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While beginners in digital photography may find themselves looking at point-and-shoot cameras for a first camera, there’s another option: the best DSLR camera for beginners. With a DSLR, a newbie to digital photography can not only capture images with exceptional quality, but it can meet their needs as their knowledge of photography expands, offering both automatic and manual control options. The pictures that you take with the Canon will have everyone giving image credit to the pictures that you take.
For a long time in digital photography, a DSLR camera would have been too difficult for a beginner to use, leading to constant frustration for the first-time photographer. However, when seeking the best entry-level DSLR camera in today’s market, you’ll find camera makers have done a nice job of making DSLRs that are easy to use. Another reason that you might want a DSLR camera is that all Canon DSLR cameras currently have a live view to see a preview of your picture.
The best DSLR camera for beginners from Nikon, Canon, and other manufacturers will cost a bit more than what you might find with a basic, point-and-shoot camera. But your investment will pay off in great image quality and a camera that can keep up with your growing photography skills. By the end of this review, you’ll have the best camera for you.
Read Full Review: Canon Rebel T6i | Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Inexpensive DSLR camera provides excellent image quality
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i easily ranks as one of the best DSLR cameras for beginners, offering great image quality with its APS-C sized image sensor with 24.2 megapixels of resolution. It has a good burst mode of 5 frames per second, and its 19-point autofocus system is very accurate and works fast. If you’re looking for more great product recommendations, then visit our best Canon DSLR guide and our best Canon digital cameras article.
If you use the optical viewfinder with the T6i, you’ll receive extremely fast performance in all shooting situations, even when you aren’t working in burst mode. The viewfinder on this camera allows you to easily frame the scene, even if you’re working in bright sunlight where glare on the display screen can make it difficult to see clearly.
Like its cousin the Canon EOS 5DS, this camera has plenty of nice features aimed at inexperienced photographers too, including fully automatic shooting modes. The 3-inch display screen offers both the ability to swivel and twist away from the camera, as well as touch capabilities. Having a touchscreen on an entry-level DSLR is a great feature to make it easy to use. This camera has a shutter speed of up to 5 seconds of continuous shooting. That said, it could be a great digital camera for filmmaking.
Read Full Review: Nikon D3300 | Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Very versatile entry-level DSLR with a great price point too.
One of Nikon’s best starter DSLR cameras is the Nikon D3300. It provides strong image quality, even in low light shooting conditions, and, like most DSLR cameras, it works very fast when you’re using the viewfinder to frame the scene. It offers 24.2 megapixels of resolution with an APS-C sized image sensor. However, if you want wireless connectivity, you’ll have to purchase an adapter separately. For a slightly more expensive Nikon, take a look at the Nikon D3500.
Read Full Review: Pentax K-S2 | Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 20.1 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Weatherproofed coating makes this DSLR a rugged performer.
The Pentax K-S2 doesn’t offer quite as much resolution as some other beginner-level DSLR cameras at 20.1 megapixels, but its image quality remains strong. The camera’s 5.4 frames per second burst mode are one of the performances, which makes it one of the best digital cameras for beginners. The K-S2 doesn’t have a touchscreen capability, but it is an articulated display screen, making this model easy to use with a tripod. The K-S2 is also a rugged camera, offering a weather-proofing coating.
Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.1 MP | Read Full Review: Nikon D5200 DSLR Review
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Accurate autofocus system great for capturing fast action
Nikon’s D5200 DSLR camera is a little older than some of the models on this list, so its price has dropped to the point where it’s a good candidate for an inexperienced photographer looking for a solid starter camera. One of the biggest advantages of the Nikon D5200 is its 39-point autofocus system, which is very impressive for a camera in its price range. However, there’s no touchscreen LCD or Wi-Fi connectivity with the D5200. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, check out the Nikon d5600 instead.
Read Full Review: Canon SL1 | Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 18.0 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Small DSLR body size doesn’t mean sacrificing top-notch image quality.
If you hesitate to purchase a DSLR as a starter camera because of its large size, you may want to consider the Canon EOS Rebel SL1, which is the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market. Despite its small size, it maintains good image quality at 18.0 megapixels of resolution. It’d be nice if the SL1 was a little bit of a faster performer, but it’s a good camera with strong features for beginners, including a touchscreen display and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Still, it might be a fine digital camera for kids to learn how to use.
Ease of Use: Because an entry-level DSLR camera is aimed at those new to digital photography, it needs to have plenty of easy-to-use features. Make sure that the camera has a fully automatic setting, which will allow even inexperienced photographers to begin using the camera immediately. A touchscreen display can simplify the camera’s operation as well.
Kit Lenses: A DSLR camera makes use of interchangeable lenses, meaning you can remove the lens from the camera and replace it with another lens with different capabilities, whereas a fixed lens camera has the lens built into the camera body. The best beginner DSLR camera will include one or two kit lenses, which are inexpensive starter lenses that allow you to begin using the DSLR camera immediately upon taking it out of the box. Some DSLR cameras will ship as the body only with no kit lenses, so if you don’t already own compatible lenses, make sure you pick a unit with a kit lens.
Size: DSLR cameras are large because of their internal components, certainly larger than most compact fixed lens cameras. But even within the DSLR category, you’ll find cameras of varying sizes and weights. An entry-level DSLR will be smaller and lighter than more advanced DSLR cameras, which those migrating from a point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR may find appealing. Just make sure the DSLR camera you pick fits your hand well.
Not Understanding the Lenses: If you’re migrating from a point-and-shoot camera to a starter DSLR camera, you may be used to thinking about lenses in terms of their optical zoom measurement. However, DSLR lenses are measured using different numbers. The focal length, which is measured in mm, is the key measurement in a DSLR lens. A focal length measurement of approximately 35 mm to 50 mm is considered standard. Measurements below 35 mm are considered wide-angle, while above 50 mm are considered telephoto. A DSLR lens can be a zoom lens, where it has a range of focal length measurements, or a prime lens, meaning it has only one focal length measurement. Be sure you understand these measurements before purchasing a DSLR lens.
Under Budgeting: Keep in mind that purchasing a DSLR camera involves more than just the camera body. You’ll need to purchase lenses, external flash units, a tripod, a camera bag, and other components involved with owning an advanced camera that you probably won’t need with a point-and-shoot camera. But, you’ll need these if you’re looking for a camera for filmmaking on a budget. So, if you can, try to expand your budget a bit to accommodate the extra items you’ll need.
Read: Digital Camera Buying Guide
Becoming Frustrated: If you’ve never used an advanced camera, it can be intimidating to try to memorize the functions of all the buttons and dials at one time. It may even frustrate you to the point where you put the DSLR camera away and dig out the old point-and-shoot camera. Just take your time to learn each function of the DSLR camera at your own speed. Make use of the automatic controls while you’re learning, and you can keep the frustration at bay.
Maximum Burst Mode
Display Screen Options
Type of Viewfinder
If you’re relatively new to digital photography, you have quite a few different options for purchasing a first digital camera. And while you might be leery of considering an entry-level DSLR as a first camera because of its price point and its complexity, camera makers have done a nice job in recent years of creating DSLR models that are great for inexperienced photographers. Plus the battery life of the DSLR is at least 5 years. The best DSLR cameras for beginners listed here all offer plenty of easy-to-use features and great image quality at a reasonable price, which makes them very strong candidates for a starter camera.
Moreover, while these DSLR cameras are great for beginners, they may not be the same cameras that YouTubers use to vlog. That’s a completely different article.
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