Update, 8/19/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident that these are still the best mirrorless cameras you can buy.
What to look for in mirrorless cameras in 2022
When mirrorless cameras were first introduced, they had their drawbacks. However, newer models have fixed the bugs.
Innovations in mirrorless cameras in recent years have become their main attraction. These cameras now have advanced autofocus systems with features such as eye autofocus to help capture sharp portraits and fast action photos.
Mirrorless cameras can also shoot at higher burst rates than conventional DSLRs because they don’t have a mirror that flips out with each shot.
Battery life for mirrorless cameras has also improved. Early generations lasted about 300-400 shots per battery, while DSLRs routinely got closer to 1,000 stills per charge.
But today’s mirrorless cameras have caught up well — while cheaper mirrorless cameras still only last about 400 shots, modern high-end mirrorless cameras and professional mirrorless cameras get around 700-1000 shots per charge.
Mirrorless cameras also pack higher-resolution sensors into a smaller, more compact package than traditional DSLRs (though with the addition of a lens, that difference can diminish). As with DSLRs, you can now find relatively affordable full-frame, crop sensor and medium format options.
Whether you’re buying your first SLR or you’re a pro looking to upgrade your DSLR, chances are you’ll find a mirrorless camera that’s right for you.
Best overall mirrorless camera: Sony A1
- ✓ High resolution sensor
- ✓ Super fast burst speed
- ✓ Professional-grade video capability with 4K and 8K capabilities
- ✓ Lots of auto eye focus options
- ✗ One of the most expensive cameras on the market today
The enormous power of 50 megapixels combined with a speed of up to 30 frames per second makes the Sony A1 a real powerhouse. Hands-on reviews show that you can shoot at this frame rate for about five seconds and get about 150 shots before the buffer kicks in and you have to wait for the camera to write the images to the memory card. Even if the cache is activated, it clears in about a second.
You get two memory card slots with this camera, which is good for people who like to back up their pictures. The camera accepts CFexpress cards or SD cards, but CFexpress cards allow you to write images faster.
In addition to human eye autofocus, the A1 has animal and bird eye autofocus modes. It also shoots 8K video and can shoot 4K video in slow motion. Live-tracking AF is very fast and accurate, with AF points covering 92% of the frame you see.
Dynamic range is also impressive, as you get all your data from the 50-megapixel sensor, so restoring shadows and highlights from RAW files is a breeze.
From sports and wildlife to the racetrack, this camera can handle anything you throw at it and do it well. The catch is that you have to pay a hefty price for all that power—the A1 currently retails for around $6,500 for the camera body alone. Add lenses and the price is over $8k.
With that in mind, if you’re looking for top-notch pro-level performance but can’t spend that kind of money, the Canon R5 and Nikon Z7ii are both excellent alternatives that cost less.
Overall the best mirrorless camera
A highly capable professional mirrorless camera that can handle anything you throw at it.
Best budget mirrorless camera: Canon EOS RP
- ✓ Very affordable
- ✓ Good photos and video in this price range
- ✓ Screen with variable angle
- ✓ A low-cost entry into mirrorless
- ✗ It’s not as feature-packed as more premium cameras
- ✗ No in-body image stabilization
If you’re looking for your first camera or want to try out a mirrorless before moving on to another, the Canon EOS RP is a good choice. At around $1,300 brand new for the camera body and kit lens, this is the cheapest mirrorless camera you’ll find on the market today. Even better, it doesn’t sacrifice much quality to reach this price point.
The RP shoots an absolutely respectable 26.2 megapixels, comparable to more expensive mirrorless cameras. It also shoots 4K video with a variable screen angle for self-portraits or vlog-style video recording.
The EOS RP’s display works like a touchscreen, so you can touch and drag the focus point in live view. In addition, this camera is compatible with Canon’s RF mirrorless range, offering truly outstanding options.
To demonstrate the quality of the RP’s video, check out Peter McKinnon’s side-by-side comparison with the slightly taller EOS R. Looking at the clips, it’s almost impossible to tell which is which.
That said, there are some sacrifices Canon has made to reach this price point. You won’t find the high-end LCD screen that Canon includes with the others in the R series on this camera. It also doesn’t have internal image stabilization (although there are lenses you can use with it that do).
Overall, with its video and still photography capabilities, this camera is great for anyone looking to get into mirrorless on a budget or learning hybrid photography and videography.
The best cheap mirrorless camera
Canon EOS RP
An affordable yet high quality full frame mirrorless camera that takes great photos and videos.
Best mirrorless camera for beginners: Nikon Z6
- ✓ A lot of Z6ii capability for less money
- ✓ It records 4K video without cropping the image
- ✓ Image stabilization in the body
- ✓ A good range of lenses to choose from, if limited for now
- ✗ Slightly outdated compared to other mirrorless cameras
- ✗ There may be problems with the microphone when recording video
Nikon’s Z series has shown it can compete in the mirrorless world, and the Z6 is a relatively affordable way to try. They’ve since released the Z6II, which means you can get a discount on the first generation while still having access to quality Nikon mirrorless cameras.
So if you’re looking for a hybrid photo/video shooter that’s premium but won’t break the bank, you’ll want to check out the Z6. A recent firmware update released by Nikon fixed many of the issues this camera had at launch, making it perform more like its newer, lower-priced sibling.
The Nikon system is easy to learn, and if you have Nikon DSLR lenses, the FTZ adapter allows you to use them with this body. You also get the same durable body as we know Nikon digital SLR cameras here. The 24.5-megapixel sensor is great for portraits and action, and its 12fps burst rate can capture decent action shots too.
It also features internal image stabilization that helps reduce shake and provides better low-light shooting performance. 4K video and 1080p slow motion recording make it a solid choice for filmmakers as well.
However, the Z6 has some drawbacks. It won’t have as many features as the Z6II or Z7II, and while it works very well for video recording, the external microphones can get a little hissing when recording audio. Autofocus is also not as good as on more premium cameras, but it’s certainly good enough for a beginner’s mirrorless camera.
You can check out YouTuber and photographer Taylor Jackson’s review of the latest firmware for a more detailed look at this camera’s capabilities.
The best mirrorless camera for beginners
An easy-to-use and capable full-frame mirrorless camera for beginners and professionals alike.
Best mirrorless camera for video: Sony A7SIII
- ✓ Great low light performance
- ✓ It shoots in professional video codecs
- ✓ Lightweight design
- ✓ Good ergonomics
- ✗ Higher price tag
- ✗ It’s not the best hybrid shooter
- ✗ Not for people new to video
Sony has built a reputation for great video, and the A7SIII lives up to it. Built specifically for video, this camera has a 12-megapixel sensor that performs particularly well in low-light conditions that other cameras can find a problem.
The A7SIII also packs plenty of performance and video features into a body as light as other mirrorless cameras. It can shoot 4K ultra HD footage and borrows improved ergonomics from its A7RIV and A9 siblings.
Built-in image stabilization helps reduce camera shake for smooth shots, and you can pair this camera with an impressive range of brand-name and third-party lenses to meet a variety of movie shooting needs.
Another plus for the A7SIII is that it doesn’t force you to use CFexpress cards. You can, but the Sony camera also takes SD cards and has two slots for backing up your footage. Its rear display is fully movable so you can flip it out for your own shooting, and there are plenty of attachments to further expand the camera’s capabilities by connecting external monitors and other equipment.
A note for this camera – it is very much designed for video recording. If you’re looking for a true hybrid photo/video camera, you’ll be able to get something better for less than the $3,500 A7Siii, like the A7III or the just-released Sony A7IV.
Best mirrorless camera for travel: Fujifilm X-T4
- ✓ Photos that stand up to full-frame cameras
- ✓ 4K video
- ✓ Articulated screen
- ✓ Compact, retro design
- ✓ Longer battery life than previous XT models
- ✗ Image quality is not as good as full frame
The Fuji X-T4 improves on the already excellent quality of its predecessors and does so in a small package that is ideal for travel. With built-in image stabilization and a shooting speed of up to 20 frames per second, you don’t trade power for portability either.
This camera is an APS-C camera, which means its image sensor is smaller than the sensor of an equivalent 35mm full-frame camera. Even so, it still holds its own against full-frame mirrorless cameras in the same price range.
The XT-4 shoots 26 megapixels and can record 4K video. Like Canon and Nikon, Fuji cameras have fantastic lenses that you can pair with this camera for stellar shots on the go. Its compact design makes the XT-4 popular with many street photographers, and its retro design aesthetic makes it fun to use.
You also get 12 film simulations that you can use in-camera to give an interesting retro look to shots of cobbled streets and cafes. The fully movable rear screen is great for vlogging or selfies. It’s not the most powerful camera on the market, but if you’re looking for a quality camera that’s easy to hold and shoot while you’re on the go, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better.
For a detailed review after a year of using this camera, check out this video from The Hybrid Shooter’s YouTube channel.
The best mirrorless camera for travel
A compact mirrorless camera that doesn’t sacrifice performance for the size of the cut.