Best Digital Camera for 2020

Best Overall

Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera
  • Uses an Expeed 6 image processor
  • Backed by a manufacturer's warranty
  • Includes an FTX mount adapter
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Premium Choice

Sony Alpha 7R IV Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Sony Alpha 7R IV Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
  • The best full frame sensor around
  • Incredibly sturdy build quality
  • Shoots in full 4K video
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Great Value

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera
  • Decent performance for a great price
  • Lens offers a 60X zoom
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing photos
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The market for digital cameras covers a pretty wide purview. It can cover everything from mirrorless and DSLR models that cost thousands of dollars and pack in some of the best technology available to consumers to simple point and shoots that can be picked up for less than a hundred. But if you’re just looking for the best camera for your needs, you don’t need to narrow down your results right away. Our editors have compiled 10 of the best digital cameras in 2020.

You can use them and the following guide as is or use these as a jumping off point before focusing on one of our more focused articles – like our guide to the best point and shoot cameras or our guide to the best mirrorless cameras.

10 Best Digital Cameras

Best Overall

1. Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Nikon Z6 Mirrorless Digital CameraHotRate Editors Choice

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Full frame mirrorless models aren't an especially common sight on the camera market, but the Z6 is one that will stand the test. While it doesn't offer the best resolution, it's a nice choice for those looking to transition from a crop sensor mirrorless camera or for a more lightweight alternative to their existing DSLR full-frame camera. And while it may be an expensive choice for those still getting used to photography, it's a steal as far as professional cameras go.

Thanks to the Expeed 6 image processor and the wide ISO range, this is a phenomenal camera for shooting in low light settings, and it offers a respectably fast continuous shooting speed. Moreover, the presence of a five axis stabilization system means you can count on steady shots in any environment. It also comes with an FTZ mount adapter for compatibility with a wider range of lenses.

Key Features
  • Uses an Expeed 6 image processor
  • Backed by a manufacturer's warranty
  • Includes an FTX mount adapter
  • Maximum sensitivity of 51,200 ISO
TypeMirrorless Image Resolution24.5 megapixels Video Resolution4K Sensor SizeFull Frame Weight23.5 ounces
Premium Choice

2. Sony Alpha 7R IV Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Sony Alpha 7R IV Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

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If you're going to spend six grand on a camera, you should be certain that it represents the peak of what a modern camera can offer. Fortunately, Sony has pulled out all the stops with their Alpha 7R. Like the Nikon Z6, this is a camera with a full frame sensor, but the specs go above and beyond to offer one of the best and most powerful models on the market. It packs in an astounding 61 MP sensor that sets new standards for image resolution, and it somehow still manages to achieve a maximum burst shooting speed of 10 frames per second.

And if you're transitioning from a different brand, you won't have to worry about investing too much into the new ecosystem. The Alpha 7R comes with a quality zoom lens that can transition from 24 to 70 mm so you can hit the ground running with your new toy.

Key Features
  • The best full frame sensor around
  • Incredibly sturdy build quality
  • Shoots in full 4K video
  • AF tracking system is incredibly powerful
TypeMirrorless Image Resolution61 megapixels Video Resolution4K Sensor SizeFull Frame Weight23.5 ounces
Great Value

3. PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera

PANASONIC LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera

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This point and shoot camera from Panasonic can't hold a candle to the dedicated mirrorless options we've listed above, but if you're a hobbyist or an amateur looking for a capable and easy to use camera that still offers quality image performance (and you don't care about having interchangeable lenses), it will scratch your itch at a decent price point. The CMOS sensor stuffs in a respectable 18.1 megapixels and can perform well in low lighting conditions.

And while you won't be able to swap out your lenses, there's a lot of versatility in what's included. It can zoom from 20 to 1200 mm, providing you with practically any shot you could hope to capture, and the high resolution viewfinder will give you a quality perspective even if you're standing in bright sunlight. The addition of USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity adds a whole new layer of convenience to this camera.

Key Features
  • Decent performance for a great price
  • Lens offers a 60X zoom
  • Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing photos
  • Ergonomic grip is easy to hold
TypePoints and shoot Image Resolution18.1 megapixels Video Resolution4K Sensor SizeBSI-CMOS 6.17 x 4.55 mm Weight21.8 ounces

4. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

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If you want something a little more professional than what the Panasonic Lumix offers, make an upgrade to the Alpha a6000. Amazon is currently offering it for a fraction of its $700 price tag, so you won't have to spend that much more to get a more high-quality point and shoot. The APS-C sensor increases the megapixel count to 24, and there are a full 179 autofocus points so you can more quickly and effectively focus on whatever subjects you're trying to shoot.

The continuous shooting speed hits an impressively fast continuous shooting speed of 11 frames per second, and this camera sports a promising battery life of 360 shots per charge. This model also includes a 3 inch tilting touchscreen composed of 920,000 dots. It's not the best camera on the market, but it's easily a remarkable bargain and a great way to transition into more serious photography.

Key Features
  • Now available at a deep discount
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Continuous shooting speed of 11 fps
  • Bright and expressive optical viewfinder
TypePoint and shoot Image Resolution24.3 megapixels Video Resolution1080p Sensor SizeAPS-C CMOS 23.5 x 15.6 mm Weight12.2 ounces

5. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera

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The Powershot G series does a great job of bridging the gap between inexpensive but feature light point and shoot models and more expensive and heavier DSLR and mirrorless models, and the G9 is our favorite of the bunch. If you're just getting into shooting photography seriously, this model will be more than capable to support your needs, as it manages to pack a one inch sensor into its compact frame, and it manages a pretty respectable MP count despite the size of that sensor.

From a glance, it may look more like a toy than a serious piece of equipment. It's small enough to fit in most pockets and lightweight to boot, but it comes with a whole host of professional modes for those trying to stretch their legs and get serious with their photography. And the inclusion of every modern wireless format means that you can easily share your favorites

Key Features
  • Supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC
  • Incredibly small and lightweight
  • Good selection of professional features
  • Capacitive touch screen built right in
TypePoint and shoot Image Resolution20.1 megapixels Video Resolution1080p Sensor SizeBSI-CMOS 13.2 x 8.8 mm Weight7.2 ounces

6. Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Digital Camera

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Fujifilm has taken most of the important aspects of its best in class X-T3 and shrunk down both the size and the price, and the result is one of the best cameras you'll find today - especially if you have an interest in shooting video footage. The 4K video performance here is smooth and seamless and matched to a high-quality 26 megapixel sensor for shooting stills as well. Finding the perfect angle to capture your shot is easy thanks to the three inch tilting touchscreen.

The autofocus here is exceptional too. A new quad core CPU allows it to cover the entire frame, and it offers a fast and solid continuous shooting speed of up to 8 frames per second. Sharing your favorite photos and videos is just as fast and easy thanks to the fact that the Fujifilm X-T30 offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options.

Key Features
  • Above average video shooting
  • Powerful performance in a little frame
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible
  • Small frame with a great grip
TypeMirrorless Image Resolution26.1 megapixels Video Resolution4K Sensor SizeAPS-C 23.5 x 15.6 mm Weight13.5 ounces

7. Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera

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The TG-6 isn't just a camera that can survive the ravages of water. It's specifically designed for photographers that want to shoot stills and video underwater. Five underwater shooting modes are built right in to this point and shoot model as well as three modes for underwater white balance.Combine this with the wide zoom of the lens and the ability to shoot 4K video (or Full HD at a fast speed of up to 120 frames per second), and you're left with something that can rival more traditional action cams for underwater shooting.

But beyond being great for underwater photography and videography, this is a tough piece of equipment that can survive just about any disaster you put it in. It's shockproof to a height of seven feet, dustproof, crush proof, and freeze proof (in addition to being able to work at a depth of up to 50 feet underwater.

Key Features
  • Available in both red and black
  • Offers four macro shooting modes
  • One of the most durable models around
  • Tons of great underwater modes
TypePoint and shoot Image Resolution12 megapixels Video Resolution4K Sensor SizeBSI-CMOS 6.16 x 4.62 mm Weight2.12 ounces

8. Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital Camera

Canon EOS Rebel T7  Digital Camera

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The EOS Rebel T7 is a more traditional camera than the TG-6: an all-arounder that delivers all the standard features and specs you'd expect from a modern camera with a very appealing price point. It's also one of the few DSLR models to earn inclusion on this list. But it's a DSLR that's kept up with current trends - offering connectivity through both NFC and Wi-Fi and offering an optical viewfinder with a coverage of approximately 95%.

This is an especially great choice for beginners who plan to keep at it. Because while there are the full complement of features that you'd expect to find in a modern DSLR, it also has some very well informed tutorials built right in. Hobbyists will find everything they need here, but beginners can learn about the more complex features as fast or as slow as they'd like.

Key Features
  • High resolution 3 inch LCD
  • Includes Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Very wide ISO range
  • Natural optical viewfinder
TypeDSLR Image Resolution24.1 megapixels Video ResolutionFHD Sensor SizeAPS-C 22.3 x 14.9 mm Weight1.04 pounds

9. AbergBest 21 HD Digital Camera

AbergBest 21 HD Digital Camera

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AbergBest isn't exactly a household name, but they've delivered a dirt cheap point and shoot camera that actually manages to meet our standards for the best cameras. At a glance, it has the looks of an instant camera model, but it's a more traditional digital model through and through. AbergBest has actually managed to deliver a 21 megapixel sensor for around $40, and that's a pretty solid promise in its own right.

Just don't come here expecting a camera you'll be using for your professional needs. AbergBest has taken the "point and shoot" title rather seriously. There aren't many controls here that you can use to change your exposure, nor are there a wide range of special features or even zoom capabilities. But if you want a camera that will be light on your wallet and light in your hand while still delivering quality photos, it's hard to ignore.

Key Features
  • A remarkably cheap point and shoot
  • Includes a 2.7 inch display
  • Available in four fun colors
  • Face detect and smile capture
TypePoint and shoot Image Resolution21 megapixels Video ResolutionHD 720p Sensor SizeNot disclosed Weight0.68 pounds

10. Kodak PIXPRO FZ53-RD 16MP Digital Camera

Kodak PIXPRO FZ53-RD 16MP Digital Camera

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With its price point under $100 and its design appealing to beginners, the Pixpro has a lot in common with the AbergBest. But there's one particular things that helps it stand out: the inclusion of a zoom. That five time optical zoom is a game changer, and it will justify the lower resolution quality and slightly higher price tag for many casual consumers. And despite the need to include an extendable lens, it can still fit comfortably in your back pocket.

In terms of usability, this is one of the most accessible cameras we've discovered.Smile, face, and blink detection modes let even the clumsiest photographer capture a good picture, and the 2.7 inch LCD gives you plenty of room to frame your shot - something further encouraged by the inclusion of a 28 mm wide angle lens. And a simple one touch button lets you shoot HD just as easily.

Key Features
  • Available in red, black, or blue
  • Runs on a rechargeable battery
  • Incredibly slim design for a zoom
  • Easy one touch video mode
TypePoint and shoot Image Resolution16 megapixels Video ResolutionHD 720p Sensor Size1/2.3" CCD Weight3.68 ounces

Digital Camera Buyer’s Guide

Looking for a digital camera? As you’ve probably figured out by now, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve worked hard to scour the web for the best cameras available today, and you would do just fine if you just picked a model on our list that fits your price point. But if you want to dig a little deeper, and learn more about what separates the best cameras from the simply average, we’re ready to help. Our guide will break down the important specs and features in a little more detail.

We’ll cover both the specs we’ve listed and some other features to look for. And if you want a more serious primer, you can take a peek at our ultimate guide to mirrorless cameras. Most of the fundamentals we cover there will apply to just about any digital camera.

Type

There are essentially two types of camera to keep in mind when shopping for a new model: those with interchangeable lenses and those without. Cameras without interchangeable lenses are typically classified as point and shoot models. These are designed with beginners in mind, and they’re usually available even when shopping on a budget. Despite the fact that you can’t change out the lenses, these cameras often offer a decent zoom range so that you can still capture a versatile variety of pictures.

They’re typically lightweight and light on features. That makes them a solid choice for beginners, but if you want to upgrade to the next level, you’ll eventually want to invest in a model with interchangeable lenses. Interchangeable lens cameras come in two forms: mirrorless and DSLR cameras. While DSLR once ruled the roost, mirrorless cameras have really started to shine in the past few years.

They used an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical viewfinder. While an electronic viewfinder only offers a digital approximation of the live view, they usually offer pretty impressive coverage. Mirrorless models tend to be more lightweight and cost less than DSLR cameras, but they support less lenses.

But as both technologies continue to develop, the distinctions between them are becoming more blurred. Just keep in mind that the kit lens a DSLR or mirrorless digital camera comes with is unlikely to fulfill your needs, so you can expect to spend more money on lenses over the life of your camera.

Image Resolution

The image resolution tells you how many megapixels are packed into the sensor, and the result is cleaner and crisper photos. Obviously, this makes them a great choice for more experienced photographers, but higher megapixel counts can quickly become expensive. And other elements like the ability to shoot in low lighting can have just as dramatic an impact on the quality of your photos. That said, finding the best image resolution for your price range should be one of your top priorities.

Video Resolution

Like image resolution, video resolution refers to the amount of megapixels that are packed into the screen, but finding out the quality of a given video resolution is much easier. You’ll find models that offer 720p, 1080p, and 4K video. 720p once represented the standard for high definition, but it’s since become phased out. 1080p HD video represents the generation of video currently being phased out, while 4K video is four times as detailed and is rapidly becoming the new standard.

If you’re serious about recording video, we recommend 4K video, but you can opt out of 4K video and look to 1080p if you aren’t a professional. One advantage of recording at a lower resolution is that you can usually get a better speed when recording at 1080p than you will with 4K video. But a 4K video camera will allow you to shoot at lower resolutions as well.

Sensor Size

While manufacturers have a tendency to tout the amount of megapixels packed into their cameras, the truth is that sensor size is far more important. Sensors produce the image by creating an imprint of the image that appears when light is shone directly into the sensor. Bigger sensors can draw in more light, and the result can have a major impact on the quality of your photo. They offer a higher dynamic range as well as lower risk of noise, especially when shooting in lower light environments.

When shopping for a digital camera, the sensors you’re most likely to see are APS-C sensors and full frame sensors. An APS-C sensor can actually vary somewhat in terms of size, but they tend to be roughly two thirds the size of a full frame sensor. That means that the results are significantly more cropped. The advantage of a full frame model over an APS-C is that you can create more expansive shots, and if the picture turns out too big, you can always trim it down in post editing. But as the size of the sensor goes up, so does the cost, so a stock full frame model may be out of the price range for some consumers.

Weight

Point and shoot cameras market themselves on their ability to deliver decent results for a very low price, but they also come with the advantage of generally being smaller and more lightweight. That makes them a great choice for more casual hobbyists. Some models, like the AbergBest 21, can be picked up for less than a hundred dollars and fit comfortably in a pocket.

Mirrorless and DSLR models are weightier, but new technologies are allowing these to shrink down in size with each passing day. It’s rare to find an interchangeable lens camera these days that doesn’t weigh under 2 pounds, but they also come with more serious demands, so you have to add in the fact that you may need to carry accessories and multiple lenses to get the maximum effect from these more expensive cameras.

Burst Shooting

Burst shooting, also known as continuous shooting, effectively splits the difference between stills and video. It lets you capture multiple shots in a matter of seconds, and it’s an especially great choice for action photographers. Even if you don’t catch the perfect shot on your first try, you’ll have multiple chances to do so. Most cameras offer burst speeds at a rate of around 5 to 10 shots a second, but there are models that fall outside this range in either direction.

The one downside of burst shooting is that it takes time to save your photos to your SD card slot. That means there may be a delay between a round of continuous shooting and your ability to shoot photos again.

Autofocus

An autofocus system is a great way to capture your subject more clearly. While there are different types of autofocus systems, they function in basically the same way: measuring the distance to your given subject and adjusting the shot accordingly so that they’re clear and crisp within the photo. The amount of autofocus points a camera offers can allow you to get more precise when manually or automatically choosing a subject, and AF systems become increasingly more valuable for action photographers who might need to lock on continuously to a subject, especially when capturing video or burst photos.

Entry-level point-and-shoot cameras tend to have pretty basic AF systems. The user doesn’t have to do much to keep things in focus, although their may be technologies that can identify smiles or eyes more effectively. As cameras start to move towards these more complex AF systems, they make use of increasingly more powerful processors that can more readily capture subjects at high speed. Navigating the AF menu for a more complex camera may be a lengthy trial for kids or newer photographers, but the range of possibilities is worth it.

Lenses

If you have an interchangeable lens camera, it’s going to come with a kit lens, but a kit lens is usually a cheap model that will need upgrading eventually. If you’re looking at a mirrorless camera or digital SLR, you’ll want to keep that extra cost in mind. You should also pay attention to the manufacturer to determine how wide the selection of lenses is for your particular digital camera. Canon and Nikon generally offer the largest stock of lenses, but smaller names often offer some high-quality models as well. If you’re looking at a point-and-shoot compact camera, take the focal length into consideration, as you won’t have the opportunity to ever change it out.

Stability

In-body image stabilization is increasingly common in cameras, and it’s an important consideration for both enthusiasts and more experienced photographers. Stabilization can keep your camera steady when shooting in more adventurous environments, but it can also help you in more mundane circumstances. The most minute movement of the camera body can have an impact on the noise and quality of an image in low light environments because the shutter has to move at high speed to capture it, and image stabilization can significantly help with that.

Storage

How you plan on sharing your photos should have an impact on what option you choose. An SD card slot is common on most cameras, but some also come with wireless capabilities. Bluetooth can allow you to control your camera with your phone or upload your images directly, while Wi-Fi offers a great way to upload your photos directly to the cloud or your favorite social media platforms at high speed.

Viewfinder

Do you want an electronic viewfinder or an optical one? The difference largely comes down to a matter of preference, and there are good and bad example of optical and electronic viewfinder models. Ultimately, you want a model that offers a crisp and clear live view even in darker environments, so look for the maximum brightness of a screen so you can read the shot easily.

Zoom

The zoom range of an interchangeable camera will depend on the lens you use, while point and shoot models are restricted to the zoom built into the camera. Many cameras offer an optical zoom (which can be adjusted manually) as well as a digital zoom (which reaches higher levels of precision and is automated). You should take both these factors into consideration when choosing a new camera.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Digital Camera to Buy?

We love the Canon PowerShot G9. The Canon PowerShot is already one of the most well respected camera lines on the market, but this model really fits a perfect demographic, serving as a bridge between point and shoot photography and the sort of advanced mode features you’ll find in an interchangeable lens camera. Even if you can’t find it on a Black Friday deal, it’s a camera that’s well worth the retail price.

What is the Best Camera to Buy for a Beginner Photographer?

If you’re a beginner with aspirations for something more serious, try the EOS Rebel T7. It’s not too expensive, but it can give you a strong taste for the sort of color quality, image resolution, and features you can expect from a more serious camera. And the fact that it comes with an easy to grasp menu and some hand holding lessons mean you won’t have to jump right into the deep end to figure out how it works.

What is the Best Affordable Camera?

The AbergBest 21 is an incredible bargain. You get more than what you pay for here. Available for less than $50, this camera may be light on more high end features, but it covers the fundamentals well and offers an above average level of image quality to boot. It even offers some automated modes to help amateur photographers capture the best pictures. Just don’t expect to use it to shoot 4K video, and you should be pretty satisfied.

Is Canon or Nikon Better?

Canon and Nikon have been the leading camera manufacturers for decades, but neither has earned the definitive spot of best camera producer. Ultimately, Canon and Nikon are so close in quality (and offer such a diverse range of products) that you’re better off comparing specific models directly rather than making your decision based off of a brand name alone.

Final Thoughts

Black Friday may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get great deals on DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and point-and-shoots. Our list of the best models available is on the level, and you should be able to find products here that match your needs. But if you want to search further, follow our links to the best action cameras of 2020 or the best DSLR cameras of 2020.