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Best camera for photography: All the top cameras we’ve tested

If you’ve considered buying a new camera, you’ll know that choosing one isn’t the easiest feat. There are a number of factors to consider, including the type of camera you want, specs, image quality and, of course, price. We’ve put together this guide to help you find the best camera to fit your needs. 

Cameras come in many forms. From DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to instant cameras and video-savvy vlogging options, we’ve covered them all in this best list. We’ve even identified the best picks for beginners and those on a budget so you won’t have to spend thousands of pounds to get a great camera. 

Every camera on this list has been rigorously tested and reviewed. We look at important factors, including the picture and video quality, battery life, durability, software and lenses to thoroughly examine what each camera has to offer. We also look at what features each camera packs, from fast and accurate autofocus to snappy burst modes and in-body stabilisation to help you find the perfect camera for your kit. 

Scroll down to read more about the best cameras we’ve tested, including the pros and cons of each model and links to our in-depth reviews complete with image samples to give you an idea of what they’re capable of.

If you’ve already narrowed your choice to a specific camera type, make sure to visit our other best lists for the top-performing cameras in each corner of the market. These include the best DSLRs, best mirrorless cameras, best compact cameras, best vlogging cameras, best action cameras and best instant cameras.

Best cameras at a glance 

How we test

Learn more about how we test cameras

We test every camera we review thoroughly. We use set tests to compare features properly and we use it as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Nikon Z9

Best mirrorless camera
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Pros

  • Robust and versatile design
  • 120fps shooting
  • 8K video recording

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large and heavy body
  • Additional cost of CFexpress or XQD card

If you’re in need of an incredibly versatile mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z9 won’t disappoint. The Z9 is particularly skilled when it comes to high-speed photography, with a burst mode capable of capturing sports and wildlife with full autofocus capabilities. 

As with many mirrorless cameras, the Z9 is smaller and more lightweight than its DSLR equivalent, the Nikon D6. That said, it certainly isn’t the most travel-friendly choice at 1340g and with its chunky square body. 

However, the weather-sealed design is durable and the two grips and shutter release buttons make snapping portraits as comfortable and intuitive as capturing landscape shots. Other design features include a bright, 3000-nit electronic viewfinder with a speedy 120fps refresh rate and a 4-axis monitor with a 170-degree viewing angle for capturing shots at tricky angles. 

The Z9 takes advantage of a 45-megapixel full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, a 493-point autofocus system with 10 AF-area modes and detection for nine subject types. There’s also 8K/60p and 4K/120p video support. 

The Z9 certainly isn’t the cheapest camera on this list and the CFexpress and XQD memory cards needed are also quite pricey, but if you’re looking for a large and capable mirrorless camera, you’ll struggle to find better than the Nikon Z9. 

Reviewer: Hannah Davies

Full review: Nikon Z9

Nikon D850

Best DSLR
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Pros

  • 45.7-megapixel sensor captures exceptionally fine detail
  • Fast viewfinder autofocus with silent shooting option in Live View
  • Rear thumb-operated sub-selector for fast AF point positioning
  • Extremely good 1840-shot battery life

Cons

  • No phase detection AF in Live View
  • Touchscreen operation doesn’t include key exposure settings
  • Wireless SnapBridge connectivity needs improvement

If you’re looking for a full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D850 is the best we’ve reviewed in recent years, earning an impressive 4.5/5 stars from our reviewer. 

The camera features a weather-sealed magnesium alloy design for durability with physical buttons and a good amount of customisation options. There’s a large 100% viewfinder at the top and a 3.2-inch, 2.36m-dot touchscreen monitor that can be tilted to shoot at different angles. 

Like the Z9, the camera packs a 45.7-megapixel sensor that puts the D850 in the same category as the 50.6-megapixel Canon 5DS and the 42-megapixel Sony A7R II which were released around the same time. There’s also the EXPEED 5 processor on board, which you can find in the Nikon D500 and the D5. 

The camera takes advantage of a fast and accurate 153-point Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system, 7fps continuous shooting (9fps if you pay extra for the attachable battery grip), and support for 4K video capture at 30fps. 

Reviewer: Michael Topham

Full review: Nikon D850

Fujifilm X-T4

Best under £2000
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Pros

  • 4K/60p 10-bit internal recording
  • Intuitive handling
  • Impressive battery life
  • Stunning pictures

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with external charger

The Fujifilm X-T4 is a fantastic mirrorless camera and one of the best-looking cameras we’ve reviewed. It’s also under half the price of the Nikon Z9. 

The camera has a durable, weather-resistant magnesium alloy body wrapped in a timeless retro appearance. There’s a 100% 3.69m-dot OLED viewfinder and a 3-inch LCD touchscreen that flips out so you can snap photos from a variety of angles, as well as plenty of dials and switches to give you control of the camera without making the rear of the camera feel overcrowded. 

The X-T4 packs a number of upgrades over the X-T3, including new in-body image stabilisation and improved autofocus and battery performance. We were particularly impressed with its face and eye detection skills, as well as the camera’s 15fps burst mode. 

As far as video goes, the X-T4 is capable of shooting DCI 4K/60p at 200mbps with 10bit 4:2:0 colour internally and Full HD at 240fps for up to 10x slow motion. There’s also support for F-Log and HLG picture profiles. 

Connectivity is a bit limited, with no dedicated headphone input or external battery charger, but you do have the option to plug an adapter into the USB-C port for audio so this shouldn’t be a significant barrier for videographers. 

Reviewer: Jon Devo

Full review: Fujifilm X-T4

Nikon D3500

Best for beginners
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Pros

  • Good quality kit lens
  • Very good image quality
  • Fast and silent autofocus
  • Unexpectedly snappy live view
  • Great for keen learners
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Fixed rear screen
  • Video is HD rather than 4K
  • Chunky compared to a mirrorless camera

The Nikon D3500 is an affordable choice for anyone searching for a fantastic DSLR for beginners. It’s also significantly smaller than many DSLRs you’ll find on the market (though still a bit bigger than most mirrorless alternatives). 

The camera is limited to a fixed 921K-dot display, but the body takes advantage of the additional grip and balance you’ll find with a DSLR, as well as the extended 1550-shot battery life. The 18-55mm AF-P kit lens is also ideal for first-timers offering consistently sharp results across its focal range. 

The D3500 is powered by a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and packs a good number of features you might expect to get with a more professional DSLR, including the full set of program AE, aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes. 

The 100-25,600 ISO range allows for decent low-light performance for its price and the 5fps burst mode is more than fast enough to capture kids and pets in motion. 

Video is limited to HD rather than 4K, but stills are very good. We found the camera capable of capturing realistic colours in both indoor and outdoor settings. 

If you’d rather opt for a Canon model, the Canon 250D is also a great cheap option for beginners. 

Reviewer: Rod Lawton

Full review: Nikon D3500

Panasonic Lumix GH6

Best for video quality
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Pros

  • Massive range of video modes
  • Superb video image quality
  • No-limit recording times
  • Effective image stabilisation
  • Easy handling

Cons

  • Occasional autofocus quirks
  • Some features unavailable at launch

If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera with impressive video capabilities, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 is a fantastic video-first option. 

The GH6 is capable of capturing 5.7K video at up to 60fps with support for Apple ProRes 422 HQ, dedicated headphone and microphone ports and full-size HDMI for external monitoring. There’s also support for CFexpress Type B memory cards. 

We found the in-body image stabilisation with up to 7.5 stops of motion compensation ensured we captured stable video, though the autofocus did encounter issues tracking moving objects. 

For stills, there’s a high-resolution photo mode that merges bursts together to capture 100-megapixel images, but don’t mistake this for a photography-first camera. While the GH6 can snap some great images, you’d be better off looking elsewhere if your priority isn’t high-quality video. 

As far as improvements over the previous models go, the GH6 packs the same design as the other models in its GH series with the addition of a new cooling system and a double-hinged touchscreen for more flexible shooting. 

Reviewer: Sam Kieldsen

Full review: Panasonic Lumix GH6

Sony ZV-E10

Best for vloggers
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Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Good video quality and options
  • Fast, accurate autofocu
  • Beginner-friendly features

Cons

  • No viewfinder
  • Big crop with electronic image stabilisation
  • Limited touchscreen functionality

While the GH6 offers some of the highest quality video, the Sony ZV-E10 is the best when it comes to vlogging features. It’s also beginner-friendly and affordable, making it an ideal choice if you’re looking to move beyond your smartphone’s recording capabilities. 

The ZV-E10 is one of the smallest and most lightweight mirrorless cameras we’ve reviewed at just 343g. To put that into perspective with the other cameras in this list, that’s almost a quarter of the weight of the Nikon Z9. 

There’s no electronic viewfinder, with the camera instead relying on a bright, 3-inch flip-out touchscreen, but there are plenty of vlogger and influencer features onboard. The list includes image stabilisation, real-time autofocus tracking for the eyes and face and the flexibility of Sony’s E-mount lens system. For those less concerned about swapping out the lenses, the ZV-1 is similarly great and slightly cheaper. 

The ZV-E10 delivers rich and clean 4K video at up to 30fps or 1080p at 60fps and there are Sony’s Slow and Quick modes for features like slow motion capture. The camera is also capable of snapping some sharp 24.2-megapixel stills. 

One of the more unique vlogging features here is Sony’s Product Showcase mode, which is sure to come in handy for reviewers and influencers in particular who find themselves holding objects up to the camera. Though we found it could be a little fussy at times, the feature nevertheless offered a good improvement over the standard face detection-based mode when used in these situations. 

Reviewer: Sam Kieldsen

Full review: Sony ZV-E10

Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

Best instant camera
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Pros

  • It looks fantastic
  • Plenty of effects to add an extra flair to shots
  • Easy to use
  • Digital smarts save on wasted shots

Cons

  • Screen is difficult to see in bright conditions
  • Some odd quirks with the UI and app
  • Slow to charge

If you’re interested in a more spontaneous way to capture photos, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo is the best instant camera we’ve tried and tested. 

This hybrid instant camera has a lightweight plastic build with a retro faux leather and silver aesthetic that doesn’t look dissimilar to the compact Fujifilm X100V

The hybrid design makes it possible for the camera to hold 45 images at a time, allowing you to preview them on the 3-inch LCD screen and print them as desired without wasting unnecessary paper and ink. 

Despite this, the camera maintains the charm of a traditional instant camera with its simple controls, including two shutter buttons, flash, a preset dial and a lever to print your images.  

The image quality offers the same punchy colours and detailed results as other Instax cameras, though we did find that skin tones had the tendency to come out a bit pale. If you’re looking to capture something a bit more stylistic, there’s also the option to add vivid, pale and monochrome filters to your photos, while lens effects on offer include vignetting, soft focus and blur.

That said, the camera doesn’t do too well in low-lighting conditions so that’s something to be aware of if you plan on taking the camera to parties and other dim indoor environments.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full review: Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo

We also considered…

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FAQs

Is Canon or Nikon better?

Canon and Nikon are two major brands in the camera market, but Nikon has impressed us more in recent years consistently coming out on top in both the mirrorless and DSLR categories.

Which is better DSLR or mirrorless?

It depends on what you need. The difference between the two is that DSLRs rely on an optical viewfinder and a mirror to bounce light off the sensor, while mirrorless cameras feature an electronic viewfinder and don’t require a mirror. This makes mirrorless cameras more compact, lightweight and often better equipped for video, while DSLRs usually have a better grip and longer battery life.

What are the disadvantages of a mirrorless camera?

Mirrorless cameras generally have a shorter battery life than DSLRs. They also don’t tend to offer as much grip in terms of their physical design.

Comparison specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Zoom
Autofocus
Burst shooting (mechanical shutter)
Burst shooting (electronic shutter)
Viewfinder
Screen
Image stabilisation
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth
Number of Memory card slots
USB charging
Microphone port
Headphone port
Lens mount

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