Best mirrorless camera 2020: the best compact system cameras for every skill level

T3’s round-up of the best mirrorless cameras on the market right now, from budget-friendly models to top-spec CSCs

The best mirrorless cameras

There’s never been a better time to buy a mirrorless camera, with a huge range of choice to match every budget and skill level. Pretty much all of the major brands have a good selection of mirrorless options now, with Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus all being mentioned in our list. 

Whether you’re an amateur photographer just starting out, you’re a little bit more advanced or you’re a professional photographer, there’s something out there for you - and we’ve reviewed them all to bring you our recommendations.

We’ve seen some amazing innovations in this area of the market in recent years. Sony’s astonishingly fast A9 was announced in 2017 and brought professional-level expertise to mirrorless for arguably the first meaningful time. It has recently been superseded by the Sony A9 II, which is more of an evolution of the existing model than full-scale revolution.

It took a little while for the big players, Canon and Nikon, to join the mirrorless party, but now they both have well-established ranges, with Nikon particularly impressing with its Z range. Very recently, Nikon has expanded the Z range to offer a cheaper and more enthusiast-friendly APS-C model in the shape of the Z50. Meanwhile, Canon’s latest miniature marvel is the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, which uses the same sensor as the Canon EOS 90D DSLR, but throws in a few extra helpful tools for good measure.

Choosing the best camera for this guide isn’t easy, but if you’re after a decent all-rounder that can perform well in a variety of different shooting situations and is available at a good price, your choice basically boils down to the Nikon Z6 and the Sony A7 III. Both are full-frame cameras - Sony wins for the number of native lenses available, but the Nikon edges it when it comes to handling.

When we chose cameras for this guide, we considered a number of factors. Of course, the quality of images produced is at the top of the list, but you also have to pay attention to how well the camera handles. We tried them out in a range of shooting conditions, including low light, tracking moving subjects and just for every day shooting.

With all this choice available, you may be wondering how to make sense of it all, so let’s dig a little bit deeper…

How to choose the best mirrorless camera for you

There’s a couple of ways to split the mirrorless market up. There’s those which are suitable for beginners or entry-level users, and those which appeal to enthusiasts and professionals.

Some basic models don’t include a viewfinder, but all of them allow you to change lenses and take manual control so you can develop your camera skills. 

Many of the more advanced models act and feel a lot like slimmed down DSLRs - and some aren’t much smaller than their DSLR cousins, but feature all the advantages that a mirrorless system brings (i.e. fast frame rates). 

Sony changed the game a little by introducing the Sony A9 which could crank out an amazing 20fps, with full autofocus and in complete silence. Other technological innovations in recent years include the widespread proliferation of 4K video recording, huge advances in the quality of the viewfinder and super-fast autofocusing.

Most of the time you’ll find that screens are touch sensitive, with many tilting or articulating to help with awkward angles (sometimes that means selfies, too). Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are also becoming so common so as to hardly be worth mentioning - but it’s an essential tool if you want to share your shots as soon as you take them. 

When it comes to sensor sizes, you’ll find three as a general rule - Four Thirds (Panasonic, Olympus), APS-C (Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Sony) and full-frame, (Canon, Nikon, Sony). You might also be tempted by Medium Format cameras which are sometimes called “super full frame” (Fujifilm). Received wisdom will tell you that the larger the sensor, the better the image quality. While there is some truth in that, don’t let it put you off those cameras with smaller sensors - there are other benefits, including a smaller overall system size and cheaper price. 

Best mirrorless camera over £1500

Is money no object in your pursuit for ultimate image quality? These are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy:

Best mirrorless camera: Nikon Z 6

1. Nikon Z 6

A stunning all-round performer for full-frame mirrorless fans

Specifications
Sensor size: Full frame
Resolution: 24.5MP
Continuous shooting: 12fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in body
Reasons to buy
+Good value +Great handling+Good all-rounder
Reasons to avoid
-Single XQD card slot-Limited native lens range

The Nikon Z7 may have a more impressive spec sheet, but for those looking for an all-round full-frame model that comes in at a lower price, the Z6 is the best mirrorless camera in the world right now. It features a lower-resolution sensor than its more expensive sibling, but that means it actually performs slightly better in low light, plus it facilitates faster frame rates of up to 12fps. 

Otherwise, handling and build quality is exactly the same as the Z7, as both use identical bodies. A downside - for many - is the single XQD card slot, but when a camera is this good, we can forgive it.

Best mirrorless camera: Sony A9

2. Sony A9

This pro-level mirrorless camera is the real deal

Specifications
Sensor size: 35mm Full Frame
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 20FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Super-fast shooting+Blackout-free viewfinder
Reasons to avoid
-High price-(Comparatively) Poor battery life

Managing to turn the heads of even die-hard Nikon and Canon professional DSLR users, the Sony A9 leads the way when it comes to impressive technology. 

If you’re into your sports, wildlife or action photography, being able to shoot at a full resolution 20fps all while tracking focus - and what’s more - completely silently - means you’ll be able to capture those moments that your DSLR-wielding buddies miss. 

Other specifications include a 24.2 megapixel full-frame sensor, a viewfinder that manages to stay blackout free even while shooting at super-fast speeds, and a tilting, touch-sensitive screen. 

The biggest drawback here is price, but you do get something seriously impressive for your cash.

Recently, the Sony A9 has been replaced by the Sony A9 II. However, the differences are relatively minor, so unless you need some of the added tweaks (i.e. faster frame rate when using the mechanical shutter), you can save cash by going for the older model.

Best mirrorless camera: Canon EOS R

3. Canon EOS R

Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera impresses

Specifications
Sensor size: Full-frame
Resolution: 30.3 MP
Continuous shooting: 8fps
Video: 4K (cropped)
Stabilisation: None
Reasons to buy
+Great image quality+Customisable controls+Fully-articulating screen
Reasons to avoid
-Single SD card slot-Cropped 4K video-No IBIS

Nobody was surprised when Canon launched its own take on full-frame mirrorless just weeks after Nikon – but it’s safe to say there have been a fair few disappointments with the EOS R. 

There are several plus points to admire first though, so let’s not start on a downer. The look and feel of the EOS R is classic Canon, but adds a couple of new and useful twists, such as the customisable touch-sensitive multi function bar, just next to the viewfinder.  The screen is not only touch-sensitive, but also articulates for handy shooting from all sorts of strange angles.

Image quality is also fantastic, thanks to the full-frame 30.3 megapixel sensor which produces the goods just like cameras such as the 5D Mark IV.

Now for the negatives – a single SD card slot is possibly even more frustrating than Nikon’s decision to go for a single XQD, while only offering cropped 4K in an age where video is so important is equally bizarre. The lack of in-body image stabilisation is something which also disappoints, too.

If you can live with those problems, the EOS R makes a lot of sense to existing DSLR owners keen to make the leap to mirrorless – but we can’t help but hold our breath to see what the company will bring out next.

Best mirrorless camera: Panasonic S1R

4. Panasonic S1R

Panasonic’s foray into full-frame mirrorless is an interesting first attempt

Specifications
Sensor size: Full frame
Resolution: 47.3 MP
Continuous shooting: 9fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis
Reasons to buy
+Full-frame sensor+Excellent handling +Two card slots
Reasons to avoid
-High price-Limited system -Poor battery life

After years extolling the virtues of the much small Micro Four Thirds system, Panasonic has made the leap into full-frame, joining forces with Leica and Sigma to form the “L Mount alliance”. 

There’s two models at launch from Panasonic - the S1 and the S1R, with the latter featuring a higher resolution sensor. For now, the system is fairly limited, with just three proprietary optics from Panasonic and a range of options from Leica and Sigma. 

Handling is great, with a large chunky body replete with dials and buttons - this is much bigger than other full-frame mirrorless systems like Nikon’s Z series or Sony’s Alpha series - whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is likely dependent on your point of view. 

It’s early days for this system yet, but it’s interesting to see how it will develop in the coming months or years. If you’re already the lucky owner of some Leica L mount glass, picking up a S1R makes a lot of sense - everyone else might feel the need to wait just a little while for it to bed in.

Best mirrorless camera: Nikon Z 7

5. Nikon Z 7

Aside from a few niggles, Nikon's first full-frame mirrorless camera is perfect

Specifications
Sensor size: Full-frame
Resolution: 45.7 MP
Continuous shooting: 9fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great handling+Superb viewfinder+Fantastic images
Reasons to avoid
-Single XQD card only-Limited battery life

Nikon’s long-awaited Z 7 needed to deliver an awful lot after all this time in the full-frame wilderness. 

Luckily for the company, it did that, and more. With a full-frame 45.7 megapixel sensor, a superb 493-point AF system, a 3.2-inch 2,100k-dot touch-sensitive screen and a stunning viewfinder, it’s one of the best cameras on the market right now – and certainly the best mirrorless model of the year. It looks and feels like a smaller DSLR, bringing with it some fantastic new benefits such as silent-shooting and in-body image stabilisation. 

That’s not to say that there aren’t some negatives that also deserve mention. The fact that it only accepts a single XQD card hasn’t gone down well – especially with pros – while the average battery life will come as a shock to those who are used to shooting with DSLRs.

Put those niggles aside though and you’ve got a camera that every bit lives up to the hype and is very much like using a Nikon D850 – both in the way it handles and the results it delivers.

6. Olympus OM-D E-M1X

A great choice for wildlife, sports and action enthusiasts

Specifications
Sensor size: Four Thirds
Resolution: 20.4 MP
Continuous shooting: Up to 60fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis image stabilisation
Reasons to buy
+Impressive autofocus+Super fast frame rates+Great handling
Reasons to avoid
-Small sensor-Limited ‘pro’ lenses available-Expensive

While everyone is banging on about full frame, it’s important not to forget about the format that kicked off the mirrorless revolution - Micro Four Thirds. 

Step forward the E-M1X, which is Olympus’s latest technical marvel. Offering a huge amount of advantages for professional and advanced enthusiasts interested primarily in sports, wildlife and action photography, it offers great autofocus tracking and astonishing frame rates of up to 60fps (it’s limited to 18fps if you want full autofocus tracking in between shots, though). 

Despite its now comparatively small sensor, it’s a large beast - an implemented battery grip has the benefit of facilitating fantastic battery life (especially for mirrorless), but you can’t help but think it misses one of the key advantages of mirrorless - small size. 

Still - if wildlife is your thing, it’s certainly worth investigating.

7. Fujifilm GFX 50R

If full-frame still isn’t big enough for you - why not go medium format

Specifications
Sensor size: Medium format
Resolution: 51.4MP
Continuous shooting: 3fps
Video: Full HD
Stabilisation: None in-body
Reasons to buy
+Amazing detail +Good price for medium format +Great handling
Reasons to avoid
-Video specs limited-Fairly slow

While everyone was busy chattering about new full-frame models at Photokina 2018, Fujifilm went one step further and announced its latest “super full-frame” model, the GFX 50R. 

Using a medium format sensor, the body has been designed to be smaller and lighter than the existing GFX 50S, opening it up to new kinds of shooters, such as documentary, reportage and street. It’s not exactly what we’d call a fast-worker, with frame rates stunted at 3fps and video restricted to Full HD - but that’s really not the point of the GFX 50R. 

Instead, it’s for those that crave the super high resolution that that medium format facilitates, as well as stunning image quality. It’s not “cheap” by any stretch, but it brings the prospect of medium format into the realms of the enthusiast far more than other even more expensive models.

Best mirrorless camera under £1500

Looking for something a little more affordable? These are the best mirrorless cameras under £1,500:

Best mirrorless camera: Fujifilm X-T3

1. Fujifilm X-T3

An outstanding mirrorless camera in a gloriously retro body

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 26 MP
Continuous shooting: 30fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful looks+Great image quality+Fast shooting+Great focusing 
Reasons to avoid
-No IBIS-Limited battery life-Screen only tilts

In a sea of full-frame giddiness, Fujifilm also brought out its latest APS-C model this year, in the shape of the X-T3.

Fujifilm is very much committed to this format, arguing that it delivers the best compromise between size and image quality – and they’ve certainly got a fair point. 

Having a sensor of this slightly smaller size means that you don’t have to lug around heavy lenses and accessories, while it being bigger than the even smaller Four Thirds still leaves you with cracking image quality. 

Wonderful images aside, there’s plenty of other things to like about the X-T3, including great autofocusing, fast frame rates, an impressive array of 4K video features and of course, this being Fuji, beautiful looks. 

On the downside, in-body image stabilisation is missing (pick up an X-H1 if you want that), battery life could be better and the screen tilts three ways, rather than fully articulating. 

Still – in a world obsessed with full-frame, we’d be more than happy to pack this in our kit bag, and do our backs a favour in the process.

Best mirrorless camera: Canon EOS RP

2. Canon EOS RP

A beginner-friendly full-frame mirrorless that could be a big seller

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 26.2MP
Continuous shooting: 5FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None in-body
Reasons to buy
+Good value +4K video+Great image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Poor battery life-Limited native RF lens range

Canon may not have set the world alight with its Canon EOS R range of full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the RP, with its (relatively) low asking price is still likely to sell by the bucket-load.

It’s a good compromise of sorts, offering excellent full-frame image quality, but with a few drawbacks, such as a low frame rate (5fps). There’s also the problem of there still being scant native RF lenses available - pick up an adapter if you have a set of Canon EF lenses in your cupboard. 

Those interested in shooting movies might also lock onto the EOS RP as an affordable entry into full-frame video shooting, too.

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony a6600

A super powerful APS-C model, but it has some handling quirks that are hard to ignore

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 11fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis
Reasons to buy
+Good all rounder+Excellent lens range+4K video recording+Speedy focusing
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly awkward handling -Single memory card slot-Viewfinder not as good as rivals

Sony’s latest flagship APS-C model delivers a lot of great specifications on paper, such as 11fps shooting, 4K video recording and speedy focusing. That should make it one of the best cameras on the market, but it is let down by awkward and fiddly handling. 

The sensor is also fairly old hat now, having been seen in older models, which rivals can do better things with 4K video. Still, the lens range for Sony’s cameras is huge, and in terms of actual performance, you’ll be hard pushed to match it for actually getting shots in focus more times than not for moving subjects. 

Only toting a single UHS-I memory card slot is a strange decision for a flagship model in 2019, and again sees the camera come off worse against its rivals, such as the X-T3 and the Panasonic GH5, which both include double UHS-II (faster) card slots.

For composition, the electronic viewfinder is usable, but better can be found elsewhere (such as the Fujifilm X-T3 again)— but on the plus side, the tilting touchscreen, as well as video and microphone ports, making it a useful camera for vloggers.

Best mirrorless camera: Nikon Z50

(Image credit: Nikon)

4. Nikon Z50

Nikon’s newest Z models goes hard for the mid-range consumer, and is close to perfect

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 20.9MP
Continuous shooting: 11fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great for travel +Great handling +Excellent viewfinder and screen combination +Same lens mount as full-frame models 
Reasons to avoid
-No inbuilt stabilisation -Limited native lens range-Single memory card slot -Awkward screen tilting mechanism

After the success of the Z6/Z7 full-frame mirrorless models, it makes sense that Nikon would start chasing the much larger enthusiast market. The Z50 does just that by shrinking down all the best bits from the Z range into a more affordable package. 

It does that by including a smaller (APS-C) sensor, allowing Nikon to make a smaller overall body. To achieve that, some sacrifices have been made - including removing the joystick and the top-plate LCD, but the engineers have done a pretty smart job of ensuring that handling is still well-balanced. Another trade off is a lower resolution, smaller viewfinder, but if you’ve never used anything else you won’t be disappointed. 

That’s not to say that the camera is perfect. Only having a single card slot is a shame, while the native lens range for now is a little bit limited. With more lens releases planned for the next year or two, you shouldn’t have to wait too long for the Z50 to catch up with its rivals on that front, though. 

Overall, this is a fantastic APS-C model which is ideal for travel and everyday shots, giving you much of the benefits of the full-frame Z models, but at a much more affordable price.

Best mirrorless camera: Fujifilm X-T30

5. Fujifilm X-T30

In many respects, an X-T3 Lite - perfect for travelling

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 26.1MP
Continuous shooting: 20fps
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None
Reasons to buy
+Attractive, retro body +Mostly controls +Good value
Reasons to avoid
-No in-body image stabilisation -Slightly awkwardly placed “Q” button

Fujifilm promotes its APS-C sensors as being the perfect compromise between high portability and high image quality. The X series has won plenty of fans over the years for its capability to produce stunning results, and the X-T30 is no different. 

Essentially a baby X-T3, it uses the same processor and sensor combination as its elder brother, along with the same autofocusing system and frame rate capability. There are some trade offs for going for this cheaper option - such as a more limited buffer, only one card slot, and slightly fewer body controls - but overall it’s the ideal option for travelling, or for those just looking to save some cash. 

One slight complaint is the location of the “Q” button to access the camera’s quick menu - located on the camera’s grip, it’s all too easy to accidentally press it.

Best mirrorless camera: Canon EOS M6 Mark II

(Image credit: Canon)

6. Canon EOS M6 Mark II

A travel-friendly compact system camera that packs a powerful punch under the hood

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 32.5MP
Continuous shooting: 14fps / 30fps RAW burst mode
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great size+Very high resolution APS-C sensor+Fast max burst rate
Reasons to avoid
-No built-in viewfinder-Screen only tilts up and down -Not a huge range of native lenses

Packing the same sensor as the also newly announced 90D DSLR, which is very high in resolution at 32.5 megapixels. As well as that, there’s also a range of action-friendly specifications which make the M6 Mark II appealing to a wide range of different photographers. 

You get 14fps with continuous autofocus, or 30fps if you’re happy to shoot 18 megapixels. You also get 4K video recording (which is uncropped) plus a host of nifty autofocusing features. 

The biggest drawback of this camera is the lack of inbuilt viewfinder. If you’re from a phone photography type of background, you may not care, but you can always buy an optional detachable one if you do.

Overall, this is a dinky little CSC which is particularly well-suited to travel or those who just want to travel light and is worth investigating.

Best mirrorless camera: Panasonic Lumix GX9

7. Panasonic Lumix GX9

A great compact system camera which would be ideal for travelling

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 20MP
Continuous shooting: 9FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Small & light+4K Photo and Video+Fast Focusing
Reasons to avoid
-No weather sealing-Screen only tilts 

This small and light compact system camera is a great option for those looking to travel light, while keeping all the benefits of a larger sensor (than your phone), and interchangeable lenses. 

You get a 20.3 megapixel Four Thirds sensor that performs well in a variety of situations, with an enhanced in-body image stabiliser to help keep your shots as sharp as possible. There’s also a tilting viewfinder, and a tilting screen - that’s not as flexible for selfies as an articulating screen, but is pretty helpful otherwise. 

As this is a Panasonic, you get 4K Photo and Video, allowing you to shoot at 30fps and extract stills, a nifty feature that stands it apart from other CSCs.

Best mirrorless camera: Sony Alpha A7 III

8. Sony Alpha A7 III

An affordable full-framer designed for the enthusiast

Specifications
Sensor size: Full frame
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 10FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic AF system+10fps burst shooting+4K video+Compact body
Reasons to avoid
-Limited touchscreen functionality-Overall system still large

While Nikon and Canon are busy twiddling their thumbs (or at least giving that impression) when it comes to serious mirrorless cameras, Sony is taking the market by storm. 

The superb A9 is the camera to beat, but if you don’t have a spare 5k lying around, it’s not exactly accessible to most. Step in the A7 III, a fantastic all-rounder available at a much more affordable £2,000. For that cash you get an awful lot of features, including 10fps shooting, a 24.2 megapixel back-illuminated sensor, fantastic 4K video creation and a body which is small and compact. 

The overall system is still large - lenses still need to be pretty big to be matched with a full-frame sensor - but otherwise, this is almost the perfect camera for enthusiasts right now.

Best mirrorless camera: Fujifilm X-H1

9. Fujifilm X-H1

Fuji’s most advanced X series camera so far

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 14FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great viewfinder+DCI 4K video recording+In-body image stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Large design-Relatively limited battery life

Fujifilm has won over a lot of fans with its retro designs and high-performing cameras in the X series, with the latest X-H1 sitting right at the top of its current line-up. 

This model is aimed at more serious enthusiasts than any of its other previous cameras, including in-body image stabilisation for the first time in an X-series camera. It uses the same sensor which has already proved itself to be very capable in the XPro2, X-T2 and X-T20. 

It’s also got some fantastic video specifications, making it more of a hybrid camera than ever before - you’ve got both standard 4K and DCI 4K, as well as Full HD at up to 120p. Other better features include a larger electronic viewfinder, plus a touchscreen LCD. Impressive focusing and up to 14fps burst shooting round out the features to make it a very versatile option.

Best mirrorless camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

(Image credit: Olympus)

10. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

A long-awaited upgrade to the popular mid-range Olympus model

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 20MP
Continuous shooting: 30FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Great for travel+Great stabilisation +Weatherproofing 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively poor battery life -Smaller sensor than APS-C rivals

Aimed squarely at the same customers tempted by a Nikon Z50, Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony A6400, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is the company’s mid-range offering. It’s been a long time coming, with the Mark II first appearing almost half a decade ago in February 2015. 

We’ve now got a 20 megapixel sensor. Although Four Thirds is smaller than many of those featured on this list, don’t write it off - it means that the overall system is very small indeed. For that reason, if you’re looking for an excellent travel camera that you can tote along with several lenses in your hand luggage - this could be the one for you. 

Along with that bonus, you’ve also got a range of other enticing features, such as 4K video recording, 10fps shooting with the mechanical shutter (up to 30fps available with ProCapture), and good spread of AF points. On top of all that, it’s weather-sealed too, so if your travels take you to less than inclement shores, it’s OK. 

Best mirrorless camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

11. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

A fantastic set of specifications in a chunky and sturdy body

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 20MP
Continuous shooting: 60FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Fast shooting+Impressive image stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Needlessly complicated menus

 

While Olympus may not have the hype of some of the other brands here, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has some seriously impressive class-leading specs on board.

Action shooters will be pleased to note that it’s capable of shooting at 18fps at full resolution with tracking focus, while you can boost that up to an even more impressive 60fps if you fix the focus in the first frame. Image stabilisation baked into the camera allows you to shoot handheld for up to two seconds without introducing image blur, while autofocus is quick and sharp.

A chunky body with plenty of dials are available, while dual SD card slots, 4K video recording and an articulating touchscreen round out the specifications very nicely.

Best mirrorless camera: Panasonic GH5

12. Panasonic GH5

A powerful all-rounder, particularly well-suited to videographers

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 21MP
Continuous shooting: 60FPS
Video: 4K/6K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+4K/6K video+Articulating touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller sensor-Low light performance not amazing

Panasonic has long been a firm favourite with videographers, and the GH5 is the ideal shooter for those with movie-making aspirations. Don’t let that put you off if you’re mainly into your stills though, as there’s plenty here too to draw you in.

The GH5 saw the debut of 6K Photo, an upgrade from Panasonic’s innovative 4K Photo technology - in short, you can shoot video bursts and extract high-resolution stills - with up to 30 frames per second to shoot from in 6K, or, 60 frames per second in 4K, you can hardly fail to miss the definitive moment. 

Handling is a dream, with a chunky and sturdy body which is weatherproof and adorned with plenty of buttons and dials. A fully articulating screen is touch-sensitive, and joined by a bright and clear viewfinder.

Best mirrorless camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

13. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

For retro style that doesn’t cost the earth, this well featured little CSC could be just the ticket

Specifications
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 16MP
Continuous shooting: 8.6FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body
Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-A little fiddly-Focus tracking not hot

A good choice for those who want to take their first step into the more serious world of interchangeable lens cameras, the OM-D E-M10 Mark III is very awkwardly named, but a great little shooter. 

On the upside, you’ve got a very small, neat and compact CSC here - you could conceivably even fit this in a jacket pocket - but that does mean that space is limited so the layout can feel a little cramped.

Inexperienced photographers can take advantage of automatic modes, while older hands may like to use the E-M10 III as a second, or travel camera. There’s a great viewfinder and a tilting touchscreen - while the retro design is sure to appeal, too.

Best mirrorless camera: Fujifilm X-A7

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

14. Fujifilm X-A7

A basic model to get you into the fantastic Fujifilm X series

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 6FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: None in-body
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than other X series cameras+4K video at 30p +Fully articulating screen
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than other entry-level models -No inbuilt viewfinder-Kit lens could be better

Following on from the X-A5, the X-A7 is Fujifilm’s entry-level mirrorless model. It gives you some of the specifications of those found higher up in the Fuji range, but without quite such a high price tag. 

One of the ways it does that is to scrimp on a couple of key areas. There’s no inbuilt viewfinder for composing your images - which if you’re used to shooting with your phone might not be that huge of a dealbreaker anyway. 

On the plus side, the screen is fully articulating, meaning it can face forwards for selfies and video shooting. The addition of a microphone socket makes it a good choice for vloggers, too. With that in mind, now being able to shoot at 4K, 30fps is also a useful addition compared with its predecessor. 

This being a Fujifilm it is cheap by other X series standards, but if you’re looking for a bargain, other brands generally have more affordable entry points.

Best mirrorless camera: Fuji X-T20

15. Fuji X-T20

A baby brother to the X-T2, with a lot of the same great specifications

Specifications
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 24MP
Continuous shooting: 5FPS
Video: 4K
Stabilisation: OIS in-lens
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous body+More affordable than T2
Reasons to avoid
-No weather sealing-Single SD slot

 If you’re more of a hobbyist than a serious shooter, then the X-T20 offers an alternative to the X-T2 without scrimping on some of its key features.

 For example, you get the same 24.3 megapixel sensor as its bigger brother, along with 4K video recording and 14fps shooting. The body is well designed with a smattering of dials and buttons housed in a retro shell.

The viewfinder is a little smaller than the X-T2’s, but is still perfectly adequate, while the tilting screen is handy for awkward angles (it doesn’t face all the forwards though, unfortunately). If you prefer a rangefinder style, check out the X-E3, the cheaper alternative to the X-Pro2.

What is a mirrorless camera?

Traditional DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras require a mirror to reflect the light (which comes through the lens) up to the optical viewfinder. As the name suggests, a mirrorless camera is one that doesn’t require a mirror. 

In a mirrorless camera you don't have an optical viewfinder. The lens projects the image directly onto the sensor, and you'll see the digital image on the display or on the electronic viewfinder.

Mirrorless cameras, sometimes known as compact system cameras, were historically seen as an alternative to DSLRs.

The absence of a mirror means they're often smaller and lighter than their more traditional predecessors – and while it used to be that the trade off for that size reduction was a loss in image quality, that really isn’t the case any more. 

Liked this?