The 10 best digital cameras you can buy in 2015

From action cams to compact system cameras to DSLRs, we pick our top 10 cameras of 2015

Olympus OM D E M10

On techradar, we review everything from action cams to professional DSLRs. We rate cameras according to how well they will suit their users. We know that people want different things in a camera and have very different amounts of money to spend, so we look for performance, features and value for money in equal measure – that's why our list contains a real mix of camera types and prices.

If you need a bit more help deciding what kind of camera you need, read our special step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?

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Or, if you already know what type of camera you're looking for, you can find some more detailed recommendations in our dedicated buying guides:

Photography enthusiasts want the best combination of performance and versatility for their money, which could be a DSLR or a mirrorless camera – both take interchangeable lenses. Or maybe what you actually need is a high-end compact camera with the controls of a digital SLR in a body you can fit in your pocket? Or a long-zoom bridge camera capable of tackling just about any subject under the sun?

And the fact is that for many of us a camera is just a tool. As long the picture quality is good enough, the camera just has to be easy, affordable and effective. So we've picked what we think are the 10 best cameras you can buy right now across this whole spectrum of users.

Sony A7R II

1. Sony A7R II

Sony's top mirrorless camera is a real show-stopper

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: full frame, 42.4Mp | Lens: Sony E mount (full frame) | Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 1,229k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Excellent resolution
High-end 4K video
Relatively limited lens range
Menus need streamlining

The A7R II may not be 100% perfect but it's such a terrific all-rounder it deserves to be top of our list. You get a full-frame 42.4-megapixel sensor – the second highest resolution of any full frame camera – but in a body a fraction of the size of a regular DSLR. The high-resolution electronic viewfinder shows your photos exactly as the sensor will capture them and the A7R II adds 5-axis image stabilization and professional video features including 4K. Finally, following a firmware update, it can now capture 14-bit uncompressed raw images for the maximum possible quality.

Read the full review: Sony Alpha A7R II

Olympus OM D E M10 II

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

It's the baby of the range but the Olympus is a little gem

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds, 16.1MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 1,037k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 8.5fps | Movies: 1080 | User level: Enthusiast

Small size
Versatile and customizable
Comparatively small sensor
4K timelapse movies play at 5fps

Our second-place camera is a mirrorless model too, and the OM-D E-M10 II embodies what the Olympus OM-D series is all about. It's a high quality camera that feels great, offers an extensive feature set with bags of control and produces superb quality images yet doesn't take up much space in your bag. Best of all, it's backed up by an impressive array of lenses and because the Micro Four Thirds format is smaller than other mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, the lenses are lighter and more compact too.

Read the full review: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

TomTom Bandit

3. TomTom Bandit

It's the action cam with everything, even motion sensors!

Type: action cam | Weight: 190g | Waterproofing: Splashproof, with lens swap | 4K video: 15fps | 1080: up to 60fps | 720: up to 120fps | Stills resolution: 16Mp | Battery life: 3hrs

Clever editing features
Easy to mount and position
Heavy compared to rivals
Needs a lens swap to be waterproofed

Our third camera represents a change of pace in every possible way. Bullet shape cams might have fallen out of fashion recently thanks to GoPro and its box-shaped cameras, but the TomTom Bandit bucks the trend. In fact, the Bandit packs features that other manufacturers will need to follow if they're to keep up with this newcomer. Taking years of GPS experience, TomTom has built in a series of sensors that not only record location but speed and G-force too, so that when these sensors pick up that something exciting has happened they automatically tag the footage. Back in the pub and with the app open and connected, a quick shake of your phone and the app will automatically edit your footage ready for upload. It really couldn't be easier.

Read the full review: TomTom Bandit

Sony RX100 III

4. Sony RX100 III

Premium performance in a super-small package

Type: high-end compact | Sensor size: 1-inch, CMOS | Megapixels: 20.1 | Lens: 24-70mm-equivalent, f1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 1,228,800 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Video: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Especially compact size
Wide aperture lens
Fiddly EVF activation
No touch-screen

Our next camera is for photographers who want one that can fit in a pocket but with the manual controls of a 'proper' camera and image quality to match. The RX100 III fits the bill, with a 1-inch sensor and a 2.9x zoom lens with a large maximum aperture. There's also a high resolution pop-up EVF, Wi-Fi with NFC, 10fps continuous shooting and a customisable control ring around the lens. The newer RX100 IV is out now, but we're sticking with the RX100 III because it's still a great camera and the price has plummeted.

Read the full review: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III

Panasonic TZ70 ZS50

5. Panasonic TZ70/ZS50

The perfect travel camera – small but versatile and with a big zoom

Type: Compact travel camera: Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 12.1Mp | Lens: 24-720mm, f/3.3-6.4 | Monitor: 3-inch, 1,040K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Movies: 1080 | User level:Beginner/enthusiast

30x wideangle-to-telephoto zoom range
Manual controls and even raw files
Small sensor restricts quality
A touch-screen would have been nice

Still on the theme of pocket cameras with real power, the TZ70 takes a different approach with a super-long zoom. The fact is that despite all this talk of sensor size, image quality and high-end features, there are times when the most important thing is a camera cheap enough to buy, small enough to carry and versatile enough for what you want it to do. The Panasonic TZ70 (ZS50 is the US) is the perfect example. It's a pocket-size 'travel camera' with a massive 30x zoom range so that you can photograph a cramped and crowded souk one minute and distant minaret the next. The small sensor restricts the maximum image quality, but the results are perfectly good enough for sharing and printing and the TZ70 even has a viewfinder for times when there's too much glare to use the LCD.

Read the full review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70

Leica Q

6. Leica Q

Not just a brilliant camera, but a thing of beauty too

Type: high-end compact | Sensor size: Full frame | Megapixels: 24MP | Lens: 28mm, f/1.7 | Screen: 3-inch touch-screen, 1,040K dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Video: 1080p | User level: Expert

Especially compact size
Wide aperture lens
Fantastic full-frame quality
Fast f/1.7 Leica lens

Going from one extreme to another, the Leica Q costs ten times more than the TZ20 and its fixed focal length lens offers a fraction of its versatility. But the Leica Q has a 24-megapixel sensor, a Leica Summilux lens and handles beautifully. It's a superb full-frame compact camera for those who like traditional controls and modern features like an electronic viewfinder – and the Q is capable of producing beautiful quality images.

Read the full review: Leica Q

Nikon D7200

7. Nikon D7200

Versatile, powerful and capable of excellent results

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C, 24.2Mp | Lenses: Nikon DX, FX | Monitor: 3.2-inch, 1,229K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 6fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast

Especially compact size
Wide aperture lens
Excellent sensor and image quality
Features and sturdy build

Our next choice is a DSLR – the traditional next step for keen photographers – and the D7200 offers a perfect blend of power, performance and price. It uses Nikon's latest 24-megapixel APS-C format sensor with no anti-aliasing filter to produce some of the sharpest images you'll see outside of professional full-frame cameras. The D7200 can shoot at 6 frames per second for up to 100 JPEG photos or 27 raw files, and it uses a 51-point autofocus system taken straight from Nikon's pro DSLR range.

Read the full review: Nikon D7200

Canon EOS 760D

8. Canon EOS 760D

Canon's best entry-level DSLR yet offers power and performance

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C, 24.2Mp | Lenses: Canon EF/EF-S | Monitor: 3-inch articulating, 1,040K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Good touch-screen/button controls
Good 24Mp sensor
Pentamirror offers only 95% coverage
Slow route to setting AF point

Just half a step behind the Nikon D7200, the EOS 760D is a great camera for beginners and enthusiasts alike. This camera produces the same superb image quality as the EOS 750D, but its better handling, helpful secondary LCD and electronic level makes it our choice of the two models. It's almost like a smaller, lighter EOS 70D, with a better sensor.

Read the full review: Canon EOS 760D

Panasonic LX100

9. Panasonic LX100

Amazing big-sensor quality and classic controls in a pocket-sized camera

Type: High-end compact | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 12.8MP | Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8 | Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting: 11fps | Movies: 4K | User level:Expert

Micro Four Thirds sensor
Classic manual controls
12Mp resolution not the highest
Pocketable but only just

The LX100 is a compact camera of a different sort. It's designed for keen photographers who like all the manual controls and features of a digital SLR or compact system, but need a camera that can slip into a jacket pocket. Usually, this means you have to put up with a small sensor and reduced quality, but Panasonic a way to squeeze a Micro Four Thirds sensor into the LX100 – the same size used in Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras. It also has a great 4x zoom with a fast maximum aperture of f1/7-2.8. This, combined with the big sensor, makes it great for low-light photography and creative shallow depth of field effects. It's not cheap, but it is brilliant.

Read the full review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Panasonic FZ1000

10. Panasonic FZ1000

The bridge camera for the photographer who wants quality too

Type: Bridge camera | Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1Mp | Lens: 25-400mm, f/2.8-4.0 | Monitor: 3-inch articulating, 921K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Large 1-inch sensor
Very good lens
Big, heavy and not cheap
Not the longest zoom range

Bridge cameras, technically, are 'compact' cameras. Actually, they're not compact at all – this term simply means cameras with fixed, non-interchangeable lenses. The point about bridge cameras is that they have lenses with such a huge zoom range that they can still tackle almost any subject. The downside with most bridge cameras is that they have tiny 1/2.3-inch sensors – but the Panasonic FZ1000 is the exception. It has a much larger 1-inch sensor that delivers a big step up in definition, low light performance and picture quality in general. Other bridge cameras have a longer zoom range, but the FZ1000 delivers the best blend of zoom range and picture quality combined.

Read the full review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000

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