Smartphones nowadays can take some quality photos, but they lack the real framing and clarity of a proper camera. The problem is that most cameras are expensive, bulky, and difficult to use. The classic DSLR is being phased out, as photography becomes a more accessible hobby.
Mirrorless cameras are sleek and compact, without sacrificing image quality. Until recently, they’ve also had a hefty price tag attached, putting them out of reach of many budding photographers.
But now is actually the perfect time to buy a mirrorless camera. Every brand seems to be expanding the range, meaning you can get a pretty good camera at a fairly decent price.
The only problem is just how many there are. Our guide has done the hard work for you, to find the best 5 mirrorless cameras for under $1000.
Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000 – Comparison Table
The Olympus isn’t the most complicated of cameras, but in many ways that works in its favor. If you’re after a mirrorless camera with high quality images, then the Olympus is an affordable option that won’t let you down.
For beginner photographers, the Olympus might be one of the best options out there. It’s compact and lightweight, with a deep grip that makes it easy to hold.
Navigation on the touch screen is intuitive, with 28 specialized scene modes. This allows the user to experiment shooting under different conditions, without having to struggle through complicated settings.
The 20.3 MP sensor, combined with in-body stabilization, creates clear images even at slower shutter speeds.
There are a few areas where the lack of features become clear. 121-point contrast detection autofocus isn’t fantastic, but it’s good enough.
Recording is also lacking, making it a camera for photographers rather than recorders. The 4k video and 5-axis image stabilization presents some fantastic moving images, but the lack of microphone jack means audio is poor. Vloggers are better off looking for a different camera.
Budding photographers, proficient selfie takers, and those who love to share will find much to enjoy with this camera.
The flip down screen creates high quality, focused images. Scene modes and filters ensure an attractive finish, and a Bluetooth connection makes for easy image sharing.
28 scene modes – Easy image capture in all kinds of situations, with no struggling through awkward customizations.
1lb – Compact and lightweight, so easy to carry.
20.3 MP – Consistently good images.
No microphone output – Bad for vloggers, who will need to record quality audio separately.
Lack of customization – Experienced photographers will miss the customizable features.
Canon are very well-known for their DSLR cameras, which have almost dominated the market for years. They also create some wonderful mirrorless cameras, including the EOS M50.
When the Canon released the EOS M50, it quickly gained popularity, even if it didn’t quite set the world alight. The image quality is decent, it’s lightweight and portable, and the flip out screen makes it easy for vlogging and recording.
Beginners will find it easy to use, and there are enough customizable features to keep more experienced photographers happy.
In terms of image quality, things are pretty good – certainly for the price. A 24.1 MP CMOS sensor is combined with a DIGIC 8 image processor, for clear and detailed images even in low light.
The color is fantastic, and the pictures are dynamic. The DIGIC 8 also combines with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF, for consistent clear and crisp images.
The biggest downside is the 4K video, which is limited by pixel crop. The quality is low, and the stabilization is even worse. If you want to shoot quality videos on the go, then this isn’t the camera to use.
But the autofocus is good, with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF, combining with eye detection AF, and AF tracking, for consistent focus.
There is another option from Canon that is the better camera, but that comes at a higher price. The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is one of the best mirrorless cameras out there, but it does tend to cost more than $1000. If you aren’t sticking to a tight budget, it’s worth considering.
Vari-angle LCD Touchscreen – Vloggers will enjoy the flip out screen that allows them to focus and frame while recording.
24.1 MP CMOS Sensor – Clarity in images, even in poor lighting.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF – Consistent autofocus quality.
4K Video – Pixel cropping and poor stabilization makes video recording less than ideal.
It’s the image quality of the Fujifilm X-T200 that makes it stand out from the pack. Fujifilm are known for creating cameras that have top-notch image quality, and they’ve once again delivered with the T200.
This is a great camera for both beginners and photographers with some experience. The 20 advanced filters, including the Clear filter, help to create personalized images that react to situations and lighting.
If you aren’t used to using a camera, it’s easy enough to point and shoot, and still create good photos. For those with experience, there’s enough control over features to really nail that perfect shot.
The 3.5 inch touchscreen and built in viewfinder also makes it incredibly simple to use.
Transitioning between setting up your shot and taking your shot is smooth and intuitive, so you can react easily to changing situations. There is also a flexible fold out screen, for vloggers and selfie takers.
The thing that lets this camera down is the autofocus. When taking quick shots, it can fail to keep up, making it a poor choice for action photography.
And while the 4K video is fantastic, the tracking focus doesn’t work in video mode. That can make videos hit-and-miss.
Perhaps not the most important factor, but this is also a camera that looks good. The Fujifilm retro body has such a classic look, that it’s the kind of camera you’ll want to bring everywhere you go.
Luckily, it’s also small and portable enough that you really can take it out and about.
Customization – Easy to use, but also with the capability for customizing.
3.5” touchscreen – An intuitive design, with smooth focus and shooting.
Design – It looks good, and it feels good in the hand.
AF Tracking – A lower quality tracking, which doesn’t work for videos.
Nikon knows what they’re doing with cameras, and you can feel the experience in the Z50. It’s just a good camera to hold and use, with a decent sized grip that’s comfortable in the hand. A great camera for anyone looking for their first mirrorless camera.
Nikon has a lot of the basic features really sorted in the Z50. 20.9 MP sensor sits alongside an EXPEED D6 processor, for a stunning clarity of image.
This is lifted directly from the Nikon D500, so you can understand the kind of quality involved. The high resolution viewfinder and the tilting screen makes it easy to frame each shot, for the best photos possible.
The downside of the Nikon z50 is the tracking and focus, which is poor across certain modes. Eye detection doesn’t work when manually focusing, so you have to decide exactly which features you want to work with.
For static images, the focus is great, but it lacks when it comes to action shots. AF in video mode is also not available, although the 4K images are pretty good. In-lens vibration helps to reduce shake, and improve image quality at low lighting.
If you’re after a first mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z50 is a solid option. Literally, the construction is strong, even if it can feel slightly bulky.
It’s still transportable, and as it takes fantastic landscape photos it’s the perfect choice for hikers and walkers, looking to capture the scenery.
20.9 MP sensor – Stunning image clarity, even at low light.
Landscape photography – All the features combine to make this one of the best cameras for landscapes.
Larger grip – If you have bigger hands, this will feel good to hold.
AF Tracking – Tracking is lower quality, and doesn’t always work.
Many of the features you’re looking for in a mirrorless camera are those that are standard across cameras. Focus, clarity of image, tracking, and control are all these things that remain important in a mirrorless camera.
Autofocus is what stops you from taking horribly blurred photos when in pressure situations. Good autofocus tracks the subject, can find the eyes, and keeps up with movement.
Bad autofocus will focus on the wrong thing, or not focus at all. How much of a preset autofocus you require will depend on your own comfort with the camera.
Look for the ISO and MP numbers when buying a camera. These indicate the clarity of the photo that will be taken, even at lower light levels.
Image stabilization also comes into this, particularly if you’re taking video, or action shots. It can be difficult to understand image quality without actually using the camera.
If you can, have a look online for real images that have been taken using that camera. Even a poor shot should show you the clarity.
It may not be a feature that everyone cares about, but video is a pretty big part of the mirrorless camera. Vloggers especially will want to know about the quality of video recording. Look for 4K, which creates clear images, and watch out for pixel drop.
Similarly, vloggers will want to be aware of the headphone jack, and the input for a microphone.
One of the reasons for buying a mirrorless camera is that they don’t have the same weight as a DSLR, which makes them easier to carry around. Check the dimensions of any mirrorless camera, to see how easily they’ll fit in your bag.
Related to the weight, how the camera feels in your hand is important. Some have smaller grips, to complement the smaller size, which may mean it isn’t right for you. Other, larger cameras, may instead feel unwieldy to hold.
Some cameras are intuitive to use, while others take some getting used to. For a beginner, look for cameras with clear and simple displays. Those with more experience, or who don’t mind taking the time to learn, may prefer a camera with more options.
Sometimes, cameras just have a poor design. You go to focus, and the screen takes a photo. If you’re able to get to a shop, it’s worth holding the camera to see how well you can use it.
A viewfinder isn’t always standard with a mirrorless camera, because they’re designed to be compact. Instead, sometimes the screen will be the sole way of framing the shot, particularly in budget options. The viewfinder is a necessary feature if you’re serious about photography.
Some people will be perfectly happy with just pointing and shooting, where other photographers prefer to take control. Some cameras have a good balance of both. They’ll come with pre-set modes to get you used to the camera, but have the ability for customization as you advance.
Learning to control the specifications can be frustrating, but it does make you a better photographer. If you like to do it yourself, it’s very annoying to transition back to a pre-set camera.
One advantage that the mirrorless camera has over the DSLR is the sheer amount of brands who create them. Canon and Nikon tend to dominate the DSLR market, but many brands have released at least one mirrorless camera.
Buying from the known brands is a good idea. They tend to be at the cutting edge of technology, and come with a reassurance of quality. It’s also easier to get a good camera at a lower price when buying from a recognizable name.
What are you using it for?
The best mirrorless camera for vlogging isn’t the best mirrorless camera for wildlife photography. Before buying a mirrorless camera, consider the features you need, and what won’t be of much use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a mirrorless camera?
A mirrorless camera works similarly to a DSLR, but it doesn’t have the mirror that reflects the image into a viewfinder. That means you normally frame your subject using an electronic screen, or a built-in electronic viewfinder.
This makes them smaller cameras, but they still have a high quality image. You can also change lenses on a mirrorless camera, just as with a DSLR.
Why buy a mirrorless camera instead of a DSLR?
There are pros and cons to both designs, but the greatest feature of a mirrorless camera is the size. Without the mirror and viewfinder, they’re much more compact and transportable.
Mirrorless cameras are also released by a great range of brands and manufacturers, so there tends to be more choice at a wider price range.
Are cheaper mirrorless cameras any good?
You don’t have to pay over $1000 to get a decent mirrorless camera. The main thing to be aware of is the viewfinder. Very cheap options don’t include the viewfinder, making it difficult to take photos on sunny days. A cheap mirrorless camera will generally be of the same quality as an equivalently priced DSLR.
Last Updated on 2021-03-20 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates
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