If you’re about to set off on another worldly trip, you need to have a camera that’s going to be versatile, discreet and capable of capturing incredible photographs. Fortunately, you no longer have to lug around your cumbersome DSLR, as mirrorless cameras now provide a slimmed-down alternative that still produces outstanding images. With features that clearly outclass your average smartphone or point-and-shoot, mirrorless cameras are an attractive option when you’re about to hit the road.
Words by Hudson Brown
The mirrorless format has been around for more than a decade now, but there’s been unprecedented interest in recent years, with more cameras available across a range of budgets than ever before. Meanwhile, the rise of the format has also contributed to the resurgence of the second-hand lens market, with lens adapters providing a simple solution for those who want to use their legacy glass on their mirrorless.
Choosing the best mirrorless camera for travel is a difficult task, but we’ve picked out some of our favourites that’ll have you capturing your journey with plenty of space left over in your backpack.
Positioned as Fujifilm’s entry-level mirrorless camera, the X-T100 caters to photographers who are in the midst of their photographic journey and looking to up their game. With a sleek throwback design, the X-T100 has an array of user-friendly features, including a DSLR-style viewfinder and a 3-way tilting LCD screen. There’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can transfer your best images to your smartphone while you’re on the move. For any regular travel, batteries are always a primary concern. Thankfully, the X-T100 is a solid performer, offering 400 frames per full charge. Available for around $750 with a Fujifilm XC 15-45mm, the X-T100 offers great performance for its relatively modest price tag.
“Despite its smaller sensor and overall size, it’s been widely lauded for producing wonderful images, making it a fantastic choice for those looking for the best mirrorless camera for backpacking.”
Other leading brands might be keen to move towards full-frame mirrorless cameras, but Olympus has announced that they’ll be largely sticking to the lighter and more compact Micro Four Thirds format. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a camera that helped solidify Olympus at the top of the mirrorless mountain, elegantly combining easy-to-use advanced features with an excellent touchscreen. Despite its smaller sensor and overall size, it’s been widely lauded for producing wonderful images, making it a fantastic choice for those looking for the best mirrorless camera for backpacking.
The Sony A7 series is perhaps the most popular mirrorless line-up in the world right now, but it was Sony’s 6000 series that originally brought mirrorless to the masses. Since arriving on the scene in 2014, the Sony a6000 has undergone several significant updates with the latest a6500 iteration offering a small form factor that has a handy foldout touchscreen and a sturdy build that can be tossed around your bag. With the camera body weighing in at a slender 450g, it’s also one of the lightest cameras on this list.
Showcasing a 24-megapixel, APS-C-size image sensor that expertly handles highlights and shadow detail, the a6500’s innovative five-axis image-stabilisation system keeps your images sharp when you find yourself in a bumpy setting. With more Sony Alpha cameras coming in 2019, now’s a good chance to score a bargain on an older model.
“It was a surprise that photographic giants Canon and Nikon avoided the mirrorless market for so long, but they’ve recently set about changing their ways.”
It was a surprise that photographic giants Canon and Nikon avoided the mirrorless market for so long, but they’ve recently set about changing their ways. In Nikon’s case, we’re glad they did, as the Nikon Z6 is one of the best mirrorless cameras currently available. Equipped with Nikon’s new Z-mount, you’ll be able to use a wide range of lenses with the Z6, including Nikon glass that dates back to the 1950s – if you just happen to have any lying around.
The new lens mount also means that the in-body image stabilisation will work with any lens you attach to the front, while you’ll also have the option of shooting 4K videos at a snappy 12 frames per second. Despite the Z6’s hefty cost of over $2000 for the body, if you truly want the best mirrorless camera for travel, this might just be it.