Five of the best new and affordable digital cameras

From Sony’s A6400 for photography enthusiasts to a good beginner’s option from Nikon, Matthew Partridge reviews the options if you’re in the market for a new digital camera.

970_MW_P45_Toy_02

Price: £949 body only, £999 with 16mm-50mm lens, £1,249 with 18mm-135mm lens

From Sony's A6400 for photography enthusiasts to a good beginner'soption from Nikon, Matthew Partridge reviews the options if you're in the market for a new camera.

This year Sony released several new digital cameras, including the A6400, a camera intended to appeal to "prosumers" people who are more enthusiastic about photography than the average user, but don't want to break the bank. Designed in a "rangefinder" style, with the viewfinder to the right of the lens (though you'll still, of course, see the image that comes through the lens), it is relatively lightweight and compact yet remains easy to grip.

With the A6400 Sony aims to deliver several improvements over previous models in terms of the speed and precision of the autofocus system. You can set it so that it automatically focuses on the eyes of the subject. It also has improved video features, including the ability to record for an unlimited time without interruption, very useful if you are recording plays or extended talks. The display can even flip 180 degrees so that your subject can view themselves being recorded.

I have tested it extensively under a variety of conditions and the autofocus system works well, producing clear, high-quality images, even at the fastest setting and using the electronic shutter, which allows you to take photos silently. Battery life is solid, producing just over an hour's worth of video or around 800 still shots before the battery needs to be recharged. If you plan on taking even longer videos, you can plug it into the mains.

A few drawbacks

The camera does have a few drawbacks, although these are relatively minor. Sony's colours tend to be a little on the vivid side, for example, which produces great outdoor shots, but means that pictures taken under fluorescent lighting tend to be oversaturated. It is possible, however, to customise the colour scheme. Similarly, the controls and the menu system can be confusing to begin with, so it's a good idea to go through the manual, even if you're familiar with digital cameras.

All in all, this is a strong camera, which provides excellent value for money. With Sony about to release two similar models, it might be worth looking for secondhand bargains. The 16mm-50mm kit lens is fine for general use; the more expensive 18mm-135mm F3.5-56 lenses gives you a much greater zoom range. The 50 F1.8 is also worth picking up if you want to shoot in low light.

Fujifilm X-T30

970_MW_P45_Fuji

The X-T30 is one of the best cameras you can buy today for under £1,000, says Mark Wilson on Trusted Reviews. Packing all of the punch of its predecessor, the X-T3, into a more compact body, it makes for a great all-rounder for both stills and video. It shoots video in 4K, has a speedy autofocus that easily locks subjects in frame and has a mechanical shutter as well as an electric one, meaning it allows for shots at between eight and 30 frames per second, making it as good at capturing landscapes as fast-moving action. The X-T30 is a solid investment. £849,

shop.fujifilm.co.uk

Nikon D3500

970_MW_P45_Nikon

The Nikon D3500 makes for a good entry-level camera that will give you room to grow, says Jim Fisher in PC Magazine. The camera also features guide-mode for users who want to explore and "take some creative control". Considering that a lens is included, it's also a bargain. It is better quality than other brands' low-cost starter models too. It shoots video at a resolution of 1,080 pixels, so it might not be for those who want to shoot longer video footage, but it's a fine choice for those looking to experiment with shooting shorter videos.

£239, nikon.co.uk

Canon EOS Rebel SL2/EOS 200D

970_MW_P45_Canon_02

If you're after a "small and unintimidating camera, but want image quality that surpasses that from a compact model", the Rebel is the one to go for, says Phil Hall on TechRadar. The image quality is excellent as the resolution has been improved with an upgraded sensor. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a "selfie" mode and skin-smoothing and background-blurring controls. It also allows you to share images quickly on social media it's "the perfect replacement for the avid smartphone photographer looking to step up to their first camera", says Canon. With all of these features, it's hard not to agree.

£489.99, store.canon.co.uk

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

970_MW_P45_Olympus

Previous models of the OM-D E-M10 have ranked first on Digital Camera World's list of best travel cameras and the latest Mark III is no different. It's an update of previous models, with new features including 4K video and a more powerful image processor. This iteration of the OM-D EM10 is "small, powerful, and really rather good", said Digital Camera World when it came out in 2017. It's ideal for enthusiasts who want to take creative control and for smartphone upgraders who will find it easy to manoeuvre, thanks to its high-quality touchscreen.

£629, olympus.co.uk

Recommended

Today's art markets are a paradise for bargain hunters
Alternative investments

Today's art markets are a paradise for bargain hunters

Now is an ideal time for collectors to go shopping at the art auctions. 
29 Nov 2019
Investing in art: where to find the best value in the art market today
Alternative investments

Investing in art: where to find the best value in the art market today

It’s been a record-breaking ten years for the art market – even Old Masters of questionable provenance are selling for hundreds of millions. But where…
15 Nov 2019
The art market endures after a jittery 2019
Alternative investments

The art market endures after a jittery 2019

Wealthy Americans stepped up to help calm the art market's jitters in 2019. Chris Carter reports.
10 Jan 2020
Hi-tech help with New Year’s resolutions
Spending it

Hi-tech help with New Year’s resolutions

From a sports watch that monitors your heart rate to a subscription service to help you cook healthier meals.
31 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Oil producers are back at their Covid-19 lows – is it time to buy?
Oil

Oil producers are back at their Covid-19 lows – is it time to buy?

With demand for oil hammered by Covid-19 and talk of “peak oil demand”, there are lots of good reasons to be bearish on oil producers. So, asks John S…
22 Sep 2020
The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?
Investment strategy

The rising dollar is proving bad news for most other assets – will it last?

Precious metals, stocks and pretty much every other asset has taken a tumble as the US dollar strengthens. Dominic Frisby looks at how long this trend…
23 Sep 2020
Why you should stuff your end-of-pandemic portfolio with Chinese stocks
China stockmarkets

Why you should stuff your end-of-pandemic portfolio with Chinese stocks

For an end-of-pandemic portfolio, you need assets that can cope with today’s volatility. And that, says Merryn Somerset Webb, means Chinese stocks.
14 Sep 2020