The Best Digital Cameras for 2022
Are you on the lookout for a digital camera? We’re here to assist you. ReadsBlog examines a wide range of photographic equipment, from inexpensive cameras to high-end equipment for professional photographers. It’s a big place, and navigating it if you don’t spend all of your free time reading picture blogs and discussing your favorite new lens on an enthusiast forum might be difficult.
We’re here to help you choose the right camera for your needs, whether you’re a family photographer searching for something more advanced than a simple Android phone or a photography enthusiast debating between an SLR and a mirrorless camera system.
If you know what kind of camera you want, you can use the list at the top to get a quick recommendation. Otherwise, keep reading as we go down each type of camera available with spy camera wireless hidden and recommend some of the best picks. Every year, readsblog tests dozens of cameras, and we’re here to help you choose one that’s right for you.
Pocket Friendly: Entry-Level Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Smartphones have had a significant impact on the market for entry-level point-and-shoot cameras. The iPhone 13 has a better camera than any low-cost compact, and Android users can take fantastic photos with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the OnePlus 9, which is powered by Hasselblad.
High-end phones are expensive, but if you’re already purchasing a high-end phone, there’s no reason to also get a low-end camera. If you’ve taken to smartphone photography, check out our top camera phone options for inspiration (and check out tips for taking the best smartphone photos).
You may buy any number of sub-$100 no-name cameras at internet merchants if you aren’t a smartphone user or have chosen a basic model without a sophisticated computational camera, but I would avoid them like the plague. If you have more than $100 to invest, a Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, or Sony model will give you the greatest results.
Most cameras under $200 have decent zoom power, which sets them apart from smartphones, but they use obsolete CCD sensor technology. The current generation’s 20MP CCD sensors have plenty of resolution, but they struggle in low light and limit video quality to 720p.
More contemporary CMOS image sensors and very long zoom lenses—30x are the standard at this time—are available at the $200 to $400 price point. The majority of the video is still 1080p, and some cameras have small electronic view finders, Raw shooting capabilities, and lightning-fast autofocus. The image quality isn’t significantly higher than that of a midrange smartphone, with the zoom lens providing the only major advantage.
If you have access to an infrared camera, for instance, this should detect a hidden camera, while low-cost devices using wireless networking may well appear in the list of nearby Wi-Fi devices in your home.
Adventure-Proof: Underwater and Rugged Cameras
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, snorkeler, beachgoer, or just a klutz, a sturdy, waterproof camera is a fantastic choice. Our favorite is the Olympus Tough TG-6, which costs around $450 and is easily the toughest compact available today. If you don’t want to spend so much, a Ricoh WG-70 or the tiny Panasonic Lumix TS30 are both available for under $300. In a separate piece, we’ve broken down our favorite waterproof cameras.
The Best Waterproof Cameras We’ve Tested
You might also use an action camera. The GoPro Hero10 Black or DJI Action 2 will give you better video and still shots, but you’ll lose zoom power in the process. It’s a trade-off you might want to consider, especially if the slow-motion video is something you’re interested in. Click through to explore our finest action cameras for additional information.
Small Camera, Big Sensor: Premium Compacts
When you see pocket cameras with fixed lenses selling for $400 to $1,300, you might scratch your head. After all, for the same money, you can obtain an interchangeable lens model. These slim, high-end cameras, on the other hand, are aimed at a very narrow market: photographers who already possess a mirrorless camera or SLR, as well as a slew of lenses, but want something smaller as a backup.
Image quality is comparable to that of iPhones, while pocket cameras with 1-inch sensors have better ergonomics for handheld photography. These are the models that make up the majority of our top point-and-shoot picks.
The Canon G9 X Mark II is a good choice for around $500 if you’re looking for a basic big-sensor camera. You can spend more money on a G7 X Mark III to get a tilt screen and a superior lens, or you can save money by getting our Editors’ Choice G5 X Mark II with its eye-level electronic viewfinder. Canon’s G series competes with Sony’s RX100 family, which has been around for a long time.
Some enthusiast-oriented models have even larger sensors, ranging from Micro Four Thirds to full-frame, and are usually paired with a good prime lens. The Fujifilm X100V is the best of the group, as well as one of the few compacts with a large optical viewfinder.
Its competitors differ widely in terms of concept and presentation. The Ricoh GR III and IIIx are designed for urban documentary photography, including one-handed operation and a snapshot focus mode for focus-free shooting. On the other hand, the Zeiss ZX1 is a high-end camera with Adobe Lightroom pre-installed with a large touch screen.
Not to mention the Leica Q2 Monochrom, one of the only digital cameras with a sensor dedicated solely to black-and-white photography. Although these aren’t large tent cameras, going off the main route can be profitable.
Zoom in Close: Bridge Cameras
A bridge camera is a fixed-lens camera that is similar in size and shape to an SLR. These cameras have extremely long lenses—the Nikon P1000, for example, has a 125x optical zoom. Long lenses necessitate special handling, therefore these cameras typically incorporate an eye-level EVF, a hot shoe for attaching accessories, and an articulating display.
Although bridge versions resemble interchangeable lens cameras, they often perform poorly in low light. The 65x zoom power Canon PowerShot SX70 HS, our favorite consumer model, gets close views for backyard birding and zoo visits, but its lens is best utilized outdoors in the sun.
The Best Bridge Cameras We’ve Tested
You can spend a little more on a bridge camera with a large sensor. The Panasonic FZ1000 II and Sony RX10 IV are constructed around larger picture sensors and feature better light-gathering lenses, which are both advantages for use in low-light situations.
Entry-Level Interchangeable Lens: SLR and Mirrorless
If you’re looking for a beginning camera with interchangeable lenses, you have two options: buy an SLR or spend a little more on a more powerful mirrorless camera.
Both types of cameras have interchangeable lenses and picture sensors that are far larger than those found in pocket and bridge cameras. To direct light to your eye, SLRs employ an optical viewfinder and mirror, as well as a separate phase-detection sensor to set autofocus.
Most mirrorless cameras do away with the optical viewfinder in favor of an OLED electronic viewfinder. For greater subject recognition and tracking than entry-level SLRs, autofocus is performed from the image sensor.
SLRs aren’t as amazing as they once were, but they’re still less expensive than mirrorless cameras. Our favorite is the Nikon D3500, which costs roughly $600 with a lens. If you prefer a Canon model, the midrange EOS Rebel SL3 is the one to go with; the basic Rebel T7 should be avoided.
Fujifilm and Sony cameras, as well as OM-System (the new name for Olympus) and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds models, are among the most popular mirrorless cameras. There are many nice solutions for general photography under $1,000. These low-cost mirrorless cameras focus faster than SLRs, have high-speed burst settings, and can shoot 4K video.
If you plan to acquire additional lenses, you’ll want to pick a camera carefully, but they all contain the essential features. Most lenses are available for Micro Four Thirds, Fujifilm, and Sony cameras, while Canon EOS M and Nikon Z devices lag behind.
For Serious Shutterbugs: Premium Mirrorless and SLR
When you spend more than $1,000 on a camera, you don’t always get a significant improvement in image quality over cheaper versions. Camera manufacturers like to standardize sensors throughout a series of models since it allows them to develop a technology once and utilize it across their whole catalog.
Better build quality, faster memory card slots for longer burst shooting, and greater capture rates are all common benefits of spending more money. All of these are vital for sports photographers who want to capture fast action and outdoor photographers who want to be protected from the elements.
For shutterbugs and hobbyists, the Fujifilm X-T4 is our favorite mirrorless camera. We like its solid build, rapid autofocus, and an image sensor that is stabilized. It’s a true all-around camera with a powerful lens system to back it up. The Sony a6600 and Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II are two other cameras we like.
We like EVF cameras because on-sensor focusing results in more in-focus shots, and models with stabilized sensors reduce the number of blurry, unsteady images you’ll shoot. Our list of favorite interchangeable lens cameras is dominated by mirrorless cameras.
If you prefer an optical viewfinder, the Canon EOS 90D, Nikon D500, or Pentax K-3 Mark III are also good options. The 90D features the most lenses and the greatest video toolset of any of the cameras. The Pentax K-3 Mark III is a bit more well-built, and it comes with some very specialized lenses, including the DA Limited small primes, which are a fan favorite.
A Bigger Sensor: Full-Frame
Due to lower prices, full-frame cameras—those with image sensors that match the size of 35mm film—are now available to hobbyists. Basic models cost around $1,000, while capable intermediate machines cost over $2,000. You can spend more money on a specialist model, which can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,500.
Our preferred low-cost model is the Canon EOS RP. Its feature set is comprehensive, and Canon has done an excellent job of expanding the range of inexpensive lens alternatives since its release. It lacks a stabilized image sensor, which is available in the RP’s competitors, the Nikon Z 5 and Sony a7C.
The Best Full-Frame Cameras We’ve Tested
The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5, an L-mount mirrorless featuring a stabilized sensor and 10-bit video, is our middle selection. We also recommend the earlier Sony a7 III, which is still one of the finest intermediate options years later. The a7 IV, which we haven’t yet examined, has some notable changes but also a price increase—$2,500 against $2,000 for the a7 III.
Read our full-frame camera buying guide for more specialized recommendations and models, as well as an overview of what each full-frame camera system has to offer.
Bigger Than Full-Frame: Medium Format
The most accomplished (or well-funded) photographers used to utilize medium format digital cameras as their primary instrument. If you want to spend $50,000 on a Phase One IQ4 150MP, you may, but for most of us, it’s a bit much. The medium format doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive.
Fujifilm’s GFX line has lowered the cost of entry into the medium format to $4,000 for a 50MP GFX 50S II and $6,000 for a 100MP GFX 100S. That’s still a lot of money, but it’s a lot less than in previous years, especially when you consider that both of these cameras include image sensors that are stabilized.
What Is the Best Camera to Buy for a Beginner Photographer?
Smartphones and basic point-and-shoot cameras are built to operate automatically. You’ll want to acquire a camera that allows you to grow and master the craft if you want to take up photography as a pastime or aim to be a photojournalist or wedding photographer.
To begin, I recommend investing in a nice mirrorless camera. The Sony a6400 and Fujifilm X-T30 cameras can be used in fully automated mode, but they also have full manual exposure control. You may see a preview of your final exposure before you take the image because they employ electronic viewfinders.
Consider the Canon EOS RP or Nikon Z 5 as a starter model if you want to start with a full-frame camera, which is what most professionals use. Ask yourself some questions about what you want before you go out and buy a starting camera. Take a look at the size, because a camera is useless if it can’t be carried and used.
However, consider connectivity (you’ll definitely want to be able to quickly copy photographs to your smartphone) and affordability. Although ease of use isn’t a significant issue these days—everything has an auto mode—models with guided interfaces will give you some control over how your images turn out without requiring you to understand a lot of technical languages.
Kicking It Old School: Film Cameras
To get a camera, you don’t need to buy a digital camera. The film is still available, and instant cameras are very popular. Instant formats eliminate the inconvenience of developing film and make it simple to share physical photographs with friends and family as soon as they are captured.
An entry-level model will set you back roughly $65, and film packs will set you back around $7.50. Our preferred basic model is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, while the SQ1 is available if you want square prints.
A new 35mm or medium format camera can also be purchased. You don’t have as many alternatives for getting film developed as you used to—if you’re in a major city, you’ll have no trouble finding a lab, but if you’re not near one, you may have to rely on mail-order.
You may readily find antique film SLRs and tiny cameras in thrift stores and online marketplaces. If you’re looking for a new camera, Lomography still makes a variety of options, ranging from toy cameras like the Sprocket Rocket, which records panoramic photos using exposed sprockets, to high-end versions like the medium format LC-A 120.
The Best Cameras for Travelers
We found bridge models to be nearly ideal for globetrotters, which is unsurprising. You won’t have to mess with lens adjustments because they offer a large zoom range. You can also shoot in different sorts of light if you choose a quality 1-inch model. However, you might choose to travel with a different type of camera.
A point-and-shoot camera is a good option if you want something more budget-friendly. However, be prepared to part with some cash for a camera that is up to the task of photographing your far-flung destinations. Because of its bright lens and sturdy design, I recommend the Olympus TG-6 to the rough-and-tumble crowd. (Don’t forget about the GoPro Hero10 Black if you’re more of a video person.)
Reach for a premium compact camera like a Sony RX100 model or a Canon G7 X Mark III for more relaxing travels, and appreciate the camera’s comfy form factor and image quality that’s somewhat better than your smartphone.
A nice mirrorless camera (and a couple of lenses) will fit easily into a small bag and provide photographs and films worthy of sharing with friends and family back home if you don’t mind carrying anything larger. The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a fine budget option, but there are more fashionable alternatives like the Fujifilm X-E4.
The best cameras in 2022
The Nikon D3500 has long been one of our favorite cameras. It’s not the most complex DSLR on the market, but its ease of use, controls, and image quality make it our top pick for anyone just getting started with photography.
The D3500 lacks a number of features, including a fixed rear screen that isn’t touch-sensitive, hybrid on-sensor autofocus, and the ability to capture 4K video. Nikon’s latest AF-P retractable kit lens is a small marvel and focuses incredibly quickly in live view, even without on-sensor phase-detection autofocus. Its 24-megapixel sensor offers super-sharp, super-high-quality photographs.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is great for learning about photography and video and portable enough for daily usage, with a flip-over screen for selfies and extremely good in-body image stabilization.
The E-M10 Mark IV is great as an entry-level camera that can do pretty much everything, thanks to its 4K footage and beautiful aesthetics. Its Micro Four Thirds sensor is smaller than that of other mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, but the lenses are smaller and lighter. This is a fantastic tiny camera that is far more powerful than it appears and might last you a long time.