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The 4 Best Sony Cameras of 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Sony Cameras

We've tested eight Sony cameras. Sony is a Japanese multinational company that develops and manufactures an enormously wide variety of electronics. Camera-wise, they specialize in mirrorless and compact systems that cater to beginner, enthusiast, and professional users.

Updates

Best Sony Cameras


  1. Best Full Frame Sony Camera

    7.9
    Travel Photography
    8.4
    Landscape Photography
    7.4
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    6.3
    Vlogging
    8.5
    Studio Video
    4.9
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

    The best Sony camera we've tested with a full-frame sensor is the Sony α7 III. It's a well-rounded camera that delivers high-end performance whether you're taking stills or shooting video. It captures incredibly high-quality images that stay sharp and noise-free even at higher ISO levels. It also has fantastic RAW noise handling capability and is well-suited to shooting in low light. It has a superb autofocus system with face detection that smoothly and reliably tracks moving subjects in photography or video. Its video quality is also excellent, with minimal visual noise even in low light. More advanced videographers should also appreciate its full set of inputs and outputs, including headphone and microphone jacks and a clean HDMI output that lets you connect an external recorder without overlays. It also has two SD card slots for additional memory or backup storage. Its battery life is also remarkable and should last through a day of shooting, though this can vary drastically depending on settings and usage habits.

    Unfortunately, it isn't weather-sealed and lacks a fully-articulated screen. Sony's menu system can also be somewhat confusing, and you can't use the camera's touchscreen to navigate it, which is inconvenient. Its 4k capabilities are a little dated now as it can only record in either 24 fps or 30 fps, but the latter incurs a small 1.165x crop. Still, it can record at up to 120 fps in FHD, which is great for capturing fast action or generating smooth slow-motion footage. It's also relatively portable for a full-frame camera, though not as compact as the Sony α7C, which also features a weather-sealed body and a fully-articulated screen if those features are important to you. Despite its shortcomings, the α7 III is still one of the best mirrorless cameras we've tested thanks to its versatile feature set, excellent image and video quality, and remarkable autofocus system.

    See our review

  2. Best APS-C Sony Camera

    8.0
    Travel Photography
    8.0
    Landscape Photography
    7.4
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    7.6
    Vlogging
    8.2
    Studio Video
    6.2
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS

    The best crop-sensor camera that we've tested from Sony is the Sony α6400. This entry-level mirrorless camera sits in between the slightly pricier Sony α6600 and the more beginner-oriented Sony α6100, offering a good middle ground for most users looking to buy an APS-C model. Its low-profile design makes it relatively portable and well-suited to travel photography, and it has a tilting screen that can help you shoot from lower angles or flip all the way up for selfies and vlogs. It also has a good battery life that's advertised to last for about 410 photos on a full charge, though battery performance can also vary with usage habits. Its overall image quality is great, and it even performs well in low light despite having a crop sensor thanks to its good noise handling capability. The camera has a fantastic autofocus system as well, particularly for tracking subjects in video, making it a good choice for vloggers and amateur videographers.

    As with all Sony cameras, its menu system can be difficult to navigate. Unlike the α6600, this model also lacks in-body image stabilization, so you'll have to rely on an optically stabilized lens to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld. On the upside, the Sony E 16-50mm 3.5-5.6/PZ OSS kit lens that we tested the camera with does a good job smoothing out camera shake for photos and 1080p video, though it performs much worse when shooting 4k video. All things considered, though, this is one of the best travel cameras we've tested, and it offers a lot of value for its price.

    See our review

  3. Best Compact Sony Camera

    7.7
    Travel Photography
    8.0
    Landscape Photography
    7.8
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    7.8
    Vlogging
    7.2
    Studio Video
    5.6
    Action Video
    Body Type
    Compact
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    1-inch
    Tested Lens
    Built-In Lens

    The best Sony camera we've tested with a compact fixed-lens design is the Sony RX100 VII. This premium point-and-shoot is incredibly portable with a bright tilting screen to help you shoot from different angles and a small pop-up EVF for those who prefer to shoot through a viewfinder. It can shoot at a remarkably fast 20 fps in its high-speed burst mode to capture quick moments of fast action, and it also features a single burst shooting mode that can capture single bursts of seven photos at speeds of 30 fps, 60 fps, or 90 fps. It delivers excellent overall image quality with a lot of dynamic range, and its autofocus system is incredibly effective at tracking moving subjects and keeping them in focus. It supports eye tracking, and you can configure the subject detection to detect either people or animals. This camera also offers several video frame rate options, including 4k up to 30 fps and Full HD up to 120 fps.

    That said, while video quality is okay overall, and the camera is portable enough for vlogging, it also has a limited battery life and tends to overheat when recording video continuously, particularly when shooting in 4k. For that reason, it's set to a 5-minute recording time limit in 4k by default, though you can disable this in settings if you wish. Although battery life can vary depending on your settings, its tested battery life in video and its advertised battery life in photos are both short, though that's fairly typical of compact cameras. For something that lasts longer and gives you a more comfortable DSLR-like shooting experience, consider the bridge-style Sony RX10 IV. Still, if you're looking for a highly portable camera with an effective autofocus system and dense feature set for both photos and video, the RX100 VII is a great option.

    See our review

  4. Best Sony Camera For Vlogging

    7.5
    Travel Photography
    7.9
    Landscape Photography
    7.3
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    8.6
    Vlogging
    7.2
    Studio Video
    5.9
    Action Video
    Body Type
    Compact
    Mirrorless
    Yes
    Sensor Size
    1-inch
    Tested Lens
    Built-In Lens

    The best Sony camera for vlogging we've tested is the Sony ZV-1. This compact, lightweight camera has many design features that make it an excellent option for vloggers, including a fully-articulated screen that allows you to see what's being recorded while the camera is pointed at you and controls that you can operate while holding it in a selfie position. The autofocus system offers superb face-tracking performance and even has dedicated modes for product bloggers and animals. It also comes with a windsock to help reduce wind noise when recording outdoors. The lens has a built-in ND filter, a helpful feature if you're shooting in bright environments and don't want your videos to be overexposed. It also does an excellent job of smoothing out camera shake, which is great if you plan on shooting without the use of a tripod. Video quality in 4k and FHD is good overall in well-lit environments, but unfortunately, you may notice a significant amount of noise when recording in dimmer areas.

    However, this camera's menu system can be a little unintuitive, with some functions being hard to find. While the camera can be charged while in use via its USB-C slot, its single-charge battery life is also a little short, and it can overheat during longer recording sessions, though the risk of this occurring also depends on environmental factors. Overall, its dense feature set and compact size make it one of the best compact cameras we've tested.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Highly effective autofocus systems. Sony cameras tend to have autofocus systems that do a great job of maintaining focus on moving subjects in still photography and video.
  • Relatively portable. Sony cameras are generally a little more compact than alternatives from other brands.
  • Excellent image quality. Sony cameras generally take sharp images that are low in noise, even at moderately high ISO levels.
  • Lens availability. Unlike some other manufacturers, Sony has a relatively wide selection of both first- and third-party lenses for their mirrorless lineup.
  • Unintuitive menu systems. The menu system in most Sony cameras tends to bury quite a few commonly accessed features within sub-menus.
  • Limited touch screen functionality. While most Sony cameras have touchscreens, their functionality is usually limited to adjusting focus points or setting timers, and you can't use them to navigate their menu systems.
  • Long buffer empty time. Most Sony cameras take a fairly long time to empty their photo buffer, which can be inconvenient when firing off several long bursts.
  • Few models have fully-articulated screens. Most Sony cameras use tilting or flip-out screens, which don't quite offer the same range of flexibility as a fully-articulated screen.

Generally speaking, Sony cameras offer highly effective autofocus systems that do an amazing job of tracking moving subjects. Most of their camera lineup offers excellent image quality, even when shooting in dark environments at a moderately high ISO level. Compared to their peers, they also tend to be fairly portable, thanks to their smaller size. However, their menu systems can be somewhat unintuitive, especially next to rivals like Canon or Nikon. That also isn't helped by their sometimes limited touchscreen functionality. Also, while several models have relatively fast continuous shooting speeds, most take a long time to empty their photo buffer, leading to extended interruptions in your shooting sessions.

Lineup

Sony sells a wide variety of cameras to suit different consumers.

Mirrorless E-Mount Cameras

  • α1 = Flagship mirrorless camera that can suit the needs of both professional photographers and videographers.
  • α9 Series = Full-frame mirrorless cameras intended for professional and semi-professional sports and action photographers.
  • α7 Series = Enthusiast-oriented full-frame mirrorless models. α7S models are oriented toward low-light and video performance, while α7R models are the flagships of a given product generation.
  • α6(XXXX) Series = Crop sensor mirrorless cameras meant for both enthusiast and novice users. Higher model numbers generally indicate a greater level of overall capability.

DSLR A-Mount Cameras

  • α99 Series = Professional and enthusiast-oriented DSLR camera with a full-frame sensor
  • α77 Series = Similarly designed to the α99 II, but features an APS-C sensor.
  • α68 = Entry-level APS-C DSLR.

Supercompact/Compact/Bridge

  • RX0 Series = Compact action-style camera.
  • RX10 Series = Bridge-style compact camera with a built-in lens
  • RX100 Series = Compact point-and-shoot cameras
  • RX1R Series = Full-frame compact camera with a built-in fixed focal length lens.

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 07, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks with no change to recommendations.

  2. Nov 08, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their category.

  3. Sep 17, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks.

Conclusion

Sony is a Japanese multinational company specializing in a wide variety of technology, from headphones to televisions. Sony cameras tend to have quick, reliable, and consistent autofocus systems. They're also usually smaller than alternatives from other manufacturers. However, the menu systems can be somewhat hard to navigate.

For more options, check out our list of recommendations of the best mirrorless cameras, the best cameras for YouTube, and the best compact cameras.

Test results

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