Mirrorless cameras offer a much lighter, much less bulky alternative to traditional DSLRs while still giving you the option to interchange lenses. This makes them the ideal option for travels, where you want the variety and choice of different lenses, but don’t want to carry a heavy and bulky camera body around.
What is a Mirrorless Camera?
A mirrorless camera is a digital camera which does not make use of a mechanical mirror to relay the image between the viewfinder and the image sensor. Since there’s no mirror, the body is incredibly flat and without the lens, takes up almost as little space as a compact point and shoot! Most designs are at least half the size and weight of a DSLR in the same calibre.
They’re also called MILC’s or CSC’s and have become very popular amongst world travelers who are conscious about saving space on tour. Prices have been coming down since the arrival of the first models but they’re still pricier than a compact point and shoot camera. For this reason, we’ve carefully selected the 5 best mirrorless cameras that fall under or around the $400 mark. Check out these awesome options.
Top Rated Mirrorless Cameras Under $400
Olympus OM-D E-M10
Though the Olympus E-M10 mirrorless is a great entry level choice in the E-M series, it stands out with some epic features which actually grades it one up on the higher end E-M’s.
The image processor is newer technology and is far better. The E-M10 is also smaller and lighter than the others, has a built in flash and is Wi-Fi connected for quick sharing of images to other devices.
- 16 mp
- 8 fps burst shot
- Full HD 1080 resolution video
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- LCD Tilt touch screen
The dimensions of the E-M10 are 4.7 X 3.2 X 1.8 inches and with the standard lens attached it weighs 14 ounces, so it is really compact and light.
The Olympus EM-10 is a favorite with amateur photographers who need an all-round, easy to use compact.
Canon EOS M100
The ultra-compact Canon M100 is small, wafer thin and simple to use, boasting some of the finest components and features that any intermediate to advanced photographer would need.
Its 24 megapixel image sensor combined with the CMOS autofocus, lets you take world class images at the touch of the button.
- 24.2 mp
- 6.1 fps burst shot
- Full HD 1080 resolution video at 60p
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- LCD 180 degree Tilt touch screen
It is interchangeable with a whole range of canon lenses, making your photo opportunities so much more diverse with its compatibility to dozens of different lenses. With its small frame of 4.3 X 2.6 X 1.4 inches and weight of 10 ounces, the M100 is a really small camera packed with top notch features.
The touch screen on the Canon can be tilted to all sorts of angles, which makes it easy to view low angle shots or selfies before snapping away. Really a brilliant choice this one!
Sony Alpha a5000
The Sony Alpha is a stunning little model that is very user friendly and as such is a firm favorite with novices and pros alike.
The user friendly zoom lever and settings make photography a breeze. The NFC enabled connectivity means that you can simply engage the cam with other NFC enabled devices and instantly share images as they are snapped, ideal for friends or professional use.
- 20.1 mp
- 4 fps burst shot
- Full HD 1080 resolution video recording at 24 fps or 60p
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- LCD 180 degree tilt touch screen
Slightly lesser in capabilities than the previous two choices, the Sony Alpha still beats many others in its class because of its ease of use and brilliant image quality.
The Samsung NX 1000 is a real beauty! Its sleek design and professional look makes it stand out from others. It is consequently also packed with brilliant features and the Samsung quality images really standout.
It’s a pity that this model does not have a built in flash, but the one advantage is that you can attach a flash which suits your needs.
The video function on the Samsung is brilliant! Making use of the CMOS image sensor and auto focus, videos are smooth and the transitions while zooming are crisp and clear, cutting out those blurry zooms common to cheaper models.
- 20.3 mp
- Full HD 1080 resolution video recording
- 2.5 X optical zoom
- Fixed LCD screen
The small size and weight of 7.65 ounces makes this one of the smallest and lightest cameras in our selection. Dimensions are 4.5 X 2.4 X 1.4 inches. It’s a really charming option that won’t disappoint.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3KK
Last but not least we present the Panasonic Lumix. This is not the favorite option in our selection, but still rates as a top-notch camera and its quality cannot disappoint. The features which set this one apart from the rest are simply the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity and slightly smaller image sensor.
It also has some really awesome features including a supersonic wave filter in front of the image sensor. This vibrates 50000 per second eliminating any dust and other particulate from settling on the sensor during lens changes!
- 12 mp
- Full HD 1080 resolution video recording at 30 fps
- 3 inch free angle LCD touch screen
The Lumix is a really great option and because of it is minimal features; it is also very simple to operate. It’s a great choice for novices and those who want something basic and uncomplicated.
Choosing the Right Model
Striking a happy medium, the Olympus E-M10 has the perfect balance of size, weight, top notch features and end result quality.
This would be the ideal camera suiting most levels of experience from the newbie to the hardened pro. This is closely followed by the Canon M100 and then the Sony Alpha, of which both are a tad lighter than the Olympus. They both have excellent features and will be equally at home with intermediate to professional photographers, but lack the balance of the package that the Olympus does.
The Samsung is a real trendsetting model; with its stylish looks it will be a favorite with younger users who want something with a fashionable edge. The Samsung rates fourth in our list because it needs an external flash. This does not make it bad, it might only suit those who either don’t need a flash or those who want the versatility of being able to add their own compatible flash.
Lastly the Panasonic Lumix is an awesome entry level camera under $400 for beginners or novice photographers who want a plain and simple point and shoot camera with the ability to interchange lenses.
We have a great review on the 5 Best Hiking Cameras for Backpacking Adventures.