Published May 12, 2021
If you want a camera that offers more advanced features than typical budget options, there are several products available in the $500-1000 price range that should fit the bill.
The cameras in this buying guide tend to offer more direct controls than cheaper models, better autofocus systems, and some feature 4K video capture as well. Some of them are easy to pick up and use, while others require a bit more work to get the hang of.
Point-and-shoot: Sony a6100
In addition to taking great photos, the a6100 has one of the simplest and most powerful autofocus systems we’ve tested, especially in this class of camera. Selecting your subject is easy, and the camera’s ability to track moving people is phenomenal.
The a6100 has a selfie-friendly flip-up touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder of average quality. Burst shooting tops out at 11 fps with continuous autofocus.
Where the a6100 falls short is in terms of usability and video. It’s not the most engaging camera to use, with cluttered controls and confusing menus, but the auto mode and simple, powerful autofocus mean it’s a great point-and-shoot. On the video side, though there’s plenty of detail, there’s a lot of rolling shutter and a sizable crop when shooting 4K/30p video (the latter isn’t an issue at 24p). That said, the camera’s AF system can work as well for video as it does for stills.
More control: Fujifilm X-T30
While its autofocus system can’t keep up with the Sony’s, the X-T30 is a very good camera in its own right. Unlike the a6100, the X-T30 is engaging to use, with plenty of direct controls and a less intimidating menu system. While its LCD can’t flip all the way up for selfies, it does offer a good-sized electronic viewfinder. Fujifilm did drop the ball in terms of ergonomics on the rear of the camera, with poor placement of the Q.Menu button and joystick, which some may find frustrating.
The X-T30’s sensor is impressive, with Fujifilm’s pleasing JPEG colors being one of the highlights. Video is outstanding in terms of both quality and features, with no crop and very little rolling shutter. As mentioned above, the X-T30’s autofocus system isn’t best-in-class, but it is capable of good subject tracking after some easy setting adjustment.
We’ve picked our two winners above, but there are several other cameras that fit into the to $500-1000 price range, many of which are also worth consideration. We’ve listed them all out below with detailed breakdowns of their features and performance:
* This camera has not been fully reviewed and is not eligible for an award.