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 70 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 Canon EOS R6 is the best mirrorless camera that we've tested with a full-frame sensor. This premium interchangeable lens camera has a 20.1-megapixel full-frame sensor, making it well-suited to low-light photography. It feels incredibly comfortable to shoot with, thanks to its well-balanced design, large textured handgrip, and highly intuitive menu system.
As far as performance goes, it delivers fantastic overall image quality. It has an impressive amount of dynamic range to bring out a wider array of detail in high-contrast scenes, is great for landscape photography, and has remarkable RAW noise handling capability, meaning you can shoot at higher ISO levels in dim conditions without introducing too much visual noise. Its autofocus system is snappy and effective, doing a good job of tracking moving subjects with over 6,000 detection points for incredibly precise focusing.
That said, it doesn't have the best battery life. Its battery life for video is only decent, although battery performance can also vary with usage and settings. However, you can't use it while it's charging, which may be a bit inconvenient. Still, this is one of the best all-around mirrorless cameras that we've tested, thanks to its superb image and video quality, great autofocus system, and comfortable design.
If you'd prefer a full-frame camera with a more compact body, check out the Sony α7C. It doesn't feel as comfortable as the Canon EOS R6, and it has a more convoluted menu system. However, it's more portable, which is good if you need to travel, for instance, though it comes at the expense of having fewer control dials and a smaller, less comfortable viewfinder. That said, it has a much better battery life that can easily last through a day of shooting, depending on your usage habits. You can also keep using it while it charges via USB, which is handy if you have a portable battery pack. The camera has a fantastic autofocus system that's even more reliable at tracking moving subjects. It also delivers remarkable overall image quality with minimal visual noise at higher ISOs, so it's also well-suited to shooting in more dimly-lit conditions.
Get the Canon if you prefer a camera that's easier and more comfortable to shoot with, but if portability is your priority, go with the Sony.
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 taking 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 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, 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.
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 filmmaker-oriented Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, this full-frame hybrid is a great option for most people who want a camera to record videos and 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, its autofocus system does a great job tracking moving subjects, although it's more reliable with faces than 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.
The best mirrorless camera that we've tested that's under $1,000 is the Sony a6400. It represents a good middle ground for those who aren't quite ready to jump into full-frame photography but still have some experience or are looking to make the jump to mirrorless without breaking the bank. It's weather-sealed, feels well-constructed, and has a relatively portable body that makes it a great choice for travel photography.
This is an APS-C camera that stands out for its quick and accurate autofocus system, which can detect human subjects as well as animals, and it does an excellent job tracking moving subjects even as they move around the frame. Overall image quality is impressive out of the box, and the camera also has good noise handling capability at higher ISO values for low-light shooting. It also has a quick 11 fps burst rate and a good-sized photo buffer, although it takes a while to empty once full.
That said, it doesn't have in-body image stabilization, so you may need to rely on an optically stabilized lens if you're going to shoot handheld. On the upside, its kit lens does a good job of smoothing out the image. Sony's menu system isn't the most intuitive and can be tricky to navigate since you can't use touch controls. Still, if you're interested in a well-rounded and portable camera, this one has a lot to offer for just under $1,000.
The best budget mirrorless camera we've tested is the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. This portable APS-C camera offers a ton of value for its price and makes for a great entry point into the world of mirrorless cameras. It's light and comfortable to shoot with, thanks to a highly intuitive menu system and simple controls. It also has a fully articulated touchscreen to help with vlogs and selfies.
It delivers great overall image quality right out of the box, and it has decent noise handling capability at higher ISO settings for shooting in more dimly-lit conditions. The camera has a good autofocus system that tracks moving subjects fairly reliably when taking photos or shooting 1080p video. It can take burst photos at a reasonably quick 9 fps, although it has a very small photo buffer. Also, while the camera doesn't have in-body image stabilization, its kit lens is optically stabilized and does a good job reducing camera shake.
Unfortunately, while the camera supports 4k video recording, it's more suited to 1080p recording. It can only record 4k at 24 fps with a severe 1.5x crop, and its autofocus system performs poorly in this resolution. That said, it performs much better in 1080p, and there are more frame rates to choose from. All in all, for a camera at this price point, it offers a ton of value for beginner photographers or content creators working with 1080p video.
If you want to buy into a more portable system, consider a Micro Four Thirds option like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. While its smaller sensor makes it a bit less suited to low light, it also means you can get smaller, more affordable lenses with greater focal reach. This camera is also a good option for travel or vlogging, thanks to its small size. You can flip its screen all the way down for vlogs and selfies, and it feels decently well-constructed. It delivers impressive overall image quality, and it features in-body image stabilization to further reduce camera shake when shooting handheld. It also shoots at a faster 10 fps in its burst mode and has a much larger photo buffer for longer continuous shooting. That said, it's not as comfortable to shoot with, and those with larger hands may find it a bit cramped. Its menu system isn't as intuitive, either.
Get the Canon if you want a camera with a larger sensor for better low light performance. If you want a greater variety of cheaper lens options, consider the Olympus.
Jan 13, 2022: Renamed the Sony a6400 the 'Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1,000'. Replaced the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV with the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera' and added the Olympus as a 'Micro Four Thirds Alternative'.
Dec 16, 2021: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 Mark II with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera' due to lack of availability. Moved the Sony a6400 from 'Cheaper Alternative' to the Fujifilm X-T4 to 'Alternative With Better Autofocus' to the Olympus OM-D E-M10. Removed the Canon EOS R and the Nikon Z 6 from Notable Mentions.
Nov 16, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and clarity; no change to recommendations.
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.
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 U.S.).
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.