People love mirrorless cameras but usually hate the price factor as this category comes a little expensive. However, I am trying to put a fact here that you can still find some fantastic treasure here within a 500 limit.
It’s no secret that you can grab the best mirrorless camera under 500 bucks. Awe-Inspiring!
So, Sony, Canon, or Lumix by Panasonic; which brand is suitable for your pocket? Well, the 500 limit means your search is about beginner level to a somewhat mid-range device. Below is the list of some best budget mirrorless cameras under $500 that will pull MOST out for your budget.
But then jumping on these lists, let assume first what you should expect from a 500$ best budget mirrorless camera
What to Expect from Best Mirrorless Camera under 500:
Factually, mirrorless cameras are the latest market gadgets that go from 500 to 5K bucks easily. So for our budget, we have sitting at a very base budget-limit. Keeping this barrier in mind my sincere advice is, you should keep your expectations super low.
I am highlighting some of the points that could be a plus or a lack of a mirrorless camera for this budget type.
- Video Mode: Standard: 1080P at 60FPS, Bonus: 4K at 30FPS, Below Standard: 720P
- Sensor Type: Standard: MFT (Micro Four Thirds), Bonus: APS-C, Exceptional Addition: Full-Frame
- LCD: Standard: Tilt-Up 180 Degree, Bonus: Fully Articulated
- EVF resolution: Standard: 2.36M, Bonus: 2.36M+, Below Standard: Below 2.36M
- IBIS: Standard: 3-axis, Bonus: 5-Axis, Below Standard: NO IBIS
Other than these, you can prioritize battery, Microphone jack, size, and other stuff.
The 5 Best Mirrorless Cameras under $500 in 2021
Panasonic Lumix G7KS 4K
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Sony Alpha a6000
Canon EOS M100
Panasonic LUMIX GX85
4K UHD 2160p
Best Mirrorless Camera under 500 for Video and Vlogging
In a limit of 500 bucks, there are still many contenders that give you a premium touch to your hands with build-quality, finishing, great aesthetics, and design sense. Panasonic knows these tricks well, and for this Lumix G7KS, you get all these features with the support of 4K video.
While hearing about the 4K video, you can clearly take an indication that it’s one of the best mirrorless camera for video under 500.
While starting YouTube, Vlogging, and Videography journey, many starters or beginners watch out for Canon M50 and Olympus E-M10 Mark I and II. This Lumix G7KS model also comes neck-to-neck in a race with these both gadgets.
Factually, this camera comes with the most acute design sense mounted with more than 10 dedicated function buttons. You can save a few of your moments while managing options like ISO, Photo Modes, and Aperture, etc. without going down deep in the Menu Settings.
Moreover, while many cameras of this category lack the external microphone feature, this model knows how to stand tall pre-eminent in the crowd. As we talk about the intelligent design sense, the Microphone port has been placed quite far from the screen space.
So, with this blessing, it doesn’t become a barrier in the articulation of the screen. Well, Yes! The screen is also 3-way articulated that blooms the usability in outdoor, traveling, vlogging, and low-profile and angled shots. Meanwhile, a 2.36M EVF also supports your photography passion in brighter sun lights.
While other MFT cameras just offer 1080P, Lumix G7KS takes the responsibility of high-quality video shoot with 4K mode. Both image and video quality furnish a great blend of true colors and pixel saturation.
However, the continuous burst rate is just restricted to 7FPS. But then, In-body 4K video option fades away this bit lack. Plus, the 24-30-60 FPS rate at FHD 1080P refreshes your mood with much flexibility in the videography department.
Panasonic went one step further and also gave a Cinema Looks feature for some tremendous and charming video profiles for splendid color grading. It lessens your works at the desk while doing post color grading and color tone tweaking.
The Panasonic Lumix G7KS is sharp at tracking the face and objects. Yet, it’s doesn’t hold that crispy and WOW elements like Sony a6000. It keeps the objects locked and focused during the indoor and outdoor shoots.
4K video with cinematic profiles, great aesthetics and design, and fully articulated LCD are some of the hottest features that make Youtubers and New entrant in Videography to fall prey to this gadget.
With such features, this camera is also one of the easy-to-use models for beginners.
Best for Beginners
You have a 500$ in your online cart, and you are wandering on the internet for some best mirrorless under 500 choices, this Olympus camera with old retro design and silver/black color combination will take your attention many times.
Being a cheap and best mirrorless camera for beginners, it still brings an excellent reputation for photography under its name. With this model, the Olympus M series saw an updated model with exquisite design sense, the addition of the IBIS system, and a bit improvement in EVF.
With that being said, this model offers you much improved EVF having a bigger OLED 2.36M Dots Resolution. When it comes to street and outdoor photography, embrace this machine as it won’t pass a blinder effect in most brighter situations even.
Yet, you have to be careful about the rainy season. Yes, you are guessing it right – No weather shield has been added with this model. But anyway, with such price tag, it’s not a mood swinger.
Furthermore, this camera offers you an electronic shutter to enjoy silent photography in the streets and outdoors. While for many users, it’s not that highly regarded feature. But then, if you like to keep your shutter soundless about your clicks, this Mark II version could be your new love.
This gadget is a 16MP micro 4/3 camera paired with the TruePic VII processing engine that is one step up improved chip than the E-M5 model. Hence, the speed, image processing, and performance have some positive gains here.
In this camera world, the 5-axis IBIS system is the new standard of photography. From 3-axis IBIS in the previous model to an upgraded 5-axis feature in this model, you enjoy the latest market standards.
So, this improved feature is an optimal choice for superior image stability and smoother video performance for moving and shaky objects.
Moreover, Olympus has given 81 Sharpest AF points to further spice up the IBIS system. Bringing the object closer and taking it far from the lens, it’s pretty accurate and sharp to keep the target in its zone.
However, it consumes some milliseconds to better judge the true definitions of the object.
As this is a small MFT sensor camera, the ISO ranges extend from 200 -25600. I know, many cameras do 51200 and even more numbers. But who uses such numbers? For this camera, the ISO 4000 or 6400 is the prime range to take pictures in low-light without distortion and dirty green grains.
Olympus E-M10 is not a 4K model, but FHD video performance keeps this gadget in the queue of high-quality video shooting devices. Take the pleasure of slow-motion videos with the ability of video shooting at 25-60FPS.
The 60FPS mode allows you to finely add smoother slow-motion effects in your moments to make them more attractive and lively.
Bringing ease to your usability, the screen is touch and tilt in both directions with 45 degrees downwards and 85 degrees upward. Utilizing the touch functions in a much smarter fashion, there is an Eye Control Feature to control AF even when you are using the EVF.
Now this feature looks somewhat mediocre, but the practicality lends a great hand for you to easily capture some great stills.
Olympus E-M10 Mark II is a great lightweight option for beginners to take their photography skills on a much-improved scale. With augmented EVF, 8FPS continuous burst, and sharp AF points, consider this gadget a valuable pick for photography purposes.
Digital Camera: Best for Autofocus
When you look for the compact mirrorless camera, Sony Alpha a6K is the most famous and admirable series the camera world ever had. This a6000 model was the first player launched in 2014 with some of the most powerful features of those times.
Since 2014 and now this time, this model stands competitive and edgy with many of the competitors of today’s age.
So basically, this APS-C sensor camera comes directly in competition with its rival Panasonic G6, Olympus E-M1, and Fujifilm X-E2. Though it compact, low priced, and has many dialers and buttons, it’s the best mirrorless camera for beginners under $500.
Sony a6000 has 24.3MP with the sharpest and advance AF system. Well, if you are a SONY fanboy, you may know that SONY specializes itself in the AF category. And surely, at the launch times, it was one of the best AF systems available in the market.
Thus, in this camera, you get 179 Phase-detection points for continuous face targeting. Along with this, you also get 25 contrast-detect points, that’s mean you are ready to embrace Hybrid AF.
In a comparison of the previous Olympus model, here you get 11FPS burst, which is one of the high performing point this SONY model in this budget point.
So, talk about AF performance; this model is still a significant market’s name for an entry-level budget.
On the display side, Sony a6000 gives 3-inch non-touch tiltable LCD with the support of 1.4M EVF alongside. The OLED EVF it has isn’t today’s market standard resolutions, yet it renders the best refresh rate and visibility except in the daylight.
As expected and with limitation of budget, the camera has the FHD 1080P at 60FPS. The video and image quality and color saturation are those things you can’t complain about SONY.
In this a6000 model, Sony introduced a Bionz X processor that is responsible for smoother and softer images in low-lights, improved processing speed, and much enhanced AF system.
For the low-light performance, Sony comes head to head with Olympus E-M10 and M1 and Fujifilm X-T10. With ISO range 100 to 25600 (extends to 51200), it fairly does well than its opponents. You may take the APS-C sensor as one of the reasons for such drum-beating performance.
Sony is a great value pack and top mirrorless camera under 500 for the beginners who love to taste the speed, accuracy, and outstanding color saturation. The video and image quality is inevitably one of the best factors of this Sony a6000 model.
Best Travel Camera under $500
Canon EOS M10 remained famous in the photography world for many years. Then what? We saw an updated model with the name of EOS M100 carrying changes in design, controls, image processor, and performance.
This camera gives a very basic and minimalist feeling at the very first look. With its compact size, a low number of buttons and dialers, 180 Degree tilt-up LCD, this one covers the purpose of the best travel camera under $500.
As an entry-level device, it’s a fascinating thing for beginners to learn photography and videography art in a much budget-restricted approach.
The image quality is just prime, as you may have experienced in T6i and T7i DSLRs. This device carries a 24.2MP APS-C sensor along with a stock 15.45MM lens, which was also part of both these DSLRs models.
This time canon has intended to give the same best picture quality but in a much compact and more straightforward package.
Well, for this model, the image quality attains an impressive blend of colors and a splendid shallow depth field. Such performance put this device in the greatest rivalry with Sony A5100.
Additionally, this camera has the ability to produce 24-30-60FPS smoother video in FHD. Though 4K hasn’t made it to its feature list, yet you enjoy most softer and pleasant color tones in FHD video quality.
Video and image quality becomes supreme with the addition of the DIGIC 7 Processor, which is one step advanced from the previous model.
Although this M100 model is a budget selection, nevertheless, canon has made sure you enjoy the same signature DUAL-PIXEL AF technology in this device. This AF system comes very head-to-head to the SONY AF system.
Going down deep in AF settings, you can discover three settings to optimize your camera focus.
- Face-Tracking: Default AF settings that continuously locks your human face.
- Smooth Zone AF: Build a Zone and point all the objects that come under this.
- 1-Point AF: Develop some particular AF points and work accordingly.
With such AF flexibility, you enjoy a non-blurry and most targeted performance in both indoor and outdoor scenarios.
In search of well built, compact, and great outdoor performance camera for your traveling capturing, Canon M100 is a premium option to consider.
Through its quality AF performance, from capturing slow-moving objects like fishes in the aquarium to high-speed moving sceneries like planes in the airshow, it keeps the target super locked.
Best for Photos and Videos:
This Panasonic model is an improved model of GX8 with a scanty difference in sensor size, IBIS system, EVF res, and other departments. Interestingly, this also comes with many similarities with the Lumix G7KS model.
Typically, this takes the legacy of the MFT lens from its big brother. Nonetheless, GX85 wins a 16MP rather than the 20MP sensor.
This model, with better IBIS system and AF performance and added 4K mode, is the best photo and video mirrorless camera for beginners.
So, Panasonic has induced a 5-axis Dual IBIS system in comparison to the 4-axis Dual IBIS system. Taking handheld usage to another level, so this camera is a master of smoother videos and images.
Panasonic has introduced its conventional Depth-From-Defocus AF system, with 49 points target your face continuously. This AF system somewhat takes a dig at Canon DUAL-PIXEL and Sony AF systems.
On a good note, this is the second most affordable mirrorless camera by Panasonic that comes with 4K video and images mode. The 30FPS 4K mode is further supported by 1080P FHD at the rate of 25-30-60 FPS.
With 4K mode, the camera is capable of doing a 6FPS photo burst with AF. Unfortunately, this is somewhat a low number in-comparison of its rival a6300, a6000 and Olympus E-M10 Mark II, etc.
While shooting in the outdoors, you have to care about the weather as the environmental shield is a miss here.
But on the other hand, this camera model takes an edge over its bigger brother with a slight improvement in EVF resolution with 2.76M dots (2.36M previously) and 0.77x EVF magnification (0.70x).
So when it comes to shinier daylight, you are lucky enough to enjoy an enhanced live view at EVF.
The 3-inch LCD has not gotten articulating feature, so you only take the pleasure of 85 degrees to tilt up and 45 degrees down.
Factually, as an upgraded or replacement of the GX7 and GX8 model, Panasonic should have equipped this model with bigger battery capacity. The battery performance is a bit average here, giving you 290+ shots in one go. So, on a travel journey or picnic outside, you must have additional units of battery in your bag pack.
Panasonic GX85 is a great starter pack for beginner to create much smoother videos and photo collection with 4K mode and 5-axis Dual IBIS. Plus, the improved EVF doesn’t give a blinder effect in the sunniest days.
The Bottom Line:
The matter of fact is, we are searching for a well-performing device in a much lower and restricted budget limit. Honorably, every gadget is categorically the best mirrorless camera under 500 dollars.
The Panasonic G7KS mirrorless camera is a complete package with its 4K video mode with Cinema Looks profiles, Articulating LCD, and external Microphone support. These features make this machine the best mirrorless under 500.
On the other side, Sony a6000 competes well with its sharpest and most premium AF system, Crystal clear low-light performance, and speed. Nevertheless, it lags a bit with average EVF performance and low battery life.
FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best camera under 500 dollars?
Panasonic Lumix G7KS is the best camera under 500 USD available in the market. It offers superb photo quality, fabled with the likes of fantastic 4K recordings. In addition, it has a premium construction and sturdy body which makes it a top-performing camera.
Which brand is best for a mirrorless camera?
Well, there are numerous brands making top-class mirrorless cameras. The brands revered for their mirrorless cameras are Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Canon, and Nikon.
What is the best cheap mirrorless camera?
The Canon EOS M100 is the cheapest mirrorless camera on our list. Nevertheless of the price, we witness sharp colors with extra details in the pictures captured by the M100. Moreover, it has an outstanding frame that makes this camera a solid performer in the budget mirrorless category.
Which mirrorless camera is best for beginners?
We recommend the Panasonic LUMIX GX85 for beginners. It has easy to use design with straight forward controls. That combined with the premium design pattern of Panasonic Lumix makes it a suitable choice for the beginners.