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1 October 2020

Sony vs Canon mirrorless cameras: which is best?

We pit Sony and Canon against each other as we look at the best mirrorless cameras from these two leading brands.  
Sony alpha 7 iii_advice 487375
JM
Jake Massey

These two digital camera brands face-off every year with their mirrorless camera offerings. Whether you're in the market for an entry-level camera at an affordable price or a premium model for an expert, both Sony and Canon are vying for your custom.

Sony and Canon have both been at the forefront of the mirrorless camera’s rise in popularity. Sony's Alpha range and Canon’s EOS series have both put out models for both budget and premium buyers, starting between £300 and £400 and rising to over £2,000 for high-end models. 

Mirrorless cameras are increasingly popular as they gain ground against DSLR models, and many have gone through our rigorous lab tests and come out the other side with great scores and, occasionally, a Best Buy award. The information below is up to date as of May 2020.

If you're interested in a comparison between mirrorless and DSLR cameras, check out our guide Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: what's the difference.

Average test scores of Sony and Canon cameras

The difference in average score between the two brands is small, however it’s really the consistency in score which matters. One of the manufacturers reliably puts out high-scoring models, where the other lags behind slightly, with the exception of a few recent super-high performers which bump up the average. With this brand, it’s best to only focus on its latest releases.

Only logged-in Which? members can see which brand comes out on top. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

Best mid-range Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras

There’s plenty of quality available in the lower price brackets. Our testing doesn’t factor in price, so these scores are directly comparable with those given to premium cameras.

Models will vary on a case-by-case basis, but the sorts of sacrifices manufacturers make to produce a cheaper camera may include video quality capped at 1080p, fewer quality of life improvements, no viewfinder, and smaller sensors. But generally, the best entry-level models are rich with features and can give premium models a run for their money. Plus they can also be kitted out with different lenses to boost their performance later on down the line. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

Top Sony and Canon mid-range mirrorless cameras

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75%
£509.99
Reviewed

This model promised to be an alternative to your smartphone’s camera, and it's a better one at that. As a starter model, you won’t find it difficult to use, but it offers great picture and video quality, plus plenty of features.

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73%
£1,048.00
Reviewed

This model is a great choice. It’s a well-performing camera across the board, and does a great job at taking photos, no matter the setting. As the predecessor to a later version, it's become less expensive since its 2017 release.

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71%
£403.32
Reviewed

This brand's lightest interchangeable lens camera. It's very good at taking stills, although its video quality doesn't set the world on fire. But it's also one of the cheapest mirrorless cameras we've reviewed.

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Best high-end Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras

At the higher price range, you’re looking at professional-grade cameras which offer the best of these brands' offerings. These Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras pack major power, are abundant with features, and sometimes boast a full-frame sensor which is the largest you can buy.

But not every premium camera is a Best Buy. We often find cameras that don’t meet the mark, some costing thousands of pounds for a fairly modest performance. We pay attention to the finer details in our lab tests, and you can see the current top models below.

Top Sony and Canon high-end mirrorless cameras

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82%
Best Buy
£1,745.00
Reviewed

This affordable Best Buy takes fantastic shots and still has enough of the latest technology and features to make it a great choice for both beginners and enthusiasts.

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80%
Best Buy
£3,698.00
Reviewed

Not only is this model a Best Buy and one of the best mirrorless cameras, it's also one of the best cameras available today. It marries together a high-resolution sensor and fast continuous shooting to deliver excellent image quality in an easy-to-carry size.

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75%
£2,759.00
Reviewed

As long as its lack of in-body image stabilisation doesn't bother you, and your budget can accommodate it, this is a great mirrorless camera.

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What other brands make mirrorless cameras?

The mirrorless camera has become popular enough that nearly every major brand has entered the market, some offering both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in separate ranges. These line-ups below are on the market right now: 

  • Nikon's Z series
  • Panasonic's Lumix DC series
  • Olympus's OM-D E-M and PEN series
  • Fujifilm's X series

You can view all of our mirrorless camera reviews here

View all DSLR and mirrorless cameras