So what IS the best mirrorless camera? That depends on what kind of user you are and how much you want to spend! So we've split our guide into sections for enthusiasts looking for great all-rounders, beginners looking for a cheap and easy camera and pros who take pictures for a living.
This is a market where there is a lot of competition, a lot of technological development and a lot happening right now! Our list includes brand new cameras like the Nikon Z50, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III and the amazing 61MP Sony A7R Mark IV, all of which sport some tremendous feature-sets.
But 2020 has brought even more. We've already taken hands on look at the Fujifilm X-T200, a great camera for beginners and an impressive (though expensive) step forward from the Fujifilm X-T100, Olympus has released the Olympus PEN E-PL10, which is really a subtle evolution of its popular E-PL9 model and great for influencers and instagramers, while the new Canon EOS M6 Mark II is pitched perfectly at vloggers and the just-announced Fujifilm X-T4 could prove the most advanced and desirable APS-C mirrorless camera yet!
All of these new cameras have merits and advantages, but they don't all make it on to our list, either because we're still waiting to test them properly, or because we think there are better alternatives out there already.
The best mirrorless cameras in 2020
Everyone is different (with different budgets), so we’ve split our guide up into three easy to navigate sections:
All-rounders: 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.
Cheap 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. We’ve picked three candidates that are both affordable and rather good. And if cash is tight, we've got a separate guide to the best cheap mirrorless cameras today.
Cameras for pros: Some of the best cameras for professionals are now mirrorless, too, and the ground-breaking Sony A9 II has certainly impressed professional sports and action photographers, for example, while the brand new 61MP Sony A7R IV sets new standards for resolution. The latest video features mean tha some of the cameras in this category are suitable for full scale video production too.
Whichever mirrorless camera you go for, we all like a cheap camera deal, right? So check out our price boxes for each camera, which pull the best prices from the best retailers, live every day.
1. Nikon Z50
APS-C mirrorless for the masses, at a price that's hard to argue with
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Lens mount: Nikon Z | Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast
One of the most exciting new cameras to emerge from the recent escalating mirrorless wars, the Nikon Z50 pips its competition to the top spot of best all-rounder mirrorless camera. An APS-C model introduced in late 2019, the Z50 proved quickly to be far more than just a stripped-back Z6 or Z7. Nikon managed to work a satisfyingly chunky handgrip onto this small frame for a superior handling experience, while also including all the functionality that mirrorless users clamour for, like 11fps burst shooting and high-quality 4K video. Best of all is the superb 16-50mm pancake kit lens available as part of kit, and even better than that (we lied just now) is the price, which has clearly been specifically tailored to undercut similar offerings from Fujifilm and Olympus (more on which in a moment.) A superb camera for a huge range of different mirrorless users, our #1 choice is the Nikon Z50.
Read more: Nikon Z50 review
The diminutive X-T30 is powerful, affordable and portable
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting speed: 30fps (electronic shutter, 1.25x crop), 8fpt (mechanical shutter) | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast
With the X-T3 (below), Fujifilm has brought out the highest resolution APS-C sensor currently on the market and one of the most highly-sophisticated autofocus systems, and now this technology as filtered down to its smaller, cheaper, lighter sibling, the X-T30. The old X-T20 was one of our favourite cameras for the way it combined a compact body, affordable price and powerful photographic tools and we love the new X-T30 even more. 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-T3's video features 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 is just about the best mirrorless camera on the market for all round appeal.
Read more: Fujifilm X-T30 review
3. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
Rugged, fast and packed with features... this new Olympus is amazing.
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Lens mount: NFT | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Continuous shooting speed: 30fps (Pro Capture mode), 10fps (mechanical shutter) | Max video resolution: c4K/4K | User level: Enthusiast/Expert
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is so new that while we've been able to test it extensively in the field we've not yet been able to run it through our usual lab tests. But already we can see that this 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, it's a toss-up between this and the Fujifilm X-T30 (above).
The X-T3 will stay on sale, while the X-T4 will be the new flagship
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: : 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X mount | Monitor: : EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage | Continuous shooting speed: : 11fps | Viewfinder: : EVF | Max video resolution: : 4K | User level: : Enthusiast
Fujifilm is doing really well in our best all-rounders section! The X-T4 has just been announced, but we're keeping the X-T3 in our list for now because it will stay on sale at a lower price and still has some great specifications and features. For example, it has a good continuous shooting speed (increased to 15fps with the new mechanical shutter in the X-T4, though we’d have loved a bigger buffer depth for its burst mode and if you need in-body stabilisation, then the X-T4 is the one. to go for. But, at this price and with this functionality, the X-T3 is a fantastic option for enthusiasts and pros alike. First, you get a superb 26.1MP sensor for faster focusing, advanced subject tracking and autofocus sensitivity down to -3EV. The X-T3 can also capture 10-bit 4K video at up to 60p with 4:2:0 colour sampling – which is exceptional for a stills/video crossover camera and right up there with the new X-T4. But one of the best things about both the X-T3 and the new X-T4 for us is that it feels like you’re shooting on an old-school DSLR with all the benefits of cutting-edge camera technology.
A brilliant full frame mirrorless camera that gives you a lot for your money
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 24.5MP | Lens mount: Nikon Z | Monitor: EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps | Viewfinder: EVF | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p | User level: Enthusiast/Professional
We love the Nikon Z 6. In fact, we think this is the best mirrorless camera for enthusiasts ready to take the step up to a full frame model. Some might see it 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 Z 6 is one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now – if you can afford it. The native Z-mount lens range is steadily increasing, and you can use any current Nikon DSLR lens right now via Nikon's FTZ lens adaptor.
Read more: Nikon Z6 review
The cheapest and smallest full frame mirrorless camera you can buy
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Lens mount: Canon RF | Screen: 3in articulating touchscreen, 1,040,800 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast
Canon is wasting no time in getting its new mirrorless EOS R system off the ground. Just a few months after announcing the EOS R (above), it’s come 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 fully-articulating rear screen. The best news is the extremely aggressive pricing, which makes the EOS RP the cheapest 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
Cheap and simple
7. Panasonic Lumix GX80/GX85
If size is key, this tiny mirrorless camera and its kit lens are perfect
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3in tilting, touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
The diminutive GX80 can be adapted to the needs of any user, from the beginner that just wants to rely on the leave-it-to-the-camera Intelligent Auto option, to the photographer that wants complete control over all exposure settings like shutter speed and aperture. You also get 4K video recording capability and Panasonic's speed DFD (Depth From Defocus) autofocus system. 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 travelling 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, below.) Try to get the GX80 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 an electronic viewfinder. We have a dedicated guide to the best cheap mirrorless cameras if you're interested.
8. Sony A6000
This powerful, classic APS-C model is a bargain at today's prices
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 921,600 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
It may have been launched way back in 2014, and upstaged by the Sony A6500 and Sony A6400 since then, but the much cheaper 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. Its age doesn’t hurt its performance, but it’s knocked its price right down. Sony keeps on churning out new A6000-series cameras, but unless you need 4K video and high-tech AF, we think the original A6000 still takes some beating. Prices do swing up and down, but the Sony A6000 is always on our list of the best cheap mirrorless cameras.
It's cute and small, but this Olympus is a lot more powerful than it looks
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 8.6fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
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 Mark II (still on sale) 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, as well as many further capable options from the likes of Samyang, Sigma and even Voigtländer. We rate this as one of the best mirrorless cameras for travel.
Cameras for pros
You can't argue with that 61MP sensor, but this camera has so much more
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 61MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic, 5.76m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional
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 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 feeling 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
Nikon’s top-of-the-range full-frame mirrorless camera is superb
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 45.7MP | Lens mount: Nikon Z | Monitor: EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps | Viewfinder: EVF | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p | User level: Enthusiast/Professional
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.
Read more: Nikon Z7 review
Panasonic's top-end full frame mirrorless camera suits both stills and video
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 47.3MP | Screen: 3.2-inch, 2,100k | Viewfinder: Electronic, 5,760k | Lens: L-mount | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Expert/professional
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 (for video the S1 might be better). Both 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.
This high-speed sports specialist meets pro DSLRs head-on
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony FE | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 20fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional
Replacing the highly regarded Sony A9, 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
A pro sports camera that’s more affordable and portable than its rivals
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 60fps | Max video resolution: 4K
When Panasonic joined the full-frame mirrorless L-Mount Alliance in 2018 it looked as if the Micro Four Thirds format might be left out in the cold, but Panasonic is still committed to this smaller format and Olympus insists it’s still ‘relevant’ – and has launched this highly sophisticated, high-speed sports camera to prove it. It’s true that the sensor is about a quarter the size of those in full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the E-M1X is also smaller, lighter and cheaper, and the same goes for Olympus’s excellent and growing range of pro lenses. Kitting yourself out with a professional Olympus sports/wildlife kit based around the E-M1X will cost a fraction of any full frame system – it might not have the firepower of its pro full frame rivals, but the E-M1X is perhaps the best mirrorless camera for cash-strapped sports fans. However, we are in the middle of testing the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, which takes much of the tech from the E-M1X and crams it into the smaller E-M1 body.
Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M1X review
The camera to buy when quality matters more than anything else
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Medium format | Megapixels: 51.4MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm G Mount | Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,360,000 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 3fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Professional
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.
• Fujifilm GFX 50R review
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