Mirrorless cameras – also known as compact cameras – are slowly replacing the old, heavy DSLR cameras. The problem with DSLRs is that their mirror mechanism is quite complex and thus adds weight to the camera. The mirror mechanism is also rather noisy. Compact cameras have the large sensors of DSLRs but lack the mirror. Consequently, they are lighter and smaller than heavy DSLRs and have better on the fly processing abilites (like face detection).
|Biggest Sensor Size||
|Best Articulating Screen|
Once you get used to a touchscreen, going back to button controls on the camera feels like losing the use of a limb. Touchscreens enable users to quickly customize options, draw or write on photos, and set off self-timers. It allows you to tap on the subject to automatically focus the camera. Many cameras are also able to focus and shoot when you tap on the screen. For manufacturers, a touchscreen means no more buttons and lost space – leading to smaller, more compact cameras.
Cameras that shoot 4K are the new standard. They take photos with a horizontal resolution of 4000+ pixels. 4K cameras can capture the sharpest videos and photos (if the sensor is adequate). Users can later edit the footage or photos without much concern about loss of quality. Also, frames extracted from a 4K video are sharp enough to use as photographs. This new resolution is quickly gaining traction with the photographer and videographer community.
Let’s take a look at the best compact cameras that are able to shoot in 4K and also have a touchscreen.
9 Best Compact Mirrorless Cameras With 4K Video and Touchscreen
|Camera||Resolution in MP||Sensor Size in mm||Articulation||4K Frames / Sec||Dimensions in mm||Weight in g|
|Panasonic G7||16||17.3 x 13.0|
|Full||30||125 x 86 x 77||410|
|Leica-SL||24||36.0 x 24.0|
|Fixed||30||147 x 104 x 39||847|
|Panasonic ZS100||20||13.2 x 8.8|
|Fixed||30||111 x 65 x 44||312|
|Hasselblad H6D-100c||100||53.4 × 40.0||Fixed||30||205 x 153 x 131||2130|
|Panasonic Lumix GH4||16||17.3 x 13.0|
|Full||24||133 x 93 x 84||560|
|Samsung NX1||28||23.5 x 15.7 |
|Tilting||24||139 x 102 x 66||550|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85||16||17.3 x 13.0|
|Tilting||30||122 x 71 x 44||426|
|Xiaomi YI M1||20||17.3 x 13.0|
|Fixed||30||130.4 x 93.5 x 63.1||208|
|Nikon D500||21||23.5 x 15.7 |
|Tilting||30||147 x 115 x 81||860|
Panasonic has been an industry leader in the new mirrorless revolution – they were one of the first manufacturers to give us an affordable 4K pro-sumer camera.
With the Lumix DMC-G7, the result is a 16 megapixel camera that includes what you expect from a full-sized, mid-range DSLR, including twin control dials and touchscreen capabilities. While there are cameras with a better megapixel range on the market, the shining achievement of the Lumix DMC-G7 is the rare 4K (UHD) video with focus peaking and zebra highlight warnings, features that are critical to shooting useable video and missing from competing cameras. Panasonic’s “4K Photo” mode allows you to constantly record one second chunks of video that are saved to the memory card as soon as you press down on the shutter.
With this camera, Panasonic is hoping to attract DSLR buyers and the level of direct control puts in competition with the likes of the Sony a6000. It’s somewhat of a bargain for those who want additional control but it does have a learning curve for the first time ILC shooter.
The DMC-G7 has an excellent handgrip, making it very easy to avoid camera shake. The electronic viewfinder is excellent and the touchscreen display is very responsive. The camera is capable of silent shooting due to the electronic shutter. This feature also provides very fast shutter speeds. The G7 is able to capture both videos and photos in 4K resolution.
Earlier this year, Leica rolled out the Leica-SL, a full frame mirrorless model with high-res EVF, a super fast burst mode at 11 frames per second, a top-mounted LCD display and a completely touchscreen interface. This nice and hefty camera, weighing in at 847 grams (1.9 pounds) is made from aluminum and boasts a 24 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. The lens has to provide image stabilization as there is no such feature built into the camera body itself. The Leica-SL provides a rather low 50-50000 ISO range and a shutter speed range of 60-1/8000 of a second with a bulb mode available. The LCD is spectacular and a standing achievement is the electronic viewfinder, with it’s breathtaking resolution, however, due to it’s proximity to the LCD, you can accidentally change features with your nose.
The SL records in Cinema 4K and 4K UHD and includes an HDMI port and USB 3.0. Focus peaking, zebra stripes, and V-Log L Gamma support just scratches the surface of what this camera can do. The Leica-SL is an incredible camera built for true photography mavericks; with it’s plethora of features, there is something for all types of camera lovers here.
The image sensor of the Leica-SL is in full frame format. The autofocus is very responsive, fast and accurate, which is great for people who photograph moving subjects. The 10.5 frames per second shooting rate is among the best in class. The compact aluminum body is quite durable. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS features.
One of the downsides is that the Leica-SL is relatively expensive. Also, there aren’t many lenses one can choose from. Keep in mind that this camera does not have a built-in flash.
Another Panasonic stand out, this camera is a part of their “travel zoom” series, and it’s compact size allows for easy transport across the globe. The TZ100 differentiates itself in the Lumix family by having one of the longest zoom lenses in the compact class of cameras. 10x zoom with a one inch sensor and 20 megapixels means that you can get the best shots at any distance. However, the greater zoom offers a slower performance and a shorter lens compared to say the FZ1000’s lens. It has 4K video capabilities and it’s unique 4K video mode allows you lets one grab 8MP stills with the greatest of ease.
The photo quality is among the best in class, and the design is very compact. The touch features on the 3-inch LCD are very intuitive. The camera also comes with integrated Wi-Fi and has built-in raw conversion.
A flaw of the TZ100 (also known as the TZ100 in other localities) is that the electronic viewfinder leaves a lot to be desired, and if you’re a photographer who uses their viewfinder quite a bit, then the TZ100 may frustrate you. The body of the camera is compact, but quite slippery – it’s too easy to drop the unit.
The Hasselblad H6D-100c has a 100MP medium format image sensor that can shoot video and take photos in 4K resolution. The camera is able to capture raw images in 16-bit, and the optical viewfinder is large and sharp. The H6D-100c has two memory card slots and comes with very nice leaf-shutter lenses. The camera is capable of tethered shooting thanks to its Wi-Fi feature. The body is sturdy, yet compact.
The H6D is quite expensive. The focus can be slow at times, and the operation is slower than similar 35mm format cameras. There is no autofocus when in Live View. There is also no autofocus in video mode. The amazing images captured by the 100MP camera are, however, extremely detailed and sharp.
Still one of the most capable cameras on the market, the 16 megapixel Lumix GH4 is an update from its predecessor the GH3. The GH4 has its Four Thirds sensor wrapped in a magnesium alloy body, and it can record 4K footage in both the DCI 4K and UHD 4K resolutions.
The GH4 supports a professional workflow, so no matter if one is a still photographer, or a videographer, there are a number of performance and usability features and improvements that one can take advantage of, including a shutter that fires off at 1/8000ths of a second and syncs with flashes at 1/250th of a second. Continuous shooting gets a boost, as photographers are now able to fire off shots at 12 frames per second and 7.5 frames per second with continuous focus. Focus tracking is improved upon with Panasonic’s “depth-from-defocus” technology. Focus peaking, two zebra settings, control over the black level and luminance scale round out the features of this fine camera. One may not take advantage of everything this camera has to offer, but no matter if you’re doing still photography or videos, the Lumix GH4 is likely to have something for you.
The Panasonic Lumix GH4 has a very durable body that is also weather sealed; you can take it outside during a light rain – but only if you also use a weather-sealed lens. The autofocus on this camera is very fast and very precise. The GH4 is designed like a DSLR, although it is a mirrorless camera with an electronic shutter.
The controls can be a bit intimidating, especially for new users. The tracking autofocus is not very precise, unfortunately. Other than these small cons, the GH4 is a very good and reliable camera.
The NX1 provides very good image quality at 4k resolution. The raw files have very good high ISO performance, and the dynamic range of the camera is quite good. In full resolution burst mode, the camera can take 15 frames per second. The buffer is large enough to hold many photos, and the build quality is very good. The camera is compact and sturdy; it should be able to withstand prolonged professional use. The autofocus system is very fast and sharp, and the camera also has very good battery life.
Autofocus in continuous shooting mode is not as robust as that of some competitors. At high ISOs, the camera uses a very aggressive noise reduction that results in details being lost from JPEG images. The colors and saturation of JPEG files are not very pleasing, unfortunately. However, this Samsung NX1 has a very good quality-to-price ratio.
The GX85 gives its owner amazing still photographs and outstanding 4K video quality. You get good subject tracking and very nice depth from the Defocus autofocus system. The touch features and the implementation of the controls are near perfect. The LCD touchscreen is tiltable, so you can take photos and shoot video from awkward angles with ease. You get touchpad autofocus features, and the camera comes with 5-axis shake reduction both in the body and in the lens.
The only real problem is that the electronic viewfinder is prone to color tearing. There are a couple of strange annoyances, though: The viewfinder is in 16:9 format, while the native aspect ratio is 4:3; and the Lumix DMC-GX85 does not come with a battery charger. Otherwise, the camera is very potent for its price.
The Xiaomi company is relatively new to the compact camera world, but the M1 is definitely a very good camera considering its price and technical specs. The M1 has a 20MP Sony sensor that is able to capture sharp photos and videos in 4K resolution. It also has a 3-inch LCD touchscreen, and the controls are relatively user-friendly and simple to customize. The camera has a built-in Wi-Fi unit and also comes with native Bluetooth support. An interesting thing is that the YI M1 comes with a mobile app that makes it easy for you to share your images and videos on social media.
You can’t focus the lens unless you use the camera controls – there is no focus ring on the lens. Also, it does not support touch to focus. However, you get the camera and two relatively good lenses for just $699.
The only DSLR Cousin: Nikon D500
The Nikon D500 is not a compact camera; it’s a DSLR. However, we feel it merits a mention in this comprehensive list of the best touchscreen-equipped 4K cameras. The image quality is beyond excellent, and the D500 can shoot high-quality raw images. The camera can take up to 10 frames per second, and even at these speeds the autofocus is as fast and accurate as possible. The build is very ergonomic and the body is very durable. The 4K video and photo quality is another strong point. You can switch the autofocus point mode with a simple button press, and the joystick makes the point selection very simple. The touchscreen and controls are very intuitive and well-organized. This is a very good camera for people shooting subjects in motion.
The video tools are not as comprehensive as they might be. The autofocus in video mode is prone to re-focusing, unfortunately. The JPEG noise reduction is a bit too aggressive, and there is no USB charging feature. But these are about all the cons to this camera. Overall, we highly recommend this unit to professional photographers and videographers.
With advances in 4K and touchscreen technology, newer and better cameras will be released soon. At the moment, though, these are the best ones you can find. If you are a professional photographer or a novice videographer, any of these units will help you take the photos and videos you covet. The photo and video quality of these mirrorless cameras is outstanding and quite comparable to today’s DSLRs.
At the moment, mirrorless cameras are still gaining traction, but advances in technology are helping them catch up with their larger counterparts, the DSLRs. Over time, we expect compact cameras will overtake DSLRs. However, only time can tell – we cannot see into the future, of course.