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9 best mirrorless cameras for mirror-free picture taking

T3 logo T3 28-10-2016 Spencer Hart

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image If you're looking for a new camera you've come to the right place, because we have collected the very best mirrorless cameras here.

We think the ultimate mirrorless camera you can get is the Sony A7R II, it's full-frame sensor and massive megapixel count make it the king when it comes to capturing detail, especially in low light. The top-level 42.4-megapixel A7R II offers razor-sharp resolution, the ability to shoot in 4K, 399-point hybrid AF and 5-axis in-body stabilisation 

But before we dive right in, let's have a look at what to look out for in a new camera... 

How to choose a mirrorless camera that's right for you

First, what actually are mirrorless cameras, or compact system cameras (CSC, for short)? They're an alternative to bulky DSLRs, which still allow you to change the lens and enjoy the benefits of a large sensor. 

Compact system cameras come in three main styles: beginners’ basics, DSLR-replacements, and retro revivals.

Basic models don’t have viewfinders but they do come with everything else you need, including interchangeable lenses and full manual-exposure controls so that you can develop your camera skills later. DSLR replacements are like slimmed-down versions of real DSLRs; the only difference is that you get an electronic viewfinder rather than the optical sort. Retro revivals hark back to an earlier era of classic rangefinder-style cameras with rectangular bodies, viewfinders in the corner rather than on top, and smartly finished external controls.

With their market still expanding, mirrorless cameras have come on a lot in the past year. The latest must-haves include 4K-video capture with the ability to extract an 8 megapixel still. Increasingly, we also get flip-up screens to satiate the selfie shooter, and Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to share shots with smartphone or tablet.

What hasn’t changed much is sensor size, however. Offerings are still split between – in ascending order of physical size – one inch, Four Thirds (of an inch), APS-C, and Full Frame sensors. The rule of thumb is that physically larger sensors are capable of taking better the pictures. 

The 9 best mirrorless cameras you can buy today

Here we've listed all of the best compact system cameras you can buy right now!

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.1. Sony A7R II

Full-frame sensor and top software makes the Sony A7R II the best of the best

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 42MP | Viewfinder: 2.36M OLED | Continuous shooting: 5FPS | Video: 4K | Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body

+ Amazing detail

+ Low-light capability impressive

- Battery life

- Expensive

Sony’s full-frame A7-series mirrorless cameras are serious challengers to DSLRs. The top-level 42.4-megapixel A7R II offers razor-sharp resolution, the ability to shoot in 4K, 399-point hybrid AF and 5-axis in-body stabilisation. It might seem pricey, but it’s not for a professional camera with this power.

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© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.2. Olympus PEN-F

Stylish retro shooter which packs the latest tech


Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 20MP | Viewfinder: 2.36M OLED | Continuous shooting: 20FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body

+ Great image quality

+ Stylish compact body

- Video not great

- Expensive

Olympus is unashamedly targeting the style-conscious with the PEN-F, which combines design cues from its classic half-frame film cameras with seriously up-to-date technology. It looks beautiful and packs a brand new 20MP sensor, exquisite external controls, and an excellent EVF.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.3. Fujifilm X-Pro2

Don't let those retro looks fool you, this is a truely modern camera

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24MP | Viewfinder: Hybrid 2.36M TFT | Continuous shooting: 8FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: OIS in-lens

+ Great image quality

+ External controls

- Lens range not extensive

- So-so video

The X-Pro2 is a chunky, classic rangefinder-style camera with a unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. It takes the same X-mount lenses as the X-A2 and X-T10, but throws in a brand-new and super-sharp 24MP X-Trans sensor. It’s unlike any DSLR, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.4. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7

Excellent image quality from a tiny body

Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: N/A | Continuous shooting: 40FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: OIS in-lens

+ It's tiny

+ Fast

- No ISO button

- Short battery

This tiny beginner orientated system camera packs the large Four Thirds sensor and Venus engine as found in the numerically similar GX7 premium model. Panasonic has bowed to the ‘selfie’ craze here, by including a 180-degree tilting monitor, along with two new self-portrait enabling features in Face Shutter and Buddy Shutter. It also has a new Wi-Fi button, and lightning quick autofocus response, in conjunction with supplied 12-32mm lens. The GF7 feels like Panasonic is making even its entry level CSC’s into serious contenders.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.5. Nikon 1 J5

Small sensor, but faster than the speed of light

Sensor size: 1-inch | Resolution: 20MP | Viewfinder: N/A | Continuous shooting: 60FPS | Video: 4K (15fps) | Stabilisation: N/A

+ It's pocketable

+ Very fast

- 4K video limited

- Small sensor

The Nikon 1 has the smallest sensor, but the image quality is still good and it’s the smallest and most pocketable of them all. It comes with high-speed tech that enables 20fps continuous stills shooting, and it also has a tilting touchscreen display.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.6. Fujifilm X-A2

Fujifilm's most affordable CSC

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: N/A | Continuous shooting: 5.6FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: N/A

+ Film simulation

+ Looks great

- No Wi-Fi

- Low MP count

Fujifilms’s cheapest X-mount camera doesn’t come with its top X-Trans sensor or a viewfinder, but the regular 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor is still a good performer, and the X-A2 delivers style and control that belie its budget price tag. It also comes in black and silver, but we love this tan version.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

The best mirrorless camera for videographers

Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: 2.36M OLED | Continuous shooting: 4.2FPS | Video: 4K | Stabilisation: OIS in-lens

+ Professional-grade video

+ All-rounder

- Ugly

- 'Only' 16MP

Panasonic's GH4 is renowned for its professional-grade video quality - making it a top choice for videographers around the world. It'll record in resolutions up to 4K at 30 fps, with the ability to grab 8-megapixel stills from a frame of video, in-camera. Broadening its appeal the GH4 also offers both Wi-Fi and NFC, an OLED viewfinder, great image quality, and weather proofing. This is a very adept all rounder.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.8. Canon EOS M3

A mirrorless camera from the biggest name in photography

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24MP | Viewfinder: N/A | Continuous shooting: 4.2FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: OIS in-lens

+ Ergonomic

+ Good image quality

- Limited lens selection

- Slow

Being the biggest camera manufacturer on the planet you'd expect Canon's CSC offering to be pretty competent. This miniature EOS has a large 24MP APS-C sensor, and excellent flexible touchscreen that tilts upwards by 180° and down by 45°. Keeping with the times there's Wi-Fi and NFC.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.9. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

The perfect mirrorless camera for enthusiasts

Sensor size: Four Thirds | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: 2.36M LCD | Continuous shooting: 10FPS | Video: 1080p | Stabilisation: 5-axis in-body

+ Amazing OIS

+ Excellent build and design

- No 4K

- Low-light can't match DSLR

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II may be the perfect enthusiast camera. The body is fully weather resistant, and the Mark II also introduces a new shutter mechanism, a swivelling touchscreen, and a new 40-megapixel high-resolution shot mode. Carried over is the amazing five-axis in-body stabilisation, and the amazing line-up of Micro Four Thirds lenses. All of that, in the gorgeous body which strikes a perfect balance between retro and modern.

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