While advanced video features are all the rage on cameras these days, photography is still the bread and butter of most consumer cameras. Whether you're looking for the perfect camera to document your travel adventures, a model that can capture beautiful landscapes, or a fast camera to keep up with sports and wildlife, there's no shortage of options out there, including many that are well-rounded enough to suit all manner and styles of photography. What's most important is choosing a camera that fits your needs, budget, and ergonomic preferences.
It's worth noting that a camera's overall performance can vary drastically depending on the lens you use. As a general rule, it's better to invest in a less expensive camera body and higher-quality lenses than to invest in an expensive camera body and cheap lenses.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best digital cameras for photography. If you're looking for something more specific, you can also check out our recommendations for the best cameras for wildlife photography, the best cameras for landscape photography, or the best cameras for low-light photography.
The Canon EOS R6 is the best all-around camera we've tested for photography. It's the more affordable cousin to the flagship pro-grade Canon EOS R5, and it has plenty to offer for hobbyists and pros alike. Built like a tank, this thing is sturdy and weather-sealed. It also has a nice large viewfinder and a fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles.
While it doesn't have the highest megapixel count among its peers—consider the 33-megapixel Sony α7 IV if you want a higher-resolution camera at a similar price—the R6's sensor is still more than capable of capturing capture stunning, high-quality photos, and it's among the best we've tested for low-light situations. Top it off with an excellent autofocus system and burst shooting at up to 12 fps (or 20 fps using the electronic shutter), and you've got a highly versatile camera that can do everything from high-contrast landscapes to indoor portraiture to wildlife action shots.
If the Canon EOS R6 is out of your budget, the Sony α7 III is an older model that's still well worth it today. Though it's been superseded by the more video-capable Sony α7 IV, the a7 III is a mainstay for a reason and remains one of the best cameras for photographers for its price. It has plenty to offer, including a still-competitive autofocus system, 10 fps burst shooting, and one of the longest-lasting batteries you'll find on a mirrorless camera. You lose out on weather sealing, touch navigation, and Sony's new-and-improved menu system. However, these are small prices to pay for a camera that still holds up remarkably well to newer competition with image quality.
If you're looking for slightly better build quality and ergonomics, stretching your budget a little will nab you the Nikon Z 6II, a worthy competitor if you can live with shorter battery life and fewer lens options. The Fujifilm X-T4 is another fantastic all-arounder in this price range, with style for days and a more portable body, though that size comes at the cost of image quality because of its smaller APS-C sensor.
The best mid-range camera we've tested for photography is the Nikon Z 50. Unlike most of our higher-end picks, this camera uses an APS-C sensor, which indirectly influences the camera's depth of field and low-light capability. Unless you're a pro or enthusiast, a crop sensor will still be enough to get you high-quality images, and you get the upside of generally cheaper lenses and more portability.
It's also one of the most well-built and comfortable entry-level cameras we've tested, with a weather-sealed body and generous handgrip. It has a large viewfinder, giving you a clear view of your subject, and a highly intuitive user interface. Battery life isn't amazing, however, so if you'd prefer a longer-lasting battery, the Sony α6400 has you covered. The Sony also has slightly better autofocus, but its ergonomics and user interface leave much to be desired.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is one of the best all-around budget cameras for most people. It's a versatile starter camera for photography, and it's super lightweight and portable, with simple controls and a large fully-articulated screen. The biggest downside of the M50 is a more limited selection of lenses. Since Canon has shifted focus to producing new RF-mount cameras like the Canon EOS R10, we're also unlikely to see any new M-mount lenses. However, you can adapt EF lenses for this camera if the native lenses don't suit your needs.
If you want an even smaller kit, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a tad pricier out of the gate but gets you smaller and cheaper Micro Four Thirds lenses with plenty of options to choose from. It also has in-body image stabilization to help you capture clear handheld shots at slower shutter speeds. If you don't mind the smaller sensor, it's an excellent alternative for photographers on a budget.
If you thought high-quality photography was reserved only for large interchangeable-lens cameras, think again. The Fujifilm X100V proves that point-and-shoots still have something to offer in the age of smartphone photography. This premium compact camera has the same 26-megapixel APS-C sensor found on flagship models like the Fujifilm X-T4. Its design also hearkens back to vintage rangefinder cameras, with a hybrid electronic/optical viewfinder offset from the center of the body. As if that wasn't enough, the package is tied together by an excellent 35mm-equivalent prime lens, a fairly versatile focal length for a range of photography styles.
It isn't the smallest point-and-shoot, but it's compact enough for travel or street photography. If you need something smaller, the Sony RX100 VII is a great, more portable alternative. It even has a zoom lens if you prefer to have a bit more flexibility with framing. However, it uses a smaller one-inch sensor, so image quality isn't as good as the Fuji. If you're after portability and image quality, the RICOH GR III is a street photographer's dream and another worthy alternative—as long as you don't mind giving up a viewfinder and tilting screen.
Jan 18, 2023: Reviewed accuracy of article, with small adjustments to text for readability.
Dec 19, 2022: Removed the Canon EOS RP from Notable Mentions and brushed up text for clarity.
Nov 25, 2022: Renamed the Fujifilm X100V to 'Best Point-And-Shoot Camera For Photography'.
Oct 28, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy and clarity. No changes to picks.
Aug 25, 2022: Overhauled article to better reflect user needs and market trends. Also removed irrelevant Notable Mentions and touched up intro for clarity.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best digital cameras for photography for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our camera reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.