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10 Best Mid-Range Cameras in 2021 [For Every Skill Level]

If you want to upgrade your beginner-level digital camera or you’re just getting your first-ever camera, it’s recommended to go for a good mid-range option. Jumping in the flagship waters may seem like a good idea, but chances are you don’t need all the extra features, or maybe they simply won’t fit in your budget.

This is an excellent time to get a mid-range DSLR or Mirrorless camera as companies are pushing some excellent features in their under $1000 offerings. Capabilities like recording 4K video, super-fast autofocus, a boatload of Manual configurations, etc., are now mainstream.

Even the sensors themselves have improved rapidly with improved low-light capabilities, better dynamic range (best for real estate photography), higher MP counts, and more. However, more MP doesn’t necessarily make a sensor better and Sensor-shift stabilization hasn’t made it to the mid-range just yet.

As you’re reading this, it’s evident that you’re having difficulty deciding on the best mid-range camera for yourself. To solve your dilemma, I’ve handpicked some ahead of the curve devices. These don’t just come at reasonable pricing, the price range varies in a wide range, so there’s something for everyone.

Best Mid-Range Cameras in 2021

To keep things fair, I’ve taken a large selection of DSLR & Mirrorless cameras and evaluated them aspect by aspect. After a tight elimination process, I’ve finally selected the top 10 cameras that I think do justice in terms of good features and their respective price points.

I’ve also taken user versatility into consideration. That means regardless of the fact if you’re buying your first camera, or coming from a more basic one, or getting a secondary device to complement your current setup, you should find at least one device fitting your exact needs.

  • Type: Full Frame Mirrorless
  • Sensor Resolution: 26.2 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 250 Shots
  • Weight: 1.07 lbs

Canon has also taken the mid-range segment by storm with the release of the Canon EOS RP. It has a lot of the same features as the flagship EOS R but, it costs under a thousand dollars and it’s still a Full-frame Mirrorless Camera. It also has great autofocus for video and it can take up to 250 photos on a single charge.

Design & Build

The EOS RP is slightly smaller & lighter compared to the regular EOS R. That makes it slightly easier to carry and it also has a 3-inch LCD touch display that can flip around. The 0.39-inch OLED viewfinder is excellent in quality so, you won’t really miss the optical viewfinder if you’re used to it on a regular DSLR camera.

Sensor & Photography

There is a new 26.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor on the EOS RP. This sensor is great with fast dual-pixel autofocus, excellent dynamic range, and improved low-light performance. That is a huge step-up in the Canon mid-range segment. The new DIGIC 8 processor is also playing a huge part here.

Video

Alongside, taking super crispy photos, the RP can also take excellent quality videos. The device does support up to 4K and although 24fps wasn’t an option during launch, Canon has pushed a firmware update enabling the feature. So, right now you can shoot 4K at 25fps or 24fps (23.98fps) and 1080P up to 60fps.

Is this camera for you?

If you’re in the market for a mirrorless camera and you can max out on that $1000-ish price, don’t look anywhere else. It packs so many capabilities in a body that only weighs 1.07 lbs and it has the best video quality in this entire segment.

Pros
  • Excellent quality 4K videos
  • Great auto-focus & dynamic range
  • Good low-light performance
  • Lightweight & easy to carry around
  • Full-frame on a budget
Cons
  • 4K 60FPS is not supported
  • No C-log support
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Resolution: 32.5 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 305 shots
  • Weight: 0.89 lbs

The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is one of the best compact mirrorless cameras on the market. It shoots amazing photos & videos, shares similarities with the flagships, and it lasts up to 305 shots on a single charge. If you’re in the market for something compact that can deliver high-end performance, this is one of the best available.

Design & Build

The design is pretty similar to the regular M6 but, Canon did tweak it slightly to make it look more subtle. The does feel premium in hand and it is way more sturdy compared to the M50. It does have a flip-up display so if you’re used to the side-flip system, this one doesn’t do that. The optical viewfinder is also excellent.

Sensor & Photography

Canon’s 32.5MP CMOS sensor is actually an APS-C unit which means the image isn’t going to be as cropped as micro four third type sensors. The capabilities are also great with good dynamic range, fast autofocus, controlled noise levels in low-light, accurate color reproduction, and good detail retention.

Video

Video is another delight as although the device doesn’t do 4K at 60 fps and goes up to 30 fps only, it does support 1080P at 120 fps so, you can capture some smooth slow-motion stuff. Anyway, the overall video output is really great and it’s definitely one of the best devices under $1000 for video.

Is this camera for you?

Alongside being able to carry it in smaller spaces, it is also pretty light at just 0.89 pounds. So, if you do find the lens options from Canon, suiting your needs, The EOS M6 Mark II is one of the best compact mid-range cameras you can get.

Pros
  • Crispy photos with great colors and details
  • Good quality 4K videos
  • Support for 120 fps slow-motion in 1080P
  • Fast autofocusing
  • Using an APS-C sensor instead of 4/3 ones
Cons
  • Doesn’t do 60 fps in 4K
  • The battery life could still have been better
  • Sensor Resolution: 20.9 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 350 shots
  • Weight: 1.66 lbs

The house of Nikon offers an exceptional mid-level camera that is great on all fronts. The Nikon D7500 offers some great improvements in the metering section and has also increased FPS to make sure that your camera never misses a moment and every capture comes out sharp and crisp. The battery life of 950 shots is equivalent to around 3 hours of shooting.

Design & Build

The design of this mid-range camera is compact yet well-spaced. It is fully black in color with a small red line that steals the show. It sports a 3.2-inch touch screen LCD which can be tilted.

The buttons are well aligned on the left and leave the right hand free for grip. The mini LCD for showing config marks it as a well designed mid-range DSLR.

Sensor & Capabilities

It sports an Expeed 5 sensor and a CMOS resolution of 20.9 MP. This ensures great low light capturing. The ISO limit is also upto 1640000 but the safe limit is 51200. This is incredibly useful for shooting in low light and we found it to be a delight while shooting some videos and good photos at night. The burst mode is great with a high rate of 8 FPS. We tried to capture some shots of children playing around and it did the job well and fast.

The focus area of Nikon D7500 is wide with its 51 focus points. This is a very important factor to note while choosing the best mid-level DSLR as most of the beginner cameras would sport 9 or 18 focus points and limit the sharper focus. The camera also boasts of a 180000-pixel RGB sensor that makes the metering top notch and capable of detecting human faces.

Is this camera for you?

In case you want a good DSLR that can do some really good photography and you don’t mind the slightly higher 1.66 pounds weight, you can definitely go for the Nikon D7500.

Pros
  • High ISO (1640000)
  • 8 FPS burst mode
  • 51 focus points
  • Wireless connectivity
  • 4K recording
Cons
  • Tilt only screen
  • Heavy
  • Sensor Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 420 shots
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

No one can beat Sony when it comes to offering the best quality images. The company is known for building world-class sensors and the Sony Alpha A6100 is yet another brilliant offering from them.

The battery life of this powerful DSLR is 420 shots which should see you through for an hour or two without any hiccups. You can manage one hour of video recording with this one too.

Design & Build

The design is premium and modern. It has a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that can be tilted 180 degrees. The body is made of plastic but it does not feel cheap.

There is a rubber coating on it to ensure that it would be the perfect companion for hours to hold. The buttons are all on the left and this is the case with major mirrorless cameras that we have seen. Overall, the design is decent and there is nothing to boast or complain about.

Sensor & Capabilities

The Bionz X processor with the 24.2 MP resolution matches the caliber and the performance of a Sony product and does give out excellent pictures. The processor is fast enough to give you a high burst rate of 11 FPS. That is something to note and a definite upgrade from any beginner camera that would give around 3 to 5 FPS.

The budget-friendly camera from Sony excels in the focusing front too. It has an astonishing 425 focus points that would leave no corner untouched. There is a built-in technology that tracks human eyes and animals by itself.

Other than this, we were pretty impressed with the QR code technology that allowed us to quickly transfer the photos without any hassle. The operation of transferring was completed in a matter of a few minutes.

Conclusion

The Alpha A6100 weighs 1.1 lbs and it seems to be a fair amount of weight for a mirrorless camera. This model comes with a one year warranty. The camera is an overall winner but it does not offer some major features like a weatherproof body or a rugged design that others do.

Pros
  • 425 focus points
  • 11 FPS
  • QR transfer
  • Excellent image quality
Cons
  • No in-body stabilization
  • Charger not provided

The competition and the age-old debate of Canon vs Nikon seem to be never-ending and Canon 90D is proof of it.

  • Sensor Resolution: 32.5 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 1300 shots
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs

It is a worthy competitor to the Nikon D7500 and has some exceptional features that would make you really confused with these two options. The jaw-dropping battery life of 1300 shots makes it a companion for 4 hours without any sweat.

Design & Build

Personally, I love the way Canon has a user-friendly design and the simple feel of it. This camera lives up to those expectations and gives us a nice and simple layout. The buttons are well spaced and none of the hands feel crowded with buttons like the Nikon D7500.

There is a joystick for focus which reduces the focusing time and we loved this small addition. There is a 3 inch LCD touch screen which makes operating it even easier. Overall, the design has impressed and it has beaten its competitor by a large margin.

Sensor & Capabilities

This best value for money DSLR has a DIGIC DV 8 sensor which is the latest from Canon and combines that with a whopping 32.5 MP CMOS sensor to get some exceptional results. The processing is fast enough and that can be proved with its high 10 FPS burst rate. It is the best we have seen until now.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF is really powerful in the focusing front and it has an intelligent focusing system that tracks moving objects and eyes in a jiffy.

There are 45 focus points to select from. This ensures that a major portion of the screen is covered and you have no trouble getting an excellent sharp image by focusing at the right place.

There is an electronic curtain technology that allows you to capture the images at an incredible shutter speed of 1/8000 which would ensure that you get the best images with absolutely no shake or jerk. 

Conclusion

This mid-price Canon camera weighs 1.32 lbs which is light considering the DSLR range. It comes with a one year warranty. Being an incredible competitor to the Nikon D7500, later wins only marginally to it. This one is a pure breeze for any canon lover and a must-have.

Pros
  • Jaw-dropping battery life
  • 10 FPS burst rate
  • High megapixel- 32.5
  • Excellent design
Cons
  • Minor Buffering when changing images and videos
  • No USB charging
  • Sensor Resolution: 20.3 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 420 shots
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II can be a great alternative to the camera line which is usually dominated by Nikon and Canon. It is a promising camera that has been a popular choice for users and critics alike even after the launch of its successor.

The DSLR sports a great battery life of 420 shots which would easily last for around 2 hours of continuous shooting.

Design & Build

The design of the Mark II is the perfect blend of style and simplicity. There is a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that is capable of moving in all the directions. What stands out for this attractive camera is its impeccable build quality.

It has a magnesium and alloy body which is sturdy enough to withstand any amount of jerks or shocks that might be put on it. The button spacing is wide and you have a certain joy using this camera.

Sensor & Capabilities

This mid-range digital camera holds a Truepic VIII processor and that is coupled with a 20.3 MP resolution CMOS sensor. It is powerful enough to give you crisp and nice shots in low light conditions. It has fully utilized mirrorless technology and gives you a continuous drive of 60 fps. It has dual fast autofocus and 5 axis stabilization to ensure that you get the best photos without any movements.

The focusing front of this camera is strong enough to detect any movements. It has an array of 121 phase-detection points that spot and track your subject. It has a pro capture mode that captures a buffer image series before you click the button.

After using the feature, you can click the button and have all the 35 frames before the frame you clicked and the one that you wished to shall appear in front of you.

Conclusion

The Mark II weighs 1.1 lbs which is the lightest of all. This model comes with a one year warranty. It is indeed a good mid-range camera that becomes an excellent choice for people who like Olympus and would like to try something new.

Pros
  • 121 AF points
  • Pro capture mode
  • 60fps burst mode
  • Light and compact
  • Weatherproof design
Cons
  • The menu system feels outdated
  • Slow subject tracking in AF
  • Sensor Resolution: 24.1 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 350 shots
  • Weight: 0.98 lbs

The Canon EOS Rebel is an excellent DSLR in the lower mid-range segment. It shoots decent quality photos & videos, has good autofocusing tech built-in, and lasts up to 350 shots on a single charge with Live-view shooting using the display. If you’re looking for a compact DSLR, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 might just be it.

Design & Build

Design elements on the SL3 are pretty similar to most budget DSLRs from Canon. The ports are located on the side and that does include a 3.5 Microphone Jack. The battery & the storage can be inserted from the bottom. The build quality is nothing special but, it doesn’t feel cheap either.

Sensor & Photography

Canon has used a 24.1MP APS-C type sensor and it is kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, the image quality is pretty good for the money. Details are well retained, colors are vibrant, and thanks to the dual-pixel autofocus, the camera can grab & shift focus pretty fast. Even the dynamic range is somewhat okay for the price.

Video

On the other hand, it does struggle with video. Yes, there is 4K 30fps video recording but, you instantly lose the dual-pixel autofocus and the overall video quality is somewhat sub-par. Of course, the slow-motion video also isn’t supported. So, in case you are planning to shoot a lot of videos, maybe consider something else.

Is this camera for you?

If you are in the market for a compact DSLR and you’re mainly considering it for photography, then the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 can be a really good option for you. It produces good-looking photos & it’s really easy to carry around. In case video is a major consideration, maybe look into slightly more premium options.

Pros
  • Compact & easy to carry
  • Vibrant & sharp images
  • Microphone input
  • 3.0-inch flip LCD display
  • Dual-pixel autofocus
Cons
  • Sub-par video quality
  • No headphone-out jack
  • Sensor Resolution: 16 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 360 shots
  • Weight: 0.9 lbs

If you’re in the market for a compact mirrorless camera but, you can’t go higher than $500, the Panasonic LUMIX G7 is going to be a great choice for you. It shoots crispy images, 4K 30 fps videos, and it can click up to 360 images on a single charge. 

Design & Build

The device comes in a super-compact form factor and can be carried around quite easily. The grip might feel slightly smaller in case you have big hands but, it’s not a huge issue. The build quality is also pretty great for the price. This one does have a flip LCD screen & the OLED viewfinder is pretty good too.

Sensor & Photography

The 16MP Live MOS micro four-thirds type sensor is pretty capable. It manages to maintain a reasonably good dynamic range, decent autofocusing, and the images & videos look pretty good as well. It does however perform great in low-light but, that’s one compromise you have to make in this price range.

Video

Coming to video recording, the Lumix G7 does shoot up to 4K at 30 fps. If you want to get 60fps, you have to drop the resolution down to 1080P. There is also no 120fps support so, if you want to shoot slow motion, this isn’t the camera for you. The video quality is pretty good for the money.

Is this camera for you?

When it comes to being a quality-focused mirrorless camera, the Panasonic Lumix G7 doesn’t really stand out that much. However, providing great features for a reasonably lower price and being lightweight at just 0.9 lbs, that’s where it shines. So, if you’re on a tight budget, the Lumix G7 is going to be a great option for you.

Pros
  • Great image & video quality for the price
  • Flip LCD screen
  • Shoots 4K at 30fps
  • Decent battery life
  • Compact & easy to carry around
Cons
  • Below average low-light performance
  • Doesn’t do 4K at 60 fps
  • Sensor Resolution: 20.1 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 410 shots
  • Weight: 0.64 lbs

If you’d like to carry something even smaller and you want to use it for vlogging or shooting YouTube or product videos, the Sony ZV-1 is the best camera you can buy right now. It is an excellent point & shoot with a flip-display and some excellent features for creators. It can also take up to 410 photos on a single charge.

Design & Build

Sony has really taken a major step forward when it comes to the ZV-1’s design. The device looks like a hybrid between Sony’s compact Mirrorless Cameras and Point & Shoots. They have even included a 3-inch flip touch-screen that can be used for tap-to focus while shooting videos. The build quality is also great.

Sensor & Photography

The 20.1MP sensor is a massive improvement in the mid-range point & shoot segment. It has great dynamic range, excellent detail retention in photos & videos, great color reproduction, fast autofocus, and good low-light performance.

Video

Video is the major focus for the ZV-1 and it brings some jaw-dropping features like 4K HDR, S-log2 & 3, Super-slow motion, and a built-in ND filter, to the mid-range. It is a great vlogging camera with a flip screen that supports touch to focus.

Is this camera for you?

If you need those cool high-end features in an ultra-compact form factor & you don’t care about switching lenses, the Sony ZV-1 is the best point & shoot camera available under $1000. The 0.64 lbs weight makes it super-easy to carry and you can slide it in your pocket.

Pros
  • 4K HDR video recording
  • Flip LCD display with tap-to-focus
  • Built-in ND filter
  • RAW video recording with Slog2 & Slog3
  • Detailed & color accurate photos
Cons
  • Doesn’t do 4K at 60 fps
  • Sensor Resolution: 20.1 MP
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 320 shots
  • Weight: 0.67 lbs

In case you prefer Canon’s cameras instead, the GX7 Mark III is the closest competitor to the ZV-1. This is also one of the video focused point & shoots out there and it has also borrowed a lot of features from it’s more advanced siblings. For photos, it’ll do up to 320 shots on a single charge.

Design & Build

The GX7 III has a very similar design approach to Canon’s compact mirrorless cameras. It is almost exactly the same in dimensions as the ZV-1 but it’s around 2mm thinner. The build quality is pretty good and it does feel solid in the hand. The 3-inch display is a top-flip type, so attaching a microphone may block the view.

Sensor & Photography

Canon has also gone with a 20.1MP CMOS sensor and it performs really well. The photos & videos retain a lot of detail with accurate colors, autofocusing is fast, low-light performance is pretty great, and it even has good dynamic range.

Video

When it comes to video recording, Canon has put all their cards on the table. It can shoot 4K up to 30 fps as well as 1080P up to 120 fps. So, you can shoot slow motion videos and even timelapses in case you’re into that. However, it does not support HDR or RAW video recording.

Is this camera for you?

If you’re getting the Canon GX7 Mark III, get it for Canon’s color science and the enhanced vlogging capabilities. If you are looking for professional grade features or RAW video recording, Sony is offering a better deal at a similar price point. At 0.67 lbs, it is also pretty easy to carry around.

Pros
  • 4K 30 fps video recording
  • Good color reproduction
  • Great dynamic range
  • Slow motion video at 120 fps
  • Fast autofocusing
Cons
  • No C-log (RAW video) support
  • Can’t do 60 fps in 4K

Frequently Asked Questions

What basic features to look for in a modern Mid-range camera?

If you’re buying a mid-range camera right now, you need to have a couple of things in mind. In case you’re a photographer, make sure that the camera has a good sensor and is compatible with the specific lenses you’re gonna use.

If you’re going to shoot videos, fast autofocus is recommended, and things like good manual controls and the capability to shoot 4K in at least 24fps & 30fps are required. After this the more features you can get the money, the better.

What Mid-range camera setup works best for Vlogging?

To make good vlogs, you need a compact & lightweight camera that can shoot 4K, has fast autofocusing, good dynamic range, and decent low-light capabilities. With that, you can also grab a good Wide-angle lens for the best results.

Are Mid-range cameras good enough for making YouTube videos?

Mid-range cameras are more than good enough for making YouTube videos. Just make sure that they support a good variety of Prime, Wide-angle & Zoom lenses, can shoot in 4K, and having good manual video controls would be a plus.

Should I just save some more money and go for a flagship camera instead?

That strictly depends on what you’re going to use your camera for. As mentioned earlier, if your sole purpose is to do semi-professional photography or just making YouTube videos, you don’t really need a Flagship camera.

Now, in case you’re aiming for the top-notch stuff, like professional Wildlife, Sports, Portrait, Wedding photography, or making professional-grade films or documentaries you should invest in a high-end flagship camera or a cinema camera.

Can I get a Mid-range Cinema Camera for making professional-grade videos?

If you’re in that mid-range under thousand dollar-ish budget and you absolutely need a cinema camera, you can add a couple hundred dollars to that and get the
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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. It can shoot amazing cinema-grade footage without breaking your wallet.

Verdict

It may have been clear by now that the mid-range segment currently has some excellent options and if you’re looking to buy a new camera, this is a great time to do so. Considering you made it this far, you probably have a personal favorite in mind but, in case this still seems a bit confusing, I’ve simplified the selection process in the list below:

  • If you’re looking for the overall best mid-range camera for both photo & video, it’s definitely the Canon EOS RP.
  • In case you want a DSLR and your main focus is photography, get the Nikon D7500 or the Canon 90D if you are indeed planning to shoot a lot of videos.
  • If compact mirrorless cameras are your thing but, you do not want to compromise on quality, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the Sony A6100 are your best options.
  • If you are looking for something under $500, get the Panasonic LUMIX G7.

I hope that cleared up all your doubts and you should now have a clear idea of what camera fits you the best. In case you found this article useful, perhaps you would also like to explore more.