Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

  • Date

By

Dig Deeper

25,339FansLike
25,367FollowersFollow
43,312FollowersFollow

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

9 Best Digital Cameras to Buy for Photography in 2020

Just a few short years ago, everyone relied on digital cameras for capturing special memories. You’d take your camera on vacation, record birthdays and graduations with it, and use it to take casual snapshots of the family to send to relatives. Now, most people just rely on their phones for these kinds of pictures. Many casual photographers never even bother to invest in a separate camera.

But even today, a true digital camera has many advantages over your smartphone camera. Since it’s designed to do just one thing — take pictures — it generally works better for that purpose, especially if you happen to have an older phone with a shoddy camera app. And for serious photographers, only a dedicated digital camera has the technical prowess and range of features needed to capture high-quality images.

Sign up for BBVA checking & savings accounts by November 27, 2020 and get up to a $250 bonus.

There are great digital cameras out there for all types of users, from young kids taking their first photos to professional artists and journalists. No matter what your level of skill — or lack of it — you can find a camera that fits your needs.

Reasons to Buy a Digital Camera

The first thing to decide is whether you really want a separate camera at all. Smartphone cameras are much better today than in the past, and experts say any decent smartphone can produce good images under the right conditions. And your phone has one big advantage: It’s always with you, so you never have to worry about missing a great shot while you run to get your camera.

On the other hand, digital cameras can offer several benefits smartphones lack, such as:

  • Better Zoom. Most digital cameras have real zoom lenses, which can cover a lot more distance than the digital or computational zoom features available on smartphones. True optical zoom also produces clearer images when shooting at a distance.
  • Longer Battery Life. You’ll be able to snap more photos on a camera without draining the battery than you can on your smartphone. Plus, you can shut your camera off in between sessions to save the battery without worrying about missing a call.
  • Bigger Sensors. A digital camera’s sensor is the part that captures the light coming in through the lens and records it as an image. In general, the bigger the sensor, the more efficiently it can record light. Even cheap digital cameras have much larger sensors than most smartphones, which means they can produce much clearer, more detailed images in dim light.
  • Advanced Controls. Smartphone cameras usually offer some way to adjust the image with touch-screen controls. However, these aren’t nearly as precise as the controls available on an advanced digital camera. Higher-end cameras let you adjust the focus and exposure manually to fine-tune your image.
  • Higher Speed. Another area where digital cameras excel is in shooting moving objects. Their faster shutter speeds can capture an image in milliseconds, so instead of a shot of two blurred figures on a basketball court, you can get one that shows the players’ faces and the moving ball.
  • Better Video Quality. A good camera — even if it’s the least expensive point-and-shoot variety — can produce clearer, sharper footage than even a top-notch smartphone. Details show up more clearly, and there’s less visual “noise” (random variation in brightness and color).
  • Ruggedness. Some digital cameras are specially designed to stand up to harsh treatment. They can survive rain, extreme cold, dust, a fall from a tree, or a dunking in a lake. Some can even shoot underwater — something your smartphone will never do.
  • Fewer Tradeoffs. Even if a top-notch smartphone camera could meet all your needs, the best phones don’t always come with the best cameras, and vice versa. By choosing your phone and camera separately, you can have the best of both.

Types of Digital Cameras

The biggest difference between digital camera models is whether they have fixed or interchangeable lenses. With interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs), you can swap out lenses to capture a wider or narrower range of vision, improve photo quality, or take in more light. However, fixed-lens cameras are more compact, easier to use, and cheaper. Also, many people who invest in ILCs never end up buying a second lens.

Within these two broad categories, there are several major types of cameras. Here’s a rundown of the main types you need to know.

Compact Cameras

These basic fixed-lens cameras, sometimes called “point-and-shoot” models, are small enough to slip easily into a pocket. They’re easy to use, but they don’t have a lot of features, and their image quality for photos and videos is limited. They’re a good choice for beginners, people on a tight budget, and travelers who need something light and portable.

Compact digital cameras can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,300, and you’ll get better images at the higher end of the price range. It’s possible to buy an ultra-cheap compact camera for $100 or less, but experts say most models in this price range have no real advantage over a smartphone camera.

Some compact digital cameras are labeled as “tough” or “rugged.” These models can stand up to rough handling — getting wet, being dropped, and shooting in extreme cold. They usually cost between $200 and $500.

Bridge Cameras

Also known as “superzoom” models, these fixed-lens cameras have extra-long zoom lenses that can magnify images by up to 83 times. They can shoot everything from wide angles to extreme close-ups, which makes them a good choice for vacation photos and sporting events.

Bridge cameras are larger than compact cameras and have more features, but they’re lighter and less bulky than an ILC with an assortment of lenses. However, most of them don’t do as good a job in dim light as an ILC. Prices for bridge cameras vary from around $300 for a smaller travel model to over $1,500 for a professional-quality camera with image quality that rivals a DSLR (discussed below).

DSLR Cameras

A digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, is the type most often favored by professionals. These ILCs have a built-in mirror mechanism that allows light to enter through the lens, bounce up into a prism, and hit your eye through the viewfinder, so what you see is exactly what the lens is focusing on. This mirror flips up when you snap the shutter so that the light coming through the lens can hit the sensor.

DSLR cameras are highly adjustable and can produce sharp, clear photos under all sorts of conditions, including high-speed and low-light images. They work with a wide range of lenses, including lenses from old film cameras. However, these cameras are also bulky, heavy, and much more expensive than fixed-lens cameras. Even a beginner-level DSLR will set you back around $500, and high-end models cost thousands of dollars.

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are a type of ILC that replaces the mirror system found in a DSLR with a digital imaging sensor. Light entering through the lens hits this sensor, which transmits the image to either an electronic viewfinder or a digital screen.

Mirrorless cameras are lighter, smaller, and quieter than DSLRs, and they can do a better job shooting video. They also tend to have better autofocus. However, their battery life is shorter, and they have a smaller selection of lenses available.

Like DSLRs, mirrorless cameras range in price from around $500 into the thousands. Until recently, entry-level DSLRs generally offered better performance for your dollar than mirrorless models in the same price range. However, with recent improvements in mirrorless technology, most experts say that comparably priced DSLR and mirrorless cameras perform about the same. It’s a question of what you want more: compact size and good autofocus, or longer battery life and more adjustability.


Features That Matter

In the words of Amadou Diallo at Wirecutter, “The dirty little secret of today’s photography industry is that there are no bad cameras.” Pretty much any camera, including your phone, is capable of taking good pictures. However, there’s a difference between a good camera and a great camera, which depends on several factors:

  • Sensor Size. The bigger your sensor, the more light it can capture, and the better your image quality will be, especially in low light. However, bigger sensors also mean bigger price tags.
  • Video Features. For shooting “casual video,” CNET says, the most important feature is good autofocus. If you want to record more advanced video, CNET recommends looking for 4K support and extra video-centered features, such as multiple frame rate options and touchscreen controls.
  • Zoom Length. How long a zoom you need depends on what you want to shoot. CNET says a normal lens focal length of 30 to 70 mm is good for snapshots. Wider-angle lenses (under 30 mm) are good for capturing large scenes, while telephoto lenses (over 70 mm) are good for shooting sports and wildlife. If you want to shoot a little of everything, a camera with a big zoom range is a good choice.
  • ISO Range. ISO is a measure of how sensitive your sensor is — that is, how much light it needs to capture an image. Lower ISO means you’ll have to use either a slower shutter speed or a wider aperture to get a well-exposed photo. Most cameras these days have a range of ISO 100 to 6,400, but at high ISO settings, the images come out blurrier. If you want to shoot action scenes, you’ll need a camera with decent photo quality at ISO between 800 and 6,400.
  • Image Stabilization. This feature is also important for shooting in low light. If your camera has good image stabilization, you can use a slower shutter speed without blurring so that your photo gets a longer exposure.
  • Toughness. For shooting in harsh conditions, you’ll need a camera with a well-constructed body that seals out dust and water. For really extreme conditions, look for one of the few that can handle temperatures down to 14°F (-10°C) and are waterproof.
  • Battery Life. Battery life matters only if you plan to carry your camera into places where you can’t easily recharge it for over a day. In these cases, you can go with a DSLR, which runs longer on a charge than a mirrorless camera, or carry extra batteries.
  • Viewfinder. Some mirrorless cameras don’t have a viewfinder, only an LCD screen that can be hard to see in direct sunlight. Shooting through a viewfinder also allows you to shoot with your arms at your sides rather than stretched out in front of you — a pose that makes it harder to hold the camera steady.
  • Wireless Functionality. Nearly every digital camera these days includes Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability for transmitting photos. However, some of these apps work better than others. If you plan to use wireless a lot, it’s worth checking reviews for complaints about connection issues or ease of use.
  • Size and Weight. Unfortunately, with digital cameras, there’s a tradeoff between size and image quality. CNET recommends checking out a camera in person to make sure you can hold and carry it comfortably.
  • Ease of Use. Another thing to consider is the camera controls. A camera with lots of settings won’t produce good images if you can’t easily find the ones you want. Your camera should give you quick access to the functions you use most often, and its menus should be simple and intuitive.

One feature CNET says you shouldn’t worry about is resolution as measured in megapixels. For the vast majority of users, it doesn’t really matter. Also, don’t worry about whether the camera you choose is the top of the line or the newest model. In many cases, last year’s or even the previous year’s model is just as good as this year’s, and it can be significantly cheaper.


Best Digital Cameras

Several technology publications, including Digital Camera WorldPCMag, CNET, and Wirecutter, have reviewed digital cameras and named their top picks for 2020. Surprisingly, there’s no real consensus among these sites about which is really the best camera in each category. However, there are nine current cameras that earn a thumbs-up from multiple sites, so it’s safe to say these have the experts’ seal of approval. And since these nine models span several different types of cameras, there’s something on this list for everyone.

1. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II as a great point-and-shoot camera for beginners. For people who are used to shooting pictures with their smartphones, this camera will be a definite step up in terms of picture quality, and its intuitive touchscreen controls will be easy to adjust to. Reviewers at PCMag and Wirecutter both say this ultra-compact camera produces much better images than you’d expect for the price. And roughly 250 reviewers at Amazon give it a solid overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

  • Price: About $425
  • Pros: This extra-slim camera fits easily into a pocket, yet its compact frame contains a 1-inch sensor. That’s about four times the size of those on cheaper point-and-shoot models, according to PCMag. It’s also quite responsive, taking less than 1.5 seconds to start, focus, and snap. By squeezing the shutter, you can capture images at up to 8.1 frames per second (fps). The touch LCD controls are very easy to use, and it has wi-fi capabilities, a must for modern digital cameras.
  • Cons: This camera sports a modest 3x optical zoom lens, which is fairly standard for this type of camera. However, it’s a bit narrower than most models when fully zoomed, which means it doesn’t do a great job with wide-angle shots. It also lacks some of the features found on higher-end cameras, such as a tilt screen, a viewfinder, and a wide array of physical controls. It can’t shoot video at 4K resolution, or at speeds higher than 60 fps. Its battery will only last for 235 shots on a charge. And while the price is a bargain compared to most high-end cameras, it’s more than some beginners will want to spend.

2. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV

One of the biggest limitations of the Canon PowerShot G9 is its video capabilities. If you want something that can produce great video without a lot of heft, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV is a good choice.

Although this model is several years old, Ben Keough of Wirecutter says there’s nothing on the newer versions that really justifies their much higher prices. Both he and Lori Grunin of CNET praise its superior video quality but note that there are cheaper options for those who mainly want to take still shots. It also gets a decent overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 from over 200 buyers on Amazon.

  • Price: About $900
  • Pros: Video is this Sony’s camera’s strong suit. Its 4K footage is remarkably sharp and clear, and it can transmit that footage live and uncompressed over HDMI. This makes it a great choice for vloggers and other content creators who rely on streaming video. Another nice perk is a pop-up electronic viewfinder, a feature not found on most compact cameras. Keough calls this a “serious advantage” for shooting in bright sunlight, when it’s hard to see your screen, and in darkened rooms (such as a theater) where you don’t want your lit-up screen to be a distraction to others. The tilting feature also makes it easy to shoot pictures of things above eye level, such as shooting over the heads of the audience at a concert.
  • Cons: For still shots, this camera isn’t that remarkable. Its 1-inch sensor is no bigger than the cheaper Canon’s, and Keough says the images it produces aren’t noticeably better. Although it can focus and shoot in under half a second, it can only capture images at 5.7 fps with autofocus on. Speaking of autofocus, Grunin says it’s not great for object tracking and only “pretty good” for single shots. The LCD screen has no touch controls, and the battery life is unimpressive — only 320 shots max and 230 when using the electronic viewfinder.

3. Nikon W300

The Nikon W300 is a rugged, waterproof compact camera that’s ideal for recording any kind of adventure in rough conditions. It can stand up to just about anything you can throw at it — dust, cold, battering, and even submersion — and still produce better images than the average “tough” compact camera. Wirecutter names it the best waterproof camera for most users, and Digital Camera World calls it a “great underwater and family camera.” At Amazon, it earns a decent 3.8 stars out of 5 from over 225 reviewers.

  • Price: About $350
  • Pros: The W300’s lens has a wider view than any other tough camera in Wirecutter’s tests and lets in more light than nearly all competitors. It also has a 5x zoom range, which is better than many compact cameras. Wirecutter says its still shots capture realistic color and lots of detail. It can shoot 4K video and transmit images wirelessly via Bluetooth or Nikon’s SnapBridge technology. And it can do all this under the harshest conditions, surviving submersion to depths of 100 feet, drops of up to 8 feet, and temperatures as low as 14 degrees F. The battery compartment fastens securely, it’s easy to grip when wet, and it weighs only 8.2 ounces — equivalent to three or four energy bars. It even includes adventure-friendly features like a compass, GPS, altimeter, and depth gauge.
  • Cons: The 1/2.3-inch sensor is smaller than the full 1-inch sensors found on nontough point-and-shoot cameras (though it’s still bigger than a smartphone’s sensor). This means its photos under dim conditions may come out a bit noisier. Backgrounds can come out blurry when shooting in auto mode. Although the camera can shoot 4K footage, it can only do so at 30 fps. And it can’t capture raw (minimally processed) image files.

4. Canon PowerShot SX70 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is a bridge camera that really puts the “super” in superzoom. PCMag calls it the ideal camera for beginners, combining light weight, good resolution, and powerful zoom capabilities. It’s not the top-rated superzoom camera in Wirecutter’s report, but it’s a close second, providing even more zoom and more “approachable” controls than the winner, but without as many features. Users on Amazon like it too, giving it 4.0 stars out of 5 in over 75 reviews.

  • Price: About $550
  • Pros: The biggest selling point of this camera is its powerful 65x zoom lens, which can focus in a range of 21mm to a whopping 1,365mm. However, that’s far from its only strength. It provides good-looking photos, can capture raw images, is Wi-Fi-enabled, and can shoot bursts at up to 10 fps. It not only shoots videos in 4K but also has a built-in mic for audio, as well as a separate mic input. The electronic viewfinder is excellent, and the straightforward menus and controls are easy to use. It weighs about 1.3 pounds when fully loaded with battery and memory card.
  • Cons: Although the SX70’s pictures look good, they’re not as good as the images from other cameras without its extreme zoom capability. At high magnification, there’s more noise and less detail. Its lens doesn’t capture a great deal of light — only about 25% as much as a smartphone’s — so it doesn’t perform well in dim light. And its autofocus doesn’t do a great job keeping up with fast-moving objects.

5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000

If you care less about having the ultimate in zoom capability and more about taking good pictures in all situations, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is the ideal bridge camera for you. Both CNET and Wirecutter name this as the best bridge camera, citing its great image quality for both still photos and videos and its wealth of useful features. Users on Amazon are equally enthusiastic, awarding it an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 in over 450 reviews.

  • Price: About $400
  • Pros: This camera is a great example of what makes bridge cameras useful. It combines the control of a DSLR with the convenience of a single, fixed lens. While its 24x zoom lens isn’t nearly as powerful as the Canon PowerShot’s, it still gets you in close enough to capture shots of wildlife from a distance. And for other types of photography, it’s superior, capturing plenty of light and producing crisp, clear images. The autofocus is fast and accurate, and its 4K video looks great as well. Useful features include a large, high-resolution electronic viewfinder that can swing out to capture images from different angles, customizable controls, and a weather-sealed body. Also, its battery lasts noticeably longer than most bridge cameras’.
  • Cons: Like most superzoom cameras, the FZ1000 doesn’t admit as much light through its lens at full zoom. Wirecutter notes that the camera’s sensor provides plenty of resolution for 8-by-11-prints, but it “doesn’t leave much space for cropping.” When working with the zoom lens, you’ll need to frame photos carefully to get them to fill the frame. The camera can’t charge by USB like newer models; you have to remove the battery and put it in a wall charger. And finally, the wide array of settings and shooting modes can be a little intimidating for beginners.

6. Nikon D3500

The Nikon D3500 gets more recommendations from technology publications than any other camera. Experts at Wirecutter, PCMag, and Digital Camera World all agree this is the ideal DSLR camera for beginners. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and not too expensive, and it produces great pictures. There are a few features it lacks, but not crucial ones. The 1,250-plus owners who have reviewed it on Amazon are equally enthusiastic, awarding it 4.7 stars out of 5.

  • Price: About $400
  • Pros: The Nikon D3500 has a 24-megapixel sensor that produces clear, high-quality images with great color and contrast. It can focus very fast and shoot continuously at 5fps. But what makes it ideal for beginners is its ease of use. It has a built-in Guide Mode that explains all its functions, so you don’t need to keep referring to a separate manual. It’s also compact, lightweight, and simple to handle, with a long-lasting battery. It’s easy to connect to a smartphone and transfer images via Bluetooth or SnapBridge. And for a DSLR, the price is definitely right.
  • Cons: This camera isn’t ideal for shooting video. It doesn’t have 4K capability, and its autofocus system in Live View mode can’t keep up with a fast-moving subject. Also, there’s no microphone jack, and the rear screen is fixed, so you can’t rotate it to capture different angles easily. The screen also doesn’t have touch functionality, which can be frustrating for those who are used to a smartphone camera.

7. Canon Eos Rebel T7i

The biggest weakness of the Nikon D3500 is its video capabilities. If you’re more interested in shooting videos than photos, it’s worth paying more for the Canon Eos Rebel T7i. Wirecutter recommends this camera as an “upgrade pick” for newbie photographers who want to shoot video, and CNET calls it a “crowd-pleasing choice for family photographers.” More impressive still are the reviews on Amazon, with an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 from over 350 users — the highest rating for any camera on this list.

  • Cost: Around $800
  • Pros: Video is this camera’s forte. Wirecutter says its Dual Pixel autofocus does an amazing job of keeping a moving subject in focus while shooting. Like the Nikon, it can’t shoot 4K video, but it can produce smooth-looking 1080p video at up to 60 fps. It also has a responsive, fully rotating touchscreen that makes shooting from any angle easy — even shooting selfies. Still photos are also decent, thanks to a 24-megapixel sensor and an image processor that works well in low light. It can shoot continuously at 6 fps. The battery is good for up to 600 shots on a charge, enough for an afternoon of shooting. The camera comes with a good standard lens for beginners, and since it’s a DSLR, you can easily upgrade when you need to.
  • Cons: This camera is quite a bit pricier than the Nikon D3500, and for shooting still photos, it’s not significantly better. In fact, it’s a bit slower than competitors when it comes to focusing in low light. CNET’s Lori Grunin argues that if clear, sharp photos are your top priority, you can get more for the same money with a higher-end Nikon camera. Also, the T7i is a bit on the bulky side.

8. Nikon D500

The Nikon D500 is a mid-priced DSLR that can fit the needs of both avid amateur photographers and professionals. Both PCMag and CNET say it’s great for shooting fast action, with a quick, accurate autofocus system and a tough, compact body. Despite a few shortcomings, experts say it’s the best DSLR you’ll find for under $2,000. Amazon buyers are also enthusiastic, awarding it 4.6 stars out of 5 in over 250 reviews.

  • Price: About $1,500
  • Pros: Reviewers say the Nikon D500 produces great photos, especially at high speed. Its excellent autofocus system covers the entire sensor from edge to edge and can track action while shooting at up to 10 fps. Both CNET and PCMag rave about the image quality and astonishing ISO range. The D500 can also shoot video in 4K. It’s solidly built to stand up to dust and weather, and it comes with loads of features: a tilting touch-screen LCD, SD and XQD card slots, and great controls with lots of custom settings.
  • Cons: One weakness of the Nikon D500 is the Live View mode it uses for shooting video. Autofocus in Live View is subpar, taking around half a second to find and lock in on the point of sharpest focus. Also, video shot in 4K comes out cropped. Another big problem is the SnapBridge system for transferring files wirelessly; it’s slow and drains your phone battery like crazy. The D500’s remote-control app, which lets you use your phone to snap photos, is extremely basic, and the camera has no built-in flash.

9. Sony A7 III

The Sony A7 III is a mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor, meaning one that’s the same size as a frame of old-school 35mm film. Many serious photographers swear by full-frame cameras for their better image quality and depth of field control, and this is one of the most affordable cameras you’ll find with this feature.

This camera is named as the best full-frame mirrorless camera in Wirecutter and earns a perfect five-star rating from PCMag, which says it’s great for pros and amateurs alike. It also receives an impressive 4.6 stars out of 5 from nearly 400 owners on Amazon.

  • Price: About $2,000
  • Pros: PCMag says this camera “runs circles around competing models in this price range.” It can shoot pictures at 10 fps and record video in 4K, and its full-frame sensor and sophisticated autofocus system produce outstanding images. It also includes a five-axis image stabilization system that makes action slots sharp and clear. Other features include a tilting touch LCD screen, dual SD slots, a joystick control for selecting your focal point, and a large battery that can capture over 700 shots on a single charge.
  • Cons: Jim Fisher of PCMag notes a few more missing features that could make this camera better, such as a vari-angle display that swings out from the body, an in-body flash, a built-in time-lapse feature, and dual UHS-II memory slots for recording images to two cards at once. He also says the camera’s menu is a bit dense and disorganized, though that’s a problem you can fix by creating a custom menu. However, the biggest problem with the A7 III is its price. Although it’s a great value for a full-frame camera, Amadou Diallo and Phil Ryan of Wirecutter question whether most people really need one. Unless you’re a pretty hardcore photographer, you can find a good mirrorless model that meets your needs for less.

New Digital Camera Technology

While these five cameras are the best ones currently on the market, new technologies could change the product landscape in the near future. One feature that shows great promise is SIONYX, a highly absorbent black silicon that Clean Technica describes as 100 to 500 times more light-sensitive than conventional silicon. Aside from its applications in green energy production, this material makes it possible to build digital cameras that work much better in low light.

The first camera to use this technology, the $600 SIONYX Aurora, made its debut through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018. According to VentureBeat, the project hit its $50,000 goal in less than 4 hours, and it went on to raise over $300,000 in total. In January 2019, the U.S. Army awarded SIONYX a $19.9 million contract to produce digital night vision cameras for use in training soldiers, according to Aerospace & Defense News. SIONYX now offers two other Aurora models as well: the $400 Aurora Sport and the $1,000 Aurora Pro.

For most ordinary consumers, however, no version of the SIONYX Aurora is the perfect camera. It hasn’t been reviewed in PCMag or CNET, and Digital Camera World provides only a quick first-look article on the Aurora Sport. The only full review is in Ubergizmo, which awards the Aurora an Editors’ Choice. The editors say its low-light capabilities are genuinely astonishing, but they admit that in full daylight — which is where most photos are taken — “you can expect a high-end smartphone to do much better.”

In short, SIONYX is a potential game-changer in the camera world, but it’s not there yet.


Final Word

Which digital camera is best for you depends on how you intend to use it. If you’re a beginner looking for an upgrade from your smartphone, the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a good choice. This lightweight camera is also great for travelers — unless you’ll be traveling in very rough conditions, in which case the tougher Nikon Coolpix W300 might make more sense. And the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV allows you to shoot great video with the convenience of a compact camera.

For a good all-around camera that can handle different tasks at a reasonable price, consider a bridge camera. The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS offers super-powerful zoom and ease of use for beginners. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 produces clearer images across a range of distances, but it’s a little harder to learn to use.

If you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses without a huge price tag, the Nikon D3500 and the Canon Eos Rebel T7i are both good options. The Nikon is cheaper and easier to use, but the Canon is much better for shooting video.

For serious photographers willing to spend serious money, the Nikon D500 and the Sony A7 III can both capture fast action and 4K video. The Sony A7 III’s images are probably superior due to its full-frame sensor, but maybe not enough to justify the $500 price difference. Also, it’s nearly half a pound lighter, while the Nikon offers a tougher build.

What kind of photographer are you? What do you look for in a digital camera?

Amy Livingston
Amy Livingston is a freelance writer who can actually answer yes to the question, "And from that you make a living?" She has written about personal finance and shopping strategies for a variety of publications, including ConsumerSearch.com, ShopSmart.com, and the Dollar Stretcher newsletter. She also maintains a personal blog, Ecofrugal Living, on ways to save money and live green at the same time.

Next Up on
Money Crashers

Couple Holding Sports Tickets

13 Places to Buy Cheap Discount Sports Tickets Online & Off

There are plenty of legitimate places to buy genuine tickets for top-tier professional leagues - often at a substantial discount. These are the top places to find good deals on cheap sports tickets.
Types Common Craigslist Scams

7 Types of Common Craigslist Scams to Watch Out for

It used to be that when you wanted to find an apartment for rent, buy a used car, or pick up used, secondhand items...

Latest on
Money Crashers

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

What Do You Want To Do
With Your Money?

Make
Money

Explore

Manage
Money

Explore

Save
Money

Explore

Borrow
Money

Explore

Protect
Money

Explore

Invest
Money

Explore