Looking for the best mirrorless camera you can buy right now? Good news: our list below features all of the top models to suit every budget and style of shooting, based on the results of our comprehensive testing.
DSLR might remain the format of choice for traditionalists, but it’s hard to beat mirrorless if you want a combination of cutting-edge features, versatility, portability and photographic performance.
Ready to join the mirrorless revolution? From entry-level models for APS-C newbies to full-frame cameras that cost more than your monthly salary, this buying guide covers the very best mirrorless equipment you can buy right now – whatever your expectation. It also details the benefits and limitations of the mirrorless format, as explaining why you might want to make the switch from DSLR.
Our top overall pick right now is the Nikon Z6. Small and light, it also handles well and features a full-frame sensor. Image quality is excellent, as is the electronic viewfinder, and falling prices mean it’s more accessible than ever. For most people, it’s the perfect mirrorless camera.
Then again, depending on your budget, your style and your preferences for size, weight and handling, there might be another mirrorless model that’s better suited to your shooting needs – so read on to discover the best mirrorless cameras on the market.
Best mirrorless cameras 2020 at a glance:
- Nikon Z6
- Sony Alpha A7 III
- Fujifilm X-T30
- Sony A6100
- Nikon Z50
- Sony Alpha A7R IV
- Panasonic Lumix S1R
- Canon EOS RP
- Panasonic Lumix G9
- Canon EOS M6 Mark II
The best mirrorless cameras 2020:
1. Nikon Z6
This is the best all-round mirrorless camera you can buy right now
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.5MP | Viewfinder: 3,690K dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,100K dots | Autofocus: 273-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 12fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Intermediate/expert
Great image quality
Limited buffer depth
Only one card slot
Sony may have got to the full-frame mirrorless market before the likes of Canon, Nikon and Panasonic, but now that all four are active in the sector, the playing field is starting to level a little. And our nod right now goes to Nikon’s Z6, which combines a sound 24.5MP sensor with a super-sharp 3.69 million dot EVF and lovely 4K video into a compact shell. The beefy grip makes for great handling while the FTZ adapter that’s either bundled with the camera or available separately means you can carry on using hundreds of F-mount lenses, with autofocus and auto-exposure maintained. It’s not perfect, but a recent firmware update gave it a nice boost – and now that its price has fallen some way it’s even more accessible than ever. We love it.
2. Sony Alpha A7 III
Not new, but massively popular for good reason
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: 2,359K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Intermediate/expert
693-point AF system
10fps burst shooting
Limited touchscreen control
Slight ‘tearing’ in EVF
The Alpha A7 III may sit on the bottom rung of Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera range, its siblings being the pricier A7S II and A7R III, but it should no longer be seen as the poor relation to its pricier siblings. This is a brilliant choice for the enthusiast photographer or pro, and when you look at the specification, it’s easy to see why. Sony has taken some of the best bits from its flagship Alpha A9 and A7R III cameras, and distilled them into a single camera that offers a fantastic mix of performance and image quality. The full-frame 24.2MP sensor is excellent in a range of lighting conditions, while the advanced 693-point AF looks set to get even better with a firmware upgrade in April. This is one advanced camera that’s at a great price considering the features and performance on offer.
3. Fujifilm X-T30
Great stills, cracking video and beautiful design – the X-T30 is a little gem
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1MP | Viewfinder: 2,360K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen display, 1,040K dots | Autofocus: 425-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Intermediate
Robust, stylish body
Great image and video quality
Some cramped controls
EVF magnification isn’t great
Looking for a small, powerful mirrorless camera with a great design and lens system? The Fujifilm X-T30 is our favourite right now. While we love its bigger brother, the X-T3 (position number 8), this model’s combination of size and all-round performance makes it one of our favourite cameras of 2020. You get more than you might expect from the X-T3, including the same 26.1MP APS-C sensor and processing engine, making it suitable for everything from sports snapping to landscape photography. This is helped by a phase-detect AF system that covers almost the entire frame, plus the usual range of Fujifilm’s excellent Film Simulation modes, which subtly ape the company’s old film looks. Throw in the option of recording 4K video and you have a fantastic all-rounder that actively encourages you to get out and shoot.
4. Sony A6100
A brilliant beginner pick that’s perfect for point-and-shooters
Sensor size: APS-C CMOS | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: 0.39-inch EVF, 1.44 million dots | Monitor: 2.95-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921,600 dots | Autofocus: 425-point hybrid AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 11fps | Movies: 4K at 30fps | User level: Beginner
Excellent tracking autofocus
Compact yet feature-packed
Takes time to understand capabilities
Relatively low-res LCD and EVF
The Sony A6000 remains a popular mirrorless camera for beginners, but five years after its launch the A6100 brings its skills up to date in a familiar but more capable package. Borrowing an APS-C sensor from Sony’s premium mirrorless cameras, the A6100 also deploys the flagship A6600’s autofocus system to deliver outstanding continuous tracking capability that’s rapid and reliable for both stills and video. Image quality is as expected, with good detail and decent colours (though a neutral profile would be welcome), while battery life is solid and the tilting screen is now touch-sensitive – albeit with limited functionality. Not everything has changed, mind: the LCD and EVF both remain relatively low-res and maximum burst is still 11fps, while buffering performance can sometimes stumble. So it’s not perfect and unlocking its full potential can take time, but the A6100 is certainly a superb all-rounder that should follow in the footsteps of its best-selling forebear.
5. Nikon Z50
Great handling makes this a fine choice Nikon DSLR switchers
Sensor size: APS-C CMOS | Resolution: 20.9MP | Viewfinder: 0.39-inch EVF, 2.36 million dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.04 million dots | Autofocus: 209-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 11fps | Movies: 4K (UHD) at 30fps | User level: Intermediate/expert
Impressive viewfinder and screen
No joystick for choosing AF points
Limited native lens range
Nikon’s first foray into the mid-range mirrorless market, the Z50 proves a strong debut. Despite the smaller APS-C sensor, Nikon hasn’t tried to shrink the Z50 too much, instead paying great attention to form and handling. The result is a mirrorless camera that, though still more compact than a DSLR, packs a generous grip which is lovely to hold. Its high-resolution viewfinder and tilting touchscreen are impressive, while 4K video and reliable autofocus (using the same hybrid system as the Nikon Z6) complete a great value package. The Z50 uses SD cards rather than the more expensive XQD format, though the single slot is only compatible with slower UHS-I cards, which limits its continuous shooting speeds. Perhaps the biggest challenge the Z50 faces is the limited native lens range, but this will surely grow – and the twin-lens kit is a versatile buy. For those looking to move from a Nikon DSLR to mirrorless, the Z50 is a great choice.
6. Sony A7R IV
Sony’s megapixel monster gets a major boost
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 61MP | Viewfinder: 5,760K dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 21,400K dots | Autofocus: 567 PDAF + 425 CDAF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 1fps | Movies: 4K at 30p | User level: Expert
Fast, intelligent AF
Well-behaved metering system
Rolling shutter noticeable in videos
No in-camera RAW processing
No motion correction in Pixel Shift mode
Sony’s A7R line of cameras has been all about resolution, and the A7R IV delivers a lot more of it than ever before. Its class-leading 61MP delivers an excellent level of detail, augmented by the impressive Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode. An update to the autofocus system has made it faster and smarter, with face- and eye-detect AF working amazingly well – but with Sony at the helm, there was no doubt about that. The camera body is now even more sturdy and better equipped to handle the worst of the elements while out on field, while the deeper grip makes it comfortable to use over long periods of time. Although the addition of top plate command dial makes the mode dial a little harder to access. And while the A7R series wasn’t designed with videographers in mind, video quality here is excellent, even though the rolling shutter effect is an issue.
7. Panasonic Lumix S1R
This newcomer packs a few special tricks over its rivals
Sensor size: Full frame | Resolution: 47.3MP | Viewfinder: 5,760,000 dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tri-axis tilt display, 2,100K dots | Autofocus: Contrast-detect AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 9fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/professional
187MP capture option
AF system a little behind rivals
Big, heavy and pricey
The S1R is the first of two camera’s in Panasonic’s S series, and it arrives with some mightily impressive technology. That 5.76million-dot viewfinder is streets ahead of the 3.69million-dot alternatives in rival bodies, while the rugged build, effective sensor-based stabilisation and cracking 4K video show it to be a camera that excels in a wealth of areas. The 47.3MP full-frame sensor also manages to perform brilliantly in good light and bad, and the further option to output images at 187MP may seem a little crazy, but it opens up new possibilities for cropping and for macro work. We’re very impressed.
8. Canon EOS RP
The cheapest full-frame mirrorless camera around
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Autofocus: 5,655-point AF | Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast
Great value for money
Tiny and light body
Limited native lens selection
4K video limitations
Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R, delighted in some ways and frustrated in others, but the EOS RP made a much more positive impression. While technically a more junior model and not as fully featured, its much smaller and lighter body, together with a far nicer price, means that it’s far more accessible for those who were hoping to make the jump to mirrorless but didn’t want to stretch all the way to the EOS R. Without only around 4MP difference between the two you’re not really sacrificing much in terms of sensor resolution, while the responsive touchscreen, fast autofocus and deep buffer makes it a pleasure to use in all kinds of situations. And while the native lens range for the R mount are still limited, a lens mount adapter allows users already invested in Canon’s ecosystem to use their existing EF lenses.
9. Panasonic Lumix G9
Sensor: Four Thirds Live MOS | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Autofocus: 225-area AF | Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Movies: 4K at 60fps | User level: Enthusiast
Excellent 4K and 6K photo modes
6.5-stop image stabilization
Dual card slots
ISO range not broad enough
Smaller screen than GH5
It might not be as great for video as the Lumix GH5, but the G9 prioritises stills. Like Olympus OM-D E-M1X listed above, the smaller MFT sensor size is made up for by a camera that is packed full of features. Its high resolution combines eight images into a single 80MP photograph, while its amazing image stabilisation allows you to shoot handheld for about a second with sharp results. Throw in 60fps shooting, polished handling and a wealth of advanced features and the Lumix G9 is a brilliant all-round mirrorless camera.
10. Canon EOS M6 Mark II
An excellent video camera to take on your travels
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 32.5MP | Viewfinder: Not inbuilt | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-up touchscreen, 1,040K dots | Autofocus: 143-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 14fps | Movie resolution: 4K/30p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Small and light weight
Great tilt-up touchscreen
No built-in viewfinder
Relatively few native lenses
Just because this little snapper doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, doesn’t mean you can dismiss it out of hand. It more than makes up for it in its specifications list. It compact size and light weight makes it one of the best traveling companions you can get, and its 32.5MP sensor captures excellent images at 14fps. Colour reproduction has always been Canon’s strong suit and you won’t hear us complain here. You won’t find built-in image stablilisation, but as long as you’re aware of that you can compensate for it. You will, however, need to contend with the idea that there are limited lenses for the M-series of snappers but you can use EF and EF-S lenses via an adapter. Just steer clear of the bigger lenses as they will unbalance this tiny package.
Fujifilm GFX 100
If money is no object, grab this megapixel monster
Sensor size: Medium format | Resolution: 102MP | Viewfinder: 5,760,000 dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch three-direction tilt display, 2,360K dots | Autofocus: Hybrid AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Professional
Crazy level of detail
EVF is superb: detailed and large
Vertical grip isn’t well-thought out
The GFX 100 outguns every other model in the list for native resolution, and while it has a lofty price tag to match its beefy body, it’s arguably in a league of its own right now. While it’s not the only camera capable of outputting images this detailed, it’s the fact that it does it as standard rather than through any trickery or need to use a tripod like many others that makes it special. Throw in a very competent autofocus system, sensor-based image stabilisation, strong 4K video and the best EVF we’ve seen so far, and you have one supremely versatile camera. Sure, none of us can afford one, but Fujifilm deserves high praise for delivering this kind of performance at a price well below that of other high-resolution medium format cameras.
Sony Alpha A9
Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: 3,686K dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 1,440k dots | Autofocus: 693-point AF | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 20fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert
Incredibly fast AF
No viewfinder blackout
Limited touchscreen control
Weather sealing not robust
Sony quietly announced the launch of the second generation Alpha A9, but until we can test it, the original A9 remains one of the best sports and press cameras around. We can’t think of another pro-level snapper that can match the A9’s absolutely blistering performance and incredibly quick AF tracking. While the lack of an XQD card slot and limited touchscreen functionality can be disappointing, the camera’s rapid 20fps burst speed and EVF with no blackout is more than enough to convince most experts to reach for this one, if they have the money to spare. Although, with the arrival of the A9 II, the price of the original has dropped considerably.
Mirrorless vs DSLR: what’s the difference?
Mirrorless cameras allow you to swap and change lenses like on a DSLR, but because the mirror that you normally find inside a DSLR has been removed, the camera can be made much more compact.
No mirror means that instead of optical viewfinders to frame your subject, mirrorless cameras rely on electronic viewfinders. Be aware, though, that most cheaper mirrorless cameras don’t come with viewfinders at all – instead, you compose the photo on the rear screen, just as you do with most compact cameras or smartphones.
This is a boon in terms of keeping size and cost down, but if you’re looking to start taking your photography seriously then a viewfinder is nigh-on essential. This is because it lets you compose photos in all conditions, even sunny ones that can render a rear screen useless.
You’ll find that mirrorless cameras are also known as compact system cameras (or CSCs for short), with models ranging from the simple to use beginner models to sophisticated full-frame monsters that rival the very best DSLRs out there.
Why are mirrorless cameras better?
Is a mirrorless camera better than a DSLR then? There are still quite a few pros and cons to both designs, so if you want to find out more, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences.
Mirrorless cameras certainly offer more choice. If you’re looking to buy a DSLR, there’s only really two main players in the shape of Canon and Nikon. If you opt for a mirrorless camera, the choice is much broader, with the likes of Canon, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus and Leica all offering a wide range of cameras to suit most budgets.
Right now, every major camera manufacturer has something to shout about, and their latest models are different enough from their rivals to stand out in some way.
While it would be very easy to select 10 high-end models to make up our pick of the best mirrorless camera, we’ve tried to pick out some more affordable options as well. These models might not be dripping with features, but they represent great options for new users and those on a budget. That said, if you’re looking specifically for a budget mirrorless camera, take a look at our best mirrorless camera for beginners buying guide.
So whether you’re after a better camera than the one featured on your smartphone or are looking for an advanced, high-end model to push your creativity even further, read on to find out what are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now.