insta360 Go 3

(Image credit: Future)
The best small action camera

Specifications

Max Video Resolution:: 2.7K/30 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Touch Screen: Yes
Battery Life: 45 minutes (170 with Action Pod)
Water Resistance: 16 feet
Weight: 1.25 ounces (3.4 with Action Pod)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly small
+
Good looking 2.7K video
+
Great auto mode and filters
+
No recording time limit

Reasons to avoid

-
No removable storage
-
Camera gets warm
-
No external mic support
-
Poor low light performance

If you're after something small, you can't really beat the Insta360 Go 3 — a tiny, thumb-sized action camera that builds upon the great reputation of its predecessor, the Go 2. 

The Go 3 offers up to 2.7K video at 30fps, as well as FreeFrame video, where you can change the aspect ratio of your footage after shooting. It's water resistant down to 16 feet small enough to take pretty much everywhere. What's more, Insta360 offer a range of awesome accessories to allow you to use the tiny Go 3 in pretty much any scenario you can imagine. It's truly designed to go on any adventure with you.

Thanks to the new Action Pod, which replaces the Go 2's case, the Go 3 is now a bonafide vlogging tool — featuring a flip up screen and up to 170 minutes of battery life. 

However, the size of the Go 3 means some sacrifices have had to be made. There's no removable storage, no external microphone support and no 4K video. As such, if you're looking to shoot professional-grade video, you'd be better off looking at the GoPro Hero11 Black, which costs a similar amount of money at the expense of size.

Read our full Insta360 Go 3 review.

The best older GoPro

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5K/30 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 27 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:38 (1080p/30 fps)
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 5.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative editing features
+
Larger image sensor
+
Amazing motion stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack Hero12's Bluetooth features
-
Premium editing features paywall

The GoPro Hero11 Black has a large 1/1.9-inch image sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio. This squarish format lets you capture expansive views, but more importantly, gives you much more flexibility when editing the video afterwards. In the GoPro Quik app, you can output your video in a number of formats, including the TikTok-friendly 9:16 ratio. 

What also makes the Hero11 Black great is its superior image stabilization — you can literally rotate the camera all the way around, and it will keep the horizon level. New shooting modes also let you capture star trails and try your hand at light painting, and GoPro's Quik app makes editing your videos a real pleasure.

Read our full GoPro Hero11 Black review and check out our GoPro Hero11 Black vs GoPro Hero11 Black Mini comparison.

The best instant cameras

Point, shoot and print. These cameras shoot stylish photos that are ready to display straight away. Here's our favorite, but check out our best instant cameras page to see more.

best camera: Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 (Image credit: Jeanette D. Moses/Tom's Guide)
Best instant camera for most people

Specifications

Photo type/size: Fujifilm Instax Mini (1.8 x 2.4 inches)
microSD slot: No
Smartphone app: No
Battery: 2 AA batteries, included
Size/Weight: 4.1 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches / 11.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Easy to use
+
Cool retro looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey Instax film
-
No creative modes

The Mini 40 is more than just an instant camera — it's an instant camera in a seriously cool retro body. Alright, so that alone isn't enough to make it worthy of recommendation, but the fact that you'll actually want to take it out and show it off certainly doesn't hurt. Fortunately, Fujifilm hasn't forgotten the really important stuff here: the Instax Mini 40 is incredibly simple to use and takes lovely photos, with vibrant colors and good exposures. 

While it lacks the bells and whistles of some instant cameras — there's no smartphone app and it can't double as a printer, for instance — it's not without any features either. So, you do get a selfie mode, plus a constantly firing flash that gives it better skills in low-light conditions. At less than $100, it's the kind of camera you could treat yourself to for a holiday or special occasion and have lots of fun with. 

Read our full Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 review

How to choose the best camera for you

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the best camera for you. The first question you should ask yourself is what do you plan to shoot? If you're doing more portrait photography, and don't plan on moving the camera around a lot, a DSLR may be the best way to go. If you're looking for something more mobile, a mirrorless camera is probably a better bet. Be sure to check out our DSLR vs. mirrorless camera guide, which goes into detail about those two camera systems, and also scroll down for a bit more info about all of the options. 

It's important to be realistic about your abilities and your intended use, as you can easily spend thousands of dollars on equipment that you don't need, or don't know how to use. Before making a purchase, it's also worth your time to go to a camera store to see how a particular model feels in your hands, and how comfortable you are holding it.

What different types of camera are there? 

DSLRs

DSLRs — or digital single-lens reflex cameras — use a mirror to reflect light from the lens on to the sensor, and as a result are bigger and heavier than mirrorless cams. But they're still a great choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike, thanks to the ability to swap out lenses, good handling, sturdy build quality and excellent battery life. Some are also quite cheap these days, and they also benefit from large lens and accessory lineups. Canon and Nikon are the main players, with Pentax another option. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, but you can get a good one for as little as $450. 

Here's our guide to the best DSLR cameras.

Mirrorless

These do away with the mirror of a DSLR but have the same advantage of being able to change the lens. As camera makers have switched to mirrorless they tend to get the latest tech, so they are often faster and have better autofocus and video options, plus features such as in-body stabilization. They're smaller and lighter, too, but battery life is not as good and there aren't as many lenses. Canon and Nikon both make mirrorless cams now, but the biggest player is Sony. Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic are all alternatives. Prices are similar to DSLRs. 

Here's our guide to the best mirrorless cameras.

Point-and-shoot cameras

Also known as compact cameras, they can't swap lenses but are much smaller and lighter than either DSLRs or mirrorless cams. Some are small enough to fit in a pocket and they make great travel cameras. This is a broad category, with many different options; you can choose one for under $100 that you use simply as an alternative to a smartphone, or spend $1000 and get something with a big sensor and that takes photos to rival those from a DSLR. Sub-categories include tough cameras that you can use underwater or in extreme conditions and bridge cameras, which have a large body and very long zoom range. 

Here's our guide to the best point-and-shoot cameras.

Instant

As the name suggests, instant cameras give you a physical photo as soon as you press the shutter (or a few seconds afterwards). They're basically what the old Polaroid cameras were, but updated — and indeed, Polaroid still makes some of the best. Many of them use different film formats that vary in size, so make sure you choose one that fits your needs. And also look out for extra features such as app integration and a flash. 

Here's our guide to the best instant cameras.

Action cameras

These tend to be focused more on video than stills, although they will all do both. GoPro is the main player here (check out our guide to the best GoPro cameras for more), but all are designed to capture your daring exploits in (ideally) 4K footage.

Here's our guide to the best action cameras.

Cameras vs smartphones: Do you even need a digital camera? 

These days, almost everyone has a very capable camera in their pocket, in the form of a smartphone. So is there still a need for a dedicated camera in 2023? To an extent, that depends on what type of camera you're talking about. 

The best camera phones have now reached a level that would have seemed impossible a few years, with the likes of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra packing multiple lenses, large sensors (for a phone) and advanced software tricks. People can and do take incredible photos with their phone every day, and in some situations there really is no need for a dedicated camera.

But some types of camera still have key advantages over a phone. DSLRs and mirrorless cams, for instance, are still capable of taking better images than a smartphone in many situations.

That's partly due to sensor size — even the biggest smartphone sensors are many times smaller than those in an enthusiast DSLR. And because sensor size plays a key role in how much light a camera gathers, that has a massive effect on the overall quality of an image.

Lenses are another factor: while smartphones may have one or two wide-angle lens plus one telephoto lens, mirrorless cams and DSLRs have a choice of dozens, each optimized for its specific focal length or task.

Instant cameras can also do something that smartphones can't, while rugged cameras also have an advantage in one specific area (namely that they won't break if dropped down a mountain). With compact cameras, it's a different matter though, and unless you're looking for a really long zoom range, a smartphone may now be a perfectly good alternative. 

Of course as the old adage has it, the best camera is the one you have with you — so either way, just make sure you get out there and use it.

How we test

Regardless of the type of camera we review, they're all subjected to a similar testing regimen: we use them in a variety of settings, including low light, outdoors, indoors and more. We also photograph a number of subjects, such as people and pets, to see how well the camera captures skin tones. If a camera comes with a kit lens, we generally use that lens with the camera, to more closely emulate the same experience as consumers purchasing the camera.

In addition to still and video quality, we also rate the camera based on its ease of use: are the physical controls easy to access, and are the menus logically laid out? Finally, we evaluate the camera's battery life and other features, such as wireless control. Once we've done all that, we're in a position to decide whether a model deserves to be on our best camera list.

Be sure to check out all of our camera picks:

Best DSLR cameras | Best action cameras | Best waterproof cameras | Best point-and-shoot cameras | Best instant cameras | Best mirrorless cameras | Best cheap cameras | Best GoPro camera | Best GoPro accessories | Best drones | Best 360 cameras | Best iPhone lenses | Best iPhone tripods |DSLR vs. mirrorless | Best Nikon accessories | Best Sony a6000 accessories | Best ring lights | Best ring lights for phones | best cameras for vlogging


The best apps and software for editing, managing, and sharing your photos:
Best photo organizer apps | Best photo storage sites | Best photo editing software | Best photo editing apps | Best photo collage apps