Some of the most exciting innovation happens in the best cameras for enthusiasts. This is where manufacturers have to think outside the box, packing as many advanced features as they can into a camera body without making it too heavy or jacking the price up too high. Photography enthusiasts are spoiled for choice, and picking out the best cameras for enthusiasts is actually quite a challenge.
So many new cameras come out that are great for enthusiasts that we keep this article regularly updated; the list now includes 2020 releases like the Fujifilm X-T4, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and the Nikon D780. These cameras are all different sizes, they all look very different, and they come at very different prices. That goes to show how much choice there is out there for the enthusiast!
The best camera for any particular enthusiast can mean any number of different things. Accordingly, we've ensured that our list includes a range of different types of models, including DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and compacts. We've got full-frame cameras and options with smaller sensors, and a mix of cameras that are best for those who like to take manual control of settings, as well as models better suited to those who prefer to shoot using automated modes. There are also options suited best for pure stills shooters and those who like to introduce a little video into the mix.
We've included all the major manufacturers on this list, and we've also made sure to factor in the price tag of cameras when making our list, so you can be sure you're getting a good deal. If we don't think a newer camera is worth its premium price tag, we'll say so.
Hopefully our recommendations will include a camera that suits you, and we'll be sure to keep it updated with all the latest releases. And Sony, please hurry up with the long-rumored new Sony A7000, as that sounds terrific!
Nikon brings its fantastic mirrorless Z series into the enthusiast market with the Z50, an APS-C model to complement the more pro-oriented full-frame Z6 and Z7. Taking full advantage of Nikon's cutting-edge Z-mount, the Z50 is a super-fast mirrorless camera, with 11fps burst-shooting and lightning-quick autofocus. It also is able to produce UHD 4K video, and thanks to Nikon's FTZ adapter, it's possible to use DX-format F-mount lenses with the newer camera, greatly expanding the user's creative options. Nikon has made a few other cutbacks to keep this model under the £1000 mark, most notably the lack of in-body image stabilization, but this is still one of the best cameras for enthusiasts you can get right now.
Read more: Nikon Z50 review
Like the feel and handling of a traditional SLR and want to step up from APS-C to full-frame photography? Then the second-generation, weather-resistant EOS 6D has got to be near top of your list, particularly with its headline feature being a new 26.2MP full-frame sensor and a sensitivity range that can be expanded to ISO 50-102,400 equivalents. We also get a latest-generation DIGIC 7 processor, but perhaps the most noticeable difference from the previous model on the outside is the 3in vari-angle display, which responds to touch. What's been left out, however, is 4K video, although there is a 4K time-lapse option that stitches together images into a 4K video, plus a microphone input to help you give audio capture a performance boost. AF performance is very good, and the camera handles a variety of lighting scenarios with ease, while battery life at 1,200 shots is likewise commendable. While the EOS 90D is a newer camera, we're still recommending this one for enthusiasts as it's currently one of the cheapest routes into full-frame around.
Read more: Canon EOS 6D Mark II review
The G9 is a 20.3MP addition to Panasonic's impressive G-series line of mirrorless cameras, which looks and feels like a miniaturised DSLR, and can be used in conjunction with its maker’s wide range of Lumix G lenses. Being Panasonic, 4K video shooting is right up there on its spec list, though you’ll also want to look at its GH5 and newer GH5S if video is your specialism. An OLED electronic viewfinder delivers a life-like view for those preferring to shoot with the camera to their eye, while the construction shows its semi-pro mettle by being protected against dust, water and freezing temperatures. For studio or landscape photographers wanting that extra bit of resolution, an 80MP composite mode is also available, with images saved in the user's choice of JPEG or Raw formats.
Read more: Panasonic G9 review
While full-frame mirrorless cameras do feel like the celebrities of the photo world right now, APS-C models are still coming along leaps and bounds, and many are replete with spectacular features. Case in point, the Fujifilm X-T4, which may have an APS-C sensor, but also happens to be one of the finest mirrorless cameras ever made. Superb retro styling meets a spectacular image sensor that produces fabulous images straight out of camera, and now with fast burst shooting and 6.5-stop image stabilisation, the X-T4 is very much able to roll in the big leagues. Then there's the vari-angle touchscreen that makes it possible to shoot from all sorts of different angles, the 4K 60p video that looks fantastic, the Film Simulation modes... well, we could gush about this camera all day (see our review below if you would in fact be happy to read us gush all day about this camera).
Read more: Fujifilm X-T4 review
The wonderful Nikon D780 was the long-awaited update to the D750, and it did not disappoint on arrival. Blending satisfying DSLR-style handling with exceptional mirrorless-style features like fast burst shooting and snappy Live View autofocus, the D750 is a tool any enthusiast could fall in love with. Its generous shot buffer compliments its fast shooting speeds, while the glorious uncropped 4K video is a treat that makes the camera extra-versatile. There are plenty more nice surprises too, like dual UHS-II SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots and an exceedingly generous 2,260-shot battery. We feel spoiled! The release of the Z series had some photographers worrying that Nikon was starting the process of saying goodbye to DSLRs. However, the D780 proves there's no danger of that just yet.
Read more: Nikon D780 review
No one could accuse Fujifilm of playing it safe. Into a crowded and competitive mirrorless market, the firm only goes and drops a high-spec enthusiast's camera where you can't see the LCD screen!
Well that's not entirely true: the LCD screen of the X-Pro3 has been designed essentially backwards, facing inwards, in order to prevent the user from "chimping" away and checking every shot after they've taken it. The intent is to put you more in the moment, focusing on what you're shooting rather than what you've just shot. Its design is rangefinder-style, a rectangular shape with an optical direct-vision viewfinder in the corner – though this being Fujifilm, it's an optical/digital hybrid viewfinder that allows you to switch to a digital display if you want. Using the latest X-Trans sensor, the X-Pro3 produces absolutely beautiful images, with vivid colour rendition. Though it's not for the faint-hearted, the X-Pro3 represents a sublime shooting experience for any enthusiast who's up for the challenge. Will it be able to stay on this list once we've finished testing the X-T4? We'll find out soon!
Read more: Fujifilm X-Pro3 review
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 cameras have been known for being capable, travel-friendly little machines ever since their inception, but the E-M10 Mark IV does several interesting things to keep the series fresh. Bumping resolution up to 20MP with a new Micro Four Thirds sensor, the mirrorless shooter also offers 5-axis image stabilisation which provides up to 4.5EV steps of compensation, and a redeveloped continuous AF system that makes it easier than ever to keep track of fast-moving subjects. The 15fps burst speed is most welcome too, representing a substantial improvement over the previous Mark III, so while older cameras in the series can be picked up at bargain prices, we reckon the Mark IV does enough for enthusiast photographers to justify investment in the latest version.
Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review
While we're waiting for the aforementioned A7000 (seriously though Sony, come on), the A6600 will do nicely to plug the emotional gap. It's a pretty terrific mirrorless camera and unquestionably the best in the series, though Sony do ask quite a lot for the privilege, with a higher price tag slapped on the camera than many of its competitors. Despite this, the A6600 really is something quite special, with unlimited 4K video, 5-axis image stabilisation and Real-time Eye AF that also works in video. If you're keen to work in video as well as stills this is quite a capable camera, also equipped with Sony's S-Log3 gamma profile and a slot for an external microphone. Access to Sony's impressive stable of E-mount lenses is not a bad bonus as well!
Read more: Sony A6600 review
The FZ2500, also known as the FZ2000 in some territories, is an enthusiast-level bridge camera option that acts as a rival to Sony’s RX10 IV, thanks to a well-rounded feature set that includes a 1in-type 20.1MP CMOS sensor. We also get a 35mm equivalent lens reach of 24-480mm, and, this being a Panasonic camera, 4K video capture at either 24fps or 30fps comes as standard too. You can pull 8MP still images from 4K footage and choose a different point of focus after you've capture using the Post Focus function, while the excellent electronic viewfinder is complemented by an LCD that can be swung outwards from the body. Needless to say, if it’s excellent image quality for both stills and video you’re seeking, you won’t be disappointed.
Pitched at its DSLR users who want a more pocket-friendly solution as a second camera, Canon’s most recent enthusiast compact at the time of writing manages to squeeze an APS-C sensor into a relatively compact chassis. This is married to a 24-72mm (equiv.) lens with an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.6, which is optimised to work with said sensor. In terms of handling, this will feel familiar to any of its manufacturer’s existing users, with a DSLR-like shutter release, a centrally positioned electronic viewfinder and a touchscreen LCD that can be extended and rotated to face a range of positions for added creative flexibility. Factor in resistance to dust and moisture and you can see why current DLSR users may want to add this to their kit bag.
Read more: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III review