Sony has been a pioneer in the world of mirrorless cameras for more than a decade, and it's still one of the largest and most popular manufacturers of mirrorless cameras in the world. Whether it's pushing the boundaries of autofocus or making one of the most compact full-frame cameras on the market, Sony remains an innovative brand that's done a whole lot to drive the mirrorless market forward.
We've bought and tested several Sony cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best Sony cameras. Thankfully, they offer plenty of options to suit every budget and experience level, so you're sure to find something to suit your needs.
The Sony α7 IV is the best Sony Alpha camera we've tested. It's a true hybrid camera that can do it all. It's got plenty of dynamic range for high-contrast scenes and a 33MP sensor that's great for prints. Sports and action photographers will also be hard-pressed to find a quicker and more accurate autofocus system. It's a video powerhouse, as well, with high bit rates for better-quality video, no recording time limit, and plenty of frame rate options to capture everything from cinematic footage to slow-motion.
Aside from being well-suited to a wide range of photo and video styles, it's also built to last, with a sturdy weather-sealed body, a vari-angle touchscreen, and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder that gives you a crisp view of your subject—not to mention dual SD card slots for extra storage and all the ports you need for video peripherals. On top of that, its battery life is one of the best we've tested on a mirrorless camera. All that hardware and processing power comes at the expense of portability, but if you're looking for the best of the best, short of dipping into pro territory, this is the Sony camera to get.
If the Sony α7 IV is out of your budget, its predecessor, the Sony α7 III, is still a fantastic camera, despite its age. Though it's definitely behind the times in video features, it's still one of the best Sony cameras for photography. You get incredible image quality from its full-frame sensor, and though it isn't weather-sealed, it still feels well-built. You'll be stuck with Sony's old menu system, which isn't very intuitive, but that's a minor inconvenience considering the value you get with this camera.
If you'd prefer something more compact, the Sony α7C is essentially an α7 III packed into a smaller body. It's got some light upgrades, including tweaked color science and a newer autofocus system, but you also lose out on some buttons and dials and get a much smaller viewfinder. Depending on how big your lens is, the benefit of the smaller size is arguably marginal. However, it does make for a great high-quality travel camera in this price range, especially when paired with smaller prime lenses.
If you want to save even more money, Sony's APS-C Alpha lineup is a great middle-ground for beginners and anyone who wants a more portable kit. The Sony α6400 is the true mid-range option in the lineup, sitting between the pricier Sony α6600 and the more beginner-oriented Sony α6100. It doesn't have built-in image stabilization like the α6600, but it has a higher-resolution viewfinder and sturdier body than the α6100, offering a good balance of features and price.
Naturally, an APS-C sensor won't have quite the same image quality as one of the full-frame options above. However, unless you're a pro or a hobbyist, the difference will be marginal, and you can still get amazing photos out of these cameras. They're also solid for video, especially for vlogging or home videos. To top it off, these cameras are all quite portable, making it easier to take your camera wherever you go.
The Sony ZV-E10 is the best budget model in Sony's camera lineup. While it's designed with vloggers in mind, it's an excellent-value camera that works well for photography, too, so long as you don't mind giving up a viewfinder. It uses the same sensor as the Sony α6400 above and adds a fully-articulated screen that makes it easy to monitor yourself while recording or taking selfies. Other additions include a better internal microphone and a headphone jack.
While it's geared toward video, it's just as capable in the photo department as its Alpha siblings, with great overall image quality, along with quick burst shooting. Battery life is also excellent. Its autofocus is a little less reliable than higher-end Sony cameras, but it's still very effective overall. Ultimately, if you can live without a viewfinder, this is a great budget option for beginners and vloggers.
While smartphones have become the ultimate pocket cameras, there's something to be said for a high-quality point-and-shoot. Sony has filled the premium compact camera niche with seven iterations of the Sony RX100 VII. It's a highly portable camera with a built-in zoom lens that makes it an ideal travel camera. Its 24-200mm full-frame equivalent focal length range is versatile for everything from wide-angle shots to close-ups of far-away subjects. Extra features like a pop-up viewfinder and flash are nice additions, too.
While image quality doesn't compare with larger-sensor cameras, it uses a larger one-inch sensor than most compact cameras, resulting in very solid images. Its autofocus system is very reliable and effective, so you don't have to worry about missing focus with faster subjects. If you don't mind losing out on the viewfinder and some zoom range, the vlogging-oriented Sony ZV-1 is a great cheaper alternative that uses the same sensor and AF system. Both cameras struggle with battery performance, but if you're looking for something pocketable, point-and-shoots like these are excellent options.
Canon and Sony lead the global camera market, and both brands offer plenty of excellent cameras at a range of prices. While Canon cameras tend to have better ergonomics, Sony had a head-start in developing mirrorless cameras, meaning its E-mount offers a wider selection of native and third-party lenses than Canon's mirrorless lineup.
Unlike Sony, Fujifilm doesn't produce any full-frame cameras. However, its dedication to old-school design choices, like dedicated exposure dials and JPEG color profiles that simulate the look of vintage film stocks, is a fun counterpoint to Sony's often clinically designed but technically proficient cameras. Sony is where you go for the latest and greatest camera tech, while Fuji is where you go for old-school reverence for the art of photography.
Generally speaking, Sony is ahead of the game with mirrorless cameras. It's continued to push the boundaries of autofocus and sensor technology, with plenty of incredibly capable cameras on the market. It's also the only one of the top manufacturers to release the specifications for its proprietary E-mount lens system, meaning a wider selection of compatible third-party lenses. However, the boxy designs of its cameras aren't the most ergonomic, and Sony's out-of-camera colors tend to feel colder and more clinical next to competitors like Canon or Nikon. Bottom line: Sony cameras are great for gear-enthusiasts seeking the latest and greatest that camera technology has to offer—but if ergonomics are a priority, or you're looking for a camera with more style or soul, you might want to look elsewhere.
Sony sells a wide variety of cameras to suit many different consumers.
Mirrorless E-Mount Cameras
DSLR A-Mount Cameras
Apr 20, 2023: Added links to competitor brand articles in the brand comparison section, with minor touch-ups throughout the article for added clarity.
Feb 13, 2023: Removed the Sony α6000 and renamed the Sony ZV-E10 to 'Best Budget Sony Camera'.
Oct 28, 2022: Tweaked the Sony ZV-E10 from 'Best Sony Camera For Vlogging' to 'Best Sony Vlogging Camera' and slightly reordered picks.
Aug 25, 2022: Restructured article to better reflect user needs; updated intro.
Sony specializes in a wide variety of technology, from headphones to TVs. Sony cameras tend to be portable, with quick and reliable autofocus systems and excellent image sensors. While they sometimes feel a bit soulless and functional in their designs, there's no denying Sony's impact on today's camera market.