Mirrorless cameras can be an excellent choice for many photographers and videographers. Unlike traditional DSLRs, they tend to be smaller and lighter, with fast and precise autofocus systems and high continuous shooting speeds. Even if you're shopping on a budget, there are plenty of options, whether you're buying new or used. The good news is that most modern mirrorless cameras, even entry-level models, are versatile enough for a wide range of photography and video work. With so many models on the market, you're sure to find something that suits your needs without breaking the bank.
We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000. If you're looking for something even more affordable, you can also take a look at the best cameras under $500. Or, if you're looking specifically for more beginner-friendly models, try our picks for the best mirrorless cameras for beginners. If you think you'd prefer a point-and-shoot camera with a fixed lens, you can also check out our recommendations for the best compact cameras.
While there are some great camera bodies that you can find for under $1,000 (see our pick below, for one), the Nikon Z 50 is the best mirrorless camera under $1,000 if you want a camera and lens bundled together. This entry-level crop-sensor model is built around a 20MP sensor, which performs admirably in low light, with solid noise handling and excellent dynamic range. It's also weather-sealed, sturdy, and feels great in the hand, with a generous grip and well-placed physical controls.
It's also a good option if you like to shoot faster subjects, with a quick burst rate and a solid autofocus system. It even has good video specs for its price, with a screen that can flip down for vlogs. The similarly-priced Sony a6400 has a slightly more reliable AF system, making it a good alternative in this price range, but the colors and handling on the Nikon, plus a much more intuitive menu system, make it our top all-around pick for most users.
If you can stretch your budget a little, consider the Fujifilm X-S10. While you can get the camera body for under $1,000, getting additional lenses will cost you more. If it's within your budget, this is one of the best APS-C cameras you can get. It's one of the few cameras in this price range to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which can help you get smoother handheld shots and videos. It also has simple controls and a fully articulated screen that comes in handy for video work or vlogging.
Though it's marketed as a vlogging camera, the X-S10 is also an excellent photography camera, thanks to its tried-and-true 26MP sensor and Fuji's well-loved color science. You have several film simulation profiles to play around with to change up the look of your photos straight out of the camera. Unfortunately, it isn't weather-sealed like the Nikon Z 50 above, but that's a small price to pay, and it's still a very well-constructed camera that feels great in the hand.
If you're after full-frame image quality on a budget, you would have been hard-pressed to find a brand new full-frame camera for under $1,000 before the Canon EOS RP rolled out. At just under $1,000 for the body, it's one of the most affordable full-frame cameras on the market. Of course, just like the Fujifilm X-S10 above, you'll have to stretch your budget if you don't already have lenses, but it's still a great entryway into full-frame photography for those who can't afford to spend a fortune on a camera body.
There's a lot to love about the RP, from its relatively portable size to its accessible controls and user interface. There is a trade-off, though. Build quality leaves a little to be desired, and it has disappointingly short battery life. Unlike the X-S10, it doesn't have built-in stabilization and only shoots heavily cropped 4k video, so it isn't the best option if you're interested in shooting video. Still, the boost in low-light capability and the ability to use full-frame lenses might be worth the trade-off for budding photographers.
If you need something more portable, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is a great APS-C option that you can find for under $1,000 without a lens. It uses the same sensor as the Fujifilm X-S10, so image and video quality are similar. The big difference is in the body—though it sacrifices a roomier handgrip, the X-T30 II is remarkably portable for an APS-C camera, making it a great option for travel or street photography.
Unlike the X-S10, this model also has more manual control dials, which some may prefer and others may not, though once you get used to the controls, it's exceptionally easy to adjust your settings on the fly. Beyond that, it takes amazing photos straight out of the camera, has a nice tilting screen for waist-level shooting, and even boasts some decent video specs if you like to shoot some light video on the side.
You don't need to spend a small fortune to get a great vlogging camera, especially with the slew of affordable mirrorless options designed specifically for vlogging. Among those, the best we've tested is the Sony ZV-E10. It's lightweight and portable, and though it doesn't have a viewfinder, it does have a vari-angle screen that makes it easy to monitor yourself while shooting. Add in specialized autofocus modes, like 'Product Showcase', which lets product vloggers hold objects up in the frame without having to cover their faces, and this is one of the most capable vlogging cams on the market.
While it doesn't have IBIS like the pricier Fujifilm X-S10, you can still pair it with optically stabilized lenses to get a smoother image. Its portability is hard to beat for on-the-go vlogging. Ultimately, this is one of the best options for aspiring content creators who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a video camera.
The best all-around budget model we've tested is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. This Micro Four Thirds camera offers a ton of value for its price. It's about the only camera this cheap to offer built-in five-axis sensor stabilization, which is great for stabilizing handheld vlogs or taking photos in trickier lighting conditions where you have to use a slower shutter speed.
On top of that, it's portable and lightweight, and M43 lenses tend to be smaller and more affordable than larger-sensor camera systems. Like the Fujifilm X-T30 II, this is a great option for travel, and it includes plenty of creative auto-shooting modes that are great for beginner users. That said, its autofocus system lags behind a lot of the competition. You may prefer the Canon EOS M50 Mark II if you want more reliable autofocus and better low-light capability, but it lacks IBIS and has much more limited lens options.
Jan 23, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 Mark II with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as the 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera' and added the Fujifilm X-T30 II as the 'Best Compact Mirrorless Camera Under $1,000'.
Nov 24, 2022: Checked accuracy of article with minor tweaks for clarity of text.
Sep 28, 2022: Restructured article and adjusted picks based on user needs and current market conditions.
Jan 21, 2022: Added the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as 'Best Budget Mirrorless Camera' with the Canon EOS M200 as 'More Portable Alternative'. Added the Fujifilm X-T30 and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV to Notable Mentions.
Nov 22, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000 for most people to buy, according to their needs. 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 US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for interchangeable-lens 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.