Last updated: August 28, 2018
There are dozens mirrorless cameras existing in the market. Finding the one available in an affordable price can be a bit challenging since not all camera manufacturers have a mirrorless models for beginner photographers. The list below shows you the best mirrorless cameras you can buy for under $500.
The development of mirrorless camera itself is massive enough in the last few years. There are some opinions telling that mirrorless camera will overtake DSLR camera just like what DSLR camera did on analog camera. By far, Sony and Fujifilm are two camera manufacturers that serious enough in developing mirrorless cameras. The two already have a bunch of mirrorless camera models in the market. From affordable mirrorless cameras that are aimed at beginners to full frame cameras targeting professionals.
Olympus and Panasonic also have several mirrorless camera models, including the ones available in an affordable price. So do Nikon and Canon.
Following are 7 affordable mirrorless cameras you can buy for under $500 in case you want to buy a new camera.
1. Sony A5100
As said above, Sony is one of the camera manufacturers that serious enough in developing mirrorless cameras. Today, Sony already has a bunch of mirrorless camera models. From entry level cameras to professional cameras. One of the affordable mirrorless cameras from Sony is Sony A5100. It is a rangefinder mirrorless camera that was released in August 2014.
Well, the price of this camera might is still slightly above $500 in many stores.
Sony A5100 has a 24-megapixel sensor. The photos generated by this camera will be available in a 6024×4024 (aspect ration 3:2). The sensor of Sony A5100 gets a high enough score on DxOMark, 80. For a beginner camera, it is not a bad number. Sony A5100 itself is available in two variants, black and white. You will be relying on camera screen when taking photos since this camera has no viewfinder.
2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Love a retro design? Then you will probably love this camera as well. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II comes with a retro enough design, especially the black-silver variant. OM-D E-M10 Mark II is an affordable mirrorless camera from Olympus. The overall specs of this camera are not much different to Olympus Pen E PL6 specs. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II itself is the successor of OM-D E-M10 and comes with several improvements, including 5 axis stabilisation (from 3 axis). This camera has a smaller sensor than Sony A5100 above. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has the sensor of 16-megapixel. As a result, this camera is only capable of generating photos with the maximum resolution of 4640×3472 (aspect ratio 4:3). In DxOMark, this camera gets the score of 73 for its sensor.
Unlike Sony A5100 that has no viewfinder, Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has one. So, if you are looking for a mirrorless camera with a viewfinder then Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II can be a unit you can consider. Other features include articulated, touch screen display, Wi-Fi and live autofocus.
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
Typically, a mirrorless camera has a more compact design than a DSLR camera (smaller). There are some photographers who prefer a DSLR-styled model if they had to buy a mirrorless camera. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is one of the mirrorless camera that has this sort of design. Due to its larger design, it’s not a tricky task for Panasonic to add a viewfinder on this mirrorless camera.
Yes, Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is one of the mirrorless cameras with a viewfinder, allowing you to aiming at the target via it just like you usually do on your DSLR camera. This camera itself was introduced in May 2015. It has a 15-megapixel sensor, but capable of recording videos in a 4K format. So, if you plan to use your camera to produce a 4K video then Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is one of the affordable options you can opt to. The Wi-Fi feature offered by this camera allows you to transfer photos/videos from camera to Wi-Fi enabled devices — like smartphone — wirelessly.
4. Canon M100
Unlike Sony and Fujifilm, Canon is likely to slow in developing mirrorless camera. The company is still focusing on the DSLR market and enjoying its competition with Nikon. However, it doesn’t mean that Canon has no mirrorless line at all. In August of last year, the company announced M100, an affordable mirrorless. This camera uses the same sensor as Canon M6 which has been existing earlier. Canon M100 is equipped with a 25-megapixel sensor that is capable of generating photos with the resolution of 6288×4056. Viewfinder is not available in this camera so you have to rely on the screen to aiming at the target you want take the photos of.
Canon M100 features a Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth to allow you transfer photos from camera to smartphone without involving any cable. The camera itself gets the score of 78 on DxOMark for its sensor. This camera is available in two variants: black and white.
5. Nikon 1 J5
Same as Canon, Nikon is also likely to not too enthusiast in developing mirrorless camera. When it finally released a mirrorless camera, the result tend to out of the expectation. Nikon 1 J5, a mirrorless camera announced in April 2015, only gets the score of 65 on DxOMark. It’s extremely different to Nikon’s DSLRs which usually get a good score on this site.
Nikon 1 J5 itself has a 20-megapixel sensor and is capable of generating photos with the maximum resolution of 5584×3724. This camera has no viewfinder, but it comes with an articulated screen that support touch screen operation. Also, it features a live autofocus to help you deciding the focus point of the object you want to take the photos of. Wi-Fi is available in case it matters to you.
6. Canon M3
Before releasing M100 in 2017, Canon already has M3, an affordable mirrorless that was released in 2015. M3 is mirrorless camera from Canon that has a 24-megapixel sensor. This camera is capable enough of generating good photos with the maximum resolution of 6024×4022. At least M3 is better compared to Nikon’s 1 J5. This camera gets the score of 73 on MxOMark, better than Nikon 1J5. This camera has a very compact design with no viewfinder. To help you decide the focus point of the object you want take the photos of, there is live autofocus you can take advantage of. The video stabilisation might can be useful to record a video.
7. Fujifilm X-M1
If you don’t mind using a used camera, Fujifilm X-M1 is also a worth considering affordable mirrorless camera. This camera was released in 2013 so you will probably unable to find a new item for this camera. X-M1 itself is low-specs mirrorless camera from Fujifilm. The sensor of this camera is only 15-megapixel so it only capable of taking photos with the maximum resolution of 4896×3264. This camera comes with a very compact design that looks retro enough. No viewfinder is available on this camera. Fujifilm X-M1 is available in three variants: all-black, black-silver and brown.