10 Best Cameras for Amateur Photographers in 2023: Buyer’s Guide

By Tati Taylor 2 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

While smartphones are convenient for beginner photography, they lack the versatility of interchangeable lenses and manual controls. To truly elevate your game, investing in a camera for amateur photographer with a larger sensor is worth considering.

Not only are they more affordable than some smartphones, but they also offer a more magnificent zoom range for capturing distant subjects.

In this article, I will focus on the best cameras for beginners. You can buy them for $1,000 or less. More expensive models are hardly suitable for those who are still mastering the ropes.

Universal Amateur Camera Kit

universal amateur camera kit

If you are a novice photographer and want to buy a camera under $1000, other photography equipment, or a set for newbies, make sure to pay attention to the offers available on Amazon. They allow you to save money and get top-level equipment for your shooting needs.

For instance, I was impressed with a set offered by Nikon. It includes the Nikon COOLPIX B500 camera, tripod, bag, wallet, 32GB memory card, reader, AA batteries with a charger, as well as an HDMI cable.

Must Have Functions for Any Amateur Camera

Besides good image quality, an amateur camera should allow you to adjust its settings manually and shoot photos in portrait mode. The most important criteria that you need to pay attention to when selecting a camera are portability and upgradability. Besides, it is better to select a camera with interchangeable lenses.

Manual settings. All decent cameras allow you to adjust their settings manually. Moreover, their controls should be at hand and always available. Therefore, we sweep aside all point-and-shoot cameras at once. Most of the cheap compact cameras don’t have sufficient options for manual setting adjustment.

choosing the best amateur camera

Megapixel count. When picking a camera for amateur photography, pay attention to image quality and resolution. The best models allow you to capture photos with a high level of detail. The megapixel count supported by your camera shouldn’t be higher than that one supported by the lens.

Experienced photographers often look for 20MP dynamic range cameras or models that support a higher resolution, however, a 12MP camera also allows you to take clear photos that can be used for printing.

Comfortable ergonomics. Unless you want to buy a camera in an online store, try holding it in your hand before making a purchase. It should fit comfortably in your palm without being too heavy.

If it’s quite lightweight, you can take it with you anywhere. Besides, you should be able to quickly access frequently used features and navigate the menu.

Allows shooting in Portrait Mode. This mode will be useful for those who want to get amazing photos with a blurred background. The in-focus distance in your photo should be reduced enough so that the subject is sharp and the background is blurred. It is a very widespread artistic trick for portrait photography that has to be in the arsenal of any photographer.

how to choose the best amateur camera

However, not every amateur photographer camera can give you such blurred background. The image sensor size is important first of all - the more the better. Reflex cameras are traditionally fitted with a 24х36 mm or APS-C (about 23,5 x 15,6 mm) sensor.

Interchangeable lenses. If you want to take photos in different genres, it’s better to pick a camera with an interchangeable lens system. It will let you take photos at different focal lengths and add many unique photos to a portfolio.

Portability and upgradability. Compact cameras are the most portable models on the market. However, since many of them come with unique features and support high image quality, it’s impossible to upgrade them.

how to choose the best camera for amateur photographer

They don’t have an interchangeable lens system and aren’t compatible with various accessories. You won’t be able to experiment with different focal lengths unless you buy a different camera.

Pro Tip: Don’t even think about buying a used amature camera for photography. Even a skilled expert won’t be able to notice possible problems with the camera when making a purchase. That is why, if you do not want to be tricked, buy a new camera in the shop with the original warranty certificate. The only safe way to save money is to purchase not the latest model, but the previous one.

Battery life. If you need to organize long shooting sessions, make sure to buy a model with decent battery capacity. For some events, it will suffice to buy a camera with average battery life, but it’s better to use a model that can last 6 or more hours.

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Brand. When it comes to reliable camera brands, Canon and Nikon are popular choices among aspiring photographers. These companies consistently release entry-level cameras that are user-friendly and deliver superior image quality. They also offer an extensive selection of accessories, making them ideal for beginners.

Top 10 Cameras for Amateur Photographers to Try

If you are looking for your first camera, it might be easy to pick the wrong option with features that you don’t really need to use. In this case, you might need to replace this model with another one in the future. To avoid possible mistakes, take a look at this list of the best cameras for amateur photographers that will help you take your skills to the next level.

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T100 / 4000D - Easy to use
  2. Sony ZV-1 - For videos
  3. Nikon D3400 - Impressive image quality
  4. Canon EOS Rebel T7 - Great ergonomics
  5. Pentax K-70 - Tilting display
  6. Sony Alpha a6400 - Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities
  7. Panasonic LUMIX G85 - Speedy focusing
  8. OLYMPUS E-M10 Mark IV - Good battery life
  9. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 - Decent zoom range
  10. Canon EOS M200 - Full Auto mode

When selecting a camera for amateur photographer, pay attention to image quality. An aspiring photographer needs to buy a camera that will help them master the basics. However, even an affordable model should be fitted with automated features that will help you capture the most important moments.

1. Canon EOS Rebel T100 / 4000D - Our Choice

Easy to use
canon eos rebel t100 4000d camera for amateur photographer

Type: DSLR | Resolution: 18 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 3 fps

  • ✚ Facial recognition focusing
  • ✚ Integrated optical viewfinder
  • ✚ Great picture quality
  • ✚ Flash Sync input
  • Lacks touchscreen controls

If you are looking for the best camera for an amateur photographer, take a look at this option. This DSLR camera supports great image sharpness and doesn’t refocus too quickly.

It’s known for amazing image quality, HDR support, decent color accuracy, and hardly noticeable grain at high ISO, which makes it perfect for nighttime photos. The main disadvantage of this model is its plastic body, which can be easily damaged because of unfavorable weather conditions.

canon eos rebel t100 4000d camera for amateur photographer photo sample

This camera doesn’t have any advanced features, so you won’t be able to use it for 4K and FHD video recording. However, it’s a decent option for those who need to take photos. It has a good AF system that easily tracks subjects in the frame. Thanks to its face-tracking feature, you can take photos of moving subjects as well.

Recommended lens:

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

This inexpensive lens demonstrates excellent results and is quite compact. It makes it possible to turn even an amateur camera into a professional one if you have money for that.

2. Sony ZV-1

For videos
sony zv 1 camera for amateur photographer

Type: Compact | Resolution: 20.1 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 10 fps

  • ✚ Lightweight body
  • ✚ Designed specifically for content creators
  • ✚ Excellent autofocus
  • ✚ Face recognition system
  • Audio quality may not be optimal
  • Small sensor size
  • Limited zoom capabilities

First off, the ZV-1 is specifically designed for content creators on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. It's a point-and-shoot cameras that packs a punch when it comes to video features. But don't be fooled, it also does a great job with still photos.

AS one of the best cameras for amateur photographer, in terms of specs, the ZV-1 has the same 20-megapixel sensor as Sony's RX100 series, which is known for its high image quality. It has a larger body with a grip on the right side and a flip-out screen, making it easy to capture those creative angles.

sony zv 1 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

While it features a directional 3-capsule microphone optimized for vlogging and face-to-camera recording, the audio quality might not meet professional standards. It's recommended to use an external microphone for better audio quality, especially if you're looking for something like a shotgun or lapel mic.

3. Nikon D3400

Impressive image quality
nikon d3400 camera for amateur photographer

Type: DSLR | Resolution: 24.2 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 5 fps

  • ✚ Intuitive controls
  • ✚ Portable and lightweight
  • ✚ Excellent battery life
  • ✚ Decent single-shot AF capabilities
  • No touchscreen functionality
  • Limited connectivity options

This Nikon photography camera is a top pick for portrait photographers who want to improve their skills and impress their clients. Using it, you can snap pictures with rich colors and true-to-life skin tones. The in-built flash doesn’t produce a noticeable red-eye effect.

If you are a novice user, you can use this amateur photographer camera for everyday shooting. Its controls are easy to master. Thanks to it, you can quickly adjust the settings the way you see fit, which will save you loads of time during post-processing. This camera stands out for its big image sensor, which enables you to take photos for large prints and billboards.

nikon d3400 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

Another advantage of the Nikon D3400 is that it allows you to focus quickly. It has an impressive shutter response and allows you to take photos in a continuous shooting mode at 5 fps. You can snap pics in RAW or JPG formats. It enables you to capture photos in a suitable format without any delays.

Recommended lens:

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is a consumer-grade portrait lens for amateurs and temporary professionals who want to take excellent for low-light photos.

4. Canon EOS Rebel T7

Great ergonomics
canon eos rebel t7 camera for amateur photographer

Type: DSLR | Resolution: 24 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 3 fps

  • ✚ Stunning image quality
  • ✚ Robust build
  • ✚ Convenient dials and buttons
  • ✚ Wi-Fi and NFC support
  • Some problems with ISO
  • No touchscreen

If you have never used a camera before, Canon EOS Rebel T7 (EOS 2000D) will help you master the ropes. This amature camera for photography is fitted with an impressive sensor, has speedy AF, and supports wireless connections. It’s extremely easy to handle and allows taking high-quality photos for social networks and other purposes.

Its viewfinder has 95% coverage, which allows you to see everything clearly in the frame. However, its ISO range is rather limited, from 100 to 6400.

canon eos rebel t7 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

While the camera has only 9 focus points, it will suffice for taking most photos. This entry-level DSLR allows you to use the available modes to take portraits and photos in other genres.

Recommended lens:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM

This is one of the most popular standard lenses. It creates an effect of a soft blur. Thanks to the wide aperture, you get a narrow depth of field, minimized glare and ghosting.

5. Pentax K-70

Tilting display
pentax k70 camera for amateur photographer

Type: DSLR | Resolution: 24 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 6 fps

  • ✚ Phase-detection AF
  • ✚ Great resolution
  • ✚ Water-splash protection
  • ✚ Impressive image quality
  • Limited video mode
  • Kit lens issues

The Pentax K-70 is a perfect option for those who feel that they need to upgrade from a phone camera but still can’t buy expensive photography gear. This camera for portraits is more suitable for women since it has a small body, which might make it inconvenient for men.

It’s pretty lightweight even when you use it with a telephoto lens. You can take it with you on a walk or use it during your trips.

Thanks to a wide choice of the available modes, you can adjust its settings manually or shoot photos in an auto mode. I like that it delivers great performance even at high ISO values, which allows taking photos without a tripod in poor-light conditions.

pentax k70 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

What makes it different from other amateur cameras is that it has impressive image stabilization capabilities, which minimizes camera shake at large focal lengths and high exposure. You can take clear portrait photos with hardly noticeable noise in low-light situations.

Recommended lens:

Sigma 50mm F1.4

This lens is setting brand new standards for the Art line with its revised, modernized design and functionality. It will be a perfect match for fashion portraiture, landscapes, street and studio photos.

6. Sony Alpha a6400

Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities
sony alpha a6400 camera for amateur photographer

Type: Mirrorless | Resolution: 25 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 11 fps

  • ✚ Compact body
  • ✚ Excellent autofocus system
  • ✚ Versatile set of video recording options
  • ✚ Good image quality
  • Limited touch screen functionality
  • Struggles with subjects moving back and forth
  • Short battery life

The Sony Alpha a6400 is incredibly compact and lightweight, making it perfect for those who are always on the go. It's easy to carry around and won't weigh you down during long shooting sessions. Plus, it's compatible with kit lenses, allowing you to capture stunning images right out of the box.

Speaking of focus, the autofocus system on this Sony camera is truly impressive. It has a large sensor that quickly and accurately locks onto subjects, even in challenging lighting conditions. It also includes useful modes for tracking moving subjects and focusing on faces.

sony alpha a6400 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

However, this amature camera for photography may struggle with subjects that are moving back and forth, and there can be occasional focus loss when tracking in continuous AF and Continuous High Speed Shooting modes.

Recommended lens:

Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS

With an optimized optical and mechanical construction, this lens offers exceptional image quality across the image area and 350mm maximum zoom range.

7. Panasonic LUMIX G85

Speedy focusing
panasonic lumix g85 camera for amateur photographer

Type: Mirrorless | Resolution: 16 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 30 fps

  • ✚ Eye-catching design
  • ✚ Amazing video quality
  • ✚ Superb image quality
  • ✚ Weather-sealed
  • Poor battery capacity
  • Unimpressive ISO range

You won’t find many cameras for amateur photographer that support such a wide choice of options. This model allows capturing great photos and shooting videos. The G85 is a perfect choice for those who want to find a cheap camera for shooting YouTube videos.

It’s fitted with a 16MP sensor, which makes it easier to capture great photos in poor light conditions. Thanks to 100% color reproduction, you can take photos with realistic colors. Unlike some other amateur cameras, it allows shooting 4K videos at 30fps and simultaneously taking pictures.

panasonic lumix g85 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

Since the camera features a side-flip display, it will come in handy for travel bloggers who need to film themselves. This semi-professional model has a 5-axis stabilization system, which makes it suitable for aspiring photographers who don’t use a tripod. It supports shutter shock reduction, which minimizes blur and accounts for high image quality.

Recommended lens:

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 45-150mm F4.0-5.6

This lens is quite compact and lightweight. Thanks to its in-built optical image stabilization, you can take clear photos even in poor-light scenarios without a noticeable camera shake.

8. OLYMPUS E-M10 Mark IV

Good battery life
olympus e m10 mark iv camera for amateur photographer

Type: Mirrorless | Resolution: 20 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 4.5 fps

  • ✚ Range of creative shooting modes
  • ✚ Ability to preview depth of field
  • ✚ Built-in flash
  • ✚ Easy to use
  • Lacks a headphone and microphone jack
  • May be difficult to use for those unfamiliar with the Olympus system
  • Not designed for serious videographers

This mirrorless camera is great for beginners and casual users who want to learn how to take photos. The camera offers a range of shooting modes, including P, A, S, and M, with full manual controls. It also has creative shooting modes like AP and Art Filters, allowing for artistic expression.

One standout feature of this camera for amateur photographer is the ability to preview depth of field, giving you a better understanding of how your photos will turn out. Besides, you can control the camera using the Olympus Image Share app, which offers full live view and settings control, as well as acting as a remote shutter release.

olympus e m10 mark iv camera for amateur photographer photo sample

One major drawback is the absence of a headphone and microphone jack, limiting your options for audio recording. Another downside is the confusing menu structure, which has 21 pages with multiple settings on each page.

It may take some time to find specific settings, especially if you're not familiar with the Olympus system.

Recommended lens:

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8

Thanks to its wide aperture, you can implement the most creative ideas. It is well put together and has a nice design, which will make your shooting experience more comfortable.

9. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80

Decent zoom range
panasonic lumix fz80 camera for amateur photographer

Type: Bridge | Resolution: 18 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 10 fps

  • ✚ Wide range of features
  • ✚ Articulating screen
  • ✚ User-friendly design
  • ✚ Optical image stabilization
  • Outdated sensor
  • Does not have NFC

First off, its lens provides a wide range of focal lengths, allowing you to capture both wide-angle shots and zoom in on distant subjects. This is great for travelers who want to capture various scenes without carrying around a bag full of lenses.

I also appreciate the addition of the articulating screen of this amature camera for photography, which is useful for shooting vlogs or taking selfies. It adds a level of flexibility to your shooting style. The camera's design is user-friendly and has an intuitive interface, making it easy to navigate through its various features.

panasonic lumix fz80 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

However, it's worth mentioning that the FZ80's sensor is a little outdated compared to some other cameras on the market. While its performance is still good, it may not deliver the same level of image quality as newer models.

This bridge camera has a maximum unboosted ISO of 3200, which can be boosted to 6400, but it's not the best in low-light situations.

10. Canon EOS M200

Full Auto mode
canon eos m200 camera for amateur photographer

Type: Mirrorless | Resolution: 24 MP | Screen type: LCD | Max continuous shooting speed: 6 fps

  • ✚ Compact design
  • ✚ Intuitive controls
  • ✚ High-quality images
  • ✚ Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Lacks a viewfinder
  • Connecting to a computer using a USB cable reduces image resolution

The menu system of this camera for photography is relatively easy to navigate, although it's not as quick as a DSLR.

One advantage of the M200 is its APS-C sensor, which is larger than most smartphones, allowing for more detail and flexibility when cropping your photos. It also comes with a range of effects and filters to add that extra touch to your storytelling.

For novice photographers, the M200 offers an easy-to-use full auto mode. This mode generally gets the exposure right and keeps your subject in focus, although it does tend to oversharpen images slightly.

canon eos m200 camera for amateur photographer photo sample

However, it does face some tough competition from rival cameras for amateur photographer from Sony and Canon, not to mention the ever-improving smartphone cameras. One notable downside is that it lacks a viewfinder, which more advanced photographers might miss. However, if you're new to the world of traditional cameras, this won't be much of an issue.

Recommended lens:

Samyang 85mm F1.4

This prime lens can be adjusted manually, which accounts for higher accuracy. Thanks to its convenient design, it looks great with most full-frame mirrorless cameras released by Canon.

canon eos rebel t100 4000d camera
Canon EOS Rebel T100 / 4000D
  • Type: DSLR
  • Resolution: 18 MP
  • Screen type: LCD
sony zv 1 camera
Sony ZV-1
  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • LCD: 3”
  • Video: 4K
nikon d3400 camera
Nikon D3400
  • Type: DSLR
  • Resolution: 24.2 MP
  • Screen type: LCD


  • • Why do I need to buy a camera if I have a smartphone?

While a smartphone is easier to carry around, you won’t be able to change its lens to take better-quality photos. Besides, you will have a limited choice of controls.

If you travel a lot and can’t carry around a bulky amateur photographer camera, take a closer look at compact models. However, if you just need to take pictures sometimes, a smartphone will suffice.

  • • Is Canon a good brand?

Canon is a great brand that releases popular camera models. They support impressive contrast and image quality. Besides, Canon cameras also often have dual pixel AF.

  • • How many megapixels a camera should support?

When selecting an amateur camera, think about which project you are going to work on. If you need to print your images afterward, it’s better to pick a camera with a higher pixel count. For regular use, any 12MP camera will suffice.

  • • How do I select the right camera?

Make sure to select a model that supports better image quality than your phone, is comfortable to hold, has a perfect size for your needs, and allows using a lens that is suitable for the projects that you mostly work on. It’s better to choose the most recent option within your budget.

  • • How many years can I use a camera?

You will use most cameras for 5-10 years. After that, it will become too outdated. Besides, it might get incidentally damaged even before its shutter stops working.

  • • Which camera brand is more suitable for beginners, Canon or Nikon?

Most aspiring photographers pick Nikon. It releases amateur cameras with convenient controls, which makes it easier to master them.

Besides, Nikon cameras are more affordable. If you are looking for a more professional camera, both Canon and Nikon release advanced models with superb image quality and a variety of accessories.