As we start 2022, some of you might be thinking about getting into photography, or just renewing your camera. And you know what? We’ve been running our travel/photo blog for four years now, and we’ve just realized that we never wrote a generic article trying to answer these specific questions: which camera to choose? What is the best camera? We did however write more specific articles to help you choose the best DSLR (for you) or which travel camera to choose, but clearly, there is a missing article… We will therefore work on this article to fill this gap and offer you a complete article specifying all the criteria to consider when choosing your camera.
Facing the large number of choices, it is sometimes complicated to choose a camera and any help can be welcome. Obviously, we cannot include cameras released in 2022 since they are simply not available yet, but know that most of the cameras presented here will certainly remain very good choices throughout the year (or even the following year, to be seen when the same article will be published for the year 2023)!
The photography market, like many others, did not do very well in 2021 with the Covid-19 pandemic, accompanied by the shortage of some components which postponed some releases (thought for the Panasonic GH6, among others), stopped some products (Sony A6100, A6400 and ZV-E10, for example) and increased some prices (RF Canon lenses). Nevertheless, some products have been released and, although some had supply difficulties, most of them are now available for purchase, and we have seen some great releases, especially in full frame (Sony A1, Canon R3 and Nikon Z9 in the lead).
For the past few years, and especially since 2018, the market for interchangeable lens cameras is clearly shifting towards mirrorless. So, I think that recommending you a new DSLR today would no longer be relevant, knowing that the next innovations and next lenses will concern mirrorless. Note that even if the recent DSLRs are still performing well in my opinion, it will be wiser to consider buying them second-hand. Knowing that a lot of photographers are moving to mirrorless, you can find recent DSLRs rarely used for much less than their new prices. So, I would advise you here the most recent cameras sold new, which seem to me the most interesting for their quality/price ratio but also for their functionalities, their physical characteristics and their ecosystems (lens ranges, in particular). So, which camera to choose in 2022? I’ll tell you everything!
By “tight budget”, I mean a minimum of 500€ (below that, you’ll have to go to the second-hand market, a much more limited compact, or remain on your smartphone!), up to about 1000€. However, you have to define if this is the budget you intend to spend on your camera only or on your camera in its entirety, because in the latter case, it will often be more relevant to look at the expert compacts or bridges that I will talk about first. I wrote a complete page explaining which compact camera to choose!
Here are the 7 cameras of this type that I particularly recommend for 2022, if you have a small budget.
|Camera||Sensor||MP||EVF||Equivalent Focal Length/Aperture||Best price|
|Panasonic TZ200||1’’||20MP||2.33MP||24-360mm f/3.3-6.4||Amazon|
|Sony ZV1||1’’||20MP||--||24-70mm f/1.8-2.8||Amazon|
|Canon G7X III||1’’||20MP||--||24-100mm f/1.8-2.8||Amazon|
|Panasonic LX100 II||MFT||20MP||2.76MP||24-75mm f/1.7-2.8||Amazon|
|Panasonic FZ2000||1’’||20MP||2.36MP||24-480mm f/2.8-4.5||Amazon|
|Sony RX100 VI||1’’||20MP||2.46MP||24-200mm f/2.8-4.5||Amazon|
|Ricoh GR III||APS-C||24MP||--||28mm f/2.8||Amazon|
This camera is equipped with a 1” sensor of 20MP, a versatile lens equivalent to 24-360mm f/3.3-6.4, able to shoot in 4K30p and which has a 2.33MP EVF. Its shortcomings are a limited aperture, necessary to keep the camera compact and light but reducing possibilities, especially at long focal lengths, as well as an AF quickly limited in action and low light. The sensor, although larger than those of smartphones, remains relatively small with a quickly limited ISO increase.
Featuring a 1″ 20MP sensor, a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens, this compact expert is capable of shooting in 4K30p. It is above all designed for vlogging, thanks to its swivel screen and its zoom, with a limited range but large apertures. Its AF is particularly effective. Also, you’ll be able to connect an external microphone. Its flaws are the lack of EVF and its very long start-up time.
This camera has a 1” sensor of 20MP, a 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens and is capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD120p. Also designed for video use, it does not compromise on photography, offering a very powerful AF and a fast burst. Like the Sony ZV1, it doesn’t have an EVF but offers perhaps a little more than the Sony for a fairly similar price.
This camera has a 20MP micro 4/3 sensor and a 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 equivalent lens. It is capable of shooting in 4K30p with a 2.76MP EVF. The only compact camera having a micro 4/3 sensor (apart from its predecessor and its more expensive copy from Leica) while offering a zoom with large apertures, it does offer a more photo-oriented ergonomics, even if the video mode is not missing despite the non-touch fixed display and the cropping. Its flaws are unfortunately a sensor not fully used since it provides images of 17MP as well as a reactivity (startup time and AF) behind what we can find in the competition.
This Panasonic camera has a 1″ 20MP sensor and a versatile 24-480mm f/2.8-4.5 equivalent lens, capable of shooting 4K30p (24p in 4K DCI) with a 2.36MP EVF. Although specifically designed for video, with a swivel and touch screen, it offers good photography performance and versatility. Its shortcomings are limited apertures, again necessary to reduce weight and dimensions (it’s still more than the TZ200), and an AF that is always behind.
This compact expert offers a 1″ 20MP sensor, a versatile 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 equivalent lens, capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD210p with a 2.46MP EVF. Sony’s RX100 series is well known among expert compacts, offering a whole range of features, useful for both photography and video. This version stands out for its 24-200mm zoom. It has limited apertures, again necessary to maintain the compacity and allow to reach 200mm. Its startup time is quite long.
This Ricoh has a 24MP APS-C sensor and a 28mm f/2.8 equivalent fixed focal length. It is designed mainly for photography, while remaining as compact as possible. Its assets are its compactness, its large sensor (for a compact) and its very good quality lens. Unfortunately, many flaws: no EVF, no swivel screen, no 4K, average AF and limited burst. Even if we had to settle for a fixed focal length, we would have liked an even larger aperture.
Here are the 5 mirrorless cameras I recommend in 2022 if you have a small budget.
We recently got this camera, at the end of 2021, as a second lighter camera for Melanie. Equipped with a 24MP APS-C sensor, a 1.44MP EVF, it is the entry level of Sony APS-C. It has quite limited features, especially in video as there is no 4K and the screen is tiltable but not orientable. However, it will give you access to Sony’s wide range of E lenses (for ASP-C), although it is quite regrettable that there are few lenses designed for the APS-C format. However, we are starting to see more and more options proposed by Sigma and Tamron. Its AF is very fast, and it is a light and compact camera. One of the biggest concessions with this camera will be the lack of sensor stabilization, which can be found on many other cameras at the same price – watch out for exposure times!
This is a camera with a 20MP micro 4/3 sensor, capable of shooting in 4K30p with a 2.36MP EVF. Olympus cameras are still good choices with a nice ergonomics and a good grip, as well as a stabilized sensor. The AF is efficient despite the loss of fast burst tracking. Moreover, we have access to a large choice of lenses since it can be used with micro 4/3 lenses from Olympus, but also from Panasonic (some have limitations). For video use, Panasonic cameras often offer more advanced features. But for photography, Olympus cameras offer very good performances in all areas.
Equipped with a 20MP micro 4/3 sensor, this Panasonic is able to shoot in 4K30p and FullHD120p and has a 2.36MP EVF. Placed between the GX9 and the G9, the G90 offers in my opinion an ideal compromise between the two since it is less expensive and lighter than the G9, but with a more comfortable grip and viewfinder than the GX9. For video, the G9 does better, but if that’s your main use, the GH5 will be even better! The G90 does not limit the recording time, unlike the G9. For photography, we enjoy a very good image quality with the same choices as the Olympus mentioned above, but an AF a little slower in action photography and in low light. Its sensor is stabilized and will therefore combine with the stabilization of Panasonic lenses. If you are looking at Panasonic lenses, or already have them, then the G90 will be more relevant than the E-M10 IV.
This 26MP APS-C mirrorless body, having a 2.36MP EVF, is capable of shooting 4K30p (and 4K DCI) and FullHD240p. This is an update of the Mark I, whose owners may regret because the body is identical but is a sign that the only way they can benefit from the new features introduced by the new firmware is by buying the new version. Fujifilm is the brand offering the most varied choice in the APS-C format, with a nice range of performing lenses. The body remains light and compact for APS-C, providing great performance in both photo and video, with efficient AF and a tilting screen. If you like Fujifilm’s philosophy, I do think the X-T30 II will satisfy you more than its X-S10 brother, despite the lack of stabilization.
You’ve been waiting for it, haven’t you? This 26MP APS-C body is capable of shooting 4K30p (DCI) and FullHD240p with a 2.36MP EVF. If you feel like you’ve read these specs before, that’s normal: they are the same as the X-T30 II. However, there are still a few differences, the most obvious being the design. Indeed, the X-S10 has a DSLR-like ergonomics with a more prominent grip and front/rear dials instead of graduated wheels. The other difference is of course the sensor stabilization, which for some will justify the price difference alone.
The “average” budgets are in my opinion between 1000 and a little over 2000€. Here again, there are some options in compacts and expert bridges that can be interesting if your budget includes the whole camera and not only the body.
For people with a higher budget, I propose to consider these 3 cameras which seem to me very interesting.
This 24MP compact expert is equipped with a 24-70mm f/2.8-5.6 equivalent lens with a 2.36MP EVF. Only compact expert offering an APS-C sensor with a zoom lens, it’s more photo than video oriented, despite its swivel screen, as it’s limited to FullHD60p, with very good AF and burst. Although dating from 2017, it remains an excellent choice to have acceptable versatility and very good image quality. This camera remains in my opinion more interesting than many entry-level zoom mirrorless with a kit lens. Let’s hope that Canon renews it, or that another manufacturer is inspired by it, because it is for me one of the most interesting cameras to get into “serious” photography.
This 26MP Fujifilm APS-C camera has a 35mm f/2 equivalent fixed focal length, capable of shooting in 4K30p (and DCI) and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF. The Fujifilm X100s have earned a good reputation, especially for street photography, thanks to the combination of compact camera / APS-C sensor / bright fixed lens – the 35mm focal length being particularly appreciated in this field. Fujifilm doesn’t forget video with 4K and a swivel screen. A small particularity: the X100 offers a hybrid viewfinder with a rangefinder for lovers of the silver era. A truly expert high-end compact, to be put in all hands… of experts!
Last interesting camera to talk about here, this Sony RX10 IV has a 1″ 20MP sensor and a versatile 24-600mm f/2.4-4 equivalent lens. It is capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD120p with a 2.36MP EVF. It offers a bit more than the Panasonic FZ2000 in all areas, but obviously costs more. Be sure you need the extra 200mm of focal length and all-weather construction as well as a racing AF. If so, this is the best performing bridge camera available today.
With a budget between 1000 and 2000€, you will have access to very good mirrorless cameras. You are not yet in the very high-end, but you’ll get mirrorless cameras offering remarkable performances, and more than enough for most of us. Here are the 8 cameras summarized in the table below.
|Olympus E-M5 III||MFT||20MP||2.36MP||Amazon|
|Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24MP||3.69MP||Amazon|
|Panasonic Lumix S5||Full Frame||24MP||2.36MP||Amazon|
|Sony A7C||Full Frame||24MP||2.36MP||Amazon|
|Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24MP||3.69MP||Amazon|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24MP||2.36MP||Amazon|
I start the list of mirrorless cameras I recommend with this Olympus equipped with a 20MP micro 4/3 sensor. It is capable of shooting in 4K30p (and DCI) and FullHD120p with a 2.36MP EVF. It can be found on regular websites at slightly over 1000€, and could have been in the tight budget ranking. But what it does offer is a bit more “expert” than the E-M10 IV, especially with an all-weather build and a high-definition mode allowing to generate 80MP images (in ideal shooting conditions). It’s also more responsive, so it’ll be even more suitable for action and low-light situations. We are now getting into more “expert” cameras that will meet the needs of demanding users.
The Nikon Z5 (capable of shooting 4K30p with a 3.69MP EVF) is, in my opinion, the most interesting new camera to enter the full frame world. The Nikon Z mount is still new, but the brand already offers a lot of interesting lenses and is going to expand rapidly. The sensor has 24MP, but we don’t have the sensor of the Z6 which is backlit. It is therefore more likely to be the one of the D600/750, already very efficient, and the Z5 has the advantage of being stabilized, unlike the DSLRs mentioned. The AF was considered a bit behind Sony, but since the last few updates, it has improved nicely – although it remains slightly behind the competition. The camera is well designed and close to the Z6, except for the disappearing top screen and the 5ips burst. In video, it is correct, even if the screen is not rotatable but only tiltable.
A 24MP APS-C top of the line, this Sony A6600 is capable of shooting 4K30p and FullHD120p with a 2.36MP EVF. It offers several features superior to those of the A6000, with an even faster AF for example, and sensor stabilization. While we can ask ourselves the legitimate question of buying an APS-C sensor camera when a Z5 costs less, the A6600 is still compact, light and has the possibility of adding lenses for APS-C which are generally lighter and also more compact. In front of the Z5, it has a more powerful AF and a burst.
This Fujifilm has a 26MP APS-C sensor, capable of shooting 4K60p (and DCI) and FullHD240p with a 3.69MP EVF. Again, we could ask why not going full-frame with the cheaper Nikon Z5, but the X-T4 stands out for its more advanced expert features, as well as for the X-mount lens lineup offered by Fujifilm. The camera is very versatile, at ease both in photography and in video, built for any weather and with a stabilized sensor. We also find the ergonomics and the Fujifilm philosophy in full, with the graduated wheels of exposure time and ISO.
The only full frame Panasonic in this 2022 buying guide, this camera is equipped with a 24MP sensor, capable of shooting in 4K60p (and DCI) and FullHD180p and has a 2.36MP EVF. Panasonic offers here a pretty interesting camera for a decent price, but you should know that it is often entitled to discounts, so avoid paying full price. It’s almost like a G90 with a full frame sensor in your hands, but with a bit more weight. Panasonic’s full-frame lens lineup is still not very large, but they have the advantage of sharing the L-mount with Leica (whose lenses are globally overpriced), as well as with Sigma which offers some interesting lenses and are only available in Sony’s E-mount, or thus in L-mount. Small exclusivity (or almost) of the S5: it is the only full format camera (non-Leica) offering a full format 24MP sensor without low pass filter, which therefore gets the maximum details from the lenses. It is nevertheless a little less efficient on AF than its competitors, including Nikon, and the rumours of the arrival of phase detection, that should remedy it, encourages to wait for the next generation of cameras, in my opinion.
Here is another Sony camera, equipped with a 24MP full frame sensor, capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD120p and with a 2.36MP EVF. If we have the impression to have a G90 in hands with the S5 of Panasonic, we can here feel like we possess an A6000… Sony decided to take back the design and the ergonomics of its APS-C to propose us a light and compact full format with a swivelling screen. Despite its slightly narrow viewfinder, it is nice to have such a compact body without sacrificing image quality, AF performance or sensor stabilization. It has most of Sony’s latest advances in a small package and can use the available FE mount lenses from Sony, Sigma, Tamron and Samyang (page summarizing all available lenses). However, I still find it a bit expensive considering its range, especially compared to the following camera.
With this 24MP Nikon body (capable of shooting 4K60p and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF), you get all the advantages of the Z5 and even more, since it offers a higher burst rate and more expert ergonomics. You might wonder why you wouldn’t go for the Z6 since their features seem similar? Because the Z6 II has a special feature: a dual processor, which suggests that it has more potential for evolution. Compared to the A7C, the grip is much more pleasant, which is a sore point for some people.
This is the camera I turned to when I switched to a full frame mirrorless. Equipped with a 24MP full frame sensor, it is capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD120p with a 2.36MP EVF. It’s hard not to keep recommending one of Sony’s best-selling cameras, with features and performance still able to compete with the majority of the cameras mentioned in this article. Like the S5, I advise you to wait for one of the many promotions it regularly benefits from. Even if some features are inferior to those of the A7C, such as AF and real-time tracking, it offers a more pleasant grip. If you choose Sony, the choice between these 2 cameras can be difficult, but the A7 III is more often entitled to discounts at the moment.
I’ll be honest, if you are planning to spend more than 2500€ on a camera, you should be able to choose without having to browse blogs on the web ahah. And above all, you should know why you are spending so much. If it’s not the case, lower your budget and get informed! Nevertheless, it’s hard not to suggest some references that are not much more expensive than the ones in the previous list. I will spare you the expert compacts at this price, they are not many and not always easy to find.
In this type of budget, I made the choice to mention only 3 cameras. Of course, there are many very high-end cameras which can be rightly considered as the best in each brand – I especially think of the Sony A1, the Canon R3 or the Nikon Z9. These are cameras that are mainly aimed at professionals, with prices exceeding 6000€.
Here are 3 serious references (full format cameras) among all the cameras for those who have a bigger budget.
These cameras are equipped with a full-frame sensor of 42MP and capable of shooting in 4K30p and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF. It is quite rare to find new cameras with such a definition for a price around 2500€ (it came out at 3500€ in 2017). This is a point that will be particularly appreciable for landscape, portrait, architecture and macro photography. In addition, it has a good AF, a tilting screen and advanced features such as pixel shift, to improve the level of detail in images by combining several images between them (the images must be identical, and the assemblage is done on computer with the software provided by Sony). A good choice if you know what to do with its 42MP, or if you just like it, because the files will be much larger.
Equipped with a 20MP full frame sensor capable of shooting 4K60p and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF, Canon offers here one of the most balanced cameras in full frame (20MP). It features a stabilized sensor, responsive AF, excellent handling, a touch screen and advanced photo/video functions (capable of shooting in 4K60p and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF). The RF lens line-up is new but growing fast, although for now there aren’t many options other than the often-expensive L lenses. In the end, there is little to complain about with this camera, except its price, slightly more expensive than its rivals, but some would say that it is worth it (well, especially if you absolutely want a Canon).
It has just been released and is hard to find for the moment since it’s in short supply, but Sony offers a nice improvement of the A7 III, both physically and internally. This camera has a 33MP full frame sensor and is capable of shooting in 4K60p and FullHD120p with a 3.69MP EVF. Some might regret the cropping in 4K60p but be aware that most cameras offering this frame rate also undergo cropping, and for those that do not, then they undergo overheating. This is a very well-balanced camera, which will delight experts who need (or want) a full-frame performer without selling a kidney – even if at this price, some may already think that they will have to prepare the scalpel!
Some of you might wonder why there is no Panasonic G9, Olympus E-M1 III, Canon Rp or Nikon Zfc. Considering the performance but also the physical features and the ecosystem, some cameras just didn’t seem to fit in this ranking. This doesn’t mean that they are not good, but they have one or more drawbacks that are too annoying in their price range, in my opinion. For example, the G9 seems too big and heavy to me compared to the G90 in terms of feature differences. The Zfc is APS-C with a mount where most of the lenses are designed for full frame. The Canon Rp is too limited compared to what you can find in other formats… Anyway, I won’t explain myself for each camera not listed here!
Just keep in mind that the lower you go in this list, the more you should know why you choose to spend so much money, and if it is really useful for your practice. Indeed, the more money you will spend in your camera, the less you’ll have to buy one or more lenses, or even accessories (memory card, flash, battery, bag…).
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best cameras in 2022!
See you next year!