No matter the kind of camera you want – DSLR, mirrorless or compact – our camera roundup has the right choice for you.
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.
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.
The Fujifilm X100F is a good example of a fixed lens compact
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. Though they’re not compact in size, they are very versatile and well suited to photographing a wide variety of subjects.
Best Mirrorless Cameras
Bridging the gap between compact cameras and DSLRs are mirrorless cameras, 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 mirrorless cameras match or even exceed rival DSLRs. Sony’s full-frame A7-series is a good example, with the Sony Alpha 7R III being the latest offering.
Mirrorless vs DSLR. The Sony A7R III (left) alongside the Nikon D850 (right)
Within the CSC category, there’s a number of different types of sensor used, each giving quite a different experience. 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 Fujifilm and Sony. Of course, Sony has now gone even further, adopting full-frame sensors in the top-end A7-series. These provide the best image quality among CSCs, rivalling pro DSLRs.
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DSLRs remain the professional’s choice. While CSCs compete well in the consumer market, professionals who need top-quality lenses, a reliable performance and excellent build quality still mainly use DSLRs.
DSLRs are still the no.1 choice for many photographers
This is particularly true for full-frame cameras, where Nikon and Canon both offer some outstanding options. One of the most impressive DSLRs released in recent times is the mighty Nikon D850, a DSLR that scooped Best Camera at the Trusted Reviews Awards last year. There are some good entry-level DSLRs as well, though, so there’s plenty of choice and a huge number of lenses to invest in.
In this roundup you’ll find all the best DSLR’s, mirrorless and compact cameras grouped together with links to each camera’s in-depth review.
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Best mid-range APS-C DSLR camera
- 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- Pentax K-mount
- 6fps continuous shooting
- Review price: £579 (body only)
Pentax have made some excellent cameras in the mid-point APS-C segment of the DSLR market over the years and the Pentax K-70 is no exception. It offers an awful lot of camera for your money and throws in lots of desirable features from in-body image stabilisation that works with every lens you can mount, through twin control dials and extensive customisation options, to the large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage.
Another interesting feature is the K-70’s Pixel Shift Resolution mode, which combines four exposures, made by moving the sensor by precisely one pixel between each. Ultimately, this promises improved image quality and works rather well when it’s used to capture static subjects such as still life or architecture. The K-70 doesn’t have a touchscreen, but is equipped with Wi-Fi, allowing remote control of the camera from a smartphone or tablet with a decent level of control.
Pair it up with one of the wide range of WR-designated Pentax lenses and the camera is dust and splash proof – something that you don’t often get on a camera at this price. The large grip gives plenty of space for controls, and the K-70 makes use of it by including twin electronic control dials front and rear, in contrast to most other cameras at this price point which usually only have one.
The K-70 is a camera that presents great value and a comprehensive set of features in a relatively compact body that should be easily comprehended by beginners. Equally, it is a camera that will keep budding photographers happy as their experience grows. It’s hard to find a better DSLR for the price and is well worth a closer look.
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Best enthusiast APS-C DSLR camera
- 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- 45-point autofocus system with Dual Pixel AF technology
- Full HD (1920×1080) video at 60,50,30,25,24fps
- Review price: £999 (body only)
There are some excellent APS-C DSLRs out there for more experienced photographers, however there are few that trump the splendid Canon EOS 80D. Although it’s not Canon’s most advanced APS-C DSLR – a title that goes to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II – it blends a comprehensive specification with a body-only price that falls under £1000.
The AF system isn’t too dissimilar from the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, and out of the 45 AF points on offer, 27 remain active when using a teleconverter and lens combination with a maximum aperture of f/8. The pairing of sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor provides an ISO range of 100-16,000 (expandable to ISO 25,600) and there’s the option to rattle off a continuous burst to shoot sport and action sequences at up to 7fps. The optical viewfinder displays 100% of the frame too so what you see is exactly what you get.
Its vari-angle 3in, 1.04-million-dot touch-sensitive display makes shooting from the hip or awkward angles a breeze and its overall performance is highly commendable. Just under 1000 shots are possible from a single charge of its battery and it shoots 25 raw files continuously at 7fps before its buffer requires a breather, which isn’t to be sniffed at.
It’s a solidly constructed DSLR that’ll serve users well for a long period of time. The beauty of buying into the Canon system is having such a huge selection of EF-S and EF lenses to choose from and unless you need the extra speed, 65-point autofocus system and dual card slots that the EOS 7D Mark II provides, the EOS 80D will be more than adequate for most savvy enthusiasts who like to take their photography seriously.
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Best advanced enthusiast APS-C DSLR camera
- 20.9MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- 4K Video
- Pro features
- Review price: £1729 (body only)
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.
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Best entry-level mirrorless camera
- Ultra-compact body
- 4K video
- Selfie-friendly 180-degree flip screen
- Review price: £499 with 12-32mm kit lens
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.
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Best mid-range mirrorless camera
- 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-25,600
- Wi-fi with NFC connectivity
- Review price: £519 with 16-50mm kit lens
Although the Sony A6000 has been superseded by the Sony A6300 and A6500, it remains an excellent mirrorless camera. The beauty of choosing a camera that’s not brand new is that you can pick up a bargain and at just over £500 with the Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens it represents very good value for money.
It retains the distinctive NEX shape of older Sony mirrorless cameras and comes with a strong set of features and impressive processing power for those looking for a more advanced mirrorless camera than a basic entry-level model. The Bionz-X processor allows 24.3MP full resolution files to be taken at up to 11fps for as many as 49 frames set to JPEG, making it a great tool for sports and action.
The hybrid autofocus system is comprised of 25 contrast-detection AF points and 179 phase-detection AF points that cover almost 100% of the frame. It locks onto subjects and tracks them with a terrier-like tenacity. At the rear you’re presented with a 3in, 921k-dot tilting screen, above which you’ll find a 0.39in, 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder to aid composition and viewing of images in playback mode.
Although no spring chicken, the Sony A6000 is an impressive mirrorless camera that has paved the way for future models in the A6000 series. It offers a very compelling combination of compact form factor, very impressive performance and is available at a competitive price. It’ll satisfy beginners wanting to learn as well as those who’d like more advanced manual control with the option of being able to interchange lenses via its E-mount.
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Best enthusiast mirrorless camera
- 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
- 325-point or 91-point hybrid AF
- 3in, 1.04-million-dot touch screen
- Review price: £799 (body only)
If you like the look of the X-T2 but can’t stomach the price, the Fujifilm X-T20 is an excellent substitute. The idea of the X-T20 is that it uses a subset of the X-T2’s features and packages it in a smaller, lighter body. At its heart it has a very capable 24.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor that provides a sensitivity range of 200-12,800 (expandable to ISO 100-51,200).
The X-T20’s autofocus system is bang up to date and works exceptionally well. The number of focusing points has been increased from 49 in the X-T10 to 91 points – expandable to 325 – with the central area of 49 points using phase-detection AF pixels. One thing you don’t get on the X-T20 is an intuitive AF toggle to shift the AF point around with your thumb – something you do get on the senior X-T2.
The continuous shooting speed is rated at 8fps, however if you switch from the mechanical shutter to the electronic shutter it’s possible to rattle out a faster burst at a rapid 14fps. Whereas the mechanical focal plane shutter has a 1/4000sec limit, the electronic shutter allows you to shoot up to 1/32,000sec – ideal for shooting with fast lenses at wide aperture settings in bright conditions.
At the rear you get a touchscreen. When activated you can control the position of the focus point or fire the shutter in shooting mode, while in playback mode you can use finger gestures like you would on a smartphone or tablet to scroll through shots and magnify images.
The X-T20 is an extremely satisfying camera to use and pairs up beautifully with Fujifilm’s small f/2 prime lenses. It not only looks great, it manages to excel in all the key areas a great camera should and is one of the finest examples of a mirrorless camera for any keen enthusiast photographer.
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Best advanced mirrorless camera
- 20MP Four Thirds sensor
- Up to 60fps shooting
- 4K Video
- Review price: £899 (body only)
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.
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Best high-end mirrorless camera
- 24.3MP X-Trans APS-C CMOS III sensor
- High frame rates
- 4K Video
- Review price: £1399 (body only)
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.
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Best waterproof compact camera
- 12MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor
- 4x optical zoom (25-100mm equivalent), f/2-4.9
- 4K Video
- Review price: £399
The Olympus Tough TG-5 is the standout model in the tough compact camera segment of the market and was the winner of our waterproof compact group test. Unlike many tough compacts that only shoot in the JPEG format, the TG-5’s unique selling point is its ability to shoot in RAW format, giving users unprecedented control when it comes to editing images at the post-processing stage.
Its 12MP BSI CMOS sensor teams up with a TruePic VIII processor to provide a wide sensitivity range (ISO 100-12,800), while the 4x optical zoom is equivalent to 25-100mm and boasts a variable f/2-4.9 aperture.
The TG-5 is built to survive a drop from 2.1m, is crushproof to a weight of 100kg, freezeproof down to -10°C and waterproof to a depth of 15m. Olympus also makes a underwater housing (£279) that enables deep sea divers to take it up to 45m below the surface of the water. As well as offering Wi-Fi and GPS, it’s fitted out with a compass, manometer and temperature sensor for those who want more detailed information than just the EXIF data.
Autofocus speed is another area where the TG-5 stands out from its competition. It’s quick to focus both above and below water and its auto white balance does a commendable job of ensuring colour is vibrant when shooting underwater scenes.
It’s not the cheapest underwater compact you can buy, but as the old saying goes you do get what you pay for. If you’re venturing away on a trip of a lifetime and want an indestructible camera to record great memories and high-definition videos, the Olympus Tough TG-5 should be high on your wish list. Best of all it’s a camera you can hand over to the kids to have fun with on holiday and won’t have any fear of it getting damaged.
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Best fixed focal length compact camera
- 24.2MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
- Fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent)
- Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder
- Review price: £1249
The Fujifilm X100F follows on from the X100, X100S and X100T. It’s the latest fixed lens compact in the Fujifilm X-series and boasts a retro rangefinder-style design that pairs up nicely with an APS-C sensor and clever hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder.
As with the previous updates, the F (for ‘fourth’) remains very close in spirit to the original design, with the same 35mm equivalent f/2 lens and analogue dial-led operation. The big change is found behind the lens where the 24.2MP APS-C sensor and X-Processor Pro provide a superior image quality and autofocus performance. Users get a sensitivity range spanning ISO 100-12,800 with extended settings up to ISO 51,200.
For shooting fast moving subjects, the X100F offers pacy continuous shooting at 8fps with a 25-frame raw buffer. Like the Fujifilm X-T20 that also features in this roundup, the X100F benefits from a fully electronic shutter, allowing the shutter speed to be extended to 1/32,000sec, regardless of the aperture selected.
If you like the look of the X100F but feel its fixed lens is a bit limiting, there are a couple of optional lens converters you can buy – the TCL-X100 II and WCL-X100 II – which give 50mm and 28mm-equivalent views respectively. Elsewhere, there’s built-in Wi-fi, Fujifilm’s proprietary film-simulation colour modes that draw upon the firm’s analogue heritage as well as Full HD video.
Touchscreen control hasn’t made its way onto the X100F, meaning users are reliant on the thumb-toggle to shift the autofocus point around the frame. The dials on the top plate are a pleasure to use. They notch positively as they’re turned – the same of which can be said for the aperture ring on the lens. As for the quick menu, this makes all the difference when you need to adjust frequently used settings on the fly.
With the X100F, Fujifilm has produced a camera that’s as lovely to use as it is to look at. Users of the X100S and original X100 will find it a huge upgrade, while X100T owners should appreciate the new sensor and improved controls. Like its predecessors it’s one of the most desirable fixed lens compact cameras on the market.