Can Nikon and Canon ever catch up with Sony’s mirrorless cameras?
Canon and Nikon are under pressure. As if they weren't already far enough behind in mirrorless cameras, Sony just launched the A7 III, which I called a "near-perfect all-around camera" in my review. It might come as a relief, then, to die-hard fans of those aforementioned camera companies that both are readying their own much-anticipated full-frame mirrorless models for as soon as this September. A prototype Canon model is reportedly already in the hands of select professionals, and Nikon told NHK it will bring a model to market by spring of 2019.
A new mirrorless (or full-frame) model won't be enough. To compete, they'll have to be very aggressive with features and prices for the new cameras -- and that would be out of character for Canon and Nikon. Both are highly conservative and have lucrative DSLR lineups they won't want to cannibalize. But to compete against Sony's increasingly polished cameras, they have no choice.
What to expect and not expect from Nikon and Canon
Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu. Not now Turned on Turn on
Other than that they will have full-frame sensors, not much is known about the incoming mirrorless cameras from Nikon and Canon. Both will no doubt be high-end models, given the sensors, so you can probably expect prices of upwards of $2,000.
According to Nikon Rumors, the Nikon model will have a price and sensor resolution that roughly match Sony's A7 III (24 megapixels and a $2,000 price tag). It's also reportedly developing a new full-frame mirrorless lens system called the Z-mount and is working on a "very sophisticated" adapter for its current, deep DSLR F-mount lens lineup. Nikon could release the camera with two or three Z-mount lenses at Photokina and unveil another batch of lenses several months later.
Canon's full-frame camera, meanwhile, is supposedly also coming in September, but it will be a video-centric model, not unlike Sony's A7S II or the Panasonic GH5s. Canon Rumors believes it will not be part of the EOS system, and that it will shoot 4K at up to 30 fps. As you'd expect, it would have Canon's stellar dual-pixel phase-detect autofocus system, still the best on the market for video.
All that is speculation, as both companies are keeping the models under wraps, and no specs or images have leaked. It's likely that neither will want to cannibalize its flagship DSLR model (the Canon 5D Mark IV and Nikon D850), so don't expect to see a high-resolution model like Sony's 42.2-megapixel A7R III. It's also worth noting that if Nikon and Canon both release full-frame cameras at the same time, they'll be competing with each other and not just with Sony.
Given the rumors, it looks like Nikon and Canon are developing new lens mounts for their full-frame mirrorless systems. While they could use their existing DSLR lens mounts, which support hundreds of existing lenses, there are good reasons not to do that. Namely, a purpose-built mirrorless system, with a shorter distance between the lens and sensor (you don't need the space for a mirror) would support smaller and lighter lenses. Given that mirrorless cameras are already lighter than DSLRs, that would make them more attractive for tourism and street photography.
An uphill battle, an entrenched opponent
Both Nikon and Canon have inglorious mirrorless histories. Nikon unveiled the unpopular 1-inch-sensor Nikon 1 series in 2011, then effectively abandoned it, though it still sells some models. Canon, meanwhile, launched its EOS-M series in 2012 with the unremarkable EOS-M (above), but it has gradually improved the lineup. The most recent EOS M50 model has decent 10 fps shooting speeds and 4K video, although with serious cropping on the latter.
Back in 2012, both companies were cleaning up on DSLRs, and mirrorless cameras represented just 20 percent of the market, which might explain why they didn't take it very seriously. Perhaps seeing an opening and the market potential, Sony launched its NEX APS-C (now Alpha) series, which was far superior to anything Nikon and Canon had, going all in on the category. Popular models like the NEX-3N and NEX-7 also paved the way for stellar APS-C cameras like the Alpha A6500 (below).
Fast-forward to 2018 and mirrorless cameras represent 35 percent of the entire interchangeable-lens market. At the same time, camera sales (both mirrorless and DSLR) have fallen 25 percent since 2011. With a smaller pie and a smaller slice of DSLR, plus astonishingly good smartphone imaging that's destroying compact cameras, Canon and Nikon need to act.
To catch up to Sony, Canon and Nikon will need to innovate fast, and neither has a great record there. Rather, they tend to release new products and features slowly to maximize the profits from existing models.
If those lens-mount rumors are correct, both companies will need to develop new lens lineups from scratch. Sony, meanwhile, already has 50 prime lenses and 13 zooms for its full-frame FE series, not counting its APS-C and DSLR-like lenses.
Making things even tougher, Nikon and Canon depend on Sony to a certain extent, because it's the world's largest sensor and EVF module manufacturer. Sony has supplied sensors to Nikon in the past, and it just unveiled a high-resolution 5.6-million-dot EVF that's 60 percent sharper than any current model. Canon, at least, is now developing its own sensors, including some crazy ones, so it's less dependent on Sony. If they decide to use any Sony parts on their mirrorless models, though, they'll be at an economic disadvantage.
What they need to deliver
Despite the bleak scenario I've painted, Canon is still the interchangeable-lens camera sales leader by a good margin in Japan, the US and Europe. And thanks to strong sales of its D850, which is far and away the best-rated DSLR on the market, Nikon has also seen decent success of late.
They also effectively own the professional market. Sony hasn't made a big dent there yet, because its mirrorless models are considered too fragile and hard to handle for journalists and wildlife and fashion photographers. Both also still have a strong presence in the high-end prosumer market, because dedicated users have large collections of Canon EF and Nikon F-mount lenses.
Nikon and Canon are at least waking up to the reality of their DSLR-dependence. Canon chairman and CEO Fujio Mitarai recently admitted to Nikkei Asian Review that his company is "lagging behind" other companies, technology-wise, and is planning to push harder on cutting-edge features. Nikon says its mirrorless model is coming along at a rapid pace, and Sony itself is expecting high-tech full-frame models from both its main rivals.
If Canon is building a video-centric full-frame camera and if it's well executed, it could actually tear a strip off of Sony's market share. As mentioned, its dual-pixel autofocus system is phenomenally good for video and live-view photography, and is especially beloved by one-man-band videographers and vloggers, since it will nail focus with no assistant needed.
Here's my wish list for Canon: A $2,000-to-$2,500 camera packing at least 4K 30 fps video with a full-sensor readout, vlogger-friendly dual-pixel AF and a flippable rear touchscreen and good low-light sensitivity, all in a Sony A7S II–size form factor. As with that model, a 10-to-12-megapixel sensor would be fine for video and occasional photography. Ideally, it would offer Panasonic GH5s–type 10-bit internal 4K recording at high bit rates.
Canon is unlikely to do the latter, though, as it has an established and lucrative professional video camera market, with a lineup of successful (and expensive) models like the C100 Mark II, the C200 and the $33,000 C700 FF model. If it released a full-frame consumer camera with better video features, sales of those models might shrink. (Then again, Panasonic didn't worry about its own professional lineup when it released the GH5s.)
Meanwhile, Nikon could capitalize on the success of the D850 by building a scaled-down mirrorless version. What I'd like to see is a model with a 24-megapixel sensor, phase-detect AF for video and audio, high ISO capability, fast shooting speeds and at least 4K 30p video with a full sensor readout.
I think Nikon could and should up the ante on Sony, however. Why not surprise everyone with more capable video features like 10-bit internal 4K recording? Nikon doesn't have a professional video division to cannibalize, so it has no reason not to chase video camera customers much more aggressively than it has so far.
With the world's biggest camera show approaching, I'll be very curious to see what Nikon and Canon deliver, if they do unveil mirrorless cameras, as expected. I don't have high expectations. They both have reputations, Nikon particularly so, for risk-free, staid development that won't turn off their fan base or jeopardize profits.
However, people who love those brands are getting impatient with the pace of development, particularly when they see Sony throwing caution to the wind. If the new products are dull and don't measure up, Nikon and Canon are likely to struggle even more. Worse, the companies' professional users might decide to quit DSLRs and plunge into Sony's mirrorless world to get more features for less money.
If they do deliver, we could finally see some decent mirrorless competition that benefits consumers. If not, Sony isn't sitting on its haunches. It will keep upping the ante and tighten its already iron grip on the mirrorless market.
Best Sony camera 2022: the top choices for both stills and video
Are you looking for the best Sony camera for you? We’ve tested all of the top Sony models that are available in 2022, and ranked all of our top picks in the list below. So whether you’re a new enthusiast or a seasoned Sony user, this buying guide will help you find the perfect camera for your needs and budget.
What’s the best Sony camera you can buy right now? Sony has a huge catalog of camera models, spanning every skill level, discipline, and price range. That said, our top recommendation for most people is the Sony Alpha A7R IV. Equipped with a super high-resolution sensor that’s backed up by a swift and sophisticated autofocus system, it’s a pro camera that can go toe-to-toe with medium format machinery. This has been now been replaced by the newly launched Sony A7R V, which keeps the same 61-megapixel sensor, but introduces a new sophisticated AI autofocus, versatile 4-axis touchscreen, and improved in-body stabilization, but we still recommend the Sony A7R IV due to its price and availability.
Read our Hands on: Sony A7R V for more details.
With the above taken into account, there might be another camera on Sony’s shelves that’s better suited to your needs. The Sony Alpha A7 IV, for example, is a fantastic full-frame all-rounder that’s more accessible than the A7R III. A capable successor to the popular A7 III, it’s a hybrid workhorse with a 33MP sensor, solid performance, and top-notch autofocus.
If money is no object, take a look at Sony’s trailblazing Sony A1. From blisteringly quick AF, and burst speeds to a 50.1MP sensor (and the 8K raw video it can produce), this is a camera of superlatives. However, its astonishing performance comes with a hefty price tag to match.
More of a vlogger? The Sony ZV-1 is the best compact vlogging camera on the market, pairing a 1-inch sensor and class-leading autofocus with a form factor that’s small enough to take almost anywhere. Plus it comes equipped with a handy hot-shoe mount and mic input. However, Sony has also launched a new vlogging camera, the Sony ZV-1F - which keeps the fundamentals of the Sony ZV-1, but offers a fixed 20mm f/2 lens for better-handled vlogging, and it adds a smartphone-style interface.
Read our take on the Sony ZV-1F being a strange twist on the world’s best vlogging camera.
For more serious videographers, the Sony A7S III is the best Sony video camera you can buy outside of its cinematic range. So, whatever you’re looking for from a Sony camera, you’ll find an option to suit your requirements within this guide. We’ve covered the latest releases and range-topping options, as well as Sony’s best premium compact and APS-C models, including the flagship A6600 and the more affordable A6100. Plus we keep this guide regularly updated with the results of our recent Sony camera reviews.
Also, why not read about the best Sony lenses you can buy right now
The best Sony cameras in 2022:
(Image credit: Future)
1. Sony A7 IV A worthy hybrid successor to the A7 III Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full-frame CMOS Megapixels: 33MP Lens mount: Sony E Autofocus: 759 phase detection points Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots resolution Max burst speed: 10fps Video: 4K User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Impressive 33MP sensor + Class-leading autofocus Reasons to avoid - Pricier than its predecessor - Overkill for beginners
As the successor to the celebrated A7 III, the latest all-rounder in Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera range has big shoes to fill. Luckily, the A7 IV takes that baton and runs away with it. Introducing a sharper 33MP sensor, powerful Bionz XR processor, and upgraded video skills (including support for 10-bit footage), the A7 IV is a true hybrid workhorse. It also benefits from an improved viewfinder, a new vari-angle touchscreen, and a huge 828-shot buffer for CFexpress cards.
As is often the case, that flexibility doesn’t come without compromise: there’s a heavy crop on 4K footage and it’s not the easiest camera for beginners to use. A price increase means it doesn’t have the same entry-level appeal as its predecessor, while rivals like the Canon EOS R6 also offer faster burst shooting rates – although Sony’s class-leading autofocus skills do plenty to compensate for this. Taken as a whole, the Sony A7 IV is a worthy successor to the A7 III. It’s a fantastically versatile option that could be all the camera most people ever need.
Read our in-depth Sony A7 IV review (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)
2. Sony Alpha A7R IV Super-high resolution brings Sony into medium format waters Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full-frame stacked CMOS Megapixels: 63MP Lens mount: Sony FE Autofocus: 567 phase detection points, 425 contrast detection points Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 1,440,000 dots resolution Max burst speed: 10fps Video: 4K User level: Professional specifications Storage Size 64GB Colour Black HDR HDR Read more ▼ Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Swift and sophisticated AF + Superb results from sensor provided Reasons to avoid - Limited touchscreen capability - Battery life could be better
Sony certainly isn't one to do things by halves when it comes to new camera technology. Jumping to a huge 63MP, there are few full-frame cameras (mirrorless or otherwise) that boast this kind of resolution. Images are output at a still-bonkers 61MP, while Sony claims that the camera can deliver up to 15EV stops of dynamic range from the sensor.
You also get useful functions such as image stabilization incorporated into the body, which gives you 5.5EV stops of compensation along with Pixel Shift Multi Shooting to create even higher resolution images. Rounding out the spec sheet we have 4K video recording, a superb electronic viewfinder, and a useful tilting touch-sensitive screen. Ultimately, if you want the best of the best – this is the one to go for. If the budget is tighter but you still crave high resolution, keep an eye on the prices of the Sony A7R III, which still gives you 42.2MP.
Read our in-depth Sony A7R IV review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
3. Sony ZV-1 The best compact vlogging camera around Specifications Type: Compact Sensor size: 1-inch Resolution: 20.1MP Effective focal length: 24-70mm Viewfinder: None Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 0.921-million dots Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Max movie resolution: 4K 30p Size, weight: 105.5 x 60.0 x 43.5 mm, 294g specifications Colour Black, White HDR HDR Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) View at Sweetwater Sound (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Class-leading autofocus + Hot-shoe and mic input Reasons to avoid - Average video stabilization - Limited touchscreen
Simply the best compact vlogging camera on the market, the Sony ZV-1 puts a powerful video option in your pocket. Borrowing the best bits from the RX100 series, it pairs a capable 1-inch sensor with a class-leading autofocus system. Sony’s Real-time Tracking and Eye AF systems mean you can reliably shoot high-quality footage while locked-on to your subject, while the bright 24-70mm lens is capable of creating lovely background blur. Image stabilization is less impressive, but it’s passable for walking and talking.
A hot-shoe, 3.5mm microphone input and flip-out LCD display all enhance the ZV-1’s versatility for vloggers – and while the touchscreen menu isn’t the easiest to use, that’s balanced by an arsenal of features. To compliment its crisp, detailed 4K/30p footage, the ZV-1 offers a useful built-in ND filter, plus all of Sony’s picture profiles, including HLG. Its compact size naturally results in some compromises: there’s no headphone port or viewfinder, and battery life isn’t the best. All the same, the Sony ZV-1 packs more power and video features than any other pocket camera.
Read our in-depth Sony ZV-1 review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
4. Sony A7S III Sony's best camera for video shooters Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor Size: Full Frame Resolution: 12.1MP Lens: Sony E Viewfinder: 9.44MP EVF Monitor: 1.44m-dot articulating screen Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps Movies: 4K at 120fps User level: Intermediate / expert specifications Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Walmart (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Impressive low light skills + Fully articulating touchscreen Reasons to avoid - Pricey - Less well-suited for stills
A favorite among videographers and well-heeled YouTubers, the Sony A7S III is the best video camera outside of its cinema range. Its main aim is to be the best 4K camera you can buy, and it achieves this by keeping its resolution low and avoiding the temptation of moving up to 8K. Along with superb video quality, you also get the option of 4K/120fps for slo-mo sequences, plus the ability to shoot 16-bit raw via its full-size HDMI port.
It's a fun camera to use, too, thanks to its incredibly high-resolution, 9.44-million dot OLED viewfinder, plus a fully-articulating screen with a much-improved touch menu system. As you'd expect for a pro-level camera, the A7S III's audio options are also strong, with headphone and microphone ports, plus compatibility with the XLR-K3M hot-shoe accessory from Sony for up to four audio inputs. It's certainly pricey, but the Sony A7S III remains the best at what it does.
Read our in-depth Sony A7S III review (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)
5. Sony Alpha A6600 An APS-C flagship to compete with the best Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 24.2MP Lens mount: Sony E Autofocus: 425 phase detection AF points, 169 contrast detection AF points Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 921,000 dots resolution User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Capably swift AF + Respectable buffer capacity Reasons to avoid - Battery life is average, - No headphone port
Cameras like the A6600 prove that Sony very much still cares about its APS-C range, which is largely aimed at hobbyist photographers and vloggers. You get a 24.2MP sensor, which is paired with an A9-level BIONZ X processor, which supports useful features like 11fps shooting and 4K video recording. There's also a very nifty 425-point phase-detect AF system, with help from Real-time Tracking, Real-time Eye AF, and Animal Eye AF, which is the best around at this price point.
Where the A6600 diverts from the cheaper models in the Sony APS-C line-up is the inclusion of five-axis, sensor-based image stabilization, a headphone jack (along with a microphone port) as well HDR video, and Real Time AF for movies. There's also a better viewfinder and a high-capacity battery that delivers (at least) 720 frames according to its CIPA rating. You do of course pay the price for all this exciting technology – the A6600 still doesn't come cheap, despite arriving in late 2019 – so if you're struggling to justify the cost, take a look at the A6400 instead.
Read our in-depth Sony Alpha A6600 review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
6. Sony A1 Astonishing performance – if you can afford it Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full-frame CMOS Megapixels: 50.1MP Lens: Interchangeable Autofocus: 759-point phase-detection, 425-point contrast detection Screen type: 2.95-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,440,000-dot resolution Max burst speed: 30fps Video: 8K/30p User level: Expert specifications Storage Size 128GB Screen Size 80-inch Colour Black Read more ▼ Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Blisteringly quick AF and burst + 8K raw video Reasons to avoid - Prohibitively expensive - Complicated menu system
With a rare blend of speed, resolution, and video skills, the flagship Sony A1 is arguably the ultimate mirrorless camera. The downside? Its performance comes with an equally breathtaking price tag that makes it overkill for all but the wealthiest of photographers. If you can afford it, though, the A1 is probably the most versatile professional camera ever made: lightning-fast AF, super speedy burst shooting, top-end connectivity, and a supremely detailed 50.1MP full-frame sensor mean it’s as useful for shooting portraits as it is for sports.
Not only can it capture detail-rich images at up to 30fps, courtesy of the dual Bionz XR processors, but it’s also capable of recording video at up to 8K at 30fps in 10-bit 4:2:0, or 4K at 120/60fps in 10-bit 4:2:2. And if you’re familiar with Sony’s full-frame mirrorless range, you’ll find the A1 is very familiar in the hand, with a build and handling that borrows the best bits from the A7 and A9 series cameras. If money is no object and you’re a pro who shoots a wide range of subjects, this camera can do it all.
Read our in-depth Sony A1 review (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)
7. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII A premium compact that's still unrivaled Specifications Type: Compact Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS Megapixels: 20.1MP Lens: 24-200mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 zoom Autofocus: 399 phase detection points, 425 contrast detection points Screen type: Tilting 3-inch LCD, 921,000 dots resolution Max burst speed: 24fps Video: 4K User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black Screen Type OLED Condition New Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Moment (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Built-in electronic viewfinder + 24fps burst capture option Reasons to avoid - Expensive - Limited touchscreen operation
Incredibly, we're now on the seventh iteration of Sony RX100 series, but when you consider just how popular the line has been over the years, it's not hard to see why. These models are traditionally very expensive, but give you the best image quality that it's possible to stuff in a pocket. The last two versions of the RX100 have seen a longer lens than ever before – and it's the same for the RX100 VII, with a 24-200mm optic reappearing from the RX100 VI.
We've also got a tilt-up touch-sensitive screen, plus an electronic viewfinder that can be pushed into the camera's body for sleekness when you don't need it. Sony likes to show off exactly what it can do with its latest technology, and to that end, we've got a frankly ridiculous 90fps burst speed (a much more reasonable 20fps gives you full AF/AE tracking). Other improvements come in the form of tweaks to video performance – including adding a mic input socket. If you don't need the absolute latest technology, it's worth looking back through the previous models to find an RX100 that matches your budget, such as the RX100 Mark V (ranked at number 10 on our list).
Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
8. Sony A6100 A fine mirrorless camera for beginners and hobbyists alike Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor size: APS-C Resolution: 24.2MP Lens: Sony E-mount Viewfinder: EVF Screen type: 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,600 dots Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps (mechanical) Movies: 4K User level: Beginner specifications Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Excellent tracking autofocus + Compact yet feature-packed Reasons to avoid - Takes time to understand capabilities - Relatively low-res LCD and EVF
Sony's A6000 was a hugely popular model for beginner photographers. We had to wait for a while, but we were finally treated to an upgrade in August 2019 in the shape of the A6100. It's a big evolution of the concept, with a 24.2MP sensor, Bionz X processor, and impressively swift 11fps burst shooting. There's also a three-inch tilting LCD screen and a very usable electronic viewfinder. The A6100's calling card, though, compared to other APS-C cameras at this price point, is its autofocus. It uses the same system as the Sony A6600 (see above) which means excellent continuous tracking skills.
You also get 4K video, as well as some impressive features from elsewhere in Sony's range, such as Eye-AF. Battery life is also solid and the tilting screen is touch-sensitive, though sadly with Sony's slightly convoluted, older menu system. If you don't need the latest tech, it's still worth considering the A6000, but as a great all-rounder for a wide range of different subjects, the A6100 is a great choice for newbies.
Read our in-depth Sony A6100 review
Image Credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)
9. Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV This class-leading bridge camera doesn't come cheap Specifications Type: Bridge camera / super zoom Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS Megapixels: 20.1MP Lens: 24-600mm equivalent, f/2.4-4 zoom Autofocus: 315 point phase detection AF Screen type: Tilting 3-inch LCD, 1.44 million dots resolution Max burst speed: 24fps Video: 4K User level: Enthusiast specifications Storage Size 64GB Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Superb stills and video quality + High quality EVF and tilting LCD Reasons to avoid - Bulky and heavy - AF slow at long focal lengths
If your budget can stretch to it, the RX10 IV is without a doubt the best bridge camera on the market right now – and not just within the Sony brand. You get a 24-600mm equivalent zoom, which is coupled with a very capable one-inch sensor. The setup is fairly bulky, but compared to carting around a camera and a slew of lenses, it's a decent option for traveling photographers who need something for all kinds of situations.
As well as fantastic stills quality, you also get superb video recording too. On top of that, you get a touch-sensitive screen, plus an excellent EVF and generally very good handling. The five-axis image stabilization comes in handy when using that long lens, even if there is a slight hint of vignetting at the far edges of the frame. You can shoot both raw files and JPEGs, while a full complement of shooting options are available for keen photographers. It's bulky and expensive, but for sheer versatility it's hard to beat the RX10 Mark IV.
Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
10. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 Mark V / VA A compact powerhouse with plenty of pace Specifications Type: Compact Sensor: 1-inch CMOS Megapixels: 20.1MP Lens: 24-70mm (2.9x optical zoom), f1.8-2.8 Autofocus: 315-point phase-detection, 25-point contrast detection Screen type: 3.0-inch, 1,228,800-dot resolution Max burst speed: 24fps Video: 4K/30p HD User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + 24fps burst shooting + Excellent image quality Reasons to avoid - No touchscreen - Handling quirks
When it launched in 2017, the Sony RX100 Mark V was one of the most advanced premium compacts on the market. With a 1-inch CMOS sensor, 4K/30p video capture and 24fps burst shooting, it redefined pocketable performance. Then in 2018, Sony increased its buffer, improved its Eye AF and subject-tracking performance, upgraded its processor and introduced a range of firmware tweaks to create the Mark VA.
What didn’t change was the limited 2.9x optical zoom range, the missing touchscreen or the lack of a decent handgrip – but the RX100 Mark VA still represents a very capable and versatile compact, and better value than ever. Image quality is excellent, with detail only really dipping above ISO800, and dynamic range is impressive. The tilting screen is clear and useful, even without a touch interface, while the understated metal shell still feels slick. If you can look past its shortcomings, the RX100 Mark V continues to offer outstanding performance in a very convenient package.
Read our in-depth Sony RX100 Mark V review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Future)
11. Sony Alpha A6400 A familiar mirrorless model with top-class autofocus Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: APS-C Megapixels: 24.2MP Lens: Interchangeable Autofocus: 425-point phase-detection, 425-point contrast-detection Screen type: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921,000-dot resolution Max burst speed: 11fps Video: 4K/30p User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black HDR HDR Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Walmart (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Advanced autofocus + Solid video specs Reasons to avoid - No IBIS - No headphone port
Virtually identical to the A6300 before it, the Sony A6400 in many ways represents a minor upgrade. Sure, it gains a flip-out touchscreen and a faster BIONZ X processor, but it also retains some of its predecessor’s shortcomings – notably the lack of in-body image stabilization. But it’s the addition of an advanced autofocus system that really sets the A6400 apart from the mid-range mirrorless pack: touted as the world’s fastest autofocus in 2019, speeds of 0.02 sec remain impressive in 2021 – as do the A6400’s Real-time Tracking smarts.
Deploying a sophisticated subject-recognition algorithm, the A6400 locks and tracks subjects with accurate, speedy ease, backed up by automatic face- and eye-detection. Video specs are solid, too, with 4K video capture (using 6K oversampling) at 100Mbps, plus support for log2. There’s no headphone port, but you do get a mic input, while the E-mount unlocks plenty of lens possibilities. Provided the price is right and you can do without IBIS, the A6400 remains a tempting proposition – especially as it becomes more affordable.
Read our in-depth Sony Alpha A6400 review
Image Credit: Sony
12. Sony Cyber-shot WX220 A neat, all-rounder compact for those on a budget Specifications Type: Compact Sensor: 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS Megapixels: 18.2MP Lens: 25-250mm (10x optical zoom), f3.3-5.9 Autofocus: Contrast detection AF Screen type: 2.7-inch, 460,800 dot resolution Max burst speed: 10fps Video: Full HD User level: Beginner Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Compact yet boasts a 10x zoom + Built-in Wi-Fi Reasons to avoid - Lacks a grip or thumb rest - Some image smearing
While compact cameras face increasingly stiff competition from premium smartphones, one area that compact cameras such as the WX220 still have the edge is with zoom range. This camera marries a useful 18.2MP resolution with a 1/2.3-inch sensor and a 10x optical zoom.
The screen is small and isn't touch sensitive, but for an affordable, pocket-friendly camera, it's good for chucking in a bag for family vacations and trips. Video here is Full HD, rather than 4K, which is another compromise these days, but if cost and portability is your main concern, it remains a good choice.
Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot WX220 review (opens in new tab)
(Image credit: Techradar)
13. Sony A9 II A rapid full-frame option for photographers in the field Specifications Type: Mirrorless Sensor: Full-frame CMOS Megapixels: 24.2MP Lens: Interchangeable Autofocus: 693-point phase-detection, 425-point contrast detection Screen type: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,440,000-dot resolution Max burst speed: 20fps Video: 4K/30p User level: Enthusiast/Expert specifications Colour Black Condition New, Refurbished Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Superb AF performance + Next-gen connectivity Reasons to avoid - Fiddly menu system - Limited touchscreen
It might look like an incremental upgrade to its predecessor, but the 43 little tweaks made to the Sony A9 II add up to a significant improvement. In the hand, the only major change is a larger, deeper grip that makes it more comfortable to hold for hours on end. Under the hood, the A9 II can shoot twice as fast with its mechanical shutter, while the upgraded Ethernet port is ten times quicker for transferring files. In fact, connectivity has been boosted across the board, with USB-C and upgraded Wi-Fi catering to users for whom speed is of the essence – think sports photographers and photojournalists.
This second-gen mirrorless model also gets a slightly beefier battery, as well as image stabilization that’s better by half a stop. Dynamic range can’t match Sony’s top-end models, and its thunder has been somewhat stolen by the Sony A1, but with fast, reliable eye-detect autofocus, along with excellent ISO performance and sharp, detailed results from the full-frame sensor, the Sony A9 II still shapes up as an efficient, effective tool for photographers in the field.
Read our in-depth Sony Alpha A9 II review (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Sony (Image credit: Sony)
14. Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II Now in its second generation, this action cam is worth investigation Specifications Type: Compact / action cam Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS Megapixels: 15.3MP Lens: 24mm equivalent, f/4.0 Autofocus: Contrast detection AF Screen type: Tilting LCD, 230,400 dots resolution Max burst speed: 16fps Video: 4K User level: Enthusiast specifications Colour Black Condition New Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Crutchfield (opens in new tab) View at Best Buy (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Compact and tough construction + Large 1-inch sensor Reasons to avoid - Boringly box design - Expensive
With the claim of being the world's smallest and lightest premium camera, this diminutive second-generation one-inch sensor based model now boasts the ability to shoot 4K video. As well as being super small, it's also waterproof and crushproof – putting it squarely in action camera territory.
Alongside the 15.3MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor, you get a Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens, plus a 1/32000 second shutter speed and 16fps shooting. Other useful features include Eye AF, a tiltable LCD screen and a Soft Skin Effect Mode. Finally, the fact that the kit version comes complete with a nifty VCT-SGR1 shooting grip for extra stabilization is something we really like. It's not as convenient or affordable as a GoPro Hero 9 Black, but it's quality is right up there with the best action cams.
How we test cameras
(Image credit: Future)
Buying a camera these days is a big investment, so every Sony camera in this guide has been tested extensively by us. These days, real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand a camera's performance and character, so we focus heavily on those, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance.
To start with, we look at the camera's design, handling and controls to get a sense of what kind of photographer it's aimed at and who would most enjoy shooting with it. When we take it out on a shoot, we'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed.
When it comes to performance, we use a formatted UHS-II card (if supported) and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available). For burst shooting tests, we dial in our regular test settings (1/250 sec, ISO 200, continuous AF) and shoot a series of frames in front of a stopwatch to see if it lives up to its claimed speeds. We'll also look at how quickly the buffers clears and repeat the test for both raw and JPEG files.
In various lighting conditions, we also test the camera's different autofocus modes (including Face and Eye AF) in single point, area and continuous modes. We also shoot a range of photos of different styles (portrait, landscape, low light, macro/close-up) in raw and JPEG to get a sense of metering and its sensor's ability to handle noise and resolve fine detail.
If the camera's raw files are supported by Adobe Camera Raw, we'll also process some test images to see how we can push areas like shadow recovery. And we'll also test its ISO performance across the whole range to get a sense of the levels we'd be happy to push the camera to.
Battery life is tested in a real-world fashion, as we use the camera over the course of the day with the screen set to the default settings. Once the battery has reached zero, we'll then count the number of shots to see how it compares to the camera's CIPA rating. Finally, we test the camera's video skills by shooting some test footage at different frame-rates and resolutions, along with its companion app.
We then take everything we've learned about the Sony camera and factor in its price to get a sense of the value-for-money it offers, before reaching our final verdict.
Best Sony lenses (opens in new tab)
Best camera (opens in new tab)
Best compact camera (opens in new tab)
Best mirrorless camera (opens in new tab)
Best full-frame camera (opens in new tab)
The Best Sony Camera for 2022
(Credit: Jim Fisher)
When you buy an interchangeable-lens camera (ILC), it's important to remember that the brand you choose dictates which lenses and accessories you can use. Sony might not be the first brand you look to—Canon and Nikon are more recognizable household names for photo gear, after all—but don't omit Sony from your search.
The company's E-mount mirrorless system offers the widest array of lenses, as well as next-gen autofocus with support for subject recognition and tracking. Sony has been making swappable lens cameras for close to two decades following its 2006 acquisition of Konica Minolta's camera business, and it was the first to market with a full-frame mirrorless body in late 2013.
Sony splits its swappable lens cameras into a few different families. The a6000 series offers consumer-friendly prices and sticks with the APS-C sensor size. It tunes its ZV vlogging cameras so non-pros can get good results. Meanwhile, advanced amateurs and pros with better skill levels can look to the a1, a7, or a9 full-frame series. Finally, video creators should consider the FX cinema line.
All of the company's current swappable lens models use the same E-mount, which means you can share lenses among different camera body styles. Flashes are also cross-compatible, including with some fixed-lens models. And Sony's cameras all use the same Imaging Edge smartphone app (available for Android and iOS) for remote control and wireless transfers, so you won't have to load different apps on your phone.
If you're shopping for a new camera to go with the Sony creative gear you already use, or have decided to jump in with the brand due to its extensive lens selection and Real-time Tracking focus system, read on for our top recommendations.