Photographic enthusiasts are folks that use photography as a means of creative expression. That’s why they gravitate toward cameras that can do a lot more than a basic point-and-shoot model. Or the cameras built into their smartphones. Today’s hands-down top choices among emerging and accomplished enthusiasts are broad-spectrum, high-spec mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses; advanced still and video performance; comprehensive feature sets; and handy, engaging, ergonomic form factors.
The middle- and upper-tier models we covered here deliver all these things, along with superlative real-world performance and speed. Moreover, these interchangeable-lens cameras (ILC) offer unmatched value in the “sweet spot” price range of $1,000–$2,500.
Today, the biggest buzz in mirrorless cameras is enhanced 4K video capability and a choice of in-camera Log Gamma and HDR profiles for turning out pro-caliber broadcast-quality footage. They also boast higher-res image sensors combined with faster, more advanced image processors. As a result, they achieve blistering burst rates at full resolution and higher-than-ever expandable ISO ranges for low-light performance.
In addition, these cameras have sophisticated hybrid autofocus (AF) systems with more phase- and contrast-detection points. This allows for quicker, more decisive autofocus with a greater variety of subjects and AF options like eye and face detection. Plus, they boast higher-res, higher-magnification electronic viewfinders (EVFs) with sizzling refresh rates for a seamless viewing experience
There are also large, high-res, tilting and vari-angle touchscreen LCDs. Plus, photographers can use these touchscreens to set multiple picture parameters, including focus points. Furthermore, today’s enthusiast mirrorless ILCs provide sophisticated multi-axis, sensor-shift image stabilization (IS) systems with unbelievable shake-effect-reduction specs.
Indeed, all the high-spec mirrorless cameras here provide an extremely high performance-per-dollar quotient. And that spells value for savvy consumers. Of course, these aren’t the only enthusiast-aimed cameras worthy of consideration, so check out alternative models offered by top camera makers.
High-Spec Mirrorless Cameras for Enthusiasts
Canon EOS R8
Canon’s sleek, new lightweight, full-frame mirrorless ILC offers an array of impressive photo and video capabilities. Moreover, they are all aimed at still image enthusiasts and multimedia content creators. It employs the same advanced 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor used in the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, coupled with a cutting-edge Digic X processor.
Consequently, it captures 6K oversampled 4K UHD 60p video; 4K UHD video at 24p, 25p, 30p and 50p; as well as Full HD 180p slow-motion video. Furthermore, it records two hours of 4:2:2 10-bit video at 29.97 frames per sec (fps). Other video recording options include HDR PQ (which captures a 10-bit color file that doesn’t require additional editing) and Canon Log 3 (which creates a 10-bit log file that allows highlight and shadow recovery as well as creative color grading).
In addition, the R8 achieves continuous bursts at up to 40 fps and pre-shooting that starts recording at 0.5 sec prior to pressing the shutter release. Its native sensitivity settings of ISO 100–102,400 expand to ISO 204,000 for working in low light. Further, the R8’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus system employs 1,053 automatic phase-detection AF points that cover the entire sensor area. The result is extremely fast, decisive AF, subject detection as well as tracking.
Other key features include a 2.63M-dot EVF with a 120-fps refresh rate; a 3-inch, 1.62M-dot, vari-angle touchscreen with touch-and-drag capability for moving the AF point; 5-axis sensor-shift IS for video; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity plus a USB-C port; vertical movie mode and aspect markers; and UVC/UAC compatibility for livestreaming. A next-gen multifunction shoe has an extra row of pins to expand accessory functionality and power options. The EOS R8 measures 5.2×3.4×2.8 inches and weighs exactly one pound.* $1,499.**
Panasonic Lumix S5II
Panasonic’s new second generation, full-frame camera is a mirrorless L-mount model. Its high-performance feature set is sure to appeal to sophisticated still shooters and aspiring content creators. It boasts a newly designed 24.2MP CMOS sensor mated to an updated processing sensor with 2x faster L² technology. Moreover, it’s the first Lumix to offer very fast, decisive phase-hybrid AF with 779 phase-detection points.
This high tech makes possible 4:2:0 10-bit 6K (3:2), 5.9K (16:9) and unlimited 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K recording using a new heat-dispersion mechanism. It also permits high-res HD slow-motion video at 120p. Optional RAW HDMI output is also possible with a license upgrade. Further, pre-installed V-Log/V-Gamut captures a 14+ stop dynamic range.
The Lumix S5II also provides native sensitivity settings of ISO 100–51,200, which can extend from ISO 50 to 204,800. It additionally achieves full-res shooting at 9 fps with the mechanical shutter and 30 fps with the electronic shutter. Furthermore, the cameras’ body IS (5-axis) and the OIS (2-axis) from Lumix S lenses create 5-axis Dual IS 2 for photos and video. Its correction power allows a 6.5-stop slower shutter speed. It also compensates for shake even when the camera is being “walked.”
Other key features are a 3.68M-dot, 0.78x magnification EVF with a 60-fps or 120-fps refresh rate; a free-angle, 3-inch, 1.84M-dot touchscreen LCD with menu and playback navigation options; and an 8-direction joystick for intuitive operation. What’s more, it boasts integrated 5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE (5.0) connectivity plus a USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) port; dual SD/UHS-II card slots; and a cooling fan to moderate the camera’s internal temperature for extended or unlimited recording. The 5SII’s weather-sealed magnesium alloy body measures 5.3×4.0x3.5 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds. $1,999.99.
Nikon Z 6II
This thoughtfully upgraded Nikon “Z” ILC retains the elegant, ergonomic form factor of its acclaimed predecessors. However, it sports a high-performance 25.4MP FX-format (full-frame) BSI CMOS sensor and dual Expeed 6 image processors. The advanced combo delivers a maximum full-res continuous framing rate of 14 fps with single-point AF and 12 fps in other AF modes thanks to its increased buffer depth.
It also provides sensitivity settings of ISO 100–51,200, which are extendable from ISO 50 to 204,800. The compact camera features 4K UHD 30p and Full HD 120p video recording, as well as external 10-bit HDMI output along with HLG (HDR) support. In addition, its in-body, 5-axis, sensor-shift vibration reduction (VR) IS dramatically reduces the appearance of camera shake.
Further, a 273-point phase-detection AF system focuses in low light down to -4.5 EV. It also includes eye-detection in wide-area AF modes when shooting stills or video. Other features include a 0.8x, 0.5-inch, 3.7M-dot OLED EVF; a 3.2-inch, 2.1M-dot, tilting touchscreen LCD; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and always-on SnapBridge connectivity; separate slots for CFexpress Type B/XQD and SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards; as well as a USB Type-C port for charging or remote power supply.
What’s more, a firmware upgrade enables the Z 6II to record 4K UHD video at 60 and 50 fps; output RAW video to Blackmagic Design Video Assist external recorders; and improved eye detection. A free ProRes RAW upgrade allows it to output ProRes RAW footage to compatible Atomos external recorders for greater color grading flexibility. The Nikon Z 6II is built on a magnesium alloy chassis and dust- and weather-resistant body that measures 5.3×4.0x2.8 inches and weighs s1.4 pounds (body only). $1,999.95.
This high-spec, mirrorless X-series ILC offers more advanced still and movie capabilities; new user-friendly assists; and enhanced workflow options. It does so in a metal, weather-sealed body with a classic minimalist form factor.
At its core is Fujifilm’s APS-C-format, 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 image processor. It also incorporates a compact 5-axis in-body IS (IBIS) system for 6.5 stops of correction. The X-T4 captures full-res, 16-bit continuous bursts at up to 15 fps with its mechanical shutter and 20 fps with its electronic shutter. It also records DCI/4K UHD video at 60 fps and Full HD video at up to an impressive 240 fps for dramatic slow-motion effects.
Moreover, native sensitivity settings from ISO 160 to 12,800 expand from ISO 80 to 51,200. Also noteworthy is a hybrid AF system with 425 phase-detection points plus a contrast-detection system for precise AF down to EV-6. Additionally, a 3.69M-dot OLED EVF has a refresh rate settable to 100 fps for tracking fast-moving subjects. It’s complemented by a 3-inch, 1.62M-dot, vari-angle touchscreen that photographers can close against the camera’s back.
Other features include locking dials on the top plate to facilitate the fast setting of ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation; a rear joystick for switching AF points and menu navigation; Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity; dual SD UHS-II slots; and film simulation modes. The Fujifilm X-T4 measures 5.3×3.7×2.5 inches and weighs 1.2 pounds (both specs body only). In black or silver, $1,699.
Sony Alpha 6600
The top model in Sony’s high-performance compact a6000 series, this is a premium, E-mount mirrorless ILC. It is a superb street shooter with enhanced video capabilities, and it also makes an elegant travel companion. Its 24.2MP APS-C-format Exmor CMOS sensor is coupled to a high-spec Bionz X processor.
They permit the camera to deliver enhanced 4K HDR video capture at up to 30 fps with full-pixel readout and no pixel binning. It also offers 16-bit recording as well as 14-bit RAW file output for capturing a wider tonal range and color gamut. In addition, the ILC features a full-res RAW burst rate of 11 fps with AF/AE and expanded ISO settings to 102,400.
Other video specs include support for custom color, Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and S-Log2/S-Log3 Gamma profiles, the latter producing an effective 14-stop dynamic range with increased grading control. The Alpha 6600 also captures 4K UHD 3,840×2,160 video at 30 fps, 25 fps and a cinematic 24 fps. Plus, it records in Full HD at a slow-motion 120 fps, all in the XAVC S format.
Moreover, the sensor combines wide-area 425-point phase-detection plus 425 contrast-detection points to deliver precise, decisive AF in 0.02 sec. Sony also upgraded its object identification capability along with faster, more consistent tracking.
Additionally, a 2.36M-dot EVF is complemented by a 3-inch, 921K-dot, tilting touchscreen LCD monitor. Other features include 5-axis SteadyShot Inside IS, along with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity. All this tech is contained in a svelte, magnesium body measuring 4.8×2.8×2.8 inches and weighing 1.2 pounds. $1,399.99.
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
This versatile, broad-spectrum, full-frame interchangeable-lens camera is squarely aimed at enthusiasts, especially those focused on upgrading their videos. Billed a hybrid ILC, it incorporates an advanced 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor as well as a high-performance Digic X processor. They enable full-res bursts at 12 fps using its mechanical and 40 fps when using the ultraquiet electronic shutter.
The Canon camera also provides 4K UHD 60p internal video recording; 10-bit sampling with Canon Log 3, Full HD 180p recording, as well as external 6K ProRes RAW recording via the HDMI port. It also enables a wide range of sensitivity settings from ISO 100 to 102,400.
The EOS R6 II employs Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology using 1,053 selectable phase-detection AF points that cover the entire field of view. The AF system uses deep learning technology to constantly improve subject tracking and AF speed. Besides detecting humans, animals and vehicles, it now recognizes horses, trains and airplanes. Also, in-body IS achieves 8 stops of shake correction with coordinated-control in-lens IS.
Also key are a 0.5-inch, 3.67M-dot OLED EVF with a 120-fps refresh rate; a 3-inch, 1.62M-dot, vari-angle touchscreen LCD to facilitate vlogging and high- and low-angle shooting; HDR-PQ support for greater color and dynamic range control when shooting video; dual SD/UHS-II memory card slots; and built-in 5/2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. All this is built into a durable weather-sealed body that measures 5.5×3.9×3.5 inches and weighs in at 1.5 pounds. $2,499.
Nikon Z 5
Nikon’s attractive, feature-rich, full-frame crossover ILC is targeted at aspiring enthusiasts that shoot a mix of stills and videos. The solidly built Z 5 utilizes an FX-format 24.3MP CMOS sensor mated to a high-performance Expeed 6 processor. They enable the ILC to record in-camera 4K UHD video at 30 fps, Full HD at up to 60 fps, and external 4K UHD 30p 8-bit video via HDMI.
The camera also provides sensitivity settings from ISO 100–51,200 in auto mode. Moreover, these settings are extendable from ISO 50 to 102,400 for still imaging and ISO 100–25,600 for video. In addition, the ILC delivers 4.5-fps, full-res bursts. It also boasts a focus shift mode for creating stacked images with extended depth of field.
Further, a 273-point hybrid AF system uses phase-detection and contrast-detection to deliver swift, decisive autofocus for a wide variety of subjects. The system also supports eye-detection AF and face-detection AF for stills and video. Plus, a built-in 5-axis sensor shift vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization system provides 5 stops of shake-effect reduction while electronic VR steadies video footage shot handheld.
Other features are a 0.5-inch, 0.8x magnification, 3.69M-dot EVF; a large 3.2-inch, 1.04M-dot, tilting touchscreen LCD; SnapBridge with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity; dual SD UHS-II card slots; creative picture controls; multi-exposure mode; and a silent mode. The Z 5’s dust/weather-resistant body on a magnesium alloy chassis measures 5.3×4.0x2.8 inches and weighs 1.3 pounds (body only). $1,099.95.
This classically styled Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mirrorless ILC complements its neo-vintage form factor with a thoroughly modern feature set. It delivers an impressive combination of performance and value. The OM System OM-5 employs a 20.4MP BSI (backside-illuminated) Live MOS MFT sensor integrated with an advanced TruePic IX image processor.
The combo enables a continuous, full-res framing rate up to 30 fps. It also delivers DCI 4K 24p and 4K UHD 30p video recording. In addition, it includes OM-Log400 for grading and extending the dynamic range. Further, the camera’s ISO settings of 200–25,600 can extend from ISO 64 to 25,600.
Its advanced AF system employs an array of 121 phase-detection and 121 contrast-detection AF cross-type points, to achieve very fast, precise AF. The system also offers group target for moving subjects and starry sky options, along with face/eye-detection AF. What’s more, a 5-axis in-body sensor-shift IS provides a 6.5-stop advantage in minimizing the effects of camera shake. This increases to 7.5 stops when used with select IS-enabled lenses.
Other notable features comprise a 2.36M-dot OLED EVF; a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, vari-angle touchscreen LCD; and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The OM-5 packs this tech into a weather-, freeze- and splash-resistant body measuring 4.9×3.4x 2.0 inches and weighing 14.6 ounces. In black or silver, $1,099.99.
Sigma fp L
Yes, we are once again including the fp L in a mirrorless camera roundup! It’s that versatile. The audacious upgrade of Sigma’s landmark Sigma fp ILC adds an array of advanced features to its unique, ultracompact, modular form. However, the full-frame ILC retain its predecessor’s L mount and distinctive minimalist form factor.
Moreover, the fp L boasts an ultrahigh-res, 61MP, full-frame BSI Bayer CMOS sensor. Plus, it features an upgraded high-sensitivity (down to -5 EV!), hybrid phase- and contrast-detection AF system. The system uses 49 contrast-detection and 42 selectable points. What’s more, photographers can attach Sigma’s optional EVF-11 electronic viewfinder. The EVF has a 0.5-inch, 3.68M-dot OLED panel for eye-level viewing at 0.83x magnification. It also tilts upward 90° for low-angle shooting and has its own USB-C and 3.5mmn headphone ports for audio monitoring.
In addition, the fp L’s sensor can capture high-res DNG and JPEG stills in 14 bit. Its video specs include 4K UHD video recording at 30p and 12-bit RAW output when recording externally. It can also record and output 12-bit CinemaDNG files. Plus, it provides native sensitivity settings of ISO 100–25,600 and extendable settings of ISO 6–102,400.
Additional key features include a 3.2-inch, 2.1M-dot LCD monitor; a crop zoom function allowing up to a 5x crop; a full-res burst rate of 10 fps; and a slot that accepts SD/SDHC/HDXC (UHS-II) cards. The Sigma fp L’s diminutive diecast, weather-resistant body measures just 4.4×2.8×1.8 inches and weighs in at a portable 15.1 ounces. $2,499 body only; $2,999 with EVF-11.
Sony Alpha 7 III
Sony’s full-frame, E-mount ILC is an excellent choice for enthusiasts seeking to up their game. With a classic a7 form, its enhanced feature set includes upgraded video capabilities, faster operating speed and improved low-light performance. A 24.2MP BSI Exmor R CMOS sensor complements a Bionz X processor and high-speed front-end LSI.
With this tech, the ILC achieves 14-bit high-res stills captured at native sensitivity settings of ISO 100–51,200. Sensitivity settings are expandable from ISO 50 to 204,800. The camera records 4K UHD 24p/30p video (XAVC S) and Full HD at up to 120 fps for slow motion effects. Its 10-fps, full-res, max burst rate (177 consecutive JPEGs), with full-time AF/AE, is reached with either the mechanical or electronic shutter. It also provides 8-fps shooting in live view mode.
For video creators, Sony provides S-Log2, S-Log3 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) profiles. They extend the dynamic range to 14 stops for grading control. In addition, an impressive hybrid AF system employs 693 phase-detection points covering about 93% of the frame plus 425 contrast-detection zones. The result: fast, decisive AF, even in low light. It also employs lock-on AF and eye AF options.
Add to that sensor-shift 5-axis SteadyShot InSide IS that minimizes the effects of camera shake for stills and video. The IS system even works with third-party lenses, as well as adapters or lenses with built-in IS. Other features are touch-focus control via a 3-inch, 922K-dot, tilting LCD; a 2.36M-dot EVF with 0.78x magnification; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity; dual UHS-II card slots; and USB 3.1 Type-C and Micro USB ports. The handsome a7 III is built on a magnesium alloy chassis. Its weather-, moisture- and dust-sealed body measures 5.0×3.8×2.5 inches and weighs 1.4 pounds. $1,999.99.
The Fujifilm X-Pro3 is a visual and conceptual homage to vintage rangefinder cameras, with its distinctive hybrid multi-viewfinder, hidden LCD screen and “retro” black finish. However, it’s clearly up to date in terms of imaging performance. It uses an APS-C-format, 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor sans low-pass filter. Moreover, a randomized pixel array mimics the organic nature of film and minimizes moiré and aliasing.
The sensor is mated to an X-Processor 4 image processor. Together they achieve internal DCI/4K UHD video recording at up to 30 fps with fast read speeds and reduced rolling shutter distortion. The ILC boasts sensitivity settings of ISO 160–12,800 (extendable from ISO 80 to 51,200 for stills and ISO 160–25,600 for video). It also has a very respectable full-res, 11-fps burst rate with its mechanical shutter and 30 fps with the electronic shutter.
The hybrid multi-viewfinder combines an optical viewfinder with a 3.69M-dot OLED EVF and incorporates an electronic rangefinder for manual focus control. Its viewing functions are instantly switchable via a front-mounted lever. A unique fold-down LCD keeps the 3-inch, 180° tilting, 1.62M-dot touchscreen hidden against the body when not in use. A secondary small settings display is also available while shooting.
Other key features are an expanded phase-detection AF system with 425 selectable points for fast, decisive AF; dual SD card slots; built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 low energy connectivity; 17 film simulation and grain effect modes; and a 2.5mm external microphone port. The X-Pro3 measures 5.5×3.3×1.8 inches and weighs 15.8 ounces (body only). In dura black or silver, $1,999.
* All weights include battery and memory media, unless stated otherwise.
** SRPs are body only unless specified.