Grabbing a solid mirrorless camera for $1,000 or less will give us a nice combination of both high-quality photos and videos as well as some affordability. Being that mirrorless cameras are the next best thing (not necessarily more popular than DSLRs “yet”), this will be a wise investment for those looking to start out their photography and videography adventures long-term. Yes, even if you’re a semi-pro photographer or filmmaker, this price-range will be quite fine — we’ve seen and spoken to many who use entry-level mirrorless cameras like these for their careers and hobbies. Even though the “best of the best” can get into the multiple thousands range, let’s get started on the best mirrorless cameras for under $1,000. We found a few gems.
Finding the best mirrorless camera under $1,000
As always in our buying guides, especially when it comes to digital cameras as a whole, we talk budget. Even in our budget-range guides such as this one, keep in mind a mirrorless camera under $500 is a lot different from those that just hit our targeted $1,000 range. We did find a mixture of the range; however, keep in mind how much cash you exactly have saved up (or want to save up after reading). Nothing is worse than being excited about a particular model only to see the price is way too high. For those in need of a starter-level beginners mirrorless camera, we wouldn’t recommend going under over $1,000 mark with lens and other gear cost included.
Next, let’s look into some technical specs we’ll see thrown around in our roundups of the best mirrorless camera under $1,000 below. The most standout feature of mirrorless cameras as a whole is their ‘autofocus mechanism’. When we use our mirrorless (the Alpha a6000 right now), it literally takes 1 second to focus in on our subject. This feature is amazing and extremely convenient, not only for photos (action photos as well, since it can get that moving object very well), but videos of all types as well. Next, pay attention to megapixels, the processor type, as well as sensor type. The more expensive a mirrorless camera is, the better and more advanced the sensor and processor’s builds are. Instead of having to look into what every single process or sensor means, we recommend just checking out the sample photos we provide to get a real feel of the camera’s capabilities.
Lastly, don’t forget that one of the biggest perks to mirrorless cameras is their lens interchangeability. This allows you to further customize that look and feel of your photos and videos. However, we wanted to express that lenses can get costly.
The best mirrorless cameras for under $1,000 budgets
Sony Alpha a6300
Let’s start off our list strong. This is a highly advanced model for its price-range that is one of the best mirrorless cameras for under $1,000. The camera’s lens compatibility is a Sony E-Mount lens, which is a great fit especially for more advanced cameras on the market. In terms of process and sensor, you’re getting a 24.2 MP APS-C (a bit bigger and better quality than the common micro four thirds but not as large or expensive as APS-H or Full-Frame) Exmor CMOS Sensor with a BIONZ X (one of Sony’s most advanced at the moment) Image Processor. It supports up to 11 fps shooting with a very wide ISO at 51200 for great low-light performance. It is also equipped with a rechargeable battery NP FW50, an accessory shoe cap, eyepiece cup, a Micro USB, as well as a shoulder strap for carrying around more conveniently. Couple this with some 4K resolution and beautiful autofocus (called 4D FOCUS), this thing is top-notch within the thousand dollar mark. Of course, a lens or two will take it over our budget-range. The Sony Alpha a6300 is first in its class and one of the best when it comes to digital cameras as a whole.
Although compact and light weight, this is a camera that will be sure to deliver high quality photographs. A bit on the smaller side in terms of “numbers” as it only contains 16.3 megapixels (MP isn’t everything), which is slightly less than other cameras on this list. However, when you see its results, you won’t be complaining. It’s weather-resistant to take care of dust, water and temperatures as low as -10 C. It’s also built with a great 23.6 mm x 15.6mm image sensor (called X-Trans — read more in that article), as well as an ultra-sonic vibration sensor cleaning system. The Fujifilm X-T1 has a lot of what you’re going to need when it comes to your photographic journey. JPEG, RAW (RAF Format), as well as RAW+JPEG (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible), this is a still image that makes the X-T1 one of the best under 1,000 dollar mirrorless cameras out there, especially if you’re going to be outdoors or in harsher environments.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
The OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a sleek-looking camera with a leather exterior, designed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you. If you are looking for a high-quality mirrorless to deliver your photographs, allow this one to do it at a reasonable price. Equipped with a 16-megapixel live MOS sensor, as well as a tilting touch screen, this camera is going to allow you to point, shoot, and zoom very conveniently. Built-in Wi-Fi and built-in flash features allow this camera to recognize when to best use them. The camera has 5-axis image stabilization as well as 8.6 FPS continuous shooting for optimal photo taking functionality. These are just a few of the other features that make the OM-D E-M10 Mark III budget-friendly mirrorless camera one of the best under $1,000.
Panasonic Lumix G80
Let’s talk 4K resolution. Here we have a compelling micro four thirds camera option that offers something that Panasonic is particularly proud of. You can now select a frame from a video sequence (shot at 30fps) in camera while having the ability to save it as an individual high-resolution feature. The camera essentially enables you to point, shoot and save and forever allow your photos to be viewable at the click of a button. Featuring 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2 image stabilization to correct hand shaking and help avoid blurriness in your photography. In addition, the camera comes with 4K resolution for video, post focus, and focus stacking to allow for your photo taking experience to be that much more convenient. The cameras splash and dustproof magnesium alloy front frame alleviates wear and tear possibilities. These all go into the equation as to why the Panasonic Lumix G80 is one of the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000. With features like Post Focus, you can now adjust your focus at the press of a button.
Sony Alpha a6000
Here’s one of our favorites of all time, and one that we currently use for our travels and other leisure photo needs. Here we have a 24.3-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor camera in the Sony Alpha a6000. It’s equipped with incredibly fast shooting speed (11 frames per second) so that you never have to worry about missing your perfect shot. In addition, the camera comes with a 16-50mm Power Zoom lens, which is as good as it gets when it comes to your zoom capabilities on a CMOS sensor, which isn’t great because these types of cameras aren’t really known for their zoom. This camera is one of the best mirrorless cameras in the $1,000 range as it contains ISO 100-25, 600 for still shots as well as 100-12,800 for filmography. 3” color TFT display and the cameras BIONZ X image processing engine are added features that make the Sony Alpha a6000 a high performance, affordable and speedy mirrorless camera under $1K for your enjoyment. To offer even more flexibility, the camera enables you to simply connect your device to social media or email via the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi.
Here, the Olympus Pen-F distributes one of the finest digital cameras on the camera, and comes to you at a relatively budget-friendly price for cameras of this class. Advanced sensor technology plus the cameras in-body image stabilization is going to allow the user to have enhanced resolution as well as crystal clear quality in their images. The camera is going to come to you with industry standard 20.3 megapixels, as well as a TruePic VII image processor, which is a top-notch processor for this particular camera type. The cameras fully customizable in-camera color controls shoot your photos with an older rendition of cameras you might have seen in the past. The Pen-F also has a top of the line F.A.S.T. AF (contrast detection) focusing system, which makes it one of the best under $1,000 mirrorless cameras in the industry. Now you can simply point, shoot, and record for some of the best photos out there with the Olympus Pen-F.
Next up, we have another highly-rated mirrorless camera that comes with 24.3 megapixels as well as an Ultra Sonic Vibration Sensor Cleaning system. If you are looking into mirrorless cameras with touch screen operation, the X-T20 is the camera for you as you can now manually swipe through your photo options with your fingertips. We’re also getting X Mount lens compatibility which is going to offer optimal precision and superior image quality. Feel free to utilize the cameras control and auto mode, as you can capture your shot precisely how it looks in front of you. Simply select the cameras advanced SR auto option for a fully automatic shooting experience. Designed with an enhanced sensor and processor, the Fujifilm X-T20 is a mirrorless camera that offers photos with its X Series image resolution as well as high-speed X-Processor Pro image processing engine to combine with Fujifilm’s color reproduction technology. Did we mention it has 4K video resolution as well?
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
The Lumix DMC-G7 is a bit less known than others but definitely a great choice as we near the end of the guide. It is a 16.84-megapixel mirrorless camera that is offered with a Micro Four Thirds camera format, so it isn’t as large or high-quality as some previous APS-C cameras but it will still get the job done. It allows you to take your shots with a max resolution of 4592 x 3488 and comes to you with a MOS, 17.3 x 13.0 mm sensor type. A few other highlights include 4K Ultra HD video pause and save 4K photo modes, interchangeable lenses, high-quality autofocus, a nice little flip out screen for easy viewing and navigation, and more. This camera has great versatility, as the Lumix DMC-G7 is a hybrid between a mirrorless camera, and a camera that offers that awesome 4K video while sustaining great burst and still shooting qualities.
Let’s be real with this one — the price is fluctuating a lot so it may not necessarily be at our target $1,000 or less; however, we’ve seen it in the wild here and there (body only) go around the $900 mark, so we wanted to at least have it in this guide for you to keep your eye on it. The Sony a7 is a mirrorless camera that is especially known for having one of the best RAW converters and the camera’s software Capture One Express comes in handy if you need some photo editing capability after you take your shots. In addition, like most cameras on this list, the a7 camera has a 24.3 MP Full Frame Exmor CMOS sensor and an integrated BIONZ X engine for very fine detail as well as enhanced noise reduction. This 35mm full-frame (the biggest in here) Exmor CMOS sensor is first in its class and a good reason to consider this one of the best under $1,000 mirrorless cameras on the market — if it does indeed go for that right now. The cameras Sony E-mount lens capability will help avoid blurriness in your shots and help make sure that you are well equipped to deliver the details you are seeking in your shot. The camera lastly has also conquered sensitivity, as it features sensitivity up to ISO 409600 and 4K video output. The Sony a7 is a beautiful full-frame camera that will meet all of your professional photographic needs. We just hope the price is right.
Canon EOS M100
We finish out our list with the EOS M100. This is a digital single-lens non-reflex AF/AE camera that is reasonably priced and considered one of the best in its class. The camera comes with Canon EF-M, as well as EF and EF-S compatibility lenses that also require a mount adapter EF-EOS M. In addition, the camera has an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card for its recording media, and comes with an EF-M lens mount to help add stability, and avoid blurriness in your camera shots. The Canon EOS M100 lastly comes to you with standard 24.2 megapixels, as well as a CMOS sensor, and one that will support Dual Pixel CMOS AF as well. If you are looking for a Dual Pixel CMOS AF image processor, as well as great exposure control, and shutter speed, this might be a great option for you. It ends our list with a nice cap.