What Camera Should I Buy For Beginner Photography
What is the best camera for beginners? We think it's a camera that's not too expensive to buy but still offers great image quality and the scope to try out more advanced techniques and shooting styles as you learn more about photography. And for us, that means one thing: a DSLR or a mirrorless camera! (opens in new tab)
what camera should i buy for beginner photography
Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com\n\n"}; var triggerHydrate = function() window.sliceComponents.authorBio.hydrate(data, componentContainer); var triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate = function() if (window.sliceComponents.authorBio === undefined) var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ' -9-5/authorBio.js'; script.async = true; script.id = 'vanilla-slice-authorBio-component-script'; script.onload = () => window.sliceComponents.authorBio = authorBio; triggerHydrate(); ; document.head.append(script); else triggerHydrate(); if (window.lazyObserveElement) window.lazyObserveElement(componentContainer, triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate, 1500); else console.log('Could not lazy load slice JS for authorBio') } }).catch(err => console.log('Hydration Script has failed for authorBio Slice', err)); }).catch(err => console.log('Externals script failed to load', err));Rod LawtonSocial Links NavigationContributorRod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com (opens in new tab) but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com (opens in new tab)
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It might be tempting when you're just starting in photography to splurge on a brand new high-end camera with all the bells and whistles, but the truth is that all the gear in the world won't make you a better photographer if you don't know what you're doing. So, the best camera to start photography with is often the one that's most available to you. For that reason, we've structured this article, for the most part, in order of ascending price, as our top pick also happens to be our top budget model. We've included some mid-range options for those willing to spend more or who want the latest tech, but our best advice for beginners is to get whichever camera is within your means and work on learning the basics. Most importantly, have fun with it!
We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best cameras for photography beginners. If you already know whether you'd prefer a mirrorless or a DSLR camera, you can try our lists for the best mirrorless cameras for beginners or the best DSLR cameras for beginners, respectively. Or, if you're looking to get into vlogging or content creation, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for YouTube instead.
Though it was released back in 2018 and is getting harder to find new, the Nikon D3500 is still one of the best cameras for beginners, thanks to its unique interactive Guide Mode. Built right into the mode dial, the Guide Mode walks you through the camera's features in simplified terms, so you can learn the ropes of photography as you go. For someone just starting, this built-in learning resource can be invaluable. While it doesn't have some of the bells and whistles you'll find on newer, more advanced models, the D3500 has an excellent high-resolution sensor that punches above its weight, along with many high-quality lens options, so you can still take beautiful photos.
The Fujifilm X-S10 is the priciest option on our list, but it's also one of the most well-rounded, with features that'll suit both new and more advanced users. While Fujifilm is known for its old-school designs, which typically include dedicated exposure dials, this camera has a simpler mode dial layout, making it more beginner-friendly. You also get a fully articulated screen and a very comfortable handgrip. It's also one of the few cameras in this price range to feature in-body image stabilization.
While the best cameras for beginner photographers are interchangeable-lens models, costs can quickly add up when you have to invest in a camera body, lenses, and other gear like extra batteries, memory cards, and maybe even a tripod. If you'd rather buy a cheap all-in-one camera that still gives you an SLR-like shooting experience, consider a budget bridge camera like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ80. It's a relatively cheap camera that still offers lots of value for its price.
While bridge camera sensors aren't too far off from modern smartphone cameras in terms of image quality, the glass on this thing will give you much more zoom than is possible with most phone cameras. It also provides a more comfortable shooting experience, and having a viewfinder to shoot through will give you a better feel for composition. This camera also has plenty of extra features that'll let you play around with different styles and subjects, including a macro mode for close-ups and a '4k PHOTO' mode for sports and fast-moving subjects. Overall, it's a solid, versatile option for casual or family photography, especially if you're on a tight budget.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best digital cameras for beginners to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
That will be a personal choice. Both manufacturers have several excellent choices as you can see from our list above. Both have beginner DSLRs that are compact, easy to use and come with a plethora of lenses to support your growing passion for photography. A lot of them are also wallet-friendly, in case you're looking for a budget DSLR.
The majority of beginner-friendly DSLRs, including the Nikon D3500, have now been discontinued. For now, it's still possible to find stock of the D3500 and many others in our list below. But if you're on a tight budget you should definitely consider delving into the second-hand market.The used camera market is booming right now, which means there are plenty of reputable places to pick up a bargain DSLR. In the US, we recommend the likes of B&H Photo Video (opens in new tab), MPB (opens in new tab) and Adorama (opens in new tab), while those in the UK should check out Ffordes (opens in new tab), MPB (opens in new tab), Wex Photo Video (opens in new tab) and Park Cameras (opens in new tab).The Nikon D3500, for example, is available for only $354 in the US and even mid-range DSLRs like the Nikon D5600 can be found for $464 / 359 (around AU$655) in 'good' condition on MPB. The only downside when buying used is that you don't get the kit lens bundles that are often available when buying new, so it's still well worth comparing second-hand deals with the latest offers on new bodies shown in our guide below.Mark Wilson, Cameras editor
The best beginner DSLR cameras are still great options for new photographers. While the best beginner mirrorless cameras are better choices for those who need a modern shooting experience, DSLRs remain the cheapest way to get a camera with a built-in viewfinder. They also offer great handling and, thanks to their tried-and-tested sensors, often produce excellent images.
We've tested pretty much every beginner DSLR you can buy to create our ranked guide below. After countless hours of testing, the Nikon D3500 tops our list. Though it was recently discontinued, you can still find it stocked at many retailers. Thanks to its accessible controls, excellent image quality and catalogue of compatible lenses, we still think its the best DSLR camera for beginners to learn and grow with.
Nikon may not have announced any new entry-level DSLRs for a while, but the D3500 remains an excellent option for those who are new to photography. It picks up from where the D3400 left off, but with a handful of extra perks. Unlike power-hungry mirrorless models, the major advantage of this camera is battery life. We found that it could keep going for over 1,500 images between charges, which is way ahead of most other DSLRs. In our tests, the 24MP sensor also delivered excellent image quality. 041b061a72