Full-frame mirrorless cameras are often considered the exclusive tools of professional photographers. The truth is that a good full-frame mirrorless camera is suitable for just about anyone.

As you’ll see in this guide, while there are plenty of high-end professional full-frame mirrorless models, many others are pitched at amateurs, enthusiasts and beginners. Full-frame mirrorless is a rich and exciting world to delve into – we’ve put together this list to help you make sense of it and find the right camera for you.

At AP, we test and fully review every new full-frame mirrorless camera that comes out. Our team of expert photographers and writers put all the latest releases through their paces, which enables us to compile a list such as this. We know which new cameras are genuine game-changers, which older cameras are a great way to save money – and which models to avoid.

To learn more about what we mean when we talk about full-frame mirrorless cameras, scroll to the bottom of this page where we’ve put together an explainer section on how to choose. On a tight budget? You can still have a full-frame – check out our guide to the best cheap full frame cameras, which includes both DSLRs and mirrorless models.

Here’s a list of our picks of the best full frame mirrorless cameras available, with quick links to the best prices:

  • Best full frame camera for professionals: Nikon Z9 – buy now
  • Best full frame camera under $1,000 / £1,000: Sony A7 II – buy now
  • Best full frame camera for all-round use: Canon EOS R6 Mark II – buy now
  • Best full frame mirrorless camera for wildlife: Nikon Z8 – buy now
  • Best full frame camera for enthusiast photographers: Nikon Z7 II – buy now
  • Best full frame mirrorless camera for beginners: Canon EOS R8 – buy now
  • Best full frame camera for weddings and events: Nikon Z6 II – buy now
  • Best full frame mirrorless camera for video: Sony A7S III – buy now
  • Best hybrid full-frame for photo and video: Panasonic Lumix S5 II – buy now
  • Best full frame mirrorless camera for landscapes: Sony A7R V – buy now
  • Best full frame mirrorless camera for sports: Canon EOS R3 – buy now
  • Best full frame camera for professionals / video: Sony A1 – buy now

If you’d like to learn more about these exceptional cameras, then simply read on…

Best full frame mirrorless camera for professionals: Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 in hand
The Z9 takes many of the design features of Nikon’s pro DSLRs and translates them mirrorless. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

Nikon’s best mirrorless camera, and one of the finest professional cameras ever made, the Nikon Z9 delivers exceptional imagery in all shooting situations. However – it’s priced for pros.
  • Exceptional continuous shooting
  • AI-powered autofocus
  • Top-notch image quality
  • Body is on the heavy side
  • As is the price

At a glance:

  • 45.7MP sensor
  • ISO 64 to 25600
  • 120fps burst mode shooting (low-res JPEG)
  • Max shutter speed 1/32,000 sec
  • 5-axis image sensor shift (up to 6 stops of image stabilisation)
  • Movie mode 7680 x 4320 (8K UHD)
  • Weight approx 1,160g
  • $5,496 / £4,849

The Nikon Z9 is a reliable machine built to last and sits at the top of the Nikon mirrorless market. Weight-wise, unfortunately, this model is similar to that of a DSLR. However there are many benefits that come from this beastly mirrorless machine. These include the impressive 120fps burst mode shooting (low-res JPEGs only though at this speed), max shutter speed up to 1/32,000 sec and the 8K video resolution.

The Nikon Z9 is fast to focus, with 493 focus points, and the EVF is also worth a mention as it supports one of the brightest displays on the market. We were hugely excited to review this camera as it was arguably the first mirrorless model to properly make a go of replacing the professional DSLR, and the Z9 did not disappoint. It really is excellent, delivering images of superb quality in basically any shooting situation. Nikon’s brave decision to eliminate the mechanical shutter completely and rely only on an electronic shutter has paid off handsomely, resulting in a camera that delivers mind-blowing speeds in a body that’s cheaper than rivals from Canon or Sony.

This camera is the perfect model for the professional photographer who needs a great all-rounder, but the price does reflect this and it isn’t affordable to all. An awesomely powerful tool for portrait photography, landscape photography and more.

Best for: Professionals

Read our review of the Nikon Z9

Best full frame mirrorless camera under $1,000 / £1,000: Sony Alpha A7 II

Sony A7 II in hand, review image by Andy Westlake
Sony Alpha A7 II in hand. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

It may be a decade old, but the Sony A7 II is a mirrorless camera that offers fantastic value for money. Excellent image quality meets a broad lens selection – what’s not to like?
  • Can be nabbed for a bargain price
  • 5-axis stabilisation
  • Excellent viewfinder
  • No silent shutter option
  • Comparatively low resolution

At a glance:

  • 24.3MP sensor
  • ISO 50 to 25600
  • Video resolution Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at 60fps
  • 3.0″ type TFT LCD
  • Weight approx 556g
  • $598 / £564

The Sony A7 II was announced way back in 2014 so it’s by no means the latest mirrorless camera from Sony. It doesn’t have the benefits of some newer models, like the higher resolution of the Sony A7 IV, or the faster focusing features of the Sony A7 III. It remains one of the best in terms of value for money, though, hence it makes our list. One of its flagship features is its in-body 5 axis image stabilisation feature; it was in fact the first full frame digital camera to ever include this technology.

For a no-thrills simple mirrorless shooter primarily for taking still images, the Sony A7 II is viable. With some shopping around, it is easy to find for well under £1000, which is an absolute bargain; even cheaper second hand. Also, the Sony E-mount lens range has been going significantly longer than Canon’s RF mount, Nikon’s Z-mount or the L-mount alliance between Sigma, Panasonic and Leica. This gives a Sony user a lot more lenses to choose from – and cheap ones, especially. Sony’s historic openness to third-party manufacturers helps here, as there are tons of terrific E-mount lenses from the likes of Sigma, Tamron and Samyang.

Best for: Beginners and those on a budget

Read our Sony Alpha A7 II review.

Best full frame mirrorless camera for all-round use: Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Canon EOS R6 Mark II
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is an excellent mirrorless all-rounder. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

With AI-powered subject-detection autofocus, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II can shoot just about anything. While it’s pricier than the original EOS R6, it also represents an exciting step forwards.
  • Pro-level AF tracking system
  • Powerful burst with deep buffer
  • Highly capable in low light
  • Price hike from original R6
  • Relative lack of third-party RF lenses

At a glance:

  • 24.2MP sensor
  • ISO 100 to 102,400
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • Autofocus: 1053-point Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • Weight approx. 670g
  • $2,299 / £2,139

A refreshed version of Canon’s full frame all-rounder, the EOS R6 Mark II inherits plenty of its tech from the sports-focused EOS R3. The original EOS R6 was a resounding success, scooping our AP Product of the Year award in 2021, so we had high hopes for this Mark II version.

The new sensor has been fine-tuned for exceptional low-light performance, supporting autofocus in light levels as low as -6.5EV. Stabilisation is rated up to 8 stops of exposure compensation, which also helps when the light conditions get challenging.

The exciting thing about the EOS R6 Mark II is that it inherits autofocus tech from the EOS R3. This provides spookily capable subject-detect autofocus, powered by AI, which can recognise and lock onto specific subjects including humans, birds, animals, cars, trains, aircraft and more.

This tracking is available in all focus modes, and pairs beautifully with the EOS R6 Mark II’s 12fps mechanical shutter burst mode (this can go up to a whopping 40fps with the electronic shutter). And then this syncs up well with the deep shot buffer, offering up to 190 JPEG or 140 RAW files in a single burst.

This camera will do pretty much anything you ask of it. The EOS R6 Mark II It takes the already excellent EOS R6 and makes it even better, with faster shooting and impressive subject detection AF. A seriously impressive all-rounder, and a fantastic choice if you are moving to mirrorless from Canon DSLRs.

You also have access to the RF-mount range for Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras, which has continued to expand since the system was first announced back in 2018, and these days there are tremendous Canon RF mount lenses for every stripe of user.

What we like:

  • Pro-level AF system, particularly for moving subjects
  • Powerful burst and deep buffer
  • Highly capable in low light

What we don’t like:

  • Inevitable price increase from original
  • Relative lack of third-party RF lenses

Best for: General, all-round use

Read our Canon EOS R6 Mark II review

Best full frame mirrorless camera for wildlife: Nikon Z8

Nikon Z8 front view with 35mm f/1.8 lens
Nikon Z8 front view with 35mm f/1.8 lens. Credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

Essentially a slimmed-down, cheaper Nikon Z9, the Nikon Z8 is still neither slim nor cheap, but makes super-fast, high-res shooting a little more accessible to enthusiast photographers.
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Subject-detection autofocus
  • Discreet silent operation
  • Professional handling and build quality
  • Expensive compared to Z7 II
  • Mixed memory card formats

At a glance:

  • 45.7MP full-frame stacked CMOS sensor
  • 20 frames per second shooting in raw
  • 8K 30p video recording
  • 3.69m-dot, 0.8x viewfinder
  • 3.2in, 2.1m-dot 3-way tilting LCD
  • $3,696 / £3,749

The Nikon Z8 sits just below the flagship Z9 in the Nikon full frame mirrorless camera range, but technically these two cameras are practically at the same level. Where the Z9 has a tall body with an integrated battery grip, a classic design for professional sports photographers, the Z8 has a classic, more compact camera design that will be easier to pack and handle for more general photography. The Nikon Z9 is one of the best cameras we’ve tested, and for the Nikon Z8 to match it in practically every respect but in a smaller, less expensive body, sends it straight to the top of our list.

So what do you get that makes this camera so great? First, there’s its 45.7MP sensor, which delivers excellent resolution. Then there its ability to shoot raw files continually at 20 frames per second – and then there is its 8K video recording, or 4K at up to 120fps. Normally cameras are built to specialize in one particular area, but this is a camera that excels everywhere.

Of course, this brings a hefty price tag, but then it is a rugged, professional camera designed for years of hard use. It also offers twin memory card slots, accepting either SD or CFexpress Type B cards. This makes it easy to use alongside other, older equipment that uses the SD format – though some videographers and sports shooters might prefer Nikon to offer matched CFexpress card slots and make a full transition to this new format.

A small point? Definitely, because the Nikon Z8 is a simply superb camera that’s instantly one of the best full frame mirrorless cameras you can buy.

Best for: wildlife and outdoor shooting

Read our full Nikon Z8 review.

Best full frame mirrorless camera for enthusiasts: Nikon Z7 II

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)
Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Photo credit: Michael Topham

Amateur Photographer verdict

Offering simply gorgeous high-resolution image quality, the Nikon Z7 II is more affordable alternative to the firm’s top-end pro cameras. Landscape shooters in particular should consider this one.
  • Deep buffer for RAWs and JPEGs
  • Excellent high-res image quality
  • Intuitive to use, with great handling
  • 1.08x crop applied to 4K/60p video
  • Rivals have better, faster autofocus

At a glance:

  • 45.7MP sensor
  • ISO 32-102,400 (expanded)
  • Dual card slots (XQD/CFexpress and SD cards)
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
  • Weight approx. 705g
  • $2,296 / £2,339

While the Nikon Z9 at the top of our list is the firm’s flagship model for professionals, the Z7 II sits more at enthusiast level. It delivers premium, high-resolution images – it’s got the same 47.5MP resolution, after all – without those preternatural continuous shooting speeds. For serious enthusiasts who want a camera that will reliably shoot pretty much everything in ultra-high resolution, the Nikon Z7 II fits the bill nicely.

The original Nikon Z7 was a popular camera – though one curious flaw was that it only sported a single XQD card slot. The Nikon Z7 II corrects this, with dual slots that support both XQD/CFExpress, and standard SD, so you’ll be covered no matter what memory format you prefer.

With a camera this high-res, you are going to want fast cards to be able to keep up; while it doesn’t match the Z9’s burst rates, 10fps at 45.7MP is still a heck of a lot of data-crunching. Nikon also beefed up the buffer considerably compared to the original Z7 – in our testing, we managed to shoot 74 consecutive RAW files before hitting the limit. In Fine JPEG mode, the buffer hit 139 frames, and for normal JPEGs, it was 148. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that isn’t enough.

In our review of the Nikon Z7 II, we came away highly impressed. Though its focusing isn’t quite on par with standout action and sports cameras, it does a generally decent job for most subjects, and the image quality from this thing is just absolutely killer. The handling is great too – it’s a satisfying camera to hold and use, something that Nikon nailed from the beginning with the Z series.

Best for: portraits, landscapes and high-resolution shooting

Read our full Nikon Z7 II review.

Best full frame mirrorless camera for beginners: Canon EOS R8

Photograph of Canon EOS R8 on wooden surface with lens attached
The Canon EOS R8. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

A ‘step-up’ camera in many ways, the Canon EOS R8 is great for those looking to upgrade to full-frame. It has some handling quirks, but there’s no arguing with the pristine images it produces.
  • Consistently excellent image quality
  • Capable autofocus and fast burst
  • Option to adapt EF lenses
  • No built-in stabilisation
  • Battery life not the best

At a glance:

  • 24.2MP sensor
  • ISO 100 to 102,400
  • Up to 40fps shooting
  • 4K 60p video
  • 2.36m-dot, 0.7x EVF
  • $1299 / £1699 body only

Whether you’re making the jump from DSLR to mirrorless, or from crop-sensor to full-frame, or both, a relatively affordable all-rounder like the Canon EOS R8 is an eminently sensible port of call. It essentially takes the guts of the EOS R6 II, featured above, and crams them into a smaller body with a few features lopped off. So you don’t get weather-sealing, you don’t get stabilisation – but you do get that sumptuous image quality combined with what continues to be one of the best autofocus systems on the market.

When we put the EOS R8 through our full testing and review process we weren’t without reservations. The body design has been arguably over-simplified – it feels nice and slim, yes, but we found ourselves sometimes frustrated that there weren’t many physical on-body controls. You do have to get comfortable spending time in the menus. As mentioned, there’s no stabilisation to speak of, so you may want to acquire stabilised lenses. Speaking of which, if you already have a collection of EF DSLR lenses, it’s easy to adapt them and retain full functionality with the EF-EOS R adapter.

Niggles aside, the Canon EOS R8 is a speedy camera capable of producing downright gorgeous images, making the most of its full-frame sensor. For a first jump into full-frame, it makes a compelling case for itself – especially when compared to the somewhat aging Nikon Z5 or the small-and-fiddly Sony A7C II.

Best for: Entry level and keen hobbyists

Read our Canon EOS R8 in-depth review.

Best full frame mirrorless camera for weddings and events: Nikon Z6 II

Nikon Z6 II with 50mm f1.8 lens
Nikon Z6 II with 50mm f1.8 lens. Photo credit: Richard Sibley

Amateur Photographer verdict

A discreet but capable camera, the Nikon Z6 II is ideally optimised to produced brilliant images at weddings and events – as borne out by our long-term testing.
  • Generally good at everything
  • Large, sharp viewfinder
  • Does well in low light
  • Fiddly menu system
  • Screen not fully articulating

At a glance:

  • 24.5MP sensor
  • ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
  • 4K 60p video
  • Size: 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm
  • Weight approx. 705g
  • $1,596 / £1,549

In its second iteration of full frame mirrorless, Nikon went about improving on the first go with impressive results. The Nikon Z6 II fixed a few of the more obvious blunders of the original Z6 – yes, once again, there are now two card slots – and also punched up the autofocus to create an all-rounder camera able to compete with the likes of Canon and Sony.

For weddings and events, you need a versatile camera, and the Nikon Z6 II is that. Its 24.2MP resolution is big enough for printing without being unwieldy, and the 14fps burst rate is well capable of capturing anything that moves. The handling is lovely too, with a big and beautiful EVF, and one of our favourite oft-neglected features – a top LCD screen. Some might prefer a fully articulating rear LCD, but this is shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

It’s easy to get carried away and dazzled by the specs when new cameras are released. The real test of quality comes a few years down the line – has a camera found a place among its intended userbase? In the real world, does it perform as the manufacturer claimed it would?

With this in mind, we conducted a long-term test of the Nikon Z6 II. How has it performed out in the busy world of image-making? Our deputy editor Geoff Harris feels the Nikon Z6 II has ably proved itself as an all-rounder for photographers. Its AF system is fast and agile, and its ability to grab competitively sharp images well up to ISO 12,800 makes it incredibly versatile. For someone looking for a capable all-rounder for event and wedding photography, the Nikon Z6 II certainly should be in the mix.

Best for: Wedding and event photographers

Read our Nikon Z6 II review

Best full frame mirrorless camera for video: Sony A7S III

Sony Alpha A7S III
Sony A7S III. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

The best low-light video camera in the world has once again got better, and users benefit from a new touch interface and a spectacular viewfinder. It’s too low-res for serious stills, however.
  • Amazing viewfinder
  • Excellent video quality
  • Class-leading low-light performance
  • Fully articulated LCD screen
  • Menus, while improved, are still obtuse
  • Low resolution

At a glance:

  • 12.1MP sensor
  • ISO 80-102,400 (40-409,600 extended)
  • 4K video up to 120fps, Full HD up to 240fps
  • 759-point phase detection AF
  • 9.44m-dot EVF, 0.9x magnification
  • $3,200 / £3,350

Sony’s A7S cameras have been famous since the 2010s for their ability to seemingly turn night into day, with high-ISO results that are quite simply astonishing. And when the A7S II introduced internal 4K video recording, it also found popularity among the filmmaking community. As such, the A7S III is one of the best full-frame cameras you can buy for video, and its feature-set has accordingly been oriented in that direction. Hence the 12.1MP sensor resolution, which might sound somewhat stingy for photographers, but makes perfect sense for video shooters – who don’t need all those extra pixels anyway.

Slim, portable and powerful, the A7S III takes everything that was popular about the previous models and builds upon it. Its autofocus system is an extremely impressive 759-point on-chip phase-detection system that covers almost the entirety of the frame, with real-time Eye AF and tracking – all of it working in video mode, of course.

Also, with higher video resolutions and frame rates requiring ever more data, the A7S III makes an important upgrade in terms of its interface and adds in CFExpress Type A memory card compatibility. Smaller than CFExpress Type B, these cards don’t crunch quite the same data (would probably struggle with 8K video), but are more than enough for the A7S III’s 600Mbps maximum bit-rate.

We also can’t fail to mention one of the A7S III’s headline features – the world’s highest resolution electronic viewfinder, a gorgeous unit that provides a breath-taking view of the scene before you. All this adds up to an incredibly well-featured camera for filmmakers – and one that’s priced accordingly.

Best for: Filmmakers

Read our Sony A7S III review.

Best hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera for photo and video: Panasonic Lumix S5 II

Panasonic Lumix S5II review
Panasonic Lumix S5II. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

With excellent autofocus, sublime video quality and the potential to shoot beautiful stills, the Lumix S5 II is one of the best hybrid models around – and it’s priced to undercut the competition.
  • Superb phase-detection autofocus
  • Unlimited video recording times
  • Fast burst shooting and deep buffer
  • No CFExpress slot
  • Default JPEGs are quite dull

At a glance:

  • 24.2MP full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200 (50-204,800 expanded)
  • 779-point phase detection autofocus
  • Up to 30fps burst shooting
  • C4K 60p video recording
  • $1,697 / £1,749

The Panasonic Lumix S5 II, launched in January 2023, was an update to the original Lumix S5, then two years old, a fairly portable member of the Lumix S family, well priced and suited to both photo and video. This was a likeable full-frame camera, but disadvantaged by Panasonic’s reliance on the old contrast-based Depth from Defocus autofocus system; which simply couldn’t keep up with the competition.

No more! The Lumix S5 II arrived sporting glorious phase-detection autofocus. It’s hard to overstate what a big deal this has been for Panasonic users in both photo and video spaces, and it cements the Lumix S5 II’s status as a true hybrid camera, ideal for photographers, videographers, and those who shoot a little of both.

But this wasn’t the only trick. Panasonic also added a cooling fan into the chassis of the Lumix S5 II, placing it above the sensor and thereby allowing for unlimited video recording times. As long as there’s space on the card and juice in the battery, the Lumix S5 II will keep shooting pristine 4K video at up to 60fps in 4:2:2 10-bit colour. It can also output 6K 30fps footage in either 17:9 or 3:2 aspect ratios, and Panasonic has made sure to incorporate a full-size HDMI socket for those who like to output to an external recorder.

Photographers haven’t been forgotten – they get the full benefit of that 24MP full-frame sensor, as well as a 30fps burst rate using the electronic shutter, or 9fps with the mechanical, and a buffer of up to 200 RAW + JPEG before the camera starts to slow down. All this adds up to an incredible hybrid mirrorless camera – and at a sub-2K price, the Lumix S5 II offers real value for money.

Best for: Hybrid photo/video shooters

Read our Panasonic Lumix S5 II review.

Best full frame mirrorless camera for landscapes: Sony A7R V

Best professional Sony camera, the Sony Alpha A7R V or Mark V
The Sony Alpha A7R V or Mark V, mid-testing by the AP review team. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

The most megapixels you can get on a full-frame camera, the Sony A7R V is untouched when it comes to detail for printing. Still, the price might make you think twice.
  • Superb image quality
  • Reliable subject-detection AF
  • Superb viewfinder and screen
  • Robust build and fine handling
  • Sony menus still difficult and fiddly
  • No in-camera RAW conversion

At a glance:

  • 61MP sensor
  • ISO 50-102,400 (extended)
  • 8K 24p video
  • Size 131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4 mm
  • Weight approx 723g

For making big, beautiful prints of your landscape images, the Sony A7R V is the king of the hill. Indeed, this camera is so good that we named it the AP Product of the Year in our recent annual awards, as well as the best professional camera.

With a 61MP sensor that produces absolutely stunning images, the A7R V is set up to help you nail the shot every time. This translates to excellent colour rendition and near-unerring autoexposure. What’s more, the camera’s sophisticated in-body stabilisation system can be used to create pixel-shift multi-shot images. The most advanced mode is a 16-shot function that outputs enormous 240MP images. Considering landscape photographers are going to be using a tripod most of the time anyway, this is a feature tailor-made for the genre.

The full frame sensor has a backlit design, meaning the A7R V does well at a range of ISO settings. It also inherits subject-detection autofocus from the more action-oriented Alpha cameras – not essential for landscapes, but nice to have. Its viewfinder is big, high-resolution and gorgeous as well, making for an all-around pleasing shooting experience.

In fact, there’s not much the A7R V can’t do extremely well. And that means (here it comes) the camera comes with a wince-inducing price tag. For £1,000 or $1,000 less, the Sony A7R IV does offer the same resolution on a backlit sensor, and a lot of the same features – though you don’t get the lossless RAW compression and variable-resolution options of the A7R V, meaning your cards will fill up fast.

Best for: Landscape photographers

Read our Sony A7R V review

Best full frame mirrorless camera for wildlife and sports: Canon EOS R3

Canon EOS R3 mirrorless camera in hands.
The Canon EOS R3 in hand. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

This speedster goes head to head with the likes of the Nikon Z9, and with up to 195fps in full-res RAW and the futuristic Eye Control focus, it makes a thoroughly decent account of itself.
  • Ground-breaking Eye Control focus
  • 30fps in full-res RAW
  • Highly effective optical stabilisation
  • Overkill for most people
  • 24MP not enough pixels for some users

At a glance:

  • 24.1MP sensor
  • ISO 100 to 102,400
  • 6K Raw video
  • Up to 8-stop IS
  • Weight approx 822g
  • $4,999 / £3,714

Although the Canon EOS R3 comes with a slightly lower-resolution 24.1MP image sensor compared to its rivals such as the Nikon Z9 or Sony A1, it by no means should be disregarded. This camera offers some incredible features and produces outstanding results. Its ISO setting ranges from ISO 100 to a massive ISO 102,400, giving far more flexibility in low light, and the 6K Raw video feature is also worth mentioning as you can change settings like white balance in post production.

The Eye Control focusing on the EOS R3 is something else. An array of infrared LEDs in the viewfinder allows the camera to tell where in the frame you’re looking, and selects a tracking subject accordingly. The experience is quite simply unlike anything else, and as we discovered in our testing, it results in an impressively high number of in-focus ‘keeper’ shots – even when you’re not using the most expensive lenses.

With advanced subject-detection autofocus and tracking, this camera would be ideal for any wildlife, sports, wedding or event photographer. Be aware that it is on the heavier end of the mirrorless camera market, so if weight is an issue then you might want to consider something lighter.

Best for: Wildlife and sports photographers

Read our Canon EOS R3 review

Best full frame mirrorless camera for professionals / video: Sony A1

Sony Alpha A1, 1000px, reviewed by Andy Westlake
Sony Alpha A1, as reviewed by Andy Westlake.

Amateur Photographer verdict

A heck of an investment, but worth it if you’ve got the scratch, the Sony A1 is a full-frame powerhouse. For video, for stills, for both – it gets the job done and then some.
  • Amazing speed and quality
  • Exceptionally good EVF
  • Some Sony menu awkwardness
  • Very expensive

At a glance:

  • 50MP sensor
  • ISO 100 – 32,000
  • 30fps continuous shooting
  • Movie making with 8K 30p and 4K 120p
  • Weight approx 737g (with battery and memory card)

The Sony A1 sits at the very top of the mirrorless full frame market and includes three key features – a high-resolution sensor, 8K video and 30fps continuous shooting capabilities. It also comes with an impressive 9.44 million-dot EVF that delivers outstanding accuracy. This camera is an excellent all-round performer designed for any photographer shooting any genre.

The only real negative drawback we can put on the Sony A1, as we said when we tested this glorious camera, is the price tag. For many, it will just be too expensive, costing significantly more than its market rivals the Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9. If you can make the most of all its many features however, the Sony A1 will be worth the investment.

What we like:

  • Amazing speed and quality
  • Exceptionally good EVF

What we don’t like:

  • Some Sony menu awkwardness
  • Very, very expensive

Best for: Professionals, and high-resolution video

Read our Sony Alpha A1 review

How to choose the best full frame mirrorless camera

The term ‘full-frame mirrorless’ refers to two things: sensor size and camera type. Full-frame is a sensor size of 36x24mm; the same as a single frame of 35mm film, hence the name. It’s one of the larger sensor formats available, and is popular among professionals for its balance of image quality and portability. See our piece on APS-C vs full frame sensor sizes for more sensor size.

Mirrorless cameras, meanwhile, are interchangeable-lens cameras. They are the modern successor to the best DSLRs that were the professional standard digital camera throughout the 2000s and the 2010s. The key difference, if you hadn’t guessed, is the lack of a mirror –  the reflex mirror system that is the lynchpin of a DSLR’s optical viewfinder. Instead, mirrorless cameras typically offer an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF); essentially a miniature LCD screen with an eyepiece.

Our DSLR vs mirrorless guide explains in detail the key differences between the two types of camera. Suffice to say that the dawn of the 2020s has seen mirrorless cameras become the professional standard, with all but one manufacturer switching to the format!

This means mirrorless cameras are getting all the latest technological developments. These include powerful in-body stabilisation systems that make it easier to get sharp shots handheld. The more significant development, however, has been AI-powered subject-detection autofocus. This is a remarkable focusing system by which the camera is capable of recognising specific types of subjects such as humans, animals and vehicles, and can then lock onto and track them throughout the frame.

When buying a new full frame mirrorless camera, there are a few key specs to pay attention to:

Sensor resolution: The more pixels a sensor has, the more detail you get in your images.  This is great for printing, enabling you to produce fantastic images full of rich detail. However, high-resolution files take up a lot of storage space, necessitating expensive hard drives or cloud subscriptions, and also require powerful processors, which means a slower, pricier camera.

Image stabilisation: IBIS (which stands for in-body image stabilisation) is a key feature to help you produce shake-free shots. Most modern mirrorless cameras now include this technology; it will often be referred to as ‘5-axis in-camera image stabilisation’ or something similar.

ISO range: A camera’s ISO range determines how high you can turn up the sensitivity of its sensor. The higher the top number in a camera’s ISO range, the better it can perform in low light. Be warned though, just because a camera can shoot at ISO 102,400, that doesn’t mean you’ll get useable results at that setting, as high ISO settings incur a lot of image noise.

LCD screen and viewfinder: Mirrorless cameras don’t have optical viewfinders like DSLRs, so they have to either make do with electronic ones, or forgo them entirely. All the cameras on this list have electronic viewfinders (EVFs), but some are larger and more detailed than others.

Burst mode: The faster the burst mode (expressed in frames per second or fps) on a camera, the better it will be at keeping up with fast action. You’ll also want to pay attention to the buffer depth, which is the number of consecutive images the camera can shoot before the processor needs to cool off.

Video: If video is a high priority on your list then you’ll want to find a camera that supports 4K video resolution or higher. 4K is plenty big enough to produce high end video footage, however some of the cameras in our line up support 8K resolution. For most, 8K video is excessively big, so 4K should be more than enough.

Lenses: Finally, think about lenses. Each manufacturer’s system is different. If you are switching from a DSLR system and want to keep some or all your old lenses you’ll need to purchase a compatible adapter mount to ensure they fit. Canon and Nikon offer full-functionality mount adapters that allow you to use DSLR lenses on their mirrorless cameras and still enjoy the benefits of autofocus and stabilisation.

Text by Claire Gillo, with contributions from Jon Stapley.

For more options, have a look at our latest mirrorless camera reviews, and our latest buying guides, including our guide to the best professional cameras.

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