Photography / Buying Guide

Mirrorless Cameras: A Buying Guide

         

Mirrorless cameras have been on the market for a decade, but they have really begun to make waves in the past few years. Most serious photographers would have certainly been shooting with a DSLR camera just a few years ago, but now many have traded in their DSLRs for the smaller and lighter form factors that mirrorless cameras provide. Not only are mirrorless cameras usually lighter and smaller than their DSLR counterparts, but they’re quieter, as well. With no mirror to slap up and down, street photographers, as well as wedding and theater photographers can now shoot virtually unnoticed.

Choosing a mirrorless camera can be a daunting task with lots of options, from sensor size, to video capabilities, to lens systems, and more. We will cover them all, and give you the information you need. Buying your new camera should be an exciting experience, so let this guide help you make an informed decision.

Lens Systems      

What differentiates mirrorless cameras from other compact cameras is the fact that they have interchangeable lenses. This makes a world of difference, and if you’ve never had an interchangeable-lens camera, you will be quite surprised by how it will change your photography.

Compact point-and-shoot cameras have a built-in lens that typically gives you an optical zoom with a variable aperture and small sensor. What this means is that while you might have the ability to shoot both wide and telephoto zoom lengths, you don’t have as much control over selective focus or shallow-depth-of-field techniques. Selective focus, often accentuated by pronounced bokeh, is one of the first things that people notice about photos taken with larger sensor, interchangeable-lens cameras, because now you have the option to shoot with a long zoom lens with an f/2.8 aperture, or a prime portrait lens with an f/1.4 aperture.

 

Sample shots were taken with a GH4 and SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 25mm T0.95 lens.

A good thing about mirrorless cameras is that because there is no mirror inside the camera in front of the sensor, their design allows for a very short focal flange distance, or the distance between the lens mount and the plane of the sensor. Because of this short distance, lenses that have a large focal flange length can be used on mirrorless cameras when you have a compatible adapter.  This means that, in addition to a wide selection of mirrorless-dedicated lenses, most SLR lenses can also fit onto your mirrorless camera as well.  This is important to know if you have a bunch of old lenses lying around or are making the switch from a DSLR to mirrorless; chances are there are adapters to fit your lenses to your new camera. Of course, you should always check compatibility before making any purchases.

While using older “legacy” lenses on a mirrorless camera is a great benefit, every pro has a con and, in most cases, the downside in this situation is that the adapters usually do not allow for autofocus capabilities, and sometimes do not transfer any electronic signals at all, so aperture must also be set manually. This can be a drawback for some photographers, but for videographers who normally change aperture and focus manually, this isn’t a drawback at all. 

Maybe you don’t have any lenses from other cameras, or you want to sell them all and forget about adapters. In that case, there is certainly no shortage of great lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. Due to increasing attention to mirrorless systems, manufacturers have invested a great deal into providing a wide variety of lenses, from fast prime lenses to wide-to-tele zoom lenses. Whatever you are looking for in a lens, chances are you can find it in a mirrorless line.

Sensor Size

Different mirrorless cameras come with various-sized sensors, and this is where things can get a little confusing. To make things simple, think of a full-frame DSLR camera as having the largest sized sensor, and a point-and-shoot as the smallest sized sensor. Most mirrorless cameras fall somewhere in the middle, packing an APS-C sensor, which is common in consumer DSLR cameras, or a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which falls between an APS-C sensor and a point-and-shoot. While they are the minority, there are now a few cameras that do have a full-frame sensor, and there will probably be more to come in the future.

Micro Four Thirds cameras feature a 17.3 x 13mm sensor, and are most commonly made by Panasonic and Olympus. Both manufacturers use the same mount, as part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, so lenses are interchangeable between brands. Olympus usually utilizes in-camera stabilization, while Panasonic tends to have their stabilization in the lenses. However, Panasonic has recently begun to utilize in-body image stabilization in some models, as well.

A little bit smaller than the Micro Four Thirds sensors are the Nikon 1 (CX format) and Pentax Q series cameras, which use sensors closer to the size of point-and-shoot cameras—1" for the Nikon 1, 1/1.7" or 1/2.3" for Pentax Q—allowing these lines to be much more compact than other mirrorless cameras.  

A significant reason that some people like mirrorless cameras is that they are smaller and lighter than DSLRs, and a lot of that has to do with the smaller sensor size. While a smaller and lighter camera is great for some, it, too, has a drawback. Generally speaking, larger sensors perform better in lower light, and produce less image noise in photos taken with higher ISO sensitivities. If low-light photography is important to you, you might want to consider one of the full-frame mirrorless cameras, or at least one with an APS-C sized sensor. If you are more concerned with a smaller camera size, and don’t require the best in low-light performance, a Micro Four Thirds camera might be a good fit for you. This is not to say that cameras with smaller sensors are not suitable for low-light shooting, rather, it is one of the main benefits of a larger sensor size.

Sample shots were taken with a GH4 and SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 25mm T0.95 lens.

Viewfinders

Viewfinders are another thing to take into consideration, particularly if you’re switching from a DSLR or other type of camera that has an optical TTL (through-the-lens) viewfinder. A TTL viewfinder means that what you are seeing is exactly (or very close to) what the lens is seeing. Since, by design, there is no mirror to direct the view of the lens to the viewfinder, many mirrorless cameras utilize an electronic viewfinder, or EVF.

There are, of course, benefits and disadvantages to the EVF, just as there are for an optical viewfinder. One thing that can be distracting is that touch of lag time between the moment that something is actually moving and the time that you see it in the EVF. As technology improves, this lag time is becoming shorter and shorter and, in some cameras, is already imperceptible.

Another disadvantage is that an EVF eats away at your battery power, just as using your LCD screen would. This is minimal, and usually not a huge concern, but just another thing to take into consideration.

As for advantages, there are quite a few, the first of which is focus peaking, which has become a desirable asset when comparing cameras for video or manual-focus uses. Focus peaking is a real-time focusing aid that highlights edges of contrast within the frame with a colored line, which helps to avail a more objective system of determining critical sharpness when focusing manually.

Focus Peaking

The other main advantage an EVF has is its ability to give an accurate depiction of any exposure, color balance, or other camera-setting adjustments prior to shooting. Whereas an OVF simply displays the subject as it is, an EVF gives you a closer representation of the final image.

Autofocus

DSLR cameras use what is called phase detection to focus on a subject, while mirrorless cameras use contrast detection. Phase detection takes advantage of the mirror in a DSLR camera to divide the incoming light into pairs of images, compares them, and then quickly focuses the lens on the subject.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, use contrast detection to measure the contrast between pixels on the sensor until it detects enough contrast to find that the image is in focus. The downside of this focusing method is that it is slower, and more difficult to use in low light. It is also less effective when trying to focus on moving objects.

The good news for mirrorless shooters is that many newer cameras are now using a hybrid focusing method that combines phase- and contrast-detection methods. This is another consideration to weigh before choosing your camera. If fast autofocus, especially in low light, is important to you, you should consider a camera with a hybrid autofocus system.

Video

Video recording is one area where mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras are pretty much neck and neck, when it comes to quality. Of course, mirrorless cameras are going to offer video shooters more flexibility with lenses than DSLR cameras, but both systems offer cameras that can shoot full HD, and some cameras can also now shoot 4K.

Get the most out of 4K video recording by connecting your mirrorless camera to a 4K recorder/monitor.

"If you’re making the move up from point-and-shoot cameras to a mirrorless, then the video quality is going to be leaps and bounds better than what you’re used to."

What mirrorless cameras improve upon, compared to many DSLRs, is the way they shoot, not necessarily what they can shoot. Because mirrorless cameras focus with continuous contrast-detection, you can more easily focus, and maintain focus, on moving subjects in your frame. DSLRs also utilize contrast-detection focusing when recording movies, or when working in live view, but since it is the inherent technology within a mirrorless camera, it is often more refined and responsive.

If you’re making the move up from point-and-shoot cameras to a mirrorless, then the video quality is going to be leaps and bounds better than what you’re used to. For one thing, you will be able to control the depth of field via the aperture, and also manually focus your shot. This gives you greater creative control, not to mention much higher-quality files.

The smaller size of mirrorless cameras means that the camera’s light weight allows for longer shooting with less fatigue than shooting video handheld with a DSLR camera.

If you are a serious videographer and want professional video capabilities, you might consider a mirrorless camera that records video in a high-quality format, such as AVCHD or XAVC S, and one with which you can use external microphones, headphones, video monitors, and recorders.

Wireless Functionality

The wireless capabilities that have been included in many of the mirrorless cameras on the market are truly incredible. Most cameras with Wi-Fi also have a partner app for either iOS or Android that allow you to control the camera from a smartphone or tablet.

NFC allows cameras to “bump” each other, or another smart device, to share photos.

These apps range from basic live view and shutter control, to full control over shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and other settings that you would normally need to adjust on the camera.

Some cameras enable you to transfer images directly to a smart device from your camera, or even right to your favorite social media sites. Another great Wi-Fi function is Near Field Communication, or NFC, which allows cameras to tap-to-connect with one another or a smart device, to share photos. This is especially helpful when you’re with friends and you want to share photos without having to remember to email them later.

Choosing Your Mirrorless Camera

By now you should be able to make an informed decision about buying your next camera. Keep in mind the main points we discussed. If image size and quality, especially in low light, is important to you, choose a camera with either an APS-C or full-frame sensor. However, if you’re looking for a compact camera that offers more control and options than a point-and-shoot, choose one of the cameras with a smaller sensor.

Most mirrorless cameras will fall into one of three categories: consumer, prosumer, and professional. This doesn’t mean that a professional camera will guarantee professional-looking photos, rather, that it is built with the capabilities that professionals need and want.

Consumer

Entry-level consumer mirrorless cameras are a great starting point for someone looking to make a move from point-and-shoot cameras to something with a little more flexibility and control. Often, entry-level mirrorless cameras are a replacement for consumers who are using an entry-level DSLR and like the interchangeable-lens feature, but want something that is lighter and smaller. These cameras usually offer an LCD to compose your photos instead of an electronic viewfinder. Consumer-level mirrorless cameras typically have a smaller sensor, allowing for a smaller and lighter body size, while sacrificing a little bit of image quality.

Prosumer

In between consumer and pro cameras are “prosumer” cameras. In the world of mirrorless cameras, prosumer-level cameras will probably be most comfortable for photographers making the move from a DSLR to a mirrorless model. Prosumer cameras have a slightly smaller body size than professional-level cameras, while offering more control and better image quality than consumer cameras.

Another thing that makes prosumer mirrorless cameras appealing is that many of them have an electronic viewfinder, as well as the LCD screen on the back of the camera. This makes the transition to mirrorless much easier if you are accustomed to looking through an optical viewfinder. With both an EVF and an LCD screen, problems with viewing your composition in bright light are minimized.

Professional-Level Cameras

If the highest-quality video and imagery is what you seek from a mirrorless camera, a professional-level camera will deliver what you need. These cameras straddle all formats, including Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, and full-frame and also tend to feature larger, more durable bodies that are often weather sealed. Additionally, they are characterized by faster processors, which aid autofocus performance and buffering when shooting large files or burst sequences. These cameras are also ideal for shooting professional videos, thanks to their support for external monitors, headphones, and microphones, as well as external video recorders.

These are the cameras that you will want to consider if you are an advanced hobbyist or professional who is used to the feel and performance of a professional DSLR camera. They offer the most creative control through their inclusion of fully manual adjustment capabilities and support for interface customization. Additionally, professional-grade cameras are usually the preferred choice when working in adverse situations, such as extreme low lighting or fast-action situations, due to their expanded imaging capabilities, sensitivity, and refined focusing performance.

After you choose your preferred sensor size or system type, think about what kind of lenses you might already own, or what types of lenses exist for the various cameras you are considering. Some manufacturers have a wider line of lenses for their mirrorless cameras than others, and this might be important to you if you like options.

Key Features to Consider:

Sensor size
Form factor
Lens mount
Viewfinder
Video capabilities
Wi-Fi
Hot shoe
Battery grip

Once you have narrowed down the larger, important aspects of choosing your camera, take a look at what features are important to you. Do you need HD or 4K video? Maybe you are a social-media guru and really like the ability to share photos online directly from your camera.

Another consideration is the accessories that are available for the various cameras. If you use an external flash, you’re going to want to make sure compatible flashes are available, and that the camera has a hot shoe to which one can be attached. Other accessories that might be important are battery grips, cases, remote controls, and apps―just to name a few.

You should now be prepared to choose the mirrorless camera that best suits your needs. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online for a Live Chat.

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Hi,

I'm wondering if you might be able to help me narrow down my search for a mirrorless camera. This will be my first. I used my iphone 6s camera on a recent trip to Europe and fell in love with photography and want to expand my range. From what I've read, the Sony a6000 (that I can get with a 2 lens kit) seems like a good option to get the most bang for my buck, but I want something that I can grow into and am concerned this might not be the best option. I also wonder whether not having the touchscreen will slow me down.

I'll be using it almost exclusively for stills and want really great quality, with the buffer of a relatively easy to use format. I'll be traveling to Iceland and the UK, so weather resistence is a factor.

Being new, do you think it's more important to take advantage of being able to get more than just the kit lens? My max budget is about $1500 (but I'd like that to get me a lens or two). I'd like to be able to get a good zoom and a wide lens for landscapes.

All the options are so overwhelming. I'd really appreciate the help!

Hello.  Thank you for the detailed article.  I currently have a D5100 with a kit lens and a 35mm 1.8.  I purchased it a while ago but never really used it until I had a child and started to learn on it.  So my dilemma now is, do I stick with Nikon and maybe get some other lenses and upgrade to a new body later or switch up to mirrorless?  I was looking at the A6000 or A6500 but was told the auto-focusing is slow, and the lenses for sony are very expensive--too expensive to the point of not being practical in buying an A6000 which is less than $500 now (35mm 1.8 for sony is $400).  Could you possible advice on which mirrorless would be good to take around outside with the kid and family as well as just a walk around camera but one that does not have expensive lenses?  Thank you for your help.

Hello BH Team!

Really glad I came across this guide on mirrorless camera while researching on google!
I used to own a D5100 w/ 18-55mm kit together with 35mm prime years back, sadly departed it due to its size and weight inconvenience for traveling. As my upcoming trips are getting closer, would be getting my hands on one first before fumbling it during the trip.

I rarely take videos as it takes up too much memory. Often on street, landscape and occasionally portraits, thus size and weight would be my second consideration. First would be costing, I would prefer to start low with a good kit and progress with lens in the future. I have tried few Olympus ones (can't remember the model) but the UI didn't feel quite right for me, always have trouble fumbling it.

Hoping you could share some recommendation from my pointers, open to suggestions :)

 

You might look at the Fujifilm X-T10 with 16-50mm lens.  It has a great form factor and fantastic image quality.  It would be a solid option for travel to use for street, landscape, and portraits.  If you have questions about the camera, or would like another recommendation, you might send our Photo Department an email.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

Thank you so much for the review! I am looking to buy a camera and mirrorless seemed the best way to go as I will mostly be using it while I am traveling, so the light weight option appealed to me! I will be taking pictures of landscapes and city shots. I know next to nothing about cameras (but am trying to learn!), so I am sure that anthing would be an upgrade for me! I have read good things about the sony a6000, however it is a bit pricy for my limited budget, so I looked into the older sony a5000 which has mixed reviews. I rarely take videos and when I do I am not very concerend about them, image quality is my biggest priority. I was woundering if it is worth the extra money for the a6000 or if based on my needs the a5000 would suffice. Or if there are other cameras that you would reccomend. Any information is appreachiated!

If you can swing it, I would go with the a6000.  It has noticeably better image quality and low light performance as compared to the a5000.  It will also be significantly faster with a better autofocus system.  The responsiveness of the autofocus system can be the difference between getting the shot or not.

This is a wonderful beginner's guide to mirrorless cameras - thank you for sharing your expertise. I am looking for a camera to be used primarily in travel photos - both landscapes and closer subjects. Prefer a light weight and relatively durable camera that can be carried through long and challenging hikes - water resistance is a plus but not a must. Video is not a critical consideration. I used to own a Nikon 1 J4 that I really loved but was wondering if there are cameras that are similarly light weight but even better quality (+30x zoom still with a smaller, light weight lens). Price: $300-600. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

There won’t be any mirrorless options where you will find lenses that have + 30x zoom.  If you are looking for something relatively compact and light weight with that much zoom, you would likely want to look into a point and shoot rather than a mirrorless camera.  Otherwise, you will be looking at going with several lenses than just one lens.  Also, I don’t know of any mirrorless options on the market that would be as compact and light weight as the Nikon 1 cameras.  If you are interested in contemplating a point and shoot, you might look at the Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera.  It has an 83X optical zoom lens, and would be fairly light weight.  It isn’t water proof, but you could get a bag/case to protect it from the elements.

Hi Nitzan,

I am also looking for a camera that is lightweight, shoots great image quality and hopefully has a zoom of at least 10 or above. I have been using an Olympus Stylus 1 and that checks most of these boxes. 

Tonight I looked at a Sony Alpha 6000. Very compact and lightweight. It's mirrorless, so I'm guessing that would be a step up from my Olympus. But I believe the zoom is only a 3.

Have you had any luck finding what you're looking for?

Thanks.  TC

I am trying to decide between the Sony A6000 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II. I plan to not do much video and my main use case will be for wildlife/landscapes. COuld you recommend which camera is better suited for this as well as a lens to go along with the kit lens? Thanks

It would be hard to go wrong with either of those cameras.  Though, I might lean towards the Olympus simply for lens options.  While Sony has some lovely lenses on the market, they still don’t have the number of lenses as are offered for the micro four thirds mount cameras, especially when it comes to telephoto options.  For wildlife, you will likely want a lens with some range.  You might checkout the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens to go along with a kit lens.  It would be an excellent option for capturing wildlife shots. 

Looking to buy a mirrorless  camera mostly due to its compact size so it's good for travelling. I'd like something with good zoom and good image quality inside and outside. It'd be nice to have a external microphone jack also but not necessary. Looking for something around 700 or less. The Cheaper the better. It doesn't have to be very advanced as I don't mess around with settings much. What would you recommend? Also I love cameras with the vintage look! ;) 

You might checkout the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm and 55-210mm Lenses (Black).  The two lens kit would give you a bit of range, and the a6000 is a great little mirrorless camera.  It has some excellent auto features, and is capable of taking great photos. 

Hi BH Team,

I have a Nikon D7100 + 17-55mm f2.8 and a set of lenses: 300mm f/4, 70-200mm f/4. After a recent European trip, I felt that the Camera + 18-55mm was too heavy. I have NO intention in replacing my Nikon but I want a very good mirrorless with a prime lens as a travel alternative. Image quality is imperative for me!  I’ve considered the Fuji cameras but I’m totally open for your suggestion. Can you please assist? 

Fujifilm has some excellent mirrorless cameras.  You might look at the Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera.  It would definitely, be a more compact option compared to your Nikon D7100, and Fujifilm does have some lovely prime lenses.  The X-Pro2 has fantastic image quality, and I am a particular fan of the layout of the film. 

Hello!

To begin with, I'll tell you guys what do I need my camera for.

- The first and main use: movies shot in and outside the house (yes, I do not want a camcorder, but the camera :)) - cooking, unboxing, reviews, talking to the camera while sitting at my desk, traveling, walking around the city, restaurants, etc. I think 1080p 60s or 4K even though it's not really necessary for me. Recording limit as large as possible and preferably starting a new video after reaching this limit, not ending a file and stopping. It is important for me to have a very good focus, so as it doesn't hunt for focus, but it just keeps filming the static scene and more dynamic one equally crystal clear. I would also like a 180' flip-out screen. Lenses - the bigger the maximum aperture, the better.

- Second, also important: high-quality pictures

I reflected on the Canon 70D, but it is just too big and a little too expensive with a nice lens, and I would like something more handy.

Today, I hesitate between Panasonic Lumix G7 and Canon G7X Mark II. Can you advise or suggest something else? As I said, the main concern is great quality video, and secondly great pictures. I'm thinking a good compact or a small mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with bright lenses.

Can you help? :)

I would lean towards a mirrorless option over a point and shoot.  The ability to switch out lenses will be a big benefit.  The G7 would be a solid option.  You can continue recording without interruption even if the file size exceeds 4 GB, but the motion picture file will be divided and recorded/played back separately.  It would have solid video and still image quality, as well as a vari-angle LCD.  It would fit the bill for what you state you are looking for in a compact form factor. 

Thanks for the response :)

WILL  BE GOING ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI AND A MIRRORLESS CAMERA WAS RECOMMENDED BECAUSE OF SIZE AND FUNTIONALITY

WHICH MAKE AND MODEL WOULD YOU RECOMMEND INCLUDING  LENS

If you are looking to go mirrorless, I would likely look at one of the micro four thirds cameras:  they have the largest offering of telephoto lenses, which would be desirable for a safari.  I would suggest looking at the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera.  It has fantastic image quality, has a dust and splashproof construction, and a fast burst rate.  This would make it great for a safari.  As for lenses, I would suggest looking at the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens.  It would be a great options for taking photos of wildlife.

Heard about the YI M1? Thinking about gettng one and was checking the features and comparing the list I got from you. I am considering a tight budget but close to growing more in photography since I am really a beginner who just got out of the point-and-shoot level. Here is what I found out and help me fill in the blanks please... =)

Sensor size - I don't know
Form factor - I don't know
Lens mount - Yes?
Viewfinder - Oh I know this, no, but I think the LCD does the job.
Video capabilities - Oh, this I know, 4k babeyyyy
Wi-Fi - yes
Hot shoe - huh?
Battery grip - hmmmmm

I am looking at a 500 bucks budget for a camera that is decently competitive... help???

Hi Sean -

We are not familiar with this recently announced camera.  Here is a link to the best resource for it:

YI M1 Mirrorless Digital Camera

This is the best we can offer at your stated budget:

Blending speed, versatility, and image quality, the black Nikon 1 J5 is a sleek mirrorless digital camera designed for the multimedia photographer on-the-go. Featuring a 20.8MP CX-format BSI CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5A image processor, the J5 is capable of recording up to 20 fps with continuous autofocus as well as UHD 2160p/15 or Full HD 1080p/60 video. A top sensitivity of ISO 12800 benefits working in difficult lighting conditions while the BSI design of sensor helps to achieve greater image clarity with reduced noise levels and the omission of an optical low-pass filter further contributes to a high degree of sharpness and resolution. Complementing the imaging assets, the 1 J5 is also characterized by a revamped, retro-inspired body design featuring a 3.0" 1,037k-dot touchscreen LCD that tilts 180° upward for prime selfie compositions. Additionally, snapbridge Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC also allows for instant wireless image sharing and remote camera control from mobile devices.

This articulus hasn't Annuntiate cameras' maker samples..

Because of digital media, cannot use after sit.

that's all.

What about the samsung mirrorless cameras, such as the NX500?  Would that be a good option for a midrange camera?

Thanks

The NX500 is no longer available. In any case though it would not have the speed, image quality, low light performance that the current Sony mirrorless options offer (a6300/a6500 or the A7 series.) Samsung accessories, lens and flash option are also very limited in comparison to that of Sony.

Hello I am looking to step into the mirrorless world. I am looking at the Panasonic g85 and the fujifilm x-t2. Is the sensor size an issue on either of these? I sometimes deal in low light situations. Would love to go full frame but budget limitations don't allow for the features I would like. 

For low light photography, I would lean towards the Fujifilm X-T2.  The Fujifilm cameras have been excellent in low light.  Part of this is due to their APS-C size sensors, which will be larger than the micro four thirds sensor.  The G85 is a great camera, though I find the X-T2 will be better in low light.

Hi I have budget of about 1500.  Upgrading from t3i.  Dslr v mirror less.  80d vs 6300.  I chose the 6300, used for a weekend and found out about the 6500 around the corner - so I returned the 6300 (Best Buy, close to home - wanted it quick/same day)  after 3d of shooting as touch screen and stabilization is nice.  The fast frame/s and many focus points is definitely plus.  Any thoughts on Fuji xt2 or waiting for 6500.  I know the Fuji won't have touch screen.  I have 2 little kids, like to catch the moment also like to do a fair amount of landscape shots.  Are filter selection or lens selection or full frame a7 or sticking with dslr something to consider.  Is there color differences between mirrorless vs dslr? Will changing the white balance help to offset?  Low light performance is also important?  Figuring what's the next step up for me from t3i.  Thanks very much.  I am willing to pre-order from b and h once desicion.  If I am going to get 6500 body what lens should I get?  Thank you

Hi,

I'm am trying to get a lumix mirrorless camera, did anyone have suggestion? I am looking for around $750.

Thank you.

If looking specifically for a Panasonic Lumix, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens is going to be the closest to your budget option.

Hey friends!

I've been trying to do research for weeks now, and I can't seem to come to a conclusion. I'm hoping you all can help! I currently shoot with a Nikon D810 for weddings/professional gigs. I love it, and it takes gorgeous images and pretty good video, but I need something mirrorless in the $1000-$2000 range that I can take with me out and about or on vacations that isn't so hefty and that would give me some peace of mind NOT taking my big boy everywhere... Is there one out there that shoots good video AND stills? Bonus points if it's weather-resistent! 

Thank you so much for your advice!
Alexis

I would suggest the Fuji X-T2 with f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Zoom Lens for excellent stills and video while having a weather resistant body. Fist and foremost what makes Fuji mirrorless remarkable is their unique randomized pixel array APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor.  This affords a high degree of image quality and sharpness due to the omission of an optical low-pass filter. Versus conventional pixel patterns, the X-Trans design more closely mimics the organic nature of film in order to produce nuanced colors and smooth tonal transitions, while also reducing moiré and aliasing. You’ll find suburb color rendition and shockingly low noise at higher ISO’s which would easily rival that a full-frame SLR, its native ISO range is 200-12,800. 

The X-T2 will have a 91-point AF system, when set to the Zone option, or up to 325 points, when in the single-point mode. Around 65% of the imaging area is covered by contrast-detect AF points and the central 40% of the frame is covered by phase-detect AF points. This will also provide up to 8fps burst shooting and the dual SD card slots will support the faster UHS-II standards.

The X-T2 will also offer UHD 4K video recording, 3840 x 2160: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps, as well as standard HD, 1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps, and will offer a 3.5mm Mic input.

The durable weather-resistant body design is constructed from magnesium alloy and sealed to protect against dust, moisture, and cold temperatures down to 14°F.

Only caveat here is availability. This has been an extremely popular camera for all the reasons listed above, as of right now, it is currently only available for Pre-Order, no confirmed ETA.

This is the update to the XT-1, while this also an great option, the improvements made to the X-T2, still resolution, overall performance speed, low-light performance, and video resolution make the X-T2 a much more comparable option to your D810.

Sony also has a very strong presence in the Mirrorless realm and does also provide excellent still and video quality. Within your price range,  the A7 II with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens should also be considered. The A7 II provides, 117 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection autofocus points but a slightly slower 5fps burst rate. Though no 4K video it will have standard HD, 1920 x 1080 video at frame rates of 60p, 30p, and 24p and also offers a 3.5mm Mic input. The A7 II body also features sealing for dust and moisture resistance.

Between the two, I’ve found that the Fuji X-T2 will provide better color and less noise even over the A7 II full frame option. The kit lens available for the Fuji X-T2 will also be of more solid build quality, sharper, and faster in terms of lower light performance, than that of the kit lens provided with the A7 II. 

Wow! Thank you so much for your detailed report! This will help a lot. You guys are the best :)

Hello - 

I am ready to finally upgrade from my Canon 20D. I am deciding between Canon 6D and Mirrorless M5.  If I go the mirrorless route, can i use my canon 50 mm and 70-200mm on the M5 body?  Also, what am i potentially giving up by going mirrorless other than heft?

Thanks!

You can use the Canon EF-M Lens Adapter Kit for Canon EF / EF-S Lenses to use your standard EF Mount lenses with the M5 camera. This adapter will maintain all lens functions.

Aside from size and weight, you would be switching to an electronic viewfinder from an optical. It will take a bit to get used to but not the end all be all of issues. You’ll likely also find yourself using the back screen more than you would link for composition and focusing. Given the age of the 6D, the M5 will actually improve upon speed, especially frame per second rate, and will offer more AF points giving it the edge in continuous focus and focus tracking.

Hi,

I have recently sold my SLR camera, Nikon D7000 and want to replace it with mirrorless,

when buying the Nikon, I havent take into consideration its wheight and how easy it will be to travel with it.

It became a burden and I find myself rarely use it.

I would like your recomendation for a mirrorless camera that could mount to my old Nikon in capabilities.

Budget- 750$

Thanks

Mey

If you want to be able to use your current Nikon lenses, your best option would be to go with one of the Nikon mirrorless cameras, such as the Nikon 1 J5 with the FT1 mount adapter.  It does have a significantly smaller sensor than the D7000.

Otherwise, you might look at an option from Sony.  The a6000 would have an APS-C size sensor like the D7000, and would be a solid option for starting out with a mirrorless camera.  Though, there wouldn’t be an ideal way to use your Nikon lenses on the camera. 

Hi,

I have a pentax k and a nikon d5300 and would like to add a full frame mirrorless camera that shoots raw, is fast focussing and very good in low light. Which one would you recommend please?

For a full frame mirrorless camera, you would be looking at the Sony a7 series.  Among the a7 options, the a7R II has the best autofocus system.  It would also be extremely good in low light.  Otherwise, you could also look at the a7S II, it would be stronger in low light, though the AF system won’t be quite as good as that in the a7R II.

Hi and thanks for your time!

My girlfriend and I have decided to go with the Panasonic Lumix G7 basic kit because of the 4k video for our youtube videos and wanting to take great stills when we travel also its price point at this time. But I am new to this world of photography and am wondering what would be best to pair with this camera when it comes to SD cards, travel tri pods, and a great travel bag that is held on the waist since we will be backpacking while using this camera? If you also have any articles on these subjects that would be great too!

Also any recommendations on another beginner lense for this camera that can capture great landscape shots during day and night? 

Thanks again for the help!

Tanner R.

Hi Tanner -

The 64GB Elite UHS-I SDXC Memory Card from Delkin is a high-capacity card for your HD and 3D-enabled video capture device. It boasts superior speed, writing at 80 MB/s and reading at 95 MB/s. Its UHS-I / Ultra High Speed Class 3 (U3) interface provides a bus speed of 312 MB/s.

Create stable video with the A373F Series 3 Aluminum Video Tripod & BV4 Head from BenroAble to hold a payload of up to 8.8 lb, this tripod is a great choice for lightweight kits, especially with numerous video-specific features. The BV4 head features side controls for adjusting the 6-step counterbalance as well as the independent 4-step pan and tilt drag. The 2-stage tripod legs feature flip legs locks for fast adjustments and have a 75mm bowl on the top for balancing the head. The tripod system can be adjusted within a height range of 12.2" to 64.2" and it offers two 3/8"-16 accessory threads for a monitor, audio recorder, or more. It comes with both rubber and spiked feet for working in a variety of environments. A carrying case is included as well.

The black Camslinger 160 Mirrorless Camera Holder from COSYSPEED holds a mirrorless camera with an attached lens, and an additional lens between padded interior dividers inside a protective pouch that is worn at your hip. The holder secures around your hips with a durable quick-release belt that features a safety buckle to avoid accidental detachment. The Camslinger provides protection against dust, bumps, and water splashes while allowing fast, one-handed access to your gear.

Included with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 camera body is the well-rounded Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens, which provides a 28-84mm equivalent focal length range to cover wide-angle to short telephoto perspectives. An Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for camera shake for sharper handheld shooting while a pair of aspherical elements help to minimize the overall lens size and maintain a high degree of sharpness and clarity throughout the zoom range.

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH. Lens for Micro Four Thirds format digital cameras is an ultra-wide angle zoom lens which has two aspherical lenses and four ED multi-coated elements to minimize ghosting and flare. It has an amazing 114° angle of view and large-diameter glass molded lens elements that help display brightness over the entire zoom range. When mounted on LUMIX G Micro Four Thirds System camera, the lens allows use of the advanced contrast AF system and features smooth, quiet autofocus as well as precise manual focus capability.

This lens operates with contrast AF system support and has a micro four thirds mount that will work on any compatible camera.

Hi! I'm a photography student and I've been using Canon t2i for some years now and I wanna change to a mirrorless full frame camera but I have trouble choosing one. I want one that it's not very pricey but that has some great quality. I would like to use bigger sensibility but without noticing the noise so much. I've been considering Sony mirrorless cameras but I don't know which model. Can you help me? Thanks!

Hi Maggie -

If you are just starting out, but still have a fairly flexible budget, I would likely look at the Sony Alpha a7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)

It would be an excellent option for video with the many frame rate/bit rate options, color profile options, and fantastic low light capability.  It could be fairly straight forward to use when starting out, but is still something feature rich for video so that you wouldn’t outgrow the camera if you get more involved in/serious about video.  

Nikon 1 j5 or nikon1 aw1 or sony a5000 ?
Nikon or sony for mirrorless camera!

I would generally recommend Sony Mirrorless over Nikon, and in this case the a5000. The larger APS-C sized sensor will provide higher quality images overall. You'll find more accurate color rendition, more detail in both highlights and shadows and better low light results with less noise at higher ISOs. 

Why have you not once mentioned the Olympus Om-DE-M1 which PC magazine just rated tops of the ten best mirrorless cameras? Am curious as I plan to down-size and am checking all out. Is it because it does not have a full frame sensor?

Not mentioning the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera above had nothing to do with the camera's sensor size.  B&H's Explora page has listed numerous articles concerning the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera, including, but not limited to the First Impressions: The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraFour Days with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 PROFast AF: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and posted videos including Olympus EM-1 Test Drive: A Hands-On Micro Four Thirds Experience and Olympus OM-D E-M1. In respect to the above article, Mirrorless Cameras: A Buying Guide, no specific camera brands or camera models were mentioned in the article.  The above article was written to inform customers and potential buyers of the different features that are avaiable with mirrorless digital cameras and how those features may impact their shooting and their ultimate camera purchase.  As no specific cameras were listed above, there was no reason to specifically list the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in this article.  However, if you are interested in Explora articles concerning the OM-D EM-1, you may type the camera's name in the Explora Search Bar on the top of this webpage (also listed at the following link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/search/site/OM-D%20E-M1 ).

Can you please recommend me a mirrorless camera that is friendly to use, and that I can eventually add external mic and headphone.

How important is it to consider built-in stabilization? 

kind regards,
Jeremy

Unfortunately, there aren’t many mirrorless options that have a headphone jack.  You could look at the GH4.  It has both a mic and headphone jack.  While Panasonic’s top of the line mirrorless option, it would also have plenty of auto settings.  So, it could be as easy to use as you would like.  It does not have built-in stabilization, so you would need to pick a lens with stabilization.  Stabilization can be useful for video if you aren’t using a tripod, though optical stabilization would be fine. 

Hi,

I currently have a Canon t3, I've had it for a few years and I'm really looking for a newer camera that is easier to travel with and that I can also improve with. I love the idea of mirrorless cameras, but choosing one has been very difficult. So far, I have liked the sony a6000, fuji xt-10, and the sony a7 (however, the sony a7 is a little pricey). An ASP-C sensor will work fine for me, and a viewfinder is important. I will also be shooting video very often too. Which cameras do you think would be right for me? And are there any others that I should consider?

Thanks!

Fujifilm makes some excellent mirrorless cameras.  Though, if you will be shooting video as well as stills, I would lean towards Sony.  If you have been using the T3, the a6000 might be the better fit.  It’s a fantastic little camera, with great image quality and a fast AF system.  Its viewfinder is also extremely responsive for an electronic view finder. 

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