If you’re shopping for a mirrorless camera, you’ve come to the right place! Mirrorless is the most exciting development in cameras since the birth of digital photography, and on this page I’ll highlight my favourite models! Mirrorless cameras can pack the quality, control and flexibility of a DSLR with their large sensors, exposure adjustment and interchangeable lenses, but by dispensing with the mirror, have the potential to be smaller, lighter, quieter and faster. Since they use their main imaging sensor for focusing, they also have the potential to track and focus subjects right into the corners while also exploiting face and eye-detection, sometimes even for animal subjects. With 100% electronic composition, you’ll also be able to use a viewfinder for everything you’d see on the screen, including playing images, assisting focus, previewing effects, white balance and colour adjustments, as well as filming and playing movies, and even navigating menus – all much easier in bright conditions than using the screen, not to mention more comfortable for those who are longer-sighted.
The best mirrorless cameras have also banished performance issues of early models and now boast viewfinders with large, detailed images, not to mention focusing and burst shooting capabilities that most DSLRs can only dream of. Compared to a DSLR there’s inevitably greater power consumption, so batteries won’t last as long, but the latest models are certainly catching-up. For me, mirrorless cameras are more compelling than DSLRs in almost every category and price-point, and I personally made the switch ten years ago when Panasonic and Olympus launched Micro Four Thirds, later supplementing my collection with Fujifilm and Sony gear. Here are my recommendations!
Like DSLRs, most manufacturers have developed their own mirrorless system with a lens mount that’s not compatible with rival systems. There’s Sony’s e-mount which is designed for APS-C or full-frame bodies. There’s Fujifilm’s X-mount, designed for APS-C bodies only. Canon has RF for APS-C or full-frame, as well as the older EF-M mount for APS-C. Nikon has the Z-mount for APS-C or full-frame bodies.
The exceptions are two alliances: Micro Four Thirds and L-mount. The former employs a Four thirds sensor that’s a little smaller than APS-C and was co-developed by Panasonic and Olympus who share the same mount, allowing them to use each other’s lenses, as well as third party models designed for the system. The second alliance is L-mount, based on Leica’s full-frame system, but now partnered with Panasonic and Sigma who have both released full-frame bodies and lenses, all of which are compatible with each other. I’ll be recommending a mix of all formats in each category.Check prices at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!
Best budget mirrorless cameras
New mirrorless cameras start around the $500 price, for which you’ll get a camera with an APS-C or Four Thirds sensor, a basic kit zoom lens and manual control; most will also have wifi to connect to your phone, but at this price you won’t generally get a viewfinder, so you’ll be composing with your screen only. If your budget is lower than $500, look for a second hand model or an entry-level DSLR instead. One of the cheapest budget mirrorless cameras worth having is the Canon EOS M200 which sports a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor, confident focusing, Wifi and a tilting touchscreen which can tilt-up to face you – not only is it a solid all-rounder, but it’s also an ideal entry-point for vlogging; see my Canon EOS M200 review for more details.
If your budget can stretch to around $650, one of my favourite mirrorless cameras is the Canon EOS M50 which packs a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor with great autofocus, a fully-articulated touchscreen, built-in viewfinder, Wifi and microphone input into a very compact body – a great all-rounder that’s ideal for vlogging and YouTube videos, although think of its video quality as being 1080 only as its 4k mode is too cropped to be useful; see my Canon EOS M50 review for more details. Note the more recent Mark II version is a very mild update, so go for whichever is cheapest.
Note: now that Canon has EOS R cameras in both full-frame and APS-C versions, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new EOS M cameras or EF-M lenses added to the existing collection – this is in turn why you can often find them discounted. But you can still adapt any EF DSLR lens to EOS M cameras if desired.
Priced a little higher still is the Fujifilm X-T200 which packs a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor with good autofocus, a large touchscreen which angles-out to face you, as well as being one of the cheapest models you’ll find with a built-in viewfinder and a microphone input (albeit one which will need an adapter plug for most microphones). As a Fujifilm X camera, you’ll also enjoy their lovely photo processing as well as access to a wide selection of native lenses.
Best Mid-range mirrorless cameras
The mid-range category, starting at around $800 for a body without a lens, is where things start to get more interesting as they normally include tougher bodies with a larger and more detailed viewfinder, faster shooting, better quality movies, more controls and improved connectivity including microphone inputs and sometimes headphone outputs which can greatly improve your audio quality for movies. Interestingly, the actual still photo quality may not be significantly improved over budget models though.
The first model to mention is the Sony A6100, sporting a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor, 4k video, 11fps shooting, viewfinder and tilting touchscreen. Indeed it may also make potential A6400 buyers question if they really need weather-sealing, an XGA viewfinder and S-Log profiles, or if they should save around $150. If you like Sony but your focus is on vlogging, consider the ZV-E10 instead.
Another compelling model in this category is the Fujifilm X-T30, a classy-looking retro-styled model with a 26 Megapixel APS-C sensor, excellent autofocus, a built-in viewfinder and Wifi; there’s also a mic input although you’ll need an adapter for it to work with popular models. There’s no built-in stabilisation, the screen won’t flip to face you, but you do get Fujifilm’s lovely photo processing, most of the video and AF capabilities of the flagship X-T4, as well as access to the best selection of native APS-C lenses – it’s a great choice for someone who wants to start building a serious system without breaking the bank; see my Fujifilm X-T30 review for more details. Note the more recent Mark II version represents a mild update so go for whichever is cheapest.
If you love the quality and features of the X-T30 but wish it had built-in stabilisation, a flip-screen and more modern PASM exposure control, look no further than the Fujifilm X-S10, a newer model that’s already a popular choice in the mid-range category.
For much the same price as the two Fujifilms, you could alternatively get the Sony A6400 with a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor. The body is essentially the same as the earlier A6300, so sadly there’s still no built-in stabilisation, but the screen can angle up by 180 degrees to face you for vlogging or selfies. Video shooters will also appreciate the unlimited recording time, as the A6400 was one of the first models to allow clips longer than half an hour even in 4k. There’s also a mic input, although if you mount it on the hotshoe, you’ll block the flip-up screen. Check out my Sony A6400 review for more details. Do remember though, if you don’t need the weather-sealed body or picture profiles for grading video, and can put up with a lower resolution viewfinder, you can save a bit of cash and go for the Sony A6100 instead, which is otherwise identical.
Canon’s EOS R10 is another good option around this price point, with a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor, great autofocus, side-hinged flip-screen, mic input and built-in stabilisation.
An older favourite that i’m still very fond of is the Olympus OMD EM5 III which brings confident autofocus to a compact but ergonomic body that also features fantastic built-in stabilisation, a fully-articulated touchscreen, weatherproof body and a raft of cunning image processing and long exposure modes. Sure, the sensor remains smaller than APSC, but it remains a very well-featured and attractive camera overall, especially if you can get a good deal on one. See my Olympus OMD EM5 III review for more details.
Also keep an eye open for deals on the Canon EOS M6 II which offers uncropped 4k video with decent autofocus, albeit with an optional removable viewfinder and a screen that only tilts vertically. See my Canon EOS M6 II review for more details.
Best high-end mirrorless cameras
Spend over $1000 on a body and you’ve entered the high-end category where cameras with Four Thirds or APS-C sensors become tougher and faster, targeting sports and action, or at least very active kids and pets. Built-in stabilisation becomes more common, video features become better too with less cropped footage and higher frame rates. You can also expect twin card slots on many models, and also begin to see older models with larger full-frame sensors, discounted to clear stocks. Most notably, keep an eye on the Canon EOS RP, essentially a full-frame version of the EOS M50 with the 6D Mark II’s sensor – a good option for existing Canon owners looking to go full-frame or mirrorless, albeit only sporting a single card slot and cropped 4k; see my Canon EOS RP review for more details.
For around the same price as the RP you could get the Panasonic Lumix G9, an older camera which may have a much smaller 20 Megapixel Four Thirds sensor, but still manages to deliver decent quality at all but the highest sensitivities. The continuous focusing isn’t quite as confident as its rivals, but it sports a bunch of modes which can capture action before you fully depress the shutter, not to mention a fully-articulated screen, built-in stabilisation, twin card slots, an enormous viewfinder image and 4k up to 60p, now in 10-bit internal thanks to a firmware update – indeed it’s one of the cheapest cameras to offer 4k 60p, making it a tempting choice for film-makers who can’t stretch to the GH series, or who like having the greater photo capabilities. See my Lumix G9 review for more details.
If your focus is pro video around this price point, consider the Panasonic Lumix GH5 II, costing a little more than the G9, but delivering more professional movie capabilities to high-end film-makers. It’s arguably the best pro video camera at its price, although the G9’s firmware updates make it good enough for most.
Also look out for deals on the Olympus OMD EM1 III, another camera with a 20 Megapixel Four Thirds sensor and fully-articulated screen, but this time with more confident autofocusing for sports and wildlife, as well as excellent weather-sealing. While the video isn’t quite as good as the Panasonics at this price, the EM1 III still captures very respectable footage and still has the one of the best built-in stabilisation systems around.
Another model to consider is the Sony A6600, the flagship in the company’s APSC series, which takes the great autofocus, burst shooting and movie capabilities of the A6400, but adds built-in stabilisation, a much longer life battery, headphone jack and eye detection in movies. The stabilisation may not be as effective as the Micro Four Thirds bodies in this category and there’s only one card slot, but the bigger battery gives the A6600 the longest lifespan of its rivals which is great when coupled with unlimited recording times. See my Sony A6600 review for more details.
Arguably the best-featured camera with an APS-C sensor is the Fujifilm X-T5, which takes the already desirable X-T3 but adds the 40 Megapixel sensor with built-in stabilisation and larger battery from the X-H2, but packs it into the vintage-styled body many Fujifilm owners love. It may be priced uncomfortably close to the cheaper full-framers out there, but provides a higher-end feature-set that would cost considerably more on bodies with bigger sensors, coupled with a design aesthetic that will win many over. See my Fujifilm X-T5 review for more details. If you want all the bells and whistles from Fujifilm, consider the flagship X-H2 or X-H2S.
As you approach a body price of $2000, the full-frame market really opens-up. Arguably the most capable full-framer without breaking the bank is the Panasonic Lumix S5 which delivers a lot of the higher-end S1H at a much more affordable price. Budget film-makers will love the quality for the money, and it also has arguably the best ‘affordable’ kit zoom of any in this category with the 20-60mm. See my Lumix S5 review for more details.
Also look out for deals on the now-replaced Sony A7 III, the previous winner in this category, packing a 24 Megapixel full-frame sensor with excellent autofocus, built-in stabilisation, fast burst shooting, great quality 4k video, eye-detection, twin card slots, decent battery life and a tilting touchscreen. It’s no longer the newest model around which has resulted in discounts maintaining its desirability; see my Sony A7 III review for more details. Note if you have an existing collection of Nikon F-mount lenses though, you will prefer the Nikon Z6 which, for roughly the same money, also has a 24 Megapixel full-frame sensor, decent 4k (now with support for 10-bit) and built-in stabilisation. Firmware updates from Nikon are steadily improving its Z-series to become a serious rival to Sony, and they’ll focus adapted Nikon DSLR lenses better too.
The two big players at around the $2500 mark are the Canon EOS R6 and Sony A7 IV, both offering pretty much everything anyone could ask for without becoming too specialist or pricey. The EOS R6 delivers a lot of bang for the buck too, over-shadowed by the more expensive R5 at launch but becoming one of the more compelling models in the series – so long as you’re happy with the 20 Megapixel sensor (which you should be given it’s inherited from the 1Dx III flagship DSLR). The R6 gives you built-in stabilisation, a flip screen, 12fps bursts, excellent autofocus, good controls, excellent 4k video (albeit limited to 30 minute clips) and low noise images. See my Canon EOS R6 review for more details.
Meanwhile the newer Sony A7 IV may be classified as the entry-level model in Sony’s full-frame lineup, but like its predecessors, will more than satisfy the majority of photographers, videographers and hybrid shooters. The Mark IV boosts the resolution to 33 Megapixels without compromising noise levels, enhances an already excellent autofocus system, sports 10 bit, 4k at 50 or 60p (albeit with a 1.5x crop), a flip screen, improved stabilisation and the ability to record clips longer than 30mins without overheating. It’ll even work as a standard USB webcam. The top burst speed of 10fps reduces to 8 when shooting RAW or even 6fps depending on compression and there’s still no focus bracketing or bulb timers, but it remains one of the most feature-packed and capable cameras at this price. See my Sony A7 IV review for more details.
Beyond here we hit the $3000-plus mark with full-frame models like the Canon EOS R5, Sony A7r IV and Nikon Z7 which all capture stills with over 40 Megapixel resolution, plus are packed with other features I’ve detailed in my reviews – see my Canon EOS R5 review, Sony A7r IV review and Nikon Z7 review for more details. All are extremely powerful cameras.
Finally at the very top-end of the market are the Canon EOS R3 and Sony Alpha 1, the former aimed at pro sports and the latter aimed at pretty much anything you care to throw at it. They’re the most expensive full-frame mirrorless cameras to date, but extremely capable, especially the Alpha 1 which combines high res photo and video with pro-sports level burst speeds. See my Canon EOS R3 review and Sony Alpha 1 review for more details. PS – if you’re a sports or wildlife shooter who can’t stretch to either of these flagship models, consider the Sony A9 II or look for deals on the Olympus OMD E-M1X, which may use a smaller Four Thirds sensor, but packs it in a tough and fast body that handles very well; see my Olympus OMD E-M1X review for more details.Check prices at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book, an official Cameralabs T-shirt or mug, or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!