The Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Travel Cameras of 2016!

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After doing a lot of research on the best Mirrorless Travel Cameras out there today, I picked out 3 of the main brands with their newest models, along with what lenses I would recommend for traveling light!

Olympus

Olympus is the flagship brand of the Micro Four Thirds(M4/3) format. For those that don’t know, M4/3 means that the sensor is larger than that of “point and shoot” cameras, but smaller than that of DSLR’s, therefore they were able to make the cameras AND lenses smaller, and lighter. Awesome for good quality images while traveling!

One thing that’s really great about the Olympus cameras, is that they all have In Body Stabilization. That means no matter lens you put on it, it will have some good anti shake to give you a few more stops without blurriness.

The newest cameras from the Olympus line that I would recommend are:

 

For Beginners:

Olympus PEN E-PL8

Highlights:

  • 16 Megapixels
  • Video: HD 1080
  • 3-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • In Camera RAW processing
  • Flip LCD Screen
  • WiFi

 

Also take a look at the slightly older model at a cheaper price, there are very little differences(mostly cosmetic) between it and the EPL8:

Olympus PEN E-PL7

Intermediate:

Olympus OM-D EM5 II

This one is more on the expensive side over the PEN’s above, but it does come with a lot more features. So if you can afford it, and want more controls, then I’d definitely try to go for this one. It is a bit larger than a pen as well as another thing to note.

Highlights:

  • 16 Megapixels, with a 40MP High res shot mode(Use with a tripod)
  • Video: HD 1080
  • 5-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • 10 Frames Per Second high speed shooting
  • In Camera RAW processing
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • Vari angle LCD Screen
  • WiFi

 

And as usual, there’s an older model that you can get for a good price:

Olympus OM-D E-M5

 

 

Advanced:

If you’re really looking to be a pro photographer and don’t care about a little extra size difference, and money is no object, then Olympus has it’s top model which will be available on December 12 to check out:

OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Highlights:

  • 20.4 Megapixels, with a 50MP High res mode
  • 60 Frames Per second high speed shooting
  • 121 Point Auto Focus
  • 5-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • 4K Video
  • In Camera RAW processing
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • Vari angle LCD Screen
  • WiFi

 

What Lenses to get for the Olympus?

When I travel, I don’t like to take more than 2 lenses with me, personally. I want to avoid switching lenses as much as possible(dust gets in, plus it’s just time consuming and you’ll often miss a shot if it’s spur of the moment).

So, for traveling, I recommend an all in one zoom. They aren’t the best quality, but they’ve got a good zoom range and will hopefully get the shot as you can zoom out for landscape or zoom in to catch that cute little animal passing by in the distance, all without having to change a lens!

 

Olympus 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II 

All in one Travel Zoom

 

For Low Light situations or indoors however, you’re going to need a “fast” lens. Which means it’s got a low number for the f-stop(or aperture). You’d be wanting something like an f1.8-2.8 lens-that means the lens aperture is bigger, allowing in more light, thus less noise too.

Olympus carries these:

Olympus 45mm F1.8

A great portrait lens!

Olympus 17mm F1.8

A good walk around, general lens.

 

 

Panasonic

Panasonic is the other camera brand using the M4/3 sensors. What’s cool is that lenses Panasonic makes can be used on an Olympus M4/3’s camera and vise-versa!

Panasonic’s mirrorless line comes in 2 main body types. One is a thinner body, with a little less features; the other, larger, more DSLR shaped which is sometimes preferable due to a better grip and feel while using it especially if you have larger hands.

Panasonic LUMIX GX85

Highlights:

  • 16 Megapixels
  • 49 Point Auto Focus
  • 6 Frames Per second Burst mode
  • 5-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • 4K Video
  • In Camera RAW processing
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • Tilting LCD Screen
  • WiFi

 

 

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85MK

Highlights:

  • 16 Megapixels
  • 49 Point Auto Focus
  • 5-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • 4K Video
  • 6 Frames Per second Burst mode
  • In Camera RAW processing
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • Vari angle LCD Screen
  • WiFi

 

 

Panasonic Lenses:

Panasonic 14-140mm, F3.5-5.6

Travel Zoom

Here’s Panasonic’s version of a travel zoom lens. A little less on the zoom range than Olympus’s that goes up to 150, but it also has it’s own built in O.I.S(Optical Image Stabilization). Plus remember, you can use Olympus lenses on a Panasonic Micro 4/3’s camera!

Panasonic 20mm F1.7

General Purpose Walk Around

Another small, light, compact lens that gives great low light quality, and lets you stick your camera in your pocket if you have a small profile body!

 

 

 

Sony

Sony’s Mirrorless cameras have a larger, APS-C sized sensor. Which is the same size sensor that’s in a lot of mid range DSLR’s. That means it should do a bit better in low light than the 4/3’s sensors.

 

Beginner:

Sony a5100

Highlights:

  • 24 Megapixels
  • 6 Frames Per second Burst mode
  • 179 Point Auto Focus
  • HD Video 1080p
  • 180 Tilting LCD Screen -great for selfies!
  • WiFi

 

Intermediate:

Sony a6300

Highlights:

  • 24 Megapixels
  • 11 Frames Per second Burst mode
  • 179 Point Auto Focus
  • 4K Video
  • Tilting LCD Screen (90 up and 45 down)
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • WiFi

 

Older model, which is very highly rated still and has a lot of the same features of the a6300:

Sony a6000

 

Also consider this camera below, which will be out on November 29th:

Sony a6500

Again, if money is no object, go for this one! It’s got in body stabilization now, something the other Sony’s do not have. So that will give you even less camera shake than just having a lens with OSS(Optical Stead Shot) built in. Pretty awesome!

Highlights:

  • 24 Megapixels
  • ISO up to 51,200
  • “World’s fastest” AF speed (0.05 sec.)
  • 11 Frames Per second continuous shooting
  • 425 Point Auto Focus
  • 5-Axis In Body Stabilization
  • 4K Video
  • Tilting LCD Screen (90 up and 45 down)
  • EVF(Electronic View Finder)
  • WiFi

 

Sony Lenses:

For these cameras, you’ll need to get an “E Mount” Sony lens. Although Sony also does sell adapters so that you can use lenses from other brands on their cameras, which is pretty cool if you’re coming from a different system and want to keep your lenses!

Sony 18-200mm LE F3.5-6.3

Travel Zoom

Sony has two 18-200mm lenses. If you want the smaller and lighter one, make sure you get the LE version. The older version works just as well, some say even a bit better, but will have silver on the body and is a bit larger and heavier.

 

 

Sony 50mm F1.8

Beautiful lens, awesome for portraits!

I personally own this lens and LOVE it. It gives gorgeous images with rich detail and color, and you’ll get great Bokeh(blurry background) effect. Sometimes while traveling, you want a lens that will just give you the best possible images. That’s when I put this one on.

 

Sony 20mm F2.8

General Purpose Walk Around Lens

Another Sony lens that a lot of people say is great using for walk arounds is this one. It’s small and compact, and will give you really good image quality in a low light setting. It’s wide enough for most shots too, unlike the 50mm which is more zoomed in.

Another cool thing is that it accepts Sony’s Wide Angle Converter
and Fish Eye Converter.

 

 

So there are the top 3 brands, with their top Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras from 2016.

It’s still a lot to choose from narrowing it down that much! You really need to ask yourself what situations will you be using it most, and for what.
-Just for fun? Selfies?–then you definitely want a Tilt or Vari-Angle Screen. These cameras are cheaper too, great for entry level.
-Do you want all the features possible with great handling? Then go for a more advanced camera, especially if you can afford it!
-No matter which one you go for, there are a variety of lenses out there, and the lenses hold their value quite well! So if you find later you’re not using it or want a more pro version, you can always sell it.

Hope that helps some get an idea of what’s out there today!

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