10 Best Sony Cameras For Any Budget: Buyers Guide

By Tati Taylor 10 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

Why a Sony сamera is the best mirrorless choice for photographers?

top 3 best sony camera

If you need the best Sony camera for an upgrade or are looking for your first mirrorless camera to buy, check out my review of the best Sony cameras for any budget. Take photos of your moment with the most reliable cameras released by. From compact to professional-style camera bodies, they all take the best quality photos in all styles.

Top 10 Sony Cameras for Photographers

  1. Sony Alpha 7 III - Best overall choice
  2. Sony ZV-1 - Popular affordable camera for vloggers
  3. Sony Alpha 7S II - Budget video camera
  4. Sony Alpha 1 - Do-it-all camera for professionals
  5. Sony RX100 VA - Flip-screen point-and-shoot camera
  6. Sony Alpha 9 II - For wildlife photography
  7. Sony Alpha 7R III - For landscape photography
  8. Sony Alpha 7C - Best Sony camera for travel
  9. Sony Alpha 6300 - For beginners
  10. Sony Alpha 6500 - Best budget-friendly camera for videos

There are many Sony cameras for the beginning, experienced and advanced photographers. Compact or bridge cameras are designed for amateurs. Not that many Sony DSLR cameras are relevant today. This camera brand’s focus is directed at mirrorless types of devices now.

Sony has been holding a leading position in the mirrorless cameras market for the past seven years, thanks to the huge success of the a6000, as well as sales of the professional a7 camera series. I will help you figure out the variety of Sony cameras and choose the best Sony camera among the popular models.

When seeing professional photos, it’s important to understand that they have been post-processed. Photographers tweak colors, make shadows deeper, edit the background and delete unwanted objects. If you don’t have any image processing skills, you can contact the FixThePhoto service that performs a range of photo manipulations. For instance, you can ask them to replace the head in a group photo, give your picture a surrealist feel, or make your image look more creative.

1. Sony Alpha 7 III – Our Choice

Still a fantastic all-rounder
a7 iii sony camera

Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: 693-point AF | Screen: tilting 3-inch touchscreen LCD | Weight: 1.44 pounds

  • ✚ Perfect 693-point autofocus system
  • ✚ 4K video support
  • ✚ 15-stop dynamic range
  • ✚ 5-axis image stabilization
  • ✚ 10 fps burst mode
  • UHS-II cards supported only by one slot
Rating

This is the best Sony mirrorless camera for video recording and professional photography. The device is capable of quickly generating images in RAW format. The 24-megapixel sensor provides good image quality that is suitable for large format printing. One of the main advantages of this camera is its remarkable ISO operation. It produces clear pictures, with minimal digital noise, even at very high ISO values (6400) thanks to innovative noise-reduction technology.

If you’re going to record high-resolution videos but don’t want a heavy DSLR camera body, check out the best mirrorless cameras for video that are quite inexpensive and produce awesome quality and sound. This full-frame mirrorless camera copes with shooting in low-light conditions and the use of automatic white balance settings. This device boasts 4K video recording, which undoubtedly is an important aspect when choosing a video camera.

2. Sony ZV-1

Compact vlogging camera
zv-1 sony camera

Sensor: 20.1 MP | Focusing: hybrid AF| Screen: side flip-out 3.0” LCD screen | Weight: 10.4 ounces

  • ✚ Mic windshield is included
  • ✚ Ultra-fast AF
  • ✚ Vari-angle touchscreen
  • ✚ Stabilized 4K video
  • ✚ Hot-shoe and mic input
  • Small lens and rear screen
  • No in-built flash/viewfinder
Rating

This cheap camera for video bloggers comes with a decent kit lens. Its compact body and many features make it similar to other models from the RX100 and A7 series. 1-inch CMOS sensor Exmor RS with 20.1 MP support phase-detection focusing and has 315 AF points.

The ZV-1 is a new Sony camera with a compact body that has everything that a beginner vlogger might ever need. You can adjust its exposure manually or automatically, as well as control other settings. Thanks to real-time face and eye AF tracking, you can take great photos of moving subjects. The camera has special modes for videographers who specialize in shooting food and animals. The bright 24-70mm lens creates a beautiful bokeh effect.

The camera allows shooting perfectly stabilized 4K/30p videos. Besides, it has an in-built neutral density exposure filter and all the Sony profiles, including HLG. Its tilting screen allows you to see footage when using the camera in a selfie mode.

3. Sony A7S II

Affordable video shooting
a7s ii sony camera

Sensor: 12.2MP | Focusing: high-speed 169-point AF | Screen: articulating LCD screen | Weight: 1.38 pounds

  • ✚ Maximum ISO 409,600
  • ✚ 4K video support
  • ✚ Perfect AF performance in poor light
  • ✚ 5-axis image stabilization
  • ✚ Professional log color modes
  • Inconvenient record button placement
  • 8-bit video only
Rating

I leave the Sony a7S II on my list of the best Sony cameras because its price is likely to come down now that it’s been succeeded by the A7S III. Unlike other Sony Alpha cameras, this model does not feature a very high resolution, which undoubtedly affects the image quality. However, it can be used to take pictures for further high-quality A3 printing.

Now it is closer to a segment of budget video cameras that allow you to record your trips, beauty photoshoots or family parties professionally and for an affordable price.

Noise-reduction technology enables you to get rid of digital noise. In addition, you can shoot even at night by selecting high ISO values (about 6400). This Sony full-frame camera also has good video characteristics, in particular, support for 4K XAVC S video shooting and the ability to record high-quality material even in low light. These features allow you to use this device in professional videography.

4. Sony Alpha 1

Super-fast shooting at high megapixels
alpha 1 sony camera

Sensor: 50.1 MP | Focusing: hybrid AF w/ 759 phase detection points | Screen: 3” quad-XGA high-definition OLED display | Weight: 1.6 pounds

  • ✚ Shoots 8K videos without overheating
  • ✚ Quick continuous shooting
  • ✚ 3-inch tilting sensor screen
  • ✚ Bird-eye AF
  • ✚ 50 MP full-frame sensor
  • Expensive
  • Convoluted menu
Rating

A combination of high speed, resolution and extra video shooting features makes this flagship Sony A1 model one of the best professional all-in-one solutions for those who are looking for a mirrorless camera. Its pixel shift burst mode allows you to take a sequence of 16 images. The full-frame multi-layer back-illuminated 50.1MP Exmor R sensor accounts for a 15-stop dynamic range and up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second, which allows this camera to handle any task.

You can capture images at the speed of 30fps thanks to the Bionz XR processors and record XAVC HS 8K with a shutter speed of 30p in 10-bit format with S-Cinetone support and 8.6K oversampling for improved resolution. Its buffer is big enough for 155 full-frame RAW images.

The electronic 9.44 million-dot viewfinder OLED Quad-XGA with a refresh rate of 240fps allows you to take bright images. Besides real-time eye-tracking for shooting videos of people and animals, the Alpha 1 supports object detection and bird-eye AF.

5. Sony RX100 VA

A compact powerhouse
rx100 va sony camera

Sensor: 20.1 MP | Focusing: AF w/ wide 315 phase-detection points | Screen: 3” flip LCD screen | Weight: 1.26 lbs

  • ✚ Tilt screen
  • ✚ Fast frame rate
  • ✚ Large sensor
  • ✚ 4K video filming
  • ✚ Integrated electronic viewfinder
  • Limited 2.9x optical zoom range
  • Lack of touchscreen
Rating

The RX100 VA is still a highly functional all-in-one camera with a compact body and the most affordable price. It supports a high image quality and impressive dynamic range. This Sony full-frame camera has a convenient tilting screen and a lightweight metal body. Sony made its buffer size bigger, added the Eye AF and object tracking, upgraded its native software with new features.

If we compare this digital camera with similar models in terms of shooting JPEGs, it can be noted that some gadgets take pictures with slight blurriness, the so-called “halo” around the objects. The RX100 VA has special technology that allows you to get rid of the “halo” or make it almost invisible. Undoubtedly, high clarity and sharpness of images are an advantage of this model. A photographer can start playing back a series of photos immediately after shooting thanks to the upgraded processing.

6. Sony A9 II

A rapid full-frame option
a9 ii sony camera

Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: wide AF w/ 693-point phase-detection | Screen: 3” tilt-angle touchscreen | Weight: 1.30 lbs

  • ✚ Perfect AF performance
  • ✚ Viewfinder without blackouts
  • ✚ Simple configuration management
  • ✚ Remarkable 24MP sensor
  • ✚ 4K video support
  • Lack of XQD card slots
  • Restricted touchscreen control
Rating

The A9 II has a 2x higher shooting speed than its predecessor thanks to its mechanical shutter with a speed of up to 20 fps. It has wide connectivity options thanks to the updated Ethernet and USB-C ports. Besides, it has an in-built Wi-Fi module. This mirrorless 2nd generation model has a more powerful battery, 0.5-stop better image stabilization, and AF system with 693 phase-detection points, including 425 contrast-detection AF points. Besides, Sony made it better weather-sealed.

The main advantage of this device is a 24-megapixel sensor paired with a more recent Bionz X processor. This makes it possible to obtain quality images with high resolution. You can print your photos in Super A2 or A3 format and make them as sharp as possible.

Working in low light, a photographer can choose the maximum ISO values (about 12,800) and get good photos. The device has good video characteristics, for example, 4K video recording and a fantastic AF system with real-time Eye AF modes. It supports object tracking and quick hybrid focusing.

7. Sony A7R III

High-res videos with low power consumption
a7r iii sony camera

Sensor: 42.4 MP | Focusing: hybrid 399-point AF system | Screen: 3” tilt-angle LSD screen | Weight: 1.45 lbs

  • ✚ 10 fps at 42.2 MP sensor
  • ✚ Improved 5-axis IS system
  • ✚ Bright and big EVF
  • ✚ Quick AF operation
  • Imperfect touchscreen control
  • Only one slot for UHS-II cards
Rating

This camera has good ISO characteristics and excellent noise reduction functions. By raising ISO values (up to 32,000), a photographer can get images with a moderate amount of digital noise. The maximum value is ISO 102, 400, but I do not recommend you select it when working under normal conditions. In this case, you are guaranteed to get poor-quality pictures. Choose such values only when the image quality is not your primary goal, and your main task is to photograph the object.

In addition, the a7R III boasts a wide dynamic range. If you want to retain highlights, you may take low-sensitivity pictures and underexpose them. Then, all imperfections should be removed in Lightroom. Perhaps this is the best Sony digital camera that is good for all photo genres.

8. Sony Alpha 7C

The smallest and lightest full-frame camera
a7c sony camera

Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: 693-point hybrid AF system | Screen: 3” flip LSD screen | Weight: 1.1 pounds

  • ✚ 4K / 30p video support
  • ✚ A wide choice of retractable lenses
  • ✚ Tilting LCD
  • ✚ Weather-sealed, has a quick AF
  • ✚ Compact size despite a full-frame sensor
  • Doesn’t allow shooting 60p or 10-bit video
  • Limited sensor controls
Rating

The Sony a 7C is fitted with advanced specs and a full-frame sensor. It has a compact and lightweight body. The camera has an in-body image stabilization system and a tilting screen, which makes it perfect for vloggers. Since there aren’t many buttons, this model is convenient to use. For instance, you will find only a scroll wheel and an electronic viewfinder on its rear panel.

While it’s not the most impressive model released by Sony, it has great specs and a perfect AF system. Thanks to its full-frame sensor with 5 image stabilization stops, you can use this camera in low-light situations. If you are looking for a compact full-frame camera with great autofocusing and noise-reduction capabilities, the Sony a7C will be a perfect choice.

9. Sony Alpha A6300

Fastest autofocus
a6300 sony camera

Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: 425 phase detection AF points | Screen: 3” LCD screen | Weight: 1.00 lbs

  • ✚ Excellent burst performance
  • ✚ Quick autofocus
  • ✚ Relatively good performance at high ISO
  • ✚ Good quality of photos
  • In-body OIS is absent
  • Only manual control of “Entry level”
Rating

The a6300 is one of the best Sony Alpha cameras that impressed me with its focusing reliability under any conditions (manual one is inclusive). Of course, my feelings depend on the lens I used, but focus peaking and focusing zoom support make this camera special. Parts of the image located in the field of focusing are highlighted by focus peaking, which makes them visible in the form of white, red and yellow areas.

The standard ISO range is within 100-25600. It may be raised to 32000, 41500 and 51200 if you need it. JPEGs with high ISO lose color strength and, as a result, details of the image become less noticeable. Anyway, the presence of chromatic noise is on the normal level. I am talking about the tones breaking down into rainbow speckles. This Sony camera almost completely eliminates this effect. If you still need to take pictures at high ISO, photographing in RAW and editing in Lightroom will solve this problem.

10. Sony Alpha A6500

Budget-friendly for videos
a6500 sony camera

Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: wide 425 phase detection AF points | Screen: 2.95” LSD touchscreen | Weight: 0.91 lbs

  • ✚ Extremely fast AF system
  • ✚ Large buffer capacity
  • ✚ Wide video capabilities
  • Dingy rear LCD
  • Prominent rolling shutter
Rating

The Sony A6500 is one of the best Sony cameras that allow taking high-quality photos. This Sony camera ensures wonderful sharpness and contrast level. You can control image noise within the whole sensitivity range (for JPEG). As a result, the images will be ideal, even at high ISO settings (for example 6400).

I strongly recommend using a low-noise reduction setting because the normal noise reduction setting looks a bit heavy-handed with pictures taken at high ISO settings. If you are in a search of the best Sony camera for shooting pictures of excellent quality and 4K video, it is one of the best options to consider.

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
a7 iii sony camera table
Sony a7 III
OUR CHOICE
  • 693-point AF system
  • 4K video support
  • 15-stop dynamic range
CHECK PRICE
alpha 1 sony camera table
Sony Alpha 1
FOR PROS
  • Shoots 8K videos
  • Bird-eye AF
  • 50MP full-frame sensor
CHECK PRICE
zv-1 sony camera table
Sony ZV-1
BUDGET
  • Ultra-fast AF
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Stabilized 4K video
CHECK PRICE

Why Sony Cameras Are the Best Mirrorless Cameras

We cannot deny that mirrorless cameras made by Sony have been bestsellers until recent years. Now Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm have started producing mirrorless cameras with a focus on adding the newest features, but Sony continues to be a leader in this area. Why does Sony attract so many fans around the world that they run to the store as soon as any new Sony model appears on the shelves?

1. Electronic Viewfinder

best sony camera ev

If you shoot handheld in bad light with the help of manual focus, you may face some problems. Luckily, the best Sony camera for video with a good viewfinder can help you avoid lots of them. First, looking through the viewfinder instead of the back screen will make holding the camera easier.

The presence of focus peaking and the ability to punch in to check the focus through the viewfinder released me from the need to use the back screen. A 12mm lens produces a deep enough depth of field. Still, I had to make an effort to be sure that I’d focused properly. Sony has been offering good electronic viewfinders in addition to full-frame images, which made these models top sellers.

2. In-Body Image Stabilization

best sony camera stabilization

Another advantage of Sony is that it is the only brand offering a full-frame model with IBIS rated up to 5.5 stops. In comparison, Nikon’s newest cameras offer IBIS rated up to five stops only. In the case of Canon, it is not a competitor for Nikon and Sony in this area.

It is an unbelievably beneficial option. I don’t think I would be able to take high-quality photos without it. Because of the light, even when I shot at f/2.8, it was necessary to snap pictures at shutter speeds equal to 1/15th of a second.

3. Lens Selection

best sony camera lens

There are adapters for Sony E-mount cameras accessible for the majority of mounts, such as Nikon F, Canon EF and Leica M. Medium format lenses can also be adapted. It makes Sony the leader among adaptable lens mounts on sale. Adapting tilt-shift lenses to Sony cameras is also possible. However, such lenses will be stabilized with IBIS, which Canon cannot offer yet.

4. Autofocus System

best sony camera af

The autofocus on the sensor is more precise compared to traditional systems in digital cameras, which provides additional useful features. For instance, pay attention to eye detection autofocus. This feature definitely distinguishes Sony cameras from the others on the market nowadays.

During some period of time, this option was considered to be a gimmick because of its inefficiency. Everything changed after the appearance of a7R III. If you are familiar with the eye detection feature in the newest Sony cameras, you must know that Sony produces the best autofocus models.

5. Sony Listens

best sony camera support

It seems to me that Sony is one of a few companies manufacturing full-frame models that really cares about the customer’s points of view and their wishes. Thanks to Sony’s ability to listen to customers, it has become the best mirrorless camera manufacturer. Sony isn’t like those companies that make excuses. It makes changes according to customers’ complaints. For example, let’s look at the case with two card slots. Sony solved this complaint quite quickly by producing the third generation of cameras.

F.A.Q

  • • Is it possible to use a Sony camera as a webcam?

Yes, since these days many people work remotely, several cameras from this list can be used as webcams, such as Alpha 1, a7C, a7R IV, a9 II, a7S III, FX-3, and ZV-1. To do it, you will need to use the Imaging Edge Webcam software.

  • • Is Sony a Japanese brand?

Most Sony cameras and lenses were developed in Japan and manufactured in Chonburi Province in Thailand, 90 minutes by car away from downtown Bangkok. Some of the most affordable models are made in China.

  • • What do numbers in the names of Sony Alpha models refer to?

Usage area. The α1 series of flagship mirrorless cameras was designed for professional photographers and videographers. The α9 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras was created for professionals who specialize in sports and action photography.

The α7 series includes full-frame mirrorless cameras for beginners. The α7S models are suitable for shooting videos in low-light conditions, whereas the α7R models are flagships of the new generation. The α6 mirrorless cameras with a crop sensor are suitable for beginners. Use a7R III-IV devices for shooting landscape photos, a9 II cameras for sports, and a7S II-III models for capturing videos.

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