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The Best Digital Camera

Last updated on March 15, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Digital Cameras and dug through the reviews from 108 of the most popular review sites including Tech Radar, DP Review, Photography Blog, Engadget, Imaging Resource, The Verge and more. The result is a ranking of the best Digital Cameras.

Best Digital Camera

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Digital Cameras and also dug through the reviews from 108 of the most popular review sites including Tech Radar, DP Review, Photography Blog, Engadget, Imaging Resource, The Verge and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Digital Cameras.

Our Picks For The Top Digital Cameras

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Nikon

D850

Overall Take

The Nikon D850 boasts amazing autofocus and works wonderfully in low light situations thanks to its sensor size and ISO range. It's also an extremely fast and responsive camera, which means you'll never miss that perfect shot.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tech Radar, Digital Trends, Trusted Reviews, DP Review, Photo Review, Imaging Resource and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Best Buy.
Pros
" When it comes to high-ISO noise performance, again the D850 doesn't disappoint. Images up to ISO3200 display excellent levels of detail, with minimal noise, while at ISO3200 there's barely any luminance (grain-like) noise in images, and no hint of chroma..."
Cons
"The D850 isn’t as quick to lock focus using the contrast detection system for the live view mode while shooting video or stills."

Sony

A7

Overall Take

The Sony A7S is a mirrorless camera that is light, produces beautiful images and won't break the bank to purchase. It can also capture some of the best 4K video of any mirrorless camera on the market. It's small, affordable and generally a great all-around camera.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tech Radar, DP Review, Photography Blog, Engadget, Imaging Resource, The Verge and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The absolute best thing about the A7 is what it offers for the price. It's fantastic to have a full-frame sensor in something so small and affordable. When the system grows a little more, this will be a more serious..."
Cons
"JPEG quality disappointing compared to peers – crude sharpening, over-aggressive processing and occasional posterization"

Nikon

D500

Overall Take

The Nikon D500 is a cropped sensor digital camera that produces quality images and performs well in low light. Its tilting LCD screen makes it great for capturing images at strange angles, so you won't have to pass up any opportunities while taking photos.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Trusted Reviews, Tech Radar, CNET, DP Review, Photo Review, Imaging Resource and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The D500 performs well in a wide range of different shooting conditions to produce excellent images. It’s a fantastic all-rounder that an enthusiast who’s not tied to one particular subject type should enjoy using."
Cons
"It's worth noting at this point that settings can't be selected, nor the menu navigated, using the screen's touch control."
  The Best Value

Panasonic

LUMIX FZ300

Overall Take

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 has built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to conveniently send images directly to your smartphone. Plus, it also features a great zoom and is less expensive than interchangeable-lens digital cameras.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus CNET, 4K, PC Magazine, DP Review, Photo Review, Imaging Resource and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" With the FZ300's capability to stay at f2.8 throughout its zoom range, you don't need to be shooting in full sun or using its higher ISO settings to get a good shot. In fact, during shooting in mixed daylight conditions,..."
Cons
"One other design feature of the FZ300 that definitely leaves something to be desired is the lack of a zoom ring around the powerful lens itself. This is more than a bit of a letdown and though Panasonic has provided..."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the digital cameras available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

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108

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Tech Radar, DP Review, Photography Blog, Engadget, Imaging Resource.

29,472

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Nikon D850

Expert Summarized Score
9.3
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
492 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The Nikon D850 boasts amazing autofocus and works wonderfully in low light situations thanks to its sensor size and ISO range. It's also an extremely fast and responsive camera, which means you'll never miss that perfect shot.

What other experts liked
When it comes to high-ISO noise performance, again the D850 doesn't disappoint. Images up to ISO3200 display excellent levels of detail, with minimal noise, while at ISO3200 there's barely any luminance (grain-like) noise in images, and no hint of chroma...
- Tech Radar
August 13, 2018 | Full review
Speed is a tough contest with both cameras able to hit 9 fps, but with the no-fine-print speeds of 7 fps and 5.5 fps and the D850’s better autofocus, we’re giving the D850 the title here. The D850 also has...
- Digital Trends
January 3, 2019 | Full review
It’s not just the speed and the way the D850 is capable of processing such high volumes of data so quickly that impresses, either, as the AF response is as good as you get on the flagship Nikon D5. It’s...
- Trusted Reviews
Native low ISO value of 64 offers class-leading dynamic range and rivals medium format options
- DP Review
Autofocusing was surprisingly fast when movie clips were recorded, despite the inevitable slowing that occurs in Live View mode. When a subject was focused before recording commenced, the camera seemed able to keep it sharp, readjusting quickly if people passed...
- Photo Review
The D850 sports a 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor, which is Nikon's highest resolution sensor yet and is also their first backside-illuminated (BSI) full-frame sensor. At both low and high ISOs, the D850's image quality is fantastic.
- Imaging Resource
February 5, 2018 | Full review
Tilt-shift lenses allow one to change the plane of focus essentially tilting it near to far to get close and far objects both in focus.
- Photography Life
September 30, 2018 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Live View focusing speeds could still be better, while the rather rudimentary SnapBridge connectivity offered is disappointing; but those issues aside, whether you're shooting weddings, landscapes, portraits, action or wildlife, the D850 won't leave you wanting.
- Tech Radar
August 13, 2018 | Full review
The D850 isn’t as quick to lock focus using the contrast detection system for the live view mode while shooting video or stills.
- Digital Trends
January 3, 2019 | Full review
The only other disappointment was SnapBridge connectivity, which didn’t perform faultlessly and wasn’t always reliable at transmitting images to my mobile device as they were taken.
- Trusted Reviews
Live view autofocus still clunky for both stills and video shooting
- DP Review
Having no flash, we could only test the review camera with tungsten, fluorescent and warm-toned LED lights. The auto setting delivered neutral colour rendition under fluorescent lighting and almost counteracted the slight warm cast of the LED lights. But it...
- Photo Review
It also includes some advanced features, making it Nikon's most versatile video DSLR yet. However, the fact that the camera still uses sluggish contrast-detect AF for live view and video really puts the D850 at a disadvantage for video compared...
- Imaging Resource
February 5, 2018 | Full review
Anything higher than ISO 12800 looks pretty bad and that’s a given. Although one could heavily downsample images at ISO 25600, there is simply too much noise to deal with and there is not only loss of details throughout the...
- Photography Life
September 30, 2018 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ300

Expert Summarized Score
8.4
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
183 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 has built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to conveniently send images directly to your smartphone. Plus, it also features a great zoom and is less expensive than interchangeable-lens digital cameras.

What other experts liked
With the FZ300's capability to stay at f2.8 throughout its zoom range, you don't need to be shooting in full sun or using its higher ISO settings to get a good shot. In fact, during shooting in mixed daylight conditions, the camera rarely went above ISO 400.
- CNET
March 23, 2016 | Full review
The built-in WiFi is also worth calling out. It allows you to shoot remotely or share images via your smartphone. Simply connect with Panasonic's Image App and you'll have access to all of your camera's controls. This is useful for shooting in tough to reach areas or capturing images that...
- Reviewed
November 18, 2015 | Full review
Combined with the ability to use 4K Photo burst shooting, the superzoom capacity of the FZ300K is ideal for some superb images of normally hard to capture scenes which involve an object, animal or person in quick motion.
- 4K
September 9, 2015 | Full review
The excellent Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom offers a long focal range with a fixed-aperture lens, 4K video, and instant autofocus.
- PC Magazine
February 3, 2018 | Full review
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 is an update to the very popular FZ200. It retains the same 12MP sensor and fast 25-600mm equivalent F2.8 lens but adds a new image processor, weather-sealing and 4K video support.
- DP Review
May 26, 2017 | Full review
Both the monitor and EVF screens have higher resolution. The monitor’s resolution has increased from 460,000 dots in the FZ200 to 1,040,000 dots and it includes touch control. The EVF has been upgraded to an OLED display with 2,360,000 dots (compared with 1,312,000 dots in the FZ200). It also has...
- Photo Review
You can also extract stills from 4K video clips in 4K Photo mode, have the camera save 4K still images at 30 frames per second, or even let it continuously pre-buffer two seconds of 4K stills and then save them as a burst once you hit the shutter button.
- Imaging Resource
May 4, 2016 | Full review
The maximum aperture of F/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range is still very rare for this class of camera. This is a big advantage for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 as it allows you to get sharper results and capture more "keepers" at the extreme ends of the zoom range -...
- Photography Blog
August 27, 2015 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
And the settings, my god, the settings -- they just seem to go on and on, so you can adjust just about every aspect. (If you want to see for yourself, download the full manual.) Panasonic even added another shooting option via a firmware update called Post Focus. It uses...
- CNET
March 23, 2016 | Full review
In our lab tests and real world shooting this was borne out: the FZ300 is sharper and faster than many other superzooms, but it lacks the dynamic range, high ISO performance, and shallow depth of field you get with the best point-and-shoots.
- Reviewed
November 18, 2015 | Full review
One other design feature of the FZ300 that definitely leaves something to be desired is the lack of a zoom ring around the powerful lens itself. This is more than a bit of a letdown and though Panasonic has provided a much smaller and in our opinion less precisely usable...
- 4K
September 9, 2015 | Full review
Image quality is typical of Panasonic compact cameras. Generally good color, though yellows have a greenish tint, which can negative affect skin tones. Noise reduction can be high in JPEGs, though the Raw option is helpful. High ISO performance is better than many of the other cameras in this class,...
- DP Review
May 26, 2017 | Full review
The lens handled normal backlighting very well. But it can easily be forced to flare when a bright light source is within the image frame.
- Photo Review
The downside here is that your composition and subject position may also vary between frames, because they're being captured sequentially over a short period of time. In that respect, the Lytro has the advantage because no matter where you choose to put the point of focus, the overall composition won't...
- Imaging Resource
May 4, 2016 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. Nikon D850
Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 10

2. Sony A7
Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 9

3. Nikon D500
Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

4. Fujifilm X-PRO 2
Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 8

5. PANASONIC LUMIX FZ300
Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 9

6. Sony DSC-RX10M
Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 8

7. Canon EOS Rebel
Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 9

8. Olympus TG-5
Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 6

An Overview On Digital Cameras

Everybody loves to look at pictures of that stunning family vacation from the previous year. Or to pull out your old wedding album and look at the images from the day you and your significant other committed to each other for a lifetime of happiness and memories. Pictures of loved ones rest in frames around our homes as moments that we cherish and long to remember. More than likely, these images were captured using a digital camera, and over the last 10 years, digital cameras have improved by leaps and bounds, meaning the pictures you take have more vibrant colors and sharper images.

Digital cameras do not use film to produce an image. Instead, a digital camera stores the image on a digital memory card. Most current digital cameras can record video as well as still images, making them more powerful than cameras of the past. Gone are the days when you need to take a roll of film to the pharmacy to have your pictures developed. Digital cameras use a memory card, like an SD card, to store the photos you take with the camera. You can then simply connect the SD card from the digital camera to your computer and view and print the images you took. And then, once you have saved the images to your computer or to the cloud, you can format or delete the images off of the memory card and use it all over again. No need to keep buying new memory cards when they are full like you would have to do with film.

Digital cameras come in many different designs and models. You can purchase a digital camera with a fixed lens, which means the lens that is attached to the camera can’t be swapped out for another lens, like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300. The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 comes with a 25-600 mm zoom lens with a F2.8 aperture Leica Lens.

The aperture of a camera lens controls the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. Think of it as how your eyes adjust to moving from a dark room to a room full of light. Aperture is recorded as an f-stop by the camera. So a camera with an f-stop of 2.8 has a larger aperture and allows more light to hit the camera sensor. This can be confusing for some because the smaller the f-stop, the larger the aperture. If the camera’s f-stop is set to F11, then the aperture is smaller and less light is allowed to pass through the lens to the sensor.

Another type of digital camera is a DSLR, also known as a digital single-lens reflex camera.  DSLR cameras come in a wide range of price points and are used from beginners all the way up to professional photographers. One of the great advantages of digital cameras across the board is that they allow you to see the image almost immediately, thanks to an LED screen on the back of the camera. The Nikon D500 has a 3.2-inch 2,539k-Dot tilting LCD touchscreen and the Nikon D850 has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen.

Inside the body of a DSLR camera is a mirror that reflects the light that comes through the lens onto an optical viewfinder to display the image that you are seeing directly through the lens. Optical viewfinders use very little power, so DSLR cameras typically have very good battery life, with some models allowing you to take up to 1,000 photos on a single battery charge. You are also able to take many photos very quickly.

The sensor inside the camera body also plays a very important role in the quality of the image produced by the digital camera. DSLR cameras usually come with one of two sensors. The Nikon D850 has a full-frame sensor, while the Nikon D500 has an APS-C sensor, or what it is more commonly referred to as a cropped sensor. These sensors are a big reason why the images you take with a DSLR camera and a mirrorless camera produce higher-quality images than you take with your phone or a point and shoot camera. The sensor inside a full-frame DSLR like the Nikon D850 is 35 mm, the size of standard film. A camera with a cropped sensor, like the Nikon D500, has a sensor about half the size of a full-frame sensor. So, when you put a 50 mm lens on a cropped sensor, the actual field of view of that lens will be closer to a 75 mm lens. A APS-C sensor adds a 1.5x crop factor to lenses. The larger the sensor, the better the digital camera performs in low light situations. While you get a little more zoom from a cropped sensor, you are also not able to capture as wide of an image as a digital camera with a full frame sensor. Digital cameras with a full-frame sensor also will create photos with a shallower depth of field, giving you a nice blurry background look, while your in-focus image looks sharp. A digital camera with a cropped sensor can be more cost effective and is a good choice for those looking to shoot more telephoto photography because of the extra zoom it provides. You can see the difference in price between the Nikon D850, which has a full-frame sensor, and the Nikon D500, which has the cropped sensor. The Nikon D850 costs more than $3,000, while the Nikon D500 typically costs under $2,000.

Another type of digital camera, and one that has become more popular in recent years, is the mirrorless digital camera. The Sony A7 is an example of a mirrorless digital camera. While a DSLR camera has a reflex mirror, a mirrorless camera does not. Thus, a mirrorless camera does not have an optical viewfinder. Instead, light is exposed to the image sensor at all times giving you a digital image preview on either your LCD screen or your electronic viewfinder, also known as an EVF.

While a point-and-shoot camera, like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300, is also technically a mirrorless camera, it is not like the Sony A7S because it has a fixed lens. The Sony A7S is a digital interchangeable lens camera. So like the Nikon D850 and Nikon D500, the Sony A7S allows you to switch the lens you have on the camera. If you want a wide-angle image, a 18-mm or 24-mm lens is what you would put on your digital camera. If you’re trying to take an image of something far away or you want a close-up of a person’s face, a 200-mm lens or 400-mm lens could be put onto the camera. This is one reason why mirrorless and DSLR cameras are typically more expensive than digital cameras with a fixed lens.

Mirrorless cameras can typically be smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras, which has helped them grow in popularity. While DSLRs are not a thing of the past, mirrorless digital cameras have made steady headway in the digital camera field in recent years. It may be time to consider purchasing a mirrorless camera now or in the near future as the image quality continues to improve and surpass what a DSLR can achieve.

DWYM Fun Fact

While the first digital cameras didn’t reach consumer stores until 1990, the original idea behind digital images began floating around the brain of Eugene F. Lally in 1961. Lally, who worked in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he was trying to create artificial gravity, began having thoughts about how to capture digital images of planets and stars during space exploration. In 1975, Steve Sasson at Eastman Kodak built the first working digital camera, but the image quality was very low. The megapixels of the image were just 0.01 and the camera weighed 8 pounds. Today, a digital camera like the Nikon D850 can capture an image with 45.7 megapixels.  It wasn’t until 1981 that the first true digital camera was successful. The University of Calgary Canada ASI Science Team was able to create a successful digital camera to capture images of auroras in the sky. The first digital camera to reach consumers was the 1990 Dycam Model 1.

The Digital Camera Buying Guide

  • Do not get your digital camera wet. Also, make sure to keep the sensor of the camera clean. Don’t touch the sensor with your fingers. If dust gets on your camera sensor, which can happen simply by switching lenses on the camera, your images will have blurry spots.
  • Before cleaning your sensor yourself, try using the camera’s auto-clean mode if it has one. If not, get some lint-free cleaning swabs that are specifically designed for your camera’s sensor, some camera sensor cleaning solution and a hand/bulb air blower. To clean, start by removing the lens and locking your camera in its manual cleaning mode. Use the air blower on the cleaning swab to make sure there is no lint on it. Put two or three small drops of the cleaning solution on the swab, but make sure not to use too much. You don’t want your cleaning swab to be soaking wet. Then gently take the swab and rub it across the camera sensor, making sure not to press too hard. You want to swab the sensor in one fluid motion and once you reach the other side of the sensor, turn the swab over and bring it back across the area you just cleaned. Once you have done the entire sensor, attach your lens back to the camera and take a photo to see if you still have any blurry spots.
  • Make sure you get the most bang for your buck with your digital camera purchase. Lots of current DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras have the ability to capture video as well as still images. Digital cameras today are able to film up to 4K resolution and some can even film in slow motion. The Nikon D850 can record up to 4K resolution, has the option of shooting at 120 frames per second in slow motion and has an 8K resolution time-lapse photography feature.
  • Some digital cameras work better than others in low-light situations. If you think you will be taking a lot of photographs where the lighting isn’t ideal, investing in a digital camera that has both a full-frame sensor and a large ISO range would be beneficial to you. The Sony AS7 is a camera known for its low-light capabilities, thanks to its full-frame sensor and its ISO range of 100-25600.