Mirrorless Masterpieces: The Top Camera Models of 2017

November 1, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

Sony a9
Editor's Choice

With the a9, Sony has delivered faster continuous shooting speeds than flagship DSLRs in the same compact, full-frame mirrorless body that distinguished the a7 series. This 24-megapixel camera boasts 693 phase-detect and 25 contrast-detect AF points covering 93 percent of the sensor. Burst speeds hit a blistering 20 fps with AF tracking engaged. It has a native ISO of 100 to 51,200 (expandable from 50 to 204,800), 4K video recording, two SD card slots and a refashioned battery that delivers an excellent (for a mirrorless camera) 480 shots per charge.
Price: $4,500

Panasonic GH5

The wait for the GH4’s successor is over. The GH5 predictably ups the ante with high-quality 4K recording—you can save a 10-bit 422 file at 30p to an SD card or shoot 4K at up to 60p. Full HD frame rates top off at 180 fps. Autofocusing is driven by Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus technology, which has had its speed doubled from previous iterations. It has a dust and weatherproof design with a sturdy magnesium-alloy build.
Price: $2,000

Canon EOS M5

The M5 boasts a 24-megapixel, APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor with Canon’s Dual Pixel AF autofocusing system. You’ll enjoy high-speed shooting speeds of up to 7 fps with continuous autofocusing and full HD/60p video recording. The camera offers a built-in EVF and a 3.2-inch tilting display. There’s Wi-Fi for image transfer and remote control, plus Bluetooth for quicker pairing with mobile devices.
Price: $980

Fujifilm X-T20

The successor to the X-T10 features a new APS-C-sized, 24-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro image-processing engine. The new sensor/processor duo combine to push the camera’s ISO settings up to 12,800 and deliver faster autofocusing. The X-T20 has 91 AF points (up from 49 in the previous model). Phase-detect AF pixels cover approximately 40 percent of the imaging area. The X-T20 can burst at up to 8 fps for up to 63 JPEGs using a mechanical shutter. Switch to the electronic shutter and you can hit a continuous shooting rate of 14 fps. The X-T20 can record at 3840 x 2160 video at 30p for up to 10 minutes at a clip. It can also record full HD at up to 60p in one of the camera’s nine film simulation modes.
Price: $900

Canon EOS M6

The M6 features a 24-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for rapid autofocusing during video and live view shooting. There are 49 AF points with focusing available down to -1 EV. The camera has a native ISO range of 100 to 6400 that’s expandable to 25,600. Shutter speeds range from 1/4000 to 30 sec. Unlike most new mirrorless cameras, the M6 can’t record 4K video, but you’ll be able to shoot full HD/60p footage. Connectivity options abound, including Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth.
Price: $780

Sony a6500

The a6500 features a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100 to 25,600 (expandable to 51,200). Like its predecessor, the camera’s major claim to fame is an over-abundance of focus points. There are 425 phase-detect points and 169 contrast-detect points with a sensitivity range to -1 EV. Burst speeds can hit 11 fps through the viewfinder or 8 fps in live view—same as the a6300. Unlike its predecessor, the a6500 has in-body, five-axis image stabilization good for up to five stops of image correction, per CIPA.
Price: $1,400

Panasonic LUMIX GX850

The GX850 is a Micro Four Thirds model that sports a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor with no low-pass filter and a top ISO of 25,600. It’s capable of recording 4K video (3840 x 2160) at 30p and supports Panasonic’s 4K Photo, Post Focus and Focus Stacking features. It has a 3-inch flip-up screen that automatically enters Self Shot mode when the screen is popped up above the top of the camera, which then optimizes the camera’s exposure for selfies.
Price: $550

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

If you want Sony a9-level speeds in a smaller, less expensive body, Olympus’ E-M1 Mark II can burst at 18 fps using an electronic shutter or 15 fps with a mechanical shutter and AF tracking. In Pro Capture mode, you can tap the electronic shutter to start buffering JPEG and RAW images to the camera’s memory before you fully start shooting. The 20-megapixel E-M1 Mark II records 4K video, boasts five-axis image stabilization and a 50-megapixel high-res shot mode to coax even more detail from your images.
Price: $2,000

Leica TL2

The TL2 retains the aluminum unibody build of the original TL but improves the innards to deliver higher-resolution images and faster performance. You’ll find a 24-megapixel APS-C-sized image sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 50,000. It uses a contrast-detection autofocus system with 49 AF points and delivers burst speeds up to 7 fps using a mechanical shutter and up to 20 fps using an electronic one. On the video front, the TL2 records 4K video (3840 x 2160) at 30p. Full HD recording is also available up to 60p. You can mount both TL and SL series lenses directly to the TL2, and Leica will offer adapters for both M and R series lenses as well.
Price: $1,950