Mirrorless Camera Comparison

A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless camera can get very confusing. In the new series of articles, we will compare all the options on the market today starting from entry-level, mid-level to high-end. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01 and Ricoh GXR are not included. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras.

Mirrorless Systems #1Canon EOS MFujifilm XFLeica MNikon 1Olympus M43
* Denotes PL Subjective Rating
Lens MountCanon EF-MFuji XLeica MNikon 1Micro 4/3
Announcement DateOct 2012Jan 2012Mar 2004Oct 2011Jun 2009
Mount Diameter58mm42mm44mm40mm38mm
Sensor Size (Diagonal)26.8mm28.3mm43.0mm15.9mm21.7mm
Flange Distance18mm17.7mm27.80mm17mm20mm
Image StabilizationLensLensN/ALensBody
AutofocusYesYesNoYesYes
Autofocus SystemHybridHybridN/AHybridHybrid
Autofocus Speed *34N/A55
Native Lenses Available312261116
Third Party Lenses3839033
Total Lenses Available620651149
System Compactness *44345
Image Quality *45534
Top Model (Manuf. Link)Canon EOS MFuji X-Pro1Leica MNikon 1 V2OM-D E-M1
Top Model Price (B&H)$339$1,199$6,950$796$1,399

Mirrorless Systems #2Panasonic M43Pentax QSamsung NXSony α (NEX)Sony α (FF)
* Denotes PL Subjective Rating
Lens MountMicro 4/3Pentax QSamsung NXSony ESony E/FE
Announcement DateOct 2008Jun 2011Jan 2010Jun 2010Oct 2013
Mount Diameter38mm38mm42mm46.1mm46.1mm
Sensor Size (Diagonal)21.7mm9.3mm28.1mm28.1mm43.0mm
Flange Distance20mm9.2mm25.5mm18mm18mm
Image StabilizationLensBodyLensLensLens
AutofocusYesYesYesYesYes
Autofocus SystemContrastContrastHybridHybridHybrid
Autofocus Speed *54344
Native Lenses Available19613185
Third Party Lenses30018210
Total Lenses Available49631395
System Compactness *55444
Image Quality *43445
Top Model (Manuf. Link)Panasonic GX7Pentax Q7Galaxy NXSony NEX-7Sony A7R
Top Model Price (B&H)$998$496$1,599$948$2,298

I am not going to pick a winner from the above chart, as there are some important criteria to consider such as autofocus speed, image quality, lens selection, compactness and price. So if you are shopping for a mirrorless system, I hope you will use the above chart as a reference point.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Follow-up articles that specifically compare different cameras are coming soon.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Antonio Mario

    Nasim,

    Thanks for a very informative article. When you rate ‘AF’, are you refering to continuous AF?

    Despite being a Canon guy of late, the mirrorless choice I had in mind was the Nikon 1 V2. However, the Panasonic GX7, with their 2x crop for birding, looked impressive. Any particular impressions of the GX7?

    Thank you,

    Antonio

    • Antonio, no, that’s a single subjective number that assesses AF as a whole. Continuous AF is a struggle for each system at the moment.

      As for GX7, it is a wonderful camera. Anything high end that Olympus and Panasonic make is excellent. I have played with the GX7 and I really liked it. Excellent image quality, very fast AF, superb choice of lenses. I have the OM-D E-M1 right now and although I initially thought it was too cluttered with controls, I am actually starting to dig it now :)

      • 39
        ) Wilco

        I would love to see comparison between OM-D E-M1 and X-E2. When will you going to post X-E2 and OM-D E-M1 review? Hopefully you can post before Christmas.

        Thanks you.
        Wilco

  2. 2
    ) Robert

    Hi Nasim,

    Great chart to compare each camera’s specifications and a good reference point for deeper analysis.

    Is mirrorless the tipping point for cameras of the future. Based on your previous articles it sounds like the technological shift could change the landscape dramatically. Perhaps the stranglehold/share the traditional Nikon and Canon powerhouses have could be substantially reset with some of the great innovation, deep pockets (and less legacy issues) that the likes of Sony and Samsung could bring.

    Personally, after the D600 debacle, my next camera won’t be a Nikon.

    • Robert, I am sure both Nikon and Canon have some stuff in the pipeline that will compete head to head with the mirrorless. At this point, they understand that the consumer is not ready for a change yet. It will take some years for others to convince the market that mirrorless can easily match APS-C DSLR performance. And when the customer is educated, that’s probably when they will strike with good options. The only big thing they are losing at the moment is lenses. It is best to start early!

  3. Thank you for your nice work, but I think you missed the Sony NEX system?

    • Sorry, you didn’t miss it, I think the “A7″ in your chart is actually “NEX” system, just a small mistake, right?

    • My bad, I put all the correct info, but the header was wrong. I fixed it, thanks!

  4. 5
    ) Bruce Person

    Thank you for this nice set of tables. However I’d like to draw you attention the the total number of lenses and say that should also include all lenses with a fully automatic lens converter. In that case, the EOS-M wins with working (and quite well) all EF and EF-S Canon lenses as well as working with the IS. The price of the adapter is now down to $119 at B&H and I am very impressed. While the two available US native lenses work great and are excellent quality, the adapter goes on each of my other Canon lenses as if all my lenses worked with the EOS-M camera. Otherwise the table makes the EOS-M look very unfavorable when it comes to the number of lenses. I don’t believe that any other camera maker can use all the lenses. I wish Nikon had the same capability as well as the D7100 sensor but I am very happy with my EOS-M. I bought three for myself and a nice white one for my wife. Very pleased.

    • Bruce, if I include adapters, the list of lenses on each system will be pretty much endless. Technically you could mount any Nikon, Canon and even Leica M lenses on Sony NEX cameras! Also, one thing that a lot of people do not understand with adapters – you are introducing two mount points. Any slight deviation in any direction and your images will be soft. Or the worst is when one part of the photo goes soft. I have seen this quite a bit with adapters, even the high quality ones made by the manufacturer.

      As for the EOS-M, its AF was terrible initially, but Canon did a good job with the firmware update – it is now much better. If it wasn’t for the update, I would probably give it a “1″. I think Canon has a good future with the EOS M line. With its massive mount diameter and a large APS-C sensor, they could easily make f/1.2 AF lenses for the system, which could easily compete with everything on the market today.

      • 19
        ) Bruce Person

        I was only speaking about Full Automatic adapters that even include IS preservation and not any of the manual focus, manual diaphragm, and non ones without all the auto pins. Therefore I don’t believe that Nikon, Canon, or Leica M lenses would be included on a Sony NEX camera. The Canon EOS-M adapter allows almost ALL Canon lenses to fit and work on the EOS-M camera just as it would on a 1DX, 5D3, xxD or any Rebel. Am I wrong about this?

        • Bruce, no, you are not wrong. However, the only difference between a native adapter and a third party adapter is AF. So technically speaking, for someone that does not mind MF, one could mount any lens on any mirrorless cameras. And yet my point about dual mount still stands – mounting a lens through an adapter is NOT the same as mounting it natively…

  5. 10
    ) DavidL

    Hi Nasim,

    Just a quick one. With all your ratings, 5 is good, 1 is bad?

    • Yes, I apologize if it was not clear enough from the chart :)

  6. 11
    ) alireza nikdel

    سلام و ممنون از شما
    میخواستم نظرتون را راجع به دوربین نیکون دی۵۲۰۰ بدونم

    • Alireza, best that you post in English, since I don’t speak Arabic. Google translate says you are asking about the D5200. I am not sure why you are asking about that, since the above article is only for mirrorless cameras.

      • 14
        ) Saleh Alahmar

        Thanks Nasim for a very informative articles

        Alireza wrote in Persian, not Arabic
        it is Arabic characters, but not Arabic Language :)

        • Saleh, thanks for clarifying and yet I still do not understand Persian either :)

  7. Hi Nasim,
    I am still looking for cheap (under 500$) and compact (pocket size with pancake lens) mirrorless with “electronic viewfinder”. For example, similar to Panasonic DMC-GX7 but in half price :) I don’t like cheap mirrorless cameras without viewfinder or cameras with viewfinder over lenses (it looks like DSLRs). I am waiting prices to drop to half in 2-3 years. :)
    Timur
    Crimea, Ukraine

    • 16
      ) Florent

      Crimea,

      You don’t have many options under $500. However the Panasonic G6 is currently selling at B&H PHoto Video for $598 with a 14-42 lens (equivalent to 28-84 in 24×36 terms).
      It’s really a great value for the price.
      The G3, G5 and G6 bodies are fairly small (especially the G3) and very nice values.
      The G3 and G5 are now discontinued, but have the same sensor as the G6. They can be had for very cheap nowadays.
      Another important point if that m43 has the largest lens selection of lenses in mirrorless land today. They cover pretty much anything except very long fast lenses.

  8. 17
    ) Rick

    The way you divided the native lenses for micro four thirds into Panasonic-native and Olympus-native is a little unfair. They are perfectly interchangeable between Olympus and Panasonic. What’s your definition of “native”? Same brand?

    • Rick, yes, same brand. Although I split them up, lenses are shown as third party lenses between the brands. I know what you are saying, but still, lenses are made by different brands (despite both being M43) and there are differences in lens vs body-based IS.

      • 25
        ) Rick

        Panasonic, which used to fully rely on optical IS, have primes without any optical IS. The recent Pana GX7 has in-body IS too. Well, you have the “total lenses” row now, so I think all is fair.

  9. 18
    ) Bob Denis

    Nasim, there’s a fair amount of chatter on various websites that Canon may not truly be committed to mirrorless systems such as the EOS-M since it’s been a year since they introduced the camera, still haven’t added any additional native lenses for it and have announced any number of new DSLR lenses as well as a significant number of new, advanced point & shoot models as well as, I believe, another DSLR model. It’s also listed on a couple of sites (Adorama & B&H, I believe as “discontinued”). Your thoughts?

    • Bob, nobody knows for sure – I know Canon has not been very active with the EOS M, but I think next year we will see some more stuff coming out. The EOS M is not listed at discontinued – you can buy a brand new one from B&H or Adorama :)

  10. 24
    ) Flores

    Hello Nasim, thank you for another great article comparing technologies.

    Interoperability in the m4/3 “universe” as really improved since the mount launch and Panasonic as recently launched a camera with in body stabilization: the DMC-GX7.

    • 28
      ) Flores

      Sorry, “has” not “as”…

  11. 26
    ) Rick

    Are you sure Sony NEX has 21 third-party lenses? You’re not confusing NEX (which is E mount) with Sony alpha (which is A mount)? Yes, Sony is causing a lot of confusion with their announcement that NEX will be part of their “alpha” product line. I stopped following NEX a while ago, but I’ll be surprised if there are 21 NEX-compatible third-party lenses out there. Paucity of glasses was their biggest weakness.

  12. 27
    ) Rick

    Your Samsung NX total lenses count seems to be off too.

    Are you including manual focus lenses as part of “total lenses” count?

    • Yes, all lenses – manual or AF are included.

      • 36
        ) Rick Shin

        Ok, if the manual lenses are included too, then you should add a few more for micro four thirds too, to be fair.

        http://hazeghi.org/mft-lenses.html

  13. 29
    ) Antonio Mario

    Nasim,

    Thank you for your input on your experience with the GX-7 above.

    If possible, may I ask you to briefly comment (or, what would you choose), for birding, between the following two options:

    - GX-7 + m43 100-300mm lens (200-600mm equiv.)
    vs
    - Nikon V2 + FT1 + 70-300mm lens (190-810mm) ,

    if one used only the central part of the detector (you can only do AF-S @ center with the V2+FT1 I think).

    Thanks.

    • For birding, I would go with the Nikon 1 V2 – it has better AF system for birding in my opinion compared to the M43. Plus, you can use some excellent Nikkor glass with the adapter!

  14. I’ve pretty much ditched my D600 for my EM5 for almost every subject (except wildlife). Really like it, takes great images, good dynamic range, and the LIVE TIME function is particularly great for long exposures.
    Very sharp primes from Panasonic and Olympus too. Last dozen or so posts from my blog are from the OMD EM-5.

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/

    • Beautiful pictures as always, thanks for sharing!

      I might be visiting London soon – perhaps we should meet and share a drink or two when I am there :)

  15. 37
    ) Serge

    Hi Nasim

    Thanks for your wonderful and concise blog-post.

    You’ve mentioned that you “have the OM-D E-M1 right now”.

    There seems to be one issue reported by some E-M1 users. Here is what those E-M1 fellows (including me) have noticed.

    E-M1 gives a way higher fixed-pattern noise in low-light situations vs E-M5 when both cameras’ dark-frame subtraction is not applied (“NR OFF” in Olympus’ terms).

    Olympus’ representatives have not given any definitive answers whether that is an irrevocable engineering fault, or there is still something that can be done to, at least, make E-M1 sensor performance on a par to its predecessor – E-M5′s one?

    Have you, Nasim, noticed anything “suspicious” about E-M1′s sensor performance in low-light situations with NR OFF?

    Cheers!

    • Sorry for a late response! Testing this now, will let you know as soon as I find out.

      • 41
        ) Serge

        No problem, Nasim!

        Thanks for your response. Would be interesting to know about your findings.

    • 42
      ) Antonio Mario

      Serge/Nasim,

      With astronomical CCD’s, if one takes a relatively short (eg. 1 sec) exposure (for instance, to avoid saturating a bright object in the field), one does get this pattern if there’s no or little background (read moonlight).

      This is called ‘bias’ by astronomers and it’s taken care in the data reduction very easily. It’s due to the way the detector is electronically readout and it’s additive. One simply takes say a few tens of frames with the shortest exposure possible, averages them out, and subtracts from the frame of interest.

      In short, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with such cameras and it totally makes sense then that the effect shows up when NR is off.

      Hopefully this made sense.

      • 43
        ) Serge

        Thank you, Antonio!

        The main point when comparing E-M5 with E-M1 is that in “low-light-long-exposure” situations (particularly in Live Mode) with NR OFF, the E-M5 (GH3, GH1) is way better than E-M1. Olympus, though, claimed E-M1 as having better sensor performance compared to any of its predecessors.

        I was hoping that my E-M1 body was faulty. However, it wasn’t the case, as many M43 fellows, including me, reported the same problem:

        http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=53621
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/cablefreak/11174565883/
        http://www.flickr.com/groups/om-d_user/discuss/72157637548153684/

        I am just wondering if this is a faulty sensor, or a trade-off of a new Dual-Fast AF sensor implementation, that can never be fixed, and we will have to live with it.

        Olympus has not given any definitive answer yet.

  16. 38
    ) Srini

    Thanks for the excellent post Nasim!

    We are eagerly waiting for your follow-up article and review of the mirrorless camera performances.

    Could you please consider including Nikon 1 vs Fuji X Pro1 vs Panasonic GH3 vs Panasonic Gx7?

    Regards

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