Best Camera 2018: 18 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.

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.

Best DSLRs

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.

Nikon D850

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.

Pentax K-70

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Best mid-range APS-C DSLR camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Pentax K-70 review

Canon EOS 200D

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Score

Best entry-level APS-C DSLR camera

Key features:

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • Review price: £579 (body only)

The EOS 200D is aimed at those looking to purchase their first DSLR as well as people who’d like to learn more about photography and develop their skills beyond the limitations of a camera phone or basic compact camera. It’s designed to be as small and lightweight as possible, making it a convenient camera to carry on the go.

It sits above the Canon EOS 1300D in the company’s APS-C lineup and inherits a good number of features from more advanced Canon DSLRs such as Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for fast Live View focusing, a superb vari-angle touch screen that’s incredibly responsive and Wi-fi connectivity for quick and easy image transfer between camera and mobile devices.

Users are presented with an ISO range of 100-25,600, which can be expanded to a maximum of ISO 51,200. It has a basic layout of nine AF points with good options for any newcomer to photography in the shape of a Scene Intelligent Auto mode, a selection of Creative Filters, as well as 11 scene modes.

The camera accepts Canon EF-S lenses, but is also compatible with Canon’s large range of EF-mount optics and many third-party lenses from other lens manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina. Fast learners are likely to outgrow the 18-55mm kit lens quickly. Those who’d like more reach to zoom into distant subjects may prefer to buy it with the more versatile Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

Read the full Canon EOS 200D review

Canon EOS 80D

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Score

Best enthusiast APS-C DSLR camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Canon EOS 80D review

Nikon D500

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Score

Best advanced enthusiast APS-C DSLR camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Nikon D500 review

Score

Best enthusiast full-frame DSLR camera

Key Features:

  • 26.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-40,000
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) video & 4K time-lapse movie
  • Review price: £1,999 (body only)

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II occupies the space between the company’s flagship APS-C DSLR, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. With a good saving to be made choosing the EOS 6D Mark II ahead of the EOS 5D Mark IV, it’s makes the jump to full-frame more appealing for those who like to take photography seriously.

The EOS 6D Mark II employs a 26.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS chip that hasn’t been seen before in an EOS model. It shoots across a broad ISO 100-40,000 range (expandable to ISO 50-102,400) and can rattle off a burst at up of 6.5fps thanks to Canon’s powerful DIGIC 7 image processor. Speed benefits are also gained in live view thanks to the integration of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II has a revised AF system that’s considerably more advanced than the 11-point AF system with one cross-type point on the original EOS 6D. This latest model inherits the 45-point all-cross-type AF system from the Canon EOS 80D. 

Compared to the original EOS 6D, its dimensions are a fraction smaller. The reduction in size brings disappointing news to existing EOS 6D customers in that the older BG-E13 battery grip is no longer compatible. It’s not weather sealed like the EOS 5D Mark IV either.

As a versatile all-rounder, it puts in a respectable performance. Its snappy AF speed in Live View, sensational vari-angle touchscreen and wireless connectivity options are likely to gain interest from older EOS 5D-series users who fancy an up-to-date body, or perhaps a backup body, in a smaller form factor. When size and weight are critical– when you’re travelling, for example the EOS 6D Mark II really comes into its own.

It’s a shame it doesn’t include dual card slots, 4K video and dedicated exposure compensation button, but if you can live without these and you feel you could benefit from shedding a few extra grams off your shoulder, it’s an enthusiast full frame camera that makes a strong case for itself.

 

Read the full Canon EOS 6D Mark II review

Nikon D850

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Score

Best professional full-frame DSLR camera

Key features:

  • 45.7MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64-25,600 (expandable to ISO 32-102,400)
  • 7fps continuous shooting (up to 9fps with battery grip)
  • Review price: £3499 (body only)

The D850 is a high-end full-frame DSLR designed for professional photographers that combines high-resolution, speedy performance and impressive low-light performance in a robust, weather-sealed body.

The D850 succeeds the 36.3MP D810 that came out in 2014, bringing numerous improvements to what was already an excellent DSLR in it own right. In terms of hardware the highlight is the 45.7MP sensor, which brings the D850 into line with direct competitors such as the Canon 5DS (50.6MP) and Sony A7R II (42MP). For those who either don’t require the D850’s full 45.7MP for a particular shot or just want to save memory card space, there’s also the option to shoot at either 25.6MP or 11.4MP.

The D850’s new high-resolution sensor is paired with a powerful EXPEED 5 processor, as used by both the D500 and flagship D5 models. This combination gives the D850 plenty of processing power, and ensures noise is kept to a minimum when using higher sensitivity settings. Continuous shooting maxes out at 7fps, although connecting the D850’s optional MB-D18 battery grip (£369) and EN-EL18b (£179) battery increases this to 9fps.

The D850’s 153-point Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system has also been lifted directly from the D500 and D5. It’s a proven AF module that’s both fast and accurate thanks in part to the inclusion of 99 cross-type AF points. The central AF point is also sensitive down to -4EV, which should ensure accurate focus even when light is in short supply. Elsewhere, the D850 also becomes the first Nikon DSLR to support 4K video capture at up to 30fps, with separate microphone and headphone inputs located on the side of the camera.

Construction is – as you’d expect of a £3500 pro-spec DSLR – pretty much bombproof, with the D850 securely housed inside a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. Buttons and controls are plentiful, as are customisation options. The back of the camera is fitted with a 3.2-inch, 2.36m-dot tiltable touchscreen, and above this the 100% viewfinder is described by Nikon as the largest the company has ever made.

At time of review the Nikon D850 is available for £3499, or £3799 with the MB-D18 battery grip.

Read the full Nikon D850 review

Score

Best entry-level mirrorless camera

Key Features:

  • 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.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix GX800 review

Sony A6000

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Score

Best mid-range mirrorless camera

Key Features:

  • 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.

Read the full Sony A6000 review

Fujifilm X-T20

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Best enthusiast mirrorless camera

Key Features:

  • 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.

 

Read the full Fujifilm X-T20 review

Score

Best advanced mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 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.

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

Score

Best advanced mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Up to 60fps shooting
  • 4K Video
  • Review price: £1499 (body only)

The G9 sits beside Panasonic’s premium GH5 and GH5S models in the Lumix G lineup. Whereas the GH series has always set about appealing to videographers, the G9 is out to fulfil the demands of serious stills-focused photographers. It does this with an impressive specification, however it’s the blistering speeds that it’s capable of that really sets it apart from many other mirrorless cameras.

Shooting continuously in its AF-S mode, the G9 can rattle out a burst at 12fps for as many as 60 frames in RAW, or at 60fps for 50 frames in RAW by activating the camera’s electronic shutter. Switching the camera over to its continuous AF mode (AF-C) sees the burst speed drop, but to a highly respectable 9fps using the mechanical shutter or 20fps using the electronic shutter.

The G9’s new 5-axis Dual I.S II image stabiliser, which offers 6.5 stops of compensation to counteract camera shake when shooting stills or movies, also has dual-purpose. It allows the camera to offer a new 80-megapixel high-resolution mode whereby the sensor is shifted precisely between eight shots to create a single image with much finer detail. It’s wonderfully executed and is easy to use.

There’s so much more to like about the camera. It  has a top-plate LCD like you get on most DSLRs, a superb 3680k-dot resolution electronic viewfinder with 0.83x magnification, and a sensitive 3-inch, 1040k-dot vari-angle touchscreen. It combines all of the above with a spritely autofocus system, relying once again on a formula of contrast detection and Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology.

It may lack a really high-end feel, but it’s an incredibly versatile mirrorless camera that’s very capable of delivering satisfying results in the hands of those who love photography. There’s great value to be had from buying Panasonic’s best stills camera to date.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix G9 review

Fujifilm X-T2

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Score

Best high-end mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Fujifilm X-T2 review

Sony A7R III

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Score

Best professional full-frame mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 42.4MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-32,000, (expandable to ISO 50-102,400)
  • Hybrid AF with 399 phase-detection points
  • Review price: £3200 (body only)

The Sony A7R III is an extraordinary mirrorless camera that combines high resolution (42.4MP) with high speed (10fps continuous shooting) and sensational high-ISO performance. It follows on from the much-loved Sony A7R II, with a compact, SLR-styled body and central electronic viewfinder, whilst inheriting many of the best features from the company’s speed demon, the Sony A9.

The A7R III’s main rival in the market is the Nikon D850, which is similarly priced (£3500) and also aimed at serious photographers who desire the perfect blend of resolution, speed and performance. Autofocus on the A7R III uses a hybrid system covering most of the image area, with 399 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points.

As well as including 5-axis in-body image stabilisation that works with practically any lens, the A7R III uses the same uprated NP-FZ100 battery as the A9, offering over twice the capacity of the old NP-FW50. It also gains twin SD card slots, one of which is of the faster UHS-II type. The only things you don’t get that you might expect for the price are in-camera RAW conversion or a built-in intervalometer.

The body of the A7R III feels every bit as solid as Canon and Nikon’s full-frame DSLRs. The really good news is that it offers an AF-on button and AF-area selection joystick, along with a much better-positioned movie button and a larger, easier-to-use rear dial than the older model.

The 3inch screen isn’t fully articulated like other high-end mirrorless cameras, but the resolution has been upgraded to 1.44-million dots, with Whitemagic technology for improved brightness. Above it you get a large, high-resolution 3.69-million-dot EVF, which provides a bright, detailed view that’s as large as any full-frame DSLR’s.

The A7R III is much more than just a basic update of its predecessor and offers substantially faster autofocus and continuous shooting. It has a number of benefits over the Nikon D850 too, including a truly accurate viewfinder preview, a more reliable and accurate autofocus system and a considerably smaller body, along with much better 4K video capability.

As an all-rounder goes, the A7R III is about as versatile as a professional mirrorless camera gets and could be used in virtually any situation to get top-notch results. Overall, it’s a sublime camera and would be one of the best choices when making the move from DSLR to mirrorless.

Read the full Sony A7R III review

Best waterproof compact camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Olympus Tough TG-5 review

Fujifilm X100F

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Best fixed focal length compact camera

Key features:

  • 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.

Read the full Fujifilm X100F review

Sony RX10 IV

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Score

Best bridge compact camera

Key features:

  • 25x optical zoom (24-600mm f/2.4-4)
  • 20.1MP 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor with DRAM chip
  • 4K movie recording with full pixel readout
  • Review price: £1800

In the past, all-in-one bridge cameras have provided a means of getting a long zoom range in relatively compact and affordable package. That all changed with Sony’s launch of the original RX10 in 2013. Now, with the RX10 IV, Sony has completely revised the internals, adding the stacked-CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor previously seen in its RX100 V pocket camera.

The RX10 IV’s 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS sensor uses a stacked architecture, with on-chip memory and image processing enabling high readout speeds. This allows a silent high-speed electronic shutter that practically eliminates subject distortion from rolling shutter artefacts, while offering speeds as high as 1/32,000sec, which is faster than the 1/2000sec top speed of the mechanical shutter.

Sony’s latest Bionz X processor provides the horsepower for the headline 24fps shooting mode, with a spectacular buffer of 110 RAW files, or 249 JPEGs. The sensitivity range runs from ISO 100-12,800, with extended ISO 64 and 80 options also available. Crucially, the sensor gains on-chip phase detection for autofocus too, with 315 focus points covering 65% of the image area.

Quite a few common features are missing, however. These include in-camera RAW conversion, an intervalometer, time-lapse movie creation, or even multiple aspect ratios for stills shooting – you just get a choice of 3:2 or 16:9. Unlike some other models, the RX10 IV isn’t compatible with Sony’s add-on apps, so you can’t install additional features either.

Its huge zoom range will cover almost any subject, from sweeping landscapes to sports and wildlife, while its remarkable autofocus and continuous shooting abilities make it a far better choice for photographing moving subjects than any previous bridge camera.

If you’ve always liked the idea of an all-in-one camera that will let you shoot practically any subject well, you best start saving, because the RX10 IV is the best of this type yet.

Read the full Sony RX10 IV review

Score

Best travel compact camera

Key features:

  • 1-inch 20.1MP Live MOS sensor
  • 10x optical zoom (25-250mm equivalent)
  • 3-inch/1.04m-dots touchscreen LCD
  • Review price: £530

The Lumix TZ100 is one of Panasonic’s most popular pocket compacts. It makes a perfect companion for city breaks or trips away when you’re restricted to what you can take and don’t fancy lugging a heavy camera around. It’s built around a 1-inch 20.1MP sensor that works in tandem with the company’s Venus Engine image processor.

This powerful combination provides a sensitivity range of ISO 125-12,800 that can be expanded between ISO 80 and ISO 25,600. Those who like to record the occasional movie will be pleased to hear that 4K video capture is supported too in addition to a range of 1080p Full HD and 720p HD options.

As well as offering point-and-shoot modes for less savvy photographers, the Lumix TZ100 provides the full suite of PASM manual shooting modes. The camera presents the option to shoot in the Raw format as well as JPEG and other notable features include Panasonic’s 4K Photo Mode and a Post Focus mode that allows you to select the point of focus after taking a shot.

To compose an image you can either use the fairly small 1.16m-dot EVF or fixed 3-inch/1.04m-dot LCD that provides touchscreen control. Optically, the TZ100 is equipped with a Leica Vario-Elmarit zoom lens that provides the 35mm equivalent of 25-250mm. This provides a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture at 25mm, but does drop off rather quickly thereafter, falling to f/4.1 by 50mm and f/5.9 by around 150mm.

Panasonic’s O.I.S image stabilisation technology is also present and does a very good job of keeping images sharp at slower shutter speeds and extended focal lengths. Image quality from the 1-inch sensor is generally very good, but it’s recommended to use it at lower sensitivities for the best results. The Lumix TZ100 is a well thought through compact that’s more versatile than any smartphone and makes for an ideal holiday companion.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ100 review

Score

Best premium compact camera

Key features:

  • 1-inch 20.1MP CMOS sensor
  • 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • 8fps continuous shooting
  • Review price: £549

Ever since Sony launched the original RX100 in 2012, there has been an influx of excellent premium compact cameras entering the market with 1-inch size sensors. One example is the PowerShot G7 X II, which sits in Canon’s large sensor compact lineup above the PowerShot G9 X Mark II. It’s aimed at those who’d like full manual control and a strong image quality from a compact that can be tucked away in a jacket pocket when not in use.

For your money you get an impressive spec. The camera is built around a 1-inch back-illuminated sensor that provides a 20.1MP resolution and an ISO range of 125-12,800. The DIGIC 7 processor is responsible for increasing burst shooting speed from 6.5fps to 8fps, with autofocus set at the first frame. Those capturing JPEGs can capture up to 30 frames at 8fps.

Built-in five-axis image stabilisation is present to counteract camera shake, but in contrast to some of its peers, the G7 X Mark II doesn’t support 4K video recording – instead, it opts for full HD shooting at a choice of frame rates from 24fps to 50fps (or 60fps in NTSC).

The rear screen is a 3in panel with 1.04 million dots. It’s hinged at the top for 180 degree rotation, which will be welcomed by those who like to take the occasional selfie and features an additional hinge at its base so that it can be tilted downwards by 45 degrees. Touch controls are a tad on the small side, but it makes up for this by being responsive to light touches and allowing the focus point to be repositioned by touch in an instant.

Its reliable image quality, sound focusing performance, usefully tilting and responsive LCD, and decent level of customisation are good reasons to choose the PowerShot G7 X II. What’s more, it fits the hand nicely and is contructed to a very high standard.

Those who’d like a viewfinder or hotshoe to attach more powerful strobes than the small pop-up flash it provides are recommended to look at the Canon PowerShot G5 X II instead. Overall, the Canon PowerShot G7 X II is very pleasing premium compact to use and dependable in a variety of situations.

Read the full Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II review