Whether you're a neophyte looking for a camera to learn on, or a seasoned enthusiast who demands gorgeous images and the latest tech, this was a banner year for everyone. Even if fewer and fewer people are buying cameras, there's no doubt about it—the options available today have never been better.
From Micro Four Thirds to Nikon, Canon, and Fujifilm, every system saw new models introduced, making for an overall strong market. After lab-testing as many as we could get our hands on, we've made our picks: these are the best cameras of 2016.
Best Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro2
Where To Buy$1,699.00 Amazon Buy $1,699.00 Adorama Buy $1,699.99 Best Buy Buy $1,699.95 Walmart Buy
Simply put, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is one of the most fun cameras around. While it may not be the fastest camera, or the best for traditional pro photographers, it is a blast to shoot with. It oozes quality in every way, and turns out amazing images thanks to Fuji's stellar lens lineup. If you love photography the way we do, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is worth getting to know. Read our review.
Best Beginner DSLR: Nikon D5500
If you're committed to getting a DSLR instead of a compact mirrorless camera, the Nikon D5500 is a wonderful place to start. Nikon's reputation for quality is well-earned, and the D5500 leverages every bit of Nikon's decades of experience in the industry. It's fast enough for most users, with excellent low light image quality and compatibility with almost every Nikon lens. For novices and experienced shooters alike, the D5500 is a fantastic choice. Read our review.
Best Point-and-Shoot: Canon PowerShot G9 X
While the point-and-shoot industry isn't what it once was, some cameras are still worth a look—especially if you want a compact camera that can run rings around your average smartphone. We think Canon's G9 X is a smart bet. It is excellent in low light, easy to use, produces wonderful photos, and it has a little bit of zoom when you need it. Read our review.
Best DSLR: Nikon D500
Where To Buy$1,896.95 Amazon Buy $1,896.95 Adorama Buy $1,899.99 Best Buy Buy $1,609.99 Walmart Buy
Though smartphone and mirrorless cameras have been encroaching on the turf of traditional DSLRs, the Nikon D500 is proof that the category has a lot of life left in it. With a combination of video quality, speed, and image quality that would've been unimaginable a few years ago, the Nikon D500 is one of the best DSLRs ever made.
While it doesn't have a full-frame sensor, the D500 has everything else you could want in a DSLR. It is especially well-suited to sports and action shooting, with speedy autofocus, fast burst speeds, and excellent video quality. Read our review.
Best Mirrorless Camera: Sony Alpha A6300
Though most people think of big, bulky DSLRs when they think of interchangeable lens cameras, mirrorless cameras turn that notion on its ear. The Sony A6300, for example, is fast, accurate, takes beautiful photos, and it can easily fit into a small bag. Whether you need a camera for sports, action, wildlife, portraits, video, or travel, the Sony A6300 will have your back. Read our review.
Best Camera Under $1,000: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Where To BuyClick for price Amazon Buy $449.00 Adorama Buy $449.00 Walmart Buy $449.00 Crutchfield Buy
If you've got a major life event coming up, you've perhaps thought about investing in a "real" camera with abilities far beyond your smartphone's capabilities. A budget of $1,000 is pretty typical, but it doesn't mean you have to spend it all on the camera.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II is speedy, takes great photos, has a viewfinder, and can be had for less than $800—which leaves you money to spend on lenses and other accessories. Read our review.
Best Camera For Shooting Video: Panasonic Lumix G85
If you're looking for a camera that is equally adept at shooting stills and video, the Panasonic G85 is a killer choice. It is durable and lightweight, sealed against dust and water, and can capture 4K video. The only downside for us? The lack of a headphone jack. That does limit the camera's upside, but being able to capture 4K video in the rain more than makes up for it. Read our review.
Best Camera for the Money: Panasonic Lumix GX85
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, Micro Four Thirds is where it's at. While the Olympus E-M10 II is one of our favorite still cameras under a grand, the Panasonic GX85 can outdo it in many ways, particularly if you care about capturing 4K video.
If you want to stretch your dollar as far as it'll go, the Panasonic GX85 is a solid start to your new kit. Not only is the body cheap and fully loaded, but the lenses in the Micro Four Thirds system are affordable, to boot. Read our review.
Best Camera for Kids: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8/8+
Photography is a wonderful hobby, giving people of all ages a creative outlet and a new way to see the world. The Fujifilm Instax cameras tap into this, making use of instant film packs that encourage you to slow down and think about what you're shooting.
Though the film costs can add up, the Instax Mini 8 can be had for right around $50, making it a fun, inexpensive way to encourage kids to see the world through a viewfinder, instead of a Snapchat filter. Read our instant camera roundup.