Best Mirrorless Cameras under $1,000

It’s time to update our comparison of the currently available mirrorless cameras and shortlist the top models of 2018. Here is our current ranking of what we believe are the best mirrorless cameras:

1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
2. Canon EOS M5
3. Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera
4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera body (black), Wi-Fi enabled, 4K video
5. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
6. Panasonic Lumix G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens
7. Canon EOS M6 (Black) EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit
8. NEW Release: Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera
9. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless
10. Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens

CameraMega PixelMount / Crop FactorFocus PointsWeightDP Review Score
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX820.3Micro-Four-Thirds / 2490.96 lbs0.82
Canon EOS M524.4EF-M / 1.6490.95 lbs0.82
Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless24.3X / 1.53250.85 lbs0.82
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III16.1Micro-Four-Thirds / 21210.9 lbs0.8
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II16.1Micro-Four-Thirds / 2810.9 lbs0.81
Panasonic Lumix G7 4K16Micro-Four-Thirds / 3490.9 lbs0.8
Canon EOS M624.2EF-M / 1.6490.86 lbs0.8
Fujifilm X-A524.2X / 1.5911.09 lbsN.A.
Sony Alpha a630024.2E / 1.51690.90.85
Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless24.3E / 11171.05 lbs0.8

1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Has a unique dual image stabilization technology: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

Olympus and Panasonic are the two companies that have continued to keep the micro four-thirds system alive.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is beautifully designed and is built around a 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor and the acclaimed Venus Engine image processor. The sensor is capable of producing frames of the size 5184 x 3888. The native ISO range of the sensor is 200 – 25600.

Panasonic’s sensor-shift type image stabilization system makes by default all lenses, which are compatible with the M4/3 mount, optically stabilized. These lenses don’t need the image stabilization gyros and motors like lenses designed for the Canon EF, EF-S, and the Nikon F mounts. The lack of images stabilization elements on the lens means they are lighter than traditional DSLR lenses.

Video shooting, these days is a must have. There was once such a time, not too long ago when just the ability to shoot videos was a great thing to have on your interchangeable lens cameras. Not anymore. These days even full HD video capabilities aren’t enough anymore. The Lumix DMC-GX8 is capable of capturing UHD videos 3840 x 2160p at maximum 30 fps.

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At full HD 1920 x 1080p the camera is capable of recording at up to 60 fps. You can easily shoot fast action footages, your pet at the beach or your kids playing in the yard and then play them back at normal 24 fps to create a nice slow motion effect. There is a built-in stereo mic for recording crisp sound with the option to mount an external mic as well. You can record a maximum of 29 mins and 59 secs in a single file.

Continuous shooting speed of the Lumix DMC-GX8 is a respectable eight fps. Continuous shooting speed is an important consideration for the purpose of making fast action images. Continuous shooting speed does not work without a big buffer. The buffer on the DMC-GX8 can allow up to 100 frames to be shot without any lag.

A 3” rear touchscreen that swivels is a fantastic option for shooting from difficult positions such as around a corner and over the head of a crowd. The resolution of the screen is 1040,000 pixels and gives 100% coverage. The primary shooting option is the electronic viewfinder. The viewfinder has a resolution of 2360,000 pixels.

Built-in Wi-Fi on the camera allows for easy transfer of images and videos over a wireless network.

PANASONIC LUMIX GX8 Body Mirrorless 4K Camera Body, Dual I.S. 1.0, 20.3 Megapixels, 3...
  • Capture moments with superb 4K imaging performance in both video and exclusive 4K PHOTO
  • Unique, in-body stabilization in combination with select optically stabilized lenses work together for class-leading Dual...
  • Worry-free splash proof / dustproof rugged body. Fast and precise auto focusing tracks the subject
  • New 20.3-megapixel sensor achieves Panasonic’s highest image quality
  • Over 20 Interchangeable lens options available

2. Canon EOS M5

Canon EOS M5
Canon EOS M5

The newly announced Canon EOS M5 is the latest in a long line of EOS M cameras. The M here stands for mirrorless. The EOS M5 is powered by a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and Canon’s latest DIGIC 7 image processing engine. The 24.2-megapixel sensor is capable of producing large fine JPEGs and RAW images. Canon’s DIGIC 7 image processor allows images to be shot in up to ISO 25600.

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Nine fps continuous shooting speed of the EOS M5 is more than respectable. We have certainly seen better, but for daily photography requirements, nine fps is more than good. You can also shoot a bit of sport and action photos as well.

Another thing that makes the EOS M5 a force to reckon with is its dual-pixel CMOS technology. Dual Pixel CMOS technology ensures that the camera locks focus faster than traditional auto-focusing systems as well as other hybrid AF systems.

Another feature that you would enjoy using is the digital 5-axis image stabilization. This feature is excellent for handheld shooting. Another interesting feature you would enjoy using is the 3.2” 1.62 million dot touchscreen LCD. Though there is a 2360k-dot electronic viewfinder as well, the touchscreen is what you would be using when shooting videos and action shots.

The EOS M5 has built-in Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi capabilities ensure that the camera can latch onto any network and depend on the available wireless speed you can transfer videos and images in a jiffy.

3. Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera

FUJIFILM X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Silver), Image Source: B&H

The Fujifilm X-T20 is the upgrade of the older X-T10. This is a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS organically laid out sensor powered by a mirrorless interchangeable lens system.

The X-T20 is paired with the X-Processor Pro image processing engine. The sensor does not have an OLPF which promises a higher degree of image sharpness and with it a higher incidence of moiré and false colors. The system uses its own X-Trans color filter array which is different from the more common Bayer arrangement.

Native ISO range of the camera is 100 – 51200. The better image processing engine also helps in a phenomenal continuous shooting speed of 14 fps. This is possible when shooting with the electronic shutter. This camera is ideal for sports and action photography and is comparable to the performance of the Canon EOS 1Dx or the Nikon D4/5. When using the mechanical shutter, you can still shoot at a healthy eight fps.

Speaking of continuous shooting, you cannot ignore what the camera buffer capacity would be. The X-T20 can shoot a maximum of 42 JPEG or 23 RAW frames in one go when shooting at 14 fps continuous shooting speed before the buffer overruns. At a slightly slower 11 fps, it can shoot for more frames.

The system has Auto ISO feature. This feature allows the camera to automatically dial in the right ISO number based on the aperture/shutter speed dialed in at the time of the shoot and balance the exposure in case the ambient lighting changes. This feature is available for both stills and movies.

The AF system of the camera borrows the same AF system that the X-T2 uses. This is a much-advanced system using a hybrid combination of on-sensor phase detection points plus contrast detection system.

The X-T20 is distinctly a retro looking camera. It has ample body based controls which promise that the primary functions of the camera are all easily accessible without having to dig deep into the menu system of the camera.

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The back of the camera is dominated by a 3″ 1.04m dots resolution tilting touchscreen. I have a particular liking for vari-angle screens and therefore the tilting screen is not my favorite when it comes to shooting stills and especially videos. It does not give me nearly the same flexibility as the vari-angle screen. Notwithstanding, I would take the tilting screen as opposed to the fixed screen.

The X-T20 is capable of shooting UHD / 4K camera, as compared to the X-T10 which only shot full HD. The frame rate possible is 30p. Thanks to the X-Processor Pro image processing engine. The maximum shooting time frame is about 10 minutes per clip.

What I don’t like are the absence of a headphone jack (there is the option to plug in an external mic jack) and the inferior battery capacity. The ratings suggest that the X-T20 can only shoot about 350 shots per charge. When shooting with live-view that would go down even further. So, you need to have a freshly charged backup battery at hand if you are planning to shoot for an extended period.

You get focus peaking, which is one of the most authentic ways of locking focus in video mode, and most importantly the option to output clean uncompressed files via an HDMI output. These are mandatory to even consider a camera for more than casual video work.
Other features that are missing and we would have loved to see them are zebra highlight warning and the ability to use F-Log Gamma which ensures better flexibility in post.

Additionally, the X-T20 does not use the whole sensor when shooting 4K videos. It does a sensor crop in the sense that it uses only the full sensor width. I am not saying that it is not standard as a lot of cameras are doing a sensor crop for 4K videos.

But there are also cameras which sample the whole sensor, and that means you get an oversampling which is then reduced and thus the quality is much better. So, the X-T20 isn’t the best when it comes to video shooting. That said, it isn’t the worst either.

Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XF18-55mmF2.8-4.0 R LM OIS Lens-Silver
  • 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 inches tilting Touchscreen panel for operation at almost any angle. Weight (approx.) excluding caps and hoods 310 grams
  • 4K video using the x series’ famous film Simulation effects (including ACROS). you can output recorded video to an external...
  • Af c custom settings for moving subjects.Advanced SR AUTO mode.Wireless transmitter:IEEE 802.11b / g / n (standard wireless...

Related Post: Fuji X-T20 (a Bestseller Mirroless Camera)

4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera body (black), Wi-Fi enabled, 4K Video

Another Great Mirrorless under $1k: the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera body (black), Wi-Fi enabled, 4K Video

The Olympus OM-D EM-10 Mark III is the latest in a long line of very capable mirrorless system cameras from the house of Olympus. Though it has been pitted as the next big thing, and a worthy successor to the OM-D EM-10 Mark II, the Mark III appears to be only a minor update from a look at the specifications. Olympus has updated the user interface and the underlying software that powers the camera. And that was one of the major issues that plagued the Mark II.

Underneath the hood, the OM-D EM-10 Mark III is powered by a 16 megapixel Live MOS four-thirds sensor without an AA filter. Sharper pictures guaranteed, and some unavoidable moiré and false colors too. Paired with the sensor is a Dual Quad-Core TruePic VIII image processor unit.

One major improvement in the OM-D EM-10 Mark III over and above the Mark II is the 4K / UHD video recording capability. The older Mark II was only capable of shooting full HD at a maximum of 60 fps. The faster image processor on the Mark III gives it the ability to shoot larger resolution files and at a faster frame rate than ever before.

With the better processor, full HD shooting frame rate has ballooned to 60 frames per second. Plus, for 720p HD recording the maximum frame rate possible now is 120. It is much easier now to shoot great fast action sports and then play them back in slow speed for that fantastic slow-motion effect.

Also what is impressive is the built-in image stabilization on the camera, which works for 4K video recording as well. The camera comes with both body-based and digital image stabilization.

The Mark III records at a bit rate of 102 Mbps giving you a much smoother recording experience. Plus, you have the option to choose between PAL and NTSC frame rates.

One of the major attractions for the OM-D EM-10 Mark III and for that matter any of the OM-D series cameras is the bounty of physical control buttons and dials.

For an old-school film photographer, the OM-D EM-10 Mark III would seem like the logical step. From film to digital s/he wouldn’t miss a thing.

That said, the OM-D EM-10 Mark III isn’t a camera that is for professionals. Consider it as an entry-level OM-D. Notwithstanding, the camera comes with a host of customization options as well as a bunch of automated shooting modes that takes care of image making in most situations. I would say that it is a perfect synergy between two worlds, pro controls with the convenience of automated shooting.

Speaking of the auto mode (and all its advantage), there is something you may want to watch out for: the i-Enhance feature is built into the Auto Mode. This feature will skew the colors for you.

If you are a natural for HDR imagery, you may just leave it as it is, even love it for what it does ‘naturally’. But for others, it may not be natural at all. If you don’t like this color results, you could simply switch to RAW and that will give you the option to change the colors later on, or switch to one of the priority modes or even the manual modes.

The OM-D EM-10 Mark III has a 121-point contrast detection auto-focusing system.

One area of concern is auto-focusing. Notably, in the auto mode (the auto mode on the OM-D EM-10 Mark III isn’t after all something to feel great about). Its choice of area where to focus on isn’t always ‘psychic’ if I am allowed to use that word. Meaning, it is as likely to goof up the whole auto-focusing thing picking something irrelevant in the background as getting something relevant (it is unpredictable and inconsistent). Matters go southwards when a subject starts moving.

Still on the subject of auto-focusing and this time about movie shooting, the performance of the OM-D EM-10 Mark III’s contrast detection system isn’t confidence boosting.

Contrast detection auto-focusing systems are reliable when the subject is stationary. But they rarely do a good job when the subject is moving about. The fact is quite apparent when you try to track a moving subject with the OM-D EM-10 Mark III. It fails a lot of the times.

The other features of the camera include a 2.36m dots electronic viewfinder and a 3″ tilting LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1.04m dots. The native ISO range of the camera is 100 – 25600. It can shoot at a maximum frame rate of 8.6 fps (when shooting stills). It also has built-in Wi-Fi.

All in all a powerful camera with all-around abilities that should satisfy the needs of every photographer (from beginner to advanced users).

It has powerful 4K video capabilities and amazing still shooting. Best thing is it is customizable and easy to shoot with, which makes it an ideal camera for most situations worth taking a picture.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Camera Body (silver), Wi-Fi enabled, 4K video
  • 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 one step shutter release

5. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - Retailing Well Below $1,000
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II – Retailing Well Below $1,000

The upmarket OM-D E-M5 Mark II represents what the next higher segment in the Olympus line up of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II comes across as the next logical step if you have been shooting with a point & shoot camera and wanted something that liberates you as a photographer, but at the same time keep the convenience of shooting with a point & shoot system.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II fills in some pretty significant shoes. The previous original OM-D E-M5 has been marked as a fantastic design, both physically and functionally. And those are some really serious standards to live up to.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II combines a 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor and Olympus’ TruePic VII image processor (the same as the top end OM-D E-M1. Another important feature is that it now has the 2×2 control system that has filtered on to some of the higher models.

The Mark II comes with some new features. One of them being the ability to create a 40-megapixel high resolution still combining some shots. This it does by using the sensor-shift capabilities of the camera. The sensor is shifted to eight different positions. Just a wee bit after each shot is made. The images are then combined together internally to produce one gigantic image.

The shots are taken at a rapid pace. It takes only about a second to complete all the eight images. To merge them together to form a single image it takes another 2.5 seconds. This feature works for still life very well. But not so much for subjects that might be moving.

Even the slightest movement will create a ghosting effect. And you need a tripod to be able to make these shots perfect. The resultant files are either a 40 megapixel JPEG image or a 100-megapixel RAW image.

One critical advantage of this is that the OM-D E-M5 Mark II does not suffer from moiré and false colors that some other high-resolution cameras, especially the ones without an AA filter suffer from. This is because the OM-D E-M5 Mark II samples all the color information from each of the pixels. Unlike other high-resolution cameras which are limited by the Bayer array and that means each pixel has only one color information.

Basically, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is your better bet when it comes down to capturing fine patterns and avoiding moiré, especially in product and fashion photography.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II has an excellent 5-axis sensor-shift type image stabilization system. The newly improved image stabilization will provide up to 5 stops of correction. In other words, you should be able to hand-hold the camera and make steady shots even when shooting at five stops slower than what should be the ideal shutter speed for the scene. The original OM-D E-M5 offered four stops of stabilization.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II is not as great as the OM-D EM-10 Mark III regarding video shooting. I am speaking strictly in the sense of the resolution at which it can shoot. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II only shoots full HD videos at a maximum frame rate of 60 fps. The cheaper OM-D EM-10 Mark III shoots 4K / UHD. But the OM-D E-M5 Mark II comes with a few tricks of its own. The camera now can shoot with an All-I 77 Mbps compression for 30p capture.

The main attractions are the focus peaking option and the option to output uncompressed HDMI. The camera also has the option to plug in an external mic input as well as timecode which allows footage from multiple cameras to be mixed during post-production. One thing we missed, however, is the flat picture profile. This would have given us greater control when color grading our clips. Evidently, it seems that the OM-D E-M5 Mark II isn’t meant for advanced shooters.

At the back of the camera adorns a 3″ vari-angle LED touchscreen monitor. The monitor has a resolution of 1,037,000 dots and gives 100% frame coverage. The viewfinder also comes with 100% frame coverage and has a resolution of 2360,000 dots.

All these electronic displays, however, put a toll on the battery life. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II shoots only about 310 shots per full charge. This is a far cry from the 360 that was possible with the original OM-D E-M5.

That said, the camera comes with what Olympus labels as a ‘Quick Sleep’ mode. As the name indicates, this mode turns off the display on the screen, as soon as your eyes are off of it. This helps save a considerable amount of charge on your batteries.

Still shooting, comparatively, is slightly better. At least the frame rate possible is higher than what is possible on the OM-D EM-10 Mark III. It is 10 fps precisely.

Another major advantage of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is its construction. The design is rated as dust and splash proof. You still got to use a lens with a filter that would seal the front of the camera, but the quality of construction is extremely good.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II (Black) (Body Only)
  • Powerful 5 axis voice coil motor image stabilization system greatly reduces blur resulting from camera shake
  • 16MP Live MOS sensor with 40MP High Resolution Shot Mode; Lens mount Micro Four Thirds Mount
  • 10 frames per second high speed sequential shooting
  • Full HD 1080: 60p, 30p, 25p, 24p video capabilities with focus peaking
  • Large 2.35 million dot electronic viewfinder

6. Panasonic Lumix G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens

Amazon's Choice and Well Under $1k: The PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G7KK (USA BLACK) - a good buy!
Amazon’s Choice and Well Under $1k: The PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera, with 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens, 16 Megapixels, 3 Inch Touch LCD, DMC-G7KK (USA BLACK) – another good buy!

The Panasonic G7 is a mirrorless micro four-thirds system camera. It is powered by a 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor and Panasonic’s fantastic Venus Engine 9 image processor.
Regarding design, the Panasonic Lumix G7 is a full-fledged DSLR. Or at least that’s what it looks like. Twin control dials evoke that same feeling as you would have when wielding a mid-range DSLR. Except for the bulk and the dimensions. The pronounced handgrip also evokes a similar feeling.

It is ideal for a mid-range DSLR. The similarities are undeniable. The camera is a lightweight one, weighing just 415 grams with the battery and the memory card in place. But the fact that it is a mirrorless camera means its limitations essentially bind it.

One of those limitations being the contrast detection auto-focusing mechanism. The Lumix G7 has a 49 point contrast detection AF system. Contrast detection system as you are aware are not great for subject tracking. Even then the G7’s AF performance while shooting stills is decent. While shooting movies, it gets a bit wobbly at times. But still, it is better than what we have seen before.

The most important feature of the Panasonic Lumix G7 is its ability to shoot 4K / UHD video. It can shoot it at 30 / 24 fps. You can alternatively shoot full HD videos at a frame rate of 60 fps. The maximum clip length possible is 29 minutes and 59 seconds. The Panasonic Lumix G7 comes with a built-in stereo mic with the option to plug in an external stereo mic for better quality sound.

But the most thing about the video capability is that the G7 has a bunch of tools that are from the domain of professional camcorders. One of them is the focus peaking option. This is great for manual focusing accuracy during video shooting. The other is the Zebra highlight warning. Plus the touchscreen allows full functionality which is useful for editing the shooting settings while recording.

An important thing that is missing is the Auto ISO feature during manual exposure mode when shooting videos. Auto ISO works in the Program mode, Aperture priority and Shutter priority modes only. Auto ISO is an important feature because it lets you maintain the same exposure with the aperture and shutter speed remaining locked even in changing light (especially when shooting outdoors). The camera automatically changes the ISO to achieve this. You don’t have this in the Manual mode which is a shame.

The Panasonic Lumix G7 has a 2.36m dots OLED viewfinder and a 3″ 1.04m dots free-angle (vari-angle) LCD touchscreen. Both offer 100% frame coverage. With the touchscreen controls comes the ability to move the AF point anywhere on the screen while shooting and even when you are looking through the viewfinder. The free angle touchscreen ensures that the camera is capable of capturing videos and stills from even the weirdest of angles.

Built-in Wi-Fi is a handy feature and something that every camera from the past couple of years been having. The Panasonic Lumix G7 has this feature too. Built-in Wi-Fi allows the camera to be controlled remotely for initiating still and video shooting. But it also allows files to be transferred to a compatible device, to a computer server and even to be uploaded to social media with the tap of a button.

Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. Digital...
  • Weight: Approximate 110g
  • Lens construction: nine group 8 (2 aspherical lens) Mount: Micro Four Thirds mount
  • Focal length: 14 ~ 42mm (35mm-format equivalent: 28 ~ 84mm)
  • Open aperture: F3.5 (W end) ~ F5.6 (T end) / Minimum aperture: F22
  • Shooting distance range: 0.2m / 0.3m ~ 8 (from the imaging surface) / Maximum magnification: 0.17 times (35mm-format...

Paired with the Panasonic Lumix G7 is a 14-42mm zoom kit lens. The 2x crop factor of the four-thirds system makes the focal length the equivalent of a 28-84mm.

The aperture range of the lens is f/3.5 – 5.6, which is reasonable and nothing out of the ordinary. The lens comes with built-in image stabilization. It also has an auto-focusing motor which ensures that you can take advantage of the automatic focusing mechanism.

PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Digital Camera, with LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm MEGA O.I.S. Lens, 16...
  • PROFESSIONAL PHOTO AND VIDEO PERFORMANCE: 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter to confidently...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160) with three unique 4K Ultra HD Video pause and save 4K PHOTO Modes...
  • INTUITIVE CONTROLS: Easily control aperture and shutter settings with the front and rear dials while making white balance and...
  • HIGH RESOLUTION VIEWFINDER AND LCD DISPLAY: High resolution (2,360K dot) OLED Live View Finder and rear touch enabled 3 inch...
  • CONNECTIVITY AND PORTS: 3.5mm external mic port, 2.5mm remote port, USB 2.0 and micro HDMI Type D; Compatible with newer BUS...

7. Canon EOS M6 (Black) EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit

The Canon EOS M6 is a mirrorless design based around an APS-C sensor. This is one of the few mirrorless systems designs that Canon currently sales. This one is based on a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and is paired with Canon DIGIC 7 image processor. The native ISO range of the camera is 100 – 25600.

The sensor comes with what arguably is the best auto-focusing mechanism for live-view shooting, mainly video shooting. It is known as dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing. This technology uses what is essentially a split pixel mechanism wherein light reaches each pixel from two different sides of the lens. This creates two different images just like the rangefinder cameras of old. The images are then compared the same way phase detection auto-focusing works, except that this is sensor based, and focus is locked.

The video capabilities on the EOS M6 is limited to full HD only. It shoots full HD at a frame rate of 60 fps. The camera has a built-in stereo mic and additionally the option to plug in an external stereo mic for recording better quality sound. The maximum clip length for each video is 29 mins and 59 seconds.

The EOS M6 comes with electronic 5-axis image stabilization. This system combines well with the lens-based image stabilization of the EF-M 15-45mm to produce great stability for even your hand-held shots.
There is no electronic viewfinder on the EOS M6, but it has a 3″ LCD touchscreen at the back of the camera. The resolution of the LCD screen is 1040,000 dots.

The touchscreen is pretty impressive. The best thing about it is during live-view shooting you can rock focus very easily. Just tap anywhere on the screen, and the camera acquires focus on that element. Still one would find the absence of the EVF quite conspicuous and one that will damage its lure among camera buyers.

Still on the topic of the touchscreen, there is no clear-cut option on the screen to start video recording. Not sure why. So you have to either use the difficult to use physical record button or assign one of the customizable buttons to work as the alternative option. The other option would be to use your smartphone in paired mode.

Regarding still shooting the EOS M6 shoots at a frame rate of 9 fps (with AF locked). That’s good enough for shooting fast action and sports photos with a lot of expected keepers. With full AF continuous shooting frame rate drops down to 7 fps. That’s still not bad.

Connectivity is a major issue for today’s camera systems. Everyone wants not only to shoot but also share their work with the world in real time. Something that is impossible without wireless connectivity of some sorts. The EOS M6 has both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options built into it.

There will be arguments in favor and against of the EOS M6. I would say that you cannot ignore the fact that it is a Canon camera and therefore with an adapter, you can use the entire range of EF and EF-S lenses. That’s a big plus. Provided you are ready to trade-off that massive advantage with the absence of the EVF. The EOS M6 is a big leap over the older generation M cameras.

Being a mirrorless camera has its advantages. The EOS M6 is lightweight, slim and extremely space efficient. You can pack this and the kit lens in the same space you would probably pack a Canon Rebel camera. Therefore this is a significant advantage when shooting for long periods of time and when trying to pack light for a weekend trip.

For a small camera, the EOS M6 has an incredible number of buttons and dials. There are four dials on the camera, along with the buttons to go. Some of these are customizable helping you to get to the function you need to at the right time. But not as many as you would have wanted.

Canon EOS M6 (Black) EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit
  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 7.0 fps (up to 9.0 fps with AF lock)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi**, NFC*** and Bluetooth

8. NEW Release: the Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Affordable and classy mirrorless camera: the Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Camera XC15-45mm Lens Kit - with 3.0" LCD
Affordable and classy mirrorless camera: the Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Camera XC15-45mm Lens Kit – with 3.0″ LCD – comes in three colors: brown, pink and silver.

The Fujifilm X-A5 is a new kid on the block. It is a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor powered mirrorless camera from the house of Fujifilm. The X-A5 is an X-mount camera and produces large fine JPEGs and RAW images of the size 6000 x 4000 pixels. Fujifilm states that the new image processor is about 1.5 times faster than the older models. The native ISO range of the camera is 200 – 12800 and is further expandable from 100 – 51200.

The X-A5 does not have built-in image stabilization. But the kit lens paired with the camera, the 15-45mm, comes with the feature. Image stabilization is a must have because you need to be able to use slow shutter speed, even when shooting hand-held.

The XA-5 is one of the few cameras on this list that shoots internal 4K / UHD videos. There may not be an abundance of 4K / UHD screens (the world is still warming up to the concept) and uploading 4K videos to social media is still a time-consuming experience. But you can always enjoy the high-resolution videos at home if you have a high-resolution TV. That said, you always have the option to shoot at full HD at a frame rate of 60 fps.

There is the beneficial 4K imaging option. This option allows you to shoot at a frame rate of 15 fps for sometimes. This mode will allow you to capture the shots that other slow frame rate systems will miss.
There is also a built-in focus stacking mode as well. This mode will allow the system to automatically stack multiple 4K images, to adjust the depth of field and create a single image with a vast depth of field. This mode is perfect for shooting landscapes, architecture and real estate.

Still, on the subject of stills (no pun intended), the X-A5 comes with 17 advanced filters and 11 film simulation modes as well as several other shooting modes to dial in the right settings for your shot.

Auto-focusing on the XA-5 isn’t your typical contrast detection AF system that you would typically find in mirrorless systems. The XA-5 comes with a hybrid system that has elements of both contrast detection and phase detection auto-focusing systems. There is a Portrait Enhancer mode, a fog removal mode, and an HDR photography mode as well.

The back of the camera is dominated by a 3″ tilting LCD touchscreen. The resolution is a decent 1040k-dots. Fujifilm has updated the interface, and this promises more ease of use. However, we would have liked a vari-angle screen.

The vari-angle screen is the ultimate when it comes to shooting videos and pretty much take advantage of the thing. The tilting screen, though a much better option when compared to a fixed display isn’t just not enough for shooting videos.

The XA-5 has rating capacity to shoot 450 pictures per charge. It isn’t quite great when compared to some of the mid-range DSLRs that it finds itself pitted against. It is even not great compared to entry-level DSLRs. But then this is a mirrorless system and one without an EVF.

That invariably means you will always run through your batteries faster.

Regarding connectivity, the XA-5 comes with built-in Bluetooth connectivity. So, you would be able to transfer images and videos to your smartphone and computer. The camera is Wi-Fi compatible too.

Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens - Brown
  • Newly developed 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor which outperforms previous models in its scene recognition accuracy in SR+ AUTO...
  • Newly Developed XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS Power Zoom Lens
  • Bluetooth technology has been added for quick, easy and automatic transfer of still images and videos to paired smartphones...
  • Large rear LCD monitor that can rotate 180 degrees
  • High resolution and high Definition 4K video recording

9. Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless

The best Mirrorless Camera just under $1,000 (body only): The Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless
Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)

In many ways, the Sony Alpha a6300 is everything that you would ever need in a mirrorless camera. It weighs just about right – 404 grams with its battery and memory card, feels good when held in hands and has a pretty decent list of features.

It’s built around a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor capable of producing 6,000 x 4,000 pixels frames. Canon’s BIONZ X image processor powers the image processing. ISO range of the camera is 100-25,600 which can be further extended to 51,200.

The back of the camera is dominated by a 3” 921.6k-dor tilting LCD screen; the first composing window. The display offers 100% frame coverage. Along with it, an XGA Tru-finder 2.36m-dot OLED EVF is also provided. The viewfinder also fits 100% frame coverage.

Related Post: Review of the Sony Alpha a6300

The Sony a6300 is a fantastic camera for street photography, because of its modest size, fantastic continuous shooting speed, and excellent 4D FOCUS system. The Sony Alpha a6300 is a formidable video shooter as well with ultra HD (3840 x 2160p resolution) at 30 fps. In full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution the camera can shoot at up to 120 fps. The camera comes equipped with S-log3 Gamma and a display assist option.

There’s a built-in mic in the camera. It records stereo sound along with your clips. You can optionally mount an external stereo mic to facilitate better sound quality. Up to a total of 29 mins and 59 secs can be recorded in a single file.

Continuous still shooting is possible at a speed of 11 fps in full resolution to capture up to 21 RAW frames. Alternatively, you can shoot at 44 JPEG frames in full resolution. For sports and action photography that is precisely what you want along with the ability to lock focus quickly. The Sony Alpha a6300 has both. One of the more sought-after features of the camera is the 4D FOCUS with 425 phase detection points.

The other features of this fully loaded mirrorless camera include weather-sealed magnesium alloy construction, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, pop-up flash along with the option to mount an external flash.

Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Camera: Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with APS-C,...
  • 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

Related Post: Best Video Cameras under $1,000

10. Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens

Just Under $1,000: The Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens
Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens (now retailing just under $1,000 with the 28-70mm lens)

The Sony a7 is the original full-frame mirrorless camera from Sony that took the world by storm when it came out in 2013.

The Sony a7 was, along with its sibling the A7 R, the smallest and lightest full-frame cameras in the world at the time. These makes were mirrorless systems, designed for full-frame enthusiasts who waved at the prospect of straining their arms with the weight of a full-frame DSLR behemoth. Sony also came up with (and have since become extremely popular) dedicated FE lenses (separate from the existent E-mount lenses).

The a7 is a fantastic camera and a worthy competitor to many of the full-frame DSLRs of the time. It is another thing that the camera has been replaced by the A7 II and then the A7 III (very recently). The original A7 continue to enjoy a decent fan following and now that its price has dropped to below $1k with a kit lens we have included it here in this list.

A 24.3-megapixel full-frame EXMOR CMOS sensor produces enough resolution for a 6000 x 4000 dimension image (RAW plus JPEG). The sensor uses an optical low pass filter.

The BIONZ X image processor is energy efficient and promises an ISO range of 100 – 25600. It also allows a continuous shooting speed of 5 fps. To be honest five fps doesn’t sound exciting. You will struggle to try to shoot sports or fast action photos with this.

The A7 uses a hybrid auto-focusing mechanism employing a sensor based phase detection system together with the standard contrast detection system. It has 117 phase detection AF points and 25 contrast detection points. Together, the hybrid mechanism is expected to perform better than ‘traditional’ mirrorless systems.

A 3″ tiltable LCD screen dominates the back of the camera. There is no touchscreen (it was not dominant at that time). The screen has a resolution of 921.6k dots resolution and comes with the proprietary White Magic technology.

This technology ensures excellent viewing especially when shooting under the broad daylight sun.

The A7 shoots full HD videos at a variable frame rate of 24p, 60i, and 60p. You have the choice of AVCHD and MP4 coding. Additionally, you also have the option to transfer uncompressed videos to an external recorder via the HDMI connection. That is an attractive option for someone serious about extracting the maximum out of a high-resolution camera. With uncompressed files, you have greater option for color grading.

To assist the video enthusiast, the A7 also features a manual exposure control while recording videos, and most importantly zebra highlight warning system.

Other than these you also have the option to plug in an external mic to possibly use a noise canceling mic system for better sound quality and a headphone port. An audiometer is also provided that allows you to monitor the sound levels.

The A7 is paired with the FE 28-70mm f/3.5 – 5.6 OSS lens. This is one of the five new FE lenses that Sony announced with the camera. Older E-mount lenses will also work with the camera but with significant cropping. But that is not advisable as you will not be able to take full advantage of the full-frame sensor.

Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 FE OSS Interchangeable Standard Zoom Lens
  • Outstanding performance in an affordable full-frame zoom that is lightweight and compact
  • Maximum magnification ratio (x): 0.19x.Three a spherical elements and one ED glass element contribute to beautiful rendering...
  • Built-in Optical Steady Shot image stabilization ensures clearer, sharper handheld shots;Aperture Blades : 7

The maximum aperture of the lens varies between f/3.5 all the way to f/5.6. One would agree that this is not lightning quick, but as a kit lens goes, this is more than capable of getting the job done. The construction of the lens includes three aspherical elements (takes care of chromatic aberrations). The important thing is this lens comes with optical image stabilization.

The A7 has both built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. Wireless connectivity ensures that you can control the camera remotely and transfer videos and images seamlessly without any issues. NFC ensures faster pairing between compatible devices.

The A7 comes with the ability to shoot tethered when shooting videos. Shooting tethered, is okay. A lot of photographers do that in their studio. But that is only for stills. I would hate to shoot videos while tethered to my computer. But then I suppose Sony feels there is a need for this feature.

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens
  • 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor. Compatible OS - Windows Vista SP2*4, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Mac OS X (v10.6-v10.8)
  • Up to 4 FPS in Speed Priority Continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-25600(AUTO ISO 100-6400), 1080/60p/24p HD video (AVCHD/MP4)
  • 3" tiltable LCD with 921,600 dots. 1/2-inch XGA OLED color electronic viewfinder with 2.4M dots
  • Raw and Raw + JPEG shooting. Multi-interface shoe (optional external flash sold separately)


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