Best Mirrorless Camera 2018: The 11 best money can buy

Mirrorless cameras are hugely popular and offer welcome advantages over DSLRs. Not only are they smaller, lighter and more convenient to carry, they allow you to build a compact system that’s tailored to your style of photography. We’ve rounded up the best mirrorless cameras on the market.

A 400mm f/2.8 prime lens on the Panasonic Lumix G9. Note the compact size of this pairing

The primary difference between a mirrorless camera and a traditional DSLR is that the latter is fitted with an internal mirror that bounces the image acquired through the lens up towards a phase-detection autofocus (AF) module in the ceiling of the camera before exiting through the optical viewfinder. Once focus is acquired and the shutter button is pressed this mirror raises up, exposing the sensor and capturing the image. In a mirrorless camera, however, there is no internal mirror, so light passes straight through the camera and directly onto the sensor.

Related: Best cameras

When mirrorless models first came out this lack of a phase detection meant they had to use contrast-detect technology to acquire focus, which is slower than phase-detect AF. However, these days many mirrorless cameras use on-sensor phase-detection AF, often in combination with contrast-detect AF to produce AF speeds that rival those of DSLRs. In addition, the fact that there’s no mechanical mirror means mirrorless cameras are generally capable of much higher continuous shooting speeds. Some of the fastest mirrorless cameras can now rattle out a burst at up to 60fps after activating the electronic shutter.

Best mirrorless camera buying guide – EVF and sensor

One further issue with early mirrorless cameras was that the lack of an optical viewfinder meant an electronic one was required in its place. Early EVFs were clunky at best, offering a small and pixelated view. These days, however, that’s simply not the case and the difference in quality between the high-resolution EVFs that many mirrorless cameras are now equipped with and their optical counterparts on a DSLR are much less pronounced.

If you’re going to be shooting high-speed sport and action, the other thing you’ll look out for is an EVF that features no viewfinder blackout. Viewfinder blackout refers to the period of blackout between each frame captured – something that can make it harder to keep up and track a subject successfully through the frame. The Sony Alpha 9 is currently one of the best mirrorless examples on the market with no EVF blackout.

Related: Best DSLR cameras

The Sony Alpha A7R III is one of the latest mirrorless cameras on the market

While the very first mirrorless cameras were fitted with smaller Micro Four Thirds sensors jointly developed by Panasonic and Olympus, these days they’re equipped with a wide range of sensor sizes including APS-C and full-frame. Which of these is right for you will of course depend on your individual requirements and budget.

Below you’ll find a jargon buster that reveals some of the complex terminology associated with mirrorless cameras and our compilation of the finest examples to give you a better idea of which are best to buy.

Mirrorless camera jargon explained

Hybrid AF Systems: There are an increasing number of mirrorless cameras using innovative hybrid AF systems that combine on-sensor phase-detection with traditional contrast-detect AF. And with the new breed of ultra-fast processors dedicated to autofocus duties some mirrorless cameras are now able to outperform DSLRs in terms of AF speed.

Rear display: An increasing number of mirrorless cameras are now adding touchscreen functionality to the rear display, which makes operating the camera much speedier and more intuitive. How the screen is attached to the camera body is another important consideration – some are fixed, some can be tilted, while others use the infinitely more flexible vari-angle design.

Video: More and more new mirrorless cameras are adding 4K video capture. For those serious about video, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is currently the only mirrorless model to offer broadcast quality 10-bit 10:2:2 4K capture. Be sure to check whether your desired model sports a dedicated microphone and/or headphone input as this does vary between models.

Media slot: All mirrorless cameras come with at least one SD memory card slot, although an increasing number of high-end models sport two. These can usually be configured to record data in a number of ways including using the second slot as an overflow or for raw images, or using one card for stills and the other for video. Support for the even faster UHS-II cards is currently limited to more advanced models.

Design: Broadly speaking, mirrorless cameras tend to fall into one of two camps in terms of their general styling: there are those that take classic rangefinder cameras as their inspiration, while others are designed to mimic the appearance and handling of a DSLR. Which is best for you is all down to personal preference. Just be sure to take build quality into account, as cheaper examples are unlikely to benefit from a tough magnesium alloy chassis and weather-sealed construction.

Score

Best entry-level mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 16MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • ISO 200-25,6000 (expandable to ISO 100)
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.04m-dot flip-up LCD
  • No EVF
  • 4K video capture

Panasonic offers a generous range of mirrorless models to suit all price points and levels of ability. Released at the start of 2017, the GX800 is Panasonic’s current entry-level mirrorless model and, as such, is primarily aimed at casual users looking for an easy-to-use interchangeable-lens camera that’s capable of discernibly better image quality than a smartphone or budget compact.

The GX800 is built around the same 16MP Live MOS sensor as the more advanced GX80, which results in a similarly high standard of image quality overall. The GX800’s optical low-pass filter has also been removed for enhanced fine detail. Image processing is taken care of via Panasonic’s proprietary Venus Engine, which facilitates a native sensitivity range of ISO 200-25,600 (plus an extended lower setting of ISO 100) and a top continuous shooting speed of 5fps.

In addition the GX800 is also capable of recording 4K video at up to 30fps, and comes with Panasonic’s innovative 4K Photo mode, which enables 8MP still images to be extracted from 4K video footage in a variety of ways to ensure that you never miss a moment.

In terms of size and weight the GX800 is the smallest and lightest mirrorless camera in the current Lumix range. On top of this, it also benefits from some retro rangefinder styling, giving it an undoubtedly stylish appearance. While buttons are a little scarce and the camera lacks an electronic viewfinder – or indeed any means to attach one – the rear display flips up by 180-degrees so that it can be made to face the same direction as the lens for easy selfies. Better still, the rear display doubles up as a touchscreen, providing intuitive control over the camera.

At time of review the Panasonic GX800 was available for £379 with a 12-32mm lens.

 

 

Read the full Panasonic Lumix GX800 review

Sony A6000

2 of 11

Score

Best mid-range mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,600)
  • 11fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/921k-dot tiltable LCD
  • 1.44m-dot EVF
  • 1080p Full HD video capture

Released in 2014 the Sony A6000 retains its place within Sony’s current mirrorless range, where it’s positioned as a cheaper alternative to the more recent and more expensive A6300 (£829 body-only) and A6500 (£1279 body-only) models that succeeded it. While there are some areas where it shows its age, it remains a very capable camera with a good specification that provides unbeatable value for money.

Built around a 24.3MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and Sony’s powerful BIONZ X image processor, the A6000 offers a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600 along with an extended setting of ISO 51,200. Maximum continuous shooting speed, meanwhile, is a very serviceable 11fps.

While there’s no support for 4K video, the A6000 does provide 1080p Full HD video capture at up to 60fps. In addition, the A6000 also comes with built-in Wifi and NFC connectivity along with support for Sony’s PlayMemories camera apps that can be used to add extra functionality and shooting features.

At the time of its launch one of the most notable features was its hybrid AF system. This encompasses 179 phase-detection AF points plus a further 25 contrast-detect AF points for speedy focus acquisition and nearly 100% viewfinder coverage. While the Fast Hybrid AF system employed by is successors is undoubtedly more advanced, the A6000 is certainly no slouch in the focusing department.

The A6000 is fitted with a 3-inch, 921k-dot LCD display that can be tilted up and down, however unlike the A6500 there’s no touchscreen functionality. Above this sits a 1.44m-dot EVF that’s still perfectly useable, even though its resolution isn’t as high as the A6300 and A6500 – both of which come equipped with 2.36m-dot EVFs. Build quality is very good indeed with the A6000 benefiting from robust (albeit not weather-sealed) polycarbonate and magnesium alloy construction.

At time of review the Sony A6000 was available for £449 body-only, or £519 with a 16-50mm Power Zoom lens.

Read the full Sony A6000 review

Fujifilm X-T20

3 of 11

Best enthusiast mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor
  • ISO 200-12,800 (expandable to ISO 100-51,200)
  • 14fps continuous shooting (via electronic shutter)
  • 3-inch/1.04m-dot tiltable touchscreen LCD
  • 2.36m-dot EVF, 100% coverage at 0.62x
  • 4K video capture

Released at the start of 2017 the X-T20 succeeds 2015’s X-T10 model bringing with it a range of improvements that are, at least in part, borrowed from Fujifilm’s flagship X-T2 model. This includes Fujifilm’s latest X-Trans CMOS II sensor, which provides 24.3MP of effective resolution compared to the X-T10’s 16MP. This is paired with Fujifilms’s X Processor Pro image processor to provide a native sensitivity range of ISO 200-12,800 that can be further expanded to the equivalent of ISO 100-51,200. While continuous shooting remains at a steady 8fps using the mechanical shutter, the X-T20 can also shoot at up to 14fps via its electronic shutter.

The X-T20’s hybrid autofocus system has also been improved and now employs a total of 91 AF points, compared to 49 on the X-T10. The new AF module includes 49 phase-detection AF points, located in the central portion of the viewfinder. The rear LCD also benefits from a higher resolution (1.04m-dots vs 922k-dots) and touchscreen control – a feature that the X-T10 lacks altogether. In addition, the X-T20 is also capable of recording 4K video whereas the X-T10 maxed out at 1080p Full HD capture.

The X-T20 retains the same 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder as its predecessor, and this provides 100% coverage at a magnification of 0.62x. In terms of design, the X-T20 shares the same stylish retro rangefinder aesthetic of its predecessor, with milled aluminium dials on the top-plate and dual control wheels providing a pleasingly tactile user experience. While the predominantly magnesium-alloy construction looks great and adds undoubted durability to the camera overall, the X-T20 is not weather sealed like the more expensive X-T2.

At time of review the Fujifilm X-T20 was available for £799 body-only, or £1099 with an XF 18-55mm lens.

Read the full Fujifilm X-T20 review

Score

Best enthusiast mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • ISO 200-25,600 (expandable to ISO 100)
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.04m-dot tilting LCD touchscreen
  • 2.36m-dot EVF
  • 4K video capture

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III updates the two-year-old Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. While the two cameras share broadly similar specifications and features, the user interface of the latest model has been radically overhauled in order to make the camera easier to use. That said, there are some new additions too.

The E-M10 Mark III is fitted with a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, and while this provides the same resolution as its predecessor Olympus claims that the newer model offers superior performance in low-light. This is most likely on account of the E-M10 Mark III’s sensor being paired with Olympus’ latest TruePic VIII image processor – the same one used in the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II. The most notable benefit this brings to the E-M10 Mark III is the ability to record 4K video at up to 30fps, along with 120fps slow-motion video at 720p HD. Sadly there’s no way to attach an external microphone to the E-M10 Mark III though, nor does it have a headphone output.

The other main improvement is its autofocus module, which now utilises a 121-point contrast detect system compared to the 81-point system of the E-M10 Mark II. The AF points cover practically the entire frame and while focus acquisition isn’t quite as fast as some of the hybrid AF systems employed by other mirrorless manufacturers it’s still impressively quick. Olympus’ in-camera 5-axis image stabilisation technology is also on hand to provide up to four stops of shutter speed compensation – even with non-stabilised lenses attached.

Though it lacks the weather sealing of models higher up the Olympus range it nonetheless feels solid and sits in the hand nicely thanks to its redesigned handgrip and sculpted thumb rest. While buttons and controls fall in the same place as previous E-M10 models, some of their functions have been re-assigned as part of the overhaul to the user-interface. This also extends to the in-camera menu, which is now much simpler to navigate. Overall, it’s a great little camera for newcomers to mirrorless and enthusiasts alike.

At time of review the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III was available for £629 body-only, or £699 with a 14-42mm EZ kit lens.

Read the full Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III review

Score

Best high-end mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 20.3MP Four Thirds Sensor 
  • ISO 200-25,600 (exp to ISO 100)
  • 12fps burst shooting (with mechanical shutter in AF-S mode) or 60fps burst shooting (with electronic shutter in AF-S mode)
  • 3in, 1040-kdot vari-angle touchscreen
  • 3.68-million-dot EVF
  • 4K video capture

The G9 sits beside Panasonic’s premium GH5 and GH5S models in the Lumix G lineup. Whereas the GH series has always set about appealing to videographers, the G9 is out to fulfil the demands of passionate stills-focused photographers. It does this with an impressive specification, however it’s the blistering speeds that it’s capable of that really sets it apart from many other cameras.

Shooting continuously in its AF-S mode, the G9 can rattle out a burst at 12fps for as many as 60 frames in RAW, or at 60fps for 50 frames in RAW by activating the camera’s electronic shutter. Switching the camera over to its continuous AF mode (AF-C) sees the burst speed drop, but to a highly respectable 9fps using the mechanical shutter or 20fps using the electronic shutter.

The G9’s new 5-axis Dual I.S II image stabiliser, which offers 6.5 stops of compensation to counteract camera shake when shooting stills or movies, also has a dual-purpose. It allows the camera to offer a new 80-megapixel high-resolution mode whereby the sensor is shifted precisely between eight shots to create a single image with much finer detail. It’s wonderfully executed and is so simply to use.

There’s so much more to like about the camera. It has a top-plate LCD like you get on most DSLRs, a superb 3680k-dot resolution electronic viewfinder with 0.83x magnification, and a sensitive 3-inch, 1040k-dot vari-angle touchscreen. It combines all of the above with a spritely autofocus system, relying once again on a formula of contrast detection and Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology.

It may lack a really high-end feel and an in-camera panoramic mode, but it’s an incredibly versatile mirrorless camera that’s very capable of delivering satisfying results in the hands of those who love photography. There’s great value to be had from buying the Panasonic Lumix G9 and it’s by far the company’s best stills camera to date.

At time of review the Panasonic Lumix G9 was available for £1499 body-only, or £2019 with the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens.

Read the full Panasonic Lumix G9 review

Fujifilm X-T2

6 of 11

Score

Best high-end mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
  • ISO 200-12,800 (exp to ISO 51,200)
  • 8fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.04m-dot vari-angle LCD
  • 2.36-million-dot EVF
  • 4K video capture

The Fujifilm X-T2 sits alongside the X-Pro2 as one of Fujifilm’s two flagship mirrorless models. The main difference between the two is that the X-Pro2 is targeted more at still photographers who regularly use smaller prime lenses, whereas the X-T2 is positioned as more of an all-rounder that can be easily used with larger telephoto lenses and also as a videography tool.

As such it gains some additional features over the X-Pro2 including 4K video, an articulated rear screen and a superior EVF. On the flipside, the X-T2 lacks the hybrid optical/EVF viewfinder of the X-Pro2. In terms of design the X-T2 closely follows 2014’s X-T1 model – with a sculpted handgrip and raised EVF whereas the X-Pro2 follows a more classic retro-rangefinder aesthetic. Both cameras benefit from solid magnesium-alloy construction and weather-sealing.

Internally, the X-T2 is built around a 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor and an X-Processor Pro image processor. The X-T2’s mechanical shutter offers a top speed of 1/8000sec, although switching to the electronic shutter increases this to 1/32,000sec. Continuous shooting, meanwhile, maxes out at 8fps unaided, however this can be increased all the way up to 14fps by attaching the optional VPB-XT2 Power Booster grip (£249).

Autofocus is taken care of via an advanced hybrid AF module that incorporates 325 individual AF points, 169 of which are of the phase-detection type. While coverage doesn’t quite stretch to 100% of the viewfinder, focus acquisition times are impressively fast, which is to say all but instantaneous in good light. The X-T2 also boasts a number of useful AF-C customisation modes, which can be used to more accurately track moving subjects in a range of ways. This helps to make the it a great choice for sports and action photographers. Last but not least the X-T2 is also the first model in the range to support 4K video capture, with an external microphone port handily located on the side of the camera. In terms of its looks, build quality, features and performance the X-T2 is hard to beat.

At time of review the Fujifilm X-T2 was available for £1399 body-only, or £1649 with a 18-55mm XF lens.

Read the full Fujifilm X-T2 review

Score

Best high-end mirrorless camera for speed

Key features:

  • 20.4MP Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 200-25,600 (expandable to ISO 64)
  • 18fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.03m-dots vari-angle touchscreen LCD
  • 2.36m-dot EVF
  • 4K video capture

In recent years the digital camera industry has seen a move towards the use of ultra-fast image processors that can handle the increased data produced by high-resolution sensors and speedily process it, thereby enabling photographers to shoot extended bursts at high speed for longer than was previously possible. Of course, this is especially valuable to sports and action photographers but equally useful to wildlife shooters too. Released early in 2016, the flagship OM-D E-M1 II epitomises this new breed of camera in that it’s built from the ground up for speed and performance.

While the OM-D E-M1 II’s 20.4MP sensor represents a step up from the 16MP sensor of the original OM-D E-M1, it’s the TruPic VIII image processor that really makes the OM-D E-M1 II tick. This utilises two quad core processors, one of which is assigned to image processing duties while the other drives the OM-D E-M1 II’s autofocus system. This enables the OM-D E-M1 II to shoot continuously at 18fps via the mechanical shutter while maintaining active AF. If you want to shoot even faster, the E-M1’s electronic shutter can be employed to facilitate speeds of up to 60fps, albeit with focus locked on the first frame.

Autofocus is another area where the OM-D E-M1 II shines. Whereas the original OM-D EM-1 used a 37-point system, the OM-D E-M1 II gets a more advanced 121-point system that covers around 80% of the frame with on-sensor phase-detection AF points, all of which are of the cross-type variety. Used to track moving subjects, the AF system performs exceptionally well. Furthermore the OM-D also benefits from built-in 5-axis image stabilisation technology, which provides up to 6.5 stops of compensation.

Elsewhere the OM-D E-M1 II gets 4K video recording at up to 30fps along with twin SD card slots and built-in Wifi. In terms of construction, the OM-D E-M1 II benefits from durable magnesium alloy construction and is weather-sealed against dust and moisture. For those looking to shoot at speed, the OM-D E-M1 II is definitely one to put on the shortlist.

At time of review the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II was available for £1849 body-only, or £2399 with a 12-40mm PRO lens.

Read the full Olympus OM-D E-M1 II review

Best high-end mirrorless camera for video

Key features:

  • 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds Live MOS
  • 200-25,600 (expandable to ISO 100)
  • 12fps continuous shooting
  • 3.2-inch/1.62M-dots vari-angle touchscreen
  • 3.68-million-dot EVF
  • 10-bit 10:2:2 4K video capture

Panasonic’s GH series has long been targeted at video enthusiasts and the GH5 pushes this envelope even further, not only with the inclusion of 4K video footage at 50p/60p, but also with the addition of broadcast-standard 10-bit 10:2:2 recording at 30fps. In fact, this latter feature is likely to be a chief selling point for committed videographers, owing to the fact that 10-bit recording contains 64 times as much data than 8-bit recording, adding even greater flexibility at the post-production stage. Naturally, the GH5 also provides a range of 1080p Full HD and 720p HD quality options, with microphone and headphone ports all present and correct alongside a full-size HDMI port.

While the GH5 boasts class-leading video capabilities, it’s no slouch in the still image department either. The camera is built around a new 20.3MP Live MOS sensor and Panasonic’s latest Venus Engine 10 image processor. Autofocus is taken care of via a new 225-point AF module that utilises Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus contrast-detect technology to provide a claimed focus acquisition time of just 0.05secs. In addition, the GH5 also benefits from Panasonic’s Dual IS 2 five-axis image stabilisation technology, which provides up to five stops of shutter speed compensation regardless of whether you are using a stabilised lens or not.

Elsewhere, the GH5 comes with Panasonic’s new 6K Photo Mode that enables 18MP still images to be captured at up to 30fps. For those that prefer to prioritise speed over resolution, there’s also a 4K Photo Mode that enables you to capture 8MP images at up to 60fps. While the GH5 is not particularly small or light for a mirrorless camera, build quality is very much on the money, with the GH5’s durable magnesium alloy chassis also benefitting from dust and moisture sealing. If you’re looking for the ultimate stills/video hybrid then the GH5 should be at the top of your list.

At time of review the Lumix GH5 was available for £1699 body-only, or £2199 with a 14-42mm Leica DG Vario-Elmarit lens.

 

Read the full Panasonic Lumix GH5 review

Sony A7 II

9 of 11

Best full-frame mirrorless camera

Key features:

  • 24.3MP full-frame CMOS
  • ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50)
  • 5fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.22m-dot LCD
  • 2.4m-dot EVF
  • 1080p Full HD video capture

Sony currently offers three models within its full-frame A7 range, all of which are built for different purposes: the 12.2MP A7S II with its expansive dynamic range and extended ISO capabilities is primarily targeted at photojournalists, while the 42.4MP A7R II is geared more towards commercial photographers whose chief priority is billboard-sized resolution. The 24.3MP A7 II, meanwhile, is best thought of as an all-rounder that sits somewhere between the other two to deliver a finely balanced combination of resolution, flexibility and customisation.

Released in 2015, the A7 II succeeds the first-generation A7 model that came out in 2014. While the original was hailed as something of a technological breakthrough on account of being the first mirrorless camera to incorporate a full-frame sensor, it did suffer from some notable handling issues. The A7 II sets out to address these, while also building on the strengths of its predecessor. To this end, it’s an unqualified success; the handgrip is more pronounced for a more secure grip, and the button layout has also been rearranged to make operating the camera much more intuitive.

Internally the A7 II shares the same 24MP full-frame sensor and BIONZ X image processor of its predecessor, which provides a native sensitivity rage of ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50), along with a continuous shooting speed of 5fps. In addition, the A7 II also uses the same 124-point Hybrid AF system as the original that employs 99 phase-detection points alongside 25 contrast-detect points for impressively speedy focus acquisition. While there’s no 4K video support, the A7 II does provide an impressive array of 1080p Full HD and 720p HD video capture options.

One new feature for the A7 II is the addition of built-in Sony SteadyShot five-axis image stabilisation technology. This provides up to 4.5 stops of compensation, which is extremely useful for shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds or with longer lenses. In terms of build quality the A7 II is encased within a durable weather-sealed magnesium alloy shell.

At time of review the Sony A7 II was available for £1249 body-only, or £1549 with a FE 28-70mm OSS lens.

Sony A7R III

10 of 11

Score

Best full-frame mirrorless camera for ultimate image quality

Key features:

  • 42.4MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-32,000, (expandable to ISO 50-102,400)
  • 10fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.44m-dot tiltable LCD
  • 3.69m-dot OLED EVF
  • 4K video capture 

The Sony A7R III is an extraordinary mirrorless camera that combines high resolution (42.4MP) with high speed (10fps continuous shooting) and sensational high-ISO performance. It follows on from the much-loved Sony A7R II, with a compact, SLR-styled body and central electronic viewfinder, whilst inheriting many of the best features from the company’s speed demon, the Sony A9.

The A7R III’s main rival is the Nikon D850, which is similarly priced (£3500) and is also aimed at serious photographers who desire the perfect blend of resolution, speed and performance. Autofocus on the A7R III uses a hybrid system covering most of the image area, with 399 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points.

As well as including 5-axis in-body image stabilisation that works with practically any lens, the A7R III uses the same uprated NP-FZ100 battery as the A9, offering over twice the capacity of the old NP-FW50. It also gains twin SD card slots, but only one of these supports the faster UHS-II type. A couple of others things you don’t get that you might expect for the price are in-camera RAW conversion or a built-in intervalometer.

The body of the A7R III feels every bit as solid as Canon and Nikon’s full-frame DSLRs. The really good news is that it offers an AF-on button and AF-area selection joystick, along with a much better-positioned movie button and a larger, easier-to-use rear dial than the older model.

The 3inch screen isn’t fully articulated like other high-end mirrorless cameras, but the resolution has been upgraded to 1.44-million dots, with Whitemagic technology for improved brightness. Above it you get a large, high-resolution 3.69-million-dot EVF, which provides a bright, detailed view that’s as large as any full-frame DSLR’s.

The A7R III is much more than just a basic update of its predecessor and offers substantially faster autofocus and continuous shooting. It has a number of benefits over the Nikon D850 too, including a truly accurate viewfinder preview, a more reliable and accurate autofocus system and a considerably smaller body, along with much better 4K video capability.

As an all-rounder goes, the A7R III is about as versatile as a professional mirrorless camera gets and could be used in virtually any situation to get top-notch results. Overall, it’s a sublime camera and would be one of the best choices when making the move from DSLR to mirrorless.

At time of review the Sony A7R III was available for £3200 body-only.

Read the full Sony A7R III review

Sony A9

11 of 11

Score

Best full-frame mirrorless camera for speed

Key features:

  • 24MP full-frame Exmor RS sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200 (expandable to ISO 50-204,800)
  • 20fps continuous shooting
  • 3-inch/1.44m-dot touchscreen LCD
  • 3.68m-dot OLED EVF
  • 4K video capture

Released in the spring of 2017 the Sony A9 is a high-speed full-frame mirrorless camera that’s designed to compete directly with Nikon and Canon’s professional-grade DSLRs. More specifically, it’s high burst speed and remarkable autofocus tracking abilities mark it out as an ideal camera for high-speed sports and action photography, while it’s extended sensitivity settings and silent shooting abilities also increase its appeal to professional weddings and events shooters.

Making all this possible is a new 24MP full-frame Exmor RS sensor that employs Sony’s stacked design whereby the sensor circuitry is positioned directly below the photodiodes along with an integral DRAM chip that feeds the data to the A9’s powerful BIONZ X image processor up to 20 times faster than a conventional chip. In real-world use this enables the A9 to shoot continuously at up to 20fps via its electronic shutter with AF-C enabled, with no rolling shutter distortion effects and a top shutter speed of 1/32,000sec. Switching to the mechanical shutter, maximum burst speed drops to 5fps with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec.

The other big highlight of the A9 is its AF system, which employs 693 phase-detection points that cover approximately 93% of the frame. With its ability to refocus up to 60 times a second, the A9’s tracking abilities with moving subjects are also exceptional. Five-axis image stabilisation in the guise of Sony SteadyShot is also present, helping to keep images sharp even at slower shutter speeds.

Build quality is, as you’d expect of a £4.5k flagship camera, very good indeed with the A9 wrapped in durable magnesium alloy and fully sealed against dust and moisture. Physical controls are plentiful too, and in addition to twin control dials there’s also a dedicated joystick for speedy AF point placement. The 3.68m-dot EVF, meanwhile, is one of the sharpest on the market, while the 3-inch rear LCD doubles up as a touchscreen. 4K video capture at 25fps is supported, however the A9 does not offer any “flat” profiles for grading purposes.

At time of review the Sony A9 was available for £4499 body-only. Sony doesn’t offer a specific lens kit package, although some retailers do.

Read the full Sony A9 review