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The best Sony camera in 2022 for vlogging, filmmaking and photography

Sony 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS
(Image credit: Future)

The best Sony cameras have found their way into high-end commercial photography, sports photography and video production. Further down the range, Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras have become the favorites of countless vloggers, bloggers and content creators. We've used and reviewed them all, and we think these are the best Sony cameras you can get right now.

So first of all, we've split this guide in two. Sony makes a range of full frame mirrorless cameras loved by vloggers, enthusiasts and professionals alike. This is where all of Sony's energy seems to be going these days, and this is where you'll find the most exciting cameras.

But Sony started out making APS-C mirrorless cameras, and these are still going as a smaller and cheaper alternative to the full frame Sony models. As Sony fans will know, the company also makes some powerful compact cameras too. There's less development in this part of the Sony range, but still several cameras that are definitely worth a close, hard look.

So if you want a short-cut to either of these two sections, click on these links below. 

Best full frame Sony cameras
Best APS-C and compact Sony cameras

Otherwise, to find out more about Sony cameras, keep reading.

For a start, Sony's most recent new camera is the Sony A7 IV. Though still not cheap, the A7 IV is the best Sony camera all-round for enthusiasts, experts and many professionals. It combines good resolution with high-speed shooting and advanced 4K video modes – and at a price that puts it in reach of advanced amateurs and enthusiasts, not just professionals.

But the older Sony A7 III offers the same resolution and pretty good 4K video of its own at a much lower price, and the Sony A7C, meanwhile, packs the same tech into a more portable vlogger-friendly design with a flip-out screen.

Right at the top end, you've got the mighty but pricey Sony A1, the camera that does EVERYTHING, the sports orientated Sony A9 Mark II and the highly specialised (so not in this guide) Sony A7S III.

But you don't have to pay big money. Although Sony's APS-C and compact camera ranges have dried up a little, the company is still putting some thought into how it can repackage and redesign these to suit a modern vlogging audience, and we've been especially impressed by the clever little Sony ZV-1 and the very affordable mirrorless Sony ZV-E10.

So keep reading to find out more!

The best Sony cameras in 2022

Sony full frame mirrorless cameras

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
It's like a mini-A1! We like the A7 IV because it's a very powerful do-it-all camera at a sensible price

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 33MP
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04m dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Enthusiast/expert

Reasons to buy

+
Autofocus performance
+
33MP resolution
+
Huge burst mode buffer depth

Reasons to avoid

-
Complex matrix of video options
-
Pro/semi-pro pricing

The Sony A7 IV signals a step up in ambition for Sony's ‘vanilla’ A7 model. Traditionally, the Sony A7 has been the range’s entry-level camera, with the ‘R’ models adding resolution and the ’S’ models adding speed/sensitivity. But there’s nothing ordinary about the Sony A7 IV, and while it does technically superseded the A7 III, it’s an altogether more advanced camera that, we think, targets a higher-level audience. Compared to the A7 III, the A7 IV is a major step up – but in price as well as features. The A7 III will keep going for now, so it makes for a tricky buying decision, not helped by the A7 IV's patchy availability. If you see one, get it!

• Read more: Sony A7 IV review

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
We think the A7R IV (now refreshed as an 'A' version) is underrated – it's still the highest-resolution Sony you can get

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
61 megapixel resolution
+
10fps continuous shooting
+
Advanced Eye AF

Reasons to avoid

-
Unbalanced with bigger lenses
-
Quite expensive – of course!

The 'R' models in Sony's A7 series cameras are designed first and foremost for resolution – and the Sony A7R Mark IV certainly delivers. The previous A7R Mark III set the standard for a time, but the A7R Mark IV brings a new record-breaking 61-megapixel that has the highest resolution of any Sony – or indeed any full frame camera. The detail rendition is spectacular, and the A7R Mark IV has prompted many people to compare it to the best medium format cameras, but we think the larger sensors in medium format models are still a very telling difference – it's not just about megapixels. Even the new Sony A1 can't match this camera for resolving power, which is why we rate the older A7R IV more highly.

• Read more: Sony A7R IV review

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
We admit we're a bit lukewarm about the A7C's unambitious video specs, but we love its small size and flip-out screen

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full Frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: Sony E mount
LCD: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps, 115 raw, 223 JPEG
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Small(ish) body
+
Excellent retracting lens
+
Side-hinged vari-angle screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Unambitious video specs
-
Unappealing silver and black finish

We weren't that keen on the Sony A7C when it first came out because it looked expensive and unambitious. But now that prices have dropped and Sony has released some downsized prime lenses like the Sony FE 24mm f/2.8, for example, it makes a lot more sense. Even though the Sony A7C and the Sony A7 III are now very similar prices, the articulated screen on the Sony A7C makes it that much better for vlogging. It isn't Sony's most exciting camera release but its practical performance and excellent AF system do make it a good camera. Sony has made a big fuss about its small size, but in reality it's not a whole lot smaller than a camera like the A7 III, and the lenses are, of course, exactly the same size for both. The vari-angle screen and compact design (with smaller lenses) does now make the A7C a more compelling travel/vlogging camera.

• Read more: Sony A7C review

(Image credit: Future)
Still a great and affordable all-round camera. We like it so much, two of the DCW team have bought them

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 922k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Image quality and speed
+
5-axis image stabilisation

Reasons to avoid

-
Unbalanced by larger lenses
-
24MP no higher than APS-C models

It might not have the blinding speed of Sony’s top-flight A9 II or the ultra-high-resolution of the A7R IV, but the Sony A7 III grabs many of the best bits from these pricier models and delivers them in a more affordable package. Headline features include highly effective 696-point AF system and a 5-axis image stabilization system that promises 5EV of compensation.There’s a 24.2MP back-illuminated image sensor, coupled with the latest generation of image processor, and the two deliver amazing tonal range and make super-high ISO settings possible. Handling is good, though some may find the body a little small when paired with pro lenses, but that applies across the Alpha range. For top performance at a sensible price, we think it’s the best priced Sony camera out there – though for stills photographers the older Sony A7 II is also very tempting, and cheaper!

• Read more: Sony A7 III review

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
We can't deny the specs are spectacular, but we don't think the A1 is perfect – and it's so EXPENSIVE

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 50.1NP
Lens mount: Sony FE
Screen: 3-in tilting, 1.44m dots
Viewfinder: Electronic, 9.44m dots
Max burst speed: 30fps
Max video resolution: 8K
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
50MP resolution
+
8K video
+
30fps continuous shooting

Reasons to avoid

-
Stratospheric price!

The Sony A1 is everything that Sony says it is. It’s a technological triumph, a camera that really can do everything. Previously, cameras might offer speed, resolution or video capability, but the A1 offers all three, and even beats dedicated sports and video cameras at their own game. So is this the perfect camera? Not quite. The price is, and will remain, a major obstacle, and its appeal is limited to photographers who need everything it does, not just one or two of those things. This, together with its huge price, prevent it from being further up our list. We couldn't have an article about the best Sony cameras without mentioning the A1, but would we really recommend it as the best one to buy? Realistically, for 99 photographers out of a hundred, probably not. More recently, the Sony A1's position has been eroded by the arrival of the Nikon Z9 and Canon EOS R5 C, both of which are cheaper.

• Read more: Sony A1 review

• Best cameras for professionals
 The best mirrorless cameras right now

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)
The A9 II's been left in the shade by the A1, but we're still amazed by its AF and its speed

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full Frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: Sony E mount
LCD: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.44million dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps electronic shutter, 10fps mechanical
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Professional

Reasons to buy

+
Blistering burst shooting
+
Best AF we've used... so far
+
Unrivaled connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Menus remain obtuse
-
Isn't it time for CFexpress?

To quote from our own review, the Sony A9 II is the fastest, most ferocious full-frame sports camera we've ever used. This camera's blistering speed and autofocus performance are impressive, and matched only by its phenomenal connectivity, which promises to be a game changer for pro shooters. We would love to have seen Sony implement something akin to Olympus' Pro Capture feature, so that you never miss the critical moment. However, if our most damning criticism is that the A9 II is too fast for us to keep up with, surely that's nothing but mission accomplished for Sony! For professionals who need more than speed, however, there is the new Sony A1, which edges ahead of the A9 II for sports photography and throws in 8K video and 50MP stills too.

• Read more: Sony A9 II review

Sony APS-C and compact cameras

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
We're happy to swap a viewfinder for the flip-out screen on this good value vlogging camera

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: Sony E mount
LCD: Vari-angle
Viewfinder: None
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps for 116 JPEGs
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Autofocus features and performance
+
Vari-angle screen
+
Clip on wind muffler

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body stabilization
-
Rolling shutter (the 'jello' effect)
-
No viewfinder

The Sony ZV-E10 is not going to win any awards on the photography front, where it's specs are good but completely mainstream – but it is a great option for content creators cutting their teeth in vlogging and videography. While Sony hasn't moved its APS-C 4K video tech along much in recent years, the ZV-E10 is the manufacturer's first APS-C body to feature an articulating touchscreen (which is obviously vital for vlogging). It also packs a large and well-performing internal microphone (with clip-on muffler), Sony's excellent autofocus, and an appealing price tag. It's a shame that there is no in-body image stabilization, and the menus can't be touch-controlled (a rather glaring omission for a vlogging camera), but for a very specific YouTube-era audience this camera hits the nail on the head. 

• Read more: Sony ZV-E10 review

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
This spin-off from the Sony RX100 range has charmed us with its vlogging features

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Supplied mic windshield
+
Super-fast AF
+
Vari-angle screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Small-ish rear screen and not 16:9

While the new Sony ZV-E10 spiritually supersedes it, the ZV-1 remains a great option that doesn't require you to faff with lens changing. Some might dismiss the ZV-1 as yet another Sony RX100 variant, but it’s much more than that. The sensor and lens might be familiar, but the body, the controls, the audio and the rear screen are all new and different and optimized brilliantly for vlogging. There are a couple of niggles. The huge change in the minimum focus distance when you zoom in is annoying and the SteadyShot Active stabilization didn’t work too well for us, but the autofocus is exceptional and the ZV-1 is a joy to use, not least because here at last is a vlogging camera that really is designed specifically for vlogging, right down to that fully vari-angle rear screen and the supplied mic wind shield, which really does work brilliantly. It's also a LOT cheaper than the flagship Sony RX100 VII camera, despite offering a better proposition for vloggers. Just as the Sony ZV-E10 re-invented Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras at a lower price for a vlogging audience, so the ZV-1 does the same for Sony's previously pricey Sony RX100 compact camera range.

• Read more: Sony ZV-1 review

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
For us, the A6400 may not be the most powerful A6000-series camera, but it has the best combination of features and value

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.3MP
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 1,440k dots
Continuous shooting speed: 11fps
Max video resolution: Full HD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Great 4K video and AF
+
180-degree screen

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body stabilisation
-
Design feeling dated

The Sony A6400 is effectively Sony’s ‘middle’ A6000-series camera, fitting in above the A6100 model and below the top-of-the-range A6600. But it still packs a super-fast, super-high-tech autofocus system, and great 4K video capabilities. Its still image quality is very good, but really this camera’s strength is as a blogging / vlogging tool for single-handed content creation. Its 180-degree screen is the key here, flipping up and over to face you to help your framing, facial expressions and delivery as you present video pieces to camera. The specs of the top-of-the-range A6600 are better, but you have to be careful with any camera (and with Sony models in particular) not to pay for high-tech features you don't need, such as cutting-edge AF or unnecessarily fast burst modes.

• Read more: Sony A6400 review

(Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)
We really rate the old but great A6000, and this is a worthy successor in our book

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3in 180-degree touchscreen, 1,440k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 1,440k dots
Continuous shooting speed: 11fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Real-Time Tracking Autofocus
+
4K video recording
+
180-degree screen

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body sensor-shift stabilization
-
Low resolution EVF

This is the entry-level successor to the Sony A6000, and while the older model remains on sale, we hear rumblings that it may not be for much longer. Six years on, the A6100 has brought a host of improvements, sharing many of the same upgrades featured in the latest mid-range A6400 and top-end A6600 bodies, including a 180-degree touchscreen for selfies and vlogging, 4K video and a faster and more advanced autofocus system. We weren't bowled over by the A6100 when it first came out because it cost far more than the A6000, but a couple of years on, the A6100 is almost down to A6000 prices (which have crept up) and it is, without a doubt, a much better camera. Having said that, we also hear that Sony has ceased production of the A6100 against a backdrop of chip supply issues and the disruption caused by the global pandemic, so while the A6100 is still on sale right now, its longer-term future looks in doubt.

• Read more: Sony A6100 review

How we test cameras 

We test mirrorless cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully-controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. We use both real-world testing and our lab results to inform the comments in buying guides.

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.