The beginner phase in photography is all about finding the right gear, that too, within your budget. But with so many top brands coming up with high-end mirrorless cameras, it may get confusing.
Trust me; I’ve been there – I spent hours looking for a camera that would fit both my requirements and budget of $1000. I knew anything below $1000 would mean compromising on the features. But I stuck to the budget and found a couple of cool mirrorless cameras within $1000, making great alternatives to DSLRs.
I’ll be sharing the list of these models with you in this guide, along with the features they offer. This article would surely help you make an informed decision as to which camera you need to invest in. So let’s get started:
Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000
|Lens mount: APS-C||Sensor type: APS-C|
|Resolution: 20.1MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
This model from Sony is ideal for the creators. So if you’re a blogger, vlogger, or a YouTuber, the Sony Alpha a6400 camera is just what you need to invest in. It features a 24.2MP sensor and the BIONZ X image processor. Thanks to its powerful sensor processor combination, it also delivers good quality images and sound video quality.
As a successor of the Sony Alpha a6300 mirrorless camera, this model has better and advanced features. Along with Real-Time Eye AF, the camera also features AI-based object recognition. Both these features help track subjects accurately, be it images and videos.
The camera can capture 4K video at 30fps – which is good enough for content creators who have just begun out. The performance of the camera while capturing videos is reliable and stable as well. In addition, the quality of imagery and color reproduction is on point, with improved noise reduction.
The magnesium alloy used in the body of the camera is tough and durable. It is dust and moisture resistant, making it well suited for indoor and outdoor usage. The camera’s features are easy to understand and accessible, and thus is excellent for beginners.
|Lens mount: Mirrorless||Sensor type: MOS|
|Resolution: 16MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
With a fantastic combination of image quality, speed, accuracy, and functionality, this model from Panasonic consist of a range of excellent features. As compared to its counterparts from other brands, the Panasonic Lumix GX85 is super compact. In addition, the sleek form of the camera makes it apt for those who often travel for their photography assignments.
The camera features a 16MP Live MOS sensor, which works well with the Venus Engine Processor to deliver sharp, clear, and bright imagery. The Panasonic Lumix GX85 may not have a high resolution like the GX8, but it produces sharper images. It is the first model from Panasonic that does not feature the optical low-pass filter. This is a significant drawback as aberrations appear in the imagery due to the absence of the optical low-pass filter. These are hard to get rid of, even during the editing.
The model offers 22 Creative Control filters that you can use to enhance your images quickly. Along with this, you also have a range of easily accessible image customization settings. These include contrast, image sharpness, image saturation, and noise reduction.
The extended ISO sensitivity of the camera ensures good performance in different lighting conditions. This feature gives you a creative edge and the flexibility to shoot all in RAW. All in all, I’d say don’t judge the camera by its size. It is packed with great features and is perfect for you to get started as a beginner.
|Lens mount: APS-C||Sensor type: CMOS|
|Resolution: 32.5MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
As compared to its predecessors, the Canon M6 Mark II brings excellent image and video capabilities. The camera can shoot up to 14 frames per second or 30 frames per second for short bursts. It can also shoot 4K at 30 fps, ensuring you have good quality imagery.
The mirrorless camera has a 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor, guaranteeing bright, clear, and sharp imagery. This is a state-of-the-art sensor and one of the best crop sensors that Canon has produced. Additionally, you have an exceptional autofocus system, which covers the entire frame. Apart from eye detection, it includes other phase-detect abilities as well.
The ISO sensitivity of this camera runs from ISo 100 to 25600, which makes it adept for you to shoot in different lighting conditions. You also have the auto ISO feature to adjust the ISO instantly as per the shooting requirements. The compact, wide-angle zoom lens of the camera makes it well-suited for travel. The lens delivers well but does not offer a lot of flexibility. To overcome this, you can pair the camera with other compatible lenses and get the best results.
The battery life is not that great. However, the camera is not very heavy and has a good enough build for indoor and outdoor shoots. Overall, this mirrorless camera is easy to handle and comes with a user-friendly layout.
|Lens mount: Mirrorless||Sensor type: CMOS|
|Resolution: 24.2MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
With decent ergonomics, this entry-level camera is a perfect family camera. It is the ideal companion for all your travels and holidays, thanks to its compact form. Despite its sleek build, the camera does not compromise with the features it offers. In fact, for the price it comes in, Sony Alpha A6100 is one of the best mirrorless cameras you can find in this range.
The camera comes with external flashes and a built-in pop-flash, making it an excellent pick for shooting in low-light conditions. It comes with a simple, user-friendly layout and has all essential keys within reach. You wouldn’t take a lot of time figuring out the controls, even if you are a beginner.
The ISO sensitivity of the camera spans from ISO 800 to 6400, which is expandable to ISO25600. Thanks to this feature, it can deliver sharp, bright, and vivid imagery in all lighting conditions. In addition, the precise focusing mechanism of the camera further enhances imagery and allows you to capture moving subjects comfortably.
|Lens mount: Mirrorless||Sensor type: MOS|
|Resolution: 16MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
Coming from Panasonic, this camera has all the features you’d look for in a professional mirrorless camera. The camera delivers superior quality videos and images in different shooting conditions for the price range it comes in. Thanks to the Four Thirds sensor, the camera can accurately replicate colors, resulting in detailed imagery.
The 4K video capabilities of the camera, too, are on-point. The 4K mode is sharper and more detailed as compared to HD. The video quality seems a bit washed out, but you can’t expect more from this price category.
The Panasonic Lumix G7 has a user-friendly interface with a beginner-friendly design. The controls are well placed and easily accessible. The design of the G7 is far better as compared to its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix G6. You have a dedicated drive mode dial on the top panel and a viewfinder towards the left. This feature makes it easier for you to switch between different shooting modes. Along with this, you have 11 custom button functions that you can configure to meet your requirements.
The G7’s viewfinder is considerably larger as compared to other mirrorless cameras in this price range. Thanks to this, you are assured of more detail and size in your images. The camera doesn’t come with USB charging, which is one drawback. You’d have to halt your photoshoot to recharge the camera and then get going again. When it’s fully charged, the camera functions well for more than 360 shots.
|Lens mount: Mirco Four Thirds||Sensor type: MOS|
|Resolution: 20.3MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
A mid-range DSLR camera, this model from Panasonic offers excellent flexibility, making it well-suited for both photography and videography. It also provides an extensive degree of control and a range of other features, all of which make it one of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000.
Compared to its predecessor, the G85, this camera is more compact and built with better features. If you’re a content creator, this camera has all the features you need to shoot unique content. The camera has a better design, is more refined, and features advanced ergonomics as well.
The camera has super accessible controls and an outstanding grip too. The model possesses larger buttons, redesigned top deck controls, and updated rear controls as well. It lacks a joystick control, but the redefined, easily accessible structure makes up for the absence of the joystick.
The updated G95 is a great pick, especially if you are a beginner. Considering the design, controls, and other features, I can safely say that the camera is built to deliver in all types of shooting scenarios and is apt for different shooting genres too. This one’s worth the investment!
Best Mirrorless Camera with Only Camera Body
While researching for mirrorless cameras for less than $1000, I also came across some models without lenses. Many photographers like to experiment with different lenses to enhance their craft, while some aren’t satisfied with the in-built lenses of the mirrorless ones. To all such photographers, you can always opt for lenses of your choice to pair the camera body with.
So, if you are looking for a mirrorless camera without a lens, there are many great options you can explore out there! Let’s have a look at some of the best models you can find:
|LCD Size: 3 inches||Form factor: SLR-style mirrorless|
|Resolution: 16MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
A member of Panasonic’s esteemed Lumix range, this mirrorless camera comes with exceptional features too. Just like other members from the Lumix range, the Lumix GH4 has good video capabilities. With 4K video resolution, the camera delivers recording of an impressive 200Mbps recording rate. The lens renders good image quality as well.
At first instance, you’ll feel this camera looks like a small DSLR -thanks to the presence of the pop-up flash. But it comes without a mirror chamber. It’s large yet light in weight and is well suited for different shooting scenarios.
The camera has its controls logically placed, making them accessible and easy to use. You can switch between modes and handle other features with ease, even if you are a beginner. While autofocus systems can be a problematic aspect in mirrorless cameras, the GH4 is an exception. It has a teddy, accurate, and quick autofocusing mechanism.
The flexible LCD flips and rotates, and this works in two ways – you can get access to creative angles as you shoot videos and fold them to prevent the LCD screen from getting damaged. Also, the LCD is bright and clear and has clear visibility in different lighting conditions.
|LCD Size: 3 inches||Form factor: Mirrorless|
|Resolution: 26.1MP||Flexible LCD screen: Yes|
A lightweight, compact camera, this model is from the Fujifilm flagship X-series mirrorless cameras. Just like others from this series, the X-T30 offers unique features and capabilities. Unfortunately, despite its great features, the camera is not weather-sealed – which is a major drawback. But apart from this, its properties would make you invest in it right away.
It has easily accessible controls, with dedicated buttons for adjusting different vital aspects. For example, you can adjust the ISO with the ISO known. You also have a tiny, hidden pop-up flash. The camera also comes with the Advanced SR (scene recognition) Auto mode. You can switch to this mode by flipping a lever near the shutter speed dial.
The viewfinder is brighter than its predecessor’s (X-T20) and is more responsive, coming with a smooth refresh rate as well. It also has a unique autofocus mechanism that helps you detect subjects that are far away with precision.
The JPEGs this camera delivers are exceptional, and you have different modes and filters that you can play around with. You can connect your camera to your smartphone via the app – all you need is a stable Wi-Fi connection. You can control the camera remotely via Bluetooth too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Mirrorless Cameras Use DSLR Lenses?
Yes, mirrorless cameras are compatible with different types of lenses. If you wish to use the lenses you already own with these cameras, you can only invest in the camera body. These camera bodies are compatible with a range of lenses from top brands. And of course, when you can change lenses, you only add to the creative flexibility your camera offers – why not go ahead and experiment with the lens mounts compatible with your mirrorless cameras!
Are Mirrorless Cameras Good for Astrophotography?
Absolutely! These cameras are built to suit the requirements of different photography genres and work well for astrophotography too. They are light and compact and have offered more focus points as compared to a DSLR.
The resolution of the lenses of the mirrorless cameras is usually high, which ensures you have high-quality imagery. Also, the ISO sensitivity range of these cameras renders clear, detailed images even in the dark. So, by all means, mirrorless cameras are suitable for astrophotography too!
Do Mirrorless Cameras Have a Viewfinder?
No, mirrorless cameras do not have a viewfinder. Instead, the imaging sensor is exposed to light, giving you a digital preview of the image on your electronic viewfinder or your LCD screen. Unlike DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras don’t have a mirror to bounce light to the viewfinder and sensor. The structure of mirrorless cameras is a lot simple as compared to DSLRs and other camera formats.
Are Mirrorless Cameras Going to Replace DSLR?
While most people believe that mirrorless cameras will eventually replace DSLRs, we cannot deny that DSLRs do offer a particular set of features that mirrorless cameras don’t. For example, DSLRs are super simple to get started with on your photography journey, whereas mirrorless cameras may be a bit complicated to understand at the beginning. Due to many other reasons, too, it’s still a long way until mirrorless cameras completely replace DSLRs.
Who Invented Mirrorless Cameras?
The first true mirrorless camera was invented by Epson, a photographic printer and ink company. They released the RD-1 in 2004, and this model became known as the first mirrorless camera in the world.
Marco Downs is is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers.