Best Mirrorless Camera under $500: Top 3 Exclusive Picks
We all love surreal images taken via DSLRs, don’t we?
Silently we do expect to take such kind of pictures, don’t we?
Well what if I tell you, you can do exactly the same, without the bulge of DSLRs…
…and click more detailed photo. Don’t trust me?
Mirrorless cameras are meant to do exactly the same as I said.
And here’s a list of Top 3 Best Mirrorless Cameras under $500 that will allow you to do so.
Before we start… let me explain to you:
What are Mirrorless Cameras?
As the name suggests, they are a kind of cameras that do not include a mirror.
Conventionally, a DSLR camera has a mirror, which displaces itself when you click a picture, exposing the camera sensor.
Well in Mirrorless cameras, this mirror is absent that means you get a more compact body and less weight.
Technically our smartphone cameras too are a type of mirrorless cameras.
Mirrorless cameras are somewhat better than DSLR camera in terms of image quality, auto focusing and video recording.
Due to absence of mirror, auto focus is tad too quick and since there’s no mirror to account for, you can click pictures in an instant.
Since we don’t have the mirror that moves itself, there’s no auto focus sound while video recording or while clicking pictures.
Some Mirrorless cameras don’t have interchangeable lens, while some do, and it totally depends on you, which route to go for.
However there isn’t a huge array of lenses to choose from for mirrorless cameras currently and hence its meant more for consumer use rather than professional use.
One thing that might surprise you is the actual size of the camera body.
Size of the lenses happen to be bigger and heavier than the actual camera body itself, and hence may take a while to get adjusted with the weight distribution.
One con that is associated with Mirrorless camera is, lesser battery life (not to be confused with poor), since the sensor is active for the entire time you power on the camera, the camera is bound to lose battery even when not clicking pictures, however that’s still a small price to pay considering its pros and size.
Shall we move on to the List of Mirrorless cameras?
I know you can't wait for it.
#3: Samsung NX3000
Slowly and steadily Samsung is introducing itself in the compact and price friendly handheld camera market.
With a minimalist and modern approach, it has definitely put itself as a better competitor in the market.
For the NX3000, the South Korean brand has done the same thing.
It introduced itself in a developing territory of mirrorless cameras and is now putting up a stylish looking camera.
At one look, one can deduce that Samsung NX3000 is a charmer.
Before we talk about the camera, let me tell you what’s inside the box:
The package contains the camera itself, along with a 16-50mm Power Zoom lens.
You also have an option to buy it with a 20-50mm compact zoom lens too.
Morever we have a charger, USB cable, Camera strap, Battery, Adobe Lightroom 5 image editing software and an external compact flash that sits on the hot shoe.
Samsung NX3000 comes in three colors: Black, White and Brown, and all of these colors happen to look amazing, with my favorite being brown.
At first look, the camera does look and feel compact.
The top portion is made up of aluminum while the body is covered with leather like material that offers good grip in all situations.
The top portion of NX3000 includes a WiFi button, Power button, function dial, image shooter along with a hot shoe.
Samsung doesn’t offers an inbuilt flash, it provides a compact external flash that needs to be attached to the camera’s hot shoe.
It weighs around 1.41 pounds along with the lens unit and has dimensions of 2.6 x 1.54 x 4.61 inches.
It also offers a 5 FPS shooting capability and the battery at full charge is capable of shooting 370 photos at max, which happens to be good.
We also have a 3 inches LCD at the back that has a resolution of 468K dots and flips 180 degrees in Y-axis allowing you to take selfies with it.
The 20.3MP CMOS sensor allows for capturing high resolution image along with incredible detail in pictures.
It also allows for capturing 1080p videos at 30fps, and has ISO range upto 25600. Check out its full review by clicking here.
“All in all Samsung NX3000 is a good quality mirrorless camera for starters, who want to upgrade from a compact digital camera and want a great photography alternative but do not need the bulge of a DSLR. With not many options to play around with, Samsung NX3000 is great for starters… however if you want something more, there are couple of options more to explore in the list.”
#2: Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Alpha A5000 is a ridiculously small and compact mirrorless camera.
It happens to be your best bet if you’re in the market to buy the best mirrorless camera under $500, that has size of a compact digital camera and image quality that of a DSLR.
The A5000 supports interchangeable lenses and uses Sony’s E-mount lenses, within the package you get a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens.
Being an entry level mirrorless camera from Sony, it happens to capture excellent images.
Trust me, I’m not over hyping the word ‘Excellent’, the 20.1 MP Exmor APS-C sensor captures great details and has ability to shoot 3.5 frames per second.
Another thing that adds up is the movable LCD screen.
You can move the 3.0” 468K dots LCD screen in Y-axis and flip in 180 degrees. However it doesn’t pops out.
During daylight photography, the LCD maintains its mettle, and has great sunlight legibility.
Due to its compact size, Sony had to ditch the viewfinder, and personally I’m not a fan of the viewfinder too. Clicking images by looking at the LCD happens to be a best option for me.
However if you can’t resist the compactness of Sony Alpha A5000 but still crave for a viewfinder you might want to use Hoodman HoodLoupe.
Compared to Compact Digital Cameras and DSLRs, Mirrorless cameras are tad too quick in autofocus, and thankfully the Sony Alpha A5000 doesn’t disappoint.
It quickly auto-focuses on subject via contrast detection, and offer excellent quality images.
Low light photography is good via the APS-C sensor, however there’s still improvement to be made.
There’s also a mechanical pop up flash unit that helps in removing shadows and noise when shooting pictures in shadowy places during the day.
You can also stretch the ISO scale upto 16,000, but that will capture more noise.
With inclusion of Wi-Fi and NFC, the A5000 is definitely future ready.
Just like Sony’s compact digital cameras, you have plenty of shooting option and image modifications on the go.
You can use them, to click funky or do selective color photography.
If you want to click like a professional photographer, there’s also an option to manually blur background by hyping up the blur rate.
Recording movies on Sony Alpha A5000 is an excellent thing to do, and the quality you happen to get is nothing short of exceptional.
Do not forget to check its full review here.
“With ton of features already left to talk about, Sony Alpha A5000 is a marvellous mirrorless camera under $500, you have plenty of options to play with and moreover it offers image quality better than an entry level DSLR and retains size that of a compact digital camera.”
#1: Fujifilm X30
As they say, history repeats itself, it has been more adamant related to digital cameras.
Right now we’re talking about a mirrorless camera Fujifilm X30 whose design is relative to retro styled camera.
Hands down, it’s the best looking camera in our list of Best Mirrorless Camera under $500, isn’t it?
With its metal body and a rubberized mid section, there’s no denying it’s one of the coolest looking digital shooter.
Ditching plastic, Fujifilm has gone with a more durable and premium design and hence why the upper section is made up of aluminum.
Two dials, video recording button and the flash unit are carved out of durable aluminum and is a treat to watch and use it.
As I always say, Mirrorless camera have better image quality compared to DSLRs and relieves us from the bulge that they carry around.
Though not completely compact, Fujifilm X30 is easy to hold and happens to be of appropriate size.
It doesn’t offers an option for interchangeable lens and that’s totally fine.
However the lens with which it comes with is equivalent to 28-112mm.
There’s no button to control zoom, hence you’ll have to manually move the lens ring to zoom out the lens. This provides a basic DSLR like feel but the movement isn’t as smooth as expected.
2/3-inch 12MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor isn’t able to capture extra details due to limited sensor size, however that doesn’t means image quality is poor. It’s leaps ahead when you compared it with your average 12MP Smartphone or Compact Digital camera.
The company claims that its electronic viewfinder offers real-times frames with display lag of 0.005 seconds. That’s incredibly quick!
One good thing about Fujifilm X30 is it’s screen. It’s a 3 inches OLED screen that offers display resolution of 920K dots that happens to make captured images look surreal.
Unlike Sony Alpha A5000, the screen on X30 pops out and can be easily moved Y-axis allowing for a better low angled photography. However you cannot fully rotate the screen.
Since the design is retro-styled, the company has also included plenty of options to capture retro styled images that go perfectly with the theme. [Check Full Review]
“Fujifilm X30 not only stands out in the design department but also in the functionality and image quality department too. Though allowing 1080p 60fps Video Recording, it isn’t smoother compared to other options. However if video recording is not your motive... then there’s no stopping you from buying the Fujifilm X30 Mirrorless Camera.”
I hope this article helped you in finalizing the best mirrorless camera under $500 for you.
To be honest, there isn’t a wide variety of mirrorless camera to choose from under the price bracket of $500, and hence all these three cameras happen to sit in the entry level segment and offer a complete set of features.
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Thank You! Have a great day ahead!