Mirrorless cameras have come of age, as you will see during our mirrorless special online this week and in the latest issue of AP. Their autofocus system are snappy and clever, their viewfinders show you the impact of the camera’s settings and they deliver images that are every bit as good, if not better than a comparable DSLR. No wonder then that many photographers are trading in their clacking-mirrored cameras and switching to the new breed.
In this major guide, we’ve rounded up the best mirrorless cameras on the market with models for first-time camera buyers as well as seasoned professional photographers. There’s everything from small carry-everywhere cameras to a medium format camera that captures every scrap of detail. Read on for our best buys, starting from lowest price first (NB prices change on a regular basis). To learn more about the best lenses for mirrorless cameras, see our major guide.
Canon EOS M50
£649 with 15-45mm lens
This likeable little APS-C format camera is simple and approachable for novices, while offering plenty of manual control for enthusiasts. Its central electronic viewfinder is joined by a fully articulated touchscreen, and the autofocus is fast and accurate. It’s capable of producing consistently fine images, which are easy to share thanks to well-designed smartphone connectivity.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Based around a new 20Mp sensor, this attractive compact mirrorless model offers excellent JPEG image quality with extremely attractive colours. The design is stylish and the ergonomics are well laid-out, while extremely effective in-body stabilisation keeps pictures sharp. You also get a good set of useful advanced features and the camera is supported by a
fine set of small, affordable lenses.
£899 with 15-45mm lens
This lovely little APS-C format camera provides excellent performance, while preserving the charm and charisma of the X-series. It’s a great all-rounder, and handles exceptionally well thanks to an intuitive interface based around traditional analogue dials. Image quality is superb in both raw and JPEG files, aided by Fujifilm’s peerless Film Simulation modes.
Panasonic Lumix G9
Easily the finest Micro Four Thirds format stills camera Panasonic has ever produced, the G9 backs up its sturdy construction with a winning combination of high-speed shooting, fast focusing and effective in-body stabilisation. Boasting a control layout as complete as most pro-level DSLRs, it’s an extremely versatile camera that’s capable of dealing with any subject.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
This small, fully-featured and weathersealed Micro Four Thirds camera is both a pleasure to use, and capable of great results. Its petite body finds space for an extensive complement of controls, along with class-leading 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, yet weighs in at just 414g. On-chip phase detection enables fast, decisive autofocus.
Nikon Z 50
£1,199 with 16-50mm lens
Nikon’s entry-level mirrorless model produces fine images and is a delight to use. The excellent viewfinder and responsive touchscreen enhance the enjoyable shooting experience, and with 11fps shooting and responsive autofocus, the Z 50 rarely feels out of its depth. It’s a marvellous little APS-C format camera that offers great value for money.
Fujifilm has built on its outstanding X-T3 by adding in-body image stabilisation and a vari-angle screen. With high speed, impressive resolution and sophisticated autofocus, the X-T4 is arguably the finest APS-C format mirrorless camera yet, and it’s a great choice for both demanding professionals and keen enthusiasts who would like to build a smaller, lighter system.
Nikon Z 6
This remarkably versatile full-frame mirrorless camera boasts a 24.5MP sensor, 273-point phase detection AF system and fast 12fps burst shooting. Users will be bowled over by the excellent electronic viewfinder, as well as the quality of the images produced. Existing Nikon SLR owners can use their F-mount lenses via the FTZ adapter.
Sony Alpha 7 III
Sony’s enthusiast-focused full-frame mirrorless model is a remarkable allrounder that’s packed full of high-end features. Its 24MP sensor is supported by fast, responsive autofocus, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, 10 frames per second shooting and 4K video recording. Its handling and battery life are notably improved over its predecessor, too.
Nikon Z 7
Nikon’s Z 7 debut full-frame mirrorless model is staggeringly accomplished, and one of the best cameras ever made. Its 45.7MP sensor provides stunning image quality, backed up by 5-axis in-body image stabilisation and fast, accurate autofocus. The viewfinder is superb, and F-mount SLR lenses can be used via the FTZ adapter.
Canon EOS R6
This is a superbly accomplished full-frame mirrorless camera which gets almost everything right for stills photographers. Key features include superb body design and handling, excellent image quality in both JPEG and raw, fantastic high-ISO performance, superb autofocus with remarkable subject recognition and effective in-body image stabilisation. It works perfectly with EF-mount SLR lenses, too. With this and the R5 (see below), Canon’s rivals have plenty of cause for concern.
Sony Alpha 7R IV
With its 61MP sensor, the A7R IV takes full-frame image quality to new heights, without compromising on speed or dynamic range. It’s as accomplished when shooting sports or wildlife as it is for landscapes or portraits. With an excellent viewfinder and effective in-body stabilisation, it’s the most capable all-rounder you can currently buy.
Canon EOS R5
An incredibly impressive stills camera and the best mirrorless camera from Canon to date. The combination of a multi-controller (joystick), a rear thumb dial and dual card slots help make the R5 seem like a mirrorless version of the 5D Mark IV but with the added benefit of a vari-angle touchscreen. It also has a superb AF system and it’s only the much-reported overheating issue when shooting long 8K and 4K video clips that prevents it from getting a maximum five stars in our review.
The world’s first truly practical super-high resolution camera employs a 102MP medium-format sensor. On-chip phase detection provides rapid autofocus, while in-body image stabilisation allows the camera to be used with confidence handheld. For photographers who need to shoot in the field without compromising on image quality, there’s nothing else like it.