by IR Staff

posted Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at 12:00 PM EDT


To make a great camera, it doesn't always need to be filled with every bell and every whistle, nor does it need to cost an arm and a leg. Not every camera needs to be designed for high-end or professional uses for it to be impressive and capable of capturing beautiful photos and stunning videos. There are photographers and multimedia creators of all skill levels and budgets. It's clear that camera manufacturers can make fantastic cameras for both beginners and enthusiasts that combine amazing image quality, performance, versatile features and good price points.

Today, in the first installment of our 2022 Camera of the Year Awards series, we're showcasing our picks for the Best Cameras for Beginners and the Best Cameras for Enthusiasts. 

Tomorrow, we'll reveal the winners of our Best Professional Camera categories, both crop-sensor and full-frame as well as Best Medium-Format Cameras, so be sure to check back to learn which of these higher-end cameras take the top spot!


Best Camera for Beginners - Canon R10

Until this year, the Canon R-series were all full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the new EOS R10 is the first of two new RF-mount cameras with APS-C sensors. With the R10, especially, Canon is taking its popular R-series in a new direction, opening the line up for more beginner- and intermediate-level users. The Canon R10 is the most affordable R-series model to date, though, despite the fairly low price point, the camera is packed with nice features, good performance and is very easy to use. Centered around a 24MP APS-C sensor and paired up with their latest image processor, the Canon R10 packs quite a punch. The sensor and good ISO range offer excellent image quality in various situations, the fast processor offers good burst shooting at up to 15fps (or 23fps with electronic shutter), 4K video is offered at up to 30fps, and the autofocusing system is surprisingly capable and sophisticated. The R10 even inherits the same subject-detection and tracking technology as in the high-end EOS R3 camera.


At just under $1000 body-only (though less with current sales/promotions), the Canon R10 isn't what we'd consider a full-on "entry-level" camera, but it does lower the entry price into Canon's excellent RF-mount mirrorless system. It's a fantastic camera for the money. Excellent design, quality and ergonomics combined with good image quality and performance make the EOS R10 a no-brainer for those looking for a simple, easy-to-use camera that is also very versatile -- an easy winner for our Best Beginner Camera of 2022!

R10 + RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM: 324mm, f/6.3, 1/800s, ISO 200

More info: R10 Hands-on Preview / Gallery / Lab shots

Buy now: Amazon, Adorama and B&H

Try before you buy: Lensrentals

Best Camera for Beginners, Runner-up: OM System OM-5

While the Canon EOS R10 offers something new and distinct within the Canon EOS R ecosystem, the OM System OM-5 is a much more familiar entry to the OM System Micro Four Thirds system. That's partly why the OM-5 is taking the second spot. However, that doesn't mean the OM System OM-5 isn't a good camera – it is! While it doesn't bring many new features to the table, it performs very well across the board. It's compact, lightweight and stylish. It also includes improved weather sealing, including an IP53 rating. The rugged camera is up for almost anything and can withstand even the worst weather.

The OM System OM-5 is a compact, lightweight and stylish Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera. While identical in appearance to the Olympus E-M5 Mark III, the OM System OM-5 delivers better durability and weather sealing than its predecessor.

On the inside, the 20.4-megapixel Live MOS image sensor is unchanged, but it's paired with more processing power, allowing for new features like handheld High-Res Composite shooting, which is processed in-camera by the way, Live ND and Starry Sky AF. The OM-5 may not break any new ground for Olympus and OM fans, but it is a great option for beginning photographers thanks to a fair price of $1,199, extreme durability and access to a vast range of Micro Four Thirds lenses.

OM System OM-5 with OM 12-40mm F2.8 II lens at 20mm (40mm equiv.), F6.3, 8s, ISO 1600. This image has been edited.

More info: OM-5 Hands-on Preview / Gallery / Lab shots 

Buy now: Amazon, Adorama and B&H

Try before you buy: Lensrentals


Best Camera for Enthusiasts - Fujifilm X-T5

The Fujifilm X-T series has been one of our all-time favorite cameras series, with the first X-T1 earning an award from us back in 2014. The X-T3 was even our top pick for Best Overall in 2018. So it's no surprise to see the latest-generation model, the X-T5 continuing its legacy of excellence and then earning an award from us. The Fuji X-T5 keeps what we all know and love about Fujifilm X Series cameras, with its stylish design, ample and unique physical controls and durable build. But it's the new imaging pipeline that's really takes this new X-T5 to new heights. Sharing the same sensor and processor as the flagship X-H2, the X-T5's 40MP X-Tran sensor gives this enthusiast camera a huge boost in resolution, versatility and overall imaging performance.


In many ways, the X-T5 is essentially the X-H2 but in a smaller, lighter and arguably more stylish exterior. The X-H2 is great if you often use longer, heavier lenses, but it's hard to beat the unique controls and the lightweight yet weather-sealed design of the X-T5. It's an extremely versatile camera that's adept at handling all sorts of photos and video tasks. Like with saw with the X-H2, the X-T5 offers amazing image quality with tons of resolving power, the AF system is upgraded with AI-based subject-detection modes now, and the video features include 6.2K 30p and 4K 60p video among a host of high-end options.

X-T5 + XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6: 400mm, F6.4, 1/480s, ISO 1250, -1EV

Overall, the Fujifilm X-T5 kept everything that made the predecessor some fantastic cameras and then took things further to make it better than ever. Plus, considering all the features and capabilities it offers, as well as its incredibly aggressive $1700 price tag, the Fujifilm X-T5 is hard to ignore if you're an enthusiast photographer.

More info: X-T5 Hands-on Preview / Gallery / Lab shots

Buy now: Amazon, Adorama and B&H

Try before you buy: Lensrentals

Best Camera for Enthusiasts, Runner-up: Canon EOS R7

Canon added a pair of APS-C cameras to its EOS R system this summer with the release of the EOS R7 and EOS R10. The R10 took home the "Best Camera for Beginners" category, and if not for the excellent Fujifilm X-T5, the R7 would've made it a clean sweep for Canon.

The Canon EOS R7 is a stylish APS-C mirrorless camera with a large front grip and comfortable design. It also includes a dedicated autofocus point joystick, helping to make it a good option for enthusiast photographers. 

The EOS R7 has a lot going for it, including an impressive, all-new 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, continuous shooting up to 30 frames per second (with the electronic shutter) and AI-powered subject detection autofocus. The camera's AF system is especially impressive, built upon a similar system as the flagship Canon EOS R3 full-frame mirrorless camera.

Canon EOS R7 with Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens at 400mm (640mm equiv.), F6.3, 1/2000s, ISO 1600. This image has been edited.

The Canon R7 is the mirrorless spiritual successor to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, making it a great choice for enthusiast photographers looking to capture landscapes, portraits, wildlife and sports photography. It's an especially excellent option for wildlife and sports, given its high-speed performance and 1.6x crop factor.

More info: Canon R7 Hands-on Review / Gallery / Lab shots

Buy now: Amazon, Adorama and B&H

Try before you buy: Lensrentals

• • •

Imaging Resource Camera of the Year 2022:

Best Ultra-Wide & Wide-Angle Lenses

Best Best Pro Cameras & Best Medium-Format Camera

Best Telephoto & Super-Telephoto Lenses

Best Standard Lens & Lens of the Year

Best Overall Camera of the Year 2022