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Best Mirrorless Camera Under £1000 to Shoot RAW and JPEG

The best mirrorless camera under £1000 features a full-frame 35mm sensor. It can include a general-purpose zoom lens with autofocus capabilities.

Are you tired of shooting the same boring pictures with your smartphone or your old camera? Digital cameras aren’t dead, they are changing. The old professional-level DSLR might be too bulky for travel but mirrorless cameras use the same uncropped sensor in a smaller body. The following cameras impress in picture quality and low light performance on a budget.

9 best mirrorless cameras which can inspire your artistic side

The following cameras are made by leaders in the mirrorless field such as Sony and Canon. Fujifilm and Olympus also make high-quality cameras which take pictures without using a moving mirror.

  1. Sony Alpha 7

When it was first released in 2013, the Alpha 7 shocked the photography world. It managed to add a full-frame sensor in such a small body. Even with a reduced range of lenses, the camera soon became the favourite of those looking for DSLR quality but who didn’t want to deal with the bulkiness of such a setup.

Based on a full-frame 35mm 24.3MP sensor, the camera is not of the newest generation. But even today, it is still the first choice for professional and amateur photographers on a budget.

It still uses a good autofocus system which makes the life of the photographer easier. You can choose contrast-based autofocus over phase focus points to keep track of your still or moving subject.

5-axis body image stabilization system is added to reduce blurriness. Its 8-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens has been appreciated and still is today, which is a major plus compared to most other kit lenses.

Video recording is also supported by the camera. If you want to record moving images on your holiday benefiting from its top weather sealing, you can enjoy its 1080p capacity for HD movies to enjoy back home.

A few drawbacks to the camera worth noting are its fixed screen which has been remodelled in the newer Alpha 7 series. However, the flipping LCD screen Sony alternative would be considerably above budget which makes the device the best affordable full-frame mirrorless camera in 2020.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with a full-frame 35mm sensor
  • It records videos with 1080p full HD image quality
  • The camera comes with a zoom lens
  • It includes 2 programmable buttons
  1. Canon EOS M50

Canon came a bit late to the mirrorless market but the brand now offers a few notable options. The EOS M50 is one of them and it’s right within the budget together with a standard kit lens. Using mirrorless interchangeable lenses, it can be considerably upgraded by those who can invest in specialized glass.

A 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor is at the heart of the camera. Megapixel count is an outdated method of establishing true camera value but in this case, the MP is worthy of large prints.

If you’re a fan of wildlife photography, this camera is certainly made for you. It features a silent shooting mode which is powered by the electronic shutter of the camera. In action, it allows you to remain undetected. For example, if you’re shooting birds in the natural habitat, you want to remain as low profile as possible and the camera supports this approach.

However, the camera comes with a general purpose 15 – 45mm lens which is not made for wildlife photography. You can still use it as a travel camera or for thousands of family photos.

Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity are enabled on this camera. Always connected to your phone, it easily transmits the pictures you take so that you can upload them to Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest easily.

The movie mode is superior to the one on the Sony Alpha 7. If you’re a blogger interested in stills, the camera is the option for you. It records 4K videos at 25fps. However, the kit lens and the cropped sensor remain the main drawbacks of the camera for professional-level photography.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with an APS-C sensor
  • Records 4K videos
  • Made with a high-resolution viewfinder with 2,3600M dots
  1. Panasonic DMC-G7 Digital Camera

The G7 has often been named among the best mirrorless cameras under £1000 and best mirrorless cameras under £600 ranks. Its video mode has long been held as a staple in the industry. In the vlogging community, nearly every new YouTuber was looking to purchase it. Today, the camera is even more affordable and it’s instantly recognizable with its good ergonomics and rubbery grip.

Its 16MP MOS sensor is what powers the little micro four-thirds performer. You can still find various small lenses to make the most out of this sensor.

If you’re looking to record better videos, its 4K capabilities rarely disappoint. The camera is one of the few in its class which is mostly used by videographers. Its stills aren’t bad either but it’s the ultra HD video recording that attracts most buyers towards the camera.

Then there’s the Panasonic app. Specifically targeting the younger user always online, the camera easily pairs with your smartphone. You can control certain aspects such as focus points. It might only be a feature useful in nature photography. However, geotagging is one of the functions controlled through the app which offers plenty of benefits to travelling users who need to know where they took certain pictures.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with a 3” touchscreen display
  • It ships with a 14-42mm lens
  • The camera features face tracking for easier selfies
  1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Inspired by its vintage look, many users prefer the Mark II for street photography or travel. Apart from its old-school look, the camera performs well and it has the recognition of the mirrorless community.

As the Sony camera, it also features 5-axis stabilization which considerably reduces the learning curve for new photographers. Macro lenses, telephoto lenses, and wide-angle lenses are compatible with the system. Inside the pack, you get a 1.3,5-5,6f lens which can be a good start in the photography world.

Those new to photography also benefit from a very good electronic viewfinder (EVF). With a 2.3M million pixels viewfinder, you have a clear idea of what you can get in the final picture right in the camera.

Practicality is also considerably enhanced by the tilting touchscreen. You can enjoy the best visibility even with choosing ground-level shooting using this screen. The live view is accurate for this type of photography.

A time-lapse mode is among the advanced additions to the camera. 4K video recording is possible and it offers an excellent profile for those who like to record detailed images at high resolution.

A single touch AF targeting is enabled on the touchscreen as well. It allows users to set the right focus on your subject or subjects. For better pictures, you can use the built-in flash or a remote flash with its hot shoe.

The great camera is also WiFi capable. This means you can send the images straight to your phone without any cables.

If you care about how your mirrorless camera looks like, you certainly gravitate between Sony and Olympus. But Olympus has a major advantage as it has both silver and black versions of the camera to choose from.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with a 16-megapixels sensor with 5-Axis image stabilisation
  • WLAN share connectivity
  • Made with an automatic dust removal system
  1. Panasonic Lumix G9

The capable camera is now made with a flip-up screen and it is used for sharp photos and detailed videos. While it only uses a 20.3MP digital live MOS sensor, it offers detailed images which are perfect for both amateur and professional photographers.

6K photos and 4K video recording are possible with the new Lumix G9. The high resolution is not particularly something you need, but rather a differentiating feature of the Lumix series to put it above cameras made from Sony, Canon, and Nikon rivals.

With 30FPS shooting, the camera is also useful to capture moving subjects. If you are a sports fan, you can take it with you to a game to catch interesting frames of your favourite players. If you like to photograph animals in a natural habitat, the high FPS rate of the camera with its burst mode is something to admire.

The camera now shoots both JPEg and RAW photos. You can capture fine details in each photo using its 80MP equivalent, especially satisfactory in nature photography.

If you plan to record videos out in nature, as many vloggers do, you need to know there are time caps on the length of the shooting. The camera records 60FPS shutter speed in 4K for up to 10 minutes. If you lower the resolution to 4K, the camera records without interruption for up to 30 minutes.

Autofocus is one of its mains strengths. In locks to the subject in 0.3-04 seconds. However, the camera doesn’t come with a built-in flash and you need to purchase one separately if you shoot in low light conditions. You also need to purchase a camera lens as its body-only. If you’re the type of user for the camera, you’ll know it by often joggling videos and still photos on the previous Lumix models.

Camera characteristics

  • It supports continuous autofocus
  • An excellent camera body for the Leica 12-60mm F2.8-F4 lens
  • It shoots in 6K
  1. Fujifilm X-A5 Mirrorless Digital Camera

The new Fujifilm X-A65 is a consumer-level camera made for everyday use. It doesn’t specialize in a particular style of photography even if its flip-up swivel screen favours selfies.

Based on a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor, the camera offers crisp photos you can count on with up to 450 frames before recharging.

A considerable advantage the camera has it its reduced size. There’s no need to carry large cameras to take great photos. Unlike smartphone cameras with small sensors, the compact camera made by Fuji offers the right versatility even when on the road.

Touchscreen-enabled, the swivelling LCD is one of its major advantages when travelling. You can take great photos of yourself or you and your partner. Automatic eye detection autofocus helps these types of photos.

When you are travelling to quiet venues such as museums or places of worship, you can still use the camera on the silent shooting mode. With proper shutter control, you can capture interesting moments even in locations where every sound can be disturbing.

Most people are fans of filters in the age of Instagram. The camera features its 17 filters as alternatives to the standard options found on social media. With so many features and a weight of just 311 grams, the camera can be considered as a traveller’s companion.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with a 23.5mm x 15.7mm APS-C sensor
  • Includes eye detection and face detection shooting modes
  • It features a new 4K burst shooting mode
  1. Sony Alpha 6400

The compact mirrorless camera is an excellent choice with a lens bundle within the budget. It can be one of the best cameras under £1000 made with a tilting screen and based on an APS-C sensor. Its mirrorless technology allows the camera body to remain small. However, it still features a versatile 15-60mm lens, suitable for lightweight travel.

With continuous autofocus under AF-C, you can keep track of your subject easily. For example, if you are travelling with your partner, you can set it to autofocus and follow your other half for great-looking natural photos. You don’t need to worry about the subject being it focus as it rarely loses track of the person or object in front of the lens.

The camera also records 4K video with advanced colour grading. It allows many users to record inspiring videos which make it to Vimeo or Insta Stories looking professional.

If you are a fan of fast action shooting, the little camera is also a great choice. It comes with 11fps burst capabilities which means you can easily photograph your kids at football practice.

Camera characteristics

  • Made with 425 face detection autofocus points
  • 11fps burst mode with 8fps in silent mode shooting
  • It features fast 0.2 seconds autofocus response time
  1. Fujifilm X-T30

The 4th generation Fujifilm camera is one of the interesting cameras with 4K mirrorless capabilities. It records videos at 30p with 6240 x 3150p resolution in 6k video recording. It also features an electronic viewfinder similar to the ones on the Sony cameras with its 2.36 million dots.

Colour reproduction has been inspired as well. Fujifilm used its wide expertise in film-making to develop these colour profiles and enhance the look of its photos, especially portraits.

A touchscreen LCD with a 3” size also makes camera interaction easier. Since this screen also tilts, it can’t be overlooked when it comes to photographic interesting angles. Another considerable advantage of the retro-looking mirrorless camera is its Bluetooth technology. You can easily pair it with your smartphone for quick social media posts.

Battery life is not bad either. However, since it only lasts up to 380 frames, it’s not an exclusive battery to take on weekends away where you need to shoot thousands of pictures.

Camera characteristics

  • It uses an X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor
  • Based on a 36 million dots viewfinder
  • It weighs just 333 grams
  1. Nikon Z 50 + Nikkor Z DX 16-50 F/4.5-6.3 VR

Nikon is also investing considerably in its mirrorless range. Based on Z mount lenses, the Nikon Z 50 offers an interesting option for the fans of the camera manufacturer. It uses a DX-format or APS-C format 20.9MP sensor to take effectively take sharp photos in a different light.

Made with a large tilting screen, the small mirrorless camera is also easy to use. It relies on a smart design which allows the user to take photos only using one hand.

There’s a Nikkor Z DX 16-50 F/4.5-6.3 VR lens in the pack as well. Together, the entry-level camera body and the lens offer an affordable solution to those starting in the mirrorless world on a budget.

Camera characteristics

  • It uses a kit lens with the FX-equivalent of FX- format/35mm equivalent 24–75mm
  • Based on an APS-C sensor
  • Designed with a built-in LCD monitor

Sony camera being held in the left hand

How to choose the best mirrorless camera under £1000

Purchasing digital cameras, in general, is very confusing. Specifically purchasing mirrorless cameras can be even more complicated, especially for those new to the camera world. Information on sensors and battery life tends to be lost behind complex technology names which are backed by marketing teams. Cutting through all the information is crucial and you can start assessing a camera’s value by its most expensive component, the image sensor.

Image sensor

Image sensors are made with various sizes. Popular image sensors include the APSC-size (also known as the crop sensor) and the 35mm film-like sensor (also known as the full-frame sensor). APS-C sensors are cropped with a 1.6x multiplication factor.

Since it’s the most expensive part of the mirrorless camera, the sensor size is where the most important part of the picture-taking takes place. As a result, the best cameras mirrorless cameras are those with a full-frame sensor.

If you can find the budget for full-frame mirrorless cameras such as from Sony’s A7 line, it might be worth the investment since most can be used for years and decades. There are even users who’ve purchased the original A7 full-frame camera back in 2013 still using it reliably today when the have the option of the more modern Mark III.

Lens system

Micro four thirds or mirrorless lenses are not compatible with DSLR cameras. They are specifically smaller and as a result, they can also be more expensive. The selection of lenses for these cameras is not great, but their quality tends to be a bit better than on affordable DSLR lenses.

Most mirrorless cameras are sold with a standard lens (also called a kit lens). But they can be body-only which means you need to purchase the lens separately. As you will soon find out, good lenses can be even more expensive than good mirrorless camera bodies.

Size and weight

The size and weight of the camera are crucial since you might be looking for a compact alternative for large professional cameras. A typical mirrorless camera weighs around 300 grams without the lens. This is a weight which doesn’t impede free movement, especially when travelling.

man with a beard in a hat taking a photo of a landscape

Autofocus

Autofocus points are an area where many mirrorless cameras are superior to DSLR cameras. You can find all types of autofocus technologies with different names. Most tend to be used for quick subject locking and tracking. A very good AF system response time is considered to be between 0.2-0.4 seconds. Taking longer to lock a subject certainly leads to missing certain frames.

Burst mode

The burst mode is a sequence of photos which can be taken within a second. The higher the number, the more photos a mirrorless camera can take per second. It’s another strong area of these compact devices as they can be a good choice for fast-moving subjects and sports or wildlife photography.

JPEG vs RAW

Many budget mirrorless cameras still can’t shoot RAW files, being stuck with JPEGs. This can’t be a considerable issue for the average user. However, professionals need RAW photos with high dynamic range even if they’re bigger since they collect more data and they can be more practical in post-processing or photo editing.

Video mode

Mirrorless cameras are successfully used in videography. Even affordable cameras such as those from the Lumix series are successfully used at recording all types of videos. Today, you have the freedom of choosing 4K video capabilities on cheap mirrorless cameras.

However, most of them are limited in maximum recording time. As a beginner, you need to know 4K and 6K recording is going to be limited to a maximum of a few minutes per sequence.

Battery life

Battery life on mirrorless cameras is generally shorter than on DSLR cameras due to the electronic viewfinder (as opposed to an optical viewfinder). This means a top mirrorless camera such as the A7 II only takes 340 photos before recharging. It’s not unusual to see mirrorless fans carrying spare batteries as a result. A battery charger is already included with all of these cameras.

Learning curve

One of the aspects which are largely overlooked when purchasing mirrorless cameras is the time it takes to master the art of photography. It can take years to take good photos like those seen online.

However, many users feel mirrorless cameras are friendlier (compared to DSLRs and even point-and-shoot cameras) and they can learn the basics of photography using these compact devices. Even before ordering a camera, it is wise to start reading on photography basics with the thousands of free online resources.

man standing on a rocking with a camera in his hand looking up at a waterfall

FAQ

Which brands make the best mirrorless cameras?

Sony

Sony is known for making mirrorless cameras popular. Even if the Japan-based manufacturer makes thousands of electronics and consumer goods, their camera line has made mirrorless cameras what they are today. It’s not necessarily that their cameras are better than others, but they often push technology and electronics first.

Canon

Canon is known for its excellent DSRL cameras and lens selection. The manufacturer also plays an increasing word in the mirrorless world where its cameras are very popular, as seen by the growing number of online fans and communities.

Fujifilm

Fujifilm has a certain appeal when it comes to realistic colours. Even the brand states it uses its historic expertise (making film rolls) to recreate that special appeal in skin tones.

Olympus

The Tokyo-based manufacturer is considered one of the big players in mirrorless cameras for street photography. It can be one of the main players to consider when making a purchase, especially on a budget. With a bit of tweaking, users can even rely on the old Olympus lenses to take pictures on a budget.

Nikon

The international brand offers a very good selection of lenses which is why so many mirrorless fans looking for sharp photos consider the brand, together with the ability to shoot RAW files.

Do professionals use mirrorless cameras?

Many professionals today use mirrorless cameras. Paul Rogers and Paula Thomas are just a couple of top photographers relying on these small and potent systems.

Which is the best mirrorless camera under £1000?

The Sony A7 is the best mirrorless camera under £1000. It features high ISO, intuitive menu navigation, a good selection of images, and the largest online support community.

How long do mirrorless cameras last?

Mirrorless cameras should last more than 10 years. As stated above, the first mirrorless cameras with full-frame sensors released back in 2013 are still in use today.

Final considerations

Your best mirrorless camera for under £1000 is now easier to choose. In reality, you can’t go wrong with any of the options in this price range listed above. It takes a bit of time and motivation to master these cameras. But as seen on Instagram, all of them are capable in the right hands.

Which camera do you think works best for the types of photos you plan to take? Feel free to share your first impressions below.