In today’s world, everything is getting faster, lighter, and smaller. This is why, when we’re talking about cameras, mirrorless cameras are the name of the game. If you’re looking for the best mirrorless camera under $1000, you’ve stumbled onto the perfect buyers’ guide as we’re about to introduce you to the best picks within your budget.
Many DSLRs are now considered to be bulky and outdated. This is why brands like Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, and Sony have now started paying more attention to their lineup of mirrorless cameras. “Why?”, you ask?
Well, to put it simply, mirrorless cameras offer the advantage of video features, portability, and quick autofocus. This is why mirrorless cameras, or more specifically, intermediate-level models are so popular. Still, this niche of cameras, especially within the $1000 range, is rather crowded and this is why we’re going to offer you our expertise.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Look For in the Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000
- #1: Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Best Value)
- #2: Panasonic LUMIX G7KS 4K Mirrorless Camera (Best All-Purpose)
- #3: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Best Zoom Lens)
- #4: Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Mirrorless Camera (Best Image Stabilization)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Verdict: Your Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000
What Should You Look For in the Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000?
Before we can spill onto the best mirrorless cameras for under $1000, we’re going to give you a crash course on how to spot the best from amid thousands of beautifully designed models. Keep reading and you will find a comprehensive guide that outlines all the important features you need to consider before making a decision.
Also, this list isn’t really ordered according to the importance of these features and you should know that each photographer has slightly different needs for their unique projects and shooting styles. This is why you can use the following general guidelines to make an informed decision:
Criteria #1: Sensor Size
You can easily find cameras within this price range that have a large variety of sensor sizes. Generally speaking, their sensors will range anywhere from 1/2.3 inches to an APS-C-sized sensor.
Also, while a lot of people believe that megapixels are a key determinant of the quality of an image, in reality, the size of a camera’s sensor makes a ton of difference. Therefore, if you value image quality, then a 1-inch equipped or APS-C-sized sensor is the way to go.
Criteria #2: Video Resolution
A camera’s recording resolution helps determine its video quality. Thankfully enough, in today’s market, you’ll find a long list of ever-increasing resolutions and frame rates in highly capable models. However, when it comes to capturing videos, 4K is considered to be the golden standard.
However, if you pick a model that offers 1080p footage alone, it may already fall behind slightly in comparison to its alternatives. This is because of the fact that 4K uploading is expected to become the norm very soon. If you agree to this statement and would like your work to be relevant in the near future, you should consider picking only those devices that offer 4K resolution.
Criteria #3: Frame Rate
If you’re future-proofing your camera, you should also seriously consider its frame rate. Currently, the standard in the industry is 24 frames per second (FPS), and you’re bound to see this in most Hollywood films as well. 30 frames per second (or higher) with 4K video resolution will allow you to record fast-paced scenes and will also grant you the freedom to add slow-motion filters to your footage. However, 24 FPS and 4K resolution are quite sufficient even for the best of us.
Moreover, you should also know that there are many devices out there that set a time limit on their video recordings. This limit usually stands around 30 minutes or so and is set to prevent overheating. However, there are some brands that have limited 4K video recordings to just 5 to 15 minutes.
Therefore, it will be worth your time to double-check the time limit for recording in each model if you’re planning on recording long videos.
Criteria #4: Inputs
Since you’re planning on recording videos, you will probably also need a microphone input, so you will always have the option to connect external microphones. This functionality is a great investment in the long-term and a dedicated microphone input could substantially improve your projects’ video quality. Also, this input could give all your beginner-level footage a professional touch.
This is why you should keep a lookout for those cameras that have an external microphone input and those that provide this feature with the help of an adapter.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000
To find the best mirrorless camera under $1000, we weighed in all of the best specifications of the most popular products in the market. Also, we compared the specs of these products based on the list of considerations we mentioned above to see how well they did and whether they were worth buying.
After double-checking our research, we also checked out blog posts, customer reviews, and other reviewers’ posts about the best mirrorless camera under $500. Now that you know where we got our information from, it’s finally time to dip into our list of products
#1: Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Best Value)
It may be a tad bit old, but Sony’s A6000 has proven time and again that the most important features that we search for in cameras haven’t quite changed. The camera’s 24-megapixel sensor remains competitive in today’s industry as it was when it was originally launched.
Similarly, its burst mode at 11 FPS is rarely outranked even in today’s mirrorless cameras and even though Sony has improved their AF system in their A6XXX cameras, this particular model is pretty good on its own – perhaps better than you expected.
Sure, you wouldn’t have 4K video here, and the display and design may seem a little outdated, but other than these features, this is one camera that really exceeds your expectations.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: 24-Megapixel APS-C Sensor
The Sony Alpha a6000 comes equipped with a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, which was pretty cutting edge when it was initially introduced in 2014. In today’s market, only a couple of APS-C sensor cameras can beat this feature.
This image sensor comes with 179 phase detection and autofocus points as well as 25 contrast-detection points for its hybrid AF system.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Design
The A6000’s grip is very slightly pronounced, which makes it very easy to hold onto for long periods of time. Although, since it has a large lens like Sony’s 18-135mm f/3.5 – 5.6, the front side of the camera may start to feel a little heavy.
Besides this, the texture of the camera’s body feels really nice and the top of the camera has 2 dials. One is used to control its shooting mode (for instance, shifting from a semi-automatic or manual shooting mode to automatic). The other can be used to alter the camera’s aperture or shutter speed, but of course, this depends on which shooting mode you prefer.
#2: Panasonic LUMIX G7KS 4K Mirrorless Camera (Best All-Purpose)
We really like the Panasonic Lumix. This camera has brought the company’s midrange category of family-oriented and enthusiast interchangeable lens models up to par. It did so with the help of features such as its ultra high definition 4K video and the brand’s latest image processing and autofocusing systems.
The inevitable result of all of these features is a lighter and smarter alternative to DSLR cameras. For its price range, the video and photo quality of this camera is pretty solid. You’ll especially agree with this statement if you were saving up for something a little better than kit lenses.
For a 4/3rds-sized sensor, the photos this camera can capture are definitely above average and it captures very accurate colors. Also, its JPEG photos remain very detailed in low light scenarios via its ISO 1600. If you were to process raw photos, you would be able to produce a lot more detail in these low-light photos.
Moreover, its 4K video footages look really good. Each video will be visibly more detailed and sharper than what you may have seen in HD cameras. Also, it is a lot easier to handle as compared to other devices.
Sure some people may think that the brighter corners of the photos are a little washed out, but besides this little flaw, the captures and low-light videos are pretty neat.
#3: Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Best Zoom Lens)
Canon’s EOS M50 can be described as an entry-level camera that has its own electronic viewfinder single control dial, fully articulated touchscreen, and even an APS-C24 MP sensor (which is also seen in all of its M-series siblings).
Other great features of this mirrorless camera include the brand’s latest DIGIC 8 processor, 4K/24p capturing, Dual Pixel AF coverage, 17x crop and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC coverage.
If you know your Canon mirrorless models, the EOS M50 is a viewfinder sporting and beefier M100 – which happens to be the brand’s most inexpensive M-mount camera. This is why this camera is likely to appeal to, more or less, the same target audience.
Furthermore, this camera is the first in its range to be able to automatically sync with your smartphone to send photos right after they are clicked and even the first camera in the M-series to have 4K recording. It is also worth noting here that the M50’s 4K feature comes with a bulky 1.7x crop. However, the Dual Pixel AF feature is unavailable here. Also, its Dual Pixel AF feature is available in all other video models such as the 1080 and 1060p.
But that’s not the only first for this camera. The M50 is also the first-ever Canon mirrorless camera to offer the latest CR3 Raw format. This is an updated compression feature where videos will full resolution are compressed as opposed to downsizing the ‘medium’ and ‘small’ raw formats.
#4: Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Mirrorless Camera (Best Image Stabilization)
Panasonic’s Lumix GX85 is an interchangeable lens and mid-range camera that sports a 16 MP 4/3rds sensor as well as 4K video capability. This particular camera was built for videographers and enthusiast photographers. Sure, this camera doesn’t make use of the latest 20MP 4/3rd chip that we had seen in Panasonic’s GX8. Instead, this model features the familiar 16 MP sensor that is used in Micro 4/3rds cameras.
Still, the GX85 shares a lot of features with its big brothers, such as its 4k photo mode, Defocus AF Depth, Post Focus, and Dual I.S. This camera has also entirely redesigned its shutter mechanism and introduced the shutter-induced blur (which most of you may know as ‘shutter stock’). This solves an issue that we had encountered with the GX8 where the spring and motor arrangement was used in its shutter mechanisms. The GX85’s latest electromagnetic shutter is the solution.
Moreover, the GX85 also features a no antialiasing filter, which is definitely a first in Panasonic cameras. This will lead to better retention in detail at the pixel level. However, the brand has claimed that its new image processor, namely the Venus engine, has been specially tuned to ward off moiré and all the false colors in photos. Practically speaking, we found this feature is quite helpful and effective.
Besides its EVF and sensor, this mirrorless camera shares many components and core features with its predecessor, the GX8. This includes the 4K video capture, 49-point AF system, 6 fps burst with AF, and lots more. Therefore, whichever of the two you choose, you’re going to experience the best image stabilization in the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better? DSLR or Mirrorless?
There are a few glaring differences between DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. Typically, mirrorless cameras are more compact, lighter, and smaller, which makes them a great option if you’re traveling or into everyday photography. Previously, DSLR cameras had a larger selection of lenses, but as more brands and manufacturers entered the market, the ranges of lenses started to grow significantly.
However, the good news is that many brands such as Nikon and Canon are offering adapters for mirrorless cameras for DSLR lenses. Most modern mirrorless cameras have a lot of the functions that were previously only available in DSLR cameras. In other words, for most of your projects, you can use these cameras interchangeably.
How Does a Mirrorless Camera Work?
If you already know how a DSLR camera works, you will also almost know how a mirrorless camera works.
In DSLR cameras, the light will enter the camera’s lens, then pass through the opening in the aperture, and then hit a reflex mirror situated in front of the cameras’ sensor. It will then reflect this light (along with the image that the camera is seeing) onto its pentaprism, which will then transmit the image onto the optical viewfinder.
However, since mirrorless cameras don’t have the traditional mechanical mirror mechanism, this light that will come in via the lens will go directly into the sensor, which will then transfer digital information that is captured to the LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder.
What Is the Average Price of Mirrorless Cameras?
Mirrorless cameras are sold for about the same price as DSLR cameras. However, there are a lot of other budget options available in mirrorless cameras, just as there are some in DSLR cameras. If you’re working with a tight budget, then you should consider sticking to beginner or mid-range cameras to get the most bang for your buck.
This is true because where prices shouldn’t be too different between the two niches, an entry-level mirrorless camera will usually have better specs and features than its DSLR counterparts. On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a higher-end range of cameras, then you will find great cameras in both categories.
Verdict: Your Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000
We’ve finally reached the end of our review and hope that we’ve done a good job of getting you a step closer to buying the best mirrorless camera under $1000. If you’re having trouble processing all the information, then don’t worry. All you need to do is do a little more research by reading through the customer reviews and testimonials for all 4 of the products we reviewed in this guide. If you’re short on time, we’d suggest taking our word for it and go with the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera.
If you are a professional photographer or have your fair share of experience with both mirrorless and DSLR cameras, we would highly recommend that you get the Panasonic LUMIX G7KS 4K Mirrorless Camera because it has the best mix of features we’ve seen to date.
Moving further, if you’re looking for the best zoom lens in the industry, one that could put DSLR cameras to shame, we’d suggest that you try the Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens.
The mirrorless camera you choose will depend completely on your shooting preferences and what you intend to do with your camera.