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The best camera under $1000: proper cameras at prices you'll like

Best camera under $1,000: Canon EOS RP
(Image credit: Peter Travers / Digital Camera World)

So what is the best camera under $1,000? Prices are changing constantly as we all know, so our list of candidates will change over time, but right now we reckon these are the cameras that give you most bang for your buck.

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 great choices at this price point. 

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at a more budget audience, others are more sophisticated cameras that are a few years old, and in some cases have been superseded by more recent models.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 possible 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. If you want to 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 $1,000!

Best camera under $1000 in 2021

(Image credit: Olympus)

1. Olympus OM-D E‑M10 Mark IV

A lot of camera for the money; you could even afford a second lens

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen, 1,037K dots | Viewfinder: Electronic 2,360K dots | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 15fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate/Enthusiast

Updated 20MP sensor
Flip-down monitor
Plastic build
No mic port for vloggers

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV's predecessor, the Mark III, was a great camera with plenty to offer. However, its aging 16MP sensor and contrast AF left room for improvement. Luckily the Mark IV is a great update, with the same 20.3MP sensor as the PEN-F and improved Continuous Autofocus. While some improvements are incremental, the Mark IV brings some interesting new offerings to the table including a zippy 15fps continuous burst mode. We're also a fan of the extra-tiltable screen, which is capable of flipping 180° down to create the perfect selfie screen. And Olympus has thankfully returned silent shooting to manual mode! Make sure you get this with the EZ 14-42mm pancake lens for the ultimate pocket-size travel camera.

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

2. Fujifilm X-T30

The X-T30 is small, compact, beautifully made and powerful

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 30/8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Intermediate/Expert

Small size & traditional design
Excellent image quality
Autofocus performs well
No in-body stabilisation

Right now, the Fujifilm X-T4 is the most powerful camera in Fujifilm's X-mount camera range, but we rate the smaller X-T30 as the better buy for the majority of photographers. It doesn't have the in-body stabilisation of the brand new X-S10, but it does have Fujifilm's trademark external exposure controls and the ability to shoot at up to 30fps with its electronic shutter and 1.25 crop mode. If you want a small, affordable, all-round APS-C camera that's right at the cutting edge with image quality and features, this is it. We reckon you'll also be charmed by the X-T30's old-school external shutter speed dial and exposure controls. Hey, Fujifilm – anytime you want to bring out that X-T40 is just fine with us. Get this with Fujinon XC 15-45mm lens. It's not the best, but it's not bad either, and it really brings the price down.

Read more: Fujifilm X-T30 review

(Image credit: Nikon)

3. Nikon Z50

Nikon's first APS-C mirrorless camera is a star in the making

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Good value from the start
Compact body and kit lens
4K video and 11fps shooting
No in-body stabilization

The Nikon Z50 is Nikon's first APS-C mirrorless camera and much smaller than the Z6 and Z7 full frame models, but clearly shares the same design DNA. Despite its small size, it has a good grip and good external controls, and the retracting 16-50mm kit lens is remarkable not just for its pancake lens dimensions but for its overall performance. Nikon may have come to the APS-C mirrorless market comparatively late, but it's come in with a camera that has so many good points it's hard to know where to start – but we will highlight the 4K video, 11fps shooting... and the fact that its Z mount is identical to that on the larger cameras, so you can use dedicated Nikkor Z DX lenses, full frame Nikkor Z lenses and regular Nikon DSLR lenses via the FTZ adaptor. Best of all, the Z50 is terrific value, especially when bought as a twin-lens kit – though that would probably tip it over our $1,000 budget.

Read more: Nikon Z50 review

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony a6400

Sony’s best APS-C format compact system camera for under a grand

Type: CSC | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: Electronic 1,440k | Lens mount: Sony E | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Conveniently compact build
Fast autofocus is good for tracking
Great vlogging camera
Lacks in body stabilization
Some Sony lenses are large compared with the body

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 slimline camera. The 16-50mm lens also features optical image stabilization. That’s good news, because unlike the top-end A6600, the A6400 has no sensor-shift stabilizer.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic Lumix G95

A great value mirrorless camera from Panasonic with DSLR-like styling

Type: CSC | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 2.1m dots | Viewfinder: Electronic 2,360k | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps (6fps with AF) | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Very good build quality and handling
Clear, high-res electronic viewfinder
Fully pivoting touchscreen
Quite big for a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera

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, which still brings it in just below our top budget. The smaller MFT sensor is the only reason this camera isn't further (a lot further) up our list.

(Image credit: canon)

6. Canon EOS M50

Canon's mid-range mirrorless camera is the best buy for beginners

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Lens mount: Canon EF-M | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD

Built-in electronic viewfinder
Excellent vari-angle touchscreen
4K video limitations
Simplified exterior controls

Yes, Canon has released a M50 Mark II version, but the changes are minor and it's not available in all territories, so while the EOS M50 remains the most widely available version, we will stick with that. The  EOS M50 packs a lot of tech into its compact body, and the fact it has a viewfinder – when so many similarly priced mirrorless cameras don’t – is a big selling point. The retracting 15-45mm kit lens can be a little awkward to use, and the 4K video mode brings a cropped view and autofocus limitations, but this is still a cute and easy to use camera which is really rather versatile. It's a great mirrorless alternative to the Canon Rebel SL3 below, but offers similar features in a smaller camera. You can get this with a 15-45mm lens for well under our budget, and if you shop around you may find twin-lens kits with a telephoto zoom that are still under $1,000.

Read more: Canon EOS M50 review

(Image credit: Canon)

7. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

The Rebel SL3 is small and simple to get started with, but full of features

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 25p

A lightweight, intuitive DSLR
Superb Live View shooting
Larger than mirrorless rivals
Relatively few AF points

The pint-sized Canon Rebel SL3 has been around for a while now but it's still one of our favorites. Its 24.1MP APS-C sensor delivers excellent image quality, and Live View shooting with the LCD screen so easy and intuitive, with such good Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, that we’d actually say this is one of the only DSLRs where composing shots with the screen is as easy as with a mirrorless camera. Canon also packs in 4K video, and wraps everything up in an ergonomically designed DSLR body that's just about the smallest on the market. The new EOS Rebel T8i is a lot more expensive but only marginally more desirable. With an EF-S 18-55mm kit lens the Rebel SL3 is well below our $1,000 budget limit, and it's worth looking out for twin-lens kits that add a telephoto zoom – and still for less than $1,000.

Read more: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 review

(Image credit: Canon EOS RP)

8. Canon EOS RP

Full frame cameras don't come much cheaper, or cuter, than this

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast

Size, weight and low cost
Fully articulating screen
1.6x crop and no Dual Pixel AF in 4K
Weak battery life

We are being a bit cheeky slipping the EOS RP into this guide because at the time of writing it's around $999 body only – so you will have to budget extra for a lens! The EOS RP was Canon's second full frame mirrorless camera, and it's smaller, lighter and a lot cheaper than all of the others. It's designed to be a compact, affordable and easy to use entry point into Canon's full frame mirrorless system, and it succeeds brilliantly. Its small dimensions mean it can sometimes feel overbalanced by larger lenses, though, and the 4K video mode comes with some caveats – the image frame is cropped by a factor of 1.6 and you can't use Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system unless you drop the resolution to full HD. On the upside, the pictures are clear and sharp, the vari-angle touchscreen display is a real advantage for both stills and video, and the inclusion of an EF lens adaptor means you can use existing Canon DSLR lenses alongside the new but growing RF lens system. 

Read more: Canon EOS RP review

(Image credit: Canon)

9. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

This top-quality compact really is like a DSLR in your pocket

Type: Compact | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens: 24-72mm f/2.8-5.6 (equiv.) | LCD: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Very compact for sensor size
Excellent image quality
Decent 3x zoom range
Just f/5.6 at full zoom

It's not all about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras! Canon really has done an amazing job with the G1 X Mark III. Yes, it is pretty pricey for a compact camera, but it houses pretty much the same 24-megapixel APS-C sensor in its slimline body as you'll find in Canon's EOS 80D DSLR and its EOS M mirrorless cameras. This is matched up to a zoom lens that's even more amazing, because it covers a 24-72 equivalent focal range and can still retract into the camera body when you're not taking pictures. It's true that the maximum aperture does drop off considerably as you zoom in, from f/2.8 right down to f/5.6, but you get this with compact DSLR and mirrorless kit lenses anyway. The G1 X Mark III might look pretty pricey, but it's actually not that dear compared to other APS-C compact cameras, and right now it's pretty much in a class of its own for a premium compact camera with zoom. If you've longed for a future world where you can get a DSLR small enough to fit in your pocket, well, it's already happened.

Read more: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III review

(Image credit: Panasonic)

10. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

If you like the Canon G1 X III quality but not the price, get this

Type: Compact | Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 17MP | Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8 (equiv.) | LCD: 3in fixed, 1,24 million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast/expert

Only compact with MFT sensor
Fast f/1.7-2.8 lens
4K video, 4K Photo modes
17MP is lower than some rivals

The trouble with big sensors is that you need big lenses to go with them, so there goes any kind of pocketability. Usually. But Panasonic has really hit the sweet spot with the Panasonic LX100 II. It combines a Micro Four Thirds sensor that's not much smaller than the ASP-C sensors in mode DSLRs, with a miniaturised lens assembly that powers down into a camera body slim enough to carry around anywhere. The LX100 II is a brand new version of the original LX100, which was, admittedly, starting to show its age. The new model has a 17-megapixel ‘multi-aspect’ sensor, which means you can use its native 4:3 aspect ratio, the 3:2 ratio used by most DSLRs and mirrorless models, or a 16:9 ‘wide’ format without losing lots of megapixels through cropping. With an external shutter speed dial, lens aperture ring and aspect ratio switch, the LX100 II is a dream compact camera for enthusiasts and experts.

Read more: Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review

Read more:

Best cameras under $500
Best cameras under $200
Best cameras for beginners
Best DSLRs
Best mirrorless cameras