Taking a look back at our picks for the best mirrorless cameras released in 2020.
The age of the DSLR has long been dead... long live the new era of digital mirrorless cameras! And despite industry-wide shutdowns and other setbacks, make no mistakes—this has been a great year for mirrorless video cameras.
We’ve seen some major new releases to legacy mirrorless camera lines with the Sony a7S series. After some initial misfires, we’ve seen some great strides from DSLR to mirrorless from Canon. And we’ve seen some up-and-coming camera brands in this space like Panasonic once again releasing some highly competitive options. All of which makes this an absolutely great time to buy, as we are truly in the golden age of digital mirrorless camera technology.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our three favorite mirrorless cameras released in 2020.
- 12MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- UHD 4K 120p Video
- 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal
- 16-Bit Raw Output
- HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
- 759-Point Fast Hybrid AF
- 5-Axis SteadyShot Image Stabilization
- Dual CFexpress Type A/SD Card Slots
Known for its sharpness and brilliant image quality, the Sony a7S II has been one of the most popular cameras in Sony’s mirrorless arsenal for years. And fittingly, rumors of the a7S III have long been debated as to just how much of an improvement could Sony muster—without losing all the greatness of the a7S II’s best traits.
Well, it’s 2020, and we have to say that the a7S III is pretty much everything it promised plus more. With 4K video up to 120 fps and 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, the a7S III is simply one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market—at any price point.
The a7S III further proves that Sony is really in touch with the modern, run-and-gun videographer as it features plenty of punch for all manner of filmmaking and video production. It also boasts some much-requested improvements like HLG for HDR production (with its signature S-LOG gamma profiles) along with updates to fix the rolling shutter issues of the previous model.
- 45MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- DIGIC X Image Processor
- 8K30 Raw Recording
- 4K120 10-Bit Internal Video
- Sensor-Shift 5-Axis Image Stabilization
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1053 Points
- CFexpress & SD UHS-II Memory Card Slots
While Sony may have reaffirmed itself as one of the most reliable mirrorless camera brands in the world, Canon has gone the other route and has swung for the fences with its hugely ambitious Canon R line installment—the Canon R5. And while for some it might seem like just yesterday the original Canon R was a cause for concern for film and video professionals, the R5 has proven that—at the very least—Canon is willing to listen to feedback and looking to make videographers happy.
The Canon R5 is audacious, to say the least, with its 8K RAW (along with almost just as impressive 4K at up to 120fps) capabilities. You’d think with those specs you’d be paying much more for a top-of-the-line cinema camera, not a consumer-minded mirrorless at its price point.
As such, if you’re really looking to chase the latest pixel counts and push the vast reaches of what your video editing workflows can handle, this is a great camera that can put you at the front of the pack with your competition and friends for at least a couple of years to come.
As a quick note, you can also always consider the less flashy, but perhaps more reliable sister camera to the R5 with the Canon R6 at a slightly more affordable price point, but without the 8K.
- 24.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- UHD 4K60 Video
- 10-Bit Internal Recording
- V-Log, HDR, and Dual Native ISO
- Contrast-Detect 225-Area DFD AF System
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
- 96MP High-Res Mode, Dual SD Card Slots
It’s hard to call the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 a “dark horse” candidate for our 2020 mirrorless camera of the year list, as Panasonic is such a world-famous and highly regarded brand. However, even in the film/video communities' admiration of their Lumix GH4, GH5, and GH5s cameras, it feels like the S5 was released to less fanfare than its Sony and Canon counterparts.
But make no mistake, the S5 is a great video camera that fully deserves your consideration if you’re in the market for a new mirrorless this season. And while it doesn’t have “8K capabilities” it does have Panasonic’s great color science and should be just as sturdy, accessible, and powerful as its competition. Plus, with its recently announced firmware updates, the S5 can now record 4K DCI as well as push up to 5.9K when combined with the Atomos Ninja V.
You’d be hard-pressed to find many situations where the S5 wouldn’t be more than acceptable for any regular video production needs. As a mirrorless camera that won’t break the bank, it’s a great camera to invest in to have on you either as an A-cam for any online video production or as a reliable B-cam to your main cinema camera to fill in for everything from commercial spots to indie features.
What do you think of our list? Let us know in the comments.