Best Mirrorless Cameras | 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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If DSLRs took over the market at the beginning of the 21st century, you could say that the Mirrorless Cameras are taking a leap from the shoulders of the DSLR and catapulting ahead. They offer most of the features of a DSLR, but they are lighter, smaller, and generally less expensive. 

They do away with the internal mirror that reflects light onto the sensor. In other words, the light coming through the lens goes directly onto the sensor and that is transmitted to the LCD screen. The settings actually allow a lot of control over your work. You can also change out lenses for them.

Best Mirrorless Cameras - Buyer's Guide

Mirrorless cameras offer a faster performance and quality than most compact cameras can give you, but without the bulk of most DSLR cameras. This makes a mirrorless great for photographers that also video their subjects. 

Their sensor sizes and megapixel counts are wide ranging as are their builds. Some brands offer Full Frame (35mm) format sensors.  Panasonic and Olympus use the same format (Micro Four Thirds / MFT). Fujifilm, Sony, and Canon have lines that use the APS-C sensor formats for better quality. 

Keep in mind that some companies or brands have merged formatting, which can make life easier for a photographer who wants to use lenses interchangeably for various cameras. You may already own some accessories that can be used or the accessories might be easier to find and cheaper for some of these. 

Today’s mirrorless cameras, even those at the entry end of the price spectrum, are just as capable of providing quality photographs as an SLR at a comparable price point. And while you can still buy a mirrorless camera without a built-in optical viewfinder, more and more low-cost models include the feature.

Considering the versatility, high resolution available and the lower price point, a lot of photographers are bagging their DSLRs to take mirrorless cameras with them while traveling. 


I’m a beginner. And while I was looking for my own camera and accessories, I began writing up my research to share with others like me. This led me to write these articles sharing what most photographers – both amateur and professional – feel are the top picks among today’s cameras and accessories.   

I’ll list them below, with relevant information. If you want the statistics of each camera, you can always click our links to go to the retailer website where you prefer to shop. I felt it was more important to share the opinions of those who had used the equipment.    

You should purchase your chosen products from wherever you feel most comfortable purchasing camera products. I always look over reviews from multiple sources before I make a decision on a purchase.

I share the most relevant information on my website, but it’s by no means a full endorsement. Be your own advocate, know your product, ask questions of the seller, get information in writing, and be clear on warranty limitations.

Sony α7RIV vs α7RIII Mirrorless Cameras

The most mentioned mirrorless camera of all of the listings was the Sony α7R IV.  However, a lot of reviewers also mentioned the 2018 7RIII model as well. On cursory scan, the main difference in the two models is the nearly 40MP jump in the sensor’s processing.

There are other changes between the 3rd generation and 4th generation of this model’s series beyond the jump in megapixels. It has autofocuses (Eye, Animal, and Video Eye) and real-time tracking that is beyond anything I’ve encountered. There are dual UHS-II SD slots and upgraded weather sealing. 

Reviewers and photogs alike had a lot to say on it. Jaron Schneider wrote it well for his piece in PetaPixel by stating that, “…the α7R IV is honestly way too much camera for even most day-to-day professional shooters.” 

This is important, because when you are taking images with this much resolution, they are huge files and they can cause not only your writing and downloads to be slow, but also your photo-processing after the fact – if your processing application can even handle these file sizes. Conveniently, Sony wants you to use their processing suite, Sony Imaging Edge, for the best results. 

Please understand that for most uses, 61MP is just not necessary and even disruptive. Lower pixel cameras are actually better for video. Other criticisms include a clunky menu that lacks practical organization. Also, it cannot multifunction while writing data to a card. All in all, the better ergonomic designs and auto focusing are the pros that actually have no cons.   

So, if you want most of the bells and whistles of this camera with a lower price point and a much more practical megapixel standard, try the Sony α7R III.  

It offers backside illuminated (BSI) structuring to allow the 42MP sensor to perform better in low light. It still boasts an excellent 399-point 425 contrast detection Autofocus System and 10fps shooting. Therefore with both still shots and video, it maintains the focus on subjects very effectively.

Add to this the image stabilization features and your shots (both still and video) will be of higher quality and much clearer than on most other cameras. A lot of people applauded the viewfinder system in the camera as well.  

90% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. There are still a lot of reviewers who have had issues with the weather proofing not being sound, the bulkiness of the menus, and the rough ergonomics, especially when using larger lenses. There were also multiple complaints about the use of a flash and the inability to work this with a remote properly and Pixel Shift functioning not working properly. 

Even with all of the complaints, it still has one of the highest 5 star ratings I’ve seen. The links are for the Sony α7R III – since more photographers and reviewers actually feel this is the more useful and practical piece of equipment. 

Price Range: $1998 – $2998 depending upon the kit

Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera

Even though this camera was mentioned a lot as a go-to for reviewers and appeared many times on “Best Mirrorless” lists, it seems to have fallen short in reality?  A lot of reviewers were saying there are better options for the money.

This is a very small full-frame camera and a lot of people like the use of it as a travel camera and possibly a vlogging camera. However, some photographers are saying that it’s focus doesn’t keep up well with face and eye detection and the 4K video suffers from heavy crop. 

We would not recommend the EOS RP for anything but occasional, casual video capture. The crop-in while shooting in 4K makes it very difficult to shoot anything wide-angle, you don’t get Dual Pixel AF and you end up with footage that’s worse quality than many cameras that have smaller APS-C sensors.

 DPReview.com 

It’s mentioned so much, I suppose, because as an entry-level camera, it’s a solid purchase. If you already have Canons, the RF lenses will work with this camera. It also comes with a Dual Pixel CMOS AF – which baffled me, considering one of the criticisms I’m seeing in reviews of this camera is the AF. One review also mentions the difficulty in transferring RAW files from the camera, but another reviewer counters that:

…the camera shoots RAW just like all other similar cameras, and the RAW files can be processed on computer software just like all other similar cameras…When a new camera is released, it often takes a few weeks (or even longer) for all the software companies to update their software to accept the new camera’s files.

I am guessing this is what the problem was with the other reviewer. The Canon DPP software is not at all confusing if you decide to download it. Just pick “convert and save” and the RAW files are converted to your choice of JPG or TIF.

73% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. Most people find the ergonomics of the camera good and are satisfied with the performance of what the camera has to offer for the price. It’s full frame for the cost of APS-C. The autofocus is good, just not lightning fast.  So if you use it as intended and don’t expect the moon, perhaps the Canon EOS RP is the proper camera for you.

Price Range: $999 – $1499 depending on the kit.

Fujifilm X-T3 & X-T4

As you can tell from reading the other articles, a lot of times, the newer model in a series can be better or the company may just release something that doesn’t do much more than the previous camera in the series. 

For this one, I’m going to try and cover two models in the same series and give you the pros and cons I’m finding through the reviews I’ve read and then you can decide which one you might be interested in – if either. 

To be honest, in this case, there aren’t many differences in the X-T3 and the X-T4. Both are mirrorless with APS-C sensors. Both lack anti-aliasing (low-pass) filters, allowing for sharper images. A lot of people recommended both cameras in the same sentence.  And the major criticism has been the battery life of these models.

They have the Fuji X lens mount that provides for 51 varied native lens options, 12 of which come with optical image stabilization built-in – and for the X-T3, that’s a possible need. The X-T4 has a sensor-based image stabilization built-in. There are also 13 lenses that are weather-sealed like the body of the camera. 

The X-T3 has a tilting, LCD touchscreen, though a lot of it’s settings are done via dial and switches. It has an electronic viewfinder that provides you with a live view of what you’re shooting. These cameras can shoot continuously at 20fps. And this camera also provides the ability to shoot video at 4K UHD. It doesn’t have an internal flash, but has the flash shoe for mounting an external. Both cameras also have built in WiFi + Bluetooth.

They also allow you to connect them via HDMI and USB 3.1 and they boast the battery life to get you to 500 shots, which is better than most mirrorless cameras in its class.  Reviewers felt that they didn’t get as many as 500, but they were very pleased to switch between the 4K video and still shots and still have enough battery to last most of the day. So one suggested being sure to bring a spare just in case.

Now, with the X-T4, the same reviewers had very little negativity to provide, saying that the company added in-body stabilization, better EVF, better battery life, and a true vari-angle LCD screen. And the controls are so easy to switch between. Instead of having to dig through menus, one can find a toggle switch to move from still to video capture. 

Autofocus and face/eye detection in these cameras is excellent. Jim Fisher from PCMag.com stated, “My only complaint is that sometimes the face detection is too good—when photographing a roller derby, the camera lost track of some of the athletes’ faces and locked onto spectators standing around the rink behind the action.”

With the X-T4’s improved weather resistance, this has now become the “Renaissance Camera” as it can do all kinds of amazing things in all kinds of environments. 

As of this article, the T-4 is on Pre-Order and the reviews I used were from sources who were able to get early access. 

85% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. Most of the negative reviews I found were concerning manufacturers defects or receiving a refurbished item. Remember, buyer beware when you order things from a marketplace setting. Know what you are getting or get written guarantees that you can use for refunds, just in case. Also be aware of warranty information. 

Price Range: T3 – $1199 – $2199 depending on kit  T4 – $1699 – $2199

Canon EOS M50

The second entry from the Canon company for the mirrorless camera models is an APS-C that has been around since 2018. It has a fully articulated, touch screen LCD and a built-in viewfinder. It can shoot continuously at 10fps 1/4000sec max shutter speed (about half of what Fujifilm provides). It does have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. 

The second entry from the Canon company for the mirrorless models is an APS-C that has been around since 2018. It has a fully articulated, touch screen LCD and a built in viewfinder. It can shoot continuously at 10fps 1/4000sex max shutter speed (about half of what Fujifilm provides). It does have built in WiFi and Bluetooth. 

It has no environmental sealing and a relatively low battery life. This definitely does not make it an ideal candidate for outdoor shooting. 

There is no image stabilization built into the camera. And though their mirrorless cameras have very few native lenses, you can use an adapter and then use all of the Canon EF lenses for it. However, there are very few with optical image stabilization. Canon M50 also features an Digital Video Stabilization mode where videos are stabilized in-camera while you are shooting.

Keep in mind that this effect may crop your videos a little bit and doesn’t help to stabilize still images. This kind of video stabilization effect can be replicated by using some of the advanced video editing software on your PC.

This happens to be a camera that I own and I’ve been pleased with it. However, what I use it for is indoor shooting of food (both still and video) for a website. For the price, it does very well with the styles both my husband and I use. Most vloggers seem pleased with it as well – for an indoor camera.

The main complaint has been a less than pleasing autofocus and a very large cropping of video.  I wouldn’t take it out far from home, that’s for sure. It’s not weather resistant, the batteries don’t hold up, and if you use app-functions like GPS made via the phone, the batteries last an even shorter timeframe. But for my indoor, tripod-using purposes, it’s fine. 

80% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. I’m not the only reviewer that can tell you that even with the cons, the build is good and the picture quality is excellent, even in low light. I’d stay away from autofocus too much. Reviewers were not pleased with how close the battery was to the tripod screw, another reason it’s not recommended as a traveler’s camera.

But it’s not really promoted as such. On a tripod, using manual settings is the way to go with this camera.  Again, a lot of the reviews speak about product/manufacturer defects and not getting help from third-party distributors. Again – buyer beware.

Price Range: $479 – $699 depending on the kit.

Sony α6300 – α6600

Sony has an entire series of models in the α6000’s line. I would say, in the spreadsheet, I compiled to figure out which mirrorless cameras were suggested most by companies, and reviewers – there wasn’t a stand-out in this line. However, it was mentioned so often as one of the top ten mirrorless cameras to have – as a series – that I felt the need to include it.

Sony has an entire series of models in the α6000’s line. I would say, in the spreadsheet, I compiled to figure out which mirrorless cameras were suggested most by companies, and reviewers – there wasn’t a stand-out in this line. However, it was mentioned so often as one of the top ten mirrorless cameras to have – as a series – that I felt the need to include it. 

The latest model lost the built-in flash, gained an external headphone port, added better battery life, but in most other aspects I just don’t see a lot of difference in anything in this series since 2016.

It is an APS-C sensor camera with 116 native lenses available for its mount. The α6600 has a sensor-based 5-axis image stabilization, so any lens will be helped – any previous models in the series do not have this and rely on Optical Image Stabilization when it comes with only 30 of these.

It looks like all of the models over the α6300 have weatherproofing and Sony provides 48 lenses that also come with weather sealing. This couples with what looks to be decent ergonomics and weight make this series a good choice for outdoor and action photography. 

All models in this series have Bluetooth but the α6600 does not have wireless connection available (which is odd). So, in my opinion, this might be a bit of a downgrade.  

Like most models in this category, everything beyond the α6300 has 4K video recording, an articulating touchscreen LCD, 11fps, 1/4000 MAX shutter, 24MP, along with the electronic viewfinder. 

The α6600 battery life is something most photographers are thrilled about compared to what the norm is for these cameras (810 shots) – at least according to the manufacturer. Previously in the series, the max shots were at 410 which is about average.  

76% of reviewers gave this series a 5-star rating. I looked specifically at reviews left by verified purchasers of the α6400 and α6600 for this portion of the article. And there were no real shining stars here.  It seems like for every advancement Sony took with this series, it took marked steps backward as well. For buyers who were already accustomed to the Sony line, some of the reviews could be both complimentary and critical.

Most adored the advancements in autofocus and picture quality, but were upset with the lack of stabilization within the early model bodies – especially when it came to videography. The rolling shutter was mentioned multiple times for ALL models. Some were baffled by the noise in anything beyond ISO 500+.

In cameras this price and this far along in a model series, these things should not be at issue. Others liked the AF system and they seem to be improving with each release. However, people were very disappointed in the removal of panorama and the pop-up flash on the α6600. For the most part, it was the more technical aspects that reviewers spoke up about. 

Price Range: 

 α6400 $898 – $1099 depending on the kit.

 α6600 $1398 – $2696 depending on the kit

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 vs Panasonic Lumix S1R

These two cameras are both built tough and seem geared to impress videographers as much as photographers. Since they are both mentioned multiple times throughout the listings of professional reviews for best mirrorless cameras, I wanted to include both. 

The GH5 has a 17.3x13mm (20MP Four Thirds) sensor size – a step down from even APS-C size, but it still delivered very high quality for both photogs and videographers. 

For most users, The GH5 is an upgrade from the previous models in all aspects. It also offers in-body stabilization and 4Kvideo without much cropping. This camera is definitely geared toward videographers (the previous model on the series was a favorite among indie filmmakers), but it can still take still shots, and because of the greater processing power, though shots have a greater resolution and significant noise reduction. It does have a somewhat above average battery life, though filming video presents more drain. 

 So many cameras are pieced together to allow people to touch on one mode or another but never really are great for either experience. Reviewers are saying that the GH5 handles every bit of its technology perfectly. 

On to the Lumix S1R, which has a full-frame sensor. Both cameras are lauded for their ergonomic styling and stout make, but the S1R is on the heavy side. The trade off is that it is very well made and has a weather sealing to prevent dust and moisture and is “freeze-proof” to -10°F.  The touchscreen seems to have a limited movement with 45° titl, but it can flip out to one side as well. It was built this way instead of using the vari-angle so that the camera remained durable. The screen is very sensitive, though, so be away when shooting.  

While it’s capable of 4K video at up to 60/50fps, this camera seems to be built more for photography. For instance, it offers a multi-shot High Resolution mode which combines eight images captured with a series of minute sensor shifts to produce a super-high resolution image well beyond the sensor’s native resolution. However, it’s limited by the subject it can capture in this way. What helps? The 5-axis in-body stabilization and using a panasonic lens that stabilizes images as well. It handles 9fps and reviewers have said that they didn’t begin losing sharpness to their images until reaching over ISO 12,800. Just be aware that the battery life is below average on this one. 

For those using Canon lenses, there is a Sigma EF to L-Mount adapter to help with that. Always look for adapters when you change brands.

A lot of reviewers for the GH5 enjoyed the fact that it was just as useful as a camcorder, if not more so and also great for travel. People were impressed with the battery being capable of handling the processing of significantly more data. Some state that not being able to charge with a USB-C is a missed opportunity, though loopholes have been found. 

Lumix GH5 – 81% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. The Pixel shifting gave so much more detail than standard on stills. Reviewers loved the sturdy feel and ergonomics of the design. However, more than one reviewer was quick to point out that the continuous shoot would not work with flash photography.  For some professions and even enthusiasts, that can be a deal breaker. 

In this case, people were pleased with the autofocus on still shots, even when it came to motorsports action. Some were not as pleased with autofocus in video compared to everything else it had to offer.  I was surprised at the amount of auto-focus issues that were reported for this camera. The reason most people purchase this model is for the videography aspect, and without fluid and quick autofocus, it leaves people wanting – especially previous owners of GH4.  However, there are many more positive affirmations for this camera than negative ones. 

Lumix S1R – 79% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. Keep in mind the release date was in 2019…so that skews the rating.  However, what I’ve found to be a big issue with many users is that this camera doesn’t shoot continuous bursts with flash. Otherwise, even the ones giving it low star range love the camera. 

Price Range: 

Lumix GH5 – $1297 – $1399 depending on the kit

Lumix S1R – $3697 – $4597 (used one at $1919) – not with kits.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

This is actually a 20.4MP Micro Four Thirds sensor camera that is being weighed along the lines of some professional Full Frame Mirrorless cameras and it was mentioned almost as many times if not more in some cases by photographers suggesting mirrorless cameras and reviewers.

It offers continuous shooting up to 10fps and 4K UHD video recording. The sensor and processor can offer an ISO 25600.

It contains a  Contrast and Phase Detection autofocus system for speed and accuracy. This camera offers a mode that it calls “Focus Stacking” where it automatically composites multiple shots at different focal positions to create a single image with maximum depth of field. 

This is considered a Semi-Pro mirrorless camera that is weather-sealed for outdoor shooting and prepared for both still and video. It has a very light body compared to others, both WiFi and Bluetooth, and an articulating touchscreen LCD. There are 103 native lenses available for this camera and this camera also has the 5-axis image stabilization so that plays through to the lens capability. There are also 29 weather sealed lenses available. 

The main criticism came from the low battery standard (so if you get this camera, spring for some extra batteries). It also doesn’t have a built-in flash, but it does have a flash shoe for mounting external. 

80% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. Let me just gasp that I found no 1 star reviews for this camera. None. And the 2 2-star reviews are about what the manufacturer has left off of the camera that these particular people wanted – not about the camera itself. Others felt there was room for improvement in the battery and the autofocus.

Several reviewers felt it was lacking in durability due to trying to make it a lighter camera and that there were better options. The majority obviously loved the camera and most people refer to it as a great beginning mirrorless camera. They point to the ease of function when it comes to the lighter body (great for travel and those who will be using it outdoors), and the great quality of their photos and video thanks to the internal stabilization

Price Range: $999

Nikon Z50

After watching this camera maker dominate in other areas, it was shocking to collect all of that data and find that the last major mentions came to Nikon in the Mirrorless category. And there were only 2 or 3 mentions of each model in the Z-series, so I can’t really pick out one to hold over the others. Therefore, I’ll give you the information from the reviews of the latest model in the series – the Z50.

This is actually a 21.0MP APS-C sensor camera. It is lighter and has higher fps (11fps) than previous versions in the series with max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. It offers shooting for 4K UHD max resolution video. It has a built-in flash, but it also has a flash shoe for mounting external. 

Nikon Z50 features both Contrast Detection and Phase Detection autofocus (AF) systems which ensures speed and accuracy of focusing in most situations. 

It has a very light body compared to others, both WiFi and Bluetooth, and full articulated touchscreen LCD. For the Nikon Z lens mount there are only 15 native lenses available for this camera but it doesn’t offer internal image stabilization so that has to come from Optical Image Stabilization on the lenses – there are only 2. There are also 12 weather sealed lenses available and since the camera is weather sealed, that might be a good option. 

84% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating. The main criticism came from the low battery standard (so if you get this camera, spring for some extra batteries). What reviewers found amazing about this camera was that the images were so sharp and there was hardly any crop for a less than full frame camera. People were talking about taking beautiful shots even in AUTO mode, which most won’t do. Others liked that you can adjust the photo in the camera and not have to always use a photo editing studio. There were a few complaints about the WiFi connectivity (something we’ve seen in other Nikon products). 

Price Range: $1196 that comes with 2 Nikkor Z lenses ($859 just the body)

Conclusion

In terms of mirrorless cameras, there are many to choose from and it will ultimately be up to you to decide which one fits best with what you are wanting the camera for. Do your research on the camera, manufacturer and the seller to be sure you are getting exactly what you have paid for.

If you want to learn more about cameras then be sure to check out the other articles on our site. It might be a good idea to start with our Basic Cameras article first.

Rachel Adams

I have used a wide variety of cameras over the years and wanted to share my experiences and knowledge with my readers. I don't have a degree in photography and I don't do this professionally. So, if you were looking for a photography expert - sorry. But if you prefer a practical person who admits she’s been a noob to photography and has learned from good people and through trial and error? I’m here for ya!

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