As technology continues to grow, we see the rising popularity of mirrorless cameras for various reasons. First, their photo and video quality is unrivaled, and combined with their stunning autofocus and interchangeable lenses, they give the usual dominance of DSLR cameras an advantage for their money. Today we wanted to take the time to view, compare and contrast the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
In our list of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners, most cameras have APS-C sensors, but some of our favorites have slightly smaller Micro Four Thirds sensors. Both offer such a big improvement compared to smartphones and compacts that there is really little to choose between. Mirrorless cameras also offer interchangeable lenses. They are usually supplied with a general zoom lens with 3x ‘kit’, but you can also get telephotos, macro lenses, super wide angles, and more. It is worth checking the lens ranges offered, especially if you later want to upgrade to a better camera in the range.
List of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners
Not only if you are just starting to shoot and want a camera that will stay you in the long run, but for those who are interested in what these things even be. We have found 10 to give you options through numerous price categories, shapes, and sizes.
The X-T200, a slimmed-down version of the Fujifilm X-T30, is a much better entry-level camera than its predecessor. In fact, it’s better than the X-T100 in almost every way: it has more processing power, a significantly improved autofocus system, and a larger, sharper 3.5-inch rear touchscreen. It’s also much more comfortable to hold, while retaining that attractive and distinctive retro DSLR styling. The X-T200 is essentially a Fujifilm X-A7 (see below) with a viewfinder, but thanks to an awkwardly placed joystick, the X-T200’s screen is easier to use for framing and focusing.
The only other downsides are that subject tracking is a bit hit and miss during continuous shooting and that it’s not available for video. The big pluses, however, are the excellent image quality and a user-friendly setup that is ideal for novice photographers. Because the X-T30 has been available for a while, it’s now more affordable and offers specifications that novice photographers can get away with – but if you’re looking for Fujifilm’s best camera for beginners, look no further. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Despite its compact size, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV boasts a vast array of features for photographers taking pictures. With an uncluttered button layout, a fold-out touchscreen, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, this is a camera designed primarily to entice smartphone users – but that doesn’t mean it falls short when it comes to image quality. A 20.3-megapixel sensor delivers stunning photos, with a significantly better dynamic range than any compact camera or smartphone can offer.
That’s backed up by an excellent five-axis in-body image stabilization system borrowed from the flagship E-M1 series, which keeps everything sharp, even when shooting handheld or in low light. The Mark IV can also capture impressive 4K videos at 30 fps, although the lack of a microphone input will limit its appeal to vloggers. Still, the Mark IV represents a fantastic gateway for upgraders and enthusiasts, especially since it is compatible with the huge catalog of Micro Four Thirds lenses available. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Panasonic Lumix GX9
Panasonic’s Lumix GX9 offers great value for money. Its small size and weight not only make it ideal for those using an interchangeable lens camera for the first time, but it’s also great for travel photography. The great set of features includes a built-in viewfinder, plus 5-axis dual image stabilization. One of our favorite features of all Panasonic cameras is the 4K video mode and the 4K photo mode.
The latter you can use to extract photos from a movie to capture the perfect moment. By default, the GX9 comes with a 12-32mm lens, which is a good optic to get started with. Furthermore, it’s good news that there are dozens of different lenses available for the Micro Four Thirds mount, so this is a camera you can really grow with. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Panasonic Lumix G100
If you’re looking for an entry-level mirrorless camera to kickstart your content creation, the Panasonic G100 is an excellent choice. The lightweight G100 is the smallest mirrorless camera with a fully hinged screen, making it both versatile and portable for novice videographers. But even with the compact body, it still offers a good grip and a fair number of readily accessible controls.
At the heart of the camera is a 20.3-megapixel sensor that delivers great color and detail in both stills and video, while the hybrid image stabilization system is designed to counteract walking motion and ensure that selfie shots are smooth and stable – even if a cutout in 4K video means you’ll need long arms to film yourself. One of the most important features is the three-mic Ozo Audio setup, which detects the source direction of vocals and prioritizes them over background noise.
It’s very effective, especially when you’re narrating from behind the camera. Less impressive is the battery life of 45 minutes, but that’s enough to record a series of short clips. It may not be quite the perfect package, but the G100 is ideal if you’re looking for something small, light and powerful to start your vlogging journey with. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Sony Alpha A6100
Sony’s A6000 was one of the most popular mirrorless models of the past few years, and although you can still buy it, the brand has refreshed it in the form of the A6100. This one brings a whole host of new features to Sony’s entry-level model, including improved video functions that now include 4K. You also now get a touch-sensitive screen and advanced autofocus options, including the very high performance Eye AF (for both humans and animals).
There’s a wide range of different lenses available for Sony’s mount, so it’s also a system you can invest in with confidence. Currently, the A6100 is one of the most expensive models on this list – but the good news is that if you’re happy with older technology, the A6000 is still very much available, and is a real bargain at the moment. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
If you already own the EOS M50, there’s not much new to report if you opt for the M50 Mark II, other than the addition of eye AF and the ability to record vertical video for social media. However, if you’re looking for an affordable entry-level mirrorless camera with plenty of features, this Canon APS-C size shooter has a lot to offer, especially now that the original M50 is being phased out of production. This fantastic little all-rounder is the only budget-friendly camera from the EOS M series with an integrated viewfinder.
For the rest, you do your composing via the screen – not a big deal if you’re using a smartphone, but viewfinders are great when bright light makes the screen a bit awkward to use. And then there’s the fact that shooting through a viewfinder just feels a little more “authentic.” Other enticing features include 4K video (be sure to note that it’s cropped), great autofocus and a user-friendly interface. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
We’ve long been big fans of Fujifilm’s beginner-friendly X-A cameras, the cheaper, simpler alternatives to its X-mount mirrorless cameras. And the X-A7 is its best yet, with an updated rear screen and improved autofocus performance. In particular, that large LCD touchscreen makes it a great choice for those upgrading from their smartphones, while the new 24.5MP sensor produces sharp photos and now supports 4K/30p video recording.
The autofocus is also a major selling point, with strong face and eye tracking making the device particularly well suited to shooting people, if not action and sports. If you can get past the slightly awkward ergonomics, which are still a step up from a smartphone, it’s a great choice as your first camera. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
In many ways, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II redefines the term “entry-level”. With a 32.5 Megapixel APS-C sensor, 14 fps burst shooting and 4K video without cropping, this is quite a tasty package. It’s also an ideal size for travel, with a compact shape and low weight that make it a truly portable powerhouse. At the heart of the M6 Mark II is Canon’s Digic 8 processor, which supports the impressively fast and accurate 5481-point autofocus.
There is no built-in image stabilization, but shots are nevertheless very detailed and have excellent colors, especially with the Fine Detail setting enabled. Videos are also nicely saturated. The lack of a viewfinder will be a game changer for some, but the tilting touchscreen offers a familiar experience for smartphone users – and an optional EVF is available.
A trio of dials on top of the M6 Mark II makes in-depth adjustments accessible, and overall it’s a delightful camera to hold and shoot with. The battery life of 305 shots may not be remarkable, but the M6 Mark II is still a great camera that has a lot to offer first-time buyers of mirrorless cameras. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Sony Alpha a6000
And last but not least, we put an end to The guides with another for the Best from Sony. The a6000 should be on your list if the previous A-series cameras were to exceed your interest, but you wanted a little bit further with regard to quality and price. The specifications speak for themselves: 24.3 MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor. The OLED EVF viewfinder helps you capture detail even when you take photos of moving objects, while the ISO is expandable to 25,600 for excellent image quality regardless of your lighting situation.
The hybrid autofocus system (179-point focal-plane phase-detection and contrast-detection points) provides fast and sharp focus when taking pictures and when making Full HD 1080/24 / 60P video. The Sony Alpha a6000 is a beast if you want something in the middle of the prices you can find in mirrorless cameras for beginners.
Olympus PEN E-PL10
An attractive option for beginners, the PEN E-PL10 combines a range of beginner-friendly modes with a stylish body to create a capable camera perfect for smartphone upgraders. The polycarbonate body fits comfortably in the hand, while the tilting touchscreen makes selfies a breeze. While the 16.1-megapixel sensor isn’t groundbreaking, the PEN E-PL10 still produces JPEGs with nice color reproduction. Add 4K to the mix, as well as in-camera image stabilization and the option to edit RAW images in camera, and you have a strong package for mirrorless beginners – provided they don’t need a viewfinder.
It’s worth noting that you can get many of the same features on the older, more affordable but just as fancy E-PL9. The main difference with the E-PL10 is the finely tuned art filters and advanced photo modes, which make it easy to experiment with more advanced creative techniques. If you don’t need those, the E-PL10 is still worth a look. Overall, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.