During 2018 the world of photography was dominated by one product category in particular – mirrorless cameras.

We saw all of the top camera makers enter the fray this year with high-end offerings that attempted to delicately balance a lightweight and compact design, with DSLR levels of photographic quality.

Some succeeded in their attempts while others did not. Either way it looks like mirrorless cameras are the options of choice that most non-professional photographers will be reaching for moving forward.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up five of the best mirrorless cameras we encountered in 2018 (in no particular order).

Nikon Z6

Let’s begin with one of the more talked about mirrorless cameras of 2018 – the Nikon Z6.

This great camera debuted alongside the slightly larger and more powerful Z7 earlier in the year, with the ticking pretty much every box for a prosumer that wanting top if the line DSLR functionality in a mirrorless-sized body.

The reason we’re listing the Z6 over the Z7 is price, with the former costing around R49 000 plus lens kit depending on where you head. Yes, that’s not cheap but the Z7 goes for a lot more at R76 000.

It’s the versatility of the Nikon Z6 that really shines through, with the 25.4MP sensor, full frame CMOS design, 4K recording (at 30fps) and large range of autofocus points all very handy indeed.

Canon EOS R

Next is a mirrorless camera that came out around the same time as the Nikon Z6 and Z7, and likely did not get as much attention as it should have.

The Canon EOS R is the camera in question, and unlike previous M-branded mirrorless cameras from the Japanese company, this new model sits nicely between the enthusiast and professional ranges.

It features a large 30.3MP CMOS sensor which is of the same ilk as Canon’s 5D Mark IV DSLR offering, giving users an indication that the company means business here. The only (slight) downfall here is the lack of in-body image stabilisation.

It’s also on the steep side at R55 000 plus lens kit, but then again it’s aimed at prosumers.

Sony Alpha A7 III

Now for a company that’s really owned the mirrorless camera space for the past couple of years with its Alpha A7 device.

This latest iteration, the Alpha A7 III, is still worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as its predecessor, especially given the performance of its autofocus and continuous shooting capabilities. You can’t go wrong with this model.

Granted the controls task some time to master, particularly for newcomers to the brand, but once you’re familiar it’s great to shoot on.

Like a lot of the high-end mirrorless cameras on this list the Alpha A7 III is expensive at R38 000 for the body, but you’re getting a mirrorless camera that will stand you in good stead for the next five years at least.

Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Despite having a relatively quiet year in terms of buzz compared to the other camera makers on this list, Olympus is no less deserving of your attention.

The company’s E-M10 Mark III in particular is where you need to fix your gaze as it represents the best value for money you’ll find in the mirrorless camera segment in 2018.

Olympus has kept things much the same from a design perspective for this 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds offering compared to previous generations, with the key difference here being the improved processing unit at its heart.

It therefore serves as an extremely well equipped alternative to the Fujifilm X-T20.

Fujifilm X-H1

The Fujifilm X-H1 was released in the early part of 2018, and the camera maker has not looked back since when it comes to the mirrorless segment.

This model sports a 24.3MP APS-C sensor and while it may not be the most powerful on this list, it is the image stabilisation and auto tracking that shine most in the X-H1.

It’s also a big bigger than many of the cameras on this list, so pros that want a bit more heft to their camera body, especially for attaching longer lenses, should be drawn to the X-H1.

The fact that it’s one of the relatively older options featured here, means you could get it for a bit cheaper than when it launched, with the body only going for around R25 000 if you know where to look.