The Best Mirrorless Cameras under 500 (2022)

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There are plenty of mirrorless cameras at a variety of price points that should excite low budget filmmakers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best mirrorless cameras under 500 on the market today.

Oftentimes DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are bundled together. This is because they share many similar features, such as manual controls and interchangeable lenses.

That said, there are some differences. Besides certain manufacturers tending to focus on one versus the other, mirrorless cameras are often lighter and more compact.

Additionally, at higher ranges, mirrorless cameras tend to perform better with video than DSLRs. At the entry-level price range, though, the most noticeable difference will be the size.

While both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have their strengths, mirrorless cameras provide many options for independent filmmakers with low budgets. Certain features such as 4K are available at astonishingly low prices.

To make your search easier, we’ve decided to select the top five mirrorless cameras under $500 to get this series started!

1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

First on our list is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. This is a very affordable camera and should be strongly considered by anybody looking to get started and learn the ropes of mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.

This is a micro four-thirds mirrorless camera, meaning it has a two times crop factor, with a 16.1-megapixel sensor. So if you put on a 25mm lens, it will be the equivalent of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera.

The cool thing about a MFT-sensor camera is that use a variety of different lenses, because you can adapt lenses from APS-C cameras, full-frame cameras, as well as a lot of excellent vintage lenses you can find dirt cheap online.

It can record video at 1080p at 24/30 frames per second.

On a tight budget, this camera is great, but it remains basic. There is no continuous autofocus for video, and it doesn’t perform very well in low light.

If you shoot in controlled settings, those are things that can be overcome. However, it can be an inconvenience in situations where you are pressed for time.

Another drawback of this camera is the lack of audio input. This means that you’ll need to record on a separate device if you want to have good audio. Again, this is not the end of the world, but it does add to some inconvenience.

A great plus for this camera is its size. Being so small, this is a very portable camera and can be a great secondary camera. It’s important to save money with a restrained budget, so you don’t neglect lighting or audio. This is a great camera if that is your situation.

ProsCons
Very Affordable
Full HD video
Compact
Low light
No Autofocus
No Audio Input

Check the current price on Adorama.

2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

The next camera we’ll look at is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7. This camera also has a Micro Four Thirds lens and a 16-megapixel sensor. It can record 4K video at 24/30 frames per second and 1080p up to 60 frames per second.

This camera also has continuous autofocus for video and an external microphone input. Especially considering the price, these are incredible features.

That said, the autofocus is not mind-blowing. Manual focus is strongly recommended when possible.

Similar to the Olympus camera we looked at above, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 has a Micro Four-Thirds lens, which does present some issues such as low-light performance. However, some of this can be negated using a focal reducer, aka speed booster.

What makes this camera great for filmmaking is that many dedicated features make capturing video much easier, especially for entry-level filmmakers.

It has focus peaking and zebra stripes to help with exposure. If you rely on the articulating screen to set exposure and focus, these tools work to ensure you’re shot ready.

For an entry-level filmmaker, this camera provides many options typically not seen in this price range. It is definitely a strong choice and should certainly be on your radar.

ProsCons
4K Video
External Microphone Input
Continuous Autofocus
Articulating Screen
Zebra and Focus Peaking
Autofocus isn’t reliable

Check the current price on Adorama.

3. FUJIFILM X-T200

Now we’ll take a look at the Fujifilm X-T200. For lower budget mirrorless cameras, this is a very popular option. It has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, meaning there is a 1.5x crop factor, and a Fujifilm X lens mount.

The X-T200 can record video in 4K at 24/30 frames per second and 1080p up to 60 frames per second for those of you looking to get slow-motion footage.

The recording limit for 4K is limited to 15 minutes, whereas 1080p is the standard 30 minutes, but that is often an easy workaround.

Though there is no audio jack on the X-T200 you can record using an external microphone via an included USB-C adapter. This camera also features electronic stabilization which is especially helpful when shooting handheld.

Unfortunately, if you don’t want to shoot video in 4K, there is a noticeable drop in quality with the full HD video. If you have limited memory space or cannot edit 4K footage, this needs to be taken into account.

Also, though the X-T200 has continuous autofocus for video, it isn’t very reliable.

Overall, the Fujifilm X-T200 is a very impressive camera for a great price. If you’re looking to get into shooting 4K this camera could be a great match.

ProsCons
4K
3.5” Articulating Touchscreen
Electronic Stabilization
External Microphone
Continuous Autofocus
Poor Quality 1080p Video
Autofocus isn’t very reliable

Check the current price on Adorama.

4. Canon EOS M6

Next on our list is the Canon EOS M6. Bought new, this camera exceeds our budget, however, there are used ones circulating that can be picked up for under $500. The Canon EOS M6 has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor with a Canon EF-M mount.

The max video resolution for the M6 is 1080p, with a maximum frame rate of 60 fps. This camera also has an external microphone input. Though not fully articulating, it has a flip-up screen as well, which is helpful for run and gun filmmakers not looking to use an external monitor.

The EOS M6 is very compact, even by mirrorless standards, making this a great camera to take with you on the go. Unfortunately, you can’t use native Canon lenses with this camera. To do so you will need an adapter that limits the portability.

Luckily this camera still has many of the strengths typical in Canon cameras. It features Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus and has Canon’s awesome color science. Just be careful, in low light the autofocus will struggle.

All said and done, the EOS M6 is a great camera and very suitable for filmmakers on the move who would benefit from portability, or those looking for a great second camera. If you’re looking to make an entry into mirrorless cameras, this is another great choice.

ProsCons
Canon Color
Flip Up Screen
Portability
Dual Pixel Autofocus
No 4K
EF-M Mount

Check the current price on eBay.

5. Canon EOS M200

The Canon EOS M200 is the last camera on our list. Similar to the EOS M6, it pushes the $500 limit. It has an APS-C 24.1-megapixel sensor and a Canon EF-M mount.

The M200 can shoot 4K video at 24 frames per second and 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second.

It does not have an external microphone input but is otherwise very similar to the EOS M6 in terms of construction. To get great audio, you will need to use an external microphone.

The EOS M200 is very portable and has a flip-up screen, great color, and Dual Pixel autofocus. Just like the M6, an adapter will be needed to use native Canon lenses.

Overall, the EOS M200 is a wonderful Camera. There aren’t many Canon cameras with 4K video (especially at an affordable price). If you are looking for a portable camera that can still get a great image, the EOS M200 is a wonderful choice.

The M200 is also a great choice for filmmakers looking for their first mirrorless camera. The main drawbacks are the versatility of its lenses and needing external audio. If you can get past those, though, this camera will impress you.

ProsCons
4K Video
Canon Color
Flip Up Screen
Portability
Dual Pixel Autofocus
Canon EF-M Mount
No mic input

Check the current price on Adorama.

Conclusion

If you’re a filmmaker on a budget, mirrorless cameras are a great option. Getting 4K video at such a low price is wonderful, and there are many great cameras on the market.

With any of these cameras, you should be able to get an awesome image, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.

But don’t expect miracles. At this price point, image quality, dynamic range, and low light performance are all going to be somewhat limited.

Instead, it’s important to take time to set up your shot and consider your environment. With practice, though, you will quickly learn how to get great footage with these cameras.

Is there a particular camera on this list that excites you? Are you already shooting with one of the cameras listed above? Let us know in the comments below!


Cade Taylor is a filmmaker and writer based out of Los Angeles. Originally from Seattle, he continues to work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Bigfoot Script Challenge, where he helps connect up-and-coming writers with industry professionals. When he’s not working on his own projects, helping out with Bigfoot, or covering desks, Cade loves to share what he knows with other filmmakers and promote great content.

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