Best Camera For Beginners

If you are looking for the absolute best cameras for beginners then this article is for you. The top camera makers on the market have cameras designed for those who are new to photography and for this article I reviewed the most popular models and you will know what which camera is the best investment to make.

You can find links to the top picks below for customer reviews and prices. Each has been selected for performance and ease of use and learning.

  1. Olympus E-M10 Mark III
  2. Fujifilm X-T100
  3. Olympus Tough TG-6
  4. Sony Alpha A5100
  5. Canon 4000D
  6. Nikon D3500

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Features to Consider

Because all camera models are designed with a specific type of photographer in mind it is important to understand what features are most important for the entry level photographer. If you are a beginner or purchasing a camera for one then it is very important that you know what to look for to ensure you get the right camera model.

Most beginner photographers have not yet learned all the technical aspects of the art so they will want a camera that is not only easy to use but one that will aid them as they learn the functions and technical aspects of photography. But because the beginner is just starting their journey, it is very important that the camera they shoot with is enjoyable and fun to use.

When I reviewed the top models I looked at it from this perspective and there were a number of beginner models that did not offer the performance or the fun factor so they were excluded from the recommendations. I have also attempted to provide a range of options so that you can be certain to get the size and features you want in a wide range of price points so that there is certainly one that fits your budget.

As you know if you read my beginner guide to photography, I am a huge fan of learning on a camera that offers full manual mode and I have those models on the list. It is important to learn how to adjust your ISO and aperture among other settings and a manual mode camera is best for learning this. But I am aware that some will want a fully automatic camera and for that reason I have also included the top performers in that category as well.

Top Rated Beginner Cameras

Olympus E-M10 Mark III

  • Mirrorless camera
  • Micro four thirds sensor
  • 16.1 megapixels
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 1,040k dots
  • Offers a maximum continuous shooting speed of 8.6fps
  • Ideal for beginners

Mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice for beginners as they offer excellent performance in a very lightweight and compact size. This makes them easy to carry and shoot with for the beginner. This Olympus model offers you a solid line of lenses and very good image quality. It is equipped with built in image stabilization which will help the learning photographer prevent image blur from a shaky hand while shooting. This model offers 4k video capabilities as well. What I like most about this camera is it is ideal for the beginner who wants a camera that will be able to stay with them even as their skills improve. It offers a multitude of compatible lenses as well. The only true downside is that this camera is not ideal for low light and night photography. This easy to use camera offers a wide array of features and great performance for an entry level model. And at it’s price point it is a solid overall value.

Fujifilm X-T100

  • Mirrorless camera
  • APS-C sensor
  • 24.2 megapixels
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Large 3.2″ touchscreen LCD with 1,040,000 dots
  • Has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 6fps
  • 4k video capture
  • Ideal for beginners

Fujifilm makes a number of very popular professional cameras that are beloved around the world for their classic design and snappy performance. This model is Fuji’s top model designed specifically with the beginning photographer in mind. It offers some of the greatness of there professional models with some tradeoffs that allow the price to be much lower. First off, you get the loved classic design Fuji is known for. I really like the looks of this camera. It offers 4k video capture that works smooth and offers excellent video quality. The sensor is not the same as the pro models but it does provide great image quality for the price. The articulating touchscreen is an excellent feature that most new photographers will love having. The buttons are well designed and learning to use the X-T100 is real joy. The autofocus is not very fast but it is accurate and plenty for the starter. This is an overall fun and value packed option.

Olympus Tough TG-6

  • Compact camera
  • Has a 1/2.3″ sensor
  • 12 megapixels
  • Built in 25-100mm f/2-4.9 lens
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 460k dots
  • Has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 20fps
  • 4k video capture
  • Ideal for beginners who need a durable camera

I am a huge fan of the Tough TG 6 and it is not only a great waterproof camera for beginners but a solid all around camera for those looking for true durability. It is like a GoPro for those who want to shoot in hand. It offers top of the line shock proofing meaning it can survive falls. It offers waterproofing capable of shooting pictures even when fully submerged in water. That means you can take with you swimming and on vacation for some fun and unique shots. Because of this it is an awesome travel camera for beginners as it handles abuse and is easy to use. It does not offer the best image quality on the list so it is best suited for the more adventurous (or clumsy) beginner photographer. It does offer a zoom as well as a simple point and shoot design.

Sony Alpha a5100

  • Mirrorless camera
  • Has an APS-C sensor
  • 24.3 megapiels
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Large 3″ flip out touchscreen LCD with 921,600 dots
  • Has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 6fps
  • 4k video capture
  • Ideal for beginners

Sony makes some of my favorite cameras on the market. They are incredibly well designed and offer exceptional performance across many types of photography. Even the pro models offer plenty of auto functionality making them easy to use even for the absolute beginner. For this reason, Sony’s are definitely some of my personal favorite entry level cameras. The Alpha a5100 is a beautiful camera that comes in a smaller and more lightweight size than many other Sony’s making it easy for the beginner to handle. You have a wide array of compatible lenses to choose from as well. The controls are well designed and learning to use them is straight forward. It offers advanced features such as automatic eye focus which when enabled will focus on the face of subjects in your frame. It also offers manual mode which is ideal for expanding your photography skill and improving your image quality and composition skill. The biggest drawback for me is that it does not have a viewfinder which means you use the LCD screen for framing your shots. Not a huge deal but something to note.

Canon 4000D

  • DSLR camera
  • Has an APS-C sensor
  • 18 megapixels
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • 2.7″ TFT LCD screen
  • Has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 3fps
  • 1080p video capture
  • Ideal for beginners

This Canon is one of the best budget DSLR cameras designed for beginners. It is not secret that DSLR cameras tend to cost much more than their compact counterparts. But this model is a very reasonably priced DSLR that is ideal for entry level photography. It might not be a top of the line DSLR, but it definitely offers much more than the average point and shoot camera out there. For a relatively low price you can start your journey to pro level photography right away. Not only does this camera offer auto modes it also has a very wide selection of compatible lenses to choose from. The 4k video capture is very popular and works very well. This simple to use DSLR is an awesome choice for the beginner who knows they want to develop their skills beyond what a point and shoot can offer.

Nikon D3500

  • DSLR camera
  • Has an APS-C sensor
  • 24.2 megapixels
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Large 3″ LCD screen with 921,000 dots
  • 1080p video capture
  • Ideal for beginners who want to advance their skill level

This is my absolute favorite camera for beginners. Nikon produces some of the absolute best and most popular cameras in the world. If you plan to stick with photography, grow your skill set, and be the best photographer you can be then you can’t go wrong with the D3500. This budget friendly DSLR is comparable to the above offering from Canon. I won’t get into the argument here of which is better Canon vs Nikon but both offer excellent performance and a deep catalogue of compatible gear. This camera offers excellent image quality and resolution. It has a wide assortment of lenses that are compatible. The video quality is not as good as the Canon but it does win out in still shot quality. The 24.2 MP resolution is great for an entry level DSLR and the large LCD screen works flawlessly. I really enjoy shooting with this Nikon and it will not disappoint as a beginner camera if it fits within your budget.

Conclusion

As you can see there are some excellent beginner cameras on the market and depending on your goals any of the top rated picks are certain to serve you well. If you are looking for a lightweight model with great image quality then a mirrorless is the way to go. If you are more adventurous and looking for a travel camera then the TG-5 is an awesome choice. If you see yourself developing your skills as a photographer then the Canon or Nikon are definitely the cameras for you.

At the end of the day I found each of these cameras to offer a simple and fun shooting experience that is perfect fort the photographer just starting their journey. Grab the camera that best matches your goals and keep practicing and you will love your new camera.

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