Best camera for photography 2021: top picks for every style and budget

These are the world’s best cameras for photography

If you’re looking for the best cameras for photography in 2021 then you’ve come to the right place. Every camera in this guide has been tested thoroughly in a variety of real-world settings to make sure it deserves to be in our list of the finest stills camera in the world today. (Looking for the best video cameras instead? Check out our separate guide on those).

What’s the best camera of 2021 overall? While it’s tough to pick out just one camera for everyone, we think the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 is the best choice for most people. In our book, it offers the most compelling blend of size, features and value around. But there are definitely some great alternatives out there.

If you’re looking for a full-frame camera, then we think the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 are fantastic choices. Both have a growing range of excellent RF lenses and are packed with useful features, including in-body image stabilization and superb autofocus. If you’re mainly shooting fast action or everyday subjects, we’d say the EOS R6 edges it due to its 12fps burst shooting and lower price.

Looking for something smaller or more affordable? Our favorite compact camera right now is the Fujifilm X100V – it’s the best digital camera for street photography. But it’s also a little pricey, so if you’d rather pick up something a little more affordable, then check out the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV or, if you’re looking for the best DSLR, the Nikon D3500.

No matter what kind of budget you have, or what kind of camera you’re searching for, our guide contains all of the top cameras for photography. From affordable instant cameras like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 to full-framers like the Nikon Z7 II, you’ll find all of the finest cameras for photography in our regularly updated list.

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on what you should look for when buying a camera at the end of this page for helpful pointers on buying a camera for photography.

The best cameras for photography in 2021:

1. Fujifilm X-T4

The best all-round camera for most people

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor size: APS-CResolution: 26.1MPViewfinder: 3,690K dotsMonitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,620K dotsAutofocus: 425-point AFMaximum continuous shooting rate: 15fps (mechanical shutter), 30fps (electronic)Movies: 4K at 60pUser level: IntermediateTODAY’S BEST DEALSCHECK AMAZON

REASONS TO BUY

+Superb image quality+IBIS a big bonus for video

REASONS TO AVOID

-No headphone jack-Video recording limit

It isn’t a full-frame camera, but the Fujifilm X-T4 is the best APS-C camera we’ve ever tested – and right now, it offers the best blend of features, size and value for most photographers. The X-T4 builds on the Fujifilm X-T3‘s impressive foundation by adding in-body image stabilization (IBIS), faster burst shooting and some successful design tweaks. Adding to its all-rounder skills are a bigger battery (which keeps it going for 500 shots per charge) and some improved autofocus, which is fast and reliable in most scenarios. 

The X-T4’s 26MP APS-C sensor remains class-leading for stills photography, but the X-T4 is also a superb video camera. The IBIS is a big bonus here, and the X-T4 backs that up with a huge range of tools and a great shooting experience, including a fully articulating touchscreen. It might cost the same as many full-frame cameras, but the X-T4 and its fine range of X-series lenses make a great, smaller alternative for those looking for a mirrorless all-rounder.  

snapshot

2. Canon EOS R6

A superb camera with best-in-class features

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor size: Full-frameResolution: 20.1MPViewfinder: 3,690K dotsMonitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,620K dotsAutofocus: 6,072-point AFMaximum continuous shooting rate: 12fps (mechanical shutter), 20fps (electronic)Movies: 4K at 60pUser level: ProfessionalTODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

+Class-leading autofocus+Excellent full-frame IBIS+Dual card slots

REASONS TO AVOID

-Video recording limits-20MP resolution

While the Canon EOS R5 is overkill for most people, the EOS R6 is a more affordable full-frame alternative that is simply one of the best cameras for photography around today. If you already own one of Canon’s early mirrorless full-framers like the EOS R, or any of its DSLRs, this is a more than worthy upgrade. The EOS R6 brings best-in-class autofocus, a superb in-body image stabilization system, and burst shooting powers that mark it out as a very fine camera for wildlife or sports photography. 

Despite its ability to shoot 4K/60p video, the EOS R6 lacks options like the ability to DCI 4K and has overheating limitations compared to video-focused rivals like the Sony A7S III, making it better suited to stills photographers. But for photography, it’s an excellent (if pricey) option that delivers hugely impressive autofocus, handling and features that make it one of the best options around for anyone who needs a full-frame camera.

Snapshot Canon EOS

3. Canon EOS R5

The finest hybrid camera Canon has ever made

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: Full-frame CMOSMegapixels: 45Autofocus: 5,940-zone AFScreen type: 3.15-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.1m-dotsContinuous shooting speed: 20fpsMovies: 8KUser level: Enthusiast / expertTODAY’S BEST DEALS

REASONS TO BUY

+Superb autofocus+Solid IBIS system+Good battery life

REASONS TO AVOID

-Pricier than EOS R6-CFExpress cards can be costly-Some limitations for video

If you see the Canon EOS R5 as a pro stills camera with some impressive video features, then it’s one of the best the photography giant has ever made. There’s no doubt it has video limitations compared to a rival like the Sony A7S III, particularly for shooting longer clips. But for anyone looking to shoot mind-blowing stills in almost any situation, whether that’s wildlife or studio work, it’s a hugely impressive achievement. 

Particularly worth of mention is the EOS R5’s autofocus, which offers very accurate and reliable subject-detection and tracking – particularly when its comes to people or animals. You also get a superb 5.76-million pixel EVF, a body design that will be comfortably familiar to those coming from DSLRs, and the ability to shoot bursts at 12fps with the mechanical shutter (or 20fps with the electronic equivalent). The video performance, while limited to relatively short bursts, remains superior to the likes of the Nikon Z7 and Sony A9 II, too. With a growing collection of (albeit pricey) RF lenses, the Canon EOS R5 is the next-gen mirrorless camera that pro photographers have been waiting for.