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Date: 19/03/2015 | By: Heather

The Best Mirrorless Cameras According to 30 Expert Photography Bloggers

best mirrorless cameras

The Best Mirrorless Cameras According to 30 Expert Photography Bloggers

Ask a working photographer to recommend a camera, and 90% of the time he or she will suggest the model sitting in his or her own camera bag. Put the same question to a professional camera reviewer or blogger on the other hand, and you’ll receive a far more objective response.

The reason is simple – camera reviewers have more contact with a wide variety of camera models. It is their job to even-handedly weigh the pros and cons of each system and their respective models, and help their audience choose the right camera for its needs.

Since our readers often email us asking for mirrorless camera advice, we decided to go one step further to give them the best, most well-balanced answer possible.

We contacted a number of expert photography bloggers, vloggers and reviewers and asked them following question:

If you had to recommend three mirrorless cameras, which would they be?

We wanted to know plain and simple which mirrorless cameras had caught the eye of the experts. As you can imagine, the responses were as varied as they were informative.

So, without further ado, here are the answers!

The Best Mirrorless Cameras (chosen by 30 experts)

  1. Fujifilm X-T1 (22%)
  2. Sony A7 II (14%)
  3. Olympus OM-D E-M5 II (12%)
  4. Sony a6000 (7%)
  5. Olympus OM-D E-M1 (7%)

(Other 38%)

Most Selected Mirrorless Brands

  1. Sony (33%)
  2. Fujifilm (30%)
  3. Olympus (20%)
  4. Panasonic (10%)
  5. Samsung (3%)

(Other 3%)

best mirrorless camera

Read on to discover each expert’s three recommended cameras along with the reasons why they chose them. You can either skip to the experts who interest you the most by using these quick links, or you can sit down, grab a hot cup of tea and scroll through the entire list!

Note: Responses have been listed in the order in which they were received.

Nasim Mansurov – Photography Life

1. Fuji X-T1: an amazing all around camera with a good balance of performance and features. Large and clear EVF and great ergonomics make this camera a joy to shoot with. Plenty of great native mount lenses now, making Fuji my personal favorite mirrorless camera at the moment.

2. Olympus OM-D E-M1: my second favorite candidate. If it was not for the lower image quality compared to Fuji and the 4:3 ratio that I had a hard time getting used to, this would easily be #1. A superb tool that deserves praises for its design and features. The 5-axis image stabilization is wonderful, the best on the market for sure. Couple that with a myriad of available lens choices for Micro Four Thirds mount and you have an amazingly powerful and versatile system.

3. Sony A7 II: easily beats all mirrorless cameras in image quality, has a great 5-axis IBIS (albeit not as good as in the E-M1) and allows using pretty much any lens on the market via adapters. However, it’s far from being perfect. Menu system is terrible, native mount lens selection is too limited and costly, AF is not as reliable and the battery is a bit too small for the camera. Sony crippled the A7 series cameras with lossy compressed RAW, which is disappointing, considering that it has such an amazing potential. Definitely a step in the right direction though, deserving praises otherwise.

Visit Nasim’s website Photography Life to read his reviews and photo essays.

Ken Rockwell –

1. Fuji X100T
2. Fuji X100S
3. iPhone 6 Plus

If you don’t like iPhone, then Fuji X100 for 3rd place

Why? Fujis have the best color rendition in any light for people shots, fill flash exposure and auto WB that’s always dead-on of the first shot, every time, which is critical in people and action photography. The key is they get it all right on the first shot without needing a second try aft the moment is gone. Also, the x100t has clairvoyant face recognition while shooting that makes having to select AF points manually a thing if the past — letting me shoot much faster.

Ditto for iPhone 6+; it nails colors and exposure better than anything else.

Visit Ken’s website to read his reviews.

Jordan Drake – The Camera Store TV

1. Sony A6000: This is the best bang-for-the-buck mirrorless on the market. The major advantage of entry-level DSLRs over mirrorless cameras had been the faster AF speed, but Sony finally cracked the code and gave us a great focus system in single point or continuous mode. My wife and I wanted a small, high quality camera for family stills and video, the Sony A6000 was our choice. Now Sony, please give us an XAVC firmware update!

2. Fuji X-T1: If photography is your top priority, Fuji’s flagship has gorgeous image processing, a great interface, brilliant EVF and my favourite mirrorless lens lineup. Fuji’s commitment to regular, useful firmware updates also means that this camera keeps getting better and better. If you get a chance, try one with an XF 56mm F1.2, it’s a beautiful thing!

3. Sony A7S: If video is as big a priority as photography, the A7S shoots some the best 1080P footage available. But what makes this camera so special is the spectacular low-light ability in stills or video. The 12MP stills might not sound too impressive, but they’re 12 REALLY good megapixels, I was amazed by how big you print A7S files. Also, if you want to record some 4K, the Atomos Shogun has finally shipped…

Visit The Camera Store TV to watch Jordan’s video reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Darlene Hildebrandt – Digital Photography School

1. Fuji X-T1, I have one and love it. Why: it’s an APS-C sensor not 4/3s smaller one. It has dials and buttons not menus. It has weather resistance and a good lens selection.

2. My second choice was and is the Olympus OM-D EM-5 (now the mark II). I had a chance to use one for 2 months and was really impressed with the image quality for the smaller sensor – and the user interface (relatively easy to find settings without a manual).

3. Don’t have a third, haven’t used any others enough to say I’d pick them.

Visit Digital Photography School to see Darlene’s articles and check out her personal website.

Ming Thein – Ming Thein Photographer

I sold all of my mirrorless gear because of various limitations and shortcomings. The only thing I retain that might count is the Ricoh GR, but that doesn’t have interchangeable lenses.

My rationale for not going mirroless has to do more with my own personal output objectives that involve large and high resolution printing than fundamental issues with mirrorless itself; all of the options available these days more than pass sufficiency requirements for 99% of photographers. That said, I’d be weary of certain cameras with shutter shock issues (E-M1, A7R) or raw compression (any of the A7s). The GR remains because of its excellent lens-sensor pairing and overall ergonomics, UI and image quality; you could replace it with the Coolpix A if you shoot more color than monochrome – that camera delivers more pleasing color but poorer monochrome conversions, and has an equally good lens. Either one of those cameras is a cut above the rest of the non-full frame competition, and to some extent so good that I’ll forgo a wide angle lens for the DSLR and use the GR instead.

Visit Ming Thein Photographer to read his reviews/philosophical essays and follow him on Twitter.

Mark Goldstein – Photography Blog

1. Fujifilm X-T1

Strikes the right balance in size between MTF and full-frame, with a fantastic range of high-quality lenses.

2. Sony A7S

Incredible low-light performance with the benefit of beautiful bokeh from the 35mm sensor.

3. Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

Amazing image stabilisation system from a brand new camera that in many ways out-performs the professional E-M1.

Visit Mark’s website Photography Blog to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Scott Bourne – PhotoFocus / We Shoot Fuji

1. Fuji X-T1 – this camera has most (if not all depending on the model) of the features of popular DSLRs. It is lightweight, and reasonably priced given its performance. It’s image quality, low-light and noiseless performance have made me a fan. (The X100T would be a good second choice to the X-T1 for those who didn’t need interchangeable lenses.)

2. Panasonic GH4 – while I personally prefer dedicated video cameras for shooting video, if you need a hybrid system that shoots both stills and video and video is your primary focus, then the GH4 has no equal. It’s video features list read like a camera costing much more including things like 4K video, higher bitrate full HD, focus peaking, zebras, uncompressed HDMI output, etc.

3. Olympus OM-D E-M1 – This was the camera that convinced me mirrorless cameras were a force to be reckoned with. The strength of the Olympus lineup is its lenses. Some of the MFT lenses for this system are the sharpest I’ve used in my 40 years of photography. While I haven’t checked it against some of the newer lenses, at the time I tested it, the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f1.8 was the sharpest lens I’ve ever seen.

Visit Scott’s websites PhotoFocus and We Shoot Fuji to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Lok Cheung – DigitalRev TV

The Sony A7 because it’s full frame, the Lumix GM5 because it’s tiny and the Fujifilm X100 and Lumix LX100.

(Paraphrased from a tweet on Twitter)

Visit DigitialRev TV to watch Lok’s video reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Kevin Raber – The Luminous Landscape

1. Fuji X-T1

If I look back over the last few years I am impressed by the commitment that Fuji has thrown at its camera line up.  The lens roadmap and availability of lenses and the image quality these lenses deliver, paired with their cameras makes this a real winner.  The Fuji X-T1 is as about as close to a great camera as it gets.  The menus and use of dials and settings makes it one of the more intuitive cameras available.  If you are an experienced photographer you’ll love this camera right away.  Fuji has also shown that the day of primes may be a thing of the past.  Their zoom lenses are so good that you can easily build a super kit covering everything from Wide-angle to telephoto coverage.  My lenses of choice are 10-24, 16-55 2.8, 50-140 and the 55-200mm.  Throw in the 56mm which a stand out lens and you have a compact kit that delivers incredible image quality.  The Fuji camera line up and their X chip prove that it’s not all about megapixels.

2. Sony A7 II

The Sony mirrorless cameras are very impressive and I have grown attached to the NEW Sony A7 II.  I just returned from Antarctica where I shot primarily with the Sony a7 II.  The camera is easy to use and the lenses I have are outstanding.  My lens lineup is the 16-35mm, 24-70, 70-200mm the 16mm Fisheye and the Tamron 150-600mm.  There is a part of this camera that frustrates me to no end and that is the menus and some of the basic camera operations.  It’s beyond me how a a camera company can design such a terrible menu system for their camera.  The in camera stabilization is a brilliant move on Sony’s apart and will enable them to step up the introduction of new lenses.  The weakness of the Sony system is the lens lineup and the reliance of adapters to extend the number of lenses that can be used.  While this does allow a wide selection of lenses it is a weakness when one want to invest in long term solutions.  There is no question Sony will give the N and C guys a run for their money.  We can only anticipate a release of a follow on camera to the a7 R with IBIS.

3. Olympus OM-D E-M1

I am very impressed with the Olympus OMD E-M1.  The build quality camera features is outstanding.  Olympus was one of the first cameras offering IBIS and it performs with incredible results.  I love my Olympus and the new Pro lens line up excellent.  Very fast focus and built super well.  The 12-40 and 40-150mm lenses are true performers deliver superior and impressive image quality, especially for a Micro 4/3 chip size.  The frames per second as well as rapid auto focus with the Pro lenses makes for a great choice for a compact camera system.   My wife shot with the Olympus on our most recent Antarctica trip and her images are super.  The one draw back with the Olympus is the chip size.  It will interesting to see what the new OMD systems deliver.

This three camera line up essentially covers all three of the present popular chip sizes.  Each delivers excellent image quality and proves that with the reduced weight and size that these systems are attractive to a wide audience.  It will be interesting to see how the other manufacturers catch on if they actually do.

Visit Kevin’s website The Luminous Landscape to read his reviews/essays and follow him on Facebook.

Chris Niccolls – The Camera Store TV

1. Sony A6000.  Big sensor, great price point, fairly compact with the kit lens.

2. Fuji X-T1. Weather sealed, great viewfinder, sexy retro design

3. Panasonic GM5 – Super tiny but still good sensor, full featured control and viewfinder, great kit lens quality without bulk.

Visit The Camera Store TV to watch Chris’ video reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Gordon Laing – Camera Labs

1. Sony Alpha A6000

Sony’s Alpha A6000 may be a year old, but remains an unbeatable camera for the money. This mid-range mirrorless packs a 24 Megapixel sensor, a tilting screen, built-in viewfinder and one of the best Wifi implementations around. But for me what really impresses is the AF system which can confidently track moving subjects anywhere on the frame. Coupled with a drive that sustain 11fps this is the first mirrorless camera that can seriously capture fast action – indeed, coupled with the FE 70-200mm f4G OSS, it was my primary camera at The Tour de France. Just be sure to dump the 16-50mm kit zoom for something better if you want to make the most of the resolution.

2. Fujifilm X-T1

I’ve always loved Fujifilm’s image quality – the combination of great optics, and innovative sensor and some of the best processing around means it’s a doddle to capture great-looking images out-of-camera. But in terms of handling, the XT1 was the first X-series body where it all came together for me. The viewfinder is absolutely stunning and cleverly rotates the shooting information when shooting in the portrait orientation, and while I personally feel the body is best-suited for Fine Art photography, the presence of phase-detect AF points in the middle of the sensor means it’ll have a fair stab at action. The self-indulgent retro controls may end up slowing me down at times and the video is nothing to write home about, but there’s no denying it’s a good-looking camera that can deliver superb still photos – indeed, it’s normally the first I turn to when shooting landscapes and architecture.

3. Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II

I’ve been shooting Micro Four Thirds for most of my personal work since it was first introduced several years ago, but for me the system really came of age when Olympus launched the original OMD EM5. The concept was refined with the EM1, and now the EM5 Mark II takes it further still. This small but perfectly formed and weather-sealed body has it all: a big viewfinder, fully-articulated touch-screen, superb controls, broad customization, and amazing built-in stabilization which works with any lens you mount. Unbelievably, the already highly effective stabilization of the EM1 is even better here and can even be deployed to stitch images with 40 Megapixels worth of detail under the right conditions. I can honestly think of no better general-purpose camera for the money.

Visit Gordon’s website Camera Labs to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Amy Davies – Freelance Journalist and Photographer

1. Sony A7 II – a great all-round performer that offers beautiful full-frame images without the bulk and weight of traditional DSLR counterparts. Now that Sony is releasing more lenses for the system, it’s becoming a more serious contender.

2. Fuji X-T1 – gorgeous retro design that is practical to use and produces beautiful images – what’s not to like? not much!

3. Olympus PEN E-PL7 – I love the fun aspect that PEN cameras bring, and this has loads of great stuff – a touchscreen, great art filters and a lightweight body.

Visit Amy’s personal photography website and follow her on Twitter.

Klaus Schroiff – PhotoZone

I would recommend Fujifilm as a general purpose system without the DSLR constraints – although it doesn’t provide the benefits that are usually associated with mirrorless systems (substantially lower size/weight). Unfortunately their QC could be better.

I would go for MFT if lower size/weight is your main goal – the format is small enough to make a difference here but still big enough to provide high quality images.

I do not believe in Samsung NX. They had their window of opportunity years ago and they let it go. Their current attempt will not change this. If you dare to count it – this is their 5th run to get into the system market (SR, K-mount, NX, NX-mini, NX relaunch). It seems as if Samsung just doesn’t have the mindset despite good products.

Nikon 1 is, technically, an interesting system that could take on MFT …if they wished to … but they don’t.

Canon EF-M … Canon still has the capabilities to overrun the mirrorless market. It remains a mystery why they don’t do it and just accept losing marketshare in the low to mid-range DSLR segment. I’d estimate that the APS-C DSLR market will disappear within the next 5-10 years but they simply refuse the thought.

Last but not least Sony. Honestly, it’s hard to judge them really. Their NEX (APS-C) approach was flawed. They released a gazillion of different camera models but very few decent quality lenses. However, it seems as if they watched Fuji’s strategy lately, because their approach with the new FE system is virtually identical – they are much more focused here. A full format mirrorless system is a difficult game once you explore tele photography though. However, it can be awesome for street photography though.

That all being said at times I even take Pentax Q out there just for the fun of it and for most of us, photography is more about having fun than everything else. Thus there can be a truth beyond specs and performance.

Visit Klaus’ website PhotoZone to read his reviews.

Udi Tirosh – DIY Photography

Depending on one’s needs those would be the Sony AR7, the Fujifilm X-T1 and the Fujifilm X100T.

Visit Udi’s website DIY Photography to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Angela Nicholson – Head of Testing at Future Publishing

1. Sony Alpha 7 II: This 24Mp camera affords lots of control, has plenty of customisation options, produces superb quality images and, thanks to its full-frame sensor, depth of field can be restricted for creative background blur. Plus, there’s an excellent five-axis stabilisation system built-in that delivers sharp shots at very low shutter speeds.

2. Fujifilm X-T1: The X-T1’s retro controls and top-notch electronic viewfinder make it very attractive to enthusiast and professional photographers who will also appreciate the high quality, film-like images.

3. Olympus OM-D E-M10 5 Mark II: A wonderfully compact camera with an impressive number of controls and an impressively high degree of customisation options. There’s also an excellent 5-axis images stabilisation system which enables the camera to produce 40-million-pixel JPEGs or 64Mp raw files in its High Res Shot mode – though this is a tripod-only option and the subject must be motionless.

Visit Angela’s personal photography website and YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter.

Kai Man Wong – Digital Rev TV

1. Olympus OM-D EM-5 II

It’s just really rather good. Simple. It has improved on the original E-M5, taken some of the best bits of the E-M1 and added a decent video mode. I’d happily use one for street photography, even if the OM styling is a bit forced.

2. Panasonic GH4

The GH4 just goes to show that you don’t need to consider DSLRs first when it comes to video. This takes some stunning quality video. That is, if you’re not shooting above ISO 3200.

3. Sony a7 II

I’m quite fond of the Sony a7 series. It’s full frame. It’s light. It takes a number of other lenses with the help of adaptors. It’s a Sony, sadly, but nothing’s perfect.

Visit DigitialRev TV to watch Kai’s video reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Shawn C. Steiner – B&H Photo Blog

1. Sony a7S

I actually own Sony’s a7S so it was an easy choice for this list. The excellent 12MP full frame sensor and incredible video recording features (including 4K output) really sold me on the system. Low light performance is outstanding and the full frame sensor is simply not available in any other manufacturer’s mirrorless lineup. Also, the fact that if I ever needed a high resolution or more utilitarian body, the other options in Sony’s full frame lineup would be no problem to switch to.

2. Fujifilm X-T1

Fuji has been making beautiful cameras lately and this is one that feels and operates just as well as it looks. The spacious electronic viewfinder is among the first to make me not miss my DSLR and their lens system is of the highest quality. Fuji also uses a new sensor design which results in cleaner images and higher color fidelity which is very much appreciated. Still photographers will easily get what they desire from the Fuji X-series.

3. Sony a6000

I really didn’t want to put two Sony cameras on this list but the AF performance and price point of the a6000 made it difficult to leave out. The autofocus is on par with many mid- to high-end DSLRs and the 24MP sensor is impressive when it comes to handling noise and resolution. And, it is very lightweight and has the rangefinder-styling that many enjoy.

Visit the B&H Photo Explora Blog to read Shawn’s reviews and follow him on Google+.

Jordan Steele – Admiring Light

There are a wide variety of very capable mirrorless cameras out there right now, and narrowing it to three is a challenge. I’m going to focus on the high end: rugged, weather-sealed cameras with quality imaging and serious features.

1. Sony A7 II. The A7 II builds on the excellent A7 cameras released in 2013 and mid 2014 by fixing several of the key issues  from the A7. First, Sony changed the body with a larger grip and subtle changes to controls to allow for much improved ergonomics and a more solid construction. The 24MP full frame sensor should meet image quality needs for 99% of photographers and the new in-body stabilization gives rise to shooting in more locations without the need of a tripod.

2. Fujifilm X-T1. The Fuji X-T1 is the culmination of the great things Fuji has been doing since they launched the X Series line several years ago. The 16MP APS-C sensor has been around for a while, but still easily holds its own with the competition. The X-T1 is solidly built, has phenomenal external controls and the best EVF in the industry. Fuji continually improves their cameras with firmware updates that add major features, not just bug fixes. The excellent Fuji X lens lineup adds to the appeal. This is my primary body for my personal shooting.

3. Olympus OM-D E-M1: the E-M1 is about as feature rich as any camera around. It’s beautifully built, small, powerful, and features exceptional in-body stabilization. The EVF is also large and outstanding, and while the 16MP Micro 4/3 sensor is the noisiest in this list, it is more than capable of outstanding image quality in almost any situation. The Micro 4/3 lens lineup is also the most complete of any in the mirrorless industry.

Visit Jordan’s blog Admiring Light to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Mike Johnston – The Online Photographer

1. Sony A7 Mark II

2. Olympus OM-D E-M1

3. Sony RX100 III

Visit Mike’s website The Online Photographer to read his reviews/essays.

Tom Grill – AboutPhotography

1. Fujifilm X-T1:

I like that this camera has a larger APS-sized sensor with Fuji proprietary X-Trans technology producing results that give full frame cameras a run for their money. Fuji has provided excellent lens support for its X cameras so they can be configured to almost any need — landscape, travel, wedding, lifestyle, even single-lens point-and-shoot simplicity.

Image results and camera ergonomics  harken back to what we liked about the film era resulting in a camera system that is a perfect marriage of digital and  analog.

2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III:

The RX-100 series from Sony is a real gem — 20.2mp, fixed Zeiss Vario-Sonnar collapsible zoom, pop-up EVF finder, built-in flash, WiFi, tilt screen , RAW files — packed into a tiny package the size of most carry-around point-and-shoot cameras.  Images coming from this tiny package are pro-quality, the result of using a large, 1″ sensor.

This is the camera you can always have with you tucked away in a side pocket, shirt pocket, or purse.  It is not meant to replace your regular camera system. It is an addition to it, providing you with something for those times when you don’t want to lug a camera, but fear that you will find yourself in a situation where you wish you had one.

3. Leica M 240:

Once you get over the sticker shock, this may be the ultimate mirrorless camera in terms of full frame quality and superb complement of lenses.  It is not for everyone. It has a full frame sensor, but, unlike the Sony A7 series, its lenses are small.  A great camera for travel, I sometimes walk around with the Leica around my neck and a few lenses tucked in my vest pockets — no need for a camera bag.  Manual focus is not for everyone, but it doesn’t seem to hamper taking travel photos where this camera really shines. Plus the accessory EVF finder has an excellent magnified focus peaking that makes manual focus a snap, and the lenses are literally legendary.

Every now and then I will pull an old image into Photoshop and say, “Wow” to the sharpness. When I look at the EXIF data, it is invariably taken with a Leica.

Visit Tom’s website AboutPhotography to read his reviews.

Anthony Thurston – Product Reviews Editor at SLR Lounge

If I had to choose three mirrorless cameras to recommend, they would be:

1. Sony A7 Mk II

2. Fuji X-T1

3. Sony A6000

Visit the SLR Lounge to read Anthony’s digital photography articles.

Chris Gampat – The Phoblographer

1. Sony A7r: the shutter sounds like a medium format camera and because the autofocus isn’t so great you’ll want to use your favorite manual focusing glass.

2. Fujifilm XT1: Though I like the X Pro 1’s body more, the XT1 has better autofocus and better image quality in the shadows. The X Pro seems to retain more information in the highlights.

3. Samsung NX1: This is the one that Samsung seemingly got right. And we mean perfectly right in so many ways. A close second would be the OMD EM5 Mk II but the top LCD panel wins the day for me.

Visit Chris’ website The Phoblographer to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

David Taylor Hughes – SoundImagePlus

1. Sony A7R

Because of the resolution and the quality of the images. There is nothing better this side of Medium-Format and the files are huge, which means they can be cropped quite severely and still produce a decent image, the jpgs. are very good also and the camera works pretty quickly considering it’s processing 35MP full-frame files. I’ve had mine a long time for me (around 16 months) which says it all really.

2. Panasonic FZ1000

Absolutely brilliant all-in-one camera for outdoor and good light photography. The huge zoom is a quality Leica optic and the 25-400mm zoom is just so useful. It’s a fast lens as well. Add in 4K video, electronic shutter, pinpoint focus and fully articulating screen and you have a powerhouse of a camera. It’s also extremely quick and assuming you have the light can handle most sports photography with no problem. Terrific camera.

3. Fujifilm X-Pro 1

May seem a strange choice as it’s been around for a while, but I’m on my third one currently and I seem to find it very appealing. I’m also recommending it because you can now get it with some lenses for not a lot of money. And when one deal finishes Fuji just come up with another. Great for low light and it handles great IF you fit a grip. It’s retro stylish and while it’s not the fastest by some distance and the diopter on the viewfinder is just terrible, it is such a pleasing camera to take pictures with. Fuji copied the best when they produced this and I think it will become something of a classic.

Visit David’s website SoundImagePlus to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Tony Northrup – Chelsea and Tony

1. Panasonic GH4:

An unbeatable camera for filmmakers at this price, it’s also a very usable camera for stills. Being part of the micro four-thirds system, it gives you access to hundreds of specialized lenses for creating any effect you can dream of.

2. Sony A7 II:

Thanks to the stabilized sensor that allows slow shutter speeds with fast prime lenses, the title of low-light champion doesn’t belong to the a7S, but to it’s little brother, the a7 II. Though I still recommend DSLRs for action, I grab the a7 II for travel, events, and general photography.

3. Olympus E-M5 II:

The small micro four-thirds sensor won’t satisfy pixel-peepers, but the OM-D cameras are still the most usable in the world. You’ll never mind having the E-M5 II on your shoulder–it feels like a fashion accessory. For product photography and still life, high-res mode creates far better looking images than even the $3,300 D810.

Visit Tony and Chelsea’s YouTube Channel to watch their video reviews and follow them on Twitter.

Bruno Labarbère – Les Numériques

1. Sony Alpha 7s : ninja camera of the year. Efficient, discreet, incredible IQ and incredible high ISO, of course 24x36mm. A must have.

2. Samsung NX1: kickass of the year, it beats them all in sharpness, IQ, speed, video. There’s nothing wrong about it except.. it’s a Samsung and, as a Samsung, it’s very hard to find (actually, here in France, it is), and it suffers from a lack of notoriety. People does not know what they are missing, especially when you consider Samsung’s nice lenses.

3. Panasonic Lumix GM5: fast, elegant, pocketable, quite good IQ. It’s the expert that does not look like one. It misses the 5 axis IBIS.

Visit Les Numériques to read Bruno’s reviews (in French) and follow him on Twitter.

Joshua Waller – Technical Editor at ePHOTOzine

1. OM-D E-M5 Mk2 for 40MP, IS, lenses

2. Panasonic Lumix GH4 for 4k video, lenses

3. Sony A7-II for full frame and IS

Visit ePHOTOzine/his personal website DigiCamReview to read Joshua’s reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Phil Hall – Amateur Photographer

1. Fujifilm X-T1 – pretty hard to fault to be honest, especially paired with those lovely Fujinon lenses

2. Olympus E-M5 MkII – Olympus have packed so much into this powerful little camera it’s hard not to be charmed by it

3. Can I choose the Fujifilm X100T as my third camera? I’ve been a fan of the X100 since I first used a pre-production model a few years back and this latest incarnation is by far the most complete. Styling is gorgeous, while the tactile handling and hybrid viewfinder make shooting a joy.

Visit Phil’s personal photography website and follow him on Twitter.

Lloyd Chambers – DigLloyd

1. Ricoh GR

The Ricoh GR delivers a fabulous combination of lens sharpness and bokeh from its 28/2.8 (equiv) lens, plus ergonomics and features that all come together in a synergistic whole. It is my camera of the year.

2. Sony A7 II

The Sony A7 II suffers self-imposed design goofs, but nonetheless delivers high image quality in a compact form factor while throwing down the sensor stabilization gauntlet to other vendors.  Its built-in full-frame sensor image stabilization stands out as a eminently practical feature raising the “hit rate”, one that no other vendor can match.

3. Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II

The EM5M2 high-res sensor shift mode is a boon to anyone looking for a big boost in resolution in a compact camera system.  Whereas the image stabilization of the Sony A7 II establishes a new must-have feature for full-frame cameras, the EM5M2 sensor-shift technology is also a must-have technology.  It is the first camera (albeit with relatively small sensor) that combines both image stabilization with high-res sensor shift output files.

Visit Lloyd’s website Diglloyd to read his reviews and follow him on Twitter.

Mathieu Gasquet – MirrorLessons

1. Olympus OM-D E-M1: the main reason I like mirrorless cameras is for their compact size and you can’t beat micro four thirds for this. The E-M1 is the camera I have used the most. Perfect ergonomics, small yet very balanced with every lens. The image quality is more than enough for most situations and Olympus is also implementing interesting technology.

2. Sony a6000: simply the best compromise between price and performance. The a6000 almost has it all: superb image quality, one of the fastest autofocus systems on the market, compact. Living proof that APS-C still make sense!

3. Fujifilm X-T1: this is a camera that can satisfy a wide range of users because of its many control dials, its super viewfinder and because Fujifilm lenses are excellent.

Heather Broster – MirrorLessons

1. Panasonic GX7: Thought it isn’t one of the most popular MFT models, the Panasonic GX7 is one of the best mirrorless cameras I’ve used. It is the first interchangeable Lumix to have in-body stabilisation, making it useable with Olympus and third-party lenses, and has a tilting LCD and EVF, which is great for awkward shots. The menu is extremely straightforward (you can learn to use a Lumix in less than 30 minutes) and the silent mode is perfect for street photography. It is also the perfect size. Can I say that I’m incredibly excited for the GX8, if and when and it comes?

2. Olympus OM-D E-M5 II: I am a great fan of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M10 and the brand new E-M5 II improves on everything I already loved about these two cameras – the IBIS, the image quality, the lightweight yet stylish build, and the blazing speed. The High Res Shot mode is a very nice touch for landscapes and still life, and I’m delighted to see that it incorporates a silent shutter and the amazing Live Composite mode for star trails and light painting.

3. Sony A7s: This isn’t a camera for everyone, especially if you consider the hefty price tag, but it symbolises what I consider the greatest leap in sensor technology on a mirrorless camera in a long time. The high ISO capabilities are incredible even in complete darkness, making it a joy to use for astronomical photography. I can also see this camera being very useful for weddings and events thanks to the combination of its excellent low-light performance and silent shutter option.

Responses received after publication

Since publishing this expert round-up, we have received even more responses from other experts who weren’t able to respond before. Though we cannot change the results of the survey, we decided to share their answers in a separate section.

Frederick Van Johnson – This Week in Photo Podcast

Sony A7 series full frame (the A7m A7R, A7s or A7 II) depending on what the photographer is capturing.

Panasonic GH4 – for multipurpose work (video, stills)

Fuji X100T – fixed lens, simple and back-to-basics

Check out the This Week in Photo podcast and follow Frederick on Twitter.

What do you think of the expert’s answers? Which are your top three mirrorless cameras? Share your thoughts below!

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Romeo Bravo Photo

    Would love to see an updated version of this article.

  • Louis Dallara
  • Louis Dallara
  • Heather Broster

    That could be a good idea. 😉

  • Mathieu

    Haha yes good idea 😉

  • Pepou81

    You should make “The Best Mirrorless Lenses” of the bloggers too ^^

  • Andrea P

    Is he a fraud? He does have some edgy and provocative opinions, but I have found his reviews of equipment I actually bought to be very reliable, especially with lenses. He is the one reviewer/blogger who most actively encourages readers not to succumb to GAS, and he promotes legacy equipment that can only be gotten used (which means he cannot get a cut on the sales). Now, his style I could take or leave, but all this acrimony against him I really do not get.

  • Louis Dallara

    Nikon ts 24mm f3.5

  • Skridlov

    I’ve been using the EM5 since its release; I’d say I’m stuck with it for the present. I also have a fairly sizeable Nikon system based on a D700: I’m not buying any more DSLRs, whatever arrives – they are dinosaurs. But the EM5’s overall handling characteristics are simply abominable, atrocious.This is a camera that constantly catches me out. Every time you touch it you’re liable to switch it into an unintended mode. Small, cluttered numb buttons, Try navigating the focus box using the arrow-pad. The AF is just hopeless. The IBIS is, IMHO, utterly over-rated. The pix are excellent, even if I could use a little more resolution and the available lenses are both excellent and (apart from the silly 2.8 “Pro” zooms) SMALL! But the, handling, again, is simply dreadful. Dunno about the Mk 2 but I’d bet it’s similar even if the whizz-bang 40Mp mode hypnotises the punters.

  • Louis Dallara

    Nikon 24mm f/3.5D ED PC-E Nikkor Ultra-Wide Angle Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

  • appliance5000

    Pure IQ – sony a7r – never seen anything like it.. That’s what people will see – they really don’t care if your autofocus is a bit slow.

  • Tony C

    FUNNY – seeing people attack Heather because she polled experts and they are mad because they aren’t on the list. What – that camera with a big lens makes YOU an expert? PLEEEEEASE. LOL

  • Js

    Thanks Heather.

  • Heather Broster

    Thanks for your comment, JS. I haven’t seen anything from Josh McLeod lately. It seems that his website has disappeared.

  • Js

    I’m a photojournalist working for daily newspaper. Best gear is oly em1 & em5 as backup. Oly & Panasonic lens.
    Never tested Sony but I will.

    I’ve a question about a pro mirrorless photographer that seems to have disappeared : josh McLeod. He used to post nice stuff. Someone have infos?

  • Louis Dallara

    Hi; its a PC-E-NIKKOR-24mm-F3.5D-ED.html

  • Keith Towers

    Yes that is true! It maybe psychological, and I think that it is, but I do believe the design of a camera very much influences the way we work with it. For instance, I just don’t feel comfortable shooting land or seascapes with my XP1 even though it is more than capable in that genre, anymore than I felt comfortable shooting ‘Street’ with my 5DMKII; and I got some great shots with mine. It’s all about horses for courses at the end of the day and you can’t beat the right tools for any job we do.

  • Mathieu

    The X-pro1 is a very nice camera. The X-T1 and X-E2 brought many enhancements but I know several photographers that still like the X-pro1 better for its design.

  • Mathieu

    Which TS lens is that?

  • Louis Dallara

    Experts… lol

    My expert vote is Sony followed by Olympus…

  • Keith Towers

    Nice to see the XPro1 mentioned (if only once). I own it and adore it! Not just for the superb images it produces, but for its ergonomics and looks. I have had a few cameras in my time, including Canon full frame, and I can honestly say that both the XP1 and original X100 are two of the best cameras I have ever owned – including my film cameras.

  • Jano

    Sorry, Heather, but the way the results are presented are very misleading (talking about the pie charts). You simply divided the number of times a camera was named by the total amount of cameras that was named. But since every “expert” was supposed to name 3 cameras each camera can only reach a maximum percentage of 33%. The 22% you gave to the X-T1 makes it sound like one out of five experts recommends that camera.
    Taking that into account the Fuji X-T1 was named by 67% of the experts. The Sony A7II was named by 48%. The Oly OM-D EM-5 II was nominated by 37%. Those figures are much more telling than the numbers you calculated.

    And three more things:
    – Ken Rockwell? Seriously?
    – Pie charts are much easier to grasp if the pieces are sorted by size.
    – Ken Rockwell? Seriously?

  • Jonathan

    “Ask a working photographer to recommend a camera, and 90% of the time he or she will suggest the model sitting in his or her own camera bag. Put the same question to a professional camera reviewer or blogger on the other hand, and you’ll receive a far more objective response.”

    Subjectivity can be valuable when it is derived from genuine experience. The objective response considers the camera as an end in itself. The subjective response is often biased by the thought of the camera as a means to a specific end. And that can be a good bias.

    Ming Thein’s response to you is a great example of why the “objective expertise” of bloggers who are not also giving their subjective experience as *expert photographers* is suspect. His emphasis is on output: what are the images I am trying to make and how do I achieve them? If I had similar aims to Ming’s – ultra high resolution printing, mostly of landscapes, for sale to buyers – I would give a lot of weight to his bias against mirrorless cameras.

    Similarly, if I aspire to make documentary films. I’m going to give a lot of weight to someone who carries a camera into the field and actually makes films with it. I’d rather hear an “only one camera in their bag” response from someone who wants to PRODUCE similar things with the camera to what I want to produce, than a uselessly objective response.

  • rabechim

    Let me start saying that I flankly dislike gadgets contest. As Pana/Oly user, non knowing furthermore Fuji mirrorless lineup, I’m openly awestruck with the survey results, given the high number and the diverse authority of the consulted adepts. One element seems sure: mft consortium it’s unanimously considered as the format with the most copius and first-rate lenses lineup. Second: all around the world the most rated adepts, constantly reaffirm that the images quality mainly, if not esclusively, derives from lenses quality. Lenses and not cameras creates images. Now, reading the survey results, 22% of the panel put Fuij at first place, explan their choice with sensor performances, followed by ergonomics. When the same adept value Oly cameras, oddly, confirm the lenses linep excellence, as well as viewfinder, and built in stabilization, except rated it as second or third.
    Maybe I’m misundertanding but in my humble opinion some questions arise.

  • QBNY

    Heather! A GX7? You GO girl! -Even though you’re holding a Olympus camera in your pic… The GX7 is a very slept on camera.

  • dyna

    There are several names on this list I don’t buy… Mainly because they are already bought.

  • dyna

    Sony A7ii and A7s are one of the best two camera tandems I’ve ever shot, in my career. Fuji XT-1 and Sony A6000 and Olympus EM5ii all tie for third.

  • tweetiebyrd

    1) Fuji XPRO-2
    2) Fuji X-E2
    3) Fuji X30

  • Andre Sepriza

    I Don’t know about all of you guys but Samsung NX300M Is the best mirrorless camera i had for me and video quality are great. I’d know the lens choices on samsung is still not the best , but i trust them to make more on the future. Pardon for my english

  • Sean T

    I don’t like him either but I appreciate that he was kind enough to respond.

  • speltrong

    I find that Panasonic bodies work better with Panasonic lenses (which is all I use). The 7-14 flares like crazy on Oly bodies, but has been fine on all my Pannies. The 20 was really slow to focus on my friend’s EM1, but plenty fast even on my first GF1. I’m also shallow and aesthetics of the equipment is important to me – I really don’t like Olympus’ styling at all.

  • Jose Manuel Carrasco

    I’ve been using a Sony a6000 in my studio since last summer and I have to sell it because at 1/160 f8 the autofocus is a pain as it closes the aperture to focus. Sorry for my english

  • Al Ganiev

    Agreed with GX7 too, i was deciding between a6000, em10 and gx7 about 6 months ago. And obviously stopped on gx7. But if i decided right now i probably choose an em5-2.

  • Duke

    I agree on the Ken Rockwell part. Why is he on the list of “experts”. He is the biggest fraud of just about any photographer blogger, website author, or whatever people want to classify his content as.

    The article is not bad otherwise. They should just take Rockwell out of the article.

  • Mathieu

    I was surprised as well with the E-M5 II. Perhaps also because it is recent. The a6000 is a great bang for your buck.

  • Mathieu

    The NX1 is an impressive camera. To me it represents what DSLRs could be in the future. Similar size/ergonomics without a mirror and powerful performances.

  • Marcell Nikolausz

    Sony A7 cameras should be merged into one category!

  • Alexander Evensen

    Another reason why I suspect people don’t care for the Samsung NX1 is the size. So many seem to only want mirrorless to be small. I don’t care about the size, I want the features mirrorless gives, that’s why I swapped from my beloved Pentax K-5 (I had only had Pentax up to this point) to the Fujifilm X-T1 (I also considered the GH4, now I’m glad I didn’t go for that camera), for the EVF and peaking (I use a lot of manual focus lenses). Then a month or so ago now I sold the X-T1 for the NX1 due to the impressive video features, and also it’s got amazing stills as well. Both are impressive cameras, but for me, the features of the NX1 takes the win, and I enjoy the ergonomics of it as well.

  • Ken Rockwell jr.

    Really Ken Rockwell? If i need just one reason to say that thus article is a bust. Really Ken Rockwell?? That guy is a tool!!

  • Chas

    If I were a bet’n man, I’d say Huff picks would be:
    Sony A7MKII
    Sony A7S
    Leica M240

  • Heather Broster

    I was surprised that more bloggers didn’t list Panasonic as well but I guess it is because they are seen more as a video brand than a stills brand.

  • Heather Broster

    Thanks Tyson! I haven’t tried the A7 II yet so I didn’t feel qualified to list it but yes, it could potentially take the A7s’ place. :)

  • Heather Broster

    We contacted Steve as well as many other bloggers but not everyone was able to respond to us.

  • Sean T

    I’m surprised the brand-new M5 II is more popular than the M1, even if the M5’s ostensibly inferior autofocus (which may be THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER on certain boards). I’m interested in test-driving the original M5 + a lens or two later this summer. I’m happy my humble (and easily the cheapest camera on the top 5!) a6000 got such a reputable showing, even ahead of the GH4 and its video wizardry.

  • rg

    Where is Steve Huff? I find to be the most honest and speaks directly to my experience but I don’t agree 100% all the time.

  • Tyson Robichaud

    Great list! Heather, I’d be almost exactly in line with you, although I’d switch the A7II for the A7S, and probably put it at 2 with the OMD EM5II or EM1 in third.

  • speltrong

    I have to agree with that last blogger – GX7!! :) Really kind of sad to see that there isn’t more Panasonic love going on with the rest of the bloggers. GH4 for video, a couple of GM5 picks, but mostly it’s all about Fuji and Sony, and way more Olympus than Panasonic in the m4/3 world. I’ve always liked Panasonic’s image rendition, UI and styling a lot more that Olympus, and very much prefer the size/weight benefit that M4/3 has over larger sensors, but I guess if I were a pro I might feel differently about the tradeoffs.

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