The best Sony cameras are now available for many types of photographers, from high-end commercial photography and sports photography to video production. Further down the range, Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras have become the favorites of countless vloggers, bloggers, and content creators.
Sony has just released a new camera focused on content creators and bloggers, the Sony ZV-1F is the little brother to the more feature-set Sony ZV-1 (opens in new tab)however, the ZV-1F brings native vertical shooting to the platform, meaning no more lengthy editing processes for Reels or Shorts. Then there's Sony's newest camera, the Sony A7R V (opens in new tab), which is the winner for sheer resolution and 8K video.
We've used and reviewed and rated them all, and we think these are the best Sony cameras you can get right now.
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 Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, and these are still going as smaller and cheaper alternatives to the full-frame Sony models. As Sony fans will know, the company also makes some powerful compact cameras too.
Best full frame Sony cameras (opens in new tab)
Best APS-C and compact Sony cameras (opens in new tab)
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 specialized (so not in this guide) Sony A7S III.
Sony is still repackaging its compact cameras 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.
The best Sony cameras in 2023
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Sony full frame mirrorless cameras
Technically overwhelming, physically underwhelming – that’s how the A7R V feels. The camera body feels too small – or not tall enough in the body – for the big pro lenses you’ll be using with it, and the controls follow a generic layout rather than being adapted to this camera’s strengths. You can customize the buttons endlessly to suit the way you work, but that takes time and also a good memory for which button you’ve customized to do what.
Technically, the A7R V is stunning. With 61 megapixels paired with new AI subject recognition AF is remarkable, both for its rapid identification and acquisition and its very sticky ‘tracking’.
The image quality is every bit as good as that of the A7R IV before it (Sony says it’s better), and the bigger buffer makes the A7R V much more effective for prolonged burst shooting.
Read our full Sony A7R V review for more details(opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab) grabs many of the best bits from these pricier models and delivers them in a more affordable package. Headline features include a 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 the image processor, and the two deliver excellent 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, which applies across the Alpha range. For the 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 (opens in new tab) is also very tempting, and cheaper!
Read our full Sony A7 III review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
To quote from our review, the Sony A9 II (opens in new tab) 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 a mission accomplished for Sony! For professionals who need more than speed, however, the new Sony A1 (opens in new tab), which edges ahead of the A9 II for sports photography, throws in 8K video and 50MP stills.
Read our full Sony A9 Mark II review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The Sony A1 (opens in new tab) is everything that Sony says it is. It’s a technological triumph, a camera that really can do everything and one of the best cameras for professionals. 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 significant 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 vast price, prevents 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 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 our full Sony A1 review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The Sony A7 IV (opens in new tab) 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 supersede 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 our full Sony A7 IV review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The 'R' models in Sony's A7 series cameras are designed first and foremost for resolution – and the Sony A7R Mark IV (opens in new tab) 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 with the highest resolution of any Sony – or 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 (opens in new tab). However, 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 highly rate the older A7R IV.
The Sony A7R V (opens in new tab) has been released, with the same 61MP sensor, but the A7 IV isn't being discontinued so it'll remain on our list as a great option.
Read our full Sony A7R IV review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab), for example, it makes a lot more sense. Even though the Sony A7C and the Sony A7 III (opens in new tab) are now very similar in price, 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, the same size for both. The vari-angle screen and compact design (with smaller lenses) now make the A7C a more compelling travel/vlogging camera.
Read our full Sony A7C review (opens in new tab)for more details
Sony APS-C and compact cameras
During our review, It was hard to look at the Sony ZV-1F in isolation and not immediately compare it to the latest camera phone sitting next to me. After using it for a week, it is hard not to think that I already own a device that does a lot of what this camera does. However, there is still a lot to be said for having a dedicated camera, especially with an articulating screen, an edge on the quality of 4K footage, and it being this easy to use.
If you are a keen amateur vlogger, and you want a dedicated camera to record on, a run-and-gun camera that you can set up quickly and get shooting, and something you can toss in a bag or pass around among friends. This is the camera for you.
This is a no-frills vlogging camera that will give you just what you need, a 4K video that is ready for social media, all contained in a tiny compact package, and at a hard-to-beat price.
Read our full Sony ZV-1F reivew for more details(opens in new tab)
While the new Sony ZV-E10 (opens in new tab) 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. 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 massive 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 is designed specifically for vlogging, right down to that fully vari-angle rear screen and the supplied mic windshield, which does work brilliantly. It's also a LOT cheaper than the flagship Sony RX100 VII (opens in new tab) camera, despite offering a better proposition for vloggers.
Read our full Sony ZV-1 review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The Sony ZV-E10 is not going to win any awards on the photography front, where its 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 vital for vlogging).
It 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 our full Sony ZV-E10 review (opens in new tab)for more details(opens in new tab)
The Sony A6400 is effectively Sony’s ‘middle’ A6000-series camera, fitting in above the A6100 (opens in new tab) model and below the top-of-the-range A6600 (opens in new tab). 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 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 the 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 our full Sony A6400 review (opens in new tab) for more details(opens in new tab)
The A6100 includes 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 our full Sony A6100 review (opens in new tab) for more details
How we test cameras
We test mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) 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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