Mirrorless Cameras for Professional Results
Whether you buy a simple point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR camera, you may very well be in a situation where the scene that you want to capture may be a once-in-a-lifetime event. These cameras are more modestly priced, but they usually employ a series of mirrors that move around inside when taking a picture. The moving parts increase the risk of breakage and wear. There are mirrorless cameras with fewer moving parts inside, which ensures greater longevity. Also, they have more advanced electronics, as well as faster shutter speeds and more powerful light sensors to pick up greater detail. Mirrorless cameras will also be smaller and lighter than DSLR cameras.
But mirrorless cameras will be considerably more expensive than DSLR cameras. You’ll also typically buy the body of a mirrorless camera, and then purchase compatible interchangeable lenses that you employ depending on the type of scene you’re trying to capture. They’ll differ in the quality of the sensor, as well as image resolution, stabilization characteristics, the number of frames per second that they can catch, and many more such specifications.
In short, there’s a lot to know before diving into buying a mirrorless camera. We’ll look through some of the major specs, to help you decide!
Types of Mirrorless Cameras
Looking at the Best Reviews Guide list of the most popular mirrorless cameras, we’ll see that they differ greatly in their specifications. But, we can distinguish between them by the type of sensor they have:
CMOS sensor: These have light sensors that gather the light from the lens and convert it into electrical signals, storing it as an image. In this frontside-illuminated CMOS sensor, the light reflected from the subject you are photographing first goes through metal wiring before reaching the light-receiving surface. But a good percentage (sometimes as much as 70%) of the light is lost in this manner. An example is the Fujifilm X-T100 Mirrorless Digital Camera.
Fujifilm X-T100 Mirrorless Digital Camera
BSI (= Backside-Illuminated) CMOS sensor: This has the light-receiving surface and photodiodes before the metal wiring, leading to less light loss. This has a more effective arrangement of photosites on the sensor, allowing for an increased readout speed and better performance in low-light conditions. The camera can also have a faster autofocus response than a camera with a typical CMOS sensor. An example of a camera with such a sensor is the Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera (Model ILCE7M3/B).
Sony a7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera
Stacked CMOS sensor: There are mirrorless cameras with an even more advanced CMOS sensor, by “stacking” the image-signal processor and memory together. This shortens the processing time, making the camera more efficient. A camera with a stacked CMOS sensor will have improved autofocus and focusing speed and better subject recognition, whether you want to take a picture of people, pets, or vehicles. An example is the Nikon Z 9 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera. You’ll notice that these will be the most expensive offerings, among the Best Reviews Guide list of the best mirrorless cameras.
Nikon Z 9 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera
Another distinction between different mirrorless cameras is between APS-C and full-frame sensors:
APS-C sensor: This stands for “Advanced Photo System–Classic”. It has an active sensor size of 22.2 mm x 14.8 mm. It is a smaller sensor than the full-frame, but that allows the camera to be smaller and lighter, so it’s easier for taking it while traveling. The Fujifilm X-S10 Mirrorless Camera has a 26.1-megapixel resolution, as well as special image stabilizing features to make sure that your images aren’t blurry due to hand movements.
Fujifilm X-S10 Mirrorless Camera
Full-Frame sensor: These sensors will have an active surface of 36 mm x 24 mm. The sensor is thus 1.6x larger than the APS-C camera. But it will give you greater resolution. An example is the Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. It has a 33-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor.
Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions about the mirrorless camera that they purchased:
10-bit color: You’ll see cameras that advertise having “10-bit color”. This means that they have 10 bits to capture red hues, 10 bits to capture green hues, and 10 bits to capture blue hues. Ten bits come out to 1024 different shades, meaning that such a camera can reproduce an image in as many as 10243 = over 1 billion different colors! However, this may be useful only if the image is saved in “Raw” form, for later processing. If you save the image in JPEG or another format, only a fraction of these pixels will actually be stored. You’ll see cameras that record in 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 sampling. The 4:2:2 means that for every grid of 4 horizontal pixels and 2 vertical pixels, 2 color pixels are recorded from the first row, and two from the second row. This reproduces the image more faithfully than in 4:2:0, where it records 2 color pixels from the first row and 0 pixels from the second row.
Suitable for occasions and sports events: One customer who used the Sony A7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera said that it was great for taking pictures at sports events and weddings–much better than another mirrorless model, the Sony Alpha a6300. So, it will definitely require research to find the correct mirrorless camera for your specific needs.
Here are some tips to help you select the right mirrorless camera for your needs:
IBIS: Many mirrorless cameras will have an “in-body image stabilization” (=IBIS) system. It works by detecting any movement of the camera and adjusting the image sensor to correct for that movement. It thus ensures that images will not be blurry, and videos will capture the action without the subject moving out of the center of the frame.
Touchscreen and electronic viewfinder: Many of the best mirrorless cameras will have a tilting touchscreen, which allows you to enter your preferences and save the image. Some cameras, like the Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless Camera, allow you to move the touchscreen out of the way so that the light from the screen won’t interfere with the scene you’re photographing. Many cameras also have a viewfinder, to allow you to see in advance what the picture will look like.
Wireless transfer of images: These mirrorless cameras will usually take a memory card on which you save the images or videos that you take. But some models have Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, allowing you to transfer images wirelessly to a device or to your Google Drive. That way, you can share images instantly!
Battery life: Cameras will vary in how many frames you can shoot on a single charge. The Fujifilm X-T4 also has an option for an optional Vertical Battery Grip which provides two extra batteries. It clicks on the X-T4 while allowing you access to all of the camera’s controls. That allows you nearly 2,000 more still frames before you’ll have to recharge your batteries!
Fujifilm X-T4 with the Vertical Battery Grip
We went through some of the specifications of the best mirrorless cameras available on the market. They’re definitely state-of-the-art devices and can be quite an investment. But, their sensor capabilities are among the best in the “prosumer” market, catering to the needs of professional photographers. Whether you need a mirrorless camera for still shots or movies, you’re sure to be able to find what you’re looking for in the Best Reviews Guide list!