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The 5 Best Budget Mirrorless Cameras - Winter 2024 Reviews

Best Budget Mirrorless Cameras

Buying a camera can be a big investment, and the costs quickly increase when you factor in additional lenses and accessories. With so many different models to choose from, it can also be hard to narrow down your options. Thankfully, most modern mirrorless cameras can capture excellent images and take your photography up a notch from simply using your smartphone. If you're on a tight budget, consider buying a used model. With a large used market on eBay and used retailers like KEH, MPB, and B&H Photo Video, you can find a great camera without spending a fortune. But if you're set on buying new, there are still some great budget options.

We've bought and tested over 100 cameras, and below, you'll find the top budget mirrorless cameras we've tested. Our picks below are all interchangeable-lens models, but if you're looking for a fixed-lens camera, you can check out our best point-and-shoot cameras. If you're a novice, you can also look at our best mirrorless cameras for beginners. Conversely, if you need something more advanced, try the best mirrorless cameras we've tested.

  1. Best Budget Mirrorless Camera

    The Canon EOS R50 is one of the most affordable mirrorless cameras you can buy brand new, and it has a lot to offer for those buying their first "proper" camera. With simple controls, a fully articulated screen, and a highly portable body, you'll want to take this camera everywhere. Its APS-C sensor captures excellent image quality, and the camera has a highly effective autofocus system, so you rarely have to worry about missing focus, even with moving subjects.

    Beyond that, it has surprisingly advanced video features for a budget camera, including uncropped 4k recording at up to 30 fps and the option to capture 10-bit color internally in its HDR PQ mode. Maybe its biggest downside is that the RF mount still has a somewhat limited lens selection, if you ever want to move beyond the kit lens. However, it could still be a great investment, especially if you want to upgrade to a full-frame camera down the line, as it shares the same lens mount as higher-end models in Canon's mirrorless lineup.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Mirrorless Camera For Portability

    The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is one of the best budget options if you need something compact. As part of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system, it may use a smaller sensor than the Canon EOS R50. However, that comes with the added benefit of a more portable camera system; Four Thirds lenses are typically more compact than their APS-C counterparts. The MFT system also has a more established lens lineup, so you'll have more lens options to choose from than the newer RF mount. Despite its small size, the E-M10 Mark IV still has excellent ergonomics and intuitive controls.

    This model is also one of the few budget cameras to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS). IBIS can help you capture steadier shots at slower shutter speeds, which is handy in darker lighting, or record smoother handheld video. Although it doesn't have the quickest or most reliable autofocus, this is a great little camera for the price.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Mirrorless Camera For Lens Selection

    If you want a budget option with a well-established lens ecosystem, that's the Sony α6400 or one of its Alpha siblings. The Sony α6100 is the cheapest of the bunch if you're on a tighter budget, with a lower-res EVF and cheaper build quality, while the Sony α6600 offers a longer battery life and in-body image stabilization. However, it comes at a higher cost. Regardless of which model you choose, you'll get access to the vast library of E-mount lenses, which feature plenty of great third-party options that can help you step up your photography game.

    While the camera's ergonomics and user interface have a steeper learning curve than a camera like the Canon EOS R50, the α6400 offers an excellent sensor and a great balance of features. Despite being on the market for several years now, its autofocus is still one of the most effective of its class, and the camera's relatively portable design makes it easy to take on the go.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Mirrorless Vlogging Camera

    If you're looking for a budget vlogging camera, consider the Sony ZV-E10. It uses the same sensor as the Sony α6400 above but has a more vlogging-oriented design. That includes a fully articulated screen to help you monitor yourself while vlogging and an improved stereo mic with a detachable windscreen to reduce wind noise when shooting outdoors. However, it does lack a viewfinder, making it less versatile for photography.

    Beyond its design, it can record 4k video at up to 30 fps and 1080p at up to 120 fps, giving you a range of frame rate options, whether you want to record smooth action footage or incorporate slow-motion into your vlogs. The camera's autofocus system is also very reliable, ensuring you and your subjects stay in focus. There's even a dedicated 'Product Showcase' mode for product vloggers. All in all, this camera offers a ton of value for its price for amateur video shooters and aspiring YouTubers.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Mirrorless Camera

    The Canon EOS R100 is the cheapest camera in Canon's mirrorless lineup and one of the most affordable cameras currently on the market. If you want to avoid buying an older used model, this is a good camera to get you started. With a body just as portable as the Canon EOS R50 above but an even simpler, more pared-down design, this no-frills option will elevate your photography without breaking the bank, thanks to a great APS-C sensor borrowed from the Canon EOS Rebel SL3.

    While it doesn't have an articulated screen, and its burst rate is much slower than the R50, this model is compatible with all the same lenses, so it can give you a foothold into Canon's RF system, making it easier to upgrade bodies if you eventually outgrow it. However, its video features are quite limited, with 4k video capped at 24 fps and incurring a significant crop. Still, if you're on a very tight budget, this is a highly accessible camera with a beginner-friendly design.

    See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Feb 09, 2024: Reviewed the article to ensure picks are relevant and up to date.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mirrorless cameras to buy if you're on a budget. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you'd like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for mirrorless cameras under $1,000. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.