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Best camera 2020: the 10 best cameras you can buy right now

Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera, the best camera right now

What’s the best camera you can buy right now? The answer to that question will be different for every person. It really depends on what and how you like to shoot, as well as your budget, size and performance needs. But finding your ideal camera doesn’t need to be a daunting task – which is exactly why we’ve put together this buying guide.

From entry-level cameras for novice photographers to high-end equipment for enthusiast shooters, to find the right camera you have to know what you want – and accept a few compromises. No camera will ever be completely perfect and you’ll usually need to measure certain expectations, whether on weight, size, features or price.

We’ve accounted for all of that in creating our list of the best cameras you can buy. Each of the models featured below is brilliant in some way – whether because of a groundbreaking feature, an affordable price-tag or impressive all-round performance. With that in mind, we’ve selected the best options in each of the three key categories: DSLR, mirrorless and compact.

Want to know which camera we think is the top all-rounder you can buy right now? That’s the Nikon Z6. It’s a small, lightweight and relatively affordable full-frame camera, with the option to use hundreds of different lenses with a simple adapter. For most people, it’s all the camera you'll need.

That said, it’s still worth having a look at the list, because we haven’t simply picked the latest photographic kit. Sometimes previous models offer better value, especially when upgrades are marginal, which is why we’ve included a handful of older cameras with prices that have now dropped to enticing levels. We’ve hand-picked the latest and greatest cameras on the market today, so you’ve got the all the options for your next purchase.

Best camera 2020 at a glance:

  1. Nikon Z6 (our top all-round camera)
  2. Fujifilm X-T30 
  3. Sony A7 III 
  4. Nikon D850 
  5. Nikon Z50
  6. Sony A6100
  7. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
  8. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D
  9. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
  10. Panasonic Lumix G95 / G90

Along the way we'll explain some of the jargon and the differences between cameras, though if you need a bit more help deciding what kind of camera you need, you can get a lot more information from our special step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?

On the other hand, you may already have a clear idea of the kind of camera you want, in which case you could go straight to one of our more specific camera buying guides at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, read on to find out our picks of the best cameras available right now.

The best cameras 2020:

Nikon Z6

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Nikon Z6

A brilliant full-frame all-rounder mirrorless

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 24.5MP | Lens: Nikon Z mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

High-resolution EVF
Familiar and refined handling
XQD card format has limited support
Limited buffer depth

Now just over a year old, the Z6 still retains its position as our best camera. Being a fantastic all rounder with superb handling, there's nothing yet which beats it in terms of versatility, usability and affordability. The Z6 combines both excellent stills and 4K video quality with everything else that's key for a full-frame mirrorless camera. That means we get a lightweight and compact body that still manages to handle beautifully on account of a substantial and ergonomically designed grip. There's also a sharp and crisp 3.69-million dot viewfinder along with a responsive, and tilting touchscreen. The native lens range for the Z mount is expanding rapidly, but if there's something you need that's not covered then you can use F-mount optics via the optional FTZ adapter. We've also been treated to features such as Eye AF for the past few months, which helps it to compete even more strongly against Sony's Alpha line. We love the Z6 – though the Sony A7 III (see below) isn't too far behind it.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Fujifilm X-T30

This ravishing retro option squeezes in plenty of high-end tech

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1MP | Viewfinder: 2,360K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots | Autofocus: 425-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Expert

Superb value for money
Excellent images and lovely videos
Small body can be fiddly
One card slot

Fujifilm's X-T3 may still one of the most capable APS-C mirrorless cameras around, but that fact that the company managed to incorporate so much of its tech inside the smaller and cheaper X-T30 makes this our recommendation for most people. A solid 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, popular Film Simulation modes, excellent 4K video capabilities and a hybrid AF system with 425 phase-detect AF points stand out as highlights from its strong spec sheet, while improvements to overall speed and face/eye detection (with more to come via scheduled firmware updates) make for a slightly more polished performance over the previous X-T20. Our only gripe is the small viewfinder magnification, but there's enough handling prowess to still make it one of the best APS-C options out there. Hot on its heels is the newly-announced Nikon Z50, which may just push the X-T30 out of this list once we've had chance to test it properly.

Best camera: Sony A7 III

3. Sony A7 III

Quality results partnered with speedy operation

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: 2,359K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Intermediate/expert

Great 24MP sensor
Sensor-based stabilization
Weather-sealing could be better 
Some EVF tearing

We love the A7 III. The original A7 and A7 II showed Sony was moving in the right direction and making all the right noises. But despite being over 18 months old, it's this third iteration that still stands out in the full-frame mirrorless market. The core of the camera – namely a 24MP full-frame sensor, 4K video, sensor-based image stabilisation, 10fps burst shooting and a 693-point hybrid AF system – is strong enough, but with two card slots and a 710-shot battery life on top of that, you're getting excellent value for money as well as top performance. We have some reservations with the viewfinder and weather-sealing, but this is still one of the most versatile cameras around right now, mirrorless or otherwise. 

Best camera: Nikon D850

(Image credit: Future)

4. Nikon D850

Resolution, speed and traditional controls - this DSLR still delivers

Type: DSLR | Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 45.4MP | Lens: Nikon F mount | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

Stunning image quality
Excellent performance
Slow Live View AF speed
SnapBridge connectivity

You'd be forgiven for thinking that mirrorless is the only option right now for class-leading tech, but the Nikon D850 still manages to hold its own as one of the best cameras on the market. It has a well-rounded feature set which means it appeals to a diverse range of users, particularly those who are already heavily invested in the DSLR space. If you need high resolution, it's got it with a 45MP full-frame sensor. If you need speed, it has that too with a 7fps burst shooting option which can be boosted to 9fps with a battery grip. OK, that's reasonably modest compared with the likes of the 20fps Sony A9 II, but it's still good enough for capturing most kinds of action. On top of that you also get 4K video recording options, as well as a rugged body protected against inclement weather. One feature which is definitely king over its mirrorless rivals is battery life – with a massive 1800 frames per charge, you shouldn't need to worry about the camera dying in the middle of the decisive moment.

Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Future)

5. Nikon Z50

The perfect mid-range mirrorless upgrade for DSLR owners

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 20.9MP | Lens: Z-mount | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,036,080 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 11fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Great, DSLR-style handling
Excellent viewfinder and screen
Limited range of native lenses
Tilt-screen can't be used with tripod

Looking for a smaller, more affordable version of the full-frame Nikon Z6 for travel and general shooting? The Z50 fits the bill and is an excellent entry into mid-range, APS-C cameras from Nikon. It's particularly suitable for those looking to move to mirrorless from a Nikon DSLR as, unlike more petite rivals like the Fujifilm X-T30, it prioritises handling thanks to its large, deep grip. The Z50 produces great photos and has the same excellent autofocus system as the Nikon Z6, which works very well for static subjects, but can't quite match the performance of something like the Sony A6400 when it comes to sports and action. With an impressive viewfinder and tilting touchscreen, though, the Z50 is a great camera for travel and general shooting, and is compatible with older F-mount lenses via an optional adaptor, along with Nikon's new Z-Mount glass.

Sony A6100

(Image credit: Future)

6. Sony A6100

A fine mirrorless camera for beginners and hobbyists alike

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens: Sony E-mount | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 2.95-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,600 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps (mechanical) | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner

Excellent tracking autofocus
Compact yet feature-packed
Takes time to understand capabilities
Relatively low-res LCD and EVF

Since its launch five years ago, the entry-level Sony A6000 has proven a hugely popular mirrorless camera. Its successor, the A6100, takes the existing recipe and adds several tweaks that help it compete with today’s mirrorless pack. Compact yet capable, the A6100 pairs a beginner-friendly build with a feature set that won’t disappoint the more adventurous. It can take time to understand the camera’s potential, but there’s plenty of it: the APS-C sensor is the same 24.2MP chip found in Sony’s more premium cameras, while the autofocus system is shared with the flagship Sony A6600. The result is excellent continuous tracking abilities and, paired with a good lens, images with plenty of detail and generally accurate colours. Battery life is also decent and the tilting screen is now touch-sensitive, though its functionality is fairly limited. Certain performance and handling quirks are shared with its more expensive siblings – Auto ISO doesn’t suit fast-moving subjects, for example – but these are more forgivable on an entry-level model, especially such a solid all-rounder as the A6100. It deserves to be just as popular as its predecessor.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

(Image credit: Future)

7. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

One of the best travel cameras you can buy today

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.4MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot OLED EVF | Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate

Incredible image stabilisation
Tiny body with excellent handling
Smaller sensor struggles in low light
Polycarbonate body feels like a downgrade

No camera can give you everything, but a rare few do come close – and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is in that class. Its polycarbonate shell might feel like a step down from the body of its predecessor, but in the hand this mirrorless snapper is Goldilocks stuff: just right. Lighter than ever and fantastic to handle, the Mark III backs up its good looks with a powerful processor, superlative image stabilisation and shooting modes to suit every skill level and style of shooting. There’s no escaping the fact that its Four Thirds sensor is behind the times on outright image quality, struggling to match larger formats for dynamic range, depth of field and low-light performance. Yet its combination of speed, style and sheer versatility make it a winner. Add on-chip phase detection autofocus and 4K video chops to the mix and you’ve got yourself one of the best all-rounders on the market today.

(Image credit: Canon)

8. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D

Looking for a first DSLR? The Rebel SL2 ticks plenty of boxes

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Resolution: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Viewfinder: Optical | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner

Flip-out touchscreen works brilliantly
Dual Pixel CMOS AF is great
4K video
Video is cropped
9-point AF system a little basic

The best two beginner DSLRs we've seen recently are the Nikon D3500 and Canon Rebel SL3 / 250D. While the former wins out for value, for this list we've gone for the slightly pricier 250D. Having the rather dubious moniker as the world's smallest DSLR with a fully-articulating screen, the 250D is still a great option to learn with. Thanks to that screen, it's also a decent option for vloggers or video fans. Being an upgrade from the popular 200D, it brings with it some new features such as 4K video recording and a new processor. If your budget is limited and you don't need 4K video, the older SL2 / 200D is a good option, putting the cash you save towards a new lens. If you're new to a "proper" camera, the 24.2 megapixel sensor of the EOS 250D will give your photography a good step-up, while the fluid AF system comes into play when shooting live view and videos. There's also an easy-to-understand interface, which is great for those who are just starting out. The number of lenses available for Canon's EF mount is almost endless, while accessories are also numerous.

Best camera: Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

9. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

The perfect travel camera - small, versatile and with a decent zoom

Type: Travel compact | Sensor: 1-inch type CMOS | Resolution: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4 | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

1.0-inch type sensor
Decent 15x zoom
EVF still feels a little cramped
Expensive

Panasonic keeps hold of its best travel-friendly compact camera title with the Lumix ZS200 (known as the Lumix TZ200 outside the US). It pairs a large 1.0-inch sized sensor with a flexible 15x optical zoom lens in a package which is just on the right side of affordable (an area where Sony's RX100 series falls down). There's a built-in electronic viewfinder which you can use in bright conditions if the touch-sensitive screen is difficult to see. Other useful features include 4K video recording, as well as Panasonic's 4K Photo modes which enable you to extract 8MP images of fleeting moments. There are undoubtedly more powerful pocket-friendly compacts currently on the market – if you have very deep pockets, then the Cyber-shot RX100 VII is the best available. For most ordinary people who don't have such enormous budgets, the ZS200/TZ200 is the much more sensible option.

(Image credit: Future)

10. Panasonic Lumix G95 / G90

A great all-rounder well-suited to vloggers

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.3MP | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 9fps/30fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate

Multi-aspect sensor design
Brilliant video spec
Absence of IS not for everyone
Battery life could be better

If you're looking for a solid all-rounder and like to shoot video as well as stills, the G90 / G95 is a great option. Inheriting a lot of features from both the G85 and the video-orientated GH5S, this is a camera which manages to cram a lot into its relatively small body. The design is well-considered which means the G90 / G95 handles very well, while Micro Four Thirds lenses are so small that the overall system is very neat and compact. For video shooters, there's 4K video with V-LogL profile, in frame rates including 24p, 25p and 30p, while Full HD recording is up to 120fps in the High Speed Video mode. Microphone and head-socket ports also round out the video-centric features, but stills shooters needn't feel left out either as it's also very capable in that area too. 

(Image credit: Future)

Honorary mention: Fujifilm GFX 100

This megapixel monster is the most exciting medium format camera yet

Sensor size: Medium format | Resolution: 102MP | Viewfinder: 5,760,000 dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch three-direction tilt display, 2,360K dots | Autofocus: Hybrid AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Professional

EVF is the best yet on a mirrorless camera
Stunning detail in images
Vertical grip could be better
Very expensive 

Fujifilm may not have full-frame cameras like many of its rivals, but it's managed to build on its successful X-series cameras with some impressive medium format alternatives. And with its GFX 100, it shows just how successful the marriage between X-series technology and a larger sensor can be, bringing together many well loved features with a 102MP (yes, 102MP) sensor that performs to an exceptional standard. While there are other medium format cameras that exceed it for sensor resolution, none can match the kind if usability we have here, with masses of control over your shooting together with a stunning 5.76 million-dot electronic viewfinder and great 4K video quality to boot. It's not perfect, and it'll cost you dearly, but it's unquestionably the most well-rounded medium format camera we've seen yet.