2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras around $500

Written by Gina Stephens

>> This roundup has been repaid with an updated version – click to read it <<

Interchangeable lens cameras come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes and prices, from the extremely reasonable to the eye-wateringly expensive. The $500 category is a place most first-time interchangeable lens camera buyers will likely find themselves. If you’re insomuch as an ILC in this category, maybe you’re stepping up from a compact, or perhaps even your smartphone. Or perhaps you have an old, dusty DSLR in the closet, and you’re looking to buy something new without pass a lot of money. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of excellent options for around or less than $500.

All of the cameras here are mirrorless, and while plenty of mirrorless cameras proffer very good electronic viewfinders, you’ll have to spend a little more to get one. There are also some excellent DSLR choices, priced only above $500 we could have included, but we felt it appropriate to instead group them with other viewfinder and EVF-sporting cameras camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or (in our on the cards ILC’s $500-800 category). It’s not just about the viewfinder though – LCD size and resolution are plenty important too, since in the absence of a viewfinder that’s how you’ll be creating and viewing all of your photos and videos.

The following cameras are included in this roundup:

  • Sony Alpha a5100
  • Nikon 1 J5
  • Nikon 1 S2
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7
  • Fujifilm X-A2
  • Olympus PEN E-PL7
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It’s merit noting that though we categorized the cameras in our 2015 by MSRP (to avoid fluctuating prices), most of the cameras listed above can be purchased, kitted with a lens, for a thoroughfare price of around $500. Some for even less.

Within this category you will also find three different sensor ranges; the largest being APS-C, then Micro Four Thirds, and finally 1″-type. In general, the larger the sensor, the better the image quality, markedly in low light, and the more you can blur out backgrounds to isolate subjects. But that’s not the whole story. There are quite a few other factors that can also put on how good your pictures look.

If you’re new to photography, and you want a camera that you can grow into, many options in this category offer yoke control dials, which make it much easier to learn how to shoot in full manual exposure mode. However, if you prefer to leave your camera on to the utmost auto don’t worry – the cameras in this category can do that too.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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