1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall
3. Best Sony
4. Best value
5. Best hybrid
6. Best pro camera
7. Best all-rounder
8. Best for detail
9. Best for intermediates
10. Great generalist
11. Best APS-C
12. Best for beginners
13. Best Micro Four Thirds
14. Best value for astro
15. Best mirrorless cameras FAQs
16. How we test
The best mirrorless cameras are powerful tools that can keep up with you in whatever shooting scenario you're in. Mirrorless cameras are nothing new, but they continue to be the weapon of choice among amateurs and professionals. They have been successful in superseding the trusty DSLR camera, with many manufacturers now discontinuing their DSLR lines. We're also now seeing early Black Friday camera deals ahead of the annual sales event which officially starts Friday 24 November 2023.
Mirrorless cameras, unlike DSLRs, don't have a mirror or prism. Instead, they use an electronic screen as the viewfinder. This makes them lighter and more compact, making them a more portable and travel-friendly option than traditional DSLRs.
There are three main image sensor sizes in mirrorless cameras: Micro Four Thirds (MFT), APS-C (also referred to as crop sensor), and full-frame sensors. MFT are generally the smallest, then APS-C crop sensors, with full-frame sensor camera bodies being the largest, but also the most capable. Most users start out with smaller bodies and work their way up to full-frame as their skills progress.
For astrophotography, the best mirrorless cameras aren't your only, or necessarily the best option. For astrophotographers who want camera equipment that will maximize detail in the stars and beyond, check out the best cameras for astrophotography and consider the best lenses for astrophotography. For our top picks of the best cameras overall, including DSLRs, take a look at our guide to the best camera for photos and videos.
Don't forget Black Friday/Cyber Monday is just around the corner, so if you've made it this far through the year without purchasing a new mirrorless camera, you could save a chunk of cash by holding on just a bit longer.
The quick list
Below we've summarized our top picks of the best mirrorless cameras, including their main specs, features and who they might be best suited for. If you need more in-depth information, click on the 'read more below' buttons to read full reviews.
Nikon blends its best DSLR and mirrorless heritage to make a monster mirrorless that outcompetes every other camera out there right now.
The successor to the popular A7R IV, this camera does everything the previous model did and more, with class-leading AI-based autofocus and hugely detailed images.
This camera is a great choice for professionals and is one of Canon's best-ever technical achievements.
This camera is ideal for professional photography, from landscapes, portraits or wedding photography — and now that there's a newer model, the price has dropped.
Best for pros
Best for pros
The Nikon Z9 is a brilliant camera for stills and videos of astro, landscapes, weddings and more.
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Best for detail
Best for detail
The Sony A1 is a powerhouse for video and photography, shooting 50.1MP stills and 8K 30P video.
Best for intermediates
Best for intermediates
The Canon EOS R6 boasts great high ISO image noise handling to produce great stills and videos.
The X-T5 is a stylish, compact camera with a 40-megapixel sensor and high-speed processor.
Best aps-c model
Best APS-C model
The Canon EOS R7 is a powerful crop sensor camera that can handle almost anything you throw at it.
Best for beginners
Best for beginners
For taking everyday snaps, travel photography or even landscape photos, the X-T30 II will see you right for years to come.
Best Micro Four Thirds
Best Micro Four Thirds
This is a small, lightweight camera that offers a great balance between usability, quality and a simple interface.
The best mirrorless cameras we recommend in 2023
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✅ You can afford it: This is a big investment but it's worth it if you'll be in the industry for years to come.
✅ You shoot stills and video: This camera is just as impressive at both of these tasks
❌ You don't see yourself in the photography game long term: This is a very expensive camera and overkill for most casual shooters.
❌ You're looking or something lightweight and portable: This model is significantly heavier and bigger than its predecessor. It looks and feels like a professional camera.
🔎 Nikon Z8: Professionals need to look no further — if you combined all the best parts of the flagship Nikon Z9 and the best DSLR in the world, the Nikon D850, you'd be left with this heavy-hitter; the Nikon Z8. ★★★★★
Wow, what can we say — this is the go-to camera for professionals who earn a living from their photography and shoot a range of styles or enthusiastic casual shooters with a sizeable budget (around $4000) to play with. It is the perfect blend of 'all the good bits' of the incredible Nikon D850 DSLR and Nikon's flagship Nikon Z9.
This camera is a hybrid powerhouse, shooting both video and stills with equal aplomb. It captures high-quality video formats like N-Log, ProRes, and Raw HQ data. It also excels at handling noise and can shoot photos at a ridiculous 120FPS, making it ideal for indoor sports, concerts, weddings, and similar events. However, 120FPS shots are limited to 11MP, which may not be enough for professionals. It can also shoot 60FPS with a blackout between exposures or 30FPS without (although these files are limited to JPEG). For RAW images, it can shoot 20FPS, which is still impressive. Remember, though, that this camera is quite large and heavy.
For astrophotographers, Nikon has even incorporated a night vision mode that dims the rear screen and electronic viewfinder and displays red pixels to help maintain your night vision. We'd have liked it if the screen was fully articulating instead of just tilting, as this would make astro shooting a little easier, but we still gave it full marks in our review.
This is an incredible camera, and you can read more of our thoughts in our gushing Nikon Z8 review. It's simply the best camera body on the market right now — it performs so well across the board we can't think of another camera that matches its versatile prowess — it's in a league of its own.
- Read our full Nikon Z8 review
|Design||Outstanding build quality, but it's big and heavy.|
|Performance||Starlight mode enables autofocus detection down to an unheard of -9EV.|
|Functionality||Night vision mode for astrophotographers.|
✅ You shoot portraits or weddings: The new AI-based autofocus system is on another level and makes shooting people easier than ever.
✅ You shoot multiple styles: This camera excels at most photographic styles and video, so if you like to shoot many different subjects then this could be the camera for you.
❌ You mainly shoot astro: We noted that due to so many megapixels, the images were very noisy. Fine for occasional astro with AI denoise in post-processing, but there are better options for astro.
🔎 Sony A7R V: The Sony A7R V builds on the power of its predecessor with its higher resolution EVF and LCD screen, more stops of image stabilization and a new AI autofocus unit, but the massive 61MP sensor provides too much noise for astrophotography. ★★★★½
Design: The new Sony A7R V is a breath of fresh air in the photography world. We weren't sure how Sony could improve on the A7R IV, which was at the top of our list, but we think this upgraded model has blown it out of the water.
One design element that stood out to us was the 4-axis, multi-angle LCD screen. Not only is it incredibly detailed with 2.095M dots, but it also combines tilt screens with fully articulating screens — you can achieve any angle you want to while still keeping the screen away from the ports on the side of the camera. Finally!
Performance: This camera introduces an incredibly clever AI-based autofocus system. It's designed to recognize human movements, various poses and even different body parts, allowing it to predict how the subject might move. Additionally, it can track subjects such as cars, trains, planes, animals and insects. We were incredibly impressed when we reviewed it and saw a notable improvement over the already very good autofocus in the previous model.
Functionality: The Sony A7R V has eight stops of image stabilization, which we found completely came into its own when shooting in low light. When testing the Sony A7R V review, we could shoot handheld at ISO 100 at 1/3 second and our image was clean and sharp — seriously impressive.
However, low light and astrophotography don't necessarily go hand in hand here. When shooting astrophotography, we noticed that when we had to bump the ISO up, the images had quite a bit of noticeable noise (which was somewhat expected with a 61MP sensor). We could reduce a lot of it using image editing software, but this will likely become quite tiresome, not to mention time-consuming if astrophotography is your main focus, as you'll have to do that for every photo.
It's certainly an investment, but for the amount of tech you get, we think it's worth every cent and will last for years. If you shoot multiple disciplines, we think you'll love this camera.
- Read our full Sony A7R V review
|Design||Most versatile LCD screen yet.|
|Performance||Sony's autofocus just keeps getting better thanks to the new AI system.|
|Functionality||Eight stops image stabilization proves great for low light.|
✅ You want good autofocus: this camera has excellent AF even in low light.
✅ You want great image stabilization: the R5 has eight stops of it.
❌ You're on a budget: this camera is on the expensive side and is mostly a camera reserved for pros, so if you're on a budget you might want to consider other options.
❌ You shoot video a lot: there are reported overheating problems when shooting 8K video.
🔎 The Canon EOS R5 is a great choice for semi-pro photographers looking to upgrade to a camera for life. ★★★★½
Design: When we reviewed the Canon EOS R5, we thought that even though it had a fairly weighty, bulky appearance, it was pleasingly lightweight compared to Canon's older DSLRs.The EOS R5's RF mount also benefits from improved optical designs that result in better results and smaller form factor lenses, making it more portable, thanks to its wider diameter and closer flange range.
Performance: The Canon EOS R5 is a fantastic choice for experienced and professional users who want exceptional picture and video image quality — it captures 45MP stills and 8K DCI RAW 30p video footage, although there have been a lot of reported overheating issues when shooting 8K video, so that's something to keep in mind.
The -6EV autofocusing detection range gives it exceptional low-light performance; this camera can practically see in the dark. Thanks to the custom-designed DIGIC X image processor, there is very little image noise throughout the ISO sensitivity range, making this camera a great option for astrophotography.
Functionality: The R5 offers an improved dynamic range, thanks to enhancements in the Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) and Highlight Tone Priority + technology. These improvements benefit photographers who may not have much experience with image processing by making it easier to capture well-contrasted images of darker subjects. This, in turn, reduces the need for extensive post-shoot editing and contrast adjustments.
The R5 has in-body image stabilization (IBIS) technology, providing 5-axis stabilization that can steady images by an impressive eight stops, even when using lenses without built-in stabilization. While this IBIS technology works effectively for video recording, we thought it fell short when it came to recording 8K RAW footage.
During our Canon EOS R5 review, we found the tracking spot on and found the R5 had one of the fastest autofocus systems we've used. However, we did find that over the course of a day, the battery life struggled to keep up with the camera's specs.
- Read our full Canon EOS R5 review
|Design||A heavy, sturdier design than some other mirrorless cameras.|
|Performance||Exceptional low light performance.|
|Functionality||Battery life is slightly compromised.|
✅ You want to shoot the sharpest images: the stills resolution is incredible.
✅ You want great features: It has incredible functionality and is very much typical of what you'd expect from Sony.
✅ You're a pro: As this camera is so expensive, it's really only reserved for pros who make money from photography.
❌ You want to shoot video: there is no 8K video recording, which is disappointing for a camera this expensive.
❌ You want the biggest ISO range: for the price, 100-32,000 is limited.
❌ You want the best autofocus: While we thought the autofocus was good, those who want the most intelligent autofocus should opt for the newer model — the Sony A7R V.
🔎 The Sony A7R IV is one of the highest resolution full-frame cameras on the market, and has an incredibly impressive autofocus system. ★★★★½
Design: The Sony A7R IV stands out for its blend of portability and ergonomics, and it actually used to sit right at the top of this list until the newer model was released. The grip has been improved compared to the A7R III, which many users had complained that it didn't have much space between the lens and grip. Additionally, Sony has improved button design, making it more user-friendly than the previous model.
Performance: If you want to capture unmatched detail, take a closer look at this record-breaking Sony A7R IV camera. The image sensor in the Sony A7R IV is capable of capturing huge 61MP stills images, which, at the time of its release was the highest resolution stills in a full-frame camera (the A7R V has matched it). Strangely, this doesn't apply to video because it can only record 4K UHD footage at a maximum resolution of 30 frames per second, although the majority of shooters still find that to be good enough.
Functionality: We tested the capabilities of this camera in our hands-on Sony A7R IV review, and we were very impressed with the autofocus which performed faultlessly, including eye detection — even when we did the 'black cat test'. Where many cameras wouldn't even detect that there was a face in the image — it tracked the cat's eyes flawlessly — that is really impressive.
The A7R IV also performs very well in low light, and it's also a decent option for astro, but be mindful that the images are quite noisy and the ISO range tops out at about 32,000. That said, the A7R IV will provide a larger and more detailed view of the galaxies than anything else.
- Read our full Sony A7R IV review
|Design||Superb build quality.|
|Performance||Bright, sharp and colorful images.|
|Functionality||High megapixel sensor means more image noise.|
Best pro camera
✅ You're on the go a lot: this camera has impressive battery life, even in temperatures down to -10-degrees celsius / 14-degrees Fahrenheit.
✅ You want a sturdy camera: the build quality on the Z9 is excellent and can withstand years of use.
✅ You shoot sports photography: this camera has very impressive burst speed — it can do 30, 60 and 120FPS in JPEG, and 20FPS in RAW.
❌ You need a lightweight camera: this one is on the heavy side compared to some of its competitors.
❌ You want an articulated screen: the screen on this camera is tilt-only.
🔎 The Nikon Z9 is a brilliant astro camera and a monster for stills and video, but it has a high price. ★★★★½
Design: If you're lucky enough to afford the premium $5500 price tag, it's easily one of the best Nikon cameras full stop. It's fully weather-sealed and incredibly rugged, and Nikon claims it will continue to operate at -10 degrees Celsius — although we didn't test this during our review.
That said, even after three or four hours of shooting in the cold, which involved numerous long exposures and frequent setting adjustments, we only used up 20% of the fully charged battery, which is quite impressive.
Performance: To say we were impressed with this camera during our hands-on Nikon Z9 review is a vast understatement. The only reason it didn't quite earn five stars is that astrophotographers may find it overkill and that there is no need to spend this much money if astrophotography is your main discipline.
Functionality: The autofocus is rapid, even in low light, giving you the best opportunity to capture fleeting moments at special occasions such as weddings or sporting events. Not to mention, it's just as capable of shooting video as it is at stills. It also has an incredibly impressive burst speed, capable of shooting up to 120FPS! Although, the trade-off here is that 30, 60 and 120FPS are JPEG only, with RAW images topping out at 20FPS (which is still really good!).
This camera is head and shoulders above the competition if you want to take images of landscapes, people, animals and occasionally some astro. Why isn't it at the top of our list? Well, it's a professional-use camera so while it's certainly built to last, the price will be prohibitive to many.
- Read our full Nikon Z9 review
|Design||Heavy, solidly built body.|
|Performance||Excellent astro performance, but overkill if that's all you shoot.|
|Functionality||As capable at video as it is at stills.|