The cheapest mirrorless cameras can still take excellent pictures, especially compared to a camera phone or a point and shoot camera. Some models are cheap because they’ve been built down to a price, but very often they’re cheap because a newer model has come along and the maker is keeping the old one on sale at a lower price. These are bargains that you don't have to wait for Black Friday deals to take advantage of!
This means crafty shoppers can get some real bargains right now, and many of these cameras have features and capabilities you wouldn’t expect at this price. They are also amongst the best cameras for beginners. You might also want to check out our guide to the all-round best mirrorless cameras or, if you want to set your sights a little higher, the cheapest full frame cameras you can get right now.
We do show you links to retailers offering all sorts of deals, but do pay attention to the lenses on offer. For each camera we recommend below the lens we’d advise you to get with it, but different dealers may offer different options – and some may offer twin-lens kits which are just out of this world for value.
So here’s our list of the 10 cheapest mirrorless cameras you can buy right now, and what we think of them, starting with the cheapest and working up. Prices do fluctuate, and they do vary in different territories, and this order is not set in stone, so make sure you scroll/swipe to the end of the list to make sure you don’t miss a bargain!
1. Fujifilm X-A3 with XC 16-50mm lens
Get it while you can! The X-A3 is two generations old now, but CHEAP!
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner
Fujifilm’s latest entry-level mirrorless camera is the X-A7, and before that it was the X-A5, so the X-A3 is now two generations old. This means it shoots Full HD video not 4K, and its AF system is not as fast or as sophisticated as the latest models, but the X-A3 still shoots terrific stills thanks to its 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. The Fujinon XC 16-50mm lens it’s usually bundled with is pretty good by kit lens standards too, so as long as you don’t need the latest tech, you can’t go wrong! We’re not sure how long the X-A3 will continue to be available, especially at the knock-down prices we’re seeing right now.
2. Canon EOS M100 with EF-M 15-45mm lens
OK, so it’s not our favorite entry level camera, but it is really cheap
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 | Lens mount: Canon EF-M | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6.1fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner
The EOS M100 is designed for beginners and smartphone upgraders, with super-simplified controls that don’t even include a mode dial. This puts it at odds with every other mirrorless camera, and makes it a poor choice for anyone who wants to develop their skills with manual controls and settings. It does have a very good 24-megapixel sensor, however, and you do get a tilting touch-screen display. Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system is very effective, and the 15-45mm kit lens usually sold with this camera has a retracting mechanism to make it more compact for stowing away in a bag or a jacket pocket.
Read more: Canon EOS M100 hands on review
3. Sony A5100 with 16-50mm lens
Another old, old camera that’s actually still rather good at this price
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3 | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting, 922k dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner
The Sony A5100 was launched way back in 2014, and was a beginner-orientated model even then, with no viewfinder and a 180-degree ‘selfie’ screen. But these have come back into fashion with vloggers, and while the A5100 doesn’t shoot 4K video, it can film in full HD, which is fine for most users. And, old as it is, the A5100 nevertheless has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, so it can match current cameras for resolution. This camera usually comes with Sony’s 16-50mm ‘pancake’ power zoom lens. The optical quality isn’t the best we’ve seen, but this is a very small lens, as is the camera itself, so if you’re looking for a pocket-sized camera, this could be ideal.
4. Fujifilm X-A5 with XC 15-45mm lens
The second Fujifilm on our list is a lot more modern than the first
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 4K (15fps) | User level: Beginner
The Fujifilm X-A5 has just been superseded by the X-A7 – though the new camera isn’t even on sale at the time of writing, and already the X-A5 is being heavily discounted. This camera has beautiful retro styling and usually comes with Fujifilm’s new, compact 15-45mm power zoom lens. It’s more compact than the older 16-50mm kit lens and offers a slightly wider angle of view, too. The X-A5 does not have a viewfinder, but that’s a reflection of its price, and although it shoots 4K video, it’s only at a frame rate of 15fps, which doesn’t really count. If you want a cheap camera with a real splash of style, though, the X-A5 is still brilliant.
Read more: Fujifilm X-A5 review
5. Panasonic Lumix G7 with 14-42mm lens
The G7 brings DSLR styling and a viewfinder at a bargain price
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 16.0 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate
The G7 was launched in 2015, so it’s a few years old now, and that shows in its styling and its specs. It’s the ideal choice for mirrorless camera buyers who prefer the heft and grippability of a DSLR style body, and it comes with a viewfinder, which is terrific in a mirrorless camera at this price. Bad points? The G7 was launched before Panasonic started including in-body stabilisation in its cameras, so you’re reliant on any optical stabilisation in the lenses. It also has a relatively old 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, which knocks back the image quality ever so slightly compared to its APS-C sensor rivals.
6. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II with 14-42mm lens
It’s not the latest E-M10 model, but will you really notice?
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 16.1 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 8.5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Intermediate
Olympus is another maker that keeps older models on sale alongside newer ones, and given that the latest E-M10 Mark III is holding its price depressingly well, the older Mark II model shown here continues to be an attractive (read ‘cheaper’) alternative. The sensor resolution is the same – both cameras use a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor – and the camera design and handling is almost the same too. The key differences are that the Mark III has 4K video (the Mark II is Full HD) and a more advanced autofocus system (more AF points) plus a couple of new Art Filters, but is that enough to justify the price difference? We’re not so sure. This camera is cheapest with the older 14-42mm retracting kit lens, but ideally get it with the smaller 14-42mm 'EZ' lens if you can.
7. Panasonic Lumix GX80/85 with 12-32mm lens
A rangefinder-style camera with in-body stabilisation and a tiny lens!
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 16.0 | Lens mount: MFT | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate
This is another camera that uses a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, but what you lose in sensor size and megapixels, you gain in other areas – notably the built in electronic viewfinder, in-body image stabilisation, 4K video and Panasonic’s ‘4K Photo’ mode, where you can capture 8-megapixel images at 30fps, or shoot first and focus later, using the ‘Post Focus’ mode. We especially like the retracting 12-32mm kit lens usually sold with this camera. Its slim profile makes the camera very pocketable when it’s not in use, and while the effective focal range of 24-64mm isn’t as long as some, it’s an ideal lens for travel and street photography.
8. Sony A6000 with 16-50mm lens
A high-powered camera, despite its age, and often at crazy prices
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3 | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3-inch tilting, 922k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Expert
The Sony A6000 was not launched as a cheap, camera, but a top of the range APS-C model for serious photographers. Sony’s policy right now is to keep older models on sale, however, at prices that just get cheaper and cheaper and cheaper… The fact is that for stills photography, the A6000 range has not moved on that far, making the original A6000 a real steal. The A6300, A6500, A6400, A6100 and A6600 have better autofocus, better video and (probably) better high ISO image processing, but the fundamental camera has changed little (there, we’ve said it). Unfortunately, getting the A6000 means getting the not-very-good Sony 16-50mm PZ lens too, but you can’t have everything.
9. Canon EOS M200 with 15-45mm lens
A bargain-priced camera that also happens to be brand new
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.1 | Lens mount: Canon EF-M | Screen: 3-inch 180-degree tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6.1fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
The EOS M200 is essentially an evolution of the EOS M100, which we’ve already admitted we don’t like very much, but it is still a brand new mirrorless camera (we haven’t even got a sample for review at the time of writing) that’s amongst the ten cheapest you can buy. The key new features (compared to the ESO M100) are 4K video and improved autofocus, now with Eye AF. The standard kit lens is the 15-45mm retracting zoom, which is a good match for this camera and compact too. The EOS M200 might not appeal to enthusiasts, but its stripped back, super-simple approach could be just the ticket for smartphone upgraders who just want better pictures.
10. Fujifilm X-T100
It’s the unsung hero of the Fujifilm range, a great, affordable camera
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2 | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.04m dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 4K (15fps) | User level: Intermediate
Fujifilm’s entry-level cameras like the X-A5 and X-A7 are a big hit with the Instagram/influencer audience and its high-end models like the X-T3, X-T30 and (soon) X-Pro3 are legendary among experts. In between, almost forgotten, is the X-T100, and it’s just not fair. The X-T100 is an excellent 24-megapixel DSLR-style mirrorless camera, usually sold with Fujifilm’s rather good XC 15-45mm lens, which is simple, neat and elegant and produces excellent images. Its 4K video ‘feature’ is a bit of a swizz, since it only captures at 15fps, but for stills photography (or full HD movies) the X-T100 is just brilliant. This is what old-school 35mm film SLRs used to feel like.
Read more: Fujifilm X-T100 review