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Best camera 2020: the 12 best cameras you can buy right now

Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera, the best camera right now

Searching for the best camera for you? You've come to the right place. We've spent countless hours testing every major model in every sub-genre, from DSLRs to compacts and full-frame powerhouses, to bring you this guide to the best cameras in the world right now.

Choosing the right camera for you depends on a few different factors. Your budget, of course, but also your experience and preferred kind of photography. Whatever your requirements, there’s an ideal camera for you, and we've picked out the best of each kind.

Whether you're a beginner looking to upgrade from your smartphone, or a more experienced photographer in need of the latest high-end specs, choosing the right camera involves figuring out your needs and matching them up with our guide. 

We’ve taken into consideration size, price and features to compile a list of the finest cameras from each category, whether that's stills-focused pro models or vlogging cameras. Each model on the list below is outstanding in some way – whether because it’s the best in its class, an outstanding package or simply unbeatable value.

Which is the best outright all-rounder? Right now, our pick is still the Nikon Z6. It's a lightweight, great value full-frame camera that's versatile enough for all kinds of photographer.

But the picture can change very quickly. We're in the process of testing new models like the Canon EOS R6, so the camera competition is likely to hot up. Right now, though, this list contains all of the best cameras you can buy right now.

Best camera 2020 at a glance:

  1. Nikon Z6 (our top all-round camera)
  2. Fujifilm X-T4
  3. Sony A7 III 
  4. Nikon Z50 
  5. Sony A7S III
  6. Sony A6100
  7. Canon EOS R5
  8. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
  9. Nikon D3500
  10. Fujifilm X100V
  11. Sony ZV-1
  12. Panasonic G100

The best cameras 2020:

Nikon Z6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Nikon Z6

A brilliant full-frame all-rounder

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 24.5MP | Lens: Nikon Z mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

High-resolution EVF
Familiar and refined handling
XQD card format has limited support
Limited buffer depth

It may be approaching two years old, but the Nikon Z6 remains our favorite all-round camera. The Z6's age means it now offers excellent value, and has given Nikon time to flesh out the system's native lens lineup. A fantastic all-rounder with superb handling, there's nothing yet which beats it in terms of versatility, usability and affordability. The Z6 combines both excellent stills and 4K video quality with everything else that's key for a full-frame mirrorless camera. That means you get a lightweight and compact body that still manages to handle beautifully on account of a substantial and ergonomically designed grip. There's also a sharp and crisp 3.69-million dot viewfinder along with a responsive, and tilting touchscreen. The native lens range for the Z mount is expanding rapidly, but if there's something you need that's not covered then you can use F-mount optics via the optional FTZ adapter ($245 / £270 / AU$180). We've also been treated to features such as Eye AF recently, which helps it to compete even more strongly against Sony's Alpha line. We love the Z6, though the Sony A7 III (see below) isn't too far behind – and there are rumors that it could soon be joined by a more affordable Nikon Z5 sibling.

Fujifilm X-T4

(Image credit: Future)

2. Fujifilm X-T4

The finest APS-C camera you can buy

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1MP | Viewfinder: 3,690K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,620K dots | Autofocus: 425-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 15fps (mechanical shutter), 30fps (electronic) | Movies: 4K at 60p | User level: Intermediate

Superb image quality
IBIS a big bonus for video
No headphone jack
Video recording limit

Looking for a hybrid camera that's just as capable at shooting video as it is stills? The Fujifilm X-T4 is the best option around. It's the finest APS-C camera we've ever tested and builds on the Fujifilm X-T3's impressive foundation by adding in-body image stabilization (IBIS), faster burst shooting and some successful design tweaks. Adding to its all-rounder skills are a bigger battery (which keeps it going for 500 shots per charge) and some improved autofocus, which is fast and reliable in most scenarios. Its 26MP APS-C sensor remains class-leading for stills, but the X-T4's real trump card is its performance as a video camera. The IBIS is a huge bonus here, and the X-T4 backs that up with a huge range of tools and a great shooting experience, including a fully articulating touchscreen. It might cost the same as many full-frame cameras, but the X-T4 and its fine range of X-series lenses make a great, smaller alternative for those looking for a mirrorless all-rounder.  

Sony A7 III

3. Sony A7 III

Still one of the finest full-frame cameras around

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: 2,359K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Intermediate/expert

Great 24MP sensor
Sensor-based stabilization
Weather-sealing could be better 
Some EVF tearing

We love the A7 III. The original A7 and A7 II showed Sony was moving in the right direction and making all the right noises. But despite being over 18 months old, it's this third iteration that still stands out in the full-frame mirrorless market. The core of the camera – namely a 24MP full-frame sensor, 4K video, sensor-based image stabilisation, 10fps burst shooting and a 693-point hybrid AF system – is strong enough, but with two card slots and a 710-shot battery life on top of that, you're getting excellent value for money as well as top performance. We have some reservations with the viewfinder and weather-sealing, but this is still one of the most versatile cameras around right now, mirrorless or otherwise. 

Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Future)

4. Nikon Z50

The perfect mid-range mirrorless upgrade for DSLR owners

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 20.9MP | Lens: Z-mount | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,036,080 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 11fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Great, DSLR-style handling
Excellent viewfinder and screen
Limited range of native lenses
Tilt-screen can't be used with tripod

Looking for a smaller, more affordable version of the full-frame Nikon Z6 for travel and general shooting? The Z50 fits the bill and is an excellent entry into mid-range, APS-C cameras from Nikon. It's particularly suitable for those looking to move to mirrorless from a Nikon DSLR as, unlike more petite rivals like the Fujifilm X-T30, it prioritizes handling thanks to its large, deep grip. The Z50 produces great photos and has the same excellent autofocus system as the Nikon Z6, which works very well for static subjects, but can't quite match the performance of something like the Sony A6400 when it comes to sports and action. With an impressive viewfinder and tilting touchscreen, though, the Z50 is a great camera for travel and general shooting, and is compatible with older F-mount lenses via an optional adaptor, along with Nikon's new Z-Mount glass.

Sony A7S III

(Image credit: Future)

5. Sony A7S III

The best mirrorless video camera you can buy

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor Size: Full Frame | Resolution: 12.1MP | Lens: Sony E | Viewfinder: 9.44MP EVF | Monitor: 1.44m-dot articulating screen | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 120fps | User level: Intermediate / expert

Fantastic low light quality
Fully articulating touchscreen
Good battery life
Pricey 
Low-res for stills

For a long time it looked like the Sony A7S III was never going to arrive, but it was well worth the wait – if you're looking for a video-focused, full-frame hybrid camera, this is currently the best one you can buy. In fact, the only reason the A7S III isn't higher in this list is because of that pro-level price tag. If you can afford it and need a small, 4K camera that's extremely capable in low light, then you certainly won't be disappointed. Video quality is exceptional, and you can record for a very long time too – unlike the more limited Canon EOS R5, we didn't encounter any overheating warnings and were able to shoot for well beyond 30 minutes.

The A7S III is a pro camera packed with pro video features: the ability shoot 16-bit raw over its full-size HDMI port, excellent autofocus, a 9.44MP viewfinder and in-body image stabilization (IBIS) to help iron out those micro-jitters when shooting handheld. Naturally, you also get a headphone jack and 3.5mm microphone jack, plus the option of XLR audio and four audio inputs via the XLR-K3M hot-shoe accessory. If you don't demand high resolution stills, it's a more than capable camera for your photos, too. There's no doubt it's pricey, but the Sony A7S III is also the best camera in its class and takes mirrorless video to new heights.

Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

6. Sony A6100

A fine mirrorless camera for beginners and hobbyists alike

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens: Sony E-mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,600 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps (mechanical) | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner

Excellent tracking autofocus
Compact yet feature-packed
Takes time to understand capabilities
Relatively low-res LCD and EVF

Since its launch five years ago, the entry-level Sony A6000 has proven a hugely popular mirrorless camera. Its successor, the A6100, takes the existing recipe and adds several tweaks that help it compete with today’s mirrorless pack. Compact yet capable, the A6100 pairs a beginner-friendly build with a feature set that won’t disappoint the more adventurous. It can take time to understand the camera’s potential, but there’s plenty of it: the APS-C sensor is the same 24.2MP chip found in Sony’s more premium cameras, while the autofocus system is shared with the flagship Sony A6600. The result is excellent continuous tracking abilities and, paired with a good lens, images with plenty of detail and generally accurate colors. Battery life is also decent and the tilting screen is now touch-sensitive, though its functionality is fairly limited. Certain performance and handling quirks are shared with its more expensive siblings – Auto ISO doesn’t suit fast-moving subjects, for example – but these are more forgivable on an entry-level model, especially such a solid all-rounder as the A6100. It deserves to be just as popular as its predecessor.

Canon EOS R5

(Image credit: Future)

7. Canon EOS R5

The finest stills camera Canon has ever made

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 45 | Autofocus: 5,940-zone AF | Screen type: 3.15-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.1m-dots | Continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Movies: 8K | User level: Enthusiast / expert

Superb autofocus
Solid IBIS system
Good battery life
High price
CFExpress cards can be costly
Some limitations for video

If you see the Canon EOS R5 as a pro stills camera with some impressive video features, then it's one of the best the photography giant has ever made. There's no doubt it has video limitations compared to a rival like the Sony A7S III, particularly for shooting longer clips. But for anyone looking to shoot mind-blowing stills in almost any situation, whether that's wildlife or studio work, it's a hugely impressive achievement. 

Particularly worth of mention is the EOS R5's autofocus, which offers very accurate and reliable subject-detection and tracking – particularly when its comes to people or animals. You also get a superb 5.76-million pixel EVF, a body design that will be comfortably familiar to those coming from DSLRs, and the ability to shoot bursts at 12fps with the mechanical shutter (or 20fps with the electronic equivalent). The video performance, while limited to relatively short bursts, remains superior to the likes of the Nikon Z7 and Sony A9 II, too. With a growing collection of (albeit pricey) RF lenses, the Canon EOS R5 is the next-gen mirrorless camera that pro photographers have been waiting for. 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

(Image credit: Future)

8. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

One of the best travel cameras you can buy today

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.4MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot OLED EVF | Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate

Incredible image stabilisation
Tiny body with excellent handling
Smaller sensor struggles in low light
Polycarbonate body feels like a downgrade

No camera can give you everything, but a rare few do come close – and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is in that class. Its polycarbonate shell might feel like a step down from the body of its predecessor, but in the hand this mirrorless snapper is Goldilocks stuff: just right. Lighter than ever and fantastic to handle, the Mark III backs up its good looks with a powerful processor, superlative image stabilization and shooting modes to suit every skill level and style of shooting. There’s no escaping the fact that its Four Thirds sensor is behind the times on outright image quality, and there's now the slight issue of Olympus exiting the camera business. While this does put future servicing options in some doubt, we're still happy to recommend the OM-D E-M5 Mark III, as it'll remain a fantastic performer for years to come, regardless of its parent company's fate. Its combination of speed, style and sheer versatility make it a winner – add on-chip phase detection autofocus and 4K video chops to the mix and you’ve got yourself one of the best all-rounders on the market today.

9. Nikon D3500

The best beginner-friendly DSLR you can buy

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F | Screen: 3-inch, 921K dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Continuous shooting: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Huge battery life
Massive lens selection available
No 4K video
Screen not touch-sensitive

This list is dominated by mirrorless cameras, but if you still prefer the benefits of DSLRS – namely, their handling, superior battery lives and value – then the Nikon D3500 is the best one around for beginners looking to get started in photography. Taking the baton from the hugely successful Nikon D3400, it brings a 24MP APS-C sensor and an incredible 1,550-shot battery life that beats the stamina of most mirrorless cameras by about three times. The useful Guide mode is there to walk beginners through creating effects like a blurred background, while the Nikon DX system has a vast array of lenses. If you're starting out, we'd recommend buying the D3500 with the AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, as its brings handy vibration reduction for very little extra cost. Those looking for a travel-friendly camera should still consider mirrorless alternatives like the Fujifilm X-T200 and Canon EOS M50, but otherwise this remains a brilliant way to learn the photographic basics and start your new hobby.

Fujifilm X100V

(Image credit: Future)

10. Fujifilm X100V

An iconic compact returns, now with improved performance

Type: Premium compact | Sensor: APS-C X-Trans CMOS | Resolution: 26.1MP | Lens: 23mm, f/2 | Viewfinder: Hybrid EVF | Screen type: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.62m dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Tilting touchscreen
Improved sensor and autofocus
4K video
Needs filter for full weather-sealing
Expensive

On paper, the Fujifilm X100V shouldn’t make sense: a compact camera styled like something from the 1950s, with a fixed 23mm f/2 lens and a premium price tag. Yet the model’s predecessors have become iconic among photographers – and the X100V looks set to follow suit. Understated and timeless, there’s something very special about that compact retro body. 

The X100V keeps what works, only tweaking what it needs to: there's now a very handy tilting touchscreen and a weather-resistant body (although you need to add a filter to the lens to get full weather-sealing). The series’ fixed aperture lens setup has always been fantastic for street and portrait photography, and results are only better now that Fujifilm’s added a new 26.1MP APS-C sensor paired with the latest X-Processor 4. Autofocus is faster, noise control better and image quality improved. The hybrid EVF – both optical and electronic – packs a higher-resolution, too.

Add a quicker continuous shooting rate and 4K video into the mix and you’ve got one very desirable compact. Sure, it’s niche and certainly not cheap, but there’s nothing else quite like it.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Future)

11. Sony ZV-1

The best compact vlogging camera for YouTubers

Type: Compact | Sensor size: 1-inch | Resolution: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921,600 dots | Viewfinder: None | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 24fps | Movies: 4K/30p | User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Class-leading autofocus
3.5mm mic port and hotshoe
Limited touchscreen
MicroUBS rather than USB-C

Looking for a compact vlogging camera for your YouTube channel? The Sony ZV-1 is the best around. Sony has smartly combined all of the best bits from its various RX100 series cameras, and added some handy design tweaks, to make the a near-perfect pocket camera for video shooters. Its best feature is the combination of a bright 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens with Sony's Real-time tracking and Real-time Eye AF systems – together, these make it incredibly easy to shoot high-quality vlogs with attractive background blur and unerring focus. A 3.5mm microphone jack means you can also get audio quality that matches the ZV-1's video performance, while a hotshoe lets you mount accessories like a microphone or light without needing extra accessories like a bracket. Naturally, the battery life is pretty average and the stabilization isn't quite gimbal-smooth, but in every other respect this is the smartphone-beating camera vloggers have been waiting for.

Panasonic G100

(Image credit: Future)

12. Panasonic G100

A fine vlogging and travel camera for smartphone upgraders

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.3MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69million dots | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.84m dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps (electronic shutter), 6fps (mechanical) | Movies: 4K/30/25/24p, FHD/60p/50/30/25/24p | User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Small, travel-friendly design
Impressive audio skills
Good value
Crop when shooting 4K
Older autofocus system
Better options for stills shooters

If you're looking for a travel-friendly vlogging camera for video and stills, the Panasonic G100 is an excellent alternative to the Sony ZV-1 (see above). The fundamental difference between the two is that the G100 is a Micro Four Thirds camera, which means it has interchangeable lenses – this means it isn't pocketable, but is much more versatile if you want to shoot at different focal lengths.

A stand-out feature on the G100 is its built-in audio quality, which comes courtesy of a Nokia Ozo-equipped microphone system. While this doesn't completely remove the need for an external microphone, it does an impressive job of prioritizing speaking voices in noisy environments. Other benefits for vlogging include a fully articulating screen and strong video quality.

The minor downsides are the lack of USB-C and headphone ports, plus the absence of in-body image stabilization, which means a gimbal could be necessary if you do a lot of 'walking and talking' videos. Because the sensor is smaller than APS-C and full-frame rivals, the G100 also isn't the strongest in low light. But if you want a small vlogging camera that's more versatile than the Sony ZV-1 and doubles as a travel stills shooter, it's one of the best options around.

Fujifilm GFX 100

(Image credit: Future)

Honorary mention: Fujifilm GFX 100

This megapixel monster is the most exciting medium format camera yet

Sensor size: Medium format | Resolution: 102MP | Viewfinder: 5,760,000 dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch three-direction tilt display, 2,360K dots | Autofocus: Hybrid AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Professional

EVF is the best yet on a mirrorless camera
Stunning detail in images
Vertical grip could be better
Very expensive 

Fujifilm may not have full-frame cameras like many of its rivals, but it's managed to build on its successful X-series cameras with some impressive medium format alternatives. And with its GFX 100, it shows just how successful the marriage between X-series technology and a larger sensor can be, bringing together many well loved features with a 102MP (yes, 102MP) sensor that performs to an exceptional standard. While there are other medium format cameras that exceed it for sensor resolution, none can match the kind if usability we have here, with masses of control over your shooting together with a stunning 5.76 million-dot electronic viewfinder and great 4K video quality to boot. It's not perfect, and it'll cost you dearly, but it's unquestionably the most well-rounded medium format camera we've seen yet.

Canon 1DX Mark III

(Image credit: Future)

Honorary mention: Canon 1DX Mark III

A superlative performer with a price tag to match

Type: DSLR | Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 20.1MP | Lens: EF mount | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.2-inch fixed touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Super-fast and reliable
Innovative Smart Controllers
Deep-learning autofocus
No image stabilisation
Fixed LCD display
Expensive

If your budget matches the buffer of the Canon 1D X Mark III – practically unlimited – then it’s all the camera you’ll ever need. Canon’s latest full-frame DSLR is so feature-packed and powerful that, if it had four-wheels, it would probably beat a Ferrari.

As sturdy and sizable as the 1DX Mark II before it, the Mark III is 90g lighter and notably easier to control: the excellent new Smart Controller uses optical sensors to let you navigate focus points by swiping lightly with your thumb.

Driven by a new Digic X processing chip that’s three times quicker than that of its predecessor, the 1DX Mark III is also capable of capturing 4K footage at 50fps and achieving properly impressive continuous frame rates. 

Autofocus is unparalleled, too, thanks to deep learning smarts that ensure incredible precision in subject detection, while speeds will shame any mirrorless or DSLR rival, whether you use the optical viewfinder or fixed Live View touchscreen. In short, it’s a flagship in every sense – but you’ll have to pay a hefty premium for the privilege of owning it.

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