Using one of the best cameras for photos and videos gives us the greatest chance to capture awesome shots, whether you're looking for a full-frame, crop sensor or micro four-thirds, mirrorless, or DSLR camera.
After years of testing and reviewing the best cameras out there, we think that the Sony A7R IV is the best camera overall. Its fast autofocusing is paired with a massive 61MP full-frame back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 4K 30FPS video.
It's great for astrophotography too thanks in part to its ISO range of 100-32,000 (expanded 50-102,400) to help capture clearer images of night skies. Want to learn more? Read on or check out our full Sony A7R IV review.
Jase Parnell-Brookes, Cameras and Skywatching Editor
Our guide highlights the best of the best from brands including Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm and Olympus. We've done the legwork for you by testing and rating each camera based on our rigorous review process and compiled a list of our top picks and who would benefit from them the most.
We have other guides too, such as the best cameras for astrophotography, the best mirrorless cameras or best DSLR cameras. If you've already purchased your camera and are now looking to pair it with one of the best lenses for astrophotography or the best zoom lenses, we have guides for those too!
Best cameras for photos and videos 2023
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Best cameras for photos and videos 2023 ranked
Thanks to its enormous 61-megapixel sensor, the Sony A7R IV can capture even the smallest details in poor lighting, making it an excellent camera for astrophotography. In fact, it handles so well in low light it's also a favorite in our best cameras for low light photography guide. However, there is an option to switch the camera to a more file-handling-friendly 26-megapixel APS-C sensor with a 1.5x crop factor if the 61 megapixels are a little too much for your memory card or computer to manage.
In our hands-on Sony A7R IV mirrorless camera review, we found that even though the subtle upgrades following the Sony A7R III don't look like much on paper, they made a world of difference when it came to using it in real life. The improved hand grip makes it much nicer and more comfortable to hold, it has more prominent and thus more tactile buttons, which are particularly helpful when operating with cold fingers or while wearing gloves.
The Sony A7R IV is not cheap, but you won't find much better for shooting weddings, portraits, studio work, and landscapes where you really want to invest in your gear.
- Read our full Sony A7R IV review
We think the Nikon Z9 is one of the best-performing digital cameras ever made, and in our Nikon Z9 review, we gave it a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. Being an expensive piece of equipment, it is better suited to professionals who earn their living taking photos or videos as it is excellent at both.
Thanks to its 'market-leading' burst shooting, the Z9 is ideal for sports and wildlife photography as well as catching those fleeting special moments at weddings or events. It shoots at 20FPS RAW and a blistering 120FPS to low-res JPEG. It's also remarkably good at identifying faces and eyes, which lends itself ideally to weddings and athletic events. Never miss a shot.
Although this camera is amazing, we don't believe it would be a good choice for astrophotographers who only shoot astro. Nonetheless, it would be fantastic for the occasional astro shoot mixed with the above-mentioned uses.
The hefty battery on the Z9 is ridiculously long-lasting. Even when we tested it while shooting for over 3 hours of astro shooting, it only lost less than 20 percent juice. The range of connectivity options is also impressive. There's Snapbridge file transfer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transfer, ethernet, and USB-C. What more could you want?
- Read our full Nikon Z9 review
The Canon EOS R7 is Canon's newest flagship APS-C mirrorless camera. During our Canon EOS R7 review, we were pleasantly surprised with the handling and image quality in several scenarios — it was an absolute pleasure to shoot with.
Although it's marketed primarily as a camera for wildlife photographers, it can be used across many disciplines. Its low light performance impressed us; even at an ISO of roughly 6000, there was barely any noticeable noise, and the pictures were vivid and true to color.
The camera is small and compact, so it would make a good option for travelers and vloggers. Vloggers will also benefit from eye tracking and autofocus (which it does effortlessly), as well as the fact there is no record limit and the footage is of excellent quality.
The only real disappointment was the buffer-clearing speed. However, if you're using this camera for astro or landscape photography, it's rare that you'll ever need to be shooting at 30FPS, as we mentioned in our full review. That said, if you're looking for a camera to capture events like motorsports or wildlife, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.
In all, this camera has almost everything a full-frame camera has but at a reasonable price and in a compact body — we think it more than holds its own in comparison.
- Read our full Canon EOS R7 review
The Sony A7 III is the perfect camera for low-light shooters since it has a full-frame 35mm sensor, an autofocus range of -3EV, and an expanded ISO range of up to 204,800. We don't just mean night sky here, we mean indoor sports, portraits and generally unfavorable lighting conditions. Even though it only shoots 24.5MP stills, which seems low for this price point, this is the key to its ability to keep image noise incredibly low.
In our Sony A7 III review, we found that for such a small form factor, the remarkable images this camera can produce pack quite a punch. It's a flexible shooter, and in order to give it an in-depth review, we put it to the test in a variety of environments, including a week-long photo tour of London and a commercial portrait gig. We loved its versatility and thought the eye autofocus was impeccable, but the AF tracking couldn't quite keep up with our hyperactive puppy.
The A7 III also captures excellent video footage at 4K UHD 30FPS, though it does top out at ISO 51200 as it can't use the expanded option that it can for stills. However, this thing can practically see in the dark so we can forgive it. On a full charge, it can capture approximately 710 still photos, which is impressive.
Due to the wide variety of E-mount lenses that are available, this camera is incredibly versatile and can be used for any type of shoot. The Sony A7 IV is the upgrade of this model, however, the A7 III is still a fantastic camera and a cult favorite among many photographers, and because it has been superseded, you could snatch yourself a bargain.
- Read our full Sony A7 III review
The Canon EOS R5 has outstanding features to suit a range of different photography styles and needs. It boasts a 45MP CMOS (APS-C) image sensor and, as we mentioned in our Canon EOS R5 review, has one of the best autofocus systems we have ever used.
With accurate face, eye, and head detection, the tracking is best in class for sports and action photographers. This camera is a dream for portrait photographers too, especially in events like weddings where you don't want to miss a moment.
It can distinguish detail even in the darkest shadows thanks to its generous 15 stops of dynamic range and exceptional noise handling. For astrophotographers, this means that more data is captured and can be recovered during post-processing. It also offers 8K RAW video recording.
The large flip-around screen is ideal for vloggers and content creators since it eliminates the need for additional monitors while recording. This is one of Canon's most complete packages, and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, provided you can stretch your budget that far.
- Read our full Canon EOS R5 review
This is possibly the one camera to rule them all — albeit with a price to match. At over $6000, this is realistically reserved for serious professionals who can earn money back from working in the business.
The massive 50.1MP stills resolution, 8K 30p video, a generous 5.5 stops of image stabilization, and a class-leading electronic viewfinder can all be used to create amazing photographs, in any setting. This thing can do it all.
If the 50.1MP resolution makes your computer sweat, you can also switch to Lossless compressed files. In these files, the image quality is almost identical to that of uncompressed raw files, but the file size is almost halved after the camera intelligently removes unnecessary data from the image. This also helps the buffer clear quicker when out on shoots.
In our Sony A1 review, we especially liked the impressive dynamic range. It can happily handle different contrasts within an image, even if the foreground is shaded and the background is in sunlight. This lends itself well to astrophotography too.
Additionally, the Sony A1 has a bird mode AF that performs with the same level of accuracy as the human and animal modes, regardless of how little the bird is, making it a fantastic camera for wildlife photography.
- Read our full Sony A1 review
If you need a camera that can do anything, and we do mean anything, then get yourself the Nikon D850. Even though it is already five years old, it can still compete with the top mirrorless cameras on the market. If you check out our Nikon D850 review, you'll understand why you will also find it on our Best cameras for astrophotography, Best Nikon cameras for 2022 and Best DSLR camera guides.
When paired with one of the wide variety of F-mount lenses available from Nikon, it is totally at home when shooting wildlife or sports at up to 9FPS (with an additional battery grip) or capturing portraits with breathtaking clarity.
The large optical viewfinder will appeal to traditionalists because it allows them to see the scene with their own eyes rather than through a screen. With 4K UHD 30FPS video, the movie footage this camera can capture is impressive. You can also capture slow-motion with 120FPS full HD video, which allows fast-paced action to be slowed down four times for cinematic effect.
This camera is built for professional use and has a price tag to match. It's weather-sealed and tough enough to withstand some rough and tough without compromising on performance. It even has backlit buttons so you can practice your astrophotography without impacting your night vision.
- Read our full Nikon D850 review
Another Nikon entry in this guide — and one that you'll also find in our best beginner cameras guide — is the Nikon Z fc.
It's a gorgeous, timeless-looking camera that is a joy to use. It's well-suited to casual users (which is what the 'c' in the name signifies), thanks to its straightforward use and familiar approach to camera controls. The continuous shooting option could use some improvement, so professionals looking to shoot sports or action may want to look elsewhere.
For other types of shooting, the noise reduction is excellent, so you can increase the ISO in low lighting and still get stunning pictures. We were pleasantly surprised during our Nikon Z fc review that we could push the ISO all the way up to ISO 12800 and still achieve acceptable images. The AF modes prioritize people, and the camera excels at tracking faces — perfect for candid street photography, portrait work or shooting events like weddings.
You won't ever miss a spontaneous moment again thanks to the touch screen's excellent responsiveness and minimal lag. In fact, the entire camera is quick to operate; it's ready to start shooting less than a second after powering it up.
- Read our full Nikon Z fc review
The Fujifilm X-T5 is an ideal choice for photographers who appreciate convenience and versatility. It comes in a small, compact package but offers excellent image stabilization technology with seven stops of dynamic range, impressive low-light performance, and a speedy processor, making it ideal for capturing action or sporting events.
The retro-looking body is ergonomic, and the manual control dials delight traditionalists. As we discussed in our full Fujifilm X-T5 review, they do take some getting used to, especially when you're using them in the dark. If you're used to a DSLR style of handling, adjusting the aperture on the lens barrel will feel completely alien.
The Fujifilm X-T5 is also one of the best cameras available for timelapse photography. If you are looking for different options for this style of shooting, take a look at our list of the best cameras for timelapse videos.
- Read our full Fujifilm X-T5 review
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV sets a high standard for anyone looking to upgrade from entry-level cameras or smartphones, especially for a micro four-thirds camera. You can achieve great results simply by staying in 'auto' mode, although you have all the manual dials and settings at your disposal when you want to venture into manual shooting.
After testing it for our Olympus OM-D E- M10 Mark IV review, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as an excellent camera for everyday use. With a simple, beginner-friendly user interface and 16 in-camera filters, including HDR, Gentle Sepia, and Instant Film, it offers the ideal balance of convenience, quality, and style.
This camera is tiny and easily pocketable, but this doesn't mean it is lacking in features — there is a lot packed into this little body. Some smaller cameras can be tricky to use because of their size, but this camera has a substantial feel and the right-hand grip's ergonomic design makes one-handed operation not only possible but also comfortable.
The surprisingly large LCD screen is remarkable, with excellent clarity and resolution with over 1m dots. All of the dials and menus are easy to navigate and feel pretty intuitive.
- Read our full Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review
The Nikon Z6 (featured in our 'honorable mentions' below) is a great camera for astrophotography. However, the slightly more sophisticated Nikon Z6 II is worth considering as an excellent all-arounder if you plan to shoot a range of different photographic styles.
One of the upgrades in this newer model is a second memory card slot, offering an instant backup for peace of mind when on a shoot (or just additional storage). There's also the faster burst rate of 14FPS for high-speed shooting, a greater buffer capacity, and a more immediate and snappier autofocus thanks to the dual processing engines.
The Z6 II offers a higher video frame rate of 4K at 60 FPS than the Z6's 30FPS, allowing for crisper footage, especially slow-motion video.
For the astrophotographers among you, the shutter speed range has been expanded, and you can now take exposures of up to 900 seconds (15 minutes). This functionality includes a countdown on the top LCD screen, which eliminates the need to touch the camera and run the risk of jogging it in the middle of an exposure.
As we explained in our Nikon Z6 II review, If you already own the Z6, the updates don't warrant upgrading to this model, but considering that the Z6 is now an aging first generation of Nikon's mirrorless foray, the Z6 II is a serious contender.
- Read our full Nikon Z6 II review
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3, also known as the EOS 250D, is ideal for any photographer who wants to reduce the weight of their kit bag. Coined (and from our in-depth Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D review, feels like) the lightest DSLR in the world at just 459g which, isn't much heavier than many mirrorless cameras, and with an articulating screen, it's ideal for travel photographers with a restricted luggage allowance or for those whose gear acquisition syndrome has them bogged down with a camera bag full of heavy kit.
The fully articulating touchscreen makes it easy to compose images at any angle to provide fresh vantage points without having to contort yourself into uncomfortable positions — also helpful for shooting selfies or for vlogging.
With only 9 AF points when shooting through the viewfinder and support for only UHS-I SD cards, this camera is primarily aimed at beginners or hobbyists who don't want to spend a fortune. It also features in our best beginner cameras guide.
There's even a useful Guided UI mode that turns the camera into a guide to help users new to photography to get their settings correct. With the Creative Assist mode, you can add filters and color adjustments to get the effect you want while you shoot or edit them in-camera after taking the photo. This is particularly useful if you don't want to experiment with third-party image editing apps right away or if you simply want to be able to share your images quickly without having to edit them on a computer.
- Read our full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D review
When we reviewed the Nikon D3500 review, we found it to be a versatile entry-level camera, designed primarily for anyone wanting to get started in more advanced photography without having to spend big bucks. Due to the D3500's crop sensor, all lenses will have an additional 1.5x crop, extending their reach and allowing distant subjects to seem larger in the frame. Especially useful for astrophotography, wildlife, and sports photography.
The Nikon D3500 has 11 autofocus points in the middle of the frame. Although it may seem a little constricting, it isn't a big deal because after the camera has autofocused, you can lock it and recompose the image. Though we should point out that it is possible that the focus can be missed slightly when using fast telephoto lenses because the movement between focus and shutter release alters the distance of the lens to the subject.
The 24.5MP stills produce more than enough detail in images for online and print use, matching that of many flagship DSLR cameras across different brands. This allows additional room to crop in on subjects if the composition needs to be tweaked after capture. The D3500 records 60FPS full HD video footage which is surprising for a camera of this price point. It means smooth, professional-looking movie capture, perfect for YouTube and other social media. We think this is an ideal, affordable camera for beginners.
- Read our full Nikon D3500 review
Though the Sony A6600 is nothing revolutionary, it is an excellent camera that punches well above its weight. It captures images with vibrant colors and accurate skin tones and is highly user-friendly, making it great for beginners. It also has the bonus of having in-body stabilization, which is rare for an APS-C camera.
The tracking capabilities are flawless, so this camera is great for photographing sports (including motorsports). The eye tracking is also impressive, even when we performed the 'Black Cat Test' during our Sony A6600 review.
We found this camera to be excellent for astrophotography. Even after increasing the ISO, you can capture incredible detail in the darkest shadows and get sharp points of light (such as stars) as unfavorable noise is kept to a minimum and is easily erased in post-processing.
Video capabilities are good, though again, nothing exceptional. It has built-in cinematic modes and performs well for casual travel videos or vlogging, but the frame rates aren't the fastest, so we wouldn't recommend it if shooting movies is your main reason for purchasing a new camera.
- Read our full Sony A6600 review
Honorable mentions: Previously featured models
The cameras below are models that once sat in the best cameras for photos and videos guide but ones that have now been either superseded or discontinued and are therefore becoming increasingly difficult to get your hands on. That said, they are still available, even if you have to hunt a little harder to find them, and you might be able to pick up high-quality used models from retailers like B&H Photo and Adorama.
The compact design of the X-T4 from Fujifilm has been packed with plenty of features and capabilities, making it ideal as a backup camera for professionals as well as more than capable for semi-professionals. It can take still pictures at a rapid 15FPS or 30FPS using an electronic shutter and a 1.25x crop setting right out of the box. This makes it ideal for photographing sports, wildlife, or any other fast-paced activity (and even tracking solar or lunar events).
In our Fujifilm X-T4 review, we especially liked how it handled low-light shooting. The ISO goes up to a staggering 51200 using the 'command' setting, making it a great option for astrophotography.
The X-T4's hybrid contrast and phase-detection autofocusing technology uses a huge 425 AF points for dependable focus in every shot. This camera comes with two SD card slots that are both UHS-II compatible, so you won't have to worry about losing a shot with its fast burst mode and 60FPS video.
The Fujifilm X-T4 gives you all the advantages of a cutting-edge camera without any of the limitations by combining a vintage SLR appearance with contemporary mirrorless features. Boasting top-of-the-line specs, it is one of the finest APS-C cameras available. And, now that the Fujifilm X-T5 is available, you might be able to grab this older model as a bargain.
- Read our full Fujifilm X-T4 review
The Nikon Z6 is more financially accessible than its chunkier Z7 sibling. The Z6 has a lower 24.5MP stills resolution than the Z7 but the same five-axis in-body image stabilization. It also has far less image noise because of its lower resolution, making it ideal for photographing the night sky when paired with an astro lens. We put the camera to the test in our Nikon Z6 review and loved its superb ISO range, excellent handling and easily navigable menu.
Thanks to its sharp Z-mount lenses, five stops of in-body image stabilization, and compatibility with older Nikon lenses via the FTZ adapter, the Z6 is a fantastic option for practically any type of photography. Wildlife, sports, portraits, landscapes, product photography — you name it, the Z6 can do it.
Our favorite thing about this camera was the backlit sensor, which we thought was impressive and afforded us remarkable low-light image quality. We'd even go so far as to say this is one of the best cameras for astrophotography around and have placed it in our best cameras for astrophotography top eight.
For sports and wildlife photography, where you're likely to encounter fast-paced motion, the Z6 shoots at a generous 12FPS. It also has eye/animal eye autofocus (once you've updated to the most recent firmware) to ensure you stay locked on target. If you need the professional video capture of ProRes RAW, then the Z6 outputs 12K raw video to an external recorder, but do note that you might need to have this set up at a Nikon service center first.
- Read our full Nikon Z6 review
Best cameras for photos and videos 2023: What to look for
There are two main types of cameras on the market when advancing from compacts and smartphones: the DSLR and the mirrorless. Though increasingly DSLR lines are being discontinued by many manufacturers as they refocus their efforts on mirrorless models.
On DSLRs, the view through the viewfinder is piped up the lens by a mirror and prism arrangement, while on a mirrorless camera, the viewfinder is simply a small screen where a live feed from the sensor is displayed. Mirrorless cameras are newer tech and tend to be smaller and lighter. You can see more comparisons in our guide to DSLR vs mirrorless cameras.
Another thing to look for is the price point and fear not if some of the best cameras are a bit pricey as we highlight all the best camera deals with regular updates on our Camera deals: discounts on cameras page.
This guide is separate from our alternate article on the best cameras for astrophotography, as here we've focused on more versatile models which are suitable for broader photography types. If it is specifically astrophotography you want to dip your toe into, and you're dreaming of getting awesome pictures of the night sky, you will want to flick through the aforementioned article. We have also rounded up some of the best lenses for astrophotography so you can choose the perfect setup.
If you're looking for a good all-rounder camera suitable for multiple photography disciplines, we're sure this guide has a model that you'll love.
We have chosen a broad selection of models that will suit the needs and styles of different photographers. If you're a beginner looking to get into photography for the first time you may want to get something a little less intimidating (and less expensive) and go for a compact mirrorless or entry-level DSLR that can guide you through camera settings to make the best creative choices, we've rounded up some of the best beginner cameras in a standalone guide. Those looking for a little more oomph from their kit can rely on the bigger mirrorless and DSLR camera bodies to benefit from powerful in-body image stabilization, fast burst shooting speeds, high-quality 4K video capture, and an interchangeable lens format to suit almost varied shooting conditions.
Unfortunately, the camera body isn't the only thing you'll need to choose. Lenses play a huge part in creating stunning images, so take some time to research what lens ranges are available (if the camera you're looking at allows for interchangeable lenses). Depending on their mount, some cameras will have a more extensive range of compatible lenses than others. Wide-angle lenses offer a bigger field of view for landscapes and astro, but telephoto lenses can zoom in on far-away subjects like birds and athletes. Each will come with different maximum apertures, altering the camera's settings whilst shooting to maintain good exposures.
As well as shooting on decent cameras with good lenses, you'll probably need to invest in a tripod as well. This is crucial if you're interested in astrophotography or landscape photography. Tripods keep the camera still throughout exposures, allowing longer shutter speeds and lower ISO sensitivity lower to get sharp images with minimal noise. This is also useful for shooting at slow shutter speeds to create artistic, blurred shots of subjects such as clouds or waterfalls. See our shortlist of best travel tripods, best tripods for astrophotography and how to do landscape photography to help you choose.
How we test the best cameras for photos and videos
To guarantee you're getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best cameras to buy, here at Space.com we make sure to put every camera through a rigorous review to fully test each product. Each camera is reviewed based on many aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and its performance in the field.
Each camera is carefully tested by either our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each camera and is judged based on its price point, class and destined use. For example, comparing a 60MP full-frame mirrorless camera to a sleek little crop-sensor DSLR wouldn’t be appropriate, though each camera might be the best-performing product in its own class.
We look at how easy each camera is to operate, whether it contains the latest up-to-date imaging technology, whether the cameras can shoot high-quality stills photos and high-resolution video, and also suggest if a particular camera would benefit from any additional kit to give you the best viewing experience possible.
With complete editorial independence, Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on cameras, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.