There's no denying that photography can be an expensive hobby. But thankfully, there are plenty of entry-level cameras under $1,000 with a lot to offer. These include interchangeable-lens DSLRs and mirrorless models, as well as point-and-shoots with fixed lenses and dedicated vlogging cameras. Given the wide variety of options, there's something out there for everyone, but it can be hard to narrow those options down.
Thankfully, we've done some of that work for you. We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras under $1,000. If you want a mirrorless model, check out the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000. Or, if you're on an even tighter budget, try the best cameras under $500 instead. If you're specifically looking for beginner-friendly options, you can also see our picks for the best cameras for beginners.
The Nikon Z 50 is the best camera under $1,000 with a kit lens included. For an entry-level camera, it's very well-built and comfortable to use, with well-placed controls and an intuitive user interface. It's even weather-sealed to give you more peace of mind when shooting outdoors in bad weather. Aside from its awesome handling, it's also no slouch for image quality, with a solid sensor that performs well in low light.
While it has a solid autofocus system that'll get the job done in most situations, the similarly-priced Sony α6400 has slightly more reliable autofocus but with worse ergonomics and a menu system that can be hard to navigate. If you're more style-conscious and willing to stretch your budget a little, the Nikon Z fc is also a great option. With a vintage-inspired design, it's a sleek-looking camera that'll appeal to those who like the look of old film cameras. Its dedicated exposure dials give you a little more hands-on control over settings. However, it has the same internals as the Z 50, so you'll get very similar performance and features out of it, despite its small premium in price.
While the Nikon Z 50 with its bundled Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 kit lens is the best all-around camera kit under $1,000, the Fujifilm X-S10 is the best APS-C camera body you can get for under $1,000. You're only getting the body at that price; lenses will increase the cost. Unlike the Nikon, however, the X-S10 has in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which can help you get clear shots at slower shutter speeds and reduce camera shake in handheld videos.
Besides IBIS, the Fuji is well-built and feels great in hand. Image quality is excellent right out of the camera, with colors that pop and several film simulation profiles you can use to change up the look of your JPEGs. It's a great choice for video work, too, with a fair amount of frame rate options and excellent internal recording specs for the price. It's a fantastic crop-sensor model with a well-rounded feature set for hybrid photo/video shooters.
While most cameras in this price range have crop sensors, the Canon EOS RP proves it's possible to get full-frame image quality without breaking the bank. You'll have to pay over $1,000 to get a lens bundled with the camera, but it's still one of the most affordable full-frame cameras on the market unless you shop second-hand. It's also relatively small and lightweight, and the simple control layout and easy-to-use menu system make it fairly accessible to newer users.
Some trade-offs come with this attractive price tag. The camera's all-plastic construction feels notably cheaper than higher-end full-frame cameras aimed at enthusiasts and pros. It also has a disappointingly short battery life and a slow max burst rate. Still, you'll have a hard time finding full-frame image quality for less, so if these aren't dealbreakers, the RP is a great deal if you're serious about getting into photography and want to jump right into a full-frame model.
Mirrorless options are great for hybrid or video shooters thanks to their quick autofocus systems, but you can't go wrong with a tried-and-true DSLR for photography. The best DSLR camera we've tested under $1,000 is the Canon EOS Rebel T8i. It's Canon's most capable entry-level DSLR, providing all you need in a starter camera.
Though you can't see image adjustments in real-time through the viewfinder as you would with a mirrorless camera like the ones mentioned above, the optical viewfinder gives you a direct, unfiltered view of your subjects. The roomy handgrip and well-spaced controls make for a very comfortable shooting experience. All of that, plus a battery life that's hard to beat, an excellent autofocus system, and a long line of lenses to choose from, make this one of the best DSLRs you can get for the price.
If you're looking for something ultra-portable, the Sony ZV-1 is one of the best point-and-shoots you can get under $1,000. Though it's mainly aimed at vloggers, it's also a solid compact stills camera with great overall image quality for a camera of this size. While there's no viewfinder, the camera has a nice large flip-out screen for selfies and vlogs, and it's portable enough to toss in a bag or coat pocket while on the go.
If image quality is a priority, the pricier RICOH GR III uses a larger APS-C sensor that can capture high-quality photos. Its minimalist design makes it even more portable, too. However, it isn't as versatile as the Sony, with no 4k video capability and a sluggish autofocus system. Battery life isn't amazing on either camera, but that's typical of compact cameras like this. If you need a simple all-in-one camera that you can take anywhere, the ZV-1 offers a ton of value for its price.
If you're on a tighter budget, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is the best all-around budget camera we've tested. It offers a ton of value for its price and is a great choice for beginners photographers. With a Micro Four Thirds sensor, this super lightweight camera is perfect for travel and uses generally smaller and cheaper lenses than larger-sensor camera systems. It also has simple controls and an intuitive user interface that makes it accessible to novice users.
Beyond that, it's one of the few cameras you can get at this price point with in-body image stabilization, which is great for stabilizing vlogs or getting clear images at slower shutter speeds in low light. That said, it doesn't have the most reliable autofocus system. The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is another fantastic budget option if you want better autofocus for faster subjects. However, lens support for Canon's EF-M mount has all but dried up as Canon has redirected its energy toward producing new R-series cameras.
May 23, 2023: Moved the Fujifilm X-T30 II to Notable Mentions and added the Sony ZV-1 as the 'Best Compact Camera Under $1,000'.
Mar 24, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 Mark II with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV as the 'Best Budget Camera' and moved the Fujifilm X-T30 II from Notable Mentions to 'Best Portable Camera Under $1,000'.
Jan 16, 2023: Checked article for accuracy; no change to recommendations.
Nov 23, 2022: Removed the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II as the 'Best Point-And-Shoot Camera Under $1,000' and the Sony ZV-E10 as the 'Best Vlogging Camera Under $1,000'. Added the Canon EOS Rebel T8i as the 'Best DSLR Camera Under $1,000' and the Fujifilm X-S10 as the 'Best Camera Body Under $1,000'.
Sep 27, 2022: Restructured article to align more with user needs and current market conditions.
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.