I have spoken before about mirrorless cameras and how they may be a viable alternative to a DSLR camera. However, I’ve never broken down some genuinely good mirrorless cameras, and which I would recommend you check out. That is why I have put together this top 10 list for the best beginner mirrorless cameras that your hard earned money can buy. This list is going to be based upon the premise of buying your camera brand new, and I will also delve into the discussion of whether a mirrorless camera is a formidable opponent to the DSLR cameras we have comes to know and love.

 

What is a Mirrorless Camera?

Well, the name kind of does what it says on the tin. While the DSLR cameras most people know of use mirror technology to be able to take the images, a mirrorless camera does not have a mirror at its core. This means that a mirrorless camera is generally far less bulky than a DSLR. Instead, light will travel through the lens of the camera and straight to the sensor. This type of photography was first introduced in the mid-2000’s, so it isn’t exactly ancient technology.

I like to view mirrorless cameras as a nice balance between your traditional digital point and shoot, and a DSLR. You get the ease of use of a point and shoot, in the sense that it is far smaller and easier to carry. However, the photo quality is far superior to that of a traditional point and shoot camera, and far closer to the level of a DSLR.

 

Mirrorless Camera Buying Guide

Price Range

You’ll soon find out that due to the fact that mirrorless technology is far more recent than a DSLR, the price tends to be a little higher. In fact, we’ve reviewed a few DSLRs which are fantastic, and under $500. However, when it comes to mirrorless technology, you’re unlikely to find something groundbreaking for under $500, and if you do, they are few and far between. This is arguably one of the main reasons why DSLR cameras are still more popular today than Mirrorless. Simply down to the price point.

 

Mirrorless Camera Specs

My advice would be to go no less than 16 megapixels when choosing your camera. In addition to this, I would recommend going with a camera with the fastest sensor possible that your budget can afford. This is assuming you’re still looking for a mirrorless camera. Perhaps this article may put you off, and sway you towards getting a DSLR instead. I would love to know your thoughts down in the comment section below.

 

Video with Mirrorless Cameras?

If you want a camera which has the ability to film in 4K, prepare to unload your pockets, as it isn’t going to be a cheap purchase. You’ll find that most of the cameras which are video capable will film in 1080p HD. This is fine for most uses. If you are a videographer, then you may be interested in the 4K capabilities. I will do an article in the future comparing the 4K of DSLR vs Mirrorless to see which technology comes up on top in that department.

 

Do you need any extra gear?

You may want to buy a little bag or some sort of protective storage for your camera. If the camera doesn’t come with a lens as standard, then you will need to decide what lens you would also like to purchase. This is going to depend entirely on the type of photography/film that you partake in.

 

So, let’s get on with the list!

 

The Best Beginner Mirrorless Cameras – Top 10

 

1. Sony Alpha A5100

Sony Alpha A5100 Mirrorless Review

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My number one choice on this list of the best beginner mirrorless cameras is the Sony Alpha A5100. The price point on this camera isn’t too scary, especially when you consider how good of a camera it is. Unlike DSLR cameras where Sony isn’t exactly at the top of the pile, we have seen that they have excelled in the mirrorless camera market. Believe it or not, Canon and Nikon aren’t top dog when we discuss this marketplace. In fact, my top 10 list only has one Nikon, and Canon doesn’t even appear on the list. That is one thing I would point out initially. Whatever you know about brands when it comes to DSLR cameras, ignore it when you’re looking at Mirrorless. The same rules do not apply, and some brands which make phenomenal DSLRs, aren’t quite as great in this marketplace.

In the package we’ve included as our ‘best value’ choice, you get pretty much everything you will ever need. You get the camera itself and a lens, as well as a whole hoard of accessories to keep you going on your photographic journey.

I will include a comparison table at the bottom of this page which will compare all the specs of the cameras in this list so that you can compare them side by side. However, here is a summary of the specs of the Sony A5100:

One of the main features of the Sony A5100 is the wireless connectivity it provides. I’ve harped on about this feature on other cameras, and how much I love the seamless ability to instantly share the photos you have taken with your camera on your phone. This is great for people who like to upload photos to social media relatively quickly after they have taken a picture. No longer is there a need to wait until you get home to put your memory card into your computer.

I feel as though the Sony A5100 covers all based that a beginner would need and look for in a mirrorless camera. That is why I have put it at number one on the list of best beginner mirrorless cameras. However, take a look at the other cameras on this list, as one may appeal to you and your requirements more.

 

2. Sony Alpha A6000

Sony A6000 best budget mirrorless

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I wasn’t joking when I said that Canon and Nikon were not the top dogs in this category of photography.

The Sony Alpha A6000 is an ‘upgrade’ from the A5100. However, I’ve put the A5100 ahead of the A6000 because of the price jump. You can get far better value for your money with the A5100. However, that should not detract away from the fact that the A6000 is newer. I would recommend checking the comparison chart at the bottom of this article, and comparing these side by side, then decide if the price jump is worth it for you.

The A6000 is a fantastic camera for beginner portrait and landscape photographers. It has been reviewed extensively on Amazon, so don’t just take my word for how much of a quality piece of kit this is.

As is almost always the case with cameras with detachable lenses, the kit camera that you will receive with your initial purchase is limited in its ability. Therefore, I would recommend that once you have gotten used to your new camera and know exactly what type of photography you want to do, that you should upgrade the lens to something a big more upmarket. However, I will save that for another article.

The main downside I noticed on this camera is that the battery can drain itself very quickly. If you do choose this camera (or any mirrorless system to be honest), I would recommend getting some spare batteries. Especially if you plan to have long photography sessions away from the possibility of charging the camera.

 

3. Fujifilm X-T10

fujifilm xt10 beginner camera

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The originator of this range of cameras, the X-T10 was a groundbreaking piece of kit. For its time, it produced fantastic resolution and introduced a weather sealed body. However, we are now looking at the Fujifilm X-T10 which has come on leaps and bounds. Some of the key features of the X-T10 are:

  • 16MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor
  • EXR Processor II
  • ISO 200-6400, plus 100 – 51200 expanded (JPEG only)
  • 2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.62x (equiv.) magnification
  • 3″ 920k dot tilting LCD
  • 7 programmable function buttons
  • Digital Split Image and Focus Highlight Peaking
  • New zone AF in AF-S/AF-C; wide (tracking) for AF-C; Eye Detection
  • Full HD movie recording (1080/60p, 36Mbps bitrate), with built-in stereo microphone
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Wi-Fi connectivity with remote control from a smartphone or tablet
  • Magnesium alloy body

To conclude, the X-T10 isn’t a leader in its class any longer. It is far inferior to many cameras on this list with its 16MP sensor and lacks other features, such as the 4K video that the Panasonic G7 offers.

The Fujifilm is for people who want a camera which simply acts like a camera, and isn’t something which is overburdened with specs and features. Therefore, if you want something stripped down and easy to use, go for this camera!

 

4. Canon EOS M10

canon eos m10 mirrorless beginner camera

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The Canon EOS M10 would be great for casual photographers who just want a system which will produce great results, but without breaking the bank. This is going to be far more simple to use than a lot of the cameras on this list, and will make a DSLR seem like an overly complex mess in comparison.

The main problem with the Canon M10 is that the competition in place are significantly superior, and unless you’re seriously restricted on your budget, then you’re going to struggle to choose the M10 over other choices on this list.

5. Panasonic Lumix G7 (4K Video!)

is the panasonic lumix g7 a good video mirrorless

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The Panasonic Lumix G7 is definitely the choice for you if creating video is something that you are interested in, as it has 4K video capabilities.

In a sense the G7 is trying to be a DSLR, without actually having the internal specs of a DSLR. It even looks a bit like a small DSLR camera. However, don’t let that put you off. It is an incredibly powerful camera for a competitive price. However, saying that, I would say that unless you’re cemented into getting a mirrorless camera, there are better options for better prices in the DSLR bracket.

The G7 has a lot of complex controls, which is why it is so far down this list. While it is in the beginner budget bracket, it is so complex to use that it may put some beginners off. Therefore, if you are the type of person who likes to simply pick something up and be able to use it straight away, I would avoid the G7. However, on a brighter note, the specs on the G7 are very good, and the auto-focus is a leader on this list.

However, saying all these things, if your main interest truly does lie in video, then this is the choice for you, without a doubt.

6. Samsung NX300

Samsung NX300 Review

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My main qualm with the Samsung NX300 is that the battery life is pretty bad. Added to the fact that you cannot remove the battery from the camera to charge it. This means that you can’t just charge extra batteries externally. This is a pretty big let down in my view.

The camera comes with a kit lens, as do most cameras on this list. But the kit lens on the Samsung NX300 is surprisingly good. It creates crisp and sharp images from the get go.

I really did like the leather styling on this camera. It added something different, and makes the camera visually appealing, as well as being a good performer. The touch screen on the camera was also quite impressive and easy to use. I’m not normally a fan of touch screens on cameras, as I find them fiddly to use. However, this one was pretty good and very responsive.

7. Sony NEX-5TL

sony the best mirrorless cameras

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8. Olympus PEN E-PL8

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9. Low Budget Choice: Panasonic DMC-GF7

best budget cheap mirrorless camera

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10. High Budget Choice: Sony A7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

Sony A7R II Beginner Mirrorless Camera

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While I admit this is an article which I’ve written specifically for beginners, I am also aware that there are some beginners out there who prefer to start with something really high end. That’s why I have included the Sony A7R II here as an option. This is going to set you back more than double what any of the other cameras on this list would cost. It isn’t a cheap piece of kit. However, it is also something pretty special, which some rather remarkable specs.

Let’s quickly cover those specs now:

  • 42.4MP – This destroys anything else on this list
  • 4K Video Capabilities
  • 5-axis Image Stabilisation
  • Wifi/NFC Connectivity
  • Tough Magnesium Alloy Body

All you need to do is take a look at some of the results that the reviewers over on Amazon have managed to achieve with this camera to know that it is an incredible camera. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this unless you are 100% serious about photography (or have very big pockets you need to empty).

 

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