The culmination of countless hours of research brings us to this guide: the 10 best mirrorless cameras on sale today.
We’ll go into both the pros & cons for each of the top models, and dig into what other photographers are saying. Is a mirrorless option really better for your photography than a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, or is this just a passing fad?
Who benefits from mirrorless cameras?
DSLRs and their lenses can be heavy and bulky, making them awkward and uncomfortable to carry for long periods. Photographers who want a more compact, quieter, and lighter camera are now seeing the real benefits of ‘going mirrorless.’
If you have back or neck problems, you’ll love the lighter, simpler designs of mirrorless cameras. So will folks who are just fed-up lugging heavy gear around with them on every shoot.
What’s the point of mirrorless cameras?
In 2009, Olympus was the first camera manufacturer to make photographers sit up and take note of the mirrorless camera. They called this the Pen E-P1, and it was to become a game changer. But why did they bother?
Well, mirrorless cameras offer a serious, functional alternative to modern DSLRs, yet maintain exceptional image quality. They have large sensors packed into neater, more compact bodies, and they contain fewer moving parts. Having fewer parts means: there’s a lot less that can go wrong.
Modern mirrorless cameras are able to shoot faster than DSLRs thanks to the simpler mechanics. You’ve also got interchangeable lenses—another feature that makes them superior to regular point-and-shoot compacts.
What should you look for in a mirrorless camera?
Not all mirrorless cameras are equal, and each has their pluses and minuses (not unlike DSLRs). This guide walks you through your options. It helps you to understand the differences, what to look for in the pros, and what to watch out for with the cons.
What’s in a name?
People and manufacturers may refer to mirrorless cameras using different names. We have MILC (mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera), CSC (compact system cameras), and hybrid cameras. For the sake of simplicity we’ll stick to ‘mirrorless cameras’ throughout this guide.
Spotlight: Our Top Three Mirrorless Cameras
The past couple of years have seen a huge increase in the demand for mirrorless cameras. The main reason is because they’ve improved so much. My top three picks offer serious and viable options to the equivalent in DSLR cameras.
The Sony range offers some top sellers, and my first slot goes to the Sony Alpha a6000. This is an extraordinary mirrorless camera aimed at the more serious photographer. It’s a real beauty, too.
Fujifilm X-T2 makes the second place with its quality build, fast-shooting and impressive features. And in at number three is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. This puppy sports a fast frame rate, great autofocus capability, and a whole lot more to boot.
The Best Mirrorless Camera
The Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera
Anyone already familiar with mirrorless cameras will know why the Sony alpha a6000 review is at the number one position. Those who don’t are about to find out.
This is a great choice of mirrorless camera for anyone, but it’s an especially good pick for the more advanced photographer. It’s obviously smaller than an equivalent DSLR, but it’s equally as capable.
For the money, it’s hard to fault the Sony Alpha 6000. Not only has it got a nice design and feel to it, but it sports an impressive, fast continuous shooting mode. It has a wide feature set & an equally wide selection of great a6000 compatible lenses, too.
It doesn’t take long to get used to this camera, and it’ll soon feel like a natural extension to your hands. This lets you think less about what you’re holding and concentrate more on the shooting.
Although it’s not without a few cons, overall this camera checks all the important boxes that a camera in its class needs to. And the positive user reviews continue to flow in for this little beaut.
Fast-shooting, Superb Handling
There are cheaper options than the Fujifilm X-T2, but when it comes to value for money this camera is hard to beat. It’s perhaps the first of its kind to excel in fast-action shooting too.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is popular not least because of its superb autofocus (AF) system. Best of all is that it’s a lovely camera to handle, it really is. Add to this the updated sensor that delivers amazing, sharp images, and there’s a lot to like.
Compared to its predecessor, the X-T1, there’s a significant improvement in the X-T2’s electronic viewfinder. It’s actually twice as bright, and there’s even an automatic brightness adjustment feature.
The new double-jointed articulated display with the X-T2 is well worth a mention. With this you can pull the screen out and away from the body when the camera’s on its side. This is particularly useful for shooting in portrait format.
The duel SD card slots is another nice feature as it allows for image mirroring (backing up) across the two cards. It’s also useful to have an extra card to switch to if one happens to get full.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is one of the best mirrorless cameras around right now. We’ll look more into its key features, pros and cons, in the fuller review shortly.
Loaded With Technology, for Professionals
Olympus EM1 Mark 2
Third on my top three slots is the astonishing Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II mirrorless camera. Anyone who takes photography seriously should consider adding this to their shortlist.
A small camera that delivers the same quality as a DSLR is the aim of all mirrorless devices. They’re not all there yet, but the Olympus EM1 Mark 2 has certainly made a splash.
This Olympus model may cost more than a lot of mirrorless cameras but then it has more to offer. Its high-speed 60fps (60 frames in one second) means it shoots faster than much of the competition.
In case you’re wondering, yes, this super-fast frame rate has an excellent AF to match. At the time of writing this review, the Olympus EM1 Mark II has the fastest autofocus of any mirrorless camera.
Enjoy the big, sharp electronic viewfinder (EVF), which adds further to the camera’s appeal. This mirrorless Olympus model comes with a weather-sealed body and a nice robust lens system.
- What to Look for in a Mirrorless Camera
- What to Expect When Spending More
- Rankings & Reviews
- #1 Pick: Sony Alpha a6000
- #2: Fujifilm X-T2
- #3: Olympus EM1 Mark 2
- #4: Sony Alpha A7R II
What to Look for in a Mirrorless Camera
With the rise in popularity comes an overwhelming choice of mirrorless cameras. In many ways, too many options make shopping almost as miserable as having too little choice.
This no-nonsense section will help you to narrow down your choices. Keep reading to find out how to make a much better informed decision before parting with your hard earned cash.
What Do YOU Want from a Mirrorless Camera?
It’s a simple question, right? Understanding your present and future needs will help you to narrow down your choices. Knowing what you DON’T want is as important as knowing what you DO want.
If you’re more into general photography, then you won’t want to spend extra on features like high speed fps. You need to ask yourself what type of photographer you are, or want to become. Are you a consumer (entry-level), prosumer (keen amateur photographer), or a true professional.
There can be a lot of technology packed into a modern mirrorless camera, and you might want it all or need only the basics. Below are six key areas that will help you to start narrowing down your choices:
- Lens systems available
- Sensor size
- Viewfinder options
- Autofocus capability
- Wireless functionality
Not all mirrorless cameras offer an impressive range of lenses. Be sure to check your needs against the device before you commit. And if you plan to shoot in low light situations, consider a bigger sensor.
Choose your viewfinder type with care (we’ll look more at the pros and cons of these in the reviews). For autofocus, think about a hybrid AF system if fast focus is important.
Most mirrorless cameras today are able to shoot full HD video, some even shoot 4K. If you’d like wireless functionality (recommended) with a partner app, add this feature to your list of wants.
What to Expect When Spending More
We get what we pay for, and mirrorless cameras are no exception to this rule. Having said that, you don’t want to pay extra for features or functions you may not need or ever use.
Once you know what your budget and expectations are you’re halfway there. Your mission is to then buy the best mirrorless camera you can afford, based on the above.
Perhaps an impressive list of features and high functionality is at the top of your priority list. If so, the more you want the more you’ll have to pay for your camera.
Similar, Yes – but Not the Same…
All mirrorless cameras are smaller, more compact, and lighter than DSLRs, but that’s where a lot of the similarity ends. Each of these models will differ from one to the next. At a glance, a cheap, entry-level camera may list similar features and technology to a costlier model—but it won’t be the same.
The mirrorless camera you choose will have an impact on the way you take photos and the work you produce. It shouldn’t take long to list your wants and needs. Once you have this list, look to the more expensive models first, and then compromise your way down if you need to.
Pricier cameras will offer improved construction like a robust, durable body, and weather sealing. They will also provide you with more technology—and better technology—than the cheaper alternatives.
Rankings and Reviews
Mirrorless cameras have come a long way in recent times, particularly in the last two years, and the reason is simple. There’s a new photographic demand and a rise in expectations from users worldwide. We want better mirrorless cameras, more choices, and enhanced features, and now we’ve got them.
I’ve done an extensive search for the top mirrorless cameras so that you don’t have to. I present you with 10 of the top products available, and cover both the plusses and the minuses for each one.
- Key feature 1: Excellent Low-Light Image Capture
- Key feature 2: Wi-Fi and NFC Connectivity
- The high points: High ISO image quality, AF speed, 24 megapixel sensor, tilting rear display
- The not-so: No touchscreen, no weather sealing
I found the Sony Alpha a6000 to be a perfect camera on so many levels. If you’re new to mirrorless technology you’re going to seriously love this model. It’s an amazing light tight box that’s so simple to use, and one that produces impressive results.
There’s a good range of interchangeable lenses to go with this camera as well (around 60 at the time of this review). And whenever you need to switch from still photography to high-definition (HD) video, you can do that in an instant.
I always say that great images are the result of bigger image sensors—at least in part. The little a6000 surpasses a lot of other cameras with its Advanced Photo System-C size sensor (APS). It matters because larger sensors generally produce better quality images.
The super-fast, hybrid AF system blew me away with its smart phase-and-contrast-detection system. There are some neat AF modes too, like Lock-on AF and Eye AF.
The camera’s precise movement tracking is invaluable for shooting stills photography and video alike. The Alpha a6000 gives you a choice of 1080 HD at 60p or 24p. What this means is that you’re able to capture real film-like motion with this versatile, mirrorless camera.
Another nice feature is the high-contrast WYSIWYG Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder. Now add to all these things the Wi-Fi and its Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity. What we end up with is the best mirrorless camera around in its class—for the money—a real people’s choice.
What Reviewers Have to Say
Reviewers are raving about the Sony Alpha a6000, and there are lots of people with plenty to say. First time buyers of this Sony mirrorless camera become converts right away—just look on Amazon.
There are compliments aplenty on photo quality, images that rival many of the midrange DSLRs. Value for money is another worthy praise. And at 60fps, reviewers love the full HD video too.
A lot of reviewers talk about the camera as a great landscape and portraiture device, and it is. They also love its versatility and potential to become anything you need it for. I agree with this.
One of the common complaints is how fast the camera drains battery power. It’s true too—it can be power hungry. But with a little know-how, it’s quite possible to increase battery life. Activating the ‘Airplane Mode,’ when it’s appropriate, is one way that can help a lot.
There are a few other minor gripes from different reviewers, though many of these are personal dislikes more so than common flaws. Overall, users of the Sony Alpha a6000 give it a big thumbs-up.
What’s Good About this Mirrorless Camera
There’re a whole lot of good things to write about the Sony Alpha a6000, which is why it’s number one on my review list. High tech spec, usability, quality, and versatility are all on the table.
We all know that photographers are responsible for taking great photos, not cameras. The cameras are just light tight boxes to capture the photographer’s image. But even a well-composed shot needs quality if it’s to shine. Don’t worry, the Sony Alpha a6000’s High ISO image quality won’t let you down.
Another great selling point for this mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera is its rapid autofocus (0.06 seconds). It’s probably the fastest in the world right now. It offers 179 autofocus tracking points at 11 fps as it captures 24.3MP of high-quality detail. Wow!
The 24 megapixel sensor with its on-chip phase detection provides high quality resolution. It has an excellent color range too, and covers an impressive area when compared to a 12 megapixel sensor.
I just love the 3-inch LCD tilting rear display with 921,600 dots. It tilts up and down while shooting in landscape, and up for portrait. I love this, as it makes high and low angle shooting so much easier.
All things considered, the Sony A6000 is perfect for any photographer at any skill level. It’s lightweight, compact, has amazing image quality, and it’s fast. Oh, and let’s not forget the affordability aspect to this top selling Sony product.
What Could Be Better with the Sony Alpha a6000
No mirrorless camera is perfect, though the Sony Alpha a6000 comes close, at least for its class. The absence of a touch screen is a bit disappointing. But even if you’re used to these, it doesn’t take long to get comfortable without the touchscreen feature.
The lack of a weather sealing is my personal gripe here. It means you have to take extra special care of the camera against external influences. With weather sealing, the camera would at least have some outdoor protection against humidity, moisture, and fine dust, etc.
There are a few other minor cons, but not the kind of things that would sway most people’s buying decision. The absence of a leveling gauge and no silent shutter option are two such examples.
How Does the Sony Alpha a6000 compare to the a6300
Compared to the Sony Alpha a6300, the a6000 is cheaper by around $450. Obviously there are reasons for this huge price difference, and only you can decide if the a6300 is worth the extra.
If weight is an issue, note that the a6000 weighs 60g less than the a6300. Another point to consider is the longer battery life of the a6300. This costlier model also has environmental sealing, higher video, higher dynamic range, and higher resolution video.
It’s important to note that “higher” features do not automatically mean those on the cheaper a6000 are substandard. Some may not even be notable to a lot of people, at least not at a casual glance. These two cameras also share around 12 common key characteristics.
Anyone who buys the Sony Alpha a6300 is likely to be a serious amateur. They will know what they’re getting and why they want it. The Alpha a6000 is more attractive for entry level users, though it’s also appealing to some experts.
How Has this Camera Improved on the Previous Model
The Sony Alpha A6000 is the successor to the Sony NEX-6. Some of the most visual differences include a new customizable button at the rear of the camera. The a6000 also has a smart aluminum shell in place of the old magnesium alloy body of the NEX-6.
Some of the familiar features remain, like the pop-up flash, EVF, and the hotshoe. There’s also the same mode dial, and the command dial across the camera’s top plate.
The Alpha a6000 has a slightly bigger handgrip and a better overall feel to it. Compared to the Sony NEX-6, the ergonomics have advanced a fair bit for the a6000.
The biggest modifications are less cosmetic and more with the electronics. Improved sensor resolution, hybrid autofocus system, and an overhauled menu are just some of the key changes. In short, this camera is an improvement on some key levels, and any longing for the NEX-6 is mostly nostalgic.
- Key feature 1: Dual SD card slots (UHS-II compatible)
- Key feature 2: Continuous shooting at 8fps with AF (11 fps with the booster grip)
- The high points: 1/8000s high shutter speed, 14.0fps fast continuous shooting, weather sealing
- The not-so: No image stabilization, no touchscreen, low battery life
At around $1,600, this is not the practical mirrorless camera for entry level, unless money’s not an object, in which case I’d say go for it. For serious amateurs and professionals, it’s a worthy choice.
Where the Fujifilm X-T2 really comes into its own is with continuous action photography, including sports. For shooting action, this mirrorless marvel gives us a fast continuous speed of 14.0 fps. There’s also an impressive fast shutter speed: 1/8000s.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is great for portrait photography. It has a good sized APS-C sensor, built in electronic viewfinder, nice ergonomics, and easy handling. The only thing lacking is image stabilization.
I found this to be a great little camera for street-style photography. The live-view, easy face-detection focusing feature, and tilting LCD-screen all help with urban shooting.
The impressive low light ISO and 325 focus points add further to the X-T2’s ability as a good all-round photographic tool. Landscapes and everyday outdoor photography is even easier because of the environmental sealing and wireless connection features.
At the time of writing this review, there are 32 native lenses available for this camera’s mount.
What Reviewers Have to Say
A lot of reviewers are in love with this camera, both with its capabilities and its appearance. Ergonomics, and a good looking design, may not directly impact image quality, but photographers like them all the same. Some even refer to the X-T2 as having “sex appeal”.
Other shared compliments are the articulating screen, superior focusing system and film simulation. Portability and ease of use are well up there too. Photographers enjoy the Wi-Fi feature, and the fact that you can print directly from the camera.
At 507g, some do find this to be a little on the heavy side for a mirrorless camera. Even so, the weight alone is not enough to put those off who like everything else about the Fujifilm X-T2.
What’s Good About the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera
Aside from the relatively high price tag, there’s plenty to like with the Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera. And although it’s a great all-rounder, it’s an action photographer’s dream.
This camera works consistently well in all light conditions and weathers, including rain. The 14.0fps continuous shooting mode is just great for fast action sports. The X-T2’s high shutter speeds will freeze your moments in time if that’s the effect you want.
The weather sealing is a welcome feature for anyone who shoots outdoors a lot. The less time you have to worry about external elements, the more time you have to concentrate on taking photos.
There are many other impressive features to shout about like the high resolution sensor and face detection focusing. Let’s not forget the articulating screen too, or the top LCD display and the flash sync port to name a few more characteristics.
You can even operate this camera via remote control using your smartphone. This is a popular feature that many photographers find attractive these days.
What Could Be Better About the Fujifilm X-T2
There are three main cons with the Fujifilm X-T2, and I’m sympathetic with two of them. These are the short battery life and no image stabilization. I can get by just fine with the missing touchscreen, but others are unhappy about this absent feature.
As you would expect, the short battery life is a main complaint. I did see some improvements after a few charges though, but it’s best to keep a few sets of batteries with you on a long shoot. Third-party batteries will save money, but whether you use them is a personal choice.
The way you take photos and use various shooting modes can also affect battery life. My tip is to always make sure the camera is off when you’re not looking at the screen or through its viewfinder.
Having no image stabilization (IS) is disappointing with Fujifilm X-T2 considering its high price. You can get by without it, but image stabilization is useful as it helps to reduce image blur in certain situations.
Despite the absence of image stabilization, one third of available lenses do have ‘optical’ image stabilization. On a side note, there are also at least seven lenses that come with weather sealing.
The final con is the lack of a touchscreen, but for me personally this is not a major issue as there is that handy little joystick. A touchscreen requires even more battery power and increases the cost still further. You also need a steady hand to use them, especially outdoors in cold weather.
How Does It Compare to the Competition
Those on the fence will probably compare the Fujifilm X-T2 with the Sony α6500 Mirrorless Interchangeable-lens Camera. It’s never a simple case of which one is better. It’s more a case of which product best suits you and matches your specific needs.
Although the functionality may be similar, the designs of these cameras are quite different. The Fujifilm X-T2 is bigger, heavier, and more SLR-like than the Sony α6500. The X-T2 includes a bunch of traditional type dials and buttons, which is something you’ll either love or hate.
The X-T2 does have a good, complete weather-seal, whereas the Sony does not. Weather sealing is useful for outdoor photography. Both cameras offer tilting LCD screens, but there’s extra mobility with the X-T2, which helps with portrait shots.
As mentioned earlier in the review, the Fujifilm X-T2 doesn’t have a touchscreen. This is a feature that other top camera brands don’t leave out, the Sony α6500 included. The Sony also comes with in-body stabilization that many prefer over Fujifilm’s optical stabilization (selected lenses only).
How Has the Fuji X-T2 Improved on the Fuji X-T1
The Fuji X-T2 is an upgraded, updated version of the popular X-T1, and it has plenty of impressive enhancements. For a lot of photographers, the improved autofocus speed alone is reason enough to fall in love with the X-T2, but it’s not all there is.
The X-T2 is more reactive with fast-moving subjects. It has a better look and a more solid feel to it than the X-T1. The X-T2 also enjoys a much clearer and better organized menu system.
Shooters of video welcome the X-T2’s ability to record 4K (ultra HD) resolution format. The benefit of 4K is that it outshines its HD predecessor by a significant margin.
There are lots of tweaks to this camera, some subtle, others more obvious. There’s no denying, the Fuji X-T2 is a significant improvement on the Fuji X-T1, which was also an incredibly popular camera.
- Key feature 1: New TruPic VII image processor
- Key feature 2: 5-axis in body image stabilization
- The high points: Fast autofocus, weather sealing, comfortable to handle, high-spec, versatile
- The not-so: No dedicated ISO control dial, high price tag
If ever there was a product designed to blur the line between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, this is it. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a great choice for serious photographers. It’s ideal for anyone who wants the features and functionality of a mirrorless camera but with a more DSLR-like body.
It’s true, there are other mirrorless cameras worthy of a place in my top three, many of which cost considerably less. So the question is this: why have I chosen the OM-D E-M1 Mark II?
I selected this model because it’s a powerful piece of equipment with a justified price tag. At least it is for any passionate photographer who takes advantage of the camera’s full feature set. That last point is important. There’s little point in spending over $2000 on something you don’t fully exploit.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark-2 has buttons for just about everything. It sports a much-improved processor too. It offers plenty of flexibility for personal customization—something appreciated by creative types.
Another appealing feature is the new, high capacity lithium-ion camera battery. Short battery life is the curse of many mirrorless cameras but it seems that the OM-D E-M1 battery lasts longer than the stated 350 shots. Perhaps best of all is that this camera’s battery is fast charging.
If underwater photography is your thing, you won’t be disappointed. Olympus has developed the PT-EP14 Underwater Housing purposely for the OM-D E-M1 Mark-2.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the OM-D E-M1 Mark II
One of the first things reviewers note about the OM-D E-M1 Mark II from Olympus, is the way it looks and feels to the touch. They talk of how solid the exterior is, and of the comfortable grip. I agree. It does sit well in the hands. These things are important, especially at this price range.
Stability is another point people bring up. User’s notice how the camera’s 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) is a marked improvement. It’s certainly better than models like the M10’s 3-axis IBIS. This is really useful if you hate dragging tripods and monopods around during a shoot.
There’s a lot going on with this camera from a technical perspective, and more reviews will surely materialize over time. The general consensus though, is that the OM-D E-M1 Mark II lives up to its promises for those who want all that this mirrorless camera can offer.
What’s Good About this Mirrorless Camera by Olympus
The super-quick autofocus is a top selling point for the E-M1 Mark II. You get 18 fps with continuous autofocus, and it’s as accurate as it is fast. It’s simply perfect for subject tracking fast-moving objects.
Photographers are starting to demand weather-sealing on mirrorless cameras these days and quite right too. Weather proofing allows more confident shooting in harsher climates. The good thing about the E-M1 Mark II is that its FL-LM3 external flash also has protection against dust and splashes.
Thanks to the superb build and comfortable handgrip, operating the E-M1 Mark II is a breeze once you get used to it. There really is a lot on offer. So does your photographic style need this much versatility and loaded technology? If it does, put this high-end Olympus mirrorless camera onto your shortlist.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will not be the camera system for everyone, but those who need it will find that it fits like a glove. It’s solid, weather-sealed, stable, and has duel SD slots, and so much more.
User-friendly, high-quality video functionality is another standard feature. There are lots of lens choices too, and a great battery compared to other cameras. These are just the more obvious plusses.
What Could Be Better with this Mirrorless Camera
The high price tag comes up a lot when reviewers and other critics talk about the E-M1 Mark II, but it’s all relative. To say it’s expensive you have to say why. When you look at the camera from the inside out, you can see that it packs an awful lot in.
I would say it’s an expensive camera only if you don’t need all that it has to offer. If you intend to exploit all its features, then this camera offers great value. It has a versatility that can only be limited by the owner’s imagination.
The lack of a dedicated ISO control dial is a bit annoying, and probably something the designers simply overlooked. It’s not the end of the world, but it would have been a welcome feature.
There are other things to consider too, though these will be more personal—rather than general—disadvantages. Photography, cameras, and photographic gear, affects us all in different ways, meaning there is no one size fits all.
How Does It Compare to the Competition
As I pointed out earlier, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a high-priced camera, but one that offers a lot for the money. Many undecided photographers compare this mirrorless Olympus to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. Let’s take a look at what each has to offer.
The Olympus has its built-in image stabilization system for starters. The max sensor resolution on the Olympus has 25% more pixels, and the camera sports higher color depth and has higher ISO performance. There are also 72 more focus points with the Olympus.
Other Olympus features over the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 include focus bracketing and focus stacking. The remote control via smartphone is yet another advantage.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 includes a number of features that the Olympus doesn’t. It has a post focus mode and a 27% larger sensor pixel area. It also boasts longer flash coverage (7.9m longer range), and it has a built-in flash.
How Has the OM-D E-M1 Mark II Improved on the Previous Model
There are quite a few key areas of difference between the OM-D E-M1 and the newer Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II—so what’s changed? Well, they’re both mirrorless cameras with SLR-style bodies, but there are some notable enhancements.
The sensor size has improved from the OM-D E-M1, as has the Optical Sensor Resolution from 16 megapixels to 20.4 megapixels. There’s also the new and improved TruePic VIII Dual Quad Core Image Processor in the Mark II.
Continuous shooting has improved from 10.0 fps to an impressive 60.0 fps. The 3″ touchscreen LCD display has gone from tilting to fully-articulated which is a welcome improvement. The Mark II also enjoys smooth handheld 4K video which is second to none.
Some of the popular features have remained the same. Others have been enhanced, which has made the newer model somewhat heavier by around 77g.
- Key feature 1: 42MP full frame BSI CMOS sensor
- Key feature 2: Full magnesium alloy construction
- The high points: Superb image quality, fast autofocus, five-axis stabilization
- The not-so: No touchscreen, no built in flash, single SD card slot
I had to include the Sony Alpha 7R II in this mirrorless review guide as it’s a very impressive, high resolution, full frame camera. The smart magnesium alloy body is weather-sealed, compact and comfortable to handle.
There are all the usual features that you’d expect with a mirrorless camera in this higher price range. The viewfinder is bright and capacious, and there’s the tilting LCD display screen of course. The Intuitive Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity is another feature people now expect with a camera in this class.
What I really like about this camera is its extensive customization potential for the control points and 5fps shooting. The image stabilization (IS) system is a welcome aspect too. The only downside to this is that ‘IS’ does mean an increase in the camera’s size somewhat.
What Reviewers Have to Say
At around $3000 this is not a camera for casual shooters. Those who review the Sony Alpha 7R II know a thing or two about what makes a good mirrorless camera. Some even call it a game changer. Evident too, is a noticeable increase in the quality and resolution of both still images and videos.
Some diehard Canon users have even made the switch to the 7R II, that’s how much this camera has impressed serious photographers. Reviewers are happy to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. It’s why you can find plenty of sample photos on sites like Amazon to back up people’s claims.
People talk about how they like the excellent high ISO performance and third-party lens support. Some reviewers go into great detail—such is the desire to share their excitement with others.
What’s Good About this Camera
Aside from its high price, there’re a lot of good things to report about the Sony Alpha 7R II. It goes without saying that it has superb image quality and print quality. There’s also the high-powered AF system that allows this camera to shoot with continuous AF at 5fps.
The five-axis stabilization helps to reduce blur commonly caused by camera shake. A 42MP Full Frame BSI CMOS sensor is another major plus point for this camera. This really is a good all-rounder with a nice magnesium alloy body that’s a joy to handle.
Photographers say that this is one of those rare cameras that allow you to shoot in any way you like providing you have the knowhow. Action, landscapes, portraits, weddings—you name it, the Sony Alpha 7R II won’t let you down.
What Could Be Better with this Camera
Touchscreen displays are becoming the norm with a lot of mirrorless cameras these days. Models that don’t have a touchscreen—like the Sony Alpha 7R II here—will lose out to some degree.
Be that as it may, many serious photographers don’t like using touchscreens on higher end cameras. This is probably why Sony hasn’t included one. Touchscreens can become awkward outdoors too, especially in harsh weather conditions.
The absence of a built-in flash is another con, but it’s not something that’ll disappoint most creative photographers. External flashes are more powerful for one. They can include turning heads, work at many shutter speeds, and eliminate shadows. It’s possible to accessorize them too.
The built-in flash may be a con for a few, but it’s a blessing for others who’d sooner see the space saved or allocated for something more useful. The single SD card slot is a bit of a problem as a dual slot would offer more versatility and peace of mind when shooting at important events.
- Key feature 1: 2.36-million dot EVF
- Key feature 2: 16-megapixel MFT sensor
- The high points: Responsive touchscreen, excellent EVF, comfortable handgrip, fast shutter speeds
- The not-so: Plastic feel, processing speeds in 4K could be faster
I like the Panasonic Lumix G7 mirrorless camera and there’s plenty to marvel over for a product in this price range. The G7 is the little brother of the Lumix GH4, which costs considerably more, but don’t worry. The G7 certainly doesn’t fall short on features or capability.
The camera takes on the DSLR-style of body, and it feels just great in the hands. The comfort aspect is thanks in part to the ergonomic handgrip. The Lumix G7 is slightly bigger than some Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless options, but not to the point where that’s a distraction.
The only major criticism for this camera is that it does have a plastic feel, despite it being comfortable to hold. The plastic doesn’t detract from all the bells and whistles though. In fact, it may only be noticeable to those who’ve been shooting with cameras that have less plastic bodies.
What Reviewers Have to Say
Although you can buy just the camera body, a lot of reviewers go for the bundle, which includes the microphone. The 4K video is obviously one thing that a lot of folks rave about. Low light shooting capability with minimal noise is another feature reviewers like.
The value for money is something most people agree on—me too. When it comes to performance, size, and the price tag, Panasonic seem to have nailed it with their Lumix G7 mirrorless camera.
Image quality and overall build quality—despite the plastic feel—are other talked about likes. When a mirrorless camera gets as much positive attention as the Panasonic Lumix G7, it can only be a good thing. Does it have its flaws? Of course it does, but they’re minor issues for most once you take all the positives into consideration.
What’s Good About the Panasonic Lumix G7
How any camera sits in the hand is an important consideration for all photographers. The Panasonic Lumix G7’s decent-sized rubberized handgrip is superb. It also has a molded indent for the forefinger.
The OLED Live View Finder (EVF) is another great feature with its 2360k dots. You get to enjoy 100% field of view with the large 1.4x magnification, and there’s the nice high contrast at 10,000:1.
Panasonic’s intelligent, responsive touchscreen interface is second to none. Many say that it helps to improve the overall shooting experience. Personally, I can get by just fine without a touchscreen, in fact, I prefer it. A lot of photographer’s love this feature, though, and Panasonic excels with theirs.
The camera’s ‘burst mode’ lets you take 8fps with the mechanical shutter. With the electronic shutter (ES) there’s the even faster 40fps. The ES also gives the fastest shutter speeds, up to 1/16,000 sec. Another bonus is that it provides silent shooting at these fast shutter speeds. And with AF Tracking turned on, you get 6fps with full 16mp resolution.
What Could Be Better with this Camera
I’ve already mentioned the plastic feel to the Panasonic Lumix G7. Some users even complain that it feels more like a toy than a serious mid-range camera. Don’t let the plastic fool you into thinking this is a tacky product, because it’s anything but.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC G7 feels nice to hold and is easy to handle. Furthermore, the plastic construction is robust enough and helps to keep the camera light at 410g. Remember, weight is one of the key attractions of mirrorless cameras over there bulkier, heavier, DSLR counterparts.
One legitimate gripe is that the processing speeds could be faster in 4k. There are a couple of other minuses that you may want to consider before making a decision about the G7. One is that there’s no image stabilization. The other is the absence of environmental sealing.
Finally, at around 350 shots, the low battery Life will be a concern for some. Whether these cons are major setbacks in the bigger picture will depend on individual needs and expectations.
- Key feature 1: New, faster shutter unit
- Key feature 2: X Processor Pro Engine
- The high points: Quality weather sealing, 2 card slots, face detection focusing, light body
- The not-so: No articulating screen, no image stabilization, no touchscreen
This is not the cheapest mirrorless camera in my top 10, but it packs a lot in for around $1,700. There are also reasons why it’s number six and not number one, and we’ll get to those shortly. For now, let’s look at all that’s great about the lightweight Fujifilm X-Pro2.
In my book, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 checks a lot of the right boxes when it comes to value for money, imaging, range of quality features, and portability. It boasts a big-sized APS-C (23.6mm x 15.6mm) sensor, and has a built in viewfinder (electronic and optical). It’s also light weight and easy to handle, making it a great tool for portraits in particular.
If street photography is more your thing, the X-Pro2’s Live View and Face Detection Focusing make shooting both fun and easy. There’s also the fast shutter speeds, 8.0fps continuous shooting mode, environmental sealing, and good low light ISO. All things considered, this is a great all-rounder, from fast action photography, to landscapes, and everything in between.
What Reviewers Have to Say about Fujifilm’s X-Pro2
Mirrorless camera reviewers—unlike the manufacturer’s spiel—tend to be brutally honest in their criticisms, constructive or otherwise. Descriptions like: outstanding, great experience, and stress-free photography, are commonplace.
Ergonomic design, nice intuitive controls, and of course, outstanding images, are typical appraisals. Another thing reviewers point out is the excellent build quality and easy-handling of the X-Pro2. It’s true too. This is a nice, lightweight, compact camera that fits into the hand like a custom-made glove.
You will read how a lot of photographers have been happy to trade equivalent brands in place of the Fujifilm X-Pro2, and that alone speaks volumes. Most reviewers share the same or similar negative points. One of the more common gripes is the absence of a sensor-based image stabilization system. On that note, it’s worth pointing out that eight of the lenses come with optical image stabilization.
What’s Good About the X-Pro2?
Photographers today—especially outdoor shooters—insist their cameras have weather sealing. Despite this demand, it’s surprising how many manufacturers don’t include it. You’ll be pleased to know that the Fujifilm X-Pro2 comes with quality weather sealing to protect it against the harsher elements.
The duel card slots are another welcome feature. It’s particularly useful for professional photographers who can’t afford to lose work on the job or run out of space. The camera’s Face Detection Focusing and its nice light, ergonomic body, make using the X-Pro2 a joy.
Other plusses include the built-in Wi-Fi, impressive max video resolution, and quality sensor. The camera’s 273 focus points and the 51.200 Max ISO are also top selling points. And you have the remote control feature using a smartphone, an external mic port, and the top-mounted LCD display.
What Could Be Better with this Camera
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no such thing as one camera to suit all, and Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 is no exception. Yes it checks a lot of boxes, but it’s not without its minuses. To be honest, any cons for this mirrorless camera will be major, minor, or irrelevant, depending on the person.
For me, the absence of an articulating screen is the biggest setback of all. The lack or an LCD touchscreen will be a major concern for others. This is likely due to people’s familiarity and dependence with touchscreens on all kinds of other, everyday electronic devices.
Not having image stabilization will upset some. It will particularly annoy photographers who don’t like to cart monopods or tripods around with them on a shoot. And finally there’s the issue of low battery life. At just 350 shots, it’s far from impressive. However, short battery life is not something that’s unique to the Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 mirrorless camera.
- Key feature 1: Newly developed sensor with 425 phase-detection AF points
- Key feature 2: Silent (inaudible) shutter
- The high points: Excellent JPEG quality, impressive viewfinder, fast, reliable AF system
- The not-so: No touch sensitive display screen, no image stabilization, entry level controls
There’s a lot that makes the Sony Alpha 6300 shine, like the 4K video and its impressive focusing abilities. This mirrorless camera is on my list because it’s a great well-rounded product. It’s a camera that sports the kind of specification that photographers look for today.
This is a camera that you can use with confidence in a whole range of photographic situations. The viewfinder is exceptional, and the AF system can’t fail to impress even the hardiest of critics. If you’re into portraiture, the face-detection technology will help you to expose your subjects in their best light.
The Sony a6300 is great for fast moving subjects too, be that sport, wildlife, or whatever else it is in your viewfinder. The 425-point phase detection autofocus tracks then locks, ready to freeze your moment in time. But is it worth the price tag?
What Reviewers Have to Say
Reviewers like the compact size of the Sony Alpha a6300, and also the way it fits comfortably in the hands. Users report on how impressed they are with the speed and responsiveness of the camera. And many others have nothing but good things to say about the remarkable autofocus system.
At just 404g, the camera is light too, considering all the technology it packs in. The high speed video is a much loved feature, and seems to be a main buying consideration for a lot of photographers.
There are some common complaints about the short-ish battery life (400 shots), which is not untypical for a camera in this class. But as I’ve pointed out on previous reviews, you can extend battery life using a few tweaks. Turning on airplane mode is one of them, as this stops the camera from constantly looking for WiFi networks. Using the viewfinder instead of the LCD panel will also help.
What’s Good About this Camera?
The 425 phase-detection AF points will blow you away as you can shoot fast moving objects with total confidence. The silent shutter is another welcomed touch. Okay, so a lot or mirrorless cameras boast a silent shutter, but the one on the Sony Alpha a6300 really is inaudible.
Image quality is incredible, but then with an ISO 100/25,600 (expandable up to 51,200) it should be. There’re plenty of examples online where you can see how clean and crisp the images are from this Sony mirrorless camera. Marvel over the photos taken across a wide spectrum of light conditions.
The 2359K dots electronic viewfinder—XGA OLED Tru-Finder™—is super-bright, has high-contrast, and incredible resolution. Add to this the articulating screen, remote control feature via any smartphone, and the built-in Wireless. Heck, there’s a lot to like.
What Could Be Better with Sony’s a6300?
The Sony Alpha a6300 is not without its critics. A lot of photographers today insist on a touch sensitive display screen. This camera doesn’t have one. Another complaint is the missing image stabilization system—another expectation for costly, mirrorless cameras.
It would be nice if there was a longer battery life too. This is something that most of the mirrorless camera makers should be working on. The a6300 is better than the a6000, but it’s still low at 400 shots, even though it’s considered average, with normal being 348 shots.
Some photographers consider the two manual controls of the a6300 to be pretty entry level. I think it’s subjective. When all’s said and done, not everyone wants a mirrorless camera with a whole range of manual controls that are more akin to a regular DSLR.
- Key feature 1: Advanced DFD AF
- Key feature 2: 5-axis in-body effective image-stabilization
- The high points: WiFi, Bluetooth, touchscreen, environmental sealing, articulating screen
- The not-so: Heavy body for a mirrorless camera, low battery life
I almost didn’t include the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 in my top ten, purely on the weight issue. After looking more into what it has to offer than what it lacks, I decided it would be wrong to leave it out. All things considered, I counted 30 pros to only three main cons, so let’s see what it has to offer.
Panasonic’s GH5 has a Micro Four Thirds (MFT or M4/3) lens mount with an extensive range of high quality native lenses available. Third-party makers also offer some lenses of high optical quality for Panasonic’s MFT mount. The lenses alone give it a good start.
The lens versatility makes this mid-range camera a winner with many photographers the world over. Furthermore, the GH5 includes an impressive sensor-based image stabilization (IS) system. This guarantees the stabilization of all lenses used with the GH5. There’s also weather sealing included with 16 native lenses. Coupled with the camera’s weather sealed body, the GH5’s appeal continues to rise.
What Reviewers Have to Say
Reviewers have plenty to say about Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH5 mirrorless camera—most of it favorable. It’s quite a new model, and so we can expect many more critiques to come in over time. The upgraded sensor seems to be pleasing a lot of photographers.
The GH5’s AF system is also a topic for discussion, called Depth-From-Defocus or Advanced DFD. There’s plenty of praise about how it offers faster and more decisive focus than the predecessor. Manual shooting is easy too, and yes, it’s still something creative photographers love to do, which is why people write about it so much.
Reviewers like to write about the camera’s 4K 10-bit video quality and advanced shooting modes. This is because many owners of the DMC-GH5 are as serious about its video potential as they are its impressive stills photography capabilities. One negative point is how the AF in low light situations could be better. Another common complaint is how the camera’s a bit on the heavy side. I agree with both, particularly the second point.
What’s Good About this Mirrorless Camera?
Panasonic’s DMC-GH5 mirrorless camera has something called Advanced Depth From Defocus (DFD). In short, what DFD does is speed up focusing. This results in quicker and far more decisive focusing, and that’s always a welcome thing. And the camera’s 5-axis in-body effective image-stabilization does a great job at reducing potential image blurring.
Built-in WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth are must-have features for a lot of photographers on the go. The touchscreen offers a nice, easy-to-use display too. Not everyone’s a fan of touchscreens on mirrorless cameras though, including me. The articulating screen is a great addition, and not something that all cameras offer just yet.
Despite the demand, there are still a lot of mirrorless cameras that don’t include environmental sealing. And with those that do, the quality can vary. The GH5 does include body sealing, making it a good, capable camera for shooting outdoors, in harsh weather conditions. These are just a few of the top pros for the Panasonic’s DMC-GH5.
What Could Be Better with the GH5 Mirrorless Camera
I would say this is an ideal mirrorless camera for any serious photographer who shoots both quality video and stills. However, if you’re someone who insists on a lightweight mirrorless camera, this won’t be your best choice at 725g. It’s compact enough—it’s just a bit on the heavy side, that’s all.
Another con—familiar with so many mirrorless cameras—is the low battery life. With around 410 shots it’s better than some, but still in the ‘average’ range. There are things you can do to better preserve battery life, but it’d be nice if we didn’t have to worry about it so much.
- Key feature 1: Articulating screen
- Key feature 2: 20.0MP – High resolution sensor
- The high points: Feels great to hold, amazing image quality, light body, selfie-friendly LCD screen
- The not-so: No weather sealing, price point, short battery life
Although appearances can be subjective, I think the design and ergonomics of the Olympus Pen-F are beautiful. Of course the quality of build and capability has to be the prime concerns of any photographer. All the same, it’s nice when you can fall in love with the looks of your camera as well.
The leatherette wrapping that surrounds the camera body is kind of unique. If you like access to dials and buttons along the top the PEN-F won’t disappoint. There’s even a threaded shutter release which I personally love.
Despite the beautiful style of this camera, there’s plenty of modern technology working seamlessly alongside. The flip-out, articulating LCD screen at the back, for example, is very easy on the eyes. My only major gripe with the Olympus PEN-F is that it doesn’t have environmental sealing. This is a shame considering it’s an otherwise perfect camera for street photography.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the Olympus PEN-F
Like me, there are plenty of reviewers for the Olympus PEN-F who love its retro design and ergonomic style. I think Olympus have tapped into something here with this mirrorless marvel. I’ve even seen a few people compare the PEN-F to the Leica 111F. There are those who feel the price tag is a little on the high side, but I’m not convinced.
Other shared observations are with the quality build, overall excellent functionality, and great images. Photographers also appreciate the new integrated electronic viewfinder (EVF) and bigger sensor. And the better dials add yet another welcome improvement on the predecessor, the Pen EP5.
People either love or loath this mirrorless camera, and there doesn’t seem to be much room for anything in between. But those who appreciate it really do love this model. Despite the price tag, you can find plenty of users making comments like: ‘Best camera I’ve ever owned’, and ‘Best camera I’ve ever held/used’. The word “beautiful” crops up a lot too.
What’s Good About the PEN-F from Olympus
For me, the articulating screen is a great feature, as it allows you to compose shots and those awkward angles. The 20.0MP – high resolution sensor is another useful feature. It’s good for getting the most out of ultra-sharp lenses and for anyone who wants larger than average prints.
The best cameras are those which don’t distract you from taking photos. The PEN-F sits comfortably in the hands, and everything you need is at your fingertips. This means you can concentrate on capturing images without focusing too much on the camera. There’s plenty of time for admiring the aesthetics of the PEN-F when you’re not taking photos.
Despite the quality feel to the PEN-F, the body weighs just 427g. Two of the key attractions to mirrorless cameras are the smaller size and lighter weight of regular DSLRs. This little beaut checks both those boxes. In a world obsessed with selfies, you may also be pleased to know that this camera has a very nice selfie-friendly LCD screen.
What Could Be Better with this Mirrorless Camera
Not everyone raves about the Olympus PEN-F, and like each of my mirrorless camera picks it also has a few downsides. Some people will agree with a few pros and cons, whereas others are more subjective to the individual person. From the reviews I’ve studied, the price of the PEN-F is a familiar con among some people. Others disagree, which is my point.
I do agree that the lack of any weather sealing is a disappointment. As mentioned in my opening comments, the PEN-F is great for street photography. Protecting the body with a quality weather sealing would, in many user’s opinion, transform this model. It would take it from being a great camera for street photography to a perfect one.
And the final major con is the low battery life at 330 shots, which is just below average. Right now short battery life is a common complaint across the range of mirrorless cameras. All we can do is hope that the camera manufacturers are listening and working hard at improving this annoyance.
- Key feature 1: 3” tilting touch-screen (921k dot resolution)
- Key feature 2: Built in pop-up flash
- The high points: Light body, 180° tilt-screen, good low light ISO – 1347, face detection focusing
- The not-so: No external flash shoe, no environmental sealing, no image stabilization
The Sony Alpha a5100 is a worthy camera. However, there’s a reason why it’s at number 10, and that’s because—compared to the others—it has less to offer. It’s a well-priced mirrorless camera though, and would make a great entry level choice.
Here we look at the Sony Alpha ILCE-5100 (A5100)—both the camera’s highlights and lowlights. I like it because it includes a built-in, popup flash, which is one less thing to worry about for entry level photographers. There’s also phase-detection focus, a nice touchscreen and a 24.3 megapixel sensor.
The camera is compact and has a plastic body with a decent, rubberized handgrip. It feels quite nice to hold, but it won’t fit you like a glove as with some other models. It’s not the most attractive mirrorless camera either, though you may disagree. But it’s easy enough to use, quite well laid out, and a good capable all-rounder. Out of landscape, daily, sports, street, and portrait photography, I would say it’s least effective for portraiture.
What Reviewers Have to Say About the a5100 Mirrorless Camera
A lot of people have bought the Sony Alpha a5100 and many of those are keen to share their experiences. On the whole, the majority of reviewers consider it a good value for money camera at the entry level, though it has nothing much that will impress prosumers.
The size and light weight of this camera seems to impress just about everyone. The image quality and ease-of-use are two more commonly discussed likes. There is some dissatisfaction about the lack of an external flash shoe. This is understandable as it limits creative options for flash photography.
All reviewers agree that this is a lovely little camera for taking great photos with a minimum of fuss. They also appreciate that it has little scope outside the entry-level realm. In other words, it has plenty to offer for someone who wants a small, lightweight mirrorless camera to take lots of great pictures. It has nothing that a serious amateur or professional photographer would get overly excited about.
What’s Good About the Sony Alpha a5100
The 3” tilting touch-screen with its 921k dot resolution is nice. Touchscreens are usually high on the list of features for a lot of photographers, at the amateur level in particular. The one flaw with the a5100’s touchscreen is that you can’t actually scroll through its menus.
The built-in popup flash is something else that photographer’s at the entry level like to have. A built-in flash helps to keep everything compact, portable, and simple. Perhaps one of the best pros for this mirrorless camera is its lightweight body of just 283g. For its class, the Sony a5100 is not only lighter than a lot of the competition, but it’s smaller and thinner too.
Other plusses include face detection focusing, good, low light capability ISO – 1347, and the 180° tilt-screen. There’s the built-in Wi-Fi too, NFC Connectivity, and a 24.0MP – High Resolution Sensor. The camera’s 6.0fps Fast Continuous Shooting, and adequate video, offer more welcome features.
What Could Be Better with Sony’s a5100 Camera
There’s always going to be plenty of room for improvements with a mirrorless camera in this price range. Then again, if Sony turned all the cons into pros, it would no longer be a camera for the same price. Nonetheless, there are a few things that could have perhaps been included in this model.
As mirrorless cameras are a step up from point-and-shoot, I think it’s a mistake not having an external flash shoe. Being restricted only to the internal flash limits your shooting options. Another mistake, and one made by a lot of mirrorless camera makers, is the missing environmental sealing.
It’s possible to shoot outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions with the Sony Alpha a5100. It’s just that weather sealing would have meant you could get on with taking photos and worry less about the elements. And the final, major con for many is the absence of image stabilization.
The top choice in my top ten mirrorless camera reviews was the a6000 Mirrorless Camera by Sony. I chose it because it checked a lot of the right boxes like price, value for money, features, usability, and build. I also think it’s the best all-round camera for anyone who’s just getting into photography.
The Sony Alpha a6000 wouldn’t be the primary camera of a prosumer or professional. That said, it wouldn’t be out of place in any professional’s gadget bag as a decent backup or secondary camera either. The Fujifilm X-T2 came in at second as a perfect choice for beginners and professionals alike.
If you’re into—or would like to get into—sports and wildlife photography, the X-T2 is worth considering. Reviewers rave about this mirrorless camera for very good reason. It’s really hard to see the negatives for the overwhelming positive reviews the X-T2 got and continues to get.
For the classic film-style cameras, packed full of the latest digital guts, look no further than the Olympus Pen-F. As I say, there’s something here for everyone. This no-nonsense, easy-to-digest review page highlights ten of the best around at the moment.
None of us are the same—none of us. We have different skills, styles, needs, and photographic expectations. That means the features; price tag, pros & cons, don’t mean the same things to all people. At least after reading this guide, you’ll be in a much better position to make a well-informed decision on your next mirrorless camera.
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