System cameras test 2021 – compact cameras under the microscope: photo, video, battery life

The system camera is a kind of DSLR camera, but without a mirror and also without a shutter curtain. They are similar to compact cameras but are very expensive.

These types of models have recently been on the market, but some users believe that system cameras will eventually supplant SLR models. However, they still have some drawbacks at the moment, because they are still quite new and, accordingly, they have few lenses compared to conventional cameras.

In our system camera test, you will find many models that we have compared and evaluated with each other.

System Cameras Benefits

The biggest advantage of a system camera is its lighter weight compared to a single lens DSLR. This is primarily due to the fact that there is no mirror. In addition, it is not necessary to clean the mirror, because there is simply no one to clean it.

Such a cam also has the advantage that many additional functions are built into it. Of course, there are differences in both quality and function, depending on the manufacturer.

As a result, you can use the system camera just like a compact camera for even better photos. This is where the Image Stabilizer and other automatic functions come in handy.

The system camera works pretty darn well even at high ISOs.

However, many users especially appreciate the extensive features and low weight of the system camera and therefore often choose this type of model.


But there are also disadvantages that such a system camera has. For example, a single lens reflex camera can take more shots in less time. This is often due to more advanced processors installed. Price also plays an important role here, however, most system cameras cannot process multiple images in quick succession as quickly.

Another disadvantage is that there is a greater selection of wide angle and zoom lenses on the SLR market. Therefore, when buying a system camera, it is especially important to choose a model whose manufacturer offers many suitable accessories.

We recommend that you pay attention to what kind of photos you want to take and then choose the appropriate camera model. With SLR cameras, you don’t have to pay too much attention as there are almost always a variety of different wide-angle and zoom lenses available, making your model choice much more flexible.

While mirrorless cameras will likely outperform SLRs in terms of autofocus in the future, one thing they will likely always struggle with is battery life.

The power consumption of mirrorless system cameras is significantly higher than that of single-lens reflex cameras due to the constant use of sensors and viewing live images.

Battery life and overall camera life is significantly longer with DSLR cameras because not all components are constantly used, at least to create still images, with video recordings everything looks very different again, here mirrorless cameras have one clear advantage, since DSLRs also should switch to live view mode and therefore also requires more battery power.

How good is the image quality compared to DSLRs?

Both DSLM and DSLR have very high picture quality. However, there are qualitative differences in individual price segments.

A € 2,000 system camera is usually about as good as an SLR model for the same price. These include the number of pixels, image sensor quality, and color depth.

However, the system camera does not have a folding mirror, which means that there is no classic viewfinder, instead the image is displayed directly on the screen using the system camera.


System cameras, despite their significantly smaller size, can accommodate sensors of the same size as single-lens reflex cameras.

Sony develops high-quality sensor units for DSLRs as well as mirrorless cameras.

Even if the system cameras are significantly smaller, mirrorless lenses still need to be of sufficient size. The large lens provides significantly better image quality. You cannot get around the physics, so you have to use a lens large enough to capture an adequate field of view.

When it comes to autofocus, it’s hard to tell whether mirrorless cameras are better or worse than DSLR cameras. In the beginning, autofocus was certainly not that good, but now the technology has matured, so the systems are on the same level.

In addition, the autofocus capabilities of mirrorless cameras vary greatly. It always depends on the price, the manufacturer and the lens chosen.

However, as technology advances, it is likely in the future that system cameras will outperform DSLRs in almost every way.

What is the best system camera?

The system camera market has grown rapidly over the past two years. Both Nikon and Canon are trying to dominate, which of course benefits the buyer as the price war goes on and the quality automatically rises.

Fujifilm has also brought a high-end camera model to the market and is thus a serious competitor to Nikon and Canon.

1. Fujifilm X-T3

This camera is one of the best in the field of mirrorless system cameras.

This is a great deal for the price and great possibilities. Image stabilization could be slightly better, but for less than € 1,500 you get an excellent 26.1MP photo sensor with fast AF and 4K video recording with 4: 2: 0 color swatches and 60fps.

You can also take photos quickly. This feature is called burst shooting and DSLRs are usually much better in this area, but the Fujifilm X-T3 clearly competes with DSLRs here.

With this model, you have the feeling of using a particularly light SLR camera, even if it is a system camera. Overall, you get an affordable, functionally high-quality camera model with a wide range of features and particularly good recording quality.

2. Nikon Z6

Compared to the Nikon Z7, the Z6 is much more versatile, but the Z7 is more powerful and has a higher resolution.

However, the Z6’s 24.5 megapixels are enough to produce very high quality images. In addition, the Z6 costs significantly less than the Z7, and the performance should be sufficient for most photographers.

The Nikon Z6 offers very reliable 5-axis image stabilization and higher video frame rates, as well as an electronic viewfinder. Electronic Image Stabilizer also works in video mode for sharper, more blurry images.

The quality, craftsmanship and architecture are excellent. The body is made of magnesium alloy.

There is a very good balance between performance, image quality and price, so we can definitely recommend the Nikon Z6 to others.

3. Nikon Z7

The Nikon Z7 is at the forefront of system cameras in terms of design, handling and performance. Your high quality 45.7MP CMOS photo sensor.

Interestingly, the Z7 is very similar to the Sony A7 rival and it is a very compact model. In the end, intrinsic values ​​matter and this is where the Nikon Z7 scores points. The built-in autofocus and technically advanced photo sensor offer the user a system camera with many additional benefits.

The highest quality photos are guaranteed, and you can capture videos in 4K UHD resolution at 30 frames per second. In addition, the camera system features robust image stabilization.

As far as price is concerned, the Z7 is vastly superior to the Z6, which also has very good specifications. Therefore, you should consider whether the Z6 can fully meet your goals.

4. Canon EOS R

The overall concept and value for money of the Canon EOS R are excellent. A wide variety of functions and a large screen are available to you.

With 4K, 60 and 120 fps and no image stabilization, it is technically not as good as a DSLR, but stills are quiet and the photo sensor is 30 megapixels.

A particular highlight
of the EOS R is its wide lens mount, which makes it ideal for interchangeable lenses. Therefore, it is also ideal for RF lenses that, after insertion, are at the ideal distance from the sensor.

5. Sony Alpha A7 III

Sony Alpha 7 models are some of the best cameras on the market. We especially liked the new Sony Alpha A7 III, this model shines over its predecessors with improved autofocus, 4K video and continuous shooting.

Many Sony models are bought a lot because they are incredibly good value for money. The Alpha 7, which did not have an image stabilizer at the time, cost only about 800 euros, while the third version with many features and technical improvements costs about 2,200 euros.

Another advantage of the Sony Alpha A7 III is the back-illuminated full-frame sensor. It not only has higher sensitivity, but also a faster read speed.

The Alpha A7 III’s 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor is renowned for its optimized light sensitivity and faster data transfer capabilities.

The camera also works with a robust 5-axis image stabilization system. By redesigning the sensors in the Alpha A7 III, the shutter speed has been increased by 5.0 steps. Blur is compensated quite well, so the camera is ideal for capturing fast movements.

Should I buy a DSLR or a system camera?

If you are new to the art of photography and still looking for the right camera, you might be wondering if a DSLR or system camera is better for you.

We have already listed some advantages and disadvantages above. Both versions of the model have both strengths and weaknesses. But you can easily create great photos with both cameras.

An already very popular technology is used in SLR cameras. Light entering through the lens is reflected by a mirror in the camera body. As soon as the shutter button is pressed, the mirror goes up, then light falls through the shutter opening onto the image sensor, and a photograph is taken. This tried and tested camera system is very popular and proven to be reliable.

Meanwhile, however, many camera models also have a new technology in which light falls directly onto the image sensor. These cameras are called system or mirrorless cameras.

The main disadvantage of DSLR cameras is simply weight and size due to the built-in mirror system.

Mirrorless cameras are easier to carry and you can put more accessories in your bag.

On the other hand, DSLRs are currently still better than mirrorless cameras in terms of autofocus speed. They also provide better low light recording quality.

Recently, however, many cameras have improved significantly on these two points! And it can be assumed that system cameras without mirrors will continue to improve in the future and approach the AF speed of single-lens reflex cameras.

However, DSLRs are still superior in this area today. So if you want to shoot very fast moving objects, you really should use a DSLR.

System cameras have the advantage that you can preview the image on the screen. But there are also mirrorless models that mimic an optical viewfinder.Plus, mirrorless cameras are better suited for video. Unfortunately, a single lens reflex camera cannot work well with phase detection during video recording, so the system cameras are clearly better here.

In poor lighting conditions, the quality of the preview image and video also deteriorates. Therefore, we recommend taking pictures in good lighting conditions.

The recording speed, i.e. burst images, is simply better with the system camera since there is no inertia caused by the mirror. Thus, purely digital cameras can take photos one after another faster.


System cameras are becoming more and more popular. They have many advantages, but they also have disadvantages compared to classic DSLRs. You work faster with burst shooting and video. They are also much lighter and more compact than DSLR cameras. Unfortunately, there are still fewer lenses on the mirrorless camera market, but the gap is gradually closing. Autofocus is also getting better and better, and in a few years SLR systems will increasingly be pushed out of the market. Thus, system cameras are cameras of the future that offer great benefits!

Photo quality
Video quality
Price quality
Overall rating 5/5