The best camera 2018: whether you're after a CSC, DSLR or action cam, these are the top snappers around

Channel your inner Ansel Adams with these excellent cameras

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These days buying a camera is something a lot of people don't bother doing. After all, the expensive smartphone in your pocket probably has a camera that produces nice results, and for a lot of people that's enough.

But for most people, camera phones still aren't up to the job of producing 'photo album-worthy' images, and that's where these cameras come in.

For that you need something that offers a bit more creative control. That might be through an interchangeable lens system, the option to use a proper flash, and a variety of shooting modes from automatic, through to fully manual.

Every camera handles this sort of thing differently too, so picking the right one can be daunting in itself.

So what we've done is broken down some of our favourite cameras. There are compacts, interchangeable lens system cameras and some DSLRs too.

Of course, all will be priced in totally different ranges, so while the cheaper cameras might be good, they won't offer anywhere near the control of the more expensive models.

It's true to say though that every camera here will offer you more than your smartphone currently does.

Here are T3's best cameras:

The best camera overall - Sony A9

The best camera you can buy right now - but at a price

Specifications
Sensor size: 35mm Full Frame
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 20FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Super-fast shooting+Blackout-free viewfinder
Reasons to avoid
-High price-(Comparatively) Poor battery life

Managing to turn the heads of even die-hard Nikon and Canon professional DSLR users, the Sony A9 leads the way when it comes to impressive technology. 

If you’re into your sports, wildlife or action photography, being able to shoot at a full resolution 20fps all while tracking focus - and what’s more - completely silently - means you’ll be able to capture those moments that your DSLR-wielding buddies miss. 

Other specifications include a 24.2 megapixel full-frame sensor, a viewfinder that manages to stay blackout free even while shooting at super-fast speeds, and a tilting, touch-sensitive screen. 

The biggest drawback here is price, but you do get something seriously impressive for your cash.

Best action camera - GoPro Hero6 Black

A host of upgrades make the GoPro the go-to name for action cameras

Specifications
Weight: 118g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: 60fps
1080: 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic image stabilisation+Waterproof without a case+Range of frame rates
Reasons to avoid
-4K at 60FPS isn't stabilised-High price

The terms “action camera” and ”GoPro” are often seen as interchangeable, with the current flagship model, the Hero6, continuing to prove just who is king in this market. 

It’s got a raft of exciting features, which includes 4K video at 60fps, plus improved image stabilisation (which you can use up to 4K at 30fps). Exposures are handled well with improvements made to how the camera deals with sudden changes in light, giving you the confidence that your adventures are going to be captured with ease. 

There’s literally dozens of compatible GoPro accessories, while additions such as the new QuikStories app make the Hero 6 a vlogger’s dream. Of course you have to pay a premium for all this tech, but when something is this capable it represents excellent value for money.

Best entry-level compact - Canon G7X Mark II

A well featured and smart premium compact which appeals to DSLR owners

Reasons to buy
+Intuitive operation+High image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey-No viewfinder

Canon’s range of PowerShot G series cameras are a great alternative to your DSLR when size and weight is of the utmost importance. There’s a great range to choose from, but the G7X Mark II sits nicely in the middle with a great balance between small size and a range of features. 

It’s got a 4x optical zoom, a tilting touch-sensitive screen and a large one-inch sensor. You can shoot in raw format and take full manual control, but the lack of a viewfinder may be off-putting for some traditionalists. If you can find room for a camera a little bigger, the Canon G5X might be the more appealing choice. 

Best compact camera - Sony RX100 V

A superb performer with top-notch tech… but at a very high price

Specifications
Sensor size: 1-inch
Resolution: 20MP
Lens: 24-70mm
Viewfinder: Electronic
Monitor: 2.95-inch
Continuous shooting: 24fps
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+24fps shooting+Large (one-inch) sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Very high price-Limited zoom

While there may not be many people in the market for a £1000 compact camera, for those that are, you’ll be very handsomely rewarded.

You’ve got a large one-inch sensor and a host of exciting technologies in a very pocket-friendly device. There’s 24fps shooting, for example, and of course the now-ubiquitous 4K video recording. Other great features include a retracting viewfinder and a wide aperture f/1.8-f/2.8 lens. 

Put simply, if you’re after very high image quality but don’t want to carry something very big around - the RX100V is the best camera for that job. You just have to pay a heck of a lot for it.

Best Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera - Panasonic GX80

A bargain all-rounder makes for a great first foray into interchangeable

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 16MP
Continuous shooting: 8FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Small and compact+4K Photo/Video
Reasons to avoid
-Small viewfinder-Screen doesn't tilt forward

For those looking for their first interchangeable lens camera, the Panasonic GX80 is a versatile all-round performer which won’t take up too much real estate in your bag, and crucially won’t cost you a small fortune.

If you pick it up with the super small 12-32mm kit lens, it’s barely bigger than a compact camera, but the Micro Four Thirds lens mount gives you compatibility with a vast swathe of lenses should you need them.

Image quality bounds ahead of your smartphone, and there’s a range of other useful features, including a tilting touch-sensitive screen, a viewfinder, and Panasonic’s 4K Photo offering.

Best Enthusiast Mirrorless Camera - Fujifilm X-H1

Fuji’s most advanced X series camera so far

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 14FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great viewfinder+DCI 4K video recording+In-body image stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Large design-Relatively limited battery life

Fujifilm has won over a lot of fans with its retro designs and high-performing cameras in the X series, with the latest X-H1 sitting right at the top of its current line-up. 

This model is aimed at more serious enthusiasts than any of its other previous cameras, including in-body image stabilisation for the first time in an X-series camera. It uses the same sensor which has already proved itself to be very capable in the XPro2, X-T2 and X-T20. 

It’s also got some fantastic video specifications, making it more of a hybrid camera than ever before - you’ve got both standard 4K and DCI 4K, as well as Full HD at up to 120p. Other better features include a larger electronic viewfinder, plus a touchscreen LCD. Impressive focusing and up to 14fps burst shooting round out the features to make it a very versatile option.

Best Entry-Level DSLR - Nikon D5600

One step up from Nikon’s most basic offering, the D5600 is a winner for social sharing

Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Snapbridge (Bluetooth) app
Reasons to avoid
-Full HD only-Limited optical viewfinder

The D5600 is an excellent option for your first DSLR, especially if your budget can stretch to investing in some additional lenses to go alongside the kit optic. 

One of the most interesting specifications of this camera is that it’s fitted with Snapbridge - that’s a low-powered always-on Bluetooth connection which automatically transfers your shots to your phone for instant sharing on Instagram etc. What could be better than impressing your friends with DSLR quality shots while on the go? 

Aside from bragging rights, you get a high-resolution 24 megapixel sensor, an articulating touch-sensitive screen and a 39-point AF system. 

Best Mid-Range DSLR - Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Lots of appealing features makes the 7D Mark II an obvious choice for enthusiasts who shoot a bit of everything

Reasons to buy
+Fast frame rate+Great body quality
Reasons to avoid
-Fixed screen-No wi-fi

If you’re looking to trade up from an entry-level Canon model, the 7D Mark II could be the camera of your dreams. It’s a superb all-rounder which features a 20.2 megapixel sensor and a host of excellent features to suit a variety of needs. 

It’s great for wildlife, sports and action photography with its fast 10fps shooting speed, while other subjects such as portraits and landscapes are also ideally suited for it. The 65-point AF system does an excellent job too, while the body is sturdy, well-built and is great to use. 

On the downside, the screen is fixed and there’s no wi-fi built in. The latter is disappointing for both quick sharing of shots and for remotely controlling the camera. 

Best High-End DSLR - Nikon D850

The perfect mix of speed, high-resolution and robust build for the working professional and advanced enthusiast

Specifications
Sensor size: Full frame CMOS
Resolution: 45MP
Lens: Interchangeable
Viewfinder: Optical
Monitor: 3.2–inch tilting touchscreen
Continuous shooting: 9fps
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+High resolution+Fast shooting
Reasons to avoid
-Focus points in the centre-XQD cards uncommon

For the working professional, or the amateur who likes to dabble, the D850 is a superb workhorse of a camera. 

It used to be that you either had to choose high resolution (the D850 offers 45.4 megapixels for incredible detail), or fast shooting - but with the D850 you get a very workable 7fps, which can be boosted to 9fps with an optional battery grip. 

Other excellent features include a high magnification viewfinder, 4K video recording and, relatively unusually for a full-framer, a tilting touch-sensitive screen. 

Extremely robust, the D850 is weatherproof and tough enough to withstand more than just the odd scrape, and while it may set you back a pretty penny, you can be sure that you’ll have the D850 with you for years to come.

Best Rangefinder - Leica M10

Superb Leica image quality, but not for amateurs

Specifications
Sensor size: Full frame
Resolution: 24MP
Lens: Interchangeable
Viewfinder: Optical Rangefinder
Monitor: 3-inch LCD
Continuous shooting: 5fps
Video: None
Reasons to buy
+Small, light with a full frame sensor+Fantastic build quality
Reasons to avoid
-Manual focus only-No video

It’s fair to say that a lot of people go for a Leica because of the prestige associated with owning the brand. The classic red dot belies a heritage that goes back over 100 years, and is associated not just with superb image quality, but the readies to pay for it.

The M10 is a rangefinder, which means manual focus - it’s something which takes some time to get to grips with, but when you do, the results are simply stunning. With sharpness to die for, beautiful colours and a classic “film” type look - you can’t fail to be impressed with the quality of your shots. 

It may be a relatively small camera, but it’s super high quality construction means that, should you splash out on an M10, it may even outlive you - which arguably makes it pretty good value in the long run. 

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