For the longest time, many people didn’t think they could ever get into photography either as a profession or as a hobby. This is because many people saw the amount of gear you might have to buy if you wanted any kind of quality picture.
Thankfully, the days of hundreds of dollars in tech keeping those interested away is gone. The tech remains, but not everyone is looking to be a professional or a serious hobbyist. For those looking to take quality pictures using something other than their smartphone, we have some good news.
We heard your plight and wanted to help provide you with some help if you’re just beginning to explore photography. With our list of the Best Cameras for Beginners in 2029, we think we can help get you started.
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Let’s start by taking a closer look at what you should be looking for in a first camera.
What features should you look for in your first camera?
When you start shopping for a camera, it can be very daunting looking at all of the different options out there. To help we wanted to highlight some areas for you to pay attention to when you choose a camera.
You didn’t think that cameras were free, did you? Unfortunately, not yet. The easiest way to determine how much to spend is to come up with an overall budget and narrow the window as much as you can. For example, if you want to spend less than $1,000 on a camera, you’re going to run into a lot of options and get overwhelmed easily. If you narrow that down further, you can find a more specific selection of cameras for you to select from.
Types of Cameras
Overall, the different types of cameras can be broken down into three different options: Point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and DSLRs. While these are pretty defined titles, they can blur from time to time. Let’s take a closer look:
- Point-and-shoot cameras are the most compact and convenient option on the list. These types have a constant lens that is built into the camera. While the lenses aren’t interchangeable, the zoom range in pretty wide. The quality of these cameras can run from cheap to some high-quality options.
- Mirrorless systems are the most popular camera option out there and most will have interchangeable lenses like a big DSLR but at a smaller size. While some can provide high-resolution images, mirrorless systems are a good compromise between versatility and quality.
- DSLRs are the fancy-looking, classic design cameras that come with all the buttons as well as the big lenses from time to time. While DSLRs on the lower end can offer you good quality and provide you with a ton of control, the assortment of lenses and flashes available can be a bit overwhelming. This plus all the other gadgets out can help you achieve all kinds of creative effects.
When cameras went digital, the sensor replaced the film. These sensors can differ in size, resolution which is measured in megapixels as well as sensitivity to light. Of course, the biggest sensors with a high resolution tend to be pricey. The majority of cameras use either a smaller sensor known as a call cropped frame or full frame. The easiest way to know how your camera’s megapixels will affect your images is to think of it as the resolution on your television, a higher resolution means a better image and the same is true with the number of megapixels you’re camera has.
If you ever used a camera with film, you may be familiar with this term. This is the measurement of the sensitivity that the sensor has to light. For shooting in low-light conditions, you will want to look at options that not only shoot at a high ISO of 1600 or more but still produce decent pictures.
One of if not the most important part of the camera, for the picture you are taking to get to the sensor, it needs to pass through the lens first. If a point-and-shoot camera is a way you are going, compare the zoom range across several choices, but be warned that big zoom numbers may not be worth it if another camera has the features you need. Once you choose a DSLR, the options you have in terms of lenses are almost endless.
The 9 Best Cameras for Beginners in 2020
Choosing a camera can be a daunting process and there can be a lot of options to choose from. If you look online, the number of choices can be staggering. To clear the confusion, our list has what we consider the best cameras for beginners so you can start taking amazing pictures right away.
- Nikon D3500 – $396
- Canon Rebel SL3 – $649
- Fujifilm X-T100 – $399
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80 – $597
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk III – $579
- Nikon D5600 – $496
- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100K – $447
- Sony HX400V – $448
- Olympus Stylus Tough TG5 – $449
The 9 Best Cameras for Beginners in 2020 Compared
The Best All-round Camera for Beginners
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 921k, fixed | Viewfinder: Pentamirror | Lens (effective): 27-82.5mm | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p
If you’re never used a camera before, using the D3500 from Nikon is the perfect option as the entire design gets you up and running right away. With an “intelligent” fully automatic mode, wide-ranging scene mode and numerous effects you can choose from, the D3500 provides everything you need to get started. A high-performance 24.2MP sensor and processor, as well as a large ISO range and high-resolution LCD screen, shows off the camera’s quality. While the LCD isn’t a touch screen, the overall package makes it worth looking at.Learn More
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- A DSLR that's as easy to use as a point and shoot camera
- Compact, comfortable design that's great for travel and special events
- Image sensor that's 15x larger than those used in typical smartphones for sharper, clearer pictures
- Works with Nikon’s snap bridge app for sharing photos with a compatible smartphone or tablet
- 1080p full hd videos with monaural sound at the touch of a button. Bluetooth version 4.1
The Best DSLR Camera with 4K Video
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.1MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k, pivot, touch | Viewfinder: Pentamirror | Lens (effective): 28.8-88mm | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4k
The first entry-level DSLR to feature movie capture at 4k resolution, the Canon Rebel SL3 from Canon uses the Dual Power CMOS autofocus system and helps the camera perform very well when you are tracking the action in a video you’re shooting. Not one to be on our list for the only video, the 250D provides a beginner-friendly interface as well as a Creative Assist mode that works perfectly with the fully articulated touchscreen. The Canon Rebel SL3 is one of the most company and lightweight DSLRs on the market and can grow with you as you become more experienced.Learn More
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- Mounting Type: Bayonet
- Turn your Canon Camera into a high-quality webcam.
The Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
Type: CSC | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt, touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k | Lens (effective): 22.5-67.5mm | Continuous shooting speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 4k
Featuring a classic look, the X-T100 from Fujifilm is one of the manufacturer’s latest company system camera offerings. Included in the impressive set of features is a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor, a 1040k 3-way tilting touchscreen along with an electronic viewfinder with 2360k resolution. While it slowed to a frame rate of 15fps, the X-T100 features 4k UHD movie capture. With intelligent scene analysis as well as intelligent hybrid AF combines to provide phase-detection and contrast-detection for a fast and consistently accurate performance form a high-quality camera.Learn More
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- 24.2 Megapixel APS-C size sensor with Color Reproduction technology refined over 80 years. Artistic expression are made easy with the x-t100 with film Simulation and advanced filter modes
- Featuring super-fast autofocus and a variety of automatic functions, including an evolved SR+ auto mode which is capable of subject recognition together with conventional scene recognition
- Compatible with existing XF/xc Lens lineup of 26 Fujinon high quality lenses which cover focal lengths from 15mm to 1200mm (35mm equivalent)
- Features three-way tilting LCD monitor with a high resolution and high magnification (0.62x) electronic viewfinder, along with a powerful battery capable of 430 frames per charge
- Bluetooth low energy technology allows for quick and seamless image transfer
The Best Combination of Video and Stills in a Beginner Camera
Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k, tilt, touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,765k | Lens (effective): 24-64mm | Continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4k
The Lumix DMC-GX80 is a mirrorless system camera from Panasonic that provides you with a small and slim design, but still offers a high-res electronic viewfinder plus a tilting viewscreen. It doesn’t boast a very high megapixel count but that is pretty typical of micro four-thirds cameras but it is well-suited to recording video as many Panasonic cameras are, making it a great option if you’re looking to take photos and record videos. Competitively priced, the GX80 offers a clear and simple interface while the Light Speed AF system offers fast and accurate autofocus. With a 4K burst mode at 30fps and the ability to extract an 8MP image, the Lumix DMC-GX80 from Panasonic offers a great camera that does stills and video exceptionally well.Learn More
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- New 5-axis in-body sensor stabilizer works with LUMIX 2-axis optically stabilized lenses in video and still capture modes using class-leading Dual Image Stabilization
- Eliminates the need for low-pass sensor filters while boosting fine detail resolving power by nearly 10% over existing 16-Megapixel MFT sensors
- Shoot lighter and faster with the modern hybrid photography performance of a Mirrorless camera and nearly half the bulk of most DSLRs
- Thumbwheel controls, integrated viewfinder and touch control enabled tilting LCD maximize control of the photographic experience
- Capture spontaneous moments with 4K imaging performance in both 4K video and exclusive 4K PHOTO and Post Focus.EVF has a diopter that can be changed to accommodate eye sight
The Best Beginners’ Camera for Travel
Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: Electronic 2,360k | Lens (effective): 28-84mm | Continuous shooting speed: 8.6fps | Max video resolution: 4k
Being small and lightweight is one of the upsides of Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless camera systems and the E-M10 from Olympus is no exception. Despite its small stature, the camera is incredibly well-built and has an appealing classic design. A built-in motor enables the camera to zoom smoothly during video recording. The burst rate has a maximum of 8.6fps but the autofocus can be a little slower than its competition. With the 4K UHD movie capture that the E-M10 offers, this camera from Olympus is a perfect beginning camera for any travel lover.Learn More
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- In body 5 axis image stabilization for blur free stills and smooth 4K video
- 16 megapixel live MOS sensor and TruePic VIII image processor
- 4K 30P video plus HD 120 frames per second high speed video
- Timeless, easy to use body design; Compact & lightweight with 2 dials, arrow pad and shortcut button
- 3.0 inch tilting LCD monitor with intuitive touch screen operation and touch AF 1 step shutter release
The Best Beginners’ Camera for Wildlife Photography
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Screen: 3.2-inch, 1,040k, pivot, touch | Viewfinder: Pentamirror | Lens (effective): 27-210mm | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p
Taking photos of wildlife can be one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have as a photographer, but it can also be difficult with the wrong camera. This isn’t the case with the D5600 from Nikon which has an advanced, 39-point autofocus system that boasts an auto-area, dynamic-area, and 3D tracking modes. As one of the lightest and most compact DSLRs on the market, you won’t feel weighed down when you’re sitting in the woods waiting for that perfect shot.Learn More
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- 24.2MP DX format CMOS sensor
- Ex peed 4 image processor; approx.; 0.82 x (50 millimeter f/1.4 lens at infinity, 1.0 meter (1))
- 3.2 inches 1.037 meter dot VARI angle touchscreen. Max video clip length: 1920 x 1080: 29 minutes, 59 seconds
- Full hd 1080p video recording at 60 fps. Bluetooth version 4.1
- Snap bridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with NFC
The Best Compact Camera for Beginners
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1.0-type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 1,240k, touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 1,166k | Lens (effective): 25-250mm | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps (4k 30fps) | Max video resolution: 4k
When you look at the ZS100K from Panasonic, don’t look at its small size as a negative as the camera has some big features and specifications within its shell. With a sensor that’s large for a compact camera, the ZS100K contains a 20.1 MP 1.0-type sensor while providing relatively noise-free image quality even when the ISO settings are high. The camera even has an electric viewfinder as well as a high-res 3-inch rear screen fit into its small body. Able to shoot 4K UHD for both video and stills, while having a frame rate of up to 30fps and a burst rate of 10fps for full-resolution stills. The ZS100K from Panasonic is in our opinion, a DSLR camera in a compact camera’s body making it a great option if you don’t want to carry a bulky camera around all day.Learn More
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- POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA: Large, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor plus 10X zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens (25-250mm) and HYBRID O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) delivers brighter, more colorful...
- EYE-LEVEL ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER AND LCD DISPLAY: High-resolution 1,166k-dot viewfinder and rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display (1040K dots) are clear even in bright sunlight
- 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus with internal Focus Stacking allows you to record photos up to 30fps and set your...
- LENS-MOUNTED CONTROL RING: Manual lens-mounted control ring brings DSLR-like exposure control to a compact point-and-shoot camera body; Temperature: 23 oC (73.4 oF) / Humidity: 50%RH when monitor is...
- USB CHARGING AND WI-FI CONNECTIVITY: Enjoy travel ready technologies like USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity to your mobile device; micro-HDMI type D (*3) and USB 2.0 micro-B provide additional...
The Best Bridge Camera for Beginners
Type: Bridge | Sensor: 1/2.3-type | Megapixels: 20.4MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 922k, tilt | Viewfinder: Electronic, 201k | Lens (effective): 25-500mm | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 1080p
Like many other bridge cameras, the lens on the HX400V from Sony is fixed but comes with a DSLR-like body. This design makes sense as the zoom range if 25-500mm would be hard for any other body style to handle. With a maximum burst rate of 10fps, the camera is not lacking in terms of speed. The 20.4 megapixels and 3.0-inch tilting screen with a high resolution of 922k surround the ½.3-type sensor which is quite small for this type of camera. The display is not a touchscreen however but if you’re looking for a camera that has the feel of a DSLR before splurging on one, the HX400V from Sony is a good starting point.Learn More
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- Clear Image Zoom ZEISS Lens. Panorama (Recording): Intelligent Sweep Panorama (supports 360 format)
- 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor for superb low light images
- Keep your subject in focus with Lock-On AF. Screen type: 7.5cm (3.0 type)(4:3) / 921,600 dots / Xtra Fine / TFT LCD
- Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi w/NFC3
- Map your images with GPS tagged photos.Focus Range (From the Front of the Lens):0.39 in - Infinity (W), 7.87 ft - Infinity (T)
The Best Underwater Camera for Beginners
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 12.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 460k | Viewfinder: None | Lens (effective): 25-100mm | Continuous shooting speed: 20fps | Max video resolution: 4k
Not every camera that you may own will be able to stand up to the environment that you take it into. For those moments, the TG5 from Olympus makes a great option. Able to withstand being submerged in water up to 45 feet, dropped from 6 feet or frozen to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, it can stand up to a lot of punishment. A great camera for outdoor activities, the burst rate of 20fps and the ability to capture video in 4K UHD resolution make the camera stand out. A 4x optical zoom and built-in macro and microscopic modes just add to the camera’s versatility.Learn More
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- New 12 megapixel Hi speed image sensor for improved low light performance and noise reduction
- Underwater compensation: 2 EV to +2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps); Bright F2.0 high speed lens; Video recording format: MOV(MPEG 4AVC/H.264)
- Dual quad core TruePic VIII image processor 3.0 inches 460k Dot LCD monitor; Focus range normal: 3.94 inches (10 centimeter) to infinit macro: 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) to infinity
- Field sensor system with GPS, manometer, compass, and temperature sensors
- Waterproof to 50 feet, F, dust proof, crush proof to 220 lbf, Shockproof from 7 feet, freeze proof to 14 degrees, anti fog lens, dust proof: IP6X
The Best Cameras for Beginners in 2020
Finding that first camera can be a great experience and open new sights and sounds that you might not have noticed before putting your camera in their direction. We hope that our list of the Best Cameras for Beginners in 2020 has removed some of the stigmas from photography as a hobby and encouraged you to get your camera.
Do you have a camera you’re just in love with but its not on our list? Let us know what is it in the comments below!!