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The 8 Best Digital Cameras - Spring 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Digital Cameras

There's no shortage of variety in the landscape of digital cameras nowadays, with models designed to cater to a wide array of experience levels, shooting styles, and ergonomic preferences. 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 esoteric models like retro-chic rangefinder-style cameras and bridge cameras with built-in super-zoom lenses. With such a wide variety of models on offer, it should come as no surprise that there's no single best digital camera, but at the very least, there's no better time to find a camera that suits your exact needs and tastes.

We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best digital cameras to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. If you're looking for alternatives, you can take a look at our list of recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras, the best DSLR cameras, and the best compact cameras.


  1. Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

    If you're in the market for a full-frame camera, one of the best digital cameras you can buy outside of higher-end professional models is the Canon EOS R6. Whether you're interested in photography, videography, or both, this mirrorless model is versatile enough to handle a wide range of creative work. Its sturdy, weather-sealed body can also handle heavy use in more adverse conditions.

    Inside is a 20.1-megapixel full-frame sensor with fantastic noise handling at high ISO levels for low-light shooting. It's got a large, high-resolution EVF, as well as a bright fully-articulated screen for video work. It has a robust autofocus system with several different AF area modes, as well as combined face detection and tracking mode and options to help you fine-tune the autofocus performance. Overall, it does a good job keeping moving subjects in focus. The camera also has in-body image stabilization to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld.

    It's also a great option for videographers, giving you several frame rate options to choose from, including 1080p and 4k recording up to 60 fps, though shooting in 4k adds a very slight 1.07x crop to your footage. It also supports 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording to give more advanced videographers greater leeway when processing their footage. However, it suffers from overheating issues when recording at its highest quality settings in 4k, so it's best suited to short-form content that doesn't require long takes or continuous recording.

    See our review

  2. Best Crop-Sensor Mirrorless Camera

    The best crop-sensor mirrorless camera that we've tested is the Fujifilm X-T4. Fujifilm's flagship mirrorless camera uses a high-resolution APS-C sensor and offers excellent performance in both photography and video. Its dedicated exposure dials are great for enthusiasts who want to quickly adjust exposure settings on the fly. It's also relatively portable, feels well-built, and has a weather-sealed body.

    Fujifilm cameras are known for their excellent JPEG colors and 'Film Simulation' profiles that allow you to adjust the look of your photos in-camera, and the X-T4 is no exception, delivering very good image quality right out of the box. It also performs well at high ISO values, with excellent noise handling when shooting in RAW, so you can take photos in more dimly lit conditions or recover shadow detail without introducing too much digital noise. On top of that, it has in-body image stabilization, and it does a fantastic job reducing camera shake when shooting handheld.

    That said, its autofocus system isn't the most reliable. It's a fairly straightforward system, with a few different area modes, including an adjustable zone mode as well as integrated face and eye detection. However, when using the tracking feature, it sometimes loses track of subjects and shifts focus to the background, and it will sometimes detect faces where there are none. While this is underwhelming when compared to the best of the best AF systems, it's still a user-friendly system that can get the job done in most situations.

    See our review

  3. Best Full-Frame DSLR

    The best DSLR camera that we've tested is the Nikon D780. This full-frame DSLR feels robust and well-built. It has a ton of customizable buttons and menu options that you can adjust to suit your shooting preferences, made easy by its highly intuitive menu system. Unlike mirrorless options, it has an optical viewfinder that gives you an unfiltered, lag-free view of your subjects. It also has a small display on top that lets you check settings, battery life, and remaining storage space at a glance.

    The camera delivers amazing overall image quality thanks to its full-frame sensor. It's well-suited to low-light photography since photos have very little visual noise at higher ISO settings. Photos also look sharp out of the box, with a good amount of dynamic range to bring out more detail in high-contrast scenes. It also has a fantastic hybrid autofocus system, borrowing the AF system from the mirrorless Nikon Z 6 for quicker focusing in Live View while maintaining a more traditional DSLR AF system when shooting through the viewfinder.

    That said, this is a heavy, bulky camera, so it's not the best option if you need to travel light. Still, even though it's a hefty camera, its weight is well-distributed and feels good in the hand. Also, while it lacks in-body image stabilization, its Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR kit lens has optical stabilization and does a superb job of minimizing camera shake when taking handheld photos. It's a DSLR that combines the best of the mirrorless and DSLR worlds, making it a fantastic all-around camera and one of the best DSLRs we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Best Crop-Sensor DSLR

    The Canon EOS 90D is the best crop-sensor DSLR that we've tested. Like the Nikon D780 and other DSLRs, it uses an optical viewfinder that gives you a clear, lag-free view through your camera's lens. This APS-C model is compatible with both EF-S and EF lenses, giving you a wide variety of lens options to choose from. It's also very comfortable to shoot with and has a highly intuitive menu system that makes configuring settings a breeze.

    The camera has a high-resolution 32.5-megapixel sensor that yields detailed photos with a lot of dynamic range, giving you more flexibility to crop photos in without losing sharpness or detail. It also has a very good autofocus, and although it doesn't cover the very edges of the frame when shooting through the viewfinder, it still does a good job of accurately tracking and keeping moving faces in focus when taking photos or shooting video. The camera also has a fully articulated screen to help you shoot from different angles or record vlogs.

    That said, its high ISO performance isn't quite as competitive as some mirrorless alternatives. It's still okay in dim lighting, but you're better off shooting at moderate and lower ISOs to avoid introducing too much digital noise. It's also fairly heavy and bulky, making it less suitable for travel or for those who simply prefer a lighter kit when on the go. Still, if you're interested in a DSLR, this is one of the best crop-sensor DSLRs that we've tested.

    See our review

  5. Best Digital Camera For Beginners

    The best digital camera that we've tested for beginners is the Nikon Z 50. This entry-level mirrorless camera uses an APS-C sensor and feels very comfortable to shoot with. It has a highly intuitive menu system with a guide mode to explain settings to new users and well-spaced controls with a comfortable handgrip. It's also fairly lightweight and relatively portable.

    Overall, it delivers impressive image quality with a good amount of dynamic range, which helps take photos of landscapes or other high-contrast scenes. It has great noise handling capability at higher ISO levels, meaning it's fairly well-suited to shooting in low light despite its sensor size. It also shoots at a quick 10 fps in its high-speed continuous shooting mode, so you can take bursts of fast action, though it has a long buffer empty time if you manage to fill up its photo buffer.

    Unfortunately, its autofocus system lags behind some competitors. While it supports eye detection and has 209 advertised focus points, it only does an okay job keeping moving subjects in focus. It also lacks in-body image stabilization, but its optically stabilized kit lens does a good job of reducing camera shake when taking photos handheld. Overall, this is a well-designed and fairly well-rounded entry-level camera, making it a good choice for beginners.

    See our review

  6. DSLR Alternative

    If you prefer the ergonomics and lens options of DSLR cameras, consider the Canon EOS Rebel T8i. It's heavier than the Nikon Z 50, and it has worse high ISO performance for low-light photography, but it has a lag-free optical viewfinder and a fully articulated screen. You also have more native lenses to choose from, from Canon's EF and EF-S mount lineups. While its overall image quality isn't as impressive, it still delivers very good image quality out of the box. It also has a consistent autofocus system, but its focus points are clustered in the center of the frame when shooting through the viewfinder, and you can only track subjects at the edges of the frame when using Live View. Its video features are also much more limited. On the upside, Canon's menu system is intuitive and easy to navigate, and it includes a guide mode to explain certain features to novice users.

    Get the Nikon if you want a lightweight camera that performs better in low light and for video. If you want more lens options and prefer to shoot with an optical viewfinder, the Canon is a great alternative for beginners.

    See our review

  7. Best Compact Digital Camera

    The best compact digital camera that we've tested is the Fujifilm X100V. This rangefinder-style compact has a unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder that's offset from the lens, giving you an uninterrupted view of your subjects and encouraging you to engage more with your surroundings. Its built-in lens has a fixed 35mm equivalent focal length, suitable for a wide range of photography, from street and travel photography to landscapes.

    It uses the same X-Trans 4 APS-C sensor that you can find on some of Fujifilm's interchangeable-lens models like the flagship Fujifilm X-T4, and it delivers excellent overall image quality. Photos have a good amount of dynamic range and the camera has impressive RAW noise handling capability at higher ISO settings, meaning it can capture relatively noise-free photos in more dimly-lit conditions. Its autofocus system is also fairly reliable and does a decent job tracking moving subjects for photos.

    That said, the camera has a somewhat limited battery life, especially when recording a lot of video, which drains the battery more quickly. It also tends to overheat and shut down when recording 4k video continuously. On the upside, you can keep using it while it charges via USB. Overall, this is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras we've tested, thanks to its amazing image quality and unique design.

    See our review

  8. Alternative With Optical Zoom

    If you'd prefer a compact camera with a zoom lens, check out the Sony RX100 VII. It doesn't perform as well in low light as the Fujifilm X100V and has slightly worse image quality overall due to its smaller 1-inch sensor, but it's even more compact and has a built-in zoom lens. Its lens has a max 200mm full-frame equivalent focal length, so you can take wider angle shots or zoom in on subjects that are farther away. It also has a remarkable autofocus system that reliably keeps moving subjects in focus, whether taking photos or shooting video. That said, it's not as comfortable to use since it lacks a handgrip and has a more convoluted menu system. It has a disappointing battery life and suffers similar overheating issues, depending on settings and usage.

    Get the Fujifilm if you prioritize image quality and like the idea of an optical rangefinder. If you need a point-and-shoot camera with a zoom lens, the Sony is a great alternative.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon EOS M50 Mark II: The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a solid alternative to the Nikon Z 50 that's even more affordable, but its 4k video performance is notably worse, and it doesn't perform quite as well in low light. See our review
  • Nikon D3500: The Nikon D3500 is a crop-sensor DSLR perfect for new users thanks to its simple ergonomic setup and extensive guide mode for novice users. It has a fixed screen that isn't touch-sensitive, and it isn't capable of shooting 4k video. See our review
  • Nikon Z 6II: The Nikon Z 6II is a highly versatile full-frame mirrorless camera representing a good alternative to the Canon EOS R6 thanks to its slightly better build quality, higher-resolution viewfinder, superior battery performance, and faster buffer clearing time. However, it isn't quite as comfortable to use, and its maximum shooting speed of 13 fps falls slightly behind that of the Canon. See our review
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-S5: The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is a full-frame mirrorless camera representing a great alternative to the Canon EOS R6. It has a wide range of advanced video features, including Log profile shooting and 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth internal recording capability. Its maximum continuous shooting speed isn't as fast as the Canon, and its image quality isn't as sharp or as low in noise. See our review
  • PENTAX K-3 Mark III: The PENTAX K-3 Mark III delivers fantastic image quality and low light performance for an APS-C DSLR camera. However, it's very expensive and probably isn't worth the price for most people, compared to more affordable options. See our review
  • Sony α7 III: The Sony α7 III is a full-frame mirrorless camera that's smaller and lighter than the Canon EOS R6 but feels better built and offers superior battery performance. Its max continuous shooting speed is much slower, and it can't record 10-bit 4:2:2 video without using an external recorder. See our review
  • Sony α6400: The Sony α6400 is a crop-sensor mirrorless camera with a remarkably effective autofocus system. It's more comfortable to use than the Fujifilm X-T4 but offers inferior battery performance and lacks in-body image stabilization. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Feb 09, 2022: Reviewed article for clarity and accuracy with no change to recommendations.

  2. 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.

  3. Dec 15, 2021: Reviewed picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.

  4. Nov 18, 2021: Ensured that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories; no change to recommendations.

  5. Oct 19, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.

All Reviews

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.

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