Gear Reviews

Top 5 lightweight cameras

Want great image quality and big features in a tiny package? Check out our round-up of the best lightweight cameras you can buy today…

If your camera is too heavy, it will slow you down and make the experience of taking pictures less enjoyable. More brands than ever are releasing small, lightweight cameras that are packed with features and take great pictures but weight next to nothing. This means you can carry them around all day and save space in your camera bag.

To help you make the best buying decision, we’ve rounded up five excellent cameras that are all light as a feather but pack quite a punch…

Nikon Z 50

The Z 50 is Nikon’s smallest and lightest mirrorless camera front he brand’s successful Z-mount range and is built around a powerful 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor. Tipping the scales at just 450 g with battery and memory card or 395g body only, the Z 50 features some impressive pro specifications, such as a rapid 11 frames per second burst rate that will help you capture fast action sequences. Images can be composed or reviewed using the large 3.2-inch LCD that offers a tilting design, or users can take advantage of the Electronic Viewfinder instead.

A hybrid autofocus system that features eye-detection in both people and pets (cats, dogs) covers 90% of the frame helps the camera lock on to subjects quickly and precisely and there’s also a vast ISO range (100-51200) so photographers will be able to capture images even in low light conditions. Other features include a tough magnesium alloy build and 20 in-camera creative effects along with a silent shutter mode that will come in handy when shooting at events like weddings and the Nikon Z 50 can also capture high quality video, with the movie mode topping out at 4K 30p.

Olympus E-P7

Olympus has a strong heritage when it comes to lightweight cameras that pack a punch and the E-P7 doesn’t stray far from this script. Tipping the scales at just 337g, the E-P7 is built around a E-P7 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor that pairs up with a TruePic VIII image processor and a Micro Four-Thirds mount, which doubles the effective focal length of lenses (so a 50mm lens turns into 100mm optic).  Among some seriously impressive specifications is a 5-axis In Body Image Stabilisation system that offers up to 4.5-steps of compensation to help keep things steady and photography fans will also appreciate the classic retro styling of the E-P7.

The Olympus features a clever LCD that flips down all the way to enable users to capture self-portraits and make it easier to Vlog and, talking of video, the E-P7 does well in this area too, offering users 4K video that is stabilised thanks to that advanced IBIS system. With in-built WiFi & Bluetooth, E-P7 users can share video and stills content quickly via the  OI.Share smartphone app and the E-P7 even allows for USB charging so you could use a powerbank to recharge on the go. Photographers looking to get creative in-camera can take advantage of the Olympus Art Filters and the autofocus system includes Face Priority/Eye Priority AF to make capturing portraits even easier.

Sony ZV-1

Many who are seeking a lightweight camera will want to use the device to shoot video much more than stills so one camera that is, quite literally, purpose-built for the job is the Sony ZV-1. Made especially for Vloggers, the ZV-1 features a 1.0-type CMOS sensor and uses a  fixed, fast aperture 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T optic that is capable of capturing attractive bokeh.

Vlogging-specific features include a visible ‘tally’ light on the front of the camera to confirm the camera is recording and a dedicated ‘Bokeh’ button that enables the user to quickly switch between two modes of background bokeh – perfect for when a presenter comes into the frame and then switching to more of a background scene. The Background Defocus function also helps the presenter stand out in the frame while the background falls out of focus. Sony has developed some amazing focusing technology and the ZV-1 includes the brand’s Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking AF for video autofocus technology, along with a Face Priority auto exposure (AE) mode which should help keep the exposure level of the presenter consistent.

Weighing in at just 294g and measuring 105.5mm x 60.0mm x 43.5mm, the ZV-1 also features a built-in directional 3-capsule mic which Sony says was designed for forward-directional audio capture, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimising background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode. What’s more, the ZV-1 features an external mic port and a windscreen comes included so enhanced audio can be captured in outdoor locations. The ZV-1 is capable of capturing ultra high-quality 4K footage up to 30p, along with recording Full HD at 60p and a High Frame Rate (HFR) that tops out at an amazing 1000 frames per second, which will enable Vloggers to capture some spectacular slow motion footage.

Canon M50 MkII

While the M50 MkII may be one of Canon’s smallest and lightest cameras, measuring 116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm and tipping the scales at only 387g (including battery and memory card), the plucky little camera has a huge amount to offer photographers. At the heart of the M50 Mark II is a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor that can capture RAW or JPEG still images. The M50 MkII also boasts a fast burst rate of 10 frames per second, which should be enough to capture every day action sequences along with a ISO range that tops out at 25600.

Compatible with Canon’s range of M-mount lenses, or the regular EF lenses via an adaptor, the M50 MkII also excels at video and can capture 4K footage, along with sporting a port for an external microphone so that enhanced audio can be recorded for your movies.

Able to focus in low light (down to -4EV), photographs can line up awkward high-low compositions either by using the vari-angle LCD or the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). The M50 MkII also packs Canon’s acclaimed Dual Pixel AF autofocus system that includes Eye/Face detection. Lastly, despite the small size of the camera, it can be used to live broadcast, which will be suitable for Vloggers who are looking for a camera they can ‘go live’ with.

Sigma fp L

Launched in March 2021, the fp L is a tiny camera that offers a high resolution full-frame Back-illuminated Bayer CMOS sensor that generates 61-megapixels of resolution, which is suitable for making huge, professional-level big prints that are used in advertising. In fact, the max file size translates to 9520 x 6328 pixels! With a hybrid autofocus system that combines both contrast detection and phase detection, the fp L measures just 112.6 x 69.9 x 45.3 mm and weighs only 427g with a battery and SD card.

Compatible with L-mount lenses from the likes of Sigma, Panasonic and Leica, the fp L offers 15 colour models, including teal and orange or powder blue. What’s more, the fp L can even shoot 4K video and supports three RAW file formats including CinemaDNG. The real beauty of the lightweight fp L is that it is compatible with plenty of modular add ons including monitors and Viewfinders.