Best Beginner Camera

Best Beginner Camera

Are you ready to move beyond your smartphone and invest in the best beginner camera? Will it be a starting DSLR camera, affordable mirrorless camera body or starter compact camera – view more about 13 best cameras for beginner photographers that I’ve chosen for you.

13 Best Beginner Cameras

The main mistake beginner shooters make is being too obsessed with the idea to find the most expensive camera with many megapixels. But many years of experience prove that the quality of your photos depends on the lens, not on the camera.

Compact or point and shoot cameras are characterized by small weight, simplified operation, and a non-replaceable lens. They are good for travel and landscape photography.

DSLR cameras are the most popular and affordable camera bodies for beginners. Being quite bulky, they offer many useful functions for professional photography and have a great number of lenses for portrait, wedding, and fashion photography.

Mirrorless cameras are without a mirror and optical viewfinder. In terms of characteristics and shooting they show the same image quality as DSLR cameras. They are more compact and expensive than DSLRs but are used by fashion and portrait photographers too.

1. Canon EOS 800D

canon eos 800d Buy for $560 on Amazon
  • Touch rotary display
  • Compact dimensions
  • Weighs 532g together with a battery
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • Small buffer
  • Rolling shutter effect while shooting video with dynamic scenes

Canon EOS 800D starting camera offers a great combination of price and functions. When viewing through the viewfinder, the photographer gets 45 points. If you operate the screen or shoot videos, you’ll surely appreciate fast and accurate autofocus with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. The shooting speed (6 fps) and large buffer make EOS 800D suitable even for dynamic sports photography. It’s very user-friendly, you don’t need to watch DSLR tutorials for beginners before taking the first professional photo.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

It is a good universal lens for portrait and landscape photography. You may use this lens as the prime one. Compact and highly versatile, it is the ideal lens to carry anywhere

canon 18-135mm photo sample Photo by Canon EOS 800D

2. Nikon D3400

Nikon d3400 Buy for $390 on Amazon
  • Small and portable
  • Easy to operate
  • Autofocus light on the front of the case
  • SnapBridge makes sharing fun and easy
  • No ultrasonic matrix cleaning
  • Lacks microphone port
  • Wi-Fi module is absent
  • Nikon software could be better

Nikon D3400 is a user-friendly camera with 24 megapixel CMP matrix of APS-C format without a low-pass filter. The model is famous for its SnapBridge technology, allowing to connect with mobile devices via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The manufacturers increased the number of frames you can take on a single battery charge. Unfortunately, the display isn’t rotating.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-P DX

It is a standard kit lens, which is perfect for beginners. Low price, perfect image stabilization, zoom, and satisfactory picture quality.

Nikon 18-55mm photo sample Photo by Nikon D3400
  • View more cheap cameras for beginning photographers that you can buy for about $200-$300.

3. Sony Alpha a6500

sony a6500 Buy for $1200 on Amazon
  • 4K video recording
  • Fast autofocus
  • 425 phase autofocus points
  • 24.3 megapixel resolution
  • No headphone jack
  • Quite expensive for beginners
  • Poor touch screen work
  • RAW format compresses photo data

This is the best beginner camera for those, who want to have powerful features in a compact case. This is the first mirrorless Sony camera with a CMOS matrix of APS-C size, with a 5-axis image stabilizer. If you are a beginning video blogger, you can record videos in 4K and Full HD at up to 120 frames per second. I’d recommend this camera for street and travel shooting, when the weight and size of the device play a crucial role.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

Creative high-aperture fixed-lens. The perfect model for “E” bayonet for SONY. Beautiful bokeh with a characteristic twist.

sony 85mm photo sample Photo by Sony Alpha a6500

4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Olympus om-d e-m10 mark ii Buy for $450 on Amazon
  • Cost of body and cost of lenses
  • Ultrasonic dust cleaning technology
  • Rotary touchscreen monitor
  • Selection of lenses
  • Video looks crisp and smooth
  • You can rotate the screen only in the vertical direction
  • Noisy image stabilization system
  • Camera can feel small in the hands
  • AF is not the best with moving targets

OM-D E-M10 Mark II is the only camera for beginners that is made of metal. The built-in 5-axis image stabilization system allows taking clear pictures. The camera has an electronic OLED viewfinder of high resolution and a rotatable three-inch touchscreen display. I like its focusing bracketing, which allows you to take several frames with a single shift of the focusing plane at the touch of a button.

Recommended camera lens:

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8

I am impressed with the quality, size and weight of this lens. It focuses fast enough for most purposes. The quality of the blur or bokeh is amazingly smooth and really compliments how sharp and detailed it is in the focused area.

Olympus 45mm photo sample Photo by Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

5. Fujifilm X-T100

fujifilm x-t100 Buy for $500 on Amazon
  • Articulating touchscreen
  • 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS
  • EVF included
  • X-sync shutter speed us 1/180 s
  • No image stabilization

The camera has an excellent viewfinder, the settings wheel to control PASM shooting mode, and additional buttons. The overall management is rather simple. The top Fujifilm color rendering and excellent image quality even in poor light makes this best professional camera for beginners amazing. If you like shooting videos, choose this camera.

Recommended camera lens:

Fujifilm 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 XC OIS Power Zoom Lens

This is the most compact and lightweight lens for the Fujifilm X system. It achieves high-resolution images while maintaining a compact size and light weight. It covers a focal length from a wide angle 23mm to a medium telephoto 69mm which makes it an ideal lens for both landscape photography and portrait photography.

fuji 15-45mm photo sample Photo by Fujifilm X-T100

6. Pentax K-70

Pentax k-70 Buy for $600 on Amazon
  • The articulating back display
  • 14-bit frame information recording
  • Dust and moisture protection
  • 4K video recording
  • Minimum shutter speed 1/6000 sec
  • Battery performance in inexcusably poor
  • Slow autofocus

Pentax K-70 is a good beginner camera with a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and a weatherproof case. The camera has a flash, swivel-display, and built-in Wi-Fi. I get decent to really good images in horrible conditions and am pretty happy with the camera overall. What I noted that Lightroom is not recognizing the PEF raw format, but after switching to DNG it works.

Recommended camera lens:

Pentax HD DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE

This lens is equipped with a back focus and pulse motor (PLM) directly connected to the focus lens. As a result, the lens focuses more quietly and faster than the previous model. The minimum focusing distance is 95 cm.

pentax 55-300mm photo sample Photo by Pentax K-70

7. Canon EOS 1300D

Canon EOS 1300D Buy for $320 on Amazon
  • Simple interface
  • Small weight and size
  • Quick turn-on
  • Integrated Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Full HD video recording
  • Visible noise at ISO 3200+
  • Slow autofocus in Live View mode
  • Small RAW buffer

Canon EOS 1300D is the fourth model of the line of the most simple and affordable cameras from the EOS family. It is equipped with a standard matrix and can do anything that the best beginner camera should do – you can use all the manual settings, take quality photos in moderately difficult conditions and attach interchangeable optics. Still, it costs like a compact camera.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Zoom Lens

This lens has a 3x zoom, small maximum aperture, and an integrated image stabilizer. This lens is grossly underestimated for quality landscape photos.

canon 18-55mm photo sample Photo by Canon EOS 1300D

8. Canon EOS 200D

canon eos 200d Buy for $520 on Amazon
  • Light and compact
  • Sharp shots
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Simplified interface
  • Few autofocus points
  • Noticeable noise at ISO 3200 and higher

It is one of the best cameras for beginners due to its small dimensions and weight. Being quite cheap, it offers all the functions necessary for a person, who only starts photography career and doesn’t have specific demands. The camera has a rotary display, which is very useful if you shoot from complex angles. The peculiar feature of this good beginner camera is an updated graphics interface that will help master the shooting parameters fast.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 50 f/1.8 STM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM can be called an ideal lens for an amateur photographer. It is very compact and lightweight and provides impressive sharpness, which isn’t typical for its price. It is high even at an open aperture. The manufacturers also minimize all possible distortions: chromatic and spherical aberration, parasitic flare and glare.

canon 50mm photo sample Photo by Canon EOS 200D

9. Canon EOS 80D

canon eos 80d Buy for $990 on Amazon
  • Ergonomics case
  • Rotary touch-screen
  • CMOS 24MP matrix
  • Lightweight
  • No built-in GPS
  • Not the best in low light
  • Considering the cropped sensor, the body is actually quite big

This good camera for beginners can’t boast of revolutionary technologies. It is a good semi-professional camera body. The new sensor allows you to work with high ISO up to 6400 units and provides good opportunities to “pull” shadows and highlights from RAW files. EOS 80D ergonomics is a good compromise between size and convenience. There are many controls, which are logically arranged. Besides, there are many customizable buttons which is great for amateur who are looking for their photographic style. Additionally, it is convenient to control the camera using a touch rotary display.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

This is a universal telephoto lens for landscape photography and traveling. The third ‘STM’ version of this lens has a different optical design and a focusing motor. The update was triggered by the need for high-quality autofocus for video recording.

canon 55-250mm photo sample Photo by Canon EOS 80D

10. Nikon D5600

Nikon d5600 Buy for $600 on Amazon
  • Convenient grip
  • NFC and Bluetooth modules
  • Coordinates from the shooting location
  • Reduced power consumption
  • You cannot change settings with remote shooting via Wi-Fi
  • Short high quality video recording time
  • Small buffer to continuous shooting

Similar to the previous model, new Nikon D5600 uses a 24.2 megapixel matrix. The 3.2” touch-free rotary display and time-lapse shooting are amazing. Each setting has integrated tips, which will help to navigate this beginner camera much faster. The advanced auto mode ensures quality results. This camera is compatible with professional flashes and lenses.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX ED AF-S

This lens will help take sharp shots while traveling and cover a wide range of focal distances. It is rather compact (being folded) and is equipped with an ultra-low dispersion element, an effective integrated stabilizer, and a silent ultrasonic autofocus motor.

Nikon 18-140mm photo sample Photo by Nikon D5600

11. Nikon D7500

Nikon d7500 Buy for $1150 on Amazon
  • 20.9 megapixels CMOS matrix
  • 3.2” rotary touch screen
  • Fast continuous shooting (8 frames/sec)
  • 4K video recording
  • Lighter than the previous model
  • High-speed flash sync
  • The belt is attached to the case by the loop
  • Plastic body
  • Smaller monochrome display on the top of the case
  • One memory card slot

This beginner camera has a powerful matrix, processor and RGB metering module, which resemble previous D500 model. Manufacturers took the best characteristics of D750, D810, D4s (8 frames per second in continuous shooting mode, 100-frame buffer, 51-point autofocus module) and integrated them into Nikon D7500. Similar to other models of the 7th line, it has parameters that resemble the best professional DSLR cameras. Ergonomics, control and, most importantly, the characteristics are quite comparable.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens

The optimized and compact design of this lens is good for Nikon small DX digital DSLR cameras. The universal range of focal lengths of 70–300 mm opens wide opportunities for effective event and wedding photography.

Nikon 70-300mm photo sample Photo by Nikon D7500

12. Nikon D610

Nikon d610 Buy for $1500 on Amazon
  • Full-frame CMOS matrix
  • Improved tracking autofocus
  • Continuous shooting up to 6 fps
  • Two memory card slots
  • Protected magnesium case
  • The focus points are “crowded” in the center of the frame
  • You can’t rotate the display
  • Confusing interface for beginners
  • No built-in Wi-Fi

Nikon D610 is an excellent full-frame starting camera for those who need good photography equipment with user-friendly controls. Thanks to high working speed and professional management, you can use this camera in portraiture, landscape, reportage, and sports shooting. The maximum shooting speed is 6 frames per second (instead of 5.5 fps). Now, you can enjoy the silent shutter mode, in which the camera takes up to 3 f/s.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S (FX)

Many photographers prefer a wider focal length to 50mm. 33mm focal length is suitable for street photography or shooting in small rooms.

Nikon 35mm photo sample Photo by Nikon D610

13. Sony SLT-A77 II

sony slt-a77 ii Buy for $1200 on Amazon
  • Minimum shutter speed is 1/8000s
  • Fast autofocus
  • Waterproof camera body
  • Stabilization system based on the matrix shift
  • Reprogrammable buttons
  • No touch control
  • The selected focus point isn’t marked

The camera has a 24-megapixel CMOS-matrix APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) with a translucent mirror. Continuous shooting is up to 12 frames per second. This good beginner camera has a durable, dust and waterproof case. Thanks to these characteristics, the camera becomes especially attractive for sports photographers, who need to capture dynamic objects.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM

Indispensable compact high-aperture zoom for APS-C cameras. The pictures you take please with soft bokeh, bright colors, and sharpness.

sony 16-50mm photo sample Photo by Sony SLT-A77 II

13 Best Cameras for Beginners

Image Name Details  
Canon EOS 1300D
Canon EOS 1300D
  • 18MP
  • APS-C
canon eos 200d
Canon EOS 200D
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
canon eos 800d
Canon EOS 800D
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
canon eos 80d
Canon EOS 80D
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
Nikon d3400
Nikon D3400
  • 24.2 MP
  • DX-Format
Nikon d5600
Nikon D5600
  • 24.2 MP
  • DX-Format
Nikon d7500
Nikon D7500
  • 20.2 MP
  • DX-Format
Nikon d610
Nikon D610
  • 24.3 MP
  • FX-Format
Pentax k-70
Pentax K-70
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
sony slt-a77 ii
Sony SLT-A77 II
  • 24.3 MP
  • APS-C
sony a6500
Sony Alpha a6500
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
Olympus om-d e-m10 mark ii
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
  • 16 MP
  • Micro 4/3
fujifilm x-t100
Fujifilm X-T100
  • 24.2MP
  • APS-C

How to Choose the Best Camera for Beginners?

For a beginner, the camera choice is very difficult. You haven’t yet decided on what type of photography you want to do and what you need from the camera. I picked up a few tutorials that will be helpful before choosing the best camera for beginners.

Understanding DSLR vs. Mirrorless Cameras

"What Camera Should I Buy?" - The 4 types of camera

Pay Attention to APS-C Matrices

The majority of the matrices on the market are of crop type. A smaller matrix makes it possible to place it in a smaller case and, most importantly, such a matrix and the camera as a whole are cheaper. Of course, there are some special features (like recalculation of focal length for a crop camera), but a crop is a full-fledged DSLR camera with all its advantages.

Pro DSLR + Cheapo Lens vs "Cheapo" DSLR + Pro Lens

5 Focus Methods for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras - Beginner Tips & Tricks

Choose the Camera Type

Mirrorless cameras have the same matrix as the mirror devices, but in terms of their dimensions, these cameras are smaller. The compactness of the camera is both an advantage and a disadvantage! The fact that the camera occupies less space in the bag and weighs little is certainly nice, but holding a small camera in your hands is not always as convenient as a large DSLR device. Also, the focusing of these cameras is different - it is more accurate in mirrorless, but in DSLR it is faster. DSLRs work much longer than the best mirrorless cameras.

Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, & Light Explained-Understanding Exposure & Camera Settings

6 Simple Photography Hacks To Get You Off The AUTO Mode Forever - Learn Digital Photography

Number of Compatible Lenses

Beginners typically buy cameras with the possibility to change lenses in order to be able to improve the quality of images in the future with the help of optics. You need to know the average price of lenses, look through the number of budget lenses and learn which models are compatible with your camera. As an example, you can name Fujifilm, which do not have lenses cheaper than $350, unlike Canon, with the choice of lenses for a little less than $200.

DSLR Camera Basics Tutorial: Shutter Speed / Aperture / ISO

Additional Possibilities

I recommend paying attention to the best cameras for beginners with the possibility to connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, as this will allow you to quickly transfer pictures to any device or control the camera with a smartphone.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments. read more