Narrowing down the best cameras in the world is no easy task when there are so many different cameras to choose from. The important thing to remember is that there is no single best camera—only the best camera to suit your particular needs, which depends on your budget, ergonomic preference, shooting habits, and experience level. The good news is that whether you're a beginner looking to buy your first mirrorless or DSLR camera, or a seasoned photographer looking to upgrade to a newer model, there's most certainly a camera out there for you.
It's worth noting that a camera's overall performance can vary drastically depending on what kind of lens you use. Your lens influences the amount of light entering the camera, an image's depth of field, autofocus behavior, and stabilization performance. That's without mentioning the physical aspects of your lens: a larger lens with a longer zoom length and a wider maximum aperture might make it easier to take the kind of photos you want, but it could make your camera more of a hassle to carry around. For the sake of consistency and user-friendliness, we currently test cameras with their standard kit lenses.
We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras to buy for most people. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For more options, look at our recommendations for the best digital cameras, the best mirrorless cameras, and the best DSLR cameras.
The best mirrorless camera we've tested for most people is the Canon EOS R6. This mid-range model from Canon's mirrorless RF-mount lineup feels well-built and incredibly comfortable to use thanks to its large textured handgrip, fully articulated touchscreen, and intuitive menu system. It's also advertised to be weather-sealed against elements like rain and humidity, and it has in-body image stabilization to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld.
The camera uses a 20.1-megapixel full-frame sensor, so it's well-suited to low-light photography in part due to its outstanding RAW noise handling capability, allowing you to shoot at high ISO levels with minimal visual noise. It also delivers fantastic JPEG image quality and has a great dynamic range at its base ISO to bring out a wider range of details. It has an advanced autofocus system with a remarkable 6072 advertised detection points, and it does a good job tracking moving subjects for photos. It also does an excellent job tracking moving subjects in video.
However, the camera is on the bigger and heavier side, so it may not be the most convenient camera to take with you on the go. Its battery performance is also a bit underwhelming, and you can't use it while it's charging. That said, battery life can vary depending on your choice of settings and usage habits. All in all, this camera's well-rounded feature set for both photography and video, as well as its incredible image quality, make it one of the best cameras we've tested.
If you prefer the portability and longer focal reach offered by a crop-sensor camera, take a look at the Fujifilm X-T4. It has inferior low-light performance than the Canon EOS R6 due to its smaller sensor, but it's more affordable and has a more compact body. This flagship model is a versatile stills/video camera that delivers very good image quality and fantastic video quality, particularly in brighter lighting conditions. It has a remarkably effective autofocus system, especially when recording video, and features in-body image stabilization to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld. It's also rated to be weather-sealed, but it doesn't feel as comfortable to use. Still, its dedicated shutter speed and ISO dials make it easy to adjust exposure parameters on the fly, and it has a fully articulated screen to help you shoot from different angles or record vlogs.
Get the Canon if you prioritize low-light performance and prefer a camera with a full-frame sensor, but if you like the smaller size and price point of a crop-sensor camera, consider the Fujifilm.
The Nikon D780 is the best DSLR camera that we've tested. This premium enthusiast-level DSLR has a full-frame sensor and feels very well-built. It's comfortable to shoot with thanks to its large textured handgrip, extensive physical controls, and intuitive menu system, which includes several customization options that you can adjust to your preference. Nikon also has a wide selection of DSLR lenses to suit almost any style of photography.
As for performance, this camera delivers amazing image quality with fantastic noise handling capability, so you can shoot at higher ISO settings in low light without introducing too much visual noise. Its autofocus is quick and effective, doing an excellent job of tracking and keeping moving subjects in focus. While it lacks in-body image stabilization, it does a fantastic job reducing camera shake with its optically stabilized Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G kit lens, which has a long focal length range so you can zoom in a fair amount if needed.
That said, this is also a very heavy and bulky camera, so it's not the best option if you need to travel light. Still, it feels secure and well-balanced with its kit lens. It also has a remarkable battery life that's advertised to last for over 2,200 photos, though battery performance can also vary with settings and usage habits. It also has two SD card slots, so you can have a backup ready to go. Overall, this is one of the best cameras we've tested for those looking for a full-frame DSLR.
If you're looking for something cheaper, then check out the Canon EOS 90D. It's not as well-suited to shooting in low light as the Nikon D780 since it has a smaller APS-C sensor, but it's cheaper, notably lighter, and more portable. It has a highly intuitive menu system and feels very comfortable to use. Overall, it delivers good image quality, though photos look softer and noisier at higher ISOs. It also has a very good autofocus system that effectively tracks moving subjects. That said, it doesn't have in-body image stabilization, though it does an excellent job of reducing camera shake when taking photos handheld. It has good battery life, too, though it doesn't support USB charging. It also only has one SD card slot.
Get the Nikon if you would prefer a full-frame DSLR with better low-light performance. If you want to save some money, the Canon is a great crop-sensor alternative.
If you're looking for a bridge camera that combines the convenience of a built-in lens with the comfort and feel of a DSLR, then the best camera to buy is the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II. While there are higher-end bridge cameras like the Sony RX10 IV, which has a longer focal length and better autofocus, the FZ1000 II has a great battery life, a fully articulated screen, and offers a ton of value for its price.
The camera's built-in lens has a 25-400mm full-frame equivalent focal length, meaning you can take everything from wide-angle landscape shots to close-ups of far-away subjects. It delivers great overall image quality, with a ton of dynamic range to bring out more details in high-contrast scenes. It also has decent noise handling capability at higher ISO settings, though images look softer due to the camera's smaller sensor. It can also shoot photos in 11 fps bursts in its high-speed continuous shooting mode, meaning you can capture bursts of fast movement.
That said, while it has a decent overall autofocus system, it's not the most reliable. It tracks moving objects well for photography, but it can struggle with tracking and keeping moving faces in focus. Its 4k video features are also somewhat limited, as it can only record 4k video at up to 30 fps with a severe crop, and its autofocus performs poorly in 4k. Despite its flaws, though, this is one of the best bridge cameras that we've tested, and it should suit most people's needs.
If you're looking for something compact, the best camera we've tested with a compact body and built-in lens is the Fujifilm X100V. This premium rangefinder-style compact houses a large APS-C sensor, the same 26.2-megapixel X-Trans 4 sensor found in some of Fujifilm's high-end interchangeable lens cameras, meaning it delivers excellent overall image quality and performs relatively well even in low light. It comes with a built-in lens with a fixed full-frame equivalent focal length of 35mm, suitable for a range of photography needs.
The camera has a unique hybrid optical/electronic rangefinder that's offset from the center of the body, so you can maintain an uninterrupted view of your subjects, and you can toggle between the OVF and EVF by simply flicking a switch if, for instance, you want to see preview the final photo through the viewfinder or check how the image would look with a particular 'Film Simulation' profile. The camera also has a good autofocus system with 425 advertised detection points, and it's particularly effective at tracking objects.
Unfortunately, its battery life is somewhat limited, particularly when it comes to video since its tested battery life in video is poor. It may also overheat and shut down when recording 4k video for longer sessions. Its advertised battery life in photos is decent, though, lasting for approximately 350 photos. Battery performance can also vary drastically with different settings and depending on your usage habits. Overall, this is still one of the best compact cameras that we've tested.
If you think a fixed prime lens is too limiting and prefer a point-and-shoot with a zoom lens, check out the Sony RX100 VII. Unlike the Fujifilm X100V, it uses a smaller one-inch sensor, so its overall image quality is a bit worse, and it's not as well-suited to shooting in low light. However, its built-in lens has a 24–200 mm full-frame equivalent focal length, so you can take wider-angle landscape shots or zoom in on subjects that are farther away. While it doesn't have an optical viewfinder, it does have a small pop-up EVF if you prefer to compose shots through a viewfinder, and it's remarkably portable, fitting easily into a pocket or small bag. Its screen can also tilt out or flip-up for selfies. The camera captures photos with excellent image quality and a fantastic dynamic range. It also has an incredibly effective and consistent autofocus system, ensuring that moving subjects stay in focus whether you're taking photos or recording video in 4k or 1080p. That said, it has an even shorter battery life and suffers from similar overheating issues.
Get the Fujifilm if image quality and low-light performance are priorities. If you need a portable camera with a zoom lens, the Sony is a great alternative.
The best action camera that we've tested is the GoPro HERO10 Black. Like its predecessor, this premium action camera is remarkably portable and well-built. It comes with a second front-facing screen that lets you monitor yourself through Live View while vlogging or taking selfies. It's advertised to be waterproof to a depth of 33 ft, and you can easily mount it on any number of compatible action cam rigs and mounts, though it doesn't come with too many accessories in the box.
It does an exceptional job of smoothing out camera shake, thanks to its 'HyperSmooth' digital stabilization feature, though enabling it does incur a noticeable crop. It delivers okay video quality overall, relative to other cameras, but its upgraded processor gives it better low-light performance than previous iterations of the GoPro. It also offers a wide selection of frame rate and resolution options, including 1080p and 2.7k video at up to 240 fps, 4k video at up to 120 fps, and 5.3k video at up to 60 fps.
That said, it doesn't have any inputs or outputs aside from its USB-C port, which you can use to charge it or connect it to a PC. If you want to connect it to an external display over HDMI or attach an external microphone for better audio, you have to buy a GoPro Media Mod at an additional cost. Still, this camera's relatively impressive video quality, fantastic stabilization, and extensive frame rate options make it one of the best cameras for sports video that we've tested.
Nov 19, 2021: Replaced the GoPro HERO9 Black with the GoPro HERO10 Black as 'Best Action Camera'.
Oct 29, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.
Oct 08, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks and updated text for clarity.
Sep 20, 2021: Added the Sony a7C to Notable Mentions.
Aug 30, 2021: Replaced the Sony RX100 VII with the Fujifilm X100V as 'Best Compact Camera' and added the Sony RX100 VII as 'Alternative With Optical Zoom'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cameras 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 US).
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.