As one of the oldest technology manufacturing companies, Sony is known worldwide for the ingenuity and reliability of its products. Their vast products range from feature films to smartphones to consumer and professional cameras.
Here, we will focus specifically on Sony’s camera lineup and discuss what are its best cameras currently. Sony develops all types of cameras from mirrorless cameras to camcorders and cinema cameras. Sony has a camera ready for every job.
A brief history of Sony cameras
Sony was founded in 1946 and manufactured telecommunication equipment. Back then and throughout the 70s and 80s, Sony focused on magnetic recording tapes, transistor radios, tape recorders and TVs. It was not until 1988 that Sony launched its first digital camera called Mavica.
Then it was not until 1996 that Sony released another digital camera with their first Cybershot. Today Sony has a wide range of cameras aimed at all levels of photographers and videographers. From mirrorless cameras, fixed lens cameras and cinema cameras. If you’re interested in a detailed history of Sony cameras, check the Sony digital cameras broad and technology milestones.
Sony cameras by category
As mentioned in the introduction, Sony has a variety of camera categories. There are professional studio and broadcast cameras, such as the Sony HDC-F5500. They have cinema cameras like the VENICE 2 and consumer cameras such as the Sony CX405. However, their mirrorless cameras are the their most popular cameras. We will focus on the best camera in this category since these mirrorless cameras can provide you with a high-resolution capture and a wide range of features at an accessible price.
What are Sony cameras great for?
Sony cameras generally have highly effective autofocus systems that track moving objects. Additionally, Their cameras tend to be relatively portable, have excellent image quality, good ISO levels and work great in low-light situations. Above all, though, Sony’s wide range of lenses for their mirrorless lineup is excellent.
Some pitfalls of Sony cameras
Although Sony cameras have great features, they fall short in the camera menu system. In most of the company’s cameras, commonly accessed features are buried deep within sub-menus. This can be overcome by using their user custom menu. However, if you find yourself needing something you don’t use often, expect you might have to dig to find it.
Full frame versus Super-35 cropped sensor cameras
Now that we briefly discussed the pros and cons of Sony cameras, the question is which one is the best for you. To narrow things down, we will provide the options available on the mirror list cameras, but first, you need to understand the difference between full frame and Super-35 cropped sensor cameras.
The difference is the field of view the camera sensor can capture. Full-frame camera sensors are larger, allowing more light, higher quality images and low-light performance. The issue is you will spend more money buying a full-frame camera and its lenses. The cropped cameras are lighter and more affordable, but with a smaller sensor, image quality and low-light performance may not be as excellent.
Sony’s mirrorless camera lineup
We can divide Sony mirrorless cameras into Super-35 cropped and full-frame sensors. Super-35 cameras are three main cameras:
On the full-frame sensors, we have:
- Sony a7 IV (basic model)
- Sony a7C II (compact basic model)
- Sony a7R V (high resolution)
- Sony a7C R (compact high resolution)
- Sony a7S III (high sensitivity)
The A7 IV is great for those looking for an affordable full-frame camera, and Sony also has vlogging cameras, such as the Sony ZV-1 with a flip-out screen.
As of 2023, here are the best Sony camera bodies available:
- Sony a1: is the best Sony camera money can buy now. It’s the most advanced hybrid camera Sony has ever released. This model can do photos and videos well, and if it’s within your budget, it will last many years.
- Sony a9 III: made for photographers that need speed. Sony’s first global shutter in the alpha line.
- Sony a7R V: the best for professional photographers who want super high-resolution photos.
- Sony a7S III: designed for professional filmmakers with superb video quality, low-light performance and strong audio options.
- Sony a7 IV: packed with outstanding still image quality and enhanced video technology with advanced autofocus. The A7IV is suitable for filmmakers, videographers and photographers and is an excellent entry point to full-frame mirrorless cameras.
- Sony a7C II: best hybrid camera for shooting high-resolution stills and high-quality video in a compact size
- Sony a6600: the best entry-level Sony camera with an Advanced Super-35 sensor, great for vlogging (flip-up screen) and stills and video at an affordable price.
- Sony ZV-E10: a compact, affordable camera with vlogging-specific features. It has a Super-35 sensor and interchangeable lens systems, allowing more flexibility to adapt to different vlogging styles.
Sony cinema camera
Image courtesy: Sony
Now it’s time to get into Sony’s cinema cameras. Here are the company’s best cinema currently offers as of 2023:
- Sony FX30: The super-35 version of the FX3, you get the grip and XLR inputs you’ll need and at a more affordable price.
- Sony FX3: an incredible cinema camera that’s well-rounded with many features. It’s also quite user-friendly. If you’ve used a DSLR and mirrorless camera in the past, you will be right at home with the FX3.
- Sony FX6: is a compact cinema camera with cine-style imaging. The Sony FX6 can capture impressive cinematic video while also weighing less than 2 lbs.
- Sony FR7: A Cinema Pan Tilt Zoom, it’s in essence an FX6 in a different form factor with ]remote control.
- Sony FX9: Sony’s full-frame 6K sensor camera that is optimized for fast workflow
- Sony BURANO: With an 8.6K full-frame sensor, Sony BURANO’s color science is designed to match that in the Venice 2
- Venice 2: Sony’s flagship cinema camera, Venice 2 can be found on motion picture sets around the world.
Sony’s lenses lineup
Sony offers a wide selection of lenses for both still and video use. Here is our list of the top Sony lenses you should consider.
Best Cinema Lenses:
Best Cinema Lens for Super-35 image sensors:
Photo Lenses that are great for video:
- Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM II
- Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II
- Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
- Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM
- Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM
Although Sony makes lenses for their cameras, there are also third-party companies that compete in the marketplace. For a more extensive list of the best Sony lenses, check out the best Sony lenses buyer’s guide.
Which camera is best for me?
We provided you with a list of Sony cameras from a wide price range and features. As for which camera is best for you, it will depend on the budget you are willing to invest in the camera. Also, remember that the camera body is one thing, and it would be best if you also considered the lenses you need to buy depending on the specific situation.
Wrapping it up
Sony’s lineup covers every specific need that photographers, videographers, and filmmakers could need. Sony was one of the first companies to lead the charge into the mirrorless market. So, it has years more experience than other camera compies. Sony is the way to go if you are looking for a mirrorless camera. Though, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there. Other camera manufacturers have great mirrorless options as well. However, if you decide to go with a Sony camera, you won’t be disappointed. Refer to this list, and you will end up with a great camera you can use for years to come.