Best digital cameras for beginners, according to photographers

Most devices nowadays have built-in cameras. From smart TVs to eyeglasses and computers, there seems to be always an opportunity to snap a photo. But when it comes to high-quality imagery, a digital camera always comes in handy for those special moments and events.

While many digital cameras can cost thousands of dollars, there is a slew of affordable and quality devices for beginners. Shop TODAY talked to two professional photographers for their insight and recommendations before buying a DSLR or mirrorless camera. If you want to upgrade your phone’s camera, here are some things to consider before investing in a digital camera.

How should you choose a digital camera?

First, you’ll need to consider the type of photography you’ll be prioritizing. According to New York City-based fashion photographer Eugene Manning, the amount and type of work should determine which camera you get. “If you’re shooting casually, you should think about something that’s small, light and unobtrusive.” Also, he recommended purchasing a camera that has multiple SD card slots if you’re shooting an important subject or event.

There are other camera features to consider before deciding on a purchase. “Does the camera have a high ISO range or how many FPS does it offer?” are some of the questions fashion photographer Wellington Guzman advised asking yourself while shopping around.

“The better your lenses are, the sharper and more detailed the image. Also, the richer and more faithfully rendered the colors [will be], so having a great camera is only as good as your lens selection,” mentioned Manning.

While most digital cameras are higher-priced, you can find some that offer great features without the hefty price tag. Overall, bear in mind the amount of money you want to invest, the size of camera you want, how much focus you need and — most importantly — the type of lens you can afford as most brands sell the camera body separately.

What’s the difference between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR camera?

“A basic difference between the two is that a DSLR diverts light coming from the lens via a prism system. While a mirrorless camera lacks the prism, it can be smaller and lighter,” said Guzman.

Most professional photographers shoot exclusively with DSLR because they are less expensive than the newer mirrorless models. Though DSLR cameras are bigger and heavier, they also have better autofocus. “DSLR [cameras have] more mechanical components inside. However, it’s going to limit how much technology the DSLR can continue to upgrade. Nowadays, DSLR cameras reach maximum lens sizes,” mentioned Guzman.

Though DSLR cameras have their pros and cons, they offer better low-light shooting which is ideal for people who want to shoot photography at night.

“The mirrorless cameras are smaller because they don’t have a prism. Because of that, you can fit a bigger camera sensor and technology. However, these cameras are susceptible to weather conditions like cold, water or heat making them more sensitive. Also, the battery is used up more,” added Guzman.

Best digital cameras for beginners

Canon EOS Rebel T7

This is one of the most affordable cameras made by Canon and similar to the Nikon 5600. It comes with necessary essentials like a DC III lens, 32GB memory card, table tripod and cleaning kit to get you started on your photography journey. “This camera is capable of shooting 1080p video and has Wi-Fi so that you can send photos wirelessly and control the camera remotely,” said Manning.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

If you’re looking to engage in street photography, this camera will do its job. One of the main features of the Olympus is that it offers easy sharing so you can transfer your photos and videos to your smart device while you’re on the move. With a self-portrait mode, you can flip the camera and flip down the touchscreen for an easy capture. Also, it offers image stabilization for clear pictures. One shopper mentioned the camera’s weight helped him when hiking around and said “it has a better LCD screen for landscape photography”.

Nikon D3500

This highly-rated Nikon is one of the cheapest DSLRs on the market. Shoppers love this one because “it is super user-friendly and is ready to go right out of the box.” Aside from its compact body, the Nikon D3500 shoots crisp photos, records full HD videos and has an in-camera shooting guide for beginners. In other words, this’ll pay for itself after just a few shots!

Nikon D5600

With a 4.7-star rating at Walmart and B&H Video, this Nikon offers a range of attractive features. Manning recommended this one for its compact feature and great performance in low-light situations. “It is crop sensor, so you’ll have to keep that in mind, but one thing I love about Nikon is that all of its lenses (even manual lenses from 50 years ago) work on all of its camera bodies.”

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Canon’s Mark series is one of the most coveted camera editions by photographers. This mirrorless camera holds a lightweight, compact body to carry your basic photography needs. The Canon EOS M50 also has a better autofocus than its first edition. This is ideal for travelers looking to step up their photography game. The entry-level camera also features built-in Wi-Fi, silent mode for quieter shooting, 24.1 megapixels and overall provides great image quality.

Sony Alpha A6000

Looking to shoot some nighttime photography? The Sony mirrorless camera offers a great low-light feature and technology to let you capture beautiful images. It has an ISO range of 100-25600 (which helps to increase the brightness of an image). One verified reviewer raved about how reliable this camera is for beginners, especially since you can put it inside your coat and carry it around with ease. “I am a beginner photographer and it has taken high-quality professional photos”.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

This digital camera is a great option for first-time DSLR users. With a solid 4.7-star average at B&H Video, this is one of the most affordable cameras you can get at the professional level while still being a beginner. One thing to keep in mind is that some Canon models are not compatible with some lenses. However, this model offers a “wide range compatibility with Canon EF and EFS lenses.” It also features 24.1 megapixels, accurate autofocus, a Vari-angle touch screen LCD to review photos and more.

Fujifilm X-T200

“Fujifilm may not have the market share of a Canon or Nikon, but they make up for it by blessing you with features,” said Manning.

If you are looking for a stylish camera that looks like a DSLR, the Fujifilm is the way to go. This is a travel-ready camera that delivers fast autofocus and quality images “with its buttery smooth and clean video compared to the noisy splotchy mess of the iPhone 12 Pro,” claimed one reviewer. Experts also agree this is a great entry-level camera for users that are learning the basics of photography.

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Steve Liem

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