Mirrorless cameras are a compelling choice for many new buyers since they tend to be more portable than traditional DSLR alternatives, feature responsive, precise autofocus systems, fast continuous shooting speeds, and electronic viewfinders that allow users to preview the impact of exposure adjustments in real-time. They've come a long way in recent years, with a hugely diverse product ecosystem that caters to a wide variety of budgets, usage habits, and experience levels.
It's worth noting that a camera's overall performance can vary drastically depending on what kind of lens you use. Your lens influences the amount of light entering the camera, an image's depth of field, autofocus behavior, and stabilization performance. That's without mentioning the physical aspects of your lens: a larger lens with a longer zoom length and a wider maximum aperture might make it easier to take the kind of photos you want, but it could make your camera more of a hassle to carry around. For the sake of consistency and user-friendliness, we currently test a camera with its standard kit lens.
We've tested over 60 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price.
The best mirrorless camera we've tested with a full-frame sensor is the Canon EOS R6. This premium model feels incredibly comfortable to use, with lots of command dials to make it easy to adjust exposure parameters and sturdy-feeling build quality. It has a bright, fully articulated screen for easy shooting at unconventional angles, and it's rated to be weather-sealed to protect from elements like rain and dust.
Its full-frame sensor delivers exceptionally high-quality images, with very little noise or loss of detail even at higher ISO levels, making it well-suited to shooting in all kinds of lighting conditions, including low light. The camera is also a good option for video, with great video quality in both FHD and 4k, as well as 10-bit internal recording capability and support for large, high-quality video files. Its autofocus system works great for photos and video, with particularly good object tracking performance. Its in-body image stabilization also does a good job of reducing camera shake.
That said, it doesn't have the best battery life. While it supports USB charging, it can't be used while charging, and its tested battery life in video is only decent, with a tendency to overheat during long periods of continuous recording. It's also rather bulky and heavy, so it's not convenient to take on the go. Still, its high image quality, comfort, build quality, and full set of photo and video features make this one of the best mirrorless cameras we've tested.
If you want the advantages of a full-frame sensor in a more compact body, check out the Sony α7C. While it isn't as comfortable to use as the Canon EOS R6 and has a more confusing menu system, it manages to fit a full-frame sensor into a remarkably compact body relative to most other interchangeable lens cameras. It has fewer physical controls and a smaller viewfinder than the comparable Sony α7 III—which features the same sensor in a larger body with an extra SD card slot—but it has an updated autofocus system and it's significantly more portable. It has both face and eye tracking, and it does an exceptional job of tracking moving subjects in 4k and FHD video. It also delivers fantastic image quality with remarkable noise handling capability at higher ISO levels. Like the Canon, it features in-body image stabilization, though the camera struggles to reduce camera shake in 4k. Also, it's limited to 30 fps in 4k with a slight crop. That said, it has an incredibly long battery life, although this can vary with settings and usage habits.
Get the Canon if you want a larger, more comfortable full-frame camera with more control dials and an easier-to-use menu system, but if portability is a priority, the Sony α7C is a great alternative.
The best mirrorless camera we've tested with an APS-C sensor is the Fujifilm X-T4. This flagship model from Fujifilm delivers great all-around performance, and it's especially well-suited to video, with an exceptional autofocus system that ensures moving faces and objects stay in focus. It also feels excellently built, with decent ergonomics and a fully articulated touchscreen that makes it easy to monitor yourself while recording or take photos at unconventional angles.
Video quality is impressive, especially in 4k, and even in low light, there's minimal visual noise and grain. Overall, the image looks sharp and detailed. It's capable of incredibly high-quality video output, and it supports a range of frame rates to suit a wide variety of video types, from a more cinematic 24 fps to 60 fps or higher for smooth fast action. Finally, it has an amazing video stabilization feature to reduce camera shake, especially when moving at a moderate pace.
That said, it's not the most portable option out there. It's on the heavier side and may feel a bit cumbersome to carry around and shoot on the go for longer periods. Still, all things considered, it's one of the best mirrorless cameras we've tested thanks to its reliable autofocus, excellent in-body video stabilization, and impressive photo and video quality.
If you want to save some money on an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, check out the Sony a6400. It doesn't have in-body image stabilization like the Fujifilm X-T4, and its internal video recording capability is more limited, but it's considerably cheaper and impressively portable for a mirrorless camera, with a compact, lightweight design that still feels comfortable to use. While it lacks eye detection, its autofocus system does a remarkable job of tracking moving faces and objects, ensuring your subject stays in focus. It also delivers impressive overall video quality, especially in low light, and great image quality, resulting in photos that look relatively sharp and noise-free. Unfortunately, its shooting speed is more limited than that of the Fujifilm, and its screen doesn't fully articulate, although it can flip up to face you if needed.
Overall, the Fujifilm is the better APS-C option thanks to its in-body image stabilization and video features, but if you want something more affordable, the Sony is a good option to consider.
The best budget mirrorless camera that we've tested for most people is the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. This entry-level APS-C camera is a good option for those looking to get started in photography without breaking the bank. It's very lightweight and portable but still feels comfortable to use and comes with a fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles. While lenses for Canon's EF-M mount are somewhat limited, you can easily adapt EF lenses with an adapter.
Canon's menu system is remarkably easy to navigate and includes a guide mode to explain features to novice users. The camera's 24.1-megapixel sensor delivers great overall image quality with decent RAW noise handling capability when shooting at higher ISO levels in low light. Its autofocus system features face and eye-tracking and does a good job tracking moving subjects when taking photos or recording 1080p video. Also, it can shoot in 1080p at up to 60 fps and delivers great video quality in brighter lighting conditions.
That said, its 4k video features are limited. It can only shoot in 4k at 24 fps with a severe 1.5x crop. Its autofocus system is also considerably less reliable at tracking subjects when shooting in 4k. Still, its video quality is good in more controlled light, despite a lot of noticeable rolling shutter when panning to the side. All things considered, this is a solid mirrorless option for most people, and it offers a lot of value for its price.
The best mirrorless camera that we've tested for general video purposes is the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5. Although it doesn't feature as many advanced videography features as the more video-oriented Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, this full-frame hybrid is a great option for most people who want a camera to record videos and also take still photos. It feels remarkably well-built and comes equipped with a fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles or monitor yourself while recording.
It delivers incredible 4k video quality in brighter lighting conditions and great quality in 1080p. It also performs well in low-light thanks to its full-frame sensor. It can shoot at up to 60 fps in either resolution, though shooting at this frame rate in 4k incurs a 1.5x crop. While it's not as effective as competitors like Sony, its autofocus system does a great job of tracking moving subjects, although it's more reliable with faces than it is with objects. The camera also offers several recording formats and V-log picture profile support for more in-depth color grading in post.
Unfortunately, its continuous shooting speed leaves a lot to be desired for those who like to take photos as well as shoot video, as it's limited to 6 fps and has a 16s buffer empty time. That said, image quality is amazing overall. The camera also has an excellent battery life and doesn't impose a recording time limit, which is great. All in all, this is one of the best 4k cameras we've tested, and it's a great choice for those doing a mix of video and photo work.
Sep 21, 2021: Replaced the Sony a7 III with the Sony a7C as a 'Compact Alternative' and moved the a7 III to notable mentions. Replaced the Sony a6100 with the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as the 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera' because it's cheaper and still offers good photo capability. Added the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 as the 'Best Mirrorless Camera For Video'.
Jul 23, 2021: Renamed the Canon EOS R6 as the 'Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera' with the Sony a7 III as 'Cheaper Alternative'; renamed the Fujifilm X-T4 the 'Best Crop Sensor Mirrorless Camera' with the Sony a6400 as 'Portable Alternative'; added the Sony a6100 as the 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera'; moved the Nikon Z 6 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 to Notable Mentions and added the Nikon Z 6II and the Fujifilm X-T200.
Jun 25, 2021: Added the Fujifilm X-S10 as 'Cheaper Alternative' to the Fujifilm X-T4. Added the Fujifilm X-T30 and the Canon EOS RP to Notable Mentions.
May 26, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
May 05, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mirrorless cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for interchangeable-lens mirrorless cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.