Are you looking for a mirrorless camera for beginners? I’ll show you what features are important and give you 3 current recommendations!
Below you will find more information about mirrorless cameras for beginners. Here is the overview of my recommendations.
- Mirrorless camera for beginners – My current top 3 recommendations
- What is the difference between an SLR and a mirrorless camera?
- What should I look for when buying a mirrorless camera for beginners?
- How many megapixels are necessary?
- Sensor size: APS-C or fullframe (35 mm)
- Try it out for yourself: Operation and feel
- When you need a fast autofocus
- Continuous shooting speed for wildlife and sports photography
- Video features like resolution, FPS and connections
- A folding display is worth it
- Flip display
- I think battery life is secondary
- What are the differences between mirrorless cameras for beginners and mid-range mirrorless cameras?
- Conclusion: Which is the perfect mirrorless camera for beginners?
I have been taking pictures for more than 15 years. My recommendations are based on my experience with the cameras I’ve used throughout that time.
Mirrorless camera for beginners – My current top 3 recommendations
Here come my current top 3 recommendations for mirrorless cameras for beginners. I update this list regularly. For each camera I have described the advantages and disadvantages.
1st place: Sony Alpha 6000 – Good price-performance ratio
The Sony Alpha 6000 has been on the podium for the perfect entry-level mirrorless camera for umpteen months. It’s fast, brings great image quality and an unerring autofocus. I recommend buying two extra batteries for this camera right away, as it’s quite a power hog. I especially like the electronic viewfinder, which is placed on the top left of the body. That way you don’t press your nose flat. Considering the overall package, the Alpha 6000 is incredibly good value for money.
Compared to the predecessor models, the resolution of the viewfinder could be a bit higher, but overall it is more than sufficient.
2nd place: Canon EOS M50 – Good overall package
Canon now also has mirrorless cameras in its range. The EOS M50 is aimed at beginners. The Canon EOS system comes with a wide range of lenses and accessories. However, the lenses can only be used with adapters, and there aren’t quite as many proper EOS M lenses available at the moment. Still, the M50 is worth a recommendation because it delivers a good set of features overall. The handling is typically good, just like the foldable display and the electronic viewfinder. The M50 is pleasantly compact. The biggest plus point of the Canon EOS M50 is the very good image quality.
It is capable of 4K videos, but only with a number of limitations. However, those who stick to Full HD will have no problems here.
The successor to the M50, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, has been out for some time now. It has some improvements for vlogging and streaming on board. However, if you are not into video, but mainly want to take pictures, I still recommend the previous Canon EOS M50 from a price-performance point of view.
3rd place: Fujifilm X-T200 – For retro lovers
In addition to their retro design, the Fujifilm cameras are primarily known for the good quality of the JPG files. This means that for many photographers, hardly any post-processing is necessary. The X-T200 delivers a great overall package in terms of features and value for money. The mirrorless camera can be operated well and intuitively. Many good lenses are now available in the Fujifilm X system. The X-T200 invites you to experiment and also offers enough room for your own further development. If you like a retro feeling, this is the camera for you.
The autofocus reacts a bit faster on more expensive Fujifilm cameras, but is still perfectly fine overall. Apart from that, the X-T200 is a very good entry-level camera that you can’t go wrong with.
What is the difference between an SLR and a mirrorless camera?
Unlike an SLR, a mirrorless camera does not have a mirror system with an optical viewfinder and focus system in the bottom of the camera. Such a mirror system takes up quite a lot of space in a SLR camera. Since a mirrorless camera does not have this mirror system, it can be made a bit smaller and lighter.
Long exposure with the Canon EOS 700D mirrorless camera in the Harz mountains
If you are still not sure which camera system is right for you, then maybe my article about SLR or mirrorless camera will help you.
What should I look for when buying a mirrorless camera for beginners?
There are several features you should look for when buying a mirrorless camera. In the following lines, I will introduce you to these points and then give you some specific recommendations for cameras.
How many megapixels are necessary?
If you look in a brochure from Saturn or Media Markt, the first point that is advertised is the number of megapixels. In my opinion, all of today’s cameras have enough megapixels. Many pictures in my portfolio were taken with a 12 megapixel camera. I have shown these images in exhibitions, printing on sizes up to 180 cm x 120 cm. The sharpness was more than sufficient.
In an exhibition, very few visitors press their noses against your pictures. They want to see the whole picture and therefore stand with a certain distance in front of your works. The megapixels of every mirrorless camera you can currently buy are sufficient for exhibitions with this print size. The number of megapixels is practically not a purchase criterion for me.
Do you want to get regularly new tips about photography? Then this way.
Sensor size: APS-C or fullframe (35 mm)
Mirrorless cameras come with different sensor sizes. If a sensor is the same size as the negative of a 35 mm film, it is called a full-frame sensor. Most entry-level mirrorless cameras have sensors that are 1.5 or 1.6 times smaller than these full-frame sensors. Such a sensor is called an APS-C sensor (crop sensor). The camera is then called a crop or APS-C camera. These sensors are cheaper to produce, but still offer good image quality.
As a beginner, a camera with an APS-C sensor is more than adequate. I still shoot with such a camera after 13 years, even if I already had a full-frame camera in between. One advantage of APS-C cameras: the lenses are also cheaper.
Is the kit lens ok for the beginning?
Maybe you are planning to get more involved with photography and therefore want to get a mirrorless camera. If you’re a beginner and you’re not yet exactly committed to certain motifs, then the kit lens is optimal for you.
With a 18-55 mm kit lens, you have a light wide-angle, a normal focal length and a portrait lens in one lens. I recommend you to buy exactly such a 18-55 mm lens for your new mirrorless camera and to shoot with it for one year. During this year, you will notice which motifs you like to photograph and then you can always look around for other lenses.
Just about all 18-55 mm kit lenses are sharp enough for your needs. In the past, these lenses weren’t always that good optically, but now that has changed. I still use my kit lens today and don’t feel the need to look for anything else in this focal length range.
My advice: avoid soup zooms
On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend you buy a lens with a very wide focal length range. Often 18-200 mm lenses are offered with the camera. It is optically hardly possible for the lens manufacturers to offer such a large zoom range and still deliver sharp images. With a zoom lens, the final focal length is not much more than three times the initial focal length. As an example: 55 / 18 = 3.05. Here you can assume that the sharpness is okay. 200 / 18 = 11.11. This lens will probably not be very sharp.
Pay attention to image stabilizer
I recommend that you make sure your lens has an image stabilizer. This will allow you to take blur-free photos, even if the light isn’t quite as good at times.
Try it out for yourself: Operation and feel
Whether you enjoy using your new camera also depends on how comfortable you feel with it. Two points play a role here: How does the camera feel in your hands and how can it be operated. As a beginner, this point is especially important because you should have fun with your new camera. That’s why I always recommend that you go to a friend’s house, a photo store, or an electronics store and try out the camera before you buy it. Take your time and try out several cameras. And sleep on it again. 🙂
When you need a fast autofocus
One thing first: pretty much all cameras on the market have good autofocus. Your new camera’s autofocus system will only reach its limits when you use it to shoot fast-moving subjects.
So if you already know that you want to photograph sporting events in the future, for example, then this point could play a role for you. A good autofocus is especially important for soccer, handball or motor sports. Here, SLR cameras still have a slight advantage over mirrorless cameras.
Continuous shooting speed for wildlife and sports photography
For these sports events, the continuous shooting speed also plays a role. This is just as true for wildlife photography. There are moments when you use the continuous shooting function because you don’t want to miss a certain subject. The camera then takes as many pictures in a row as it can. As a rule, this is 5 images per second, for example. Do you want to photograph animals or sports? Then this feature is important for you.
Video features like resolution, FPS and connections
Do you plan to record a lot of videos with the camera or be very active on YouTube as well? Then video resolution, frames per second and external connections for a microphone, for example, are important. That being said, all entry-level 1080p mirrorless cameras today actually deliver Full HD resolution.
Many beginner mirrorless cameras today already bring 4K resolution. If you want to record videos in this quality, then you should also order a large and fast memory card for your camera.
A folding display is worth it
For me personally, a folding display is incredibly important. I shoot a lot from a tripod. Thanks to a folding display, I don’t have to contort myself to look through the viewfinder. I can also make a much more accurate and better image composition on the display.
You can also often turn a flip display around so that you can see yourself when you’re standing in front of the camera. This is important for vlogging. So if you want to do something along those lines, you should look for that when choosing your entry-level mirrorless camera.
I think battery life is secondary
The battery life of a camera also plays a role, of course. However, I don’t find this aspect quite as important because you just need to know how high the consumption is and then carry more batteries accordingly. I always have at least one spare battery with me, on long trips even two. As soon as one battery is empty, I charge it overnight in the accommodation.
What are the differences between mirrorless cameras for beginners and mid-range mirrorless cameras?
Mid-range mirrorless cameras typically offer more frames per second, are more robustly constructed, and the viewfinder is larger and has higher resolution. Depending on the camera model, autofocus is more reliable and video capabilities are better. An image stabilizer (IBIS) built into the camera is also a feature of the more expensive mirrorless cameras.
Usually, though, these are mostly features that you don’t need yet as a beginner. My recommendations below are designed so that you still have enough room for improvement with these cameras as you develop your photography over time.
If you are already looking for an affordable full-frame mirrorless camera, then my full-frame mirrorless camera mid-range comparison will help you.
Would you rather get right into the high-end models? Then take a look at my article about the best mirrorless cameras.
Conclusion: Which is the perfect mirrorless camera for beginners?
In terms of price-performance ratio, it’s hard to go past the Sony Alpha 6000. It brings good handling, appealing image quality and a compact size. Although it’s been on the market for a few days, it’s still worth a recommendation. Unless you need the extra speed or video features of its successors, the Alpha 6300 or Alpha 6500, you can’t go wrong with the Sony Alpha 6000. It’s a good and affordable mirrorless camera.
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