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)
- Fujifilm X-T1 (22%)
- Sony A7 II (14%)
- Olympus OM-D E-M5 II (12%)
- Sony a6000 (7%)
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 (7%)
Most Selected Mirrorless Brands
- Sony (33%)
- Fujifilm (30%)
- Olympus (20%)
- Panasonic (10%)
- Samsung (3%)
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.
The Expert List
- 1 Nasim Mansurov – Photography Life
- 2 Ken Rockwell – KenRockwell.com
- 3 Jordan Drake – The Camera Store TV
- 4 Darlene Hildebrandt – Digital Photography School
- 5 Ming Thein – Ming Thein Photographer
- 6 Mark Goldstein – Photography Blog
- 7 Scott Bourne – PhotoFocus / We Shoot Fuji
- 8 Lok Cheung – DigitalRev TV
- 9 Kevin Raber – The Luminous Landscape
- 10 Chris Niccolls – The Camera Store TV
- 11 Gordon Laing – Camera Labs
- 12 Amy Davies – Freelance Journalist and Photographer
- 13 Klaus Schroiff – PhotoZone
- 14 Udi Tirosh – DIY Photography
- 15 Angela Nicholson – Head of Testing at Future Publishing
- 16 Kai Man Wong – Digital Rev TV
- 17 Shawn C. Steiner – B&H Photo Blog
- 18 Jordan Steele – Admiring Light
- 19 Mike Johnston – The Online Photographer
- 20 Tom Grill – AboutPhotography
- 21 Anthony Thurston – Product Reviews Editor at SLR Lounge
- 22 Chris Gampat – The Phoblographer
- 23 David Taylor Hughes – SoundImagePlus
- 24 Tony Northrup – Chelsea and Tony
- 25 Bruno Labarbère – Les Numériques
- 26 Joshua Waller – Technical Editor at ePHOTOzine
- 27 Phil Hall – Amateur Photographer
- 28 Lloyd Chambers – DigLloyd
- 29 Mathieu Gasquet – MirrorLessons
- 30 Heather Broster – MirrorLessons
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 – KenRockwell.com
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 KenRockwell.com 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
What do you think of the expert’s answers? Which are your top three mirrorless cameras? Share your thoughts below!