Cameras are usually known to be a little bit more expensive. Personally, I value the price-performance more than the having a camera which is supposed to take better pictures, although the differences aren’t visible anyway.

Mirrorless cameras have the advantage, that they can be relatively inexpensive, but also deliver great quality. The technology is already so advanced, that You can get cameras that take professional images for under $500.

Since I believe that the future is reserved for mirrorless cameras, I want to present the best mirrorless cameras for under $500.

Those cameras are a great deal, if You are getting into photography, search for a camera for traveling, or simply want to experiment a little bit. All of the cameras also have video functions and some of them even are able to record in 4k.

My Recommendations of Mirrorless Cameras under $500

The Best Image Quality
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital...
Best For Videos
PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera,...
Best All-Around Camera
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless...
Megapixels
24,3
16
16,1
Sensor
APS-C
Micro 4/3
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
4K
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Interchangeable Lens
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
EVF & LCD-Screen
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Yes
Yes
Weight
800g
415g
390g
Verdict
The Best Image Quality
Best For Videos
Best All-Around Camera
Customer Rating
The Best Image Quality
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital...
Megapixels
24,3
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
800g
Verdict
The Best Image Quality
Customer Rating
Best For Videos
PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera,...
Megapixels
16
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
4K
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
415g
Verdict
Best For Videos
Customer Rating
Best All-Around Camera
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless...
Megapixels
16,1
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
390g
Verdict
Best All-Around Camera
Customer Rating

So if You are interested in features other than photography, these mirrorless cameras for under $500 are also a great deal for You.

If You are open to investing a little bit more, I have also written about mirrorless cameras available for less than $1000. The differences are minimal, but maybe You find that these mirrorless cameras are more suitable for You.

In case You want to tighten Your budget even further. I have also presented point and shoot cameras for less than $300.

The Best Mirrorless Cameras under $500

Sony Alpha a6000 

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital...
Megapixels
24,3
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
800g
Customer Rating
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital...
Megapixels
24,3
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
800g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Sony Alpha a6000

Sony is known to produce great mirrorless cameras. The top-class of Sony might be way out of Your league as the newest a7R does cost more than $3000. Other alternatives like the a6300 or a6500 may be a little too expensive for Your need as well.

If this is a case, then Sony has a great alternative available with the Alpha a6000. Don’t be afraid though, that this camera is a heavy downgrade to the aforementioned camera models.

There may be differences, but the Sony Alpha a6000 is still a great camera and one of the best mirrorless cameras for under $500 You can get.

With a Megapixel count of 24MP, it should be clear, that the camera is able to create high-quality images.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Electronic Viewfinder

Very Compact

24 Megapixels

Precise Auto-Focus

CONTRA

No Touchscreen

Resolution of EVF not the best



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

The Sony Alpha a6000 is one of the few cameras on this list that has an electronic viewfinder. With the electronic viewfinder, it can be a lot more fun and will be easier to compose images. Yet, the camera is still very small and does fit in Your pocket. Usually adding an electronic viewfinder comes at the cost of compactness, but if You have a look at the design of this camera, the electronic viewfinder goes unnoticed on the back of the camera.

Inside the Sony Alpha a6000 is a very powerful sensor. The APS-C sensor features more than 24 Megapixels and with its support, You are able to create very high-quality images. For an APS-C sensor, this is one of the highest Megapixel count that You can get, but anything more than 24 Megapixels is barely noticeable anyway.

Another great feature is the very precise auto-focus. The auto-focus uses 179 points to detect, where the sharpness should be. It is not also accurate, but very fast in deciding which feature in the image should be sharp. Fast moving objects are absolutely no problem and the focus stays dead on. This stays true even using the video function.

The Sony Alpha a6000 also has a lot of neat little features that help You out.

You can use Your Smartphone to control the camera and the screen can be tilted. The ISO can be amped up all the way to 25.600, which is useful if You want to photograph in slightly worse light conditions.

What could be improved

The Sony Alpha a6000 is packed full of features and the hardware is great. One feature that is missing though is the touchscreen. The display on the back cannot be used as a touchscreen, which is a little bit unfortunate. Especially in combination with the 179 auto-focus points, it would have been a great option if You could choose the af point via a simple touch.

The resolution of the electronic viewfinder is also not the highest. Although the a6000 uses an OLED viewfinder, which is known for better quality, the resolution is below the NEX-6 for example. Nonetheless, using the electronic viewfinder is still very enjoyable and it is doubtful, that the resolution has much of an influence on Your photography.

Reviewer’s opinions

The camera has been out already for Years, giving enough time to accumulate a lot of reviews.

Positively mentioned are the great image quality, the fast continuous burst and the great selection of Sony lenses that You can use.

The battery life could have been better though and for low-light photography, You need a good lens.

Who is it made for?

The Sony Alpha a6000 is a great camera for pretty much any ambitious hobby photographer. It is very versatile and depending on the lens You are using, You can get great results in pretty much any situations.

Where the camera excels is the image quality in combination with its compactness and light weight. This makes this camera an ideal travel buddy and You are able to carry the camera all day without getting tired of it.

With the Sony Alpha a6000 You can have a professional camera in Your pocket that is always ready to fire when needed and deliver excellent quality.

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Sony RX100 II

Sony RX100 II 20.2 MP Premium Compact...
Megapixels
20,2
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Zoom Lens 28-100mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
281g
Customer Rating
Sony RX100 II 20.2 MP Premium Compact...
Megapixels
20,2
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Zoom Lens 28-100mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
281g
Customer Rating

Overview of the RX100 II

Sony is not only known for his cameras with interchangeable lenses. They also produce great point and shoot cameras, that feature an integrated zoom lens. Point and shoot cameras are often seen as small snapshot devices. That’s not true for the RX100 II though. This compact camera is known as a premium point and shoot camera.

The RX 100 II features a 28-100 zoom lens which is great t cover most focal ranges very effectively. The aperture is outstanding with a value of f/1.8 at the wide-angle focal length. With over 20 megapixels, the point and shoot camera can be used to create images that can be printed very largely.

So if You don’t plan to change lenses very often and don’t want to worry about which lens to buy. You should have a closer look at the RX 100 II.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

High Image Quality

Easy to Use

Great Aperture

High Quality LCD-Screen

CONTRA

Aperture of f/4.9 at the long end

No EVF



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

The high image quality as already been mentioned and You should know by now, that Sony puts together cameras, that can produce one of the best image quality. The RX100 II is no different and doesn’t need any improvements in this regard.

Where the RX100 II is outstanding though is its ease of use. The RX 100 II is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners and here are the reasons why.

The aperture of f/1.8 at the wide-angle means that You don’t have to think about the exposure too much. Even when shooting in darker areas, You can change to the wide-angle and with the f/1.8, You will be able to produce relatively bright images. If You are not interested in learning the exposure or being too technical about photography. You can still use the automatic modes very easily with that lens.

The next big feature is the high-quality LCD-screen. The resolution is really good and for added comfort, You are now able to tilt the screen. This means that You can shoot low from the ground and don’t have to get dirty Yourself. Just put the camera down and compose the image using the tiltable screen.

If You don’t want to use the automatic modes or are using a semi-automatic mode, I have very good news for You. The RX100 II can be controlled via the control ring that can be found on the lens and there You can change settings like the shutter speed, aperture, zoom or picture effect very smoothly.

What could be improved

At the wide-angle range, the lens sports an aperture of f/1.8. Unfortunately, Sony isn’t able to keep this high standard and when using the tele lens, the maximum aperture is a rather limited f/4.9. I guess that Sony had to decide if they would rather use a lens that has a fixed aperture of f/4 throughout the full range, like some lenses already have, or if they would put more emphasis on the wide-angle.

In the end, I believe that their choice was very good. The difference between f/1.8 and f/4 at a wide-angle is tremendous, whereas the difference of f/4 to f/4.9 is almost invisible.

There aren’t many things missing, but if You are a fan of electronic viewfinders and a touchscreen, I have the bad news for You, that this camera doesn’t feature any of it. Although it is understandable, that Sony didn’t want to bulk up the design with an electronic viewfinder, it can still be a nice feature.

Reviewer’s opinions

The RX100 II has been very popular since its introduction and there have been many opinions voiced about this mirrorless camera for under $500.

One requirement that is often needed when arguing in favor of a camera of this kind is that it produces better images than a Smartphone. Or why would You buy this camera, if it doesn’t beat smartphone cameras?

Many customers have voiced, that the camera is better than any modern Smartphone. Although I have to admit that mobile phone cameras are getting better, there is still nothing that compares to the quality of the 28-100 lens.

All in All, the many features and its compactness have been mentioned very positively. The camera does fit in every purse and the built-in WiFi lets You share images almost instantly to Facebook or Instagram.

A lot of customers also agree that the camera is very easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of experience.

Who is it made for?

I would describe the RX100 II as a great alternative to the aforementioned Sony Alpha a6000 if You don’t want the hassle to change lenses and invest any more money.

The camera is great if You are not that interested in photography and want a simple point and shoot camera that lets You create images that are way better than Smartphone pictures.

On the other hand, if You change Your mind and become more ambitious, the camera still offers a lot of freedom. It won’t satisfy Your needs if You are becoming professional, but it still offers a rather inexpensive view of the photography world.

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless...
Megapixels
16,1
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
390g
Customer Rating
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Mirrorless...
Megapixels
16,1
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
390g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

In the realm of small and compact cameras, Olympus set a pretty high standard with their micro four-thirds cameras. The M10 has more expensive siblings with M-1 or M-5, but the M-10 still has some features, that can only be found in this camera model.

These features include a newer image processor, a high-quality electronic viewfinder and Wi-Fi. Keep in mind though that this camera has been released in 2015, so some of the key features can also be found in other Olympus cameras nowadays.

The OM-D E-M10 Mark II is often described as the perfect mirrorless camera for beginners, but it can be more than that. Here are the reasons why You should take a closer look at this camera.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

5-Axis Image Stabilization

Electronic Shutter

High Resolution EVF

Good Selection of Lenses

CONTRA

No 4K Video Mode

81 AF Points



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

One of the key features of the OM-D E-M10 is its in-body image stabilization. With its 5-axis stabilization, You can shoot even at slower speeds handheld and don’t have to fear, that the images will be blurry or not as You like them to be. This is helpful for taking pictures at night. Usually, You need to have an image stabilization built into the lens, since no other camera has this kind of stabilization.

One other feature that the Olympus cameras are known for is their electronic shutter. The electronic shutter allows the camera to be completely silent when taking pictures. This is great, in situations where You want to go unnoticed, or don’t want to disturb anyone. So if You are shooting weddings, this is a great feature.

If You are unhappy with most electronic viewfinders, then I have good news for You. The E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder which boasts more than 2,36 Megapixels, which is more than the electronic viewfinder of the Sony Alpha a6000 has to offer.

The micro four-third lenses offer also a nice selection and aren’t too expensive. A personal highlight is the design of this camera, which does resemble old analog cameras very well.

What could be improved

The second version of the OM-D E-M10 isn’t the newest anymore and does have a successor in the Mark III of the E-M10.

With TV’s and monitors being able to display a higher resolution, the Full-HD capabilities seem a little bit old-fashioned. In comparison to that, the newest E-M10 does support the 4K standard. But if You aren’t interested in recording videos, this shouldn’t worry You too much.

The auto-focus does have 81 points to choose from, which is already good, but with other cameras even having 179 af points, it shows that the OM-D E-M10 II isn’t in the top category this time.

However, keep in mind that the smaller sensor leads to a better auto-focus and the differences may only be noticeable when shooting sports, or wildlife.

Reviewer’s opinions

The OM-D E-M10 II has one of the highest ratings in this guide about mirrorless cameras for under $500.

One user reports that he was able to shoot a sharp picture with a shutter speed of a full second. Thanks to the in-body stabilization, this is an extraordinary feature.

Even buyers switching from a DSLR to this mirrorless camera are very happy with the electronic viewfinder and don’t have any problem to adapt to it.

Who is it made for?

The OM-D E-M10 II is a great camera all-around and is pretty much bought by any ambitious photographer who values great quality.

If You are a wedding photographer or want to go very unnoticed, this camera is especially good for You. Many Street Photographers are working with this camera and not only value the electronic shutter very much, but also the tiltable screen.

In case You are a videographer this camera may be a bit lacking, but other than that it is a great choice for every photographer and it is a pretty sexy choice if You ask me.

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Olympus PEN E-PL9

Olympus PEN E-PL9 body with 3-Inch LCD,...
Megapixels
16
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
4K
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
362g
Customer Rating
Olympus PEN E-PL9 body with 3-Inch LCD,...
Megapixels
16
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
4K
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
362g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Olympus PEN E-PL9

I love the Olympus cameras for their design and that they are trying very hard to re-create the “old school” analog look. In my opinion, the analog cameras had the most stylish bodies and it is a good decision that Olympus does orient towards them very heavily.

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is not only a very stylish compact camera, there are also a lot of “inner” values that make a buying decision very easy.

The micro four-thirds sensor is a great compromise of presenting high-quality images and creating very small camera bodies.

The PEN E-PL9 has a lot of little neat features that makes using this camera very easy and enjoyable. Bluetooth, in-body stabilization, touchscreen, and a tiltable screen are just some of the features I want to present in more detail.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Outstanding Design

Many Choices of Color

In-Body Image Stabilization

4K Video Mode

CONTRA

No EVF

No Hybrid AF



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

The 16 Megapixel sensor and the lens are good when it comes to the image quality. I have to admit that the image quality might not be outstanding, like the Alpha a6000 for example, but the pictures are still very solid. But there are a lot of other reasons why the E-PL9 could be interesting for You.

First of all, let’s have a look at the design. If You see the camera for the first time, it does resemble analog cameras really well. Not only is the design itself very beautiful, Olympus gives You also the choice of colors, that are quite unusual for camera bodies. This includes a light brown and a silver look.

Apart from the design, there is also a lot of technology embedded in this small camera. The in-body image stabilization has already been mention in the OM-D E-M10 II and how it does benefit photographers, who prefer to shoot handheld and without using a tripod. So if You value a slow shutter speed, the E-PL9 will be in good use for You.

The auto-focus has also been improved and does have 121 AF spots now, that determine where the focus should be. This works very accurately and also very good in difficult light setups.

If You are shooting in darker areas, the built-in flash will also help You to lighten up the area.

The E-PL9 is also one of the few mirrorless cameras under $500 that lets You record video in 4K resolution.

What could be improved

The LCD-screen is great and does feature not only a touchscreen function but is also fully tiltable. However, it does sadden the mood, that Olympus decided against an electronic viewfinder. I guess, a large portion of photographers using the E-PL9 is also interested in shooting selfies and won’t use the electronic viewfinder anyway, but it would be great if we could compose the image by other means than the LCD-screen.

While the auto-focus has already seen big improvements and has been given additional AF points. The tracking of moving objects is still lacking compared to its competitors. The hybrid AF usually works better for them and when You are trying to shoot fast sports, the E-PL9 can be a little worrisome at times.

Reviewer’s opinions

The E-PL9 has been rated very favorable in general. In terms of compactness and design, reviewers are seeing the E-PL9 as one of the best cameras available. The mirrorless camera is not only seen as a favorable item to take good pictures but also viewed as a fashion item itself.

Who is it made for?

The E-PL9 is a great little versatile mirrorless camera. You can twist and turn the screen to take selfies with it, but You will also have a lot of fun when photographing others. The 16 Megapixels are okay, they don’t allow for too much room to crop the image any further, but if You don’t plan to print Your images in very very large formats, that is alright.

I would recommend the E-PL9 to everyone who wants a camera that stands out on itself and appears a little different, than the usual black or sometimes silver colored body. It is also a great camera if You want to take high-quality videos from time to time and is one of the few mirrorless cameras under $500 out there that is able to record in 4k.

So if You are going on trips with Your friends frequently and want to capture that You are having a great time, the E-PL9 is the right camera for that.

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Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Megapixels
20,1
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Lens 28-84mm (full frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
206g
Customer Rating
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact...
Megapixels
20,1
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Lens 28-84mm (full frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
206g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Canon and Nikon are very prominent for trying to break in the mirrorless camera market now. Although they are very new to full-format mirrorless cameras, Canon has been releasing small compact mirrorless cameras for a long time now. The PowerShot G9 X Mark II is the entry-level compact camera for everyone who searches for an easy camera to dive into the photography world.

The PowerShot G9 X Mark II features a touchscreen, over 20 Megapixels, and a new image processor. But what can the PowerShot G9 X Mark II really do for You and why should You consider buying it?

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Versatile Zoom Lens

Great for Beginners

Great Touchscreen

Weight of 200g

CONTRA

Lens a bit too soft

Draining Battery Life



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

The PowerShot G9 X Mark II has 28-84mm full-frame eq. zoom lens. That focal range is good to shoot plenty of different subjects. From Street Photography, to travel photography or some portraits – it is absolutely no problem with this lens.

If You are used to shooting with a smartphone before and are afraid that a new camera might be too complicated, then the PowerShot G9 X II should calm Your nerves. The camera is dedicated to beginners in photography and to people who don’t want to get too technical. The camera has a very healthy amount of buttons, but You don’t need to use them because You can also use the touchscreen interface very easily.

What is the best about this camera is its compactness. Being only a little over 200g makes this mirrorless camera stand out even compared to other small cameras. Rarely will You find a camera and lens combination that is this light. Never will You find a camera and lens with that weight, that also employs so many good features and produces quality images.

What could be improved

There are a lot of good features on this camera, but unfortunately a lot of shortcomings. The lens is a bit too soft and doesn’t produce the high-quality images that You may need. It may be enough for some snapshots that are better than Your smartphone, but if You want to produce sharp images that look very good on the wall, then this lens may not be your friend.

Mirrorless cameras are known to be very energy hungry. The PowerShot G9 Mark II is no different, but the battery life is really short. Being only capable of shooting a little more than 200 pictures, You will have to buy a few spare batteries. This undermines the greatest feature of the compactness of this camera.

The grip also doesn’t feel too good and carrying this camera for a long time can get a bit tedious.

Reviewer’s opinions

Although the image quality may not be the best from a more ambitious photographer’s standpoint, customers are rating the image quality very highly. The reason for this may be the excellent in-camera RAW conversion. If You don’t want to use any external tools, You can shoot with this camera in the RAW-format and convert it to JPEGs within the camera. So the image quality may be one of the highest without using Lightroom or any other software to convert the RAW files manually.

Another good feature that has been mentioned is the easy ability to transfer the images from the camera to Your smartphone using the Canon camera connect app. With Bluetooth activated, You can simply transfer the images from Your camera to Your smartphone on the go without having the need to use a laptop.

Due to its compact size, it is has been mentioned several times, that the PowerShot G9 X II is the best travel camera for them. They can put the camera into the pocket and just use it whenever they want.

Who is it made for?

The PowerShot G9 X Mark II may not satisfy hobby photographers who are looking for the highest quality of images. The lens is a bit soft and the camera doesn’t feel very comfortable when carrying around all the time.

But if You are traveling and want to take pictures that are better than from a smartphone, these are factors that shouldn’t disturb You very much. With its size and weight, the PowerShot G9 X II does fit easily in Your pocket and won’t disturb Your adventurous spirit. It is a great small point and shoot camera that is made for everyone who just wants good and simple images without getting too technical with their camera.

For everyone else who want a camera like the PowerShot G9 X II but desire a higher quality of images, the Canon PowerShot G7 X II may be the better choice.

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Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)...
Megapixels
20,1
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Zoom Lens 24-100mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
315g
Customer Rating
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)...
Megapixels
20,1
Sensor
1"
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Fixed Zoom Lens 24-100mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
315g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

If You are interested in the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II I hope that You have also read my opinion on the previous model – the PowerShot G9 X Mark II. Although they might look very similar, both cameras still have very distinct features. While the PowerShot G9 X Mark II is more geared towards hobby photographers who just want a point and shoot camera that is capable of taking better pictures than their smartphone, the PowerShot G7 X Mark II is for the more ambitious photographers, who seek a higher image quality.

The main difference lies in the lens. While the focal range is very similar in the zoom lens on the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, ranging from 24-100mm, the aperture is a lot different. While the aperture on the G9 ranges from f/2.0 at the wide-angle to f/4.9 at the longest end, the PowerShot G7 X Mark II does convince me with its f/1.8 to f/2.8 aperture. The aperture may not say much about the image quality in the end, but it shows that Canon has put more resources in developing and employing a better lens for the G7, compared to the G9.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Tilt-Screen

Good for Selfies

Metal Body

Powerful Burst Mode

CONTRA

Focus unprecisely on fast subjects

Too strong Noise Reduction



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

I have mentioned that the usability of the previously presented G9 is great because of its touchscreen. Although the touchscreen was great, unfortunately, it was lacking the ability to tilt the screen.

This is an area where the PowerShot G7 X II is clearly better since it does offer a fully tiltable screen. You can tilt the screen all the way, to use the screen when taking a selfie.

If You are shooting high-speed genres like sports and wildlife, where every little frame might count, You will be happy that the processor of the PowerShot G7 X II is very powerful and does have a very large buffer allowing You to shoot more pictures before having to take a break. This will help You not missing the crucial decisive moment You were looking for all day.

The camera body also feels very high-grade using metal for the most part and doesn’t have a “plastic” feel to it that I dislike very much. A lot of modern cameras just feel like small toys with the bodies being mainly made out of plastic, but the PowerShot G7 X II gives You the feeling of holding a proper camera in Your hand.

What could be improved

So far I have mostly compared the G7 with the G9. There are still some shortcomings that You can find on the G9, that are also present in the G7. The battery life isn’t really better and given the fact that the G7 is more geared towards photographers who are probably shooting more, this fact is a little unfortunate.

I have positively mentioned the great image buffering and that You are able to shoot a lot of pictures in a short time. In theory, this would make the camera great for sports, but the focus is not the best if You are spectating some really fast-paced game.

Overall, the image quality is a lot better compared to the G9, but there is still a lot of processing in the background. The noise reduction in this camera is very strong and while the images look better, they may appear a bit too soft as well.

Reviewer’s opinions

In general, the G7 X Mark II has received very favorable reviews from customers. Most of the time, the customers are seeing the G7 simply better than the G9 in almost every aspect.

Some people even compare the G7 X Mark II to Canon’s DSLR series, being of the opinion that the G7 is way better than Nikon’s 5xxx series, or Canon’s entry-level “T” DSLRs.

The auto-focus has been criticized for not being a dual pixel AF and therefore not the best in low-light photography.

On the other hand, quite a few customers have stated that they use the G7 very successfully for their Youtube videos.

Who is it made for?

The Canon PowerShot G7 Mark II is pretty much made for everyone who likes the idea of the Powershot G9 Mark II but wants to have a better image quality. The lens and processor are a lot better in the G7 putting the images in a league above the G9.

Seeing the PowerShot G7 “only” as the better G9 would be too shortsighted. The lens is a real powerhouse with a focal range from 24 to 100mm and a very impressive aperture from f/1.8 to f/2.8.

The battery life is still not the best and weighing over 300g makes this camera more than 50% heavier than the G9, but if You are looking for a better image quality, this camera will satisfy Your needs.

Therefore, the camera is not only great for travel photographers but also people who shoot (not so fast) sports and wildlife. At night, the camera is also still very impressive and does handle the fewer light very well.

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Fujifilm X-A3

Fujifilm X-A3 Mirrorless Camera...
Megapixels
24,2
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
339g
Customer Rating
Fujifilm X-A3 Mirrorless Camera...
Megapixels
24,2
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
339g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Fujifilm X-A3

I am a Fujifilm user by heart and while I would love to present the FujiX100F to You in this guide, the camera is still a bit too pricey to be featured here. Nonetheless, Fujifilm also does have their users in mind, that want to spent not more than $500.

The Fujifilm X-A3 does allow You to change lenses and with a 24MP sensor, the resolution is one of the highest in this guide about mirrorless cameras for less than $500.

The X-A3 should be interesting for everyone who wants a more “serious” camera and the reasons for that can be found in the following detailed description.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Long Battery Life

Great Dynamic Range

Extensive Film Simulations

Ideal for Selfies

CONTRA

Unreliable Auto-Focus

Laggy Camera Control



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

I am far than pleased with most cameras and its battery life. Mostly they are able to take between 200 and 300 shots in a standardized test. The Fujifilm X-A3 does stand out in this regards and is able to shoot more than 400 pictures with a single battery. That should last for a good day of shooting, even when You are traveling and taking more than usual pictures.

The quality of the images is also one of the highest in this area. The dynamic range is very broad and lets You take images in high-contrast situations. As a feature, this is very pleasing when You are discovering a new town and are walking in dark alleys and the light and shadow are very present in the scene.

Fuji is also known for their great film simulations that You can apply to the pictures. If You don’t want to spend hours in Lightroom to edit every single picture, You can simply apply a filter effect to the images in-camera.

Just like in the G7 X II, the screen can be fully tilted so that You can use it when taking selfies.

What could be improved

I am a huge Fuji fan and would choose their cameras over anything else. However, there are two huge hiccups that make this camera far than optimal for most photographers.

The auto-focus is rather unreliable and very slow. Although the camera boasts a face detection, in reality, the recognition is far than optimal. For anything moving, the auto-focus becomes a huge problem.

Not only the auto-focus feels very slow and laggy, operating the camera is not a very fun task as well. The camera feels very unresponsive and can be frustrating because of this.

Reviewer’s opinions

The reviews are mixed for the reasons that I have stated before. To some, the auto-focus and unresponsive controls are a huge letdown and to others, the great image quality is still a huge argument for buying the camera.

A lot of beginners have stated that they were very pleased with the camera and the images it produces.

Due to the nature of photography beginners, I would assume that they were just testing out the camera without having very difficult tasks at hand though. Under those “easy” situations, the image quality does really shine, while the problems in usability can be neglected.

Who is it made for?

I would recommend the Fuji X-A3 with mixed feelings. On one hand, I really like the image quality, the overall design of the camera and the touchscreen.

However, the camera does have very big problems when shooting anything that moves. The auto-focus does have problems to track the right subjects and is often not accurate. This happens to the photos, as well as to the videos.

Therefore, I would only recommend the Fuji X-A3 if You are mainly doing posed photography like taking selfies with Your friends. If You are discovering the city mainly through architecture, then You will have the advantage that the buildings don’t move and the auto-focus won’t cause any problem here.

If You are still interested in the X-A3 and are willing to invest a little over $500, You are able to buy the all-new and improved Fujifilm X-A5, which has solved most of the problems stated in this review. Fujifilm has heard of the problems with the auto-focus and has added a phase detection to the X-A5. In addition, the eye detection has been improved and overall the auto-focus works a lot better.

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Samsung NX3000

Samsung NX3000 Wireless Smart 20.3MP...
Megapixels
20,3
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
280g
Customer Rating
Samsung NX3000 Wireless Smart 20.3MP...
Megapixels
20,3
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD 1080p
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
280g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Samsung NX3000

Samsung is not only known for their high-quality Smartphones. They are also very successful when it comes to compact cameras that are aimed at users who want a simple camera that isn’t too complicated.

In that regards, the Samsung NX3000 is a great camera that lets You change the lens and is also less expensive than most other cameras featured in this guide.

The rather large APS-C sensor sports more than 20MP and the screen can be flipped all the way up. Additional features are Wi-Fi and NFC, which shows that the camera was probably ahead of its time when released in 2014.

But how well does this camera hold up to today’s standards?

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Very Inexpensive

Smart Technologie

Connects to Your Smartphone

Good Kit-Lens

CONTRA

No Touchscreen

Limiting ISO



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

Most of the cameras are great when it comes to the price-performance. The Samsung NX3000 does go a step further, being sold at around $300 and therefore considerably less than $500.

Samsung is known as a technology company and the NX3000 does feel more like a Smartphone sometimes. With Smart technologies included such as the easy image sharer and social media upload, You don’t need much more than the camera to share Your images. But of course, You can also connect Your smartphone with the NX3000 to change settings remotely or have a better control for self-portraits.

The kit lens has also been improved compared to the previously released NX2000 and does offer an image stabilization apart from an improved image quality.

What could be improved

The NX3000 does have a lot of new features in it, unfortunately, they dropped the touchscreen as well as the hybrid AF. The external controls are not the most intuitive, but You will get used to them. The auto-focus is also nothing that should be of Your concern. With an APS-C sensor, the auto-focus is more accurate than its competitors using a micro four-thirds, or even smaller 1″.

When You are photographing at night, the native ISO of only up to ISO 6400 can be a limiting. Thanks to the larger APS-C sensor, the night performance is still at an okay level.

Not everyone is using a smartphone to control the camera though. So using only the rear dial can be a bit time consuming and is not the easiest way of controlling a camera. A second dial would have been good.

Reviewer’s opinions

The reviews are in general very favorable. Positively mentioned are the greater sensor size of the APS-C format, which is the same size that is often used in DSLRs as well. Combined with the over 20 Megapixels, the image quality rivals those DSLRs and the very small NX3000 isn’t shy of any comparison.

Apart from the digital functions, the metal mount and the tripod socket have been mentioned as great features that make the NX3000 more complete and useful.

The i-function button has received mixed reviews, leaving some customers confused to the idea of this button. Though it is just a feature and no one is being forced in using the i-button.

Who is it made for?

The NX3000 is great for any photographer who is using a Samsung smartphone. Even without a smartphone, the camera has a very good price-performance but being able to connect it with the smartphone for some additional features is surely a neat option.

For a camera with such a low price, the Samsung NX3000 is one of the best choices if You are looking for a simple mirrorless camera. Thanks to the good ISO performance, You can use the NX3000 very flexible. Whether You want to shoot some videos, photos at perfect light conditions, or during the night, the NX3000 will perform very well.

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Panasonic Lumix G7

PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera,...
Megapixels
16
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
4K
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
415g
Customer Rating
PANASONIC LUMIX G7 4K Mirrorless Camera,...
Megapixels
16
Sensor
Micro 4/3
Video Resolution
4K
Lens Type
Interchangeable Lens
Viewfinder
EVF & LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
Yes
Weight
415g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Panasonic Lumix G7

So far, most mirrorless cameras are trying very hard to show off that they can be very compact. Their design resembles classic analog cameras more than any modern DSLR. The Panasonic Lumix G7 tries a different way. This mirrorless camera does look more than a DSLR than what You would expect from a DSLR.

It features a 16MP micro four-thirds sensor and has a touchscreen. What is outstanding for this camera is the 4k Video mode. If You like the DSLR and feel comfortable using these cameras, You won’t need much time adapting to the design of the Lumix G7.

At the top of the body, You can already see the two buttons which make controlling the camera very easy. If You are not a fan of a minimal design and have problems with the small buttons on most mirrorless cameras, the Panasonic Lumix G7 may be handier for You.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

Look and Feel of DSLR

Great EVF

RAW + Jpeg mode

Outstanding 4K Videos

CONTRA

Too many Buttons

Low Battery Life for Videos



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

The Panasonic Lumix G7 tries very hard to replicate DSLRs. This may be a bit unconventional when looking at the mirrorless cameras that I have presented in this guide. But if You are a fan of DSLRs, You will find that this camera does offer a very similar feeling.

One thing that all DSLRs have in common is their optical viewfinder. Therefore, the Lumix G7 also embodies a viewfinder. Because of the nature of mirrorless cameras, it is an electronic viewfinder and with over 2,3 million dots, the resolution of the EVF is at a very high level.

The grip of the camera also feels very good. If You have bigger hands, then most of the small compact cameras will give You an insecure feeling. It is great that most of them are very small and fit in every pocket, but when actually working with them, the small size can be a problem. Therefore, the good grip is an outstanding feature of the Lumix G7.

A great feature is also that You can shoot in RAW + Jpeg. This enables You to take RAW files that You can review later in Lightroom, as well as Jpegs at the same time. The Jpeg then can be shared very quickly.

The 4K Video mode does work like a charm and also features a 4K photo mode which lets You grab stills from the video very easily.

What could be improved

I appreciate that there are cameras out there, that include more buttons and give You the option to use the buttons instead of the menu. But additional buttons don’t have to mean that it makes the handling easier. To come closer to the DSLR look and feel, it seems that the Lumix G7 has overwhelmingly more buttons than would be necessary. I believe it would have been no problem to reduce the number of buttons, while even improving the handling a bit.

The 4K video capabilities of this camera can be placed at the highest of ranks. However, the high quality of the video does have the downside that the battery life is very low. If You are looking to mainly shoot videos, be prepared to have at least a few spare batteries with You.

In the end, the camera does suffer from trying too hard to be between both worlds. The mechanical shutter does have problems around the shutter speed of 1/100th and an electronic shutter would have been a better design decision.

Reviewer’s opinions

One of the strongest points that have been mentioned here is the ability of the Lumix G7 to shoot video in 4K.

A lot of customers that are more into video shooting are also verifying that shooting video works like a charm with this camera. It has been also mentioned that the A6000 has been sold in favor of the G7.

Not only the price of the camera body is important. Customers are also mentioning that the lenses for the Panasonic are less expensive than comparable Sony lenses. Therefore, the general price-performance can be seen in favor of the Lumix G7, especially when investing in more than one lens.

A lot of customers are also surprised by the high image quality and the RAW quality of this camera.

Who is it made for?

Are You looking for a smaller and lighter camera but want to keep the same look and feel of a DSLR?

Then the Lumix G7 will feel like the perfect hybrid that lets You shoot very images as well as 4K videos. The camera might not be the most compact one and therefore may not be like the typical point and shoot camera that You can keep in Your pocket.

On the other hand, if You are looking for a camera that is built more solidly like a classic DSLR and want to shoot with it comfortably for a longer time, the Lumix G7 is a great choice for You.

If You have some old Nikon glass, You can also use a Metabone adapter to use the vintage glass on Your camera.

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Ricoh GR II

Ricoh GR II Digital Camera with 3-Inch...
Megapixels
16,2
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD
Lens Type
Fixed Lens 28mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
251g
Customer Rating
Ricoh GR II Digital Camera with 3-Inch...
Megapixels
16,2
Sensor
APS-C
Video Resolution
Full-HD
Lens Type
Fixed Lens 28mm (full-frame eq.)
Viewfinder
LCD-Screen
Touchscreen
No
Weight
251g
Customer Rating

Overview of the Ricoh GR II

I have used the Ricoh GR II – see the Review on the Ricoh GR II – as the first compact camera after having a Canon Rebel camera. My choice fell on the Ricoh GR II because it was perfect for my needs as a Street Photographer.

The camera is very small, yet powerful. Its APS-C sensor has a resolution of 16,2 Megapixels and overall, the image quality is very excellent. What made me love the Ricoh GR II is that I can control the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all through one hand.

That allows me to use an external flash in one hand, with the camera being on the other hand. If You are looking for a plain and simple camera then the Ricoh GR II is a very good choice.

License

Features

Features

Features

Features

PRO

No unnecessary Features

Great Prime Lens

Good Image Processor

Very Compact

CONTRA

No EVF

LCD-Screen difficult in bright light



What’s great about this Mirrorless Camera

Most cameras are packed with features. Features, that I am not interested in and that I wouldn’t use anyway. Personally, I simply need a camera that lets me set the basic settings and shoots good pictures. I don’t care if the camera has Bluetooth or other gimmicks. Those features often just raise the price, without being of any use for me.

Instead, I value the lens and the image processor and sensor more highly. This is where the Ricoh GR II really excels. The camera features a prime lens, which is really unique since most compact cameras have a zoom lens.

For me, the fixed prime lens is a huge advantage. The image quality can not be achieved with a zoom lens in this price range. The aperture with f/2.8 is good and suitable for most uses. With a focal length of 28mm (full-frame eq.) the lens is also very versatile. The distortion is very minimal and with the camera, I can shoot where other photographers with bigger gear are very limited.

What could be improved

I am really happy with this camera but that it doesn’t feature an EVF is a small letdown. It is understandable that an EVF does increase the size of this camera and the price, but I would argue that the camera with a functional EVF would be the best Street Photography camera You can get. Although there is an external EVF available that You can buy, it doesn’t have the same feeling to it.

The lack of EVF leads me to the second small disappointment with the camera. When using the camera in bright sunlight, the screen does become a little hard to see. Although there are measures to make the LCD-screen more readable under sunlight, there is still room for improvement.

Reviewer’s opinions

My personal opinion is very much the same as the customer’s opinion that I have found online.

The Ricoh GR II has been praised for being the perfect travel and Street Photography camera with its maximum mobility and image quality.

That You can use the Ricoh GR II perfectly with one hand, also frees up the opportunity to photograph in rain and use an umbrella.

Who is it made for?

The Ricoh GR II is the perfect camera for Street Photography and to some degree also great for traveling and exploring new cities. The fixed prime lens of 28mm might not be for everyone and You may be more comfortable using a zoom lens, but if You are looking for better image quality and also like using a prime lens, then the Ricoh GR II is a perfect choice.

It doesn’t have any senseless features and everything about this camera tells me that it has been developed by photographers that had other photographers in mind and not just “consumers”.

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The advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

A mirrorless camera is a great way of starting photography. The camera has an LCD-Display which shows You exactly how the final picture will look like. You are able to see the exposure, as well as the depth of field, which makes focusing a lot easier.

Not all, but some of the here presented cameras also have an electronic viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder can also support You in getting better pictures by displaying additional information.

If You are not sure yet what You want to photograph or which area You are interested in the most, the mirrorless camera for under $500 is also very versatile. You can do portraits, landscapes, or anything that You can imagine.

The mirrorless camera is very small and compact so that You can take it everywhere with You. It doesn’t take up much space when traveling and it doesn’t look intimidating to anyone.

Most of the time, You are also allowed to take mirrorless cameras with a fixed lens to events, whereas DSLRs are mostly prohibited from such events.

In my opinion, the mirrorless camera is clearly the future and when it comes to lenses, there is already a great selection to choose from. On some mirrorless cameras, You can also use old vintage glasses using an adapter.

What to expect from Mirrorless Cameras for under $500

How good is a camera that doesn’t cost a fortune really?

You probably have a mobile phone that is very much capable of shooting already good pictures. So how does a mirrorless camera really compare to that?

If You haven’t shot with a mirrorless camera for under $500 yet, You might think that the pictures will be merely better than compared to Your mobile phone. The honest answer is, that there is a big difference in terms of image quality as well as the feeling of photographing.

For me, it is a huge difference having a real camera in my hand and taking pictures compared to having only a mobile phone. With the mirrorless camera, I am much more motivated and the results are already much better because I am getting more into my own zen-zone while photographing. This doesn’t happen so much with a mobile phone.

In terms of image quality, I would argue that under normal light conditions most modern cameras are delivering excellent results. You can see that even cameras for less than $500 can have more than 20 Megapixels. This is perfectly fine for printing large pictures and under those conditions, these cameras can deliver gallery prints.

But when the light is not so perfect, the worse ISO performance can show. Same is true if You are shooting subjects that are very fast moving like sports or wildlife. While there are some cameras included in this list, that do fairly well for these genres, if You become really ambitious I would suggest to invest in full-frame cameras.

Nonetheless, a mirrorless camera for less than $500 is ideal if You are traveling and want to have pictures, that You are proud of showing Your friends.

Or if You are just starting in photography and want to buy Your first “real” camera, then this list is full of suggestions that are suitable for You.

If You already know what You want to shoot and only need a very specific camera, the RicohGR II is perfect for Street Photography. So instead of spending Your money on features, You don’t need, You can also invest in a camera that does exactly what You need.

Street Photography