If you’re casual about your photography, then smartphones and compact cameras more than do the job. Generally though, they are limited by small sensors and fixed lenses that don’t offer the kind of next-level control that you need when taking your photography that little bit further.

With that in mind, an interchangeable lens camera is the perfect upgrade. In this guide, we’ve picked out the best entry-level mirrorless cameras that should fit your budget, aren’t too bulky and hopefully won’t be too perplexing as you learn how to use them.

Many of the mirrorless cameras in this group have APS-C sensors, but some of our favourites have slightly smaller Micro Four Thirds sensors. Both offer such a big improvement over smartphones and compacts that really there’s little to choose between them. To find out more about sensor sizes, take a look at our sensor guide.

Mirrorless cameras also offer interchangeable lenses. They will often come with a general-purpose 3x ‘kit’ zoom lens which are great to get you started with. Once you get a little bit more into it, you might find it worth investing in telephotos, macro lenses, super-wide-angles and more. It’s worth checking the lens ranges on offer, particularly if you might want to upgrade to a better camera in the range later on.

What you need to know about Black Friday 2019

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals period is the ideal time to pick a great beginner mirrorless cameras. This sector of the market is often where you’ll find the best discounts and deals, as retailers try to lure in that all-important entry-level market. It’s also great for bargains if you’re not already tied to an ecosystem – when you can be a little less picky about brand or particular model, there are some great offers to be had. If you like the look of something you see in our listing here, you don’t necessarily have to wait until Black Friday as our widget automatically updates with the latest and best deals. Make sure you keep an eye on our Black Friday camera deals page as that’s where we’ll be highlighting all the latest deals.

Value for money

Lastly, there’s value for money. Just because something is “cheap”, that doesn’t necessarily mean it represents value for money. If you find you quickly outgrow it and need to upgrade very soon, then you’ll end up spending even more money. Some of the cameras here might seem expensive to somebody buying their first camera, but we will have recommended them as something that should last you for many years to come.

If you view your photography hobby as an investment, it will pay huge dividends if you can invest as much as you possibly can when you first get started. Inexpensive cameras can still do a good job, but when cutting back on price inevitably means that features and controls are missing – so ask yourself if the saving is worth missing out on something you think you’ll need.

For example, the cheapest mirrorless cameras don’t usually have viewfinders, but these can be invaluable for shooting in bright light, when the screen on the back can easily suffer from glare and reflections, so we’d always recommend stretching to a camera with a viewfinder if you can.

Check out the specs of the rear screens, too. The size and resolution are not so important since they’re all quite similar these days, but a touchscreen display will make the camera feel more like a phone, making the transition to using a “proper” camera a little easier since you’ll already be used to tapping, swiping and so on.

Finally, if you like to shoot video, you might want a camera that can shoot 4K, and not all of them can. Although it’s becoming more common, it’s still a somewhat new area for entry-level mirrorless cameras, and they don’t all do it (though they do all offer regular 1920 x 1080 Full HD).

All the mirrorless cameras we’ve chosen for this list are well suited to beginners because of their price, size, ease of use, features or all of those things. You can also take a look at our other buying guides below if you’re still undecided. Otherwise, read on to see the 10 best entry-level mirrorless cameras you can buy right now. 

Best entry-level mirrorless cameras 2019 at a glance

  1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
  2. Fujifilm X-T100
  3. Panasonic GX9
  4. Sony Alpha A6100
  5. Canon EOS M50
  6. Fujifilm X-A7
  7. Sony Alpha A5100
  8. Canon EOS M200
  9. Olympus PEN E-PL9

Best mirrorless cameras for beginners in 2019


1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

The E-M10 III is small, powerful and beautifully designed

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16.1MP | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360,000 dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8.6fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/Intermediate

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