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7 Best Lightweight Cameras in 2024 (Beginner to Pro)

Last updated: February 7, 2024 - 18 min read
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With the best lightweight camera, you can snap for hours on end. You can travel more freely without compromising on gear. And you have a camera that doesn’t feel like a burden in your backpack.

But what is the best lightweight camera? It should be easy and comfortable to hold for long periods. But it also needs to produce top-quality media.

The Nikon Z50 is our favorite lightweight camera. It’s a feature-packed APS-C mirrorless camera that produces stunning images. An advanced AF system provides eye-detection focusing. And it’s a great option for video shooters.

Our Top 3 Choices for The Lightweight Cameras
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
 

What Is the Best Lightweight Camera?

The best lightweight camera feels featherlight in your hand but still delivers quality and features. For this reason, the Nikon Z50, Canon EOS R8, and Sony ZV-1 II are our top three choices.

Of course, you want a lightweight camera body. But “lightweight” is a relative term, and some cameras, due to factors like sensor size, will be heavier than others.

The best lightweight cameras don’t sacrifice too much with performance. Compromises must be made to lessen weight, and they often lack the most advanced features. But a lightweight camera still needs to deliver fantastic photos and sharp videos.

You also need to consider the type of lightweight camera you want. We’ve included several excellent APS-C mirrorless cameras. But you’ll also find full-frame cameras there. And, of course, we have compact cameras for those looking for something pocket-sized and portable.

Here’s a rundown of all the best lightweight cameras with feature highlights. The next section has a more detailed description of each camera. And we have an FAQ section at the end if you need more information.

Our Top Choice
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
  • Unleashes unique creativity with high image quality
  • 20.9 MP sensor ensures stunningly sharp pictures
  • Eye-detection AF for impressive portraits
  • "Selfie" flip down LCD screen for vlogging
  • Easy sharing with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Best Full-Frame Camera
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
  • High-performance in a compact design
  • Superb 24.2 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • Utilizes EOS R-series interchangeable lenses
  • Super-compact 24–50mm zoom lens option
  • Features advanced functionality and performance
Best Compact Camera
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
  • Bright, sharp 20 MP images from the 1-inch sensor
  • Fixed 18-50mm zoom lens
  • Eye-detection AF with subject tracking
  • Fabulous 4K video recording
  • Built-in 3-capsule mic and wind muffler
Best for Beginners
Canon EOS R50
Canon EOS R50
Canon EOS R50
  • Packs a punch with a 24.2 MP CMOS sensor
  • Advanced A+ Assist for tricky lighting situations
  • Continuous shooting up to 15 fps for fast action
  • 4K uncropped video with autofocus for vlogging
  • Smartphone-like usability for easy operation
Best for Videographers
Sony a6700
Sony a6700
Sony a6700
  • Compact body, high-quality APS-C images
  • 26. MP Exmor R sensor for exceptional image quality
  • Enhanced subject recognition for precise tracking
  • Compatible with E-mount lenses for creative flexibility
  • 4K/60p 6K oversampled recording for pro-grade videos
Best for Street Photographers
Ricoh GR III
Ricoh GR III
Ricoh GR III
  • Superior image quality with 24 MP CMOS Sensor
  • Ensures sharp images with 4-stop Shake Reduction
  • Easy control with 3-inch LCD touchscreen
  • Features hybrid AF system for faster, responsive focus
  • Wireless LAN functions for easy mobile device pairing
Best Micro Four Thirds
Olympus OM System OM-5
Olympus OM System OM-5
Olympus OM System OM-5
  • Handheld High-Res Shot mode gives you 50 MP images
  • 4K Photo mode gives you a 30 fps burst mode
  • Expandable ISO range with a low option of 64
  • Built-in 5-axis image stabilization
  • Unlimited 4K video recording at 30 fps
  • Completely weather sealed for outdoor shooting

7 Best Lightweight Cameras

Now, we take a deep dive into all the best lightweight cameras. We have a wide selection of cameras on our list.

They are all mirrorless cameras. But some are APS-C, while others are full frames. We also have smaller compact cameras. And we even include a fantastic Micro Four Thirds camera. There’s a lightweight camera, no matter what you need.

1. Nikon Z50

Nikon Z50
Released
Released
2019
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
450 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-CAPS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Nikon Z
Megapixels
Megapixels
21 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
209
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
51,200
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
11 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
In-camera filters, and effects, flip-down touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity
Best For
Best For
Young content creators looking for a lightweight camera

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly, lightweight camera that does almost everything, the Z50 is the one for you. It’s lightweight and portable, making it a great travel camera. Its features are also perfect for young users experimenting with photography and video.

Weighing 1 lb (450 g), the Z50 is light and compact, partly thanks to the APS-C sensor. These sensors are smaller than full-frame ones, keeping camera bodies small. And the Nikon DX-format sensor still gives you a 20.9 MP resolution, so the picture quality is excellent.

This entry-level Nikon camera also shoots vibrant 4K videos, making it a great option for content creators and vloggers. The flip-down touchscreen makes filming yourself much easier. The camera also has ports for external audio devices.

Use 120 fps (frames per second) for slow-motion footage to create eye-catching action videos. Filters and effects add more interest to your still photography. They allow for in-camera editing with no photo editing software required.

Once the filters are added, you can send them directly to your smartphone, thanks to the Z50’s Wi-Fi connectivity. Sharing media between devices only takes a second, making it easy to share on social media.

The autofocus (AF) system is quick and reliable. It tracks subjects as they move. And the eye-detection capabilities make portraits, selfies, and vlogs easy to shoot.

Other exciting features include a pop-up flash and a special time-lapse photography mode. And there’s a built-in electronic viewfinder for easy and accurate shot composition. 

The Nikon Z50 might be a lightweight camera, but there’s little compromise on features. And you have a wide choice of lightweight lenses from Nikon’s Z-series. It makes a fantastic travel camera. And it’s a great choice for beginners who don’t want anything too hefty.

 

2. Canon EOS R8

Canon EOS R8
Released
Released
2023
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
461 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Full FrameFull Frame
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon RF
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
1,053
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
102,400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
40 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
100% coverage AF, face- and eye-detection AF, vari-angle touchscreen, uncropped 4K at 60 fps
Best For
Best For
Professionals or enthusiasts looking for a lightweight full-frame camera

The Canon EOS R8 is the best lightweight camera with a full-frame sensor. Full-frame models tend to be heavier than most APS-C ones. But the R8 is one of the lightest full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market.

The camera delivers incredible photos and videos despite only weighing 1.02 lb (461 g). The CMOS sensor has a 24.2 MP resolution. Thanks to the large pixel size, the dynamic range is enhanced compared to an APS-C camera.

An expandable ISO range gives you more options in bright and low-light situations. There’s a 50 ISO option to maximize picture quality on sunny days. And it stretches up to 204,800, giving you low-noise images even at the upper end.

With uncropped 4K video at 60 fps, the R8 makes a brilliant lightweight videography camera. The 4K footage is oversampled from 6K, giving it extra sharpness and vitality.

This Canon camera‘s two-hour record limit allows you to shoot long-form videos. It is also a high-resolution webcam for conference calls and live streaming.

Five-axis image stabilization supports both photography and video recording. It gives you more control over your exposure settings. And it guarantees smoother footage when shooting from hand.

Its AF system is another strength. It uses 1053 focus points to provide full-frame coverage. Its advanced subject detection offers incredible accuracy. And the tracking also handles fast-moving subjects without issue.

The EOS R8 proves that high-quality full-frame cameras don’t need to weigh a ton. It’s only a fraction heavier than APS-C models. And it delivers pro-level performance without unnecessary weight.

 

3. Sony ZV-1 II

Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Released
Released
2023
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
292 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1"1"
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
None
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
315
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12,800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
24 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Fixed 18-50mm zoom lens, eye-detection AF, 3-capsule mic
Best For
Best For
Photographers and vloggers looking for a lightweight, compact camera

Compact cameras are always great options if you want a lightweight camera. And the Sony ZV-1 II is particularly lean and lithe. It’s great for snapping photos and perfectly optimized for vloggers and streamers.

Weighing only 0.64 lb (292 g) and measuring 4 x 2.4 x 1.9 inches (10 x 6 x 4.7 cm), it practically fits in your pocket. You don’t need a big, expensive camera backpack for this one. You can travel light and remain confident about capturing anything and everything.

Having a one-inch sensor helps keep the size and weight down. And while that is smaller than APS-C camera sensors, it still delivers 20 MP photographs with sharp details and vivid colors.

It’s also a great camera if you’re more interested in video production. You can shoot crisp, clear 4K video footage with full eye-detection AF coverage. There’s no five-axis image stabilization, but the camera gives you digital video stabilization.

Sony’s specialist Cinematic Vlog Setting is a unique feature that makes your video content stand out. This entry-level Sony camera shoots with a cinemascope aspect ratio. It brings professionalism to your vlogging content.

You don’t need any extra gear to record audio with your video. The built-in three-capsule microphone and sound muffler clearly pick up voices. This is even when recording outside.

An 18-50mm zoom lens offers excellent versatility. Unlike with interchangeable lens cameras, you won’t be weighed down by extra lenses, giving you flexibility while traveling light. The lens also has an f/1.8-4.0 maximum aperture, so its low-light performance is good, too.

The ZV-1 II is the best lightweight, compact camera. It’s an all-in-one content production machine that produces head-turning stills and videos. Yet it slips right into your pocket so that you can take it anywhere without fuss.

 

4. Canon EOS R50

Canon EOS R50
Released
Released
2023
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
375 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-CAPS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon RF
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
651
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
32,000
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
12 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
No
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Face-detection AF, digital video stabilization, vari-angle touchscreen, USB charging
Best For
Best For
Beginners looking for an affordable, lightweight camera

The Canon EOS R50 is lightweight even by APS-C camera standards. The body adds just 0.83 lb (375 g) to your pack, letting you carry more equipment without being overly burdened. It’s also one of the best-value APS-C mirrorless cameras around right now.

A lightweight body doesn’t mean low quality. Although its exterior is made of plastic, it’s a solid piece of equipment. Thanks to its ergonomic design, it also fits comfortably in your hand.

Picture quality is outstanding for an entry-level camera. The 24.2 MP images have rich, true-to-life colors and accurate details. And a wide ISO range gives you excellent flexibility in variable lighting conditions.

Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system is one of the best in the business. It uses 651 focus points stretching across the frame, enabling fast and accurate focusing.

You get 100 % AF coverage, even detecting subjects up to the edges. Plus, the face and eye-detect features work with humans and animals. That’s good news for pet and portrait photographers.

Beginner moviemakers will impress their friends with impressive 4K footage. It’s oversampled from 6K footage, making it even more eye-catching. The best frame rate for 4K is 30 fps. But you also have a 120 fps option when recording in Full HD, which is great for slow-mos.

A 12 fps burst rate is enough for most beginner photographers. But you can switch from the mechanical to the electronic shutter to increase the max burst rate to 15 fps. That’s handy if you’re shooting sports or wildlife photography.

It’s a shame there’s no five-axis image stabilization. But there is a digital video stabilization feature to help you shoot handheld video. The camera also has a vari-angle touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The EOS R50 is a fully-equipped lightweight camera for beginners who want a Canon. It’s a fantastic photography camera. But you can also use it for filmmaking, vlogging, and streaming. It’s a lightweight all-rounder at a reasonable price.

 

5. Sony a6700

Sony a6700
Released
Released
2023
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
493 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-CAPS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Sony E
Megapixels
Megapixels
26 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
759
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
32,000
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
11 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
Yes
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
120 fps in 4K, face-detection AF, gyroscopic stabilization, articulating touchscreen
Best For
Best For
Serious videographers looking for a lightweight camera

At 1.09 lb (493 g), the Sony a6700 is one of our list’s “heavier” cameras. But considering its features and performance, you’ll understand why it’s here. It’s super compact for a camera that delivers this level of quality, particularly in the video department.

Most of the cameras on our list have 4K video, but the a6700 takes 4K video recording to another level. You can shoot with a standard 30 fps frame rate. But you can also shoot with fast 60 and 120 fps frame rates with full resolution. You get stunning slow-motion videos.

You also get 10-bit 4:2:2 color sampling that gives the footage a professional, cinematic finish. The body also has ports for audio devices like headphones and microphones.

Built-in five-axis image stabilization lets you shoot from hand for shake-free results. You can leave your camera gimbal at home. This feature also helps with exposure control when shooting still in low light.

Speaking of still photography, this Sony APS-C is pretty good in that department, too. Its APS-C sensor has a 26 MP resolution, which gives you gorgeous images. The color accuracy and wide dynamic range are impressive for a crop-sensor camera.

The 759 focus points provide incredible AF accuracy and remain responsive even in low light. The camera can detect faces and eyes and track subjects in challenging lighting conditions. It offers the same excellent AF support for photography and videography.

The a6700 is lightweight for a videography camera of this standard. The body is compact. And you have an excellent selection of Sony E-mount lenses to go with it, none of which will add too much to the overall weight.

 

6. Ricoh GR III

Ricoh GR III
Released
Released
2018
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
257 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-CAPS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fixed
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
1
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
102,400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
4 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
Yes
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
Full HDFull HD
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Fixed, wide-angle 28mm lens, HD LCD touchscreen
Best For
Best For
Street photographers wanting a lightweight camera

The GR III is the perfect choice for street photographers seeking a lightweight and compact camera. It weighs an astounding 0.57 lb (257 g).

The GR III is a compact camera with a fixed lens. It’s a prime lens, so there’s no zoom capability. But the wide-angle 28mm focal length is perfect for street photography. You capture broad compositions in tight spaces.

An f/2.8 maximum aperture also gives you good low-light performance. It allows for depth of field control, which is useful for portrait photography.

Even though it’s compact, it still has a powerful APS-C CMOS sensor inside. With a 24 MP resolution, the image quality might surprise you. You can also shoot in RAW file format for better editing options. The images are bright, detailed, and true to life.

Image stabilization is another surprising feature for a compact camera. Although it’s only a three-axis system, it provides four stops of exposure compensation. That improves low-light performance and creative control.

Videographers might need to look elsewhere. While this Ricoh camera can be used for video, the resolution is limited to Full HD. There’s no 4K option. But you can shoot with a smooth 60 fps frame rate, which still looks great on social media.

Users might also find the fixed screen frustrating. It’s a large, bright LCD touchscreen that’s responsive and easy to control. But the lack of articulation is disappointing.

Wi-Fi connectivity is handy for transferring media to other devices. And USB charging lets you power up wherever and whenever you need to.

The Ricoh GR III might be a bit niche for some, but it’s the best lightweight street photography camera. Its compact design lets you take it anywhere. And its performance is truly impressive!

 

7. Olympus OM System OM-5

Olympus OM System OM-5
Released
Released
2022
Camera Weight
Camera Weight
414 g
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Micro Four ThirdsMicro Four Thirds
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Micro 4/3
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
121
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25,600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
30 fps
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
Yes
Max Video Resolution
Max Video Resolution
4K4K
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Face-detection AF, high-res shot mode, focus stacking, live composite
Best For
Best For
Multimedia creators looking for a lightweight all-in-one MFT camera

The OM System OM-5 is a compact and lightweight interchangeable lens camera. Despite its size and weight of 0.91 lb (414 g), it’s full of advanced features.

The small Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera sensor helps it maintain compact size and lightness. It also produces vibrant 20 MP still images, so performance is only slightly compromised.

If 20 MP isn’t enough, this OM System has a high-resolution shot mode. This mode gives you incredible 50 MP images. And unlike other cameras with this feature, you can shoot handheld without extra support. So, you can leave your hefty tripod at home.

You also get a built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode. You can bracket and process between three and seven exposures to create one powerful HDR image. The focus stacking feature works similarly, letting you increase or decrease the area in focus by combining images.

Its 4K recording at 30 fps makes it an excellent lightweight video camera. Switching to Full HD gives you some faster frame rate options. The body has all the necessary ports for external audio equipment. The webcam functionality also means you can use it as a live-streaming camera.

A 121-focus-point AF system keeps everything looking sharp. It works just as well for video as it does for photography. It has face-detection capabilities and accurate subject tracking.

The Olympus OM System OM-5 is a lightweight camera brimming with creative features. MFT cameras are known for being at the forefront of mirrorless technology. And the OM-5 continues that tradition. It’s a lightweight camera that does it all.

 

Best Lightweight Cameras and Gear FAQs

We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about lightweight cameras and gear.

What Is the Best Camera for Travel Photography?

Any of the cameras on this list are excellent choices for travel photographers. But there are a few things to consider when choosing the best travel camera.

Travel photographers always like to work with lightweight cameras. They don’t want heavy equipment slowing them down or limiting their movements. They need maximum freedom to get the best travel results.

First, you should think about your skill level. The Nikon Z50 and Canon EOS R50 are brilliant entry-level cameras beginners can use for travel photography. Their size, weight, and beginner-friendly features make them ideal options for new photographers.

More experienced photographers should go for the Canon EOS R8. The full-frame sensor gives you even better image quality. But the body is still compact and lightweight.

Traveling videographers can choose the Sony a6700 or Olympus OM System OM-5. Both have compact bodies that won’t occupy much space in your camera backpack. But they both have incredible video features for pro-level travel footage.

You can see more of the best compact cameras we recommend for travel. Or we have a full article on the best mirrorless travel cameras.

A swimming pool and lounge area shot from above with a lightweight camera
Shot with a Canon EOS R8. 50mm, f/7.1, 1/100 s, ISO 25,6000. Scott Greer (Unsplash)
 

What Is the Best Lightweight Tripod?

The K&F Concept Travel Tripod is ideal to keep your pack weight down. It weighs just 2.4 lb (1.1 kg) but can support a load of up to 17.6 lb (8 kg). You won’t need that strength for your lightweight camera. But you know this tripod is strong enough for any eventuality.

It also has a ball head for more mounting flexibility. The legs are easily adjusted with the flip locks. Plus, the tripod folds to a convenient size of 15.3 inches (39 cm). This makes it easy to secure on your camera bag.

Wanting to travel light shouldn’t stop you from carrying everything you need. Of course, sacrifices must be made, and some favored pieces of kit must stay home. But you can still carry a tripod without overburdening yourself.

Check out our list of the best travel tripods. You can also review the different types of tripods we recommend.

What Is the Best Lightweight Camera Backpack?

If you want a lightweight, protective, and conveniently sized camera backpack, we recommend the Wandrd Duo Daypack. It’s the best camera day bag we reviewed when we scored 18 of the best camera backpacks.

The build quality is exceptional, and the durable outer Nylon is completely rainproof. It has a side pouch for your water bottle or tripod. The interior has plenty of padded pockets for your photography accessories. And the “pop camera cube” keeps your camera safely stowed away.

It’s a stylish backpack with a sleek yet subtle design, so even fashion-conscious photographers show it off. But the main thing is how useful and usable it is. The infinity zip gives you side access on both sides, so you can immediately grab your camera at a moment’s notice.

See our full, in-depth review of the Wandrd Duo Daypack.

A travel photographer with a lightweight camera and bag sizing up a glacier landscape composition
 (iStock)
 

Conclusion: The Best Lightweight Cameras

As we’ve proven in this article, you don’t need a heavy camera to produce excellent results. Plenty of incredible lightweight cameras deliver the goods for photographers and videographers. These cameras also give you more freedom to travel and experiment with different media.

The Nikon Z50 is our top lightweight camera. It’s a superb beginner-friendly mirrorless camera that’s affordable and compact. Despite its compact construction, it’s full of creative features. And it’s compatible with some of Nikon’s brilliant Z-series lenses.

Our Top 3 Choices for the Best Lightweight Cameras
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z50
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
Canon EOS R8
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II
Sony ZV-1 Mark II