best mirrorless cameras

Let me start off with clarification why I am writing this article and why I chose exactly those models for best mirrorless cameras under 500$ in 2019. I am a student in a filmmaking school in Film Directing major and I don’t have a full-time job, which means that my budget is very, very tight – a student budget.

And as a film director wannabe, not a cinematographer, I don’t need a high-end technology, but a mirrorless camera for beginners or a midrange device in order to envision how a project would look like as well as learning more than the basics in cinematography that I guess most of us already know.

To be honest, my budget is way below the 500$ mark but for the sake of this article, I included mirrorless cameras between 200$ and a little above 500$. I am not recommending phones like most of the articles do because phones with good cameras are way beyond this price range.

So I spent tons of hours watching Youtube review and comparison videos and here are my picks.

"Keep In Mind" Tips

  • Newest doesn’t always mean the best – there are few examples in this list confirming this statement. There are cameras that are a few years old and still perform better than some newest models.
  • “Best” specs don’t make your video interesting! – you can film a video with ARRI or RED and still be stupid and boring as shit. You can record a video on a point and shoot camera as old as the Earth and it can turn out to be a masterpiece.
  • In-body specs don’t matter as much as they used to – today equally important is the additional gear: lenses, boosters, stabilizers (glidecams, steadicam, gimbals), video, color grading and CGI software.
  • No matter the camera, all can be fixed in post-production. Period! –Nuff said! 🙂
  • Youtube is one of your best friends before throw yourself at the latest and „bestest“ watch some comparison videos to get a better idea for what you are buying.

Glidecam

Glidecam

Shoulder Rig

Slider

Gimbal

Stabilizer

Dolly

Grip

Tripod

Monopod

Lens

Booster

What To Look For In A Mirrorless Camera For Video

If photography is not your thing and you will need your camera whether for vlogging, travel videos or short films there are some specifications that you should take into account.

Sensor

What is the sensor? Simply explained what the sensor does is to capture the image you want to shoot. The type of camera sensor defines how much of the image will be captured. There are different size sensors – Full Frame, APS-C, Micro Four Thirds and smaller.

This of course matters but that can easily be fixed if your camera has a smaller sensor. You can buy boosters or lenses such as a wide-angle lens and then crop the video if that is a problem for you. And of course, everything can be fixed in post-production.

Image Stabilization

Don’t get me wrong, in-body image stabilization is very important. But when you have a gazillion other options to help you in case your camera doesn’t have an integrated image stabilization makes it a bit less important.

Your options may be lens built-in image stabilization, dollies, jibs, sliders, Steadicams, glidecams, gimbals, tripods, monopods, and many others to rely on for stabilization. But then, of course, what else? Post-production!

autofocus system

Focus

The autofocus is without a doubt one of the most important things you should look for in the camera body. Although nowadays the autofocus system can be offered in many lenses. That means that there’s an option if your camera body doesn’t support an AF system. Otherwise, you have to rely on manual focusing.

Image Quality

4k (native 4096 x 2160 pixels) is the new black! But is it? Don’t worry, Full HD – 1080p image resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and UHD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) is still going to be enough in 2019.

Frame Rate

We all know that the standard for filming movies is considered to be 24 fps. Most of the mirrorless cameras in this list are suitable for cinematic filmmaking. Some of the cameras state to shoot 4k videos, but sometimes there are small letters saying that it can do it only at 15 fps, which can’t be considered a video at all.

Now let’s jump right into the list.

Top Picks: Cheap Mirrorless Cameras By Brand

Sony

Sony a6300

Sony a7

Sony a6000

Sony a5100

Sony a6300

Winner

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie Resolution: 4K (UHD)/30 ISO: up to 51200

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Great Autofocus System
+ Mic Jack
+ Wi Fi
–  Overheating problem
  Only tilting screen

Sony a6300 can be found for under $600

Check Price

Sony a7

Sony a7

Runner Up

Sensor: Full Frame | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: FHD 1080/60&24 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Mic jack
+ Good AF
– Screen – tilting
– Expensive

Sony a7 can be found for under $700

Check Price

sony a6000

Sony a6000

Good option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 1080/60 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Mic Jack
– Bad AF
– Overheating
– Low battery life
– Screen – tilt

Sony a6000 can be found for under $400

Check Price

sony a5100

Sony a5100

Compromise option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 1080/60 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Screen – Selfie mode
+ Small
– No hot shoe
– No mic jack
– Bad in low light

Sony a5100 can be found for under $400

Check Price

Canon

Canon m50

Canon m6

Canon m5

Canon m100

canon m50

Canon M50

Winner

Sensor: APS-C | IS: Digital IS for video | Movie resolution:4K/2.56 crop ISO:25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Screen: Fully articulate
+ Good AF
– Not great image quality when editing

Canon M50 can be found for under $600

Check Price

Canon M6

Runner Up

Sensor: APS-C | ISO: 25600 | IS: IBIS for video | Movie resolution: 1080/60

 

+ Screen: Selfie mode
+ Hot Shoe
– No EVF 
– No 4K
– Not great AF

Canon M6 can be found for under $600

Check Price

Canon M5

Good option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: IBIS | Movie resolution: 1080/60 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Touch and drag AF
– No 4K
– Not good AF
– Not good image stabilization

Canon M5 can be found for under $500

Check Price

Canon M100

Compromise option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: 3 axis IBIS for video | Movie resolution: 1080/60 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Small
+ Responsive autofocus
– No hot shoe
– No 4K
– No mic input

Canon M100 can be found for under $400

Check Price

Panasonic

Panasonic GH4

Panasonic G7

 

Panasonic GX8

Panasonic GX85

Panasonic GH4

Panasonic GH4

Winner

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 4K/24 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Mic input
+ Screen – fully articulate
+ Great image quality
+ Headphone jack

Panasonic GH4 for under $600

Check Price

panasonic-lumix-g7

Panasonic G7

Runner Up

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: UHD/30 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Mic input
+ Great image quality
– No IBIS
– Heavy

Panasonic G7 for under $500

Check Price

Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GX8

Panasonic GX8

Good option

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: IBIS | Movie Resolution: UHD/60 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Mic output
+ Great Autofocus
– Expensive

Panasonic GX8 for under $600

Check Price

panasonic gx85

Panasonic GX85

Compromise option

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: IBIS | Movie resolution: UHD/30 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Wi Fi
– No mic output
– Screen: tilting

Panasonic GX85 for under $500

Check Price

Olympus

Olympus E-M5 Mark II

Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Olympus E-M10 Mark II

Olympus m5 mark ii

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Winner

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: IBIS | Movie resolution: 1080/30 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Mic jack
+ Great autofocus
– No 4K

Olympus E-M5 Mk II for under $600

Check Price

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Good option

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: IBIS | Movie resolution: UHD/30 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Good image stabilization
+ Good autofocus
– Screen: tilt
– No mic jack

Olympus E-M10 Mk III for under $500

Check Price

m10mk2

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Compromise option

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: IBIS | Movie resolution: 1080/30 | ISO: 25600

 

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Good video quality
– Not good autofocus
– No mic jack

Olympus E-M10 Mark II for under $400

Check Price

Samsung

Samsung NX500

Samsung NX Mini

Samsung NX500

Winner

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 4K/24 | ISO: 25600

 

+ Hot shoe
+ 4K video
+ Good autofocus
+ Screen: selfie mode
– No mic jack

Samsung NX500 for under $500

Check Price

Samsung NX Mini

Compromise option

Sensor: ILC 1″ | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 1080/30 | ISO: 12800

 

+ Small
+ Screen: selfie mode
– No hot shoe
– No mic jack
– Not great video quality

Samsung NX Mini for under $300

Check Price

Fuji

Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm X-E3

Fujifilm X-A5

Fujifilm X-A3

Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm X-T2

Winner

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 4K/30| ISO: 12800

 

+ Hot Shoe
+ Screen: tilt
– Shoots 4K video upto 10min.
– Bad autofocus tracking

Fujifilm X-T2 for under $600

fujifilm_x_e3

Fujifilm X-E3

Runner up

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: UHD/24 | ISO: 12800

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Mic jack
– Screen: fixed
– Up to 10 min 4K video

Fujifilm X-E3 for under $600

Check Price

fuji x-a5

Fujifilm X-A5

Good option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 4K UHD/15 | ISO: 12800

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Mic input
+ Screen: selfie mode
– 4K bad video quality
– Not great autofocus

Fujifilm X-A5 for under $500

Check Price

Fujifilm X-A3

Compromise option

Sensor: APS-C | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 1080/60 | ISO: 6400

 

+ Hot shoe
+ Screen: selfie mode
– Not great video quality
– Up to 14 min. for video

Fujifilm X-A3 for under $400

Check Price

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | IS: In-lens | Movie resolution: 1080/60 

 

+ Shoots RAW
+ Cinematic video quality
– No 4K
– Need of extra batteries

BMPCC can be found for under $500

Check Price

GoPro Hero 7

gopro hero 7

Image Stabilization:  IBIS | Movie resolution:  4K/60

 

+ 4K video
+Light
+ Cheap
– Fixed screen

GoPro Hero 7 for under $400

Check Price

Best Overall Mirrorless Camera

Panasonic GH4

Panasonic GH4

Best Value For Money Camera

Panasonic G7

panasonic-lumix-g7

Best Mirrorless Camera For Vlogging

Canon M50

canon m50

Best Cheap Mirrorless Camera for Filmmaking

Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here