5 Best Mirrorless Cameras for Beginners – Low Budget Filmmakers

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Mirrorless Cameras For Beginners – if you are looking at shooting a film independently as a beginner, you need to get a camera immediately to start building your filmmaking kit.

But what type of camera should you get? You will need a camera that you can film with any time and for different types of projects, as you practice your skills and grow. 

You need is a filmmaking camera that you won’t outgrow quickly, and capable of shooting a wide variety of conditions. Plus, you want a filmmaking camera that’s within a price range you can afford as you build your skills.

If you are looking for specific filmmaking cameras like the best 4K cameras and best smartphone cameras for filmmaking these highlighted links are for you.

But if you are looking for a camera that shoots fantastic videos, and easy to learn with, a mirrorless camera is the right choice for you.

Sure, DSLR cameras have their strengths in shooting amazing videos, mirrorless cameras are easier for beginning filmmakers due to them being easier to use, and better adaptability for the incredible lenses available today.

If you are looking for the best mirrorless cameras for beginners to get you started, this post is for you.

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 worth getting? This camera is on top of the list of seriously bad-ass Mirrorless Cameras For Beginners that any learning filmmaker should have in his/her filmmaking camera kit. 

Here are a few features of this filmmaking mirrorless camera I love.

42 Megapixels – I know that megapixels aren’t everything, but this camera has some serious resolution power! Compared to the FUJIFILM XT-2 that offers 24.3mp, gives a higher level of detail in its RAW images so you don’t have to worry about cropping photos and videos without losing quality.

120fps (Slow-mo) – It may not be a feature that many filmmakers are looking for, but if you are looking to shoot a slow-mo video that is buttery smooth, and with amazing quality, the Sony A7III is tough to beat. 

I love the “S&Q” option, which lets you capture and playback the footage in slow-mo right in the camera. No longer do I have to settle for shooting 60fps.

Battery life – I’m seriously impressed with the a7RIII’s NP-FZ100 battery. I went out and did a day of video shooting for a short film, and only used 50% of the battery compared to other mirrorless cameras that have bad battery life.

The Sony a7 III is one of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners. It delivers a full-frame sensor, amazing low-light reproduction, IBIS, and 4K resolution without much compromise. The a7 III is one of the best mirrorless cameras at its price point. 

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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)

The FujiFilm X-T30 is one of the best all-purpose mirrorless cameras for beginners for under $1000 right now. The X-T30’s still image quality, video quality, ease of use, and good portability all add up to a winning combination. 

The only major negative about this camera is the lack of in-body image stabilization (IBIS), which is a sacrifice needed for both cost and weight savings. 

Arguably 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 some of the Fuji-distinctive professional features like manual control dials, film simulation modes, and clean output of 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI, you can stop looking right now and just buy the X-T30.

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

4K Video with oversampling instead of binning or skipping, something that’s 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. The fast processor also makes the overall interface feel snappy and consistently quick (no lag).

The X-T30 yields beautiful, low-noise 26-MP STILL IMAGES from the X-Trans APS-C sensor. APS-C is quite a bit bigger than the Micro 4/3 sensors in this size and price range. 

This is the same sensor size as the entire X-mount lineup, and some sites claim that the detailed studio low-light noise tests show slightly worse on this model than its 24-MP predecessors, but in the real world I have found that the performance is superb. 

When paired with one of Fuji’s well-built X-mount lenses, the still images will hold up well to any DSLR under 30MP (and the video looks as good 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 so that 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 some disadvantages to this camera that are not deals breakers, but lacking them requires some workarounds. The touchscreen only tilts and never flips up to face the front. There is only one card slot. I’m being picky because no other camera in the segment has two cards, but I dearly love that feature of the X-T3.

2.5mm mic jack. Why, oh why? I get that this non-standard small mic port doubles as a remote release, but Fuji please just throw an IR port shutter release on the front and call it a day. 

Every video person has to buy an adapter to get good sound from their external mic! Maybe include a nice adapter in the box?

The battery life is adequate for Fuji-brand batteries and terrible for other brands. 

Especially for video, you have to buy the fancy, expensive Fuji batteries because the knock-offs don’t hold up. 

The “S” on the 126S battery denotes some sort of better heat dissipation for 4K video, but none of the aftermarket makers have gotten the message on how to do this. 

Fuji even gives you a dire message when you’re using a knock-off, so consider yourself warned.

But when it comes to mirrorless cameras for beginners no other camera offers such an excellent balance of still image and video quality. It’s worth giving it a try.

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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

When it comes to mirrorless cameras for beginners, the professional-grade Panasonic Lumix 4K Digital Camera DC GH5K offers over 28 Lumix and LEICA compact lens options built on the next-generation interchangeable lens camera (ILC) standard (Micro Four Thirds) pioneered by Panasonic. 

With a durable, magnesium alloy body that’s splash/dust/freezeproof, the mirrorless design enables a lighter, more compact camera body that can go anywhere you can. 

The marriage of an advanced Digital Live MOS sensor with the beautiful new Venus Engine 10 produces extraordinary color detail and natural texture expression. 

Cutting edge features include 4K 60p (4:2:0 8 bit) and 30p (4:2:2 10 bit) in-camera cinematic video, 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. 

With the exclusive Lumix 4K Photo (8MP, 30/60 fps) and brand new 6K PHOTO mode (~18MP, 30 fps), simply pause that perfect moment from video to produce printable high-resolution photos. 

A high-resolution 21mm, 0.76x OLED eye viewfinder (3680K dot) matches up to exactly how you intended to see the image even under direct sunlight. 

For connectivity convenience, the GH5 includes a full-size (Type A) HDMI terminal with a cable lock, twin SD Card slots (UHS-II U3 Compatible), 3.5mm microphone & headphone terminals, and an optional DMW XLR1 microphone adaptor. 

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

Pros:

  • 4k 60p
  • 1080 180p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2
  • 2 SD slots
  • In-Body Image Stabilization
  • 20 MP Sensor
  • Under $2k
  • Great Ergonomics
  • Great Battery Life
  • Fully Articulating Touch Screen
  • Massive Lens Selection (Lumix, Olympus, and Adapted Lens)

Cons:

  • Not Great in Low-Light (though improved over the GH4)
  • Needs Additional Accessories To Be Used in Professional Setting (i.e. XLR Expansion, Shoulder Rig, Follow Focus, External Monitor, Shotgun Mic, etc.)
  • Log Profile must be purchased separately.

This is an exciting camera that will give you stunning photos and videos (admittedly more on the video side). One of the best mirrorless cameras for beginners for the aspiring photographer/filmmaker on a budget.

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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)

Another entry to the best mirrorless cameras for beginners list is the all-around Nikon Z6 camera for those seeking an ideal balance between resolution, speed, and low-light performance. 

12 fps 12-bit RAW or JPEG shooting. 4K Ultra HD video with full pixel readout. Brilliant low-light performance Up to ISO 51, 200 native. 

All combined with the advantages of a lightweight mirrorless design, a revolutionary new full-frame lens mount and matched lenses, and seamless integration with Nikon DSLR system-including the F-mount NIKKOR lenses you love. 

The Z6 is a camera that works as hard as you do. The Nikon Z6 is perhaps the most adaptable camera Nikon ever created. It’s at the sweet spot of speed, resolution, and low-light performance. 

All combined with the advantages of a lightweight mirrorless design, a revolutionary new full-frame lens mount with matched lenses, and seamless integration with the Nikon DSLR system-including the F-mount NIKKOR lenses you love. 

This is mirrorless versatility as only Nikon could create.

Pros:

  • Z lenses (love the silent video autofocus)
  • Video autofocus
  • Sharp EVF
  • Low light performance
  • IBIS-VR

Cons:

  • Lack of native, wide, fast lenses
  • EVF and monitor brightness difference

I have shot in low light, bright sun, and into the sun with backlit subjects and the Z6 is fantastic. Shot weddings, Portraits, Sports, and just fun stuff with it. This is one of the best workhorse mirrorless cameras for beginners.

Battery life is fabulous because in one of my last shoots I shot over 1000 images and the battery was not even at half yet.

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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)

The EOS RP and RF24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens kit is a compact and lightweight RF-series kit that offers a versatile zoom range, capturing different subjects with ease. 

For macro enthusiasts, the EOS RP and RF24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens kit is particularly advantageous, offering an impressive maximum magnification of 0.5x using Center Macro Focus helping you snap photos from as close as one inch away. 

Your images and videos will remain clear and steady, too, thanks to a leadscrew-type STM motor that enables smooth autofocusing, and optical image stabilization with up to 5 stops of shake correction. 

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.

Pros:

  • Great image quality right out of the camera – especially true due to the better lens. Images are tack-sharp edge to edge. I took comparison shots and they are much better than the 60D/EF-S. Colors are great.
  • Super fun to use due to the superb ergonomics and user interface. All the buttons seem perfectly placed, menus are easy to navigate and use, and if you don’t like the layout, it is very customizable. A camera that is frustrating to use is no fun to take pics with.
  • Love the EVF of a mirrorless camera versus the DSLR viewfinder- can overlay all sorts of shooting info. Instantly see effects of exposure control and white balance. Awesome!
  • I like the grip extender. I find it makes the camera much easier to hold with the relatively heavy 24-105 lens for the light body.
  • Great low light performance. I did a comparison in my darkly lit living room at night, and I get about 3 stops to benefit with the RP over the 60D. I can shoot pics at 12,800 ISO that look great, versus 1,600 with the 60D.
  • Like the focus peaking, which highlights the edges of items that are in focus when doing manual focus.
  • Can potentially get a VERY light package for travel or backpacking by putting on a lightweight lens like the 35mm and ditching the grip extension. You cannot get this light with any 80D/90D lens combo.
  • At least $800 cheaper than most full-frame cameras.

Cons:

  • Mediocre dynamic range at best. I did some comparison shots with RAW files versus the 60D at ISO 100, and it is maybe ½ stop better with my limited RAW processing skills. This is primarily a concern if you like to play with the RAW files in Adobe or similar hardware. I mainly shot JPEG.
  • Poor battery life. Not a big deal to me – I just carry an extra battery for $50.

The price doesn’t meet the quality. Photographers will love this camera. As a photographer using Canon 5d Mark2, 3, and 4 this camera has allowed me to give them a break, especially for portraits and weddings. 

The color science is magnificent, eye detection makes for sharp portraiture and built-in wifi easily makes this my favorite go-to! One of the best Canon mirrorless cameras for beginners.

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Summary

If you are a beginner filmmaker just starting, it’s tough trying to figure out which brand of mirrorless camera is right for you.

With FujifilmCanonSonyNikon, and Panasonic, you can tell in this post of mirrorless cameras for beginners that they offer incredible mirrorless cameras that won’t bankrupt you.

Just keep in mind that when you are investing in a filmmaking camera, it just the start of building your filmmaking kit. You will have to invest in some quality lenses that will work perfectly for the camera you choose.

With constant practice of learning the in’s and out’s of the camera you decide on, you will begin to create cinematic footage in no time.

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5 BEST MIRRORLESS CAMERAS FOR BEGINNERS - FILMMAKING CAMERAS

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