The photography industry has completely shifted to mirrorless cameras. Today, in 2024, even Canon and Nikon have all but retired their DSLR systems! Indeed, things have changed dramatically in the last few years; mirrorless camera technology is fully matured. So, which is the best mirrorless camera for beginners? Let’s answer this very important question!
With so many excellent options available today, determining which camera to buy can be confusing, especially for a beginner. One differing letter or number in the name of two identical-looking cameras can mean a huge difference in terms of price and features.
So, if you have a passion for photography and are looking to step up from that camera phone to an interchangeable lens camera system, this article is for you!
This post will provide you with an overview of the top 5 mirrorless cameras for beginners. We will consider both budget-friendly and more professional options, ensuring every photographer can find a camera that fits their specific needs.
1. Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera ($598-898)
If your budget allows for it, the Sony Alpha A6100 Mirrorless Camera is definitely worth looking at. The camera is compatible with the popular Sony E mount system, which means you have access to the widest range of lenses for APSC and full-frame sensors. (The A6100 is a 24-megapixel APSC sensor; one of the best available!)
You can choose between the body alone or a kit that comes with additional lenses to get you shooting as soon as you open the box.
Being highly compact and lightweight, the Sony A6100 is an excellent choice for things like everyday and travel photography, and general video shooting with 4K video. It’s a slightly older model, and honestly it might get a replacement in 2024, but that just means it’s a great bargain today!
Honestly, though? If you want the “ultimate” Sony beginner camera, you should save up for the much newer A6700. While the A6199 offers an affordable entry into the market, we’d have to give the nod to the Sony A6700 as truly the “best mirrorless camera for beginners”, indeed. Read our Sony A6700 review here to find out just why we like it so much! (Hint: It’s simply the highest-performing camera in terms of speed, accuracy, reliability, and image quality, yet still in a beginner-friendly package.
2. Nikon Zfc Mirrorless Digital Camera, ($956)
For the aspiring photographer who wants a camera that feels more like a classic, traditional camera, Nikon’s Zfc is one of our favorite such cameras. In fact, it is one of the most well-built beginner mirrorless cameras available!
An excellent balance of portability, durability, and affordability, the Zfc also offers one of the best APSC image sensors on the market. Its 20-megapixel sensor provides excellent image quality at both low ISOs (dynamic range) and high ISOs (noise levels) …in fact, it rivals older full-frame sensor cameras!
Nikon’s Z mount is one of the best ways to get started as a photographer, because it offers access to some of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners and an excellent value to both DX and FX users. Also, thanks to Nikon’s long history of excellent DSLR F-mount lenses, Nikon’s growing lineup of DX Z-mount mirrorless lenses can easily be supplemented via the FTZ Adapter.
The retro look of the Fujifilm X-S20 mirrorless digital camera is not as pronounced as the Nikon Zfc, nor some of the other Fujifilm cameras, but this balance offers a unique “classic camera” aesthetic, with slightly more modern ergonomics, and of course the specifications and features inside the camera are cutting-edge.
This Fuji is the perfect mirrorless camera for beginners who can afford it because it’s the most affordable APSC cameras (around $1,300) that offers sensor-based stabilization.
With the camera and lens kits, of course, you’ll find yourself spending between $1,399 and $1,699. Keep in mind, though, that Fuji’s X-mount is the largest native/name-brand lens lineup of APSC mirrorless cameras and lenses on the market, so the long-term value is truly excellent even as you add more lenses or decide to upgrade your body someday!
4. Canon EOS R50 Mirrorless Digital Camera ($749)
When budget is a limitation, the Canon EOS R50 mirrorless digital camera is a good option to consider. This one offers a more affordable price point when entering the world of photography.
The camera comes standard as a base kit without a lens for $629, and a kit with one mid-range zoom lens is just $749 while a two-lens kit is still under $1K at $979!
The Canon EOS R50 boasts respectable specifications, including 15 FPS burst speed from its 24-megapixel sensor, and 4K30p video. The controls and other performance features are a bit more restricted compared to the more expensive options, however, the value can’t be beat.
5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Camera Kit
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera is another affordable option that offers both professional features and classic camera styling & ergonomics. This kit does include a lens in its $599 price, making it an unbeatable value. This is partly thanks to its Micro Four Thirds sensor, as opposed to APSC and full-frame sensor cameras.
Don’t be fooled by the affordable price tag, though! This is a well-built camera with impressive durability, beautiful image quality, and professional-grade features including in-body stabilization. Olympus (now OM Systems) has a decades-long history of making truly rock-solid, durable cameras, and they are a top choice for adventurous, rugged types of photographers and videographers who need the most portable option yet aren’t willing to compromise on durability.
To perfectly match your own personal aesthetic, the Olympus E-M10 Mark III comes in both silver and black options.
6. Sony ZV-E10 Mirrorless 4K Vlogging Digital Camera
The last option on our list is for those who aren’t just photographers, but who want to create video content! Specifically, if you are interested in vlogging, then absolutely do consider the Sony ZV-E10.
A 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor delivers great quality still photos, but the claim to fame for this camera is how perfect it is set up for “selfie” video capture. This camera includes a large microphone and a windscreen, giving it some of the best quality audio without any additional accessories.
Plus, the fully articulated LCD display has the benefit of a red box around the frame when recording, as well as a bright red “REC” light.
A small, affordable mirrorless camera offers an excellent entry point for beginner photographers. There are many options to choose from, ranging from very beginner-friendly to advanced and professionally capable.
Knowing what to look for is important, as not all mirrorless cameras can meet every single photographer’s needs. The options in this list can provide basic functionality when starting out but also help the photographer grow in their passion and/or profession!