Which is currently the best mirrorless camera? I give you my current top 3 recommendations and show you what you should look for when buying.
You can read more about what you should look for when buying below. If you don’t want to read it all, here’s my quick overview.
About me in these recommendations
I’ve been photographing mostly landscapes and architecture for 15 years. During this time I have consistently shared my knowledge in lectures and workshops. I have shown my photos in more than 20 exhibitions. My recommendations are based on all my experience during this time.
The best mirrorless cameras – My top 3 recommendations
Below you will find my top 3 recommendations for the best mirrorless system camera. I update this list regularly.
1st place: Sony Alpha 7R IV – Best mirrorless camera overall
Sony has improved just about all of the criticisms of its predecessor in the Alpha 7R IV. The mirrorless camera brings a whopping 61 megapixels, which makes it the front-runner among mirrorless and SLR cameras in terms of resolution. The pictures have 9,504 x 6,336 pixels. More resolution is then currently only available in medium format cameras.
In addition to the 5-axis image stabilizer, the A7R IV comes with a shock absorber so that the megapixels are also captured sharply. The autofocus system is one of the best around, and among portrait photographers, eye tracking has revolutionized people photography to some extent. Meanwhile, the recognition of animal eyes is also possible, any patterns and shapes can be targeted and then held in focus.
Despite the high resolution, the noise behavior is still good. The camera has become slightly larger in some places, which makes it easier to grip. The viewfinder has 5.76 million pixels and 120 fps. The battery life is good, focusing works with the joystick and a second memory card slot is also on board.
High-end lenses are necessary to supply the 61 megapixels of such a camera. In addition, the diffraction blur occurs quite early, which is why the intended use of the camera is, in my opinion, primarily in people photography.
2nd place: Canon EOS R5 – Best Canon mirrorless camera
Canon has finally had a very good mirrorless camera in its range for a short time – the Canon EOS R5. With 45 megapixels, it delivers equally high resolution.
One of the most important arguments for a Canon camera for me is the very good ergonomics. Here, the manufacturer benefits from years of experience and optimization. The camera body is sealed and has a 3.15-inch display. Sharpness and dynamic range are very good on the R5. The autofocus is precise, as is the continuous shooting rate and the internal image stabilizer.
The camera is also very suitable for videographers, since it offers 8K resolution as well as corresponding formats and interfaces.
However, this point also brings us to the Achilles‘ heel of the EOS R5. When recording 8K videos, it can happen that the image sensor overheats and has to cool down before the next shot. If this point is not relevant for you, then you get a very good mirrorless camera with the Canon EOS R5, which has almost no weaknesses in the other areas.
3rd place: Nikon Z 7II – Best Nikon mirrorless camera
The Nikon Z 7II is one of the highest resolution cameras with 45.7 megapixels. It offers good ergonomics and is more robust than the Sony cameras. The large viewfinder is great to work with. The Z7 is also a good choice for videographers, because it works very quietly in addition to 4K and has many interfaces. An image stabilizer is also on board.
The large and high-resolution viewfinder is particularly positive. The autofocus and continuous shooting rate are very good, especially considering the resolution.
Nikon could still optimize a few points in the operation and menu structure, as with their SLR cameras, but we are talking about complaining on a high level here. Overall, the camera is very easy to use.
The most important argument for the Nikon Z 7II is the very good image quality. Using an adapter, you can also continue to use any Nikon lenses you may have. Overall, this camera is a real workhorse.
Further recommendations with a good price-performance ratio
In addition to the Sony A7 III, I think it’s currently worth looking at mirrorless cameras that don’t offer quite as high a resolution, but still have good features. This includes, for example, the little brother of the Nikon Z 7II, namely the Nikon Z 6II. As with the Sony, the Z6 brings many features that the Z7 also has. The resolution of 24.5 megapixels is perfectly sufficient for many photographers.
Also worth a look is the excellent Fujifilm X-T4. True, this is a camera with a 26-megapixel APS-C sensor, which is smaller than a full-frame sensor. Still, the X-T4 delivers great image quality and speed. Also worth noting is the Fujifilm camera’s large viewfinder. Because of the smaller image sensor, the lenses are also smaller, which in the end results in less size and weight of your own camera gear.
Especially if you’re into video, you’ll find modern setting options, codecs and bitrates on the X-T4. With the F-Log profile, you have a standardized starting point from which you can get a lot out of in color grading. In my opinion, the Fujifilm X-T4 is currently one of the best mirrorless cameras for video, along with the Sony Alpha 7 III.
You can find a comparison of the Sony Alpha 7 III and the Fujifilm X-T4 here.
Best mirrorless camera up to 600 Euro
If your budget is limited, then of course you want to get the best camera for your money. By the way, my article about mirrorless cameras for beginners will help you here. To make it short: Which is the best mirrorless camera up to 600 Euros?
You can’t go wrong with the Sony Alpha 6000. It’s small, light and offers good image quality. With a price of just over 500 Euros, it offers good value for money. It has 24 megapixels and comes with an image-stabilized 16-50 mm lens. The autofocus is accurate. There is one small catch: it is a real power hog. So order a second or third battery when you buy it.
Best mirrorless camera: These are the features you should look out for
Why megapixels are no longer a criterion
Newsletter Lead 1 – E-BookThe number of megapixels no longer plays a major role for me. Each of the cameras listed has at least 24 MP. With that you can easily make prints in 90 x 60 cm size. I therefore don’t pay attention to the megapixels at all.
When does a higher megapixel number make sense? A camera with 40+ megapixels is worthwhile if you often want to do exhibitions and make prints with an edge length of more than one meter. In combination with very good lenses you can deliver more sharpness in the prints.
Fast and accurate autofocus
More important, however, is the precision and speed of the autofocus system. For landscape photographers this may not matter much, but for portrait and wedding photographers it does.
In general, whenever the subjects are sometimes moving quickly, good autofocus is important. So this is also especially true for sports or wildlife photography.
The high-end mirrorless cameras above are good enough for portrait photographers without any problems. The autofocus is also fast enough for sports photography.
Light weight if you travel often
One of the big advantages of compact mirrorless cameras is their lighter weight compared to SLRs. However, there are differences here as well. This point is especially important if you don’t work in a studio and want to transport your equipment often. Especially on long hikes, every gram counts. By the way, it’s worth considering exactly which lenses you want to take with you before a photo tour. Often, the lenses of mirrorless cameras are also a bit smaller and lighter.
In terms of size and weight, it is also relevant whether the camera has a full-frame sensor or an APS-C sensor. Lenses for cameras with the smaller APS-C sensor are usually also smaller and lighter. So then not only is the size and weight of the camera itself less, but also the lenses. In the end, this leads to lighter and smaller photographic equipment.
This difference is not so small. A photo kit with wide-angle lenses, standard zoom, telephoto lens and a fixed focal length can weigh 2 kg with an APS-C mirrorless camera, while with a full-frame mirrorless camera the weight can then be quite 4 kg.
If you use the camera a lot, you will appreciate good handling. It helps you to press the right buttons and make the right settings without thinking and looking. How fast can I change the ISO? How can I move the autofocus field? Does the camera react fast enough? How do I activate an exposure bracket?
If you can handle your camera blindly, then you can concentrate on the most important thing – what happens in front of the camera.
Handling includes the number and arrangement of the buttons and wheels on the camera. But then it’s also about how sensibly the menu is structured. Last but not least, I pay attention to how the camera fits in my hand.
For my large hands, a pleasantly large grip is good, because then I have the camera securely in my hand. Especially if you often use a larger telephoto lens, then the camera and lens should be well balanced, so to speak, because it works much better that way.
A wide dynamic range
Dynamic range plays a role especially in landscape and wedding photography. It’s about the camera being able to capture the widest possible range of light and dark areas of the image without losing image information there.
You know when part of the image is unintentionally just white or black? That’s when your camera’s dynamic range was too small for the shooting situation. Modern cameras can capture a wide dynamic range.
Full-frame cameras often have an advantage here because the dynamic range is usually a bit higher due to the larger sensor. If you have situations where the brightness differences in the image become too large for your camera, you can also solve this problem in post-processing.
Good and affordable lens range
This point may sound superfluous, but unfortunately not all manufacturers offer good lenses. Especially in the wide-angle range, you always have to search. Here, of course, not only the size of the assortment plays a role, but also the prices of the corresponding lenses.
Maybe you already have an idea in which photographic direction it can go for you in the future. Then you can take a look at the prices of similar lenses for the different manufacturers.
For many mirrorless cameras, there are adapters that allow you to use the lenses of SLR cameras. There are no restrictions in terms of image quality; good DSLR lenses also deliver good resolution on mirrorless cameras. In this way, you can continue to use existing lenses and gradually change your own lens assortment.
If you choose a camera with a high number of megapixels, you must also take into account that you will need good lenses for it. For example, to get a full 26 megapixels out of an APS-C sensor, you need very good lenses. But to get 24 megapixels out of a full-frame sensor, even mediocre lenses are fine.
Movies and videos
If you want to shoot movies and videos with the camera, then of course the video quality should be right. In addition, it can be important that the camera is suitable for streaming. No matter which of these you want to do – I would in any case pay attention to an input for an external microphone. For videos, it also matters that the autofocus noise of the lenses is as quiet as possible. Likewise, it helps if the camera has a good selection of interfaces to further process the data externally.
For videos, the resolution plays a role. The best mirrorless cameras can of course not only deliver Full HD, but also 4K resolution. In addition, the frame rate is an important criterion for videographers. Modern codecs and bitrates are also useful, depending on how professionally you want to use the camera as well.
The aspect of speed means on the one hand how fast your mirrorless camera can be operated. It should always be possible to operate the camera smoothly when setting the functions and in the menu. On the other hand, the number of frames per second is also relevant. My recommendations above all deliver at least 9 frames per second.
The camera’s buffer memory should be large enough from the manufacturer, otherwise there might be waiting times during operation when taking many pictures in a row.
Good battery life
When the mirrorless cameras just came on the market, there were often still problems with the battery life. However, today’s cameras are almost all much better in this respect, so there are no more problems here. Even in comparison with DSLRs (single-lens reflex cameras), today’s mirrorless cameras are on the same level.
A large and sharp viewfinder
In recent years, I have noticed more and more how important a large viewfinder is if you shoot mostly without a tripod. Especially with regard to image composition, you can judge much better here what you integrate into your image.
The resolution of the viewfinder has also changed a lot in mirrorless cameras in recent years. The premium models today have a magnification of 0.9 and a resolution of 9.4 megapixels.
A comparison of viewfinder sizes and resolutions can be found at the colleagues of Neocamera.
In modern cameras, OLED viewfinders are almost exclusively installed today because of the better color representations.
Which is the best mirrorless camera? – My conclusion
The best mirrorless camera at the moment is the Sony Alpha 7R IV. The full-frame sensor has a high number of megapixels, the dynamic range is outstanding, the autofocus is fast and it is relatively light for a full-frame camera. In addition, Sony now offers a good range of lenses.
My tip: If you don’t necessarily need 42 megapixels, but 24 are perfectly sufficient, then the Sony Alpha 7 III is definitely worth a look. The viewfinder is not quite as good as from the „R version“, but in my opinion, this mirrorless camera is perfectly sufficient for 95% of photographers. In my Sony Alpha 7 III test, I tried the camera intensively for a week. It offers great value for money. You can then spend the free budget on good lenses.