Digital Camera Types

Mirrorless best interchangeable lens cameras

Written by Gail Bjork

These small, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras have large sensors and provide the image quality and low light performance of a DSLR.

Like Micro Four Thirds cameras, the cameras featured here are mirrorless and take interchangeable lenses. However, many have sensors the same size as those found in digital single lens reflex cameras and are 50% larger than M43 sensors. They offer DSLR image quality and high ISO performance despite the fact that their bodies are not much larger than most compacts.

A new breed of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras has recently emerged. They have much smaller sensors than other cameras in this class. They will appeal to point-and-shooters who want the ease-of-use plus a bit better image quality than most compacts.

Sony NEX-5N

All the performance of a DSLR in about half the size and half the weight. Features include: 16.1 megapixel APS-C sized sensor, up to 10 fps shooting, AVCHD™ 1080/60p or 24p HD movies, APS-C size HD image sensor, Sweep Panorama mode, Auto HDR, Live View, Tiltable 3.0″ LCD (touch-sensitive, 921,600 dots), E-mount 18-55mm lens. It is ultra-responsive, with very fast release time lag and quick, responsive autofocus. Unlike the Sony NEX-7, the NEX-5n has few external buttons and controls.

  • Dimensions: Approx. 4-3/8 × 2-3/8 × 1-9/16″ (110.8 x 58.8 x 38.2mm) excluding protrusions
  • Weight: Approx. 9.5 oz (269g) with battery & memory card

Sony NEX-7

Model Features: 24.3MP, up to 10 fps shooting, AVCHD™ 1080/60p/60i/24p HD movies, APS-C size HD image sensor, Sweep Panorama, Auto HDR, built-in TTL electronic viewfinder, hot shoe E-mount 18-55mm lens. It has a tilting 3” LCD (921,600 dots) and enough buttons and controls to delight photo enthusiasts and professional photographers, including Tri-Navi control that provide three separate control dials for direct, hands-on access to three settings at a time.

  • Dimensions: Approx. 4-3/4 × 2-3/4 × 1-11/16″ (119.9 x 66.9 x 42.8mm) excluding protrusions
  • Weight: Approx. 10.3 oz (291g) excluding battery & memory card

Nikon J1

The Nikon J1 is a highly compact and portable interchangeable lens camera. Its compact size is due, in part, to having a smaller sensor* than most other mirrorless cameras. It has a responsive autofocus system and super fast shooting speed. The camera can snap photos while recording HD movies. Nikon offers compact, lightweight 1 Nikkor lenses that are compatible with the J1. The camera (and lenses) are available in black, white, red and pink.

  • 10 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Sensor Size: 13.2mm x 8.8mm
  • ISO: 100-3200; 6400
  • Top Continuous shooting speed at full resolution: 5 fps; 10, 30 or 60 fps using Electronic (Hi) shutter
  • Approx. weight: 8.3oz. (234g) camera body only

See also: Nikon V1

* The Nikon 1 sensor is four times larger than those found in most compacts and 2 1/2 times larger than the 1/1.7″ sensors used in many high-end compacts.

 

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.