AP has been testing cameras since the 19th century so we know a thing or two. Don’t miss this round-up of the AP testing team’s favourite and most highly rated cameras from our archives. You can buy either new or used with confidence!

Compacts and Superzoom/Bridge cameras

Olympus Tough TG-6
£370 l www.olympus.co.uk
Olympus’s Tough compacts have habitually won our underwater camera group tests, and this latest model is still the best of its type. It’s waterproof to 15m, shockproof against a 2.4m drop, crushproof and freezeproof. The 25-100mm equivalent lens is paired with a 12MP sensor, and viewing is via a 3in LCD. This is also one of the few rugged cameras that can record raw files.

Panasonic LX100 II
£729 l www.panasonic.com/uk
A high-end compact for creative photography, the LX100 II is based around a 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens and a 17MP Four Thirds sensor that features a true multi aspect-ratio design. It also boasts a full range of traditional analogue control dials, and the corner-mounted viewfinder is complemented by touchscreen LCD.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III
£1,119 l www.canon.co.uk

This unique zoom compact offers excellent image quality by employing the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor as several of Canon’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, along with a 24-72mm equivalent lens.

A central viewfinder, fully articulated touchscreen and comprehensive external controls round off a superb little camera for enthusiast photographers.

Sony RX100 VII
£1,199 l www.sony.co.uk
Sony has somehow crammed a 24-200mm equivalent zoom, pop-up electronic viewfinder, tilting screen, 20 fps shooting and 4K video recording into a body that you can slip into a jacket pocket. With the firm’s latest AF technology also on board, it’s without doubt the most accomplished pocket camera on the market.

Fujifilm X100V
£1,300 l www.fujifilm.eu/uk
Fujifilm’s charismatic rangefinder-styled compact employs a fixed 23mm f/2 lens, APS-C sensor, traditional analogue controls and a unique hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder. In this latest version the lens has been redesigned for improved sharpness, and the back is now adorned with a tilting screen. It’s a truly gorgeous little camera.

Sony RX10 IV
£1,699 l www.sony.co.uk
This sets a new standard for superzoom cameras, with a 24-600mm equivalent lens, 20MP 1in sensor, and 24 fps continuous shooting. Its SLR-shaped body hosts a large electronic viewfinder and a decent set of physical controls. It’s the best all-in-one camera for wildlife or travel photography that you can buy right now (reviewed December 2017).

DSLR and mirrorless cameras

Nikon D3500
£400 with 18-55mm VR l www.nikon.co.uk
Nikon’s entry-level DSLR hits a sweet spot of capability versus affordability. It sports a 24MP APS-C sensor with a sensitivity range up to ISO 25,600, and can shoot at 5 frames per second. Its Guide Mode makes the camera easy to use for beginners, while full manual control is also available.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
£799 with 14-42mm lens l www.olympus.co.uk
With a charismatic retro design, fine handling, highly effective in-body stabilisation and attractive JPEG output, Olympus has made a camera that’s more pleasant to use than its entry-level competitors. Its 20MP sensor delivers good results up to ISO 3200 at least, and its tilting screen can be set to face forwards beneath the camera. The 16MP Mark III is also still a great buy.

Canon EOS 250D
£599 with 18-55mm IS lens l www.canon.co.uk
One of the smallest DSLRs around, the EOS 250D strikes a great balance between portability and usability. It’s equipped with a novice-friendly Guided Mode, while Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS sensor provides excellent autofocus in live view. Image quality is very good, delivering vibrant colours and plenty of fine detail.

Canon EOS M50
£649 with 15-45mm lens l www.canon.co.uk
This likeable little camera is simple and approachable for novices, while offering plenty of manual control for enthusiasts. Its central electronic viewfinder is joined by a fully articulated touchscreen, autofocus is fast and accurate, and it’s capable of producing consistently fine images. The updated Mark II version adds a few minor extra features.

Fujifilm X-T30
£899 with 15-45mm lens l www.fujifilm.eu/uk
This lovely little camera provides excellent performance, while preserving the charm and charisma of the X-series. It’s a great all-rounder, and handles exceptionally well thanks to an intuitive interface based around traditional analogue dials. Image quality is superb in both raw and JPEG, aided by Fujifilm’s peerless Film Simulation modes.

Panasonic Lumix G9
£999 l www.panasonic.com/uk
Easily the finest stills camera Panasonic has ever produced, the G9 backs up its sturdy construction with a winning combination of high-speed shooting, fast focusing and effective in-body stabilisation. Boasting a control layout as complete as most pro-level DSLRs, it’s an extremely versatile camera that’s capable of dealing with any subject.

Fujifilm X-S10
£949 l www.fujifilm.eu/uk
Fujifilm’s latest model brings a distinct change in design. It looks much like a conventional DSLR, with electronic dials for changing exposure settings. But you still get Fujifilm’s signature fine image quality, along with in-body image stabilisation. The result is a camera that’s perfect for APS-C DSLR users looking to upgrade to mirrorless.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
£1,049 l www.olympus.co.uk
This small, fully featured and weather-sealed mirrorless camera is both a pleasure to use, and capable of great results. Its petite body finds space for an extensive complement of controls, along with class-leading 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, yet weighs in at just 414g. On-chip phase detection enables fast, decisive autofocus.

Fujifilm X-T4
£1,549 l www.fujifilm.eu/uk
Fujifilm has built on its outstanding X-T3 by adding in-body image stabilisation and a vari-angle screen. With high speed, impressive resolution and sophisticated autofocus, the X-T4 is the finest APS-C mirrorless camera yet, and a great choice for both demanding professionals and keen enthusiasts who would like to build a smaller, lighter system.

Nikon Z 6II
£1,999 l www.nikon.co.uk
This upgraded full-frame mirrorless all-rounder boasts a 24.5MP sensor, 273-point autofocus and rapid 14fps burst shooting. It also gains an SD card slot, alongside XQD/CFexpress. Its excellent viewfinder is complemented by a tilting screen, and both image quality and handling are superb. The older Z 6 remains a good buy for £500 less.

Sony Alpha 7 III
£1,749 l www.sony.co.uk
Sony’s enthusiast-focused full-frame mirrorless model is a remarkable all-rounder that’s packed full of high-end features.

Its 24MP sensor is supported by fast, responsive autofocus, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, 10 frames per second shooting and 4K video recording. Handling and battery life are notably improved over its predecessor, too.

Nikon D780
£2,199 l www.nikon.co.uk
The long-awaited successor to the D750 shows that there’s life in the DSLR yet. It’s superbly built with extensive weather sealing, handles brilliantly, and gives excellent results in any conditions. It’ll provide top-level service to photographers who want to keep using their F-mount lenses and still prefer an optical viewfinder.

Nikon Z 7II
£2,999 l www.nikon.co.uk
Nikon has delivered a sensible update to its flagship high-res model, with an additional SD card slot and slightly faster shooting. As before, its 45.7MP sensor gives stunning image quality, backed up by 5-axis in-body image stabilisation and fast, accurate autofocus. The viewfinder is superb, and F-mount SLR lenses can be used via the FTZ adapter.

Nikon D850
£2,499 l www.nikon.co.uk
This brilliant professional all-rounder provides a winning combination of high resolution and speed. Its 45.7MP sensor produces fine results at high ISOs, and the autofocus is incredibly responsive and accurate. Build quality and handling should satisfy the most demanding of users. It’s an absolutely sensational camera capable of tackling any type of subject.

Canon EOS R6
£2,499 l www.canon.co.uk
With this powerhouse all-rounder, Canon has finally got full-frame mirrorless absolutely right for stills photographers. It handles brilliantly, its subject-tracking autofocus is incredible, image quality is superb in both raw and JPEG, and the addition of in-body IS is transformative. It also works brilliantly with adapted EF-mount DSLR lenses.

Sony Alpha 7R IV
£3,499 l www.sony.co.uk
With its 61MP sensor, the A7R IV takes full-frame image quality to new heights, without compromising on speed or dynamic range. It’s as accomplished when shooting sports or wildlife as it is for landscapes or portraits. With an excellent viewfinder and effective in-body stabilisation, it’s the most capable all-rounder you can currently buy.

Leica M10 Monochrom
£7,400 l uk.leica-camera.com
Within its own specialist niche, this monochrome-only manual-focus rangefinder is almost perfect. Its build quality is stunning, and the pared-back design allows you to immerse yourself completely in the process of taking pictures. Most importantly, the 40.9MP sensor produces fantastic results, reaching a new pinnacle in black & white image quality.

Fujifilm GFX100S
£5,499 l www.fujifilm.eu/uk
Fujifilm’s second-generation super-high resolution camera places a 102MP medium-format sensor in a body the size of a full-frame DSLR.

On-chip phase detection provides rapid autofocus; in-body image stabilisation allows the camera to be used handheld with confidence. It’s perfect if you need to shoot in the field without compromising on image quality.

Further reading
What are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy?
What are the best DSLRs you can buy?