Mirrorless cameras are perfect for landscape photography.
They are smaller and lighter than DSLRs, and offer plenty of features that can really help you when you’re traveling and want to get as much resolution and sharpness as possible.
In this guide, we looked at all mirrorless cameras available today, and focused on their specifications as well as their body and design. This includes brands such as Sony, Olympus, Fujifilm and Panasonic.
Below you will find our 8 models that give you the most for your money. From affordable to more expensive cameras, the options you have are exciting.
8 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Landscape in 2018
- Sony A7R III
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
- Sony A9
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 III
- Sony A6500
- Fujifilm X-T2
- Fujifilm X-T20
- Panasonic G85
We discuss all of these cameras below, but first let’s go through what makes a camera good for photographing landscape and nature photography.
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What’s Important for Landscape Photography?
Megapixels – The higher the resolution, the more details will be visible when cropping or printing large. If your photographs will mostly be displayed online, you don’t have to worry too much as all cameras today have more than enough megapixels, but for extremely large prints, stick to 20MP+.
Low Light – If you like taking pictures early in the morning, or later at night, it helps having good low light performance since you’ll have to shoot with high ISO speeds. Full frame sensors generally display the least amount of noise, but this also depends on a specific model and how many megapixels it has. In most cases, a 24MP full frame sensor should show noticeably less noise than a 24MP micro four thirds sensor, simply because of individual pixel size.
Image Stabilization – Nowadays, plenty of mirrorless cameras have built-in stabilization. This is a dream come true for landscape photographers since you have to rely less on using a tripod, or raising your shutter speed/ISO in conditions that aren’t always good. Nothing beats a good tripod, but this is a tremendous help for when you’re shooting on the go. Most cameras today can help between 4 to 5 stops.
Body Size – It’s not always an easy task carrying around a ton of equipment when hiking or traveling. Mirrorless cameras are generally speaking, lighter and more compact than DSLRs, which is a big plus if your goal is to travel as light as possible. This also depends on the lenses you carry, but for many landscape shooters, this is a very important factor.
Battery Life – DSLRs have much better battery life than mirrorless cameras, since there’s less stuff to power. Most mirrorless models state their battery life is around ~350 shots (in real use, it’s usually 2x longer, but it’s the same with DSLRs) which can be an issue if your goal is to travel for days with no access to electricity. We highly suggest you to buy a few extra batteries, regardless of which model you buy.
LCD Screen – Having an articulating screen can help a lot, especially if you’re using a tripod. A touchscreen LCD is also nice, but not a requirement. The advantage of an LCD is that it allows you get a larger preview of your scene, as well as focus peaking; seeing what’s in focus before taking a picture. This depends on your work style and how much time you have, but these are all great advantages.
Sensor Size – Mirrorless cameras have 3 different sensor sizes. The first, biggest, are Full Frame sensors. Second are APS-C, while the smallest ones are called Micro Four Thirds. While you don’t have to worry too much about this, it helps knowing that there’s this thing called crop factor. If you put a 16mm lens on a full frame (FF) camera, the field of view stays the same. If you put that same 16mm lens on an APS-C camera that has a 1.5x crop factor, it now suddenly appears much longer; it’s identical to a 24mm lens on a FF camera (16mm x 1.5 = 150mm). Micro Four Thirds sensors are even smaller, and therefore have a 2x crop factor (so that’s 32mm), literally doubling your focal length equivalent. Nothing happens to your camera or lens, it’s simply due to the difference in sensor size.
Lenses – Because of the sensor size differences, your lens selection depends on your camera. If you buy a 16mm wide lens and it put on an APS-C camera, your field of view is suddenly not as wide as before. To counter this, many companies make lenses specifically for each mount, so your lens is still really wide even with the crop factor in mind. If you have a FF camera, you don’t have to worry about this. If you have an APS-C camera and want something super wide, make sure your lens is at least 20mm at its widest. For MFT shooters, make sure it’s at least 14mm, since that 2x crop factor “turns” the lens into a 28mm lens. Anything under 35mm is considered wide angle.
1. Sony A7R III
The Sony A7R III is a camera that delivers in every department.
First, it’s got a monster 42.2MP sensor, just like its predecessor. However, the A7R III has an improved image processor, which makes this 42 megapixel sensor perform better in low light (maximum ISO of 102,400). With such a high resolution, the entire Sony A7R line continues to be a perfect choice for landscape, studio, commercial and portrait photography.
Second, the A7R III can shoot 10 frames per second. That’s blazing fast, especially for a camera with so many megapixels. Many other models can’t come close, even with less pixels, although this is a benefit of the mirrorless technology. Because of the 10 frames per second, you can use it for sports, action and wildlife, and expect a lot of different shots to choose from.
These 2 improvements alone would be worth the higher price tag, but there are a lot more features to the camera. It’s got 425 vs 399 contrast AF points and focuses a lot faster, especially in low light. The built-in 5-axis image stabilization has been improved and now helps up to 5.5 stops, instead of 4.5. As you can see, the A7R II is great, but the new model is even better.
If you want to record videos, you’ll be happy to know that the A7R III can comfortably record 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps. Because of the new image processor, videos shot at higher ISO should look better now. One excellent addition is the touch screen capability that allows you to focus/operate the camera simply by pressing anywhere on the screen. This is slowly becoming a standard for all cameras, regardless of their price.
For transferring images, the Sony A7R III finally has a USB 3.0 port. When a camera has 42MP, the files it creates are huge, so you’ll really want fast transferring in this case. Speaking about files, it now features 2 x SD memory card slots (one supports UHS-II speeds). To top it of, you’ve also got an AF joystick on the back of the camera so you can choose your focus point/group quicker, while the battery lasts up to 650 shots compared to 390.
To sum up, the A7R III is not the cheapest camera, but if you’re looking for the absolute best in almost every department, you will love it, especially if high megapixel count is important.
Why is it good for landscape?
42 megapixels. That’s mind blowing. If you decide to crop like a mad man or print huge, you will still get beautiful images with plenty of resolution so no one will even know it’s not the original shot. Sometimes, a wide angle lens can be too wide, and you’d like to “zoom” closer to the scene. Having this many pixels is the way to do it without buying a new lens.
Then there’s the built-in stabilization up to 5.5 stops (1 better than A9), 4K video recording, 2 x SD card slots, USB 3.0 port for quickly transferring those big files, and a 650 shots battery life. If you think the A9 is too expensive and don’t want 20fps, but can live with 10fps, save some money and get this camera instead.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is the most advanced Olympus up to date. Unlike Fuji and Sony, Olympus uses Micro Four Third (MFT) sensors in their mirrorless cameras. Instead of a 1.5x crop factor, it’s 2x, so any lens you mount has a field of view that’s twice as long as if you would mount it on a full frame camera.
Is that a big deal? No, because there are a lot of ultra wide angle lenses for MFT to compensate for that, and you’ll actually appreciate the longer crop factor when shooting wildlife and sports.
Onto the E-M1 II. The camera has a new 20.4MP sensor and weighs a mere 20.2 oz (574g) with the battery. A big reason for the small weight and size is because of the smaller sensor. The E-M1 II is weather-sealed and up to standards of any nature photographer, so no need to hide when it starts, snowing or when the temperature drops.
What we really love about Olympus is their in-camera image stabilization (up to 5.5 stops). It makes the E-M1 II a much better choice for shooting on the go compared to cameras without it, simply because you don’t need to carry a tripod or raise the ISO when shooting in low light situations. Naturally a tripod is always the best choice for sharp results, but the built-in IS is something we all want in a camera. It works very well for video too, otherwise your footage may look shaky if you don’t have any support.
Speaking about video, it offers DCI 4K at 24p, a headphone and microphone jacks and of course the built-in 5-axis stabilization. Unfortunately Full HD video looks soft, so if you’re going to record, do it in UHD 4K for maximum sharpness.
The ISO range goes from 100 to 25,600 but can expend down to 64. Image quality at 6,400 is still quite good, and the shots look usable. Go over and you’ll see the limitations of a small sensor for noise performance, so stick to levels below that. For sports photography, it manages to shoot an impressive 18fps with a JPEG buffer of 118 shots (102 for RAW). It’s faster than others on this list because it has a smaller sensor.
It has a better LCD screen than the X-T2 above. Same size at 3.0″ , but it offers touch-screen control and can fully tilt and swivel, making it easier to shoot in difficult positions (subjects way below or above you). Battery life is also impressive with 440 shots. Not only that, the battery recharges 50% faster than the previous model.
Why is it good for landscape?
The 20MP sensor has plenty of resolution, built-in stabilization helps a lot and the auto focus performance is usable for stills and action.
Its body is weather-sealed (including freeze-proof). You’ll really appreciate this when shooting in the rain, snow, desert or any similar difficult weather situation.
The biggest drawback we can think of is its small sensor, but with so many lenses and landscape photographers using the Olympus system, you’re well taken care of. There are plenty of good options, including Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, 7-14mm f/2.8 and many more.
3. Sony A9
The Sony A9 is one of the most exciting cameras on the market right now, for a very good reason. It’s very similar to the A7R III in the sense that it can do it all.
The A9 has a 24.2 megapixel full frame sensor with ISO up to 204,800. Because of the lower resolution, the A9 shows less noise at high ISO compared to the A7R III.
It can shoot 20 frames per second! That’s crazy fast, which is why this Sony is ideal for wildlife, sports and any other type of action. To top it of, the A9’s fastest shutter speed is 1/32000. All this speed wouldn’t matter if the buffer would be small, but it’s the opposite. You can take up to 362 JPEGs or 241 RAW files before the buffer empties, so make sure to get a really good memory card.
One other feature where the A9 is unique is its auto focusing system. There are 693 phase-detection AF points and they cover 93% of the viewfinder, meaning you expect accuracy in center and corners.
The rest is very similar to the A7R III. There are 2 SD memory card slots, an AF joystick for focus point selection, 4K video recording, an articulating 3.2″ LCD touch screen, big battery life up to 650 shots and environmental sealing.
The Sony A9 is an amazing camera if you’re looking for the best combination of speed, pixels, quality and video features. It’s best suited for photographing any type of movement, but you can also use it for portraits, weddings, landscape and so on. It’s not the cheapest out there, so it depends on how serious you are about photography.
Why is it good for landscape?
The A9 is the most expensive camera on our list, but it’s packed with all sorts of goodies.
A 24MP full frame sensor delivers rich colors, dynamic range and sharpness. ISO performance is very usable even after 6,400, and the 3.2″ touch screen articulating LCD will help you when setting up your camera on the tripod. Like the A7 II line, the A9 features built-in 5-axis image stabilization for video and photos. While AF speed and accuracy aren’t a priority for landscape, you’ve also got 693 AF points “just in case”.
With a battery life of ~650 shots, it lasts almost twice as long as other mirrorless cameras today. This is extremely useful for landscape shooters, since you don’t have always have access to electricity and want to spend as little as possible changing the batteries out in the nature. On top of that, there are 2 x SD memory cards with one supporting UHS-II speeds.
If you have the money and want a compact, full frame camera with everything you need, you will love the A9.
4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 III
If you are looking for a small, compact and cheap camera that has plenty of exciting features, the Olympus E-M10 III is our top pick.
It’s the cheapest Olympus OM-D mirrorless model, but this little camera can record 4K videos at 30fps or even HD at 120fps.
Inside, you will find a 16MP sensor, built-in image stabilization, an articulating touch screen LCD, 8.6 frames per second and 121 AF points (compared to 81 on the previous model).
You’re probably thinking you’re losing a lot of features since the Olympus OM-D E-10 III is so cheap. Is that true?
The only negative thing we could find is the same as with its predecessor; there’s no weather sealing. Not a deal breaker since many more expensive cameras don’t offer that either, but we had to point out something. If you’re serious about video recording, you should also know that there is still no external microphone port so you’ll have to spend more if professional audio quality is a must for you.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 III is a brilliant camera if you want to spend as little as possible, yet still receive all the latest features such as 4K videos, built-in stabilization, 8.6fps and great imaging sensor. It is extremely light and compact so it’s excellent for daily photography, traveling and also other types of photography; from sports, landscape, weddings and so on. Put it in your pocket and go!
Why is it good for landscape?
The Olympus E-M10 III is extremely light and compact, making it an ideal companion for hikes and traveling. Sometimes carrying too much gear results in you not even using the camera, so if you think that describes you, do consider a small camera system.
The 16MP sensor is nothing to boast about resolution, but it’s a good choice for any type of photography. Yes, you can still print big and crop, just not as much as with other cameras. Despite its cheap price tag, the Olympus still comes with built-in stabilization, articulating LCD touch screen and even 4K video recording! For around $500, you won’t find anything better.
5. Sony A6500
The announcement of the Sony A6500 was quite a surprise. We expected the camera of course, but not so soon as it came out only a few months after the A6300 was released.
It uses the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor so image quality, colors, dynamic range and noise are all identical. The amazing 425 phase-detection AF point system is still as fast as ever.
The 3 biggest improvements are:
- 5-Axis Built-in Image Stabilization
- Touch-Screen LCD
- Bigger JPEG and RAW Buffer
The built-in stabilization is a huge huge advantage, especially if you own lenses that don’t have any. If you use a lens that does have OS then the two work together. For video, telephoto and low light situations, anything that can compensate for your movement is a welcome addition. 5 stops is a difference between shooting at 1/8 instead of 1/250, while still getting a crisp shot. It depends on each situation of course, and it does not freeze a moving subject, only a fast shutter speed does that.
Having a touch-screen LCD monitor (same size and resolution) makes the process of selecting the focus point quicker and easier, especially when recording videos.
Both cameras shoot at 11.1 frames per second, but the Sony A6500’s buffer is bigger. In JPEG mode, you can now take up to 231 instead of 44 shots, and 110 instead of 22 RAW files. All of this thanks to a new LSI chip (it basically handles most operations of the camera). The shutter lag time has also been slightly reduced and the camera turns on 0.1s quicker.
It can record 4K videos at 30/25/24p and even 120fps in Full HD, perfect for slow motion clips. If you’re interested in video capabilities of the new A6500, check out the NoFilmSchool preview. Unfortunately it seems like recording 4K videos for too long still sometimes results in overheating.
We really like the A6500, even though there aren’t many new features added. The ones that are new though, such as 5-axis IS and touch-screen, are super helpful and will result in less blurry photos and videos. It does cost $400 more but it’s worth it.
Why is it good for landscape?
If you want a Sony camera but find the two full frame models too big, the A6500 is your best choice. It’s one of the most compact cameras on the market, even smaller than the Olympus below!
24MP sensor, built-in stabilization, touch screen articulating LCD, 4K videos and superb AF system with 425 AF points. There are quite a few E-mount lenses that are perfect for landscape photography, and an even bigger selection of FF E-mount lenses (bigger and heavier, but they fit and work normally).
6. Fujifilm X-T2
The Fujifilm X-T2 is our favorite mirrorless camera from Fuji.
Released in 2016 and replacing the famous X-T1, it sure does bring a lot of exciting improvements. While the X-T1 is still an awesome camera with great quality, the newer model is faster at pretty much everything.
First, the resolution got a big increase, from 16 to 24MP. If you mostly share your photographs online, then the extra 8MP won’t really make a big difference. However, for cropping, printing large and still retaining plenty of details, extra 8 million pixels is a ton more information. Again, this is subjective and depends on where your photographs are displayed.
Image quality is absolutely fantastic. Colors and contrast look wonderful and you’ll love shooting in JPEG. Dynamic range is also really impressive for an APS-C camera, so hats off to Fuji. Pair the camera with any of the great Fuji’s X lenses and you’ve got a great combination for just about anything, from portraits, events, to street and sports photography.
Sports? Yes, if the X-T1’s AF performance was not that good to you, the new X-T2 definitely delivers. It boasts a 325 AF point system, with 169 of those phase-detection for improved speed. The body even has an AF point selection joystick to focus on the point you want quicker (similar to more advanced DSLRs). Simply put, the old X-T1’s priority was still images (based on the AF speed). Now, you’ve got that + action photography covered.
The Fujifilm X-T2 has also been improved for video use; it records 4K videos at 24p, has a microphone jack and allows you to choose the F-log profile. Auto focus accuracy and speed during recording are okay, but sometimes you’ll be better off doing it manually. Check out some beautiful X-T2 4K footage on Youtube.
For storing your files, you had 1 x SD slot on the X-T1. Now, you’ve got 2 x SD slots, and the first one supports UHS-II for faster writing and reading with the latest memory cards. Should you decide to use the USB, it’s now USB 3.0 vs 2.0, something we miss seeing on many newer cameras. For sharing your shots, it’s got the same Wi-Fi functionality but no NFC.
With all the exciting new features that need quite a lot of processing power, the X-T2 still manages to shoot up to 350 shots before the battery empties. That’s only 10 less than on its predecessor. The body size and weight have also increased, but by nothing drastic (from 27.2 oz (771g) to 28.8 oz (817g)). The 3.0″ LCD screen offers the same resolution and no touchscreen, so no improvements here.
Why is it good for landscape?
Again, the 24MP sensor and image quality are top for all sorts of photography styles.
Unlike Olympus, Fuji uses APS-C sensors in their cameras so you can expect better high ISO performance. The X-T2 is weather sealed, has 2 x SD card slots with full UHS-II support. It’s very easy to operate and the whole system has a lot of good lenses.
There’s one feature missing that every single other non-Fuji cameras has, and that’s built-in stabilization. We find it very important, so this final buying decision is up to you. If the lens has IS built-in, that’s good, but it’s still something we can’t ignore when everyone else offers it. There’s also no touch screen LCD capability.
7. Fujifilm X-T20
If you like the Fujifilm X-T2 but want something similar, yet cheaper, take a look at the Fujifilm X-T20.
Same image sensor with 24 megapixels, 325 hybrid AF system, 8 frames per second and ISO up to 51,200.
The major differences are; the X-T20 is not weather sealed, has 1 stop slower fastest shutter speed (1/8000 vs 1/4000), a slightly smaller viewfinder, 1 SD memory card instead of 2 and no headphone port. Because of this, the Fujifilm X-T20, which is a great camera, costs a few hundred dollars less.
It does have a few “advantages” though; the LCD is now touchscreen, the camera weighs noticeably less and it also has a built-in flash. If you’re looking for the best image quality, both cameras deliver the same so you don’t have to worry about anything. Expect beautiful, colorful shots. As far as video goes, these two have the same features and record 4K at 30p.
The X-T20 is really a smaller and cheaper version of the X-T2. Great for any type of photography, whether it’s streets, sports or casual/traveling, the X-T20 is definitely worth the money.
Why is it good for landscape?
If you don’t need weather sealing or built-in stabilization, the X-T20 has your back. It’s just like the X-T2 on the inside, but cheaper since you lose a couple of features (but not sensor performance).
8. Panasonic G85
The Panasonic G85 is another great Panasonic camera capable of 4K recording, but in a smaller and cheaper package than the GH5.
Inside, we find the same 16.1MP sensor as in the GH4. You’ve got sensor-shift image stabilization that helps up to 5 stops, a touch screen enabled 3.0″ articulating LCD and environmental sealing. Seeing as the G85 costs less than $1000, this weather sealing addition is great if you’re looking for a camera to use in tougher conditions.
Seeing as this is a “cheaper” version of the GH5, what do you lose? Well, you’ve still got 4K video recording, just not with as many additional features. Most people who aren’t serious about videos won’t miss them, so as long as you’re looking to get good 4K footage straight out the camera, the Panasonic G85 is absolutely fine.
The number of focus points is much smaller, with 49 vs 225. It can shoot slightly slower, 9fps vs 12fps, but anything over 7 is excellent for wildlife and sports. Both of these advantages aren’t really “bad” or anything, it’s just that the GH5 offers that much more for the money. You won’t feel limited by them.
Panasonic G85 is perfect if you’re looking for an advanced mirrorless camera that doesn’t weigh too much, offers exciting features such as 4K videos, built-in stabilization, 9fps and touch screen, but doesn’t cost nearly as much as the GH5.
Why is it good for landscape?
This is another one of those “compact 4K cameras” we’ve been seeing lately. On the inside, the G85 resembles much of the previous GH4. A 16MP sensor, stabilization up to 5 stops, an articulating LCD screen and 4K video recording.
Why should you get it? If you prefer its size and weight and want to stick to Panasonic. It’s not one of the go-to landscape cameras you’ll mostly hear about, but it does offer plenty for the price.
Mirrorless Comparison Table
|Sony A7R III||42.4||50-102,400||10fps||425||2017||Check here|
|Olympus E-M1 II||20.2||64-25,600||60fps||121||2016||Check here|
|Sony A9||24.2||50-204,800||20fps||693||2017||Check here|
|Olympus E-M10 III||16.1||100-25,600||8.6fps||121||2017||Check here|
|Sony A6500||24.4||100-51,200||11fps||425||2016||Check here|
|Fujifilm X-T2||24.3||100-51,200||8.2fps||325||2016||Check here|
|Fujifilm X-T20||24.3||100-51,200||8.2fps||325||2017||Check here|
|Panasonic G85||16.0||100-25,600||9.4fps||49||2016||Check here|