Digital cameras can come in all shapes and sizes, 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, mirrorless models with cutting-edge autofocus systems and video features, 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. We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best digital cameras to buy. In this article, we focus primarily on interchangeable-lens cameras, but if you're looking for a fixed-lens camera, you can check out our picks for the best point-and-shoot cameras or the best bridge cameras. And if you're just starting photography, 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 4k video cameras we've tested.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is the best hybrid enthusiast camera that we've tested. It's an excellent all-arounder that can do almost anything you need. Image quality is fantastic, and it has a highly effective autofocus system with sophisticated AF subject detection and tracking. Quick burst shooting at up to 40 fps with its electronic shutter makes it a great choice for sports and action photography. On top of that, it has a high-res EVF, in-body image stabilization (IBIS), and a well-built weather-sealed body, along with advanced video specs for budding filmmakers and content creators.
That said, lens selection isn't nearly as wide as competitors like Sony, which has more third-party options available for its E-mount. If you'd prefer more lens options, the Sony α7 IV is right up there with the R6 Mark II and has an even higher resolution sensor. However, it has a slower max burst rate and can only record 4k / 60 fps with a significant crop.
If cameras like the Canon EOS R6 Mark II or the Sony α7 IV are out of your price range, the Nikon Z 6II is a fantastic upper mid-range choice. Its video specs aren't as impressive as those heavy hitters since it's limited to 8-bit internal recording, which doesn't give you as much leeway when color-grading and processing your footage. However, it's right up there for photography, with a fantastic full-frame sensor and excellent ergonomics. It's also a very well-built camera with a weather-sealed body to give you peace of mind when shooting in adverse weather conditions.
While the Z 6II is versatile enough for all kinds of photography, it's especially well-suited to capturing sports and wildlife, thanks to a very quick 14 fps burst rate and an excellent autofocus system. It's not as seamless and reliable as the AF on the Sony above, but it's more than capable of getting the job done. That said, lens options are still a bit limited for the Z-mount, especially compared to Sony's E-mount, but if you're looking for a well-rounded full-frame camera in this price range, you won't be disappointed with the Z 6II.
While higher-end full-frame cameras like those mentioned above will get you the best image quality, APS-C options are a great way for novice and intermediate users to save a bit of money, and the Canon EOS R7 is one of the most capable crop-sensor cameras you can get in this price range. In many ways, it's similar to the Canon EOS R6 Mark II mentioned above but uses a high-resolution APS-C sensor instead of a full-frame sensor. That means a slight trade-off in low-light capability, but it's a bit more portable and still has plenty to offer.
With in-body image stabilization, super reliable autofocus, and very fast burst shooting, this is one of the most versatile crop sensor cameras on the market. It also has a very solid battery life for a mirrorless model and excellent video specs. However, like its full-frame sibling, lens selection is still somewhat limited. That said, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a powerful all-arounder without the bulk and price tag of a full-frame camera.
If the Canon EOS R7's price is still too steep, the Nikon Z 50 is a great entry-level option, especially if you can live without features like IBIS and internal 10-bit video recording. Like the Nikon Z 6II, it has amazing ergonomics with a generous handgrip, a nice viewfinder, and well-placed controls. It's also relatively portable but not so small as to feel uncomfortable in the hand. 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 photography.
If you want more lens options, the Sony α6400 is also a great mid-range option with an even better autofocus system. However, the Sony camera's ergonomics and unintuitive user interface make it less accessible to beginners. As far as mid-range options go, you can't go wrong with either, especially if you're just getting started with photography, but the better handling and color science on the Nikon make it our preferred option at this price point.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best budget cameras we've tested. With a Micro Four Thirds sensor that makes it highly portable, this is a great little camera with lots to offer, especially for beginners. It's one of the few cameras at this price point to have five-axis in-body image stabilization, which is great for stabilizing vlogs or shooting at slower shutter speeds handheld.
On top of that, you get simple, easy-to-use controls, solid image quality, and plenty of lens options. Those lenses will also be a lot smaller than larger-sensor cameras, making this an awesome choice for travelers and adventurers who want to capture fleeting moments on the go. If low-light performance is a priority, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is even cheaper and has a bigger APS-C sensor, but lens options are limited, and it doesn't offer IBIS.
Cheap interchangeable-lens cameras are hard to come by when buying new ones, but the simple Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D is a solid DSLR that won't break the bank. Unlike the cameras mentioned above, it doesn't have as many bells and whistles, like 4k video capability or a tilting screen. However, it's even cheaper than the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, and it's still a modern digital camera with a high-res sensor that can take great photos.
DSLRs also have an advantage in battery life, as well as plenty of affordable lens options, making it easy to upgrade your kit as your skills grow. The simple control layout and user interface make it accessible to newcomers, though it has a more basic autofocus system than any of the mirrorless options above. Still, if you're looking for a new interchangeable-lens digital camera for cheap, this is a great option.
May 04, 2023: Verified accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.
Apr 05, 2023: Added the Canon EOS R7 as the 'Best Mid-Range Digital Camera' and moved the Nikon Z 50 down to 'Best Lower Mid-Range Digital Camera'.
Mar 03, 2023: Replaced the Sony a7 IV with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II as the 'Best Digital Camera'; also added the Canon EOS R6 to Notable Mentions and removed the Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5.
Feb 01, 2023: Moved the Fujifilm X-T4 to Notable Mentions and replaced it with the Nikon Z 6II as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Digital Camera'. Also replaced the Canon EOS M50 Mark II with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as the 'Best Budget Digital Camera'.
Jan 06, 2023: Removed the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 and added a link to 'Best Bridge Cameras' in the article's intro.
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.