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Best Sony cameras 2019: find the right Sony camera for you

Image Credit: Sony

Sony has a huge range of cameras of available - there's everything from affordable compact cameras to high-end professional models. Whatever you have your heart set on - we're here to help you find the best Sony camera for you.

As well as its own range of cameras, Sony makes many of the imaging sensors found in fellow manufacturer's digital cameras. In its recent history, it has been the first to market with several innovations, including the first full-frame mirrorless cameras which are now very well respected and features several different lines.

In an attempt to counter the success of Sony, its rivals have now followed suit. Canon and Nikon introduced its own full-frame mirrorless options last year, but with several generations worth of experience, it's Sony that continues to win acclaim among enthusiasts and professional users. 

More enticing still, the fact that this mirrorless range has been around a lot longer than many of its competitors means that there are a greater number of directly compatible lenses and accessories currently available. That’s another sensible reason to specifically buy into the Sony brand.

Away from the mirrorless options, Sony has also seen considerable success by placing physically larger sensors in conveniently portable design. We've got the premium RX family of compacts, which twin big-for-their-class one-inch sensors with Zeiss optics. 

Throw the by-now traditional likes of travel zoom compacts and bridge cameras/superzooms into the Sony product mix, and it quickly becomes clear the brand has a camera to suit most photographic disciplines, experience levels and budgets. With such a broad range on offer, we’re offering a helping hand in your purchase decision by selecting and recommending the 10 best Sony cameras you can buy right now…

Best budget compact

Image Credit: Sony

Image Credit: Sony

Sony Cyber-shot WX220

A neat all-rounder for those on a budget

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS | Megapixels: 18.2MP | Lens: 25-250mm (10x optical zoom), f3.3-5.9 | Autofocus: Contrast detection AF | Screen type: 2.7-inch, 460,800 dot resolution | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: Full HD | User level: Beginner

Compact yet boasts a 10x zoom
Built-in Wi-Fi
Lacks a grip or thumb rest
Some image smearing

While compact cameras face increasingly stiff competition from premium smartphones, one area that compact cameras such as the WX220 still have them beat is with zoom range. This camera marries a useful 18.2 megapixel resolution with a 1/2.3-inch sensor and a 10x optical zoom. The screen is small - and isn't touch sensitive - but for a pocket - and budget - friendly camera, it's good for chucking in a bag for family vacations and trips. Video here is Full HD, rather than 4K, which is another compromise, but if cost and portability is your main concern, it remains a good choice.

Best premium compact

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII

Another upgrade for Sony's premium compact line

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-200mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.5 zoom | Autofocus: 399 phase detection points, 425 contrast detection points | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch LCD, 921,000 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 24fps | Video: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Built in electronic viewfinder
24fps burst capture option
Expensive 
Limited touchscreen operation

It's crazy to think that we're now on the seventh iteration of Sony RX100 series, but when you consider just how popular the line has been over the years it's perhaps not hard to see why. These models are traditionally very expensive but give you the best image quality that it's possible to stuff in a pocket. The last two versions of the RX100 have seen a longer lens than ever before - and it's the same for the RX100 VII, with a 24-200mm optic reappearing from the RX100 VI. We've also got a tilt-up touch-sensitive screen, plus an electronic viewfinder that can be pushed into the camera's body for sleekness when you don't need it. Sony likes to show off exactly what it can do with its latest technology, and to that end we've got a frankly ridiculous 90fps burst speed (a much more reasonable 20fps gives you full AF/AE tracking). Other improvements come in the form of tweaks to video performance - including adding a mic input socket. If you don't need the absolute latest technology, it's worth looking back through the previous models to find an RX100 which matches your budget - such as last year's RX100 VI

Best budget bridge camera

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Cyber-shot HX400V

Relatively long in the tooth it may be, but we described this budget bridge camera as almost perfect on its 2014 launch

Type: Bridge camera / super zoom | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Lens: 24-1200mm (50x zoom), f/2.8-f/6.3 | Autofocus: Contrast detection AF | Screen type: 3-inch tilting LCD, 921,600 dot resolution | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: Full HD | User level: Beginner

Massive zoom range
Includes an EVF
No touchscreen operation
No Raw stills capture option

The HX400V is a pretty old model now, but if your budget is on the low side and you want a super zoom option, it's worth considering. Alongside its 50x optical zoom lens, there's a 1/2.3-inch sensor, a 3-inch tilting rear-screen and a 0.2-inch eye-level viewfinder. There are some compromises to think about - for example, fairly mediocre battery life, no 4K video shooting and no touch-sensitivity, but you won't find many better options if you need a bridge camera at this price point.

Best bridge camera

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV

A class leading feature set doesn't come cheap

Type: Bridge camera / super zoom | Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-600mm equivalent, f/2.4-4 zoom | Autofocus: 315 point phase detection AF | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch LCD, 1.44 million dots resolution | Max burst speed: 24fps | Video: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Superb stills and video quality
High quality EVF and tilting LCD
Bulky and heavy
AF slow at long focal lengths

If your budget can stretch to it, the RX10 IV is without-a-doubt the best bridge camera on the market right now - and not just within the Sony brand. You get a 24-600mm equivalent zoom which is coupled with a large and very capable one-inch sensor. The setup is fairly bulky, but compared to carting around a camera and a slew of lenses, it's a decent option for travelling photographers who need something for all kinds of situations. As well as fantastic stills quality, you also get superb video recording too. On top of that, you get a touch-sensitive screen, plus an excellent EVF and generally very good handling. 5-axis image stabilisation comes in handy when using that long lens, but there is a slight hint of vignetting at the far egess of the frame. You can shoot both raw files and JPEGs, while a full complement of shooting options are available for enthusiast-level photographers. Bulky and expensive - yes - but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Best action camera

Image Credit: Sony

Image Credit: Sony

Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II

Now in its second generation, this action cam is worth investigation

Type: Compact / action cam | Sensor: 1-inch Exmor R CMOS | Megapixels: 15.3MP | Lens: 24mm equivalent, f/4.0 | Autofocus: Contrast detection AF | Screen type: Tilting LCD, 230,400 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 16fps | Video: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Compact and tough construction
Large 1-inch sensor
Boringly box design
Expensive

With the claim of being the world's smallest and lightest premium camera, this diminutive second-generation one-inch sensor based model now boasts the ability to shoot 4K video. As well as being super small, it's also waterproof and crushproof - putting it squarely in action camera territory. Alongside the 15.3-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor, you get a Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens, plus a 1/32000 second shutter speed and 16fps shooting. Other useful features include Eye AF, a tiltable LCD screen and a Soft Skin Effect Mode. Finally, the fact that the kit version comes complete with a nifty VCT-SGR1 shooting grip for extra stabilisation is something we really like.

Best entry-level APS-C mirrorless

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony Alpha A6100

The brand’s newest APS-C mirrorless replaces mega popular A6000

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Autofocus: 425-point AF | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 921,600 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 11fps | Video: 4K | User level: Beginner

Impressively accurate and fast AF
Bright viewfinder
No in-body image stabilisation
Slightly awkward handling 

Sony's A6000 was a hugely popular model for entry-level users. We had to wait for a while, but finally we were treated to an upgrade in August 2019 in the shape of the A6100. As several years had elapsed between the A6000 and the A6100, there's been quite a hefty evolution, with 24.2 megapixel sensor, a Bionz X processor and a nicely swift 11fps option. There's also a three-inch tilting LCD screen, and a very usable electronic viewfinder. We get 4K video, as well as some impressive features from elsewhere in Sony's range, such as Eye-AF. If you don't need the latest tech, it's worth considering the still-available a6000, but if you want a great all-rounder for a wide range of different subjects, the a6100 is a great choice for newbies.

Best APS-C mirrorless

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Alpha A6600

An APS-C flagship to compete with the best of the best

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Autofocus: 425 phase detection AF points, 169 contrast detection AF points | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 921,000 dots resolution | User level: Enthusiast

Capably swift AF
Respectable buffer capacity
Battery life is average,
No headphone port 

Cameras like the A6600 prove that Sony very much still cares about its APS-C models, putting some class-leading specifications inside it. You get a 24.2 megapixel sensor which is paired with an A9-level BIONZ X processor, which helps to facilitate useful features such as 11fps shooting and 4K video recording. There's a very nifty 425-point phase-detect AF system, with help from Real-time Tracking, Real-time Eye AF and Animal Eye AF. Where the a6600 diverts from the cheaper models in the Sony APS-C line-up is the inclusion of five-axis, sensor-based image stabilization, a headphone jack (along with a microphone port) as well we HDR video and Real Time AF for movies. There's also a better viewfinder, and a high capacity battery which delivers (at least) 720 frames according to CIPA rating. You do of course pay the price for all this exciting technology - the a6600 doesn't come cheap - so if you're struggling to match the budget, take a look at the a6400 instead.

Best entry-level full-frame

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Alpha A7 III

A fantastic all-rounder, the A7 III is the perfect choice for those new to full-frame

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame back illuminated CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 921,000 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Compact body yet huge sensor
Whopping 693-point AF system
Touchscreen control is limited,
Weather sealing could be better

Although it could easily be described as an "entry-level" model, the Sony A7 III holds a lot of appeal for all kinds of users. It features a lot of features borrowed from elsewhere in Sony's range, including the Sony A9, so if you're looking for something which is great at a variety of different subjects but just don't to lay out a huge wad of cash - it could be the one for you, no matter your level. Specifications include a 24.2 megapixel back-illuminated sensor, as well as built-in 5-axis image stabilisation plus 4K video capture that is uncropped. The tilting rear LCD screen is touch-sensitive, working together with the range of buttons for great handling. A high resolution viewfinder is very nice to use in practice, while two SD card slots rounds out the physical specifications nicely - especially as one of them supports the faster UHS-II variety. Impressively for something considered beginner friendly, the Sony A7 III has a very speedy and advanced 693-point AF system. Put simply, this is a camera which ticks an incredible amount of boxes - especially for the price.

Best enthusiast full-frame

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Alpha A7R IV

Super-high resolution brings Sony into medium format waters

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame stacked CMOS | Megapixels: 63MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Autofocus: 567 phase detection points, 425 contrast detection points | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 1,440,000 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 10fps | Video: 4K | User level: Professional

Swift and sophisticated AF
Superb results from sensor provided
Limited touchscreen capability
Battery life could be better

Sony certainly isn't one to do things by halves when it comes to new camera technology. Jumping to a huge 63 megapixels, there's no other full-frame model currently on the market (mirrorless or otherwise) that boasts this kind of resolution. Images are output at a still-bonkers 61 megapixels, while Sony claims that the camera can deliver up to 15EV stops of dynamic range from the sensor. You also get useful functions such as image stabilization incorporated into the body, which gives you 5.5EV stops of compensation along with Pixel Shift Multi Shooting to create even higher resolution images. Rounding out the spec sheet we have 4K video recording, and superb electronic viewfinder and a useful tilting touch-sensitive screen. Ultimately, if you want the best of the best - this is the one to go for. If the budget is tighter but you still crave high resolution, keep an eye on the Sony A7R III, which still gives you 42.2 megapixels.

Best pro full-frame

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony Alpha A9

This DSLR beater is a go-to option for sports and action photography

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Screen type: Tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD, 1,440,000 dots resolution | Max burst speed: 20fps | Video: 4K | User level: Professional

Rapid AF performance
Versatile sensor
Balance with long lenses
Battery life could be better

This is a camera which puts paid to the idea that only DSLRs can handle fast action. With its killer 20fps silent shooting ability - all blackout free - it's all but impossible to miss a moment with the A9. You also get a built-in 5-axis anti-shake system, and a speedy AF system that keeps up with all the action. One area that it doesn't have DSLRs beat is battery life - with an official rating of 480 shots being on the modest side, but packing an extra battery or two shouldn't be too much of a deal breaker. Other things we like include 4K video recording, a super high resolution electronic viewfinder and excellent handling. The A9 has recently been replaced by the A9 II. More of a refinement than an out-and-out refresh, we're keeping the A9 on the list for now due to its better pricing.