Best Mirrorless Camera under $1000: Compact, powerful cameras with interchangeable lenses

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 X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera, Silver (Body Only)

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!

Pros

  • Great photos in high ISO too
  • Astounding image quality
  • Great RAW images

Cons

  • 10 minute shooting limit on 4K
  • Battery life could be better, but it is forgivable

Tech Specs

  • 24.3 megapixel CMOS III sensor
  • Dimensions: 4.66 x 3.26 x 1.63 in
  • Weight: 383 grams

Verdict

The Fujifilm X-T20 is small, powerful, and will blow you away with its image quality. The video recording leaves a little to be desired as you can’t shoot more than 10 minutes at once in 4K, but for most YouTube videos, you’ll be doing short takes anyway. Overall, you have a winner with the Fujifilm X-T20

Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera, Silver (Body Only)
  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with no low-pass filter and X-Processor Pro
  • 5.0Fps Live-view shooting, start-up time of 0.4sec., shutter time lag of 0.050sec. And shooting Interval of 0.25sec
  • 3.0" tilting Touchscreen panel for operation at almost any angle
  • 4K video using the x series’ famous film Simulation effects (including ACROS). you can output recorded video to an external monitor via the HDMI port and input audio from an external microphone
  • Af-c custom settings for moving subjects.Operating Temperature:0°C - 40°C (+32°F - +104°F)C

2. Canon EOS M100 with 15-45MM Lens (best mirrorless camera for beginners)

Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera w/ 15-45mm Lens - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC enabled (Black)

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.

Pros

  • Lots of shooting modes
  • You can customize your shot with full manual control
  • Great focusing system

Cons

  • 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

Tech specs

  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Sensor Size: APS-C
  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.6 x 1.3 in
  • Weight: 302g
  • WiFi, NFC, and bluetooth enabled

Verdict

Overall, the Canon EOS M100 is an excellent entry level camera for those looking to step up their photography game from a smartphone or compact camera to something more serious.

However, more advanced users will miss the viewfinder and lack of hotshoe and microphone in.

Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera w/ 15-45mm Lens - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC enabled (Black)
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Phase detection
  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) Sensor
  • Built in Wi Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
  • Intuitive Touchscreen, 3.0 inch Tilt type LCD
  • AF Points:Up to 49 points (Maximum)

3. Sony a5100 Compact Mirrorless Camera

Sony a5100 16-50mm Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Flip Up LCD (Black)

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.

Pros

  • Very fast focus
  • Flexible interchangeable lenses

Cons

  • Overheats when shooting video
  • No 4K video either
  • Battery life on the lower end

Tech Specs

  • 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

Verdict

The Sony a5100 is an excellent entry level camera that boasts features found in higher end cameras. There’s no electronic viewfinder, but the 180 swivel LCD compensates for most users. The only thing stopping this camera from being the absolute best mirrorless camera is the overheating issue.

Sale
Sony a5100 16-50mm Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Flip Up LCD (Black)
  • Ultra-fast auto focus with 179 AF points and 6Fps
  • Capture life in high resolution with 24MP APS-C sensor.Lens compatibility Sony E-mount lenses
  • Instant sharing via smartphone with Wi-Fi and NFC1
  • Record Full HD 1080/24/60P video3 up to 50MB/s. Compatible OS - Windows Vista SP2-6, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Mac OS X (v10.7-v10.9)
  • Contains- Rechargeable Battery (NP-FW50) AC Charger (AC-UB10) Lens cap Shoulder strap Micro USB cable. BIONZ X engine for superb detail and noise reduction

4. Panasonic Lumix G7 Mirrorless Camera

PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-140mm Power O.I.S. Lens, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G7HK (USA BLACK)

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.

Pros

  • 4K video and photos
  • Great focus
  • Great low light performance
  • Has a hotshoe for accessories
  • Electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Battery drains quickly when shooting video
  • Fast-paced video has difficulty focusing

Tech specs

  • Dimensions: 4.92 x 3.03 x 3.39 in
  • Weight: 408 grams
  • 10x optical zoom
  • four thirds sensor

Verdict

The Panasonic G7 is a superb mirrorless camera that rivals many higher-end cameras that cost a lot more money. It’es easily the best mirrorless camera in this price range for beginners, advanced amateurs, and even pros.

Sale
PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-140mm Power O.I.S. Lens, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G7HK (USA BLACK)
  • Superb DSLM image quality without the bulk and weight of traditional DSLRs
  • Never miss a photo with three unique 4K Ultra HD Video pause and save 4K Photo Modes
  • Fast and precise auto focusing tracks the subject.Focal Length f=14-140mm (35mm camera equivalent 28-280mm). Aperture Type 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm. Aperture range F3.5(Wide) - F5.6(TELE)
  • Class-leading, ultra-compact, interchangeable lens and accessory options
  • Unwire Your Creativity with integrated Wi-Fi sharing

5. Sony A7 Mirrorless camera

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera - Body Only

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.

Pros

  • DSLR quality in half the size
  • Full frame sensor
  • Electronic viewfinder shows exactly what the sensor is detecting
  • WiFi and NFC

Cons

  • Sony lenses are expensive
  • Other Sony lenses are heavy
  • No image stabilization

Tech specs

  • 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 3 inch LCD
  • Dimensions: 5 x 1.89 x 3.7 inches
  • Weight: 453 grams

Verdict

The Sony A7 is a unique offering among this list as it is a full frame sensor camera. For the price tag and image quality, it’s an excellent DSLR replacement that’s nearly half the size.

Sale
Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera - Body Only
  • Video Capture Resolution: Fhd 1080P
  • Mounting Type: Bayonet

6. Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera Kit with 14-42mm EZ lens (silver), Camera Bag & Memory Card, Wi-Fi enabled, 4K video, US Only

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.

Pros

  • Very powerful built-in flash
  • Good battery life
  • Very intuitive auto mode

Cons

  • No mic input
  • Does not perform too well above 3200 ISO
  • Slower 4K bitrate

Tech specs

  • 16.1 megapixels micro four thirds sensor
  • Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.9 x 3.3 in
  • Weight: 453 grams

Verdict

The Olympus E-M10 Mark III takes excellent photographs and is a great choice for beginners and amateurs, perhaps even professionals. However, it’s not well-suited for video due to the lack of a microphone input.

Sale
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera Kit with 14-42mm EZ lens (silver), Camera Bag & Memory Card, Wi-Fi enabled, 4K video, US Only
  • In body 5 axis image stabilization for blur free stills and smooth 4K video
  • 16 megapixel live MOS sensor and TruePic VIII image processor
  • 4K 30P video plus HD 120 frames per second high speed video
  • Timeless, easy to use body design; Compact & lightweight with 2 dials, arrow pad and shortcut button
  • 3.0 inch tilting LCD monitor with intuitive touch screen operation and touch AF 1 step shutter release

7. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Camera: Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with APS-C, Auto Focus & 4K Video - ILCE 6300 Body with 3” LCD Screen - E Mount Compatible - Black (Includes Body Only)

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.

Pros

  • Excellent photo and video quality to rival full-frame DSLR cameras
  • Very well built and durable
  • Very effective silent shutter
  • Great for travel

Cons

  • Diffiult to use viewfinder with eyeglasses
  • No touch screen
  • Hard to use spot focusing

Tech specs

  • 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Dimensions: 6.20 x 5.70 x 5.20 in
  • 600 grams

Verdict

We really like the Sony Alpha a6300 and it is a great all-round camera that does pretty much everything very well. We’re kind of bummed Sony skipped out on the touch screen, but otherwise, everything else gets an A+.

Sale
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Camera: Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with APS-C, Auto Focus & 4K Video - ILCE 6300 Body with 3” LCD Screen - E Mount Compatible - Black (Includes Body Only)
  • Faster Autofocus: Shoot up to 11fps with 425 phase detection auto focus points and 0.05 sec AF speed
  • Incredible Photography: Advanced 24.2 MP Exmore CMOS sensor expands sensitivity and minimizes noise
  • Electronic Viewfinder: Cameras feature a high resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder for enhanced viewing
  • 4K & HD Recording: Record professional content with multiple movie functions and full pixel readout
  • Compact & Durable: Dust and moisture seals protect the magnesium alloy body from harsh conditions

8. Olympus Pen-F

Olympus PEN-F (Body-Only) (Black)

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.

Pros

  • 10 FPS burst mode
  • Superbly built
  • Great photographs
  • Bubble levels in viewfinder for perfect composition

Cons

  • Tripod mount is clunky
  • Low light focusing leaves a bit to be desired
  • Not very suitable for beginners

Tech Specs

  • 20.3 megapixel MOS sensor
  • Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.8 x 1.5 in
  • Weight: 427 grams

Verdict

Overall, the Pen-F is an awesome rangefinder style camera that takes superb photos. It’s not meant for complete beginners, though,

Olympus PEN-F (Body-Only) (Silver)
  • New 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor with 50Megapixel High-Res Shot mode
  • In-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • 2.36 Million-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 10 frames per second high speed sequential shooting (5 frames per second with AF Tracking)
  • Creative control dial lets you directly access 4 functions, including Monochrome, Color Profile Controls, and Art Filters

Related

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

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.

Video

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.

Wireless

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.

Feature sets

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.

Resolution

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.

Conclusion

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.

How to make a pinhole camera and why they’re so cool

Pinhole cameras are a fascinating concept and make for a great craft project you can do at home using regular materials. Pinhole cameras work by passing light through a very small aperture into a light-proof box. The light passes through the aperture and projects an upside-down image on the back of the box.

How does a pinhole camera work? (camera obscura)

A pinhole camera works through the camera obscura effect, which is a naturally observed phenomenon. It’s most notably seen during partial solar eclipses, where you can see crescent-shaped shadows on the ground in a thickly shaded area.

Essentially, the light is being blocked by the tree cover, letting very little pass through, and an inverted image is projected on the ground.

This was extrapolated by early scientists to safely look at solar eclipses. As you know, solar eclipses are extremely dangerous to look at with the naked eye. This is because you can’t look at the sun directly with the naked eye anyway!

Just because the sun is partially blocked, the light does not become any less intense, so thinking the light is less and looking directly at an eclipse can do serious damage to the eyes.

Most early uses of the camera obscura effect were done by using a dark room with a curtain. By opening the curtain very slightly, the amount of light let in could be controlled and the image could be observed on the wall opposite the curtain.

This post from Reddit is a great example of a camera obscura in action:

camera-obscura-reddit

Interestingly enough, camera obscuras have unlimited depth of field, which means everything will always be in focus.

You can either project the image on a translucent screen for viewing, or you can put a film in the box and manually expose it by opening and closing the shutter.

How to make a basic pinhole camera

It’s super easy to make a basic pinhole camera. In fact, it’s so easy and fun to do that an entire business idea was born out of it called the Pop Up Pinhole Company! They started out as a Kickstarter project.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cardboard box
  • Electrical tape
  • A 2 x 2 inch square of aluminum you can cut out of a soda can

What to do:

  1. First off, take a good look at the box and use electrical tape to seal off any areas where there are small gaps or tears. You need to make sure no light can get in! Keep one side open as you still have to install the shutter.
  2. Next, choose a point to make your shutter. Ideally, it should be somewhere in the middle of the box.
  3. Cut out a small (1 x 1 inches is fine) square from the box where your shutter will go.
  4. Use a pin to prick a hole in the piece of aluminum, and use some sandpaper to smooth the the pinprick down.
  5. Stick the aluminum square behind the square you cut out: glue will give the strongest bond, but you can certainly use electrical tape to secure it as well.
  6. Finally, use electrical tape to make a shutter flap on top of the pinhole.
  7. At this point, you can either cut out the wall directly behind the pinhole and stick some tracing paper on it to see a projection of the image, or you can use some film and open-close the shutter to take photographs.

More pinhole camera tutorials

When to use pinhole cameras

Now that modern cameras are so accessible and in everyone’s pockets, pinhole cameras have become more of something just for fun!

Here are some interesting use cases for pinhole cameras:

  • Viewing solar eclipses: solar eclipses are incredibly dangerous to look at directly(the sun is dangerous to look at directly anyway!). Using a camera obscura, you can safely view a solar eclipse. For a solar eclipse, you’ll have to modify the design a bit by using a separate bit of paper for projecting the light. This is because you can’t hold the camera up to the sun and look at the back of the camera at the same time!
  • Fun projects with kids on weekends: chances are you’ve got boxes lying around so if the kids are bored, this is a great craft idea to do and kill some time on a dull weekend!
  • Teaching people about refraction and cameras: Pinhole cameras do a great job of demonstrating how light and cameras work. What better way to explain the concept than to demonstrate it?

To pinholes and beyond

The laws of light and refraction work in really fascinating ways! The pinhole camera forms the basis for modern photography. It’s amazing how far cameras have come since then.

The very first cameras were adaptations of the pinhole camera, as they were essentially a box where light came in from a tiny aperture on one side and was projected onto a piece of photographic paper on the other side.

Modern cameras are built on the same principles, but they’re a lot more advanced, of course! From mirrorless cameras, SLR cameras, to tiny action cameras, they all rely on light coming through a very small hole(called the aperture) and projecting upside-down on a point behind it.

In the old days, film cameras would capture the light on photographic film which was coated with chemicals that reacted with light.

Digital cameras capture the image on a light-sensitive sensor which immediately processes and saves the image through complex software!

More buying guides

Capture One Vs Photoshop and Lightroom: Which is better?

When it comes down to image editing, two programs have taken the lead over the years. These programs are Capture One and Photoshop, which each have their own following.

However when it comes to Capture One vs Photoshop, which image editing software is actually best? We take an honest look at each one to determine which one comes out on top!

Capture One Vs Photoshop: Compared

General functionality

15926529027_c9d725c1c6_b-6791423

Both programs undoubtedly have their benefits in the area of functionality. However, when comparing Photoshop to Capture One Pro, we think Photoshop still beats Capture One’s functionality.

When it comes to imagine manipulation overall, Photoshop definitely provides the better product. Image stitching, HDR, retouching and comprehensive RAW image adjustments all belong on the list of functionality.

Another big plus of Photoshop is how well the this program incorporates a raster and vectors, which can be invaluable for advertisement campaign designs to even architectural designs.

On top of that, Adobe also provides tools for video editing and three dimensional printing. So, the point for overall functionality and versatility goes to Adobe.

Interface

One of the biggest difference between both programs is the interface. When you put the interface of Capture One next to Adobe, it is immediately clear that each software took a completely different approach. Evidently, this causes photographers to have a preference for one program over the other.

The interface of Capture One is mainly situated on the right-hand side, where you select your imported photographs. One the left, you can choose your adjustments for images. Evidently, this breaks up the interface. For some users, this can be a little easier in terms of finding things, while others do not like it. In short, it really is a personal preference.

Adobe on the other hand, provide a special module where you can browse through all the settings, which means you do not have to change tabs. On the left, you will find your history, making it easy to make jumps in the editing history if you need to do so.

Both interfaces require a little experimentation to master. However, we do find that Adobe does have an interface that is a bit friendlier than its rival. Since you can browse settings through one simple module and not have to mess around with tabs, beginners tend to find what they need a little easier.

Evidently, some users will prefer the divided settings interface of Capture One. If you are a beginner, it is best to find a tutorial on Capture One so you get a little familiar with the interface before you start editing images.

Which is more beginner friendly?

When it comes to suitability for beginners, we always look at presets. Presets are easy to implement and enable you to transform images in minimal time.

We are excited to report that both Adobe Photoshop and Capture One score well when it comes to presets. Adobe Photoshop does have a little more than Capture One Pro, and this is something to take into consideration.

While Adobe Photoshop has more presets, there are other factors to think about when it comes to suitability for beginners. However, Adobe Photoshop wins this part of the argument.

Another interesting feature for beginners is the presence of tutorials. While you would not expect this from an image editing software, Adobe Photoshop has an excellent range of tutorials available.

Raw image processing

We already touched upon the subject of Raw image processing, but we have not gone into too much detail. However, it is important that we do, as Raw images determine the quality of your photo editing results.

Earlier on, we mentioned that Capture One does add a little more saturation and contrast to the uploaded Raw files. This is something that Adobe does not do, and you could argue that the photographs on Capture One Pro look better for it.

At the end of the day, we do think both programs score the same where image processing is concerned. While photos on Capture One might look better than on Photoshop or Lightroom originally, these Raw images are subjected to color adjustments and other setting changes that makes the original Raw upload a little less important.

Both uploads are decent for the both softwares, it just looks a little bit different before editing. This is what it comes down to.

Organization

When you take loads of photos and upload your Raw image selection , you want to have a comprehensive overview of all your photos in a convenient location. Both Capture One and Adobe Photoshop has its organization features, but there are some differences.

Comparing Capture One’s organization tools to Adobe Photoshop, we concluded that Capture One is more suitable for a larger image collection. Capture One divides your photographs into sessions, which means you can organise them into individual collections, by occasion, time, or even person.

In Lightroom, photos are uploaded into a catalogue, which does have multiple collections within that one catalogue.

One of the features that makes the Capture One Pro better at organizing is the keyword search feature. As long as you save your images with the appropriate meta tags, it is so easy to find the right images in Capture Pro.

Custom color profiles

capture one vs photoshop and lightroom

Photographers looking for image editing software are always looking for the best color profiles. Those who use Capture One often claim that the photographs automatically look compared to Adobe Lightroom. But we wonder if this is actually the case?

Our research has shown that there is a difference between Capture One and Adobe Lightroom, but the difference may surprise you. The actual difference between Adobe and Capture One is that the latter has individual color profiles for each camera. As a result, the photographs on your screen will be close to those on your camera preview.

When you upload photographs in Adobe Lightroom, the program uses a neutral color profile to display your photos. In conclusion, each editing software has a different starting point.

So, which is best? If you are looking for neutrality in your images, more specifically with more muted colors, then Adobe wins the argument in Lightroom vs Capture One. However, if you like vibrant results with few adjustments needed, Capture One wins the fight with Lightroom.

Color Adjustments

2381359149_4a04ffce4e_b-8461781

When it comes to color adjustment options, Capture One Pro provides the better option. When you use Adobe Lightroom, you only get the basic hue saturation luminance panel with RGB adjustments.

The Capture One Pro adds additional options such as mid-tones, highlight adjustments and even shadows. With the Capture One Pro, it is also much easier to get rid of any skin redness in photographs, providing much better and more flattering image results.

Camera Support

Both Capture One Pro and Adobe Lightroom provide good compatibility for a variety of cameras, this goes from hobby to professional cameras. However, we did find a minor difference that could be crucial for the RAW files of some photographers.

Adobe Lightroom provides the quickest updates for compatibility with the newest cameras. So, if you tend to keep your photo equipment up-to-date with the latest models, then you must have the appropriate support for that RAW image selection. In these cases, the Adobe Lightroom is the way to go.

However, this does not mean that Capture One has nothing to offer when it comes to camera compatibility. The program does offer support for more than four hundred and fifty cameras at the moment, so it is still a solid choice for photographers.

An interesting feature of Capture One’s software is the tethered capture implementation. Within this framework, you can gain access to composition mode, allowing you to automatically replace the last image taken.

Evidently, this saves a lot of space in terms of hard drive space. Where camera functionality and compatibility is concerned, this is a very useful feature and might convince some users to make the switch to Capture One.

More adjustments

We already discussed some of the general adjustments that can be made with Lightroom and with the Capture One Pro. But what about local adjustments? Is one superior over the other?

Comparing both Capture One Pro and Lightroom, they both provide similar local adjustment features. But, one is more convenient than the other. Capture One’s local adjustments are easily done on multiple layers without making any changes.

If you want to use Lightroom for local adjustments, you need to switch back to Photoshop to get your multiple layers and local adjustments. Evidently, this makes precise adjustments much more difficult in Adobe Photoshop than in the Capture One Pro software.

Connectivity

In a world where everyone is connected to one another in one way or the other, connectivity has become all the more important for software programs. While there is some connectivity for Capture One’s software, Adobe provides connectivity that is second to none.

With Adobe, you have the option to store your files directly on the creative cloud, ensuring you never lose a project again. Using the creative cloud also saves in portable storage, as you can access your photographs everywhere at anytime.

To access the creative cloud, you need the creative cloud photography subscription. However, you will not have to pay extra for Lightroom, as this is included in the package.

Cost

As the later versions were released, Adobe Photoshop made the decision to offer its software to users on a subscription basis. Obviously, not all users like that decisions, but it did provide a major benefit. While the overall software package was a major investment for beginners without the subscription, the subscription option did make the software affordable for everyone.

Capture One also works with a subscription, but it is a little more expensive than Adobe. However, Capture One does do something Lightroom does not, more specifically give its users the option to purchase the software package fully without needing a subscription moving forward.

In other words, Lightroom and Capture One Pro actually score the same when it comes to price. While Lightroom does not offer the option to purchase the full suite, the subscription is cheaper than Capture One Pro. However, Capture One Pro does compensate for that by allowing users to buy the latest version without needing any more subscriptions moving forward.

We do need to mention that Photoshop offers Photoshop Elements. While it does not provide the full Lightroom functionality, it does deliver a standalone application for photo editing for half the price of Capture One Pro. Still, Capture One Pro does provide the better option for the price, as the suite is not toned down upon purchase for its users.

The Verdict

Adobe Photoshop has been around for a long time and is still somewhat ahead of the Capture One Pro. With that being said, the Capture One Pro is catching up fast, and is even rivalling Adobe Photoshop in many different areas.

But, if we would have to pick one at the moment, it would still be the latest version of Photoshop.

Photoshop provides a lot of interesting features and is still a staple in the image editing industry. This does not solely apply to hobby photographers, but also workplaces such as magazine publishers and more.

As the software has been around for quite some time, and is known by most, you will find that the learning curve is not as steep because of the multitude of tutorials and help to find online.

Of course, Capture One is catching up in that regard, so Adobe should not rest on its laurels and continue to develop its product to keep on providing the best software for editing images.

The reason why we choose Adobe Photoshop is its mobile compatibility, creative cloud platforms, friendlier interface, and overall better connectivity.

However, if Capture One becomes better at these things too, we might have to revise our opinion on the better image editing program. So, the coming years will be extremely interesting to witness, as this decision was not an easy one to make.