The best Sony cameras in 2019

Sony makes cameras for beginners, travel photographers, enthusiasts and professionals. They come in two main types: Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras which take interchangeable lenses, and Sony Cyber-Shot compact cameras with fixed lenses for all kinds of users and all kinds of budget. We’ll help you decide which type you need and which Sony cameras are the best (and the best value) right now. Sony's stepped away from the cheap end of the camera market somewhat, so you might also like to take a look at our best cheap camera guide.

Alpha vs Cyber-shot, which one do you need?

Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras are designed for more advanced or enthusiastic photographers who need the versatility of interchangeable lenses and don’t mind a little extra size and weight. They’re the best choice for hobbyists and enthusiasts and pretty much the only choice for professionals.

Sony Cyber-shot cameras don’t take interchangeable lenses – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re limited. There are some simple point and shoot models in the range which make great low-cost family cameras, but there are also more advanced Cyber-shot cameras for keen photographers who need a powerful camera that fits in a pocket, or for sports fans and videographers who need a longer zoom range than they can get with an Alpha model.

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Best Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras

Sony Alpha cameras are available with either APS-C or full-frame sensors. The APS-C models are smaller and more affordable and designed more like traditional rectangular ‘rangefinder’ cameras – but they still pack plenty of power. Sony’s full frame Alpha cameras are more like mini DSLRs, with a conventionally placed electronic viewfinder on the top. These are larger and more expensive and more orientated towards expert and professional users – though there are still bargains to be had for enthusiasts. We're still waiting for more news on the exciting sounding new Sony A7000, but in the meantime there's lots more to like from Sony.

Guide: The best Sony lenses in 2018

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1. Sony A7 III

This full-frame model gets our vote for the best Sony camera overall

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

Image quality and speed
5-axis image stabilisation
Unbalanced by larger lenses
24MP no higher than APS-C models

It might not have the glamour of Sony’s top-flight A9 and ultra-high-resolution A7R III bodies but the A7 III camera grabs most of the best bits from both pricier models and delivers them in a more affordable package. Headline features include highly effective 696-point AF system and a 5-axis image stabilisation system that promises 5EV of compensation.There’s a new 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 excellent, with a design that combines easy access to important camera settings with a typically compact and lightweight Alpha build. For top performance at a sensible price, it’s the best Sony camera out there.

Read more:
Sony A7 III review
The 10 cheapest full-frame cameras right now

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2. Sony A7

Sony’s original Alpha A7 is still on sale, and amazing value for money

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 922k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Enthusiast

Full-frame image quality
Amazing value for money
No in-body stabilisation
270-shot battery life

If you do want to step up to a full frame camera but you’ve been put off by the cost, then the original Sony A7 is the camera for you! It was launched way back in 2013, so it can’t rival the sensor technology, autofocus systems or continuous shooting speeds of the latest Alpha models, and it doesn’t have in-body image stabilisation, but it is a powerful, well-made full frame camera at a silly price – Sony has a policy of keeping older cameras on sale, and in production, at steadily decreasing prices, just to get new users into the brand. If you go for the Sony A7, we’d recommend getting it with the Sony 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS as a good, cheap ‘starter’ kit lens.

Read more:
Cheapest full frame cameras
Best mirrorless camera

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3. Sony A6000

An amazing APS-C bargain from Sony’s back-catalog

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

Small and lightweight build
Built-in electronic viewfinder
No 4K video
Relatively old model

Although it’s now over four years old, the A6000 is still one of Sony’s best cameras. Moreover, it significantly undercuts the newer A6400 and A6500 models for price. Indeed, it’s currently little more than a third of the price of the A6500. With its APS-C format compact camera styling, and access to Sony’s range of interchangeable lenses, it’s a small body that packs a big punch. Resolution is good in every area, from the 24.3MP image sensor to the 1,440k-dot electronic viewfinder and 921k-dot tilting screen. It lacks the ability to record 4K movies but overall performance and image quality are very impressive, and it’s terrific value for money too.

Read more:
The best cameras under £500/$600 right now
Best mirrorless camera

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4. Sony A6400

Perfect for vloggers with its 4K video and a 180-degree screen

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

Great 4K video and AF
180-degree screen
No in-body stabilisation
Design feeling dated

The Sony A6400 is effectively Sony’s ‘middle’ A6000-series camera, fitting in above the A6000 and below the top-of-the-range A6500. But it’s newer than both, 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.

Read more:
Sony A6400 review
Best cameras for vlogging

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5. Sony A7R III

The ultimate in resolution for both enthusiasts and professionals

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 42.4MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,440k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 3,686k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | User level: Enthusiast/Professional

42.4MP image sensor
10fps continuous shooting
Narrower ISO range than the A7 III
Expensive

There are 42.4 million reasons why this camera is so popular. The ultra-high megapixel count enables you to capture the finest detail and texture in images, which makes the A7R III excellent for everything from architectural and landscape shooting to high-end portraiture and fashion photography. Even the view through the electronic viewfinder is deliciously detailed, thanks to the camera having the same EVF as the range-topping A9. Indeed, some of the image sensor technology is taken from the A9 too.Highly effective 5-axis image stabilisation helps you to retain ultimate sharpness in handheld shooting, and the camera is no slouch either, with fast-reacting autofocus and a speedy 10fps maximum drive rate.

Read more:
Sony A7R III review
Best cameras for professionals

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6. Sony A9

Pricey, but the professional choice for sports and action

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,440k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 3,686k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional

Superb all-round performance
Excellent high-res EVF
Very expensive
Build for speed not resolution

If ever there was a camera to prove that you can get professional-grade performance and image quality without the need for a reflex mirror, this is it. Sony’s flagship A9 has the same megapixel count as the A7 III, but it boasts a higher-resolution electronic viewfinder and tilting touchscreen, both of which are beauties. As well as being a fabulous all-rounder, the A9 is a properly sporty camera, its stacked sensor design enabling a blistering 20fps continuous drive rate, while a cavernous memory buffer can keep you going for up to 241 Raw shots. This camera costs twice the price of the (also excellent) A7 III, but for professionals it’s a no-brainer.

Read more:
Sony A9 review
Best cameras for professionals
The best mirrorless cameras right now

Best Sony Cyber-shot compact cameras

Sony’s Cyber-shot compact camera range is wide and varied! The ‘RX’ models are most likely to appeal to experts, the ‘HX’ series gives you a long zoom range for a modest outlay, while the WX series offers, cheap, effective point-and-shoot photography. 

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7. Sony RX100 V/VA

Almost as powerful as an Alpha, but it fits in your pocket

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm (equiv) f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 1,229k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,359k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 24fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Relatively large sensor for a compact
High-resolution EVF
Pretty expensive
Small size can be fiddly

Sometimes even a compact system camera can feel a bit on the bulky side. The RX100 Mark VA is a svelte and streamlined camera from Sony’s acclaimed line of premium compact cameras with a permanently attached lens. It aims for the highest levels of image quality, utilising a 1in-type image sensor that’s relatively large for a compact camera, which has a respectable 20.1MP sensor resolution. You can also get the RX100 VI, which boosts the effective focal range from 24-70mm to 24-200mm, in 35mm terms. For us, though, the Sony RX100 VA gives the best blend of size, features, performance and cost.

Read more:
Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V vs RX100 VI
Best compact digital camera

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8. Sony HX90V

A compact camera with a big zoom – the best Sony travel camera

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in type | Megapixels: 18.2MP | Lens: 24-720mm (equiv) f/3.5-6.4 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 922k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 638k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Beginner

Huge 30x zoom range
Built-in GPS for geotagging
No 4K video
No touchscreen

Despite being small enough to fit into a spare pocket, the slimline HX90V compact camera features an 18.2MP image sensor, a pop-up viewfinder, a 3in screen that tilts and a mighty optical zoom range that’s equivalent to 24-720mm on a full-frame camera. There’s also a 5-axis image stabiliser on hand, which helps to keep things steady, especially towards the long end of the mighty zoom range. Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity are also shoehorned into the camera, and the ‘V’ edition includes built-in GPS for geo-tagging your images. As a further bonus, the screen has a selfie-friendly 180-degree tilt mechanism, which ultimately makes it ideal for the traveling photographer who occasionally wants to put themselves in the frame.

Read more: Best travel camera

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9. Sony Cyber-shot WX220

A powerful little camera for novices – the best Sony family camera

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 18.2MP | Lens: 25-250mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 | Screen: 2.7in, 460k dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting speed: 1.5fps | User level: Beginner

10x zoom range in a slim body
Decent ISO range
Weak 1.5fps burst mode
Small 2.7-inch screen

Any point-and-shoot compact worth its salt has to differentiate itself from what a smartphone can do. The most useful advantage it can offer is an optical zoom, and the 10x zoom on the Sony WX220 goes way further than the lenses on most point and shoot compact cameras. It doesn’t have that many frills otherwise, and the 2.7in LCD screen seems a little small compared to what’s out there in the rest of the market, but what it does, it does well, with images turning out bright and punchy with a decent level of detail. If you want a small camera with a bigger-than-average reach that the whole family can use, the WX220 is worth a look.

Read more: Best point and shoot cameras

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10. Sony RX10 IV

It’s the ultimate Sony bridge camera both for sports/action and 4K video

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1-in type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-600mm (equiv) f/2.4-4 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 1,440k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 24fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Expert

Phase detect AF system
Great still/video quality
Excellent lens
Very expensive

The RX10 IV is the latest incarnation of Sony’s RX10 high-end bridge/video camera series. The main highlight is the inclusion of a 315-point phase-detect AF system, and the introduction of a touchscreen display. The 24fps burst shooting capability is pretty amazing, and it’s this, combined with the bigger sensor, better autofocus and better lens that life the RX10 Mark IV head and shoulders above other bridge cameras. It’s excellent for 4K video as well, not least because of that long-range zoom lens and autofocus system. The price, however, means that this camera’s only likely to appeal to really serious enthusiasts or experts.

Read more: Best bridge cameras in 2019

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11. Sony HX400V

A great value bridge camera if the RX10 IV is just too much

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in type | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Lens: 24-500mm (equiv) f/2.8-6.3 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 922k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 201k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Beginner

Huge focal range
10fps continuous drive mode
Low-resolution EVF
No touchscreen or 4K video

A big zoom range can sometimes seem hard to handle when it’s crammed into a tiny compact camera, but Sony’s bridge cameras take their styling cues from the company’s now-retired DSLRs and have a chunkier build for more natural handling. The RX10 series of cameras is undeniably excellent but recent editions are very expensive to buy. The smart money is on the relatively inexpensive HX400V, which delivers very good performance and image quality at a much more attractive price.Highlights include a monstrous 50x zoom range, equivalent to 25-500mm in full-frame terms, and a speedy 10fps continuous drive rate. A drawback for some, however, is that the maximum video resolution is 1080p rather than 4K.

Read more: The best bridge cameras right now

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Sony RX0 II

The RX0 II is expensive for an action cam, but its quality makes it special

Type: Action camera | Sensor: 1in type | Megapixels: 15.3MP | Lens: 24mm (equiv) f/4 | Screen: 1.5in screen, 230k dots | Viewfinder: None | Continuous shooting speed: 16fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Robust but very compact build
Relatively large 1in sensor
No optical zoom or viewfinder
Pricey

The words ‘action camera’ have become almost synonymous with GoPro, but this new Sony aims to redress the balance. It’s waterproof down to 10m (100m with the optional waterproof housing), shockproof to 2m and crushproof for loads up to 200kg. Remarkably compact and lightweight at just 60x41x30mm and 110g, it’s a real take-anywhere-and-do-anything camera. Although physically small, it goes large on image quality with a Zeiss 24mm equivalent lens and relatively large 1in-type image sensor. 15MP stills shooting is available at a rapid 16fps and you can shoot video in 4K. The Mark II version adds a 180-degree tilting ‘selfie’ screen. The RX0 is expensive but offers a big step up in video and image quality compared to a regular action cam.

Read more: Best action cams in 2019

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