Best Camera 2017: 14 best cameras you can buy

No matter the kind of camera you want – DSLR, mirrorless or compact – our camera roundup has the right choice for you.

FujiFilm X-T10 23

There’s no shortage of choice for camera buyers. Those who say phones have already killed the dedicated camera are getting ahead of themselves.

We review everything from fun and casual cameras to DSLRs and advanced system cameras that cost thousands, and have simmered down all our research to this easy-to-digest list of recommendations. There’s something for everyone here.

To find out which cameras made it, you can use the dropdown menu, or hit the next arrow to navigate the list now.

This Week’s Best Camera Deals

Sony RX10 II at Amazon.co.uk | Was £899 | Now £629

Canon EOS 100D at Amazon.com | Was $549 | Now $496

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II at Amazon.com | Was $1099 | Now $999

Best Camera Buying Guide – What’s the right camera for you?

Generally you need to think about two things when you’re buying a camera: how much you’re able to spend and how you’re going to use it. It’s a tough choice if you’re new to camera buying, so here’s a quick guide to the different types of camera you can buy.

Best Compacts and Bridge Cameras

If you’re looking for the best cameras for casual use and don’t want to fuss about with settings before hitting the shutter button, a compact camera is probably the best fit for you. There are still plenty of cheap and cheerful compacts out there, but higher-end models also cater for the enthusiast.

Sony RX100 IV 9The Sony RX100 is a good example of an advanced compact for enthusiasts

There are numerous kinds of quality compacts, too. You’ll find chunkier advanced compacts that give you good manual control, and simpler ones that focus on providing a higher-end sensor and lens optics for better image quality and ease of use.

Bridge cameras are something between a compact camera and an interchangeable-lens system camera. They have permanent, generally very long zoom lenses and a similar feel to a DSLR. But bridge cameras mostly have sensors that are of a similar size to those in compact cameras, producing photos similar in quality.

Best Mirrorless Cameras

Bridging the gap between compact cameras and DSLRs are mirrorless cameras, often also referred to as compact system cameras (CSC). Expect these types to offer an excellent balance of convenience and image quality, though at the very top end we’re beginning to see CSCs that match or even exceed similar DSLRs. Sony’s full-frame A7 II series is a good example.

FujiFilm X-T2The Fujifilm X-T2 is one of the most popular and highly-regarded mirrorless cameras

Within the CSC category, there’s a number of different types of sensor used, each giving quite a different experience. Nikon’s CSCs use 1-inch sensors that provide lightning-fast shooting and dinky camera bodies, but are not the best for low-light performance and don’t achieve a shallow depth of field for blurring the background or foreground. Olympus and Panasonic use Micro Four Thirds-size sensors, providing a middle ground and some outstanding and affordable lenses.

The largest sensors you’ll find in affordable CSCs are APS-C ones, used in cameras from Samsung, Fujifilm and Sony. Of course, Sony has now gone even further, adopting full-frame sensors in the top-end A7 II range. These provide the best image quality among CSCs, rivalling pro DSLRs.

Best DSLRs

DSLRs remain the professional’s choice. While CSCs compete well in the consumer market, professionals who need top-quality lenses and reliable performance still mainly use DSLRs.

DSLRs are still the no.1 choice for professional photographers

This is particularly true for full-frame cameras, where Nikon and Canon both offer some outstanding options. There are some good cheap DSLRs as well, though, so there’s plenty of choice and a huge number of lenses to invest in.

Panasonic GX800

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Key features:

  • Ultra-compact body
  • 4K video
  • Selfie-friendly 180-degree flip screen
  • Review price: £499

The Panasonic GX800 is a great camera to buy if you want something simple that will still take great photos. It’s Panasonic’s entry-level compact system camera, and chooses to shed a few pro-pleasing features in order to keep the thing small. The body will even fit in some pockets, although you’ll need to pair it with a pretty petite pancake lens if that’s your aim.

This camera doesn’t have a viewfinder, just a screen that flips all the way over to let you take ultra-high-quality selfies without shooting blind.

Don’t confuse this for any sort of admission this is a toy camera, though. It has an excellent 16-megapixel Micro Four-Thirds sensor and can use the same lenses as Panasonic’s top-end compact system cameras. Consider the Panasonic GX800 seriously if you don’t want to use full manual control all the time.

It doesn’t stop you from doing so either — the options are there — it just pares down hardware controls in favour of portability. The Panasonic GX800 can also shoot 4K video.

Read the full Panasonic GX800 review

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Key features:

  • 24-480mm f/2.8-4.5 lens
  • 20.1MP one-inch sensor
  • 4K Video & Photo

The DMC-FZ1000 was an extremely impressive camera, so when news came that Panasonic would be following it up with an DMC-FZ2000, we were very excited.

Bridge used to be a bit of a dirty word in the camera world, being used to denote something that had a good zoom range but that lacked on the image quality front. Cameras such as the DMC-FZ2000 change all that, offering fantastic quality in a body that offers you a serious number of features for your cash.

For starters, the camera has a one-inch sensor, which is much larger than the small sensors you’d usually find in a bridge camera. Panasonic has increased the focal length a little here, taking the 400mm up to 480mm for the new model, with an impressively wide aperture range from f/2.8 up to f/4.5.

The camera, like all new Panasonic models, offers 4K Video and Photo modes too – with it even being aimed towards keen videographers as well as photographers. The camera body is bulky and serious; in short, this is a camera that will cope admirably with pretty much anything you throw at it, making it the ultimate all-rounder for someone who doesn’t want the hassle of changing lenses.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000 review

Sony RX10 III

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Key features:

  • 24-600mm f/2.4-4.0 lens
  • 20.1MP one-inch sensor
  • 4K Video
  • Review price: £2000

Another bridge camera makes it into our roundup, simply because both the Sony and Panasonic offerings at present are so good.

Sony’s RX10 series has been a high performer since it first appeared a few years ago, with the latest iteration proving to be the best yet. It has a whopping 25x optical zoom – a feat previously unheard of for a camera with a large one-inch sensor. The aperture maxes out at f/2.4 at the wide end, rising to the not too shabby f/4.0 at the telephoto end, meaning your low light shots will be pretty good.

You also get a high-quality viewfinder, plus a nifty tilting screen. Full manual control is also available, alongside raw format shooting and super-fast shooting at 14fps.

4K is the buzzword for cameras of late, and it’s present on board the RX10 III, which is arguably just as good as a video camera as it is for capturing stills. Shoot in super-slow motion at 1,000fps to really push its limits.

Just like the RX10 II before it, the RX10 III is an incredibly versatile video and stills camera in one.

 

Read the full Sony RX10 III review

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Key features:

  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Up to 60fps shooting
  • 4K Video
  • Review price: £899

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II has so many superb features it’s difficult to pick out only a few for discussion.

Cameras such as this truly give DSLRs a run for their money, offering some truly exceptional specs that should be making DSLR manufacturers sit up and take note. This camera offers true competition for action and sports photographers, thanks to its incredibly fast frame rate of up to 60fps – and that’s in full-resolution raw format too.

Not only that, you have an incredibly capable advanced 5-axis image stabilisation system that lets you shoot handheld for up to two seconds without incurring blur – a feat we wouldn’t have thought possible just a few years ago.

Top all this off with a large, highly detailed electronic viewfinder, a fully articulating touch-sensitive screen, and a 121-point dual FAST AF system and you have one of the best and most competent cameras of the year – across all categories. Throw in 4K video recording and you’ve got a unit that videographers will enjoy as well.

Read the full Olympus OM-D E-M1 II review

Fujifilm X-T2

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Key features:

  • 24.3MP X-Trans APS-C CMOS III sensor
  • High frame rates
  • 4K Video
  • Review price: £1599

Another exciting mirrorless model to make its way into the market this year is the X-T2, which offers such superb usability and image quality that many are jumping ship from DSLRs to join the mirrorless revolution.

The X-T2 produces beautiful, high-quality images. In fact, if you purchase the optional additional battery grip then you can really get the most from this wonderful machine, including the super-high frame rates and more flexibility with 4K video recording.

This camera is joint-top of Fuji’s lineup with the flatter-style X Pro 2; which one you favour will largely be down to your preference over styling. The X-T2 is arguably the better all-rounder, being ideal for moving subjects and having a more traditional shape for DSLR converts.

The electronic viewfinder is class-leading, while the screen’s tilting mechanism is also useful for a variety of different angles – it’s just a shame it isn’t touch-sensitive.

When it comes to AF performance and speed, the X-T2 is one of the zippiest out there, with a decently sized buffer and capability to keep up with pretty fast-moving subjects – even sports photographers may consider the X-T2 for their work.

It wouldn’t be a Fuji without some beautiful retro styling and design, and the X-T2 offers such highlights in abundance – it oozes style and you’ll be proud as punch to be seen walking around with this.

Read the full Fujifilm X-T2 review

Fujifilm X-Pro2

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Key features:

  • Hybrid optical/OLED EVF viewfinder
  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • 273 AF points
  • Review price: £1349

Four years after the original X-Pro was released, FujiFilm finally got around to making the X-Pro2. It’s a retro-style compact system camera with Fuji’s famed image quality and the same kind of great manual controls seen in the original X-Pro.

The important comparison for people buying today is between this camera and the excellent FujiFilm X-T2, though. Specs-wise they’re similar, but the difference is much more than just aesthetic.

Where the X-T2 has an OLED electronic viewfinder, the X-Pro2 has a hybrid one, pairing an OLED EVF with an optical viewfinder. This gives it an old-school sensibility some may like. Its screen doesn’t tilt, though, which some photographers now consider essential.

The X-Pro2 also lacks 4K video, a feature the X-T2 has. Apparently this is because FujiFilm found the camera overheated when shooting 4K for too long. It’s a bit of a dinosaur in some respects, but it’s a truly lovable one.

Read the full Fujifilm X-Pro2 review

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Key features:

  • 16MP Four Thirds sensor
  • 2.8m-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 4K Photo & Video
  • Review price: £599

If you’re looking for an entry into the compact system camera market, the GX80 is an ideal choice. It comes packed with many of Panasonic’s best features, but in a small body – making it ideal for travelling or always having with you.

Despite its small size, Panasonic has managed to equip this model with not only a bright and clear electronic viewfinder, but a tilting touch-sensitive screen too. It was the first Panasonic camera to use a sensor that doesn’t have an anti-aliasing filter, which basically means you can get some highly detailed images from this miniature marvel.

It has 4K Video and Photo modes, just like all other new Panasonic models. This means you’ll be able to extract stills from 4K video, which is great for capturing that definitive moment during high-speed action – even if that’s just your dog tearing around the park. If you want an even simpler camera, check out the GX800.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix GX80 review

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Key Features:

  • 24.1-megapixel full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100 to 50,0000
  • Fixed, 28mm f/1.7 lens
  • Review price: £3500

Leica has a rich heritage of making pricey, high quality and desirable cameras, but had been a while since it did anything original. The Leica Q (Typ 116) is its response. A glorious full-frame compact with a fast, fixed focal length lens, it’s a niche camera, but an astoundingly good one.

In some respects it’s very similar to the Fujifilm X100T. The Leica Q is so nice to use for proficient photogrpahers that you naturally gravitate to using the manual controls exclusively. It has a dedicated ISO control dial and plenty of hands-on manual controls, all of which are beautifully considered and designed.

The 3.68-million-dot EVF is the sharpest we’ve ever seen and the 1.04-million-dot rear screen isn’t too shabby either. A 10fps burst mode is impressive for a full-frame compact, but it’s the image quality that impresses the most. A full-frame sensor and an f/1.7 lens is a great combination, though some might prefer a tighter 35mm focal length to the 28mm offered by the Leica.

Even with this small niggle considered, it’s a hugely desirable camera.

Read the full Leica Q (Typ 116) review

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Key features:

  • Brilliant manual controls
  • Excellent build quality
  • 4K video
  • Review price: £699

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 offers something a little different to other advanced compacts. If you want manual controls, you’ll struggle to find anything better. There are dials for exposure compensation and shutter speed on top, as well as manual focus and aperture rings around the f/1.7-2.8 lens, all of which will provide that ‘dirty’, up-close camera experience.

It also shoots video in 4K, and the ability to capture 8-megapixel images from this footage is a bonus.

The metal body also feels great in the hand but the EVF oversaturates colours and displays inaccurate contrast levels. The 3-inch LCD display is better, but is basic, lacking a touchscreen. For camera enthusiasts who love a manual experience, this is a gadget that’s difficult to top.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix LX100 review

FujiFilm X-T10

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Key Features:

  • 16.3-megapixel APC-C sensor, 8fps burst mode
  • 2,360k dot OLED viewfinder and 3-inch, 920k-dot LCD tilt monitor
  • 381g with battery and memory card
  • Review price: £600

If you like the look of the X-T2 but can’t stomach the price, try the Fujifilm X-T10. It is, in many ways, a downsized version of the slightly older X-T1. Vitally, they share the same 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor and have the same outstanding high-ISO and colour performance – it’s certainly among the best mirrorless cameras for image quality.

While the autofocus system isn’t quite as fast as those from Sony and Panasonic, the X-T10 still performs well. Its 8fps burst mode is decent, too – not best in class, but good for a camera at this price.

The design has a classic quality and it’s tough – it has a magnesium alloy shell just like top-end cameras. There are plenty of direct controls that makes it great to use, though its video options are rather limited.

Read the full FujiFilm X-T10 review

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Key features:

  • 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 61-point AF system
  • 4K Video
  • Review price: £3500

There’s a reason 5D cameras have always proved popular with enthusiasts and professional photographers alike – they’re very good. The latest version from Canon, the 5D Mark IV, builds on all the best features of previous generations and steps it up to the next level.

The 5D Mark IV is a top performer, and is capable of producing some wonderful images; there’s even an innovative new feature that lets you tweak focus should you get it ever so slightly wrong.

Canon says that it doesn’t want existing 5D users to have to start learning how to use a new camera from scratch, so it designed the 5D Mark IV with the Mark III as its base template. Buttons and dials are placed sensibly around the camera, and it’s a very comfortable camera to use. 4K video recording is also included, as well as other great modern features such as a touch-sensitive screen and built-in Wi-Fi.

This camera is capable of shooting in a wide range of conditions – but right now, you’ll pay a premium for it. Hopefully, the cost of the 5D Mark IV will come down over the next few months as the markets stabilise.

Read the full Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review

Sony Alpha A7 II

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Key Features:

  • 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 5-axis optical image stabilisation
  • 2.4m dot OLED EVF, 117-point phase detection AF
  • Review price: £1439

Sony’s A7 range is special as they’re the only compact mirrorless cameras to offer a full-frame sensor outside of Leica’s bank account-draining models.

The Sony Alpha A7 II builds on the success of original with five-axis in-body stabilisation. To achieve this in such a compact body is remarkable and the results are as impressive as you’d hope.

The benefit is great performance in all conditions, not to mention loads of detail thanks to the full-frame, 24.3-megapixel sensor. It’s a great video camera, too, and there’s a 3.5mm audio input for mounting an external mic. The only real issue with the the A7 II is the so-so battery life, as it tends to run out after around 270 shots.

Read the full Sony Alpha A7 II review

Nikon D500

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Key features:

  • 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 4K Video
  • Pro features
  • Review price: £1729

We had to wait a long time for the D500, but boy was it worth the wait. The D500 took home our camera of the year award in 2016, with its fantastic set of features making it the deserved champion.

The camera sits right at the top of Nikon’s APS-C lineup, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this camera isn’t as good as its full-frame brethren – there are certain perks to using a smaller sensor, especially if you’re a sports or wildlife photographer.

This camera also enjoys many of the top-end benefits of the £5k Nikon D5, including the same processor and focusing system. There’s a super-high ISO value of 1,640,000 on offer, while 4K video recording is also on hand.

A standard 16-80mm lens is an option for this camera, which is a great way to start, but of course it’s also compatible with Nikon’s huge range of F-mount optics. With a wide array of on-hand controls, this is a camera that you can use in numerous scenarios and come away with wonderful photographs.

Read the full Nikon D500 review

Sony A7R II

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Key Features:

  • 42.4-megapixel full frame sensor
  • Five-axis in-body stabilisation
  • 399 phase detection points covering 2/3 of the frame
  • Review price: £2600

If you looked at the Sony A7 II and thought it doesn’t have enough megapixels, the Sony A7R II is the upgrade for you. It’s so good we made it our Camera of the Year for 2015, despite the fact its high price makes it an unrealistic buy for many people.

A few things stand out about the A7R II, aside from its huge resolution. First, it has a huge ISO range – it starts at just ISO 50 and can go up all the way to ISO 102,400. This is possible because the sensor has backside illumination (BSI), which increases light sensitivity.

Secondly, it’s incredibly good in low light – partly down to the huge ISO range, of course. Finally, its autofocus system is outstanding, especially in low light.

This is a pretty good video camera, too. It shoots 4K video at 100Mbps and there’s a ‘flat’ mode that retains dynamic range information for post-production.

Read the full Sony A7R II review

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