Last updated: May 12, 2017

Entry-level interchangeable lens cameras have never been so affordable or more capable. There are plenty of choices around the $500 mark that will take better pictures than most cameras ever made.

They don't always have the very latest sensors or the premium build quality of their more expensive midrange siblings - and their controls tend to err on the side of simple, rather than extensive - but they tend to be excellent value and comparatively easy to use.

All of these cameras - both mirrored and mirrorless - produce good image quality, offer respectable performance and can record Full HD video. The majority have Wi-Fi to make it easier to share images to a smartphone. Many of them are targeted toward beginners, with 'help' systems that point out the best settings to use for various shooting situations.

Those unfamiliar with DSLR and mirrorless cameras may be wondering what advantages and disadvantages each brings to the table. DSLRs are larger cameras, with a more 'traditional' shape and control layout, as well as an optical viewfinder. While they're great for shooting stills, they're not as well suited to video capture, and focusing using live view tends to be sluggish. Mirrorless cameras are typically smaller and are very capable video shooters, and live view focusing is much faster than most DSLRs. Two negatives about mirrorless cameras are that battery life isn't nearly as good as a DSLR and - especially true in this class - they often lack a viewfinder.

Let's take a look at several entry-level ILCs, with US MSRPs in the $500 region, kit lens included: