Able to record images quickly thanks to fast autofocus mechanism. Electronic viewfinder. Able to record images in burst mode at speeds up to 11 frames per second. Excellent still image and movie resolution levels. Mirrorless design of the a6500 creates a smaller camera body than a DSLR.
High price. A bit too complicated for beginner photographers.
Great travel camera because of its small size and large optical zoom lens. Includes an adequate 18.2 megapixels of resolution. Has 3-inch LCD screen with the ability to tilt it at multiple angles. Offers a viewfinder. Good performance for close-up photos with an accurate AF system.
WiFi connection is difficult to set up. Durability of camera is questionable.
Includes a large image sensor with 24 megapixels of resolution. Fast performing camera at 11 frames per second in burst mode. Good performance in low light situations. High quality LCD screen that also can tilt away from the camera. Good size with the mirrorless design.
Kit lens isn't a high-quality component. Battery lifespan could be better.
Can record images at a resolution up to 20.4 megapixels. Having a 50X optical zoom lens is a great feature when shooting nature photos. Includes a tiltable LCD screen that allows you to shoot odd-angle photographs. Can record images in burst mode at up to 10 frames per second.
Image quality lags behind DSLR and mirrorless-style digital cameras.
Includes a 1-inch image sensor and 20.9 megapixels of resolution, providing great photographs in a small camera. RX100 Mark II works great in low-light shooting situations. Tiltable LCD screen makes it convenient to shoot odd-angle photos. Includes built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity options.
Small 3.6X optical zoom lens versus what's found in most fixed lens cameras.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Although many people like shooting photos with a smartphone, using a digital camera has quite a few advantages. For starters, you’ll receive a higher quality lens and faster processing speeds with the digital camera.
When you’re ready to take your photography skills to a higher level than what’s available with a smartphone, Sony digital cameras are a good choice. Sony has been making high-quality cameras for decades.
Sony offers multiple types of digital cameras at a variety of price points. We’ll help you make sense of all your digital camera purchasing choices.
Sony digital cameras are available in different designs. Understanding these differences can help you make the best purchase for your needs.
Fixed lens cameras
Fixed lens cameras are those where you cannot remove the lens, as it’s built into the camera body. Some of these cameras are simple point-and-shoot cameras that have small image sensors. These are made for beginner photographers. Other Sony fixed lens cameras are advanced cameras with large image sensors. These cameras are expensive, but they yield excellent photographic results.
One major advantage of a fixed lens camera over a smartphone camera is the optical zoom lens. This lens can magnify the scene while maintaining image sharpness. Smartphone cameras only use digital zoom. Some Sony fixed lens cameras offer large optical zoom measurements of 25X or even 50X.
Sony only manufactures high-end fixed lens cameras now. Although you can still purchase the inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras from Sony, the company doesn’t actively manufacture these cameras anymore — so they won’t be new.
A DSLR camera uses a medium- to large-sized camera body. You use interchangeable lenses with this style of camera. Each lens gives you different features and must be purchased separately.
DSLR cameras have a mirror inside them that reflects the image toward the optical viewfinder at the top. This mirror mechanism causes the camera body to be thicker than other styles of cameras.
Sony’s DSLR cameras are branded as Alpha cameras. Sony discontinued manufacturing new Alpha cameras, but you can still purchase these used DSLRs.
Mirrorless cameras use an interchangeable lens like a DSLR. However, they do not have a mirror inside because the viewfinder is actually a display screen. This digital viewfinder is different from the optical viewfinder in a DSLR, negating the need for a mirror.
The design allows the mirrorless camera body to be much thinner than a DSLR. The lenses used with mirrorless cameras tend to be thinner than DSLR lenses, too.
Sony still actively manufactures mirrorless cameras. DSLRs have been the best performing cameras on the market for quite some time; however, modern mirrorless cameras are close to DSLRs in terms of performance.
You can pay anywhere from $150 to $3,000 for a Sony digital camera, depending on its feature list and design.
Fixed lens Sony digital cameras typically cost $150 to $1,500. You’ll pay more for these cameras when they have larger image sensors.
Mirrorless and DSLR Sony cameras run anywhere from $500 to $3,000. Understand that you could have extra costs with these cameras for lenses. Again, cameras with larger image sensors will cost more than those with smaller image sensors.
There are quite a few different models of Sony digital cameras on the market. Though we’ve listed some excellent models in our matrix, there are other Sony cameras you can consider. If you have a big budget and you’re looking for the highest level of image quality, we suggest the Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. This camera has a full frame image sensor and 42.4 MP of resolution. For a huge optical zoom measurement in a Sony camera, the Sony HX400V is an excellent choice. It has a 50X optical zoom, which is great for shooting faraway subjects. If you want the image quality of a mirrorless camera but you want a fixed lens design, you’ll like the Sony RX100 V. This camera has an extremely fast autofocus capability, which allows you to shoot photos of fast-moving subjects in perfect sharpness.
Q. What hidden costs are there when buying a Sony digital camera?
A. If you choose a mirrorless camera or a DSLR from Sony, you may want to purchase additional lenses in the future. Additionally, camera makers require you to separately purchase a memory card for storing photos. Some people choose to buy a second battery, a tripod, a camera neck strap, or an add-on flash unit to enhance their use of the camera.
Q. How do I know which Sony camera is the best option for me?
A. Start by setting a budget for your purchase. Then think about how you plan to use the camera. If you just want a simple camera you can carry in a pocket, a small fixed lens model is a smart choice. When you need a higher level of image quality, look toward a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Video quality is greater with the interchangeable lens camera too. Just stick to your budget.
Q. What is an optical zoom measurement?
A. If you have a Sony point-and-shoot camera, you may see an optical zoom number for the camera. In a fixed lens camera (one where the lens cannot be removed), the magnification level of the lens is called the zoom. The number next to the X tells you the maximum magnification the lens can reach. Optical zoom differs from digital zoom, where the camera’s software creates the magnification. Digital zoom causes a loss of sharpness.
Q. Do I need a special model of Sony camera to shoot video?
A. No. All Sony digital cameras can shoot both photographs and video. If you’re especially interested in shooting movies, pay attention to the resolution and frame speed for video for the camera. Sony cameras can shoot at an HD or 4K resolution, or they can shoot at lesser resolutions to save storage space. You can adjust frame rate, too — typically between 24 and 240 frames per second.
Q. Can I carry a Sony mirrorless camera in my pocket?
A. Some Sony mirrorless cameras are small enough to fit in a large pocket. However, many people choose to carry these cameras in a camera bag. The bag simplifies carrying the camera, extra lenses, and any other photography equipment you have.