Small Cameras Are a Big Deal (They’re Affordable Too)

Modern small cameras are feature-packed and very wallet-friendly.

Mirrorless cameras were supposed to be smaller and lighter than DSLRs. This was the major selling point of Mirrorless cameras in the beginning. A quick look at many cameras today shows how we’ve deviated from that vision. Still, there are some small Mirrorless cameras that are priced right and have a ton of features. If you long for a lightweight, high-quality camera that you can tote around, you have options. In this roundup, we will take a look at seven small cameras that will make you grin from ear to ear.

Captured with the Ricoh GR III

A few years ago, buying a small camera meant you would be sacrificing quality, features, and performance in exchange for a smaller price. Now, you can get small cameras that offer many features found in more expensive pro bodies, and the small prices have been kept. For well under $1,000 you can find cameras with IBIS, speedy autofocus systems, fully articulating touchscreens, and much more. These small cameras can do it all and do it very well. Below, check out seven small cameras we champion that should be on your shopping list.

Small Cameras – Olympus EM10 IV

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small size and weight
  • Great image quality (albeit from a now 5-year-old sensor)
  • Excellent ergonomics for its size
  • Lovely retro looks
  • Fun and easy to use One-touch Panoramic and Live Comp modes
  • New autofocus algorithms have made a big impact
  • 5-axis image stabilization works like a charm

Cons

  • Battery life is not great
  • No weather sealing
  • Quite unbalanced when used with larger lenses
  • No touch menus and poor menus overall
  • Still only contrast AF

Buy now: $699

Small Cameras – Canon EOS M6 Mk II

Compact cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful colors
  • The sound of the shutter will appeal to long-time photographers
  • It feels like a solid, impressive camera
  • Canon’s implementation of the Touch and Drag AF system is the best it’s ever been with the Canon EOS M6 Mk II.
  • Pretty stellar battery life
  • You’ve got more megapickles than you need

Cons

  • We really wish it was weather sealed
  • An integrated viewfinder would have put this over the top

Buy now: $849

Small Cameras – Fujifilm X100V

Small cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Feels good in the hand
  • Focuses quickly but the all wide tracking needs a revamp
  • Beautiful overall
  • We like this new ISO dial
  • So simple to use
  • Image quality is nice so far
  • Built-in ND filter option
  • With the right tweaks, the autofocus can be very good for street
  • We’re finding autofocus with the OVF to be faster than with the EVF
  • Touchscreen focusing is wonderful

Cons

  • Battery life drains too fast
  • Could use a leatherette grip and not this plastic fantastic stuff
  • Exposure compensation dial needs a lock button
  • Touchscreen menu is needed
  • Maybe even a few more Fn buttons
  • Viewfinder diopter adjustment doesn’t lock
  • When you set the camera to viewfinder only for shooting, and LCD for playback, the menu system works only in the viewfinder.
  • LCD needs to adapt to lighting automatically
  • Autofocus suffers in very low lighting and in zone setting

Buy now: $1,399

Captured with the Sony a6100

A lot of the small cameras on this list boast eye autofocus. This is a great feature, but don’t use it as a crutch. We always recommend that photographers grow their skills so they can capture images without the use of AI. There are many excellent guides out there, but this one will help you get more out of your camera. Best of all, it will help you grow as a photographer.

Small Cameras – Ricoh GR III

Small cameras

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
  • Autofocus is very slow
  • No weather sealing is a big problem.
  • This camera desperately needed a faster aperture lens
  • Deep menus
  • No pop-up flash
  • Could have used a viewfinder, but we’re not crying about this
  • Lots of folks have been having issues with firmware updates

Buy now: $896.95

Small Cameras – Fujifilm X-T30

Small cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

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

Cons

  • Lacks in-body image stabilization and weather sealing
  • Rear touchscreen-only tilts up and down
  • Perhaps a tad too compact
  • The new joystick is awkwardly placed on the rear of the camera body
  • Unremarkable battery life

Buy now: $899

Small Cameras – Sony a6100

Small cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small and very light
  • Autofocus system is beyond fast
  • 11 frames per second burst mode and 425 AF points
  • Real-time Eye AF and Animal Eye AF
  • Great tracking capabilities
  • Very Good overall image quality
  • Decent battery life
  • Flip-up screen for selfies
  • The splash screens that tell new photographers what each mode does is a nice touch

Cons

  • The EVF and LCD are low quality
  • No weather sealing: you’ll be seeing a lot of dust spots
  • The layout of the controls should be simplified
  • The menu system is still convoluted. Simplify, Sony! Simplify
  • You still cannot use the touchscreen to navigate the menus
  • Only 1/4000s max shutter speed
  • The camera desperately needs a shutter speed dial on the grip
  • Just one UHS-1 card slot
  • The camera slows down a lot when writing files to the SD card after a burst
  • A USB 2.0 port. What year is this? Come on Sony
  • No included dedicated charger, just a USB cable and a wall outlet brick that you use to charge the battery while in the camera

Buy now: $699.98

Handheld long exposures are easy with the Olympus EM10 IV

Many of these small cameras contain cutting edge technology. Make sure you spend time comparing their features and pick one that will help you create images you’ll love. One thing all of these small cameras have in common: they will get dirty. Make sure you keep an affordable camera cleaning kit with you. There’s nothing worse than getting home to find your images are ruined because of a dirty lens. Clean as you go. This one has all you need for less than $15.

Small Cameras – Fujifilm X-T200

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • A beautiful, elegant design which mixes old and new elements
  • Outstanding image quality
  • Versatile RAW files
  • Excellent high ISO performance
  • You can shoot JPEGS all day long and will be nothing but happy
  • The touchscreen and touch controls are some of the best on any camera (they’re really that good)
  • The high-resolution LCD is also a full flippy screen
  • The Fujifilm X-T200 has good battery life
  • Lots of 4K video options for those that need it

Cons

  • Only one UHS-1 SD card slot
  • No Acros film simulation due to no X-Trans sensor
  • A few focusing issues, but nothing crazy
  • The touchscreen is a little too sensitive
  • The buffer fills quickly due to the speed of the UHS-1 cards
  • The camera is unusable for over a minute while the buffer clears
  • Shutter maxes out at 1/4000 sec

Buy now: $699