Mirrorless cameras are quickly becoming the top choice for photographers and videographers who want a lightweight, compact system without sacrificing image quality. Sony’s mirrorless cameras are some of the best on the market, offering features typically found in bulkier DSLRs in a much more portable form factor.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the best lightweight Sony mirrorless camera kit for your needs, whether you’re focused on still photography, videography, or both.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Sony Mirrorless Camera Kit
There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a Sony mirrorless camera kit for lightweight use:
The camera body largely determines the image quality, video capabilities, performance, and physical size/portability of your kit. Some important specs to compare:
- Sensor size: Larger sensors generally produce better low light performance and more depth of field control. Sony full frame mirrorless cameras have 35mm sized sensors. Their APS-C models have smaller but still good 24.2MP sensors.
- Megapixels: Current Sony mirrorless camera range from 12MP to 61MP. Higher resolution allows for more cropping flexibility but comes with larger file sizes. 24-42MP is a good range for most photographers.
- Video resolution: Look for 4K 30fps minimum. Higher-end models offer 4K 60fps and 120fps slow motion in Full HD.
- Image stabilization: In-body 5-axis stabilization gives you up to 5.5 stops of anti-shake performance for crisp images and steady videos without a tripod.
- Autofocus system: Sony’s phase and contrast-detection hybrid AF is blazing fast with coverage across ~84-699 AF points.
- Form factor: Compact, slim camera bodies reduce size and weight. Some high-end models have robust weather sealing for outdoor shooting.
Lenses have a huge impact on image quality, versatility, size, and weight. Consider these factors:
- Focal lengths: Standard zooms (24-70mm) are versatile for everyday shooting. Wide angle zooms allow sweeping landscape shots. Telephotos zooms let you get close from afar. Prime lenses offer sharp results at fixed focal lengths.
- Aperture range: Faster lenses (lower f numbers) allow shallow depth of field and perform better in low light. Slower lenses are often more compact.
- Optical stabilization: OSS (Optical SteadyShot) lenses add anti-shake so you can shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds.
- Size/weight: Balancing performance with portability, compact prime lenses and collapsible zoom lenses sacrifice some image quality for light weight.
- Weather sealing: For outdoor/adventure photographers, weather sealed lenses stand up to splashes and dust.
The right accessories enhance the portability and capabilities of your kit:
- Camera bag: Look for a lightweight, compact bag or backpack designed specifically for mirrorless gear with slots, dividers, pockets for accessories.
- Extra batteries and charger: Pack at least one spare battery and an external charger for extended shooting life.
- Memory cards: Bring plenty of high speed SD cards with large storage capacity (64+ GB recommended).
- Compact tripod: To minimize weight, consider a tabletop or ultra-portable tripod that extends 12-18 inches.
- Remote shutter release: Reduce camera shake with a wired or wireless remote to trigger the shutter.
- Flash/LED light: A small external flash or LED video light can brighten dim scenes and fill in shadows.
Lightweight Sony Mirrorless Cameras Compared
The Sony a6400 is a feature-packed APS-C mirrorless camera in a portable form factor. With a 24MP sensor, oversampled 4K 30p video, 11fps continuous shooting, and best-in-class autofocus, it delivers outstanding image quality and performance well-suited to both stills and video.
Body: Compact and lightweight at just 14 oz, yet provides a comfortable grip along with weather sealing.
Video: Offers full pixel readout oversampled 4K up to 30fps and Full HD at 120fps for slow motion. Autofocus is fast and reliable when shooting video.
Photography: Shoots at up to 11fps with tracking autofocus across 425 phase/contrast-detection points covering 84% of the frame.
Displays: 180° tiltable touchscreen LCD makes it easy to shoot from creative angles. High resolution 0.39-in OLED EVF.
Cons: Buffer fills quickly during continuous shooting. Max shutter speed of 1/4000s may limit fast-lens potential. No IBIS.
Overall, the a6400 hits the sweet spot of portability, advanced autofocus, 4K video, and APS-C image quality at a reasonable price point.
The a6600 sits near the top of Sony’s APS-C lineup, adding in-body image stabilization (IBIS), bigger battery, and enhanced durability with moisture/dust resistance and magnesium alloy build. Still packed in a compact body weighing just 1 lb.
Body: Side flip-out touchscreen LCD can turn forward to face subjects when shooting selfies or vlogging.
Video: Adds headphone and mic ports for advanced video work. IBIS provides “Gimbal-like” stabilization.
Photography: 425 PDAF points with real-time tracking. IBIS provides up to 5 stops of anti-shake even with unstabilized lenses.
Battery: Up to 810 shots per charge (720 with EVF) from the high capacity NP-FZ100 battery.
Cons: At $1400 MSRP, it is pricier than other APS-C models. Still limited to 30fps 4K and 1/4000s max shutter speed.
With class-leading IBIS and larger battery in a ruggedized body, the a6600 is built for run-and-gun photography and videography.
The exciting Sony a7C packs the power of their full frame cameras into the world’s smallest and lightest full frame body. A perfect travel camera with excellent image quality.
Body: Extremely compact for a full frame mirrorless, nearly the same size as an APS-C body. Lightweight at just 18 oz.
Video: brillant 4K video up to 30fps, FHD slow-mo 120fps, flat picture profiles, clean HDMI out.
Photography: 24MP 35mm full frame sensor provides wide dynamic range and bokeh. 10fps continuous shooting. 696 phase-detection AF points.
Displays: Fully articulating rear LCD ideal for selfies or vlogging. 2.46m dot resolution electronic viewfinder.
Cons: Single UHS-I SD card slot. Some buttons are small. IBIS would be nice.
The innovative a7C puts the power of Sony’s renowned full frame cameras into a highly portable form factor perfect for travel and daily carry.
Sony a7 III
The Sony a7 III sets a benchmark for full frame mirrorless cameras with its combination of superb image quality, 4K video capture, fast shooting, and reliable performance.
Body: Lightweight compared to equivalent DSLRs while retaining good handling with weather-sealed magnesium alloy body.
Video: High bitrate 4K video up to 30fps with full pixel readout. S-Log profiles for advanced grading. Clean HDMI out.
Photography: 24MP BSI full frame sensor for detailed images. 10fps shooting. 693 phase-detection points cover 93% of frame. 5-axis in-body stabilization.
Battery: Up to 710 shots per charge with Sony’s Z series battery (610 with EVF).
Cons: Only one SD card slot. Menus can still be confusing.
A supremely capable do-everything full frame camera in a rugged yet portable body, the a7 III really shines for both photo and video needs.
Recommended Lenses for Lightweight Sony Kits
Let’s look at some standout E-mount lenses to pair with Sony’s APS-C and full frame mirrorless cameras in lightweight kits ideal for travel and everyday use.
Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ
This compact power zoom lens collapses to just 1.2” long for easy portability. With a versatile wide to portrait focal range plus optical stabilization, it’s a great everyday lens for APS-C or full frame. The powered zoom is convenient for video shooting.
Sony 20mm f/1.8 G
The fast f/1.8 aperture offers beautiful background blur and low light performance in a pancake style lens. On APS-C bodies it provides a 30mm equivalent wide angle field of view. Weighs just 8.4 oz.
Sony 24mm f/1.4 GM
This prime lens delivers outstanding sharpness across the frame even at f/1.4. Ideal for portraits, street photography, and astrophotography. Fairly compact at just 15.7 oz.
Sony 35mm f/1.8
A lightweight (4.9 oz) prime lens for APS-C or full frame. f/1.8 aperture helps isolate subjects with creamy bokeh. Quiet autofocus suits video.
Sony 50mm f/1.8
Nifty fifty (75mm equivalent on APS-C bodies) is a versatile focal length for portraits, street scenes, still life and more. Large f/1.8 maximum aperture creates nice background blur at just 7.9 oz total weight.
Best Accessories for a Lightweight Sony Mirrorless Kit
To round out your lightweight Sony setup, here are some accessory recommendations:
A bag designed for mirrorless gear will let you carry your kit safely while adding minimal bulk. Look for one that fits your body with 1-2 small lenses attached. Features like waist straps help distribute weight.
Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II – Durable, comfortable everyday backpack with space for a mirrorless body, 2-3 lenses, accessories. Easy side access.
Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 – Compact shoulder bag for one mirrorless body and small lenses. Slip-in straps convert to waist pack.
Carrying extra batteries in your camera bag lets you shoot longer when travelling or off the grid:
Sony NP-FZ100 – For a7 series full frame and a6600 cameras. Up to 720 shots per charge.
Sony NP-FW50 – Widely used battery for APS-C models like a6400. Up to ~400 shots per charge.
Stock up on high speed, high capacity SD cards rated for 4K video recording and continuous shooting:
Sony SF-G Series – Top pick specifically designed for Sony cameras. Up to 300MB/s write speeds.
SanDisk Extreme Pro – Reliable performance across photography and 4K/8K video. Up to 170MB/s speeds.
A compact tripod you can squeeze into a corner of your bag:
Joby GorillaPod SLR Zoom – The original flexible mini tripod perfect for Sony mirrorless kits. Wraps around objects. Includes ballhead.
Manfrotto Pocket Support – Clever push-pull leg design unpacks to 16.5 inches tall for tabletop shooting.
Reduce shake by triggering the shutter with a remote release:
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Sony RM-VPR1 – Wireless remote connects via Bluetooth. Can also start/stop video recording.
JJC Wired Shutter Release – Affordable manual cable release for standard wired remotes. Offers 2-stage shutter button.
Sample Sony Mirrorless Camera Kits
Here are some recommended Sony mirrorless bodies and lens kits optimized for compact size and light weight:
Sony a6400 Kit
- Sony a6400 camera – Advanced APS-C mirrorless model with excellent autofocus and 4K video
- Sony 16-50mm PZ lens – Retractable power zoom for general use
- Sony 50mm f/1.8 lens – Fast fifty lens for portraits
- Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II bag – Compact photo backpack
- 2x extra Sony NP-FW50 batteries – Extend shooting time off the charger
- 64GB Sony SF-G SD card – Fast enough for full resolution stills and 4K video
Total kit weight: Approximately 3.5 pounds
This setup gives you an ideal combination of everyday and portrait lenses plus extras for extended travel shooting with the compact a6400.
Sony a7C Kit
- Sony a7C camera – Super portable full frame mirrorless
- Sony FE 28-60mm kit lens – Retracting standard zoom, f/4-5.6
- Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 lens – Affordable fast prime for portraits and low light
- Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 bag – Light pack for camera and small lenses
- 2x Sony NP-FZ100 batteries – Power for 700+ shots from the full frame sensor
- 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card – Rated for RAW stills and 4K video
Total kit weight: Around 3 pounds
Take advantage of the full frame image quality and compact body of the a7C in this streamlined kit ideal for travel. The 50mm f/1.8 prime adds low light capabilities.
FAQs about Lightweight Sony Mirrorless Camera Kits
What are the benefits of a mirrorless camera over a DSLR?
Mirrorless cameras offer a lighter, more compact system by eliminating the optical viewfinder and mirror mechanism in a DSLR. Mirrorless keeps pace with DSLRs in terms of autofocus speed, image quality, and performance while packing these features into smaller camera bodies ideal for travel.
Are Sony lenses heavier than other brands?
Sony’s lenses tend to be comparable or lighter than competitor’s lenses with similar quality and specifications. By designing lenses specifically for mirrorless cameras, Sony has kept weight to a minimum while delivering outstanding sharpness.
Is an APS-C or full frame Sony camera better for traveling light?
For the absolute lightest kit, Sony’s APS-C mirrorless models like the a6400 and a6600 allow smaller lenses and accessories while still providing excellent quality. The a7C manages to bring full frame into a body nearly as compact as an APS-C camera for the ultimate combination of portability and image quality.
How many lenses should I bring when travelling?
A good lightweight Sony kit for travel will likely have 1-3 lenses to cover a range of focal lengths while keeping size and weight minimal. Consider a standard zoom like a 24-70mm plus a fast prime lens for portraits and low light like 35mm or 50mm.
Which lenses should I look for to maintain a compact kit?
Lightweight prime lenses like 35mm f/1.8, collapsible zoom lenses like the 16-50mm power zoom, and pancake lenses like 20mm f/1.8 are excellent choices. Third party lenses from Sigma and Tamron are also putting out compact primes and zooms for Sony.
Are Sony cameras good for hiking and outdoor activities?
Yes, many of Sony’s mirrorless cameras boast robust dust and moisture resistance, along with rugged magnesium alloy bodies that can handle the elements while travelling light on the trail or on other outdoor adventures. Pair them with weather-sealed lenses for ultimate protection.
Constructing a lightweight mirrorless kit means carefully considering your camera body, lens selection, and accessories. Sony’s impressive lineup of mirrorless cameras provides outstanding options across their APS-C line and full frame a7 series. Compact primes and collapsible zoom lenses keep kits portable without sacrificing quality. Fill any remaining space in your bag with spare batteries, memory cards, and a flexible travel tripod.
With Sony’s commitment to shrinking the camera while advancing capabilities, you can confidently build a robust mirrorless system capable of professional-grade photography and videography while maintaining a compact, lightweight setup perfect for travel and daily use.