10 Best Cameras for Beginners

The best cameras for beginners should have two key features.

One, it should be easy to pick up and use. And two, it should be capable of shooting really good quality photos and/or videos.

We have compiled the following resources to help you find the best beginner-friendly camera to add to your travel photography gear/

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Where Should I Buy Camera Equipment?

We get asked this question often. There are two places where we buy our cameras, lenses and other accessories: B&H Photo and Amazon.

B&H Photo is our go-to company for buying the high quality cameras, tripods and lenses. They are a reputable company that’s been in business for over 45 years. Their customer service and knowledge about photography equipment gives us peace of mind when spending money on higher ticket items.

→ Check out Camera Equipment at B&H Photo

Amazon is where we buy most of our camera accessories like filters, memory cards, etc. The free two-day shipping is always a plus. We have bought cameras, lenses and tripods from Amazon with no problem as well. They are good about returns, but won’t be able to answer gear-specific questions.

→ Check out Photography Gear at Amazon

Best Cameras for Beginners at a Glance

LCD ScreenConnectivityPrice
Canon G7 X Mark IIIPoint-and-Shoot20.23″ 180° Tilting
WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Sony a6100Mirrorless24.2 3″ 180° Tilting
WiFi with NFC, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Canon Rebel SL3DSLR24.13″ Articulating
WiFi, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Olympus OM-D Mark IVMirrorless203″ Tilting TouchscreenWiFi, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Olympus TG-6Point-and-Shoot Waterproof123″ FixedWiFi, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Nikon D3500DSLR243″ FixedBluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Nikon Z50Mirrorless213.2″ Tilting
WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Canon EOS M6 Mark IIMirrorless243″ Tilting
WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo
Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W800Point-and-Shoot202.7″ FixedUSBAmazon | B&H Photo
Fujifilm X-T30Mirrorless263″ Tilting TouchscreenWiFi, Bluetooth, HDMIAmazon | B&H Photo

1. Overall Best Camera for Beginners

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

Key Features

  • 20.2MP 1″ Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • 4.2x Optical Zoom f/1.8-2.8 Lens
  • 24-100mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 4K30p and Full HD 120p Video
  • 20-fps Shooting, 30-fps Raw Burst Mode
  • Built-In Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Live Streaming & Vertical Video Support

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

2. Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Sony Alpha a6100

Key Features

  • 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30p and Full HD 120p Video
  • SVGA Tru-Finder 1.44m-Dot OLED EVF
  • 3.0″ 921.6k-Dot 180° Tilting Touchscreen
  • Up to 11-fps Shooting, ISO 100-32000
  • 4D FOCUS with 425 Phase-Detect Points
  • Real-Time Eye AF and Subject Tracking
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

3. Best DSLR Camera for Beginners

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

Key Features

  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • UHD 4K24p Video and 4K Time-Lapse Movie
  • 9-Point AF System; Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • ISO 100-25600, Up to 5 fps Shooting
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

4. Best Camera for Beginner Vloggers

Olympus E-M10 Mark IV

Key Features

  • 20.3MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor
  • TruePic VIII Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30p Video Recording
  • 2.36m-Dot 0.67x-Magnification OLED EVF
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot 180° Tilt Touchscreen
  • 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
  • 121-Point Contrast-Detection AF
  • 8.7 fps Shooting, ISO 200-25600
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

Best Vlogging Cameras for Beginners

5. Best Camera for Beginner Adventure Seekers

Olympus Tough TG-6

Key Features

  • 12MP BSI CMOS Sensor
  • TruePic VIII Image Processor
  • Olympus 4x Optical Zoom f/2 Lens
  • 25-100mm (35mm Equivalent)
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Water, Crush, Shock, Freeze & Dustproof
  • 4K Video Recording and Full HD at 120p
  • Built-In Wi-Fi, GPS, Field Sensor System
  • ISO 12800 and up to 20-fps Shooting
  • Pro Capture Mode & Variable Macro System

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

6. Best All-Round DSLR for Beginner Photographers

Nikon D3500

Key Features

  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter
  • Native ISO 100-25600; 5 fps Shooting
  • 3.0″ 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Multi-CAM 1000 11-Point AF System
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Guide Mode and Special Effects

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

7. Affordable Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera

Nikon Z50

Key Features

  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 6 Image Processor
  • UHD 4K and Full HD Video Recording
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot 180° Tilting Touchscreen
  • ISO 100-51200, Up to 11 fps Shooting
  • 209-Point Hybrid AF, Eye Detection
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

8. All-Purpose Mirrorless Camera for Beginners

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

Key Features

  • 32.5MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30p & Full HD 120p Video Recording
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5481 AF Points
  • Up to 14-fps Shooting, ISO 100-25600
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 30-fps Raw Burst Pre-Shooting

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

9. Budget-Friendly Beginner Camera

Sony Cyber Shot DSC W-800

Key Features

  • 20.1 MP 1/2.3″ Super HAD CCD Sensor
  • Optical 5x Zoom Lens & 10x Digital Zoom
  • Equivalent 35mm Focal Length: 26-130mm
  • 2.7″ Clear Photo LCD 230k-Dot Monitor
  • 720p HD Video at 30fps
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • 360˚ Sweep Panorama
  • Easy Mode & In-Camera Guide
  • Smile Shutter for Auto Smile Capture
  • Convenient USB Battery Charging

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

10. Best Beginner-Friendly All-Purpose Camera

Fujifilm X-T30

Key Features

  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 Sensor
  • X-Processor 4 with Quad CPU
  • DCI and UHD 4K30 Video; F-Log Gamma
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Tilting LCD Touchscreen
  • 425-Point Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Extended ISO 80-51200, 30 fps Shooting
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; Sports Finder Mode

→ CHECK PRICES AT: Amazon | B&H Photo

How to Buy the Best Camera for Beginners – Tips & Insights

As we aforementioned, a beginner-friendly camera should not only be easy to use but also capable of capturing really GOOD quality photos and videos. The first step to buying the best entry-level camera is to consider how you’re intending to use it.

The following 10 questions will help you get this done in the most effective way possible:

  1. Are you planning to shoot only photos? Or videos? Or both?
  2. How will you use the photos and/or videos?
  3. Are you looking to capture high-resolution images for print?
  4. Or you’re looking to use the images on social media sites like Instagram?
  5. Will you record vlogging media for YouTube?
  6. Or you’re just looking to document your adventures in GOOD quality photos and videos?
  7. Are you looking for something compact and lightweight for portability? A camera that can fit in your purse/backpack as you travel the world!
  8. What type of camera do you want? A compact point-and-shoot for ease-of-use? Or a compact mirrorless camera for versatility? Or a DSLR for manual controls and the long battery life? Or maybe an action cam or a waterproof camera for extreme adventures?
  9. Is the ability to work in low light a key factor? That’s especially if you’re looking to use the camera indoors or while traveling!
  10. Does the camera’s body design matter? Maybe you’re a budding lifestyle blogger who will benefit from a sleek, stylish camera with a flip-out screen for selfie shooting!

Essential Features of a Beginner-Friendly Camera

Once you’re clear with how you intend to use the camera, you should consider acquainting yourself with the essential features of a beginner-friendly camera. Most of these features are a no brainer and you may already have known them.

However, when buying a camera, it’s easy to be hooked into a device for its stylish body design but with poor imaging capabilities. To avoid falling into such a “trap”, you should consider the following features of a GOOD entry-level camera.

1. Ease of Use

A beginner-friendly camera should be easy to pick up and use! Its menu system and controls should be easy to navigate. Most point-and-shoot cameras offer the easiest-to-use menus and controls. All you need to take a picture is to turn on the camera, point at your target subject, and press the shutter.

These cameras are equipped with Pre-Set Modes that auto-selects themselves depending on your photographing conditions. They allow novice users to get started with their cameras without having to go through the overwhelm of dealing with manual settings and complicated controls.

In recent years, most cameras brands have been designing beginner-friendly entry-level cameras with easy-to-use controls. The DSLR and mirrorless cameras in the above list are easy to operate. They offer both auto and manual modes and come with simple menu systems and intuitive touchscreens.

2. Image Quality

The next stop after ease-of-use is the quality of images captured by the camera. Technically, image quality should be your key concern when buying a camera. But the quality of the images captured by a camera is as a result of quite a number of the camera’s features and other surrounding factors.

One such feature is the sensor size of the camera. A large sensor allows more light into the camera, something that provides better image quality and excellent low-light shooting. But such larger sensors add more bulk to the camera which makes then bigger and bulkier.

Entry-level cameras will either have APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, 1-inch, or 1/2.3″ sensors. Arranged from the largest to the smallest in that order. Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to design compact and lightweight cameras with APS-C sensors, which is a big plus!

Apart from the sensor size, you should also consider the camera’s megapixels. More megapixels don’t necessarily mean better image quality. If you’re looking to post your photos on the web and social media, 12-megapixels is pretty much okay. For print work, it’s advisable to get a camera with over 20-megapixels. 

3. Video Quality

Just like image quality, the quality of the video captured by a camera is very important. There is no point in getting an easy-to-use camera that records grainy videos with blurry edges. If your ideal camera features a good image sensor and a faster processor, you should be able to shoot high-resolution videos.

We always recommend buying a camera that can record at least Full HD 1080p footage at 30fps. If you can get 60fps in this resolution the better. Since it offers a smoother and vibrant video quality, which is great for vlogging. Going for a camera that shoots 4K footage at 24fps or more is a plus!

TIP: FPS means frames per second. Basically, video footage is a series of consecutive images that move at such a high speed that our eyes perceive motion. A frame is one image. So, 30fps is 30 images per second, and 60fps is 60 images per second. The higher the FPS, the smoother the motion perceived by our eyes and thus the better the video quality.

4. Image Stabilization

Our hands make small movements as we press the shutter button during handheld shooting. You may think that your hands are steady but there are still some minute movements. Such movements result in camera shakes, which end up affecting the image quality by producing blurry photos, especially in low-light.

The most effective way of avoiding this problem is shooting with your camera on a tripod. But a tripod may not be the most practical solution, more so if you’re a minimalist traveler. With image stabilization, the camera will off-set these “shakes” thus producing clear, sharper images.

TIP: If your favorite DSLR or mirrorless camera lacks an in-body image stabilization (IS), you can consider getting a lens with image stabilization. However, you should keep in mind that lenses with IS are much pricier!

5. Autofocus

A camera’s autofocus (AF) system simply adjusts its lens intelligently to obtain focus on the target subject. The workings of an AF system is not quite straightforward. But it can mean the difference between a missed opportunity and a sharp photo. 

As a beginner, it’s always advisable to get a camera with the best AF system possible. That’s especially if you are looking to shoot sports and wildlife photographs and videos. Or any other target where fast-paced action is involved.

6. LCD Screen and Viewfinder

A camera with a responsive touchscreen LCD provides a more intuitive and quicker way of operation. This can be a nice approach to control the camera instead of bothering with the buttons. The experience is akin to that of using a smartphone!

An LCD screen comes quite handy when shooting your videos and photos in Live View. With it, you’re able to ‘see’ the scene while composing it. A brighter and clearer screen will also provide a better experience during video playback.

Apart from control the camera and Live View recording, having a flip-out or tilting LCD screen is great for selfie shooting. This feature is especially useful for lifestyle, beauty, and travel vloggers who want to record themselves while on the move.

With a viewfinder, things get even more interesting. They offer for eye-level shooting and either come as Optical Viewfinder (OVF) or Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). An EVF is a live view screen that displays what the camera sensor detects.

On the other hand, an OVF is a mirror that allows you to view the scene as “seen” by the camera sensor. Since OVFs are mirrors, they end up making the camera body heavier and bulky, which is the reason they are mostly found in the bigger DSLRs.

A camera with an EVF will still cut it for most beginners. That’s not unless you are starting out as a professional photographer. You’ll still get to enjoy the benefits of a viewfinder while keeping your camera compact and lighter.

7. Microphone and Headphone Sockets

Most entry-level cameras will only offer a built-in stereo microphone. The mic will do the job but you may end up with bits of inaudible video, more so when recording your footage while on the go. Having an external mic input on your camera is a great advantage. And a headphone jack terminal is even a big plus!

TIP: If you’re looking to shoot vlogs with your camera, we advise getting an external microphone. Most people will watch an average quality video but won’t continue listening when the content is barely audible.

8. Connectivity

A good entry-level camera should at least have WiFi connectivity. With WiFi, you can easily share and transfer photos and videos to your mobile devices. If WiFi connectivity is absent, then it should either have Bluetooth or HDMI. Some cameras offer WiFi, NFC, HDMI, USB, and Bluetooth, which is a huge advantage!

9. Battery Life

A camera’s battery life becomes an important factor if you’ll be using it for an extended period of time away from the power supply. This is especially true if you’re an on-the-go vlogger, travel photographer, or an adventure enthusiast. In case this if your lifestyle, consider getting a DSLR with GREAT battery life.

TIP: Some of the compact and mirrorless cameras in the above list offer decent battery life. You can consider getting one of them and buy extra batteries or a power bank for uninterrupted photography experience.

10. Size and Weight

Lastly, the size and weight of your camera matters. Most of the best cameras for beginners feature compact and lightweight body designs. But some of the DSLRs are a little bit bulkier and heavier. For the entry-level bloggers/vloggers, getting a compact and lighter vlogging camera for beginners will save you some space in your gear!

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