Best Camera 2015: 16 best cameras you can buy
Whether you're looking for the best DSLR, best compact system camera or even the best compact camera, our best camera round-up has a camera for you.
Our list of the best cameras in 2015 is split into broad categories to make it easier for you to narrow down your choice, but each one includes cameras of different sizes and price.
The Fujifilm is a great option if you want a cheaper way into the excellent Fujifilm camera system – it's half the price of Fujifilm's top-of-the-range camera, but has the same sensor and takes great shots. The Canon 5DS R is a specialist pro camera – it has a 50.6-megapixel, full-frame sensor that captures incredible detail.
We've removed the Panasonic Lumix GX7 because it's soon to be replaced by the new Lumix GX8. We haven't reviewed the GX8 yet, but it already looks like a camera that could join our round-up in future.
Click here to start viewing the list, or scroll down further for more advice on what kind of camera is right for you and the best cameras in each category.
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.
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 a 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 similar sized to compact cameras, producing photos similar in quality.Panasonic TZ70 – Who's it for? Anyone who wants a decent casual point and shoot with a long zoom. The TZ70 has a huge zoom and a handy electronic viewfinder.
Sony RX100 III – Who's it for? Enthusiast photographers who want top-notch image quality and an electronic viewfinder – it's very good in low light.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 – Who's it for? Enthusiasts who want a compact with good manual controls – it's similar to the RX100 but has more direct controls.
Fujifilm X100T – Who's it for? Professional street photographers and rangefinder lovers – a niche camera but a hugely impressive one with a clever hybrid viewfinder.
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 – Who's it for? Casual photographers that want the flexibility of a very large zoom, but don't need a pocketable camera.
Best Compact System / Micro Four Thirds Cameras
Bridging the gap between compact cameras and DSLRs are 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-series is a good example.
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. 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 range. These provide the best image quality among CSCs, rivalling top-end DSLRs.Sony Alpha A6000 – Who's it for? Beginners and enthusiasts who don't mind spending a little more. It's more advanced than the A5000 and performs well in low light.Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II – Who's it for? Mirrorless fans who value great handling and built-in stabilisation – it's one of the best micro four thirds cameras around.
Fujifilm X-T1 – Who's it for? Serious photographers who want an APS-C sensor and great image quality. The X-T1 takes stunning photos and Fujifilm has a great lens line-up.
Fujifilm X-T10 – Who's it for? It's the cheaper alternative to the X-T1 – it's smaller and about half the price, but still very good indeed.
Samsung NX1 – Who's it for? Action photographers who want high-speed performance with less bulk – it has 15fps continuous shooting mode and is weather sealed.
Sony Alpha A7 II – Who's it for? Photographers who want a full-frame camera in a compact body. The A7 II is also very good for video.
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.
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.Canon EOS 100D – Who's it for? First-time DSLR owners who want good performance at a low price
Nikon D750 – Who's it for? Serious photographers who want to switch to full-frame photography – it's arguably the full-frame camera to have right now.
Sony Alpha A77 II – Who's it for? Action photographers who can't afford top pro gear. It's very fast and has outstanding auto focus and tracking.
Canon 5DS R – Who's it for? Stills only photo professionals who need maximum detail – it has an astonishing full-frame 50.6-megapixel sensor.
Nikon D4S – Who's it for? Serious professional photographers and posers. It's a monster of a camera that only real pros should consider.