Advertisement

The Best Sony Camera in 2022

June 6, 2022

The best Sony cameras are some of the best mirrorless and compact cameras you can buy today. Whether you’re a beginner, an enthusiast or an experienced imaging professional, and whether you work in stills, video or both, there will be a Sony camera that suits you down to the ground. It’s just a question of finding it – and that’s where we come in.

For our guide to Sony cameras, we’ve picked out the best of the best in every category. We’ve included representatives from the flagship Alpha 7 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras, as well as a few of the more budget-friendly APS-C mirrorless Alpha 6000 series cameras that are oriented towards enthusiasts. And for those who prefer an all-in-one camera, we’ve also included representatives from Sony’s range of Cyber-Shot RX compacts. So, let’s get stuck right into the best Sony cameras you can buy right now.

Here are our picks of the best Sony cameras:

Best Sony camera for photography: Sony A7 IV

Sony Alpha A7 IV (33MP) mirrorless

Sony Alpha A7 IV (33MP) mirrorless

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 33MP full-frame Exmor-R CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £2,400 body-only

The Sony A7 cameras have always been good for a bit of everything. While the A7R models focus on resolution, the A7S models on low-light video and the A9 models on speed, the A7 cameras have quietly gone about the business of being some of the best full-frame all-rounders on the market.

The Sony Alpha A7 IV is the best one yet, kicking it up a gear in response to increased competition from Canon and Nikon. This translates to a revamped 33MP sensor, with 11fps burst shooting and super-fast autofocus to play with, as well as handling improvements like a fully articulating LCD screen and a higher-resolution viewfinder.

The impressive range of full-frame E-mount lenses allows you to customise the system according to what you plan to shoot. For serious photographers, it’s one of the most fully-featured cameras you can buy right now without getting into ultra-pro territory.

Best for: enthusiast photographers who want to shoot everything


Best Sony for wildlife and bird photography: Sony A1

Sony Alpha 1 (A1) with 70-200mm OSS II lens

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 50.1MP full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • 30 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
  • 8K 30p video recording
  • £6,500 body-only

So, speaking of ultra-pro territory – the Sony Alpha A1 is something truly special, and one of the most technologically advanced cameras ever made. It could have topped any of the categories on this list that don’t have the word “budget” anywhere near them, but we’ve picked it for bird and wildlife photography because of its frankly ridiculous ability to shoot at 30 frames per second, maintaining that full 50MP resolution, while adjusting focus and exposure between shots. This is basically cheat mode for wildlife photography.

Of course, the Sony A1 is designed for professionals, and costs more than almost any two other cameras on this list combined. If that’s out of your budget (fair), then we’d also recommend considering the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV. A bridge camera that pairs a 20.1MP 1-inch sensor with a 24-600mm (equivalent) f/2.4-4 lens, it has an incredibly capable autofocus system that consistently nails moving subjects.

Best for: big-budget pros


Best Sony camera for beginners on a budget: Sony A6000

Sony Alpha A6000 with 16-50mm Power Zoom lens

Sony Alpha A6000 with 16-50mm Power Zoom lens

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 24.3MP full-frame Exmor APS-C HD CMOS sensor
  • 11 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • Full HD 60p video recording
  • £419-499 with lens

This fantastic camera has been around since 2014, and the fact that it’s still one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners is an indicator of how many things Sony got right with it. The Sony Alpha A6000 kicked off an entire series of APS-C mirrorless cameras for enthusiasts, and over the years its price has come down to the point where it’s one of the best budget cameras you can buy. There are also plenty of E-mount lenses designed specifically for APS-C cameras, so you won’t feel short-changed when it comes to the glass.

It’s amazing how many of the A6000’s specs are still competitive today. The autofocus system can acquire a subject in as little as 0.06 seconds, and the burst mode can manage 11fps – all of which is more than enough for speedy action photography. The only area where the A6000 has started to fall behind is video, as it pre-dates the 4K boom, and doesn’t have a mic jack.

Best for: cash-conscious beginners and enthusiasts


Best Sony camera for vlogging: Sony A7C

Sony Alpha A7C full-frame mirrorless

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 24.2MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £1,900 body-only

Sony loves small cameras, even when they’ve got big sensors. The Sony Alpha A7C is a relatively recent entry to the full-frame A7 line, and feels like an attempt to get back to basics, with a diminutive design and simple layout, and a lot of the choices make it ideal for vloggers. It’s got a fully articulating screen, as well as mic and headphone sockets that are smartly positioned not to block the screen when it’s facing forwards. Its 4K 30p footage looks gorgeous, with good dynamic range thanks to the full-frame sensor.

If the A7C is too expensive for you, consider Sony’s mirrorless vlogging camera, the APS-C Sony ZV-E10. It’s been going in and out of stock though, so can be hard to get hold of.

Best for: serious vloggers and aspiring YouTubers


Best Sony camera for travel vlogging: Sony ZV-1

Sony ZV-1

At a glance:

  • Compact camera with 25-70mm equiv f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • 20.1MP 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 64-12,800 (extended)
  • 4K 25p video recording
  • £699

For travel vlogging, a compact camera is an ideal choice, as it provides an all-in-one shooting package that will fit even in a small bag. The Sony ZV-1 is an excellent choice – it’s specifically designed for vloggers, and as such, it has a stack of useful video features. Chief among these is the three-capsule built-in mic, which allows you to get decent audio without having to attach an external mic (though you can, if you prefer). The camera also comes packaged with a furry windshield to cut down on background noise. There’s no viewfinder or built-in flash, but a vlogger doesn’t need them.

Best for: vloggers who want an agile, portable rig


Best Sony for travel photography: Sony RX100 VI

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI

At a glance:

  • Compact camera with 24-200mm equiv f/2.8-4.5 lens
  • 20.1MP 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • 24 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 125-12,800
  • 4K 25p video recording
  • £799-849

Though this isn’t the most recent Sony RX100 compact camera (that title belongs to the Mark VII), the price of this sixth iteration has come down enough since release that we think it’s the smarter buy for travel photographers. It’s got a much longer built-in lens than previous RX100 cameras, making it more versatile, and also packs in plenty of high-end features for a camera in this class. Having 24fps burst shooting with focus and exposure adjustment, up to a 233-shot JPEG buffer, is no small thing.

The little Sony RX100 VI is still pocketable, meaning it’s ideal for city breaks and hikes as it won’t add much weight to your bag. The pop-up viewfinder is a nice touch as well, and 4K video at 25p with full pixel readout is a useful thing to have in your back pocket.

Best for: world-explorer photographers who travel light


Best Sony camera for streaming: Sony A6400

Sony Alpha A6400 (APS-C) mirrorless camera

Sony Alpha A6400 (APS-C) mirrorless camera

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 11 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 100-102,400 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £999 with lens

If you want to set up a Sony camera for streaming, an APS-C mirrorless camera is a good bet, as they offer a solid suite of video features without the high price tag of the full-frame models. We recommend trying the Sony Alpha A6400 – it has plenty of features that are hugely useful for streaming, like its flip-up monitor, which has a video-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio.

You can stream via HDMI, or via USB with Sony’s Imaging Edge webcam software. The A6400 can record 4K at 30p, though the Full HD looks excellent, and is potentially the better choice for streaming.

Best for: at-home vloggers, streamers and YouTubers


Best Sony camera for sports photography: Sony A9 II

Sony Alpha A9 II

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 24MP full-frame stacked CMOS sensor
  • 20 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £4,299

Sony shook up sports and action photography with its blisteringly fast A9, and the Sony Alpha A9 II is an even more impressive mirrorless camera. The A9 II is designed to be able to capture basically any subject, no matter how fast-moving – its ground-breaking autofocus system is capable of making up to 60 AF calculations per second, and it can shoot at up to 20fps with the electronic shutter, or 10fps with the mechanical. This means you’ve still got a competitive burst rate in play in situations where you might run the risk of encountering a banding effect due to the quality of the light.

The A9 II burst-shoots with no viewfinder blackout, meaning you can keep laser-focused on your subject. With this and the generous ISO range, it’s difficult to think of many other cameras that can match the A9 II for its ability to nail the shot in basically any situation.

Best for: sports pros


Best Sony for landscape photography: Sony A7R IV

Best for landscapes: Sony Alpha A7R IV (61MP) full-frame mirrorless camera

Sony Alpha A7R IV (61MP) full-frame mirrorless camera

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 61MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 30p video recording
  • £4,299

With the A7R series, Sony has continually broken the boundaries of resolution for full-frame cameras. The Sony Alpha A7R IV is the latest and greatest; with a whopping 61 million pixels of resolution to play with, photographers can capture an astonishing level of detail. A slower shooting experience than other Sony cameras, it’s a perfect choice for landscape photographers.

The A7R IV captures images with fine gradation, and a 15-stop dynamic range if you use it at the low end of its ISO scale. Pair it with a high-quality, large-aperture prime lens from E-mount, and the results are nothing short of astonishing.

Best for: making large prints


Best Sony camera for video: Sony A1

Sony Alpha 1 (A1) Body Only, full-frame mirrorless camera

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 51MP full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • 30 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
  • 8K 30p video recording
  • £6,500 body-only

Yep, it’s back. As we said earlier, the Sony Alpha A1 really could have topped practically any of these categories, but we elected to restrict it to just two – and it really is the best video camera Sony has made in the Alpha series.

It’s capable of capturing 8K 30p video – indeed, was the first mirrorless camera to be able to do so – and it will do that internally, with a bit rate of up to 400Mbps. Drop the resolution, and you’ve got 4K at a maximum frame rate of 120p.

A clever heat-management system keeps the camera cool and enables recording times of more than 30 minutes – none of those harsh recording limits that dogged the Canon EOS R5 on launch. You get 10-bit 4:2:2 colour, while S-Cinetone and S-log3 modes help retain maximum detail and dynamic range for the colour grade.

Best for: uncompromising video shooters


Best Sony camera for low-light video: Sony A7S III

Sony Alpha A7S III

Sony Alpha A7S III

At a glance:

  • Mirrorless camera
  • 12.1MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 40-409,600 extended
  • 4K 120p video recording
  • £3,800 body-only

It’s hard to overstate just how much the original Sony A7S changed the game with regard to low-light video. Its ability to effectively shoot in the dark at ISO levels as high as 409,600 redefined what was thought possible on a full-frame mirrorless camera. The A7S II further upped the ante by adding internal 4K recording, solidifying the series’ position as a tool for serious filmmakers.

The Sony Alpha A7S III does all the same things, and adds handling upgrades like a side-hinged fully articulated LCD, and a completely overhauled touch-sensitive interface. As awkward menu-fiddling has always been a bit of a bugbear with Sony cameras, this was a truly welcome addition. With twin card slots that can both accept the super-fast CFExpress Type A format, as well as a back-illuminated sensor structure that enables lightning-fast readout speeds, this is a camera that’s more than capable of keeping up with even the most demanding video shoots.

Best for: filmmakers and pro content creators


Found your perfect Sony camera? Why not have a look at some of our choices for the best Sony E mount lenses, or have a look at our other buying guides, and our latest reviews, for more ideas.

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

SubscribeSubscribe
Free download!

Get your free digital download of Improve Your Photography - Photoshop & Lightroom!