Mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice for beginner photographers due to their electronic viewfinders, which allow you to see real-time changes to your image through the viewfinder. There is a wide range of options available at different price points and experience levels, making the transition from a smartphone to a dedicated camera more accessible than ever.
While it might be tempting to jump into a more advanced model, the good news for beginners is that any modern mirrorless camera will more than meet your needs. Choose a camera that fits your budget and is readily available, whether it’s new or used. This way, you can start capturing images and grasp the fundamentals of what constitutes a great photograph.
The best affordable mirrorless cameras offer a cost-effective way to enter an exciting camera system. We’ve selected the cameras in this list because we believe they provide real value for your money, allowing you to use and benefit from them for years to come. These cameras feature reasonably sized sensors and impressive megapixel counts, making them not only great budget options but also capable cameras in their own right.
Many of these cameras are also excellent choices for vlogging. As video content creation becomes more accessible, all of these models can shoot video, with many of them supporting 4K recording. If you’re interested in getting started with YouTube, filmmaking, or content creation on a budget, affordable mirrorless cameras are an ideal starting point.
It’s important to note that prices may fluctuate, especially for older models. However, all the cameras listed here are consistently available at prices significantly below the average cost of a mirrorless camera. When shopping for cheap mirrorless cameras, be sure to check whether the camera is sold as a “body only” or comes with a lens.
7 Affordable Mirrorless Cameras For Beginners
The Lumix GX9 by Panasonic offers fantastic value for your money. It suits newcomers to interchangeable lens cameras and travelers due to its compact size and weight. Notably, it features a built-in viewfinder and remarkable 5-axis dual image stabilization.
The GX9 performed admirably as an entry-level mirrorless camera. It achieved shooting speeds of up to 9fps in burst mode and delivered sharp images even at 1/8 sec, thanks to its effective image stabilization.
One of the standout features found in Panasonic cameras is the inclusion of 4K Video and 4K Photo Modes. The latter allows you to extract stills from video to capture the perfect moment. The GX9 comes with a standard 12-32mm lens, a solid choice for beginners. Moreover, the Micro Four Thirds mount offers a wide range of lens options, making it a camera you can truly grow with over time.
The Canon EOS R100 is one such affordable mirrorless camera worth considering. It may lack some advanced features, but it offers a decent entry point for photography enthusiasts.
Here are the key details:
- Camera Type: SLR-Style (resembling traditional DSLRs)
- Mirrorless: Yes (combines portability with versatility)
- Sensor Size: APS-C (providing good image quality)
The EOS R100 is a no-frills camera with a straightforward design, a fixed screen (no tilting or articulating display), minimal physical controls, and limited video capabilities.
However, its standout feature is the high-resolution APS-C sensor, which can capture impressive images. Additionally, it offers various user-friendly auto modes that make it an excellent choice for beginners. Even though it lacks the latest camera technology, if this camera fits your budget and encourages you to explore the world of photography, it’s a valuable entry into this creative art form.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II might not appear as a significant upgrade from the previous Canon EOS M50, and that’s because it isn’t. However, the changes introduced in this version are quite noteworthy. It’s evident that Canon paid attention to user feedback from the previous model, making this an attractive option, especially considering the reduced price.
One of the notable improvements is in autofocus. The camera now features eye detection in both stills and video modes, enhancing its capabilities. For videographers, there’s a clean HDMI output, which is ideal for streaming, and the option to shoot in a vertical orientation for social media content.
It’s important to highlight, as we did in our review, that the EOS M50 Mark II performs optimally when shooting in Full HD 1080p. Shooting in 4K mode results in a switch from dual-pixel AF to slower contrast-detect autofocus, not to mention a substantial 1.6x crop factor. For most purposes, Full HD provides more than sufficient quality. Additionally, with a 24.1 MP resolution and a 10 fps burst shooting rate, this camera offers a solid package overall.
4. Sony ZV-E10
The Sony ZV-E10 is a compact camera that may not introduce any groundbreaking features and even lacks some elements that photographers would appreciate. However, it’s a solid choice for novice vloggers.
It’s also suitable for capturing still images, but its design and features are well optimized for those interested in vlogging and video recording.
This camera is small, offers 4K video capabilities, boasts an impressive autofocus system, and features a vari-angle touchscreen that’s perfect for easy selfie photography.
The autofocus in this mirrorless camera includes real-time tracking, with the ability to track people’s eyes and faces, which is a common and valuable feature found in most modern cameras.
Moreover, the ZV-E10 can record 4K video at 30 frames per second and supports various professional settings, including S-Log3.
While it may lack built-in stabilization and exhibits noticeable rolling shutter effects, many vloggers and videographers consider the ZV-E10 to be a reliable workhorse.
The Canon EOS R50 is a compact mirrorless camera designed for beginners and priced under $1000.
While this camera is priced slightly higher than the R100 model mentioned earlier, it offers some notable advantages. The Canon R50 kit includes a single lens, providing an excellent entry point for beginners.
The R50 model features a 24MP APS-C sensor, an advanced DIGIC X processor, and a modern Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus system, indicating higher image quality and performance. Additionally, it boasts a fully articulated touchscreen, making it ideal for various shooting angles and selfie photography.
The camera offers a burst rate of up to 15 frames with an electronic shutter and up to 12 frames with a mechanical shutter, suitable for capturing fast-moving subjects such as sports or wildlife.
Other features include 4K uncropped video with phase detection autofocus at up to 30 frames per second, an absence of the 30-minute recording limit, and external microphone connectivity. For quality video recording, the EOS R50 is a preferable choice over the R100.
In summary, the Canon EOS R50 is a user-friendly, compact camera that simplifies photography and videography for beginners. It offers convenience and functionality, making it an excellent choice for those new to photography and videography.
6. Nikon Z30
The Nikon Z30 is an affordable mirrorless camera tailored for vlogging, priced under $800.
The Nikon Z30 shares a similar concept and specifications with the Sony ZV-E10, making it an ideal camera for vlogging purposes. While it can capture high-quality photos, its ergonomics and controls are primarily designed for video shooting. It offers features such as:
- A fully articulated screen for selfies
- Built-in stereo microphone
- No limit on video length
- USB power supply for extended recording
The camera can record video up to 4K at 30 fps without cropping, which is advantageous for post-production. The only limitation for still photography is the absence of an electronic viewfinder, which could be missed in bright sunlight conditions.
The camera excels in image quality, and its button layout aligns with the brand’s classic cameras. The APS-C format sensor with a 21-megapixel resolution, a substantial maximum continuous shooting speed of 11 fps (more than the Sony ZV-E10), and its attractive price point make it a compelling choice for emerging content creators and vloggers.
7. Sony A6400
The Sony A6400 is an exceptional mirrorless camera priced under $1000, offering versatility for both photos and videos.
The Sony A6400 is a highly versatile camera that excels in both photography and videography. Despite not being a brand-new model, it remains a powerful and relevant option in the market.
The camera’s capabilities have expanded through firmware updates, enhancing its performance. It features advanced autofocus, including eye-tracking for both humans and animals. The ability to record 4K video at up to 30 fps with professional profiles such as S-Log3, allows for high-quality video production.
In terms of photography, the A6400 offers a burst rate of up to 11 frames per second, making it suitable for various shooting scenarios. The camera’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for hybrid shooters, whether focused on stills or videos.
The camera’s control system is highly customizable, accommodating the preferences of both videographers and photographers. It offers a range of programmable buttons and alternative settings, with a touchscreen interface to aid in selecting the autofocus point.
While the camera’s advanced features can be intimidating for beginners, it is an ideal choice for those who are eager to learn, practice, and continuously improve their photography and videography skills. The kit version is recommended, allowing users to explore additional lenses for enhanced creativity.