Best Mirrorless Camera in 2023 for Beginners to Professionals
Looking for the best mirrorless camera of the year? Need something affordable, but still amazing?! Check out our top 7 APS-C & full frame recommendations.
By Usnea Lebendig
These are the best mirrorless cameras in 2023 based on countless hours of testing by our team of professional photographers and reviewers.
Rather than only recommend mirrorless cameras for professional photographers that may be too expensive for enthusiasts, we also include budget mirrorless cameras for beginners that offer the best bang for your buck.
Mirrorless cameras offer the latest technology in more compact bodies than DSLRs. Whatever model you choose from our recommendations below, you can be guaranteed excellent image quality and the best value for money.
With features like electronic viewfinders, high frame rates, complete AF area coverage and in-body image stabilization, photography is easier and more fun with a mirrorless camera.
Let’s have a look at the best mirrorless full-frame and APS-C crop sensor cameras available right now. For a condensed version, check out our web story.
(For all the full mirrorless camera reviews, click the links below to read our extended breakdowns.)
What is the Best Mirrorless Camera in 2023?
|Canon EOS M50 MK II||Check Amazon Price →Check B&H Price →|
|Sony a7IV||Check Amazon Price →Check B&H Price →|
|Fujifilm X-T4||Check Amazon Price →Check Moment Price →|
|Sony a6400||Check Amazon Price → Check Moment Price →|
|Fujifilm X-T30 II||Check Amazon Price → Check Moment Price →|
|Sony a7C||Check Amazon Price → Check Moment Price →|
|Sony a7R IV||Check Amazon Price → Check Moment Price →|
|Panasonic Lumix GH6||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Canon R6||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Nikon Z6||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
Canon EOS M50 Mark II – For Beginners
- Excellent still image quality
- Intuitive user interface
- Eye and face detection
- External microphone jack
- Vertical video recording
- Fully articulated LCD
- Compact and lightweight
- No Image Stabilization
- 4K video is heavily cropped
- Short battery life
- No USB charging
- Limited native lenses
Sensor: APS-C | Resolution: 24.1 megapixels | Viewfinder: 2.4M dots | Monitor: 3-inch fully articulated touchscreen, 1.04M dots | Autofocus: 143 points | Max frame rate: 10fps without AF, 7.4fps with AF | Video: 4K at 24p | Weight: 387g (.85 lb)
If this is your first foray into the world of mirrorless cameras and/or have never used a camera with interchangeable lenses, the Canon M50 Mark II is a great mirrorless camera to get started with.
Still images come out nicely sharp, with pleasing colors and plenty of contrast. Video footage also comes out sharp with nice color.
Beginners can leave the settings on auto and still get fantastic images. When you’re ready to begin diving into the settings, though, you’ll find the standard Canon menu system both intuitive and easy to navigate. If you’re brand new to photography, you can turn on the camera’s GUIDE mode, which simplifies things even further.
The autofocus on the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is also easy to use. It’ll tenaciously lock onto subjects without much fiddling.
As part of the upgrade from the original M50, the Canon M50 Mark II now has eye-detection – along with AF support while recording video.
The body of the Canon M50 Mark II is relatively small and lightweight compared to many other mirrorless cameras, making it an easier step up from a smartphone than clunkier cameras (especially comparable DSLRs). It definitely beats lugging around a DSLR camera like the Rebel T8i!
If you’re a social media content creator who primarily works in HD, you’ll love the video on this camera., The 1080p footage is beautiful.
There are also a couple of special features made especially for social media posting:
- The Vertical Video feature ensures that your clips play properly on smartphones.
- The movie self-timer allows for more setup time when you’re working alone and recording yourself.
- There’s even the ability to live stream to YouTube (if you have more than 1,000 subscribers and an image.canon account).
If, however, you’re really needing a camera that works well in 4K, you’ll have to move up to something like the Fujifilm X-T30 II.
The 4K/24p video on the Canon EOS M50 Mark II comes out heavily cropped and you can’t use the camera’s dual-pixel autofocus with it (4K video on the M50 II is contrast-detection only). This makes it more challenging to keep fast-moving subjects in focus. It also affects the eye-detection.
Overall, the Canon M50 Mark II is perfect for those looking for an entry-level mirrorless camera at an excellent price. It hits the sweet spot between easy handling, high performance, and affordability.
In fact, the price is so low – under $700 for the camera body + EF-M 15-45mm kit lens – that it more than qualifies as a budget mirrorless camera as well.
Sony a7IV – For Professionals
- Superb image quality
- Excellent low-light performance
- Updated AI-powered autofocus.
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization
- Fully articulating rear screen
- AF tracks subjects at up to 10fps
- New breathing compensation mode
- Eye AF available in video mode
- 4K video at 60p with 10-bit color sampling
- Smart subject recognition
- Live stream capable
- Full-size HDMI port
- Excellent battery life
- Extremely customizable
- Much improved menu system
- Rich lens library
- Only 6fps at highest quality settings
- Rolling shutter
- Heavier than the A7III
- No Pixel Shift multi-shot mode
- LCD resolution screen not as strong as competitors
- Eye detection not yet 100%
Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 33 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3.69M dots | Monitor: 3-inch fully-articulated touchscreen, 1.04M dots | Autofocus: 425 points | Max frame rate: 10fps | Video: 4K at 60p | Weight: 659g (1.45 lb)
If you’re familiar with the mirrorless camera market at all, then you’ve probably heard about the excellence of the Sony A7III. At the time it was released, it was at the top of its class in just about every department. Now in 2022, we finally have the next generation: the Sony a7IV.
Like the a7III, the Sony a7IV is a full-frame digital camera favored by professionals who work with a wide range of subjects and genres. It can do just about anything, and anything it does it tends to do really, really well.
The new 33MP full-frame sensor is a huge jump up from the 24MP sensor in the a7III. Images come out superbly rich in detail, with true color and plenty of room for highlight and shadow recovery. (Sony finally removed the annoying green cast that plagued the a7III.)
Photographers who work in low-light conditions will love the dynamic range: standard ISO runs from 100-51200 with an extended range of ISO 50-204800. In practice, there’s virtually no noise up to 8000 ISO.
Similar to the Sony a7III, the autofocus system on the Sony a7IV is both accurate and reliable. A key difference, though, is that the a7IV can detect and track animals even in video mode. It can even follow subjects it’s unfamiliar with, using a combination of pattern detection, subject brightness, and color to help it stay locked onto the selected subject.
Advanced users will love how truly customizable the Sony a7IV’s autofocus system is – you can set it to do just about anything. That being said, just keeping it on simple settings is more than enough for most applications.
For those who shoot video, the a7IV comes with 10-bit capture, 4K video up to 60p, an XAVC HS compression option, and a new S-Cinetone color profile. There’s also the ability to live stream video over USB.
Other pluses include phenomenal battery life, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, an improved menu system, and a huge lens assortment.
As with any camera, there are a few drawbacks to the a7IV. The first is that its burst shooting is fairly little slow (6fps) when image quality is set to its highest. This comes from the huge file size that shooting in 33 megapixels yields.
Beyond this, the rear screen isn’t as crisp as its competitors. The Sony a7IV is also considerably more expensive than its predecessor (in the $2500 range).
Otherwise, this is a fantastic hybrid full-frame camera for pros that shoot a wide variety of subjects and genres. It’s our choice of the best mirrorless full frame camera in 2023, despite fierce competition.
Its excellent image quality, exceptional low-light performance, powerful autofocus system and strong video capabilities, combined with its overall dependability make this one of the top mid-range mirrorless cameras for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Fujifilm X-T4 – For Enthusiasts
- In-body image stabilization
- Face and eye detection
- Excellent low-light performance
- Weatherproof, ergonomic body
- 15 fps burst shooting
- Incredible video quality
- Better battery life than its predecessor
- 2 SD card slots
- Fix Movie Crop Magnification
- No face or eye detection in video mode
- Autofocus performance not as strong as some of its rivals
- Noise after ISO 6400
- No headphone jack
- Larger and heavier than the X-T3
- Complicated menu system
Sensor: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3.69M dots | Monitor: 3-inch fully-articulated touchscreen, 1.62M dots | Autofocus: 425 points | Max frame rate: 30fps in crop mode, 15fps full resolution | Video: 4K at 60p | Weight: 607g (1.34 lb)
If you’re someone looking for a solidly-built, unique camera packed with top APS-C mirrorless technology, you’ll likely fall in love with the Fujifilm X-T4.
A favorite with photography enthusiasts, the Fujifilm X-T4 features iconic manual dials in a retro design. It looks great, feels fantastic in the hand, and saves you the hassle of continually having to engage the screen functions to change your exposure settings.
The nearly all-metal camera body is solid, weather-sealed, and feels great in the hand. The real metal dials feel ever so much better than the mushy mode buttons that most cameras come with.
Like all Fujifilm cameras, the X-T4 has exquisite color handling, especially when shooting people. JPG images and video footage is absolutely beautiful straight out of the camera. Raw images are also solid.
As far as ISO is concerned , the X-T4 isn’t really much different than the X-T3. However, this isn’t a bad thing: no other crop sensor mirrorless camera in this class comes close to either of these cameras when it comes to low-light performance.
Of course, this will depend quite a bit on which lens you’re using, but in general, you’d be hard-pressed to find a camera that has better performance on an APS-C sensor.
The X-T4’s AF tracking performance is much better than the X-T3’s, especially in terms of subject recognition (though there’s no subject recognition in video mode). Subject tracking is nicely “sticky” and performs well in low-light situations. There’s also eye and face recognition options.
Perhaps the biggest improvement over the X-T3 is that the X-T4 has in-body image stabilization (IBIS). It’s only the second Fujifilm camera to have IBIS and will be a huge plus for handheld shooters and videographers alike.
Action shooters will love the 15 fps mechanical continuous shooting, as well as the large buffer, which can handle nearly 100 JPEG shots at a time.
Another big plus is the much larger battery on the X-T4. It’s rated at a full 600 shots, almost twice as much as any other Fujifilm camera.
Videographers will love the extensive video tools. The X-T4 comes with everything from 10-bit internal Log capture to peaking and corrected preview for Log shooting. There’s also a beautiful selection of LUTs provided, and if you ask any of Fujifilm’s many loyal fans, nothing beats Fujifilm’s color when shooting video.
With its exceptional optics, great lens selection, handy screen display, and of course, the unique Fujifilm retro style, the Fujifilm X-T4 is definitely a top choice for amateurs and enthusiasts alike.
Sony a6400 – Budget Option (Under $1000)
- Fantastic autofocus system
- Excellent image quality
- Compact body
- Flip-up screen for vlogging
- Beautiful oversampled 4K footage
- Wide selection of lenses
- Good battery life
- Great value for the $$
- Single SD card slot (UHS-I only)
- No IBIS
- Limited external controls
- Complex menu system
Sensor: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2 megapixels | Viewfinder: 2,359k dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots | Autofocus: 425 points | Max frame rate: 11fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 403g (.89 lb)
It’s not flashy, nor the latest model in the long line of Sony a6xxx APS-C sensor cameras, but it’s a solid performer, has great image quality, and allows you entry into Sony’s well-stocked lens library. It’s also a great value for the money, coming in at less than $900.
One reason we love our Sonys is because of the fantastic autofocus system. The AF in the Sony a6400 is fast, reliable, and works equally well with both stills and movies. The real-time Eye AF makes it particularly easy to lock on to moving objects and nearly instantaneously adjusts to changes in the distance.
Images from the Sony a6400 come out nicely rich, with excellent color and contrast. There’s also plenty of dynamic range to work with, with a native ISO 100-32000 (102400 expanded).
For video shooters, the Sony a6400 offers excellent UHD 4K video quality from oversampled 6K. Frame rates at this resolution go up to 30fps and use the entire sensor area.
If you want something beyond 30fps, the 1080p resolution goes up to 120p. You can also shoot slow-motion footage directly in SQ mode.
Other video features include HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Sony’s S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma modes. The flip-up screen is also a plus, making selfie composition and vlogging easy. There’s also a full-size HDMI port.
Build-wise, the a6400 is one of the more compact cameras – paired with prime lenses you also end up with a fantastically light, portable setup you can take almost anywhere. The battery life is also excellent, with 360 shots via the optical viewfinder and 410 via the rear LCD screen.
While you can find cheaper mirrorless cameras than the Sony a6400, buying into the Sony ecosystem of E-mount lenses puts you in an excellent position if and when you’re ready to upgrade to a full-frame mirrorless camera.
Overall, the Sony a6400 is an excellent APS-C mirrorless camera at a more than reasonable price. It doesn’t have built-in image stabilization and is so small the ergonomics won’t work for everyone, but it can do just about anything the average shooter needs it to do.
Fujifilm X-T30 II – For Travel
- Superb out-of-camera Jpegs
- Excellent autofocus
- Same sensor as the X-T3
- Compact body
- Great burst rate
- High-quality 4k video
- Strong eye/face detection
- Ergonomics could be better
- No IBIS
- Rear LCD doesn’t articulate
- Short battery life
- Single SD card slot (UHS-I only)
- 4K video only 10 minutes at a time
Sensor: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1 megapixels | Viewfinder: 2.36M dots | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen display, 1.62M dots | Autofocus: 2.16 million phase AF pixels | Max frame rate: 30fps cropped, 8fps full resolution | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 378g (.83 lb)
The next iteration of the hugely popular Fujifilm X-T30, the Fujifilm X-T30 II packs a huge amount of power and performance into a smaller, lighter body, making it the perfect traveller’s camera.
On the outside, the Fujifilm X-T30 II features Fujifilm’s traditional retro style, with manual dials controlling the ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. Under the hood of this diminutive digital camera is Fujifilm’s latest 26.1-megapixel sensor and X-Processor 4, both of which also feature in the X-T4.
While not quite as advanced as the Sony a6400, the X-T30 II’s phase-detect autofocus system is quite snappy and nicely covers the full frame. You can see the face/eye detection in action below, courtesy of Fujifilm.
The 8fps continuous shooting at full resolution isn’t the fastest, but you can bump it up to 30fps if you’re ok with a 1.25x crop.
The 4K video at 30fps comes out quite pleasing, and if you bump down to Full HD, you can shoot at up to 240p for a 6x slow motion effect.
There isn’t IBIS, 10-bit capture, or any Log modes, so serious movie makers looking for a compact mirrorless might need to look into the Sony a6400.
In fact, Fujifilm X-T30 II and the Sony a6400 are quite similar in price, but the X-T30 II is a bit smaller and lighter than the Sony a6400 and has Fujifilm’s retro body design and unique color technology.
In the end though, if the weight difference isn’t a huge issue, which camera you choose will probably come down to which camera ecosystem you’re looking to enter.
Sony a7C – Compact Full-Frame
- Full-frame sensor in compact APS-C-sized body
- Fantastic autofocus
- Articulating LCD
- Excellent image quality
- Real-time tracking
- Mic and headphone sockets
- Best-in-class battery life
- Ergonomics are only so-so
- Electronic viewfinder is on the small side
- 4K maxes out at 30fps
- Uses Sony’s older menu system
- No built-in flash
Sensor: Full-frame BSI-CMOS| Resolution: 24 megapixels |Viewfinder: 2.36M dots | Monitor: 3-inch, fully articulated touchscreen, 921K dots |Autofocus: 693 points |Max frame rate: 10fps |Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 509 g (1.1 lb)
Want the image quality of a full-frame sensor but a camera that won’t weigh you down? Take a look at the Sony a7C – one of the smallest full-frame mirrorless cameras available.
Feature-wise, the Sony a7C packs all the punch of a Sony a7 III, but adds in better autofocus and somehow fits all this high-end performance into a smaller, lighter body. Pair it with the retractable 28-60mm F4-5.6 lens and you get a remarkably small footprint, yet fantastic photos.
The autofocus system is simply fantastic in this little camera, with the real-time tracking recognizing human heads, faces, eyes, and animals, and locking onto them with ease.
Image quality is as good as the a7 III (it’s the same sensor), there’s burst shooting up to 10fps, and the oversampled 4K video goes up to 30p (including 8-bit S-Log and HLG). It even comes with in-body image stabilization (which is critical in a camera this size).
Of course, you’re going to get some ergonomic tradeoffs once you start handling a body this small: there’s no built-in flash and the built-in viewfinder is definitely on the small side. It’s also not as easy in the hand as a larger camera.
On the plus side, you get great battery life (740 shots per charge), a fully articulating LCD screen, and mic and headphone jacks.
All-in-all, this little gem makes for a stellar travel companion: it’s easy to keep with you and, like the Sony a7 IV, it will excel in just about any situation.
Sony a7R IV – For Outdoor Photography
- Stunning image quality
- Best autofocus performance in the industry
- Large, high-res electronic viewfinder
- Great battery life
- Excellent customization options
- Wi-fi + NFC connectivity
- Slightly noisier files than its predecessor
- Exposure settings carry over between video and stills
- 8-bit 4K video files
- Pixel Shift workflow is cumbersome
Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 61 megapixels | Viewfinder: 5,76M dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.44M dots | Autofocus: 567 Phase + 425 Contrast | Max frame rate: 10fps with full AF / AE Tracking | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 665 g (1.47 lb)
The Sony a7r IV is a landscape photographer’s dream. With a whopping 61-megapixel full-frame sensor, the level of detail this camera puts out is second only to a medium format camera. Images are just eye-popping.
There’s even a 16-shot high-resolution mode (as if 61 MP wasn’t high enough) that will let you bring your overall resolution to a full 240 megapixels. The subject needs to be still for this, but honestly, the results are just amazing!
Of course, it’s not just landscape photographers that might drool over this powerhouse of a camera. Photographers who specialize in travel or nature photography will love the insane image quality this camera puts out, as will studio photographers who regularly print their images.
Unsurprisingly, the dynamic range of this camera is over-the-top outstanding. Its Bionz X image processor allows it to capture a full 14.7 stops of light in one frame, almost erasing the need for graduated neutral density filters.
The Sony a7r IV’s nearly uncanny ability to recover detail in the shadows is especially noteworthy – you can literally pull up the shadows by up to five stops with no more noise than if you’d used that ISO in the first place.
Even with this insane amount of resolution, the a7r IV has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps (frames per second) – that’s with continuous autofocus and exposure.
There are some trade-offs that come with this kind of resolution, though. The RAW files are understandably huge – make sure you buy some extra hard drives – and the video specs are a bit lacklustre.
That being said, the autofocus system is class-leading, the battery life is fantastic (670 shots per charge), and the 5.76-million-dot built-in viewfinder is simply an absolute pleasure. It’s definitely one of the best mirrorless cameras for high-res shooting, hands down.
Unfortunately, though, anyone who’s not a pro will probably find the price a bit prohibitive. While the Sony a7r IV is less expensive than most medium format cameras, it’s in no way a budget mirrorless camera. Expect to shell out more than $3000, body only – still, it’s still cheaper than the best Sony mirrorless camera if money is no object – the a1.
Panasonic Lumix GH6 – For Video
- Ergonomics designed specifically for filmmaking
- Unrivalled video toolkit
- Internal ProRes 422 HQ support
- Best-in-class image stabilization
- Subject recognition for people and animals
- Active cooling for long-form recording
- Only has phase detection autofocus
- Battery life could be better
- Excessive noise when lifting shadows in RAW stills
- Cooling fan is noisy
Sensor: Live MOS Micro-Four-Thirds | Resolution: 25.2 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3.68M dots | Monitor: 3-inch free-angle tilting touchscreen, 1.84M dots | Autofocus: 315 Contrast | Max frame rate: 14fps | Video: 5.7K at 30p; 4k at 60p | Weight: 823 g (1.8 lb)
When one thinks of video, one doesn’t usually think of micro four-thirds cameras, but the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH6 bucks the trend. It was designed specifically for use as a video camera, both in the build and in feature set, and it beats out all other video cameras in its class.
While the still image options are just passable (mostly due to the phase detection autofocus and sub-par RAW files), for videographers the GH6 is simply fantastic.
Sure, the micro four-thirds isn’t the largest sensor size, but the Lumix DC-GH6 manages to hold its own in terms of resolution performance, particularly in its All-I codecs, which top out at 10-bit 4K/60p 4:2:2. It also produces footage far beyond any of its competitors when shooting at 4K/120p.
One would expect the GH6 to perform poorly in low light given its micro four-thirds sensor, but the Lumix GH6 actually rivals the a7S III for detail and high ISO noise management (at last up until ISO 12,800).
As mentioned before, the autofocus is only phase detection, but comes with subject recognition (both human and animal) and works on third-party micro four-thirds lenses as well.
But it’s in the video department that this little micro four-thirds camera excels. The list of recording options is over the moon – at least for a mid-range mirrorless camera.
Headliners include Apple ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ recording (currently on at 5.7K resolution in 24p, 25p or 30p, but soon also to include 4K video and FullHD via firmware update). There’s also the ability to record in full V-log.
As far as physical recording is concerned, the Lumix GH6 has two card slots: one for UHS-II SD, and one for the more advanced CFexpress Type B card.
It can record Cinema 4K footage at 60p to both its cards simultaneously, as well as externally via HDMI to a recorder. A firmware update coming soon promises to add recording to a solid state drive as well.
Video shooters will also love:
- the sub-video record button on the front, as well as on the top plate
- the dedicated audio management button in place of the picture profile button
- the anti-rotation pinhole in front of the tripod thread
- the Lumix Luminance Spot Meter, Waveform and VectorScope
Suffice it to say, that even the most passionate and unique filmmaker should find what they need in this little camera.
The Lumix GH6 also comes with an excellent 5-axis in-body image stabilization system rated at 7.5 stops, eliminating the need for a gimbal in many situations.
Honestly, one would be hard-pressed to find a digital camera with a more comprehensive list of high-quality recording options – especially for under $2000.
For video, it outperforms most other mirrorless cameras, including its main micro four-thirds competitor, the Olympus OM-1. Even full-frame cameras like the Canon EOS R6 can’t really match it in the video department.
That being said, the Lumix GH6 is a bit lacklustre in the stills department, so if you need a true hybrid camera you’d best look elsewhere. However, we stand by our decision of it being the best mirrorless camera for video and think you’ll love too.
Canon R6 – For Wedding Photography
- Excellent ISO range and low-light performance
- Max burst speed of 20 fps
- 8-stop IBIS
- Solid build quality
- ISO range of 100-102400; expandable to 204800.
- Lacks tactile controls
- Only 20 MP
Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 20.1 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3,690K dots | Monitor: 3-inch fully-articulated touchscreen, 1.62M dots | Autofocus: 273-points | Max frame rate: 20 fps electronic/12 fps mechanical| Video: 4K at 60p | Weight: 680 g (1.5 lb)
Wedding photographers need a quick, high-capacity camera that can perform across a huge range of photographic challenges, all while cranking out excellent images. The Canon EOS R6 does all of this and more.
For a full-frame camera, the Canon EOS R6 is nicely compact, yet well-balanced. Its solid build can hold up to even the rowdiest wedding.
The image quality of the Canon EOS R6 will please even the pickiest of clients, and the superb ergonomics will make long shooting sessions much easier on the photographer. It feels great in the hand, key controls are well-positioned, and the buttons are all customizable.
The R6’s full-frame sensor is only 20 megapixels, more than enough for the vast majority of wedding photography applications unless you’re needing a huge billboard of an image or tend to highly crop your photos.
In fact, the low-megapixel count is actually an advantage to many wedding photographers, as the small file size of the photos makes it much easier to process and store the literally thousands of images you’re likely to end with. (It’s one reason the Canon EOS R6 is often favored over the Sony a7IV – it’s remarkably easier to quickly sort through 20-MP files than 33-MP files.
Also, the Canon EOS R6’s fantastic ISO range and low-light performance easily compensate for the low megapixel count. There’s also 8-stops in-body image stabilization, to help with landing those tricky, handheld shots.
Need to get some action shots of the couple dancing? No problem! The Canon EOS R6 has burst shooting up to 12 fps with its mechanical shutter and up to 20 fps with its electronic (silent) shutter.
The Dual Pixel AF II autofocus system is a solid performer and comes with machine learning and subject tracking. There’s not much need for fine-tuning – it just works.
On the video side of things, the Canon EOS R6 comes with offers 4K video up 60fps, and 1080p up to 120fps. There’s also 10-bit 4:2:2 with Canon Log or HDR PQ. Internal recording is available in all formats, and all have autofocus. Hybrid users will be pleased to find that switching between video and stills is fairly quick.
There are a couple of caveats, though. Any camera use can eat into its 40-minute limit. In addition, the rolling shutter can sometimes affect the footage.
Still, there’s not much else to complain about with this excellent little full-frame camera. It can do just about everything the Canon EOS-1D X III can do, yet in a compact, mirrorless body.
It also has a very similar dynamic range to the more expensive EOS R5, which we think is overkill for most photographers.
The R6 is simply one of the best mirrorless cameras for wedding photographers, as well as anyone else looking for a high-performing mid-range mirrorless camera in the RF-lens-mount world.
Sure, it may not be the absolute best Canon mirrorless camera with the formidable R5 taking the top spot, but for the money, it can’t be beaten.
Nikon Z6 – Budget Full Frame
Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.5 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3,690K dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,100K dots | Autofocus: 273-points | Max frame rate: 12fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 675 g (1 lb 7.9 oz)
- Amazing value for money
- Great ergonomics
- Excellent high ISO performance
- 5-axis stabilization
- 12fs burst shooting
- Super high-res EVF
- Stunning 4k video
- Limited buffer
- Limited native lens selection
- XQD card format is expensive
- Average battery life
Nikon’s answer to the amazing Sony mirrorless cameras came out a few years ago with the launch of the Nikon Z6 and the 46MP Nikon Z7.
Nikon has since released newer models, but with the significant price increases of the Z6II and Z7II, we’ve chosen the original Z6 as our best budget mirrorless camera of the year.
While the Z7 series is more of a landscape and portraiture camera, the Z6 is – like the Sony a7 III – an impressive, more affordable all-rounder. In fact, it’s probably Sony’s closest competitor – see our comparison: Nikon Z6 vs Sony a7 III.
The Nikon Z6’s full-frame 24.5-megapixel sensor ensures high resolution images without going overboard in file size, while the native ISO range of 100 to 51,200 to (expandable 50 to 204,800) gives it a dynamic range that rivals the class-leading mirrorless cameras.
The Z6’s build quality is top of the line, with the ruggedness we’ve come to expect from Nikon bodies. In fact, it’s still one of the best-built mirrorless full-frame cameras on the market right now, with great ergonomics to match.
Nikon camera owners will find its controls and menus quite familiar, as they mirror Nikon’s DSLR line. There’s even a top plate LCD that DSLR shooters will readily appreciate.
One thing that is quite different, though, is the lens mount. Nikon ditched the old F-mount in lieu of the new Z-mount, which is designed to let in more light to the Z-series sensors.
There still aren’t many native lenses available for either the Z6 or Z7, but luckily most F-mount lenses will work just fine with the new FTZ mount adapter, although at around $250 it’s not cheap.
Another thing that stands out in the build of the Nikon Z6 is the fantastic electronic viewfinder. It’s crisp, clear and boasts an exceptionally high resolution.
The downside of this is that the 60Hz refresh rate is a bit slow, especially when shooting in burst mode. The touchscreen is also quite beautiful, but for some reason lacks touchscreen autofocus while you’re looking through the viewfinder.
Speaking of autofocus, the Z6 keeps up with more of the recent mirrorless cameras in most situations, although loses out in low light. It also does a reasonably good job of tracking subjects, both at 5.5 fps (with live view) and 9 fps (no live view).
As far as movie footage is concerned, no disappointments here. The Z6’s 4k movie footage is simply stunning, with frame speeds up to 30p for 4K UHD, as well as Full HD video in 60p and 120p slow-motion in HD.
As expected, the Nikon Z6 also comes with plenty of capture tools, including 10-bit Log output.
Like the Sony a7 line, the Nikon Z6 comes with effective 5-axis image stabilization, allowing you to handhold it in low light and still achieve steady shots, even at 0/5~1 second shutter speeds!
One thing of note is that Nikon opted to go with a single XQD card slot rather than dual card slots. That’s a bit of a gamble, as at the moment there aren’t a lot of XQD cards available, and not having an immediate card backup may deter uses for professional photography.
Still, if you’re a Nikon lover and especially if you’ve already invested in Nikon glass, the Nikon Z6 is a great mirrorless option, and an absolute bargain right now. It keeps up with the Sony a7 III in many respects and exceeds it in build quality and EVF quality.
The Z6’s autofocus system lags a bit behind the a7 III’s and the battery life isn’t quite up there, but in general, it’s still a solid full-frame mirrorless camera that every Nikon lover should consider, especially at this price point.
Why are the Advantages of a Mirrorless Camera?
- Less weight and bulk – Mirrorless camera bodies and most of the lenses made for them are smaller and lighter than corresponding DSLR cameras. While the difference may not be huge, if you’re someone who travels with a camera, every last ounce can make a difference after a long day of hauling gear around.
- Manual focus is much, much easier – Because you can see exactly what you’re doing, it’s extremely easy to manually set an accurate exposure and make sure you’re image is in focus. There are also tools like focus peaking and focus point magnification available.
- Live Histogram – With a mirrorless camera, you can see the histogram and overall exposure before you take the picture. While some DSLRs can show a histogram in Live Mode, none can show a live histogram in the viewfinder as you’re changing the camera settings.
- Exceptionally High Burst Rate – Most mirrorless cameras can leave DSLRs in the dust when it comes to burst rate.
- Silent Shooting – Mirrorless cameras can switch to “silent mode” and use their electronic shutter only. This means you won’t be interrupting the moment when doing wedding or event photography in a quiet space.
- Better Autofocus – Most mirrorless cameras have a high number of focus points, with the focus points much more spread across the entire frame than what you’ll find on an average DSLR.
- Longer Life Span – The life span of a DSLR is pretty much tied to the life expectancy of its shutter. With mirrorless cameras, because there’s no mirror to flip up and down, the shutter count does not matter as much.
Should I switch from DSLR to mirrorless?
Mirrorless cameras are the wave of the future: almost all of the R&D funding is going in that direction. It’s quite likely that DSLR development won’t keep up nor continue much into the future.
That being said, if you’re happy with your DSLR setup, then there’s no reason to switch to a mirrorless camera – at least any time soon.
Just beware switching over to a mirrorless camera won’t necessarily make you a better photographer. Sure, it’s much easier to shoot in manual mode and get your exposure correct, but the elements of creating a good photo haven’t changed.
You should also read the results of our survey to find out what cameras photographers use to see how many use each main format of camera.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Mirrorless Camera?
- Sensor size – Sensor size makes a huge difference to image quality, especially when shooting in low light, but there are some trade-offs. For example, APS-C cameras tend to be smaller and lighter than full-frame cameras. They’re also less expensive.
- Budget – At the end of the day, which mirrorless camera you choose will ultimately come down to what you can spend on it…and on the lenses that you want to use on it. If you’re on a budget and can’t yet buy the camera you want, choose a cheaper version with the same lens mount. That way all your lenses can migrate over to the new camera.
- Resolution – These days it’s pretty common to find cameras offering 24 megapixels., which is more than enough for most applications. You likely won’t need more if you’re not planning on printing out your images. Also, keep in mind that higher resolutions provide better image quality, but also huge files.
- Lens Options – In many respects, the glass you buy will be more important than the camera – at least if you really want quality photos. If you see yourself content to shoot with a kit lens for a while, then buying into any ecosystem will be fine. If, however, you’re excited to invest in great glass and/or want flexibility in what you can choose, you’ll want to invest in a camera with a lens mount that has a great lens library (like the Sony E-mount).
- Autofocus – The autofocus on mirrorless cameras has really changed the game, especially when it comes to moving subjects. Make sure that the camera you want to buy has face, eye, and subject detection if you’re planning on doing any action or event photography.
- Burst Rate – Burst rate isn’t a big deal if you’re shooting static subjects. If your subject matter contains a lot of moving subjects, however, you’ll want at least a 10fps burst rate.
- Video Features – If you’re planning on using your new camera for video, take a look at the different recording options offered and make sure they’re the ones you’re planning to use now AND grow into. (i.e. maybe you haven’t shot a lot of slo-mo yet but might want to get into it in the future.) This includes physical features like a full-size HDMI port.
Top Mirrorless Cameras FAQ
Which brand has the best mirrorless camera?
In our opinion, Sony consistently makes the best full-frame mirrorless cameras. They have many more years of development under their belt than Canon or Nikon. For APS-C cameras, Fujifilm makes the best mirrorless cameras.
Why are mirrorless cameras better?
Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter, with image quality that’s just as good as same-class DSLRs. Because they don’t have a mirror, they have a much fast frames-per-second rate than other cameras and even have a silent shooting mode. That’s something a DSLR camera just can’t do, yet is often needed in quiet settings.
Do professionals use mirrorless cameras?
Yes, many professionals prefer using mirrorless cameras over DSLRs.
What are the disadvantages of mirrorless cameras?
The biggest disadvantage is that the sensor on a mirrorless camera is fully exposed when you change lenses. (On a DSLR the mirror partially protects the sensor.) Also, many mirrorless cameras have sub-par battery life when compared to DSLRs.
Is DSLR still worth buying?
DSLRs are still worth buying if you already have a lot of EF and F-mount lenses or can get them inexpensively. Also, the prices of DSLRs are going down considerably – you can get some amazing deals now that mirrorless cameras are all the rage. Beyond this, they feel better in the hand (especially if you have large hands).
Is mirrorless the future?
Undoubtedly mirrorless cameras are the face of things to come. It’s where the major camera manufacturers are putting in the bulk of their R&D and also where consumers are putting their dollars, which in turn influences further development.
Choosing a mirrorless camera in 2023 isn’t an easy task, but hopefully, our guide has helped you make the right decision based on your needs.
Mirrorless cameras are fun and exciting to use, so they encourage you to get out and take more photos.
Feel free to leave a comment below with your questions and recommendations, and I wish you happy shooting!
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