If you’re buying any camera, it is because you want to take high-quality photos and videos. You're looking for more options than what your mobile phone already provides. Even if you don't plan on becoming a professional photographer, owning the right camera can make any shoot an enjoyable experience.
Mirrorless cameras support great video quality, are easy to use, and are great for beginners. However, they come with higher price tags than mirrored DSLR cameras. We’ve done our research and compiled a list of the top five best mirrorless cameras to buy online so you can make sure you're investing your money wisely. The Canon EOS R6 is one of our favorites, as it takes great photos regardless of lighting conditions. There's also a buying guide at the end to help you pick the right mirrorless camera that meets your needs.
Here are some factors to think about before buying your mirrorless camera. Remember that the type of lens you decide to use, the sensor within the camera, the weight of the camera, and its battery life all play a significant role in how it will perform, so check the product specs carefully!
We recommend using a lightweight, compact mirrorless camera that weighs as close to a smartphone as possible when starting out (around a pound, or less than two pounds). This will make it comfortable to use for long periods and give you a more enjoyable experience overall.
The lightweight aspect is one of the best features of a mirrorless camera. DSLRs can be bulky and heavy, especially with lenses, but mirrorless cameras weigh just a fraction of that, making them the perfect companion for traveling or everyday use.
They're smaller and fit easily into any bag. Remember to keep in mind the weight of your camera body and lens combined, though!
Certain settings specifically included in mirrorless cameras drain your battery without you even taking photos! Automatic EVF eye activation is one example. When it's activated, battery life can deplete simply by being jostled around. Using WiFi, recording a video, or using continuous shooting mode can reduce your battery life, too.
Those battery-draining functions can be turned off easily. Moreover, some cameras have a power-save mode to help you expand the battery life. You can also carry extra batteries to prolong the usage time!
There's nothing worse than being out for the day and seeing the low battery warning on your camera when your day isn't even halfway over!
Always carry an extra, fully charged battery with you if you'll be shooting for a full day. It's a small, lightweight accessory that will let you enjoy your time carefree. There are settings you can change to help keep your battery alive longer, but the safest bet is to always carry an extra.
A camera sensor’s main function is to capture light. In general, bigger sensors result in better quality images. There are several types of sensors in mirrorless cameras, so keep reading to know the strengths and weaknesses of each type of sensor.
Micro four-thirds sensors are great for lens customization and are a good compromise between DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras. They have a small size, making the camera bodies compact. So for travel photography, go for a camera with a micro four-thirds sensor!
APS-C sensors provide better control for depth of field, offering more focus for objects in the background and foreground as well as the main subject. If you tend to do street photography, a camera with an APS-C sensor might be the right choice for you.
Although it isn’t really a disadvantage, APS-C sensors do magnify the lens you are using. So if you attach a 50mm lens, the sensor will magnify it to seem as if you’ve attached an 80mm lens.
The size of a full-frame sensor is about 36 millimeters by 24 millimeters. Due to the sensor's big size, full-frame cameras are usually quite bulky. However, they capture the most light. This is useful for people who shoot landscapes and want to capture detailed shots of their surroundings.
Full-frame sensors also provide a higher brightness in your mirrorless camera’s viewfinder, which lets you get an even more accurate depiction of what you are shooting. So if you usually shoot in low light conditions, pick a full-frame camera!
The sensor in a mirrorless basically falls in the middle between a DSLR and a point and shoot. Consider the main reason you'll be using your camera. Will you be traveling with it? Shooting landscapes? Then a smaller sensor should be ok.
Or will you be shooting indoors in low-light situations? Then you'll want to consider a camera with a larger sensor to compensate for the low light. The larger the sensor, the higher the quality of the image; but the camera might be heavier as well.
Medium format sensors are the largest, measuring approximately 43.8 by 32.9 millimeters to 53.7 by 40.2 millimeters. Thanks to the larger sensor size, the images produced are of better resolution.
There are some cons, however. Medium-format cameras tend to be heavier and bulkier than other types. They are also the most expensive type of sensors available right now.
Yet, if you like outdoor portraiture, a medium-format camera might come in handy. This is because a medium-format camera can help you capture photos with a shallower depth of field.
Image resolution is an important factor when looking for a camera, as it affects the print size, cropping options, and image quality. As a rule of thumb, the higher the resolution, the sharper and more detailed your photos turn out. It's easier to crop a photo with high resolution, too!
Image resolution is measured by the number of megapixels (MP). If you want to print an image in a large size, you'll want it to have high resolution.
Currently, most mirrorless cameras have a resolution of 20 megapixels, which allows you to make 16- by 20-inch prints. To produce 20- by 25-inch prints, you might need more than 25 megapixels. So think about what print size you want, and choose a resolution that can help you achieve that!
Resolution also affects the quality of your videos. The units of video resolution are pixels. Nowadays, many cameras offer 4K recording.
However, shooting a video at 4K resolution might drain the battery quickly. A 4K video requires a lot of memory as well. So if you don't need the highest quality possible, then 1080 pixels or 720 pixels should be enough.
Even if you're new to mirrorless cameras, there are many functions and accessories that will make using a camera enjoyable. A lot of mirrorless cameras are designed with a flip screen to help you take selfies or film vlogs. Some products have a touch screen for easy operation.
Also, you can purchase a kit lens since the pricing is typically cheaper than when you buy them separately. However, the lens selection may be quite limited. We also suggest getting a camera strap as it can support your camera while you're walking around to take photos.
We have created a list of the absolute best mirrorless cameras for beginners. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Number of available lenses, in this case, means compatible lenses.
Canon EOS R6
Sony α7R IVA
X-S10 Mirrorless Camera
Panasonic Lumix S5
OM-D E-M5 Mark III
Best for the Impressive Burst Mode and Autofocus System
Best for the High Resolution and Autofocus
Best Compact and Lightweight Camera for Recording Videos
Best for Shooting Still Images With 6K Photo Mode
Best for Taking Photos in Low Light Situations
|Body weight||1.5 lbs.||1.46 lbs.||1 lb.||1.6 lbs.||14.6 oz.|
|Sensor||Full-frame||Full frame||APS-C||Full-frame||Micro 4/3rds|
|Battery life||510 shots||530 shots||325 shots||470 shots||310 shots|
|Resolution||20.1MP, 4K video||62.5MP, 4K video||26.1MP, 4K video||25.28MP, 4K video||21.8MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||3 in. tilt-angle touchscreen||3-in. tilt-angle touchscreen||Vari-angle LCD touch screen||3-in. vari-angle touchscreen, Wi-FI, Bluetooth||Touchscreen LCD|
|Number of available lenses||2||3||2||2||1|
|Body weight||1.5 lbs.|
|Battery life||510 shots|
|Resolution||20.1MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||3 in. tilt-angle touchscreen|
|Number of available lenses||2|
|Body weight||1.46 lbs.|
|Battery life||530 shots|
|Resolution||62.5MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||3-in. tilt-angle touchscreen|
|Number of available lenses||3|
|Body weight||1 lb.|
|Battery life||325 shots|
|Resolution||26.1MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||Vari-angle LCD touch screen|
|Number of available lenses||2|
|Body weight||1.6 lbs.|
|Battery life||470 shots|
|Resolution||25.28MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||3-in. vari-angle touchscreen, Wi-FI, Bluetooth|
|Number of available lenses||2|
|Body weight||14.6 oz.|
|Battery life||310 shots|
|Resolution||21.8MP, 4K video|
|Extra features||Touchscreen LCD|
|Number of available lenses||1|
The type of subject that you’re shooting will affect the type of lens you need. For example, if you take a lot of action shots, you may consider 35mm and 85mm lenses, while a 24mm lens has too wide of a zoom and can sometimes distort moving subjects. Another example is that certain lenses are more suited to video than photography.
As for where you're shooting, two common issues are shooting in low light conditions and shooting in tight spaces. Low light conditions require lenses with a fast aperture. Tight spaces will require you to have a smaller lens.
It's better to choose a camera that comes with a wide selection of options if you want to shoot a wide variety of subjects. However, a lens adapter can be used on any mirrorless camera to increase the availability of options to choose from.
Some cameras include a lens if you buy it as a kit, and those lenses are a great place to start. Just because they're included in the kit doesn't make them any less valuable. When choosing a lens, also consider the weight of it; sometimes the lens can weigh more than the body of a camera!
Choosing a mirrorless camera is not an easy task, and you probably still have many questions even after reading our buying guide. In this section, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions online.
Since mirrorless cameras use a sensor to autofocus instead of relying on an autofocus chip, you don't have to calibrate the camera's autofocus system at all.
Still undecided about what type of camera to invest in? Having a good understanding of the differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras will really help you make your decision! Learn about them through this video by Sony.
Mirrorless cameras are not only lighter weight compared to DSLR cameras, but they're also quieter. Since they don't have the mirror to go up and down, which DSLRs have, they hardly make a sound.
This is an important feature if you're shooting something and want to remain silent, such as a ceremony or an animal that might scare easily. Since they are typically smaller, they also weigh less, making them a great option when traveling.
Some accessories will make taking photos easier and more enjoyable. Check out these indispensable items for digital photographers.
If you haven't found a mirrorless camera for yourself after reading our list, check out Amazon's best sellers!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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