When you want the quality of Digital SLRs but not one to carry a bulky camera round, mirrorless digital cameras are your answer.
Sometimes known as Compact System Cameras, mirrorless digital cameras do not have glass prisms in them, the light simply comes through the lenses and fall straight on the super sized sensor. To frame your shots, instead of using a viewfinder, you get a large 3-inch screen that sometimes double as touch screen to control the settings. Some manufacturer offers Electronic live view finder using a built-in small screen behind an eye-piece placed in the conventional top left corner great for shooting in broad day light.
Without the prism, this reduces the size of the camera body tremendously. While it is inevitable that some lenses are bigger than others given the zoom range, some manufacturer manages this better than others with built-in lens that disappears into the body or with a fixed focal length lens. Others, take a different approach with removable lenses, allowing you to take apart the cameras for easy storage.
There is also the question of the bulge on the body of the camera. For seriously compact camera body, bulge-less design is the way to go. But if you prefer more stability, especially when shooting with a big lens then the bulge will help steady your grip on the camera.
Best Truly Compact and Portable Mirrorless Digital Cameras
We pick a range of small and portable mirrorless digital cameras with fixed focal length, zoom lense, bulge and bulge-free design and pocketable cameras with built-in lens in our line-up.
- Sony DSC-RX1R/B 24MP Compact System Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera 35mm – BULGE FREE, FULL FRAME, FIXED FOCUS, PALM SIZE
- Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens – REMOVABLE LENS, 4K VIDEO, PALM SIZE
- FUJIFILM FinePix X70 High Performance Compact Camera 18.5mm – BULGE FREE, BUILT-IN LENS, WIDE ANGLE, FIXED FOCUS POCKETABLE
- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100/TZ100 Camera with Leica DC Lens 10X (25-250mm) F2.8-5.9 Zoom – BULGE FREE, BUILT-IN LENS, 4K VIDEO, POCKETABLE
- Leica C Camera 18485 12.1MP 7X Zoom Mirrorless Digital Camera – BULGE FREE, BUILT-IN LENS, POCKETABLE
- Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm OSS Lens
- Canon EOS-M3 Mirrorless Digital Camera with EF-M 18-55mm IS STM Lens
- Nikon 1 J5 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10-30mm Zoom Lens
Sony DSC-RX1R/B 24MP Compact System Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera 35mm – BULGE FREE, FULL FRAME, FIXED FOCUS, PALM SIZE
When the diameter of the zoom lense is just slightly smaller than the height of the body, you can tell that it is a seriously compact palm size camera. The downside to this camera is that it comes with a fixed focal length 35mm lens. This isn’t to say that it is a bad system, all smartphone cameras bar a few with double lenses have fixed range and runs on digital zoom. The RX1-R is capable of capturing 5 frames per second in continuous mode and has a 24.3MP full frame CMOS sensor. It can e used to capture Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution or 1080p videos with manual control and stereo input. The camera comes with a 3-inch LCD screen electronic viewfinder but you can get an optional viewfinder accessory that goes on the hotshoe. For stills, it captures RAW and RAW+JPEG photos.
The RX1R has its optical low pass (anti-aliasing) filter removed for full resolution and sharpness. Features include full frame burst shooting (5 fps at full 24.5 mp), amazing low light performance (ISO sensitivity up to 25600) and high speed autofocus with the camera’s BIONZ processor.
- 24.3MP full frame CMOS sensor
- 5 frames per second continuous shooting
- Fixed 35mm F/2 lens
- ISO 100-25,600
- 3.0 inch LCD with 1,230,000 dots
A higher model with almost double the sensor resolution, the RX1-RII with the same 35mm lens but with more advanced settings is also available.
- 42.4MP Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
- 35mm F2.0 ZEISS® Sonnar T lens with macro capability
- World’s first user-selectable optical variable low-pass filter
- Fast Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points
- Retractable 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ ZEISS T coating
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens – REMOVABLE LENS, 4K VIDEO, PALM SIZE
It may not feature a bulge-less body profile or built-in lens but a palm sized design nonetheless with the right lens. The Alpha A6300 is available body only (base unit) or with lens as a kit. The camera boast the world’s fastest auto focus speed with the most extensive auto focus coverage using the newly developed 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor. It is also capable of capturing 4K video and continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking and up to 11 frames per second. Using the BIONZ X image processor, it minimises noise through a wide sensitive range of ISO 100-512008 and Full HD 120fps shooting (for 4x/5x slow motion recording) and 14-bit RAW output for still images.
- World’s fastest Auto Focus speed (0.05 sec.)
- 24.2 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor w/ accelerated readout
- Up to 11fps continuous shooting w/Auto Focus and Exposure
- Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 Recording
- 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder with selectable 60fps/120fps
- Tiltable 3-inch (921k dots) LCD Display
- Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy Body – dust and moisture resistant
- WiFi NFC QR code for easy file transfer and remote control
- 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200)
- Hybrid AF with 179-point focal plane phase-detection and 25 contrast detect points
- Up to 11 FPS continuous shooting
- 3-inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots
- OLED electronic viewfinder with 100% coverage and 1.4 million dots
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
FUJIFILM FinePix X70 High Performance Compact Camera 18.5mm – BULGE FREE, WIDE ANGLE, FIXED FOCUS, POCKETABLE
The X70 has a pocketable profile with its built-in lense and touch screen display that rotates 180 degrees so you can frame your shots be it high up, down low or for a quick selfie. The camera has a fixed focus wide angle lens at 18.5mm F2.8 great made from seven elements in five groups including two aspherical lenses to correct the distortion. The wide aperture combines with the sensor delivers impressive level of detail with even light distribution across the frame. It shoots RAW with post capture in-camera RAW processing function with one of the 11 Film Simulation options. The camera also features Touch Shot to focus and take photos quickly with the touch screen. Fujifilm also offers a camera companion app, the Fujifilm Cmera Remote with live feed from the camera and ability to control the camera settings before taking that shot without touching the camera.
- 16.3 MP APS-C sized X-Trans II Sensor w/ EXR Processor II
- 3.0-inch 1.04 million-dot 180 degree tilting touchscreen LCD
- Newly developed 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) F2.8 wide-angle fixed lens
- Exposure control using shutter speed dial and aperture ring
- Six types of High-Speed / High-Precision AF Modes
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100/TZ100 Camera F2.8-5.9 25-250mm equivalent – BULGE FREE, BUILT-IN LENS, 4K VIDEO POCKETABLE
Another compact mirrorless digital camera that is capable of capturing 4K video is a pocketable profile, the Lumix DMC-ZX100 has a 5-axis correction and tile correction system to remote blurring from shaking. A Level Shot function automatically detects and corrects camera tilt for better image. The large 1-inch 20 megapixel MOS sensor allows for great shots even in low light. Panasonic Depth From Defocus (DFD) Auto Focus calculates the subject distance then drive the focus mechanism for faster AF speed. An electronic live view finder based on a 0.2-inch 1,166K-dot lets you view and frame your shots under harsh sunlight.
- Large 1, 20 Megapixel sensor delivers brighter, more colorful photos with fewer image artifacts
- 10x (25-250mm) LEICA DC Lens optical zoom performance with a wide F/2.8-5.9 aperture for impressive background defocus effects
- 4K Ultra HD video recording plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus photo capture features
- Eye-level Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and touch-enabled LCD for a wider viewing experience
- Lens-mounted control ring brings DSLR-like exposure control to a compact point-and-shoot camera body
Leica C Camera 18485 12.1MP Mirrorless Digital Camera 7x Zoom and 3-Inch LCD – BULGE FREE, BUILT-IN LENS, POCKETABLE
The Leica C is built in partnership with Panasonic and you can see the similarity in design. The camera is compact and versatile and uses the Leica 7x zoom lense with 35mm camera equivalent of 28-200mm and a large 1/1.7″ sensor with 12 megapixel resolution. It can capture up to 10 frames per second in burst mode and has seriously fast autofocus. Two colour options are available, the light champagne gold and dark red, both spotting a red Leica badge. Integrated WiFi module lets you transfer photos and videos to iOS or Android devices with Leica C Image Shuttle app. The camera has both a large screen and an electronic viewfinder and is capable of capturing Full HD video.
- Fast Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens f/2-5.9 (at maximum wideangle and telephoto settings)/ 6-42.8 mm ASPH. (35 mm camera equivalent: 28-200 mm)
- Larger Sensor 1/1.7″ with effective 12.1 Megapixels
- Manual lens ring control allowing high flexibility
- 3-inch High resolution 920,000 pixel viewing screen
- Full HD movie capture
- Size: 1.2 x 4.2 x 2.2 in
The Sony a5000 in white with silver lense barrel lets the camera stands out from the crowd of largely black cameras. Sony still offers a black version but the white does have our vote. It comes with a 20.1 megapixel sensor measuring 23.2 x 15.4mm based on APS-C CMOS. The cameras is one of the more affordable options in the market and still packs the ability to capture great stills and Full HD 1080p video recording. No, 4K Ultra HD here unfortunately, given that you save a few hundred on this camera, you can probably save up a little more for a 4K action camera. Full HD video recording available in 60i/50i (NTSC/PAL) frame rate or lower 24p/25p (NTSC/PAL) frame rates.
The ISO sensitivity is also smaller ranging between 100 to 16,000. There is a 3-inchTFT LCD screen that can be tilted up to 180 degree, great for selfies and group photos. For portraits photography, it also has Soft Skin Effect to smooth out wrinkles or dullness. While it comes with a 16-50 mm lense, it is intercheageable with E-mount lenses or use an A-mount lense with an adapter. For photo transfer, it comes with NFC for one touch photo sharing to NFC compatible smartphones or tablets to establish a WiFi connection to the device. Like most other WiFi enabled cameras, there is also a Smart Remote Control app for remote shooting options.
The 24.2 megapixel camera from Canon has a sensor measuring 22.3 x 14.9 based on APS-C CMOS with an ISO sensitivity range of 100 – 12800. The 3-inch touch screen tilts to 180 degrees and down to 45 degrees for that perfect selfie or high-angle shooting. There Advanced Hybrid CMOS AF III autofocus system is fast and locks on to the subject quickly for accurate result. It uses 49 autofocus points spread across the frame. Capture your still in auto or manual mode with full expert control via a front dial, an exposure compensation dial and extensive custom functions to suit your shooting style. The camera shoots in RAW for advanced post shot editing.
Available in three different colour options; white, black or black and silver, the Nikon 1 J5 spots a retro look. The Nikon 1 J5 is a 20.8 megapixel camera with a 13.2 x 8.8 mm CMOS sensor. It has a 3-inch tiltable touchscreen viewfinder that flips 180 degrees up so you can take that selfies or group shots given its super wide angle lens 10-30mm and see what you are taking. Powered by dual-engine EXPEED 5A processor, the camera is smooth and takes images effortlessly with an incredible 60 frames per second at full resolution in continuous shooting mode with fixed focus. As with most cameras in this category, it comes equipped with WiFi and NFC for easy photo and video transfer. Pick from the extensive lense of NIKKOR lenses with Nikon 1 mount sold separately and not be limited to just the lens kit provided. It also features dynamic auto focus and continuous AF as well as Active Selection that takes up to 10 high resolution images per second and let you choose the best. Finally, the camera is capable of recording Full HD videos while taking stills at the same time manually or with Auto Image Capture. Apart from scene modes for stills, there are also movie modes (Fast Motion, Jump Cut and 4-Second Movie) so let the creative juices flow.