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.
The Sony α7 IV is the best Sony mirrorless camera we've tested. It's a fantastic hybrid camera for enthusiasts or hobbyists interested in photography and videography. The camera feels remarkably well-built, has a new and improved Sony menu system, and great battery life. Inside is a 33-megapixel full-frame sensor with amazing noise handling performance and wide dynamic range to capture a wider scope of detail. As expected from Sony, its autofocus system is incredibly accurate and effective, able to track moving subjects consistently, and it's intuitive to use, with a wide range of settings, area modes, and integrated face and eye detection. It also has dedicated human, animal, and bird detection modes to suit all kinds of photography. For video, it can capture insanely high bit rates and records 4k video with 10-bit 4:2:2 color internally, giving you more latitude when video editing. It also features a full array of inputs and outputs, including a full-sized HDMI port, headphone jack, and microphone input. Additionally, it features a fully articulated touchscreen that makes videos or vlogs a little easier to shoot.
The extensive video features might be overkill if you're not a content creator. If you're more interested in photography, its predecessor, the Sony α7 III, is probably more to your liking. It offers similarly excellent image quality and photo features, including a still-great autofocus system, and comes in at a lower price point. If portability is your biggest priority, the Sony α7C is one of the most compact full-frame cameras you can get and, like the other Alpha 7s, offers comparable photo performance. While there's an α7 for everyone, the α7 IV stands out as the newest and best of Sony's consumer-friendly cameras.
The Sony α6400 is the best Sony mirrorless camera we've tested with a crop sensor. This entry-level mirrorless camera sits 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, 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. Overall, this is one of the best travel cameras we've tested and offers a lot of value for its price.
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.
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 five-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.
The best Sony vlogging camera that 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.
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.
Sony sells a wide variety of cameras to suit different consumers.
Mirrorless E-Mount Cameras
DSLR A-Mount Cameras
May 16, 2022: Replaced the Sony a7 III with the Sony a7 IV as the 'Best Full-Frame Sony Camera'.
Jan 07, 2022: Verified accuracy of picks with no change to recommendations.
Nov 08, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their category.
Sep 17, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks.
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.