The best mirrorless cameras for 2021

Mirrorless cameras have a lot of versatility. They tend to be on the smaller and lighter side in comparison to DSLRs, and still produce amazing images. Some even come loaded with features to improve your picture taking experience. Our favorite is the Fujifilm X-T4, offering an excellent combination of features and performance in an overall compact size. Few other cameras nail the photographic experience so expertly, and the X-T4 feels like an aspirational dream camera without the exorbitant price that usually accompanies such a product.

Whether you want to purchase a top of the line model or you’d rather have something a little more basic, we’re here to make your shopping easier by providing you with some options. Check out our top mirrorless camera recommendations.

At a glance:

The best mirrorless camera overall: Fujifilm X-T4

Why should you buy this: Excellent performance and great design in a compact system

Who’s it for: Enthusiast photographers, or anyone looking for a one-size-fits-all camera

Why we picked the Fujifilm X-T4:

It doesn’t have the biggest sensor, nor the most megapixels, but when it comes to the photographic experience, no other camera delivers quite like the Fujifilm X-T4. Its classic design with analog-inspired control dials is married to modern features like 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization and a fully articulating monitor. It covers the gamut from street photography to video production and everything in between, and it does all of these things to a very high degree of competence.

Fujifilm X-series cameras are known for providing a great experience, but previous models always had the same annoying quirks. The X-T4 is the first in the series to address virtually very complaint we’ve made about past X-T cameras, even solving one problem (the lack of stabilization) that was previously thought to be impossible. Battery life has nearly doubled, the fully articulating screen is great for video, and autofocus performance is encroaching on Sony territory (that is to say, it’s really good).

The X-T4 also took what the X-T3 did well and made it even better. The newly designed shutter is whisper-quiet and can fire away at 15 frames per second — which is more speed than any Fujifilm fan was even asking for.

The X-T4 does carry over much of the same tech as the Fujifilm X-T3, including the 26-megapixel X-Trans sensor, X Processor 4 image processor, and 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder. The video mode is also largely the same, offering 4K at up to 60 fps, but Full HD recording can now hit 240 fps compared to the X-T3’s 120 fps.

That means the X-T3, which is now heavily discounted, may be the better choice for you if you don’t need stabilization, super-speed continuous shooting, or extreme slow-motion video.

But after shooting the Fujifilm X-T4 and experiencing how all its features work in concert, it’s hard to shoot with anything less.

Read our Fujifilm X-T4 hands-on review

The Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera: Sony A7R IV


Why should you buy this: 61 megapixels of full-frame glory

Who’s it for: Professional and enthusiast photographers who want the most detail you can get

Why we picked the Sony A7R IV:

Remember when 45 megapixels was a big deal? The Sony A7R IV packs in 61, offering more resolution than an 8K TV. That’s enough to make very detailed 30-inch prints, or crop a photo significantly and still get a sharp result. But while many high-resolution cameras will slow you down, the A7R IV can fire away at a 10 frames per second. That won’t win a race with the sports-oriented A9, but it’s plenty of speed for most users.

If somehow 61 megapixels isn’t enough, a pixel shift mode can be used to create a 240-megapixel image, although you’ll to stitch it together later using Sony’s proprietary software. Equally impressive are the 15 stops of dynamic range that will help keep more details intact in high contrast scenes.

The Sony A7R IV also packs in the same old features that have kept the A7 series on best camera lists for years. 5-axis stabilization is built into the body, the autofocus system is the best in the business thanks Real-Time Tracking and Real-Time Eye AF, and it can shoot decent, albeit not class-leading, 4K video.

Those features are wrapped up in a body that’s familiar to anyone who’s handled a Sony mirrorless camera before, but Sony has made some small enhancements. The grip is a bit deeper on the A7R IV and the weather sealing has been improved. The body houses a 670-shot battery.

You’ll need perfect focus and technique to actually take advantage of all those megapixels, but the A7R IV makes this as easy as possible. No, it’s not cheap, but for the most demanding photographers, the Sony A7R IV is worth it.

Read our Sony A7R IV Hands On

The best cheap mirrorless camera: Fujifilm X-T30

Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: Excellent images and solid performance for less money than a flagship phone

Who’s it for: Photographers who want great pictures in a portable form factor at a good price

Why we picked the Fujifilm X-T30:

Full-frame cameras may be all the rage these days, but Fujifilm continues to prove there’s plenty of value in the smaller APS-C format. The Fujifilm X-T30 isn’t the cheapest camera you can buy, but it may just be the most valuable. It takes the best features from the impressive X-T3 and whittles away a few of the less essential options to make an affordable, but still very capable, camera. What you get is a camera with a less robust body and a few high-end features, but one that produces image quality that’s just as impressive as the camera that costs almost twice as much.

The X-T30 uses a 26-megapixel X-Trans sensor that’s capable of capturing some excellent images as well as 10-bit 4K video. A 425-point phase-detection autofocus system is fast, accurate, and fills the entire frame. The X-T30 can’t keep up with the X-T3’s burst rate and larger image buffer, but its 8 frames per second are still plenty for most photographers.

The camera can also handle 4K video quite well, offering both Fujifilm’s F-Log profile and 10-bit 4:2:2 output making it suitable for even some professional video applications. It’s one of the best video modes we’ve seen in a camera that doesn’t breach the four-figure price barrier.

Fujifilm wraps all of that tech into a body that’s a mix of retro and modern, with both physical dials and a touchscreen. Compared to the X-T3, the biggest things missing are the second SD card slot and weather-sealing, but the Fujifilm X-T30 is a stellar shooter for the price.

Read our Fujifilm X-T30 review

Runner up: Sony A6100

We love the Fuji for its styling and lens collection, but there’s no doubt that the new Sony A6100 has some performance advantages. The big one is autofocus, as the A6100 inherits the same Real-Time AF features as more-expensive Sonys, making it easy to track subjects and ensure every shot is tack-sharp.

Read our Sony A61000 review

The best mirrorless camera for video: Panasonic Lumix GH5

Hillary Grigonis/Digital Trends

Hillary Grigonis/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: The GH5 is a hybrid camera that’s can shoot both stills and video without cutting corners.

Who’s it for: Creatives who put as much emphasis on motion content as they do on still photos.

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix GH5:

All the cameras on this list shoot video and most even shoot 4K, and the X-T4 could have easily found itself in this spot were it not already at the top of the list.

Unlike most cameras, however, video is not a secondary focus in the Lumix GH5. Where many DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have short recording limits, the GH5 will happily continue shooting until the card fills up or the battery dies. It also was the first camera to boast smooth-as-butter 60-fps 4K, although the Fujifilm X-T4 now matches that.

Beyond 4K, it offers a number of video features targeting professional users, including 10-bit 4:2:2 recording<

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