Best digital camera brands Sony digital cameras
Sony is a global giant when it comes to audiovisual manufacturing, and one of the best known names in LCD and plasma TVs, Blu-ray players, home cinema systems, camcorders and digital cameras.
Sony has a strong presence in the compact digital cameras market with its stylish Cyber-shot range, and it also produces several top-of-the-line digital SLR cameras.
Check our expert Which? reviews of the best digital cameras for reviews of cameras from Sony and other major brands.
Best cheap Sony digital cameras
Budget camera options from Sony have traditionally been a bit limited, but there is an increasing trend for lower prices on some of its compact models.
The W-series of Cyber-shot cameras has a few bargains to be found, including the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W570. As Sony releases so many compact models each year, it’s worth keeping an eye out for falling prices on older models. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W530 is a decent pocket-sized model that can be found for a reasonable price these days.
Best compact Sony digital cameras
Sony has put a strong focus on manufacturing slim, stylish digital cameras that will slip easily into a pocket, and if this is the kind of camera you’re after there are many Sony models to choose from.
The T-series of Cyber-shot cameras are at the forefront of Sony’s stylish range. These cameras tend to be slim, light, and available in a range of colours, but they’re very limited in terms of advanced features, so may not satisfy more hands-on photographers.
Touchscreen Sony cameras
If you're looking for a trendy touchscreen model, then Sony has a few to pick from in its Cyber-shot range.
For a reasonably-priced touchscreen option, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 is worth considering.
The newer Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10 has a 3.5-inch touchcreen and can capture Full HD video.
Best advanced Sony digital cameras
With all of its focus on slim, portable models, Sony has lagged behind some of its competitors when it comes to producing advanced cameras with more manual functions.
Some Sony cameras such as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V or the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V are worth considering if you're after more sophisticated model but, at present, Sony’s advanced compact range is rather limited.
One model worth looking out for is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V. This large bridge camera features a 20x optical zoom lens and a full range of manual controls.
Sony a55 and a33 Single Lens Reflex (SLT) cameras
Sony has developed an entirely new camera system, the SLT. The company has debuted the system with two SLT cameras, the Sony Alpha a55 and the Sony Alpha a33.
SLT stands for single lens translucent, and the two new cameras are smaller and lighter than typical digital SLRs. Both new Sony Alpha SLTs feature an Exmor APS CMOS sensor.
The mirrors in the new SLTs are fixed in place, and instead of moving they remain fixed.
As these mirrors are partially translucent, they allow most of the light to pass through to a sensor behind the mirror. The angled mirror also reflects light upwards to reach the autofocus system
Sony explains that this allows the cameras to be faster than other models of a similar class. The company claims that the a55 can capture ten frames per second at full resolution, while the a33 can capture seven.
As the SLT system has no traditional DSLR mirror, the viewfinder is not a standard DSLR optical viewfinder.
Instead, the SLT system uses an electronic viewfinder - a replica of the rear LCD screen that lets you preview picture settings.
The latest SLT model from Sony is the Sony alpha a35, which features a 16Mp sensor and captures seven shots per second.
Sony NEX camera system
The new Sony NEX-system offers an incredibly compact option if you're looking for interchangeable lenses and a large image sensor.
Sony’s NEX-C3 and NEX-5N cameras are significantly slimmer than a DSLR, though they have even fewer button controls, forcing you to rely on the on-screen menu when changing functions.
Crucially, they don't have a built-in flash, so you'll have to attach a flash to the top of the camera.
Unlike the Sony SLT system above, you cannot directly connect alpha-mount lenses to the NEX cameras - they have their own NEX-mount lenses.
The NEX-5N is the pricier of the two, and it offers 1080i HD video recording.
The cheaper NEX-C3, by contrast, offers lower resolution 720p HD video.
The NEX cameras are able to take 3D photos without the need for a specialist lens. Using Sony's 3D sweep panorama technology, you pan the camera across a scene and the camera automatically layers a series of shots to create a 3D effect.
For more on compact system cameras such as the Sony NEX range, read our compact system cameras explained guide.
Best Sony digital SLRs
Sony has a strong reputation for producing some very impressive digital SLRs, after initially entering this area of the camera market by taking over Konica Minolta’s DSLR production assets.
See all of our reviews of digital SLRs
One of the best things about Sony DSLRs is that they tend to feature image stabilisers built into the camera bodies. This saves you from having to seek out pricey lenses with their own stabilisers.
However, Sony has been so active in the DSLR field on the last couple of years that it's ended up flooding the market with a growing mob of barely distinguishable models. This isn't to say the cameras themselves aren't of a good standard, but picking one from another can certainly be bewildering.
Entry-level Sony DSLRs
Sony alpha 230 - 10.2Mp, no video mode, no Live View, max ISO 3200
Sony alpha 290 - 14Mp, no video mode, no Live View, max ISO 3200
Sony alpha 330 - 10Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 3200
Sony alpha 350 - 14Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 3200
Sony alpha 380 - 14Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 3200
Sony alpha 390 - 14Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 3200
Mid-level Sony DSLRs
Sony alpha 450 - 14.2Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 12,800
Sony alpha 500 - 12.2Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 12,800
Sony alpha 550 - 14Mp, no video mode, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 12,800
Sony alpha 560 - 14.2Mp, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 12,800, 1080i HD video
Sony alpha 560 - 16.2Mp, tilting Live View screen, max ISO 12,800, 1080i HD video