Are you a photography novice who would love a decent camera, but don’t know where to start? Look no further, let our list of the best camera for beginners guide you.
With interchangeable lenses, incredible image resolutions, and fast speeds, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for beginners allow photography enthusiasts to take their photography to the next level. Plus investing in a great camera doesn’t have to break the bank.
But with dozens of entry-level models available on the market, making the right choice can be tricky. In this article, we have selected the best 10 entry-level cameras out there to help you get closer to achieving your photography goals.
After testing more than 15 entry-level DSLR and mirrorless models and hours of research, here is a summary of our recommendations. Scroll down to see the individual reviews.
The 10 Best Camera For Beginners
Weight: 415g | Type: DSLR | Sensor size: 23.5 x 15.6mm | Megapixels: 24.2 | ISO range: 100-25600 | Screen: 3 inches | Frames Per Second: 5 | Video resolution: 1080p
If you want to upgrade to an entry-level DSLR, the Nikon D3500 is a great choice. It is one of the simplest and cheapest DSLRs out there. Moreover, with a weight of 415g, it is fairly light too.
Its interface includes a useful Guide mode that provides overviews of most controls, making it one of the simplest of the best camera for beginners. Its specifications cover a lot of ground and the standard lens has an 18-55mm range, which is versatile enough for both portrait photography and macro photography. You can also purchase a kit with a 70-300mm telephoto lens–great for zooming in on faraway subjects,
The ISO range also provides a solid standing for twilight and night shooting, allowing you to experiment in different conditions. Plus it offers a high resolution of 24 megapixels and has long battery life.
However, the screen is fixed on the back of the camera and there is no 4K video option.
- Long battery life of 1550 shots
- Great resolution of 24 megapixels
- Fixed LCD screen
- No 4K video
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Weight: 453g | Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: 17.4 x 13.0mm | Megapixels: 16.1 | ISO range: 200-25600 | Screen: 3-inch, tilting LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 8.6 | Video resolution: 4K
If you want to capture stunning travel photography and street photography, the OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a great choice. This mirrorless camera has a smaller sensor than its DSLR rivals, but this allows for more compact lenses, making it extremely portable.
The touch-focus and touch-shutter features are comfortable and easy to use, and it offers 4K video. The OM-D E-M10 Mark III provides 5-axis stabilization, so you don’t have to worry about blurred images. The 121 autofocus points translate to a fast focus performance, ideal for action shots or sports photography.
Beginners and serious enthusiasts will appreciate the 25 scene modes and 15 art filters. Furthermore, it’s affordable and the light sensitivity will safeguard your photos against digital noise in low-light conditions.
However, the menu takes some getting used to at first. Plus, on our tests, the camera was a bit slow to power up. But if you want a portable, this weighs in high on our list of the best camera for beginners.
- 4K video
- Confusing menu
Canon EOS 4000D
Weight: 436g | Type: DSLR | Sensor size: 22.3 x 14.9mm | Megapixels: 18 | ISO range: 100-6400 | Screen: 2.7 inches | Frames Per Second: 3 | Video resolution: 1080p
This camera has a sensor 19 times bigger than the average smartphone and it comes with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The Canon EOS 4000D (also known as Rebel T100) comes with a versatile, interchangeable zoom lens of 18-55mm, but there is no zoom lock, so beware.
The camera may take some time to get used to, as the OFF and video options are part of the mode dial. But around $300 dollars, it is affordable, making it a competitive choice on our list of the best camera for beginners.
Although the light sensitivity range (ISO) is not big, on our tests it performed surprisingly well, maintaining noise-free photos even in darker environments. However, the LCD screen is low resolution and the autofocus can be slow.
- Very affordable
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Low-resolution LCD
- Slow autofocus
Weight: 1370g | Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: 23.5×15.7mm | Megapixels: 24 | ISO range: 100-6400 | Screen: 3-inch, 3-way tilting LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 6 | Video resolution: 1080p
Useful for creative beginners, the Fujifilm X-T100 harbors many artistic features. Its unique touchscreen can be flipped up and to the side, letting you explore different framing angles.
It also includes an electronic viewfinder, allowing you to shoot when the ambient light is too bright to see the screen. There are 3 dials, one of which is a Film Simulation effects dial, encouraging you to experiment.
The X-T100 has little noise in low-light conditions and, overall, has great image quality. In our tests, the faux leather design felt a bit slippery. However, there is an additional hand grip that you can install. The autofocus was a bit slow with moving subjects. Plus we found that the video quality, although 4K, is not as good as it could be.
- Good battery life of 430 shots
- High-resolution electronic viewfinder
- Slow autofocus of moving subjects
- Video quality could be better despite 4K resolution
Canon EOS Rebel T7I/EOS 800D
Weight: 535g | Type: DSLR | Sensor size: 22.3 x 14.9mm | Megapixels: 24.2 | ISO range: 100-25600 | Screen: 3-inch, vari-angle LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 3 | Video resolution: 1080p
Smartphone users will feel right at home with the Canon EOS Rebel T7I/EOS 800D, thanks to its tilting touchscreen and touch-shutter option. There is also fast and easy-to-use autofocus that follow moving subjects. For those who are new to photography, the EOS 800D provides a new graphic interface that has tips and descriptions of various settings and what each one does.
This camera holds its battery for a maximum of consecutive 600 shots, for stress-free long photo sessions. It also provides 5-axis electronic image stabilization and it is compatible with a great selection of lenses, giving you ample room for growth. However, there is no 4K video and it is on the pricier side of the cameras we have selected.
- Fast autofocus
- Lightweight for a DSLR
- No 4K video
Weight: 465g | Type: DSLR | Sensor size: 23.5×15.6mm | Megapixels: 25.2 | ISO range: 100-25600 | Screen: 3.2 Vari-angle LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 5 | Video resolution: 1080p
If you are looking for a more advanced entry-level DSLR, the Nikon D5600 is a worthy investment. It has a relatively small size and an ergonomic deep grip that sits comfortably in your hands. The camera has a vari-angle touchscreen that allows you to focus on your subject and take a photo with just one tap.
You can also stay in constant Bluetooth contact with your phone if you use the Nikon’s SnapBridge app. Plus the camera has a very long battery life. With a resolution of 24 megapixels, it captures detail-rich images you will want to hang on a wall. The sensor of the D5600 produces sharp images and omits a low-pass filter, to eliminate moiré patterns and aliasing.
- Lightweight DSLR – only 465g
- Long battery life of 820 shots
- Small control buttons
Panasonic Lumix GX85
Weight: 494g | Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: 17.3×13.0mm | Megapixels: 16 | ISO range: 200-25600 | Screen: 3-inch, tilting LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 8 | Video resolution: 4K
Moving on to compact cameras, we have the Panasonic Lumix GX85. This has only a 16-megapixel sensor, but plenty of other features to make up for it.
Despite its small size, it has a 5-axis stabilization system, helpful for any type of photography. It comes with a tilting touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder, great for experimenting with different angles and perspectives.
For more advanced users, the GX85 features a multiple exposure mode to capture difficult, dynamic images. Those interested in wildlife photography or photojournalism will love the discreet silent shooting mode. Additionally, this mirrorless camera offers a 4K Photo mode that takes images at 30 frames per second. Plus, there is a post-focus mode to adjust common focus mistakes–a great teaching tool for beginners.
- 4K video
- Effective autofocus system
- Short battery life of only 290 shots
- Poor viewfinder
Canon EOS Rebel SL3/EOS 250D
Weight: 3379g | Type: DSLR | Sensor size: 22.3×14.9mm | Megapixels: 24.1 | ISO range: 100-25600 | Screen: 3-inch, vari-angle LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 5 | Video resolution: 4K
This is a small but mighty DSLR. The Canon EOS Rebel SL3/EOS 250D boasts 24.1 megapixels image resolution and is one of the world’s lightest DSLRs. It includes a vari-angle LCD touchscreen–fantastic for low-angle photography.
Plus it has an in-body image stabilization (IS) system, whereas most of its competitors only have lens stabilization. This means that you will capture blur-free images even with lenses that have no image stabilization. Designed for newbies, the EOS 250D has a handy, user-friendly interface that displays advice and hints for each setting.
- Long battery life of 1070 shots
- 4K video
- Slow shooting speed
- Not weather-sealed
Weight: 70g | Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: 23.5×15.7mm | Megapixels: 24.2 | ISO range: 200-12800 | Screen: 3-inch LCD touchscreen | Frames Per Second: 6 | Video resolution: 1080p
If you’re an Instagram or Youtube fan, the Fujifilm X-A5 is the camera for you. It is great for vlogging or selfies, thanks to its 180-degree tilting touchscreen. This screen not only has touch-focus but also a touch-shutter too. Furthermore, it has a Portrait Enhancer mode that evens out skin tone.
If you are looking to maximize your depth of field, the X-A5 offers a Multi-Focus mode. Speaking of focus, the camera also has a hybrid autofocus system that we found to be extremely fast in attaining focus.
As per usual with Fujifilm, this camera boasts Film Simulation effects, which can provide an artistic flair to your images. However, the autofocus can be slow in low light conditions and the handgrip is poor. Overall, this is a neat all-rounder in our best camera for beginners list for those who want to boast a stylish camera and quality images.
- Long battery life of 450 shots or 150 minutes of 4K video
- 24-megapixel sensor
- Slow autofocus in low-light conditions
- Poor hand grip
Sony Alpha A5100
Weight: 281g | Type: Mirrorless | Sensor size: 23.5×15.6mm | Megapixels: 24.3 | ISO range: 100-25600 | Screen: 3-inch, tilting LCD screen | Frames Per Second: 6 | Video resolution: 1080p
It may be tiny, but the Sony Alpha A5100 can compete with the larger DSLRs in terms of image quality. This camera has a Superior Auto mode that will help beginners alleviate the stress of choosing the right ISO, aperture, or shutter speed. In our tests, we found that the auto mode is pretty good at identifying the shooting environment and adjusting settings accordingly.
Furthermore, it includes an in-camera guide with tips and tutorials on different types of photography, such as landscape, action, and night scenes. The A5100 also has a good battery life for a mirrorless camera (400 shots). Plus, there is a USB charging port for convenience. However, there is no electronic viewfinder and limited physical controls, which means multiple menu screens.
- The fast hybrid autofocus system
- No electronic viewfinder
- Limited physical controls, resulting in multiple menus
How to Choose the Best Camera for Beginners?
When starting out as a photographer, you may not know what specific genre or conditions you will shoot in. So it’s always a good idea to opt for a versatile model which you can rely on in most situations.
Features and specs can appear confusing and obscure. Here is a short guide to the things to keep in mind before buying your entry-level camera.
DSLR vs. Mirrorless Camera?
Until recently, a Digital Single Lens Reflex (or DSLR) camera would have been the only digital option to purchase. But with the introduction of mirrorless cameras on the market, you have more choices.
Mirrorless cameras have developed greatly in recent years, competing with DSLRs in terms of both image quality and versatility. The main advantage of mirrorless cameras is their size: the body does not contain a mirror to direct the light to the sensor, so they weigh less and are more compact than DSLRs.
Many mirrorless cameras have surpassed DSLRs in resolution. However, DSLRs still tend to win when it comes to battery life and autofocus performance.
If portability is a priority, go for a mirrorless camera. On the other hand, if you are budget conscious, want better ergonomics, and battery life, an entry-level DSLR may be a wiser choice.
The great advantage of DSLR and mirrorless cameras is their interchangeable lenses. However, not all brands offer the same variety of lenses.
If you are serious about photography, you will want to expand your lens collection as you grow. When it comes to DSLRs, Nikon and Canon dominate the market. They sell dozens of different lenses and you can also use third-party brand lenses too: Sigma or Tamron offers exceptional lens options.
If you are planning to use second-hand or older gear with recent bodies, check if they are compatible. Most brands sell adapters to attach lenses with older/different mounts to newer camera bodies.
Also, choose your brand carefully. Most photographers tend to stick to the same manufacturer for years. By selecting a reliable brand, you can be sure any lenses you buy will be compatible with future models.
Consider Camera Ergonomics and Size
While it is true that mirrorless cameras are generally smaller, many photographers prefer the bulk of DSLRs, as it provides extra steadiness when shooting.
The size and weight of the camera are important to consider if you expect to spend a lot of time carrying it outdoors. However, you should also think about how it feels in your hands.
Cameras with an ergonomic grip will help you take better images thanks to the increased stability. Photographers with large hands may find it difficult to reach all the controls on compact mirrorless cameras. Light packers, on the other hand, will exclude DSLRs simply because of their heavier weight.
Additional Camera Features to Consider
Cameras today do so much more than simply capture photographs.
Every camera comes with an integrated video function. However, the video quality differs from one camera to another. Those who are interested in film-making should not take this feature for granted. Cameras shoot in either 1080p or 4K, but they can also offer time-lapse, slow motion, or photo capture modes that can be useful in specific situations. Plus, if you are into video or selfies, you might want to consider a camera with a flip LCD screen.
Wireless connectivity is also important in the age of digital sharing. Cameras with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth system allow you to quickly transfer images between devices. If sharing instantly or saving your photos in the cloud is a priority, opt for a camera with wireless connectivity.
Entry-level cameras cost as little as a few hundred dollars and they offer image quality far superior to any smartphone camera.
The choice of whether you decide to go for a DSLR or mirrorless camera is up to you. The only thing that matters is you invest time to learn and practice your new camera once you acquire it!