The best camera 2017: 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
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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
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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 - Panasonic TZ90

A range of great features, plus a huge zoom range

Specifications
Sensor size: 1/2.3-inch MOS Sensor
Resolution: 20MP
Lens: 24 - 720mm
Viewfinder: Electronic
Monitor: 3-inch LCD
Continuous shooting: 30fps
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Huge zoom (30x)+4K Video / Photo
Reasons to avoid
-Low light images quality-Small viewfinder
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Even in a world of increasingly good smartphones, they still haven’t been able to really tackle zoom well. That’s where cameras like the TZ90 come in - offering a whopping 30x optical zoom in something which still (just about) fits in your pocket.

Very basic compact cameras have fallen by the wayside, but offerings such as the TZ90 are great for beginners - a very capable auto mode has everything sorted - as well as giving a little bit of extra control in the shape of manual modes for those that want them. 

Just like other Panasonic models, with the TZ90 you get 4K Photo. This means you can extract stills from recorded video, making it handy for capturing shots of kids, pets and the like.

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
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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
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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 - Fuji X-T2

You can have style and substance when you opt for this retro beauty

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 14FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: OIS in-lens
Reasons to buy
+Great AF performance+High quality sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Screen not touch sensitive-Battery grip required for best performance
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Fuji has two options sitting at the top of its APS-C CSC tree. There’s the X-T2, which is “DSLR-like” in shape and style, and there’s the X-Pro2, which is a flatter, more rangefinder type design. Both are excellent cameras, but the X-T2 is arguably better suited to subjects such as sports, action and wildlife.

With the X-T2 you get a gorgeous body, but that doesn’t mean you’re scrimping on impressive performance. Far from it, there’s a superb AF system, 4K video recording and the ability to boost performance by attaching an additional battery grip.

Dials and buttons spread out across the X-T2 to give you control at your fingertips, and there’s 14fps shooting for those speedy moments too.

Best Entry-Level DSLR - Canon EOS 200D

The world’s smallest and lightest DSLR with an interchangeable touchscreen

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Lens: Interchangeable
Viewfinder: Optical
Monitor: 3:2 Clear View II TFT Vari-angle Touch Screen
Continuous shooting: 5fps
Video: 1080p
Reasons to buy
+Fully articulating screen+APS-C sensor
Reasons to avoid
-90-percent viewfinder-Still larger than mirrorless
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In a world where mirrorless cameras are being sold on the back of their small size, Canon has done its best to bring the size down of the 200D. The result is the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR to feature an articulating touchscreen - and by DSLR standards it certainly is tiny.

Perhaps more importantly than that, you get great Canon image quality delivered by the APS-C sensor, and a range of features which should appeal to those just starting on their DSLR journey. That includes an optical viewfinder, full manual control and enough dials and buttons to keep you satisfied without overwhelming.

Once you’re in the Canon ecosystem you get access to a pretty much unrivalled set of lenses and accessories, marking the 200D as a great device to get started with.

Best Mid-Range DSLR - Nikon D500

A superb all-rounder which suits all manner of subjects

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 20MP
Lens: Interchangeable
Viewfinder: Optical
Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Video: 4K
Reasons to buy
+Great viewfinder+Robust body
Reasons to avoid
-Screen only tilts-High price
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Nikon’s best APS-C DSLR meets the requirements for serious enthusiasts who don’t shoot one thing in particular. You’ve got a high quality sensor, superb focusing and fast 10fps shooting. 

A chunky build means that the D500 can survive the elements, while it’s also adorned with a pleasing array of direct access dials and buttons. The tilting screen may not fully articulate but it's still very useful for shooting from awkward angles.

There’s 4K video recording, and a bright and clear optical viewfinder which offers a 100% view of the scene. The major downside with this camera is its high price - it’s quite a big outlay for the average enthusiast, but you really do get a lot to love with this model.

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
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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
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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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