In the last few decades, camera technology has progressed rapidly and the mirrorless revolution has completely blown away the consumer market. The mirrorless cameras are a good pick for a wide range of users due to the number of advantages they offer. Like the film cameras for beginners, they are good for learning and improving your photography skills. Due to the lack of a mirror mechanism and the optical viewfinder, mirrorless cameras are simpler, lighter, and less bulky when compared to regular DSLRs.
However, choosing a mirrorless camera especially when you’re tight on the budget is not an easy job due to the neck-to-neck completion. The range of mirrorless cameras on the market is bigger than ever and every other day. Different companies are introducing powerful cameras with fantastic features at a very reasonable price which makes it even more difficult to decide which one to pick.
Today we’ll take a look at the best mirrorless cameras under $500 in 2021 and help you find the right one for your needs. Whether you want to invest in a powerful mirrorless camera, switching from DSLR, or just want to start photography as a health benefit, this list will help you find the ideal model without breaking the budget.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Mirrorless Camera
Read full Panasonic Lumix G7 review
The Panasonic Lumix G7 also known as “baby GH4” is yet another high-end model from the G-Series. Initially launched in 2015, the camera offers an amazing feature set in an attractive DSLR-inspired body.
It features an articulating touch screen, the Venus Engine 9 processor, and a 16 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor. Which is great for capturing images and even great for 4K video shooting up to 30 fps and 1080p video capture up to 60 fps.
It has a great battery life and allows you to capture 330 shots and 140 minutes of video with a single charge. The camera lens is 14 to 42mm wide and it comes with focus tools like focus peaking and zebra to provide better focus. It has a built-in flash, microphone, and Wi-fi system which makes it easy to control the camera remotely and share images on social media.
The G7 has plenty of body controls and you can easily make any important setting within few easy clicks. Other notable features include high-resolution shots, 4K burst shooting, silent shooting, and time-lapse.
Overall, it is one of the best mirrorless cameras under $500 ideal for those looking for excellent image quality and a vast range of features.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Read full Olympus OM-D E-M10 III review
This retro-designed camera is one of the best entry-level cameras with some truly amazing features. The company has introduced this model with a more affordable price range than its expensive counterparts.
This model came out in 2014 and has really competitive feature sets that are hard to overlook.
- 16-Megapixel Live MOS
- TruePic VIII processor
- 3-ich tilting touch screen
- Electronic viewfinder
- Wireless connectivity
- Dual control dials
- 4K time-lapse
- Focus bracketing
- Live composite
The 14-150 mm lens is capable of capturing 4K 30p video plus HD 120 frames per second. Image quality is quite impressive and it can capture even minor details like raindrops. The advanced sensor of the camera does a fine job in capturing highlights, shadows, and different color tones.
OM-D E-M10 III uses a 121-point autofocus system that detects lines in both vertical and horizontal directions resulting in high accuracy. It delivers 320 shots in a single charge and through sleep mode, the battery life can be extended to 750 shots per charge.
In short, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III is one of the cheapest mirrorless cameras with a combination of great features, classic look that other rival cameras can‘t easily match.
Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Camera
This low-budget mirrorless camera by Canon is a great option for vloggers and digital content creators. It is a direct competitor of the Sony A5100, which has been one of the best content creation cameras for a long time.
Featuring a 24.1Megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor, and DIGIC 8 image processor, the Canon M200 is capable of shooting high-resolution stills with 6.1 fps. It features a screen that rotates 180 degrees and flips up to the top of the camera which is a great feature for blogging and selfie shots.
The Canon M200 shoots in video resolution of 4K at 24fps, in time-lapse up to 30fps, at 1080p at 60fps. At 720p it can go up to 120fps which is pretty cool if you want to do some slow-motion stuff.
Additionally, it features a clean HDMI outport which allows you to hook it up to your computer for streaming and recording videos directly into your OBS. The built-in Wi-fi with NFC allows easy wireless connectivity for sharing images and videos to linked devices.
Overall, Canon M200 delivers the best combination of performance and portability which makes it a great option for under $500.
Fujifilm X-T100 Mirrorless Digital Camera
This entry-level camera is from Fujifilm‘s least expensive series that combines style and functionality without compromising on the quality.
This powerful X-mount mirrorless camera has filled a huge void in the market with its amazing set of features and has beaten DSLRs at their own game. It provides users with DSLR styled viewfinder experience at a much lower price.
The highlights include a 24.2 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, a built-in viewfinder, and a screen that can angle up as well as sideways to face the subject. The body is styled like a mini DSLR that gives you more to hold on to.
Fujifilm X-T100 is equipped with a compact power zoom lens with an effective focal range of 23-69mm and it is capable of shooting 4K UHD at 15p, Full HD at 60/50/24p.
You can easily record 2 hours and 15 minutes long video of 1080 50p on a single charge without any overheating issues. It has an advanced SR AUTO mode which analyzes each scene and picks the most suitable focus and camera settings. The 91-point autofocus system is the same as more advanced Fujifilm’s X-series cameras.
Overall, this is a great camera for novices and enthusiasts who want to experiment and learn photography using a broad range of features.
Canon EOS M3 Mirrorless Camera
The Canon EOS M3 is really similar to the company’s power shot models and joins alongside the M4 as the most affordable from the EOS M lineup.
It features 24.2 megapixels CMOS APS C sensor and DIGIC 6 Image processor which allows you to capture skills and videos without missing any details even in challenging lighting conditions. The intuitive touch can be tilted to 180 degrees which is ideal for shooting selfies and also allows quick navigation and easy viewing of photos and videos.
This camera is equipped with two dials that provide full manual control, and ease of use with customizable functions. You can capture full HD 1920 x 1080 movies at 24p and 30p in MP4 format. Moreover, it uses a 49-point autofocus system with Dual Pixel CMOS for class-leading subject and face tracking performance.
Other features worth mentioning are electronic stabilization for videos, burst shooting, built-in flash, HDR, microphone input, and timelapse.
On the whole, Canon camera is always a great choice, and EOS M3 is an excellent alternative to bulkier DSLRs that hard to bargain on.
Olympus Pen E-PL8 Mirrorless Camera
This stylish camera from Olympus features a slightly distinctive retro exterior and has plenty of features to shout about. It is specially configured for selfie enthusiasts with the inclusion of a 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD that can be tilted at 180 degrees.
It has M.Zuilo Digital 14-42mm R standard zoom lens which provides a focal length of 28-84mm.
With Micro Four Thirds sensor, 16 megapixels Live MOS Sensor, and TruePic VIII image processor, it is capable of recording full HD 1080p video and high-resolution stills.
In the full resolution, it can shoot up to 8.5 fps and can record up to 16-12 bit raw files in a single burst. The fast autofocus system with small Target AF quickly and accurately acquires focus and delivers clear and crisp images.
The camera also features 3-axis sensor-shift type image stabilization which helps in handheld shooting and you don‘t have to worry about shaky images anymore. The built-in Wi-Fi setup allows you to operate the camera remotely, transfer photos, and add location.
Overall, it is a good landmark mirrorless camera due to the features and affordable price bracket.
Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
This pocket camera with professional-grade performance crams a very large sensor into an extremely compact camera body.
It has a 20Megapixel APS-C image sensor and 16-50 mm kit power zoom lens with a rocker button on the side and manual focus controls on the front. The 3-inch LCD screen has a good resolution and can be flip-up for taking selfies and shooting videos of yourself which is pretty useful. It has a built-in pop-up flash that can be adjusted to change the flash bounce angle.
The camera can capture up to 20 Megapixel stills in JPEG format and store raw and JPEG images simultaneously. It also has the ability to shoot stills in a 19:9 aspect ratio.
The auto object framing mode and large sensor size allow you to control focal points, white balance, and exposure and compose some extremely impressive images with great colors. when it comes to videos you can only shoot in AVCHD at 60i or 24p as the camera MP4 video sizes are practically unusable.
In order to make up for the sparse video format, Sony has incorporated features that are more common on the more expensive cameras. Including zebras, focus peaking, and manual white balance adjustment.
Coming to the ergonomics, the camera grip isn‘t too bad and pretty comfortable considering the weight and compactness of the camera. Also because it is too lightweight you can easily shoot single-handedly.
The battery timing is pretty impressive and you can shoot up to 420 shots on a single charge and might not be needing all those spares. The camera is very easy to operate and navigation is pretty easy even without the touchscreen. The built-in one-touch NFC connectivity lets you upload the photos directly on social media.
Overall Sony Alpha a5000 is truly one of the best mirrorless cameras under $500 for both beginners and pros.
Sony NEX-7 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Released back in 2011, it was one of the first high-end APC cameras Sony has built. The camera has matured greatly during the last 10 years.
Targeting the advanced users, Sony has added many bells and whistles to the NEX-7 and enhanced the ergonomics to make it an appealing camera for professionals and photo enthusiasts.
It includes an OLED electronic viewfinder, tilt-screen, and three-dial interface to make it easy to use. With the highest resolution 24 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor it allows 1080p60 video recording.
What makes Sony NEX-7 truly a great camera is its sensor as long as you‘re using the good lens. Images at ISO 100 look great with the dynamic range of colors and details to play with.
Other prominent features include a 25-points AF system with contrast detection, Image stabilization, and Intelligent face detection. The continuous shooting feature has also been added that‘s capable of capturing up to 10fps at full 24.3 MP resolution.
Unarguably, the Sony NEX-7 is one of the top of line mirrorless cameras for people looking for premium build quality and a higher degree of control.