The Best Budget Sony Cameras You Can Buy in 2021 For Beginners, Amateurs, and Professionals


Sony mirrorless cameras have now become some of the most popular options on the market. The extensive features and fantastic autofocus have caused many photographers to switch over to Sony. In this article, we will be looking at the best budget options from Sony for photographers at every level.

Best Sony Cameras for Beginners

Sony Alpha a6000

Key Specifications

Price: $648
Sensor Type: APS-C  
Resolution: 24 megapixels
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 3 inch tilting LCD, 921,600 dots
Max burst speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 24.00p/29.97p/59.94p

Kit Lens

Focal Length: 16 to 50mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 75mm)
Maximum Aperture: f/3.5 to f/5.6
Weight: 116 g

With a combined total weight of only 460 g, the Sony Alpha a6000 truly is a small but mighty camera. The Sony a6000 is a more expensive camera compared to options from other manufacturers; however, it does offer a great deal more in terms of value. For instance, the Sony a6000 can shoot at a rate of 11 frames per second. This is significantly higher than most other cameras around this price point. Along with its 24-megapixel sensor, the Sony a6000 could prove to be a great option if you’re starting out. 

The kit lens included with this camera covers a wide range of focal lengths, making it useful for many photography genres. And if the kit lens doesn’t suit your requirements, the Sony E mount has the widest range of mirrorless lens options currently available.

All in all, the Sony a6000 is quite possibly the most capable camera that any beginner can purchase. 

For: 

  • Small and lightweight form factor, you can take this camera almost anywhere. 

  • A huge selection of lenses available for the mount. 

  • Can accommodate both full-frame and APS-C lenses from Sony. 

  • Compatible with a wide range of accessories. 

  • Can shoot at a whopping 11 frames per second. 

Against:

  • Relatively expensive considering entry-level options from other manufacturers. 

  • Can be difficult to autofocus in low-light scenarios.

  • High-ISO performance could be better. 

Sony Alpha a6100

Key Specifications

Price: $848
Sensor Type: APS-C  
Resolution: 24 megapixels
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 180° tilting touchscreen LCD, 921,600 dots
Max burst speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 24.00p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]

Kit Lens

Focal Length: 16 to 50mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 75mm)
Maximum Aperture: f/3.5 to f/5.6
Weight: 116 g

If you can stretch the budget a little beyond the Sony a6000, you have the option of purchasing a camera that is a huge upgrade. The Sony a6100 is a camera that offers high-end features that rival much more expensive cameras. The autofocus features alone make the Sony a6100 worth the extra cost in comparison to the Sony a6000. Autofocus features such as eye detection work on both humans and animals eyes, meaning you can comfortably capture your furry and non-furry loved ones. 

The Sony a6100 also offers high-end UHD 4K video that is of a similar quality to cameras that cost more than double. The video features coupled with the 180-degree tilting screen means you can easily film yourself and others. In essence, the Sony a6100 is probably the greatest value for money camera that you can purchase. 

For: 

  • Incredible value for money.

  • High-resolution 4K video.

  • One of the best autofocus systems on the market.

  • Includes wireless features via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Against:

  • The price point is leaning a little into larger-sensor territory. 

  • Battery life could be better, especially when filming in 4K. 

  • The kit lens could end up being somewhat of a bottleneck on this camera. 

Best Sony Cameras for Amateurs

Sony a6600

Key Specifications

Price: $1598
Sensor Type: APS-C
Resolution: 24 megapixels
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: 180° tilting touchscreen LCD, 921,600 dots
Max burst speed: 11 fps
Max video resolution: UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]

Kit Lens

Focal Length: 18 to 135mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 27 to 202.5mm)
Maximum Aperture: f/3.5 to 5.6
Weight: 326 g

The Sony a6600 is the current most premium APS-C camera from Sony. Although the camera continues with a similar 24-megapixel sensor as the Sony a6100, the implementation is different. For instance, the body of the a6600 is larger and has a more substantial grip. Ergonomics are important, and the a6600 offers a better experience in that regard. Another improvement in this camera is the higher resolution viewfinder, although the biggest improvement over other APS-C models mentioned in this article is the in-body image stabilization. Having built-in stabilization from the sensor prevents motion blur when shooting at slower shutter speeds and can help reduce shake when filming. The Sony a6600 also comes with a headphone jack, which is crucial for monitoring audio when filming. 

Speaking of filming, the Sony a6600 does not have time limits for recording, and with the significantly larger battery, it can film for much longer too. Along with the S-Log and HLG profiles, the Sony a6600 is a highly capable stills and video camera. Ultimately, the Sony a6600 is the most refined and capable APS-C camera that Sony has produced. 

The kit lens that comes with this camera offers a huge focal range, making it one of the most well-rounded lenses on the market. The downside is the smaller aperture at the longer end of the focal range, which may limit it with a camera as capable as the A6600. 

For: 

  • Significantly improved build and design.

  • Huge upgrade in battery life.

  • No limit on recording video.

  • Log profiles for increase dynamic range when filming. 

  • Includes wireless features via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Against:

  • Kit lens may hold back what the camera is truly capable of. 

  • Price point pushes it into full frame territory.

  • Single card slot means there’s no redundancy.

Sony Alpha a7R II

Key Specifications

Price: $1,496-1,996
Sensor Type: Full frame
Resolution: 42.4 megapixels
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: Tilting LCD, 1,228,800 dots
Max burst speed: 5 fps
Max video resolution: UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]

Kit Lens

Focal Length: 24 to 70mm
Maximum Aperture: f/4.0
Weight: 426 g

As we start to move onto the more “serious” cameras, we now have our first full frame system for this list. The Sony a7R II is a remarkably capable camera considering its price point. Not only is the sensor much larger than the APS-C options listed above, but it also offers a great more resolution. The extra megapixels mean that the Sony a7R II can capture a great deal of detail and offer more flexibility in post. In addition to the high-resolution files, the Sony a7R II offers a fantastic dynamic range and impressive high ISO performance. 

Another benefit of the Sony a7R II is that it has in-body image stabilization. The sensor can compensate for certain movements, allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds. 

In essence, the Sony a7R II can produce some of the best image quality around this price point. The downside is you may need to update your computer system too if you plan on performing any serious edits on such large files. 

The Sony a7R II can also film in UHD 4K at up to 30 frames per second using the full width of the sensor. This means that when you switch between video and stills, and there’s no real crop factor to adjust to. The only issue with this camera is that its autofocus system is not as capable as some of the other cameras on the list. 

For: 

Against:

  • Kit lens is likely to bottleneck what this camera is really capable of when it comes to image quality.

  • Battery life can be a little poor, especially when filming. 

  • The autofocus system won’t keep up with many of the other options in this list.

  • Can overheat when filming 4K video for prolonged periods. 

  • Single card slot means there’s no redundancy.

Best Sony Camera for Professionals

Sony a7 III

Key Specifications

Price: $1,998 ($3,096 with suggested kit lens)
Sensor Type: Full frame
Resolution: 24.2 megapixels
Lens mount: Sony E
Screen: Tilting touchscreen LCD, 921,600 dots
Max burst speed: 10 fps
Max video resolution: UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]

Kit Lens

Focal Length: 24 to 105mm
Maximum Aperture: f/4.0
Weight: 663 g

The Sony a7 III is one of the most well-rounded camera systems currently on the market. It’s a camera that can do almost everything really well. The build and design are similar to high-end professional cameras without the price tag. The image quality is excellent both in normal shooting environments and low-light scenarios. In fact, when shooting at higher ISOs, the Sony a7 III is superb and comfortably the best in this list. 

Although it may not have the resolution of the Sony a7R II, it makes up for it with a better build, a significantly better autofocus system, far better battery life, and high-speed burst rates. 

Along with the camera, there is the option to purchase the Sony 24-105mm f/4.0 G lens. This lens produces fantastic results both due to its highly capable optics. 

Ultimately, if you’re a professional and require a camera that can keep up in almost any scenario, the Sony a7 III is probably the best choice. 

For: 

  • A low-light king of a camera. 

  • Full frame 4K video. 

  • Dual card slots for extra redundancy. 

  • Much better battery life in comparison to the a7R II. 

  • Probably the most well-rounded camera system on the market. 

Against:

  • A little pricey when coupled with the suggested kit lens. 

  • Lacks a fully articulating screen, which could prove more useful when filming

  • Lower-resolution sensor when compared to the a7R II. 



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