In this guide, we’ve picked the best small mirrorless cameras you can buy. One of the main advantages of mirrorless is that the cameras can be smaller than DSLRs – not that you’d always know from looking at them. Some mirrorless cameras, particularly at the high end, have got decidedly big and bulky. So if you’re looking for something small, a camera that can slip in a small bag or pocket and be used one-handed, you’re in the right place.

At AP, we have a lot of experience testing and using cameras out in the real world. We’ve drawn on the extensive first-hand knowledge of our review team to put together this guide. The mirrorless cameras here are not only ideal for carrying around on your travels without breaking either your back or the bank – they also deliver great stills and video quality, too.

For more affordable options, check out our guides to the best cheap full-frame cameras, as well as the best cameras under £500 / $500. And, if you’re looking for a small camera because you’re interested in vlogging, take a look at our guide to the best cameras for vlogging and how to get started. But for now, let’s take a look at what to consider when choosing a lightweight mirrorless camera.

How to choose the best small mirrorless camera

Small cameras, by definition, are not going to have everything. Manufacturers have to make some compromises on lightweight bodies, so it’s worth thinking about what you can live without. Sensor size is a big factor – the smallest mirrorless cameras will have the smallest sensors, particularly Micro Four Thirds. Bigger sensors do have advantages in terms of dynamic range and image quality; however, smaller ones give your lenses greater effective telephoto reach. For more on sensor size, have a look at our guide to APS-C, MFT and Full-Frame sensors.

Also, do you need a viewfinder? For manufacturers, this the first thing to go when they set about making a small mirrorless cameras. Some photographers simply can’t imagine life without one, but if you’re happy composing images on the LCD screen, it’s a great way to save some weight.

It’s also key to think about lens selection. The lens you fit to your camera will have a big impact on its weight and balance, not to mention image quality. Again, Micro Four Thirds is a system to think about here, as it offers a huge range of slim, pancake lenses that are perfect with small cameras.

Without further ado, let’s get into the best small mirrorless cameras you can buy…

Best small mirrorless cameras: Fujifilm X-T30 Mark II in hand, JW

Fujifilm X-T30 Mark II in hand, body only

Lightest Fujifilm: Fujifilm X-T30 Mark II

  • Launch price: £769 / $899 (body only)
  • Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X-Mount
  • ISO: 160-12,800 (80-51,200 extended)
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot
  • Display: 3in, 1.62M-dot two-way tilting LCD
  • Dimensions: 118.4×82.8×46.8mm 
  • Weight: 378g (with battery and memory card)

The Fujifilm X-T30 Mark II is basically a smaller, lighter and more affordable alternative to the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-T4 as it features the same 26.1MP 4th generation X-Trans CMOS sensor and processor. There are also 2.16M phase detection pixels covering 100% of the frame and up to 425 user-selectable AF points.

Shutter speed and exposure compensation dials help give the X-T30 II old-school looks and handling designed to appeal to traditionalists who will love the Fujifilm’s range of X-Mount lenses that feature an aperture ring.

Along with that traditional appearance, the X-T30 II has some great modern technology, including a responsive tilting touch-screen, fast autofocusing and an excellent 0.39-inch 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder.

Although it’s not weather-sealed, its magnesium alloy construction gives the X-T30 II a solid feel and its handling is generally very good aside from the location of the Q button which means it’s a bit too easy to accidentally activate the quick menu.

Fujifilm X-S10 in hand (Andy Westlake)

Fujifilm X-S10 in hand, Photo: Andy Westlake

Fujifilm X-S10

  • Launch price: £949 / $999 (body only)
  • Sensor: 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X-Mount
  • ISO: 160-12,800 (80-51,200 extended)
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot
  • Display: 3in, 1.04M-dot vari-angle LCD
  • Dimensions: 126.0 x 85.1 x 65.4mm 
  • Weight: 465g (with battery and memory card)

The Fujifilm X-S10 is the Fujifilm APS-C format camera for photographers who don’t want traditional exposure controls. It has much of the same technology as the X-T30 (and X-T3 and X-T4) including the 26.1Mp X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X Processor 4, but there’s an exposure mode dial instead of the shutter speed dial and the aperture can be adjusted either via a lens ring or a command dial on the camera body.

In a step up from the X-T30, the X-S10 has a vari-angle touchscreen and a very effective in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system that enables up to 6 stops shutter speed compensation.

As an X-series camera, the X-S10 benefits from Fujifilm’s superb colour science and there’s an extensive collection of Film Simulation modes that can be used to give JPEGs and videos colours, tones and contrast to suit the subject, shooting conditions and photographer’s preference.

As we’d expect from Fujifilm, video can be recorded at up 4K resolution at 30fps with no additional crop while Full HD video can be recorded at up to 240fps.

Best small mirrorless cameras: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV (Andy Westlake)

The compact Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV in hand, Photo: Andy Westlake

Lightest Olympus: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

  • Launch price: £699 / $699 (body only)
  • Sensor: 20.3MP Four Thirds Type Live MOS
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • ISO: 80-25,60
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot
  • Display: 3in, 1.04M-dot two-way tilting LCD
  • Dimensions: 121.7 x 84.4 x 49mm 
  • Weight: 383g (with battery and memory card)

As a Micro Four Thirds camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has a smaller than APS-C format sensor, which gives it an advantage for size and weight. Indeed, with the Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ lens mounted, it could easily pass for a compact camera.

The sensor size brings a 2x focal length multiplication factor making the 14-42mm lens produce framing like a 28-84mm lens on a full-frame camera. That’s a nice everyday option.

In a key difference from the Olympus E-M5 Mark III above it in the Olympus line-up, the E-M10 Mark IV doesn’t have phase detection autofocusing and relies on contrast detection alone. This is pretty dependable for still and slow-moving subjects, but it’s not ideal for sport and action photography.

Despite its entry-level status, the E-M10 IV has Olympus’s excellent Live Time and Live Composite modes, which take the sweat out of long exposure images, with Live Composite mode being especially useful for light painting, traffic trail and firework images.

There’s also a very good image stabilisation system, a long list of Art Filters, which are of use for stills and video, and a screen that can flip through 180° to be visible from in front of the camera.

OM System OM-5 with 12-45mm F4 PRO lens, Photo: Jeremy Waller

OM System OM-5 in use with 12-45mm F4 PRO lens, Photo: Jeremy Waller

Smallest weather-sealed mirrorless: OM System OM-5

  • Launch price: £1199 / $1199 (body only)
  • Sensor: 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • ISO: 64-25,60
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot
  • Display: 3in, 1.04M-dot vari-angle LCD
  • Dimensions: 125.3 x 85.2 x 49.7mm 
  • Weight: 414g (with battery and memory card)

The OM System OM-5 isn’t much heavier than the E-M10 IV shown above, yet offers a weather-sealed camera body and, when combined with a weather-sealed Micro Four Thirds lens, offers a completely weather-sealed camera system, thanks to an IP53 rating. This makes it a great choice for anyone planning on going out in less than ideal weather conditions.

The camera is full of advanced photo features as well, including LiveND (for slow shutter speed shots of water etc), a high-res multi-shot mode (for up to 80MP images), and other features that you rarely get on cameras from other brands, including Starry Sky AF. In our full OM-5 review we found the camera performed admirably, and gave excellent colour reproduction.

For video recording, there is a microphone socket, as well as unlimited video recording at resolutions up to CINE 4K. The camera also benefits from one of the best image stabilisation systems available, thanks to a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). If you’re looking for a particularly compact camera, then the Olympus/OM System F4 PRO lenses are particularly compact, as the 12-45mm F4 PRO (shown above) demonstrates.

Lightest mirrorless cameras: Panasonic Lumix GX880

The Panasonic Lumix GX880 is Panasonic’s tiniest mirrorless camera.

Panasonic’s best small mirrorless camera: Panasonic Lumix GX880

  • £349 body-only
  • Sensor: 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds MOS
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • ISO sensitivity: 200-25,600
  • Screen: 3-inch 1.04M-dot tilting touchscreen
  • No viewfinder
  • Dimensions: 106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm
  • Weight: 270g (with battery and memory card)

This pocket wonder really has to be seen to be believed. Somehow, Panasonic has created a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that weighs just 270g body-only. This is probably the smallest and lightest mirrorless camera you can buy right now (the previous Gx850 was a couple of grams lighter, but not enough to make a noticeable difference), and it acquits itself well in use, too.

The Lumix GX880 is built around a 16MP MOS sensor, which is more than enough resolution for most purposes. It’s got Face and Eye Detect autofocus, which is hugely handy for street photography – one of the best uses for this tiny, unobtrusive camera. Like all contemporary Panasonic Lumix cameras, the GX880 shoots 4K video, and can make use of Panasonic’s clever 4K Photo modes. These include the ability to extract high-res stills from 4K footage – effectively giving you a 30fps burst rate. There’s also 4K Post-focus mode in which the camera shoots a series of images at different focus distances. You can then select where you want the focus to be with a tap on the screen post-capture.

If size and weight are your priority when picking a camera, Micro Four Thirds is a very sensible system to buy into. There are absolutely loads of slim, high-quality lenses available from Olympus and Panasonic. Plus, the 2x crop factor of the smaller sensor effectively doubles the focal length of your lenses meaning a 50mm behaves like a 100mm. Telephoto reach, without the bulk!

The Panasonic Lumix G100 really is small in hand

The Panasonic Lumix G100 in hand. Photo credit: Richard Sibley

Best small mirrorless camera for vlogging: Panasonic Lumix G100

  • £569 / $647 with 12-32mm lens
  • Sensor: 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • ISO sensitivity: 100-25,600 (extended)
  • Screen: 3inch 1.84M-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: 3.68M-dot 0.73x magnification electronic viewfinder
  • Video: 4K video recording
  • Dimensions: 115.6 x 82.5 x 54.2mm
  • Weight: 345g (with battery and memory card)

Designed for vlogging and video recording, the Panasonic Lumix G100 is a compact, neat little camera, that also represents excellent value for money, particularly body only if you have a lens available. This camera is particularly lightweight, but features a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, as well as a high-resolution 3inch vari-angle touchscreen.

The Micro Four Thirds camera features a 20MP image sensor, and gives good image quality, with great looking stills images. As part of the Micro Four Thirds system, there are a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses to choose from, including budget options, as well as premium optics.

The camera records 4K video, and the screen can be turned forwards to use as a selfie screen for vlogging, although the crop is worth noting, particularly if video is your main focus.

The battery life is a little on the short side as well, so packing a spare charger, or a portable power bank is definitely recommended, although this could be said for some of the other mirrorless cameras here also.

Best small mirrorless cameras: Nikon Z30 in hand

The Nikon Z30 is the smallest and lightest in the Z range.

Lightest Nikon mirrorless camera: Nikon Z 30

  • Launch price: £699 / $705 (body only)
  • Sensor: 20.9MP APS-C CMOS
  • Lens mount: Nikon Z
  • ISO sensitivity: 100-51,200
  • Video resolution: 4K at 30fps and Full HD at 120fps
  • No viewfinder
  • Display: 3–inch 1.04M-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 128 x 73.5 x 59.5mm
  • Weight: 405g (with battery and memory card)

Nikon’s Z series now boasts three cameras with APS-C sensors, in addition to the full-frame flagship line-up. The Nikon Z30 is the smallest and lightest of the lot, weighing in at a slender 405g, and it’s also the cheapest at launch. While it’s comprehensively equipped for both stills and video, the Nikon Z30 has clearly been designed with vloggers in mind – it shoots uncropped 4K video, and it has a fully articulating screen that can be set to pretty much any angle.

The video focus doesn’t mean it skimps on stills. Having an ISO sensitivity range of 100-51,200 gives you real flexibility in low-light situations, especially given how good the performance is up to 6400, as we found out in our testing. The only thing that stills photographers are likely to take exception to is the very thing that has allowed Nikon to keep the cost and weight of the camera down – the lack of a viewfinder. This makes total sense on a vlogging camera, but if it’s a deal-breaker, then try one of the other Nikon Z APS-C cameras like the Z 50 or the Z fc. Just be aware they’re a little heavier.

Canon EOS R10

The EOS R10 is small, but handles nicely.

Canon’s best small mirrorless camera: Canon EOS R10

  • Launch price: £900 / $979 (body only)
  • Sensor: 24.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS sensor
  • Lens mount: Canon RF (APS-C)
  • ISO: 100-32,000, expandable to 51,200
  • Video resolution: 4K 30p, 4K 60p with crop, Full HD 120p
  • Viewfinder: 2.36M-dot EVF
  • Display: Vari-angle 3-inch, 1.04M-dot LCD
  • Focusing: Dual Pixel CMOS with up to 4,503 AF points
  • Dimensions: 122.5 x 87.8 x 83.4mm
  • Weight: 429g (including battery and memory card)

Canon arguably sounded the death knell for its APS-C EOS M cameras when it introduced the crop-sensor EOS R7 and EOS R10. This is the smaller of the pair, comparable in size and weight to an EOS M camera, and bursting with plenty more features.

With sophisticated autofocus, impressive shooting speed and DSLR-style handling, the EOS R10 is a comprehensive photographic package. As we found in our full test and review of the camera, the subject-detection autofocus is particularly impressive, making the camera a real contender for sports and action shooting on a budget. The viewfinder is perhaps a little small in use, but some some cutbacks are going to be necessary in making a fully featured camera as small as this.

The lens range for APS-C RF cameras is pretty restricted currently – though, unlike the EF-M range, it’s likely to expand in the future. For the moment, as we said in our review of the EOS R10, the Fujifilm X-S10 is probably a better buy simply for its greater lens options. However, this is something we can expect to shift as the EOS R series matures.

Best small mirrorless cameras: Canon EOS M6 Mark II with lens and optional EVF

Canon EOS M6 Mark II with lens and optional EVF

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

  • Launch price: £869.99 / $849 (body only)
  • Sensor: 32.5MP Dual Pixel CMOS sensor
  • Lens mount: EF-M
  • ISO: 100-25,600 expandable to ISO 51,200
  • Video resolution: 4K
  • Viewfinder: optional external viewfinder EVF-DC2
  • Display: Tiltable 3-inch, 1.04M-dot LCD
  • Focusing: Up to 143 phase-detection AF points
  • Dimensions: 119.6 x 70.0 x 49.2mm 
  • Weight: 408g (body only)

Canon used the same 32.5Mp APS-C format Dual Pixel CMOS sensor for the M6 Mark II as is in the Canon 90D DSLR. The chip is also paired with the Digic 8 processing engine to give a maximum shooting rate of 14fps that can be maintained for up to 23 raw files or 54 JPEGs with continuous focusing.

Combine that fast-shooting capability with the M6 II’s excellent 143-point phase detection AF system, which copes extremely well with low light, and you have a versatile mirrorless camera.

Unlike the M50 and M50 II, which have a vari-angle screen, the M6 II has a screen that can only be tilted up or down. However, there’s no additional crop applied to 4K video which means that movies have the same angle of view as stills.

Canon decided to make a viewfinder optional with the M6 II. That means that there isn’t one built in but it is compatible with Canon’s EVF-DFC2. This has a 0.39-inch 2.36-miliion dot display and connects via the camera’s hotshoe. It’s a worthwhile addition but it bumps up the cost and size of this superb little camera. Without the optional viewfinder, this is a very compact camera, and one of the lighter models.

Nb: With the release of Canon’s APS-C RF-mount cameras, the future of EOS M cameras is in doubt.

Further reading

What are the best mirrorless cameras you can buy?
Can’t find the Fujifilm X100V, here are 5 retro alternatives
Find your perfect camera and lens with our buying guides

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.