If you’re looking to take photography seriously, then it’s likely that smartphones and compact cameras just won’t cut it anymore.
Why? For starters, they’re usually limited by small sensors and fixed lenses that don't offer the kind of next-level control that you need when taking your photography that little bit further.
So, what do you need? A mirrorless camera, of course!
Mirrorless cameras are just the ticket for taking your images to the next level, the only problem being the price.
In this guide, however, we've picked out the best mirrorless cameras that should fit your budget, won’t break the bank and hopefully won't be too confusing on how to decode them.
Mirrorless cameras are great investments in the long run as they utilize different types of lenses. Usually, they come with a general-purpose 3x ‘kit’ zoom lens which is perfect to get you up and running.
However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably find it beneficial to invest in some other types of mirrorless lenses including macro lenses, super-wide-angles and even some old lenses you already have lying around.
In this roundup, many of the mirrorless cameras we have selected feature APS-C sensors, but some of our favorites have slightly smaller Micro Four Thirds sensors.
All types of mirrorless cameras offer a significant step up to the quality that a smartphone or compact camera could ever offer, so any choice you decide to go for will be a wise one – but don’t worry too much about technical jargon just yet, we’ll cover everything you need to know in our buyer’s guide.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
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Though mirrorless cameras have been around for quite some time, it has only been in recent years that they have begun to gain a lot of popularity – with lots of professional photographers swapping their DSLR for a mirrorless alternative, but what sets them apart from other cameras in the market? Keep reading to find out:
Mirrorless cameras differ from other types of cameras as they have interchangeable lenses that allow for greater versatility when it comes to the types of images you can take.
When using a mirrorless camera, you’ll find that because there is no mirror inside the front of the sensor there is a very short focal flange distance (or the distance between the lens mount and sensor).
Thanks to this shorter distance, lenses that have a large focal flange length are compatible to be used with a mirrorless camera with an adapter. You can even use SLR lenses!
However, it is worth noting that if you do choose to use an adapter for some of your older lenses, you may find that you cannot use any autofocus which may be a problem for some professional photographers.
Of course, there’s a vast array of mirrorless lenses available to purchase on the market that will cater to your every need! It all comes down to what you are looking to get out of your photography work.
Many mirrorless cameras feature an APS-C sensor (which is what we like to class as a middleweight, falling in between a DSLR and standard click point and click camera) which makes them a lot lighter than DSLRS.
It’s worth considering what type of photography you are going to be taking, for example, if you plan on taking a lot of low light images then you may want to consider a full frame mirrorless camera as they will perform better in lower light.
If you want a camera to take around with you while travelling, a micro four thirds mirrorless camera will be a good choice as they will be a lot lighter, smaller and easy to transport.
Another feature you’ll find in mirrorless cameras are viewfinders. This feature allows you to see exactly what it is that the lens is seeing and, as mirrorless cameras do not have any mirrors to help steer the view of the viewfinder, many mirrorless cameras harness the help of an electronic viewfinder.
Just like everything else, there are both pros and cons to using an electronic viewfinder – and the advantages certainly outweigh the restrictions! One aspect that you may find a little frustrating is that there can be a lag between the moment something moves and what you see in the electronic viewfinder.
You may also find that the use of an electronic viewfinder drains your battery significantly. However, you will be able to enjoy the help of focus peaking which allows for real-time focusing that helps to determine critical sharpness when focusing manually.
Mirrorless cameras use contrast detection to help focus on a subject. Contrast detection works to measure the contrast between pixels on the sensor until it detects enough contrast in order to be able to find the image and focus in on it. The only downside is that you may find that it is more difficult to use in low light.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I pick a mirrorless camera?
One reason you might feel tempted to pick a mirorrless camera is because of how versatile it is. Generally speaking, when it comes to a DSLR, there’s only two main manufacturers that you can go to (Nikon and Canon) and their prices are usually pretty steep to say the least.
However, when it comes to mirrorless cameras, there are so many manufacturers offering great quality cameras at a variety of different price points! The great thing about this is that all of these different cameras each offer something individual and interesting to help them stand out from the rest, so you’ll find that each mirrorless camera from a reputable company can hold their own against the rest, meaning that you’ll be positively spoilt for choice.
With regards to our roundup, we’ve done our best to consider all types of mirrorless cameras at all types of price points in order to accommodate to every budget. Though these cheaper models might not be decked out with the latest and greatest, they will make a great choice that you won’t be disappointed in, especially if you’re a newbie.
However, with that being said, it might very well be worth investing in a more expensive option if you’re serious about photography as you’ll save more money in the long run.
What is the difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera?
Ok, here’s where things start to get a little technical.
On one hand, mirrorless cameras are similar to DSLR in the sense that they both allow you to swap and change lenses like on a DSLR. However, because the mirror that you normally find inside a DSLR has been removed, a mirrorless camera can be made much more compact – so oftentimes they are much more lightweight.
Like the name suggests, having no mirror means that instead of optical viewfinders to frame your subject, mirrorless cameras rely on electronic viewfinders.
Be aware, though, that most cheaper mirrorless cameras don't come with viewfinders at all – instead, you compose the photo on the rear screen, just as you do with most compact cameras or smartphones (which may cause issues with glare if placed in direct sunlight).
You'll find that mirrorless cameras are also known as compact system cameras (or CSCs for short), with models ranging from the simple to use beginner models to incredible full frame cameras with an array of different features and controls to choose from.
How much should I spend on a mirrorless camera?
Just because something may be a low price, doesn't necessarily mean that it is good value for money! If you find you quickly outgrow it and need to upgrade very soon, then you'll end up spending even more money.
Some of the cameras here might seem expensive to somebody buying their first camera, but we will have recommended them as something that should last you for many years to come – making them an excellent investment that will undoubtedly save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you want to take your love for photography a little bit further, we can absolutely assure you that you will not regret spending a little bit more in the beginning, because that means you won’t have to splash out any extra cash in a few months repairing or replacing.
Don’t get us wrong, cheaper cameras can certainly do a very good job, but it usually means that you have to lose out on innovative and helpful features and controls that will take your shots from good to incredible – so when considering a mirrorless camera make sure you consider the benefits of a more expensive option.
Put it this way: if you were to buy a cheaper mirrorless camera, you will likely find that an electronic viewfinder is missing, meaning that your shots will suffer as you won’t have the advantage of being able to see in realtime what your camera lens can see, especially on those sunny days when glare might be an issue.
Last Updated on 2020-08-09 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates