In this article, we are going to review the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars for everyone looking to enjoy the mirrorless experience without costing a fortune.
Cheap mirrorless cameras were hard to come by a few years ago. But – the latest advancements in technology and stiff competition between brands have considerably decreased their prices. Similarly, you can also find some older models for a very reasonable price. Several excellent mirrorless cameras are available under $1000 nowadays. All these models offer pristine image quality, durability, convenience, and affordability.
However, the cameras on our list are cheaper than their high-end counterparts for a reason. They lack some of the features and functions of premium cameras. Professionals or enthusiasts may find these cameras lacking in many aspects. These are entry-level or intermediate mirrorless cameras, designed basically for newcomers and semi-pros who don’t need fancy controls and frills. That is why they are immensely popular among beginners as well.
Top Mirrorless Cameras under $1000
The following are the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars in 2022. Our experts have chosen these models after extensive research and testing them against parameters like image performance, video resolution, durability, autofocus, image stabilization, sensor size, and ISO, etc.
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Canon EOS M50
Sony Alpha a6100
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Panasonic Lumix G7
OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Sony Alpha a6000
Sony Alpha a6400
Canon EOS RP
So, let us start with the first camera on our list.
1. Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera: Best Mirrorless Camera under 1000
Canon EOS M50 was the first mirrorless camera by Canon that give some competition to its excellent high-end DSLRs. The camera features plenty of rather advanced features. Although designed specifically for beginners yet it is equally popular among photography enthusiasts as well.
The camera comes with a 24.1 megapixel sensor, which is large enough for high-resolution photos and prints.
Perhaps the best feature of the camera is the 143-point autofocus system. You don’t normally find such a sophisticated AF in sub-1000 cameras. The Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus is not only quick but accurate as well. The 3-inch articulating LCD also enables photographers to use different touch gestures to focus the camera. Similarly, the camera has Eye Detect AF that focuses on subjects’ eyes while shooting. Even some of the more expensive models don’t have this feature.
EOS M50 delivers impressive video quality. It was the first Canon mirrorless camera to have 4K. However, it can also shoot in full HD 1080P at 60fps and 720P at 120fps. The video quality is excellent in all resolutions but videos are cropped in 4K.
The camera excels in low light thanks to the ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and the latest DIGIC 8 image process. It can compete with any comparable entry-level camera when it comes to low light performance.
EOS M50 is also incredibly small and compact. Weighing only 387 grams, it can easily fit in your pockets.
All in all, Canon EOS M50 is quite a capable camera with some impressive features and functions. It is an ideal camera for someone who wants to buy his first mirrorless camera.
2. Sony Alpha a6100: Best Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Wildlife Photography
Sony Alpha a6100 is not only affordable but a versatile mirrorless camera as well. Its 24.1 megapixel APS-C camera that delivers excellent autofocus performance and excellent image quality, at par with some of the higher-end cameras. Similarly, 4K video resolution is hard to find in this price range.
The camera feels a bit clunky in your hand but it is very easy to operate. Similarly, the compact and lightweight body means you can easily carry it wherever you go. The textured handgrip, balanced weight distribution, and well-spaced controls are some of the design highlights.
The continuous shooting speed of 11fps with continuous autofocus is simply marvelous. a6100 has the best-in-class autofocus with great subject tracking. It offers brilliant sensor coverage besides being so fast and accurate. It also has an eye-detect focus that helps wildlife photographers track animals’ eyes. The Sony a6100 is an ideal choice for sports, action, and wildlife photography for its exceptional autofocus.
A selfie-friendly flip-up touchscreen is quite impressive as well. The electronic viewfinder is average in quality, to say the least.
The areas where a6100 may disappoint you are the sizable crop and shake while shooting in 4K at 30fps. However, you don’t face the earlier problem at 24fps. Some people also argue that the camera is not the most engaging to use.
3. Canon EOS M50 Mark II: Most Affordable Mirrorless Camera for Videos
Available for less than $600, Canon EOS M50 Mark II is one of the cheapest mirrorless cameras on the market. Similarly, you can get a 15-45mm lens for just $100 more. It features a 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. The camera is compatible with compact Canon lenses thanks to the EF-M mount.
EOS M50 also comes with two kit lenses that extend the zoom range to 55-200mm. Still, you won’t have to pay more than $1000. It is one of the top mirrorless cameras for video on our list because of its features like YouTube streaming, wireless connectivity, HDMI out, and vertical video option.
The camera captures 720P videos at 120fps for super slow motion. However, it also records in High Definition 1080P and UHD 4K at 24p. However, you cannot use Dual Pixel autofocus while shooting in 4K.
When it comes to autofocus, the Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus offers a considerable improvement on its predecessor, the EOS M50. The AF is fast and accurate while the battery life has improved as well. The continuous shooting speed of 7fps enables you to keep abreast with action.
The biggest feature of the camera is 5-axis-in-body image stabilization. It helps you take great stills even in low light and makes it possible to record handheld videos without any shakes.
The camera does not have weather sealing but it is still a great choice for YouTubers and photography enthusiasts. It packs features like unique colors, Dual Pixel AF, and 7fps burst speed in a compact mirrorless body. Not to mention, it delivers image quality that can rival some of the more expensive cameras.
4. Fujifilm X-T30: Best Mirrorless Camera under $1000 2021
Fujifilm X-T30 is the cheaper version of the hugely popular Fujifilm X-T3. The latter was the best overall camera of 2018 that garnered immense popularity, especially because of its matchless image quality. The X-T30 offers some of the features of X-T3 in a more affordable package.
For example, the camera has the same X-Processor 4 quad-core CPU and 26.1 megapixels APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor. These techs combine with the hybrid autofocus to make the X-T30 deliver exceptional performance at a very low price.
Perhaps the standout feature of the retro-styled camera is the uncropped 4K video. You can also record videos through an external recorder via HDMI output. Similarly, it produces images of the highest quality at high ISOs.
The Fujifilm X-T30 also includes some useful color models including a wide array of classic “Film Simulations.”
The camera outclasses its competitors in terms of continuous shooting speed. It captures stills at 8fps and 20fps with mechanical and electronic shutters respectively. It even has a 30fps burst that produces 16MP pictures with a 1.25x crop.
The major complaints regarding the camera are less than optimal ergonomics, lack of weather sealing, and rather poor build quality. Similarly, it is a real challenge to record handheld videos without IBIS.
5. Panasonic LUMIX G7: Best Camera for Light Travel
Panasonic Lumix G7 is the more affordable version of the pricier Panasonic GH4. However, G7 inherits almost all of its functions and features in a more compact and lightweight body.
The camera comes with a 16 megapixel MOS sensor, hybrid autofocus, and a host of other features that make it quite a capable camera despite the low price tag.
For example, G7 has an articulating touchscreen, slow motion HD video, 4K video, 4K photo, and time-lapse function. It has 3 4K modes that are 4K burst for continuous shooting, 4K burst S/S for starting and stopping the burst, and 4K Pre-Burst for setting 1 second before shutter release for 60 frames.
Similarly, the Post Focus features enable you to set focus points after taking the picture. The camera has accessories like built-in flash, microphone input, and wireless connectivity through Wi-Fi.
The greatest attribute of the camera is the Depth from Defocus autofocus technology. It delivers exceptional focusing performance even at high ISOs or low light. It is the best point-to-point focus you can get at this price.
The battery life is reasonable, taking 360 shots on a single charge. The touchscreen allows menu navigation and touch focusing. The high visibility viewfinder, intuitive controls, focus peaking, silent shooting, and Starlight AF are some of its other notable features.
6. OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: One of the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Intermediates
OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a versatile and very simple camera to use. It is a worthy successor of the E-M10 Mark III, one of the best intermediate mirrorless cameras at the moment.
E-M10 Mark IV is a Micro Four Thirds camera with 20.3 megapixels Live MOS sensor. It is also a very compact and lightweight model, weighing only 13.5 ounces even with the battery. It is easier to hold because of its improved grip as well.
The 3-inch tilting touchscreen offers a myriad of camera angles, something you don’t expect in budget cameras. Now, it is even easier to take selfies and shoot waist-level stills.
The camera produces sharper images with the help of face and eye-detecting autofocus. You can also see the full-frame even at the highest resolution using the OLED viewfinder.
Photographers also love this camera for its manual dial controls. However, the controls are somewhat cramped for some.
The 5-axis in-body image stabilization offers compensation for camera shakes for up to 4.5 stops.
What separates E-M10 Mark IV from the rest is the 28 camera modes. Some of these modes such as silent shooting, live composite, multiple exposures, HDR, autofocus bracketing, automatic exposure bracketing, and even digital shift are unique to E-M10 Mark IV.
The burst rate of a whopping 15fps, the built-in pop-up flash, and the 4K video capture at 30fps are some of the other highlights of the camera.
7. Sony Alpha a6000: Best Camera under 1000 for Professionals
Sony Alpha a6000 needs no introduction. It is a legendary mirrorless camera with features that are still relevant today. For example, it has an advanced 24.2 backlit 35mm full-frame image sensor. The ISO range of 100-25600 (expendable to 51200) ensures superb low light performance as well.
The camera has 179-point hybrid phase detection autofocus with 25 contrast detect points. No other mirrorless camera in this price range offers such advanced autofocus. Similarly, the continuous shooting speed of 11fps means you would rarely miss the action while shooting. The 1200-zone evaluative metering also delivers sharper images.
The final images are stunning thanks to the BIONZ X image processor that reproduces details and textures in real-time. The OLED viewfinder also helps you capture what you see.
Sony Alpha a6000 has a reasonably long battery life, offering 360 shots after one charge. It has an ultrasonic vibration mechanism with a charge protection coating on an optical filter. It is dustproof as well.
The a6100 is a compact and lightweight camera with E-mount and interchangeable lens, making it an extremely versatile model. The Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options enable you to instantly share your images with your smartphone.
All in all, the Sony Alpha a6000 is one of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000. It offers all the above features for just over $600, making it a great choice for both novices and professionals alike.
8. Nikon Z50 Compact Camera: Affordable Compact Mirrorless Camera
Nikon produces premium and some of the most comfortable mirrorless cameras and Nikon Z50 is no exception. It was the first ever mirrorless camera by the Nikon but it still enjoys massive popularity and sees widespread use.
The 20.9 megapixel APS-C DX sensor cannot compete with cameras with higher resolutions. However, it is more than enough for most users, especially those looking to transit from DSLR to a mirrorless camera. Nikon Z50 has the same EXPEED 6 image processor and sensor as the flagship D500. Therefore, you can get the highest image quality, especially while shooting in RAW and low light.
The 11fps continuous shooting speed combine with 209 phase detect points autofocus to generate extremely sharp, detailed, and crispy images. The autofocus is ideal for capturing landscapes and portraits but phase-detection is only available in Auto mode. Therefore, you have to give up phase detection if you wish to adjust autofocus manually.
The camera is also great for vlogging thanks to the tilting touchscreen. Similarly, the camera records high quality videos in 4K at 30fps and 1080P at 120fps. There are zebra warning and focus speaking modes as well as a mic input.
Nikon Z50 is a wonderful video and travel camera. It could have become the best mirrorless under 1000 dollars if not for the lack of image stabilization.
9. Sony Alpha a6400: Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000 For Travel
Sony Alpha a6400 is one of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars to choose from. It has a well-built portable design with versatile performance in general. You can easily carry the compact and lightweight camera anywhere you go.
The camera features a flip-out screen for taking selfies and vlogging. Similarly, it has a microphone input and other accessories for videography as well.
The 24.2 megapixel sensor helps you take stunning photos. The images produced by a6400 are free of noise, detailed, and sharp even if taken in low light or at high ISO levels. The 11fps continuous shooting speed is also quite impressive.
The 4D autofocus is terrific and can easily track fast-moving objects such as wildlife and racing cars in as little as 0.2 seconds. It also has 425 phase and 425 contrast detection autofocus points as well. The advanced real-time eye autofocus tracks eyes in real time, resulting in improved speed and accuracy.
The camera can record in both 1080P and 4K without compromising quality in any format. Similarly, the fast hybrid autofocus delivers a similar performance while recording fast moving objects or shooting stills.
The camera is not ideal for shooting videos while walking or running because it has considerable shakes in 4K recording.
The glaring omission from the camera is image stabilization, making it difficult to take and record handheld images and videos.
10. Canon EOS RP: Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera under $1000
Available for $999, Canon EOS RP Full-Frame Camera just squeaks in under our price range. It is a compact mirrorless camera with a 26.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. It has the highest resolution among all the cheap mirrorless cameras we have tested. Similarly, there are only a few full-frame mirrorless cameras available for less than $1000.
The full-frame sensor enables you to capture wonderful landscapes and street photographs by offering a great field of view. Similarly, you can also create extremely smooth and buttery bokeh. Another advantage of a full-frame sensor is the low noise levels at high ISOs. As a result, the indoor and studio photography considerably improves as well.
The camera has an expandable ISO range of 100-102400 and a DIGIC 8 image processor, the same as Canon EOS M50 Mark II. Therefore, the overall image performance is second to none.
Canon EOS RP is compatible with Canon’s professional L-series lenses thanks to the RF lens mount. It also records in UHD 4K and Full HD 1080P.
The Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus delivers same performance as costlier Canon models. However, it is not available in 4K. The 5fps continuous shooting speed is also disappointing while image stabilization is a major omission.
Best Mirrorless Camera under $1000 Buying Guide
Finding the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars can be a tricky task. Firstly, you don’t have too many options to choose from. Secondly, not all the cameras are created equal and the same is the case here. Some of them may fall under your budget but they may not have the required features and functions. However, you need to keep a few things in mind while shopping for a cheap mirrorless model.
It is the size of the sensor, not the megapixels that determine the image quality. You can easily find all sensor sizes under thousand dollars but most cameras would have APS-C sensors. You need to go for a full-frame or APS-C sensor if you give top value to image quality.
The camera should have terrific autofocus such as Dual Pixel CMOS in Canon or Depth from Defocus in Panasonic cameras. Similarly, continuous autofocus is necessary for high video quality. Keep in mind that not every camera has such advanced autofocuses that rarely lose subjects or fail to track them. Similarly, not many cameras have eye or face detection features to improve autofocus accuracy. Therefore, you need to determine whether or not you need all these things before buying a camera.
A microphone input is a must if you want to record videos. It enables you to connect an external microphone, considerably improving audio quality besides making your videos look professional.
The quality of video largely depends on the camera’s resolution. Modern cameras are coming with higher resolutions and frame rates. However, what you need to look for in a camera is 4K. The High Definition 1080P also offers good quality but you will lag behind other people who are already using 4K. 4K resolution is quickly becoming the norm. Cameras are actually moving towards 5K now. Therefore, you need to have a camera with 4K resolution if videography is your bread and butter.
The best mirrorless cameras under 1000 usually have higher frame rates such as 4K at 24fps or 30fps. The 24fps is the same as the Hollywood movies while you can capture fast action easily in 30fps. However, 4K at 24fps is more than enough for most users.
Image stabilization is essential for both stills and videos, especially if you often shoot in low light. Some cameras have built-in image optical stabilization while others have electronic stabilization. Some cameras don’t have any kind of stabilization at all. Image stabilization stabilizes the camera to produce smooth, crisp, and sharp images free of blurs. It also enables you to shoot at slower shutter speeds without compromising image quality or using tripod.
Wireless connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can save your day if you want to share images and videos with your friends or your smartphone. Some cameras also allow you to share directly on the social media.
Ease of Use
Most budget mirrorless cameras for professionals are fairly easy to use. Some cameras do have overwhelmingly advanced features for beginners though. We recommend starting with a beginner-friendly model available for around $500. It will help you learn the basics and then upgrade to a more advanced camera.
Concluding our guide to the best mirrorless cameras under 1000, we must say that beginners should consider lightweight and simple cameras like Fujifilm X-T30 and Canon EOS M50. You must go for Sony models as well as cameras like Canon EOS RP and Nikon Z50 if you want the best image quality and fast autofocus.
Ultimately, you have to understand your requirements and cameras limitation for choosing the best model. It will help you pick the camera that ticks all the right boxes for you.