A Quick Guide to the Mirrorless Camera 2017

The Best Mirrorless Cameras in the Market – and Why They’re Better than DSLRs

Move over DSLR – there’s a new kind of camera in town. The mirrorless camera is the latest contender to digital cameras, and it might just win the race.

Mirrorless cameras have been stealing the show ever since they were first introduced in 2008. It may have not taken center stage just yet, but this ‘compact system camera’ (a.k.a. CSC) sure is getting there. Nowadays, they are considered the best alternatives to digital SLRs. A quick comparison of mirrorless cameras versus DSLRs would reveal why they’re being sought after by more and more photographers.

Mirrorless VS DSLR Cameras – What’s the difference?

Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs are essentially the same. Both are interchangeable lens cameras. Even then, there is a huge difference between the two. Digital SLR cameras are equipped with a reflex mirror, whereas mirrorless cameras (as their name implies) do not have any.

But there’s definitely more to this photographic rivalry than the presence or absence of a reflex mirror. Here are 10 important differences of mirrorless vs. DSLR cameras.

  1. Build and Design – Mirrorless cameras are more handy than DSLRs. They have smaller and lighter bodies, making them easier to operate and travel with. Digital SLRs tend to be hefty due to their chunky design. Heavy lenses are no longer a problem with mirrorless types, now that there are smaller and lighter lenses designed for CSCs.
  2. Lens Kits – Apart from smaller and lighter lens kits, mirrorless cameras have a decent range of lenses to choose from. DSLR cameras still have the widest range of lenses to suit every photography need, though it’s only a matter of time until CSC cameras catch up.
  3. Viewfinder – Every DSLR camera has a pre-installed optical viewfinder (OVF). Meanwhile, a mirrorless compact system camera may have an electronic viewfinder (EVF) or no viewfinder at all. OVF provides clearer and brighter representations of scenes without any noticeable delay. EVF has the advantage of giving you exactly what the camera sensor picks up from a scene, albeit with some visible lagging. Mirrorless cameras with electronic viewfinders are better than DSLR cameras with optical viewfinders. This is because EVFs display more information than OVFs. Even if you bought a mirrorless CSC without a viewfinder, you can use the rear LCD for composing photos. In which case, you’ll have to find a shade – LCD screens don’t work well under bright light.
  4. Autofocus System – DSLRs are the best performers when it comes to following moving objects. Sadly, they can’t compete with CSCs when shooting in live view mode. Besides, the best mirrorless cameras are now equipped with hybridized AF systems which enable them to match DSLRs in capturing fast subjects.
  5. Continuous Shooting – Speed is the most important quality for continuous shooting. The mirrorless camera is a clear winner in this category. Even the best DSLR cameras are no match for its prowess. This makes CSCs exceptionally great for action shots.
  6. Video Capture – Camera makers have stepped up a notch and released mirrorless CSCs with 4K video capture, which up to now still isn’t available in DSLR cameras. Together with better live view autofocus, this places mirrorless cameras ahead of the game.
  7. Image Quality – The top mirrorless cameras use the same APS-C and full frame sensors as the best DSLR cameras. The only difference is that you get to choose from smaller formats with mirrorless types, which give you lesser quality images at a cheaper price.
  8. Battery Life – Digital SLRs may be at an advantage here, able to capture an average of 600 to 800 shots on a full battery. The pricier models can shoot over 1,000 photos after charging. The battery life of mirrorless cameras pales in comparison, probably due to their smaller size and lack of space for larger batteries. Most CSC cameras deliver an average of 300 to 400 shots. Because of this setback, you may want to purchase extra batteries.
  9. Overall Features – There’s basically nothing that a DSLR camera can do which a mirrorless can’t. From entry-level to high-end models, both cameras are toe-to-toe in terms of features.
  10. Price – Mirrorless cameras are sold at a wider price range. This gives you more choices and a better chance of staying within budget. It is worth noting that the cheapest mirrorless models don’t have a viewfinder, and tend to have less impressive features compared to low-end DSLR cameras with a slightly higher price.

Why Mirrorless Cameras Are Better Than DSLRs

One word: potential. Mirrorless cameras are more advanced and better equipped for the future of photography. Just as digital cameras once replaced film-type SLRs, mirrorless cameras will soon replace DSLRs. And what better way to do that than with our top picks?

The Best Mirrorless Cameras You Can Get Right Now

A photographer can only be as good as his gear. With that said, everyone has different standards of what makes the best camera. Some are after the cheapest deals while others won’t mind spending for top performers. There are also those who prefer function over ease of use, and vice versa.

Whatever your photography needs may be, we’ve got it all covered. Here are the top mirrorless cameras on the market, and why they’re perfect for you.

Fuji X-M1

Fuji X-T10

Panasonic GH4

Sony A6000

Panasonic G7

Sony A7 II

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

Fuji X-T1

Images:

Cheapest Mirrorless Camera
Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
Best Mirrorless Camera for Professionals GH4
Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Professionals
Best Mirrorless Camera for Photography
Best Mirrorless Camera for Travelers
Best Mirrorless Camera for Outdoor Use

Sensor:

APS-C, X-Trans CMOS

APS-C, X-Trans CMOS II

Micro Four Thirds, Digital Live MOS

APS-C, Exmor HD CMOS

Micro Four Thirds, Live MOS

Full Frame, Exmor CMOS

Micro Four Thirds, Live MOS

APS-C, X-Trans CMOS II

Resolution

16.3MP

16.3MP

16.1MP

24.3MP

16MP

24.3MP

16.1MP

16.3MP

Viewfinder:

No

EVF

EVF

EVF

EVF

EVF

EVF

EVF

Monitor:

3-inch tilting display (921k dot HD)

3 inch (920K dot)

3-inch tilting screen (1,036k dot OLED)

3 inch tilting screen (921k dot)

3-inch articulating screen (1,040k dot)

3 inch (1.2 million dot)

3-inch tilting display (1.04M dot)

3 inch (1.04M dot)

Shooting Rate:

5.6fps

8

12fps

11fps

8fps

5fps

8.5fps

8fps

Video Resolution:

1080p

1080p

4K

1080p

4K

1080p

1080p

1080p

Cheapest Mirrorless Camera

1

Fuji X-M1

Cheapest Mirrorless Camera

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: APS-C, X-Trans CMOS
  • Resolution: 16.3MP
  • ​Viewfinder: No
  • Monitor: 3-Inch Tilting Display (921k dot HD)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 5.6 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

The X-M1 is an entry-level CSC and Fuji’s cheapest X-mount camera. It has the same 16-megapixel X-Trans sensor as the more expensive X-T1 and X-T10, minus the viewfinder and with limited digital filters. What it lacks in features, it makes up for with a cheaper price tag and a sleek retro design that’s guaranteed to win the hearts of vintage camera lovers.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

2

Fuji X-T10

Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: APS-C, X-Trans CMOS II
  • Resolution: 16.3MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch (920k dot HD)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 8 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

Fuji gave up a few features here and there to make it an affordable version of X-T1. But don’t let its cheaper price deceive you. Even though it costs $250 less, Fuji X-T10 matches the X-T1 and surpasses it at times, giving more value for your money. For starters, it uses the same APS-C sensor as X-T1. It also comes with Fuji’s latest autofocus technology straight out of the box. You would need a firmware upgrade to enjoy this new feature on X-T1, which is unforgiveable considering its premium price.

Fuji’s X-T10 is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginner photographers. Not only was it designed for easy handling and a balanced grip, the camera also has simpler controls compared to the X-T1. When switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera, you shouldn’t have trouble adjusting with the X-T10 since it has a DSLR-type body.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Professionals

3

Panasonic GH4

Best Mirrorless Camera for Professionals GH4

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, Digital Live MOS
  • Resolution: 16.1MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch Tilting Screen (1,036k dot OLED)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 12 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 4k

Panasonic designed this camera with professionals in mind. The GH4 is one of the first mirrorless cameras with 4K video capacity, making it an instant hit among professional film-makers and videographers. Photographers won’t be left wanting though. Panasonic GH4 takes decent photos with a high-resolution camera at blazing speeds of up to 12 fps. 8MP shots could also be extracted from videos at 30fps. Panasonic GH4 comes in a full metal body, although this only gives it a sturdier build than most of its competitors, albeit heavier. Naturally, these features give it an equally heavy price.

Fuji’s X-T10 is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginner photographers. Not only was it designed for easy handling and a balanced grip, the camera also has simpler controls compared to the X-T1. When switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera, you shouldn’t have trouble adjusting with the X-T10 since it has a DSLR-type body.

Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

4

Sony A6000

Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: APS-C, Exmor HD CMOS
  • Resolution: 24.3 MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch Tilting Screen (921k DOT)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 11 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

The A6000 is another entry-level option. It has a compact box-type frame that allows for easy handling. Unlike the Fuji X-M1 which falls short on features, Sony’s offering won’t disappoint. It’s really a high-end mirrorless camera that disguises itself with an affordable price. Among its impressive features is a high-speed hybrid AF system, which Sony claims to be the fastest in the world. Unfortunately, setting it up can be a pain and there is no touchscreen.

Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Professionals

5

Panasonic G7

Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Professionals

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, Live MOS
  • Resolution: 16MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch Articulating Screen (1040k DOT)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 8 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 4k

Professionals on a budget should consider getting the Panasonic G7 instead. It’s a cheaper alternative to the GH4, giving up a few features along the way. The G7 loses the metal chassis in favor of a contemporary plastic design. This makes it lighter and easier to operate, but leaves it more vulnerable to damage. Instead of a 12fps continuous shooting rate, its speed is reduced to 8fps. What it doesn’t lose is the 4K video capture and the ability to grab 8MP stills at 30fps.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Photography

6

Sony A7 II

Best Mirrorless Camera for Photography

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: Fullframe, Exmor CMOS
  • Resolution: 24.3MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch (1.2Million DOT)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 5 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

The A7 II is an upgrade to its predecessor, the Sony A7. It still has the same 24MP full-frame sensor, except it now has built-in stabilization for capturing better quality photos and videos. Compared to APS-C competitors like Samsung NX1 and Fuji X-T1, it provides extra pictorial depth and a more shallow depth of field – a feat that’s almost impossible to achieve with a smaller format. The growing number of professional lenses for Sony A7 II only proves its place among full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Tip: Looking for something better? Consider grabbing the A7R II instead. It sports a high-resolution 42.5MP camera and a full-frame sensor. It is arguable the best mirrorless camera you can get right now.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Travelers

7

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

Best Mirrorless Camera for Travelers

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, Live MOS
  • Resolution: 16.1MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch Tilting Display (1.04Million DOT)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 8.5 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

You might mistake it for a toy camera at first look. The E-M10 II does have a tiny body. However, this camera is not to be taken lightly despite its light weight and travel-friendly design. It’s one of the more advanced models in Olympus’ OM-D cameras.

The compact camera packs a 5-axis image stabilization system – a significant upgrade to the original E-M10. Compared to its predecessor, E-M10 II has twice the viewfinder resolution, a larger and higher resolution EVF, and a slightly improved continuous shooting speed. Some would cringe at the thought of a Micro Four Thirds, as it only covers half the area of an APS-C sensor. But any experienced photographer knows this has a minor effect on image quality. Besides, a small sensor format means you get to choose from small lenses. This explains why we’ve chosen the Olympus E-M10 II as the best mirrorless camera for travelers.

Tip: You can get better quality photos with the Olympus OM-D E-M5. It has a 40MP high resolution mode for taking detailed stills, a low-light exposure mode for taking photos in dim environments, and other exciting features.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Outdoor Use

8

Fuji X-T1

Best Mirrorless Camera for Outdoor Use

Specs Overview

  • Sensor: APS-C, X-Trans CMOS II
  • Resolution: 16.3MP
  • ​Viewfinder: EVF
  • Monitor: 3-Inch (1.04Million DOT)
  • Max Continous Shooting Rate: 8 FPS
  • Max Video Resolution: 1080p

Its rugged build isn’t just for show. Fuji X-T1 was built for extreme outdoor use. It has a freeze-proof die-cast magnesium frame complete with water and dust resistance. The camera lens is weatherproofed for added protection and uninterrupted photography during bad weather. In addition to tougher and more rugged build, this mirrorless camera has a wider range of features and a larger viewfinder compared to Fuji X-T10. For many, these are enough reasons to overlook the price difference between the two models.

People who are used to mirrorless cameras would find it easy to use. It is equipped with external manual controls typical of an older model. If you love the vintage look of Fuji X-M1 or hate the DSLR-type body of Fuji X-T10, then you’d probably like this compact’s retro design.

Ada Sandoval

What is there to say other than 'I'm not your average girl...err woman' • Fan of BtVS, Watchmen (comics), Joss Whedon, Alan Moore, TWD (comics/TV), and zombies.

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