Best Mirrorless Cameras

Best Mirrorless Cameras in 2018
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If you’re researching the best mirrorless cameras, you’re definitely not the only one. In 2019, mirrorless cameras are still a very hot topic, and their popularity among everyone from beginners to professional photographers is growing every day.

The advantages of mirrorless cameras over DSLRs are undeniable, and each day another photographer somewhere in the world is switching systems, or starting off their photography journey with a mirrorless camera.

Mirrorless cameras offer the latest technology in a compact package, at competitive prices.

Features like the electronic view finder (EVF), the leaf shutter, complete AF area coverage, in-camera stabilization, and other state-of-the-art technology are huge benefits of mirrorless cameras, and can make photography easier and more fun.

I’ve updated the roundup below with the latest and most relevant mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) models so you can decide which is the best mirrorless camera for you.

[UPDATE JAN 2019: I’m currently testing the Fujifilm X-T3, Nikon Z7/Z6 and Canon EOS R – will add to this roundup soon!]

Best Mirrorless Cameras in 2019

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageSony a7IIIBEST ALL ROUND FULL FRAME
  • Best Auto-Focus
  • Amazing Low Light Performance
  • Flexibile Customisations
  • Compact Body]
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shk2-table__imageFujifilm X-T3BEST ALL ROUND APS-C
  • Great Auto-Focus
  • Fast Frame Rate
  • Beautiful Colours
  • Great Lens Selection
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shk2-table__imageCanon EOS RHIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  • Beautiful Colours
  • Best Ergonimics
  • Best Lens Selection
  • Front Flippable LCD
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shk2-table__imageNikon Z6GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY
  • Fast Shooting Rate
  • Great Ergonomics
  • Great Dynamic Range
  • Great High ISO
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shk2-table__imageFujifilm X-T20BEST AFFORDABLE
  • Great Film Simulations
  • Versatile Auto-Focus
  • Tilting Touchscreen
  • Great Lens Selection
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shk2-table__imageSony a6000BEST BUDGET
  • Amazing Value for Money
  • Great Auto-Focus
  • Good Lens Selection
  • Compact & Lightweight
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I’ve categorised this mirrorless camera comparison into various photography genres and popular topics to help you find the best camera for you.

I’ve made sure to include camera options for a range of budgets, to cater for beginners, amateurs and professional photographers.

There’s also a range of brands, and I recommend you to do some additional research on the availability (and affordability) of lenses before buying a mirrorless camera. You’ll notice that I haven’t recommended a Nikon mirrorless camera or Canon mirrorless camera here yet, but I’ll be updating the post very soon.

(In the mean time, check out this recent Fujifilm X-H1 review and Nikon Z7 review]

Skip ahead to the relevant section to read my recommendations:

If you want more information on exactly what are mirrorless camera systems, or why mirrorless camera systems might be right for you, check out this post where I delve deep into the whole dslr vs mirrorless debate.

Best Mirrorless Camera for All-Round Use

It’s difficult to decide on an absolute best mirrorless camera, since all the ones listed in this round up are ‘the best’ in their own ways. However, for those of you who are sick of reading mirrorless camera reviews and just want to invest in a camera body that will see you well for the next few years, whatever level of photographer you are, this is a good place to start.

The best mirrorless camera for all-round use has to be easy enough for a non-professional to use, but still offer pro-grade features and image quality. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the more niche mirrorless cameras mentioned below, but should still possess enough technology to stand shoulders above the best DSLRs on the market.

The best mirrorless camera also needs to be able to hold its own in any situation, despite not being the absolute latest camera on the market in 2019.

I’ve included two options here, depending on which system you prefer – APS-C or full frame.

Sony a7III

Sony a7III mirrorless camera copy

Megapixels: 24.3
Sensor Size: Full Frame (35mm)
Weight: 653g (23 oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

This is one mirrorless camera that I just can’t believe exists at this price in 2019. If I had to choose just one product that I think will cause the most people to swap from DSLR to mirrorless cameras this year, the Sony a7III would be it.

Most of the talk in the mirrorless industry of late has revolved around Sony, with their auto-focus monster the Sony a9 stealing headlines initially, then their megapixel monster the Sony a7R III leaving photographers’ jaws dropped a few month later.

[Related: See Shotkit’s full Sony a7 III review]

However, there’s one big problem that caused photographers to hesitate in their purchases – both the flagship Sony full frame a-series bodies are expensive, and as such, pigeon-hole their usage predominantly to pros or wealthy amateurs.

That is, until now. With the release of the Sony a7III, Sony looks to dominate the mirrorless camera market by offering a full frame camera with Sony’s class-leading technology, all for a surprisingly affordable price.

Check out the video below where the Watsons from Learning Cameras actually call the Sony a7III the best camera for under $2,000! (I actually went as far as saying that this is the best full frame camera of the year.)

Considering the price of the equivalent Fujifilm mirrorless camera is only a few hundred dollars less (see Fujifilm X-H1 price here), it’s getting harder and harder to recommend their APS-C sensor bodies over Sony’s full frame offering.

So what does the Sony a7III bring to the table? Well, in true Sony style, everything but the kitchen-sink…

It all revolves around that glorious Sony 24.2 MP BSI full frame image sensor, which produces sharp, vivid and contrasty JPEGs and RAW files with acres of dynamic range. Then there’s the ISO, which ranges from 50 all the way up to 204,800…. with most of those upper echelons being actually usable!

In testing, I found that at ISO 6400, images are impressively clean, and the noise only creeps in slightly at ISO 12,800. You can even get respectable images at ISO 51,200, which is actually even better than the Sony a7R III (which costs almost 1.5x the price),.

The Sony a7III offers 693 phase-detection AF points with 93% image coverage. By comparison, the Sony a7RIII ‘only’ offers 399 phase-detection AF points with 68% coverage – see my review of it later on in this roundup of the best mirrorless cameras.

Then there’s touchscreen LCD (admitedly with rather limited functionality), extended battery life (approx.. 700 shots), dual memory card slots, Enhanced Eye-AF, 5 axis image stabilization, Wifi NFC and Bluetooth, and more customisable buttons than you can shake a stick at.

That Eye-AF deserves a special mention for being the most mind-blowing tech to reach a digital camera in the past few years – the way that it finds and locks on to a subject’s eye (even when they’re wearing sunglasses) is incredibly useful for any photographer who shoots people.

Sony EYE AF
Sony’s Eye AF locks onto the subject’s eye in a scene with eery precision.

With the somewhat convoluted Sony product line, a lot of photographers are now scratching their heads as to why you would choose an A9 or an a7RIII over a Sony a7III, considering how much more expensive they are.

In a nut shell, the Sony a7R III offers more megapixels, pixel-shift mode and a faster-refreshing LCD than the Sony a7III.

The Sony a9 offers an extra body dial, faster start up times, bigger buffer, 10 fps no-black in the EVF and faster electronic shutter speeds.

Some photographers need those extra features of the a7RIII and a9, but I’m guessing a much larger number do not, and will be delighted at the huge cost savings afforded to them with the Sony a7III.

Long story short, the Sony a7III ƒis the best value for money mirrorless camera of 2019, and in many respects, the best all-round full frame mirrorless camera too.

I own a Sony a7III and a Sony a7R III for wedding photography. I can’t notice much difference at all between them, except for when I import the images to work on – the 24.3 MP files of the Sony a7III are much more manageable.

I’m actually considering selling my Sony a7RIII and going with 2 Sony a7III ’s… and pocketing the difference. It’s rather confusing why Sony has produced a camera that’ll end up cannibalizing sales of its higher priced offerings… but who are we to complain?!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY A7III

Fujifilm X-T2

Fuji x-t2 best mirrorless camera

Megapixels: 24.3
Sensor Size: APS-C (23.6mm x 15.6mm)
Weight: 507g (17 oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

Let’s start off with a Fuji mirrorless camera that was the talk of the photography world last year, and still continues to be here in 2019… perhaps more so even than the newly released Fujifilm X-H1

The Fujifilm X-T2 supports the same 24mp X-Trans III sensor as found in another excellent all-round mirrorless camera by Fuji, (see the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 review) – one which I’d be recommending here if not for the X-T2’s slight advantages over it.

Both have excellent image quality and an ISO range that runs from 100-51,000. However, Fuji has shown us once again that with each new camera release, there are also worthwhile technological advances.

First we see a more advanced AF system in the Fujifilm X-T2, featuring a 325-point hybrid contrast+phase detection autofocus which is Fujifilm’s best yet.

This combination allows rapid image capture at up to 8 frames-per-second with full AF tracking or at up to 14 fps using the silent electronic shutter, with accurate, fast tracking of subjects in all modes.

8 fps may not sound particularly impressive in this list of the best mirrorless cameras, but it’s worth remembering that shooting 8 photos per second is more than enough for most photographers, and definitely saves time when culling.

Fujifilm xt2 best mirrorless camera
Fujfilm X-T2 of motorsports photographer Andrew Hall

If you really need more speed like the motorsports photographer above, you can expand the capabilities of the X-T2 with the vertical power ‘booster’ grip, enabling faster shooting speeds of 11fps, longer video recording times of up to 30 mins and a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

Then there’s the actual shape of the Fujifilm X-T2, mimicking a mini-DSLR, and lending itself more to prolonged camera-holding more so than some of the other best mirrorless cameras on this list.

The Fujifilm X-T2 features improved handling to its predecessor (see this Fujifilm X-T1 review), incorporating a larger grip, focus lever joystick, locking dials, and raised buttons to ensure smooth operation.

Fuji xt2 offcamera flash
Fujifilm X-T2 sample JPEG | Jonas Rask

The weather-sealed body sports a 2.36m-dot OLED EVF with a larger eyecup for comfortable composition and a base refresh rate of 60 fps, boostable to 100 fps.

Dedicated physical dials and buttons are plentiful and logically arranged, and the 3″ 1.62m-dot three-way tilting LCD screen makes shooting at obscure angles much easier and more pleasurable. If you’ve never used a tilting screen to compose and shoot, you’re really missing out – it’s by far my preferred way to capture a candid image.

When used in combination with any of the lightweight primes or smaller zooms (see the best Fuji lenses) , the Fujifilm X-T2 becomes a perfectly balanced unit capable in any situation.

FUJIFILM X-T2 MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

When recommending the best mirrorless camera for all-round use, it’s important to choose a camera that is being used professionally in a range of disciplines.

The Fujfilm X-T2 may not have the biggest sensor, best high ISO, fastest frame rate, or widest AF area coverage, but it excels in all arenas to the extent that it is used by all manner of professional photographer (and many lucky amateurs too!)

It’s small and light enough to be popular among wedding photographers, fast enough to be used by sports photographers, and offers high ISO performance and image quality to be suitable for everyone in between.

As for its weaknesses, Fujfilm still hasn’t managed to match the prolonged battery life of the latest Sony mirrorless cameras, meaning you’ll have to stock up on batteries, or invest in the aforementioned battery grip.

Fujfilm Xt2 mirrorless cameras for weddings
Fujifilm X-T2 used by wedding photographer Joshua d’Hondt | Note the number of batteries!

Then there’s the high ISO – it’s definitely adequate for the majority of situations, and many wedding photographers do fine with it at dark venues, but the limitations of the APS-C sensor means that it will always lose to a full frame mirrorless camera… but then that’s to be expected at this price point.

The dynamic range contained in the RAW files is impressive for an APS-C sensor, and unless you really need to recover blown highlights or crushed shadows, it should be more than adequate. Check out this Fuji X-T2 review for more examples of the dynamic range.

Remember, I’m calling the Fujifilm X-T2 the best mirrorless camera for all-round usage. It’s not a low-light monster, nor does it offer ridiculous dynamic range, but it does well enough to deliver pro-grade images at a price point that’s still in the budget of most photographers.

If you’re still not convinced whether this is the mirrorless camera for you, just check out the video below for a bit of fun. ‘Weather-proofing’ means a lot of things in this industry, but rarely is it as good as this…

The video above was the Fujifilm X-T2 with the excellent Fujifilm 23mm f/2 WR lens (the ‘WR’ stands for Weather Resistant) – it’s worth noting that not all the Fujfilm lenses offer this.

Fujifilm will probably be dropping an update to the X-T2 this year, and there’s a good chance I’ll need to update this post.

However, if a Fujifilm X-T3 is just around the corner, you can bet it’ll be a lot more expensive than the current one, and it’ll likely still be a similar sensor, on a similar body.

At this price, the Fujifilm X-T2 really is hard to beat for the majority of photographers who need an excellent, multi-purpose mirrorless camera. Attention may have been diverted to the newer Fujifilm X-H1, but I still consider the X-T2 to be the better choice for the majority of photographers.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE FUJIFILM XT-2

Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1,000

Deciding on the best mirrorless camera under $1,000 isn’t an easy task. There are several contenders in this category, which is a great thing for photographers who are on a budget, or perhaps are just dipping their toes into the wonderful world of mirrorless cameras.

For under $1,000, you can get a mirrorless camera which is far more technologically advanced than any other type of camera.

You’ll be able to take photographs in a way that’s simply not possible with DSLRs, and you can take advantage of features that’ll make the process of capturing a photo much easier.

There are a couple of other excellent mirrorless cameras under $1,000 in 2019, and I’ve included them under the various categories below. For now though, let’s check out the winner…

Fujifilm X-T20

best mirrorless camera under 1000

Megapixels: 24.3
Sensor Size: APS-C (23.6mm x 15.6mm)
Weight: 383g (13.5oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

Fujifilm has a habit of releasing a pro body camera aimed at working professionals, then several months later releasing a smaller, more affordable model which shares many of the same features. Fujifilm’s aim is to market to all level of photographer, and what this means to us the consumer is that we have access to excellent mirrorless cameras whatever our budget.

A few months after Fujifilm announced the Fujifilm X-T2 (reviewed here), it was inevitable that they would also announce a smaller, lighter and more affordable version – the Fujifilm X-T20.

(If you want to learn more about what one professional photographer thought of this little camera, check out the Fuji X-T20 review.)

Camera manufacturers must carefully decide what features to exclude from these cheaper models of camera, ensuring that they do not cannibalise sales of their flagship bodies.

Fortunately for us, the features that remain in the Fujifilm X-T20 make it a very appealing purchase for all level of photographer.

Simply put, the Fujifilm X-T20 is a lot of XT-2 for a lot less money, and in my opinion, it’s this year’s best mirrorless camera under $1,000. (Incidentally, check you’ll struggle to get a great mirrorless camera under $500, so investing around a grand is a good decision.)

It’s amazing that this much technology can be packed into a camera at this price – comparing it to a similarly priced DSLR makes the DSLR look like a dinosaur!

Have a look at the promo video below for a quick overview of what this amazing camera is capable of.

Let’s start off with what’s similar between the X-T20 and the X-T2. The most important similarity is the 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor, which delivers gorgeous, vibrant, clean and crisp images whether you shoot in RAW or JPEG.

Another welcome inclusion is the faster processor of the X-T2 on the Fujifilm X-T20, which means more responsive start up times, autofocus speeds, shutter lag time and shot-to-shot time – all in all, a large improvement on its predecessor the X-T10 which was no slouch by any means.

Battery life on Fuji mirrorless cameras has always been a weak point, but at least with the Fujifilm X-T20 you’ll get the same battery as the X-T2, which is at this point the best that Fuji can offer.

You can expect around 350 shots per charge – a bit of a joke when compared to dSLRs, but that’s what you need to expect when using a camera with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) and other battery zapping technology.

The EVF is a huge advantage of mirrorless cameras over DSLRs, and allows you to see the exact exposure of your scene before you take the photo.

This is a great time-saver, and helps photographers better understand the effect of ISO, shutter speed and aperture on the final exposure, (since changing each setting allows you to see the outcome right away in the EVF – a huge benefit of mirrorless cameras).

fuji-x-t20-back

Perhaps the best feature of the Fujifilm X-T20 is its class-leading autofocus, also borrowed from its big brother the X-T2. 325 selectable AF points is a massive increase from its predecessor (the X-T10 had 49), with the points covering the majority of the frame.

In addition, continuous AF fine-tuning means that when paired with a fast focusing Fuji lens (check out 8 amazing Fuji lenses here), you’ll benefit from continuous autofocus on par with flagship dSLRs costing 3x the price.

Touchscreens should be standard on all mirrorless cameras in 2019, and luckily the Fujifilm X-T20 has one that won’t disappoint. You can set the focus point and shoot just by touching the screen, allowing for angles and moments that you may have missed otherwise.

best mirrorless cameras in 2018 - fuji
Fujifilm X-T20 unedited JPEG

In terms of what’s missing from the Fujifilm X-T20 when compared to the X-T2 (apart from the large price tag, of course!), there are several differences that aren’t particularly relevant to the average shooter (e.g. shallower buffer depth, customizeable AF setting etc.)

Most of these differences revolve around the lack of an optional battery grip for the Fujifilm X-T20, but it’s safe to assume that only a small percentage of X-T2 users would actually invest in the pricey grip anyway.

The Fujifilm X-T20 had to compromise a little with buttons and dials due to its reduced size. There’s also no weather sealing, no dual SD card slots and a smaller OLED viewfinder on the Fujifilm X-T20 when compared to the X-T2.

I think it’s safe to say that the ‘missing’ features of the Fujifilm X-T20 from its big brother are insignificant for 90% of photographers, who’ll instead jump at the chance of a camera costing half the price of the flagship X-T2 whilst still featuring the majority of the features and functionality that truly matter.

fujifilm xt20 sample image
Fujifilm X-T20 + Fuji 35mm f/1.4R | Mark Maya

Make no mistake – the Fujifilm X-T20 is an absolute bargain of a mirrorless camera and a great balance of size to pro-grade performance. I even went as far as naming the Fuji one of the best travel cameras, and I think it well deserves its title as the best mirrorless camera under $1000.

Best of all, you can pick up the Fujifilm X-T20 in a selection of competitively priced kits – my recommendation is this Fujifilm X-T20 + 18-55mm f/2.8-4 OIS lens kit for those who want a great all-round set up for most situations. Then I’d recommend a fast prime lens, like the ones recommended here.

If you want the body only, click the below for the latest price and select between an all black body or silver/black.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE FUJIFILM X-T20

Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice for beginners. If a friend asks me what type of camera to get, my answer is almost always “buy a mirrorless camera!” Bang for buck, you simply can’t get a camera that has so much useful technology and features crammed into it for such affordable prices.

The criteria I used for the best mirrorless camera for beginners were as follows: 1) price – both of body and subsequent lenses; 2) features – that are specifically useful for beginners; 3) ease of use.

My personal preference is still a DSLR for professional use, but you just can’t beat mirrorless cameras for beginner photographers.

Sony A6000

best mirrorless camera for beginners

Megapixels: 24.3
Sensor Size: APS-C (23.6mm x 15.6mm)
Weight: 468g (16.5oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

You may be wondering why I’m recommending a camera released in 2014 as the best mirrorless camera for beginners.

There are several newer models than the Sony A6000, but the fact remains – the Sony A6000 is the best-selling mirrorless camera of all time… and that fact doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon.

I spent a month shooting with the Sony a6000 earlier this year – you can see my full review here.

The price of the a6000 has fallen considerably since its launch, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Other camera brands are still struggling to offer a mirrorless camera with similar features for such an affordable price (check the latest price here).

Sony got rid of the more familiar ‘NEX’ branding with the launch of the Sony A6000, and with it, marked a new era in its APS-C format of affordable, capable mirrorless cameras which can fit in your coat pocket.

Sony a6000 mirrorless camera
Sony a6000 of adventure photographer Chris Burkard

I’m currently writing a full review of the Sony A6000 which I’ll be releasing on Shotkit soon, but suffice to say, I love this little camera, and don’t hesitate in recommending it to both beginners and more experienced photographers who want a great quality camera at an amazing price.

Another bonus is that Sony lenses are typically cheaper than comparable Fujifilm lenses, which is another plus for a beginner.

The 16-50mm lens that comes with this bundle is great value for money, or you can check out my list of the best lenses for the Sony A6000 if you want really want to make the most of what this camera is capable of.

One of the best features of the Sony A6000 for beginners is the advanced 179-point Hybrid autofocus system that covers 92% of the frame – coupled with machine-gun like 11 frames-per-second and impressive continuous auto-focus tracking, it’s pretty hard to miss a shot with this camera!

Due to the small size of most mirrorless cameras, selecting focus points with small buttons can be a little fiddly, especially if you have large hands like I do. Thankfully, with the incredible auto-focus of the Sony A6000, you can rely completely on the camera selecting, locking on, and shooting your subject (several times) in a millisecond.

Sony a6000 mirrorless camera sample image
Sony a6000 sample JPEG | Eduardo Teixeira de Sousa

Beginners tend to compose photos with the subject in the dead-centre of the frame, which is perfectly fine of course. After a while though, it’s fun to experiment with off-centre compositions (e.g. rule of thirds), and having focus points that extend the edges of the frame is really useful. There’s no DSLR that can offer anything close to this kind of coverage.

Beginners will often only have had photography experience using their smart phones. The latest phones can take amazing photos, so it stands to reason that a mirrorless camera needs to have much better image quality than a phone to be worthy of being used. Thankfully, the image quality of the Sony A6000 is very impressive indeed.

The 24.3 megapixel Sony sensor delivers impressive dynamic range, especially for an APS-C sensor camera. If you’re a beginner photographer reading this, dynamic range refers to the variation from the brightest to the darkest areas of a photo – in general, the more range that’s recorded, the more life-like the scene.

Beginners will tend to prefer to stick to JPEG format photos for simplicity (no need to edit them on the computer). The JPEGs out of the Sony A6000 are great, with realistic colours and accurate white balance. They’re also sharp, but not to the point of looking ‘crispy’, which is the case with some smart phone images.

Sony a6000 sample JPEG | Eduardo Teixeira de Sousa
Sony a6000 sample JPEG | Eduardo Teixeira de Sousa

As beginners progress and want to experiment with the flexibility of the RAW format, the broad dynamic range allows for some fun in Lightroom, recovering highlights and shadows, or simply giving more ‘punch’ to an image.

Another reason I’m naming the Sony A6000 the best mirrorless camera for beginners is its ergonomics, or more specifically, its dials.

One of my peeves with entry level DSLRs is the lack of a second dial for adjustments. The Sony A6000 on the other hand features 3 dials – one on the top to select camera mode; another to change settings; and a final one on the back to adjust other settings – much like pro-grade Canon DSLRs.

This is great for beginners who have access to every automatic and manual setting with a twist of a dial, as opposed to holding a button and rotating a dial (like on most cheap cameras), or digging around in menus. Muscle-memory comes much quicker with dedicated dials, allowing you to focus on the moment rather than on the tool.

Another thing I love about the Sony A6000 is the 3″ tilting LCD screen, which really opens the door to creativity (not to mention saving your back/neck!) I just wish it was a front-facing screen, which would make it perfect for vlogging! (See: cameras for vlogging with flip screen.)

As for the main annoyance I have with this camera, or rather most Sony mirrorless cameras in general, the menu system is rather convoluted. This is in part due to the sheer number of customization options available, which is rather overwhelming at first.

However, once you’ve spent some time setting up the Sony A6000, there’s really no need to keep accessing the menu, especially since all the main functions are accessible via the physical buttons and dials.

If you’re a beginner photographer, or simply someone who wants a great value for money camera packed with the latest technology, the Sony A6000 is really hard to beat. I recommend going for this camera+lens bundle to start with, then investing in one of these fast prime lenses as you progress as a photographer.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY A6000

Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel

Choosing the best mirrorless camera for travel was another tricky one. I could actually recommend most mirrorless cameras for travel photography, simply because they are smaller and lighter than other types of camera.

I’ve written a post on the best camera for travel in the past, but my recommendations there included fixed lens cameras. However, it’s also important to remember that for some photographers, the flexibility of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs) lends itself more to traveling, providing more creative options than one fixed lens.

My criteria for selecting the best mirrorless camera for travel were: 1) price – including lenses; 2) features – those useful when traveling; 3) build – dust/weather resistance; 4) Speed – particularly AF.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

best mirrorless camera for travel

Megapixels: 16
Sensor Size: Micro Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Weight: 469g (16.5oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

Mirrorless cameras use one of four sensor sizes: micro four thirds (MFT), APS-C, full frame or medium format. Traditionally, the larger the sensor, the more expensive the camera, and the better the image quality, especially in low light. There are also differences in depth of field too.

While this is still more or less true, unless your job relies heavily on getting the cleanest images at night, or the largest image files, you don’t need to base your camera buying choice off sensor size.

A couple of years ago I took an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II on a family holiday around Europe. Several professional photographers had recommended it to me as the best mirrorless camera for travel, so I was keen to put it to the test (see my full review here).

Unless I was shooting in very low light, I didn’t ever notice that I was using a mirrorless camera with a sensor half the size of my normal DSLR. Images were clear, sharp, contrasty and vivid.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mark 2 review
Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II JPEG Sample

Pairing the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the amazing Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens (which gives an equivalent 35mm field of view) is an unbeatable combination.

The f/1.8 delivers creamy bokeh and decent low light performance, helping to ease the limitations of high ISO on an MFT camera.

Aside from great image quality, there were several features that make the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II the best mirrorless camera for travel in my eyes.

First and foremost, the blazing fast auto-focus combined with an articulated LCD touch screen is perfect for capturing all manner of candid travel photos.

Being able to touch anywhere on the screen to focus and shoot in a split second is revolutionary, and makes getting the shot whilst traveling discreet, simple and fun.

Olympus_OMDEM5ii_Review
The articulating, touch screen on the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II makes shooting child’s play!

Some other mirrorless cameras offer this ‘touch-to-shoot’ feature, but none operate as fast as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The auto-focus in good light is even quicker than DSLRs I’ve used costing 4x the price!

Then there’s the weather-proofing, that makes the camera body and lenses dust and splash-proof – obviously a huge plus for travel photography, where you’re likely to be caught out in adverse weather conditions with your camera.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II also offers 5-axis in-body image stabilization, which allows you to shoot handheld at much slower shutter speeds, reducing the need to raise the ISO too high while shooting in low light. It also gives a unique, steadycam-like quality to video footage.

Imagine if you’re traveling and come across a scene that’s so amazing you plan to print it large out for a wall at home.

The 16 mega pixels of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II i could potentially be insufficient, but thanks to the unique sensor shifting technology in High Res mode, you can capture a 40 mega pixel image! (Download a large sample file here).

Camera size/weight is another important consideration when choosing a mirrorless camera for travel, and consequently, the availability of lightweight, affordable lenses to match.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers great ergonomics in a compact body – not too small to make it fiddly, but still light enough to have hanging on your wrist or neck all day whilst traveling. The lens selection is also excellent, and there are several that complement this camera perfectly.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II sample JPEG
Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II sample JPEG | shooting from the hip for candid, discreet travel photos is easy

It’s rare for small mirrorless cameras to offer physical buttons and dials for all the major camera functions, but this is another area where the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II really shines.

DSLR shooters in particular will love the front and rear dials on this compact mirrorless Olympus, which mimic Nikon pro-grade DSLRs.

With travel photography where getting the shot quickly and intuitively is important, you can shoot in aperture priority and auto-ISO, then set the front dial to aperture, the rear dial to exposure compensation, and have a great base to cover 99% of situations.

If you’re looking for an interchangeable lens travel camera that won’t get in your way on holiday, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is hard to beat. Take my advice and invest in the M.Zuiko 17mm lens as well to make the most othis impressive camera’s capabilities.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 MARK II

Best Mirrorless Camera for Wedding Photography

The technical requirements of cameras for wedding photographers are more extreme than your average shooter. Clear, high quality images need to be captured in rapid succession, often in poor light, so the demands on finding the best mirrorless camera for wedding photography are quite unique.

Full frame sensors have a distinct advantage over APS-C for wedding photography, most notably at high ISOs. Currently only Sony are producing full frame mirrorless cameras, so our choice is rather limited.

If you’re a wedding photographer that doesn’t rely heavily on high ISOs, Fujifilm APS-C mirrorless cameras are also a very good alternative, at much lower prices.

If you check out this post on popular camera gear for wedding photography , you’ll notice a distinct lack of mirrorless cameras. However, I’m confident this will change very soon.

Sony a7R III

best mirrorless camera for weddingsMegapixels: 42.4
Sensor Size: Full Frame (35mm)
Weight: 657g (23.8 oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

Its predecessor was a popular mirrorless camera for wedding photography, so it’s only natural that Sony a7R III take its spot as the new king.

The Sony a7R III takes the same compact, robust, image-stabilized, weatherproofed, lightweight body that made it ideal for a whole day of wedding shooting and improves on the features wedding photographers rely on most heavily – high ISO, high speed AF and wide dynamic range.

Then there’s the real nail in the coffin for the Mark II – the addition of an extra memory card slot on the Sony a7R III, allowing for real-time card backups which are so essential for wedding photography.

best mirrorless cameras sony a7r ii
Sony a7RII used by Emin Kuliyev

Sony is famous for producing world-class sensors, which are also found in other manufacturer’s flagship cameras. The 42.5 mega pixel BSI-CMOS sensor with updated Bionz X processor produces contrasty, rich images with incredible detail and improved dynamic range – now even more highlights and shadows can be recovered from RAW files than with the Mark II.

42.5 mega pixel files at 10 fps will mean you’ll have to choose what memory card to use wisely, but the ability to crop the huge photos with minimal loss in quality is another big bonus for wedding photographers.

These extra mega pixels (as well as the processing power that comes with them) are the major trump card over the newly released Sony a7III mentioned above. Whilst many will choose the cheaper alternative, it’s still nice to have all those extra mega-pixels in the a7R III to play around with while editing.

As for the auto-focus, the Sony a7R III offers an incredible 399 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection AF points (up from 25 on the Mark II), meaning that missed shots on a wedding day are a thing of the past.

When the light starts to drop during the wedding reception, the enhanced Fast Hybrid AF is up to twice as fast as the Mark II… which was no slouch by any means.

The combination of lightning fast AF and Eye detection/tracking even in low light gives Sony a7R III wedding photographers a distinct advantage, meaning more in-focus photos and less need to manually move the AF point during high-stress situations.

Then there’s the combination of high ISO (up to 32,000) and 5-axis image stabilization, making capturing clean, sharp images in low-light even easier. Whilst some DLSR lenses may offer stabilization, in-camera image stabilization is a lot more effective, and is a benefit unique to mirrorless cameras.

Another huge benefit of the Sony a7R III over its predecessor for wedding photographers is the improved battery life (650 vs 290 shots per charge), meaning you’ll need to spend less on spare batteries.

The Sony a7R III offers the best battery life out of any mirrorless camera in 2019, and paves the way for the future of technology in this field.

We haven’t talked about shooting video since this is a post on the best mirrorless cameras for stills photographers, but it’s worth mentioning here that cameras such as the Sony a7R III that offer incredible 4K video capture allow wedding photographers to use ‘stills’ from the video file as if a photo was shot.

Using this technique regularly may not create an ideal post production workflow, but it certainly offers significantly more creative options, and can be ideal as part of a hybrid stills/video wedding photography package.

best mirrorless camera for wedding photography
Sony A7 II sample JPEG taken from a video file – Emin Kuliyev

One thing I’ve started doing at weddings recently is transferring images from my camera to my phone for Instagram loads, or to print out using my Fuji SP-1 mini printer. With the addition of Bluetooth and NFC on the Sony a7R III, this gives wedding photographers another way to add value to their service.

Check out this full review on the Sony a7R III for wedding photography, or read the abridged version:

The Sony a7R III is the best mirrorless camera for wedding photography in 2019, especially for those photographers who like the option of heavily cropping their images, or producing large prints.

Fujifilm may still have the edge with its fuller lens lineup, but Sony is fast catching up with its excellent G-Master lens selection, and the full frame advantage of the Sony a7R III over Fuji’s APS-C offerings is undeniable for wedding photographers who need to shoot in low light, or want to take advantage of extremely shallow depth of field.

Yes, you can shoot a wedding with almost any camera, but using a camera which makes the job easier makes the most sense. The bottom line is, with the Sony a7R III, shooting a wedding is made easier than ever before.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY a7R III

Best Mirrorless Camera for Sports Photography

Sony a9

Sony a9 mirrorless camera reviewMegapixels: 24.2
Sensor Size: Full Frame (35mm)
Weight: 673 g (23.7 oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

It’s hard to keep up with Sony mirrorless camera releases as they seem to be so damn frequent! Their product catalogue is pretty confusing, with multiple cameras with similar names and functionality. However, all you need to know in 2019 is that there’s a new king on the block for sports photography, and it’s called the Sony a9.

You can find a more in-depth review of the Sony a9 elsewhere on the site, but to cut a long story short, the performance of the Sony a9 is nothing short of breathtaking.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – the Sony a9 is not a cheap mirrorless camera! Alike the flagship DSLR cameras meant for professionals with very specific needs, the Sony a9 is priced for a small demographic of photographers. Click here to see the latest price, but don’t expect much change from 4 and a half big ones…

So what are you getting for your money? Well, according to Sony, the a9 is the world’s first blackout free continuous shooting camera with speeds up to an incredible 20fps.

Combined with a frankly ridiculous buffer of over 241 consecutive RAW images, it’s easy to see why the Sony a9 is the best mirrorless camera for sports photography.

best mirrorless camera for sports photography
Sony a9 + Sony 28mm f/2 JPEG sample | Capturing fast moving sports is much easier with the incredible AF performance | Roberto Panciatici

The Sony a9 also offers 2 memory card slots, meaning that you can shoot and backup in camera. Since sports photographers often need to fire off multiple images at once, it’s good not to be hampered by enormous file sizes – 24.2 mega pixel is a good median, offering manageable files but preserving the ability to crop, or enlarge as necessary.

The stacked CMOS sensor provides amazing image quality even at high ISOs, which is great when shooting sports photography outdoors in low light, or indoor arenas which are typically poorly lit.

You can also expect recovery from +/- 3 stops of over/under exposure in post processing, such are the dynamic range capabilities of the camera.

Sony a9 mirrorless camera gear
Sony a9 used by Collard Studios

Being a mirrorless camera, the Sony a9 also benefits of course from small size/weight, despite its robust magnesium alloy body which is dust and moisture resistant.

As well as many other genuinely useful features including widely customizeable physical buttons and integrated menus, a tilting LCD screen, ethernet port for FTP file transfer, a silent shutter, and more, it’s the class-leading auto focus on the Sony a9 which is truly a game-changer.

Previously, auto focus this good on a camera was reserved for expensive, heavy and cumbersome flagship dSLR bodies such as the Nikon D5.

With the release of the Sony a9, the whole ‘Sony mirrorless camera vs DLR’ debate has been put to bed for good. Just check out the comparison below:

Sony a9 vs Nikon D5
Sony a9 vs Nikon D5 | Expensive cameras, but the a9 brings more bang for your buck | Roberto Panciatici

With a combination of AF-C and the Eye Sensor mode, the Sony a9 can find, lock on and track any subject with magical precision. Missed shots are a thing of the past.

Another impressive feature of the Sony a9 include the fully electronic, high-speed, anti-distortion shutter that can achieve speeds as high as 1/32,000 sec. This allows photographers to use lenses with larger apertures even in the harshest of midday sun, opening the doors to creative control.

Whilst even the best mirrorless cameras suffer from poor battery life, the Sony a9 manages to power on through an entire sporting event with the most impressive battery life of any mirrorless camera in 2019. This means less money spent on batteries, and less shots missed due to battery changes.

mirrorless camera for sports
Sony a9 sample JPEG | Collard Studios

Shooting video in 4k with the Sony a9 also gives you the possibility of extracting photo stills in post, providing almost limitless creative options for sports photographers. Imagine shooting video of a running race for example, then extracting whatever still image you want during post production, as if you shot it as a still image in the first place!

With the release of the a9, Sony has shown the world their intentions with the mirrorless camera format. Take a close look at the sports photographers at the next Olympics – the stands will still be dominated by white Canon lenses, but it’s safe to predict some Sony glass attached to a9’s there too!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY a9

Best Mirrorless Camera for Portrait Photography

Let’s get one thing straight from the outset – any camera can be great for portrait photography in the right hands. A skillful photographer and good lighting can produce amazing results even the cheapest camera.

However, when discussing the best mirrorless camera for portrait photography, let’s assume that we’re trying to produce the absolute best image quality each and every time the shutter is pressed. Portrait photographers often shoot in studios with controlled lighting, and every pixel needs to be accounted for, meaning the bigger the file the better… and this means medium format.

At the high end of portrait photography, there are currently only a couple of medium format mirrorless cameras to choose from. Here’s my recommendation of the best.

Hasselblad X1D 50c

Hasselblad-X1D-50c-review

Megapixels: 50
Sensor Size: Medium Format (44 x 33 mm)
Weight: 725g (25.6 oz)
Price: Click here for the latest price

If you’ve made it this far down the list of the best mirrorless cameras in 2019, you’ve obviously got money to burn! Make no mistake, the Hasselblad X1D 50c is the absolute Rolls Royce of mirrorless cameras, and by far the best mirrorless camera for portrait photography available today.

Let’s ignore the price for one moment and have a think about what we’re talking about here – it’s a digital camera with a world-class sensor that’s almost twice the size of a full frame (35mm) camera, in a smaller, lighter package than most flagship DSLRs.

The Hasselblad X1D 50c only really has one competitor, and that’s the other mirrorless medium format camera, the Fujfilm GFX 50S. It’s cheaper, has an expanding range of more affordable lenses, and is also an astounding mirrorless camera for portraits, but the Hasselblad X1D 50c is simply a better camera.

Hasselblad X1D - sample photo
Hasselblad X1D 50c sample JPEG | Rick Birt

If you want to read more about why, check out this Hasselblad X1D review by a portrait photographer who’s handled all the highest resolution mirrorless cameras.

We shouldn’t really be judging a camera on its looks, but it’s hard to ignore the sheer beauty of this Hasselblad. For a camera that’s packed with so much technology, its minimalist aluminium body (handmade in Sweden no less) is a pleasure to hold, and the few buttons and dials that it does have feel incredible.

The Hasselblad X1D 50c with a lens attached is roughly the same size and weight of a pro-grade DSLR + prime lens, so it’s easy to forget that you’re shooting a medium format camera, and leave you wanting more from the shooting performance initially at least.

The auto focus is similar to an entry-level DSLR – not fast, but not too slow either. Following the most recent firmware update, you can now use the touchscreen rear LCD to move the focus point by dragging your finger around it, which feels intuitive and fast.

Unlike most of the other mirrorless cameras in this list, the menu system of the Hasselblad X1D 50c is very simple to use. This is partly due to the fact that there really aren’t that many features of the camera – this is a mirrorless camera that’s been built to do one thing and to do it really well – take incredible images.

The image quality is simply breathtaking – sharp, detailed, righ, contrasty, smooth – basically every adjective associated with the world’s best digital image out of a mirrorless camera!

Hasselblad X1D 50c best mirrorless camera for portrait photography
Hasselblad X1D 50c sample JPEG | Rick Birt

The 50 mega pixel CMOS sensor produces realistic skin tones that simply can’t be matched. The enormous dynamic range offers smooth, noise free gradiation from light to dark tones which surpass a digital image, reminiscent of a film medium format camera.

The Hasselblad X1D 50c is the best mirrorless camera for portrait photographers bar none. If you can afford it and can take advantage of its resolution and image quality in your work, it’s actually great value for money when compared to other medium format cameras.

Just remember that the price is for the body only, and you may have to keep selling off your vital organs to pay for the Hasselblad XCD lenses too ;-)

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE HASSELBLAD X1D 50c

Best Mirrorless Cameras | Final Words

I’ll be adding to this list of the best mirrorless cameras as the year progresses, but only if appropriate – the latest model of mirrorless camera doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worthy of a mention here.

On that note, I should also mention that there are many other great mirrorless cameras both new and old that didn’t make it here for whatever reason. Even though I’ve tried to pigeon-hole each camera into a specific genre, the truth is, mirrorless cameras are so versatile that they can be used for a wide range of situations.

One thing’s for sure – 2019 will see a huge rise in the number of mirrorless camera sales, with everyone from amateurs to professionals either making the switch, or investing in mirrorless as their camera of choice.

Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed out any mirrorless camera. Happy shooting!

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.

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