The best mirrorless cameras now rival the best DSLRs for image quality, features and versatility and are much better adapted for travel photography and video. But which is the best mirrorless camera to buy today?
There's been a lot of exciting news already in 2020, most recently the launch of the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6. The EOS R5 brings amazing 8K video capabilities which will really shake up the video market, while the EOS R6 offers high-speed image capture at a price which will tempt advanced amateurs and enthusiasts.
The mirrorless camera market really is a hotbed of technical innovation, with the latest and greatest models offering more than just megapixels. Our list includes brand new cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, which boasts tricks like 7.5 stops of image stabilization, and powerhouses like the Sony A7R Mark IV, which is can take monster-sized 240MP images in its special high-resolution mode.
2020 has brought some great cameras. The Fujifilm X-T200 is perfect for beginners and handy step up from the Fujifilm X-A7, the Olympus Olympus PEN E-PL10 is the latest incarnation of the company's classic 'influencer' camera, while the Fujifilm X-T4 is the most powerful APS-C mirrorless camera yet.
Mirrorless cameras cover a huge range of prices, sizes and user types, so we've split them up into three categories to help you find the perfect mirrorless camera more easily: Affordable all-rounders, Inexpensive and simple and Cameras for pros.
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 cameras 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 mirrorless cameras in this category.
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 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
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, 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. For the crown of all round best mirrorless camera. 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
Some might see the Nikon Z 6 as a poor relation to the more expensive 45.7 megapixel Nikon Z 7, but the Z 6 has the same amazing build quality, in-body stabilization and controls and it's far more versatile. The Z 6 has a wider ISO range, full frame (no crop) 4K video and an even faster 12fps continuous shooting frame rate. Nikon claims up to 5 stops of shake compensation from the in-body image stabilization system, while the build quality is superb, with a magnesium alloy body and extensive weather sealing, and a 200,000-shot shutter life. When you factor in its more affordable price tag, we think the Z6 is one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now. The range of native Nikon Z lenses is steadily increasing, and you can use any current Nikon DSLR lens right now via Nikon's FTZ lens adaptor.
Read more: Nikon Z 6 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. (Sony is still selling older versions of its A7-series cameras for less, however.) It's a bit too pricey to make it on to our list of the best cheap mirrorless cameras, but it's a great buy if you want to move up to full frame photography for the minimum outlay.
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.
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!
Not many cameras walk away with a full five stars upon being reviewed, but the O-MD E-M10 Mark III very much deserves its maximum score. With a similar shape to the older Mark II version but with a better processing engine, 4K video and a superior autofocus system on the inside, the camera looks small and cute but is actually a real pocket powerhouse. It has Olympus’s excellent five-axis image stabilization system, a 2.36million dot OLED viewfinder and tilting rear LCD. The only criticism we have is that its 16.1MP sensor isn’t quite the latest generation, but this isn’t a significant issue for everyone and, as an MFT model, the camera provides access to a raft of Micro Four Thirds lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic, and the lenses are more compact and portable than those of APS-C cameras.
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 we can't wait to try out the new Canon EOS R5, which promised to redefine 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 mirrorless camera to beat, and some might say the best mirrorless camera so far.
Read more: Sony A7R Mark IV review
The Nikon Z 7 is an instant classic. It’s a superb (and superbly made) mirrorless 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). Interestingly, the Z 7 is a lot like its chief mirrorless rival, the Sony A7 series, in looks and is much smaller than the Nikon D850, the DSLR whose technology it largely shares. Nikon is still 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 Z 7 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
If you need top-quality stills photography and high-end 4K video features, the Lumix S1R is the better choice amongst the two Lumix S models. It costs substantially more than the cheaper Lumix S1, but the extra resolution is likely to prove well worth it for stills photographers. If you're more interested in video, the Lumix S1 might be better, or the high-end Lumix S1H. The Lumix S models are pretty big, hefty cameras, though, and the same goes for the L-mount lenses we’ve seen so far from Panasonic and Sigma (also part of the new L-mount alliance, along with Leica). Compared to rival mirrorless cameras, the S1R feels pretty massive, but that does make it feel more balanced with big lenses, and it allows room for a lot of external controls, including a top-mounted status display, so it's ideal if you like proper hands-on control.
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' 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.
Read more: Fujifilm GFX 50R review
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