Best Mirrorless Cameras to Buy in 2021: The Right Choice

Updated on May 3, 2021
best mirrorless cameras

Here, we’re looking at a collection of the best mirrorless cameras to meet the needs of a wide range of photographers. Whatever your needs are and whatever price point you’re looking for, we here at netbooknews.com are going to take you on a deep dive into a wide range of the very best cameras on the market and why they might suit you, in particular.

Cameras have always been amongst the products that see the most innovation and improvement with every advancement in technology. For that reason, we consistently update our list of the best mirrorless cameras and the reasons that we recommend them in the first place.

What is a mirrorless camera?

Before you go reading our recommendations on which cameras you should choose, it’s important to make sure that you know that you’re picking the right type, to begin with. Mirrorless cameras are interchangeable lens cameras that are well suited for advanced photography, just like a good DSLR camera. However, the difference is that mirrorless cameras do not use internal reflex mirrors to offer an image preview.

Rather, mirrorless cameras use electronic viewfinders and display the preview image on a digital screen. EVFs show you a precise image of what the lens sees with 100% coverage, as well as usually allowing for additional features like adjusting the depth of field on the fly.

How we Evaluate the best mirrorless cameras

When it comes to all manner of hobbyist tech, but especially cameras, it can be difficult to recommend one camera that is supposed to meet the needs of all people. Simply put, a lot of people have different needs, so while we can pick out the very best mirrorless cameras of the lot, we are also taking the time to find cameras that also fit the needs of others who might not need to budget for the very best, but still want recommendations.

For each camera, we’re going to give a brief overview of what makes them worth recommending, as well as specs, pros, and cons which will include things like covering any sensors, what types of lenses they have, what modes they offer, the screen quality in pixels (or megapixels), and other features like body image stabilization and autofocus features.

This list isn’t designed to pick out one mirrorless camera that fits the needs of everyone, but rather to help you find the best mirrorless cameras that might best suit your needs as an individual. This includes looking at the very best, the most budget-friendly, those best suited for filming, for travel photographers, and more.

Our recommendations of best mirrorless cameras for June 2021

  • Sony A7S III: A fantastic camera that offers much the same as the others in the A7 lineup, but with great underwater and video features.
  • Sony A7 III: Definitely one of the best mirrorless cameras and at a decent budget, with fantastic autofocus feature and dynamic range.
  • Fujifilm X-T30: A light, low-price camera that offers decent megapixel resolution, a fantastic autofocus feature, and high-quality 4k video.
  • Fujifilm X-T3: Ergonomic, weatherproof, and with great image quality with little processing time, a great camera for travel photography.
  • Sony A7R IV: A video-driven powerhouse of a camera with the best resolution of any full-frame camera on the market, including DSLR cameras.
  • Fujifilm X-T4: Another great travel camera with better battery life than others in the X-T series, and some much-needed image stabilization.
  • Nikon Z6: A highly-recommended choice with phenomenal image quality, 273 autofocus points, and some of the fastest operating speeds.
  • Canon EOS R5: A camera with some of the finest specs on the market, with fantastic AF, image stabilization, and 8k video offerings.
  • Nikon Z7 II: Offering amongst some of the best resolutions at the highest speed shooting on the market, delivering well as an all-rounder.
  • Canon EOS R6: One of the best mirrorless cameras from a tech standpoint, but also one of the priciest.

Reviews of the Best Mirrorless Cameras for June 2021

Overall Best Mirrorless Camera

Sony A7S III

Sony A7S III
A fantastic camera that offers much the same as the others in the A7 lineup, but with great underwater and video features.

Simply put, it’s hard to argue that the Sony A7S is not the best on the market at the moment. A full-frame mirrorless camera with excellent autofocus capabilities, great video features, as well as underwater photography capabilities, including being able to record 4k video up to 120fps in slow motion.

Specs: 12-megapixel resolution | 4k video at 120fps | 9.44 dot electronic viewfinder | 759 point autofocus | 425 contract detection points

Pros

  • High-speed hybrid autofocus system
  • Excellent picture quality
  • Underwater and video photography features
  • 4k video resolution
  • Up to 102,400 ISo range
  • Light, compact and easy to handle for photographers

Cons

  • Unimpressive battery life (lasts roughly 400 shots)
  • Only 12.2 megapixels, not the most only the market by any means
  • Limited number of lenses, making them pricy by comparison

A Close Second (but more affordable)

Sony A7 III

Sony A7 III
Definitely one of the best mirrorless cameras and at a decent budget, with fantastic autofocus feature and dynamic range.

There’s little room for doubt that the Sony A7 III is amongst the best full frame mirrorless cameras currently available. It excels with its speed, its dynamic range of 15 stops, as well as the autofocus system including nearly 700 phase-detection points that rank it above the majority of DSLR cameras when it comes to keeping the subject in focus. This focus stays sharp even if you’re using the continuous shooting mode at rates of 10 fps. It even offers good value for money, with its roughly $2000 price tag keeping it affordable for many.

Specs: 42.4-megapixel resolution | 3.2-inch 2,100K dot monitor | 2359K dot Viewfinder | 4k video at 30p | 693+425 Autofocus points | 10ps Max frame rate

Pros

  • Strong value for money
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • Autofocus ability that competes with any DSLR
  • Small, light, and easy to handle at just over 650g
  • Comes with dual SD slots
  • Wi-FI and NFC

Cons

  • Lenses can be expensive to change or replace
  • Tilt-screen doesn’t offer full 180-degree range
  • Analog controls can feel a little cumbersome and unintuitive

Best Mirrorless Cameras for your Budget

Fujifilm X-T30

Fujifilm X-T30
A light, low-price camera that offers decent megapixel resolution, a fantastic autofocus feature, and high-quality 4k video.

At a sub-$1000, the Fujifilm X-T30 is one of the best cameras on the market that’s suitable for a wider range of budgets. A compact camera that uses a 26-megapixel sensor (same as the more expensive XT3 from the same range) as well as greatly accurate autofocus and burst shooting that offers up to 30 fps when used in sports mode.  

Specs: APS-C sensor | with 26.1-megapixel resolution | 2,360k dot viewfinder | 425-point autofocus feature

Pros

  • Extremely compact and light
  • A fantastic sensor found in more expensive cameras
  • Excellent burst rate with sports mode
  • High–quality autofocus feature
  • Great price point

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer image stabilization
  • No articulation on the rear LCD
  • Can only take 4k videos for ten minutes each time
  • Disappointing battery life

Best Mirrorless Cameras For Travel Photography

Fujifilm X-T30

Fujifilm X-T3
Ergonomic, weatherproof, and with great image quality with little processing time, a great camera for travel photography.

If you’re looking to shoot on the move, then the little processing needed to complete excellent quality images that this camera offers are worth it. It offers the best and fastest autofocus features in the X-series, and has that fantastic APS-C sensor that is also in the X-T30 but also offers a weatherproof body that’s much better to handle.

Specs: APS-C feature | 25-megapixel resolution | 3.69M dot viewfinder | 425 point autofocus | 30fps continuous shooting

Pros

  • Best autofocus in the Fujifilm X-T series
  • Weatherproof
  • Much easier to handle and more ergonomic than the X-T30
  • Fantastic video quality

Cons

  • Battery life still not great
  • Doesn’t offer image stabilization
  • No 180-degree range on the rear screen means not as well suited to vlogging.

Best Mirrorless Cameras for Video

Sony A7R IV

Sale
Sony a7R IV
A video-driven powerhouse of a camera with the best resolution of any full-frame camera on the market, including DSLR cameras.

Aside from being the highest resolution full-frame camera that you can find at the moment, the A7R IV gives full-width and APS-C crops to film at both 1080p and 4k, offering fantastic footage with some phenomenal autofocus, too. Add to that the video tools, such as focus peaking and log modes and it blows out the competition when it comes to video.

Specs: 61-megapixel resolution | 567 phase autofocus features | 4k video at 30p | a max frame rate of 10fps | 5,760k dot viewfinder.

Pros

  • Phenomenal image quality
  • Best film quality in the market
  • Fantastic, large and high-quality view quality

Cons

  • Have to readjust exposure settings when you switch to film mode or photo mode
  • Footage is only 8-bit
  • Files can be noisier than other Sony cameras

The Best Of The Rest

Fujifilm X-T4

Fujifilm X-T4
Another great travel camera with better battery life than others in the X-T series, and some much-needed image stabilization.

Another camera that’s amongst the best value on the market, this X-T4 offers those excellent ASP-C sensors that allow for incredibly sharp images. It offers excellent autofocus features but also includes the image stabilization that is missing from many X-T series cameras.

Specs: APS-C sensor | 26-megapixel resolution | 4k video at 60fps | 15 fps using full autofocus | dual SD card slots.

Pros

  • Amongst the best sensors on the market
  • Image stabilization features that other Fujifilm cameras listed here do not have
  • Intuitive analog controls with handy physical dials

Cons

  • Grip is small, given the overall size of the body
  • The flip-out screen might not suit everyone
  • No standard headphone jack

Nikon Z6

Nikon Z6
A highly-recommended choice with phenomenal image quality, 273 autofocus points, and some of the fastest operating speeds.

Offering great affordability compared to some of the cameras that offer similar image quality, it is well-built, with high-resolution images thanks to 24.5-megapixel sensors. Also easy to recommend thanks to a phenomenal electronic viewfinder that offers 3,690k dots of resolution, allowing for clear and sharp representations of exactly what you’re trying to capture.

Specs: 24.5-megapixel resolution | 3,690k dot viewfinder | 273 point autofocus | 12fps frame rate.

Pros

  • Fantastic resolution with high ISO performance
  • Well-built and easy to use
  • Great electronic viewfinder with clear and crisp picture

Cons

  • Offers single XQD card slot rather than dual card slots
  • Small selection of native lenses
  • Battery life isn’t as good as some entries on the list

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5
A camera with some of the finest specs on the market, with fantastic AF, image stabilization, and 8k video offerings.

Simply put, this is amongst the finest cameras for still images on the market. Though its price tag may put it out of the range of many, it has great ergonomics, amongst the best autofocus and IBIS (image stabilization) features you are likely to find, and more.

Specs: 45-megapixel resolution | 5,690k dot OLED viewfinder | 20fps continuous shooting speed

Pros

  • Fantastic autofocus features, even at the higher shooting speeds
  • Superior IBIS for full-frame cameras
  • Offers 8k video recording
  • Phenomenal viewfinder quality and resolution offers an extremely sharp image

Specs

  • Not as fully-featured when it comes to video capabilities
  • Standard 4k offerings are not as impressive
  • A demanding price tag might put it out of reach for many

Nikon Z7 II

Nikon Z7 II
Offering amongst some of the best resolutions at the highest speed shooting on the market, delivering well as an all-rounder.

A modest update to the also-excellent Z7 camera, this is the flagship full-frame mirrorless camera from Nikon, that offers huge resolution thanks to a 45.7 MP camera and a CMOS sensor. It lacks in some of the more unique features that the others offer but is a great all-round camera for serious photographers, all the same.

Specs: 45.7-megapixel resolution | 2100k dot monitor | 10fps continuous shooting speed | CMOS sensor

Pros

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Compact, good ergonomics make for easy handling
  • Five-axis IBIS features

Cons

  • No standout features, more of a jack of all trades
  • Lower EVF resolution than some
  • Limited tilt-angle display

Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6
One of the best mirrorless camera from a tech standpoint, but also one of the priciest.

Like the EOS R5, the R6 is one of the best quality cameras on the market, with a great 20.1-megapixel resolution and the market-leading 6,072 point autofocus. However, those technical improvements also come with a higher price tag than most of the other entries on this list, and given that it’s less suited for video, that price might be too steep for some.

Specs: 20.1-megapixel resolution | 3,690k dot viewfinder | 6072-point autofocus

Pros

  • Best autofocus features in market
  • Great IBIS (image stabilization) features
  • High 20fps electronic continuous shooting rate

Cons

  • Price tag may put it out of range for many
  • Relatively limited video features for the price
  • Could be more ergonomic

mirrorless camera Buying Advice

Choosing a System

Selecting the right system can be difficult even with all of the information above. Once you start buying a system and all of the lenses for it, it can be quite an investment, after all. The best is to select one that best suits your needs. We have aimed to show which cameras are the best for any particular kind of shooting or filming, but every one of the above entries is a great choice for professional photographers who are looking for the very best cameras on the market. However, going by brand name can help you stick to safer choices. For instance, Sony tends to be better all-rounders, Canon offers the highest specs, but Fujifilm offers the best street and travel photography options.

Image Sensor Size

Image sensor size is just as important as megapixels when it comes to image quality. However, if you stick to the list above, you don’t need to worry as all the mirrorless cameras mentioned here have comparable sensor size to the best entry and mid-level DSLRs. The Sony A7 series tend to be best in class out of the range that we have selected above when it comes to this, however.

Medium Format

If you’re looking to take pictures for portrait, fashion, or product photography, then you might want outlook more closely to ensure that you’re using a medium-format camera. These cameras come with very large sensors that offer high resolutions, but this technical excellence also means that you’re likely to be paying a lot more for them. The Fujifilm series of cameras tend to work best out of those listed if you’re looking for a good medium-format camera. However, you should beware that you could be paying upwards of $10,000 when you also start adding lenses to the mix. 

Megapixels

Megapixels are, indeed, important to the quality of image that you can produce but they are not everything. You will notice that the camera we have selected as the best mirrorless camera on the market is far from the one with the best megapixels. Instead, it’s the combination of good megapixels with a fantastic APS-C sensor that offers better image quality than cameras with higher megapixels alone. So, while higher megapixels may be tempting and impressive, remember that you need to combine it with the sensor size to get a good idea of how great the image quality will really be.

FAQs

Mirrorless Versus Compacts; What the Difference?:

Compact cameras, also known as enthusiast compacts, are a credible alternative for those who want a practical option that is lower in cost and offers decent image quality. However, by comparison, mirrorless cameras (and DSLR cameras for that matter) are interchangeable. This means that mirrorless cameras can fit different lenses to help them be more versatile for shooting at close range, wide angles, telephoto, and more. Mirrorless cameras typically have a larger image sensor size, too, which means they tend to produce significantly higher quality images than compacts.

Mirrorless or DSLR: what’s the difference?

Mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras are both interchangeable lens cameras but they do have their differences. The main difference is how the image previews are displayed. Mirrorless cameras capture the image digitally to display it on a viewfinder, also known as an LCD screen, on the back of the camera. Meanwhile, DSLR cameras have a reflex mirror that bounces the light up into an optical viewfinder. This typically makes mirrorless viewfinders more accurate than DSLRs, though they can range a little higher in prices. However, both types of camera include a wide range of different options suited to different needs, as well.

Why are mirrorless cameras better?

It should be noted that, whatever the case, the camera that is “better” is the one that suits your needs. However, when it comes to image resolution, filming, and sensor size, mirrorless cameras exceed or meet the very best of DSLR cameras. However, their unique advantages include the fact that they offer more accurate image displays thanks to the digital viewfinder. They also allow you to change exposure and depth of field as you go, and display a much wider range of information through their electronic display, allowing you to be more precise with the images that you capture.

Are mirrorless cameras better for video?

The video capabilities and quality of cameras differ from model to model, but you will see that we have highlighted many that offer excellent video capabilities, including 8k resolution filming. Typically, mirrorless cameras do tend to be better at capturing video thanks to the “live view” advantages of using an electronic viewfinder. Thanks to this feature, more video photographers tend to flock to mirrorless cameras, which has resulted in more mirrorless cameras that are better suited to video. DSLRs can shoot video, too, but it isn’t as often a focus of their design.

Can a DSLR lens be used with a mirrorless camera?

In most cases, the answer is: yes, a DSLR lens can be used with a mirrorless camera. However, they are usually not natively compatible. You may, indeed, require an adapter that is used to mount the lens onto a camera that it was not built for. Most of these adapters are no too expensive when it comes to manual DSLR lenses, thankfully. However, electronic lenses that are more complex in their features may require adaptors that require a bit more investment on your end.

Conclusion

Which mirrorless camera best suits your need is, of course, going to depend on a range of factors but, most importantly, it should be chosen based on what you’re going to be using the camera for. Know what kind of shooting or filming you’re going to do, and follow our recommendations from there.

Article by:
Louie Lovoy
As the editor of Netbook News, when he's not editing articles on the latest tech trends, you can find him spending time with family and friends, cheering at his boys' little league games, or backpacking in the North Georgia mountains.

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