Five entry-level camera and lens kits under $1,000 to step up to

If you’re looking for a camera to take your photography and content creation to the next level, but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, check out these camera and lens kits that cost less than $1,000!

Smartphone cameras are great. They’re already part of a device that can easily slip into your pocket and are easy to use. Still, as good as cameras in smartphones are, they still cannot hold a candle to standalone interchangeable lens cameras.

Most people are afraid to start looking at traditional cameras because they think they will do a massive amount of damage to their bank accounts. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. You can now get camera and lens kits that cost less than $1,000 that perform wonders.

All the camera and lens kits listed below feature brilliant sensors, exceptional autofocus systems, EVFs, and some even have IBIS! The amount of tech you can get for your money today is quite extraordinary. So, if you’re in the market for a new camera that will leave your smartphone camera in the dust, check out the camera and lens kits below. They’ll seriously impress you.

Nikon Z 50 with 16-50mm — Exceptional low-light performance and much more

Nikon has one of the finest entry-level camera an the market in the Z 50 with the excellent 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3. This APS-C camera features a 20.9-megapixel sensor that produces some of the nicest images I have seen in a sub $1,000 camera. This is especially true in low-light situations. The Nikon Z 50 boasts high ISO performance that’s second to none. I’ve used this camera at ISO 12,800 and beyond and have not been able to fault this camera’s performance. It’s exceptional.

The Nikon Z 50 has some of the nicest ergonomics out of all the cameras listed here too. The control layout, the bright EVF, and crisp LCD make the camera easy to use. The 209-point autofocus system is good enough for most. The 11 frames per second burst mode will help you capture any action, and the 4K video output is excellent. The 16-50mm kit lens — which offers a 24-75mm equivalent focal range — is solid too. The lens is sharp, produces nice colors, and produces decent bokeh in the right situations. The lens even has optical stability. It’s a winner. This is a solid camera and lens kit to grow with.

Fujifilm X-T30 II with XC 15-45mm — Retro looks, modern performance

The Fujifilm X-T30 II with the XC 15-45mm (23-69mm equivalent) lens is a tiny package that delivers big performance. This camera and lens kit, which costs less than $1,000, offers both style and performance thanks to its retro aesthetic and the powerful 26.1-megapixel X-Trans APS-C sensor packed inside the small body. Amazingly, the X-T30 uses the same sensor found in the X-T4. You’ll be able to create incredible images with ease thanks to the 18 film simulations that are baked right into the camera.

The X-T30 is no slouch when it comes to autofocus performance either. Packed with 425 autofocus points, the X-T30 II makes it easy to capture everything from fast-paced action to portraits. Pair it up with the capable 15-45mm lens, which performs exceptionally well, and you have a camera and lens kit that stands out from the others on this list. The X-T30 II with the XC 15-45mm lens offers creators excellent performance in a small package that’s easy to take everywhere.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV with 14-42mm EZ — One of the best entry camera and lens kits around

camera and lens kits

The camera and lens kit, which features the Olympus E-M10 IV (read our review here) and the 14-42mm EZ pancake lens, is one of the best entry-level camera and lens kits on this list. The camera is powered by a 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor that’s light years ahead of anything a smartphone can deliver. Images from this camera are detail-rich, and the JPEGs produced benefit from Olympus’s great color science and processing.

The camera has fast burst modes (up to 8.7 frames per second). There’s a nice EVF, a flip-down touchscreen, 4K video, IBIS and USB charging. The camera is the easiest to connect wirelessly to your smartphone out of any cameras on this list, too, which makes getting images off of this camera easy. There are also easy-to-use modes like live composite, which make complex photography easy. The 14-42mm (28-84mm equivalent) pancake lens is excellent too. It’s small, weighs next to nothing, and produces very pleasing images. This camera and lens kit is well under $1,000 and offers excellent value for money.

Sony a6400 with 16-50mm — A great camera and lens kit for hybrid creators

camera and lens kits

The Sony a6400 with the Sony 16-50mm (24-75mm equivalent) lens is a camera and lens kit that any new photographer or content creator will quickly fall in love with. This small rangefinder-style camera is easy to use, offers exceptional image quality, and will give you access to arguably the best lineup of mirrorless lenses on the market.

The 24-megapixel APS-C sensor in the Sony a6400 performs excellently and offers more than enough dynamic range. The a6400 also has one of the fastest autofocusing systems in cameras around this price point (it can acquire focus in 0.02 seconds). The a6400 boasts 425 autofocus points; it can track objects in real-time and can fire off 11 frames per second. It’s topped off with tons of 4K video modes and a mic jack. So as you can see, this is an APS-C camera that will suit many creators down to the ground.

Pentax K-70 DSLR with 18-135mm — Feature-packed, rugged and affordable

camera and lens kits

At under $850, you’d be hard-pressed to find a camera with as many features and with a lens as good as the 18-135mm that’s offered by Pentax. Yes, it’s a DSLR (oh, the horror), but don’t let this put you off. In true Pentax style, the K-70 features incredible ergonomics. The K-70 features a dust, freeze, and weather-resistant construction, and it packs IBIS. It’s also small, light, and easy to manage. The lens is equally as rugged and, for a kit lens, produces tack-sharp images with gorgeous colors. I own this lens and use it on my Pentax K-S2 all the time. It’s that good.

The Pentax K-70 offers a fully articulating 3-inch LCD. Inside the tough exterior is a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, which will help you produce gorgeous images; it also offers a ton of dynamic range. The Pentaprism viewfinder provides 100% coverage, and with the optional GPS unit, the K-70 can track the stars with Astrotracer. This is a DSLR camera and lens kit that you’ll be able to grow with quickly. Check out this real-world review of the Pentax K-70.

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