If you love photography, you probably know that it's possible to spend a lot on your hobby, with expensive new cameras being released all the time. The trick, however, is that you don't have to, and many fantastic models are available for a sub-$1000 cost, providing everything that a photo enthusiast needs and more for a knock-down price.
Whether you want a full DSLR with a decent lens bundled in, or a fixed-lens compact camera designed for doing everything in one package, or a light mirrorless camera that's fast and high-quality, there are plenty of bargains available. Some of these are newer models pitched at a more budget audience, others are more sophisticated cameras that are a few years old, and in some cases have been superseded by more recent models. We've assembled a selection of the best cameras under $1000 right now, and if our top budget is more than you want to spend, take a look at our best cheap camera guide.
We’ve rounded up the best cameras that fit the budget. We've featured compacts, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, and where necessary we've ensured our picks have included a lens as well as a camera so you can be sure that you'll get everything you need within the budget. We've covered all the major manufacturers and a range of price points, so there should be something for everyone – though remember if you drive an even harder bargain, you can also check out our guides to the best cameras under $500, under $200 and under $100.
• You can buy all of the DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in our list body only or with a choice of kit lenses; for this guide we have recommended a body and a lens to get you going, and still come in under the $1000 budget.
So, let's get started, and run through the best cameras under $1000!
Available in silver, dark silver or champagne gold, the X-T200 is a typically stylish Fujifilm compact system camera with classic retro looks. It’s simple and intuitive to use, yet boasts a high-res electronic viewfinder and a three-way tilting touchscreen, all at a very competitive price.
4K video capture has been greatly improved with this successor to the X-T100 – making it great for both vloggers and photographers. Paired with the dinky little XC15-45mm lens, it makes a great-value camera kit that’s sufficiently compact to be a constant companion.
Read the full Fujifilm X-T200 review.
Now in its third generation, the most basic edition of Olympus’s OM-D cameras is nevertheless immaculately turned out. It stuffs plenty of smart features and controls to suit creative photographers into a compact and easily manageable body. The retractable 14-42mm EZ kit lens is remarkably small yet packs a motorised zoom facility that’s ideal for stills and movies alike.
For the latter, 4K UHD capture is available. The phase-detection autofocus system of the more up-market E-M1 Mk II is sadly lacking. As a result, continuous AF for moving objects can be a bit hit and miss.
Read the full Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III review.
The D5600 is the most exotic of Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs. It’s impressively small and light, especially when paired with the retractable 18-55mm kit zoom lens. The D5600 lacks the interactive ‘Guide’ shooting mode of Nikon’s more beginner-oriented D3xxx series cameras, but it’s still very easy to get to grips with, thanks to a simple and intuitive interface and control layout.
There’s a particularly wide range of scene and effects modes for getting the results you want with the minimum of fuss and bother. A similarly generous range of custom settings will appeal to more expert photographers. The fully articulated touchscreen enables you to shoot from tricky angles and is good for taking selfies. Overall, it’s a great buy for just about anyone who wants a small, lightweight camera for everyday shooting and travel photography, that’s also a ‘proper’ DSLR.
Read the full Nikon D5600 review.
Ideal for novices, the EOS 800D was in truth a little overpriced at launch in 2017, but now has come down to an arguably perfect price. It's user-friendly, but also packed with features, utilising Canon's 24MP APS-C Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor that ensures top-class autofocus when shooting both stills and video. The 45 AF points offer generous coverage, and 6fps continuous shooting pairs nicely with a decent buffer capacity of 27 RAW files.
While the 800D doesn't quite manage 4K video, it's capable of shooting Full HD at up to 60fps for full-resolution slow-motion. There's a lot for the enthusiast to like here, and now that it's a couple of years old, the EOS 800D represents a solid bargain for a whole host of different photographers and videographers.
The advanced yet cut-price Panasonic TZ90 was a tough act to follow, with its 30x zoom range. The newer TZ100 and TZ200 are actually less impressive for sheer zoom potential, at 10x and 15x respectively, but the big upside is that they feature a physically larger 1.0-type image sensor. The megapixel count is about the same, but the new sensors enable much cleaner, more noise-free images at higher ISO settings.
Even so, the sensor is still rather smaller than those of APS-C format cameras. With advanced controls and excellent quality in all respects, it’s a great camera for everyday and travel photography, but the omission of a tilt or pivot facility for the touchscreen can be frustrating.
With a DSLR-style design that features a chunky handgrip and a large viewfinder up on top, the Lumix DC-G95 looks and feels a serious camera. It’s well built with a weather-sealed splashproof and dustproof construction. Tech highlights include a 5-axis sensor-shift stabilizer that can work in tandem with optically stabilised lenses. ‘Light Speed AF’ delivers fast and accurate autofocus performance, and typical up-market Panasonic extras include focus stacking and ‘Post Focus Simulation’, where you can fine-tune the point of focus after taking a shot.
The speedy 9fps burst rate increases to 30fps if you use the 4K Photo mode Composing and reviewing shots benefit from an excellent viewfinder and fully articulated touchscreen. The premium-grade body is a bargain at the price, but even more so with the 12-60mm kit lens.
A fixed-focal-length compact is one of the most enjoyable camera types for a photowalk, forcing you to move your feet and think creatively about your compositions. The Ricoh GR III is an outstanding example, producing pin-sharp images with gorgeous colours and contrast thanks to its combination of a 24MP APS-C sensor and a high-quality 28mm equivalent lens. Light and speedy, with an effective Shake Reduction system, the GR III also boasts an improved autofocus system compared to its two predecessors, making it ideal for capturing fleeting moments in street photography.
There are plenty of other features to list, including built-in Wi-Fi, a 6cm close-focusing distance, an ergonomically sound magnesium-alloy body and much more. It's a great camera for travel, street shots, documentary and more, and it's now available for a great price.
Small but with a comfortable and natural feel, thanks to generously proportioned grip areas, the Sony A6400 is a mid-range model fitting somewhere between the bargain A6000 and the new flagship A6600. The A6400 just squeezes in under budget with a zoom - and is a particular great choice for those who want to shoot video as well as stills, as this mirrorless model was built with vloggers in mind.
The 16-50mm PZ (Power Zoom) kit lens is a good match for the body, although some of Sony’s other E-mount lenses can seem comparatively large on such a slim-line camera. The 16-50mm lens also features optical image stabilization. That’s good news, because unlike the newer A6500, the A6400 has no sensor-shift stabilizer.
Squeaking in just under our £1000 / £1000 cut-off, thanks in part to the release of a successor in the form of the RX100 VII, the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VI is still one of the best large-sensor compacts ever made and represents terrific value for the money. Boasting a generous zoom lens with a 24-200mm equivalent range, it's well-equipped for the vast majority of shooting situations, and it's no slouch in other departments either. Impressive burst speeds of 24fps combine with UHD 4K video and ISO up to 12,800 for an amazingly well-specced camera that does practically everything you could need, all in a body that slips into your pocket.
Composition-wise, you have a choice between the LCD screen or the pop-up viewfinder, and wireless connectivity allows you to instantly share your images to a smart device. Astoundingly well-equipped, the RX100 VI is an outstanding camera.
Real revolutionaries, the Sony A7 was the world’s first full-frame mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. It was announced back in late-2013, and it took Canon and Nikon five years to catch up. The A7 is the only full-frame camera of any kind on the market that reliably fits our sub-$1,000 price limit, complete with 28-70mm kit lens (but do check our full guide to the cheapest full-frame cameras).
A modern-day classic, the A7 is a joy to use with its high-res electronic viewfinder and high-res tilting screen. It lacks the built-in stabilization of the A7 Mk II edition of the camera (which can sometimes also be found for under $1000 with kit zoom). However, the original A7 is a top-value buy for anyone wanting the advantages of full-frame photography.