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The 4 Best Cameras Under $1,000 - Spring 2022 Reviews

Best Cameras Under $1,000

There's no denying that photography and videography can be expensive hobbies. That said, if you're on a relatively tight budget, you'll be pleased to know that there's no shortage of new cameras priced at under $1,000 that offer similar capability and feature sets to high-end models from only a couple of years ago. These include traditional interchangeable-lens DSLRs and entry-level mirrorless models, not to mention point-and-shoot compacts and bridge cameras. Given the wide variety of options, you should be able to find a camera that suits your needs without needing to stretch your dollar too far.

However, it's important to recognize that overall performance can vary depending on the lens you use. The lens affects the amount of light that enters the camera, so it also plays a role in an image's depth of field and the autofocus and stabilization performance. Also, lenses can add a bit of weight to your camera, which can impact their portability. We currently test our cameras with its standard kit lens, so for the sake of consistency, this article focuses on cameras that retail for under $1,000 with their kit lens included.

We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras under $1,000. You can also look at our recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000, the best cheap cameras, and the best cameras for beginners.

  1. Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1,000

    The best mirrorless camera that we've tested for under $1,000 is the Sony α6400. This portable APS-C camera is well-built, with a sturdy but lightweight magnesium alloy body and a tilting screen that makes it easier to shoot from different angles. You can also flip it up for selfies and vlogs. It also has a good battery life that can last for long days of shooting, depending on your usage habits.

    The camera uses a 24.2-megapixel sensor, delivers an impressive overall image quality out of the box, and has good noise handling capability at higher ISO levels in more dimly-lit conditions. As usual with Sony, it has an excellent autofocus system that reliably keeps track of moving faces and objects, ensuring your subject stays in focus. If you're more of a hybrid shooter, the camera also delivers impressive video quality and offers a range of frame rates, including 1080p up to 120 fps and 4k up to 30 fps, albeit with a bit of a crop at the fastest frame rates.

    Though the camera offers many customization options, its menu system is somewhat confusing and hard to navigate. It also lacks in-body image stabilization (IBIS), so you'll have to rely on your lens' optical stabilization to reduce camera shake and stabilize photos when shooting handheld. That said, it does a good job of stabilizing photos and reducing camera shake in FHD. Overall, this is a great option for under $1,000, thanks to its great image and video quality and its fantastic autofocus system.

    See our review

  2. Easier-To-Use Alternative

    If you'd prefer a camera that's easier to use, take a look at the Nikon Z 50. It's not as portable as the Sony α6400, and its autofocus system isn't as reliable at tracking moving subjects. However, it feels more comfortable to use and has a much more intuitive menu system and user interface. Its controls are well-spaced, and the menu includes a guide mode to explain certain camera functions to novice users. Its touchscreen can tilt and flip out to help you shoot from different angles. Image quality is great overall thanks to its 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor, which has a good dynamic range and impressive RAW noise handling capability, so it should perform well even at higher ISO settings in low light. That said, there aren't as many lenses available for Nikon's Z-mount compared to Sony's E-mount, although you can buy an adapter and use Nikon F-mount lenses as well.

    Get the Sony if autofocus performance and portability are priorities, but if you're looking for something a little more user-friendly, the Nikon is a great alternative.

    See our review

  3. Best DSLR Camera Under $1,000

    The best DSLR camera under $1,000 that we've tested is the Canon EOS Rebel T8i. It's a good entry-level DSLR with a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor. The camera feels comfortable to shoot with, with simple well-spaced controls, a large handgrip, and a highly intuitive menu system that includes a guide mode to walk new users through core settings. It also has a bright, fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles, including selfies.

    All in all, it delivers very good image quality, and photos have an excellent amount of dynamic range at the camera's base ISO setting, so it brings out a wide range of detail in high-contrast shots. It also has decent noise handling capability at higher ISO levels, meaning it performs fairly well in low light without too much visual noise. Its autofocus system does a fantastic job tracking moving subjects, despite only having 45 detection points. The camera can record 4k video, still somewhat rare for an entry-level DSLR.

    That said, its 4k video features are very limited, as it can only shoot 4k video at 24 fps with a severe 1.51x crop, and its autofocus system is very sluggish and unreliable when shooting in 4k. Still, it performs much better in 1080p, with quick and accurate autofocus and frame rates up to 60 fps. Overall, this is one of the best beginner cameras we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Best Compact Camera Under $1,000

    If you're looking for a fixed lens compact that's easy to take wherever you go, the best camera under $1,000 that we've tested is the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II. This compact point-and-shoot is incredibly portable yet still feels very comfortable to shoot with, thanks to its small handgrip and thumb rest. It features a pop-up electronic viewfinder if you prefer not to use the screen, though it's very small and doesn't have the sharpest resolution.

    It has a built-in lens with a 24–120mm full-frame equivalent focal length, giving you some range to zoom in on subjects that are a bit farther away. It also has a built-in neutral density (ND) filter, which can help with long exposure shots or let you shoot a wider aperture in bright conditions. It also has a very fast 16 fps burst rate to capture brief moments of fast action, though its image buffer is fairly small, and it takes a while to empty before you can continue shooting. Overall, the camera delivers very good image quality.

    That said, it's not as well-suited to shooting in low light due to its smaller 1-inch sensor and disappointing RAW noise handling capability. The camera also has a limited battery life, though battery performance can vary with settings and usage habits, and it performs similarly to other compact cameras. Despite its faults, this is still a great fixed lens compact for those who don't want to spend over $1,000.

    See our review

  5. Best Camera For Vlogging Under $1,000

    If you're looking for a more affordable camera to use for vlogging, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a really good option. Unlike many mirrorless cameras with larger sensors, it has a remarkably lightweight and portable design that won't cause fatigue when vlogging. Though this model doesn't have a fully articulated screen like the more expensive Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, you can still flip the screen down to face you.

    The biggest advantage this camera offers over many competing mirrorless models in this price range is its five-axis IBIS, which does an excellent job of reducing camera shake when recording handheld 4k video and works even better in 1080p. If you like to incorporate slow-motion footage into your vlogs, it includes a high-speed recording mode that can capture video without audio at 120 fps for slow-motion playback. Otherwise, you can record regular footage at up to 60 fps in 1080p and up to 30 fps in 4k, and its overall video quality is great.

    Unfortunately, this camera doesn't have a microphone input, meaning you're stuck with the camera's built-in microphone, which will never match a dedicated mic for audio. The camera's autofocus is also unreliable when tracking faces and moving subjects. That said, this is still a great little beginner-friendly camera that'll allow you to shoot vlogs without too much bulk and without breaking the bank.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon EOS M50 Mark II: The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a compact APS-C mirrorless camera with an intuitive menu system and a fully-articulated touchscreen. However, it isn't as well-built as the Nikon Z 50 and has far more limited 4k recording capabilities. See our review
  • Canon EOS RP: The Canon EOS RP is a full-frame mirrorless camera that delivers superb image quality and has an effective autofocus system. However, its price exceeds $1,000 when purchased new with its 24-105mm STM kit lens. See our review
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III: The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is slightly cheaper than the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II, but it doesn't have an EVF and has a slightly shorter max focal length. See our review
  • Fujifilm X-T200: The Fujifilm X-T200 is a user-friendly APS-C mirrorless camera that delivers superior image quality to the Sony α6400. It has a less effective autofocus system, isn't as comfortable to use, and feels far more cheaply made. See our review
  • Fujifilm X-E4: The Fujifilm X-E4 is a compact rangefinder-styled mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor. It offers great image quality, very good video quality, and can shoot in 4k at up to 30 fps without a crop. Its lack of a handgrip and non-rubberized body makes it rather uncomfortable to hold for extended periods. See our review
  • Nikon D3500: The Nikon D3500 is a good option if you want a relatively cheap DSLR that's very easy for beginners to use, thanks to its built-in 'Guide' shooting mode. That said, it has a fixed screen, a relatively simple autofocus system, and lacks any advanced video features. See our review
  • Nikon D5600: The Nikon D5600 is a good alternative to the Canon EOS Rebel T8i, but it may be harder to find and doesn't support 4k video. See our review
  • Sony α6100: The Sony α6100 is very similar to the Sony α6400, though it has a lower-resolution viewfinder and doesn't support Log picture profile shooting. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Feb 02, 2022: Added the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as 'Best Camera For Vlogging Under $1,000'.

  2. Dec 06, 2021: Moved the Nikon D5600 to Notable Mentions due to lack of availability and replaced the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III with the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II as the 'Best Compact Camera Under $1,000'.

  3. Nov 15, 2021: Checked that picks were still accurate and available; no change to recommendations.

  4. Oct 25, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.

  5. Oct 04, 2021: Replaced the Nikon D3500 with the Nikon D5600 as the 'Cheaper Alternative' to the Canon EOS Rebel T8i and moved the D3500 to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 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 U.S.).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for 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.