Last updated on May 28th, 2022
Owning an all-rounder camera becomes possible when you consider mirrorless cameras, which have features that match advanced DSLRs combined with the simplicity of a point-and-shoot.
There is a lot to choose from, from rugged full-frame bodies to small micro-four-thirds cameras, when it comes to midrange mirrorless cameras.
This list will help you make the right choice for your needs and help you create aesthetic photographs.
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Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $1500
1. Sony Alpha 7C
Sony is known for putting the most technologically capable cameras on the market, especially in terms of dynamic range and autofocusing. Sony Alpha 7C — released in late 2020 — is their latest offering and continues that tradition well.
Inside its small and primarily metal weather-resistant body, the 7C surprisingly contains a 24MP full-frame sensor and a Bionz X processor. This means that you get Sony’s real-time AF tracking system, which comes with face and eye detection for humans and animals, along with an excellent dynamic range for boosting shadows.
The body is well-designed and feels rugged, although the chunky grip might not be suited for small hands. Even Sony’s menu system takes some getting used to because it offers a lot of customization for enthusiast photographers.
Similar to the Sony a6000 series, the electronic viewfinder is built onto the left corner of the body instead of being a separate bump on top of the camera like in a DLSR. The 2.36M dot resolution is decent, but the 0.59x magnification might make the touchscreen LCD a preferable way of shooting.
Apart from the sensor and the fast AF, perhaps what makes the Alpha 7C most unique is its 5-axis image stabilization. Moreover, while most mirrorless cameras use a smaller battery to maintain their portable size, the 7C hasn’t skimped out in that respect. The large NP-FZ100 battery will easily get you through a couple of days of light photography, making the camera attractive for travel photographers.
The Sony Alpha 7C is capable of 4K oversampled video up to 30 fps, including S-Log for grading the footage. Combined with the tilting LCD and a great AF system, the package becomes great for vloggers and family videos.
In a nutshell, the Sony Alpha 7C won’t disappoint even demanding users as a travel, wildlife, and street photography camera. It is small, fast, and works well in automatic mode. If you want the best image quality — especially in RAW — in a portable body, this is an exceptional choice.
2. Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark III
Olympus has been an established presence in the camera industry since forever, and the sale of its camera business to another technology company means that the EM1 Mark III is the last professional mirrorless camera with the Olympus label. But the EM1 III will undoubtedly go out strong.
Sporting a 20.4MP micro four-thirds sensor and a new TruePic IX processor, the OM-D EM1 III produces the classic Olympus skin tones, which are matched only by Fujifilm and Canon. The camera gives a superb dynamic range and low-light image quality compared to other micro four-thirds cameras but falls slightly short of APS-C and full-frame sensors.
What makes the EM1 Mark III is a bunch of small upgrades like image stabilization, ‘starry sky’ AF for astrophotography, dual SD card slots, and USB-C charging. The body is seriously weather-sealed and has a load of customizable buttons, including an 8-way joystick for autofocus and a touchscreen LCD. The menu system feels slightly cluttered and outdated, but nothing you can’t get the hang of with some practice.
You will certainly have to experiment and explore the camera system to figure out the best way to use the 121-point AF system with face and eye detect, the live ND filter feature, or the handheld high-res mode, which boosts resolution to 80MP.
The standout feature of the EM1 Mark III is the 5-axis image stabilization that works up to 7.5 stops and a shooting speed of 10 fps with a mechanical shutter and 18 fps with an electronic shutter. These features make it a decent package for wildlife and action photography on a medium budget.
For video, the camera is a decent choice, although serious shooters will want more. The 4K 30 fps video is sharp, but the subject tracking is not always reliable. However, no one buys Olympus cameras for proper videography anyway.
All in all, the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark III is an incredible landscape and travel camera because you won’t always need a tripod, and the body is highly rugged. It will serve you well as long as you don’t shoot high-speed subjects and want the smallest possible body.
3. Fujifilm X-T4
Easily the most stylish camera on this list, the Fujifilm X-T4 is Fuji’s latest APS-C mirrorless and contains the brand’s flagship features.
The XT series of Fuji has always been a fan favorite. It gives a bump to that lineup with lots of dials, in-body stabilization, faster autofocus, and exceptional video features in a metal, weather-sealed body. The 26MP CMOS sensor captures excellent dynamic range, and the Eterna, Acros, Velvia film simulations can be used to get amazing out-of-camera JPGs.
Combine that with speeds of 20 fps in continuous shooting and a buffer that clears within 2 seconds, and you have a camera that will serve you well for street and journalistic photography.
The Fuji X-T4 also provides improved tracking of your subject in autofocus, although the Sony cameras will be more accurate with rapidly moving subjects.
You get an AF joystick at the back, which can be used to change the AF point’s size and position and lets you switch between multiple faces. The face recognition is the highlight in the X-T4, and you’ll have no problem casually pointing your camera at someone and getting perfect focus.
While the camera rivals professional mirrorless bodies with its still capabilities, it outshines most of them in the video segment. The 4K video is razor-sharp, and Fuji has always been known for its color rendition and skin tones. You get a 6.5 stop image stabilization, separate menu systems for video, log profile, 10-bit internally, focus magnification while recording, and a touchscreen, rotating back LCD.
The Fujifilm XT-4 is a perfect travel camera — small enough to fit in your camera backpack and rugged enough to deal with a few bumps. While it can easily match full-frame bodies for image quality, it is an even more attractive package for videographers.
4. Nikon Z5
Like the Sony Alpha 7C, the Nikon Z5 is a full-frame mirrorless camera that comes with image stabilization in a weather-sealed body and sits below the premium Z6 and Z7.
The camera has a 24MP full-frame sensor, which is easily the best in class in terms of RAW dynamic range, given the sensor’s combined power and the EXPEED 6 processor.
The body is quite ergonomic and much more comfortable than the Sony or Fujifilm mirrorless cameras under $1500. However, there are no retro-style dials, which make the Fuji cameras so fun to use. The weather sealing is extensive, and light rain should not be a problem at all for the Z5.
Complementing the comfortable body is a 3.6M-dot electronic viewfinder — which is much better than what the Sony 7C offers — and a 3.2-inch tilting, touchscreen LCD. The in-body image stabilization also works very well, although, at 5 stops, it won’t be as effective as the Fujifilm XT-4 or Olympus OM-D EM1 III.
For autofocus, you get 273 selectable AF points and Nikon’s excellent 3D subject tracking and face detection; however, the shooting speed is less than 5 fps.
Where the Nikon Z5 cuts corners is the video side. Although AF for stills is excellent, the autofocus during video recording is nowhere as smooth as Canon’s Dual Pixel or even Fuji models. There is a lot of rolling shutter, and the footage doesn’t look as sharp or as natural as those from Canon and Fuji, which are known for their colors.
The Z5 will serve you pretty well as a stills-only camera, especially for landscape and general family photos. The slow shooting speed makes it less ideal for sports and wildlife, and the lack of video features will not allow it to be considered an all-rounder camera.
5. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III
The smaller brother of the EM1, the EM5 Mark III, is a micro four-thirds camera aimed at enthusiasts looking for their first mirrorless camera. Most of the features like a weather-sealed body, 20MP sensor, 121-point AF system, and an articulating touchscreen LCD are common, making the EM5 III a good choice if you are on a budget.
The inclusion of in-body image stabilization is excellent because you won’t have to worry about carrying a tripod everywhere or raising your ISO for evening shots. Additionally, the fastest shutter speed is 1/8000, which makes shooting in bright sunlight a bit easier.
While the overall image quality is excellent — despite the smaller sensor — the autofocus is not up to the mark. It struggles in low light, and even slow-moving objects cannot be tracked with decent accuracy. While this is not a problem for landscape photographers, quick travel and street photography may turn out to be a stretch with the EM5 Mark III, especially because of the short battery life too.
The video output is average, although not the best in this price range. Although you get 4K and internal stabilization, the colors and sharpness are not always pleasing, and the slow AF makes vlogging difficult.
In a nutshell, you can get the EM5 Mark III for its durable body and image quality, but not much else. You will get great images out of it, although the only ‘con’ is that there are other cameras that will get you there quicker.
6. Canon EOS M50 Mark II
The Canon M50 was a prevalent choice among beginner photographers and vloggers, and the Canon EOS M50 Mark II continues that same legacy with a few minor updates.
Sharing the same 24MP APS-C sensor with the DIGIC 8 processor, most of the changes have been introduced on the video side. The M50 Mark II features an upgraded Dual Pixel AF system, which now allows face and eye-tracking for both still photos and videos.
The Dual Pixel is the biggest strength of this camera, and you can get smooth subject tracking and focus pulls by simply touching the back LCD. It often works better than the viewfinder AF, and you’ll probably end up using the screen alone like in a point-and-shoot camera.
For vloggers, a bonus is that the M50 Mark II allows direct live streaming to Youtube and can capture vertical videos.
Cost-cutting is visible in the 4K mode, where you do not have Dual Pixel AF to rely on and have to compromise with a 1.5x crop. On the other hand, the 1080p video mode is flawless, and you can capture slow-motion videos up to 120 fps.
Packed with Canon’s special colors, Dual Pixel AF, and a shooting speed of about 7 fps in a small body, the EOS M50 Mark II is an attractive choice for enthusiasts. It will save you a lot of space while traveling. Apart from the lack of weather sealing and optical image stabilization, there is very less that is missing here.
Related: Best Lenses for Canon m50
7. Fujifilm X-T30 II
Dubbed ‘The Little Giant,’ the X-T30 II lives up to the name with ease. Although it is the younger sibling of the premium X-T3, there are many features that have been carried over.
Featuring the excellent 26MP CMOS sensor and gorgeous Fuji looks, the X-T30 II is a camera that can do a bit of everything. The autofocus system has been heavily updated from the previous X-T20 and now features 425 points, touch-to-focus features, and face and eye detection like the X-T3.
Even if getting the AF settings right takes some time, it is worth it.
There are really few cameras in this price range that match the AF speeds of the X-T30, especially in low light. The tilting touchscreen LCD makes the camera easy to use unless you have huge hands. The shallow grip and small buttons are the only drawbacks to this otherwise fun-to-use camera.
As is traditional with Fuji, you get film simulations like Eterna, Pro Neg, and Acros, which will turn out to be more useful than you can imagine. The default image quality is great, and the RAW files have more than enough dynamic range to please any landscape photographer.
The X-T30 II shines in the video department too, with the 4K video quality amongst the best in class. You can get 10-bit 4:2:2 output if you use an external recorder and F-Log support. The only thing missing is internal image stabilization and a back LCD that flips out for vlogging.
All in all, the Fuji X-T30 II is an almost perfect travel camera. Small but well-built, both the image and video quality will not leave you wanting. Unless you want the weather sealing of the XT3 or the vlogging abilities of a Sony or Canon M50, it is hard to go wrong with the XT30.
8. Sony a6600
Perhaps the closest rival of the Fujifilm XT30, the Sony a6600 has a few features that are not found in other APS-C mirrorless bodies, along with some quirks.
Modeled along the lines of previous a6000 bodies — small but hefty — the a6600 comes with a sturdier body, chunkier grip, and a bigger battery.
The 24MP CMOS sensor is coupled with in-body image stabilization, which gives it an edge over cameras like the XT30. Since this is a Sony camera, you can expect excellent dynamic range for landscape shots. However, getting the perfect skin colors might require some post-processing.
Like the Alpha 7C we saw earlier, the strength of the a6600 lies in its autofocus module. The 425-point tracking system is almost always accurate, and so is the human and animal eye detection. Combined with a shooting speed of 11 fps and real-time subject tracking, which works with just one touch, you have a superb package for sports photography.
Not everything is good on the video side. On one hand, the 4K quality is excellent, and you have log options for grading, the 1080p video is not up to the mark. The output is also limited to 8-bit files, and there’s a significant rolling shutter.
Another downside of the Sony a6600 is its exhaustive feature set. It makes the handling a bit tedious, and the menu system will definitely take some time to get used to.
While it is a great action and street photography camera, the a6600 requires regular practice and a steep learning curve. For landscape shooters who require dynamic range and low light quality, there are other options to consider.
9. Nikon Z50
While the Z5 was a top-of-the-line full-frame camera, the older Nikon Z50 is a 20.9MP APS-C camera aimed at enthusiasts. In fact, it was the first APS-C mirrorless camera from Nikon featuring the Z mount.
Because the sensor used in the Z50 is the same as the one in the flagship D500 — with an upgraded EXPEED 6 processor — you can be assured that the lower resolution does not reduce the dynamic range, although there’s no image stabilization or weather sealing here.
The low light abilities of the Z50 will easily match those from Sony and Canon cameras and even older full-frame models, especially if you put on a prime lens.
The AF module contains 209 points coupled with a speed of 11 fps, with Nikon’s recently developed face and eye detection. While it works well enough for general use, the face/eye detect feature is available only in Auto area mode. This means that you will have to choose between the convenience of face detect and control over the AF point. Even the subject tracking is available only in the Auto area mode and is not as accurate as Sony or Canon’s Dual Pixel.
For landscape photographers, things are much better. The dynamic range is the best in class, and Nikon has always been able to capture details even in the dark shadows. Although the body is not weather resistant, the menus are logical, the grip is really comfortable, and a weight of about 350 grams keeps everything light and compact.
The video feature set is average. The 180-degree tilting touchscreen makes vlogging easy, and the video quality is good even in 4K. The AF tracking is certainly not close to Dual Pixel or even Fuji cameras, but it’s sufficient to capture general family videos and kids’ events.
You should consider the Z50 as a general travel and still-photography camera, which can also be made to work for medium-paced action and home videos with the right adjustments.
10. Olympus OM-D EM-10 Mark IV
Unlike the EM-1 and EM-5, the Olympus EM10 is an inexpensive entry-level mirrorless camera, with features that are justified by the price.
At first glance, the 20MP micro four-thirds sensor with a 121-point contrast-detect autofocus does not seem impressive. The contrast AF tracking is not as reliable as the phase detect systems other cameras offer. You will probably have to stick with the central point for the best results.
What makes the EM-10 IV a good budget choice for travel is its in-body stabilization, selfie-friendly touchscreen LCD, and the ability to charge over USB. The camera can even manage a speed of 15 fps and 4K video up to 30 fps, although there are no mic inputs, and the focusing is slow.
If you are looking for your first DSLR-style camera or simply want something that can deliver better images than a smartphone, the EM10 Mark IV makes sense. The camera is small enough to take on hikes and vacations, and the image stabilization, WiFi, and touchscreen LCD make it easy to use.
While it won’t impress enthusiast photographers, its price tag compensates for a lot.
11. Fujifilm X-T3
Fujifilm is one of the few brands that put the APS-C camera sensor size on a pedestal. Sitting above the X-T30 and right below the X-T4, the X-T3 continues the Fuji legacy of affordable, good-looking cameras with excellent features.
While the X-T3 does not have in-body image stabilization, it was the first camera to feature the 26MP X-trans CMOS sensor and X-Processor 4. At the time of its release, it also packed in Fuji’s latest AF system with 425 points, improved face detection, better subject tracking, and a shooting speed of 20 fps with the electronic shutter. This feature set is impressive, even in 2020.
The X-T2 was already an amazing camera, and the Fuji X-T3 took things to a whole new level. The new sensor’s dynamic range and low light performance are outstanding. The addition of a high-res EVF, dual SD card slots, USB-C charging, and a fully tilting touchscreen LCD is something that will appeal to professional photographers.
As is expected, the X-T3 delivers for videographers as well. You get 10-bit internal video, along with 4K at 60 fps and internal F-Log. There’s also a mic and headphone port to monitor audio and an option to capture 4:2:2 output using an external recorder.
Apart from the missing image stabilization, there’s nothing that the X-T3 does wrong. The rugged magnesium alloy body and the X-trans sensor will suit landscape photographers, while the fast AF and small size are great for travel and action photography. If you have the budget, give this one a try.
Obviously, choosing the right camera is not something that you can do by comparing specs. Go to your nearest store and try out a few for yourself.
While some prefer a bigger body and do not need fast autofocus, others may want a small camera that can shoot great videos. It is for you to prioritize and decide.
From premium cameras like the Sony A7C and Fujifilm X-T4 to budget choices like the Olympus EM-10 Mark IV, we hope you can find the best mirrorless camera under $1500 for you in our list.