By Tati Taylor 20 days ago, Cameras & Lenses
Are mirrorless cameras the best choice for novice photographers?
If you are taking your first steps in photography, it might be a smart idea to learn how to select the best mirrorless camera for beginners. Such models are typically fitted with electronic viewfinders and allow you to adjust camera settings depending on the situation. There are many entry-level cameras on the market with their prices starting at $600. Some of them come with pro-level features. Even if you opt for a budget model, it will allow you to take better pics than the one that you can snap with your smartphone.
While many people believe that it’s impossible to take professional photos without using a high-end camera, the truth is that you can use an entry-level model to snap excellent pics. It will enable you to master the basics, which is the first step that you need to take to become a professional.
In this article, I have rounded up the most reliable options on the market to help you select the best entry level mirrorless camera. When reviewing them, I was paying attention to their size and the image quality they support. Besides, I was checking whether they are compatible with different lenses, have durable bodies and good battery capacity, as well as are suitable for shooting video footage.
Megapixels: 26.1MP | Autofocus: Up to 425 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Weight: 378g
This mirrorless camera for travel is similar to the X-T30 because of its compact and lightweight body. It supports quick autofocusing and high image quality, which makes it similar to the flagship model FUJIFILM X-T4. The X-T30 II is fitted with an upgraded high-resolution LCD which supports 1.62 million points.
The X-T30 II has a compact body and high-performance features. It’s fitted with the X-Trans™ CMOS 4 sensor with a resolution of 26.1MP. Besides, it’s equipped with a high-speed X-Processor 4, which makes its AF system similar to the one you can find in the more expensive model X-T4. Thanks to its quick and noiseless autofocus, it will take you 0.02 seconds to focus on your subject. You can use this camera to capture moving objects and snap excellent pics in different situations.
Megapixels: 26.2MP | Autofocus: Up to 4779 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Weight: 485g
In case you are looking for a full-frame model that allows taking great pics in low-light situations, the Canon EOS RP is what you need. It’s quite lightweight and has a compact size, which makes it better than full-frame models. Its streamlined layout makes it the best mirrorless camera for beginners. However, if you already have some shooting experience, you might be disappointed with a limited choice of controls.
What I like about this model is that it’s convenient to use and comes with a large viewfinder. Its touchscreen is fully articulated. However, it has less impressive battery life, dynamic range, and burst rate than many other cameras with an APS-C sensor. Despite this, it lets photographers snap good pics with minimum noise when shooting in low-light situations. If you have some full-frame lenses, this is a good option to consider.
Megapixels: 20.3MP | Autofocus: Up to 121 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 15fps | Weight: 383g
If you are looking for a portable model, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV will fit the bill perfectly. This model is suitable for entry-level users as it has a well-thought-out button layout and a Live Guide mode which allows you to adjust the settings when taking pics in automatic mode.
Unlike cameras fitted with an APS-C sensor, such as the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, it has a small sensor. It makes it difficult to take photos in poor light. However, this model stands out for its impressive sensor-shift stabilization. What makes it better than other cameras for beginners is that it has in-body image stabilization. It enables you to take excellent shots when snapping pics in handheld mode.
Megapixels: 24.2MP | Autofocus: Up to 693 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Weight: 650g
This is the best mirrorless Sony camera for beginners who want to take studio photos. The 24.2 MP full-frame sensor with the backside-illuminated construction allows you to take photos of great quality. The ISO figures of 50-204800 and quick continuous burst filming up to 10fps allows you to focus and customize the exposure. There’s also an electronic shutter integrated. You can use it in a soundless mode, which makes this camera perfect for taking newborn photos.
Thanks to 693 AF points covering 93% of the frame, this beginner mirrorless camera stands out among its competitors. In addition, it has 425 contrast AF points, which makes its autofocus system hybrid. All these features make it comparable to the high-end Sony A9 camera, however, the Sony Alpha 7 Mark III is more affordable.
Megapixels: 24.3MP | Autofocus: Up to 179 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Weight: 344g
This compact mirrorless camera for beginners can compete with many DSLR cameras in shooting features. It is considered one of the best mirrorless cameras. The mix of the OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder, small weight, and manual adjustment settings are everything a beginning portrait photographer needs.
HD resolution transforms the camera into one of the best and most affordable options on the market. The brilliant OLED Tru-Finder captures the scene as vivid and beautiful as it is which is great for night photography.
Megapixels: 24.2MP | Autofocus: Up to 49 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 9fps | Weight: 428g
Being one of the best options in the EOS M lineup, the EOS M5 stands out for its superb speed, impressive performance and intuitive controls that make it suitable for beginners. Another advantage is excellent image quality. You will also like its speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF and electronic viewfinder. Thanks to its compact size, you can take this portable model with you wherever you go.
It is the first mirrorless Canon camera which features a built-in electronic viewfinder. I can't but mention an effective touch-and-drag mode. It enables selecting focus points on the screen when you look through the viewfinder. For this beginner mirrorless camera, you may buy regular EF lenses with an adapter or small Canon EF-M lenses designed for the M system.
Megapixels: 24.3MP | Autofocus: Up to 273 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps | Weight: 675g
This full-frame model is quite portable and allows you to snap great pics, which makes it one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners released by Nikon. While its 4.5fps burst rate makes it less impressive than its competitors and the quality of 4K footage is rather subpar due to a noticeable crop, I still believe that it’s an excellent option to consider. It will come in handy for novice photographers who want to improve their skills.
What I like the most about this mirrorless cameras for beginners is that it has a great AF system which includes speedy Eye AF. It allows you to use it to take high-quality portrait photos. In addition, it has some pro-level features, including its high-resolution viewfinder and a weather-sealed body.
Megapixels: 20.3MP (+80MP) | Autofocus: Up to 225 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10.8fps | Weight: 658g
Panasonic Lumix G9 is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners that can produce top-quality pictures thanks to the upgraded 80MP high-resolution mode. You don't have to worry about camera shake when recording videos or shooting stills, as it is neutralized with the help of 6.5 stops of compensation. Besides, the camera body is equipped with the G9’s modern 5-axis Dual I.S II image stabilizer.
This mirrorless camera is fitted with an articulating 3-inch LCD touchscreen. It also has a large electronic viewfinder with an OLED matrix and stands out for 3.68MP resolution and impressive zoom (a 35mm equivalent magnification of 0.83х). You can adjust its settings to your liking, which makes it just as good as top-level DSLR cameras.
Megapixels: 24.2MP | Autofocus: Up to 425 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Weight: 343g
The Sony ZV-E10 is an excellent option for beginners and professionals alike. Thanks to its articulating screen, it’s especially suitable for vloggers. It has a top-level mic and a portable body, which makes it easier to use it on the go.
Using this beginner mirrorless camera, you can take excellent pictures. It’s compatible with many lenses, which allows you to use it in different shooting situations. This camera enables you to capture images with perfect contrast and a great level of detail. While it is similar to many stills cameras, it allows you to use different lenses, which makes it the perfect solution for your needs.
Megapixels: 40.2MP | Autofocus: Up to 425 points | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5.8fps | Weight: 660g
Fujifilm advertises the X-H2 as an all-in-one solution. This mirrorless camera for beginners is also suitable for videographers as it supports several methods of data transfer. This small camera is fitted with many handy features.
What I like about this Fujifilm camera is that it has a larger body than other APS-C models. It’s protected against severe weather conditions and is quite durable. It won’t slip out of your hand. You will be pleased with its small but reliable battery. The only disadvantage is that this new model delivers worse performance when you use it with F2 lenses. Its size is equal to the size of a full-frame camera.
Fujifilm X-T30 IIOUR CHOICE
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Canon EOS RPDURABLE
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IVSTYLISH
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It might be a daunting task to select a mirrorless camera for beginners due to the wide range of models available on the market. I have created this detailed guide to help you narrow down the selection and decide which camera you need.
Before you start examining camera specifications, make sure to consider such characteristics as the type of sensor, the speed of the processor (opt for the fastest one), and the number of megapixels (minimum 16.0MP). In addition, don't forget about the ISO range (how sensitive a model is to light) along with the capability and the type of an autofocus system. Typically, mirrorless cameras are equipped with exceptional autofocus, but the maximum number of autofocus points is desirable.
When selecting mirrorless cameras for beginners, the first thing you should pay attention to is its lens. High-resolution cameras do not necessarily allow you to take professional pics as they might make some optical flaws of a lens more noticeable. A good lens with fewer MP might be better suitable for taking pro-level photos.
In case you are an avid traveler, you might need to buy a portable and lightweight camera. DSLR cameras weigh more than mirrorless models, but they are more suitable for professional use. This is why you need to consider how and where you are going to use your camera before selecting a model of a suitable size.
Mirrorless cameras are more prone to breaking than DSLR models and usually aren’t protected against elements. This is why it’s not recommended to use them in severe weather conditions.
Mirrorless cameras don’t have impressive battery capacity, which makes them less convenient for those who need to work for hours. Because of the EVF, they consume a lot of energy. The only solution is to take a spare battery with you wherever you go.
Most mirrorless cameras support this important feature. Still, I suggest you invest in the best mirrorless camera for video, as it might come in handy later. In case you want to get a video camera, the worthy models feature 1080p HD resolution. However, in case you need a 4K resolution, be prepared to spend more money.
Camera manufacturers may add such useful, but not obligatory features as LCD screens, NFC and Wi-Fi modules, different filters or effects, etc.
Weight and size. Mirrorless cameras are becoming more and more widespread due to their small dimensions. DSLRs are rather bulky and, as a result, less convenient.
Lenses. Renowned camera manufacturers like Nikon and Canon provide users with a wide array of lenses for DSLR cameras. Such companies as Pentax and Sony attempt to do the same.
Battery. If we compare a mirrorless camera vs DSLR in terms of battery life, the latter is the winner. DSLRs allow you to take from 600 to 800 pictures within one charge. With more expensive options, the number of pictures is higher. Using a mirrorless camera, you can take no more than 400 pictures, but you may always use extra batteries.
Viewfinder. The primary part of the mirror mechanism is the viewfinder. Therefore, each and every DSLR camera features an optical viewfinder. As for mirrorless models, cheap ones are equipped just with LCD. If you check more expensive options, the majority have the electronic viewfinder. Thus, you can view a picture not via the mirror system but straight from the matrix.
Autofocus system. DSLR cameras are primarily known for their impressive and reliable autofocus system. The top mirrorless cameras may boast an on-sensor hybrid (phase detect) autofocus system and support contrast detection.
Fast work. Using a beginner mirrorless camera, you can take high-quality action shots. Nevertheless, the shooting process is way quicker because there is no mirror and fewer moving parts.
Mirrorless cameras are perfect for novice photographers as they are fitted with electronic viewfinders. It allows you to see how the image in the frame changes when you adjust various settings.
Such cameras allow you to snap pics in a soundless mode, which makes them perfect for those who take photos of wildlife. It will enable you to approach your subject without spooking it. You can also use such cameras for snapping street photos as they allow you to take photos while remaining unnoticed.
These models typically have a large sensor that gathers more light and enables you to take decent pictures even in poor-light situations. However, many DSLR cameras are fitted with even larger sensors, which makes them a preferable option for those who like taking photos when there isn’t enough light.
Unless you damage your camera, it will serve you for at least 10 years. Such models stop functioning properly when their image sensors die.