Unless you’re a professional photographer, buying a mirrorless camera is better than buying a DSLR. They are more compact and lightweight, cost less, have interchangeable lenses, and yet shoot photos and videos that look as good as those of a DSLR.
You’ll find mirrorless cameras for every type, whether it’s an action camera or something with a full-frame sensor. Keep in mind, mirrorless cameras are sometimes referred to as compact system cameras (CSC) or micro-four-thirds cameras.
Here are the best mirrorless cameras of 2019.
Best Overall Mirrorless Camera:
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the best overall mirrorless camera as it is the best value option out there. This camera is the perfect representation of mirrorless cameras. It is cute and compact but has stellar picture quality and a range of compatible lenses.
The specifications are nothing to scoff at, either. Even at this bargain price, you get a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, and an ISO range of 200 to 25,600.
It is one of the few cameras in this price range to shoot 4K video at 30fps and Full HD video at 60fps. Unfortunately, there isn’t a microphone or headphone jack, so it offers limited value for semi-professional or professional video shooting.
DP Review particularly liked how easy it is to use the camera with its many buttons and dials, as well as a simple touchscreen interface. TechRadar even reckons it’s the best beginner mirrorless camera available.
Best Sony Mirrorless Camera:
Sony A7 III
The Sony A7 III is the best mirrorless camera on the market today. Featuring a 24MP full-frame sensor, it is great for photography enthusiasts and anyone looking to upgrade from a basic DSLR.
Comparing the Sony A7 III to its rivals, DP Review said it is the best at adapting to a wide range of situations, and that it has the best autofocus system. Photography Talk, Digital Trends, and CNET all praised the autofocus too, especially while shooting videos.
The Sony A7 III is not as compact as many other mirrorless cameras, but it is significantly lighter and smaller than a DSLR. Yet, it has a powerful battery that can take up to 610 shots while using the tiltable 3-inch LCD screen.
Other features include an ISO range between 100 and 51,200 and 5-axis in-body stabilization. It can record 4K videos at 30fps and Full HD videos at 120fps. For wireless connectivity, there is onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You’ll also find an HDMI port, microphone input, and headphone jack.
Sony also has the best range of lenses available at a range of prices for mirrorless cameras right now. Surprisingly, the Sony A7 III also has an adapter with which you can connect Canon EF mount lenses. If you already own a Sony DSLR lens, you can use that with the A7 III too.
Best Nikon Mirrorless Camera:
The Nikon Z6 is a good alternative to the Sony A7 III, especially if you already have a bunch of Nikon lenses. It too has a 24MP full-frame sensor and outscores the Sony A7 III in continuous shooting speed.
DP Review said the Nikon Z6 is the best for video shooting, despite some autofocus issues, because it is easy to add separate settings for stills and videos. It records 4K videos at 30fps and Full HD videos at 120fps.
The Nikon Z6 matches the Sony A7 III in other features such as an ISO range from 100 to 51,200, and 5-axis in-body stabilization. There’s also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an HDMI port, microphone input, and headphone jack.
Best Canon Mirrorless Camera:
Canon EOS R
The Canon EOS R aims for simplicity and ease of use for photography beginners. This is a different approach from the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z6, who tried to make great mirrorless cameras for enthusiast photographers.
That means the Canon EOS R has a few compromises, most notably with the sensor. It’s still wonderful, but not as good as the others. The Canon EOS R scores 89 on DXO Mark’s sensor test, compared to 96 for the Sony A7 III and 95 for the Nikon Z6. It also lacks in-body image stabilization, which is a significant omission for beginners.
Canon’s focus on simplicity results in some innovations like the Fv Exposure mode, which lets you adjust the exposure, while the other options (aperture, shutter speed, etc.) will auto-adjust accordingly. Photographer and reviewer Ken Rockwell was particularly impressed with the LCD screen and how it makes photography a breeze.
The Canon EOS R features an ISO range from 100 to 40,000. It shoots 4K video at 30fps and Full HD video at 60 fps. As with many of the cameras on this list, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. To seal the deal, there is also a microphone input and headphone jack.
Best Mirrorless Camera for Video:
Panasonic Lumix GH5S
All mirrorless cameras can shoot videos. But their focus is primarily about shooting still photographs. The Panasonic Lumix GH5S bucks that trend by making it about video first. And it’s still as compact as a standard mirrorless camera, making it the best camera for vloggers.
There are small tweaks in the Lumix GH5S that benefit video shooting specifically. For example, there are no limits on how long you can shoot 4K videos. This means you can keep going until the battery is depleted, or storage is full on the two SD card slots. You can shoot 4K video at 60fps in both UHD and DCI, and Full HD video at 240fps. Those super slow motion videos will look gorgeous.
Panasonic has abandoned in-body stabilization on the Lumix GH5s, but as DP Review points out, that’s a good thing for video shooting. You are more likely to use a gimbal or a rig with its own stabilization, and you don’t want that to interfere with the camera’s stabilization. There are other nuances that video shooters will appreciate, like wider dynamic range, better microphone options, and automatic timecode stamping, and so on.
If the price is too high, you can consider the previous model, the Panasonic Lumix GH5. It is substantially cheaper and offers many of the same features.
Best Intermediate Mirrorless Camera:
The Fujifilm X-T3 is the best intermediate camera for those who don’t want to spend quite as much as the flagship mirrorless cameras, but still want most of the features. DP Review called it the best stills and video camera for most consumers.
The major difference from the others on this list is that the Fujifilm X-T3 doesn’t have a full-frame sensor. Instead, it uses a 26MP APS-C sensor and boosts autofocus performance. Digital Camera World says the autofocus performance is the highlight of the camera—able to lock a subject in just 0.06 seconds.
It can also shoot 4K video at 60fps and Full HD video at 120fps. The much-vaunted autofocus makes a big difference in video capture, while the APS-C sensor offers more dynamic range than most others at this price.
The only major feature the camera lacks is in-body image stabilization. Many reviewers also noted that the software-based face detection was sub-par.
Best Affordable Mirrorless Camera:
Canon EOS M100
While you can get some mirrorless cameras for as low as $200, you will be compromising on quality and features. At lower prices, you actually won’t notice the difference between that and a good point-and-shoot. The best affordable mirrorless camera is the Canon EOS M100.
The EOS M100 looks and feels like a point-and-shoot, except for that big interchangeable lens. It comes with a basic 15-45mm lens, but you can change that to any of the other Canon EF-M lenses.
The tiltable LCD touchscreen is a nice feature for travelers who like to take a serious camera along, but also want to capture selfies. It features a 24MP sensor and can capture almost 300 shots on a single charge.
At this price, you need to expect a few compromises. The EOS M100 does not have in-body image stabilization, doesn’t support 4K video, and has a weak 49-point autofocus system. Still, you get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the pictures you take will be better than any point-and-shoot at that price.
The Best Mirrorless Camera for You
A mirrorless camera is one of the best value cameras you can buy. Many of them are lightweight, portable, and are even compatible with DSLR lenses.
However, if you’re a beginner photographer, your options are much more varied. While mirrorless cameras offer the best balance, you should still check out DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras, and other options. To get started, check out our guide to the best cameras for photography beginners.