System cameras are the little siblings of the SLR. The used optics and imaging technique is similar, but the complicated mirror mechanism is missing. Therefore, the system cameras (technical term: DSLM or “Digital Single Lens Mirrorless”) are smaller, more manageable and very often more expensive than a digital SLR. Compared to a smartphone camera, a DSLM has two very big advantages: The photo sensor is ten to twelve times larger in most models than in the mobile phone. This allows him to absorb more light and provides especially in the dark, twilight or difficult lighting conditions as at a concert for dramatically better photos.
And of course, a first-class interchangeable lens offers ambitious photographers drastically more design options than the tiny emergency solutions in mobile phones, in which, for example, the depth blur is not caused by the optics, but by software tricks and artificial intelligence. The best system cameras like the Sony Alpha 7R III cost 3,000 euros and more. But it is also much cheaper: TECHBOOK presents the five best system cameras up to 1,000 euros – which every smartphone photographer is jealous when he sees the pictures. Often at this price is already a (usually moderate) kit lens with it. It is worthwhile, however, to buy one or the other top lens for such top cameras.
Fujifilm X-T30 (from 925 Euro)
Fujifilm X-T30 | Photo: Fujifilm
The mid-range model from Fujifilm is a modern classic. This is already noticeable in the “picture-beautiful” design, which is reminiscent of legendary cameras from the 60s and 70s. Compared to a chunky mirror reflex, the X-T30 is ideal for always-on – and hardly larger than a compact-notch. Inside, like most competitors, there is a large photo sensor in accordance with the APS-C (Advanced Photo System Type C) standard. The autofocus of the X-T30 focuses faster than its predecessors, the image quality is excellent even in bad light. Saved the Japanese only in details – as the case, which is not waterproof. When it rains, the smartphone has to come back.
advantages: Excellent picture quality in almost all lighting conditions / Large lens selection / Enduring battery
disadvantage: Very small viewfinder / No optical image stabilizer in the housing as anti-blur
Sony Alpha 6400 (from 900 Euro)
Sony Alpha 6400 | Photo: Sony
Sony co-invented the system camera in 2010 with its groundbreaking NEX series. The current Alpha models are the successors to the NEX. And the Japanese do not make the selection easy for their customers. Currently there are the not quite dewy Alpha 6000, which already offers around 390 euros top image quality. The current 6400 is the golden middle and the best choice between the 6300 and the 6500, which are slightly weaker or slightly better equipped. The big pluses of the 6400 versus the 6300 are the faster and more precise autofocus, which is extremely handy for sharpening the touchscreen and the flip-up selfie screen.
advantages: Top pictures even in bad light / Very fast / Excellent electronic viewfinder
disadvantage: Extremely complicated menu / Lesser lens selection than the competition
Also interesting: Oppo and Xiaomi show smartphones with camera under the screen
Canon EOS M50 (from 530 Euro)
Canon EOS M50 | Photo: Canon
The Japanese photo giant has initially had a hard time with system cameras – and would have loved to sell forever its proven SLR models. Meanwhile, the DSLM of Canon but can be seen. The design of the mid-range M50 is reminiscent of old SLR times, but the technology is up to date. Above all, the enormous image sharpness of the APS-C sensor convinced. The good news for all the old Canon fans: With an adapter can be the proven EF and EF-S lenses of the Japanese also on the M50 use. This ensures a favorable entry into system photography.
advantages: Attractive price / Very good wireless functions / First-class monitor folding and swiveling
disadvantage: Pretty soon image noise in weaker light / Relatively large
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 (from 590 Euro)
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 | Photo: Panasonic
Panasonic’s Lumix system cameras have an excellent reputation – and they’re fine. The image sensor in Micro Four Thirds format is only minimally smaller than APS-C, which is not noticeable in practice. The photos are excellent – if you like the special way how the Lumix processes the pictures. Because the photos look less crisp and colorful without editing than the competition, but much more natural. Especially in the Instagram age, this look fits perfectly. Especially clever: The electronic viewfinder of the first-class equipped GX9 can be tilted 90 degrees upwards and thus also allows unusual perspectives when taking photos.
advantages: Top photos in virtually all lighting conditions / Image stabilizer in the case / Both fold-out flash and hot shoe
disadvantage: Plastic housing not too high quality / screen not foldable for selfies
Olympus OM-E E-M10 Mark III (from 540 Euro)
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III | Photo: Olympus
Just like the Panasonic, the Olympus also uses the Micro Four Thirds connection, which is why the lenses are also compatible. Showpiece of the camera with the complicated name is the new TruPic VIII processor, which brings the Mark III in comparison to its predecessor noticeably on the go. Among other things, it enables 4K UHD videos at 30 frames per second. Sharpness and noise-free images now convince up to ISO 3,200 – a whole step more than before. The not too noble retro plastic design is deceptive. Because technically, the Olympus (especially in this price range) currently one of the most exciting system cameras.
advantages: Excellent touch display / Superior contrasts / Very fast continuous shooting
disadvantage: Relatively few connections / Simple plastic housing