Best Digital Cameras | 2023

Digital top image.jpg

Finding the best digital camera to buy can be a tricky task, with so much choice out there. That’s why we’ve put together this guide – if you’re just looking for the best digital camera for everyday use or holidays, you don’t need the most advanced camera on the market. Something straightforward, simple and well priced will fit the bill, and will still take great pictures! 

There are loads of different types of digital cameras to choose from. In this guide, we’ll take you through the main categories of camera to help give you an idea of which one is right for you. We’ll include some examples of fantastic digital cameras for all ability levels and budgets. 

From top-of-the-line digital cameras to beginner-friendly models with tutorials and guide modes, this is your definitive guide to buying a digital camera. Also, if all the terminology confuses you, jump down to our Digital Cameras Explained section where we run through some key terms.

OK, so let’s take a look at some of the best digital cameras you can buy right now. We’ve divided our picks up into three main sections – best for photography, best for video and best for beginners

We’ve made our picks with an eye on budget, so there’s a mix here of new cameras, and older models that represent fantastic value for money

We’ve also picked a few of our absolute favourite cameras on the end, including the best-looking digital camera, the most simple digital camera, and the best high-end digital camera, the dream model for which money is no object.

Newest digital cameras

This is a quick reference to the most recently launched digital cameras. They may or may not be listed again in this guide, under other headings.

Update: New digital cameras launched this month! 

Fujifilm X-T5 Digital Camera Body - Black

£1,699.00 View

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Digital Camera Body

£2,779.00 View

Best digital cameras under £200

Photography and videography can be expensive pursuits – but they don’t have to be. There are ultra-cheap cameras out there to suit the user with an extremely limited budget, so don’t be discouraged from pursuing image-making if you’re having to count the pennies in these times of skyrocketing living costs.

Buying cheap cameras can still mean getting a great set of features for casual photography. Many cheap compacts have generous optical zoom lenses, full-size LCD screens, decent burst rates and plenty more besides. And in the world of video, there are also ultra-cheap camcorders that can provide top-notch quality at the tiniest fraction of the price of a high-end kit.

We’ve picked out our favourite cameras for under £200 that you can buy right now. For casual use at home and on holiday, these are great choices. After all, as photographers are fond of saying, the best camera is always the one you have on you…

Pros:

  • Capable 20x zoom lens
  • Up to 10fps burst shooting
  • Optical stabilisation system

Cons:

  • Small sensor limits the dynamic range
  • No viewfinder

Sony has done a great job of catering for the budget-conscious photographer with the Cyber-shot WX350. This capable little compact camera costs only £169 and is actually quite fully featured. You get a generous 20x optical zoom lens that gives you real shooting versatility, and the burst mode can get up to 10fps, which will be plenty for any action enthusiast.

It’s important not to get carried away, and to remember this camera does have limitations. The 10fps burst mode won’t run for many frames before you reach the shot buffer and the camera needs to cool off. Plus, the sensor is a relatively small 1/2.3 inch type – similarly sized to the sensors you’ll find in many smartphones – which means the low-light performance of the camera won’t be brilliant. As long as you’re aware of these limitations though, this is a capable camera for a steal of a price. 

Pros:

  • Portable enough to take anywhere
  • Comes with a wireless remote
  • Loads of mounting options

Cons:

  • Only 5MP resolution
  • Integrated storage only 4GB

For always having a camera on you to record every occasion, the Veho MUVI HD10 Handsfree Camcorder is an ideal choice. As the name states, it has plenty of hands-free options, whether you want to mount it somewhere and leave it recording, hang it on a lanyard, or trigger it via the included remote control. The built-in lens captures a generous 160° field of view, and you can monitor your footage on the 3.81cm LCD screen. 

It comes with plenty of mounting options in the box, including a helmet clip, and Veho says you can expect to get around three hours of usage out of a full battery charge. Stills and video are stored on the integrated 4GB microSD card, and there’s USB connectivity for quickly offloading your files. It ain’t fancy, but the Veho MUVI HD10 gets the job done at a very, very attractive price point.

Best for photos

Pretty much all digital cameras these days will shoot both photos and videos. This is great – having plenty of options is no bad thing, and more and more users these days are becoming hybrid content creators, with a foot in both camps.

All the same, some people are photographers first and photographers only. This section is for you guys – the image appreciators, those who are in search of the Cartier-Bresson-Esque decisive moment. We’ve picked out the modern best digital cameras for photos, the models that go above and beyond to offer photographers a superior picture-taking experience. 

Any of the cameras across this entire guide can take a great picture – they’re all the best digital cameras, after all. However, the models in this particular section offer something a little better for photographers, and if still imagery is your passion, this is where you want to be.

Fujifilm X100V Digital Camera - Black

£1,349.00 View

Pros:

  • Superb JPEGs straight out of camera
  • Satisfyingly tactile controls
  • Impressive low-light performance

Cons:

  • Fixed lens won’t be for everyone
  • Popularity has caused a short supply

This compact camera has recently become something of a sensation on photography TikTok, particularly in the US. People have been describing the Fujifilm X100V as a “digital film camera”, and we can basically see what they mean. After all, Fujifilm’s tremendously appealing JPEG look and Film Simulation modes mean that photographers need to do little to no messing about in post-processing. It provides an immediate experience that’s great for losing yourself in the moment.

As the name implies, the X100V is the fifth camera in a fantastic series of compacts, and the form factor hasn’t fundamentally changed since the original X100 arrived in 2010. That winning combination of a high-quality APS-C sensor, a 35mm equivalent lens and an old-school dial-based control scheme has been winning over photographers for more than a decade, and we expect it to continue to do so for many more.

OM SYSTEM OM-5 Digital Camera Body - Black

£1,074.00 inc. Cashback View

Pros:

  • Thoroughly weatherproofed body
  • Exceptionally capable stabilisation
  • Loads of advanced photography features

Cons:

  • 30fps shooting has a limited buffer
  • The USB port is still MicroUSB, not USB-C

OM System, the regeneration of the brand formerly known as Olympus, comes out swinging with its difficult second album (well, camera), the glorious OM System OM-5. There are so many exciting features for photographers in this enthusiast-focused camera that it’s hard to know where to start. 

Should we talk about the powerful stabilisation that can work in tandem with lens IS to deliver up to 7.5EV of effective compensation? Or how about the modes enabled by that system, such as the High-Res Shot mode, which can stitch together multiple images taken with the 20.37 million effective pixel Live MOS sensor, and make them into one 50MP super-image. And the fact that you can do that hand-held? Maybe we should talk about the IP53 splashproof rating that makes the OM-5 brilliantly weather-resistant or the dedicated Starry Sky AF feature that opens up new possibilities for astrophotography. 

There are a couple of limitations worth being aware of, like the fact that the buffer at 30fps only gives you a maximum of 18 RAWs or 30 JPEGs (it gets better at 10fps when using the mechanical shutter). But the OM-5 really should be commended for how it encourages the photographer to experiment and try things out – and having access to the huge catalogue of Micro Four Thirds lenses makes it even better.

Leica M11 Digital Camera Body - Black

£7,600.00 View

Pros:

  • Versatile “Triple Resolution” sensor
  • Immediate, intuitive photographic experience
  • Beautiful design

Cons:

  • Rangefinder focusing is tricky to learn
  • Ultra-premium product

Okay, this is a luxury. But we couldn’t close out our section on the best digital cameras for photography without a shout-out to one of the best photographic experiences you can get right now. The Leica M11 is a gorgeous feat of imaging engineering – blending the classic styling of a rangefinder camera with a cutting-edge 60.3MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor. Though of course, it’s really three sensors in one, with its “Triple Resolution” design allowing you to switch between 60, 30 and 18 megapixels, according to what the situation demands.

Rangefinder focusing is a tricky discipline. It’s an entirely manual experience, contained within the viewfinder, and while it’s certainly not for everyone, if you take the time to learn, it can be a fantastically fast and responsive form of photography. 

Images, of course, look fantastic in a range of conditions. The M11 will handle anything you throw at it with aplomb, and even throws in some quality-of-life extras like the 64GB of internal storage in addition to the memory card slot. Granted, shooting 60MP files will eat through that quite quickly, but dial down to 18MP and that’s more than 1,000 shots.

Best for video

Whether you’re an amateur vlogger or a seasoned professional filmmaker, you have more choices than ever when it comes to the best camera for video. It has gone from being an optional afterthought to an integral aspect of almost every new digital camera that is released. 

Bear in mind that in this guide, we’re talking exclusively about consumer digital cameras such as compacts and mirrorless. If you’re looking for something more high-end, you’ll want to browse our extensive range of professional filmmaking camcorders.

While there are loads of great professional options for video, we’ve kept this guide accessible to those working with a range of budgets. Filmmaking shouldn’t be gated off to only those with a lot of cash to spend, so you’ll find affordable cameras here mixed in with the premium stuff. We’re more than happy to recommend an older camera if we think it still delivers for a modern user. So let’s take a look at the best digital cameras for video!

Panasonic Lumix GH6 Digital Camera Body

£1,949.00 View

Pros:

  • An enormous variety of video options
  • Exceptional dynamic range
  • Intelligent image stabilisation system

Cons:

  • Bigger and heavier than GH5 II
  • Contrast AF showing its age

The natural continuation of the video-focused Lumix GH series, the Panasonic Lumix GH6 may well be one of the finest consumer video cameras ever made. The extent of video shooting options you have here is simply extraordinary – with 5.7K 30p internal video recording in ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 422, along with 4:2:2 10-bit Cinema 4K 60p internal recording plus simultaneous output in 4:2:2 10-bit Cinema 4K 60p over HDMI.

If the previous paragraph was gibberish to you then don’t worry – you can skip this entry. If it wasn’t, then you probably already know why the Lumix GH6 has been such a big deal in the filmmaking community. There’s so much clever tech built in here, like the enhanced heat-dissipation path that allows for unlimited recording in all modes – no overheating here! We’d like to see an upgrade to the AF system on future models, but that’s a small complaint about a spectacular achievement in camera design.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera

Save £100, was £569

£569.00 View

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III Digital Camera - Black

Save £50, Was £749

£699.00 View

Pros: 

  • Affordable and pocketable
  • High-quality 1-inch sensor
  • Bright maximum aperture

Cons: 

  • No viewfinder
  • Only Mark III has 4K, mic input and HDMI out

Popular with YouTubers, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a slightly older camera. We’re recommending it here because it’s still a fantastic camera for shooting video on a budget. A compact camera with a 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens, it’s a self-contained package that fits in a pocket. Its 1-inch sensor is powerful and great for producing high-quality video – the dynamic range and image quality are a step up over a smartphone, that’s for sure.

If your budget stretches further, we can also recommend the newer Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, which keeps the same powerful combo of a 1-inch sensor and a 24-100mm equivalent zoom lens and 1-inch sensor but adds 4K video into the mix. Also, if you’re interested in streaming, note that the Mark III version adds in a clean HDMI out, not to mention a 3.5mm input for attaching an external microphone. This can really improve audio quality, though does add to the cost.

Sony ZV-E10 Digital Camera Body

£679.00 View

Pros: 

  • Built for live-streaming
  • Stunning Eye AF mode
  • Great E-mount lens catalogue

Cons: 

  • No shooting mode dial
  • 1.2x crop in 4K mode

One of Sony’s newer vlogging cameras, the Sony ZV-E10 is a mirrorless wonder designed to be a capable, portable video-shooting setup. With a highly sophisticated autofocus setup that includes Sony’s famous Eye AF for locking onto a subject’s eyes, the ZV-E10 is a great vlogging companion. Footage from the camera looks fantastic, and it can shoot in 4K as well as Full HD.

The onboard microphone of the ZV-E10 is a three-capsule mic designed to prioritise speaking voices. However, there’s also a 3.5mm mic jack, and the hot shoe is compatible with Sony’s XLR adapter, meaning it’s possible to rig up multiple sophisticated XLR microphones to the camera. We also appreciate the vast selection of lenses available for Sony’s E-mount – both Sony-made and those by third-party manufacturers. It gives you real freedom to craft a vlogging setup that works for you and the specifics of your content.

Best entry-level digital cameras

A good entry-level digital camera really should do two things. It should be easy to use, enough that a beginner can pick it up and start shooting without a steep learning curve. However – and this is the really crucial point – a great entry-level camera also needs to offer substantial room to grow and develop. An easy-to-master camera is all very well, but if the user is going to start chafing against its limitations after a few months, then it isn’t doing its job properly. 

So, the best entry-level digital cameras we’ve picked for this section strike a balance between both. These are user-friendly cameras that even a novice photographer will be able to get to grips with, but they also offer plenty of imaging scope and room to develop. With decent-sized sensors, solid ergonomics and great lens options, each one represents a significant step up over a smartphone and makes for a perfect first step into serious photography.

Canon EOS 250D Digital SLR Camera Body - Black

£549.00 View

Pro: 

  • User-friendly guide modes
  • Sophisticated Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus

Cons:

  • Basic video features
  • Bulkier than mirrorless rivals

Canon excels at making all-rounder DSLRs for photographers at different skill levels, and the Canon EOS 250D, an entry-level model, is a terrific example. It’s a camera towards the beginner end, but with its 24.1MP APS-C sensor, has the depth for the user to grow into it. Having the EF-S mount also gives you a huge number of lens options, helping you define the style of photograph you want to take.

If you want to learn photography, a well-laid-out camera like the EOS 250D is an ideal choice. It’s got useful tutorials and guide modes to help you get a grip on the basics, but also has a highly capable sensor/processor combination that dependably produces high-quality images. It comes with a kit zoom lens, so you’ll have everything you need to start shooting out of the box.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Digital Camera Body - Silver

£649.00 View

Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight and portable
  • Big Micro Four Thirds lens range
  • In-camera USB charging

Cons:

  • No mic port
  • Construction plastic, not metal

Though we’re yet to see the refreshed OM System brand deliver its own entry-level camera, for now, the Olympus iteration is still a really solid choice. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a little camera with a lot of depth to it and makes for a stand-out entry-level choice for the novice user. It pairs a capable 20MP sensor with an effective image stabilisation system that makes it much easier to get sharp shots hand-held, even when the light grows dim. Having the huge catalogue of Micro Four Thirds lenses is also a boon – there are plenty of pancake primes that pair brilliantly with the lightweight E-M10 IV. One thing to note – given that it lacks a 3.5mm mic port, and its 4K video tops out at 30p, it’s probably not one for budding videographers.

Canon EOS R10 Digital Camera Body

£799.00 View

Pros:

  • Great burst mode and autofocus speed
  • Accessible entry-point to EOS R system

Cons:

  • Relatively few native RF-S lenses (for now)
  • Just one card slot

Canon has cleverly put together a very enticing package here. The Canon EOS R10 is an APS-C camera that represents a great jumping-on point for the firm’s flagship mirrorless EOS R system. Appealing and accessible, the EOS R10 looks a lot like another camera from this section, the good old EOS 250D. Only the difference is, the EOS R10 comes packing a lot of the latest features, like the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system inherited from the big pro cameras like the EOS R3. Having 4,053 AF points on a camera at this level is a pretty big deal!

We’re still in relatively early days for APS-C sensors on EOS R cameras. As such, there aren’t too many RF-S lenses that are specifically designed for this sensor size – though this will change as the range grows. Plus, you can always use full-frame RF lenses, or any EF-S lenses you own if you have the correct EF-EOS R adapter.

Best for ease of use

Well, who doesn’t love gadgets that are just plug in and play? If you don’t want to fuss with swapping lenses, don’t particularly care to learn the exposure triangle, and at heart just want a solid point-and-shoot camera that delivers high-quality images with minimal fuss, this is the section for you.

Compact cameras – a term meaning cameras with fixed lenses that can’t be changed – are a great way to give yourself a quality upgrade from a smartphone without the bulk and expense of a whole system of lenses. Many manufacturers lean into the natural convenience of compact cameras, and make them super user-friendly, with high-quality zoom lenses that give you real shooting flexibility. That also makes these cameras excellent for travel, no matter whether you’re exploring the city or tramping through the countryside.

So, without further ado, here are our favourite digital cameras for ease of use. 

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Black

£389.00 View

Pros:

  • High-quality 10x Leica zoom lens
  • Slips into a pocket
  • Powerful 1-inch sensor

Cons:

  • The slim body lacks pronounced handgrip
  • Max aperture drops sharply at tele end

Panasonic’s enduringly popular TZ cameras have many fans among travel photographers who like to keep things simple. Their winning combination of a powerful imaging sensor and a high-quality zoom lens makes it easy to produce superb images in a range of shooting situations, and the Panasonic Lumix TZ100 is one of our favourites. 

With a 25-250mm lens that’s made with Leica optics, you get excellent image quality throughout a zoom range that’s perfect for travel, and the high-quality 1-inch sensor delivers terrific images in all shooting conditions. The only real thing to watch for is that the maximum aperture drops to f/5.9 at the telephoto end of the lens, which restricts low-light shooting at this focal length. Also, the slim body of the Lumix TZ100 is less grippable than other, thicker cameras – a good camera strap would be a wise precaution.

Olympus Tough TG-6 Digital Camera - Black

£399.00 View

Pros:

  • Super-tough, waterproof construction
  • Useful underwater modes
  • Optical zoom lens

Cons:

  • Small 1/2.3-inch sensor
  • No viewfinder

Tough compact cameras let you take your photography to places other cameras can’t go. Underwater, freezing temperatures, muddy conditions – they’re ideal cameras for adventurous shooters. The Olympus Tough TG series is widely regarded as one of the best tough compact ranges around, and its flagship model is the Olympus Tough TG-6.

Not only is this camera waterproof down to depths of 15m, shockproof against drops of up to 2.1m, crushproof against forces of 100kg, and freezeproof down to temperatures of -10°C, but it also takes great images. The 25-100mm zoom lens with an f/2 aperture is impressively versatile, and the TG-6 also boasts a suite of useful shooting modes, including underwater macro modes for exciting close-ups. Just be aware that you don’t get a viewfinder, and while the small 1/2.3-inch sensor is par for the course in a tough compact, it will struggle in low light.

Best all-rounder digital cameras

For our final section, we’re rounding up the cameras that we believe are best for a bit of everything! More and more content creators are diversifying their skill sets and dipping their toes into all sorts of disciplines, which is amazing to see – and these are the cameras that will keep up! For photos, for video, for fast shooting, for printing, for daytime, for night – these are the cameras that will tackle it all.

We’re aware too that many content creators are working on limited budgets. We could easily fill this list with professional flagship cameras like the Nikon Z9 or Sony A1, which really can do everything – but we’re aware that it would only be useful to a limited number of people. So, we’ve made an effort to balance in price when making our picks, and have come up with the cameras we feel strike the best overall balance. So, here we go – the best all-rounder digital cameras!

Sony A7 III Digital Camera Body

£1,699.00 View

Pros:

  • Incredibly capable back-illuminated sensor
  • 15 stops of dynamic range
  • 4K HDR video with no pixel binning

Cons:

  • Can feel imbalanced with big lenses
  • Other cameras have better weather-sealing

Sony’s A7 cameras have always been the all-rounders of its full-frame mirrorless round-up, in contrast to the speed-focused A9, resolution-focused A7R and video-oriented A7s cameras. While the Sony A7 IV has made its dramatic arrival, it is designed more for the professional user than this Mark III version, so given its wide availability, we’re opting for the Sony A7 III as our all-rounder camera.

This camera just does everything. The secret to its success is that spectacular back-illuminated 24MP full-frame sensor and its pairing with the redesigned BIONZ X processing engine. This heady combination delivers such features as 14-bit RAW capture, 15 stops of dynamic range, 4K HDR video using the full width of the sensor, and more. And with a powerful hybrid autofocus system at your disposal, not to mention 5-axis image stabilisation, there really is very little you can’t shoot with a Sony A7 III in your hands.

Nikon Z6 II Digital Camera Body

Finance available

£2,099.00 View

Pros:

  • Lovely high-magnification electronic viewfinder
  • Good low-light autofocusing
  • Shoots at a punchy 14fps

Cons:

  • Rear LCD not fully articulating
  • Other cameras have better tracking AF

In crafting the Nikon Z6 II, Nikon took what was already a very good all-rounder camera, and fixed a few of the community’s complaints to make it even better. Let’s get the big one out of the way – the Z6 II now has two card slots, not one, and is compatible with the CFExpress fast card format, as well as XQD. A lesson well heeded by Nikon there.

This is just a lovely camera to use. The 24.5MP full-frame sensor delivers excellent image quality across the board, even at higher ISO settings, giving you real shooting flexibility. The button layout feels well-engineered and satisfying, and the Z-mount lens system continues to go from strength to strength. You get a meaty 14fps burst mode to play with, as well as a decent shot buffer to be sure you nail your subject. Quietly, efficiently and beautifully, the Nikon Z6 II is one of the best cameras you can buy for just about anything.

Fujifilm X-T5 Digital Camera Body - Black

£1,699.00 View

Pros:

  • Excellent 40MP images
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 video at 6.2K / 30p
  • AI-powered subject-detect autofocus

Cons:

  • Buffer fills up fast in RAW
  • The 3-way tilting screen may not be to your taste

Fujifilm undoubtedly had a banner year in 2022, and the fabulous Fujifilm X-T5 closed it out in fine style. A long-awaited successor to the fabulous X-T4, the X-T5 boasts such cutting-edge features as subject-detection autofocus that’s powered by deep-learning AI, meaning it gets better the more you shoot. Then there’s also the 40MP resolution, which is ideal for making the most of those tack-sharp Fujifilm X-mount lenses.

While Fujifilm billed this camera as being all about photographers first and foremost, its video spec is really nothing to sniff at. There aren’t many cameras capable of shooting 6.2K video at 30 frames per second in 4:2:2 10-bit colour, with the option to externally record Apple ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW codecs. Then there’s also that gorgeous Fujifilm design, with loads of physical dials and controls, that simply makes the X-T5 a joyful object to own and use. A well-deserved triumph by Fujifilm, and an all-rounder camera for the ages.

Digital camera buying guide

Digital top image.jpg

Digital cameras explained

Welcome to our guide to the best digital cameras! If you’re new to photography and videography with digital cameras, here we’re going to break down some key terms and concepts to help you understand what’s what. 

If you need a quick-reference guide, you can scroll down a little to our glossary section, where we have provided bite-size explanations of the main terms you’ll encounter. We’ve also included some frequently asked questions, to troubleshoot a few common issues people encounter when searching for digital cameras. 

But first up, let’s examine in more detail the advantages of digital cameras. With a smartphone in everyone’s pocket or bag at all times, why do we need them at all?

Why do you need a digital camera?

Digital cameras offer a lot of advantages over a smartphone when it comes to photography and videography. While a smartphone will undoubtedly get the job done and take a decent picture, there are certain aspects in which they just can’t compete with the best digital camera features.

Sensor size

The physical size of a smartphone means that the imaging sensor of its camera has to be fairly small. Cameras have the physical space and architecture to include a much larger imaging sensor. 

For some more detailed explanations of sensor sizes, check out our glossary section below, but the main thing you need to know is that a larger sensor can have larger pixels, and produce a cleaner image with less noise. 

This also makes larger sensors much more capable in low light – if you’ve ever wondered why your phone photos at night or in dimly lit gig venues are so grainy and rubbish, it’s because phones use a 1/2.3-inch sensor. Cameras can wield sensors of all sizes, from 1-inch and Micro Four Thirds, to APS-C, full-frame and beyond. 

Optical zoom lenses

Another thing you’ll notice if you’ve spent lots of time shooting on a smartphone is that you can’t zoom in optically. While many phones have a digital zoom feature, the degradation in image quality is noticeable even on the small screen. 

Cameras have the advantage of being able to field optical zoom lenses. These sophisticated optical constructions allow the user to get closer to a subject without losing out on image quality. Indeed, some of the more powerful telephoto zooms can bring far objects extremely near, which is hugely useful for wildlife and other genres of photography where it isn’t possible to get right up close to the subject. Cameras can also field high-quality prime lenses, capturing much finer detail than the lenses on smartphones. 

Types of digital camera

The main types of digital camera are each aimed at a different type of user. Here, we’ll run through the main features of each type of digital camera, and the differences between them.

DSLR

Short for digital single-lens reflex camera, the DSLR is a durable, well-built camera for all situations. They have interchangeable lenses that can be swapped out at will, allowing the user to experiment with wide-angles and telephotos as they prefer. They also use an internal mirror system that enables the fielding of an optical viewfinder, giving the user an instant view of what they’re shooting.

See here for everything you need to know about DSLRs.

Mirrorless

Mirrorless cameras are some of the most technologically advanced digital cameras around. Like DSLRs they are interchangeable-lens cameras, however they forgo the mirror system in order to be smaller and lighter (hence “mirror-less”). Some mirrorless cameras use an electronic viewfinder, while others simply rely on the LCD screen for composition.

See here for everything you need to know about mirrorless cameras. 

Compact

Compact cameras differ from mirrorless and DSLR cameras in one crucial respect – they have a fixed lens that can’t be changed. It might be a zoom that’s made for versatility, or it might be a prime that’s built with quality in mind. But either way, this is the only lens you’ve got when you use a compact. While this may seem restrictive, it makes compact cameras very convenient and portable. 

Some compact cameras resemble DSLRs with big zoom lenses attached – these are referred to as bridge cameras. 

See here for everything you need to know about compact cameras. 

Medium format

Medium format cameras have a larger sensor than even full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. This means they tend to be physically larger (though the gap is closing), but offer pretty much the top end of image quality. They have high megapixel counts and can capture images of exquisite detail – perfect for printing.

See here for all of our medium format cameras. 

Brands of digital camera

There are a fair few brands of digital cameras. Here we’ll run through the main ones you need to know about, and the different types of camera they produce. 

Canon Digital Cameras

Possibly the most famous name in photo and video today, Canon produces DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, compact cameras, specialist cine cameras and more!

Whether you’re a total newbie looking for their first camera, an experienced enthusiast hunting for an upgrade, or a professional photographer who needs the latest model, Canon will have a camera for you. We have a dedicated Canon cameras page that explains the ins and outs of the different models in more detail. 

Nikon Digital Cameras

Nikon is an entire system of cameras, lenses, accessories and more. Nikon has been making fantastic cameras since the early days of film SLRs, and thanks to its cutting-edge mirrorless range, its legacy is secure into the future. 

Whether you choose a Nikon DSLR, mirrorless camera or compact, you’ll be getting a fantastic shooting machine. On our dedicated Nikon cameras page we run through the main things you need to know about Nikon cameras. 

Sony Digital Cameras

Sony is one of the most innovative camera manufacturers out there, and makes mirrorless cameras and compacts for amateurs and professionals alike. After turning the camera world on its head with the A7 series in 2013, Sony has consolidated its sheet to become one of the most sophisticated systems out there, and is known for pushing boundaries. 

We’d recommend Sony cameras to photographers and videographers at any ability level! Check out our Sony cameras page to get an idea of what they offer. 

Fujifilm Digital Cameras

Fujifilm cameras are positively dripping with retro cool. Its X series of mirrorless cameras and compacts began with the original X100 back in 2010, and has since gone from strength to strength. Beloved by enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals alike, Fujifilm cameras use tactile controls and chic looks to make photography stylish again. And what’s more, the recent Fujifilm GFX range of mirrorless medium format models has shaken things up again by making medium format more affordable and accessible. 

Here’s all you need to know about Fujifilm cameras

Panasonic Digital Cameras

The Panasonic Lumix range of digital cameras includes two main sub-sections. There’s the Lumix G range of compacts and mirrorless cameras, the latter of which are part of the Micro Four Thirds standard. This means they can interchangeably use Olympus lenses as well as their own (more on which below).

The other half of the Panasonic picture is the full-frame Lumix S series. These full-frame mirrorless models are part of the L-mount lens alliance with Sigma and Leica, and put professional quality in the hands of the masses. Recent success stories like Bo Burnham’s Inside comedy special were shot on Panasonic Lumix S cameras – they’re shaking up the video world in a big way.

Olympus Digital Cameras

Olympus mirrorless cameras are also part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning they can use Panasonic Lumix G lenses. What’s more, like Fujifilm cameras they are made with retro cool looks. They tend to be absolutely rammed with handy features like high-resolution shot composite modes, and sophisticated optical image stabilisation. Great for gadget-heads and fashionistas alike – here’s the run-down of Olympus cameras

Pentax Digital Cameras

Pentax makes tough-nut DSLRs that are designed for outdoor adventurers! While it’s a relatively small range, it has its devoted enthusiasts who eagerly await the latest updates to its range of K-mount cameras and lenses

Glossary

Aperture

The aperture is the opening in a lens that allows light to pass through onto the sensor. Aperture values are expressed as a letter f, followed by a number – e.g. f/1.8. The lower the number, the wider the aperture. When you see a lens listed as a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, that means f/2.8 is the widest aperture setting it can open to. Wide apertures are good for low light and for creating shallow depth of field – meaning an image with a sharply in-focus subject and an artfully defocused background. 

Autofocus (AF)

Quite literally, the camera’s automatic focusing system. There are two main types of autofocus – phase-detect, which uses its own dedicated AF sensor, and contrast-detection, which analyses information from the camera’s imaging sensor. Many modern cameras use a combination of the two to achieve blisteringly fast autofocusing speeds.

Burst shooting

Expressed in frames per second (fps) this is how fast a camera can fire off shots. The faster the burst mode, also known as drive mode, the better a camera is for action-shooting. Bear in mind that cameras also have what’s known as a buffer, which is the maximum number of continuous frames it can shoot before needing to cool off.

Frame rate

Similar to burst shooting, but more commonly used in reference to video. A frame rate refers to how many frames per second a camera captures while shooting video. 4K 60p video consists of 60 frames per second, while 4K 30p consists of – you guessed it – 30. 

Image stabilisation (IS)

A system which compensates for unintentional camera movement, allowing the user to shoot at slower shutter speeds hand-held without the image blurring. Cameras and lenses can have image stabilisation, and sometimes can work in tandem to improve it further. You can see it referred to by multiple acronyms, including IS, OIS (optical image stabilisation), Power OIS and VR (vibration reduction), but it all ultimately does the same thing.

Histogram

A graph that provides an instant readout of contrast and exposure levels in an image. It contains values of 0 (pure black) to 255 (pure white), and plots the number of pixels in an image at each brightness level in between. Reading a histogram can take some practice, but in brief, if you’re seeing a lot of height at one end of the graph or the other, your image is probably under- or over-exposed.

ISO

Short for International Organization for Standardization, this term refers to the system for measuring the sensitivity of a film stock or an imaging sensor. A higher ISO value means a sensor is more sensitive to light, which means it can make clearer images in darker conditions. However, higher ISO settings lead to greater image noise, or grain. Ideally you want to be shooting at as low an ISO setting as possible at all times, but having a camera that can shoot at high levels (and get useable results) is useful for tricky lighting situations.

OLED

Short for “organic light-emitting diode”, OLED is a newer display technology found in higher-end LCD displays and electronic viewfinders. LED screens use a backlight to illuminate their pixels, while OLED displays have pixels that actually produce light themselves. LED screens are brighter, but OLED ones display better contrast, and can be viewed from more angles. 

Shutter speed

The length of time the shutter is open and exposing the sensor to light. Expressed as a time value, normally in fractions of a second. Fast shutter speeds are good for freezing action, while longer ones will let in more light. Generally accepted wisdom is that a shutter speed of about 1/60sec is the slowest one can shoot hand-held without noticeable image blur, though image stabilisation systems in modern cameras have made slower shutter speeds possible to use hand-held. Anything slower than that, a tripod or other camera support is needed. Many cameras offer a mode called “Bulb”, which leaves the shutter open indefinitely until the user closes it. This is good for long-exposure images like traffic trails.

Viewfinder

The small eyepiece you look through to take the shot. Viewfinders come in two flavours – optical, on DSLRs, and electronic, on some mirrorless cameras and compacts. While optical viewfinders are obviously instantaneous, with no lag, electronic ones have the advantage of being able to display a readout of settings information or a histogram.

Digital camera FAQs

FAQs

How do I choose a digital camera?

There’s no one way to do it! This page has hopefully given you a rough guide, but it’s also worth browsing the best digital camera reviews, talking to other photographers, and perhaps even consider a short rental to try out a camera you’re considering buying. 

Where do digital cameras store their photographs?

Memory cards! Different digital cameras will have different card compatibilities, with some able to use faster cards with better transfer speeds, such as XQD or CFExpress.

What batteries do digital cameras use?

It varies, but the vast majority of digital cameras use rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, normally ones that the manufacturers supply themselves, though third-party options are often available. It’s a good idea to pick up spare batteries and chargers, and some high-end cameras also have optional battery grips, which pack in an extra battery to double the shooting time. 

Can digital cameras be repaired?

Usually, yes! It of course depends on the nature of the damage, but if your digital camera has stopped working or got into an accident, drop a line to our colleagues at Fixation to see what can be done. 

Can digital cameras shoot in infrared?

It requires some DIY tinkering to get a standard digital camera to shoot infrared – it’s not something we’d recommend attempting yourself! If you’re interested in infrared photography, a safer thing to do is to pick up an affordable infrared filter like the Cokin P infrared kit.

How did we decide?

Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers.

We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media

And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy.