Finding the best digital camera in 2023 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, full-frame mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lens (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 instant cameras. If you want to use any of these cameras for wildlife photography, you might also be interested in our review of the DSLR red sight dot (makes for killer wildlife photography.)
We focused on a wide variety of options for our review and came up with the 15 different digital cameras to purchase and test in person. During our research, we focused mainly on image quality, but also took into account other features like the camera’s build quality and video recording capabilities. After taking landscape pictures, selfies and more, we have crowned the Canon PowerShot SX530 as the best digital camera for 2023 because of its huge zoom lens, superb image sensor size and overall reliability. Keep reading to learn more about this option and the other four best digital cameras you can buy. Take beautiful pictures with crisp backgrounds using our best photo box guide.
Top 5 Best Digital Cameras Compared
#1 Canon PowerShot SX530 Digital Camera
Award: Top Pick/Best Image Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Canon PowerShot SX530 is a super versatile digital camera with strong image quality and a powerful zoom lens. We think it is among the best cameras you can buy.
If you’re looking to capture images from a distance without sacrificing quality, you’ll definitely need to consider the PowerShot SX530.
Read Full Review: Canon PowerShot SX530 Review
- Best optical zoom on our list
- Includes Wi-Fi and NFC functionality
- Responsive overall performance
- Most expensive option on our list
- Focus speed while zoomed can be slow
- No electronic viewfinder
The PowerShot SX530 from Canon offers tremendous versatility thanks to its 50x optical zoom lens and its overall snappy performance. Image quality here is much better than what you find in a typical large zoom, fixed lens camera, which means you’ll have no problem making large prints from this Powershot. Because the SX530 has a large number of features that outperform the majority of large zoom lens cameras, this unit is one of the best on the market, especially when you use it as a travel camera or for blogging applications. 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.
Unfortunately, the SX530 can struggle to focus quickly when fully zoomed in, which is the only gripe we had about such a large zoom lens. The good thing is that this small downside is by no means a make or break feature that you’ll need to worry about too much. You also get full HD 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second, a feature we were surprised to see here. We were pleased with both the image and video quality we were able to capture with the PowerShot SX530, which is why this super-zoom camera made our top pick.
#2 Sony DSCW800 Digital Camera
Award: Honorable Mention/Best Point and Shoot
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Sony DSCW800/B is a very fast point and shoot camera that offers amazing image quality in a thin, compact package. The low price point also doesn’t hurt.
Read Full Review: Sony DSCW800
- Incredibly user friendly
- Ultra compact
- High-performance Xenon flash
- No 1080p video
- Plastic build feels cheap
- No Wi-Fi
With a powerful Super HAD CCD image sensor, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a compact point-and-shoot camera with better image quality than the Sony DSCW800/B. The sensor offers an impressive 20.1 MP in it’s ultra-compact frame, and the size of the CCD sensor allows the Sony to outperform the other compact cameras we researched.
The Sony DSCW800/B unfortunately doesn’t offer much in the ways of optical zoom with only a 5x lens, but you do get several other features that are worth noting. Specifically, you get Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization, which keeps your pictures crisp and clear, along with a 360-degree sweep panorama option for a more unique picture. The LCD display here is another really strong feature, with a diagonal 2.7 inches of colorful display that allows you to view your pictures whenever you’d like. The Sony DSCW800/B is a great point and shoot camera that won’t leave you disappointed. For great deals read about the best digital camera under $200.
#3 Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera
Award: Best Value/Best Compact
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is the most compact camera on our list, measuring in at only 0.87 inches thick. Fortunately, this compact digital camera is packed full of features, so you’re not missing out just because of the small size.
Read Full Review: Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Review
- Super compact design
- Large and colorful display
- Great for beginners
- No 1080p video
- Doesn’t offer much in manual controls
- Doesn’t do well in dim lighting
If you’re looking for a digital camera that won’t get in the way of the rest of your things, look no further than the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180. It’s the perfect point-and-shoot camera to take on trips or while you’re on the go. The ELPH 180 offers you a ton of useful features in its tiny, 0.87-inch frame. For starters, this 20 MP digital camera uses a CCD sensor and additional image stabilization features that help you take the best pictures possible.
Of course, considering the price and size of this digital camera, you won’t be able to achieve similar image quality as premium digital cameras, especially in dim lighting. However, we were overall very pleased with the images we were able to capture with the ELPH during our research. The camera also features an 8x optical zoom and impressively large display (5 inches), which makes this one of the best cameras for beginners. You don’t get full HD video camera capabilities, but considering everything else you get with the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180, we just couldn’t pass it by. If you need something more rugged, check out the best waterproof camera.
#4 Nikon Z 6II Digital Camera
Award: Best for Power Users
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Nikon Z 6II is a versatile full-frame mirrorless digital camera that is great for both stills and video. With a body made of magnesium alloy, you can take it on adventures and rest assured knowing it is tough and weather sealed, so you can capture all kinds of photos and videos.
- Weather sealed
- Dual processors for faster processing
- Excellent video quality
- Heavier than others on the list
The Nikon Z 6II shoots both beautiful pictures and videos. With a 24.5 MP BSI CMOS sensor, this digital camera can be used for all-around shooting, including producing great-quality photos in low light. You can also have 14 FPS continuous shooting at full resolution in either RAW or JPG. And if you happen to take a lot of pictures on your adventures, you will be happy to know that there are dual card slots, so you can have even more space. It should be noted that one slot accepts CFExpress (Type B) and xQD cards, while the other slot accepts your standard SD cards.
If you prefer shooting video, this Nikon Z 6II can produce beautiful 4k video at 60 FPS or 1080p at 120 FPS. There is also advanced eye-detection AF during videos for better focus by easily tracking the subject. And if you like to stream, the Nikon Z 6II offers clear, sharp video and can be used with a single USB-C connection to power the camera. Of course, the body is weather sealed, so you can also take it on the go, but you should know that weather-sealed does not mean waterproof, so be careful around bodies of water. Basically, if you want to get some video or photos during a rain storm, that’s fine, but do not submerge the camera in water. If you need a waterproof camera, read about the best underwater camera.
#5 Longin Digital Camera
Award: Best Beginner
WHY WE LIKE IT: Starting the journey to becoming a photographer can be a complicated and expensive one, which is where the Longin digital camera comes into plan. This digital camera is affordable and easy to learn, giving you superb images straight out of the box.
Read Full Review: Longin Digital Camera
- Super easy to use
- 2.7K video recording
- Tilting display
- Disappointing optical zoom
- Design feels a little cheap
- Battery drains too fast during video recording
If you’re a photographer just starting out, you’re probably hesitant to drop a ton of money and time into a brand new DSLR camera. And while digital SLR cameras are something you should aim for eventually, the Longin digital camera is an excellent starting point, especially if you’re on a budget. With a 24 MP still image resolution and 2.7K video resolution (2704×1520), you’ll be equipped with a powerful little camera capable of taking high-quality photos and videos with ease.
And while the display isn’t a tilting touchscreen, it still does tilt up to 180 degrees vertically, giving you a ton of flexibility in getting your shots. During our research, this was one of our favorite features. Overall, the design of the Longin digital camera is good, but it does feel a little plasticky and almost too lightweight, creating a cheaper feel than what we typically like to see. That being said, we didn’t run into any durability issues. These features and its ease of use make the Longin digital camera our top pick for beginners. Also check out the best mirrorless camera.
Beginner’s Guide To Digital Cameras
Digital cameras can feel a bit daunting to a beginner. Fortunately, they’re pretty straightforward for the average consumer to use, with many being very simple point-and-shoot affairs with little room for error. If you’re more of a hobbyist, and have DSLRs in mind, they get a little more complex, but it’s nothing a bit of reading can’t help smooth out, which is exactly why we’ve prepared this guide.
What Is A Digital Camera?
So, what precisely is a digital camera, anyway? Simply put, it’s a camera that captures images on internal memory instead of on film. Old cameras required you to swap out the film every now and again when you ran out of shots, but digital cameras allow you to upload the images you have on the cameras on-board memory onto a computer. Digital cameras still bear plenty of similarity to traditional film cameras though, and still uses a lens, diaphragm, and shutter. Nowadays, however, instead of working through chemical reactions on film, the image is picked up and stored using electronics and sensors.
How Does A Digital Camera Function?
Digital cameras have to capture what you’re pointing at through purely electronic means. Film cameras relied on the chemical reaction that occurred on film when exposed to light, but how digital cameras work is slightly different, as they use electronic sensors to interpret the light that comes in from the lens and aperture and translate it into an image using a digital converter and circuit board. The interpreted image is then displayed on the camera’s digital display screen, allowing you to instantly view a photo you’ve taken instead of having to wait for the pictures to develop.
Did You Know?
When Did The Digital Camera Go Mainstream? In 1990, the first digital camera, the DycamModel 1, hit US stores. Marketed as the Logitech Fotoman, the camera used a CCD camera sensor. It digitally stored pictures on a 1MB storage space, and a user could transfer files to a PC for download. The suggested retail price was $995.
Using A Digital Camera
Cameras today are complex, and after getting comfortable with how to use your digital camera, you can start adjusting your camera settings to suit your preferences. Generally, when it comes to entry-level and semi-professional cameras, it pays to be familiar with the camera options, such as timing, exposure, white balance, zoom range and ISO speeds. Part of learning how to use a digital camera means becoming familiar with everything your camera can do, which in turn allows you to take some truly amazing photos.
Did You Know?
When Was The First Digital Camera Made? The first digital camera was built in 1975 by Steven Sasson, an Eastman Kodak engineer. The camera was the size of a breadbox, built using the CCD image sensors invented in 1974. The camera took 23 seconds to record a black and white image with a resolution of 0.01 MP. The storage device was a cassette tape.
How Long Do Digital Cameras Last?
How many years a digital camera will last is determined by its shutter count, or the number of photos it can take before it comes to the end of its life. Fortunately, most cameras are built to take around 100,000 to 200,000 photos before its shutter mechanism starts to fail, which is roughly 5 years of regular use.
Did You Know?
How The Digital Camera Changed Society: In today’s world, people document all their activities through videos and photography. It’s to the point where someone can track a person through their Facebook account or Instagram pages and know their lifestyle in minutes. This trend has caused major online discussions and stirred societal debates over issues that have been happening in private. With the low cost of storing photos and the developing technology, society is continuously changing in unprecedented ways.
Choosing A Digital Camera
When it comes to choosing a good digital camera, the number of choices you have can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you start looking at common accessories like extra lenses. There are lots of different types of digital cameras on the market that can muddy the waters for you, but we can help you clear the hurdles when it comes to making a decision you’ll be happy with. The following steps help you narrow down your choices to something that will suit your budget and meet your own specific needs.
1. How Much Should You Expect To Spend On A Digital Camera?
Photography is an expensive hobby, if you’re wondering about how much to spend on a digital camera, we can help you narrow your choices down. Entry level cameras often run between $100 and $300 USD, and are feature-rich enough to help you feel out if photography is a hobby you really want to get into. As your skills develop however, you may find it necessary to upgrade to a better camera. DSLR cameras, which are considered enthusiast models, cost around $700 USD on average, but can skyrocket to as high as $6000 for truly professional quality cameras.
2. Should You Buy A New Digital Camera?
If you’re unsure if you should buy a new camera, you should consider both the camera you already own, as well as used cameras that could offer similar features to what you’re looking for at a lower price. On the other hand, if your skills have outgrown your current camera or if this will be your first camera, a new camera is a good choice. Keep your skill level and your specific needs in mind when you’re making a decision.
STAT: – Digital camera sales have dropped 87% since 2010. Why? Smartphones started shipping with better and better cameras, and now they’re good enough for the average joe.
3. Are You A Photography Enthusiast Or More Casual?
Compact cameras are user-friendly and perfect for novice photographers. More advanced photographers may want to instead consider what makes for a good DSLR, which provide high-quality photos with advanced sensors, high dynamic ranges and specialized features, like interchangeable lenses. Next are mirrorless cameras, which offer incredible high-resolution images and ultra-HD videos. They also offer faster shutter speeds than standard DSLRs, but both offer the ability to mount different lenses with different focal lengths, like 6mm and 8mm. In recent years, though, action cameras like GoPro have risen in popularity because they have powerful features for shooting in active environments and are both durable and versatile. Another interesting camera category are 360-degree cameras that take truly immersive half and full-circle panoramic shots. Finally, there are film cameras that offer full manual control over the camera.
4. What Sensor Size Do You Need?
This stuff gets technical and is largely for enthusiasts and covers what sensor size is. The 1/3.6″ or 1/2″ sensor sizes produce lots of noise and aren’t good for photographers looking for a shallow depth of field. If you want to zoom-in to distant objects with a non-detachable lens camera, your best bet is a superzoom or bridge camera with a 1″ sensor size. If you want a sensor that allows shallow depth of field for landscape or wildlife photography, choose a micro four-thirds camera with a sensor size that is half the size of a full-frame sensor. Of course, for most camera consumers comparing sensor sizes, the ideal option is an APS-C sensor with a 1.5 crop factor (DSLRs). Professional photographers go for full-frame mirrorless cameras or medium-format sensor cameras with higher megapixel counts, such as 16MP or 20MP digital cameras.
5. What Features Are You Looking For?
A good camera requires in-camera RAW processing for taking print-ready versions of your images. A camera with a silent or electronic shutter, like a mirrorless camera, is a great choice because it lets you shoot without attracting unnecessary attention. Other key features to look out for include waterproof housing, a self-timer, subject recognition, and burst mode function. Self-timers allow you to place a camera down after you’ve hit the button to take a picture and move into frame – perfect for group photos. Burst mode, on the other hand, will take many still shots on your digital camera in a second or so after you press the button to take a picture, which is great for picking up action shots or giving picky photographers multiple shots to choose from of a mostly static scene.
The size and weight of your digital camera is worth keeping in mind. Cameras aren’t really heavy, but some of the larger options might be a pain to haul around if you’re on the move.
6. Should You Buy Used?
Whether you should buy a used digital camera or not depends on your budget and your plans for the future. An amateur photographer can get away with investing in the wide range of older models available off of the used market. On the other hand, a professional photographer should probably try and get something a little more modern and right from the manufacturer. Buying used means that you can’t get a warranty other than third-party insurance. If your camera provides you income, you should always be investing in a warranty of some kind. So, take a look at your budget and needs to determine if a camera from the used market is right for you.
Types of Digital Cameras
Digital Cameras By Size
Digital Cameras By Use
- Beginners Focused Digital Cameras
- Binocular Digital Cameras
- Birding Digital Cameras
- Travel Focused Digital Cameras
- Filmmaking Digital Cameras
- Wifi Enabled Digital Cameras
- Digital Cameras For Video
Digital Cameras By Category
- Digital Camera Tripods
- Digital Camera Docking Stations
- Digital Camera Bags
- Small Digital Camera Cases
- Digital Camera USB Cables
Top Digital Camera Brands
- Best Canon Digital Cameras
- Best Sony Digital Cameras
- Nikon Digital Cameras
- Fujifilm Digital Cameras
- Kodak Digital Cameras
- Panasonic Digital Cameras
- Polaroid Digital Cameras
- Olympus Digital Cameras
- Leica Digital Cameras
Owning A Digital Camera
Today, most people prefer the convenience of a smartphone camera, but it has its drawbacks. Owning a digital camera provides you with a dedicated machine that is specifically built for taking breathtaking photos. For example, a digital camera uses optical zoom, which produces long-range and close-up shots without compromising on the quality of the image, while the digital zoom in smartphone cameras reduces the resolution of the image. Other advantages of owning a separate digital camera include wide-angle capabilities for shooting picturesque landscapes and family photos, better flash photography, a longer battery life, and more storage for your photos, among other great features.
Digital Camera Maintenance
If you do nothing else, make sure that you are keeping up with regular maintenance for your digital camera. You can either buy separate supplies or a cleaning kit to do this. Always check to ensure that the cleaning supplies you’re using are approved and appropriate for your camera, or you might risk doing more damage than good.
How To Keep Your Digital Camera Clean
Keeping your digital camera clean is crucial to its lifespan and longevity. You should be performing regular maintenance using approved cleaning solutions. Make sure you keep the lens clean and free from debris, as well as the shutters and the viewfinder. Dirty lenses will make photos look worse, while a dirty viewfinder or shutter makes it more difficult to take a photo. Shutters especially can get jammed closed or open if you let them get dirty.
Are extended warranties for digital cameras worth it? No. On average, only 1 in 10 cameras are sent for warranty repair. Most people will never need the coverage, meaning that funds spent on the extended warranty just boost the retailer’s profit margin. Even the most affordable compact camera has a shutter count of about 50,000 images, while high-end DSLRs will withstand about 100,000 shutter actuations before the shutter starts having issues. Usually, unless you’re very careless with your camera, by the time the shutters breaks down, you will be shopping for a new camera anyway.
Troubleshooting Common Digital Camera Issues
Like any piece of tech, you might run into problems with your digital camera as you use it. If the camera won’t power on, check to see whether the battery is fully charged and properly inserted. Then, check whether the battery contacts and battery compartment are dirty. Next, make sure the battery latch is closed properly. If the camera fails to record photos, the battery may need to be recharged, or the memory card may be full. If your photos are coming out blurry, you might have a dirty or cracked lens. Make sure you also keep your camera updated with the latest software from the manufacturer, and always remember that if the software on your camera bugs out, a read about how to perform a full factory restore and it might solve your issue.
Understanding What Different Camera Lenses Do
A camera lens, like the one used on a digital camera, is a tool used to bring light to a fixed focal point. On film cameras, the lens sends light to the film strip, while in a digital camera, the lens directs the light onto a digital sensor. The digital camera lens designates the maximum aperture range a photographer can use, the ideal depth of field, as well as the focusing distance. However, different camera lenses do different things too. Learning how to shoot with wide angle lenses will let you take better landscape shots. The numbers on digital camera lenses directly relate to the aperture and focus of the lens. Enthusiast photographers will usually bring along additional lenses for their shoots to give them a wide range of choices for their shots.
Connecting A Digital Camera To A Computer
Most digital cameras can connect to a computer via a USB cable, though the type of USB cord may vary. To do this, plug the cable into both the camera and the computer, power down the camera for a moment, then power it on. Finally, load any necessary media software, such as tethering programs.