Finding the best digital camera in 2020 that will meet all your needs can be a bit of a challenge, even for the most seasoned of photographers.
While many manufacturers still create some of the best point and shoot digital cameras, the market has turned its attention toward advanced models that carry higher price points. Advanced digital cameras include DSLR cameras, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs), as well as fixed lens cameras. And while these cameras have a higher price point (topping out at over $3,000), they offer excellent image quality that often exceeds that of a point and shoot digital camera.
- 1 Best Digital Camera 2020
- 2 Best DSLR Camera #1 – Nikon D810 – Editor’s Choice/Best DSLR Camera
- 3 Best Budget DSLR #2 – Canon EOS Rebel T6i – Best Budget DSLR
- 4 Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera #3 – Canon PowerShot G3 X – Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera
- 5 Best Digital Camera With WiFi #4 – Fujifilm X-T10 – Best Digital Camera With WiFi
- 6 Best Compact Digital Camera #5 – Sony RX1R II – Best Compact Digital Camera
- 7 What To Look For
- 8 Most Important Digital Camera Features
- 9 Which Digital Camera Is Right for You?
Best Digital Camera 2020
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
|Nikon D810||Canon EOS Rebel T6i||Canon PowerShot G3 X||Fujifilm X-T10||Sony RX1R II|
|Rank||#1 - Editor's Choice/Best DSLR Camera||#2 - Best Budget DSLR||#3 - Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera||#4 - Best Digital Camera With WiFi||#5 - Best Compact Digital Cameras|
|Full Review||Nikon D810 Review||Canon EOS Rebel T6i Review||Canon PowerShot G3 X Review||Fujifilm X-T10 Review||n/a|
|Image Sensor||Full Frame FX|
format (35.9 x 24.0 mm)
(22.3 x 14.9 mm)
(13.2 x 8.8 mm)
(23.6 x 15.6 mm)
|Full frame |
(35.9 x 24 mm)
|Resolution||36.3 MP||24.2 MP||20.2 MP||16.3 MP||42.4 MP|
|Optical Zoom Lens||Uses interchangeable lenses, Nikon F mount||Uses interchangeable lenses, Canon EF mount||25X||Uses interchangeable lenses, Fujifilm X mount||None|
|Best Still Image Speed||7.0 fps||5.0 fps||5.9 fps||8.0 fps||5.0 fps|
|Best Video Recording Mode||Full 1080p HD, 60 fps||Full 1080p HD, 30 fps||Full 1080p HD, 60 fps||Full 1080p HD, 60 fps||Full 1080p HD, 60 fps|
|Maximum ISO Setting||51,200||25,600||12,800||51,200||102,400|
Best DSLR Camera #1 – Nikon D810 – Editor’s Choice/Best DSLR Camera
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best image quality you’ll find in a consumer level DSLR.
Although selecting the best digital camera on the market was a difficult choice, because of the great collection of cameras now available, the Nikon D810 ended up at the top of the list, thanks to its overall strength in numerous categories. The D810’s full frame image sensor offers 36.3 MP of resolution, which helps explain this DSLR’s top-of-the-line image quality. No other consumer- or intermediate-level DSLRs can match the image quality of this impressive model.
You will have the ability to fully control the Nikon D810’s settings, and the camera body has numerous buttons and dials that simplify the process of using the D810. But you also can use the D810 in fully automatic mode, and still record great photos, until you become more familiar with its manual controls. The camera’s speed is outstanding, as it can record images in continuous shot mode at speeds up to 7 frames per second at full resolution.
The Nikon D810 does have a high price tag, which is expected with a mode that’s so powerful. It may offer a bit more power than some inexperienced photographers need. But if you are ready to challenge yourself as a photographer and you can fit this camera in your budget, it’s going to serve you for many years.
Best Budget DSLR #2 – Canon EOS Rebel T6i – Best Budget DSLR
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Inexpensive DSLR camera provides tremendous image quality.
This Canon DSLR camera continues to build on the past strength of the highly popular Rebel line of cameras, which are among the best digital SLR cameras ever created. Those photographers looking for their first interchangeable lens camera will appreciate how easy the T6i is to use versus some other intermediate-level cameras. The T6i offers almost 33% more resolution than its predecessor, and the difference in image quality is noticeable. Having built-in WiFi, a viewfinder, and a display screen that can tilt away from the Rebel T6i are very desirable features. The Rebel T6i probably isn’t powerful enough to appeal to advanced photographers, but it fits well in the intermediate market at which Canon is aiming.
Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera #3 – Canon PowerShot G3 X – Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera
Retail Price: $849 | Read Full Review: Canon PowerShot G3 X Review | Image Sensor Size: 1-inch | Resolution: 20.2 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Versatile camera with strong image quality and powerful zoom lens.
The G3 X from Canon offers tremendous versatility, thanks to its 25X optical zoom lens and its relatively fast performance. Image quality is much better than what you find in a typical large zoom, fixed lens camera, which means you’ll have no problems making large prints with this PowerShot camera. Because the G3 X has a large number of features that outperform the majority of large zoom lens cameras, this unit is one of the best travel cameras currently on the market. It would’ve been nice if Canon had found a way to include a viewfinder with this model, but it’s still a very strong camera.
Best Digital Camera With WiFi #4 – Fujifilm X-T10 – Best Digital Camera With WiFi
Retail Price: $799 | Read Full Review: Fujifilm X-T10 Review |Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 16.3 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Retro design creates an interesting looking advanced mirrorless camera.
If you like the look of old 35mm film cameras, the retro-looking Fujifilm X-T10 is a great option. There are quite a few dials and buttons that not only look cool, but they also provide a handy means of changing this mirrorless ILC’s settings. Fujifilm gave the X-T10 a powerful and fast autofocus system, which is going to achieve accurate focus results in many different types of scenes. This intermediate model has a viewfinder and a high-resolution LCD, allowing you to frame the photos in the manner that exactly fits your needs. And although the X-T10 has only 16.3 megapixels of resolution, which lags behind many of the best digital cameras in 2015, it still creates outstanding images.
Best Compact Digital Camera #5 – Sony RX1R II – Best Compact Digital Camera
Retail Price: $3,298 |Optical Zoom: Full Frame | Resolution: 42.4 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Top level image quality is unmatched in small camera body.
The fixed-lens Sony RX1R II camera is a very expensive camera, but its image quality makes it one that’s tough to match in the current digital camera market. Sony gave the RX1R II a full-frame image sensor, which is among the largest you’ll find in any of the best professional digital cameras.
Read: Best Compact Camera
And its 42.4 megapixels of resolution makes the RX1R one of the highest-resolution cameras on the market. Some photographers may not like the fact that the RX1R offers a prime lens, which means it has no optical zoom capability, but if you want to shoot high-end portraits and landscape photos for extremely large prints, the RX1R is a top-of-the-line performer.
What To Look For
The best digital camera brands generally offer models that meet a few key criteria.
Image Quality: First, you’ll want to seek out a camera that can achieve excellent image quality, which means crisp clean images without much noise. Whether you’re planning to make large prints or share photos on social media, still image quality should be a top priority. And while picture quality is subjective, there are generally a few top brands and models that stand out again and again. So pay close attention to user feedback; there is no harm in basing your purchase off anecdote.
Easy to Use: Second, the camera should be easy to use. Dials and controls should be distinct and fairly intuitive. Moreover, the menus should be easy to navigate, clean, fast and need little explanation. If you’re constantly searching through the manual for the answer then this camera isn’t for you. For those new to digital photography, but who are familiar with smartphone navigation, finding a camera with a touchscreen LCD can be easier to use than one without a touchscreen. Another element of ease of use is the size of the camera. Some people may find a thin point and shoot camera is easier to use because it fits in a pocket, while a more advanced camera will be thicker and may require a camera bag to carry it, which will require more planning on your part.
Value: Third, there’s no point in paying for a bevy of features that you’ll never take advantage of. So keep in mind what you’re going to use the camera for or the task at hand. For instance, do you need 4k video recording, manual exposure or aperture settings? WiFi connectivity is great, but is it a necessity? Create a list noting the must haves and the “it would be nice to have”. In short, you want your top camera choice to feel like it’s of good value, which means leveraging all or the majority of the camera’s capabilities.
Read: Best DSLR Camera 2020
Most Important Digital Camera Features
- Image sensor:
- You can think of the image sensor of a digital camera as being similar to the film in a film camera.
- The image sensor measures the light traveling through the lens using pixels, which are tiny light sensitive elements on the sensor. The image sensor then converts each element’s measurement of the light to a digital number, allowing a processor to recreate the image on a display screen.
- A camera with a larger image sensor (in physical size) will typically outperform a camera that makes use of a smaller image sensor, because a larger image sensor will contain larger light sensitive elements, allowing them to measure the light more accurately than smaller elements.
- While the number of megapixels a camera can record — its resolution — is important in terms of image quality, don’t make the mistake of solely relying on resolution when comparing cameras.
- Resolution plays a role in image quality, but it’s not the only factor. The quality of the image sensor weighs big on this and if the sensor can’t produce a clean image, those extra megapixels will become moot.
- A 20 megapixel camera will have 20 million light sensitive elements on the image sensor.
- Zoom lens:
- If you’re looking at fixed lens digital cameras, only pay attention to the optical zoom measurement of the lens.
- Optical zoom magnifies the scene without sacrificing image quality, unlike digital zoom.
- An interchangeable lens camera, either a mirrorless ILC or a DSLR, can make use of multiple lenses. An interchangeable lens that can make use of a range of focal lengths is a zoom lens. You also can purchase prime lenses with an interchangeable lens camera, which only use one focal length.
- It can be challenging to find digital cameras that include a viewfinder, which is the small window on the back of the camera that you’ll look through to frame the scene.
- A viewfinder was the only way to frame a scene using a film camera, so some photographers are used to using a viewfinder with a camera.
- Additionally, when shooting photos in bright sunlight, it can be tough to see the LCD screen to frame a scene because of glare on the screen, so a viewfinder can alleviate this potential problem.
- More and more of today’s best WiFi digital cameras work with a smartphone app, rather than connecting directly to a WiFi network.
- WiFi connectivity allows you to transfer photos directly to your smartphone, tablet or computer and even in some instances allows instantaneous review of your captured memories.
- Touchscreen display
- A touchscreen camera is helpful for beginners, because the touchscreen usually makes it easy to use. But they’re not all built the same and nor is the user interface.
- Still Image Speed
- When shooting in burst mode, a camera will be able to record a certain number of frames per second, which is great for fast-moving subjects or moments when you’re not sure when the action will transpire.
- Still image continuous speed is different from shutter speed, which is the speed with which the shutter on the camera remains open, measured in tiny fractions of a second. The still image continuous speed measures the ability of the camera to recover from recording one photo and being prepared to record the next one.
- Video Recording Mode
- Still image cameras have become very good at recording movies, and different resolutions and frame speeds are available.
- Today, some cameras offer 4k video as well as 4k output. But again, not all are built the same. At the very least look for a camera that can capture full HD video, as in 1080p.
- Maximum ISO Setting
- A camera’s ISO setting will determine the image sensor’s sensitivity to light, and a high maximum ISO setting means a camera may have good low light performance.
- Good low light performance is reflected in how noisy the image is as the scene gets darker and darker. The best low light cameras, such as the Sony A7S, are expensive, but shoot images with little noise despite the lack of ambient light.
- Noise is equivalent to stray pixels, or incorrectly recorded pixels, that can appear in low light photo.
Which Digital Camera Is Right for You?
As you can see from these digital camera reviews, the current camera market features intermediate and advanced cameras that offer top-end image quality and plenty of add-on features. All of these types of cameras will carry a hefty price tag, but it’s impossible to duplicate the sharpness and vibrancy of the photos you can create with these models, even if you’re using the best compact digital camera or a top-end smartphone camera. If you have the room in your budget, the Nikon D5500 DSLR camera is a strong option that provides great image quality while remaining easy to use. Or if you want to save a little money with a fixed lens camera, and you’re looking for a nice zoom lens, the Canon PowerShot G3 X is a terrific choice. For further reading, go to our how to choose the best digital camera for your needs.
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