Bang for Your Buck: 7 Cheap Mirrorless Cameras for First Time Buyers

These feature-packed yet affordable Mirrorless cameras are perfect for the first time buyer, hobbyist, or those who need a solid second body.

Buying your first camera can be a daunting experience. The camera market is filled with a whole host of option these days. Honestly, it can be a real pain figuring out what Mirrorless cameras are worth taking a look at; that’s where this roundup comes into play. If you’re looking for your first camera, or need a second body to compliment your existing setup, check out these seven feature-packed Mirrorless cameras that are under $1,000 each.

Affordable Mirrorless cameras are nothing to laugh at anymore. All of these options are bursting at the seams with technology and features that would only have been found in top-tier cameras a few years ago. Today, you can get cameras that feature full-frame sensors, IBIS, eye autofocus, and 4K recording capabilities for under a grand. The sensors in them are capable of capturing gorgeous images with excellent dynamic range too. If you’re looking for your first Mirrorless camera, or need another camera as a backup, these are the ones you should take a look at.

 

Olympus OMD EM10 Mk II

 

lightweight mirrorless cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful wink and a nod to the retro ergonomics
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Good image quality, but the Micro Four Thirds sensors currently used by Olympus are starting to show their age
  • Fast AF
  • AF selection pad using the LCD screen is freakin’ brilliant!
  • S-OVF’s effects were simulated easily with some tweaks to previous cameras. It’s nice that they made it more simplistic and put into one setting.
  • Not a single misfocus during our testing even in very low light conditions
  • Olympus by far leads the way when it comes to ergonomics in the mirrorless camera world. This camera is evidence of that fact.

Cons

  • Image quality is still great, but it’s starting to show its age vs. APS-C sensors
  • We wish the dials would have been created with a higher quality metal

Buy now ($449): Adorama

 

Canon EOS M50 (Canon EF-M)

 

eos m50

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Nice feeling in the hand.
  • Absolutely fantastic battery life
  • Canon’s colors are really nice, and we’ve come to think of this sensor sort of like shooting with slide film
  • Autofocus is pretty good, but we wouldn’t use it for street photography
  • We finally got 4K video
  • There’s a silent shutter mode, finally
  • Big LCD screen
  • Canon’s menus continue to be the easiest to go through
  • Canon’s monochrome images are really nice

Cons

  • This camera deserves to be bundled with a nice wrist strap
  • Image quality breaks up basically as soon as you edit.
  • Who the hell thought of putting the silent shutter mode in its own dedicated camera mode and robbing the photographer of all traditional exposure control?
  • Silent shutter mode should be a drive mode option
  • High ISO is barely usable above ISO 3200

Buy now ($629): Adorama

 

Sony a6400

 

mirrorless cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Compact & lightweight
  • Fast & accurate autofocus
  • Excellent image quality
  • 11 FPS continuous shooting with AF & AE tracking (mechanical shutter only)
  • Improved Real-time Eye AF
  • Real-time Tracking
  • Real-time Animal Eye AF
  • 4K video recording without 30-minute limit
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Lacks in-body image stabilization
  • External battery charger not included
  • Single SD card slot with support for only up to UHS-I speed cards
  • The rear screen flips up into where the hot shoe is located and becomes essentially useless if you’ve got any attachments mounted onto the camera

Buy now ($898): Adorama

 

Pro Tip: If you’re looking at this list and are a first-time camera buyer new to photography, we know things can seem a little daunting. There are so many options out there on the market, and there are so many things to remember when it comes to photography. But fear not: help can be found. This excellent guide, which is called The Fundamentals of Photography, will walk you through everything you need to know about gear, settings, lighting, and so much more. If you’re stuck at square one, grab this guide.

 

Sony A7 MK II

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Image stabilization is pretty effective
  • Improved grip, though there wasn’t much of a problem with the first
  • Improved battery life performance with the same batteries that every other Sony mirrorless camera uses
  • Better autofocusing than we’ve seen in previous versions in that it acquires a subject faster than before

Cons

  • Slow startup time
  • Not a whole host of differences from the a7

Buy now ($898): Adorama

 

Fujifilm X-T30

 

lightweight mirrorless cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid construction that we’ve come to expect and love about Fujifilm cameras
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Almost everything that made the X-T3 such a hit

Cons

  • Lacks in-body image stabilization & weather sealing
  • Rear touchscreen-only tilts up and down, unlike the X-T3 which also tilts to the right as well
  • Perhaps a tad too compact, particularly for photographers with larger hands
  • The new joystick is awkwardly placed on the rear of the camera body, making single-handed operation challenging and increases the risk of accidentally dropping the camera due to its diminutive size
  • Unremarkable battery life

Buy now ($899): Adorama

 

Ricoh GR III

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • We’re smitten with the JPEGs and the color profile simulations
  • Snap focus is nice
  • Sharp image quality
  • The small size of the camera
  • Good battery life if you leave the screen off
  • USB charging
  • Touchscreen
  • We’re okay with APS-C, it makes shooting street much easier
  • Image stabilization is nice

Cons

  • We don’t really care for the RAW files. You may as well just embrace the flaws of the otherwise unique image quality
  • Autofocus is slow: we’re not even sure why it’s there to begin with.
  • No weather sealing is a big problem.
  • This camera desperately needed a faster aperture lens. Otherwise, the sensor should have started at ISO 200.
  • Deep menus
  • No pop-up flash
  • Could have used a viewfinder

Buy now ($899.95): Adorama

 

Pro Tip: One thing we always talk a lot about is taking care of your gear. Whether you’re a first-time camera owner, or you have been shooting for years, it’s important to you give your equipment a good clean regularly. Give your gear a quick clean before you use it each time with a simple blower tool and a microfiber cloth, and then once a week take your camera and lenses out and show them some real love. You’ll find your equipment will last a lot longer and perform better when it is taken care of. You don’t need a big fancy cleaning kit: this one will do nicely.

 

Fujifilm X-H1

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • The best autofocus of any APS-C camera on the market
  • Film styles
  • 4K 24p 200MB/second video is fantastic
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty good battery life if you switch off all connectivity
  • Easiest setup and connection to a mobile phone that we’ve experienced
  • The top LCD screen is nice
  • Dual card slots
  • Versatile images
  • Fantastic EVF

Cons

  • Fujifilm Eterna is overrated
  • When Bluetooth is on in the background, it can drain battery life on top of the IBIS
  • The grip and the size overall make it difficult to reach the shutter dial
  • It’s very difficult or nearly impossible to reprogram the exposure functions due to how their lenses work
  • The vertical grip isn’t necessary really, but we see how and why folks would like it

Buy now ($999 w/grip): Adorama