(Pocket-lint) - Mirrorless cameras are where it's at for both photographers and video makers alike, if you want to learn more about the top options available, you're in the right place.
No matter whether you're snapping an elusive bird out in the wilderness or shooting a music video for the next big band, the mirrorless world has a camera just for you.
With so many options available, offering so many lens mounts and sensor sizes, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've painstakingly sought out the best mirrorless cameras available today and presented all the facts, to help with your buying decisions.
If you still can't decide, we've got a short guide at the bottom with a few things worth considering when picking out a mirrorless camera.
What are the best mirrorless cameras available? Currently, our top recommendation is the Sony A1. Other great options include the Panasonic Lumix GH6, Canon EOS R5, Olympus PEN E-P7 and Fujifilm X-E4.
Our Top Pick: Best Mirrorless Camera
- Image quality is superb
- All the ports you could possibly need
- Stunning burst mode performance
- It's prohibitively expensive for most
- The flippy screen is limited
There aren't many cameras on the planet capable of doing everything the A1 can, and that's what makes it our top pick.
It can handle everything from 8K video recording through to intense 50.1-megapixel bursts at lightning speed, all without breaking a sweat. It can do pretty much everything.
This camera is definitely one for the professionals, given its price tag, but if you need the best of the best, then this is it. It's a multitasking monster, able to handle the most demanding shoots, no matter if they're focused on video or photo.
Mirrorless cameras we also recommend
The professional workhorse that is the Sony A1 won't be for everyone. So, with that in mind, here are four other hugely impressive mirrorless options that you could consider.
Panasonic Lumix GH6
- Sensible price point
- Impressive 5.7K resolution
- Professional grade codecs
- Recording to SSD not available at launch
- CFexpress slot replaces secondary SD card slot
A successor to the ever-popular GH5, Panasonic's GH6 takes everything we loved about the previous model and kicks it up a notch. All while sticking with the versatile and relatively affordable Micro Four Thirds lens system.
It offers high bit-rate footage, up to 5.7K recording, a variety of ProRes codecs and class-leading IBIS - a specification truly unmatched in its price range.
Combine this with a solid and ergonomic frame, as well as numerous quality-of-life features like USB-C PD charging; then the GH6 is hard to beat, particularly if video is your focus.
Sony A7 IV
- High bitrate/frame rate 4K recording
- Great stabilisation
- Fast and accurate AF and real-time tracking
- Not the cheapest
- No ProRes support
- Flippy out screen blocks ports
The latest entry level Alpha 7 camera from Sony offers a huge range of professional capabilities. And while it's not exactly cheap, it's still considerably less expensive than the Alpha 1.
What you get with the A7 IV is 4K video up to 120fps, support for a huge number of picture profiles for colour grading/correction, inluding a few different HLG profiles. It also features a CFExpress Type A slot for high bitrate recording included in the first of two SD card slots.
It's fast, features powerful real-time tracking and autofocus, and performed really well in all of our still and video tests. If you're looking at getting into full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, you could do a lot worse than the fourth generation 'standard' A7.
Olympus PEN E-P7
- Standout retro design
- Small-scale build
- Great built-in 5-axis image stabilisation
- Can't stow screen for protection
- Less resolution and focus speed than best of competition
The Olympus PEN E-P7 stands out as a compact little unit with a distinct retro charm.
It's much more affordable than some of the options on this list, and the same can be said for its micro four thirds lens system. The E-P7 is a capable little camera, and, if you're looking for something on the smaller side, with bags of character, this could be your guy.
It might not be capable of producing quite the image quality of some of its competitors, but what it lacks in performance it makes up in value and charm.
- Attractive and small-scale design
- The same great image quality of Fujifilm X-T4 for less cash
- Super autofocus system for stills and movies
- No lock on exposure comp dial
- Fiddly to position screen forward
The Fuji X-E4 is another diddy retro looker. It's the first Fujifilm X series camera to offer a screen that can flip around into vlog mode, although we don't think that will appeal to most of its audience.
Instead, we expect they'll be more enticed by its top-tier image quality, small body, retro stylings and highly capable autofocus system.
Other products we considered
When trying to decide what we believe are the best mirrorless cameras, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a number of factors when it comes to recommending cameras - and apply the same criteria when a new device is being considered for inclusion. It's not all judged on our testing, either - we also try to factor in consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
How to choose a mirrorless camera
The range of mirrorless options spans pretty much the entire camera market at this point. Understandably, it can be hard to narrow down which one is right for you. Here are a few things worth thinking about before you invest.
What will you be using the camera for?
This will be the crux of the decision for most people, as different cameras are geared toward different shooting styles. If you'll mainly be taking videos, a heavier camera body might be better for keeping your shots stable. For street photography or holiday snaps, a lightweight, smaller camera will be ideal.
Ultimately, the answer will be in the specs. If you need to shoot 4K videos, then clearly you'll want a body that supports that. If you're shooting stills of fast-moving sports, then you will want to consider the burst rate.
Hooking things up
Especially for video, there's a wide range of ports to think about. Will you want to hook up an external monitor? If so, you'll want a body with an HDMI output. Need good quality audio? Then you'll be looking at the microphone inputs (not all cameras have them).
A lot of modern camera bodies offer USB charging functionality, this can be incredibly handy when you're on the go. Where previously you would have needed to carry spare batteries or a cumbersome charging dock, now you can plug into any old power bank and keep your camera topped up.
A quick lesson in lens mounts
First thing's first: cameras don't work in a one-size-fits-all kind of way. Brands like to keep their own heritage and, as such, manufacturers tend to have individual lens mounts. The exceptions are Micro Four Thirds, supported by Panasonic Lumix G, both Olympus Pen and Olympus OM-D models; and the Leica L mount, which will offer S lenses from Panasonic and lenses from Sigma.
Elsewhere there are a whole host of considerations, each tied to their respective manufacturers: it's EOS EF-R for Canon's full-frame models and EOS EF-M for its APS-C models; it's E-mount for Sony Alpha (formerly NEX) and A-mount for its full-frame (SLT) cameras; and XF-mount for Fujifilm.
Others are already past their sell-by date: Pentax gave up on the Q-mount for Pentax Q in 2017; NX-mount for Samsung NX (and specifically the smaller NX-M mount for the NX Mini) are both now defunct, and the 1-mount for the Nikon 1-series was also binned in 2017.
Finding the focal length equivalent
Each lens will have "mm" marking on it, such as 12-24mm, to convey the angle of view it will deliver. The lower the number the wider the angle of view, so more will "fit in" to a given scene.
It's a bit more complex than that, however, as different camera systems have different sensor sizes that give different focal length equivalents, but stick to that rough rule above and you'll have an approximate understanding of what you're getting.
As you likely well know, mirrorless camera pricing ranges anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand. There's a model for every budget, but it's important to factor in the cost of lenses. After all, a camera is nothing without some good glass in front of it.
Full frame bodies tend to be on the pricier side, but the same is true for their lenses. So if you're on a tighter budget, it probably makes more sense to go with an APS-C sensor. It's not uncommon for keen photographers to spend more on a lens than a body, so be sure to take a look at what's available before you commit.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
A camera system can be a hefty purchase, so we've tested all the options on this list extensively to see how they hold up to daily usage. We've checked everything from image quality to battery life to make sure they're up to the task.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the reviews, experiences and opinions of the Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas outlined above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each wireless speaker is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.