"I'm quite pleased with this collection. I own presets from several other companies and these are my new favorites! Well done." - John R.

Ultimate Camera Buying Guide: 2022 Edition

Camera technology has advanced at a rapid pace, with some mobile phones rivaling the best camera options from even five years ago. So, when it comes to the best camera of 2022, it’s a close race. It has become near impossible for the consumer eye to differentiate between different brands, and in a market saturated with great options it can be a little tricky to decide what best works for you! 

As we head rapidly into the holiday season, we get a lot of questions about gear. From “What is the best camera for beginners?” to “What lenses to I need to get a shot like this?” So, we wanted to build a Camera Buying Guide that equips readers with enough understanding of what’s out there and how things stack up, that they can feel confident in investing in new gear for personal use or to give as a gift!

What Makes a Camera the Best?

There are many photographers who remain brand loyal and assert preference over popular and traditional brands such as Canon, Nikon, or Sony. This year several of the biggest brands went toe-to-toe for best in imaging and no one brand came out on top across all categories, so no need to worry about brand alone in deciding which camera would be the best fit for you, your business, or as a Christmas gift. For perspective, a recent study showed that the best-selling images on 500px were taken by a consumer grade Olympus – not even one of the big three!

Outside of brand, the answer to the question of "What is the best camera of 2022?" involves considering the needs the camera will fulfill. Simply put, the best camera depends on the goals and needs of the person the camera is for, whether that be for your personal use, your business, or as a gift. An evaluation of goals will point you to specific features and uses. Even more, how the camera feels in your hands really does matter. You want something that not only carries the features important to you, but one that is comfortable to shoot.

Sure, a DSLR may shoot only 4k video, but maybe it’s ahead of the curve in still photography. The best is always relative. Rarely is there a significant difference in image quality and performance at the top. It often comes down to extra features (which you may or may not need!) and newer design. These are the features that we considered when evaluating the best cameras for 2022:

  • Cost – Not surprisingly, most top-of-the-line cameras are expensive. But top-of-the-line doesn’t necessarily equate to best value. In this guide to the best cameras for 2022, we aim to get you the best bang for your buck. But fair warning – the professional level high-rated recommendations are expensive. In these cases, we felt the cost was associated with enough value to justify the recommendation. If worried about cost, do look at our Best DSLR for Beginners entry, a powerful mid-range camera, at an entry level price point.
  • Ease of Use – Some cameras can get complicated quick, and this can intimidate beginners who may not know where to start when it comes to manual settings. Comfort and ease of use is important to today’s consumer and we took this into consideration in our guide to the best cameras of 2022.

  • Features –Gone are the days when the number of MPX a camera wielded served as an excellent indication of overall quality. Today, it’s all about sensor, image stabilization, and auto-focus. Features like body sensors, along with memory volume and speed, were included in the list of features important in the evaluation of the best cameras of 2022! 

Professional DSLR Camera: Nikon D850

MSRP: $2,499.95


While there have been whispers of the death of DSLR, long-term use, reliability, capability, and relative affordability of body and lenses keep old and new photographers standing by this build option, mirrors and all. 

The D850 is a full-frame professional DSLR that countless photographers swear by and the first full-frame 35mm sensor to reach 100 points on the DxOMark sensor review. This Nikon edition crushed Canon in the 2018-2019 EISA awards, as the Best Professional DSLR. Since its release in September 2017, this camera has won numerous imaging and design-related awards internationally. Among them are the Camera GP (Grand Prix) 2018 “Readers Award” and “Editors Award”s, the Best DSLR Professional award at the TIPA World Awards 2018, and an iF Product Design Award 2018.

In 2022 you will find this camera maintains its top-status for many reviewers, and highly-touted as top-dog on many an expert list. Until now, the Canon 5D Mark IV was the pick of many of the full-frame DSLRs on the market, but the D850 eclipses it totally.

Main Features

  • 915g (32.3 oz.) Body only
  • Max battery life 1840 shots (70 minutes of HD footage)
  • AF-S or AF lenses fully compatible
  • 45.7MP full-frame CMOS
  • 4k Video
  • Large and bright optical viewfinder
  • 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen
  • Dedicated AF sensor with 2 focusing modes
  • 153-point AF
  • 7/fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 32-108400
  • Dual Card Slots (SD/XQD)

Top Features

  • Full-frame CMOS sensor, 45.7MP
  • Large and bright optical viewfinder
  • Tilt-angle, 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot touchscreen
  • 4K UHD video capture


The biggest standout among cons is the continuous shooting mode. 7/Fps isn’t terrible, but if you compare it to more modern mirrorless options with 20/fps+, it certainly doesn’t look good. But when considering best in DSLR, many professionals tend to be more concerned with the speed and auto-focus, which is why the D850 wins this category hands down.

Why It’s the Best

The reason this model won out over Canon has a lot to do with the auto-focus and sensor. While a favorable contender, the Canon EOS 5d Mark IV, after beating out the Nikon D850 in initial reviews just couldn’t keep up; while it’s certainly still a great camera, the D850 comes out on top when evaluating all-around features and performance.

Find it on Amazon

Let's Talk Lenses

Wide Angle Prime
Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Portrait/Standard Prime
Sigma 50mm f/1.4
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

Telephoto Prime
Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4

Standard Zoom
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

Fantastic options for Portraits under $200:
Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8
Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8

More Affordable Options

You may be able to save some money buying a renewed or certified refurbished D850. If you want to save even more, we recommend the D750 as an older, much more affordable option that is equally exceptionally rated and an old pro favorite! 

Mirrorless Camera: Nikon Z9

MSRP: $5,499.95


While the debate between DSLR and Mirrorless still runs hot, with old pros going back to their DSLRs and others saying Mirrorless changed the game for them, we can’t tell you what to choose, but we can tell you why this particular mirrorless camera is coming out on top!

The Z9 won the EISA 2022-2023 Camera of the Year and the Camera Grand Prix Japan 2022, because it goes beyond the normal functions of a full-frame camera, as the best all-around option on the market for serious photographers. While a heavier Mirrorless option, the robust and stable build on the camera promises extreme accuracy and image stabilization, for razor sharp images and video with any lens. The camera delivers on images that are utterly true-to-sight, with a sharp viewfinder, and snap-quick subject-tracking Eye-Detection AF. In a game-changing move from a mechanical to electronic shutter, this camera sets the standard.

For all the photographers who are looking to upgrade, while also on the multi-hat content-creator learning curve, this one does it all. T3 calls the Z9, one of their Platinum Award winners, “a powerfully enticing all-in-one option for pro snappers being called upon to play ‘content creator’ in both disciplines.”

Main Features

  • 1340g (2 lb. 15.3 oz.) Body Only
  • 45.7MPX
  • Max battery life: 700 shots
  • Nikon Z mount
  • Full Frame Stacked CMOS sensor
  • F Mount for Lenses
  • Electronic Shutter (1/32000 to 30 sec.)
  • ISO 64–25600
  • 493 Hybrid phase-detection/contrast AF with AF assist
  • WiFI/Bluetooth/GPS
  • 3-inch bi-directional tilting touchscreen, 1.04-million dots
  • Dual Card Slots (CFexpress (Type B) / XQD)

Top Features

  • 1/32000 Max Shutter Speed
  • 8k 60p Video (2 Hour Record Limit)
  • 120fps Burst Shooting
  • Deep-Learning Auto-Focus 
  • No Mechanical Shutter 


While Nikon has shown that they are more than capable of outperforming Canon and Sony in terms of image quality, the Z9 isn’t totally without complaint. With dual handgrips This thing has HEFT – add on a zoom lens and you’ve got a beast that no longer fits the idea of mirrorless being a lighter weight option. The whopping 45.7MP comes with its own downfall in a smaller ISO range than contemporaries from other brands.  

Why It’s the Best

TIPA 2022 awarded the Z9 “Best Full Frame Professional Camera.” It’s lightning fast and reliable, producing one stunning image after another. Forgoing the mechanical shutter for electronic means 120fps burst shooting and a max shutter speed of 1/32,000 making it a top contender for sports and wildlife photographers. Compare it to Canon’s R3 and you’ll find a worthy component! The Z9 boasts almost double the megapixels and 8k video, but suffers from lower low-light ability and slower shooting rate for raw files than the R3.  

Find it on Amazon

Let’s Talk Lenses

Wide Angle Prime
Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8

Portrait/Standard Prime
Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2

Telephoto Prime
Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8

Standard Zoom
Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8

More Affordable Options

Want to try an award-winning Canon Mirrorless with a friendlier price-point? Check out the Canon EOS R3, EISA Best Professional Camera winner for 2019-2020, as a great entry into the mirrorless game. For a more affordable Mirrorless we highly recommend the Z6, even over the weightier Z7! 


Fixed Lens: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII



Sony won the category for the compact camera for EISA 2019-2020 (and 2017-2018) with its Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI. The new RX100 VII is a refined version of the previous powerhouse fixed lens option from Sony with a nice range of new video-friendly features in the age of content-creation. This laudable camera won gold in the DPReview, beating the RX100 V1’s silver rating, and T3 rated it best compact camera for 2020! What catapults this camera ahead of the competition is the new sensor and processor, and the vlogging capability with the microphone input and vertical-format video recording that has been added to this latest model.

It has a 20.1mpx Exmor CMOS and an updated BIONZ X image processor. Sony lovers may recognize the BIONZ X processor from higher-end models. Here, it’s been revamped and renewed for a compact camera, resulting in even better-quality images from a point and shoot that is closer than ever to DSLR quality. The autofocus response time has been cut to 0.2 seconds for a literally unbeatable world’s fastest AF speed. This model also comes with improved AI real-time AF tracking that follows eyes both human and animal across both still and video captures. The RX100 VII also boasts an incredible 90fps with new Single Burst Shooting mode and a Time-lapse feature not present in the previous model. As if all of this isn’t enough, this little camera can also shoot 4k and slow motion with a control ring not unlike those seen on consumer-grade DSLRs.

Main Features

  • 299g
  • 1.0 type Exmor RS CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ X processor
  • Long exposure NR
  • 20 shooting modes with scene selection
  • Built-in Flash
  • WIFI/NFC/Bluetooth
  • 330 Max images/165 minutes video per battery
  • 20.1 MPX
  • ISO 125-12800
  • 24-200mm F2.8-F4.5 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T Lens
  • 11-44x digital zoom
  • 3” TFT Tilt LCD – Touch shutter compatible
  • 0.02 second 315 point wide AF
  • 24fps continuous with tracking
  • 8k video up to 30fps

Top Features

  • 90fps with Single Burst Shooting
  • Time-Lapse
  • World’s Fastest 0.02s hybrid AF with up to 24 fps continuous shooting
  • super slow motion 960 frames per second.
  • 4k video with full pixel readout.


Fixed camera lenses have certainly evolved, but these innovations have come at a cost. While one may be hard-pressed to find a poor review of this camera, the price point may exceed the budget of financially savvy shoppers. The reason for the high price tag is because this camera delivers almost as much functionality as the a9, aside from the lens capability. Other minor complaints touch on price point, sometimes awkward handling at such a small size, and widest aperture at f/2.8.

Why It’s the Best

For those that don’t want to spend time swapping lenses or don’t want to invest in lenses – this is the closest thing you’ll get to a one-stop camera. While it’s limited by the fact that it’s a fixed lens, the market remains full of low-end, consumer grade cameras that are nowhere near as capable as this model. It’s a clear leader.

Find it on Amazon

More Affordable Options

The previous RX100 V1 is only $100 cheaper currently, so for a fixed lens under $800 with all the vlogging and still power you’d ever need we recommend the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III ! Another great contender is the Olympus Touch TG-6 Waterproof for an under $500 option that is great for travel!

Entry-Level DSLR: Nikon D5500

MSRP:$699.95 (Currently higher)

Nikon again surprised us, as the perfect fit for beginners with a 2015 release that has kept on swinging for the past seven years. The D5500 easily beats the cheaper Nikon D3500 (2018), outperforms fan favorite Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (2019), and even competes toe to toe with the brand-new Fujifilm X-T200 (2020)! This camera is a steady powerhouse of a midrange at an entry-level price point.

Main Features

  • 420g
  • CMOS sensor
  • Expeed 4 processor
  • AF-S amd AF-I CPU Lens Mount
  • 7 Shooting modes with Scene Selection (25 Scene Modes)
  • Built-in Flash
  • 820 Shots
  • 24 MPX
  • ISO 100-25600
  • 3.2” Fully-articulated 1M pt. Touch-screen
  • 1/4000 Shutter Speed
  • 5fps

Top Features

  • 3.2” 1.2M dot fully-articulating touchscreen LCD
  • Live View Shooting for Film & Video
  • Touch-to-Shoot & Touch-to-focus from Live View


Not quite as quick as some of the more modern innovations, and lacking in terms of live view performance and a somewhat complicated menu system. However, this offering more than makes up for it in ease of use, touch-enabled rotating flip-out LCD for extreme versatility, and unbelievable low-light handling.  

Why It’s the Best

If you are wanting to get into photography for clients, but don’t have the means to purchase a professional level camera, the camera is a user-friendly midrange dream hitting an entry level price-point.

Find it on Amazon

Let's Talk Lenses (under $200)

Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8
Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8

More Affordable Options

Coming in much newer (2019) and comparable in ratings and capability is the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 which is currently more affordable both in body only and kit options!


Much of choosing the best camera for 2022 has to do with your needs. If you’re already an enthusiast of a certain brand, then there are definite advantages to being able to continue using the same gear. Last year Sony rose to the top with innovation after innovation to beat more traditional brands. However, it’s clear that Nikon is going to be the brand to beat in 2022. Even when they’re slow to start, their push for well-rounded cameras with lasting power has served them well. With several major releases to come, who’s to say that the year will end on Nikon? Best is subjective and we hope our affordable and comparable options are a help when the “best” isn’t the perfect fit for you!

Here is a summary of our recommendations

  • The best professional camera of 2022: Nikon D850
  • The best mirrorless camera of 2022: Nikon Z9
  • The best fixed-lens camera of 2022: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VII
  • The best entry-level camera of 2022: Nikon D5500


Already chose your perfect fit?

Once you've got your hands on a great camera, or have narrowed in on the perfect gift for the budding photographer in your life, the next step is learning and experimenting with post-processing (image editing).

Our blog and help center are full of great FREE training, education, and tips for both new photographers and old pros looking not only to upgrade their gear, but their style and their workflow!

Our Skill-based workflows can help you better orient goals and learn about what your software options are and how our editing resources can help you learn that software and build your own perfect editing workflow.

We also offer video learning courses on photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom that you can work through virtually, at your own pace, or that you can gift to a friend or loved one!

If you and/or your giftee are already familiar with photo-editing software, feel free to check out the many digital resources we offer at The Luxe Lens including Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Photoshop Overlays, LUTs, and Templates for Marketing and Social Media!

Happy Shooting!