The best beginner mirrorless camera for 2024: budget stars for new photographers

The best beginner mirrorless cameras make it easy to take up photography and video as a hobby. We’ve tested all of the top options for novices and ranked our favorites in this comprehensive list. Our expert guide covers everything from entry-level models to premium cameras with performance you can grow into. Each is tested extensively against our objective criteria, with something to suit every need and budget.

We think the best mirrorless camera for most beginners right now is the Canon EOS R10. Styled like a compact DSLR, it’s an impressively versatile option that we think is also the best camera for beginners overall. We like its accessible controls and handling, as well as its decent burst speeds and subject-detecting autofocus.

That said, the EOS R10 isn’t the cheapest mirrorless camera for learners. If your price cap is lower, we highly recommend the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. A Micro Four Thirds model with a compact design and capable stills sensor, its computational shooting modes help beginners get creative, while in-body image stabilization is superb for handheld photography.

From affordable stills cameras to all-rounders perfect for learning the ropes, there’s something in the list below for every newbie. Whatever your expectations, our guide is designed to help you find the best beginner mirrorless camera for you. Our real world test ensure model here is a good fit for beginners. We’ve also shared some useful explanations and buying tips at the bottom of the page.

Written by
Tim Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor. With more than 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related.

The quick list

If you want an instant overview of the best beginner mirrorless cameras, you can use the round-up below for a summary of our top picks. When you find one that fits your needs and budget, you can jump to our full write-up via the link beneath each entry.

The best beginner mirrorless cameras for 2024

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best beginner mirrorless cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best beginner mirrorless camera overall

The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

(Image credit: Future)
The best beginner mirrorless camera overall

Specifications

Sensor size: APS-C CMOS**
Resolution: 24.2MP
Viewfinder: EVF OLED, 2,360,000 dots
Monitor: 2.95-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 15fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Modern autofocus abilities

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body image stabilization
-
Crop on 4K/60p footage
Buy it if:

✅ You're a beginner looking for your first camera: The power and usability of the EOS R10's autofocus, plus its superior burst-shooting, put it top of the pile for those starting out.

✅ You need an affordable sports or family camera: While the EOS R10 has more a mid-range price tag, its burst shooting speeds and autofocus are worth the premium if you're looking to shoot moving subjects.

Don't buy it if:

You need a wide choice of native lenses: Right now, the EOS R10's main weakness is a lack of native lenses.

❌ You'll be mostly shooting video: No headphone jack for monitoring audio, nor any in-body image stabilization to keep things steady. This isn'y a vlogging camera.

Striking a great balance between accessibility and performance, we think the Canon EOS R10 is a fantastic entry-level camera to learn and improve with. Compact yet comfy in the hand, its dual control dials and dedicated AF joystick made it easy to try different techniques in testing. The articulating touchscreen also feels like a natural switch from smartphone shooting.

Its 24.2MP sensor isn’t cutting-edge, but modern autofocus skills and Canon’s punchy Digic X processor make it an adaptable camera to grow into. During our review, AF tracking proved both intuitive and impressively reliable for a beginner camera. Burst shooting rates of 15fps also make it a good choice if you want to try action photography.

Handheld options are limited after dark by the absence of in-body image stabilization, but the EOS R10 otherwise holds up well against APS-C rivals, producing clean, detailed stills with pleasant colors. Its video skills give it some hybrid versatility, too. While there’s no flat color profile, it can record uncropped 4K/30p footage by oversampling from the sensor’s 6K resolution. All that’s really missing is a wide choice of native lenses, a situation that should hopefully improve soon.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS R10 review


The best budget beginner mirrorless camera

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, one of the best camera for beginners, on a tripod

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget mirrorless camera for beginners

Specifications

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Resolution: 20.3MP
Viewfinder: 2,360K dots
Monitor: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,037K dots
Autofocus: 121-point Contrast Detection AF
Max continuous shooting rate: 15fps
Video: 4K at 30p
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Capable sensor
+
Compact body
+
Impressive image stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
No microphone input
-
No USB-C port
Buy it if:

✅ You want a small, powerful stills camera: Compact proportions belie the class-leading stills capabilities of the E-M10 Mark IV.

✅ You often shoot handheld: In-body image stabilization gives the Mark IV an edge over rivals, keeping handheld shots sharp.

Don't buy it if:

You record a lot of video: The E-M10 Mark IV can shoot decent footage, but no mic input and a 4K/30p cap limit its blogging potential.

❌ You own the E-M10 Mark III: Upgrades include a new sensor and flip-down screen, but these don’t justify swapping from the Mark III.

While it isn't radically cheaper than its Canon EOS R10 and Fujifilm X-T30 II rivals, the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a little more affordable for beginners. And because it has a smaller Four Thirds sensor than those APS-C cameras, it's an even more compact package when combined with the hundreds of lenses you can pair with it.

Video shooters should look elsewhere, because it lacks both a microphone port and a USB-C connection. But for budding photographers, it offers a lot. There's an ergonomic grip that feels comfortable in the hand, plus an approachable button layout and handy flip-down touchscreen. We also found it to be the most photo-centric camera at its price point, delivering great stills during our tests.

Olympus cameras have long gone big on beginner-friendly software modes, pioneering some of the computational techniques that would later be built on by smartphones. It's the same here, with an 'Advanced Photo' mode steering you through techniques like long exposures, while the in-body image stabilization system – borrowed from the flagship E-M1 – is superb. It might not grab headlines, but the Mark IV is still a great first camera for beginners.

If you're budget stretches a little further, we highly recommend the OM System OM-5 – it's a travel-friendly powerhouse.

Read our in-depth Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review


The best premium beginner mirrorless camera

Nikon Z5, one of the best beginner mirrorless camera, on a wood surface

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium beginner mirrorless camera

Specifications

Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS
Resolution: 24.5MP
Viewfinder: EVF, 3,600,000 dots
Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 4.5fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Great viewfinder
+
Very capable AF system

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy crop on 4K video
-
Expensive for this class
Buy it if:

✅ You want to jump straight into full-frame: Whether you’re making the jump from a smartphone or upgrading from an existing camera, the full-frame sensor Nikon Z5 will elevate your photos.
✅ You’re looking for a lightweight travel camera: With its full-frame sensor and pretty compact proportions, the Nikon Z5 is an excellent travel companion.

Don't buy it if:

You want to shoot action: While the burst rate is comparable to rivals, the Nikon Z5 is hampered by its modest burst shooting speed. 

❌ You want to shoot video regularly: If video is going to be a big part of what you’re looking to capture, then the Nikon Z5 isn’t the right camera for you; its 4K video is pretty limited.

This compact full-frame camera is arguably the best entry-level mirrorless camera Nikon has yet produced. Its a full-featured snapper for the beginner or hobbyist, with excellent image quality, a great design for ease of use and one that's capable of handling several different subjects without any hiccups. 

Sure, its burst rate of 4.5fps doesn't stack up against some of the competition and its 4K video suffers from a significant crop, but despite that we can't recommend the Z5 highly enough for anyone looking to start their photography journey or just looking for a really capable camera that's an excellent all-rounder. 

We love its very capable autofocus system, which comes with a fast and intuitive Eye AF on for those beautiful portraits you'd like to shoot. There are some high-end features as well like it's super high-res viewfinder and touch, weather-sealed body. And, while it looks similar to the Z6 and Z7 bodies, it comes with a 24-50mm kit lens that's designed to retract when not in use, making it a great walkaround or travel camera. The only reason we've got this Nikon lower down our list is the price tag – it's expensive when compared to some of the other entry-level cameras out there, full frame or otherwise.

Read our in-depth Nikon Z5 review


The best everyday beginner mirrorless camera

The Fujifilm X-T30 II resting on a rock

(Image credit: Future)
The best everyday option for most beginners

Specifications

Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 26.1MP
Viewfinder: EVF OLED, 2,360,000 dots
Monitor: 3.0inch tilting touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner/Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Great styling and handling
+
Uncropped 4K footage

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen only tilts
-
No in-body image stabilization
Buy it if:

✅ You want a good all-round mid-range camera: Fujifilm makes some of the best mid-range cameras on the market, including the versatile and attractive Fujifilm X-T30 II.
✅ You want a Fujifilm, but your budget is limited: The X-T30 II is not exactly be cheap, but is good value given the specs you’re getting versus the X-S20 and X-T5.

Don't buy it if:

You already have the X-T30: The Mark II is a relatively modest upgrade over the original X-T30, so there’s little point in investing in the newer version. 
❌ You’re looking for a vlogging camera: The X-T30 II is designed more for photographers who might shoot the occasional video, rather than serious videographers.

Fujifilm’s original X-T30 was already an excellent everyday camera. Its successor doesn’t dramatically change the recipe. However, we think it does just enough to sweeten the deal. 

Using an identical chassis to its predecessor, the X-T30 II likewise balances performance with relatively compact proportions. Adopting the same classic retro styling, we felt it was lovely to look at and fantastic to handle. The rear LCD is now sharper, although we still found ourselves wishing for a fully articulating screen, rather than a panel that only tilts.

With the same sensor and 425-point AF system as the original X-T30, we found that the second edition similarly captures bags of detail and beautifully rich tones. A new algorithm more accurately tracks moving targets. It’s not perfect, but it performed pretty well in testing when subjects moved predictably. Focus point sensitivity has also been improved, and we found that the X-T30 II did a solid job picking out fine details in low lighting. 

So if you’re shopping for the best beginner mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X-T30 II is a mid-range all-rounder that’s well worth considering. But not if you already own the X-T30.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-T30 II review


The best beginner mirrorless camera for video

The front of the Sony ZV-E10 showing its image sensor

(Image credit: Future)
The best beginner mirrorless camera for video

Specifications

Sensor size: Exmor CMOS sensor
Resolution: 24.2MP
Viewfinder: N/A
Monitor: 2.95-inch TFT, 921,600 dots
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 11 fps
Movies: 4K 30 fps
User level: Beginner