Mirrorless cameras combine the best of compact cameras and DSLR cameras into a neat little package. In fact, they sometimes deliver better quality images than DSLR cameras! You don’t have to spend a fortune on them either. After thorough research and analysis, we feel that the best mirrorless camera under $1000 is the Fujifilm X-T20. It has the best combination of features and price that made it the winner.
By the way, a neat trick to find mirrorless cameras for way under $1000 is to consider getting renewed models. Many cameras are offered refurbished too, so keep an eye out for that before you add to cart!
Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000
1. Fujifilm X-T20 (best budget mirrorless camera)
Fujifilm has really upped their game with their mirrorless offerings. The X-T20 is a lower end version of the Fujifilm F-T2, and shares many of the same functionality as the other model.
Sporting a 24.3 megapixel CMOS APS-C III sensor, you’ll be able to capture some really awesome photos with this camera.
It seems like every next camera on our list tries to outdo the earlier one with their autofocus modes. This camera has 325 points that it can autofocus on, and you can either let the camera focus itself or you can tap on the screen for spot focsing.
You can frame the shot on the generously sized 3 inch touchscreen. The screen tilts up to 180 degrees for framing creative shots.
You can shoot 4K video, as well as full HD 1080p at buttery smooth 60 FPS, and all film effects using film simulation modes.
The camera really shines in terms of the advanced control it allows you: using dials on the body, you can gain manual control over shutter speed and aperture, as well as exposure. This allows you to compose each shot to perfection.
Of course, you can just rely on the pretty awesome auto mode, too!
- Great photos in high ISO too
- Astounding image quality
- Great RAW images
- 10 minute shooting limit on 4K
- Battery life could be better, but it is forgivable
- 24.3 megapixel CMOS III sensor
- Dimensions: 4.66 x 3.26 x 1.63 in
- Weight: 383 grams
2. Canon EOS M100 with 15-45MM Lens (best mirrorless camera for beginners)
The Canon EOS M100 is a compact, lightweight mirrorless camera that can rival the photos taken by DSLR cameras. Armed with a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the photos you take are processed through Canon’s proprietary DIGIC 7 image processing engine.
As you frame your shot, you have a variety of autofocus options at your disposal. You can use the Dual Pixel autofocus system which tracks your subject with speed and accuracy, so you only need to worry about framing the shot while letting the camera take care of the rest.
You can also use the touch screen to tap and focus on any part of the image. The camera can handle up to 49 autofocus points!
The 3 inch touchscreen LCD is very bright and easy to view in all conditions. You can swivel it up 180 degrees so you can take photos using interesting angles and still be able to compose your shot properly.
While this is a compact camera, the lenses are interchangeable! You can opt for ultra-wide zoom lenses, wide-angle lenses, standard zoom lenses, and macro lenses from the EF-M, EF^ and EF-S^ lens lines.
- Lots of shooting modes
- You can customize your shot with full manual control
- Great focusing system
- There’s no hot shoe
- There’s no input for an external mic so it will be difficult to get good audio in video shooting
- No viewfinder
- Megapixels: 24.2
- Sensor Size: APS-C
- Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in
- Weight: 302g
- WiFi, NFC, and bluetooth enabled
However, more advanced users will miss the viewfinder and lack of hotshoe and microphone in.
3. Sony a5100 Compact Mirrorless Camera
The Sony A5100 is a legendary level of mirrorless camera packed with features that both amateur photographers and professionals will appreciate.
You can switch out the lenses, and the base product itself is available in multiple options with varying levels of lens zoom.
The autofocus system is super fast and can track 179 autofocus points in total.
A 24 megapixel APS-C sensor is where all the magic happens.
In case you’re into taking low light photos, the ISO level goes all the way from 100 to 25600. Realistically, 25600 ISO is way too high and will result in super grainy photos, but it’s impressive that Sony has managed to get the image processing so advanced!
The image quality is fantastic up to ISO 800, though, which is what you would expect.
Interestingly enough, Sony offers you the ability to customize the camera with a variety of apps that will help you shoot photos according to your preferred style, like portrait, low-light, and so on.
If you’re into shooting video, the 1080p full HD recording at 60 FPS will result in silky smooth video ideal for uploading to your YouTube channel or Instagram.
Additionally, built in WiFi lets you push images and videos wirelessly from the camera to nearby devices.
- Very fast focus
- Flexible interchangeable lenses
- Overheats when shooting video
- No 4K video either
- Battery life on the lower end
- 24.3 megapixels
- APS-C sensor
- Dimensions: 4.72 x 1.77 x 2.64 in
- Weight: 344 grams
- 3x optical zoom on stock lens
4. Panasonic Lumix G7 Mirrorless Camera
The Panasonic Lumix G7 is an excellent mirrorless camera that just toes the line at our price limit of $1000! However, the comparatively steeper price tag of this camera is certainly justified by the the excellet image quality and video quality.
Sporting a 16 megapixel MOS sensor, the camera will preview images for you on the swiveling touchscreen. On the whole, the Panasonic G7 has an excellent focusing system which is quick and sharp even in low light conditions.
You can also touch a spot on the screen to spot focus, a feature which has become standard on digital cameras even on smartphones!
Aperture and shutterspeed can be controlled using a dial on the front of the camera. This is great for being able to access it when you’ve already positioned yourself for a shot.
If you’re into shooting video, the Lumix G7 can do full HD and 4K video. There’s also a microphone input for hooking up external audio sources, which is another huge plus for shooting video.
The battery is OK and does not disappoint, but in all honestly, battery life can always be improved! You’ll get around 350 still photos on a single charge.
Ideally, you’ll want to pick up a couple of spare batteries if you plan on traveling or going on the road much with this camera.
You can also extract high quality 4K photos from within the 4K videos you have shot.
Of course, image stabilization is built in, too.
- 4K video and photos
- Great focus
- Great low light performance
- Has a hotshoe for accessories
- Electronic viewfinder
- Battery drains quickly when shooting video
- Fast-paced video has difficulty focusing
- Dimensions: 4.92 x 3.03 x 3.39 in
- Weight: 408 grams
- 10x optical zoom
- four thirds sensor
5. Sony A7 Mirrorless camera
The Sony A7 mirrorless camera is a 24.3 megapixel full frame camera that has professional features packed into a really nice and compact size.
The hybrid autofocus system offers 117 autofocus points, and a BIONZ X processor in the guts of this camera lets you click images very quickly in burst mode: up to 5 photos per second.
More notable features include full HD video, an input for an external microphone, weather-resistance, and being able to charge by USB. This makes it really easy to throw it into your travel bag with a power bank and recharge for your next shoot.
The Sony A7 has all the features you’d expect in a camera of this level and price range. Since it is a full frame sensor, you can capture much better quality images than some of the other four thirds frame cameras.
The battery life is what you’d expect in these kinds of cameras and nothing exceptional. Like most of the other cameras on this list, the battery lasts for about 350 shots or 100 minutes of video.
- DSLR quality in half the size
- Full frame sensor
- Electronic viewfinder shows exactly what the sensor is detecting
- WiFi and NFC
- Sony lenses are expensive
- Other Sony lenses are heavy
- No image stabilization
- 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor
- 3 inch LCD
- Dimensions: 5 x 1.89 x 3.7 inches
- Weight: 453 grams
6. Olympus E-M10 Mark III
The Olympus E-M10 Mark II mirrorless looks like a classic camera from the 1970s. It looks gorgeous and is sure to draw eyes wherever you go!
Normally companies tend to take shortcuts with aesthetics but this camera is just something else.
Behind the vintage exterior lies a powerful image processing engine that is capable of taking 16.1 megapixel photos and shooting 4K videos.
You can also extract 4K photos from the videos you shoot.
For super-fast burst shots, the TruePic system can do nearly 9 shots per second, which outdoes any other camera on this list.
The 121 point autofocus system will help ensure you never take a shot which is out of focus, and you can tap on the touch screen to spot focus.
This camera just about hits the limit with our price range, but it’s solidly built and takes really great photographs. Video enthusiasts will love the 120 fps shooting that allows you to take really nice slow-mo videos.
Low light performance is pretty stellar as well, and you can choose from a variety of art filters to add effects into the camera as you shoot.
- Very powerful built-in flash
- Good battery life
- Very intuitive auto mode
- No mic input
- Does not perform too well above 3200 ISO
- Slower 4K bitrate
- 16.1 megapixels micro four thirds sensor
- Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.9 x 3.3 in
- Weight: 453 grams
7. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless
Are you looking for a mirrorless camera that can take on larger full-frame cameras and possibly out-perform them? The Sony Alpha a6300 is one such camera. It builds up on the a6000, which was a revolutionary camera and set the standard for mirrorless.
Sporting a 24.2 megapixel Exmore sensor and a 425 point autofocus system, the kind of images you can capture with this camera are phenomenal. The focus and burst speed of 11 frames per second are one of the best on the market.
You can compose your shot using the tilting 3 inch screen or the electronic viewfinder.
The Sony Alpha a6300 is also resistant to the elements as the seals protect it from dust and moisture.
You can shoot 4K video as well as 120 FPS full HD video for slow motion effects. Those of us who want to shoot video will appreciate the sharp focus, high definition video, and option for an external microphone to capture direct line audio.
There is not as much scope for extra features in this camera as you may find in others, but the overall image and video quality is just phenomenal. You still get all the basics, of course, like exposure, focus, shutter, and aperture control.
- Excellent photo and video quality to rival full-frame DSLR cameras
- Very well built and durable
- Very effective silent shutter
- Great for travel
- Diffiult to use viewfinder with eyeglasses
- No touch screen
- Hard to use spot focusing
- 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor
- Dimensions: 6.20 x 5.70 x 5.20 in
- 600 grams
8. Olympus Pen-F
The Olympus Pen F is another really great mirrorless model that has a 20.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor and a special high-res sensor that can take 50 megapixel JPEG and 80 megapixel RAW images.
If you’re looking to capture a lot of detail in wide, sweeping shots, the high-res modes would be ideal. So if you enjoy architecture or landscape photography, the Olympus Pen-F is definitely worth considering. The image stabilization feature is definitely a plus.
Aside from that, it’s very well constructed and looks gorgeous. The swiveling touchscreen LCD makes composing shots very easy.
There is a dial on the front of the camera that allows you to quickly switch between a variety of filters like monochrome, art, and color profiles.
The Pen-F is a rangefinder style camera, where the viewfinder is slightly to the side of the main lens. The comfortable grip allows you to keep your eye in the viewfinder and change the settings on the dial to switch between modes easily.
If you’d like to learn more about rangefinder cameras, click here.
Finally, you can do Full HD video, too.
- 10 FPS burst mode
- Superbly built
- Great photographs
- Bubble levels in viewfinder for perfect composition
- Tripod mount is clunky
- Low light focusing leaves a bit to be desired
- Not very suitable for beginners
- 20.3 megapixel MOS sensor
- Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 in
- Weight: 427 grams
Benefits Of Mirrorless Cameras and buying guide
Mirrorless cameras are the future of cameras: they’re lightweight and have all the features of DSLR cameras, if not more. Because there is no mirror, the distance between the lens and the sensor is much less. This makes it much more compact.
You may even be able to use your old lenses on mirrorless cameras with special adapters.
Here are some things to consider before picking up a mirrorless camera.
Sensor size is actually more important than pure megapixel count. The sensor size is why mobile phones can have high megapixel counts but you can still take better photos with a DSLR that has a lesser megapixel count.
Full-frame DSLR cameras have the largest type of sensor, and the smallest sensor is usually found in point and shoot cameras.
Mirrorless cameras usually have APS-C sensors, as you have read above. APS-C sensors are common in beginner DSLR cameras.
Other mirrorless cameras have micro four-thirds sensors, which are halfway between APS-C and point-and-shoot.
Then there are full-frame sensors, which are the same as the ones found in professional DSLR cameras.
This guide on B&H has a great image comparing sensor sizes.
Generally speaking, the larger the sensor, the better the camera will perform in low light. For low light photography, you need at least an APS-C camera or a full frame camera for best results.
If shooting video is important to you, then you need to consider whether your camera supports full HD, 4K, and if it has a microphone input.
4K is good for future-proofing your investment since videos will eventually become 4K standard.
Either way, though, a microphone input is more important for production-quality video since you can’t get good audio without any direct input.
Viewfinder and LCD
Some of the cameras we’ve listed here just have LCDs, whereas others have both LCDs and electronic viewfinders. Personally, I prefer shooting with a viewfinder rather than the LCD.
Many of the cameras here have WiFi or NFC, or both. This makes it really easy to transfer videos wirelessly from your camera to your phone or laptop for quick editing and sharing.
Finally, think about your current skill level, the amount you intend to grow and practice, and your budget. Even within mirrorless cameras, you have entry level, prosumer, and professional level cameras. Each will naturally be more expensive than the next one.
High end cameras will have more robust burst shooting and continuous shooting, more advanced features, and a larger sensor.
The reason I’ve put resolution as the last thing to consider is because resolution is not as important as sensor size! The cameras we have listed here are all at least 16 megapixels, which is more than enough for 8 x 10 prints, and even larger.
So there you have it. As we noted, we feel the Fujifilm X-T20 is all-around the best mirrorless camera under $1000. Other serious contenders are the Sony Alpha a6000 and Olympus E-M10 Mark III. All of these cameras give DSLRs a run for their money.