Last Updated on 01/06/2019 by Mark Beckenbach
These Mirrorless cameras are feature packed, won’t break the bank, and will help you get your foot into the Mirrorless door.
2018 was a great year for Mirrorless cameras. With outstanding options from the likes of Canon, Sony, Fujifilm, and many more hitting the market, the world of Mirrorless cameras has become hard to ignore. If you’ve been on the fence about Mirrorless cameras, but think you may be ready to see if the grass is greener on the Mirrorless side, this round-up is for you. After the break we will take a look at four affordable, Mirrorless cameras that are setting the pace as we head into 2019.
The great news is that prices of Mirrorless cameras are falling. You can pick up APS-C and Full Frame Mirrorless cameras that not only out-perform many traditional DSLR’s, they’re also cheaper too! A good example of this is the Canon EOS R. The EOS R is about $700 cheaper than it’s DSLR brother, the EOS 5D Mk iV, and it offers more in the way of tech compared to it’s mirrored sibling. The Mirrorless cameras below may have been released in 2018 or earlier, but that doesn’t mean they won’t blow your socks off as we head into 2019; manufacturers will have a hard time really topping these. Check out the cameras below.
The Sony a6500 may have been released in 2016 but this rangefinder-styled camera is still one of the best APS-C Mirrorless cameras on the market. The A6500 proves you don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money to have access to some of the best technology available.
In our review we said:
“Its borrowed a few features from the a7II series of full-frame cameras, and now includes a more robust lens mount, a recessed grip for better handling, larger release button, and up to 10 customizable buttons. The new magnesium alloy body feels rock solid. It even gives the camera somewhat of a premium feel especially when compared to previous cameras in the lineup. This is meant to be a serious camera even pros will be proud to use on a daily basis”
The A6500 has a ton of tech packed inside its small body. You’ll have access to 425 autofocus points, a tilting touchscreen, 10 buttons that can be customized to your liking, and decent overall battery life (about 350 images per charge). The build quality is also outstanding. The magnesium alloy body will hold up to daily use easily and the weather sealing will protect it if you take it out into the elements. While the a6500 may be on the small side, it’s really nice to hold and use even for those with hands on the large size.
This Mirrorless camera also has Wi-Fi and NFC so that you can wirelessly share your images with a smartphone or tablet, outstanding 4K video performance, a gorgeous electronic viewfinder, excellent tracking abilities, an 11 frames per second burst mode, face and eye autofocus, and five axis in-body image stabilization. This camera is great for many genres of photography, from street to sports, and landscapes to portraits.
Image quality is fantastic. The 24.2 Megapixel APS-C sensor is capable of producing very detailed images with beautiful colors. Images up to ISO 6,400 look great. It can produce outstanding JPEGS and the RAW files are very versatile. Due to its size this camera is perfect for street photographers and documentarians. Pair it up with the Sony 20mm f2.8 prime lens, (which will be a 30mm equivalent) and you’ll have a pocket powerhouse of a camera. Thanks to the fast burst rate, and it’s outstanding tracking capabilities, the a6500 is great for wildlife and sport photographers too.
If you like the idea of buying into the Sony ecosystem the A6500 will serve you very well. It’s still one of the best APS-C Mirrorless cameras on the market despite it going into its third year. If you’re looking for a really affordable, tech packed Mirrorless camera to start off 2019 with, the Sony a6500 is a great choice.
Buy now ($1,098): Amazon
Sony A6500 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Whether you choose to go with a Full Frame or an APS-C based Mirrorless camera, you’ll need to keep it clean. Keep one of these camera cleaning kits in your bag so that you can take care of your new purchase. They even come with sensor cleaning swabs for APS-C or Full Frame sensors.
Sony A7 III
The Sony A7 III is one of the best ways to break into the world of Full Frame Mirrorless cameras. The A7 III is one of the most feature dense offerings on the market, and with a price point of under two grand it’s really hard to ignore. This camera, more than any other on the market, has made many photographers embrace Mirrorless technology, and for good reason.
In our review we said:
“During my testing with the Sony A7 III, I found the autofocus to be positively fantastic. The Sony A7 III, along with the Sony 55mm f1.8, were able to focus in near darkness.”
Sony calls the A7 III a basic Full Frame camera, but looking at the spec sheet it’s hard to see how that could possibly be the case. Going into 2019 it’s nice to know that entry level doesn’t mean bare bones. The A7 III features a Full Frame 24.2 Megapixel, back side illuminated sensor capable of firing off 10 frames per second. You’ll have 693 autofocus points to choose from, and you’ll be treated to some truly excellent tracking capabilities.
As with many cameras these days you’ll also find Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity, weather sealing, 4K video capabilities, a three-inch tilting touch screen, dual SD card slots, and five axis in-body image stabilization.
You can see from the above list that for under $2,000 you get a whole lot of camera for your money. Performance wise this camera raises the bar of what one can expect from an entry level camera. The autofocus system is one of the fastest around, image quality is outstanding, and low light performance is on par with its more expensive Full Frame brothers. The eye and face autofocus system that Sony cameras use is hands down the best on the market. Overall battery life is very good too for a Mirrorless body, with 700 shots being the norm on a single battery.
The build quality is also wonderful. The camera feels really nice in the hands, and all of the controls fall within easy reach. The A7 III is weather sealed too so you won’t have to worry when taking it out into the wind, rain, and snow.
The Sony A7 III is really Sony’s jack-of-all-trades camera. While it doesn’t do one thing outstandingly well, it does many things at a level that is more than good enough for working pros. It’s a great portrait camera thanks to the eye and face auto-detect, it’s dynamic range capabilities make it great for landscape photographers, and it’s fast autofocus system makes it great for those who like street photography. Pair this up with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and you will have a camera that can do it all with ease.
There is no doubt that the Sony A7 III is one of the best Full Frame Mirrorless cameras on the market. For just a hair under $2,000 you’re getting a camera with class leading features and excellent overall performance. It will serve you well into 2019 and beyond.
Buy now ($1,998): Amazon
Sony A7 III Image Samples
Pro Tip: One of the first things you should do when you get a new camera is replace the camera strap that comes with it. With an affordable camera sling you’ll be able to carry your camera around with much more comfort. Camera slings disperse the weight of your gear across your entire upper body instead of placing all the weight on your neck. This one is padded and very affordable.
The X-T3 is the newest kid on the block in the world of Fujifilm. The X-T3 builds on the massive success of its predecessor, the X-T2, and it firmly cements Fujifilm’s position in the Mirrorless market. This APS-C powerhouse is the perfect choice for those who want to join Team Fuji in 2019 thanks to its outstanding overall performance and gorgeous retro looks.
In our review we said:
“The Fujifilm X-T3 is a phenomenal camera, delivering significant improvements over the already impressive X-T2 in terms of autofocus and low light performance. While USD $1,499 is certainly a premium price tag, it’s actually cheaper than the X-T2 when it first launched, which retailed for an additional $100. The price tag is actually very reasonable when you consider everything Fujifilm has packed into the X-T3.”
The Fujifilm X-T3 sports a new 26.1 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor, and a new 4-core X-Processor imaging chip. With these combined upgrades you’ll find the X-T3 capable of producing some stunning images. You can rattle off eight frames per second with its mechanical shutter, 14 frames per second with the electronic shutter, and a whopping 30 frames per second in sports mode.
Images at ISO 6400 are virtually noise free, and images at ISO 12,800 are still very usable. 425 autofocus points cover almost 100 percent of the sensor, the five tracking modes work incredibly well, and face and eye autofocus makes taking portraits a piece of cake. There are two UHS II SD Card slots, and the three-inch tilting, pivoting touchscreen makes using and navigating the camera easy.
The camera is also capable of recording 4K video at 10 bit, 60 frames per second as well. The X-T3 is another jack-of-all-trades camera, but at no point does it compromise quality in any area. When you add a lens like the Fujifilm 56mm 1.2 (which is perfect for portrait photographers) you will be simply blown away by the images you can create, especially when you use the built in Fujfilm film simulations.
The build quality is outstanding, and the camera feels great to hold and use; its retro look and feel add to its charm. The top dials that control shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation are satisfying to use, and they let the user see what current settings are without even turning the camera on. You can setup the camera to operate like a more traditional camera too with thumb scroll wheels. There are 13 customizable buttons and touch screen gestures which allow you to get the camera setup to your liking. The weather sealing is excellent, the overall fit and finish is tight, and the controls are all placed well.
If you have been thinking about getting into Mirrorless cameras in 2019, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing APS-C based camera. It rivals many Full Frame offerings, and the lens selection is stellar. For under $1,500 the Fujifilm X-T3 is one of the best bargains in the photography world.
Buy now ($1,499): Amazon
Fujfilm X-T3 Image Samples
Pro Tip: It’s always wise to carry around spare SD cards. As amazing as they are, they can fail. Don’t go into a shoot with just one card. Keep extras on your person or in your camera bag at all times. This card from Samsung is U3 rated for fast transfers and high buffering cameras, and it’s very cheap.
Canon EOS R
The EOS R represents Canon’s first foray into the world of Mirrorless Cameras. While it shares many of the same technical specs as the Canon EOS 5D Mk iV it also adds some new technology into the mix as well. Thanks to its overall build quality, insane amounts of weather sealing, great image output, and good battery life, the EOS R offers photographers familiar with Canon cameras a great place to start in 2019.
In our review we said:
“The Canon EOS R camera is targeted at the semi-professional and high-end enthusiast and can be looked at as a bit of a fusion between the Canon 5D Mk IV and the Canon 6D Mk II stuffed into a Mirrorless camera body”
The Canon EOS R features a 30.3 Megapixel Full Frame sensor that is paired with Canon’s DIGIC 8 Image processor. This combination, along with Dual Pixel autofocus, 5,655 autofocus points, and an eight frames per second burst mode, allows the user to capture some really great images. The EOS R also features an innovative magic touch bar that lets the user swipe a finger to change settings, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3.69 million dot OLED viewfinder, a vari-angle touchscreen, the ability to shoot 4k video at 30 frames per second, eye and face autofocus, and USB C charging capabilities.
As you can see, the EOS R has not been left behind by the others in terms of features and technical specifications. The Canon EOS R is capable of producing some really beautiful pictures, with images up to ISO 6400 looking great. JPEGS straight out of the camera are excellent, and the RAW files are some of the most versatile we have seen from Canon in years.
From an ergonomics standpoint the EOS R is also fantastic with the camera feeling great in the hands. We would have liked to have seen a joystick to thumb through the copious focus points, and two card slots would have been great, but overall you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
The build quality is typical Canon, which means that the EOS R is built solidly. There are few other Mirrorless cameras on the market that boast such impressive weather sealing. We took the camera and the new 50mm F1.2 RF Mount lens into a major downpour, and not only were we able to capture some great images, the camera and lens combination didn’t miss a beat. The EOS R can also use any Canon EF and EF-S mount lens when you use their $99 adapter. This means that if you’re a current Canon shooter, the massive lens library you have amassed will work flawlessly with this camera.
There is no doubt that the EOS R from Canon is a great Mirrorless camera. Thanks to its great image quality, ease of use, and its ability to use one of the largest libraries of lenses on the planet with an affordable adapter, the Canon EOS R will help you start your 2019 photographic journey off on the right foot.
Buy now ($2,299): Amazon
Canon EOS R Image Samples