What Camera Should I Buy

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Last Updated on October 11, 2021

Top Pick: Nikon D3500

If you are looking for a camera and you don’t have the time to do long research then just go for this one. Overall its camera quality & performance are better than most others.

It is not expensive to buy a camera when you know what kind of photographer you are and what you want to shoot. You don’t need the latest tech to take good pictures, but you do need a camera that is suitable for your needs.

We have divided our guide up into sections to make it easier to decide what is the best camera for you, whether you’re a beginner, a vlogger, an adventurer, or a professional.

Beginners: This category is geared towards beginners who want to learn more about photography. We have included affordable advanced cameras that are enough to keep up as you advance your skills.

Enthusiast: If you need to upgrade your camera, we’ve prepared a dedicated guide to make the process a little easier. We pick out three of our favorites right here in this article.

Travel and vlogging: Seeing the world is a dream for most of us, and these cameras allow us to photograph and record everything we see, whether it’s still photography to hang on our walls or video to post on social media.

Point and shoot: If you don’t want to become a professional photographer, you can get an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera that does everything automatically. Here are some affordable models the entire family will love.

Action camera: They’re a great way to take photos and videos of life’s adventures, and you can mount them on surfboards, helmets, or handlebars. Just push a button to start, and another button to stop recording.

Turning pro: The best professional cameras have very specific and specialized features, but here are some which have been a huge success and are still affordable for the rest of us.

Beginners

The best way to get started in photography is with a friendly beginner camera. Getting a DSLR or mirrorless camera will give you full creative control and a good foundation for future work and development.

Among the three models we selected here, two are DSLRs and one is a mirrorless camera. If we had to start with a single interchangeable lens camera, we still recommend the Nikon D3500, which is a good choice for value, usability, and lens choice. 

A little more expensive option but also more versatile is the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (EOS 250D). Meanwhile, the simple and compact Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a great little compact camera.

1. Nikon D3500

An ideal balance of value, simplicity, and quality for beginners

Specification

Type: DSLR | Lens mount: Nikon F | Screen: 3-inch fixed, 921,000 dots |  Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Optical Viewfinder| Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

  • Great ergonomics
  • excellent image quality
  • Versatile and affordable camera

Reasons to ignore

  • Fixed rear screen

A long-time favorite of ours, the Nikon D3500 is by no means the most advanced DSLR you can buy, but its simplicity, controls, and image quality make it our top choice for anyone just starting out in photography skills. 

A great deal of what the D3500 does not have, such as touch-sensitive rear screen, hybrid autofocus, 4K video, and built-in flash, is available from third-party cameras. 

Yet despite its 24-megapixel sensor, Nikon’s retractable AF-P kit lens produces super-high-quality amazing images even without phase detection autofocus.

2. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D

Canon’s best DSLR for features, price, and user-friendliness.

Specification

Type: DSLR | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dotsSensor: APS-C | Max burst speed: 5fps |  Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent live view autofocus
  • 4K video

Reasons to ignore

  • Bigger than a mirrorless model

A great beginner camera for, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (EOS 250D) (in Europe, referred to as EOS 250D) has lots of features, makes picture taking easier and more engaging, and can meet the needs of more advanced users as they grow. 

Its 24-megapixel APS-C sensor delivers great results, but its Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system sets it apart from the competition. With its rear screen fully articulating and touch-sensitive, it makes it easy to use both the rear screen and the viewfinder simultaneously. 

In addition to taking pictures from all kinds of unusual angles, this DSLR can shoot a 4K video – perfect for bloggers and vloggers, not just regular photographers. 

3. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Portable, powerful, beautiful

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Lens mount: MFT | Max shooting speed: 8.7fps | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting touchscreen, 1,037k dots | Megapixels: 20.3 | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Reasons to buy

  • Latest 20MP sensor
  • 5-axis in-body stabilization
  • Small body, small lenses

Reasons to ignore

  • MFT sensor smaller than APS-C

This is Olympus’ best camera yet with a 20MP sensor, incrementally improved image stabilization, a flip-down and tiltable monitor, and a 20MP sensor.

With its 4K video and attractive styling, the Mark IV retains the qualities that made the Mark III so popular with consumers.

Despite being a little expensive when compared with other small cameras, we like this one a lot. It’s really good and Olympus’s latest 20MP sensor is great.

 

Enthusiast

If you’re at the limit of what your current camera can do, these will offer more features, performance, and potential than any other camera.

With the Fujifilm X-S10, you get everything, including in-body stabilization, while the Nikon Z5 is an entry-level mirrorless camera that’s affordable, and the Canon EOS 90D is an old-school DSLR packed with the latest tech for Canon fans.

4. Fujifilm X-S10

A superb new camera from Fujifilm for enthusiasts

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Megapixels: 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X |  Sensor: APS-C | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 30/8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate/Expert

Reasons to buy

  • Small size & excellent build quality
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • In-body image stabilization

Reasons to ignore

  • Conventional mode dial

Although the X-S10 does not feature the external exposure settings of the higher-level X-series expensive cameras, that is the only complaint we have, and it is clear from the outset that it is no amateur camera with its build quality and handling.

Despite the flip to a conventional mode dial, this camera’s excellent finish, build quality, and handling, as well as the addition of in-body stabilization, make it perhaps the best value APS-C mirrorless camera packs at the moment.

Another reason why we prefer this camera over our previous favorite, the X-T30, is its vari-angle rear screen.

5. Nikon Z5

Nikon Z system entry point, with nice styling and a good price.

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Lens mount: Nikon Z | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Full-Frame Sensors CMOS | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps | Viewfinder: EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage, 0.8x magnification | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p | User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

  • Good price for full-frame
  • Twin card slots

Reasons to ignore

  • Only 4.5fps burst
  • Cropped 4K video

In spite of the fact that Nikon filled out the top of its Z range with the flagship Z7 II and included a cheeky APS-C offering with the Z50, it arguably lacked an entry-level full-frame entry. 

Nikon has responded with its Z5, a small, stylish camera that offers full-frame features at a great price. It boasts a 2x optical zoom lens, dual card slots, 4K UHD video, and high-speed burst shooting but not much more.

Yet, with its comprehensive weather sealing, five-stop image stabilization, and a wonderful electronic viewfinder, anyone looking to make the jump to full-frame is sure to be spoiled for choice.

The best thing about this camera is its clever retracting kit lens and reasonable price – way below the Nikon Z6 II.

6. Canon EOS 90D

A powerful, versatile camera, the EOS 90D is perfect for enthusiasts

Specification

Type: DSLR | Screen: 3.0in touch, pivot 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Pentaprism  Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 32.5MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

  • Tremendous value
  • Fully articulated touchscreen

Reasons to ignore

  • Pixel count causes noise issues
  • Unimpressive buffer capacity

Despite the increasing popularity of mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS 90D is still suitable for DSLR fans – and for those with drawers crammed with Canon lenses! 

This amazing APS-C workhorse camera features the highest resolution was ever seen in an APS-C sensor of 32.5MP, high-speed video recording at 10fps, and long-exposure 4K, without that irritating crop most Canon cameras suffer from.

In addition to having an optical viewfinder that many people still prefer to electronic viewfinders on mirrorless cameras, its handling and ergonomics are pleasing to the touch. It’s also available for a welcome enthusiast price point.

If Canon keeps producing cameras like this, the speculation that DSLRs are dying is greatly exaggerated.

TRAVEL AND VLOGGING

Travel photography and vlogging tend to go hand-in-hand, which means you need a camera that’s compact and versatile, and equally capable for both still and video shots. 

Here are our recommendations: the Panasonic Lumix G100 for travel/vlogging/content creation, the Sony ZV-1 with more portability and a built-in zoom, and the Fujifilm X-T200 – which is still quite hard to get.

7. Panasonic Lumix G100

Pretty good at stills too

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3 | Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | Lens mount: MFT | Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

  • Quality video and stills
  • Smart audio recording
  • Bright EVF, articulated LCD

Reasons to ignore

  • No in-body stabilization

Vloggers and content creators will be able to easily capture high-quality video and stills with the Lumix G100. With its straightforward button layout, even people who do not care about the technical aspects of capturing great-looking videos can get great results. 

Panasonic has avoided the pitfall of dumbing down the Lumix G100 when designing it as a camera for social media.

The Panasonic G100 camera has an excellent viewfinder and “proper camera” ergonomics that give it an advantage over its competitive market. It’s a great camera for traveling, vlogging, etc.

8. Sony ZV-1

Travel and vlogging are made easy with this fixed-lens compact

Specification

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1inch CMOS | Max continuous shooting speed: 24fps | Max video resolution: 4K | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens mount: N/A | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: No | User level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy

  • Vari-angle rear screen
  • Clip-on windshield
  • Brilliantly fast AF

Reasons to ignore

  • No viewfinder

The Sony ZV-1 is an exception to our normal recommendation of using interchangeable lenses for serious photography and filmmaking.

In addition to the fixed 3x zoom lens and 1-inch sensor, it has a small and compact body designed especially for vlogging, with controls, an audio system, a rearview, and a rear camera module that have been optimized for the topic. 

This camera’s autofocus is lightning fast – and it copes brilliantly when you hold objects up in front of the camera so the camera can see them. The woolly hat in the photos is a muffler to cut wind noise and is included with the camera.

9. Fujifilm X-T200

The X-T200 is ideal for novice photographers, Instagrammers, and vloggers

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3.5in vari-angle touchscreen, 2,760k dots | | User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Reasons to buy

  • Big 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen
  • Good 4K video features
  • Neat and light design

Reasons to ignore

  • Not the smallest

A lightweight compact camera that looks and feels like a 35mm SLR, the Fujifilm X-T200 sports a 3.5-inch vari-angle touchscreen with double the resolution of most rivals plus a 1:6 aspect ratio suited well for video.

The camera’s electronic viewfinder enables it to shoot 4K video and 24-megapixel stills. The 15-45mm kit lens has a wider field of view than most kit lenses and takes up much less space than a regular kit lens. 

This camera is perfect for smartphone users, and if you’re not looking for a viewfinder, consider the cheaper X-A7.

SIMPLE POINT AND SHOOT CAMERAS

You don’t need big sensors, advanced controls, or interchangeable lenses to buy a good point-and-shoot camera that will work for everyone, but it should be simple enough for everyone to operate and small enough to slip into a jacket pocket.

Our selection consists of three very different cameras, all built for easy family use.

In addition to the Panasonic TZ200/ZS200 compact camera, we have the Canon Ixus 185 HS, the Canon TZ200/ZS200 long-zoom camera, and the Nikon Coolpix W300, a rugged camera perfect for the beach and the surf.

10. Panasonic TZ200/ZS200

With an excellent optical zoom and a large sensor, this is a top-rated buy.

Specification

Type: Compact | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Sensor size: 1-inch | Lens: 26-390mm (Equiv.), f/3.3-6.4 | LCD: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.24 million dots | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Viewfinder: EVF | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

  • Good 1-inch sensor
  • Excellent 15x zoom range
  • Manual controls and raw files
  • 4K video and 4K Photo

Mirrorless and DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses are good for advanced photographers but can be a pain for casual photographing. 

A fixed lens compact camera with a compact size may be suitable when you are traveling a lot and don’t want to fuss over technicalities. A superzoom camera is also ideal, but they have small 1/2.3-inch sensors, reducing picture quality. 

This Panasonic camera is unique. While it features a larger 1-inch sensor for better images, it also has a 15x zoom, all while still being small enough to fit in your jacket pocket. 

Though it’s not the cheapest camera in its class, the TZ200/ZS200 offers features that satisfy experts, too.

11. Canon Ixus 185 HS

An affordable pocket camera for the entire family

Specification

Type: Compact | Sensor size: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 20MP | Viewfinder: No | Lens: 28-224mm (Equiv.), f/3.2-6.9 | LCD: 2.7in fixed, 230,000 dots | Continuous shooting: 0.8fps | Max video resolution: HD | User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

  • 8x zoom lenses
  • Low price

Reasons to ignore

  • Only HD video
  • Small sensor

Here at this point, we’re going for a camera that’s cheap, reliable, and practical enough for everyone to use without concern.

Having a small sensor and simple controls, the Ixus 185 is far from a DSLR, but that’s not its intended market. Think of it instead as a smartphone alternative. It has a lot to offer.

There are no smartphone cameras with 8x optical zoom, and its price makes it affordable even for youths and technophobic adults who want a camera for taking pictures and a phone for making phone calls.

12. Nikon Coolpix W300

A 30-meter water-resistant camera, it’s ideal for underwater work.

Specification

Type: Compact | Lens: 24-120mm (Equiv.) f/2.8-4.9 | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 16MP | LCD: 3in, 921k dots | Waterproof: 30m/100ft | Shockproof: 2.4m/8ft | Freezeproof: -10ºC/14ºF | Max video resolution: 4K

Reasons to buy

  • Decent zoom range
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • 4K video

Reasons to ignore

  • A bit pricey

It’s no secret that cameras for family use have a rough and tumble existence. If you are looking for something that can endure that and even handle vacation photos underwater, the Nikon Coolpix W300 may be just what you need.

In addition to being water-resistant to 30m, it includes a barometer that provides data like depth and altitude underwater, as well as an electronic compass. 

Besides its strong image-transferring abilities, a user also gets Bluetooth and Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, as well as a 4K video. It’s also shockproof to 2.4m so it’s well protected from bumps and knocks.

Those who want to use raw will have to opt-out, but most casual snappers will be content with JPEGs and find this camera to be a superb choice.

ACTION AND ADVENTURE

In today’s world, photography is constantly evolving, so a traditional camera may not be the best tool for the job. If you want to record your adventures and travels from a first-person perspective, an action camera or 360 camera is the best tool.

There are three cameras that offer a very different approach to photography: a point-and-shoot simplicity that will also show you the wild and exciting side of your life. 

Among action cameras, the Hero9 Black is the most popular, the DJI Osmo Action is a fun alternative with a selfie screen, and the Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition captures everything around you.

13. GoPro Hero9 Black

Get the best action camera ever – now at better price ranges

Specification

Weight: 158g | Waterproof: 10m | Battery life: 1-3hrs estimate | 5K video: up to 30fps | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080: up to 240fps | 720: up to 240fps | Stills resolution: 20MP |

Reasons to buy

  • Front-facing screen
  • 20MP photos  
  • 14.7 MP grabs from video

Reasons to ignore

  • Larger physical size than other GoPros
  • 5K video takes up a lot of memory

In terms of action cameras, none are better than GoPro’s latest flagship. It may not be for everyone, but it’s the first action camera to feature a vlogging-style front-facing screen, as well as ultra-high 5K resolution. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re not after 5K video as a whole; you can get 14.7MP clips from 5K video, in addition to 20MP stills.

The GoPro Hero8 Silver has a bigger display, a smoother video stabilization system, TimeWarp 3.0 features, a travel case, a handheld time-lapse camera, a 360o horizon lock, and an ultrawide 155o Max SuperView mode. 

14. DJI Osmo Action

This new action cam from DJI features a selfie screen

Specification

Weight: 134g | 4K video: up to 60fps | 720p: up to 240fps | Waterproof: 11m | Stills resolution: 12MP | Battery life: 1-2.25hrs (est)

Reasons to buy

  • The front color LCD monitor is great for vlogging
  • Excellent image stabilization

Reasons to ignore

  • Has fewer accessories than the GoPro range.
  • The app needs some work

With the arrival of the Osmo Action, DJI is turning its attention to the action camera market, a market that it has been dominating with drones.

In terms of appearance as well as feel, it looks like it has been specifically designed to compete with the GoPro Hero7 Black – and gives it a real run for its money.

In particular, we appreciate the addition of the full-color LCD display, which makes it an ideal action cam for selfies or vlogging.

15. Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition

4K and 360-degree action cams make this a unique product.

Specification

Weight: Not specified |  Waterproof: 16 feet (optional housings also supported) | Stills resolution: Not specified | Dimensions: 72 x 48 x 32.4 mm | Video resolution: 5.7K | Memory: MicroSD | Mount: Bespoke mounting bracket | Battery life: Not specified

Reasons to buy

  • 4K and 360º lens options
  • RAW photos and 100mbps video
  • Good value

Reasons to ignore

  • Small-ish touchscreen

360 imaging is one of the most exciting advances in photography. It’s hard to decide between an action photography cam and a 360 camera, so why not get one that does both?

The Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition is a camera with two lenses in one, with the ability to switch between lenses in seconds. 

One of the lenses makes it a 4K action camera, the other gives it 360o-shooting capability, and it has loads of other features too, including 5m of waterproofing. 

The camera’s AI-powered algorithms also enhance its multiple shooting modes, and the Automatic Frame mode can automatically find and stop the action in a 360o video. While this 360o camera is unique, we don’t doubt that it will be seen in many more in the future.

TURNING PRO

In order to take the next step into professional photography, you should examine full-frame cameras.

While DSLRs still hold a place among sports photographers, in all other aspects of photography, mirrorless cameras have taken over.

Our choice of three high-resolution models is designed for beginning photographers, who are likely seeking a step up in terms of image quality, instead of more specialized digital cameras for sporting events or videography.

Sony’s A7R Mark IV is the highest-resolution full-frame camera yet, while the Canon EOS R5 is a great all-rounder for stills and video that has a growing line of good lenses.

16. Canon EOS R5

A landmark camera, the EOS R5 excels at stills and in the video.

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Megapixels: 45MP | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps mechanical shutter, 20fps electronic shutter | Monitor: 3.15-inch fully articulating touchscreen, 2,100k dots | Viewfinder: 0.5-inch OLED EVF, 5,690k dots, 100% coverage | Max video resolution: 8K DCI or UHD at 30p | User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent image quality
  • Exceptional 8K video
  • 20fps shutter speed shooting!

Reasons to ignore

  • 8K recording limits

Canon’s EOS R5 mirrorless camera is a flagship product that seems to be trying to capture every market segment at once.

With its brand new 45MP sensor, it takes pictures with incredible resolution thanks to a new low-pass filter, and also boasts the autofocus system of the EOS-1D Mark III, which includes 4,500 for video and 5,940 AF points for photography. 

In terms of video specs, the EOS R5 includes 4:2:2 12-bit Canon Log or HDR PQ (both H.265) video in both UHD and DCI. This is cinema-quality stuff, and Canon knows it.

The camera can record 4k at up to 119.88 frames per second, while the new Frame Grab feature allows you to capture 35.4MP beautiful images from your 8K footage so you never miss a moment.

17. Sony A7R Mark IV

Not just 61MP resolution; 4K video is included as well.

Specification

Type: Mirrorless | Megapixels: 61MP | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440,000 dots | Lens mount: Sony FE | Max video resolution: 4K | Viewfinder: Electronic, 5.76m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

  • 61-megapixel resolution
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • Advanced Eye AF

Reasons to ignore

  • Quite expensive 

All ‘R’ models of Sony’s A7 camera series are focused on resolution, and the Sony A7R Mark IV has the highest resolution in an APS-C full-frame camera.

The camera offers not just stellar detail rendition, but also high-speed continuous shooting at 10 frames per second and in-body 5-axis image stabilization. It also features one of the world’s most powerful autofocus systems, with the best eye AF so far.

There are, however, many compelling reasons to choose the Sony system, including the expansive lens range now available from Sony and from third-party lens makers, and the reputation that Sony enjoys in the professional photography community.

What Camera Should I Buy
Olivia Bouler

From a young age, camera's fascinated me. My dad gave me my first Canon when I was seven, and since then I've tried to improve my craft. As a young Ornithologist and photographer, I travel a lot and love to bring a camera with me. I love the feeling of capturing a moment that can never be repeated and providing someone with a memento of a time or place.