Mirrorless cameras are becoming more and more popular, but they can come with a higher price tag than some other types of cameras. But, if you want to check out this trend without breaking the bank, you have come to the right place.
Here, we have some buying tips and advice, as well as reviews of the best cheap mirrorless camera models out there. You’ll find 10 great options to choose from, each with their own unique features and specifications.
Article updated June 28, 2021
- Considerations Choosing Mirrorless Cameras on a Budget
- 10 Best Affordable Mirrorless Cameras
- Best Budget Mirrorless Camera
- What are Mirrorless Cameras Exactly?
- Typical Cost of a Mirrorless Camera
Considerations Choosing Mirrorless Cameras on a Budget
There are a few key considerations when choosing one of these budget cameras. Let’s take a look at some of the things worth keeping in mind below.
If you’re looking for the best mirrorless camera for video, perhaps if you are a vlogger, it is really important to find out what the video quality is. A lot of cameras will offer 4K definition which is ultra HD and will be able to capture clear and sharp images with real ease, but these will be more expensive most of the time. If you are looking for something that is going to be a little more affordable then 1080p quality is still really good and is commonly used in a lot of video recordings.
Many of these cameras come with Wi-Fi, which can be useful for instantly sharing photos to social media, or sending to friends and family members. Think about how you will upload and share your photos and videos, and ensure the chosen camera will allow this to be possible. Cameras such as Canon and Sony offer their own applications that you can download onto your smart device which makes sharing images all that bit easier.
Think about the type of photography the camera will be used for, and ensure compatible lenses are available. Also check the cost of the lenses you are likely to want to purchase, as these can add a big cost to the overall price of buying a camera.
Some of the smaller cameras can also lose a lot of the balance with a weighty lens, so the actual weight of your camera could be an issue if you are looking to attach a lens that is going to be bigger than the device itself, this is where a camera such as the G7 range from Panasonic is a great choice with their bulkier DSLR sized bodies and hand grips.
10 Best Affordable Mirrorless Cameras
We will now present our picks of the top 10 cheapest mirrorless camera bodies on the market today. You’ll find some excellent picks from the top brands here.
1. Canon EOS M200
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.1 | Lens mount: Canon EF-M | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6.1fps | Max video resolution: 4K | Battery Life: Good | Also Included😐 32GB Class 10 SD Memory Card, Lens Hood, Tripod, Neck strap, Camera Bag User level: Beginner and easy to use
Our first mirrorless camera option is the Canon EOS M200, which is a slight upgrade over the EOS M100. It comes with a 15-45mm lens and some accessories. Thanks to its more powerful DIGIC 8 processor the M200 supports 4K videos (compared to Full HD of the previous model) and the image quality is just as great, thanks to the 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor. There is a tilting touchscreen and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for sharing and uploading photos. This camera is suited to many styles of photography, as it can be used with all EF lenses.
- Very good image quality
- Super-simple for novices
- Fast and responsive autofocus
- A compact retracting kit lens
- Wide range of lenses
- 4K Video support
- Improved battery life
- Not especially easy to grip
2. Panasonic Lumix GX85
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 16.0 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K video recording | Battery Life: Good | User level: Intermediate
Here we have the Panasonic Lumix GX85. If you prefer to shoot in micro four thirds, this could be a great mirrorless digital camera to consider. It comes with two lenses and is around half the size and weight of comparable DSLRs. The LCD is a touchscreen and also tilts to a variety of angles so it can always be seen easily. This camera performs well in low light and it takes stunning 4K video.
- Compact ‘rangefinder’ styling
- Built-in viewfinder
- Smaller MFT sensor
3. Sony Alpha a6000
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3 | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 922k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Battery Life: Good | User level: Expert
Sony mirrorless cameras are some of the most popular, and here we have picked out the excellent Alpha a6000. It is ideal for low-light situations, as the ISO is expandable to 51200. The autofocus is excellent on this model, with 179 focal points. Continuous shooting is also great – up to 11 fps is possible. The Sony Alpha features a 3-inch tilting LCD and can take up to 360 shots before needing a battery charge.
- Designed for enthusiasts/experts
- Great value for money
- Excellent Image quality
- Full HD video, not 4K
- Not ideal for bigger lenses
4. Canon EOS M50
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.1 | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3.0″ touchscreen LCD | Viewfinder: 2.36m-dot OLED | Max burst speed: 10 fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Battery Life: Good | User level: Expert
If you’re looking for an entry level mirrorless camera, the M50 from Canon is a great contender. It has fast autofocus, so the chance of blurred shots is greatly reduced. You’ll find a 24.1MP, APS C sensor on this model and a DIGIC 8 processor for crystal clear photos with a beautiful range of colors and tones. The tilting touchscreen is useful, and there are almost 2.4 million dots, so the viewfinder shows an excellent level of detail.
- Easy to handle camera body
- Produces great pictures for the price tag
- No viewfinder
- Some pedestrian features
5. Panasonic Lumix G7KS
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 16 megapixel | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | Battery Life: Good | User level: Intermediate
Next on our guide to the best mirrorless camera deals, we have another Lumix. Not only does Panasonic Lumix G7KS take 4K video, there’s also the option to save 4K photos from the videos. There are different focus modes, and each ensures you’ll never have a blurred photo again. It has a micro four thirds sensor and is very compact, making this perhaps the best mirrorless camera for travel.
- DSLR style handling
- 4K UHD video
- No in-body stabilization
- Dated, angular styling
6. Nikon 1 S2 (discontinued)
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: CX, CMOS, 13.1 mm x 8.8 mm | Megapixels: 14.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon 1 mount | Screen: 3.0 in | Viewfinder: N/A | Max burst speed: 20fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Battery Life: Good | User level: Beginner and easy to use
The next best value mirrorless camera we have selected is the Nikon 1 S2. This 14.2MP camera has an 11 – 27.5mm lens and takes full HD videos. It also shoots stills in continuous shooting mode at a rate of 20 fps. The camera weighs in at just one pound, and it has a max ISO of 12800.
- Compact size
- Lightweight body
- Not as powerful as other models
7. Sony Camera Mirrorless a5100
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3 MP| Lens mount: Sony E-mount | Screen: 3-inch 921,000-dot, tilting, touch-sensitive screen | Viewfinder: N/A | Max burst speed: 6.0 fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Battery Life: 400 shots | User level: Intermediate
We’ve already seen that when it comes to mirrorless cameras, Sony Alpha is one of the best brands to consider. Here we have another excellent pick, the Sony a5100 with an excellent autofocus system and 24MP APS-C sensor. Photos can instantly be shared over Wi-Fi and videos can be recorded in Full HD. The screen can flip through 180 degrees so this is a great camera for taking selfies on!
- Touchscreen, tilting screen
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- No viewfinder
- No 4K video ability
8. Panasonic Lumix G85
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen | Viewfinder: OLED Viewfinder | Max burst speed: 30 fps | Max video resolution: 4K video | Battery Life: 320 shots | User level: Intermediate
Next, we have another micro four thirds Panasonic Lumix G85. The 12-60mm kit lens is ideal for a variety of subjects, and the camera is equipped with dual image stabilization to ensure photos and 4K video recordings are clear, even in darker situations. With this camera, you can capture an image at a rate of 30 fps and set a focus point afterward, so there’s no need to worry if the focus is off.
- 4K Video
- Long battery life
- Only 16 MP
- Bulkier size compared to some other models
9. Panasonic DMC G7KS
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: | Megapixels: 16:0 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen| Viewfinder: OLED viewfinder | Max burst speed: 8FPS | Max video resolution: 4K | Battery Life: 350 to 360 shots| User level: Beginner and entry level
When it comes to finding the best mirrorless cameras for beginners, something with a range of accessories is always ideal. That’s why we love this Panasonic DMC G7KS – it comes with an SD card, a tripod, a bag, and more! The image quality is excellent, as is the 4K video. The included 14-42mm kit lens is very good, and the other included accessories are also high quality.
- 4K Video
- Accessories included
- Beginner friendly
- Processing speeds in 4K photo modes could be faster
- Top plate, dials and buttons have a plasticky feel
10. Nikon Z 50
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C (DX-format) sensor | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Lens mount: Z Mount | Screen: Tilting touchscreen| Viewfinder: Electronic Viewfinder | Max burst speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | Battery Life: 300-shot battery life | User level: Intermediate
Closing our guide to the top mirrorless cameras we have the Nikon Z 50. This one comes as a body only, with no kit lens included. The full frame mirrorless camera features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for easily sharing an image to social media. The LCD touchscreen flips down for taking selfies easily. Weighing in at less than a pound, this is one of the lightest mirrorless cameras, yet it still features a 3.2-inch screen. This camera requires a slightly higher budget, but it features a 209-point AF system and is exceptional in low-light, with an ISO of up to 51200. 4K video is possible at a rate of 30 fps, whereas Full HD can be recorded at 120 fps and played back in slow-mo.
- Compact size and handling
- 4K video-11fps continuous shooting
- Super-slim ‘pancake’ kit lens
- Single UHS I SD card slot
- 300-shot battery life
- Awkward flip-under selfie screen
Best Budget Mirrorless Camera
After checking out 10 great picks, we have decided which is the best of all. The Sony Alpha a6000 is our top pick, as it has an excellent autofocus system, to ensure you never miss a shot. The LCD is a good size and tilts to a range of different angles for shooting high or low. Finally, the battery life is good, allowing more than 350 shots to be taken before a recharged is needed. It will suit a range of users and has great image quality.
What is the Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners?
When it comes to the best beginner mirrorless cameras, it’s often better to choose something a little simpler – top-of-the-range models can be overwhelming for newbies. We love the Canon M50, thanks to the fast autofocus and crystal clear image quality. The autofocus covers a wide area, has tracking, and has eye detection, so getting a perfectly sharp image is easy every time. The included lens is great for shooting many types of subjects and there are also different video shooting modes for those who are more interested in videography.
What are Mirrorless Cameras Exactly?
The key component of a DSLR camera is the mirror, this kind of mirror bounces light up to the optical viewfinder. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex with the word reflex referring to the reflective ability of the mirror. When you use a mirrorless camera there will be no optical viewfinder, instead, the imaging sensor is exposed to light all of the time. This constant exposure gives you a digital preview of your image on either the LCD screen on the rear of the camera or an electronic viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras are simply called this and DSLRs not being called mirrored is only due to the fact DSLRs came first and the mirrorless version came second.
The term mirrorless only started being used when digital mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses became a thing, as technically a point and shoot camera is still a mirrorless device and so is the Leica rangefinder, but the term mirrorless is generally used to describe cameras with digital interchangeable lenses that include either a viewfinder or simply no viewfinder at all.
Mirrorless cameras tend to usually be a lot more compact in size with the lack of a mirror box inside the body of the camera they can be made to be much smaller. Originally these cameras were most popular with beginners and more casual photographers but as time has gone on these ecameras offer some advantages that are not found on DSLRs so are a firm favorite of professionals as well.
Typical Cost of a Mirrorless Camera
This type of camera can be a bit costly, with the cheapest models coming in at around $200 to $400. The more top-of-the-range options can cost between $1000 to $2000, so you won’t find any of these in our guide to finding an affordable camera. They can be pricey devices but they are worth their money with the features, performances, and ability they can produce time and time again.