Mirrorless system cameras are today’s hot ticket for consumers and retailers alike. These interchangeable-lens cameras provide superior imaging performance in handy, compact packages. The latest models offer outstanding autofocus (AF) speed and precision, impressive burst rates, enhanced video capabilities, including 4K UHD capture, seamless tracking, the latest 5-axis image stabilization (IS) systems and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Here’s our A-list selection of the best in class, according to our esteemed editors. Since mirrorless ILCs tend to have individual personalities, peruse the specs carefully to determine which ones are most likely to appeal to your customer base.
Canon EOS M6
This is the latest iteration of Canon’s sleek, compact, full-featured mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera. It provides SLR-level functionality as well as impressive performance parameters clearly aimed at serious enthusiasts. The new EOS M6 features a 24.2 megapixel APS-C-format CMOS sensor coupled to an advanced Digic 7 image processor. As a result, it delivers full-res burst rates of up to 9 frames per sec with AF lock and 7 fps with full AF, as well as Full HD video capture at 50/60 fps. Sensitivity settings range from ISO 100–25,600.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF integrates two photodiodes into each pixel for enhanced phase-detection and faster lock-on focus without hunting. Other key features include: movie Servo AF; digital IS with 5-axis IS; touch-and-drag AF control that lets users move the AF frame while shooting; built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth for linking to mobile devices and controlling the camera remotely; tracking speed adjustments; and a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, tilting touch-screen LCD. The M6 also accepts the optional Canon EVF-DC2 ($209.99)—a high-performance, 2.36M-dot, eye-level electronic viewfinder. $799.99.* usa.canon.com
Sigma sd Quattro H
The top of Sigma’s Quattro line, this unique mirrorless camera incorporates the latest APS-H-size sensor (1.3x crop factor), producing images equivalent to a 51MP Bayer sensor. Sigma’s three-layer Foveon X3 Quattro CMOS sensor delivers full color information at every pixel point without interpolation. In addition, the camera’s SA lens mount is the same one used on the flagship Sigma SD1 Merrill SLR. As a result of its impressive 1:1.4 RGB pixel ratio, the sd Quattro H can create 25.5MP lossless compressed RAW images with superior color output.
Other features include: an advanced Dual True III processor that provides continuous, full-res shooting at 3.8 fps; ISO 6,400; super-fine detail mode that blends seven exposures into one RAW file with a wide dynamic range; a bright, 3-inch, 1.62M-dot LCD; and also a 2.36M-dot EVF. Its hybrid AF system incorporates both phase-detect and contrast-detect points with up to nine selectable, and it has an operating range of -1 to 18 EV. The sd Quattro H has a distinctive ergonomic shape and an intuitive, customizable control layout. $1,199.
Note: The dust- and splash-resistant Sigma sd Quattro—with a 29.5MP, APS-C version of the Foveon X3 Quattro CMOS sensor; a 3-inch, 1.62M-dot LCD; and a 2.3MP viewfinder—is also offer by Sigma. $799. sigmaphoto.com
Sony Alpha a7R II
The flagship of the impressive Alpha a7 line of high-performance, full-frame mirrorless cameras, it features a 42.4MP Exmor R BSI sensor coupled to a Bionz X image processor. This combo provides a 5-fps, full-res burst rate. It also results in 4K UHD (3,840×2,160) video capture at 30/24 fps in XAVC format at 100 Mbps, including S-Log2 Gamma and S-Gamut settings; as well as sensitivity settings to ISO 102,400. Its AF system boasts 399 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detection AF zones.
Notable is sensor-shifting, 5-axis SteadyShot Inside image stabilization, said to deliver 4.5 stops of anti-shake compensation for pitch, yaw, horizontal/vertical shift and roll. Other features include: a 0.5-inch, 2.36M-dot OLED EVF; a 3-inch, 1.22M-dot, tilting LCD monitor; support for 14-bit, uncompressed RAW files; and Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC. The E-mount a7R II’s robust magnesium alloy body was upgraded with improved weather sealing. In addition, its redesigned 500,000-cycle-rated shutter employs a reduced-vibration design with an electronic front shutter curtain and a silent shooting mode. $2,699.99. sony.com
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
This seriously upgraded flagship of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds range has the same classic, downsized DSLR look as its predecessor. But its real-world performance was notably enhanced thanks to an upgraded 20.4MP High-Speed Live MOS sensor coupled to a new TruePic VIII dual quad core processor. It provides 15-fps, full-res bursts (60 fps, electronic shutter) along with increased responsiveness, enhanced image quality and improved performance at high sensitivity settings up to ISO 25,600. Other features are RAW shooting and a 50MP high-res shot mode.
It also has a wide-view, high-magnification, 2.36M-dot, eye-level EVF, providing a 100% view, as well as a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, articulating, touch-control LCD monitor. Its 5-axis sensor-shift IS system delivers shake-free images when shooting stills or DCI 4K/24p or 4K UHD/30p video handheld. A dual FAST 121-point AF system delivers pro-caliber performance. In addition, built-in wireless connectivity links it to iOS/Android devices using an intuitive QR code system. Furthermore, there’s a customizable, multifunction control array similar to that in high-end pro DSLRs. All this is built into a dustproof, weatherproof magnesium alloy body. $1,999.99. olympusamerica.com
This new, rugged, weatherproof minimalist DSLR-style camera is the top model in Fujifilm’s impressive X series. It employs the company’s upgraded 24.3MP APS-C-format X-Trans CMOS III sensor, said to deliver superior image quality and lower noise than conventional sensors. Furthermore, the sensor pairs with an advanced X-Processor Pro engine to deliver continuous, full-res bursts of 8 fps and Full HD 1080p video capture at 60 fps. The X-Pro2’s innovative hybrid multi viewfinder enables users to select between OVF with a multi-magnification feature or a 2.36M-dot EVF with fast 85-fps playback.
Furthermore, an intelligent hybrid AF system combines contrast- and phase-detection sensors in a 273-point matrix that includes 77 phase-detection points for enhanced AF performance. In addition, a focus peaking display offers precise focus assessment and enhanced manual focus capability. Other features include: a tilting, 3-inch, 1.62M-dot LCD monitor; ISO 100–51,200 settings; a mechanical shutter with speeds to 1/8,000 sec; an electronic shutter with a 1/32,000-sec speed(!); dual UHS-II SD card slots; built-in film simulation as well as grain effect modes; and Wi-Fi. $1,699.
Note: The Fujifilm X-T2 provides the same basic features but offers 4K UHD video capture at 24 fps, an F-Log Gamma setting for achieving superior color in postproduction, and a 2.36M-dot EVF in lieu of the hybrid multi viewfinder. $1,599. fujifilmusa.com
Nikon 1 J5
Aimed at attracting serious shooters, this latest generation Nikon 1 camera is based on the 13.2×8.8mm CX format. While somewhat larger than some previous Nikon 1 models, at 3.9×2.4×1.3 inches, it’s solid and elegant, with classic contemporary styling. An upgraded 20.8MP BSI CMOS sensor and Expeed 5A processor deliver improved overall speed and responsiveness—with full-res, 20-fps bursts for 40 frames with full-time AF. They also provide better high ISO performance with settings topping off at 12,800.
Video features include movie e-VR stabilization for recording smooth Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps for slow motion movies, and also 4K UHD video clip recording at 15 fps. It also has a 3-inch, 1.04M-dot, tilting touch screen and built-in SnapBridge with Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. Its enhanced hybrid AF system employs 105 phase-detection and 171 contrast-detection AF points to increase AF speed and accuracy. Also featured are high ISO noise reduction that combines four separate images and a full selection of creative modes for picture effects, including glamour retouch mode. The optional Nikon 1 VR kit includes an eye-level EVF and a second larger grip with a third function button. With 1 Nikkor 10–30mm f/3.5–5.6 PD-Zoom lens, $499.95. nikonusa.com
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
A hit at CES 2017, Panasonic’s new full-featured, top-of-the-line, Micro Four Thirds GH5 employs a 20.3MP Digital Live MOS sensor, sans the low-pass filter. It marries with an advanced Venus engine to deliver 4K video capture at up to 60 fps and internal 4:4:2, 10-bit 4K video at 24 and 30 fps. The camera also achieves a maximum full-res burst of 12 fps with continuous AF and low-noise performance at ISOs to 25,600. Its 10-bit color capability means it can record greater color subtleties and differentiate more colors than other cameras in its class. In addition, 6K and 4K photo modes enable users to output impressive-quality still images from video clips.
Other key features include: an advanced 225-area DFD (Depth-from-Defocus) AF system that focuses in as little as 0.05 sec; the 5-axis dual IS 2 system that combines in-lens and sensor-shift stabilization with compatible Lumix lenses; a 0.76x, 3.68M-dot OLED EVF; a 3.2-inch, 1.62M-dot, free-angle, touch LCD; built-in 5 GHz Wi-Fi; low-energy Bluetooth 4.2; and dual UHS-II SD slots. The attractive, ergonomically contoured GH5 is constructed of magnesium alloy with die-cast front as well as rear panels. It is also sealed against dust and moisture, and is freezeproof to 14ºF. $1,999.99. panasonic.com
* All MSRPs are body only unless otherwise noted.