This story was originally published in Jan 2012. The latest update adds the Fujifilm X-M1.
The category of interchangeable-lens cameras subsumes a variety of capabilities and designs. You accept the familiar dSLRs, big-bodied models that employ a reflex mirror to enable the use of a through-the-lens optical viewfinder. Then there are Sony’due south SLT (Single-Lens Translucent) models, which comprise the same phase-detection autofocus organisation as dSLRs, but with a fixed mirror that requires the utilise of an electronic viewfinder (EVF) rather than an optical one. And then there are the mirrorless models, which more often than not use contrast-detection autofocus and, if they have a viewfinder, it’s an EVF. Though they’re sometimes referred to equally “compact system cameras,” they’re not all meaty; in fact, only a handful could really exist classified as such.
The mirrorless models cover a lot of ground. For instance, in that location are compact models designed for people dissatisfied with the epitome quality and performance of indicate-and-shoot models and who are looking for more. And so there are the models for advanced shooters who want the speed and photo quality of a dSLR without the majority. And there are a host of models that slide along the continuum between the two.
This isn’t to say that the rest of the ILC crowd doesn’t measure up; though some take weak aspects, such as boring operation or overly large bodies, there don’t seem to be any existent losers among the entire field. You lot can find good options on our list of all-time interchangeable-lens cameras. There are a truckload of mainstream models I haven’t yet reviewed, including the Olympus
; Pentax’s tiny
; the Nikon 1
; the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 and GF6; Sony’due south
; and the Samsung
, NX20, and NX2000 — and of course the yet-to-ship
. Whew! Plus the field is heating up for the more expensive models, such equally Fujifilm’s
and X-E1, Sony’s (hopefully before long-to-be-replaced) Alpha NEX-vii, and the Olympus OM-D Eastward-M5 and
Then with that distinction in mind, hither are some of my favorite sub-$i,000 — with lens — mirrorless models.
Sony Alpha NEX-half dozen
Now priced comfortably less than $i,000 at about $800, the NEX-half-dozen is my pick for the
best overall model and Editors’ Choice
in this course, and better than a lot of competing dSLRs. It’s fast, full-featured, and well designed, though it’south since ceded the best-photo-quality crown in this class to the Fujifilm X-M1.
Read the full review of the Sony Alpha NEX-6.
It’southward not the fastest and falls brusque on video quality, but the Ten-M1 delivers the
best photograph image quality
for less than $i,000. It’s too one of the more attractive cameras in this grade, and doesn’t skimp on features, with a tilting LCD and Wi-Fi (although Fujifilm’s connectivity implementation was rather weak at examination fourth dimension). Its big brother the 10-E1 offers a more than retro/analog shooting experience — and the same strengths and weaknesses — with a lot more than lensman-targeted controls and an electronic viewfinder, but because it also ships with a better lens its kit price is over $ane,000.
If you want the
to the lowest degree expensive
model that will still give yous the functioning and photo-quality boost of a worthwhile upgrade from a betoken-and-shoot, the Due east-PL3 is a corking choice. Information technology’s not really the all-time in whatever 1 particular attribute, but information technology delivers a combination of photo quality, performance, features, and blueprint that should please a lot of shooters looking for something better than their current snapshot camera or camera telephone, and though it’s relatively old that means the price is a lot easier to swallow than that of some of the newer, more advanced cameras. The aforementioned goes for the final-generation
, which comes in an extremely close second; equipped with a zoom lens, information technology’southward bigger than the E-PL3, and the choice of Eastward-mount-compatible lenses is smaller than that for Micro Four Thirds.
Read the full review of the Olympus E-PL3.
Sony Alpha NEX-5R
For the model
virtually suited for shooting video at a reasonable price, the NEX-5R gets my vote. Information technology’s a slightly better camera than my final pick for this use, the NEX-5N, though it’s got similar video quality, so if you lot’re price-sensitive I think you’ll be every bit happy with the cheaper model. For either, I suggest y’all consider the xvi-50mm f3.5-5.6 Retractable Zoom lens if y’all’ll be shooting with something other than a prime number.
Read the full review of the Sony Alpha NEX-5R.
Looking for more recommendations? Check out our list of the all-time compact cameras, best dSLRs, or the all-time cameras overall.