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The best cameras for photography 2022

July 15, 2022

Discover the best cameras you can buy for every genre, including wildlife, portrait, street, macro and more.

Choosing the best camera for photography may not be the simplest task. With a plethora of options out there, narrowing down your choices can be tricky – luckily for you, that’s where we come in.

It’s probably safe to say that there is no “one size fits all” camera, perfect for every single type of photographer. What is the best camera for you, may well be completely the wrong camera for somebody else.

Usually, what it will often come down to is the type of photography you tend to do – or at least, the type you do most often. If your preferred genre is landscapes, for example, it’s unlikely you’re going to need the same speed as somebody who primarily shoots fast-moving action. Similarly, someone who wants to concentrate on street photography probably is going to have completely different needs than a studio portrait photographer.

Of course, there are many photographers like to photograph lots of different subjects – especially amateurs and hobbyists who might not want to be tied to one particular genre. In which case, there are good all-rounder type cameras that will perform well across a number of different areas, even if they don’t necessarily excel at all of them.

How to choose the best camera for photography

In the end, only you can truly decide what is the best camera for you – but our guide should give you a good place to start. Before you commit to buy any camera, you may want to give the following specifications some consideration to help with your decision…

  • Resolution & Sensor Size
  • Autofocus
  • Image Stabilisation
  • Frame Rate
  • Handling
  • Screen and Viewfinder
  • Card Slots
  • Lens Range

Resolution & Sensor Size

There’s a variety of sensor sizes on the market, from 1-inch type, up to medium format being the most common among cameras. As a general rule, image quality is better from larger sensors, but you do have the trade off of a larger and bulkier system to carry around. Therefore, your consideration might be whether you want to lighten the load, or whether you want the best possible image quality.

A compromise on both sides of the debate lands you with a middle-sized sensor (APS-C or Full-Frame), while ultimate portability will leave you with the smallest (one-inch) and ultimate image quality leads to medium format (or even larger). Resolution is also a key concern – if you’re intending to make big prints, or photograph something with lots of fine detail, extra pixels make more sense. If you’re keen to keep file sizes down, shoot lots of action or in low light, a lower pixel count might be a better option.

Autofocus

Some of the current mirrorless flagship models have incredibly adept autofocus systems. But they often come at a hefty price, being targeted mainly at working professionals who need high-speed and accuracy at all times. Most of us arguably don’t need that kind of power, and you especially don’t if you’re photographing mainly still/static subjects such as landscapes, macro or even portraits. Have a think about how superior an autofocus system you need (and are willing to pay for).

Image Stabilisation

This is another specification that matters hugely to some people, and less so for others. If you’re happy to cart around a tripod with you, or you’re only ever shooting at fast shutter speeds in bright daylight, you’ll be less concerned. However, if you’re a night-time photographer, somebody who wants to shoot slowly handheld, or somebody who uses long lenses (to name but a few), then you’ll want to pay closer attention to IS specs.

Frame Rate

Again, this is something that for lots of types of photographers, it’s a bit of a redundant specification. If you’re shooting static objects, being able to shoot at 20fps is an expensive specification that might barely – or never – get used. Of course, if you’re shooting wildlife, action, sports and the like, you might use it every day.

Handling

This is an important one, but it’s not a straightforward one to quantify. Knowing how a camera feels and operates in your hand is ideal – if not necessarily always possible in advance in a world of online shopping. Pay careful attention to reviews which tell you how easy (or otherwise) the camera is to operate, hold and navigate around if you’re not able to handle it yourself before purchase.

Screen & Viewfinder

All of the cameras on our list here are mirrorless, and therefore feature electronic viewfinders. Pay close attention to the resolution of electronic viewfinders – higher is better, but very high-resolution viewfinders tend to only be found on the most expensive cameras. If you’re happier with optical viewfinders, then a DSLR might well be the camera for you – but you lose a lot of the benefits of mirrorless.

As for the screen, things to look out for are resolution, size, and whether it articulates or tilts. Having some movement is useful for composing from awkward angles, with articulating being the most flexible, but tilting perhaps being the quickest for reacting to certain scenarios, such as street shooting.

Card Slots

Having more than card slot is almost an essential for professional photographers who simply can’t afford to run the risk of not having a backup (especially for special occasions, such as weddings). For most other photographers, it’s a nice bonus to have, but perhaps not essential. That said, if you’re travelling and not able to easily back up your cards, they can also prove useful.

Lens Range

If you’re looking at interchangeable lens cameras, it’s wise to pay attention to the accompanying lens ranges that go with them. Newer ranges might have limited lenses, or they might not yet have specific or niche optics that you’re particularly keen on. Take a look at typical prices too, as again, newer systems might be pricier compared to longer, more-established systems.

The best cameras for photography

Best camera for wildlife photography: Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 in hand, Andy Westlake (AP)

The Nikon Z 9 in hand

At a glance:

  • Flagship full-frame mirrorless
  • 30fps shooting (120fps at 11 megapixels)
  • 6-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • High-resolution 45.7 megapixel sensor
  • AI subject-detect autofocus
  • £5,299 (body only)

You’ll need a decent wad of cash to afford the Z9, but if wildlife photography is your passion, it’ll be a worthy investment.

Although this camera is undoubtedly an excellent all-rounder, what makes it particularly adept for wildlife is the ability to shoot at 20fps in raw format, or 30fps in JPEG. You can even go up to an extraordinary 120fps if you can live with 11 megapixels.

Not only that but our review found it to have superlative autofocusing, with on-board algorithms which can detect and follow your subject with aplomb. The high-resolution sensor gives you crisp and detailed shots, with a useful high-efficiency raw format giving you the option to save precious hard drive space. In-body image stabiliser helps when using those long lenses out in the field, too.

There of course downsides. Not only is the camera not cheap, but the expensive memory cards you’ll need to take advantage of its best capabilities will also set you back a pretty penny. It’s also big, we also thought it large and unwieldy compared to some of the others on our list.

The Nikon Z9 is not the only camera well-suited to nature, however. Be sure to check our guide to the best cameras for wildlife photography for more excellent suggestions.

Pros:

  • Superb for continuous autofocus
  • Superb autofocusing / subject detection
  • Robust build quality

Cons:

  • High price
  • Unwieldy
  • Needs expensive memory cards

Read our full Nikon Z9 review.


Best camera for portrait photography: Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5

At a glance:

  • 45 megapixel high-resolution full-frame sensor
  • 8-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Subject tracking and Face Detection
  • Dual card slots
  • £4,299

A high-resolution sensor is a good idea for capturing excellent levels of detail in portraits – with the Canon EOS R5 offering just that.

It’s also got excellent focusing abilities, with eye-focus being particularly useful for portraits. It also works with animals too, making it well-suited for portraits of non-human subjects as well. We also discovered in our review that a very effective in-body image stabiliser is helpful when using long lenses handheld for dynamic portraits.

Other useful specifications include a stunning high-resolution viewfinder, and a fully articulating screen – the latter of which could come in useful if shooting portraits in, er, portrait format. Dedicated portrait photographers may also want to consider investing in a battery grip to give you extra controls in portrait orientation too.

Pros:

  • Very high resolution
  • Face/Eye detection
  • Excellent handling

Cons:

  • High price
  • Battery life could be better

Read our full Canon EOS R5 review.


Best camera for sports photography: Canon EOS R3

Canon EOS R3 in hand (AW/AP)

Canon EOS R3 in hand with lens, as tested by Andy Westlake (AW/AP)

At a glance:

  • Flagship professional 24 megapixel full-frame mirrorless
  • 30fps shooting
  • 8-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Eye-control AF and Subject Tracking
  • 1/64000 shutter speed
  • £5,789 (body only)

For sports and action photography, being able to react to super-fast moving subjects is paramount – which the R3 is extremely well-suited to.

You can shoot at 30fps in full-resolution raw and with full autofocus, and you can also freeze moments by shooting at a record-busting 1/64,000sec, too. We found autofocusing to be superb, with 4779 points working to ensure you never miss a moment. On top of that, with eye-control AF you can choose a focus point simply by looking at the subject through the viewfinder – you don’t get much quicker than that. Our tests revealed subject tracking for moving subjects is almost infallible, too.

Its relatively low resolution 24 megapixel sensor may sound disappointing when compared to some of the high resolution offerings here, but it helps to keep file sizes down and is more than enough for printing at fairly large sizes.

Pros:

  • Superb autofocusing
  • Fantastically fast shooting
  • Excellent viewfinder and screen

Cons:

  • Big and heavy
  • Very expensive
  • Relatively low resolution

Read our full Canon EOS R3 review.


Best camera for landscape photography: Sony A7R IV

Sony Alpha A7R IV (MT)

Sony Alpha A7R IV with lens (MT)

At a glance:

  • 61 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 76-million-dot EVF
  • Tilting screen
  • Pixel-Shift Multi Shooting
  • £3,199 (body only)

The winner of our product of the year in 2020, this superb high-resolution camera is still a fantastic choice for landscape reason. We loved it when we first reviewed it, and it continues to impress today.

A key reason for this is its very high-resolution 61 megapixel sensor – the highest you’ll find on our list, and the highest you’ll find outside of medium format cameras. That super high resolution sensor is ideal for landscapes, and, being packed into the relatively small body of the Sony A7 series means you can carry it around to reach all sorts of photogenic locations without troubling your back too much.

Although you may want to use a tripod for landscapes, if you want to keep it light, you’ll also benefit from 5-axis image stabilisation. If you do pack that tripod, making use of Pixel-Shift Multi Shooting to create an even higher resolution composite image is likely to be tempting to serious landscape photographers.

If you like to photograph other subjects, as well as landscapes, the A7R IV isn’t well suited to everything. While it does well at other static subjects – such as portraits and macro – with 10fps shooting, action and wildlife shooters would do better to look elsewhere.

There are other cameras which we’d recommend for this genre – make sure to take a look at our best camera for landscape photography guide to find out more.

Pros:

  • Super high resolution sensor
  • Tilting screen
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Handling is a little awkward at times
  • Not an all-rounder

Read our full Sony A7R IV review.


Best camera for astrophotography: OM System OM-1

OM System ’Olympus’ OM-1 IP53 weather-sealing coming in handy best cameras for photography

OM System ’Olympus’ OM-1 IP53 weather-sealing coming in handy

At a glance:

  • 20 megapixel stacked Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • 8-stops image stabiliser
  • IP53-rated weather proofing
  • Starry Sky AF mode
  • £1,999 (body only)

When you’re looking for a camera that is well-equipped for astrophotography, there are a few specifications that come in particularly handy.

The OM System OM-1 (still branded with Olympus on the camera body) ticks a lot of boxes. We liked the fact that it was weatherproof, meaning you can use it outside in less than perfect weather and still trust it to deliver the goods.

One of the big reasons for it making it on to our list however is the dedicated Starry Sky AF mode, which is specifically designed for focusing on distant stars. There’s also a Night Vision option which is designed to work with it. We found that the Starry Sky AF works extremely well, and is reliable for both speed and accuracy.

Other than that, you also have excellent image stabilisation – perfect for those long exposures, and the fact that the camera (and accompanying lenses) is smaller and lighter than many other models, it’s the ideal model for toting around in the dark. It’s well suited to a variety of other photography as well, including wildlife, travel, sports and more thanks to high-speed shooting.

If you’re interested in this genre of photography, make sure to check out our guide to the best cameras for astrophotography for more suggestions.

Pros:

  • Specific astro mode
  • Weather proofed for prolonged outdoor use
  • Excellent stabilisation

Cons:

  • Smaller sensor than most
  • Some handling quirks

Read our full OM System OM-1 Review


Best camera for macro photography: Nikon Z7 II

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT) best cameras for photography

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)

At a glance:

  • 7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 5-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Tilting screen
  • Compatible with existing Nikon DSLR lenses via adapter
  • £2,919 (body only)

For macro and close-up work, it’s a good idea to look for something with a high resolution sensor to make sure you capture all that exquisite fine detail.

The Nikon Z7 II is one of the highest resolution sensors on the market, so it’s just the ticket for that job. There’s a couple of dedicated Z-mount macro lenses, while if you’ve already got a Nikon DSLR macro lens, you can use it with the Z7 II via an optional adapter.

Having a tilting screen is useful for shooting from low angles, or for shooting with a remote release / wirelessly so as not to disturb delicate subjects. With that in mind, 5-stop in-body stabilisation helps when shooting close-up subjects handheld too.

We liked the handling of the Z7 II, with the excellent grip proving to be a particular winner. We also thought it was very intuitive to use, making it ideal for making quick changes.

Pros:

  • High resolution sensor
  • Useful tilting screen
  • Can use existing Nikon macro lenses

Cons:

  • Relatively minor upgrade from predecessor
  • Somewhat expensive

Read our full Nikon Z7 II review.


Best camera for street photography: Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X100V MT/AP best cameras for photography

At a glance:

  • 26.1 megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder
  • Fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens
  • £1349

When it comes to street photography, you want your camera to be discreet, light and capable of grabbing the moment as it unfolds in front of you. It helps if it’s also attractive to look at, too.

The Fujifilm X100V is the perfect street photography camera as it ticks all those boxes, and is ideal for a day pounding the pavements without drawing too much attention to yourself.

Pictures produced by the camera are beautiful, and the tilting screen helps to capture “from the hip” moments that previous iterations of the camera didn’t offer – something which we found to be a massive benefit in our review.

You get all of that in a design which is small and light, yet still packs a pretty large APS-C sized sensor. The trade off is a fixed lens – which although a good length for street photography,  gives you more limitations than some other cameras.

If you’re wondering, these are the best cameras for street photography, if the Fujifilm X100V doesn’t take your fancy.

Pros:

  • Attractive retro design
  • Discreet for street shooting
  • Beautiful colour rendition

Cons:

  • Fixed lens doesn’t give much flexibility
  • High price

Read our full Fujifilm X100V review.


Best camera for wedding photography: Canon EOS R6

Canon-EOS-R6-field-test-carousel best cameras for photography

At a glance:

  • 20 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 20fps shooting
  • 8-stop in-body stabiliser
  • Subject tracking
  • £2,399 (body only)

Whether you’re shooting a wedding as a pro, or just capturing a friend or family member’s special day, you’ll want a camera that you can rely on to do a good job.

The Canon EOS R6 is a good all-rounder, which works well for portraits, architecture, wider shots and can even keep up with moving subjects (such as walking down the aisle etc) to provide a good all-round experience.

We also liked the fact that it has two memory card slots, allowing you to use one as a backup to ensure that those precious memories are as safe as possible. Our tests revealed that autofocusing is excellent, with Eye AF being particularly useful for capturing those candid wedding shots as best you can.

You might consider 20 megapixels – a relatively low pixel count by today’s standards – to be a downside, but by using this modest count, image files are kept to a sensible size, and you get a good blend of speed and image quality. It also helps to keep the price on the right side of affordable.

If you’d like to know more about shooting weddings, take a look at our guide to the best kit for wedding photography.

Pros:

  • Dual card slots
  • Effective in-body image stabilisation
  • Compatible with older DSLR lenses

 Cons:

  • ‘Only’ 20 megapixels

Read the full Canon EOS R6 review.


Best camera for travel photography: Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

Lumix LX100 II best cameras for photography

The LX100 II’s analogue controls make it a joy to use

At a glance:

  • 17 megapixel “multi-aspect” Four Thirds sensor
  • 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens
  • 2.76m-dot EVF
  • 3-inch touchscreen
  • £749

When you’re travelling, you’ll probably want something which offers a good degree of flexibility but doesn’t take up too much room in your hand luggage.

We’re big fans of the LX100 II and in our tests have found it to be a great compromise between portability, image quality and flexibility. You get a small, but very usable, zoom range and a relatively large sensor (Four Thirds) for the size of the camera.

During our time with the camera we were particularly impressed by how well it handled, with plenty of direct controls for making quick changes. It’s a little disappointing that the screen doesn’t tilt or articulate, but using a fixed device helps to contribute to the excellent price this camera is available for.

If you’re not quite tempted by the LX100 II, don’t forget to have a look at our guide to the best travel cameras for a range of other recommendations.

Pros:

  • Small size and weight
  • Usable zoom range
  • Excellent value

Cons:

  • Fixed screen
  • Not quite pocketable

Read our full Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review.


Best all-round camera: Sony A7 IV

Sony Alpha A7 IV in use, and tested by Andy Westlake. best cameras for photography

Sony Alpha A7 IV in use, and tested by Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 33 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 10fps shooting
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
  • Eye AF and Tracking
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • £2,399 (body only)

If you’re an enthusiast photographer who likes to photograph all kinds of different subjects, you’ll be after an all-round camera that delivers well on all fronts.

That’s exactly what the Sony A7 IV is designed to do. You get a 33 megapixel sensor that we found produces excellent results, including in low light. It’s neither super high in resolution nor on the low side, so it’s good for landscapes, macro, portraits, wildlife and more.

It can shoot at 10fps, and while this isn’t super-fast, it’s more than enough for somebody who shoots the occasional moving subject. We were big fans of the viewfinder, while having a fully articulating screen is also very handy.

Pros:

  • Well suited to a variety of subjects
  • Good screen and viewfinder combination
  • Excellent sensor performance

Cons:

  • Only 10fps shooting
  • Can be fiddly to use

Read our full Sony A7 IV review.


Need further buying advice? Check out our full selection of buying guides. We also have options for beginners and kids!


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