Mirrorless cameras can give you better photos than smartphones, making them the best choice for anyone who wants to learn more about photography.
While DSLRs were once the go-to for improved image quality, mirrorless cameras have taken over due to their increased portability and reduced mechanical complexity.
After more than 220 hours of research and testing over the past seven years, we recommend the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV—an affordable, versatile, high-performance mirrorless camera.
Its advanced features help it reliably capture beautiful images in a variety of conditions, while its smaller size means it’s easier to take it with you wherever you go.
The best mirrorless camera for most peopleWith this camera’s small size, wide lens selection, built-in stabilization, excellent autofocus, and reliable exposure, you can easily capture great images anywhere.
While the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV doesn’t offer the absolute best image quality, it captures beautiful images and is a joy to use. But it really stands out from the mirrorless competition thanks to its compact, lightweight design and low price.
It’s compatible with more lenses than any other lens we picked, and all of them feature impressive built-in image stabilization. The autofocus system quickly and accurately locks onto your subject and remains accurate even in low light. Its smartphone app, which enables remote shooting and image transfer, is also better than most competing apps.
Since the OM-D E-M10 IV is so small, you’re more likely to take this camera with you wherever you go. Despite its petite stature, it has a comfortable grip, plenty of tactile controls, and a tilting touchscreen, which combine to make it one of the better-handling cameras in its class.
If you’re willing to spend over $2,000 on a camera and lens package, the Fujifilm X-T5 is your best bet to take your photography to the next level.
Even when shooting in particularly dim lighting, the sensor delivers surprisingly clean, detailed, color-accurate images. If you choose to use Fujifilm’s Film Simulation, it can evoke nostalgic memories with clever application of color and tone.
The camera is rugged, weather-sealed, has dedicated dials for all the most common settings, and features a large electronic viewfinder so you can clearly see what you’re shooting and capture stunning 4K video. Plus, its tilting screen and built-in image stabilization make shooting in challenging situations much more manageable than our top pick. The full-frame Sony ɑ7 IV delivers the sharpest, cleanest images of any mirrorless camera in its price range, and with a tilting touchscreen, comfortable grip and easy-to- use controls, it’s a joy to use.
Its excellent battery life and dual memory card slots are meaningful improvements over what we’ve seen on any other full-frame mirrorless camera under $2,700.
Combined with its weather sealing, fast burst shooting, and AI eye-tracking autofocus system, the α7 IV is definitely the best full-frame mirrorless camera for the money — if you’re willing to spend the money
What you need to know about mirrorless camerasHow we select and test
Upgrade option: Fujifilm X-T5Our full-frame pick: Sony ɑ7 IV
Why we don’t recommend buying a new DSLR cameraPanasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 and Canon PowerShot SX70 HS shown side by side.The best superzoom cameraThree mirrorless cameras without lenses are shown side by side.How to choose the right camera sensor size for youa soOn the table are a point-and-shoot camera, a Giottos Rocket Air Blaster, and Pec-Pad wipes.The best camera cleaning gear
What you need to know about mirrorless camerasSensor sizeAll else being equal, larger sensor size generally means better image quality.
The sensors in the cameras we recommend here are much larger than those in smartphones. Sensor sizes in mirrorless cameras (in ascending order of size) include Four Thirds (like our top pick ), APS-C (like our upgrade pick ), full- frame (like our top pick ), and even Medium format (at least currently too expensive for what we recommend).
Larger have larger pixels that collect more light for the same pixel count; reducing image noise (tiny unwanted specks) and increasing sensors produce detail. They also produce a shallower depth of field, which helps create a more dreamy, out-of-focus background, but also makes it more difficult to get your subject in focus.
portabilityMirrorless cameras are more portable than DSLR cameras. Because camera manufacturers don’t have to incorporate a SLR mirror or other parts associated with moving a mirror up and down, they can design smaller cameras.
While some newer mirrorless cameras come with large handles that make them quite bulky, they are still generally smaller and lighter (and especially thinner) than comparable DSLRs.
Unlike DSLRs, mirrorless cameras come in many different designs, from DSLR shapes to rangefinders. So anyone can find a model that suits their shooting style, and you have plenty of options that are small enough that you can take the camera with you without hesitation wherever you go.
Camera battery lifeThe camera body is smaller and the battery is smaller, which means fewer photos per charge.
Camera manufacturers are starting to get better at this, but especially in models aimed at beginners, manufacturers are still sacrificing some camera batterylife in favor of smaller cameras.
How we select and testIn each round of testing, we look at all mirrorless cameras currently available, taking into account not only the needs of the average photographer, but also smartphone users and experienced photographers looking to take their hobby to the next level. needs.
We look for the best balance between price and features, which is even more important for those serious about learning photography as a hobby:
High-Resolution Electronic Viewfinder: The electronic viewfinder provides a detailed view of your subject, making it easier to compose your shot, which is crucial when you’re focusing manually.Comfortable grip and plenty of external controls: Adapting your shooting to new situations shouldn’t be difficult.
Tilt or rotate the screen: You may end up wanting to take a photo from an odd angle.Fast burst shooting: Fast-moving subjects are often best captured with burst shooting.Long camera battery Life: You shouldn’t be constantly interrupted by the need to replace batteries.Second Card Slot: Whether you want instant backup of footage, the ability to store video and stills independently, or just the peace of mind of having another card when you need it, a second slot is useful.
Fast, reliable autofocus: Capturing sharp photos when you need them and being able to maintain focus as your subject moves across the frame is crucial.
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