What are the best Budget Sony Cameras for 2021?
Let’s take a look at the best low budget Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras for photography and video in 2021.
Sony have massively increased their range of APS-C size mirrorless cameras over the last couple of years by introducing the alpha 6600 6400 and 6100 respectively.
Before that the last flagship releases were the a6500 and a6300 back in 2016. These are all the highest end APS-C Sony cameras on the market and if you can afford them, their 4k capabilities 120 frames per second support make buying them a no brainer right? Well maybe, because the high end price point especially on the newer of these cameras, can be a real sticking point for beginners and experienced users alike.
With prices ranging from around £650/$700 for the a6100 up to an eye watering £1300/$1400 for the a6600 and that’s without a lens included.
For creators, who like me, are on a budget then these options are out of reach.
So what cameras do provide the best performance and low cost? Let’s find out.
Get the Sony a5000 on Amazon *
So let’s start with the cheapest camera on the list and the oldest the Sony a5000. With a 20.1megapixel sensor this camera its the lowest resolution sensor on this video, but is still capable of 1080p video it doesn’t support either 120fps or even 60fps.
It has a 3 inch flip screen perfect for vlogging, but has not view finder so you’re relying on the monitor only. There are decent autofocus features such face auto focus. But the lack of f 3.5mm audio jack input, old autofocus system and no silent shooting are drawbacks for this camera and are worth considering before purchase.
But the main reason you’d be getting this camera is the price. As this is an older and now discontinued camera the price is still listed as around £450. But second hand is where you should be looking for this one. For as low as £75, with no lens, makes this the ultra low budget option. But with a lot of drawbacks I’d only recommend this camera as a static camera for streaming or as an improved webcam.
I’m thinking of picking one of these up and doing a full test, let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see.
Get the Sony a5000 on Amazon *
The Sony a5100 was the successor to the a5000 and despite being released at the back end of 2014 is still in production. And it fixed some of the big issues of the a5000, 1080p video at 60fps and 24megapixel sensor make this a more tempting proposition for video and photography alike.
I’ve been using this camera for around 4 years and still use it for most of my videos. Its ultra portable, has a flip up screen and touch controls for focusing.
The XAVC-S video format means you can get 50 Mbps data rate which provides more detail and control highlights better than the other video format AVCHD. This alone is a massive plus for video creators.
For a detailed explanation of these videos formats and their pros and cons, check out this video I made about it here.
So the a5100 isn’t without flaws, its getting old, does not support 4k and has a frustrating issue of overheating when recording video.
It’s also missing af 3.5mm audio jack input, has an old autofocus system and no silent shooting.
So isn’t perfect and its new price is around £400/$400 but again, the second hand market is the place for this camera where you could pick it up for as little as £200/$200 which is an absolute steal. This camera as served me well for Youtube videos, and photography alike.
Next up is another hugely popular older camera and in fact in 2016 was named the biggest selling mirrorless camera of all time. And I can understand why. Despite having almost identical technology as the a5100 it offers more features such as customisable buttons and more expansive image settings it makes the a6000 a great budget pick for budding photographers.
It also boasts an electronic viewfinder in addition to the monitor. I find its ease of use an upgrade on the a5100 due to its extra customisation.
It supports 60fps 1080p video so if 4k is a deal breaker for you then a6000 wont be a good fit. But I find it more than good enough for video and easy to use for photography with good picture quality.
Similar to the a5000 and a5100 the lack of 3.5mm audio jack input and old autofocus system and no silent shooting are disappointing and show this cameras age.
The a6000 has recently been discontinued, being superseded by cameras such as the a6100. And like others on this list still has a high price from new, at around $450/£450 but, and I’ll leave links to them in description, but you’re best option will be the second hand market. I bought mine on Ebay at the start of 2020 for £275 with the kit lens. You can definitely find the versatile camera for a reasonable price.
Finally we’re going to discuss the newest camera on this list 2019s Sony a6100. By far the most powerful camera on this list. Supporting 4k video at 30fps and an impressive 120fps at 1080p means that you have a lot more options when it comes to video quality and slow motion. It has more autofocus points making for faster and smoother autofocus as well as Animal eye AF for tracking focus on an animal’s eye.
It has silent shooting a 3.5mm jack input showing that Sony has learned from some of the big complaints from its earlier cameras to include really useful features.
It also has 180 degree flip screen which the a6000 was missing making it the perfect combination of the previous cameras. So the obvious choice right? Well yes if you can afford it. At £650 $700 new its much more expensive that the previous cameras. And as its so new there is simply no second hand market for this camera yet.
So in fact even though the new price of the a6300 is higher than the a6100, as its older it has an ok second hand price at available for around £450 $500.
So A good few options and in my opinion you should only buy the camera that’s right for your needs. For new photographers the a6000 is still great, its a great all rounder and my budget pick for photography.
For video Id go with the a5100, its cheap compact and has the flip up screen meaning you can get started vlogging straight away. Just beware of the overheating which is sometimes an issue.
If you’re totally strapping for cash then the a5000 is an option but id avoid unless you’re happy with the compromise on quality.
If 4k is a must then its toss up between the a6100 and the a6300, if it was me I’d shell out for a brand new a6100 which will most likely be my next camera but its massive price tag puts it out of what I would call a budget range.
* DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you.