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 our top pick for enthusiasts looking to buy a full-frame mirrorless camera. Though its 20-megapixel resolution is lower than typical for cameras of its class, you won't miss those megapixels unless you do a lot of heavy cropping, and image quality is fantastic nonetheless. The camera's also well-suited to low light situations, with superb noise handling at high ISO settings. It also has built-in image stabilization to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds.
On top of that, it has an impressive autofocus system that can reliably keep moving subjects in focus, with precise tracking to the edges of the frame. It has several different AF area modes, including different levels of spot and zone focusing, as well as face and eye detection and a few different AF tracking 'cases' that determine focus behavior, which you can fine-tune even further to suit your needs. All of these options are fairly easy to navigate thanks to Canon's well-organized menu system and intuitive controls, making for a very comfortable shooting experience overall.
This camera is also a video powerhouse, with frame rates up to 60 fps (albeit with a slight 1.07x crop when shooting in 4k) and exceptional internal recording capability. It can capture 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, which means greater dynamic range and more color info to work with when editing your videos. Be warned, however, that the camera tends to overheat when recording 4k video for longer periods, though it's less of an issue if you limit your recording time.
If you're looking for something more compact, consider the Sony α7C. It has a significantly smaller and lighter body than the Canon EOS R6, which is great if you prefer to travel light but don't want to sacrifice full-frame quality and low-light performance. It has fantastic noise handling and out-of-camera image quality thanks to its 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, and its autofocus system is top-notch, with integrated face and eye detection and excellent tracking performance. It also has in-body image stabilization to reduce camera shake and a fully articulated screen. That said, it has fewer physical buttons, a significantly smaller EVF, and a convoluted menu system, so it doesn't feel as comfortable to shoot with. Its video specs are also a bit less impressive, as it's limited to 8-bit internal recording and caps out at 30 fps in 4k with a slight crop.
Get the Canon if you want a more comfortable camera with more intuitive controls and better internal video recording. If you want a more portable full-frame camera, go with the Sony.
If you're considering going with a crop sensor camera, it's hard to beat the Fujifilm X-T4. This flagship model from Fujifilm delivers great all-around performance, whether you take photos or shoot video. It has a sturdy, weather-sealed body with a retro-inspired design, complete with dedicated exposure dials that make it easy to adjust settings on the fly. It also has a fully articulated touchscreen for video work or those who like to shoot at unconventional angles.
Featuring a 26-megapixel APS-C sensor and Fujifilm's excellent in-camera processing, it delivers very good JPEGs right out of the camera. You can also play with the look of photos with its various 'Film Simulation' profiles, which emulate the look and tone of classic film stocks. It's no slouch when shooting RAW, either, with excellent noise handling even as you raise the ISO for low-light situations. On top of that, it has in-body image stabilization, which does a fantastic job of reducing handheld camera shake.
Though its autofocus system will serve you well in most shooting situations, it isn't as reliable as competitors like Sony or Canon. The AF can sometimes lose track of very fast-moving subjects and switch focus to objects in the background or detect faces where there are none. The camera's controls can also take some getting used to if you're not accustomed to dedicated exposure dials. On the upside, it's a relatively portable and well-designed camera, with a ton of versatility to boot.
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 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, this full-frame hybrid is a great option for most people who want a camera to record videos as well as 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. The camera also offers several recording formats and V-log picture profile support with a 10-bit internal recording capability to give you more latitude when color-grading your videos. The camera also has an excellent battery life and doesn't impose a recording time limit, which is great.
Although the camera has an effective overall autofocus system, it's not as impressive or consistent as some competing AF systems. In particular, it can sometimes struggle to keep track of non-human subjects. Thankfully, though, its face/eye tracking is more reliable, and it does a great job keeping people in focus when shooting video. All in all, this is one of the best 4k cameras we've tested, and it's a great choice for people interested in stepping up their video game.
The best mirrorless camera that we've tested that's under $1,000 is the Sony α6400. 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 switch 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'll need to use an optically stabilized lens if you want stabilized handheld shooting, though, thankfully, its kit lens does a good job of smoothing out camera shake. Unfortunately, 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 compared to the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, it also means you can get smaller, more affordable lenses with greater focal reach. This camera is 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 image quality and 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.
Feb 17, 2022: Verified that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories.
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'.
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.