Best Digital Cameras Under 1000 Dollars - Reviews and Guide

So you are thinking of upgrading from your smartphone and get a real camera? Congratulations!

Just browsing Amazon makes you realize the sheer number of cameras available, each with their advantages and disadvantages, choosing becomes a nightmare and you end up browsing and comparing for weeks!

It doesn’t have to be that way. On this page, all the hard work has been done for you and instead of a sea of cameras to compare, you are only left with the 6 best digital cameras under 1000 dollars you can get today in 2018. I even share with you which one(s) is/are my favorite, if you still struggle to make your choice.

Anyway, let’s not waste any more time and dive in the camera reviews!

The 6 Best Digital Cameras Under 1000 Dollars for 2018

Canon EOS Rebel T7i Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55 IS STM LensOur Top Pick

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a very good mid-range APS-C DSLR offering solid performance and superb image quality. It is somewhere between the entry-level cameras and the professional ones – what we often call a “prosumer” camera.

The Rebel T7i features the recent DIGIC 7 image processor, ensuring a very good low light image quality as well as a speedy image treatment and buffering. When you know how grainy images can get in low light, a good processor is definitely a plus. With a maximum ISO of 25600, there is little risk of unwanted blur in your pictures due to camera shake.

This camera is equipped with a very solid 45-point autofocus system that is very fast and is able to stay focused even on fast-moving subjects. Moreover, a good 6 fps continuous shooting mode is also present and you can be sure you will not miss the perfect shot of the action.

Connectivity is also great because you can use Wi-Fi-, NFC and Bluetooth to connect your camera to your phone (with the Canon Camera Connect app) or share your images online. The articulated touch screen is a nice addition for convenient operation of the camera.

As for video, the Rebel T7i captures full HD, with a good built-in stabilization and interesting modes such as HDR movie or east time-lapse creation. All in all, a really great camera that can easily satisfy beginners and more advanced photographers alike, for a good price. That’s my top pick!

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: DSLR (APS-C)
  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3 x 3.9 in / 13.2 x 7.6 x 9.9 cm
  • Weight: 1.18 lbs / 535 g
  • Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Video: Full HD

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Good image processor
  • Solid autofocus system
  • Articulated touch screen
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • 1080p Full HD at 60 fps, stabilized, HDR video
  • Good connectivity
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • The Wi-Fi can be troublesome to set up
  • No 4K video

Fujifilm X-T20 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm Lens

The Fujifilm X-T20 is a compact and lightweight mirrorless camera that is perfect for travel. This camera is packed with features and functionality, with up-to-date specifications; it can definitely rival a DSLR. If you want a fantastic image quality but something smaller and simpler that a DSLR, this is your perfect option.

The X-Processor Pro allows you to shoot at high ISO with greatly reduced noise on your images, and fast operation – the burst mode is quite impressive at 8 frames per second. The autofocus offers high performance as well. It is a very advanced system with up to 325 points, with focus tracking for fast-moving subjects and video capture.

Talking about video, the X-T20 features a great 4K capture and even a port for an external microphone, which can be a great asset for you if you like vlogging.

If the Rebel T7i is too big and bulky for your taste, this is the camera I would choose.

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless camera (APS-C)
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.3 x 1.6 in / 11.8 x 8.3 x 4.1 cm
  • Weight: 0.68 lbs / 310 g
  • Resolution: 24.3 MP
  • ISO: 100-51200
  • Video: 4K

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Fantastic image quality
  • Tilting touch screen
  • Fast and advanced autofocus
  • Up to 8 fps continuous shooting
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 4K video
  • External microphone port
  • Panorama & time lapse modes
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • The wireless connectivity is not always very reliable
  • The viewfinder and screen are somtimes lagging a little

Panasonic Lumix G85 Mirrorless Camera with 12-60mm Lens

Another camera of choice for travel due to its compact size, the Panasonic Lumix G85 may only have a 16 MP resolution but it full of great features.

An obvious good point for this camera is its ability to shoot 4K video, which is slowly becoming the norm (especially in this price range). Not only that, but it is also able to isolate each frame in a 4K sequence and treat them as a still image. This way, you are sure to not miss the crucial shot!

Another remarkable feature – and a much appreciated one – is the advanced built-in stabilization system. It is a dual stabilization system which is a combination of a 5-axis stabilization for the camera body and a 2-axis stabilization for the lens.

A last feature I want to mention is the weather sealing. You may or may not really need this but trust me, if you use it for travelling and exploring, it is a very nice feature to have! I can’t count how many times my cameras started acting crazy in high humidity.

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless camera (Micro Four Thirds)
  • Dimensions: 5.06 x 2.93 x 3.5 in / 12.9 x 7.4 x 8.9 cm
  • Weight: 1.11 lb / 503 g
  • Resolution: 16 MP
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Video: 4K

Pros

  • Compact
  • Great image stabilization
  • Weather & dust sealed
  • Good and fast autofocus system
  • Good electronic viewfinder
  • 4K photo mode
  • 4K video

Cons

  • Only 16 MP
  • The in-body image stabilization (IBIS) is a bit noisy and can be picked up by the internal mic in video

Nikon D5600 Digital SLR Camera with Nikkor 18-140mm Lens

The Nikon is another option of a good DSLR camera for under $1000. It is replacing the Nikon D5500, taking most of its features but with more wireless connectivity and the support for Ultra High Speed (UHS) memory cards. However, if you can’t be bothered with wireless connectivity, you should consider getting the Nikon D5500 instead and save $100.

The 24 MP CMOS sensor gives clear and sharp images and the high ISO sensibility (up to 25600) surely helps in low light conditions, but there is no built-in image stabilization, you will have to get a stabilized lens.

The wireless connectivity I was mentioning just now is done through Nikon’s SnapBridge system. The video unfortunately doesn’t reach the 4K quality but is still very good in full HD at 60 frames per second.

As a kit, you have the choice between a 18-55 mm lens and a 18-140 mm lens. I obviously recommend the latter because it’s more versatile, but if you want to save some money the other one is already good for a start.

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: DSLR (APS-C)
  • Dimensions: 3.2 x 5.5 x 4.5 in / 8.1 x 14 x 11.4 cm
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs / 726 g
  • Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Video: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Efficient 39-point autofocus
  • Wireless connectivity (SnapBridge)
  • Continuous shooting at 5 fps
  • Articulated touch screen
  • Full HD video at 60 frames per second

Cons

  • No 4K video
  • The SnapBridge function can be troublesome

Sony a7 Mirrorless Camera with 28-70mm Lens

The Sony a7 is making the world of full frame photography accessible for less than 1000 dollars! Sony prides itself for creating the world’s smallest and lightest full frame interchangeable lens camera with the a7.

Full frame sensors typically have better low light performance and of course your wide angle lenses will be really wide.

With the Sony a7, you have high performance at your fingertips with the BIONZ-X processor enabling blazing fast shooting and powerful autofocus, as well as a lower level of noise on the pictures. The continuous shooting mode is pretty solid with a maximum of 5 frames per second.

We can regret that there is no 4K video recording unlike with many mirrorless cameras of this price range, but the full HD at 60 frames per second is objectively already very good.

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless Camera (Full Frame)
  • Dimensions: 1.89 x 5 x 3.7 in / 4.8 x 12.7 x 9.4 cm
  • Weight: 1.04 lb / 472 g
  • Resolution: 24.3 MP
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Video: 1080p Full HD

Pros

  • Lightweight & compact
  • Superb image quality
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • Full frame
  • Continuous shooting mode 5 fps
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • No 4K video
  • Battery life is not great

Canon EOS M6 Mirrorless Camera with 15-45mm Lens

The Canon EOS M6 is a compact, very portable but powerful camera. Built with the DIGIC 7 image processor just like recent DSLRs (like the Rebel T7i reviewed above), it offers great image quality, speed and autofocus performances.

Holding firmly such a mall camera and avoiding blurry images in low light is not easy, but the EOS M6 feature an advanced 5-axis image stabilization in the camera body, which is combined with the stabilization from the lens.

The continuous shooting mode is also quite impressive with 7 frames per second, and even 9 fps if you use the autofocus lock function.

Wi-Fi-, NFC and Bluethooth are available to connect the camera with your phone – with the Canon Camera Connect app.

Overall, a good quality, very portable camera with modern features that is great for travel.

The tilting LCD touch screen at the back is a nice addition that makes using this camera intuitive and pleasant.

 Quick Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless Camera (APS-C)
  • Dimensions: 1.8 x 4.4 x 2.7 in / 4.6 x 11.2 x 6.7 cm
  • Weight: 0.9 lb / 408 g
  • Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • ISO: 100-25600
  • Video: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps

Pros

  • Lightweight & compact
  • Good image quality
  • Solid autofocus system
  • Fast continuous shooting mode (7-9 fps)
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Tilting touch screen

Cons

  • No 4K video
  • The image gets grainy at higher ISO

Frequently Asked Questions

What are The Factors to Consider When Choosing my Camera?

The first question to ask yourself is, are you more attracted to a DSLR camera or a mirrorless camera? If you don’t really know, check the next paragraph for more information.

There are a few features you should pay attention to when making your choice:

Image processor: For this kind of budget, you don’t really have to worry about image quality, but the image processor can have an impact. It’s much better to go with recent processors, as their performance vastly improves after each update. The older one quickly get outdated. A good processor means fast and solid autofocus, less grain in high ISO pictures, and good overall image quality.

Autofocus: A good autofocus system with many AF points that cover most of the scene and is able to hold the focus even on fast-moving subjects is a good criterion to avoid frustration!

Continuous shooting: You should look at its performance if you shoot a lot of sports of any fast-moving scenes. A few frames per seconds is fine already. On cameras of this price, this feature is usually satisfying.

Image stabilization: When light is getting low, any stabilization is good to take. An image stabilization built in the camera body can greatly lower the risk of blurred images due to camera shake in difficult light conditions. The most advanced systems can work with the stabilization of your lens.

Video quality: This depends on what you usually do with your camera. If you are just recording a few video clips here and there for fun, full HD is definitely enough and some cameras can deliver a full HD at 60 frames per second instead of 30. If you use video extensively for vlogging for example, you may want to choose a camera with 4K video capture (mostly mirrorless cameras for this budget).

However, take in consideration that 4K video takes up a lot of battery power and a lot of space on your memory card. Another small but useful detail: a port for an external microphone is great to have to improve the sound of your videos.

Wireless connectivity: This is not something I really use, as I just stick my memory card into my computer to access my images and do whatever I want with them. But if you enjoy connecting your camera to your phone and share your images online, you should make sure that the camera has a good wireless connection system with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluethooth. More often than not, camera brands have created dedicated phone apps that can connect with your camera.

DSLR or Mirrorless Camera, Which One Should I choose?

DSLR cameras use a small mirror to reflect the image coming from the lens into the viewfinder. This mirror flips out of the way when you take a picture, and then gets back in its original position. Mirrorless cameras, as you guessed, don’t have this mirror. When they have a viewfinder, it’s an electronic viewfinder. If they don’t, framing the pictures is simply done with the screen at the back.

DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras share the specificity of working with interchangeable lenses. You can choose to just keep the kit lens forever, or buy better lenses later on that are specialized in the type of photography you are doing.

However, buying a DSLR or a mirrorless camera is not the same, let’s see what are the main differences.

DSLRs are definitely more bulky and heavier than mirrorless cameras. For most people, that’s actually the main criterion of choice between DSLR and mirrorless. DSLRs usually have more options when it comes to getting extra lenses, but mirrorless cameras are catching up.

Mirrorless cameras have the big advantage of being very compact and lightweight, making them very portable and ideal for travel or just walking around. These cameras are capable of delivering an outstanding image quality, rivaling with DSLR cameras on this point.

On a personal level, I am a DSLR person and just love the feel of shooting pictures with such a camera. I also think DSLRs still have the edge over mirrorless cameras in functionality, even if it’s less and less true. But if you are really concerned about carrying a heavy camera around and just want something easy to carry that takes beautiful pictures, a mirrorless camera might be what you need!

Micro Four Thirds / APS-C / Full Frame – What’s The Difference?

Apart from the Sony a7 mirrorless camera, all cameras presented here have an APS-C sensor, or crop sensor. APS-C sensors are smaller than full frame sensors, by a crop factor that is often around 1.5x.

So what does it mean for you? When you read the focal length indications on your lens, it is always in full frame format, even if the lens is made for APS-C cameras. So if you shoot a picture at 50 mm with an APS-C camera, the image will actually be the equivalent of 75 mm on a full frame camera (50 x 1.5). The images is more zoomed in. That’s the “telephoto effect” of crop sensors.

It can be a limitation if you need super wide angle for landscapes for example, but it’s great for wildlife photography or any type of photography that requires you to zoom a lot.

The real advantage of a full frame sensor, apart from having a wider field of view, is larger pixels resulting in better performance in low light and image noise.

In any case, an APS-C sensor instead of a full frame is not to be considered a lower quality than full frame sensors. APS-C cameras can take, and do take fabulous pictures.

As for the Micro Four Thirds, it is a sensor size that is even smaller and lighter than APS-C, making very lightweight and compact cameras. Their performance can suffer a little bit more in low light due to their smaller size, but they are still able to shoot beautiful images as well.

Will I Need to Buy a Lens on Top of The Camera?

All cameras presented here have a kit lens included in the price. I could have only showed yuo camera bodies (of course for a cheaper price), but for a budget of $1000 maximum, I prefered to show you cameras with kit lenses that you can buy for this budget, and quickly get to take pictures without having to do lens hunting after you chose your camera. You can save lens hunting for later. 🙂

Why Don’t You Show Any Prices on This Page?

I made sure that, at the time of writing this article, all cameras cost under 1000 dollars. I chose not to clearly display prices for the cameras because prices can go up or go down at any moment. Instead of potentially showing erroneous information, I prefer to provide a quick link for you to check the price of the camera you like.

How Did You Choose Your Top Pick?

For this price range, we have access to really great cameras and it’s not easy to say what is THE one you should get. My top pick is the camera that in my opinion, delivers the best performance and the best image quality for a price that I find justified. It’s not about hunting for the cheapest camera, its about finding the best value for money.

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a great DSLR with tremendous value for money. If you’d rather get a more portable mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm X-T20 is a fantastic option as well.

Final Thoughts

Here you have the 6 best digital cameras under 1000 dollars for 2018. DSLR or mirrorless camera, the choice is yours. But in any case, all these cameras are more than capable of satisfying your expectations and shoot superb images.

I hope this page was valuable to you and helped you make the right choice for your next camera.

Disclosure: Exploration Junkie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you purchase an item on Amazon through the affiliate links in this page, this website will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keeping this site ad-free, and it helps you say thank you if our content is useful to you 🙂


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