best mirrorless camera for travel by Ali G Studios
18 June 2021

Are you an avid photographer looking for a light and easy-to-use camera that can take amazing photos and crisp videos of your travels?

With so many camera brands and models available, finding a camera that ticks most of the boxes is like finding a needle in a haystack!

Without a doubt, mirrorless cameras are the future! But it can become very confusing to pick the one that matches your requirements. Don’t worry, I've done the hard work for you, and here's a review of the best mirrorless camera for travel.

Hi! My name is Ali G from Ali G Studios, a Hong Kong-based professional photographer who loves to travel and explore our amazing planet.  Not only have I traveled to more than 30 countries, I also conduct regular travel and street photography workshops for tourists visiting Hong Kong!

I have researched more than two dozen cameras and studied their features to finally come up with these. In my opinion, the Sony a6600 should be rated as the best mirrorless camera for travel.

It is powerful, lightweight and comes with excellent real-time eye focusing.  Moreover, it produces very high-quality photos and videos for the price tag. For sure, there are some other great choices for travel photography too. I will take a much deeper look at them below. 

Quick Summary

 

best mirrorless camera for travel by Ali G Studios

Top 4 Mirrorless Cameras for Travel - Recommendations

Best Overall: Sony Alpha a6600

  • Key Features: 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, 4D Focus with 425 phase-detection points with real-time Eye AF,  Full wireless connectivity, 3-inch tilting LCD touchscreen
  • Including Batteries, the weight is 503 g (1.11 lb / 17.74 oz)
  • Size: 120 x 67 x 69 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 2.72 inches)
  • Screen Size: 3 inches

 

The Sony Alpha a6600 is a very powerful mirrorless camera.  It comes with a 24.2-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor, making it very capable of shooting stunning videos and crisp stills. This is the latest in a long line of cameras that represent the Sony a6 series. 

Over the years the a6 series cameras have made a lot of changes and modifications. A6600, being the latest model, is the culmination of a series of improvements.

First thing first, this is a lightweight camera. At only 1.1 pounds (503 grams) it is one of the lightest mirrorless systems around.  But don’t let the light weight of the camera fool you. This is a very powerful camera indeed. Honestly, I think this would make a great second camera for destination weddings because of the high quality of photos and videos it produces.

The Sony a6600 uses the Sony E mount system. Hence, it is compatible with an entire range of excellent OEM, as well as third-party lenses.

I can’t close this discussion without a mention of the 4D Focus system of this camera. The a6600 has 425 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection AF points. Together, these make a formidable autofocusing system that covers almost all of the frame (84%) for fast (and accurate) focus lock.

Plus, a major advantage of this system is that it offers real-time Eye Autofocusing. This is extremely useful for locking focus on a subject’s eye and tracking it as s/he moves. The 3-inch tilting LCD touchscreen make this camera perfect for solo travelers, vloggers and all around content creators.

We rate the Sony a6600 as the best mirrorless camera for travel photography. It comes with the perfect balance of a loaded list of features, the right price tag, lightweight, and ease of operation.

Best Affordable Mirrorless Camera for Travel: Canon EOS M50 Mark II

  • Key Features: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD. 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, dual pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detect AF. Full wireless connectivity. Webcam functionality.
  • Including Batteries, the weight is 387 g (0.85 lb / 13.65 oz)
  • Size: 16 x 88 x 59 mm (4.57 x 3.46 x 2.32 inches)
  • Screen Size: 3 inches

 

The EOS M50 Mark II is a budget-friendly, versatile camera capable of shooting both 4K/UHD videos and stunning high-resolution stills. A lightweight camera helps when you are traveling. 

As a traveler, the last thing you would want is a heavy camera strapped around your neck. This is one of the primary reasons why a lot of travelers these days would rather keep a heavy camera at home and shoot with a mobile phone instead.

I love city touring and I always just bring out a small mirrorless camera, a mini tripod, a powerbank  and some portable lights for my day out. Most of the time they are just less than 5 kgs so I can save my energy for the night time outings and gatherings with friends.

Not only is the EOS M50 mark II lightweight, it is also a pretty powerful piece of technology. It shoots high-resolution stills using the 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. Plus, if you fancy shooting a bit of video on your travels, this camera is more than capable. It shoots UHD/4K videos for detailed capture of your experiences. 

Did you know the EOS M50 Mark II comes with Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing technology? Designed to assist the live-view mode capture, this feature allows for fast autofocus so you don't miss your shots!

Generally speaking, mirrorless cameras don’t have an optical viewfinder. This means you have to compose using the electronic viewfinder or the live-view mode by using the LCD screen at the back of the camera.

To assist you further, the autofocusing technology on this camera comes with an Eye-Detect AF feature. This automatically detects the presence of a human eye in the frame and focuses on that. This feature is very useful when you are shooting portraits or clicking selfies.

Best Versatile Mirrorless Camera for Travel: Nikon Z50

  • Key Features: 3.2-inch tilting LCD touchscreen. 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, 209-point Hybrid autofocusing mechanism with Eye detection. Full wireless connectivity.
  • Including Batteries, the weight is: 450 g (0.99 lb / 15.87 oz)
  • Size: 127 x 94 x 60 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.36 inches)
  • Screen Size: 3.2 inches

 

The Z50 is a lightweight mirrorless camera from the house of Nikon. There are very few capable cameras that come in a small package. Powerful yet lightweight, the Z 50 is one of those rare cameras. It may not be as powerful and as capable as the Sony Alpha a6600, but the Z 50 can still hold its own.

This is a DX-format camera and it uses the new Nikon Z mount. However, all you need to do is purchase a small accessory - the FTZ adapter which is available from Nikon. This will allow you to mount your legacy F-mount lenses onto the new Z mount cameras (including the Nikon Z 50). 

Many among you might already be using a Nikon DSLR and own a few F-mount lenses. This opens up a world of opportunity for you to extend the life of your existing glasses, now that you can continue using them on your new camera.

I have also recommended Nikon Z50 as the best beginner friendly Nikon mirrorless camera, this is truly a camera that can grow with you.

Best Travel Mirrorless Camera for Photos Quality: Canon EOS M6 Mark II

  • Key Features: 3.0-inch tilting LCD touchscreen. 32.5-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, dual pixel CMOS autofocusing mechanism with 5481 AF points. Full wireless connectivity.
  • Including Batteries, the weight is: 408 g (0.90 lb / 14.39 oz)
  • Size: 120 x 70 x 49 mm (4.72 x 2.76 x 1.93 inches)
  • Screen Size: 3.0 inches

 

The main USP of EOS M6 Mark II is a high-resolution APS-C CMOS sensor that churns out a staggering 32.5 megapixels. That much resolution means your photos will have a lot of detail in them. 

Yes, this is an APS-C sensor, and that means packing so many pixels onto the surface of the sensor makes the individual pixel sizes become tiny. Tiny pixels are prone to have issues when working in low light situations producing noise. 

However, Canon has introduced advanced image processing technologies in this camera to ensure cleaner images.

Travel cameras should be more than just used for stills; they should also be able to shoot excellent videos. 

In that department, the EOS M6 Mark II is a very versatile camera. It can capture UHD / 4K videos at 30p and full HD videos at 120p. If you enjoy watching those beautiful slow-motion effects, you can now shoot full HD videos at 120p and then play it back at normal speed to enjoy that cinematic look!

The M6 Mark II comes with Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing technology as well. This feature allows the camera to be able to focus accurately (and smoothly) in most conditions. To be very honest, this is not just a great cameras for travel, it's also great at portraits, street photography and as a second camera for sports photography.

 

best mirrorless camera for travel by Ali G Studios

What is a Mirrorless Camera?

A mirrorless camera is a camera that has a single, removable lens with a digital display. It is also called a digital single-lens mirrorless (DSLM). Unlike the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), the mirrorless camera does not feature an optical viewfinder or reflex mirror.

Mirrorless cameras are quieter than DSLRs as they feature an electronic shutter, allowing a silent operation. Although some of them still have a mechanical shutter, it’s more of a design and style feature rather than practical reasons.

However, both mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have an interchangeable lens system. Compared with compact cameras, which come with a fixed lens system, the mirrorless cameras are more multi-functional, versatile, and capable to produce better photos.

Pros and Cons of Choosing a Mirrorless Camera for Travel Photography

Why Mirrorless Cameras are Great for Travel Photography?

The quiet shutter allows for blending in more, especially when photographing in churches, mosques and other religious sites.  In addition, the manual focus on a mirrorless camera is a lot more accurate than that on other cameras. 

Moreover, it's usually smaller and weighs less than a DSLR camera. Any travel photographer would appreciate the extra space and reduced weight to log around.

What is Lacking?

For some models, the battery life of mirrorless cameras is not as long-lasting as their counterparts. You may need to bring extra batteries during your travel or recharge more often. Furthermore, you may need to purchase an extra mount for using your existing DSLR lens collection on a mirrorless camera.

Best Mirrorless Camera for Travel - What to Consider?

Getting a new camera is like getting a new buddy, and as such, it is an exciting experience! However, it takes time getting used to it!  Here are a few things to look out for when picking your new camera:

Budget

Your budget should be your first concern when choosing a mirrorless camera for travel photography. There are so many cameras available with an equally wide range of prices. Decide how much you’re willing to spend and then narrow your search to fit within that range.

Lens Systems

A significant difference between compact and mirrorless cameras is the interchangeable lens system. You will be able to produce a variety of high-quality photos when you can change the lens.

Also, most DSLR lenses can fit quite nicely into a mirrorless camera. However, you must confirm compatibility before making any purchases as mentioned earlier.

Silent Shutter

Some mirrorless cameras still have the mechanical shutters used in DSLR cameras, and this feature can be quite noisy, especially when trying to capture several images at a time, or when you want to capture a photo when you travel to a quiet area.

However, some other choices have the silent electronic shutter, which enables you to fly under the radar- take pictures discreetly when you need to. 

If you feel like this is an important feature for you, make sure to look out for it in your mirrorless camera search.

Sensor Size

This aspect can get a little confusing as the various mirrorless cameras come with different sized sensors.

Most mirrorless cameras feature an APS-C sensor usually found in consumer DSLR cameras, or a Micro Four Thirds sensor, which ranges somewhere between the APS-C and a point-and-shoot. However, very few also feature a full-frame sensor. 

A mirrorless camera with an APS-C or full-frame sensor gives excellent image quality even under poor lighting.

Viewfinders 

Many mirrorless cameras feature an electronic viewfinder (EVF) because, by design, there is no mirror directing the view of the lens to the viewfinder as in the optical TTL (through the lens) viewfinder. 

A major advantage of the EVF is that it gives an exact depiction of the image being photographed. It provides a very close representation of the final image. So, in a mirrorless camera, the higher the viewfinder resolution, the better your pictures.

Image Stabilization

This is a feature that enables you to get sharp images on your mirrorless camera even when you’re holding by hand and not using a tripod. 

It is an essential feature for travel photography. Some brands include this feature on the camera body, some others in the lens, and some just don't include stabilization. Be sure to check for this feature.

 

best mirrorless camera for travel by Ali G Studios

Bottom Line

I have summed up the best selection of mirrorless cameras for travel photography in 2021. They provide the best bang for your buck, and will surely help you to capture lots of good photos and videos!

You can't really go wrong with any of these cameras in this blog, however, if you want us to put a finger on any one of these cameras, we would pick the Sony Alpha a6600.

I would love to hear from you with any other suggestions and recommendations of mirrorless cameras.

Please show some love and follow us on social media to stay connected with more of our exciting projects!

Ali G Studios   IG: @aligphoto   Youtube: @AliGStudios 

A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios. 

All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios

Disclosure: As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

 

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