Today’s mirrorless cameras are much more than just picture taking machines. They offer advanced technologies to help users capture and share high quality stills and detail packed videos. As a result, we’re using these cameras to capture the world differently. Whereas previously we might have gone out purely to shoot stills, we can now effortlessly switch to capture high quality video with the press of a button. But with every mirrorless camera promising great photographs and video in one compact package, how do you know which ones offer the best of both worlds? As a guide, we took a look at the ranges from leading mirrorless manufacturers and picked just one model from each that we consider to be great all-rounders.
Panasonic’s GH5 – no spring chicken but still a great camera
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Admittedly, the GH5 is a little old compared to some of the other models here, but the fact that its specification still stacks up over two years since launch proves that Panasonic knew what they were doing when they put it together.
Robustly made, this Micro Four Thirds model provides a healthy 20.3 megapixel resolution for still images, which can be captured at a rate of up to 12 frames-per-second (fps), plus it offers a vari-angle touchscreen rear LCD and 3.68 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder. For real speed freaks, a 6K burst shooting mode also captures 18-megapixel images at 30 fps.
Video specs are impressive, with 10-bit 4K/60P recorded to an SD card and Full HD capture available at up to 180P, alongside a host of other functions including in-body 5-axis image stabilisation and time coding.
Unashamedly big and bulky, the powerful OM-D E-M1X
Olympus OM-D E-M1X
This range-topping OM-D model may only just have been released, but there’s little doubt that the specification makes for a mouthwatering proposition for those after the best of both worlds.
Like the GH5, the E-M1X uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, but this time with a 20.4 megapixel resolution and a maximum shooting rate that tops out at 15 frames-per-second in normal shooting mode or an incredible 60fps in the Pro Capture mode that starts shooting before you fully depress the shutter. Unashamedly chunky, the added bulk of the E-M1X may put some off, but the extended shooting time and impressive handling in portrait and landscape orientations are sure to appeal to the target professional user.
Video functionality is in plentiful supply with C4K resolution at 24P, 4K at 30P and Full HD at 120P, plus there’s also a powerful image stabilisation system which comes in handy if you want to shoot video in a run and gun style.
A tried and tested sensor lies at the heart of the Fujifilm X-H1
Although not as hefty as the Olympus, Fujifilm’s X-H1 certainly doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s added some grams here and there to make it a great all-rounder.
For still imagery, the APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS III sensor is a proven performer with the company’s proprietary Film Simulation modes providing some beautiful results straight out of camera. It also boasts a sophisticated autofocusing system and a burst rate that tops out at 14 frames-per-second if you switch to the camera’s electronic shutter. The analogue design will appeal to those who like old school looks, but we also welcome the larger handgrip and robust body that helps handling and boosts overall longevity.
The X-T2 was the first Fujifilm model to really take filmmakers seriously and the X-H1 builds on that with 4K capture at 30P and Full HD at up to 120P. There’s also a Film Simulation mode specifically designed for videographers and powerful additional movie functions that confirm its all-round capabilities.
Resolution king, the 45.7 megapixel Nikon Z 7
Nikon Z 7
Alongside the Z 6, this model (Nikon Z 7) represents Nikon’s first steps into the realms of full-frame mirrorless photography and has everything you’d expect from a flagship model.
In this exalted company, the Nikon certainly wins the resolution battle with a monstrous 45.7 megapixels on offer at frame rates up to 9 frames-per-second. There’s also a super-fast and highly accurate autofocusing system on board, plus in-body 5-axis image stabilisation which will help both stills and video shooters.
Those wanting to shoot movies are well catered for with 4K at 30P and Full HD at up to 120P, plus 10-bit and N-Log to capture a wealth of detail and provide plenty of post-production control. Footage is oversampled from 8K, plus there is also an 8K Time Lapse mode for truly breathtaking results.
The Sony A9’s stacked sensor makes for a blistering performance
Like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, this model is no spring chicken, but the flagship Sony comfortably holds its own whether you’re comparing it to rival mirrorless models or DSLRs.
For stills, the A9 features a full-frame 24.2 megapixel stacked sensor, which features an integral memory that vastly improves readout speeds. This enables it to shoot 20 full-frame images per second, all with autofocus and auto exposure between each frame. The body also features a 693 point autofocusing system, 5-axis image stabilisation and a 3.68 million dot OLED EVF for an optical-like finder image.
Being a Sony, the A9 is no slouch when it comes to video, either with 4K capture at 30P producing highly detailed results thanks to oversampling without any pixel binning. Full HD capture is available at up to 120P, plus there are other videographer-friendly features including Zebra functions and high bit rate recording options.
The EOS R has 5655 AF points; we’ll while wait while you count them!
Canon EOS R
Last but by no means least in our round-up is this versatile Canon full-frame model (Canon EOS R) that makes a great proposition for stills and video capture, plus can be used with existing EF and EF-S mount lenses with an optional adapter.
Resolution wise, the R can’t match the Nikon Z 7, instead offering a more modest 30.3 megapixels that can capture images up to a maximum of eight frames-per-second. It’s more than a match for the Nikon – and all the other cameras here – when it comes to autofocusing points, with an untouchable 5655 individually selectable points and sensitivity down to EV-6. Dual Pixel RAW capture is also available for still images, which allows you to adjust the focus in post production.
Canon DSLRs have a history with being great for videographers – the EOS 5D MkII being the grandfather of the movement – and the R follows in the family footsteps. It offers 4K at 30P and Full HD at up to 120P, plus there’s Log functionality and Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smoother focusing transitions.