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 A7R III Digital Camera Body
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.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Digital Camera Body
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.
Panasonic GH5 Digital Camera
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.
Fujifilm X-T2 Digital Camera Body
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.
Panasonic Lumix G9 Body
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.
6. Sony A6500
Sony Alpha A6500 Digital Camera Body
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.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80 Digital Camera Body
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.
8. Sony A9
£300 Trade-in bonus
Sony A9 Digital Camera Body
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.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Digital Camera Body - Black
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.
10. Fujifilm GFX-50S
£450 Trade-in bonus
Fujifilm GFX 50S Medium Format Camera Body
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.
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. See more of his writing at jonstapley.tumblr.com