Which is the best mirrorless camera for you will depend on what kind of photographer you want to be. Do you want a small and simple camera that will travel well? Are you looking for something at the professional level to rival the best DSLRs? Or do you want an all-rounder camera that's good for most things without costing the earth?
We've divided up our guide into sections to make it easier for different users to find the camera they want. First up we list the best all-rounders, a selection of mirrorless cameras that are good picks for a huge range of users, and will perform well in pretty much any situation you care to throw at them. Next we list cameras that are affordable and simple, models that are a great choice if you just want something that works. These cameras also tend to be lighter, so will be a good choice for travel.
Lastly, we list the best mirrorless cameras for pros, and this is where the market has really been hotting up lately, with many major manufacturers releasing new exciting models in 2020. Whether it's the darkness-defying Sony A7S III or the ultra-high-resolution Canon EOS R5, these cameras represent the cutting edge of imaging innovation right now.
The mirrorless camera market isn't only innovating at the top end however, with many of the latest and greatest models offering more than just megapixels. Our list includes brand new cameras like the Panasonic Lumix G100, designed specifically for novice vloggers but also a great stills camera, and Olympus has launched the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, one of our favourite camera designs, incorporating its latest 20MP sensor.
• Read more: The best full frame cameras today
Now that's all taken care of, let's get to the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now!
The best mirrorless cameras in 2020
If you're an enthusiast looking to upgrade from an older or more basic DSLR, you'll find the latest mid-range mirrorless models can match or beat the best DSLRs for features and performance. Video has become increasingly important thanks to the rise of influencers and vloggers, and many of the best cameras for vlogging are in this category.
The X-T30 has the second-highest resolution APS-C sensor currently on the market (beaten only by the 32.5MP Canon EOS M6 Mark II) and one of the most highly-sophisticated autofocus systems. The X-T30 combines a compact body, affordable price and powerful photographic tools. It's small, portable and easy to use, but with 4K video and its external shutter speed and aperture controls, it's a great buy for both video fans and regular stills photographers. The X-T4's video features (below) are just that little bit better, and some might find the X-T30's body just a little TOO small, but we reckon its blend of size, value and performance makes the X-T30 one of the best mirrorless camera on the market for all round appeal.
Read more: Fujifilm X-T30 review
It's a close-run thing between this and the Fujifilm X-T30, above, but we think the X-T30's wider lens range is the deciding factor. The Nikon Z 50 was introduced in late 2019, joining Nikon's more advanced full frame Z 6 and Z models. The Z50 proved quickly to be far more than just a stripped-back version of these bigger cameras, though. Nikon managed to work a satisfyingly chunky handgrip onto this small frame for a superior handling experience, while also including 11fps burst shooting for action photography and high-quality 4K video. Best of all is the superb 16-50mm pancake kit lens available as part of kit, and the price, which has clearly been specifically tailored to undercut similar offerings from Fujifilm and Olympus. The Z 50 is a superb but affordable camera for a wide range of photographers at all sorts of skill levels.
Read more: Nikon Z50 review
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 III is an exceptional camera and a worthy successor to the highly regarded Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. This new camera uses Olympus's latest 20.4 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, and while this might put some people off – these sensors are smaller than APS-C – the image quality is very close to APS-C standards, and it allows Olympus cameras and lenses to be especially small and portable. This new camera's abilities are amazing, including excellent 5.5EV in body stabilization, an amazing 30fps Pro Capture mode with 14-shot pre-buffering, C4K and 4K UHD video, Live Composite and Live Bulb modes and more. The smaller sensor might put some users off, but no other mirrorless camera has this blend of features, performance and compactness.
Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review
The Fujifilm X-T3 was a tough act to follow, with high-speed continuous shooting, advanced autofocus and class-leading 4K video capabilities, but the Fujifilm X-T4 takes things up another notch. Practically everything we wanted in the X-T3 is here, including in-body stabilization, a vari-angle touchscreen display and better battery life. We still want more (of course), including better buffer depth in continuous shooting mode, but that would just be the icing on the cake. The X-T4 isn't just a terrific stills camera, of course. It also has cutting edge 4K video performance, with 60p 10-bit internal recording. It's just a shame Fujifilm dropped the headphone socket (you'll need an adaptor now).
• Fujifilm X-T4 review
While the Lumix S1 was a powerhouse in imaging terms, some photographers and videographers criticised it for its bulky build and the fact that it weighed more than 1kg. Many felt this a little hefty for a mirrorless camera. Well, Panasonic took this on board and somehow (we're still not sure how) came out with the Lumix S5, a camera that offers basically all the same imaging power, but in a body weighing about 300g less. It's also something of a spiritual successor to the video-oriented GH line, with best-in-class video specs. It shoots 4K/60p 10-Bit 4:2:0 video, and in terms of dynamic range, only the Sony A7S III can lay any claim to matching or beating it. The colour science is finely optimised for a beautiful image. Stills shooters can also make use of 6K Photo mode for effective 30fps burst shooting, ensuring they never miss a moment. As hybrid cameras go, this is extremely tough to beat.
Read more: Panasonic Lumix S5 review
While Nikon has done a solid job with filling out the very upper end of its Z range of full frame mirrorless cameras with the flagship Z7, and even found room for a cheeky APS-C offering with the Z50, it was arguably lacking an entry-level gateway to full frame. That has come in the form of the Nikon Z5, a stylish little shooter that offers full-frame features at an attractive price. With twin card slots and 4K UHD video it takes a few cues from professional bodies, though you won't be burst-shooting at anything higher than 4.5fps. Still, with full weather-sealing, five-stop image stabilisation and a spectacular electronic viewfinder, anyone making their first jump to full frame is going to find themselves absolutely spoiled for features.
Read more: Nikon Z5 review
Just a few months after announcing the EOS R, Canon came up with this smaller, cheaper EOS RP model. If the EOS R has a lot in common with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, then the EOS RP is like a mirrorless version of Canon’s entry-level full-frame EOS 6D Mark II model. With the EOS RP you get a 26.2-megapixel full frame sensor, 4,779-point Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, 4K video (cropped, admittedly) and a really useful fully-articulating rear screen. The best news is the extremely aggressive pricing, which makes the EOS RP the least expensive full-frame camera on the market that's still a current model – and it's really affordable even with its versatile 24-105mm STM kit lens, too.
Read more: Canon EOS RP review
Affordable and simple
If you're just starting out in photography and looking for the best camera for beginners, a mirrorless camera is ideal. It gives you the constant 'live view' you might be used to from a compact camera or a smartphone, often with touchscreen control and sometimes with a flip-over/under screen for selfies.
The diminutive GX85 is really easy for novices but has a surprising number of more advanced features for enthusiasts. Known as the GX80 outside North America, the built-in electronic viewfinder makes it a great option for using in harsh sunlight or darker conditions, while the tilting screen makes it easy to shoot from ground level. Together with Panasonic's tiny Micro Four Thirds lenses, this makes it a great choice for traveling or holidays. (If you don't mind a slightly bigger camera in exchange for a larger APS-C sensor, take a look at the Sony A6000.) Try to get the GX85 with the retracting 12-32mm 'pancake' lens – this combination is not a whole lot bigger than a compact point and shoot camera. This is the best mirrorless camera right now for budget-conscious bargain hunters who want all the mod cons, including 4K video.
Vloggers and creatives more broadly will enjoy the simplicity of the Lumix G100. It makes it easy to capture high-quality video and stills with its approachable button layout. Even people uninterested in the technicalities of capturing great-looking videos will be able to get results with this camera. There’s an inherent risk of dumbing things down too much when creating a camera for social media creatives, but Panasonic has avoided that pitfall with the Lumix G100. By giving it a decent viewfinder and “proper camera” ergonomics, Panasonic has given the G100 an edge in a highly competitive market. This is a great camera to start with if you're more interested in vlogging than regular photography and a useful step up from the GX80/85 both on resolution and video features.
Read more: Panasonic Lumix G100 review
With a new 20MP sensor, incrementally improved in-body image stabilization and a new flip-down and tiltable monitor, the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has plenty to shout about. Retaining the 4K video and attractive styling that made the Mark III so attractive to consumers, the Mark IV is set to be a new favorite for anyone looking for an entry-level camera that can do pretty much everything. This is one of our favorite pint-sized cameras ever, so we're really pleased that it has AT LAST got Olympus's latest 20MP sensor. It's still a little pricey for beginners, but this is a great little camera that's so much more powerful than it looks and could be with you for a long time to come.
Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review
It may have been launched way back in 2014, and upstaged by the Sony A6100, A6400 and A6600 since then, but the much less expensive Sony A6000 represents an excellent entry-point into the world of mirrorless photography. With a very capable autofocus system that blends 179 phase-detect AF points and 25 contrast-detect points, together with 11fps burst shooting with focus tracking, the camera is a particularly good option for anyone shooting action, although the 24MP APS-C sensor, high-resolution OLED viewfinder, tilting LCD screen and both Wi-Fi and NFC means that it holds masses of appeal for those shooting in other genres. What you don't get is 4K video capability or Sony's latest high-tech Eye-AF subject tracking technologies, but if your main interest is stills photography, this is a serious enthusiasts camera at a cheap beginner camera price!
Some of the best professional cameras are now mirrorless, too, and the groundbreaking Sony A9 II has certainly impressed professional sports and action photographers, for example, while the 61MP Sony A7R IV sets new standards for resolution. The latest video features mean that some of the cameras in this category are suitable for full scale video production, too, and the new Canon EOS R5 has redefined the video capabilities of mirrorless cameras.
The 'R' models in Sony's A7 series cameras are designed first and foremost for resolution – and the Sony A7R Mark IV certainly delivers. The previous A7R Mark III set the standard for a time, but has recently been overtaken (by a small margin) by the Nikon Z 7 and Panasonic Lumix S1R. The A7R puts that right – and how – with a record-breaking 61-megapixel sensor that has the highest resolution of any full frame camera. The detail rendition is spectacular, though perhaps not quite as obvious as the bare numbers might suggest, and the Sony's control layout is now starting to feel dated and complicated compared to what Nikon and Panasonic have done with their new models. Nevertheless, with its superb Eye AF, 10fps continuous shooting (yes, with 61MP!) and 4K video, the Sony A7R Mark IV is now the high-resolution professional camera to beat, and some might say the best mirrorless camera so far.
Read more: Sony A7R Mark IV review
It may have been a long wait, but it looks like it was worth it. The Sony A7S III is the mirrorless camera that does things only professional cinema cameras can do, shooting 4K at 60p uncropped, recording it internally, in 10-bit 4:2:2 and with no limitations on recording time. It may not have the headline-chasing 6K or 8K resolutions of cameras from other manufacturers, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. The other half of the A7S picture is its legendary low-light performance, and the A7S III is a camera that can more or less see in the dark with its maximum ISO ceiling of 409,600. Pure stills shooters will likely be turned off by the low resolution, but if you have any interest at all in video, this is one of the finest machines you can buy.
Read more: Sony A7S III review
The Nikon Z7 is an instant classic. It’s a superb (and superbly made) camera, boasting a massive 45.7MP full frame CMOS, 493-point hybrid phase/contrast autofocus, 4K UHD at 30p and in-camera image stabilisation system (IBIS). Nikon has made great strides in developing its range of native Z-mount lenses, but the Z 7 ships with an FTZ adaptor which allows the use of any current Nikon DSLR lenses without restriction, so migrating from a Nikon DSLR to a Nikon Z couldn’t be easier. The new Sony A7R Mark IV offers more megapixels, but it's not a big gap, and we'd put the Z7 ahead for handling and value, and Nikon has expanded its range of Nikon Z lenses to the point where this is now a true 'system' camera.
Read more: Nikon Z 7 review
As a stills camera, the Canon EOS R5 is simply Canon's finest product ever. It’s the perfect amalgamation of the EOS R’s form, the EOS 5D’s function, and the professional-grade autofocus of the EOS-1D X. If you're a stills or hybrid shooter who flits between photography and videography, it's one of the best cameras you will ever have the pleasure of using. Alas, we can’t recommend the R5 if your primary interest is pure video shooting. Don’t get us wrong, its video is incredible – but having to navigate the overheating restrictions prohibits it from being your A-camera (unless you only shoot 4K 30p, in which case you don’t need this anyway). It's not perfect at everything, but it's so good at so much that it's still a landmark camera.
Read more: Canon EOS R5 review
The Sony A9 II is the fastest, most ferocious full-frame sports camera we've ever used. Its blistering speed and autofocus performance are matched only by its phenomenal connectivity, which promises to be a game changer for pro shooters. We would love to have seen Sony implement something akin to Olympus's Pro Capture feature, so that you never miss the critical moment. However, if our most damning criticism is that the A9 II is too fast for us to keep up with, surely that's nothing but mission accomplished for Sony! Mirrorless cameras still have a lot to prove in the pro sports photography market, where DSLR titans like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and new Nikon D6 look set to rule for some time to come, but the Sony A9 and A9 II have convinced more than a few professionals that mirrorless cameras can (and will!) compete here too.
Read more: Sony A9 Mark II review
The GFX 50R is like a ‘rangefinder’ style version of the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format camera. With a sensor 67% larger even than full frame, the GFX 50R’s 51.4 million pixels have room to breathe and produce not just super-high resolution, but superb dynamic range and noise control too. Compared to a full-frame or smaller mirrorless camera, the GFX 50R is a bit of a lump to use, but many will appreciate the way it slows down your photography and will definitely love the depth and quality of this camera’s images. The GFX 50R is the cheapest medium format digital camera to date, and not that much more expensive than a top mirrorless full-frame camera. The extraordinary GFX 100 may have stolen all the headlines, but the GFX 50R is still the camera that makes medium format affordable, and current prices put it on more or less the same level as high-end full frame cameras – amazing.
Read more: Fujifilm GFX 50R review
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