Buyers Guides |Best Sony cameras in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best Sony cameras in 2022

In this buyer's guide for 2022 we pick the best Sony cameras for professionals, amateurs, landscape photographers and many more

Best Sony Camera
Buyers Guide

Sony has had an interesting few years. In many ways, 2018 was a defining year for the brand with its launch of the Sony A7 III, which was lauded by pro, amateur, ardent DSLR user and brand devotees alike. In 2021, this camera was still the star of the show; that is, until Sony introduced us to the A7 IV. No doubt the resolution junkies and AF addicts out there will point to the A7R IV, A9 II and Sony A1 and make a case as to why they are the best Sony cameras. And, of course, they will be right. Sony has introduced some amazing cameras with groundbreaking technology throughout its range.

In recent years we’ve been wowed by the long-awaited Sony A7S III, the entry-level A7 series camera, the Sony A7C and the popular vlogging camera, the Sony ZV-1. And in early 2021 Sony introduced one of the most exciting cameras in a long time, the Sony A1.

So with a few new options within its range going into 2022, what are the best Sony cameras you can buy? Having used the full range, we’ve broken them down according to the best Sony cameras for different specific needs. But first, let answer some of the common questions people have about Sony’s camera range.

Which Sony cameras are full frame?

Sony’s full-frame cameras are a little more difficult to decipher than other manufacturers if you’re unfamiliar with the system. All of Sony’s A7 series cameras – the Sony A7 IV, A7C, A7 III, A7R IV and A7S III – boast full-frame sensors. The Sony A1 and Sony A9 II have full-frame sensors as well, as does the new Sony FX3 cinema camera.

You can still buy previous models of the current A7 series cameras, and these are all full frame as well. The DSLR-styled A-mount Sony A99 II is also still available for purchase and boasts a 35mm full-frame sensor.

Which Sony cameras are weather sealed?

As you might expect, Sony’s professional and advanced enthusiast full-frame cameras are all weather sealed. These include the new flagship Sony A1 and the Sony A7 series cameras, which includes the Sony A7C, A7 III, A7R IV and A7S III, as well as the previous versions of these cameras. What’s more, the Sony A99 II also features environmental sealing.

The best Sony cameras you can buy today

So what are the best Sony cameras to buy? It depends, of course, on what you want to shoot. Below we’ve listed the best cameras for different genres and levels of ability based on our tests. For a deeper dive into the many different camera types and features available, check out our range of camera buying guides.

Best Sony camera for amateurs

No camera has gained quite as much interest over the years as the Sony A7 III, although you could argue that the Nikon Z series has had a good try. And now we have its successor, the A7 IV. But, of course, not everyone wants a full-frame camera.

Sony A7 IV

Sony A7 IV review

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Announced: 21st October 2021
  • Sensor: 33Mp full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm) BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Lens mount: FE
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 50 to ISO 204,800), Video: ISO ISO 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 100-102,400)
  • Still Image format: Jpeg, HEIF, raw (Sony ARW 4.0)
  • Video format & compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
  • 4K Video (XAVC HS): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (150 Mbps / 75 Mbps / 45 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps / 30 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL): 50p (150 Mbps / 75 Mbps / 45 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (200 Mbps / 100 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (200 Mbps / 100 Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC): 60p (150 Mbps), 30p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL): 50p (150 Mbps)5, 25p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (200 Mbps)56, 30p (140 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (200 Mbps)5, 25p (140 Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S-I): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 60p (600 Mbps)56, 30p (300 Mbps)6, 24p (240 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (500 Mbps)5, 25p (250 Mbps)
  • Movie functions: Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (Approx. 6 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 9 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 16 Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid AF with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Still images: Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal (Right/Left Eye Select) / Bird, Movie: Human (Right/Left Eye Select), sensitive down to -4EV
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 3,686,400-dot EVF with 100% coverage and up to 0.78x magnification
  • Screen: 3-inch 1,036,800-dot vari-angletouchscreen
  • Image stabilisation: 5-axis giving up to 5.5EV compensation
  • Storage: Dual: 1: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II) & CFexpress Type A slot, 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II)
  • Battery: NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion battery giving 610 images with the screen
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm / 5 1/4 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
  • Weight (including battery & memory card): 658g / 1 lb 7.3 oz

The Sony A7 III is the camera that raised the bar, in the same way that the Canon EOS 5D Mark II did when it arrived a decade ago. And now we have the Sony A7 IV. There was a lot of anticipation around this camera, which packs in the features around its full frame 33-megapixel sensor.

What’s impressed many photographers from amateur all the way through to pro is that Sony has delivered all the improvements upon the A7 III that we were hoping to see. It’s clearly capable of focusing quickly and delivering sharp images with a high level of detail. In the default settings, the colour and exposure are also good with only occasional need for the exposure compensation control.

It’s a great all-rounder and in no way an entry-level camera. But if you’re an amateur photographer looking to invest in your hobby and hopefully make some money from it on the side, the Sony A7 IV is a solid choice. The Sony A7 IV price tag isn’t as eye-waveringly cheap as the Sony A7 III price was at launch. And it doesn’t have the depth of video features as the Sony A7S III, but the A7 IV is an incredibly capable video camera and is significantly more affordable.

The Sony A7 IV makes a solid upgrade on the A7 III. In fact, it’s one of those rare cameras that makes a significant enough jump to warrant upgrading from one generation to the next.

Price when reviewed
£2400
$2498
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For

  • Good combination of speed and resolution
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Excellent AF system

Against

  • CFexpress Type A card required to get the full feature range
  • Video options could be clearer
  • Super 35 crop for 4K video at 60p

Sony A6600

Sony A6600 review

Specification

  • Camera type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 28th August 2019
  • Lens mount: Sony E
  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS (23.5 x 15.6mm) sensor
  • Video: 4K (3840 x 2160) 25/30p video capture with log profiles
  • Continuous shooting rate: Hi+: 11fps, Hi: 8fps, Mid: 6fps, Lo: 3fps
  • Burst depth: In Hi+ 46 raw files, 99 Extra Fine Jpegs or 44 raw and Jpeg files
  • Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400)
  • Autofocus : Fast Hybrid AF (phase-detection and contrast-detection each with 425 points), Face Detection and Real-Time Eye AF
  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2,359,296-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Screen: 3-inch 921,600-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I or Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro (M2)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 120.0 x 66.9 x 69.3mm / 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 2 3/4-inches
  • Weight: 503g / 1lb 1.8oz with battery and memory card

The Sony A6600 is Sony’s flagship APS-C format mirrorless camera and it’s aimed at enthusiast photographers and videographers who want to shoot in a variety of conditions. It features a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS image sensor, the BIONZ X image processor and a front-end LSI as is implemented in Sony’s full-frame cameras for better enhancements in still and video image quality.

Among the A6600’s impressive feature set is Sony’s innovative 5-axis in-body image stabilisation system that provides a 5.0-step shutter speed advantage.

The Alpha 6600 also delivers an autofocus acquisition time of just 0.02 seconds, with 425 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 84% of the image area and 425 contrast-detection AF points.

Also on-board is Sony’s ‘Real-time Tracking’ and ‘Real-time Eye AF’, the latest version of Sony’s Eye AF technology, which employs AI-based object recognition to detect and process eye data in real-time.

Real-time Eye AF promises improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF for both humans and animals, and allows the photographer to concentrate exclusively on composition. It’s a significant bonus for pet and portrait photography.

High-resolution internal 4K movie recording with full-pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm format is also on-board. You’ll also find built-in interval shooting for time-lapse videos and a 180-degree tiltable, 3.0-type 921k-dot (approx.) LCD touch screen.

It may not have the same shape as the Sony A7 series of full-frame cameras, but the A 6600 has much of the same technology, enabling it to deliver impressive results with a wide range of subjects.

Price when reviewed
£1450
€1600
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For

  • Very good image and video quality
  • Fast, accurate AF system
  • Excellent battery life (800+ shots)

Against

  • Poorly positioned video record button
  • Little use made of the touch control on the tilting rather than vari-angle screen
  • Single SD card slot

Best Sony Camera for Portrait and Landscape photographers

With a 61-megapixel sensor in a small, lightweight camera, the Sony A7R IV is groundbreaking and ideal for any resolution junky.

Sony A7R IV

Sony A7R Mark IV: price, specs, release date confirmed

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Announced: 16th July 2019
  • Sensor: 61MP BSI full-frame sensor
  • Lens mount: Sony FE
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid with 567 phase detection + 425 contrast detection AF points
  • Continuous Shooting: 10fps burst shooting with full AF / AE Tracking
  • Video: 4K video with S-Log2/3, HDR
  • Sensitivity range: Still images: ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50 to ISO 102400) Movies: ISO 100-32000
  • Viewfinder: 0.5 type 5,760,000-dot OLED
  • Screen: Tilting 3-inch 1,440,000-dot touchscreen
  • Storage: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
  • Battery: Rechargeable NP-FZ100 battery supplied, Life Stills: 530 shots (viewfinder) / 670 shots (LCD), Movies: 90mins (viewfinder) / 105mins (LCD)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm
  • Weight: 665 g / 1lb 7.5oz with battery and SD card

What makes this camera remarkable is the fine balance of the features, size and build quality. A7R  IV feels from the outset that it has been designed as a workhorse.

Aside from the resolution, the specifications of the A7R IV and A7 III are close, but it’s the robustness of build that set the two cameras apart. Dials and port covers are all more robust and better suited to anyone out in the field or in the studio porting their camera into a computer for tethered shooting.

Landscape photographers can make use of the expanded sensitivity range of between ISO 50 to 320,000, for deep rich colour and detail to capture desert sands or utilise the cameras uppermost sensitivity when shooting the aurora borealis.

Back in the studio the hybrid AF system with 567 phase detection AF points will ensure pin-sharp portraits and all the control you’d expect from a pro camera.

Capture One – a firm favourite in Pro studios – has even released a Sony specific version of the software confirming the A7R IV’s place in the professional studio.

Price when reviewed
£3500
$3500
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For

  • Superb detail resolution
  • Excellent autofocus system
  • High-resolution electronic viewfinder

Against

  • Limited use made the touch-control
  • Tilting rather than vari-angle scree
  • High price

Best Sony Camera for video

With 12.1 million pixels, the Sony A7S III may seem a like a kickback to the past, but with Sony’s experience in the film and broadcast industries you know there has to be a reason.

Sony A7S III

Sony A7S III

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Announced: 28th July 2020
  • Sensor: Full-frame 12.1Mp BSI CMOS
  • Processing engine: Bionz XR
  • Sensitivity: Video: ISO 80-102,400 expandable ISO 40-409,600. ISO base in S-Log is ISO 640 but it can be expanded down to ISO 160. Stills: ISO 80-102,400 expandable 40-409,600
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Real Time Eye AF (Human and Animal for stills, Human for video)
  • Stabilisation: 5-axis IBIS and digital, up to 5.5EV shutter speed compensation
  • Video resolution: 4K at up 120fps and 1080p at 240fps, 10-bit and 4:2:2 colour, 16-bit raw video over HDMI
  • Video file formats: XAVC S,XAVC HS
  • Video compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
  • 4K Video details: XAVC HS 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps / 30Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps / 100Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps / 100Mbps) XAVC S 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps), 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps), 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps), 30p (140Mbps), 24p (100Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps), 25p (140Mbps) XAVC S-I 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600Mbps), 30p (300Mbps), 24p (240Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL): 50p (500Mbps), 25p (250Mbps)
  • Gamut: S-Log2 and S-Log3, S-Gamut3.Cine and S-Gamut3
  • Slow and Quick (S&Q) mode options: NTSC: 1fps,2fps,4fps,8fps,15fps,30fps,60fps,120fps, 240fps4, PAL: 1fps,2fps,3fps,6fps,12fps,25fps,50fps,100fps, 200fps
  • Still File formats: Raw, JPG, HEIF
  • Screen: 3-inch 1,440,000-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: 0.64-inch type 9,437,184-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, with refresh rate up to 120fps, adjustable magnification up to 0.9x
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps with mechanical or electronic shutter for up to 1000 uncompressed raw files when a CFexpress Type 1 card is used
  • Storage: Dual: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) and CFexpress Type A
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm / 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
  • Weight: 699g / 1 lb 8.7 oz

No doubt, some videographers were hoping for a big jump in resolution from the 12mp A7S II. However, Sony already has the 61Mp A7R IV and the 24Mp A7 III, so sticking with 12Mp means that the A7S III has even better low-light capability than its predecessor but with a much better autofocus system, a vari-angle screen and the highest-resolution viewfinder around.

The A7S III is about more than just grabbing the headlines for its resolution; it promises to make capturing 4K video easier than before and for that video quality to be the best 4K footage you can get from a Sony camera. It doesn’t disappoint as the quality of the footage is superb.

As well as a host of improvements to its video specification, the Sony A7S III introduces the highest-resolution electronic viewfinder we’ve seen to date and it’s the first Sony A7-series camera to feature a vari-angle screen. According to Sony, this is something that videographers and photographers have ‘demanded’.

As well as the vari-angle screen that everyone wanted, the Sony A7S III adds a great new viewfinder and improved video features.

Price when reviewed
£3800
€4200 / $3499
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For

  • Large pixels for great low-light performance
  • 4K full-pixel readout without binning and 10-bit depth 4:2:2 colour available in all recording formats
  • Vari-angle touchscreen and class-leading electronic viewfinder

Against

  • 12Mp seems low resolution for stills
  • Uses a new memory card format (CFexpress Type A) that's interchangeable with SD

Sony A7S II

Best mirrorless cameras: 02 Sony A7S II

Specification

  • Sensor: 12MP full-frame
  • Stabilisation: 5-axis
  • Colour Modes: S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3
  • Video: 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps.

We leave the Sony A7S II on our list of the best Sony cameras because it’s still a really solid camera, and it’s price is likely to come down now that it’s been succeeded by the A7S III.

Its low-resolution sensor has been fine-tuned for the video to ensure maximum quality and is regularly used as a lightweight broadcast camera.

Essentially the 12MP sensor enables full pixel readout without pixel binning so making maximum use of the sensor.

With features and layout more akin to a stills camera than video it makes the transition for today’s generation of photographers to easily transition between stills and video.

It also packs in pro log colour modes such as S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 which makes it easy for video editors and directors to seamlessly blend footage from multiple cameras.

Of course, ensuring that you’re able to capture the best possible quality video it has options to shoot at 4K, 30fps and 1080p, 120fps.

Being small and lightweight makes the A7S II ideal for handheld use and here the camera features 5-axis images stabilisation to ensure smooth, fluid handheld footage.

Price when reviewed
£1999
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For

  • Internal 4K recording
  • Excellent in low light
  • Professional-quality video

Against

  • 8-bit video
  • No built-in ND filter

Best Sony Camera for professionals

The A9 was the camera that redefined what is possible in the mirrorless format and the A9 II took things a step further, but the Sony A1 is the camera that not only matches but goes beyond what is offered by top-flight DSLRs like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Nikon D6.

Sony A1

Sony A1

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Announced: 26th January 2021
  • Sensor: 50.1Mp full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm), Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • Lens mount: FE
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50 to ISO 102400) Video: ISO ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 100-12800)
  • Still Image format: Jpeg, HEIF, raw (Sony ARW 4.0)
  • Video format & compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
  • 8K Video (XAVC HS): 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 30p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 24p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 25p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC HS): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps / 30Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps / 100Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps / 100Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps), 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps), 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps), 30p (140Mbps), 24p (100Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps), 25p (140Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S-I): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600Mbps), 30p (300Mbps), 24p (240Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (500Mbps), 25p (250Mbps)
  • Movie functions: Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (6Mbps), 1920 x 1080(9Mbps), 1920 x 1080(16Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist, raw output(HDMI)
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid AF with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Still images: Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal (Right/Left Eye Select) / Bird, Movie: Human (Right/Left Eye Select), sensitive down to -4EV
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 10fps, Electronic shutter 30fps
  • Viewfinder: 0.64-inch 9,437,184-dot EVF with 100% coverage and up to 0.9x magnification. It also offers 0.90x viewfinder magnification, 41° diagonal field of view with 25mm-high eyepoint
  • Screen: 3-inch 1,440,000-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Stills shutter speed range: Mechanical shutter: 1/8000-30sec plus Bulb, Electronic shutter: 1/32000-30sec plus Bulb
  • Max flash sync speed (full-frame): Mechanical shutter: 1/400 sec, Electronic shutter: 1/200 sec
  • Image stabilisation: 5-axis giving up to 5.5EV compensation
  • Storage: Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II) & CFexpress Type A slots
  • Connection ports: Sync, 3.5mm headphone, 3.5mm mic, LAN
  • Battery: NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion battery giving 400 shots with the viewfinder or 530 with the screen
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm / 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
  • Weight (including battery & memory card): 737g / 1 lb 10.0 oz

The Alpha A1 is Sony’s most advanced camera to date, it combines a high-resolution full-frame sensor with high-speed performance. It features a new 50.1Mp full-frame stacked Exmor RS image sensor and can perform up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second.

Thanks to its impressive processing power, the Sony A1 can shoot at up to 30fps (frames per second) while its large buffer allows for sequences of up to 155 full-frame compressed RAW images or 165 full-frame JPEGs to be shot at that rate.

In addition to improved Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, the Alpha 1 uses high-level subject recognition technology for Real-time Eye AF for birds. Algorithms also maintain the AF tracking if a sitting bird takes off or the framing changes.

The Sony A1 is the first Sony Alpha series camera to feature 8K 30p 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording. It’s also capable of shooting 4K 120p / 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video and offers S-Cinetone colour. It uses 8.6K oversampling for enhanced resolution and, naturally, the 8K footage can be used for 4K editing during post-production.

The Sony A 1 has a 9.44 million dot OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder, with a refresh rate of up to 240 fps, ensuring no blackout, delivering the highest resolution in its class. In addition, there’s a 3-inch 1,440,000-dot tilting touchscreen that features the revised menu arrangement and more extensive touch-control that was first seen in the Sony A7S III.

In case a resolution of 50Mp isn’t enough, the Sony A1 has Sony’s Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode onboard to enables 16 full-resolution images to be composited.

You can order the Sony A1 from Wex Photo Video and Park Cameras in the UK and Adorama or B&H Photo Video in the USA. You can also find the latest Sony A1 offers at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£6500
$6500
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For

  • Excellent combination of speed and resolution
  • Great range of video features including 8K video
  • Superb electronic viewfinder

Against

  • It takes a while to figure out the optimum settings
  • Underwhelming screen specification
  • Manual switching between the Eye AF subjects

Best Sony camera for travel

Sony’s A7 series of full-frame cameras are remarkably small and paired with the right lens such as the recently announced FE 50mm f2.5 G, FE 40mm f2.5 G, FE 24mm f2.8 G, or the excellent Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA, they make a great choice for travel. However, if you want the smallest interchangeable lens full-frame Sony camera, the Sony A7C is the one to go for.

Sony A7C

Sony A7C

Specification

  • Announced: 15th September 2020
  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Sensor: 24.2Mp Full frame (35.6×23.8mm), Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Processor: Bionz X
  • Lens mount: Sony E
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100-51,200, expandable to ISO 50-204,800
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps with full AF and metering
  • Video resolution: 4K: 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.) 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.) 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.) 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps)
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid with 693 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points
  • Eye AF: Stills: Human or Animal, Video: Human
  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2,359,296-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch 921,600-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body image stabilisation giving up to 5EV shutter speed compensation
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm / 5 x 2 7/8 x 2 3/8inches
  • Weight: 509g / 1lb 2.0oz with battery and card

If you’re looking for a small full-frame camera with Sony’s excellent autofocus and noise control systems then the Sony A7C is the way to go as it’s smallest of the Sony A7-series cameras. It has a flat-topped rectangular body that makes it look similar to the Sony A6600, but there’s also a vari-angle screen rather than a tilting monitor. And inside, the A7C has the same 24Mp sensor and core features as the Sony A7 III.

Paired with the FE 28-60mm f/4-5.6 kit lens., which is a small collapsible optic, the A7C makes an attractive choice for travel and everyday photography.

However, in shrinking down the A7C, Sony also made a few compromises on the handling. There’s no joystick on the back of the camera for example, and there’s only one control dial. In addition, the electronic viewfinder is the type of unit that is more commonly found in APS-C format cameras.

While it’s great to have a vari-angle screen, if you can live without it, and don’t mind a slightly larger camera, then the Sony A7 III, which sits above the A7C in the range, makes a great alternative and costs a little less.

Price when reviewed
£1709
$1798
Check current price

For

  • Small for a full-frame camera
  • Vari-angle screen
  • Excellent AF system

Against

  • Limited touch-control
  • Complex menu
  • Underwhelming viewfinder

Best Sony camera for vlogging and YouTube

Vlogging has become very popular and lots of people are trying videoing themselves for the first time. However, it’s estimated that over 70% of vlogs are recorded on a phone. Sony is hoping to change that.

Sony ZV-1

Sony ZV-1

Specification

  • Camera type: Compact
  • Announced: 26th May 2020
  • Sensor: 20.1Mp 1-inch type (13.2mm x 8.8mm) Exmor RS CMOS
  • Lens: Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 9.4-25.7mmm (24-70mm equivalent) f/1.8-2.8
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-25,600, Video: ISO 125-12,800
  • Autofocus: 315 focal-plane phase-detection AF points, Eye AF: Humans (stills and video) or Animal (stills)
  • Burst Mode: Hi: 24fps, Mid: 10fps, Low: 3fps
  • Video: 4K in-body movie recording with full pixel readout and no binning, Log & Gamma options, slow-mo at up to 1000fps
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch touchscreen
  • Stabilisation: Optical for stills, optical and electronic for video
  • Hotshoe: Multi-interface (can connect an XLR mic via an adapter)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 105.5 x 60 x 43.5mm / 4 1/4 × 2 3/8 × 1 3/4inches
  • Weight: 294g with battery and SD card or body only

The Sony ZV-1 delivers everything that a vlogger could wish for in a compact camera, and it comes with Sony’s excellent AF system. There are features to help inexperienced photographers/videographers/vloggers get good results, the exposure can be controlled automatically or manually and there’s a built-in ND filter plus Log and Gamma control. It makes it easy to produce great 4K video but lets you take control when you want to. It all adds up to a very enticing camera for vloggers.

Much of the specification on the Sony ZV-1 is familiar from the Sony RX100 series of compact cameras, but there are a few notable differences to make it better for vlogging.

No surprise then to learn that the ZV-1 has a 1-inch type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with 20.1 million effective pixels. That’s a comparatively large sensor for a compact camera and, as we’ve seen with cameras like the Sony RX100 VII, it brings advantages for image quality.

In addition, the Exmor RS CMOS sensor brings phase-detection focusing – which is usually faster and more decisive than contrast detection. The ZV-1 has a total of 315 phase detection AF points which are available for use in stills and video mode.

Price when reviewed
£700
$749.99
Check current price

For

  • Designed specifically for vloggers but also a capable stills camera
  • Stabilised 4K video
  • Vari-angle touchscreen

Against

  • No viewfinder built-in
  • The redesigned grip is best for left-handers

Sony RX100 VII

Specification

  • Camera type: Compact
  • Sensor: 20.1Mp 1-inch type (13.2mm x 8.8mm) Exmor RS CMOS
  • Lens: ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 9-72mmm (24-200mm equivalent) f/2.8-4.5
  • Autofocus: 357 focal-plane phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points
  • Burst Mode: 90fps in JPEG or Raw format in Single Burst Shooting mode
  • Video: 4K in-body movie recording with full pixel readout
  • Viewfinder: 0.39-inch 2,359,296-dot OLED (pop-up)
  • Screen: Tilting 3-inch 921,600-dot TFT touchscreen (up 180-degrees, down 90-degrees)
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 101.6 x 58.1 x 42.8 mm / 4 x 2 3/8 x 1 11/16-inch
  • Weight: 302g / 10.7oz with battery and SD card or 275g / 9.8oz body only

Promising ‘A9-level’ AF performance as well as 90fps single burst shooting, the RX100 VII turned a lot of heads when it was announced and reinforced Sony’s reputation as a true innovator in the market.

Inside the RX100 VII is a 1-inch, stacked 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS sensor with a DRAM chip and Sony’s Bionz X image processor. On the outside is a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200mmviii F2.8-4.5.

What should really get people excited, though, is the technology the RX100 VII inherits from Sony’s A9. Like the A9, the RX100 VII’s image sensor realises blackout-free shooting for a completely live view, even when continuous shooting at 20fps.

The RX100 VII also promises ‘A9-level’ AF/AE tracking performance during continuous shooting, meaning the camera performs AF/AE calculations up to 60 times per second and captures fast-moving action at 20fps with AF/AE tracking.

Sony’s Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking modes also make their debut for the first time in a compact camera. With 357 focal-plane phase-detection AF points and 425 contrast-detection AF points, its AF system is among the best you will find in a camera this small.

The Sony RX100 VII also debuted a new Single Burst Shooting mode, which captures a high-speed shot at up to 90fps in JPEG or Raw format using the anti-distortion shutter. Sony describes the mode as enabling photographers to frame fast-moving action and shoot as if capturing a single frame, but the RX100 VII will deliver seven frames, taken at 90fps, 60fps or 30fps.

Aimed at vloggers, the Sony RX100 VII also brings some solid movie-making credentials, such as 4K in-body movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in high bit rate XAVCS, Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF for video and a microphone input.

Price when reviewed
£1200
$1198 / €1300
Check current price

For

  • Best-in-its-class AF system
  • Stabilised 4K video
  • Great focal length range

Against

  • Front lacks grip
  • Limited use of the touchscreen functionality

Best Sony camera for wildlife photography

The case for DSLRs as the camera for wildlife photographers is less clear-cut than it was a few years back and now there are also some mirrorless cameras that make a great choice for wildlife photography. The new Sony A1 and Sony A9 II are particulary compelling choices.

Sony A1

Sony A1

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Announced: 26th January 2021
  • Sensor: 50.1Mp full frame (35.9 x 24.0mm), Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • Lens mount: FE
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50 to ISO 102400) Video: ISO ISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 100-12800)
  • Still Image format: Jpeg, HEIF, raw (Sony ARW 4.0)
  • Video format & compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
  • 8K Video (XAVC HS): 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 30p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 24p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps), 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 25p(400Mbps / 200 Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC HS): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps / 30Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps / 100Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps / 100Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps), 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps), 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps), 30p (140Mbps), 24p (100Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps), 25p (140Mbps)
  • 4K Video (XAVC S-I): 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600Mbps), 30p (300Mbps), 24p (240Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (500Mbps), 25p (250Mbps)
  • Movie functions: Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (6Mbps), 1920 x 1080(9Mbps), 1920 x 1080(16Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist, raw output(HDMI)
  • Autofocus system: Hybrid AF with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Still images: Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal (Right/Left Eye Select) / Bird, Movie: Human (Right/Left Eye Select), sensitive down to -4EV
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 10fps, Electronic shutter 30fps
  • Viewfinder: 0.64-inch 9,437,184-dot EVF with 100% coverage and up to 0.9x magnification. It also offers 0.90x viewfinder magnification, 41° diagonal field of view with 25mm-high eyepoint
  • Screen: 3-inch 1,440,000-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Stills shutter speed range: Mechanical shutter: 1/8000-30sec plus Bulb, Electronic shutter: 1/32000-30sec plus Bulb
  • Max flash sync speed (full-frame): Mechanical shutter: 1/400 sec, Electronic shutter: 1/200 sec
  • Image stabilisation: 5-axis giving up to 5.5EV compensation
  • Storage: Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/II) & CFexpress Type A slots
  • Connection ports: Sync, 3.5mm headphone, 3.5mm mic, LAN
  • Battery: NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion battery giving 400 shots with the viewfinder or 530 with the screen
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm / 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
  • Weight (including battery & memory card): 737g / 1 lb 10.0 oz

Thanks to its combination of fast responses, incredible Real-Time Eye AF for humans, animals and birds, 30fps shooting capability and 50Mp full-frame sensor, the Sony A1 is a very attractive choice for wildlife photographers who can stomach its price tag.

Price when reviewed
£6500
$6500
Check current price

For

  • Excellent combination of speed and resolution
  • Great range of video features including 8K video
  • Superb electronic viewfinder

Against

  • It takes a while to figure out the optimum settings
  • Underwhelming screen specification
  • Manual switching between the Eye AF subjects

Sony A9 II

Sony A9 II: price, specs, release date revealed

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
  • Sensor: Stacked 24-megapixel full-frame sensor
  • Lens mount: FE
  • Autofocus: 693-point phase detection AF system, with 425 contrast AF points
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 20fps
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch electronic viewfinder, 3,6m-dot, 100% coverage
  • Screen: 3-inch, 1.4m-dot, tilting, touch-sensitive
  • Connectivity: Built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet terminal

The Sony A9 II has the same stacked 24-megapixel full-frame sensor as its predecessor, the Sony A9. However, it’s paired with a more recent Bionz X processor.

The A9 II also retains the A9’s much-lauded 693-point phase detection AF system, which also includes 425 contrast AF points. It also incorporates Sony’s Real Time Eye-AF, Real Time Tracking and Fast Hybrid Focusing modes. And it can’t fail to impress.

Sony also improved the A9 II’s weatherproofing including enhancing the areas around the ports, battery and memory card doors.

A key attraction of the Sony A9 II for wildlife photographers is its ability to shoot at up to 20fps completely silently.

Read our full list of the best cameras for wildlife photography.

Price when reviewed
£4800
$4500
Check current price

For

  • Built for speed
  • Outstanding AF
  • Enhanced design

Against

  • Menu system convoluted
  • Quite expensive

Best Sony camera for beginners

When you’re starting out with photography, you want a capable camera but you don’t want to be overwhelmed. The Sony A6100 makes a great choice. For a more in-depth look at Sony’s entry-level options, check out our guide to the best Sony cameras for beginners.

Sony A6100

Sony A6600, A6100: Specs, Price, Release Date Announced

Specification

  • Sensor: 24.2MP Exmor CMOS image sensor
  • Video: 4K movie recording with full-pixel readout
  • Screen: 180-degree tiltable, 3.0-type 921k-dot LCD touch screen
  • Autofocus: 425 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points

Aimed at beginner photographers, the Sony A6100 offers plenty of room to grow. Its impressive feature set nearly matches the fellow APS-C format Sony A6600.

Like its sibling, it boasts internal 4K movie recording in Super 35mm format with full pixel readout without pixel binning, to capture approximately 2.4x the amount of information required for 4K movies. Budding videographers will also appreciate the integrated microphone input and built-in interval shooting.

Again, like the A6600, the A6100 incorporates a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS image sensor, the latest BIONZ X image processor and a front-end LSI. AF acquisition is lightning fast at 0.02secs via its 425 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 84% of the image area and 425 contrast-detection AF points.

Sony’s Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF modes are also on-board, delivering faster and more accurate AF performance when photographing humans and animals.

Price when reviewed
£830
€900
Check current price

For

  • Real-time Tracking and Eye AF
  • 4K video
  • Very fast AF

Against

  • No stabilisation
  • There's a mic input but no headphone port
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2 Comments
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Justus Hofmann
Justus Hofmann
10 months ago

spelling error on the sony a7III’s sensitivity range

Angela Nicholson
Admin
10 months ago
Reply to  Justus Hofmann

So there was, thanks for letting us know. It’s corrected now.