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Are you look­ing for a great starter cam­era for pho­tog­ra­phy or vlog­ging? Or maybe you shoot a lot on your smart­phone, but are already ready to pick up a device with more flex­i­ble con­trols and space for cre­ativ­i­ty? Or, con­verse­ly, are you an advanced pho­tog­ra­ph­er look­ing for an afford­able trav­el back­up cam­era?

In this arti­cle, we’ve round­ed up the best bud­get mir­ror­less cam­eras from all the major man­u­fac­tur­ers, as well as some inter­est­ing alter­na­tives, so you’ll have plen­ty to choose from.

Mir­ror­less cam­eras account­ed for almost 60% of the dig­i­tal cam­era mar­ket last year. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel DPRe­view TV

Canon

Let’s start with Canon. And here you have a choice — spend a lit­tle less and get a great basic mir­ror­less or spend a lit­tle more and get a mod­el that, despite the bud­get seg­ment, offers func­tion­al­i­ty at the lev­el of mid-range mod­els. About the first option, Canon EOS M200, we recent­ly wrote in an arti­cle about the best Canon mir­ror­less cam­eras, so today we will focus on the sec­ond option — Canon EOS M50 Mark II.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

An inter­est­ing option not only for pho­tog­ra­phers, but also blog­gers. Pho­to: fstoppers.com

Pros:

  • great pic­ture;
  • sim­ple and friend­ly to begin­ners;
  • effi­cient aut­o­fo­cus.

Minus­es:

  • trade-offs in shoot­ing 4K video;
  • not a very rich selec­tion of EOS M lens­es;
  • weak bat­tery.

The EOS M50 Mark II is a com­pact mir­ror­less cam­era with a 24MP APS‑C sen­sor and an effi­cient Dual Pix­el aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem.

The body of the cam­era is made in the style of a SLR, it has a com­fort­able grip. Unlike the cheap­er M200, this mod­el has a viewfind­er, which is handy for pho­tog­ra­phers. The small set of but­tons and con­trol dials is designed for begin­ners who don’t change set­tings by hand very often. Luck­i­ly, the cam­era has a great auto mode. For those who like to shoot video, a ful­ly rotat­able dis­play that can be turned into a self­ie posi­tion is a nice bonus.

The main advan­tage of this cam­era is a beau­ti­ful pic­ture and fast, accu­rate aut­o­fo­cus. For those look­ing for their first real cam­era since a smart­phone, the Canon M50 Mark II is a win-win. The cam­era has Canon’s pro­pri­etary JPEG col­ors and high-qual­i­ty track­ing aut­o­fo­cus (with face and eye track­ing), which, in com­bi­na­tion with auto mode, helps to take cool pho­tos with­out much expe­ri­ence and zapar.

Although the choice of native EOS M lens­es is quite lim­it­ed, you can use a huge range of EF and EF‑S SLR lens­es by attach­ing them to the cam­era via the EF-EOS M adapter.

In terms of video shoot­ing, the cam­era works well in 1080p, but 4K video is not very detailed, with pow­er­ful crop­ping and with­out cool Dual Pix­el aut­o­fo­cus. On the oth­er hand, the cam­era has sev­er­al fea­tures to attract blog­gers to its side. In addi­tion to the already not­ed rotary dis­play, it has a stream­ing func­tion on YouTube, sup­port for ver­ti­cal video shoot­ing and a micro­phone jack.

But the bat­tery can be writ­ten to the cam­era in the neg­a­tive — 305 shots per charge accord­ing to the CIPA rat­ing. In prac­tice, the num­ber of shots dif­fers upwards — when test­ing, they turn on all pos­si­ble func­tions, for exam­ple, Blue­tooth. In addi­tion, the cam­era can be charged via USB from an exter­nal bat­tery.

All in all, a great choice for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers who are will­ing to pay extra for the viewfind­er and com­fort­able grip com­pared to the M200, as well as for begin­ner blog­gers who do not plan to shoot 4K con­tent in the near future.

fujifilm

Fuji­film knows how to make qual­i­ty crop mir­ror­less cam­eras at low prices. One of the main fea­tures of the com­pa­ny is retro style, although in some mod­els it suc­cess­ful­ly departs from the “main line of the par­ty”. Among bud­get mod­els, there are two main options — Fuji­film X‑T200 and Fuji­film X‑A7. In hon­or of the X‑T200 (this is a slight­ly sim­pler ver­sion of the mid-lev­el X‑T30), we have already sung prais­es many times, so today we will focus on the even sim­pler and cheap­er X‑A7.

Fujifilm X‑A7

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the X‑A7 does­n’t have a viewfind­er, but you get a very com­pact body. Pho­to: ephotozine.com

Pros:

  • excel­lent aut­o­fo­cus;
  • friend­ly to begin­ners;
  • large screen with excel­lent res­o­lu­tion.

Minus­es:

  • no viewfind­er;
  • weak bat­tery.

Fuji­film’s XA line is designed specif­i­cal­ly for novice users as a cheap­er and eas­i­er-to-learn alter­na­tive to the old­er X‑series. And at the moment, the X‑A7 is the most advanced mod­el in the line. The cam­era received a mod­ern aut­o­fo­cus and a large dis­play. By the way, this touch screen is a great bonus for all smart­phone users buy­ing their first cam­era.

With a 24.5‑megapixel sen­sor, you can take sharp, detailed pho­tos and shoot high-qual­i­ty 4K/30p video. Aut­o­fo­cus is anoth­er strong point of this ini­tial mod­el. Effec­tive face and eye track­ing makes it a good choice for por­traits and every­day shoot­ing.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the X‑A7 does not have a built-in or option­al viewfind­er, although the large dis­play some­what off­sets this dis­ad­van­tage. 270 shots on a sin­gle charge is also hard­ly a high fig­ure, but, like all mod­ern mod­els, it can be recharged on the go from an exter­nal bat­tery.

As a result, this is a great option for the first cam­era for both video and pho­tog­ra­phy. If you still want a viewfind­er, which is need­ed, for exam­ple, when shoot­ing in the sun, pay atten­tion to the Fuji­film X‑T200 or the more advanced X‑T30 II.

Nikon

Nikon’s mir­ror­less sys­tem is rel­a­tive­ly new, and has­n’t had many bud­get offer­ings in that time. The choice is between Nikon Z50 and Nikon Z fc, but, in fact, there is not much choice here, since these are almost the same cam­eras in dif­fer­ent cas­es. One mod­el is made in the style of a DSLR, the oth­er is in the retro style that you would expect from Fuji­film. The author of this arti­cle has a warm love for vin­tage aes­thet­ics, so the Z fc is the best option for a bud­get Nikon mir­ror­less cam­era.

Nikon Z fc

Nikon’s entry into the retro style turned out to be suc­cess­ful. Pho­to: dpreview.com

Pros:

  • styl­ish design and con­ve­nient con­trols
  • excel­lent pic­ture qual­i­ty in pho­tos and videos (with­out crop).

Minus­es:

  • lim­it­ed selec­tion of APS‑C Z lens­es.

The Nikon Z fc is an APS‑C mir­ror­less cam­era that bor­rows a lot from the com­pa­ny’s clas­sic film cam­eras. And this means not only a cool appear­ance, but also a great set of con­trols with aes­thet­ic levers.

The cam­era boasts a great pic­ture in pho­tos and videos, a swiv­el dis­play that is suit­able for shoot­ing blogs, and the pres­ence of a micro­phone jack. But there is no input for head­phones, as well as log pro­files for advanced video col­or cor­rec­tion (although Nikon’s “flat” low-con­trast pro­file can also be used for this).

The aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem is not bad, but not the best in the class. Due to the rel­a­tive new­ness of the sys­tem, there are not too many lens­es on the mar­ket designed specif­i­cal­ly for crop cam­eras in the series. There are only a few native glass­es, but inter­est­ing offers from third-par­ty man­u­fac­tur­ers come to the res­cue.

Oth­er­wise, this is an inex­pen­sive, styl­ish cam­era with con­ve­nient con­trols and a set of func­tions that will suit both pho­tog­ra­phers and vlog­gers.

Sony

Of course, Sony knows a lot about mir­ror­less cam­eras, but late­ly the com­pa­ny’s focus has been main­ly on expen­sive full-frame mod­els. How­ev­er, in the Japan­ese man­u­fac­tur­er’s line­up, you can find sev­er­al bud­get cam­eras that may well com­pete for the title of best in class. This, of course, is about the a6xxx series and its a6100 base cam­era.

Sony Alpha a6100

But Sony’s cropped mir­ror­less cam­eras focus more on func­tion­al­i­ty than on style. Pho­to: cameraegg.org

Pros:

  • excel­lent pic­ture in JPEG and RAW;
  • best in class aut­o­fo­cus.

Minus­es:

  • lim­i­ta­tions in 4K video;
  • con­fus­ing menu.

The Sony a6000 has been one of the most pop­u­lar new­bie mir­ror­less cam­eras for sev­er­al years, and the a6100, which came out a cou­ple of years ago, is a wor­thy suc­ces­sor.

Despite the sta­tus of the youngest mod­el in the line, its fea­ture set, image qual­i­ty and speed do not mean that this is a cam­era “for noobs”. You get a pro­pri­etary aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem that allows you to for­get about it and just shoot, as well as an excel­lent detailed pic­ture.

Its weak­ness­es also stem from its rela­tion­ship with more advanced mod­els — the con­trol sys­tem and inter­face dif­fer lit­tle from the old­er cam­eras in the series, so for novice users they may not be too clear and obvi­ous.

The sec­ond dis­ad­van­tage is that despite the good video record­ing per­for­mance, there are some nuances when work­ing in 4K. At 24p, you get a pow­er­ful “jel­ly” when mov­ing and pan­ning (the so-called rolling shut­ter effect), and at 30p the cam­era shoots with a notice­able crop (crop­ping). There are no such ques­tions for Full HD for­mat, but the pic­ture in this res­o­lu­tion is much less detailed.

In gen­er­al, the a6100 is one of the most advanced and at the same time expen­sive mod­els on this list, but the Sony mir­ror­less cam­era is def­i­nite­ly worth the mon­ey spent.

And if you’re look­ing for a mod­el that’s more video-cen­tric, check out the new Sony ZV-E10 vlog­ging cam­era.

Panasonic

Pana­son­ic has some inter­est­ing options for inex­pen­sive Micro 4:3 cam­eras (slight­ly small­er than APS‑C). For this for­mat, there are a huge num­ber of lens­es from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The most recent and per­haps the most advanced mir­ror­less cam­era in the bud­get class is the Pana­son­ic Lumix G100. The slight­ly old­er GX9 offers less fea­tures in terms of video shoot­ing, while it has a built-in sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem.

Panasonic Lumix G100

Despite the rather com­pact size, the cam­era has a decent grip. Pho­to: utkaltoday.com

Pros:

  • very com­pact dimen­sions;
  • con­ve­nient bright dis­play.

Minus­es:

  • 4K video with crop;
  • weak bat­tery.

The Pana­son­ic G100 is one of the most com­pact cam­eras in its class, yet it does­n’t com­pro­mise on its fea­ture set. The cam­era is large­ly focused on blog­gers: a cool built-in direc­tion­al micro­phone, a con­ve­nient swiv­el dis­play, as well as advanced video fea­tures like log pro­files.

There are cer­tain restric­tions in terms of video: she shoots 4K with a crop, while there is a 10-minute lim­it for shoot­ing in the max­i­mum for­mat. But Full HD video is of excel­lent qual­i­ty and with­out crop­ping.

In terms of pho­tog­ra­phy, the cam­era is also on the lev­el: a 20.3‑megapixel matrix pro­duces good detail and nice col­ors in JPEG. Although, com­pared to APS‑C com­peti­tors, Pana­son­ic los­es in terms of per­for­mance in poor light­ing. Anoth­er weak point is the bat­tery, but, for­tu­nate­ly, the cam­era can be charged on the go via USB.

Like most cam­eras on our list, the G100 lacks built-in sta­bi­liza­tion, but Pana­son­ic has an inter­est­ing alter­na­tive: the Lumix GX9. This cam­era is equipped with a 5‑axis sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem, which is good for video shoot­ing and work­ing in low light. It does­n’t have a mic jack (like the G100’s cool built-in mic), but it still has the same 4K and bat­tery issues.

Olympus

Olym­pus is per­haps Pana­son­ic’s main com­peti­tor in Micro 4:3 for­mat. The com­pa­ny offers sev­er­al inter­est­ing bud­get cam­eras for this sys­tem. If you’re look­ing for the sim­plest, begin­ner-friend­ly option, you can’t go wrong with the Olym­pus PEN E‑PL10. And we chose a more advanced, but inex­pen­sive mod­el Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M10 Mark IV.

Olympus OM‑D E‑M10 Mark IV

For the Olym­pus sys­tem, you will find many cool lens­es, native and not so. fam­i­ly Pho­to: amateurphotographer.co.uk

Pros:

  • built-in sta­bi­liza­tion in a com­pact body;
  • excel­lent 4K video qual­i­ty.

Minus­es:

  • no micro­phone jack;
  • track­ing aut­o­fo­cus is worse than com­peti­tors.

Despite its com­pact size, the Olym­pus OM‑D E‑M10 Mark IV has an excel­lent set of fea­tures for both pho­tog­ra­phers and video enthu­si­asts. It has an excel­lent built-in sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem, which it bor­rows from the flag­ship E‑M1 line, which allows you to take sharp­er pho­tos in poor light­ing and shoot smooth video.

At the same time, track­ing aut­o­fo­cus and con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed are clear­ly not designed for shoot­ing scenes with fast move­ment, so this cam­era is more suit­able for trav­el and por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy. The qual­i­ty of 4K video is very high, but the lack of an exter­nal micro­phone jack makes it not so inter­est­ing option for vlog­gers.

In gen­er­al, the mod­el can be a great option for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers with a good start to grow. A wide range of lens­es has been thought out for the mod­el.

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