Are you a beginning photographer who is looking for the best camera under 1000 dollars? Look through these 10 DSLR and mirrorless cameras for $1000 that offer more advanced shooting features and user-friendly camera controls than cheap cameras.
These days, cameras have become more affordable. Even famous brands like Nikon, Canon, Sony, or Pentax have an under-thousand DSLR or mirrorless camera in their cameras’ line. You may be surprised, but these cheap cameras offer built-in Wi-Fi, flip-out screens, interchangeable lenses, and even decent video quality. It means you don’t have to waste thousands dollars on the professional camera if all you need is shooting experience. Simply pick the best camera under 1000 from my list of 10 cameras below.
Price: about $800
I tried shooting RAW and was very satisfied with results. The camera produced about as much noise as a full frame camera and even when I set sensitivity really high, I got many details. The compression of this format, though, was not optimized, resulting in some loss. I still think it could be the best camera under 1000, but a demanding RAW photographer might argue that. I still don’t think it’s a problem, since theoretical limitations mostly remained unnoticed.
It was disappointing to spot some posterization or see traces of clumsy sharpening and noise reduction algorithms. It is not a problem until you save the picture multiple times with detail losses. You can avoid it simply shooting in RAW. All in all, the combination of an affordable price, a full-frame sensor and a miniature body is certainly appealing for beginning street photographers.
With the versatile 35mm focal length and compact size, it works well. Aberration is minimized by 3 double-sided aspherical elements. It gives a juicy contrast and helps maintain resolution up until the aperture boarders.
Photo by Sony Alpha A7
Price: about $700
This is one of the best Fujifilm camera in this price range. This is a little smart camera with a nice build quality. Some plastic but in the right places. The detailization is stunning even at a higher sensitivity thanks to the X-Trans CMOS III sensor. Colors are pleasing and details are satisfactory.
The model can boast of sufficient dynamic range, which makes it possible to recover lost details while photo editing. I can easily get details in shadows in JPEG so with RAW files the results will be even more impressive. I didn’t expect what came out of this little mirrorless camera to be so good. Fuji has just this magic with their JPG's that others only dream about.
This lens ensures awesome clarity while unique design permits taking photos with delicate bokeh. There are also ways to reduce aberration while taking close-ups or working in infinity modes.
Photo by Fujifilm X-T20
Price: about $600
This model enables you to take vibrant JPEG and get the best out of the dynamic range with the fine-tuned Active D-Lighting system. The RAW files can stand high critics. When the lighting was good, the camera gave a wide dynamic range, and when it wasn’t, it successfully suppressed excessive noise.
The low-ISO shots are clean, but at the 800 value, some noise is noticeable in shadow areas. It remains negligible until 6400+ ISO values, but then you will see luminance and chroma noise.
It can be called the best Nikon camera under $1000 thanks to its dynamic range. Shooting RAW at lower ISO you can get an astonishing amount of detail in shadow areas. Being great for photography, it, unfortunately, won’t do well for video recording. But for still photography, this is certainly the best DSLR under 1000.
It will perform great in dim surroundings with the fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and will blur the background softly. The classic angle looks realistic.
Photo by Nikon D5600
Price: about $750
The sensor of this professional camera is pretty good but the performance can be improved with the proper lens. Raw files taken at higher ISO have excellent details. With JPEG, though, detailization starts failing somewhat at ISO 6400, gradually worsening. The viewfinder is a dream and the screen can be tilted up or down for greater convenience.
The camera can record high-quality XAVC S 4K videos. Capture in Full HD is up to 120fps and with that, you can even experiment with slow-motion. This model can boast of many useful settings for focus and sensitivity, 3.5mm external mic jack, and S-Log picture profile support. If you’re searching for the best camera for 1000, I highly recommend considering this model. Focusing mechanisms are definitely a strong advantage that can track moving objects or be set to capture different elements.
The movements of this robust metal lens are smooth and noiseless. It is perfect to shoot both photos and videos. Between f/4 and f/5.6 it produces remarkably sharp shots.
Photo by Sony Alpha A6300
Price: about $700
Its JPEG images have bright and vibrant colors that retain their natural look. This is one of the best cameras under 1000 that will fill your shots with warmth and saturation even if you work in poor light. You will find many details in your lower-ISO photos. But with the increase of sensitivity, the details become less sharp.
Unless you are a professional photographer who needs the super-fast continuous shutter speed and tougher camera body of the D500, or someone who prefers a larger sensor FX camera, Canon D7200 will not in any way stop you from taking the photographs you envision. However, if video is your primary focus, the newer models may be a better choice.
This lens performs best in low light at 2/3 stops and generally gives sharp images. A drawback is its distortion that is visible through 16mm at the wide end.
Photo by Nikon D7200
Price: about $550
Trying to find the best camera under 1000 with many interesting features you should definitely pay attention to this camera. Photographs receive natural colors thanks to a 24-megapixel sensor, which has the function of improved recognition of the light space. This is a cheap Canon camera that comes with a scene analysis system and quickly adapts to poor lighting conditions and dynamic scenes.
This device can also boast of a built-in Wi-Fi, which allows me to upload materials to compatible devices without connecting additional cables or memory cards. Most professionals have a very negative attitude towards any additional accessories as, for example, data cords. This often brings confusion and work inconvenience. That is why, if your budget is limited and you are searching for best DSLR under 1000, Canon EOS Rebel T6i is the top choice for high-quality shooting.
Ergonomic, lightweight with an excellent zoom range. The circular aperture contributes to the incredibly exciting effects of background blurring.
Photo by Canon Rebel T6i
Price: about $450
This camera reproduces sharp colors very accurately and works well with noise reduction. I also noticed that the shutter speed of 1/100 second is often slightly jolted during shooting, so you are likely to get soft images. However, you can solve this problem quite quickly. Just choose 0sec Anti-shock in the settings, and everything will be ok.
An additional advantage of this camera under 1000 dollars was also a variety of shooting parameters. Here you receive an access to such functions as aperture priority and shutter speed, manual exposure mode, which, along with various automatic settings, have become a real gift for beginning photographers. All in all, the E-M10 II can offer a wide range of features that you should pay attention to.
If you want to get photos with a blurred background and bright contrasts, then this lens is the most suitable option. After all, thanks to the fast aperture and incredible focusing, the pictures look excellent.
Photo by Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Price: about $550
Pentax K-S2 shows excellent results with basic ISO settings, mainly because it lacks an AA/OLP filter. In general, the camera perfectly captures details, which helps it stand in the same line with its more expensive competitors. This video camera under 1000 shows almost no noise at ISO 1600. This, in turn, enables high standard shooting in low-light conditions. In general, photographs taken up to ISO 12800 are of an average quality, although the color noise becomes noticeable already at ISO 3200. In any case, ISO 25600 and 51200 remain the best options.
The quality of RAW images can be called perfect. Even despite the somewhat aggressive processing of JPEG images, their quality also remains at a reasonably good level.
The lens has many technical advantages that provide high contrast, clear and balanced shots. Among the features, there are a unique Pentax HD Coating, ultra-low dispersion of glass and aspherical elements.
Photo by Pentax K-S2
Price: about $600
This camera under 1000 offers excellent and rich colors. RAW images have slightly muted colors, but you can fix this during picture editing in Lightroom. I tried to experiment with various functions and checked many creative modes.
Almost to the ISO 3200, the camera does excellent noise reduction. When I chose ISO 6400 and more, I got great pictures with the function of Multi Frame Noise Reduction. With ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600 the noise level was critical, and most of the details were lost. Thus, Sony Alpha a68 is excellent for photographing nature and when it is vital to shoot at a high frame rate. Of course, the camera has its drawbacks, but for this cost, you get an incredibly wide range of useful functionality!
The lens shows outstanding results on APS-C even being used with a wide aperture. This ensures excellent high central sharpness and fantastic image quality with low distortion.
Photo by Sony Alpha a68
Price: about $550
Olympus E-M10 III shows a very decent image quality, especially in the JPEG format. I was surprised by the high color rendering. However, it is also worth noting that I was somewhat limited to shooting in i-Enhance oversaturated mode. My attempts to disable this feature weren’t successful, and the effect was still noticeable.
The sharpness of this camera seemed a bit tough, which later affects the photo details. The noise reduction turned out to be slightly higher than defined by default. Therefore, I would recommend you to set their values to Low or Off. Pictures in RAW format are of good quality, even despite the relatively old sensor. I agree that the camera is inferior to its competitors with 24-MP APS-C, but its sensor contributes to excellent image stabilization. Pictures taken at relatively low ISO have a reasonable degree of flexibility.
It has excellent focal range and comes in a waterproof body. For close-up shooting, the lens provides the shortest possible focusing distance – 20cm (at the wide end) and 25 (at the long end).
Photo by Olympus OM-D E-M10 III
|Sony Alpha A7OUR CHOICE||CHECK PRICE|
|Fujifilm X-T20BEST MIRRORLESS||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon D5600BEST DSLR||CHECK PRICE|
|Sony Alpha A6300BEST VIDEO||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon D7200PROFESSIONAL||CHECK PRICE|
|Canon Rebel T6iFOR FILMMAKING||CHECK PRICE|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIFOR BEGINNERS||CHECK PRICE|
|Pentax K-S2||CHECK PRICE|
|Sony Alpha a68||CHECK PRICE|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10 III||CHECK PRICE|
To correctly approach a choice of the best mirrorless camera for beginners, it is vital to answer three basic questions. Are you looking for a camera with a fixed or interchangeable lens? The camera you need should be mirrorless or DSLR? What sensor size do you need – APS-C, full-frame, Micro 4/3 or smaller?
If you travel a lot or like to take various street photos, then choose among small-sized models produced with a fixed lens.
DSLR cameras have OVF, and top speed focusing compared to mirrorless competitors. Thus, they are suitable for sports events and wildlife shooting. However, it is necessary to take into account the weight of the camera, as DSLRs are rather heavy and bulky.
If your goal is to record high-quality videos, for example, during your travels, then mirrorless cameras will be an ideal option. Such well-known world brands as Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Canon have diverse models in the middle price category. Also, an additional advantage will be the compactness of such a device, since when using the so-called small pancake lenses, their size is quite small.
If you plan to take portraits often, shoot a video or take artistic photos, then you need a camera with a large sensor. Thus, you can separate an object or blur the background. In this case, opt for devices with APS-C.
Remember you should not chase the number of MP, here you should take into account the size and the type of sensor, as well as a processor that is installed by the manufacturer.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.