Photography is evolving rapidly, and traditional camera technology is being challenged. Mirrorless cameras are making their mark with a range of benefits over their DSLR counterparts.
If you’re interested in one of these devices, then we have compared the crucial specs of the major models below. We will explain how they work, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
You can get started by checking out the table below.
|Model||Image Processor||Sensor Type||Megapixels||ISO Range||AF Points||Burst mode (fps)||Video||Display (Size and Resolution)||Price|
|Canon M3||DIGIC 6||APS-C CMOS||24.2||100 – 25,600||49||4.2||1080p 30fps|
|Canon M5||DIGIC 7||APS-C CMOS||24.2||100 – 25,600||49||9||1080p 60fps 720p 60fps||1.62M||$980|
|Canon M6||DIGIC 7||APS-C CMOS||24.2||100 – 25,600||49||9||1080p 60fps|
|Canon M50||DIGIC 8||APS-C CMOS||24.1||100 – 51,200||143||10||4K 25fps|
1080p 60fps, 720p 120fps
|Canon M10||DIGIC 6||APS-C CMOS||18||100 – 25,600||49||4.6||1080p 30fps 720p 60fps||1040k||$450|
|Canon M100||DIGIC 7||APS-C CMOS||24||100 – 25,600||49||6.1||1080p 60fps|
|Nikon AW1||EXPEED 3A||1”||14.20||160 – 6400||73||NA||1080p 60fps|
|Nikon 1 J5||EXPEED 5A||1”||20.8||160 –|
|Nikon 1 V3||EXPEED 4A||1”||18.4||160 –|
|41||20||1080p 60fps||3.0”, 1037k||$1,200|
|Sony a9||BIONZ X||Full Frame||24.2||100 – 51,200||425||20||4K 30fps|
|Sony a99 II||BIONZ X||Full Frame||42.4||100 – 25,600||79||10.5||4K 30fps|
|Sony a7S II||BIONZ X||Full Frame||12.2||100 – 102,400||169||5||4K 30fps|
|Sony a7 III||BIONZ X||Full Frame||24.2||100 – 51,200||425||10||4K 30fps|
|Sony a7R III||BIONZ X||Full Frame||42.4||100 – 32,000||169||9.9||4K 30fps|
|Sony a6500||BIONZ X||APS-C||24.2||100 – 25,600||169||11.1||4k 30fps|
|Panasonic Lumix G7||Venus Engine||4/3||16||200 – 25,600||NA||8.1||4K 30fps|
|Panasonic Lumix G9||Venus Engine||4/3”||20.3||200 – 25,600||NA||60||4K 60fps|
|Panasonic Lumix GX85||Venus Engine||4/3”||16||200 – 25,600||NA||10.5||4K 30fps|
|Panasonic Lumix GH5||Venus Engine||4/3”||20.30||200 – 25,600||NA||11.9||4K 60fps|
|Fujifilm X-T2||X-Processor Pro||APS-C||24.3||200 – 12,800||169||13.7||4K 30fps|
|Fujifilm X-T20||X-Processor Pro||APS-C||24.3||200 – 12,800||169||8.2||4K 30fps|
|Fujifilm X-H1||X-Processor Pro||APS-C||24.3||200 – 12,800||169||14||4K 30fps|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10 II||TruePic VII||4/3”||16.1||200 – 25,600||81||8.9||1080p 60fps||3”, 1037k||$550|
What are Mirrorless Cameras?
Traditionally, all cameras used a mirror to reflect light through a prism and onto a viewfinder. Doing so would show users how the final image would turn out. Once they clicked the shutter, the mirror would shoot up, and the photo would be taken. These cameras are known as DSLRs and have been popular for both film and digital photography.
Many camera manufacturers are now moving away from DSLR devices and choosing to focus on mirrorless cameras. These cameras operate as their name suggests, without a mirror. In fact, you might be reading this article using a device with a mirrorless camera: all smartphones use mirrorless cameras.
A mirrorless camera’s imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. Users can see a preview of the image on an LCD screen or a digital viewfinder. No mirror is necessary at all.
What is the Main Advantage of Mirrorless Cameras Compared to DSLRs?
These cameras weigh less because they don’t have a mirror or prism. They also have smaller dimensions. That’s why all compact cameras and phone cameras are mirrorless.
Mirrorless cameras edge ahead of DSLRs when it comes to video quality. 4K video has become much more prevalent. Even cheaper mirrorless models can offer 4K video, which is something only more expensive DSLRs can offer.
Mirrorless cameras can hit higher burst speeds than their DSLR counterparts. The reason is due to less moving parts as well as more powerful image processors. You will notice that cameras such as the Sony a9 and Nikon 1 V3 have max bursts of 20fps. DSLRs typically top out at around 14fps. If you’re an action photographer, then a mirrorless device might be perfect for you.
What is the Main Disadvantage of Mirrorless Cameras Compared to DSLRs?
Mirrorless cameras don’t currently have the same array of lens options as DSLRs. This is especially true for Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm, and Olympus mirrorless cameras. They simply can’t compete with the vast array of lenses that Canon and Nikon have developed for their DSLRs.
Battery life is also noticeably less. Most DSLRs can take 600-800 shot on a single charge. Mirrorless devices typically take 300-400. If you do purchase a mirrorless camera, then aim to get a spare battery as well.
What to Look for When Selecting a Mirrorless Camera?
Sensor size is the number one spec to consider. Larger sensors simply take higher-quality shots than smaller sensors. While megapixels are also relevant, they are overrated when it comes to sensor size. We have shown the main sensor sizes from biggest down to smallest.
- Full Frame
If you’re going to be shooting in a range of lighting conditions, then you should also consider a camera’s ISO range. ISO is simply a setting that determines light sensitivity. Higher settings are best for dark conditions, and low settings are best for bright conditions.
The more autofocus points a camera has, the easier users can hone in on subjects and even track their movements. More points also enable autofocus systems to work faster.
If you plan to shoot sports games, moving wildlife, or other action scenes, then you will want a fast burst mode. Taking one picture at a time is simply not enough to capture great shots of moving subjects. Aim for a camera with a burst of 10fps or more.
If burst mode isn’t enough then consider taking videos. All these mirrorless devices can record high-definition (1080p) footage. Many can also record ultra-high definition (4K) footage. Just make sure you pay attention to the video frame rate. The higher the speed, the smoother and sharper the footage will be.
Don’t forget to consider your budget. Mirrorless cameras are available at a range of price points. If you’re a casual photograph then you can get a high-quality device for under $1,000. Of course, if you’re a professional or semi-professional photographer, then you will find a range of high-end options that compete with the most powerful DSLRs.
Our Recommendation for Top Performance
When it comes to performance, it’s hard to beat the Sony a9. This 24 megapixel, full-frame camera can take outstanding photos. A sophisticated autofocus system makes it simple to hone in on subjects. If you’re an action photographer, then you will be blown away by a 20fps burst. The camera can also record 4K footage at 30fps. Of course, it doesn’t come cheap with a $4,300 price tag.
Our Recommendations for Action Photographers
The above mentioned Sony a9 is ideal for action photographers. However, there are cheaper options. The Panasonic Lumix G9 has a 60fps burst (this may be overkill) and only costs around $1,700.
Another good option is the Nikon 1 V3 with a 20fps burst for around $1,200.
Our Recommendation for Overall Value
If you’re after a mixture of power and affordability, then consider the Sony a7 III. This camera is the cheapest full-frame camera available. You will be able to take excellent shots in any lighting condition due to the device’s significant ISO range of 100 – 51,200. A comprehensive 425-point autofocus system makes it easy to focus on subjects. A 10fps burst is effective for action photography. Finally, if you’re after video footage, then you can record 4K at 30fps and 1080p at a whopping 120fps. These are considerable specs for the $2,000 price tag.
Our Recommendation for Those on a Tight Budget
If you want an entry-level mirrorless camera, then the Panasonic Lumix GX85 is a solid option. A 4/3” sensor can take respectable shots. A 10.5fps burst is also effective for shooting moving targets. This device can even record 4K video. Not bad for about $600.
You don’t want to rush your decision. A mirrorless camera can be an investment that will serve you well for years to come. Just make sure you thoroughly compare each model because you don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands on a device that is missing something crucial.