What are the best cameras for beginners?
The best cameras for beginners bridge the gap between smartphone and compact cameras, opening up new avenues of photography.
Improved image quality for both photos and videos is combined with interchangeable lenses and manual shooting modes to explore a new world of photography.
If you’re looking to examine photography in more depth and don’t know where to begin, this guide will help you find your way through the best cameras for beginners.
We’ll break down the terminology and unpack the various features available from some leading camera manufacturers.
Whether you’re after a camera for high-quality stills or looking for something to improve your vlogs and social media presence, there’s a camera here for you.
The Best Cameras For Beginners Compared
Our tech lists are created by researching the best-reviewed products from the most reputable web sources.
Here’s our list of the 10 best cameras for beginners:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
10. Panasonic GX9
Panasonic’s Lumix GX9 4K mirrorless camera might be on the pricier end of the spectrum for a beginner’s camera, but it packs a punch in quality and flexibility.
With its live viewfinder and impressive touchscreen interface, you can start taking photographs in no time.
The 20-megapixel four-thirds sensor delivers superb images with little effort, but the range of shooting options and manual controls opens up new avenues of photography exploration.
On top of excellent stills, the 4K camera’s video mode produces detailed footage with vibrant colors.
With superb autofocus and a compact design, the Panasonic GX9 works as an ideal travel companion without sacrificing quality.
This makes it the perfect digital camera for the enthusiastic amateur with a reasonable budget at their disposal.
- Nice easy to use touchscreen
- 4K photo and video modes
- Great stabilization system
- No microphone input
- AF selection could be improved
9. Canon EOS M50 Mark II
If you’re after an entry-level mirrorless digital camera with excellent versatility both in performance and the range of lenses available, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is worth considering.
Canon’s reputation as top tier camera manufacturers is well-established, and it shows with this excellent all-rounder.
This semi-professional camera is loaded with features ranging from a flexible touchscreen and movie self-timer to 4K video, including 120p slow-motion video in standard HD.
Its 24MP CMOS sensor delivers crisp and vibrant images, and built-in Wi-Fi makes this excellent for content creators interested in putting out high-quality live streams.
If you’re looking to future-proof your photography journey with a camera suited to an extensive collection of lenses, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II will give you great options in this regard.
- High-quality sensor delivering great images
- Feature-rich with plenty to learn as you grow
- 10 fps bursts to allow for wide focus coverage
- 24MP APS-C imaging
- 4K could be better
- Can’t be charged via USB
- Battery life could be longer
8. Nikon Z50
Nikon is one of the few camera manufacturers who give Canon a run for their money.
The Nikon Z50 is their mid-range entry into the world of mirrorless cameras, perfect for newbies or those moving on from their range of DSLRs.
The large, clear touchscreen is perhaps the first thing that strikes you about the Nikon Z50, giving a nice view of the images captured with its 20.9 MP DX sensor.
The viewfinder offers additional flexibility when shooting, which works nicely with the 11fps continuous shooting with full-time AE/AF.
The available lenses might be limited compared to other cameras on the market, but Nikon will undoubtedly continue to address this over time.
Overall this is a high-quality camera that delivers professional still and video images.
- Shoots high quality 4K with no cropping
- Great viewfinder
- Handles nicely with solid grip
- Can’t remove the overlay information when using the LCD
- 300 shot battery life is limiting
- Missing a joystick for selecting AF points
7. Sony A6000
Sony’s A6000 might have been originally launched way back in 2014, but it still holds its own today as a worthwhile camera for beginners, which offers scope to delve into manual photography techniques.
While the A6000 lacks the touchscreen found on some other beginner’s cameras, it’s nevertheless an intuitive camera with a quick learning curve.
Images are sharp and detailed, and shooting is made easier on account of a great autofocus system which does a lot of the hard work for you.
The A6000 is one of the best mirrorless cameras in its price range and certainly one of Sony’s greatest accomplishments in the mid-range category.
It’s a solid camera for photography beginners and those looking for something more lightweight to take on holidays.
- Nice compact design
- Competitive price
- No 4K video
- Lens selection could be better
6. Sony ZV-E10
Sticking with Sony for our next entry in this list of the best cameras for beginners, we’ve chosen the ZV-E10.
This is an affordable camera with great video quality and an optional wind muffler for the microphone, making it ideal for enthusiastic vloggers on the go.
Sony appreciates what tools vloggers love in their cameras, and the ZV-E10 is packed with cool features to improve video production.
There’s a background defocus button which toggles the effect between on and off and a bright, front-facing LED screen to assist with framing.
If you’re after a camera for still photography, the lack of a viewfinder may put you off investing in Sony’s ZV-E10.
But if video production is your thing, it’s an intuitive and versatile piece of kit worth checking out.
- Excellent 4K video image quality
- Effective autofocus
- Wind muffler comes in handy outdoors
- Functions as USB webcam
- Lacks a viewfinder
- Battery life could be better
- No image stabilization
5. Panasonic G100
Our second entry for the best cameras for beginners to come from Panasonic is the G100.
This 4K mirrorless camera includes built-in tracking for the microphone and advanced 360-degree sound, delivering optimal audio-video performance for internet creatives.
Capturing excellent images and shooting great videos is nice and easy with the G100, making it ideal for newbies who want a shallow learning curve.
If you want to get under the proverbial hood, this is a feature-rich camera with which you can explore more advanced settings you can apply to the customizable buttons.
As with Sony’s ZV-E10, Panasonic’s G100 is pitched towards online creatives, so if you’re thinking of setting up a YouTube channel or otherwise want a camera with great audio-video potential, this could be worth purchasing.
- Advanced audio contributes to professional video production
- Intuitive settings
- Quality images for both videos and stills
- Lacks a headphone jack
- No 60fps at 4K resolution
4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
With its silver and black combination body, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV might be a bit of a mouthful to say, but it’s a great-looking retro-styled camera.
Well-designed controls and a tactile feel, it’s a solid entry-level camera for photography novices.
In terms of functionality, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has a lot to shout about.
The 20 MP Live MOS sensor contributes to outstanding images for the price range, while the 5-axis image stabilization and 4K video capability keep images and video footage nice and sharp.
The Olympus’s classic film camera aesthetics belies a powerful compact camera with a solid roster of features.
And the Micro Four Thirds sensors mean you can choose from a wide selection of lenses as your photography experience develops over time.
- Great range of lenses
- Nice design and ergonomics
- High-quality 20MP sensor
- Great in-body stabilization
- Lacks microphone and headphone inputs
- Lacking detail in action photography
3. Canon EOS 250D
Our final choice from Canon is the EOS 250D, a feature-packed DSLR camera packed with preset scene modes which allow for a diverse range of images without any hassle.
It’s also brimming with manual features, making it ideal for moving from simple, compact cameras to versatile semi-professional kits.
The vari-angle touchscreen LCD control panel makes this one of the more intuitive cameras on the market.
Its decent battery life and Live View autofocus response allow you to take plenty of photos when you’re out and about without having to worry about hitting a limit.
It’s also nice and light with a durable case, making it perfect for younger amateur photographers just starting.
Wireless sharing through the built-in Wi-Fi connection adds additional versatility, rounding up a relatively inexpensive package for anyone looking for a camera that can do a bit of everything.
- Easy to use yet versatile
- Rich in features and shooting modes
- Extra light and compact
- Battery life is great
- AF system could be better
- D-pad at rear is a little small
2. Fujifilm X-T200
The Fujifilm X-T200 is an ultra-compact mirrorless camera which doesn’t skimp on shooting modes and video features.
Its slight size and lightweight, combined with great 4K video reproduction, make this a great entry-level camera for those looking to progress from smartphones and point-and-click compact cameras.
Operated via an intuitive 3.5” touchscreen, the Fujifilm X-T200 boasts a light body and stylish design, housing a powerful sensor.
Face/Eye detection for the autofocus helps deliver nicely composed photographs and video footage without the need to wrap your head around complex functions.
At the same time, manual control options are extensive, so there’s scope for learning lots of new photography tricks.
This might be Fujifilm’s cheapest camera with interchangeable lenses, but there’s nothing “cheap” about the quality of the body construction or the results.
If you’re upgrading from your smartphone camera, the images and videos produced here will blow your mind.
- Easy to use LCD touchscreen
- Excellent 4K video image quality
- Compact and ergonomic body
- USB webcam support
- No sensor stabilization
- Battery life isn’t great
- Fairly expensive
1. Nikon D3500
Our final selection — and the best overall camera for beginners — is the Nikon D3500.
This entry-level compact DSLR strikes a perfect balance between automation and manual tweaking, delivering a pleasing learning curve for beginners looking to explore the more advanced aspects of photography.
With a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor under the hood, the D3500 puts out rich and detailed images with vivid colors and nicely balanced saturation across the range of presets.
While its body might not be the most compact on this list, it’s reliably sturdy and well-designed, fitting comfortably in your hands.
Ease of use combines with an exceptional 1550 shots per battery charge, so for lengthy shoots, it’s leagues ahead of the competition.
As Nikon is such a well-established manufacturer of cameras and accessories, there are countless lenses, filters, flashes, and other add-ons the budding photographer can pick up over time.
The icing on the cake is the useful Guide Mode, so even if you’re new to photography, getting your head around the process is a breeze.
- Outstanding battery life
- Unparalleled image quality for the price
- Intuitive to use
- Guide Mode is ideal for first-timers
- Lacks 4K video modes
- LCD screen is fixed
FAQs About Cameras For Beginners
Still unsure what benefits you can experience from upgrading your camera from a basic smartphone or compact device?
These answers to commonly asked questions should help you decide which camera is the best for your needs.
Q: What is the easiest camera for a beginner?
This depends on what you want the camera to do for you, as some beginner cameras are excellent for photographs but not the best for shooting in 4k.
If you haven’t read through this guide already, head back to the top of the page and check out our recommendations for the best cameras for beginners.
Q: Which type of camera is best for beginners?
The best beginner camera will offer more versatility than the basic camera on your smartphone.
There is a range of questions you should answer before making a purchase.
Do you want something compact which you can take on holiday? Are you considering future-proofing it, so you can continue to build up a collection of cool lenses?
Are you a vlogger, in which case does the camera come with great video and decent audio recording?
Q: Is Canon or Nikon better for beginners?
Both Nikon and Canon have their fair share of fans, and whichever you choose, you’ll be investing in a top-quality camera with plenty of features and modes to play with.
Consider carefully the camera features and quality you’re looking for, then assess the range of options from Canon, Nikon, and other camera manufacturers.
While not everyone can take a leaf out of Peter Parker’s books and own both Canon and Nikon, both brands offer a wide range of models, so they’ll likely have something which matches your needs.
Q: What should I look for in a camera?
There are several factors to consider before investing in a camera. These include:
- Sensor Type/Size
- Range of lenses available
- Image quality
- Range of additional accessories such as lens filters
- DSLR vs. mirrorless
- Size and weight
- Resolution in megapixels
- 4k footage capabilities
Each of these should be considered when choosing the best camera for a beginner.
Q: How much should a beginner spend on a camera?
As we’ve outlined in this guide to the best cameras for beginners, there’s a nice price range of cameras you can choose from, ranging from around $300 up to around $800.
The more you spend, the better the quality will be, but don’t feel like you need to break the bank to pick up a camera that will produce vibrant images and great video.
Q: How To Choose / Which To Choose?
If you’re still struggling to select the camera which is best suited to your needs, start by compiling a list of the key things you’re thinking of using it for.
You can then use this checklist to make sure the camera you opt for features the modes and functions you’re looking for.
DSLR and mirrorless cameras represent a worthwhile upgrade from point-and-click compacts and smartphone cameras.
Whether you’re looking into becoming a budding wildlife photographer or a successful vlogger, this guide will help you pick the best camera for your budget and goals.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best cameras for beginners:
- Nikon D3500
- Fujifilm X-T200
- Canon EOS 250D
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
- Panasonic G100
- Sony ZV-E10
- Sony A6000
- Nikon Z50
- Canon EOS M50 Mark II
- Panasonic GX9