Articles Cameras

Mirrorless Camera Buyer’s Guide (2019-2020 Edition)

II. SERIOUS (ADVANCED) MIRRORLESS

INTRODUCTION
I. ENTRY-LEVEL MIRRORLESS
II. SERIOUS (ADVANCED) MIRRORLESS
III. ENTHUSIAST (EXPERT) MIRRORLESS
IV. PRO MIRRORLESS

If you want to take up photography as a serious hobby and have a desire to learn how to take great photos, step up to an advanced mirrorless camera that gives you control over shooting modes. Aperture-Priority mode allows you to control depth of field, getting everything from near to far sharp, or throw the background out of focus and make your main subject pop; Shutter-Priority mode allows you to freeze a subject in motion or allow flowing water to blur for that ethereal cloudy effect; and, Full Manual Mode hands over total control of the camera over to you. (Note: many entry-level models usually also allow you to have that level of control, but operability, performance and image quality will vary.)

What is PASM?
PASM is an acronym for Programmed Auto, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and full Manual. They refer to the shooting modes available on your camera. Some cameras may list the order differently (etc., PSAM) or even use different letters (e.g. Tv instead of S, Av instead of A).

In Full AUTO mode, the camera makes all the decisions for you.

In Programmed Auto shooting mode, the camera meters the scene and suggests a shutter speed/aperture settings combination for a correct exposure. If your camera has Program Shift feature, you can dial in a different shutter speed (or aperture) and the camera will shift the aperture (or shutter speed) accordingly to continue to maintain correct exposure. You can also dial in an exposure compensation (over or under) and the camera will use that compensation in its exposure calculation. If you adjust the ISO, the camera will also take that into consideration.

In Aperture-priority shooting mode, you decide on an aperture (small for maximum depth of field and sharp landscape photos, large for narrow depth of field and portraits with blurred background) and the camera takes exposure compensation (if you have dialled one in) and ISO into consideration and select the shutter speed required for a correct exposure.

In Shutter-priority shooting mode, you decide on a shutter speed (fast to freeze action, slow for cloudy or blurred effects) and the camera takes exposure compensation (if you have dialled one in) and ISO into consideration and select the aperture required for a correct exposure.

In full Manual shooting mode, you decide on everything: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and though some cameras may suggest settings for a correct exposure, you are left to be in total control.

You take the time to know your camera inside out, practice taking lots of pictures under different weather conditions, explore various shooting techniques, improve your post-processing and start to develop a definite idea of your likes and dislikes as far as what type of camera and what type of shooting you prefer. For example, you may prefer shooting landscapes or portraits or macros or wildlife or sports. You also start doing some basic post-processing (such as sharpening, light levels, white balance adjustment) in a photo editing software — and start to immediately see a major improvement in the quality of your pictures.

Our recommendation here is that you move up from your entry-level camera to a better model keeping the same brand if you have already invested in additional lenses and accessories; or, switch to a different brand, depending on your photographic needs and preferences. Do not invest heavily in lenses and accessories yet until you are certain you have settled on a camera system. Concentrate on learning and mastering the fundamentals of good photography. Do not be afraid to experiment.

A note about forum boards: join boards where you get to learn and practice your photography, not to debate the finer points of camera features. Remember: there is no perfect camera. Do not worry about what other people say negatively about your camera choice. Instead of wasting time debating which camera is better, just go out and take pictures. Become a better photographer. Enjoy your photography!


 

CANON EOS Ra (2018)

The Canon EOS Ra (EOS R astrophotography) is specially designed for astrophotography and is based on the EOS R. The infrared cutoff filter in front of the sensor has been modified to allow four times greater transmittance of hydrogen-alpha (Hα) light of 656.3 nm compared to the original EOS R, and that helps to capture high-precision images of the deep-red wavelengths emitted by nebulae in vivid color, without any special camera alterations.

Canon EOS Ra Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Canon EOS Ra, RF lenses and accessories (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

CANON EOS R (2018)

Canon EOS R

Canon EOS R

The Canon EOS R is Canon’s first serious mirrorless camera, is full-frame and its sensor and some features are comparable to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR (though its cheaper price and weather-sealing capability are closer to the EOS 6D Mark II). For their first full-frame mirrorless, the EOS R is a hybrid 30.3MP still and 4K video camera, delivering excellent image quality in a body smaller and lighter than an equivalent DSLR. It features 8 fps continuous shooting, a high resolution 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder and 2.1M-dot Vari-Angle touch 3.15-inch LCD.

Though the Canon EOS R is built solidly and handles well, it sports controls that you would expect to see on their entry-level EOS M mirrorless models rather than on a full-frame DSLR-level camera. It’s as though Canon has not decided yet that it’s future is mirrorless and has somewhat hobbled the development of the EOS R system and positioned it beneath their current DSLR offerings.

The EOS R is weather-sealed, shoots 4K video at 30 fps, has a beautifully high resolution electronic viewfinder, and can shoot silently when needed. It also boasts the world’s most sensitive AF with sensitivity down to -6 EV. As Canon’s first generation full-frame mirrorless camera, it has a few kinks to work out (such as a severe 1.8x 4K video crop), but the EOS R is nevertheless an impressive mirrorless camera capable of producing stunning images with very good dynamic range and low noise at high ISOs.

If you are a Canon DSLR shooter and have been holding out switching to mirrorless, you may want to consider an EOS R to get used to mirrorless shooting and workflow. When your perfect Canon mirrorless camera eventually does come along (whenever Canon finally decides mirrorless is their future), you’ll be ready to make a complete switch and the transition will be smooth for both yourself and your clients.

Canon EOS R Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Canon EOS R, RF lenses and accessories (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Canon EOS M6 (2019)

Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M6

Canon EOS M6 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Canon EOS M6 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T30 (2019)

Fujifilm X-T30 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-T30 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T30 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-T20 (2017)

Fujifilm XT-20

Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm X-T20 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-T20 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-T20 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

FUJIFILM X-E3 (2017)

Fujifilm X-E3 QuickFact Sheet

Fujifilm X-E3 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Fujifilm X-E3 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica CL (2017)

Leica CL

Leica CL

Leica CL Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica CL (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

Leica TL2 (2017)

Leica TL2

Leica TL2

Leica TL2 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Leica TL2 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 MARK III (2019)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III (black) with 14-150mm f/4-5.6 lens

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III (black) with 14-150mm f/4-5.6 lens

Olympus E-M5 Mark III QuickFact Sheet

Olympus E-M5 Mark III Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

OLYMPUS PEN-F (2016)

Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F QuickFact Sheet

Olympus PEN-F Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Olympus PEN-F (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G95 (2019)

Panasonic G95 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G95 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G85 (2016)

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85

Read our Panasonic G85 Review

Panasonic G85 QuickFact Sheet

Panasonic G85 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY α6600 (2019)

Sony Alpha 6600

Sony Alpha 6600

Sony a6600 QuickFact Sheet

Sony a6600 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony α6600 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY α6500 (2016)

Sony α6500

Sony α6500

Sony a6500 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony α6500 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


 

SONY α6400 (2019)

Sony a6400

Sony a6400

Sony a6400 Press Release

Full specifications: Manufacturer’s site

Buy from B&H (Thank you for your support!):
Sony α6400 (various kit lens options are offered, all prices in US $)


INTRODUCTION
I. ENTRY-LEVEL MIRRORLESS
II. SERIOUS (ADVANCED) MIRRORLESS
III. ENTHUSIAST (EXPERT) MIRRORLESS
IV. PRO MIRRORLESS