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The 7 Best Mirrorless Cameras (2023): Full-Frame, APS-C, And More

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Full-Frame or APS-C?Sensor Talk

Best for Most PeopleSony A7 IV Camera

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Best on a BudgetFujifilm X-T5 Mirrorless Camera

Read moreYou know what’s the least important part of taking a great photo? Gear. The vision you have and the work you put into realizing it are far more critical.

That’s not to say gear doesn’t matter, just that it’s best used in service of something larger. That’s why this guide doesn’t get too deep into the weeds of megapixel counts, sensor sizes, and pixel peeping. All these cameras are capable of producing amazing images. Which one is right for you depends more on your needs than on the size of the sensor.

Still, choosing the right one can be confusing. I’ve spent years testing dozens of cameras in all kinds of shooting scenarios to come up with what I think are the best choices for different types of photographers.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, like the Best Compact Cameras, Best Camera Bags, and Best Action Cameras.

Updated March 2023: We added the Fujifilm X-T5, the new Sony A7RV, some notes on the Panasonic S5II and the Nikon Z5, and swapped the sold-out Fujifilm X-E4 for the X100V.

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Photograph: Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images

Full-Frame or APS-C?Sensor Talk

The internet has an obsession with sensors, megapixels, and zooming in on images to find their flaws. Here’s the thing: If sharpness is what you want, shoot the largest format you can. But know that great photographs don’t need to be razor-sharp from edge to edge. Few of them are.

That said, most of the cameras here have “full-frame sensors” (except the Fujifilm models, which use the APS-C sensors). There is nothing magical about this size; it just happens to be the same size as 35-mm film. This means that any lens made for a film camera can (probably) be adapted to work with the camera and produce the same field of view.

There are much smaller sensors—micro four-thirds, for example—that are capable of producing very sharp images. Future versions of this guide may include some micro four-thirds cameras, but for now, to keep things simple, I’ve limited testing to APS-C and larger sensors.

Photograph: Sony

Best for Most PeopleSony A7 IV Camera

Sony’s A7 IV (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is a 33-megapixel, full-frame camera capable of incredibly sharp images, with excellent dynamic range and the best autofocus system on the market. It’s compact and light enough to carry all day without back strain, and the grip is comfortable. The five-axis image stabilization means you can hand-hold it in lower light, and the wide range of 4K video options make it the best all-around video-and-stills combo on this page. There are better still cameras (see the Sony A7RIV below) and better video cameras, but nothing else combines the two quite as well.

What I don’t like about it, or any other Sony, is the labyrinthine menu system. Luckily there are enough customizable buttons that it’s not too difficult to set things up so you never need to dive into the menus.

Specs: 33-megapixel full-frame sensor, 10 frames per second (fps), 7K oversampled 4K/30fps video, SD and Express cards

★ Alternative: If you don’t need the new autofocus features, the A7III remains a solid choice, and it’s frequently on sale for under $1,800.

Photograph: Fujifilm

Best on a BudgetFujifilm X-T5 Mirrorless Camera

The Fujifilm X-T5 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best camera I’ve tested this year. Fujifilm uses APS-C sensors, which are smaller than the full-frame sensors in the rest of the cameras in this guide, but with the 40-megapixel sensor in the new X-T5 you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Images from the X-T5 are sharp, wonderfully detailed, and don’t suffer too much noise. This sensor also manages to retain that uniquely Fujifilm look.

The X-T5 is more focused on the shooter of stills, while the updated X-H2 ($2,500 with XF16-80mm Lens Kit) is the best option for those more interested in video. The camera body’s design is reminiscent of film cameras, and perhaps the best thing about it is how seldom you need to use digital controls. ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and shooting modes are all accessible via physical dials. Plus, Fujifilm’s excellent line of lenses is surprisingly affordable relative to some of the others on the list, making this one of the least expensive systems to invest in. My only real gripe is the grip; it’s on the small side for a body of this size.

Specs: 40-megapixel XTrans APS-C sensor, 15 fps with full AF, 4K/60fps video, dual SD cards

★ Alternatives: The Fujilfilm X-T4 ($1,549) remains a solid choice, especially if you want a fully articulated rear screen, which is helpful when shooting video of yourself. Also, the X-H2 has a rotating screen, which the X-T5 lacks.

Photograph: Sony

Megapixel MadnessSony A7RV

The new A7RV uses the same 61-megapixel full-frame sensor as its predecessor, which remains largely unmatched (unless you opt for medium-format cameras). If that’s not enough, there’s a 16-shot, high-resolution mode that can create 240-MP images (so long as your subject is static, e.g., a landscape). The dynamic range is outstanding, and the ability to recover detail in the shadows is something you’ll only believe once you do it yourself.

The primary improvements over the previous model are increased autofocus speed and intelligence, a huge new viewfinder and, although this might sound strange, an option for smaller RAW files. Fully uncompressed RAW files from this sensor run around 125 megabytes per image. There are now options to shoot large, medium or small lossless compressed RAW files. I haven’t tested this model, but I will update this guide after I do.

Specs: 61-megapixel full-frame sensor, 10 fps with full AF (12 bit RAM, 6 fps for 14-bit RAW), 8K/24fps video, dual SD/CF cards