Mirrorless cameras have slowly taken over the camera market over the last ten years or so, and they’re now typically the most logical and best camera option for many beginners and professionals alike. But which is the best mirrorless camera of them for you?
While they’re similar in principal to DSLR cameras, they’re typically smaller, lighter and often far more intelligent. Key things to look out for include sensor-based image stabilization (a big help) and high-resolution electronic viewfinders, while hybrid AF systems are also super useful if you plan on shooting moving subjects or video.
It also helps if there are many lens options, which is where Sony, Olympus and Panasonic have an advantage. You may, however, be able to use a model you’ve got your eye on with lenses from an older system via an adapter, which makes Canon and Nikon’s still-new systems considerably stronger than they otherwise would be.
1. Nikon Z6: Best overall mirrorless camera
Among a raft of new full-frame mirrorless cameras, Nikon’s Z6 stands out as a particularly strong introduction. Considering this is a first generation model, it’s impressive Nikon managed to get so much right. From the wonderful image quality and crisp 4K video through to great handling, to a clear and bright EVF and compatibility with existing Nikon lenses and accessories.
The FTZ adapter, that's available bundled or separately to the camera, means you can pick from hundreds of F-mount lens options with autofocus and auto-exposure both working.
Our only reservation concerns the autofocus system’s performance, sometimes. That said firmware updates are wiping out issues so expect even this to not be a problem.
2. Sony A7 III: Best all rounder at a decent price
Building on the huge popularity of the previous A7 II, it’s safe to say that the A7 III is the best all-round mirrorless camera from Sony yet. The 24MP sensor produces great images with well controlled noise levels across the sensitivity range, and with sensor-based image stabilization on board you don’t need to worry about this being in your lenses.
The sensor and stabilization also work together to capture detailed-packed 4K-quality videos, while other highlights include a strong hybrid AF system, many lens options and battery life that’s ahead of what most other mirrorless models can muster.
That 693-point AF system makes this superb in nearly any situation, even for those less accomplished camera users. And if it's fast paced shots you're after then the 10fps burst shot mode should cater well for your needs. This isn't the newest camera on the list but with those specs backed by a recent firmware upgrade, this is very much one of the best options out there at a price that's getting lower all the time.
3. Fujifilm X-T30: Best mirrorless camera under $1000
With dashing good looks, plenty of functionality, excellent image and video quality, and a tiny, largely metal body, the X-T30 is a formidable mid-range mirrorless option. It inherits many features from the more advanced X-T3, and is ideal for those who want to control their camera more through physical controls rather than the touchscreen, with dedicated dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation on hand.
In terms of value for money the X-T30 trounces pretty much every other mid-range model at this level right now. And it does it while looking a lot better too. Even the phase detection autofocus system punches well above the price with its 425-point setup. The fact you can shoot 4K video at 30fps is also a real draw at this price point. That 26.1MP APS-C sensor can eek out up to 8fps of burst shots while the 3-inch touchscreen makes for easy controls and clear views with its 1,040k dots.
4. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Best for megapixel power
The Lumix S1R is Panasonic's full frame mirrorless camera that aims to cater for the more skilled photographer that can make use of that 47.3 MP sensor. But it packs in some special tricks that make it stand out from the rivals on this list. Our favorite is the ability to shoot a 187 MP image – perfect for anyone that wants to blow it up in print, or have lots of zoom potential afterwards. That is well backed by the viewfinder which has one of the highest resolutions we've seen at 5.76 million dots.
The build is rugged enough to go anywhere without you needing to worry about being too careful. The same can be said when shooting thanks to a sensor-based image stabilization that helps make any shot better. That means for both good and low-light you can expect a crisp and clear shot from this camera.
While the contrast-detect autofocus system is a little behind the rivals, this camera makes up for it in other areas and ultimately performs extremely well.
5. Canon EOS RP: Best full-frame mirrorless camera on a budget
The EOS RP might not be the most advanced Canon mirrorless camera right now, but with an asking price considerably below the current EOS R flagship, it sure is tempting.
It’s super small and quite light when you consider its full-frame innards, and great for those with some EF lenses that want to use them through an adapter. It also delivers very nice images without any further processing, although you can play with your raw files if you need to.
Overall a great choice if you’re a Canon user wanting to get into mirrorless without it hitting your bank balance too greatly. Although it's worth noting you will get a heavy crop on the 4K video and your maximum burst shot speed is just 5fps.
6. Sony A6100: Best beginner mirrorless camera
The Sony A6100 is a fantastic option for any beginner that wants to get into photography using a mirrorless camera. This is a very portable sized snapper yet crams in a powerful 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor which is backed by a 425-point hybrid autofocus. With the ability to shoot video in 4K at 30fps and capture burst photos at 11fps, this punches well above its price point.
This is great for a beginner but it does require time to work out everything on offer via the admittedly limited touchscreen interface. The resolution on that screen and the EVF could be higher but then for the price cuts need to be made somewhere.
While this is great for a beginner there's plenty to learn with enough power and features to grow with you as you get better.