5 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners – Low Budget Filmmakers

5 Best Mirrorless Cameras For Beginners

If you want to shoot a film on your own as a beginner, you need to purchase a camera right away and start developing your filmmaking kit. 

What kind of camera should you get, though? As your talents and knowledge improve, you’ll need a camera that you can use at any time and for a variety of projects. You’ll need a filmmaking camera that will last you a long time and can shoot in a range of situations. You also want a filmmaking camera that is within your budget as you develop your talents.

These highlighted links are for you if you’re seeking specific filmmaking cameras, such as the finest 4K cameras and the best smartphone cameras for filmmaking. A mirrorless camera, on the other hand, is the correct choice for you if you want a camera that produces amazing videos and is easy to learn. 

While DSLR cameras have their advantages in terms of capturing excellent films, mirrorless cameras are more accessible to newcomers due to their ease of use and more adaptability to the amazing lenses available today.

This post is for you if you’re seeking the best mirrorless cameras for beginners to get you started.

Best Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners

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CRITIC'S TOP CHOICE - SONY A7III

Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 42.4 megapixels | Viewfinder: 2359K dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,100K dots | Autofocus: 693+425 AF points | Max frame rate: 10fps | Video:4K at 30p | Weight: 653g (1.4 lb)

Is the Sony a7RIII a good investment? This camera is at the top of the list of truly badass Mirrorless Cameras For Beginners that every aspiring filmmaker should have in their camera bag. 

Here are a few of my favorite aspects of this filming mirrorless camera. 

42 Megapixels – I understand that megapixels aren’t everything, but this camera has a lot of them! While compared to the FUJIFILM XT-2, which has 24.3 megapixels, it has a higher level of detail in its RAW photographs, so you don’t have to worry about losing quality when editing photos and videos.

120fps (Slow-mo) – Although it may not be a feature that many filmmakers seek, the Sony A7III is difficult to beat for shooting silky smooth slow-motion footage with incredible resolution. I really like the “S&Q” function, which allows you to shoot and watch slow-motion footage directly in the camera. I no longer have to shoot at 60 frames per second.

Battery life – The NP-FZ100 battery on the a7RIII has blown me away. In comparison to other mirrorless cameras with poor battery life, I went out and shot a video for a short film for a day and only used 50% of the battery.

One of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners is the Sony a7 III. It has a full-frame sensor, excellent low-light reproduction, IBIS, and 4K resolution without sacrificing much. At its pricing range, the a7 III is one of the best mirrorless cameras available.

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - FUJIFILM XT-30

Fujifilm XT-30

Sensor: APS-C | Resolution: 26.1 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3.69M dots | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.04M dots | Autofocus: 425-points | Max frame rate: 30fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 539g (1.18 lb)

For under $1000, the FujiFilm X-T30 is one of the best all-around mirrorless cameras for beginners. The X-T30 has a winning combination of still image quality, video quality, ease of use, and portability. The camera’s main major flaw is the lack of in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which is a necessary trade-off for cost and weight savings. 

The Sony A6400, which is the closest direct competitor, has slightly better autofocus and a more versatile front-facing flip screen, but if you like Fuji-specific professional features like manual control dials, film simulation modes, and clean output of 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI, you can stop looking and buy the X-T30 right now.

Here are the major standouts of the X-T30 that make it exceptional for the sub-$1000 price bracket:

  • The X-T30 has the same quad-core processor as its bigger brother, the X-T3, so it can easily handle video tasks. 4K Video with oversampling instead of binning or skipping, which is computationally difficult to do on a larger sensor like the 26MP APS-C found here; the X-T30 has the same quad-core processor as its bigger brother, the X-T3, so it can easily handle video tasks. Because of the fast processor, the overall interface feels snappy and consistent (no lag). 
  • The X-Trans APS-C sensor of the X-T30 produces stunning, low-noise 26-MP STILL IMAGES. In this size and price range, APS-C sensors are significantly larger than Micro 4/3 sensors. The sensor size is the same across the whole X-mount family, and while some sites say that the comprehensive laboratory low-light noise tests show this model performing somewhat worse than its 24-MP predecessors, I have found that the performance is excellent in the real world. The sensor size is the same across the whole X-mount family, and while some sites say that the comprehensive laboratory low-light noise tests show this model performing somewhat worse than its 24-MP predecessors, I have found that the performance is excellent in the real world. 
  • The still shots will hold up well to any DSLR under 30MP when partnered with one of Fuji’s well-built X-mount lenses (and the video looks as excellent as any 4K camera PERIOD, matching units costing 3x-5x as much!).
  • Convenient HANDLING and extreme PORTABILITY. You can buy this camera and a Fuji pancake lens for portability that rivals a large smartphone (albeit too thick for most pockets), but with manual controls readily available at your fingertips that bring back the joy of photography. 
  • Absurdly fast CONTINUOUS STILL SHOOTING, up to 30 FPS or 20 FPS with no crop; the buffer will fill up ridiculously fast, but it’s nice to know this is available, especially if you have a fast SD card that can drain the image buffer quickly. The image buffer is on the small side; don’t plan on using the 20 FPS mode for more than a second!
  • Unrivaled PORTS and HDMI OUTPUT for a camera of this size: thankfully Fuji has embraced USB-C for charging, and the X-T30 adds the ability to use USB-C headphones as well you can have a microphone (via 2.5mm adapter) and monitor the playback on the USB-C port. 
  • Usually, this combo is only found on much bigger/pricier cameras and it makes the X-T30 a serious contender for a real video production camera (as long as you can work around the 10-min limit for 4K recording to the card). You can bypass the time limit via HDMI where you can output clean 4:2:2 10-bit footage (with or without the subdued color F-log setting) that makes this camera on par with professional Hollywood rigs for post-processing and color tweaking. 

There are a few flaws with its camera that aren’t deal-breakers, but they do necessitate some workarounds. The touchscreen-only device tilts rather than flipping up to face the user. Only one card slot is available. I’m being picky because no other camera in the segment has two cards, but I adore the X-ability T3’s to do so. 

Mic jack is 2.5mm. Why, oh why? I understand that the small mic port serves as a remote release, but Fuji, please just put an IR port shutter release on the front and call it a day. To get good sound from their external mic, every video person needs to get an adaptor! Perhaps a beautiful adaptor should be included in the box?

For Fuji batteries, the battery life is adequate, but for other brands, it is poor. 

You must buy the fancy, pricey Fuji batteries, especially for video, because the knock-offs do not keep up. The “S” on the 126S battery denotes some type of improved heat dissipation for 4K video, but no aftermarket manufacturers have caught the memo. 

When you use a knock-off, Fuji even sends you a warning notice, so be on the lookout. However, no other mirrorless camera for beginners delivers such a good blend of still image and video quality. It’s worthwhile to give it a shot.

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BEST MICRO FOUR-THIRDS CAMERA - PANASONIC LUMIX GH5

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.2-inch, 1,620k pivot touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 3,680k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (6k 30fps, 4k 60fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | Weight: 1.00 lbs

The professional-grade Panasonic Lumix 4K Digital Camera DC GH5Koffers over 28 Lumix and LEICA compact lens alternatives built on the next-generation interchangeable lens camera (ILC) standard (Micro Four Thirds) pioneered by Panasonic when it comes to mirrorless cameras for beginners. 

The mirrorless design allows for a lighter, more compact camera body that can go anywhere, thanks to a sturdy magnesium alloy body that is splash/dust/freezeproof. The combination of a sophisticated Digital Live MOS sensor and the lovely new Venus Engine 10 yields incredible color detail and natural texture expression.

In-camera cinematic video in 4K 60p (4:2:0 8 bit) and 30p (4:2:2 10 bit), 5Ghz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth for fast connection and image transfer, lightning-fast DFD focusing, 5 axis dual I.S 2.0 stabilization, and exposure technologies not possible with traditional DSLRs are just a few of the cutting-edge features. 

Simply pause that right moment from video to capture printed high-resolution images with the Lumix 4K Photo (8MP, 30/60 fps) and brand new 6K PHOTO mode (18MP, 30 fps). Even in direct sunlight, a high-resolution 21mm, 0.76x OLED eye viewfinder (3680K dot) matches up to exactly how you wanted to see the image.

Even in direct sunlight, a high-resolution 21mm, 0.76x OLED eye viewfinder (3680K dot) matches up to exactly how you wanted to see the image. The GH5 has a full-size (Type A) HDMI terminal with a cable lock, twin SD Card slots (UHS-II U3 Compatible), 3.5mm microphone and headphone terminals, and an optional DMW XLR1 microphone adaptor for communication convenience. 

In some countries, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 5GHz Wi-Fi is not available. 

This is a fascinating camera that produces great photographs and videos (admittedly more on the video side). 

For the budding photographer/filmmaker on a budget, this is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners.

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MOST ADAPTABLE CAMERA - NIKON Z6

Sensor: Full-frame | Resolution: 24.5 megapixels | Viewfinder: 3,690K dots | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,100K dots | Autofocus: 273-points | Max frame rate: 12fps | Video: 4K at 30p | Weight: 675 g (1 lb 7.9 oz)

The all-around Nikon Z6 camera is another entry on the best mirrorless cameras for beginners list for those looking for the perfect blend of resolution, speed, and low-light capabilities. Shooting in 12-bit RAW or JPEG at 12 frames per second. Full pixel readout in 4K Ultra HD footage. Outstanding low-light performance Up to ISO 51, with a native ISO of 200. 

The Z6 is a camera that puts in the same effort as you do. The Nikon Z6 is the company’s most flexible camera to date. It hits the perfect spot in terms of speed, resolution, and low-light capability. 

All of this, plus the benefits of a lightweight mirrorless design, a groundbreaking new full-frame lens mount with matched lenses, and seamless interaction with the Nikon DSLR system, including your favorite F-mount NIKKOR lenses. 

The Z6 is a camera that puts in the same effort as you do. The Nikon Z6 is the company’s most flexible camera to date. It hits the perfect spot in terms of speed, resolution, and low-light capability. This is the kind of mirrorless versatility that only Nikon could come up with. 

I’ve shot in low light, bright sunlight, and backlit subjects in the sun, and the Z6 performs admirably. I used it to photograph weddings, portraits, sports, and other fun events. For novices, this is one of the best workhorse mirrorless cameras. 

The battery life is fantastic because I shot over 1000 shots on one of my recent assignments and the battery was still half full.

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BEST AUTO FOCUS CAMERA - CANON EOS RP

Canon EOS RP Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Resolution: 26.2 megapixels | Viewfinder: 1,040,000 dots | Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen | Autofocus: 5,655-point AF | Max frame rate: 5fps | Video: 4K | Weight: 485g (1.07 lbs)

Excellent image quality right out of the box, thanks to the improved lens. Edge to edge, the images are razor-sharp. I took comparison photographs, and they are far superior to those taken with the 60D/EF-S. The colors are fantastic. Because of the excellent ergonomics and user interface, it’s a lot of pleasure to use.

All of the buttons appear to be well-positioned, the menus are simple to navigate and use, and the layout is highly configurable if you don’t like it. It’s no fun to snap pictures with a camera that’s difficult to use.

I prefer the EVF of a mirrorless camera over the DSLR viewfinder because it allows me to overlay all kinds of shooting information. Visualize the effects of exposure control and white balance in real-time. Awesome! The grip extender is a nice touch. With the somewhat heavy 24-105 lens and the light body, I find it much easier to carry the camera.

Excellent performance in low-light situations. I ran a nighttime comparison in my dimly lit living room and found that the RP outperforms the 60D by around 3 stops. In comparison to the 60D, I can take amazing photos at 12,800 ISO. When conducting manual focus, for example, focus peaking highlights the edges of items that are in focus.

By using a lightweight lens like the 35mm and removing the grip extension, you may get a VERY light package for travel or hiking. This light is impossible to get with any 80D/90D lens combination. At the very least $800 cheaper than most full-frame cameras.

The EOS RP with RF24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens combination is a small and light RF-series kit with a wide zoom range for capturing a variety of scenes. The EOS RP and RF24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens combo is very useful for macro photographers, as it has an amazing maximum magnification of 0.5x with Center Macro Focus, allowing you to take photographs from as near as one inch away. 

Thanks to a lead screw-type STM motor that provides smooth autofocusing and optical image stabilization with up to 5 stops of shake correction, your photos and videos will also remain clear and steady.

And, with a control ring that allows for quick setting changes, including shutter speed and aperture, the EOS RP and RF24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens kit puts quality, convenience and control in your hands, making it the perfect duo for everyday use.

Drawbacks – At best, a mediocre dynamic range. With my limited RAW processing skills, I made some comparison images with RAW files versus the 60D at ISO 100, and it’s around a 12 stop better. If you want to work with RAW files in Adobe or equivalent software, this is a major issue. JPEG was the most common format I used. 

Battery life is poor. To me, it’s not a huge concern; I just carry a $50 spare battery.

The cost does not correspond to the quality. This camera will appeal to photographers. As a Canon 5d Mark2, 3, and 4 photographers, this camera has allowed me to take a break from them, especially for portraits and weddings. 

The color science is incredible, the eye detection allows for fine portraiture, and the built-in wifi makes this my go-to camera! For beginners, this is one of the best Canon mirrorless cameras.

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Summary

It’s difficult to know which kind of mirrorless camera is ideal for you if you’re a beginning filmmaker just getting started. You can tell from our list of mirrorless cameras for beginners that FujifilmCanonSonyNikon, and Panasonic provide fantastic mirrorless cameras that won’t break the budget. 

Keep in mind that purchasing a filmmaking camera is only the beginning of your filmmaking equipment collection. You’ll need to invest in some high-quality lenses that are compatible with the camera you chose. 

You’ll be able to make cinematic footage in no time if you practice knowing the ins and outs of the camera you choose.

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