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To find the best digital camera for beginners, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you and your home. We recommend that you favor easy-to-use, full-frame cameras built with lightweight, durable metal alloys similar to magnesium alloy, with modern image sensors and processors capable of resolutions of at least 20 megapixels. Features like 10x optical zoom, image stabilizers, 4k video capture, and image stabilizers are also good to look out for.
After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of types of cameras with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Canon EOS 800D Digital SLR is the best digital camera for beginners you can buy on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more and select the best digital camera for your needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: An excellent balance of weight and durability, advanced hi-res sensors, a fast shutter for great action shooting, and tons of upgradability thanks to a highly modular design.
The Canon EOS 800D is a full-format digital camera designed for amateurs who want professional results in an easy-to-use and highly upgradeable design. Its advanced APS-C CMOS Sensor and patented DIGIC 7 Image Processor capture 24.2mp images for crisp, detailed shallow-focus images that can compete with some professional cameras.
It’s a slightly bulkier camera than some in its class, though still fairly lightweight at 2.4 lbs and should be comfortable to use for most. When you combine its extremely high-quality still images with its 1080p, 60fps video capture ability, WiFi and mobile app connectivity, very fast 6fps shutter for action shots, and highly modular, very upgradable design, you have a terrific value for a great all-around starter camera than grow with the skill of the photographer, as well as the best budget DSLR for video. It’s a wonderful beginner model for anyone looking for the best digital camera for filmmaking.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Advanced features like high-precision autofocus, ultra HD video, and facial recognition meet a very light, compact build and ease of use.
The Nikon 1633B Z50 DX uses the slightly smaller than full-format DX format and captures 20.9mp images. Its mirrorless design gives it the extremely light weight of 1.17 lb, allowing for comfortable use over long shoots, and its ability to shoot 4k, 60fps video makes it great for shooting sports and outdoor events. Advanced, modern features like 8x optical zoom, and 209-Point Hybrid Autofocus 20 with facial recognition software are balanced by an intuitive, easy-to-use design that allows beginners to shoot great footage with a low learning curve.
Though it uses a slightly smaller format and resolution than some in its class, it’s still capable of producing near-professional level results. Its advanced features are balanced out by its low learning curve and very light and fairly compact build, making it a powerhouse choice for any beginner looking for a camera they won’t outgrow any time soon.
Award: BEST PROFESSIONAL FEATURES
WHY WE LIKE IT: Medium-format richness, detail, and resolution in a durable but lightweight camera is great for beginners who need professional results.
The Nikon D35000 is a medium format/DSLR camera designed for serious young photographers and casual users looking for professional-grade results at a lower price point and somewhat pared-down design. Its sensor captures beautiful, rich 24-megapixel images, and its press and hold automatic mode is capable of shutter speeds of 5fps for ultra-fast action shooting.
Its extremely high performance and professional-grade results come with the increased learning curve of medium-format cameras. However, for the hobbyist looking to take their photography to the next level, it’s a go-to choice for an easy-to-use camera that will provide years of professional results. You might also enjoy our best medium format digital camera buying guide.
Award: BEST VERSATILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A super hi-res viewfinder, precision sensor, and image processing software, high modularity, and professional-grade image resolutions in a durable, comfortable build, much like its cousin the Canon 5DS DSLR.
The Canon EOS M50 is a digital camera made with beginning to intermediate photographers in mind who want a versatile, full-featured camera good for both professional media and casual use. Its advanced APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 Image Processor capture 24.1-megapixel images for rich, detailed, professional-grade results. So you won’t be wondering why your digital camera pictures are blurry, not with a beast of a camera like this.
The Vari-angle Touch Screen LCD’s flexible tilt range is great for both high-angle and low-angle shooting. It makes reviewing your shots easier, and the Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus technology makes composing and lining up perfect images easy even in difficult shooting situations. Its feature-rich design means it’s not as pared down and simple to use as some beginner models, but for maximum versatility in this class, it’s a go-to choice.
Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: Canon’s lightest, least bulky model in class has plenty of modern features for both still and video photography like time-lapse shooting and a 9-point autofocus system for a fun, easy-to-use camera great for vacations and outdoor trips.
The light, compact design makes it ultra-portable, but slightly more fragile than other models, and its plethora of aforementioned features in addition to others like WiFi and Android/iOs connectivity, and Vari-angle Touch Screen may be more than photographers strictly looking for improving their skills may need. But for a fun-to-use, very modern, and highly portable camera that produces high-end images, it’s an excellent value.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Producing some of the highest resolution images in its class and featuring ultra-fast shutter speeds, it’s a performance-centered powerhouse that’s still easy to use for beginners.
The Canon EOS 90D is a high-performance, full-format digital camera designed for beginner and intermediate users looking for the most professional results possible in class. Its APS-C CMOS sensor takes exceptionally rich and detailed 32.5-megapixel images that can easily compete with many medium format cameras with much higher price points. Its ultra-fast shutter allows for continuous shooting at speeds of 10FPS and is capable of shooting 4K, 30p/120p video.
Its extremely high-performance design and build come at a significantly higher price point than many in this class. But it’s a best-in-class entry-level camera with a pared-down, easy-to-use design and modularity to make it a tool that could last for years of regular use and changing needs. If you prefer a camera from Fujifilm, we’ve also identified the best Fujifilm cameras for your consideration.
Award: BEST CONNECTIVITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: A high-performance 24.1MP sensor, full HD video shooting, persistent laptop, desktop, and Android/iOs device connectivity, and a plethora of image enhancement and management features make this a one-stop digital media powerhouse for beginners.
The Nikon D5600 is a DX-format digital camera designed with digital media production and ease of use in mind for beginner or intermediate photographers who want high-quality, detailed images and a set of features made for easy editing, handling, previewing, and device connectivity. It shoots in the slightly-smaller-than-full-format DX-format at 24.1 megapixels and shoots full HD 1080p/60fps video.
Its patented SnapBridge software allows for a persistent connection to your laptop, desktop, or mobile device and includes free cloud storage for digital images, making it especially useful for sharing with the production team. Though the smaller DX image format may make it slightly less desirable for print projects, its plethora of digital media features, hi-res images, and easy-to-use interface make it a complete digital media workstation for an entry-level DSLR camera.
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Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fast autofocus, a simple point-and-shoot design, 3FPS shutter speed, and a comfortable lightweight design at an extremely modest price point make it the go-to budget camera for high-quality images.
The Canon EOS Rebel T100 is a digital camera with a pared-down design for an economical choice for beginners who still want to produce high-quality images. Its CMOS sensor captures 18MP images which, while lower-resolution than many models in this class, still is capable of rich, detailed images- especially for web publication.
Features like Wifi and mobile app connectivity, a fairly fast 3FPS shutter for continuous shooting, and a simple, intuitive point-and-shoot design with one of the lowest body weights in the class at .97lbs make it a very comfortable, easy-to-use, web-friendly, point-and-shoot camera at a low-risk price point that still represents a step up from smartphone cameras. It’s a great option for anyone looking for the best digital camera for kids.
Award: BEST FOR SPORTS SHOOTING
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the most compact and lightweight models in class with an ultrafast 11fps shutter and a hi-res sensor for easily capturing sports-related action in rich detail.
The Sony Alpha a600 is a super-compact, lightweight (1.06 lbs) digital camera design for beginner users who want to capture fast-moving action with professional-level detail. Its APS CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor capture detailed 24.3MP images for one of the higher resolutions in class. It’s 179-point phase-detection Autofocus technology allows for clear, focused images in difficult conditions with an ultra-fast 11FPS shutter for continuous shooting.
Its extremely compact build means it may be too small for users with large hands to operate comfortably, though for most users this won’t be an issue. For a high-performance camera that allows you to capture fast-moving images with clarity and ease, it’s an excellent option. For long-range capabilities, you might also like the best binocular camera on the market.
Award: BEST EDITING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Multiple film simulation modes, 20 Advanced Filters, 4K video, a widescreen LCD, and extensive editing features make it a camera-sized digital suite for remote, computer-free editing.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is a feature-rich, high-quality mirrorless digital camera designed to be an all-in-one, on-the-go editing and image capture suite for computer-free digital media production. It captures 24MP images and features a burst shooting mode for 8FPS shutter speed continuous shooting. Its rich editing software and shooting mode features include 11 “film simulation” modes, 20 advanced filters, 4K HDR Video shooting for high-contrast light conditions, and a 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 180-degree tiltable LCD screen for flexible, high-detail widescreen image previewing.
These and its numerous other in-camera editing, shooting, and connectivity features make it a fairly complex camera that still offers easy point-and-shoot functionality for beginners, but may be more than pure photography-focused users need. But for new users looking for an all-in-one shooting and editing tool for remote and computer-free video and still production, it’s a great choice. It could be one of the best point-and-shoot cameras under $500.
We preferred full-format or entry-level medium format digital cameras (DSLR) designed for high-performance at price points aimed at beginner and amateur photographers looking to purchase their first serious digital cameras. We favored cameras, similar to Kodak Step or Polaroid Snap, that were easy and intuitive to use but also included advanced features like optical zoom, and image stabilizing.
We also liked cameras with removable optical and electronic viewfinders, touchscreen LCD displays, directional tilting, and high or medium rigidity with alloy bodies. We also favored modern features like back-illuminated sensors and ergonomic grips for comfortable, safe handling over long shoots, and interchangeable lens cameras or models with high modularity for upgrading.
Finally, we preferred DSLR cameras that created 16-bit images with a minimum of 20 megapixels that had excellent color fidelity, shadow detail, and dynamic range for producing lifelike images even after web compression. We favored lenses, sensors, and processors with microscopic seals that are protected from dust, dirt, wind, and moisture even in the most extreme climates and situations, and which had good battery life for long, remote shoots.
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