The best system cameras for under $1,0765

a7II wFE50F18 right

You can find the best system cameras for under 1,0765 dollars here. A good camera does not have to be (really) expensive. These days, less than 1,0765 dollars buys you fantastic cameras with great image quality and lots of features. That’s not to say that every camera in this price range offers you everything you could want. For a true all-rounder, you will have to pay a bit more. But if you have some idea of what you want to shoot, you can find a camera in this class that will do that just fine. To get you started, here’s an overview of our favourite models.

What should you pay attention to?

Cameras suitable for use with different lenses come in two types: with and without a mirror. With a mirror, we are talking about SLR cameras. This is the type of camera that was almost inevitably the first choice for every hobbyist and professional from the middle of the last century to almost today. They are still made by Canon, Nikon and Pentax. Cameras with interchangeable lenses but no mirror are called system cameras. These have undergone stormy development over the past decade and have more or less taken over from SLRs. All major camera brands make this type of camera in different price ranges. There are cheap SLRs from Canon and Nikon for photographers looking for better image quality or more zoom range than they get with their phones, for example. These offer great value for money, especially if you buy a set with a standard zoom and telephoto zoom right away. However, they are systems that are no longer being further developed. Those who want to take up photography as a hobby and expect to build up a more comprehensive camera set in the future are therefore better off opting for a system camera straight away.

Image quality

If you choose a camera from one of the well-known brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and OM-System, formerly Olympus), they all offer good to very good image quality. This applies even to entry-level cameras. So don’t stare blindly at pixel count, for example. Cameras in this price range have at least 20 and up to 26 megapixels. These are not differences you are going to see very much. In this price range, you can choose from three different sensor sizes, and that matters more for several reasons. In our pick is 1 camera with a 24-megapixel small-frame sensor. A small-frame sensor is 24x36mm, which is about one and a half times the size of an APS-C sensor (rounded 24x16mm) and about twice the size of a Four Thirds sensor (13x17mm). A larger sensor can capture more light. With the same number of pixels, the pixels on a larger sensor therefore receive more light per pixel. In practice, this is reflected in a better dynamic range, nicer tone reproduction and less noise, especially at higher sensitivities. However, the differences are not always so visible. In sufficient light, the differences are small. Of greater influence is the quality of the lenses. A larger sensor with a mediocre lens will produce a poorer image than a small sensor with an excellent lens. If you choose 35mm, because of its image quality, accept that it comes with good lenses. These not only cost more, but are also bigger and heavier. If you find that an objection, look at an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds camera (by Panasonic or OM-systems). These also offer very good image quality with the right lenses, but are a bit more compact and easier to carry around, especially if you have a few more lenses.

Sony A7 II – Small-frame quality

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A genuine small-screen system camera for less than 1,0765 dollars? Yes, you really can. For that, of course, you don’t buy the latest model. The Sony A7 II is already several years old and Sony is already on generation IV of the A7. What do you notice about the A7 II’s age? The viewfinder and screen have a resolution you find mostly on entry-level cameras these days, and the autofocus is not as good as on the latest models. But the A7 II does have a fine 24-megapixel small-frame sensor and was the first Sony small-frame camera with image stabilisation in the body. If you want maximum image quality and speed and state-of-the-art autofocus are slightly less important, then this is a fine choice. Do invest in good lenses to get the most out of the sensor. Shortly after the introduction of the A7 II, these were the best lenses for this camera.




  • Good 24 mp small-frame sensor
  • Wide choice of lenses
  • Built-in image stabilisation
  • Low noise at high sensitivities
  • Excellent dynamic range
  • 2,36 mp finder
  • Small battery
  • Sony’s old menu system

Fujifilm X-S10 – Compact superb

productshot Fujifilm X S10

De Fujifilm X-S10 is the smaller brother of Fujifilm’s former flagship model, the X-T4 (which was recently succeeded by the X-T5). The X-S10 is a versatile, feature-packed APS-C camera with a 26-megapixel sensor that offers excellent image quality. The camera is not only good for photography, but also offers excellent video capabilities. A big advantage of Fujifilm is that this brand does not make small-frame cameras. The APS-C models really are a full-fledged, self-contained system and you can see this in the lens choice which is larger than other brands. Meanwhile, a number of Tamron lenses are even available in Fujifilm’s X mount. There aren’t many reasons not to choose this camera. The autofocus is good, but there are a few cameras that are even better in this respect, and the camera is not as weatherproof as Fujifilm’s more expensive models. That’s all there is to it.




  • Good image quality from 26mp sensor
  • Good quality and features video
  • Effective image stabilisation
  • Small body with great grip
  • Tilt and rotate screen
  • Large choice of lenses for APS-C

  • Not weatherproof
  • AF tracking could be better
  • Limited functionality of touch-sensitive screen

Canon EOS R10 – Fast, faster, fastest

De Canon EOS R10 was Canon’s cheapest APS-C system camera when introduced. Since then, another model has emerged under the R10, but if the R10 fits within your budget, this is really the better choice. The EOS R10 has a modern 24 megapixel APS-C sensor that lets you shoot at up to 23 frames per second and film in 4K at 60 frames per second. So the EOS R10 is fast and so is its autofocus. If you are looking for a camera especially to stand along the line, the R10 is a very good choice in this class. The choice of lenses in APS-C is not yet very large at Canon, but the 35mm lenses also fit, although they are of course often a bit larger and more expensive than strictly necessary for this camera. The EOS R10 also more or less marked the end of APS-C cameras with an M bayonet. Cameras with that mount, such as the EOS M50 II are still for sale, and there is nothing wrong with those cameras at all. But if you want a system with a future, you need the R10.




  • Compact and lightweight
  • New 24-megapixel sensor
  • Photos at up to 23 frames per second
  • 4K60p video
  • Built-in flash
  • Not weatherproof
  • No built-in image stabilisation

Panasonic Lumix G9 – Hybrid

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The G9 can also be fitted with an additional grip with controls for vertical position, for when things don’t have to be so compact.

Panasonic and Olympus, which now goes by the name OM-System, are the founders of the Micro Four Thirds system. That has the smallest sensor of all common system cameras. That can be a disadvantage for photographers who shoot a lot in low light. At the same time, it is also an advantage for photographers who are often on the road and want to take a reasonable amount of equipment with them, without the need for a large bag. Lenses for this system are generally really smaller than for APS-C and 35mm, especially if you like to use some longer focal lengths. De Lumix G9 is an interesting camera not only for that reason. The Lumix G9 is perhaps one of the most solid and weatherproof cameras you can get in this class. It is also one of the cameras with the most extensive video capabilities. The camera has been on the market for a bit longer (which is why the price is so competitive now) and Panasonic has added quite a few features to it over time via firmware updates. As a result, the G9 offers many of the video capabilities you’ll also find on the GH5. The Lumix G9 does still use Panasonics DFD autofocus system, which is less than ideal for sports photography, for example. The sensor has 20 megapixels, which allows for excellent results. But if that’s not enough, the G9 also has a high res mode that uses pixel shift to take 80 megapixel shots.

TESTRESULTS Panasonic Lumix G9:



  • Rapid continuous AND single AF
  • Largest viewfinder of all cameras tested
  • 40 & 80 megapixel HighRezz mode
  • 4K en 6K photo modus
  • 2 (UHS 2!!) SD card slots
  • Dust- and splash-proof & freezeproof and still a freely rotatable display
  • 4K 60p en Full HD 180p video
  • in-body image stabilisation combined with lens stabilisation
  • Night mode, AF joystick, LCD screen on top of camera
  • silent mechanical shutter
  • fastest shutter speed (with electronic shutter) of 1/32,000!
  • High res mode only applicable from tripod for a static subject
  • Viewfinder brightness is not separately adjustable
  • 100 ISO is the lowest ISO setting
  • Above 6400 ISO, it is better to opt for a full-frame sensor due to signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range

Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV – Could hardly be smaller

OM-D, E-M10 Mark 4, product images

De Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV like the Panasonic Lumix G9, is a Micro Four Thirds camera and like the G9, the sensor has 20 megapixels. The image quality you can achieve with it is fine. Only in very low light, you will start to see some difference with cameras with larger sensors because you will get a bit more noise. But the difference in image quality between Micro Four Thirds and APS-C (or even 35mm) is much smaller than the difference between the quality of these Olympus and smartphone cameras. If you’re looking for a system camera to really take better pictures than you can with your phone, then this Olympus is a great choice. All the more so because it is one of the lightest and smallest system cameras you can buy and because there are also a lot of really good and nice small lenses available for it. With the 14-42mm pancake zoom, this camera almost fits in your pocket and weighs less than 500 grams. Despite its compact size, it is packed with extra features. For example, the E-M10 IV has very good built-in image stabilisation, allowing you to work handheld with much slower shutter speeds in low light than is possible with many other brands. This allows you to shoot at lower sensitivities, which in turn reduces noise enormously. The screen folds down for selfies and vlogging. There are downsides, too. For instance, this is the only Olympus / OM-system camera that is not extra weatherproof and it is also the only model that still works exclusively with contrast detection for autofocus. This is not a problem for a lot of photography, as long as you are not trying to capture fast action. Since Panasonic and Olympus / OM-System share the same bayonet and a lot of other brands also make lenses for this mount, the range of nice lenses for this camera is huge.




  • Small and lightweight
  • Good built-in image stabilisation
  • 20 megapixel sensor
  • Improved autofocus
  • Extensive connectivitei
  • Selfie screen
  • Charging via USB

  • Not extra weatherproof
  • No phase-detection AF

Sony A6400 – Step into the E-system

If you are looking for an APS-C camera, then the Sony A6400 not the first camera we would recommend. Not that there is a whole lot wrong with it. The A6400 is a bit older, but it still has a good 24-megapixel sensor and an excellent autofocus system. Possibly only the EOS R10’s autofocus is slightly better in this class. The A6400’s screen can only be flipped over, but is not rotatable. So it is less flexible than, say, the screen of the G9 or the R10, but you can use it for selfies. The camera is also lightweight and quite fast. However, the A6400 has no front dial and it still has Sony’s old menu system (like the A7 II) which takes quite a bit of getting used to. Also, the body has no image stabilisation. Fortunately, you can partially overcome that by choosing lenses with stabilisation. But many new lenses don’t get stabilisation because the new cameras have it built in. So that limits the choice somewhat. Here, though, is a list of lenses we tested and recommend for the A6400. The main reason to choose an A6400 is if you already know you want to continue in the Sony system. After a time when few new APS-C cameras or lenses were released by Sony and it seemed like Sony was focusing all its attention on 35mm, some nice new lenses have recently come out and a new high-end APS-C body is also coming. This is good news.




  • Good 24 mp APS-C sensor
  • Rapid autofocus
  • Large choice of lenses
  • No built-in image stabilisation
  • No front setting wheel
  • Complicated menu system
  • Small Battery

Sony ZV-E10 – For vlogging

De Sony ZV-E10 is a camera we do not recommend for photographers. We find the lack of a viewfinder too much of a loss for that alone. But it becomes an entirely different story if you are not looking for a camera for photography (although you can do that quite well with it), but for filming, or more precisely: for vlogging. As a film camera, for example, the Lumix G9 is certainly as good, and as a still camera, the G9 is really much better. But the ZV-E10 is a great choice for content creators who like being in front of the camera themselves. The microphone has 3 capsules making it directional. The fine autofocus ensures that all your shots are well in focus and with a special function like Product Showcase, you can easily shift the focus from the vlogger in the picture to something you want to show to your audience. The camera is just under 1,000 euros with the 16-50mm standard zoom, but if you are serious about vlogging, you will actually need a lens with a bit more wide angle. And that does mean an extra expense.




  • Lightweight and compact
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Rotating and tilting screen
  • Special microphones
  • Useful vlogging tools
  • No viewfinder
  • No image stabilisation on the sensor
  • No touch for menus
  • Crop when using active stabilisation
  • No face/eye recognition in 4K
  • 8 bit 4:2:0 video
  • No UHS II SD cards


Seven very different top models for less than 1,0765 dollars

So yes, it really is possible: a good, modern system camera for less than 1,0765 dollars. Some of these models are even well below that and are already available with a lens for that amount. The choice is not only large, but also very diverse, from a specialist vlog camera to a slightly older 35mm model that still delivers excellent image quality, from a super-compact model that almost fits in your pocket to a camera that you can put a vertical grip underneath for the ultimate ergonomics (and to impress firmly).


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