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Best Mirrorless Cameras for Every Budget

These models rival SLRs in image quality and features, but they weigh less, are slimmer, and tend to be cheaper

It’s easy to see why many photographers fall in love with mirrorless cameras. They offer benefits very similar to those of the SLR models the pros use. But mirrorless models tend to be smaller and lighter, which comes in handy when you’re out exploring a new city, hiking in Yosemite, or taking photos at a kid’s birthday party.

Mirrorless cameras slim down by giving up the movable mirror found inside an SLR. That means sacrificing the through-the-lens viewfinder that lets you see a shot exactly as it’s going to be captured. But the electronic alternative employed by mirrorless models works just fine in most cases.

More to the point, a mirrorless camera lets you keep the SLR’s interchangeable lenses and large image sensors, which capture far more detail than a smartphone camera can. Additionally, mirrorless cameras can produce uncompressed RAW image files, which provides lots of flexibility when you edit your work.

“Today’s mirrorless models come close to matching the low-light performance and lens variety of their bigger cousins,” says Artur Pietruch, a Consumer Reports test lab photography expert. “And mirrorless models can create much better video.”

The mirrorless cameras we recommend produce high-quality images, come with an impressive electronic viewfinder, and have wireless compatibility (helpful in transferring your pictures to a phone or computer). Testers grade the cameras on almost 150 data points over the course of three to four weeks.

For more information, check our camera buying guide and ratings, which include more than 160 models, from basic point-and-shoots to sophisticated SLRs.