You’ve mastered the art of Instagram, and you’re ready to swap your smartphone camera for something more serious. Five years ago, that meant choosing between the quality of a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera or the low cost of a point-and-shoot. But that’s no longer the case.

Mirrorless cameras, which have been around since the digital camera boom of the early 2000s, are catching up to DSLRs in terms of quality. Their smaller bodies formerly meant grainier photos. That’s because they required the use of smaller image sensors, which receive less light than the full-frame sensors used in DSLRs. In recent years, camera-makers have found ways to place larger sensors in mirrorless cameras, pairing them with high-powered image processors. To boot, many mirrorless cameras now include interchangeable lenses for shooting in different environments. That means a pro-grade camera in a point-and-shoot body is finally a reality—and it’s available for a reasonable price.

Sony α5100

Sony a5100
Sony a5100. Sony

The camera’s full HD video support puts it in a class above most other mid-tier mirrorless cameras.
Megapixels: 24.3
Max resolution: 6,000 x 4,000
ISO range: 100–25,600
Price: $699
Weight: 283g

Panasonic GX7

Panasonic GX7
Panasonic GX7 Panasonic

A Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system accepts DSLR lenses when fitted with an adapter—a nice perk if you have them.

Megapixels: 16
Max resolution: 4,592 x 3,448
ISO range: 200–25,600
Price: $1,099
Weight: 402g

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Olympus OM-D E-M10
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus

Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen controls make this MFT camera best suited for Internet dwellers.

Megapixels: 16
Max Resolution: 4,608 x 3,456
ISO range: 100–25,600
Price: $699.99
Weight: 396g

This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Popular Science, under the title, “Pro Quality in a Small Package”.