Whether you’re looking for the best mirrorless camera or a great entry-level camera, choosing the one that’s right for you can’t be easy. With so many models from top brands like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and more, all offering a wide variety of features and megapixel counts, it can be difficult to understand what you really need to take your photography to the next level. But it also means there’s a camera that’s right for you, whether you want professional-grade full-frame image quality, quick bursts, or just a lightweight camera that’s perfect for travel.
As with most things, the more you spend, the better performance you get, as top-tier cameras with 8K video and high-resolution sensors are much more expensive than their entry-level counterparts. Do you want to take pictures from the air? Check out our guide to the best drones. Want a camera to document your next ski trip? Our action camera guide is for you.
Later in this article, you can read my advice on what to consider when buying a new camera, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
zSony A7 IV review
Following Sony’s excellent A7 III is no easy feat, but the A7 IV is a well-deserved successor. It packs a new 33MP sensor for both photos and video, making it a compelling mirrorless option for hybrid shooters. In our testing, we called it “a great blend of photographic prowess and video versatility.”
While the price hike means it’s no longer a full-frame entry-level camera like its progenitor, the Bionz XR processor ensures solid performance that largely justifies the extra spending.
The A7 IV also benefits from Sony’s top-notch autofocus, as well as upgrades like 10-bit video support and the CFexpress card’s seemingly infinite buffer depth. Our testing found this buffer to be more generous than most shooters need, with image quality focusing more on resolution than low-light performance.
There’s no hybrid camera without compromises: 4K footage is heavily cropped, and it’s not the easiest camera for beginners. The Canon EOS R6 also offers faster burst speeds for a similar price. But given its sheer versatility and higher resolution, the Sony A7 IV rightfully takes our top spot.
Canon EOS R6 review
While the Canon EOS R5 is a bit overkill for most, the EOS R6 is a more affordable full-frame alternative and easily one of the best photography cameras out there. If you already own one of Canon’s earlier full-frame mirrorless cameras, like the EOS R or one of its DSLRs, this is a very worthwhile upgrade. Based on our tests, the EOS R6 offers top-notch autofocus, an excellent in-body image stabilization system, and continuous shooting performance, making it an excellent camera for wildlife or sports photography.
While it’s capable of 4K/60p video, the EOS R6 lacks options like DCI 4K capability, and we found that it has thermal limitations compared to video-focused rivals like the Sony A7S III, making it more suitable for stills photographers. But for photography, it’s an excellent (albeit pricey) option, offering extremely impressive autofocus, handling and features, making it one of the best options for anyone looking for a full-frame camera.
Sony’s ZV-1 is aimed primarily at aspiring YouTube vloggers looking for a video camera that you can pick up and start recording. It has an articulating display that makes it easy to see each other when you’re filming your game with the camera, a built-in microphone that captures audio well — and a puffy windshield that helps reduce wind noise.
The 1-inch sensor is the smallest of any camera on this list, so image quality isn’t as good as on pricier models, especially in low light, but the footage looks solid in daylight. It doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, but it does have a built-in zoom that takes the 24mm-equivalent focal length up to 70mm. It’s stable enough for video while still, but struggles to accommodate larger movements as you walk faster.
It shoots video at 4K resolution at 60fps, but with the quality turned down, it can shoot super slow-motion at up to 960fps. Still images have a maximum resolution of 20.1 megapixels, perfect for daytime photos on the go.
The ZV-1 isn’t the best camera, and it’s worth considering if you only want to shoot stills but want to record a lot of video on your next vacation, or if you’re looking for a second camera dedicated to video purposes. Its compact size, solid video quality, versatile zoom range, and decent built-in microphone mean it’s well-equipped to help you take your first steps towards vlogging success.
The Nikon Z50 packs a smaller APS-C size image sensor into a compact and lightweight body, ideal for carrying around in a small backpack. Its 20.9-megapixel sensor captures beautiful images with excellent detail and enough dynamic range in raw files to pull back highlights or boost shadows.
There’s no built-in image stabilization (you’ll have to pay more for it), but the 11fps burst shooting speed should help you get sharp images. It records 4K video at up to 30 frames per second, and its angled rear LCD screen helps capture footage from more awkward angles.
Nikon currently only offers three lenses designed specifically for its DX-format APS-C cameras, which isn’t a great choice — though the wide zoom range available may be fine for beginners. However, its lenses use the same Z mount as Nikon’s FX-format cameras like the Z7 II, so you can always use those standard professional lenses with this camera. However, the higher price of these lenses will somewhat offset the affordability of the Z50 itself.