There's no shortage of variety in the landscape of digital cameras nowadays, with models designed to cater to a wide range of budgets and experience levels. These include conventional DSLR cameras with familiar ergonomics and large lens ecosystems, smaller mirrorless models with cutting-edge autofocus systems, and pocket-friendly point-and-shoots, not to mention more niche models like retro-chic rangefinder-style cameras and bridge cameras with built-in super-zoom lenses. With such a wide range of cameras, it can be hard to narrow down your options.
Thankfully, we've done some of that work for you. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best digital cameras to buy, narrowed down from over 75 cameras that we bought and tested. In this article, we focus primarily on interchangeable-lens cameras. But if you're looking for a fixed-lens camera, you can check out the best point-and-shoot cameras instead. Or, if you're just starting, you might be better served by our best cameras for beginners. Finally, if you're looking for a camera specifically for video work, you can also check out the best cameras for filmmaking or best cameras for YouTube, for more advanced and more beginner-friendly options, respectively.
The Canon EOS R6 is one of the best cameras we've tested, especially for photographers and those who've already got some Canon glass. It has all the features you'd want in a high-end full-frame camera, from in-body image stabilization (IBIS) to 10-bit 4k video to a robust weather-sealed design. The autofocus on this thing is also fantastic, and you've got a quick 12 fps burst rate (or 20 fps with the electronic shutter) for sports and wildlife shots.
If you're more interested in video, the Sony α7 IV might serve you a bit better. It can also do 10-bit 4k, but it doesn't impose a recording time limit and doesn't suffer from any overheating issues, which the R6 is known to do when recording for longer periods in 4k. You'll also get fantastic photos out of the Sony, but the superior ergonomics of the Canon, along with its faster burst shooting and better IBIS, make it our top pick for most photographers.
If full-frame options like the ones mentioned above are out of your price range, opting for a camera with an APS-C sensor can be a great way to save some money. The Fujifilm X-T4 is hands down one of the best APS-C cameras we've tested. Built around Fujifilm's tried-and-true 26MP sensor and loaded with some excellent video features, this is a great hybrid option if you're looking for a relatively affordable enthusiast-level camera. It's also notably more portable than the Canon EOS R6, but of course, the smaller sensor comes with a trade-off in image quality and dynamic range.
Enthusiasts and film shooters will love the dedicated exposure dials, which make for a shooting experience that's unique among modern mirrorless cameras and give you a bit more control over settings on the fly. Photos look fantastic straight out of the camera thanks to Fuji's film simulation picture profiles, and the camera has a decent AF system as well, though it isn't as reliable as alternatives from Sony and Canon. Top it off with an excellent IBIS system, and you've got a very versatile camera for both photo and video.
While the models we've looked at have fallen into the high-end range, there are also a lot of great options for those who are just starting or are on a tighter budget, and the Nikon Z 50 is one of the best mid-range cameras we've tested. It handles well, with a generous handgrip, a nice viewfinder, and well-placed controls. It's relatively portable but not so small as to feel uncomfortable in the hand, and you can fit it with any of Nikon's Z-series lenses, including higher-end full-frame options, so it's a solid camera to grow with if you're just starting, although lens selection still falls far short of systems like Sony's E-mount.
If you want more lens options, the Sony α6400 is also a great mid-range option with an even better autofocus system, although the Sony ergonomics and difficult-to-navigate user interface make it less intuitive to use. As far as mid-range options go, you can't go wrong with either, especially if you're just starting, but the better handling and colors on the Nikon make it our preferred mid-range option.
If even the Nikon Z 50 is out of your price range, consider a true budget option like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. Short of looking at the used market, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better and more affordable option than the highly popular M50. It's super portable and lightweight, with simple controls and an intuitive menu system. It has a fully articulated screen for vlogs and selfies and a solid viewfinder. Just be aware that lens options are limited, and Canon has shifted its focus to its RF-mount, so we're unlikely to see any new M-series lenses.
If you can live with that, this is still a great little camera with a lot to offer, especially for beginners. If you're new to photography, you might want to consider a beginner DSLR like the Nikon D3500, which includes a unique 'Guide' mode to walk users through the basics. You'll also have more lens options with the Nikon, but you lose out on 4k video and the faster AF system you get with the Canon.
While an interchangeable-lens camera like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II will get you the best image quality and versatility, they're also a big investment, especially when you start factoring in the cost of lenses. A bridge camera like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 can be a great cheap option for the more casual or family shooter. Its small sensor won't get you mind-blowing image quality, but it's fitted with a superzoom lens that's super versatile for shooting close-ups or subjects that are farther away.
It's a simple camera with plenty of shooting modes and can even record 4k video. While the video quality leaves much to be desired, it'll do for home videos and casual use. Bottom line, if you're looking for an SLR-like shooting experience with more zoom range than you can get with a smartphone camera, this model offers a lot of value for its price.
Sep 23, 2022: Overhauled structure and picks for clarity and to better reflect current market conditions.
Feb 09, 2022: Reviewed article for clarity and accuracy with no change to recommendations.
Jan 14, 2022: Renamed the Fujifilm X-T4 as the 'Best Crop-Sensor Mirrorless Camera' and the Canon EOS 90D as the 'Best Crop-Sensor DSLR'. Adjusted category titles for clarity and consistency.
Dec 15, 2021: Reviewed picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.
Nov 18, 2021: Ensured that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories; no change to recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best digital 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 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.