Best Mirrorless Camera 2018 | Camera Planets Review

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Unlike DSLR, mirrorless camera, sometimes called CSC, have no mirror or optical viewfinder inside them. Because of this, they’re often more portable. They’re also the first to implement new technology too, such as 4K video and Wi-Fi. These are both pretty convincing reasons to buy one instead of a traditional DSLR, but are they too good to be true? This month we round up the best mirrorless cameras model with a body-only price under $1750 to find out….

#10 Leica TL

Leica TL Review
Leica TL

Leica has a reputation for top quality cameras and top prices too. The Leica TL costs a cool $1957, but this is affordable for a Leica Camera the M costs around $6747 and the SL around $7922.

The Leica TL is equal in size to the T, which it replaces, though its edges are now a little chamfered. Its internal memory has been doubled to 32GB and it has the same 16MP APS-C sensor as the T. It’s not the highest resolution, but this could mean cleaner pictures at high ISOs. There are 6 Leica TL (APS-C) optics available and seven SL (full-frame) lenses for the T mount. But with lens prices starting at $1727, you’ll need deep pockets.

A large 3.7 inches touchscreen sits on the back, though it’s surrounded by a large border, so doesn’t make the most of this space. Adjusting settings relies predominantly on finger gestures and tapping to navigate the user-friendly touch menu system. Buttons and dials are thin, but this lo-fi approach makes it an extremely modern feel. Leica is keen to stress a better performance in the continuous AF mode. There’s no built-in electronic viewfinder, but an optional Visoflex hot-shoe EVF is available for $486. The Leica TL looks sublime, but its lack of 4K video and 5fps burst rate hamper its value for money.

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LEICA TL Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
Resolution16 MP
ViewfinderEVF
Display3.7 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate5 fps
Video1920x1080 FullHD
ISOAuto, 100-12500

PROS

  • Solid Build
  • Large Touchscreen
  • Looks Great

CONS

  • Screen Cant be flipped or tilted
  • EVF cost extra
  • 5 fps max burst
  • No 4K video

#9 Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F Review
Olympus PEN-F

The Olympus Pen-F takes full advantage of its mirrorless design by being one of the lightest and most portable cameras on test. Its Micro Four Thirds sensor is smaller than an APS-C chip, but its maximum resolution of 20.3MP is very respectable. Adding to this, the whole sensor is stabilized on 5 axis, so camera shake can be reduced with any lens you attach.

Inside, you’ll find a TruePic VII processor, which will fire off RAWs at 10fps – twice as fast as Leica’s TL. The autofocus is limited to just contrast detect, but the 3 inches LCD has touch functionality, so you can tap it to quickly place the active point. You can also bunch AF points into a group of nine, which is great for tracking fast-moving subjects. The resolution of the screen is fairly low at 1037k-dot, but it can be flipped out and tilted to help you frame up. The EVF is detailed and offers an alternative to the LCD.

The Olympus Pen-F is speedy, shooting as quickly as 1/8000sec, though it’s not the fastest on the test. There’s no pop-up flash, but an external FL-LM3 hot-shoe flashgun is included. Built-in Wi-Fi allows shooting through a smartphone and movies can be recorded in Full HD. Sadly, there’s no 4K. The Pen-F is a great budget option packed with features and retro charm.

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Olympus PEN-F Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C (17.4 x 13.0mm)
Resolution20.3 MP
ViewfinderEVF / LCD
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate10 fps
Video1920x1080 FullHD
ISOAuto, 80-25600

PROS

  • Stabilised Sensor
  • Flip-out Screen
  • Clear EVF
  • Retro Charm

CONS

  • No 4K Video
  • No NFC
  • Small MFT

#8 Panasonic GH4R

Panasonic GH4R Review
Panasonic GH4R

A large build and chunky handgrip give the Panasonic GH4R excellent handling. It can shoot at a respectable 12fps behind many of its rivals. That said, its 3 inches screen is a joy to use and the touch interface is very intuitive.  It can be flipped out and rotated but its a little low in resolution at 1036k-dot. Tapping to set the action and rotated. Tapping to set the active AF point is quick and you can resize the point by pinching the screen too.

The EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) is really responsive and clear and makes the Panasonic GH4R sense more like a DSLR. It also has a sensor that engages it when brought up to eye level. The autofocus system of Panasonic GH4R is contrast detect, though this is very fast at acquiring a subject, thanks to its DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology. We noted a small amount of hunting when searching for focus on a subject with low contrast. The Panasonic GH4R is not the most portable camera here, but it has some brilliant features and similar handling to a DSLR. It’s a solid choice for videographers.

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Panasonic GH4R Specification

Sensor SizeLive MOS Sensor (17.3 x 13.0 mm)
Resolution17.2 MP
ViewfinderOLED Live View Finder
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate12 fps
Video1920x1080 FullHD
ISOAuto, 100 - 25600

PROS

  • Tilt-Touch LCD
  • 4K Video
  • 12fps RAW shooting
  • Wi-Fi & NFC

CONS

  • Quite large for a Mirrorless Camera.
  • Resolution is fairly low at 16MP.

#7 Fujifilm X-PRO2

Fujifilm X-PRO2 Review
Fujifilm X-PRO2

Fujifilm’s flagship CSC, the X-Pro2, comes packed with features. The 2nd generation model comes with an APS-C sensor and sees a resolution increase of 51%, taking it to 24.3MP. The 3 inch 1620k-dot LCD has an incredible level of detail. But it’s fixed in place, so cannot be tilted or rotated. It also omits touch functionality. The Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder performs well and is also highly detailed at 2360k-dot. The autofocus is now an Intelligent Hybrid AF system with phase and contrast detect for faster subject acquisition. It has more AF points, a total of 77, but this is fairly scant compared to the likes of the α6500, which has 425 phases detect points.

The X-Processor Pro engine grants a top burst speed of 8fps. This would be considered quickly in the DSLR realm, but there are faster CSCs on a test, such as Fujifilm’s 14fps X-T2 and Sony’s 11fps α6500. Wi-Fi is included and a secondary SD slot is a good addition, though a tiltable touchscreen or 4K video would be more useful for most scenarios, so Fujifilm’s X-T2 may be the better choice. Admittedly, the X-T2 doesn’t have the rangefinder style retro charm, so you’ll have to weigh up substance against style.

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Fujifilm X-PRO2 Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C (23.6 x 15.6mm)
Resolution20.3 MP
ViewfinderHybrid / LCD
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate8 fps
Video1920x1080 FullHD
ISOAuto, 100 - 51,200

PROS

  • APS-C sensor
  • High Resolution
  • Dual SD Slots
  • Viewfinder

CONS

  • No 4K Video
  • LCD has no Touch functionality
  • LCD can not be Tilted or Rotated

#6 Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8

Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8

Retro-inspired is the best way to describe Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 rangefinder style camera. Its chunky dials make it a breeze to set exposure settings. It’s quite large and heavy for a CSC, but it does offer some very tempting features. Its Micro Four Thirds sensor has a good resolution of 20.3MP, and it’s stabilized for sharper shots too. The 3 inches back display has a resolution of just 1040K-dot and we actually like its ability to be flipped to help awkward framing. The touch interface is very user-friendly. You can tap to quickly set the active AF point, or pinch the screen with a finger and thumb to easily resize the AF area – handy for changing between fine and broad focusing quickly.

Contrast autofocus is usually slower than phase detects autofocus systems, but the Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 uses clever DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology for very fast acquisition. Its only caveat is it does tend to hunt a little when the subject is low in contrast. The highest burst rate goes to 8 frames per second for RAWs or 10 frames per second for JPEGs using its electronic shutter. 8 frames per second is a little under-par compared to Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds E-M5 II, which can shoot RAW files at a maximum of 15fps.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 Specification

Sensor SizeMOS, (17.3 x 13 mm)
Resolution20.3 MP
ViewfinderEVF
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate8 fps
VideoMax 3840 x 2160p
ISOAuto, 200-25600

PROS

  • 4K video
  • Tilting LCD
  • Touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi & NFC
  • Tilting EVF

CONS

  • Quite big for a Mirrorless Camera
  • 8 fps maximum RAW Burst Mode

# 5 Olympus E-M5 II

Olympus E-M5 II Review
Olympus E-M5 II

Sitting one model below Olympus’ flagship E-M1 II, the Olympus E-M5 II comes bristling with features. At its core is a Micro Four Thirds chip with a 20.4MP resolution, though it’s physically smaller than APS-C and full-frame chips, so it’s harder to achieve shallow depth-of-field effects. The sensor is stabilized for sharper handheld shots.

The TruePic VIII processor grants a maximum burst rate of 15fps and it takes on 4K video recording and phase detect autofocus too. There’s a total of 800 hybrid points, and we found the autofocus to be lightning quick. The LCD can be flipped out and tilted 180° up or 90° down, and it also has touch functionality. One issue with the screen is that it has a resolution of just 1037k-dot, which is fairly low in comparison to Canon’s EOS M5 and Fujifilm’s X-Pro2, both boasting 1620k-dot. One brilliant feature is the twin command dials that make it easy to change exposure settings. Many of its other core specifications are identical to the Pen-F, such as a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec, native ISO range of 200-25,600 and built-in Wi-Fi, but it has been available longer so is better value.

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Olympus E-M5 II Specification

Sensor SizeMOS, (17.3 x 13 mm)
Resolution20.4 MP
ViewfinderEVF / LCD
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate15 fps
VideoMax 1920x1080p
ISOAuto, 200-25600

PROS

  • 15 fps Burst Rate
  • Stabilised Sensor
  • Tilting Screen
  • Phase Detect Auto Focus
  • Good Price

CONS

  • Quite Bulky
  • Low-res LCD

#4 Canon EOS M5

Canon EOS M5 Review
Canon EOS M5

Canon EOS M5 is one of the most pockets able CSCs in this test, yet packs in a large, DSLR-sized APS-C sensor with a resolution of 24.2MP. The Canon EOS M5 continues to impress, squeezing in an electronic viewfinder (EVF), pop-up flash and a hot-shoe. The EVF and large handgrip make the Canon EOS M5 handle much more like a DSLR.

The handgrip particularly has matured significantly from that on the four-year-old EOS M, which handled a little bit like a bar of soap. Its layout and menu system make it intuitive for current Canon DSLR users to pick up and get shooting. Below the EVF is the screen, which at 3.2 inches is larger than all but Leica TL on the test. Not only is the LCD big, it can be tilted up 85° or down 180° to assist with awkward shooting angles. It’s also a touch display, so an AF point can be set very quickly.

The icing on the cake is its brilliant resolution of 1620k-dot, for crystal clear composing and playback – it’s one of the most detailed we looked at. The EOS M5 has a 7fps burst rate, maximum shutter speed of 1/4000sec, Full HD movies and an ISO range of 100-25,600 – solid features found in many enthusiast DSLRs. But CSCs usually have newer technology, and some of its competitors showed a burst rate twice as quick, 4K video and higher maximum shutter speeds. The most agonizing of these is the lack of 4K video, which is becoming an increasingly standard feature on many premium models.

The focusing system is equipped with the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF found on some Canon DSLRs. This means every pixel can be used for phase detect focusing as well as collecting light. You can tap anywhere on the screen to set the AF point, and tapping will also select the AF point even when using the electronic viewfinder, so it’s really easy to change the focus point on the fly.

Both Wi-Fi and NFC are connectivity is built in for a fast wireless setup to a mobile device. This is handy for shooting through a Smartphone, playing back images and sharing on social media.

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Canon EOS M5 Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C, (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Resolution24.2 MP
ViewfinderEVF / LCD
Display3.2 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate9 fps
VideoMax 1920x1080p
ISOAuto, 100-25600

PROS

  • Brilliant LCD
  • APS-C Sensor
  • Quick Focusing
  • Wi-Fi & NFC

CONS

  • No 4K Video
  • 7 fps Mas Burst
  • 1/4000sec top shutter speed
  • Lens Range

#3 Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm X-T2 Review
Fujifilm X-T2

The Fujifilm X-T2 isn’t billed as Fujifilm’s flagship mirrorless camera, but it borrows many features from the firm’s top-line Fujifilm X-Pro2. It’s one of the larger CSCs we assessed, but a little smaller than an enthusiast DSLR – 13% shorter and 35% thinner than a Nikon D7200. Impressively, it takes on a DSLR-sized APS-C sensor with a high resolution of 24.3MP.

It’s powered by the same X Processor Profound in its bigger X-Pro2 sibling, but goes two better on the spec sheet with 4K video and a 14fps top burst rate – that’s 75% quicker! The ISO range is identical to 200-12,800, or 100-51,200 expanded. The shutter range of 1/32,000-30sec is also the same, and very quick.

Fujifilm X-T2 Performance

The Intelligent Hybrid autofocus is impressively fast and quiet when operating with the 18-55mm kit lens. There is no less than 169 phase detect points covering the center of the frame, and a further 156 of the slower contrast detect at the frame edges. This gives fantastic frame coverage and even the contrast detect points are able to find focus quickly. The AF points can also be set to five different sizes, though this could have been made easier to change had it implemented a touchscreen.

Unlike the X-Pro2’s hybrid viewfinder, the ’finder on the X-T2 is completely electronic. It has a resolution of 2360k-dot and there’s a sensor under the EVF that switches the EVF on automatically when brought up to eye level. This feature can be manually engaged or, if you prefer, turned off altogether.

The 3 inch 1040k-dot LCD is a little low-res compared to some of the other super-high-res screens we looked at but is still perfectly adequate for composing and playing back. We’d have liked to have seen a touch display integrated – through a joystick on the back speeds up AF point selection. We really like the ability to tilt the screen both up and down and also flip it over to the right, which helps with composing at all sorts of angles. There’s no pop-up flash, but a portable EF-X8 external flash is included in the box. Wi-Fi is also integrated for times when you want to compose remotely via a smart device, playback images or upload to social media.

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Fujifilm X-T2 Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C, (23.6 x 15.6 mm)
Resolution24.3 MP
ViewfinderEVF
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate14 fps
VideoMax 3840x2160p
ISOAuto, 100-51,200

PROS

  • DSLR Sized  APS-C Sensor
  • 24.3 MP
  • Tilting Screen

CONS

  • Pricey
  • LCD has no Touch Functionality

# 2 Sony α6500

Sony α6500 Review
Sony α6500

It’s remarkable how many features the Sony α6500 includes, considering its portable demeanor. It weighs just 453g when the battery and card are inserted, yet crams in a DSLR-sized APS-C sensor. This is able to capture an extraordinary amount of detail with its maximum resolution of 24.2MP. Like its full-frame α7 II sibling, the Sony α6500 has a stabilized sensor on 5 axis, so you can benefit from sharper shots with any lens attached.

Its E mount is also compatible with Sony’s E (APS-C) and FE (full-frame) lenses, so there’s plenty of choices when it comes to purchasing optics. On the back sits the 3 inches LCD, which can be tilted up and down to help you frame up when shooting away from head-height. The screen also has touch functionality to make it quicker to set an AF point and navigate through the menus. Its electronic viewfinder sits neatly in a corner above the screen and has a motion sensor to activate it when you bring it up to your eye. Having an EVF in such a portable body is very impressive and gives users a different way to frame-up should the screen become glared in bright sunlight.

Sony α6500 Performance

The Bionz X processor paves the way for an incredible performance. It has a Fast Hybrid autofocus system which offers a frankly ridiculous 425 phase detect points and an additional 169 contrast detect points. This blows its competition out of the water, but the specs don’t stop there. RAWs can be shot at a blistering 11fps and 4K video can be recorded internally too – both desirable features. The native ISO reaches from 100-25,600 and can be expanded to 51,200. Our only issue with the spec sheet is that the 1/4000sec maximum shutter speed is quite low compared to Fujifilm’s X-T2 and X-Pro2, which reach 1/32,000sec.

Its LCD is a little low-res at 921 k-dots too. But these are minor blips on an otherwise impeccable spec sheet. Other features include Wi-Fi, NFC, a pop-up flash and a multi-interface shoe. The α6500 is an absolute gem, full of features, and justifies its high asking price.

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Sony α6500 Specification

Sensor SizeAPS-C, (23.50 x 15.60mm)
Resolution24.2 MP
ViewfinderEVF / LCD
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate11 fps
VideoMax 3840x2160p
ISOAuto, 100-25600

PROS

  • APS-C Sensor
  • 24.2MP
  • Tilting Screen
  • Touchscreen
  • 11 fps Burst
  • 4K Video

CONS

  • Pricey
  • 921k-dot LCD is a Little Low-res

#1 Sony α7 II

SONY α7 II Review
SONY α7 II

As the only mirrorless body on a test to squeeze a huge full-frame sensor into its body, Sony’s α7 II certainly packs a strong punch. It has the same 24.3MP resolution as many other APS-C models we looked at, though its megapixels have more room to breathe on its more spacious full-frame chip,  and this means cleaner images in low light. Another benefit of having a full-frame sensor is that it’s much easier to get shallow depth-of-field effects, and because the pixels are larger you get a broader dynamic range.

The Sony α7 II sits alongside its sibling α7R II, which is built for high-resolution images with its 42.4MP sensor, and the α7S II, which is built for low light with its 12.2MP chip. These models share many of the α7 II’s specs but fall outside of our sub-$2024 price bracket, costing $4047and $3845 respectively.

Sony has managed to stabilize its sensor on 5 axis, which means any attached lens can benefit from its blur-reducing properties. It delivers sharp shots when shooting up to 4.5 stops slower than normal. Its full-frame chip separates the α7 II from the competition, but its spec sheet doesn’t stop there. The 3 inches LCD can be tilted 107° up or 41° down to assist awkward angles, and has a very respectable resolution of 1228.8k-dot.

Sony α7 II Performance

A Fast Hybrid AF autofocus system has been incorporated and uses both phase and contrast detect to find a subject. Its 117 phase points seem a little low compared to the 425 points touted by Sony α6500. But we were more than able to get by with the AF point coverage offered by the α7 II. The autofocus was also really quick and accurate, and we found the focus peaking really handy for getting the focus spot-on when using manual focus for stills or video – where manual focusing is essential. One downside of the video is that its maximum resolution is 1080p.

The Sony α6500 can shoot 4K, so could be the better choice if this is an essential feature. We’d also have liked touch functionality to make it quicker to set the active AF point. The viewfinder is a little larger than the one found in the Α6500. Its 0.5-inch type viewfinder has a resolution of 2359.3k-dot, which has a brilliant level of detail and provides an alternative way to frame up if the LCD becomes hard to see in bright light.

The Sony α7 II shares the same Bionz X processor as the Α6500, though it has a faster maximum shutter speed of 1/8000sec and a native ISO range of 100-51,200 which is 1 stop wider at the top end. It can also be expanded to a low value of 50. One downside is the Sony α7 II has a lower maximum frame rate of 5fps for stills, against the α6500’s 11fps.

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Sony α7 II Specification

Sensor SizeCMOS, (35.80 x 23.90mm)
Resolution24.3 MP
ViewfinderEVF / LCD
Display3 Inch
Max. Shooting Rate5 fps
VideoMax 1920x1080p
ISOAuto, 100-51,200

PROS

  • Full-Frame
  • 24.3MP
  • Tiltable Screen
  • Fast AF

CONS

  • No Touch Functionality
  • Burst Rate is Little Low at 5 fps
  • No 4k Video