How do you choose the Best Sony Bridge or Sony Mirrorless camera? Read our expert reviews of the latest Sony cameras and compare the very best deals.
Sony is sure to become a market leader and the benchmark by which the competition will be judged. Sony camera is the most technologically advanced yet.
Despite the improvements in video performance and image quality, Sony has kept faith with its familiar casing and dimensions. It’s a move that will please consumers as it allows backward compatibility with the previous generation of cameras.
The major attraction of the Sony camera are the picture quality, Outstanding video quality, Excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote control and viewing and Strong range of accessories makes for an adaptable camera to suit all needs
Our Top Picks: Sony Camera Highlights
- Best Optical Zoom Camera: Sony DSCH400
- Best Pro Features Camera: Sony DSCHX300V
- Best Compact Camera: Sony DSCH300
- Best Motion-Shot Cameras: Sony DSCWX350
- Best Digital Compact Camera: Sony DSCW800
- Best Motion Recording Camera: Sony DSCRX10M2
- Best Interchangeable Lens Camera: Sony A7R II
Top Best Sony Camera Reviews
Best Optical Zoom Camera
Bridge cameras are named as such because of their inherent properties. They are a fusion between the technologies that drive compact cameras, the small sensor powered systems with a fixed lens, and the form factor of DSLR cameras. The most striking feature of these cameras is the long super zoom feature of the built-in lens. The other feature is the distinct SLR like grip and thumb-rest.
The Sony DSCH400 is in many ways a typical bridge camera. It has a pronounced grip to hold the camera securely, a 20.1 megapixel sensor and a powerful 63x optical zoom. Let’s take a closer look at these and the other features.
- 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor
- 63x optical zoom
- DSLR-like body design
- Native ISO range of 100 – 800. It can be further pushed if necessary.
- 720p HD video recording with sound
The Sony DSCH400 is powered by a 20.1 megapixel 1/2.3” Super HAD CCD sensor. This is the most common sensor that powers a bulk of the compact camera systems in the world. At this resolution the sensor is capable of shooting large fine JPEGs of the size 5152 x 3864.
The lens of the Sony DSCH400 has a 63x optical zoom. In 35mm format equivalent terms the lens has an optical zoom range of 4.4 – 277mm. On top of it, the Sony DSCH400 has a digital zoom of 126x at full resolution. The filter diameter of the lens is 55mm. It has optical image stabilization which is pretty effective. In addition to these the lens can focus from 1cm all the way to infinity. This is, thus, an all-purpose lens.
The rear of the camera has a large 3” 460,800 dots ClearPhoto TFT/LCD screen. The resolution is somewhat on the smaller side. There are 5 different levels of brightness that you can select according to the ambient brightness. Plus, there is an option to switch between Finder / Monitor.
The Sony DSCH400 also has a small 0.5cm electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 201,600 dots. This tiny viewfinder isn’t something that is particularly great to write home about. But it is good enough to use as an alternative to the rear LCD screen.
Plus if you like composing through the viewfinder this might be a good way to get started. On the flip side, however, and because this is an electronic viewfinder, there is always going to be a slight lag between what you see and what is happening in front of the camera. The frame coverage is 100%.
The native ISO sensitivity range of the Sony DSCH400 in the Auto mode is 100-800. It can be further pushed all the way from 80-3200.
Continuous shooting speed
Cameras like the Sony DSCH400 are not designed to be sports or wildlife shooters. It has a clumsy 0.71 fps continuous shooting speed. It can, however, shoot about 100 frames before clogging the buffer.
The built-in flash is good enough for some pop-light when the ambient light quantity is insufficient. Please note there is a difference between insufficient quantity and poor quality of light. The built-in flash covers an area of 0.4 to 8.8m (in the wide mode) and 3.5 to 4.6m (in the tele mode). There is also a red-eye correction feature in the flash which you can choose to turn on, switch off or set to auto.
The Sony DSCH400 is capable of recording video footages at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at a frame rate of 30. It can also record sound using the built-in sound recorder.
The Sony DSCH400 is priced at around £180, making it a slightly higher budget compact bridge camera.
Best Pro Features Camera
Bridge cameras are named as such because of the distinctly DSLR like shape of the camera body that is highlighted by a protruding grip. It mimics the optical viewfinder with an Electronic Viewfinder that projects the information coming out of the sensor. The Sony DSCHX300V is a compact digital bridge camera and fits the bill perfectly.
- 20.4 megapixel EXMOR R CMOS sensor
- BIONZ image processing engine
- Zeiss Varuio-Sonnar T* lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 – f/6.3
- 50x optical zoom
- 3” LCD screen with a resolution of 921k-dots.
- Very capable Optical SteadyShot technology that stabilizes shots even at the tele-end
- ISO range of 80-12800
- Continuous shooting speed of 10 fps
- Full HD video recording
The 1/2.3″ EXMOR R CMOS sensor of the Sony DSCHX300V has an effective resolution of 20.4 megapixel. EXMOR R CMOS sensors are extremely popular for their low light capability. The technology used involve putting the sensor wiring on the reverse of the light gathering surface. This leaves out a lot of room and less clutter on the photo-sensitive surface. The result of all that is better light gathering and a reduced reliance on pushing the ISO up in ow light. Images produced are cleaner.
The Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens comes with a maximum f-number of f/2.8 and stops down to f/6.3 at the tele-end. Unlike some of the other cameras that we have reviewed on this website, the maximum aperture isn’t constant. Thus, when shooting at tele end you will have to bump up the ISO to compensate for the slower shutter speed. Good thing too that the sensor encompasses an EXMOR R CMOS sensor.
The rear LCD screen on the Sony DSCHX300V is 3” and has a 921k-dot resolution. a good thing about the LCD screen is it is tilting, allowing you the freedom to shoot from slightly queer angles which other non-tilting cameras cannot negotiate.
Just like any other camera that does not have a flipping mirror inside it the Sony DSCHX300V has an electronic viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder gives you the illusion of being able to compose seeing a more compact and less-cluttered view of the frame to be captured. In reality, though the frame displays 100% of the view, you have to negotiate with a slight bit of lag.
Native ISO sensitivity on the Sony DSCHX300V ranges from 80-12800.
The Sony DSCHX300V has a built-in flash.
The Sony DSCHX300V is capable of recording full HD videos at 60p.
Overall, the Sony DSCHX300V lacks many of the ‘pro’ features that the other bridge cameras we discussed has. It lacks the ability to shoot RAW, something that a lot of camera buyers are increasingly looking for. But it compensates that with 10 frames per second continuous shooting speed. At a price tag of £249 you can’t really go wrong with this camera. But having said that for someone looking for a bit more control and a larger aperture even when shooting at tele-focus length there are other better choices in the market.
Best Compact Camera
A Sony bridge camera for under £150… what’s not to like?
This is a step up from the point and shoot systems, and has the features to match. We were particularly impressed by the 20.1MP sensor, and the 35x optical zoom is great for a camera at this price point.
The DSCH300 has built in image stabilisation, which will reduce blur in your photos, and shoots HD quality movies in 720P.
If you want to capture something extra special, the camera has a built in 360 degree panorama mode – a common feature on more expensive smartphones, but rarer on compact and bridge cameras.
Impressive that Sony are able to offer a high quality bridge camera for under £150. While it’s not quite at the level of their more expensive bridge camera options, it’s a perfectly solid camera, which will make a great investment, and accurately capture any scene.
Best Motion-Shot Cameras
With an 18.2MP sensor and 20X optical zoom, the Sony DSCWX350 is our favorite camera in the £150-£200 price range.
The zoom really is impressive, and takes very detailed shots, even at full zoom. The lens is also super fast to focus, and captures crisp, high-quality images – even in low light conditions.
Chuck in full HD video (at 60fps), built in Wi-Fi (something many entry-level DSLRs lack), and great battery life, and you’ve got an awesome little camera for not a lot of money.
Best Digital Compact Camera
With over 20 megapixels and a slim, streamlined design, the Sony DSCW800 is a great option for anyone looking for a point and shoot that both slips in your pocket and performs how it should. It’s also very affordable and easy to use- making it a great camera for beginners.
That being said, is it worth spending your money on? Should you consider purchasing a different camera?
In this review, we’ll highlight the most important features about the Sony DSCW800, as well as help you decide if this camera is right for you (especially if you’re a novice or intermediate photographer).
In some situations, it might be worth it to by a more advanced model- but be prepared to pay a much higher price. This is because the Sony DSCW800 is very reasonably priced in its market for the features offered.
About the Sony DSCW800 Digital Compact Camera
The Sony W800 was designed as the middle ground between a less complicated mobile camera and an expensive DSLR. This model was highlighted as having one of the best designs for novice photographers, as well as scene modes that make the most of “picture times” in situations at parties, or at night.
This ensures that where some point -and- shoots fall through, the W800 is still a very versatile option.
In many respects the W800 has been simplified to make it easier for new users.
The simplified menu keeps data to a minimum, and the camera has large buttons (including an easy to access, dedicated record button) and a sizable display to make everything crystal clear. It even comes complete with a wrist strap, and raised finger ridges on the front to help it fit better in your hands.
Super Light and Compact
The Sony DSCW800 is tiny, and this size its much of its appeal.
It’s less than four inches long and two inches wide, meaning that it’ll slide into any pants or jeans pocket without having to struggle, and it’s light as a feather to make it even easier to carry with you.
With a sleek classy design and black or grey casings, you’ll love how this model looks (but it’s actually plastic, and prone to scratching if you aren’t gentle with it).
For its size, it still comes with a high resolution 2.7″ screen to help you enjoy your photographs, but some reviewers complained that the style of the camera creates poor viewing angles that create washed out image views when looked at from below.
You also won’t get touch screen controls, but the extremely affordable price more than makes up for this shortcoming.
5X Optical Zoom and Plenty of Manual Options
You’ll love operating this camera, because it’s so simple and straightforward.
It even offers an easy mode to hide any unnecessary functions (keeping all the information that you need large enough that it’s easily readable). That being said, the W800 is great for adjusting exposures, compensating for low light, and working with your white balance and ISO sensitivity.
You’ll also get four picture effects to add to your shots and a great panorama mode that makes it easy to shoot wide framed shots.
This model comes complete with a set of rechargeable batteries.
In Conclusion: Is the Sony DSCW800 Digital Camera Right for You
When you’re looking for a high quality camera without the high prices, the W800 is the perfect camera for you.
If you’re looking for a smaller camera to use if the battery on your DSLR dies and you haven’t got any spares, you’ll also love this camera! Its simple design and easy to use features make it great for novices and intermediate photographers alike.
If you’re looking for premium features, great zoom, and an amazing display with spectacular resolution, you might want to spend a couple hundred dollars more and invest in a pricier model.
Best Motion Recording Camera
The Sony DSCRX10M2 is tagged as an advanced compact bridge camera. We need to first have an understanding of what bridge cameras are. The term bridge camera is assigned to cameras that have the same basic form factor as DSLRs, are much more compact in form, and belie the fact that they have a small sensor encased inside the shell. Bridge cameras have a fixed lens that usually has a tele-zoom range. The Sony DSCRX10M2 fits the bill perfectly. But it goes a step further. Let’s take a look at its main features.
- Large 1” EXMOR RS CMOS sensor with 21 MP resolution
- Internal 4K video capability
- Built-in Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with a focal length range of 24-240mm f/2.8
- 40x super slow-motion video recording at 1000 fps
The sensor of the Sony DSCRX10M2 is one of the largest in the bridge camera segment. It is a 1” EXMOR RS CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 21 MP. Larger sensor sizes tend to have a better signal to noise ratio. On top of that EXMOR RS sensors are known for their superior low light capabilities.
The built-in Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens has a focal length range of consists of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups. The design has 7 aspherical elements including AA lens. It has a fast constant aperture of f/2.8 across the focal length.
The rear LCD screen is a 3” display with a resolution of 1,228,800 dots. It is on the higher side. Brightness control is adjustable manually and three levels of brightness adjustment.
The tiny 0.39” electronic viewfinder isn’t going to excite to many, and certainly not photographers who are used to shooting with a DSLR and a large pentaprism viewfinder. But this is a small sensor bridge camera ND treat it as such.
Electronic viewfinders are often scorned at because they do have some lag. Technology has improved manifold in the last 5 years. EVF’s have improved immensely. Lag has reduced. But even then the general nature of the technology means there is always going to be some. If it helps in any way the frame coverage offered by the viewfinder is 100%.
The Sony DSCRX10M2 has an Auto ISO range of 100-12800.
There is a built-in flash on the camera.
If you are an avid video shooter you would love the fact that the Sony DSCRX10M2 is capable of shooting native 4K video footages and record that straight onto a memory card. The camera has a built-in mechanism to counter moiré which is handy considering the higher resolution recording. You can however, choose to record at a lower resolution of 1920 x 1080 (full-HD) at 60p for a slow motion effect when playing back the footage at normal 24p. Audio is recorded with the video footages, thanks to the built-in stereo mic. You could also plug in a stereo mic via the mini-jack interface on the camera.
Priced at £ 1030, the Sony DSCRX10M2 is certainly not cheap. At that price you can easily get a entry level DSLR complete with a kit lens or an upper-entry level camera with a 50mm prime, remember with a DSLR you get a much larger sensor and that means a much larger light-gathering area.
Should you buy this over a DSLR? No. would you buy this over any other bridge camera? The answer really depends on whether you are planning to buy a DSLR very soon. If you are not and the bulk of a DSLR does not suit your style of shooting, then go for the Sony DSCRX10M2. It has everything that you need to make excellent imagery.
Best Interchangeable Lens Camera
The Sony A7 R II is the successor of the extremely popular and very successful A7 R. It is built around a 42 megapixel full-frame EXMOR R BSI CMOS sensor and Sony’s very capable BIONZ X image processor. It is the first ever full-frame BSI sensor in the world. This is the best when it comes to mirrorless cameras and arguably the perfect synergy between a full-frame sensor and a compact design spec.
Let’s dive into the details of the camera and find out more on why this camera is currently considered as one of the best in the business when it comes to full-frame sensor based digital interchangeable lens camera systems.
The newly designed 42 megapixel sensor of the A7 R II is an engineering marvel. It constitutes a number of features that rightfully makes the A7 R II a true low light photography champion. The back-side illumination (BSI) technology, a first for full-frame sensors, ensure that the light gathering surface of the sensor is much larger than traditional sensors with wiring at the front. Better light gathering essentially means that the sensor is capable of capturing more light and thus produce noise-free images even when you are shooting in extremely low light conditions.
The quick-transmission copper wiring on the system improves image data transmission speed by 3.5 times. The produced JPEGs and uncompressed RAW files are of the size 7952 x 5304 pixels. Image sharpness is further improved because of the absence of an optical low pass filter. Though this also opens up chances of getting moiré and false colors in your composition, for those who love shooting landscapes, product and fashion and love printing big, the A7 R II is definitely a mouthwatering proposition.
The A7 R II’s image processor is the latest BIONZ X. It has a vastly improved architecture compared to the older processing engines and compliments the high-resolution image sensor. There are many advantages to the new image processor. One of the most important advantage being the new diffraction reducing architecture that’s built-in to the system. Small aperture usually comes with the drawback of diffraction – a process where images turn out softer. BIONZ X’s diffraction reducing architecture counters that.
The A7 R II is powered by a newly designed hybrid auto-focusing mechanism. There are a total of 399 on-sensor phase detection points and 25 contrast detection points on the system, thus, significantly improving the overall auto-focusing performance.
I have already mentioned about the resolution and the size of the image files capable of being produced by the sensor. Continuous shooting speed of the A7 R II is only 5 fps. This is not a camera designed for action or sports photography. There are other options for that if you are into those sort of things. With the large full-frame backside illuminated design what you can shoot, however, are excellent low light imagery. I have always wanted a camera that has very low native noise, even if I am shooting with a really long shutter speed. If you too wish to explore long exposures at night and in general low light photography, the A7 R II is definitely the type of camera that would interest you.
The a7R II’s native ISO range from 100-25600. In the extended mode it expands from 50 to 102400. Modern DSLRs are increasingly being rate based on their ability to capture as less noise as possible. A term that you are likely going to hear quite a lot going forward is ISO Invariance. It is basically about shooting at the lowest ISO possible, keeping the exposure values as planned, and then bumping the exposure to the required level during post-processing. Older cameras tend to perform poorly on that scale because they capture a lot of noise and that shows up when the exposure is pushed later on.
Modern cameras with improved sensors and better ISO performance don’t suffer from the same problem. Thus you can shoot at ISO 100 (or the lowest possible on the camera) then push the exposure in post-processing and yet find no significant difference in result. The a7R II’s performance is good in that regard. However, bear in mind, the lower you shoot on the ISO scale, the more is the likeliness of getting noise when you push the exposure. The threshold for the a7R II is somewhere around ISO 400- ISO 640.
The A7 R II comes with a similar 5-axis image stabilization system as the Pentax K1 that we reviewed earlier on this website. It makes all compatible Sony lenses image stabilized by default. Another new technology that finds its way into the a7R II is the newly developed reduced-vibration shutter mechanism. This system greatly improves the overall sharpness of the images produced.
Viewfinder & LCD Screen
The 0.5” EVF on the A7 R II has a resolution of 2,359,296 dots and gives 100% frame coverage. The rear area of the camera is dominated by a 3” tilting LCD screen and it has a resolution of 1,228,800 dots.
Build quality and ergonomics
Good weather sealing is a requirement for outdoor shooters. Underneath the compact exterior lies a tough magnesium alloy chassis. The A7 R II does have excellent weather sealing. But weather sealing and build quality apart certain ergonomical elements of the camera isn’t something that would excite someone with larger hands. The control dials are very close to each other. In a real world scenario you would often struggle to tap / turn the right button / dial without looking. Having said that the A7 R II does have a bunch of buttons and a lot of them are customizable. The new design that mimics the original a7, now has a pronounced rubberized grip.
The A7 R II is one of the few interchangeable lens cameras which are designed to shoot great quality videos along with excellent stills. It can shoot native 4K (ultra-HD) videos at 30, 25 and 24 fps. The higher resolution recorded gives you a lot of freedom when you are downsizing for HD final cut. Alternatively, you could opt to shoot full HD videos at 60, 30, 25 and 24 fps. Scaling down the resolution at 720p HD you can shoot at an extremely high frame rate of 120 and 100 fps. A bunch of shooting formats are available including AVCHD, web-ready MP4 and XAVC S. The a7R II isn’t as robust as some of the other video-oriented mirrorless systems in the market and also in Sony’s stable. That being said there are a number of features which make the camera a formidable video shooter. Mimicking high end movie cameras, the Sony a7R II has a customizable gamma, black, color and knee levels. You also get the S-Log2 gamma curve. Resultantly, nearly 1300% of additional dynamic range is available on the a7R II.
- Much improved auto ISO feature
- Reduced noise signature
- Improved grip
- Higher resolution
- Better image sharpness compared to the older A7R
- Audio input & headphone jack for listening to recording as well as recording sound feed from an external mic.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Built-in flash
The Sony a7R II is a formidable camera no doubt. It has one of the best, if not the best in the market low light shooting capabilities thanks to the full frame BSI sensor and the powerful BIONZ X image processor. It has one of the better video modes among interchangeable lens cameras. A body mounted 5-axis image stabilization system that gives increased image stabilization and an effective diffraction reduction system that increases the efficiency of the 42-megapixel sensor in producing cleaner and sharper imagery.
Though the sensor is not absolutely ISO invariant, and loses out to something like the D810 in this department, the overall ISO performance is better than a number cameras out in the market. To conclude, if you are planning to buy the a7R II, don’t think. This is a formidable camera in every sense. You will not regret your decision.