Mirrorless cameras are quickly becoming the travel cameras of choice for professional photographers when they’re on vacation—they’re lighter than DSLRs but deliver similar performance and image quality. Here, we review the top mirrorless models for travel photographers available now. For reviews of advance point-and-shoots and DSLRs, read our full guide on how to choose the right camera for your travel photography.
Olympus PEN E-PM2 ($399 w/ two kit lenses) Olympus, together with Panasonic, started the mirrorless camera segment. Their goal was to achieve DSLR image quality in a small package, and with the PEN series of cameras, Olympus succeeded. The E-PM2 is the smallest and least expensive of all the PEN cameras but, thanks to performance and image quality comparable to the more expensive and larger models, it’s a terrific value. In the two-lens kit mentioned here, you get wide-angle to mid-telephoto covered in two compact lenses. When you’re ready to add to your camera system you’ll have plenty of choice: More than 65 different lenses work with the E-PM2. These lenses will fit any Olympus or Panasonic mirrorless camera, so if you decide to upgrade the body in the future, you can use all the lenses you’ve amassed. To keep the E-PM2 compact, Olympus left off the viewfinder, but there is an accessory viewfinder available. Despite its small size, the E-PM2 is packed with features. The camera has 23 scene modes that help you take great photos of everything you could imagine, from fireworks to children to panoramas. There’s an HDMI port that lets you connect the camera to your television so you can show your pictures to your friends and family. The camera kit also includes a flash for taking pictures in low-light situations.
Sony Alpha a6000 ($798 w/ kit lens) The a6000 is intuitive to use while delivering excellent image quality. It is blazingly fast to focus and shoot, has an extensive set of features for all levels of photographers, and its Wi-Fi ability ensures connectivity. The a6000 also includes an excellent video mode with lots of options for the filmmaker. Since this camera is part of the Sony Alpha system, you’ll be able to find many lens and accessories available from Sony and other manufacturers.
Fujifilm X-T1 ($1699 w/ kit lens) When it comes to image quality, the Fujifilm X-T1 is the leader of the pack. Back in the old days of film shooting, Fujifilm was known for its vibrant, accurate colors. In the X-T1, Fujifilm carries on this tradition, digitally producing images with incredible detail and depth straight from the camera. The model’s features are high quality too. The viewfinder is bright and a joy to look through. The camera is weather-sealed to protect it from dust and light water splashes. The external controls are intuitive to use, as all the necessary settings are at the photographer’s finger tips. And the X-T1’s body design is cool and retro, making it feel and look like an old film camera. The Fujifilm lenses available for this model are excellent, and are arguably the best autofocus lenses made for any mirrorless camera. Fujifilm lenses are substantially less expensive than the equivalents in other brands, and the kit lens that comes with the camera is, hands down, the best kit lens available.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 ($1698 body-only) Panasonic’s GH4 takes great still photos but where it really shines is in the video department. The GH4 is able to shoot in 4K, which is the next generation of video and twice the resolution of the beautiful HDTV you’re used to watching. All the lenses in the Olympus/Panasonic system are compatible with this camera, including lenses dedicated for video with silent motorized operation. While shooting video, you can push the shutter release and capture a full-resolution still image without interrupting the video. The camera is built with a robust magnesium chassis, weather sealed, and has a silent mode that’s perfect for shooting performances without creating distracting noise. For further in-depth information on the cameras mentioned in this article check out www.dpreview.com. —by Josh Laronge for wendyperrin.com Josh Laronge is a professional photographer, photo educator and avid traveler. He’s photographed on all seven continents and his photos are published in a wide range of periodicals.
Read our full guide to the best cameras for travel photography: How to Choose the Right Camera for Travel Photography Best Enthusiast Cameras for Travel Photography Best DSLR Cameras for Travel Photography