Choosing the best camera for beginners is perhaps an even bigger decision than choosing a camera for pros! Obviously it has to be easy to use, with controls that are intuitive but not overwhelming, and ideally it will have helpful helpful guide modes that help novices get to grips with the basics. And since this is a first camera, it should be affordable too!
As with most things, the fastest and best way to learn is to dive in at the deep and and just start doing it. This means having a camera that you can keep with you at all times, so a beginners’ camera should also ideally be quite light. The best mirrorless cameras have the advantage in terms of portability and weight, but if size isn’t a priority then the best DSLRs do give you better bang for your buck.
There are plenty of alternatives to consider as well as the cameras we’ve listed here. Into your selfies, or aspiring to become a vlogger? Check out our run-down of the best cameras for selfies. If you’re looking for a camera for the whole family then head to our list of best cameras for kids, where we’ve highlighted different cameras based on fun, price and toughness, as well as staying power for young photographers becoming more advanced
The best cameras for beginners in 2020
1. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D / EOS 200D Mark II
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 25p
The EOS Rebel SL3 (aka EOS 250D / EOS 200D Mark II) has Canon’s top-of-the range APS-C sensor with 24.1MP of resolution and brilliant Live View shooting, thanks to a fully-articulating touchscreen display and Canon’s fast Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus. In fact, we’d actually say this is one of the only DSLRs where composing shots with the screen is downright preferable to using the viewfinder.
2. Nikon D3500
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F (DX) | Screen: 3in, 921,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p (Full HD) | User level: Beginner
The D3500’s controls are straightforward and easy to get to grips with. Its price means it does strip back on some more advanced features. For example, there’s no Custom Settings menu for tailoring camera functions to your preferences, as featured on every other series of Nikon DSLRs.
3. Fujifilm X-T200
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3.5in vari-angle touchscreen, 2,760k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360k dots | Max continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner/Intermediate
The new X-T200 replaces it and brings a lot of big improvements, though unfortunately a bit of a price hike too. We haven’t had a production sample in for testing yet, but we have tried it out and we’re impressed by what we’ve seen. The neat styling we loved in the old camera is retained – but in a body 80g lighter.
4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 8.6fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
The E-M10 Mark III is the least expensive and most beginner-friendly model in the current OM-D range. Even so, it shoehorns some fab features into its diminutive and beautifully crafted body, including a high-resolution electronic viewfinder and high-res tilting touchscreen. The built-in 5-axis image stabilization works with any attached lens, and the 14-42mm EZ kit zoom lens is a joy to use.
5. Sony A6000
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 1,440k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
With its APS-C format compact camera styling, and access to Sony’s range of interchangeable lenses, it’s a small body that packs a big punch. Resolution from the 24.3MP image sensor is very good, though the 1,440k-dot resolution of the electronic viewfinder is a little weak by today’s standards, and the 921k-dot tilting screen feels quite cramped too. It lacks the ability to record 4K movies and it doesn’t have the high-tech AF of Sony’s latest A6000-series cameras
6. Nikon D5600
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F (DX) | Screen: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p (Full HD) | User level: Beginner
The D5600 is a pretty expensive buy for absolute beginners, and it lacks the D3500’s interactive Guide shooting mode, but it’s still easy to use with full Auto, Scene and Effects modes, and plenty of manual exposure control too. The 39-point AF system covers the frame better than the D3500, which makes it even better for following moving subjects and for more precise control in general, but for many people the single key advantage over the D3500 will be the 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen display, which is also a little bigger than most others.
7. Panasonic Lumix GX80
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3in tilting, touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
The diminutive GX80 can be adapted to the needs of any user, from the beginner that just wants to rely on the leave-it-to-the-camera Intelligent Auto option, to the photographer that wants complete control over all exposure settings like shutter speed and aperture. You also get 4K video recording capability and Panasonic’s speed DFD (Depth From Defocus) autofocus system.
8. Fujifilm X-A7
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3.5in vari-angle touchscreen, 2,760,000 dots | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Beginner
The X-A7 has much better 4K video (proper 30fps not the old camera’s silly 15fps) and a much larger 3.5-inch screen with a vari-angle pivot. This screen is really good, and the biggest on any current camera apart from Fujifilm’s own X-T200. This screen alone makes the X-A7 a great upgrade for smartphone photographers, who will love the big display and won’t mind the lack of a viewfinder.
Something that beginner photographers often overlook is that when you buy your first camera, you’re buying into a camera system. A camera isn’t just the body, it’s a whole ecosystem of lenses and accessories that are specific to that body (or, at least, that manufacturer). So it pays to do your homework and invest in lenses that you can keep using, even as and when you outgrow the original body.
Jeffery Adolor is a web developer and a Techie, interested in writing and deploying web application and leveraging on computer languages to help solve computational problems and help promote businesses, also a vibrant digital marketer and strategist, active and leveraging on available Platform to help promote businesses through social media and search engines