Best mirrorless camera for beginners

Mirrorless cameras are the latest trend in the world of photography, but if you are unsure where to start looking for one, you have come to the right place.

Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about picking the best cameras even if you are new to photography, or are used to shooting on a different type of camera. Below, we’ve picked out five of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners here, from some of the biggest brands on the market. So, even if you are a complete beginner, you are sure to find something to suit your needs.

This post is part of our tried and tested product review series


Top 5 Entry Level Mirrorless Cameras

Let’s take a look at our top five picks – these high-quality cameras all produce stunning image quality so you are sure to be impressed with the results.

1. Canon EOS M100

 Our first mirrorless cam comes with a 15 to 45mm kit lens and a very useful tilting touch screen. It can capture 6fps in continuous shooting mode and can also take full HD movies thanks to the CMOS 24.2MP sensor. There are loads of options for connectivity – Wi Fi, Bluetooth, and an app from Canon.

Autofocus is easy with this camera – it can track the subject and ensure it remains in sharp focus whilst softly blurring the background. There are three body colors to choose from and accessories are available to customize the look of the camera to suit your style. Image stabilization is included on this camera to ensure shots are pin-sharp every time. A range of lenses are available so you can use this camera for any type of photography.

Pros

  • Very sharp photos
  • Great autofocus system

Cons

  • Video quality could be better
  • Controls are a bit fiddly

2. Sony a6000

The Sony Alpha is one of the most popular Sony cameras mirrorless. A 16-50mm lens is included and there is an APS C 24MP CMOS sensor. The ISO can be adjusted from 100-25600 and is expandable to 51200 for very low light conditions. Any Sony E-mount lenses are compatible with this camera body, so you can find another zoom or prime lens to suit the subjects you wish to photograph. The autofocus on this camera is great, with 179 focal points. Burst photos can be captured at a very fast rate of 11 fps.

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The Sony Alpha weighs 0.76 pounds and has a 3-inch LCD screen that can tilt to different angles for easy viewing in all situations. This camera is easy to use and has dials to adjust settings quickly when shooting. Shutter speed ranges from 30 seconds to 1/4000 seconds, and the maximum aperture on the included lens is f/2.8.

Pros

  • Easy to travel with compared to a DSLR
  • Very efficient autofocus

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Can overheat when shooting long videos

3. Canon EOS M50

 Canon is one of the best brands to consider when buying a mirrorless cam, and this one won’t disappoint. It comes packaged with a 15-45mm lens and there is a choice of either a black or a white body. Bluetooth and Wi Fi are included so sharing photos to social media is fast and easy. The cam is compact, especially when compared to a DSLR with similar features – it weighs around one pound.

If you are looking for a video camera, this one can take 4K video. It also has a 3 inch tilting touchscreen, so shooting videos from any angle is easy. There is an APS C sensor on this camera and continuous shooting is possible at up to 10 frames per second. It has body image stabilization, although this doesn’t always function particularly well. There are 143 AF points so you can be sure that no matter what you are shooting, it will be in sharp focus.

Pros

  • 143 autofocus points including eye AF
  • 4K video

Cons

  • Body stabilization is poor
  • Dynamic range isn’t as good as on other Canons

4. Nikon 1 J1

 If you are on a tight budget, the Nikon J1 is a great buy. It has an electronic viewfinder and has a shooting speed of 60 fps, a faster shooting rate than any other model here. The 10-megapixel sensor might not seem like much, but it produces high-resolution images.

The J1 is the best entry-level mirrorless camera from Nikon and weighs just under 300g. There are some fun shooting modes to experiment with – so it’s ideal for newbies and more experienced photographers alike.

Pros

  • Loads of great colour options
  • Very good quality for a compact body size
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Cons

  • Other lenses are required for a good zoom
  • Older model, no longer class-leading

5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80

 Our final pick is this Lumix which comes with a micro four-thirds sensor. Whilst micro four-thirds is considerably smaller than a full-frame sensor, you can still expect great results from this model. It is capable of 4K video recording and has 5 axis in-body stabilization. It takes interchangeable lenses and comes with a 12-60mm zoom lens.

The body is splash and dustproof so it’s ideal for use in all conditions. The AF system is unique – you can shoot an image then later change which point is in focus thanks to the post-focus feature. This isn’t found on many other autofocus systems and can prevent worries about missing focus when shooting.

Pros

  • Post focus
  • Dust and splashproof weather sealing

Cons

  • Low lighting performance is poor
  • Much smaller sensor than full-frame mirrorless ones

Top Budget camera for a beginner

We love the Canon EOS M50 – it has a compact size, excellent image processor and good sensor size. The build quality is great, as you would expect from Canon and it even offers 4K video features. The shooting speed is not bad at 10 fps making this an affordable mirrorless camera for anyone new to photography.


Mirrorless Camera FAQ’s

Is mirrorless or DSLR better for a beginner?

Both types of cameras offer much more control over the settings than smartphones or a point and shoot camera, but the main advantage of mirrorless is they are much smaller and lighter than DSLRs, making them ideal for travel photography. The image quality and control of settings is very similar between DLSRs and mirrorless cams, but DSLRs can be a bit cheaper, so they might be preferable if you are not sure if photography is a hobby you will progress further.

What is the best mirrorless camera for the money?

If you’re looking for budget friendly mirrorless cameras, the Nikon J1 is ideal and you can find it here. It’s the cheapest on our list yet still has some awesome features and takes lovely, sharp images. It’s a great step up from a point and shoot if you are looking for progress to something a bit more advanced.

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More tips for amateur photographers

We discuss more on our top tips for taking great photos when travelling with kids here, and a great guide on 10 ways to Take Pictures of Your Kids Like a Pro, a great guest contribution from Lisa Ivandich, 4 x WA Family Photographer of the Year.

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