Mirrorless cameras are getting better and better. Here are our picks of the best models on the market right now
Don’t like the look of a bulky DSLR? Then it’s time to try mirrorless. These smaller cameras, also known as compact system cameras [CSC], have been getting better and better as manufacturers continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible. It’s an exciting world, but it can be difficult to know where to jump in. So, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, here are our picks of the best mirrorless cameras on the market right now.
1. Sony A7R III
Sony has been shrewdly tempting photographers away from DSLRs with its Alpha 7 line of mirrorless cameras, each of which is tailored to different types of shooters. The A7R cameras are the high-resolution branch of the series, designed for landscape photographers and others who need plenty of megapixels. The A7R III is built around a a 42.2MP back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor, which features gapless microlenses (which make for more efficient light-gathering) and a new front-end LSI that makes for improved readout speeds. It uses Sony’s Bionz X processor, which provides superior noise-handling capabilities and means the A7R III can offer a dynamic range of up to 15 stops. If you shoot landscapes, this is one of the best buys you can make.
Sony A7R III Digital Camera Body
The third iteration of Sony’s powerful a7R mirrorless CSC offers improved speed and image quality. The a7R III features a 399-point AF system and is capable of AF tracking for continuous shooting up to 10fps - almost doubling the speed of the a7R II. It also inherits much of what made the previous models so popular such as 4k30p video, a 42MP Full-Frame sensor, and 5-axis image stabilisation.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Longtime Olympus users know that a ‘1’ in the name tends to denote a flagship, and the E-M1 Mark II is exactly that. An update on the much-lauded E-M1, the Mark II takes the best features not only from its predecessor but also from the rest of the Olympus OM-D stable. What that means is useful tech such as five-axis in-body image stabilisation, a sensor-shift mode that stitches shots together to create super-high-resolution images, 60fps burst shooting with the electronic shutter and well, a heck of a lot more... It is, to be frank, an astounding achievement.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Digital Camera Body
Free grip worth £249
The weatherproof Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II advanced compact system camera is an upgrade to the popular OM-D E-M1. It features a 20MP Live MOS sensor, 121 Cross-Type On-Chip Phase Detection AF points, and a 5-axis image stabilisation system. Weighing just 600g due to its lightweight magnesium alloy body, the versatile OM-D E-M1 Mark II is perfectly suited for a variety of photographic applications.
3. Panasonic LUMIX GH5
Panasonic’s GH series of 4K-capable cameras helped redefine mirrorless filmmaking, and the GH5 does an excellent job of providing a powerhouse filmmaking camera while also catering for stills photographers. Its 20.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor forgoes an optical low-pass filter for maximum image quality, while a new Venus Engine promises significantly faster processing power thanks to its additional processing core. There’s a seriously improved electronic viewfinder, with 3.68million dots in resolution, and 6K Photo mode, which allows for the extraction of 18MP stills from UHD footage. The 4K Photo mode can be used at 60fps, meaning the tiniest moments will never be missed.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 Digital Camera with 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 Leica Lens
Capable of 6K Photo and 4K recording, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH5 with 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Leica DG Vario-Elmarit Lens is a new upgrade to the popular GH4, offering exceptional performance for professional photographers and videographers alike. Built around a new 20.3-megapixel sensor and Venus Engine image processor, the flagship GH5 is capable of recording 4K 60p/50p footage and 4:2:2 10-bit 4K ...
4. Fujifilm X-T2
Building on the utterly superb X-T1 in every way, the Fujifilm X-T2 is a superb flagship camera with specs that warrant the attention of any serious photographer. Its redesigned 24MP sensor has phase-detect autofocus points built-in, allowing for lightning-fast focus acquisition, while the addition of dual card slots make it that much more viable as a workhorse camera for the pro who’s firing out shot after shot. There’s 4K video too and a gorgeous viewfinder with 0.77x magnification.
Fujifilm X-T2 Digital Camera with 18-55mm XF Lens
With improved autofocus and electronic viewfinder performance, the Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless digital camera with 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS lens is an update to the popular Fujifilm X-T1, and is capable of shooting moving subjects under difficult conditions such as in wildlife or sport photography. It includes Fujifilm's sensor and image processing engine, colour reproduction technology, and ...
5. Panasonic LUMIX G9
While Panasonic has made great inroads courting video shooters, some have argued over the years that the firm was lacking a really, really good camera aimed squarely at the stills crowd. That changed with the G9, which in many ways could be considered a riposte to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Panasonic put the work into making a thoroughly capable all-rounder, and it shows, the result being a camera that’s simply a pleasure to use no matter what situation you find yourself in – ergonomic like a Canon DSLR, fast and light like an Olympus OM-D CSC.
Panasonic Lumix G9 Digital Camera with 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 Leica Lens
The Panasonic G9 with 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 Leica Lens is the flagship model for stills photographers who demand the very best in image quality and speed. At its core is a 20.3MP sensor, which when combined with the Venus processor and 5-axis Dual I.S II system, is capable of delivering 80MP images in JPEG/RAW and burst shooting at 20fps. It also offers 4K60p video, 6K Photo Mode and dual card slots.
6. Sony A6500
Sony’s APS-C cameras may not have the sensor size of its Alpha 7 flagships, but you definitely shouldn’t count them out. A shot in the arm of processing power over its predecessor, the A6300, has made this camera into a speed machine. It boasts a hugely sophisticated 425-point autofocus system and 11fps burst shooting, which fills up a generous buffer of up to 300 JPEGs or 100 RAWs. In-body image stabilisation and UHD 4K video at 30p round out a fantastic package.
Sony Alpha A6500 with 16-70mm f4 ZA Lens
Building off the success of the popular Sony A6300, the Sony Alpha A6500 Camera combines the world’s fastest autofocus speed and highest number of autofocus points with in-camera 5-axis image stabilisation, touchscreen autofocusing, and a 24.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Able to shoot 4K video, this flagship mirrorless camera is a powerful, high-quality camera ideal for both amateurs and professionals.
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7. Panasonic LUMIX G80
This list contains a lot of seriously great mirrorless cameras, but we will admit one thing – most of them represent a serious investment. If you’re operating on a tighter budget there are still plenty of fantastic cameras for you to choose from, one of the best of which is Panasonic’s LUMIX G80. It’s sleek and fast, with a capable autofocus system and a 3in articulated touch-screen. And, you of course have access to all of Panasonic’s standard 4K modes. For the price, this one is tough to beat.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 with 12-32mm lens combines 4K photo/video capabilities, Panasonic's new 5-axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabiliser) and the latest creative technologies with a classic compact design. The camera's large 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor without low pass filter, powerful Venus Engine and Dual IS system allow users to achieve unprecedented picture quality in low light (max ISO ...
8. Sony A9
The speedster of the Sony Alpha stable, the A9 represents a serious advancement for sports and action photographers. Its maximum shooting rate of 20fps is complemented by an amazingly fast and accurate autofocus system and an electronic viewfinder that operates with no blackout. Since the camera’s release, its autofocus performance has been further improved with firmware updates, making it even better at tracking moving subjects. When you add in features like oversampled 4K video capture and a huge shooting buffer of 241 RAW files, the A9 is a comprehensive package that merits consideration from every serious photographer.
Sony A9 Digital Camera Body
Free Accessories Worth Over £400
The Sony a9’s unique 35mm stacked full-frame sensor sets this CSC apart from anything else on the market. This mirrorless camera offers unparalleled usability and speed; featuring a 24.2-megapixel, full-frame sensor, the Sony a9 can capture images at a remarkable 20 frames per second. The camera boasts vibration-free shooting up to 1/32,000sec, and a redesigned double-capacity battery.
9. Olympus E-M10 Mark III
Designed for the entry-level user, the E-M10 cameras are the smallest in the Olympus OM-D family. The OM-D cameras are part of the Micro Four Thirds family, which means users have access to an enormous catalogue of high-quality lenses, and they’ve also been designed with the stylish finish users have come to expect from the series. The E-M10 III is no exception, looking as great as it feels. And, when you add the 2,360,000-dot OLED electronic viewfinder into the picture, you’re looking at a downright fantastic starting camera.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Digital Camera with 14-42mm EZ Lens - Black
Designed to be the ideal travel companion, the third generation of Olympus’ OM-D E-M10 digital camera is packed full of useful features for both beginners and seasoned photographers. With 5-axis in-camera stabilisation, high-speed 121-point contrast autofocus, and 4K video capture, the OM-D E-M10 Mark III offers a whole lot of camera in a stylish, compact, 16MP body. 14-42mm lens is included.
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10. Fujifilm GFX-50S
One of the most exciting developments in mirrorless technology is the Fujifilm GFX-50S, a medium format mirrorless camera that could be a glimpse of the future of mirrorless. Housing a 50MP medium format sensor in a relatively small body, the GFX-50S represents a new frontier in the ongoing balance between quality and portability. It is the beginning of a new system, which means there aren’t too many lenses yet, but there will be in the future. Plus, its short flange distance means it is already compatible with a wide range of lenses from other camera makers. We have a feeling we’ve only seen the very start of what this camera and this series have in store for us.
Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Camera Body
Combining an extraordinary sensor, processor, and design with an exclusive new range of Fujinon GF lenses, the Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Camera is a groundbreaking mirrorless camera that delivers ultra-high image quality. It features a 43.8x32.9mm medium format (FUJIFILM G Format) sensor with 51.4 megapixels, and a robust, yet lightweight, body that is able to shoot in harsh conditions.
About the Author
Jon Stapley is a professional journalist with a wealth of experience on a number of photography titles including Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera World and What Digital Camera.