Last week we published our list of the best DSLRs for less than $500, and today we’ll turn our focus to entry level mirrorless cameras. Of course, mirrorless cameras have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are some quality options available at very reasonable prices. If you’re looking to upgrade from a smartphone camera or a compact point-and-shoot camera, any of the cameras listed here would be an excellent choice.

All of the cameras covered in this article come with a lens, and all can be purchased for less than $500 (prices do change, but at the time of publishing all are priced below $500). So let’s take a look at the details of each camera.


Reviews of the Best Mirrorless Cameras for Less Than $500

Here is a look at our top five.

5. Canon EOS M10 with 15-45mm Lens

While Canon is known more for their DSLRs, they do have a line of mirrorless cameras as well. The EOS M10 has an 18 megpixel APS-C sensor, DIGIC 6 image processor, 49 auto focus points, and 4.6 frames per second of continuous shooting. It also features a 3-inch, 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen. There is a pop-up flash, but no hot shoe.

This camera is aimed at beginner level photographers. You can flip between video and photo (auto) mode on the top of the camera, but to access manual mode, aperture priority, or shutter priority, you will need to use the menu.

If it is a good fit with what you are looking for, the EOS M10 is a nice camera for the price.

Canon EOS M10 key specs:

  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 49 auto focus points
  • 3 inch, 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen
  • 4.6 frames per second continuous shooting
  • HD 1920×1080 video capability
  • ISO 100 – 12800 (expandable to 25600)
  • Weight: 301 grams
  • Crop factor: 1.61
Canon EOS M10

Canon EOS M10 (shown in white)

4. Fujifilm X-A10 with 16-50mm lens

The Fujifilm X-A10 is the entry-level model in their X-series of cameras. Fujifilm has made a lot of fans in recent years, and the X-A10 is a solid, budget-friendly choice. It can be purchased with a 16-50mm lens for under $500. The X-A10 features a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor that produces high-quality photos. It also has a 3-inch tilting LCD screen, although it is not a touch screen.

You can also record HD video with the X-A10, and in continuous shooting it can capture 8 frames per second. It also has WiFi capabilities.

While the X-A10 is geared more towards beginners and does not have the all the same features and specs of the more costly models in the X-series, it’s a solid choice for an entry-level camera.

Fujifilm X-A10 key specs:

  • 16 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 77 auto focus points
  • 3 inch, 180-degree tilting LCD screen
  • 8 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1920 x 1080 full HD video capture
  • ISO 100 – 51000
  • Weight: 331 grams
  • Crop factor: 1.53
Fujifilm X-A10

Fujifilm X-A10

3. Nikon 1 J5 with 10-30mm Lens

The 1 J5 is Nikon’s entry-level mirrorless camera, and with the 10-30mm lens it comes in just under our price point of $500. With a crop factor of 2.7 the 10-30mm lens has an equivalence of 27-81mm. The 20.8 megapixels are more than enough, unless you’re printing very large sizes.

It has a 3-inch tilting LCD touch screen that can be easily flipped 180 degrees for selfies. The 1 J5 also features WiFi capabilities. There is a pop-up flash, but no hot shoe.  Like Nikon’s other 1-series cameras, the 1 J5 has hybrid autofocus system with 105 phase-detection points. It can shoot an impressive 20 frames per second with auto focus.

If you are looking for a good quality, affordable mirrorless camera, this is an excellent choice.

Nikon 1 J5 key specs:

  • 20.8 megpixels
  • 105 phase-detection auto focus points
  • 3 inch, 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen
  • 20 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1080/60p video capabilities
  • ISO 160 – 12800
  • Weight: 231 grams
  • Crop factor: 2.7
Nikon 1 J5

Nikon 1 J5

2. Sony Alpha a5000 with 16-50mm Lens

Sony is possibly the first brand that comes to mind when you think of mirrorless cameras, and the Alpha a5100 is an excellent choice on an entry-level budget. It features a 20 megapixel APS-C sensor and excellent image quality. Like the other cameras on this list, it has a 3-inch tilting LCD screen designed to make it is to take selfies (although it is not a touch screen).

It also features built-in WiFi capabilities, 1080p HD video capture, and 4 frames per second of continuous shooting. If you’re looking for a compact, lightweight camera that can take quality photos at a very budget-friendly price, the Alpha A5000 is an excellent choice.

Sony Alpha a5000 key specs:

  • 20 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 25 auto focus points
  • 3 inch, 180-degree tilting LCD screen
  • 4 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 1080p HD video capture
  • ISO 100 – 16000
  • Weight: 269 grams
  • Crop factor: 1.53
Sony Alpha a5000

Sony Alpha a5000

1. Sony Alpha a5100 with 16-50mm Lens

The Sony Alpha a5100 is slightly newer than the a5000, and has some advantages in specs and features. Of course, it costs more, but the price difference is fairly minimal. It features a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor and boasts an ultra-fast auto focus with 179 AF points (as compared to the 20 megapixels and 25 auto focus points of the a5000). It can shoot 6 frames per second compared to 4 frames per second by the a5000, although it doesn’t equal the 20 fps of the previously-mentioned Nikon 1 J5.

Of course, the Alpha a5100 has a 3-inch LCD screen that tilts 180 degrees for all those selfies. As an upgrade from the a5000, the LCD screen on the a 5100 is a touch screen. It also has a built-in flash but no hot shoe.

For just under $500 you can get the Alpha a 5100 with a 16-50mm lens.

Sony Alpha a5100 key specs:

  • 24 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 179 phase-detect auto focus points
  • 3 inch, 180-degree tilting LCD touch screen
  • 6 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Record full HD 1080/24/60P videos up to 50MB/s
  • ISO 100 – 25600
  • Weight: 283 grams
  • Crop factor: 1.53
Sony Alpha a5100

Sony Alpha a5100

Choosing the Right Camera for You

We’ve covered 5 excellent entry-level cameras in this article. They all come with a lens, and they are all pretty close in terms of price. Each of these cameras is capable of producing quality images, so it really comes down to choosing what’s most important to you.

All are compact and lightweight, but there is a good bit of difference between the lightest (Nikon 1 J5) and the heaviest (Fujifilm X-A10).

All have plenty plenty of megapixels to meet the needs of any entry-level camera, but our top-rated Sony Alpha a5100 offers a significant 24 megapixels.

All have 3-inch tilting LCD screens, but some are touch screens and some are not. Take a look at the details of each camera and see which one matches up best with what you want in a camera. You may also want to consider the brand, as you are more likely to upgrade within the same brand in the future. Sony has been the leader in mirrorless cameras, and that is part of why we have the Alpha a5000 and Alpha a5000 rated so high.

Ultimately, if you are looking for a quality entry-level camera at a low price, you can’t go wrong with any of these cameras.