If you're looking to pick up a new camera with not just more resolution, but better optics, a more capable image sensor and lots of versatile features, then you really want to consider a mirrorless camera. You'll find a wide selection in the models now in the market, with prices ranging from around $500-600 up to $4,500. So, there's a mirrorless camera to suit almost every photographer. They're great if you're looking to step up from a smartphone or point-and-shoot, as well as those looking for something that's smaller than a DSLR, but still produces quality images.
The mirrorless camera we'd recommend for beginners is the Sony a6000, which costs just under $650 with a lens, yet shoots at a blazing-fast 11 fps, takes great pictures in all conditions, and has a compact body. More advanced photographers might prefer its successor, the Sony a6300 ($900), which takes even better photos in low light, and can record video in 4K. If you want to wait—and splurge a bit more—Sony has also unveiled the a6500 ($1,400), which also has 5-axis image stabilization. Regardless of which one you choose, you should check out our guide for taking great pictures with Sony's line of A6000 cameras.
If you prefer mirrorless cameras not made by Sony, check out Olympus' OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which at $899, is a great camera for both stills and video. (Or consider its successor, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III.) Some of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II's most noteworthy features include 5-axis image stabilization, a sturdy weather-resistant body, and a super high-resolution 40-MP mode.
Latest News and Updated (February 2018)
- Panasonic announced the new 20.3-megapixel Panasonic Lumix GX9. This mirrorless camera keeps the same Four-Thirds sensor as the GX8 as well as dual image-stabilization (body-based and optical), 4K-video capability, and a tilting electronic viewfinder. New features include a special L.Monochrome D mode and a better resolution touchscreen LCD (with 1.24K-dots). It’s available only as a kit (with a 12-60mm lens) at the end of March, for $999.99.
- Fujifilm's new entry-level mirrorless camera, the X-A5, features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, phase detection autofocus, and an ISO range of 200 to 12800. It will also come with the FUJINON XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ, the first electric-powered zoom lens for X Mount cameras. The X-A5 will be available in February for $599.
- Sony is now selling a silver version of the a6300 ($899 body only or $999 with f/3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens), which can capture images at 11 frames per second and shoot 4K-resolution videos. Additionally, Sony introduced a lens that is a great companion lens to any a-series Sony: The new Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens ($598), available in mid-February, offers a 7.5x zoom range and is just 11.5 ounces, both great quality for a travel lens. Also, its built-in image optical stabilizer helps minimize jitter when shooting video and blur when shooting still photos.
Four Tips For Choosing a Mirrorless Camera
In today's diverse marketplace, choosing a mirrorless model is too expensive to be an impulse purchase. To make sure you end up with the right camera, here are four tips to help you decide which is best for you.
Try out your mirrorless model before your buy.
Decide what features are important to you.
Be skeptical of sales staff.
Skip extended warranties.
How to Choose a Lens for your Mirrorless Camera
One of the most important qualities that mirrorless and DSLRs share is that they accept interchangeable lenses, which can dramatically improve image quality and bring your photography to a new level. But there are scores of lenses to choose from, which can be confusing. To help you get better acquainted with this important camera accessory, here's a quick rundown of types of interchangeable lenses that are available for your mirrorless camera:
Standard zoom lenses: It's the lens that most people who buy an entry-level SLR or mirrorless model as a kit know first. Mirrorless kits generally come with a 14-42mm lens. They typically include a small amount of zoom (3x), and are often inexpensive, but not the highest quality. However, in the past several years, the quality of these kit lenses has improved.
Prime lenses: You can save money by choosing a prime or non-zoom lens. They offer excellent quality, and are often much more affordable. If you need to zoom, just use your feet and walk closer to your subject!
Telephoto zoom lenses: If you shoot a lot of sports or other types of events, consider these powerful zooms, which can bring you closer to the action and provide features to capture images with shallow depth-of-field. They can be a bit heavy and bulky, but most manufacturers have been inventing new lenses that are smaller and more compact, but are still high quality. The 70mm-200mm is a good example of this type of lens.
Wide-angle lenses: If you're traveling, this type of lens, such as a 16-35mm zoom, can be very valuable, since it allows you to capture different types of wide-angle shots. Want to shoot a group portrait? Set the zoom lens towards the 35mm end of the range, which will avoid distortion at the edges of the image. Or if you want to capture a broad, sweeping landscape, use the lower end of the zoom, nearer to the 16mm end. However, these lenses can be pricey.
Macro or Close-up lenses: If you're looking to capture close-up shots of small objects, you'll want a good quality macro lens, which come in a variety of focal lengths, such as 50mm and 100mm. Be sure to do your research to be sure the lens you want has macro capabilities.
Specialty lenses: One of the most notable specialty lenses in this category is the ultra-wide fisheye lens, which some photographers love for the exceptionally distorted point of view. Other types include tilt-shift and soft-focus lenses.
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