Best Digital Cameras for Beginners – Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras

11/22/2019     Author: Billy Gray

If you’re new to photography and want a decent camera without breaking the bank, then here are our top recommendations for beginners to the creative art.


There are so many reasons to build photography into your new hobby. For starters, capturing beautiful stills is a great way to see the world around you in a different light. It also gets you out and about and makes you want to go and explore places you wouldn’t usually bother going to in the hopes that you can get some good shots there.

Smartphones nowadays come with capable cameras, but if you really want your photos to be crystal clear and worthy of blowing up into a print, then you’ll have to use a dedicated camera system. Smartphones simply cannot produce the same level of quality as a proper camera can, and they lack the ability to attach lenses, shoot continuously, provide optical zoom, and much more. In short, those tiny phone cameras will never compare, and the difference in photo quality is instantly recognizable.

If you’re a beginner to photography, choosing the right camera to start off with can be a challenge. There a literally thousands of models to choose from and dozens of brands to go between. Obviously, you’ll want some help in choosing the one that’s right for you as a beginner.

In this post, we’ll go over the different types of cameras, and why choosing the right one is important for you. We’ll then look at some of the best cameras for beginners, and give you an idea of the best situations to use them in, and of course, the price.

Different camera types: DSLR vs Mirrorless

There are various different types of digital camera on the market today, but they can essentially be broken down into two categories: DSLR and mirrorless. Both of these camera types are good, but you might have a personal preference for one over the other based on factors like intention of use, budget, and just which one you find most comfortable to shoot with. That last point in particular is an important factor and we’d certainly recommend that you go down to a store and feel the different cameras in your hand before committing to buying one.

DSLRs are generally bulkier and can be more expensive as a result. The biggest benefit of a DSLR camera is that it will always feature an optical viewfinder, whereas mirrorless cameras do not have this – although some provide digital viewfinders. If having an optical viewfinder is a big deal for you – as it rightly may be – then you should opt to buy a DSLR.

Another point to make here is that you have to consider what the camera will feel like when you’ve attached a lens to it. Mirrorless cameras are great because they’re really light and compact, but this can sometimes become an issue if you’ve got a bulky lens sticking off the front of the camera – it can make the weight distribution feel messy and some people won’t like this.

The big advantage of a mirrorless camera is that they are much lighter than DSLRs, while providing a similar – and reportedly even better in some cases – photo quality. They’re also cheaper on average than DSLR cameras.

Mirrorless cameras are becoming more popular nowadays, and even many professional photographers are turning to them, especially those who are fed up with having lugged around a heavy DSLR kit for years. At the end of the day, which type of camera you choose will come down to personal preference.

Best cameras for beginners

Once you’ve made up your mind about which type of camera you’d prefer to use, you can begin to look at specific camera setups to buy. In general, you’ll be buying the body of the camera, along with one lens to accompany it. You can always change the lens on your camera later on, and in general, passionate photographers will end up with at least two lenses so that they can shoot in a wider variety of settings.

Given the time of publishing this article, we strongly recommend that you wait until Black Friday to buy your camera in order to potentially save hundreds of dollars at checkout.

Canon EOS 250D – around $700

The Canon EOS 250D is a well-rounded DSLR that beginners will find comfortable and easy-to-use. It’s a little pricier than the average beginner’s DSLR, but this does mean that you’ll have a formidable camera from the get-go and you can make use of 24.1 megapixels, 4K video resolution, 5fps continuous shooting speed, and a compact and relatively light design when compared to other DSLRs on the market.

Nikon D3500 – around $400

A cheaper alternative would be the Nikon D3500, which is still a considerable camera, despite being less expensive than the previous one mentioned. The camera has 24.2 megapixels, 5fps continuous shooting speed, a built-in photography tutor, and it’s very easy for beginners to get comfortable using. The big downside with this camera is that the video resolution is limited to 1080p, which makes it less ideal for making short films than a more expensive DSLR. If you’re just looking to shoot stills, then this is the best beginners DSLR for your buck.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk III – around $450

Olympus is a Japanese company with more than 100 years of history. They make (in our opinion) some of the nicest looking cameras on the market by sticking to the silver and black colors that they’re famous for. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk III is more than just a pretty face, though. It’s a formidable mirrorless camera for beginners that has Olympus’ trademark lightweight and compact design. If you don’t want to have to carry around a bulky camera, then this one is right for you.

While the 16.1 megapixels aren’t the best out there, the 4K video resolution makes up for it if you’re more into shooting moving things. If you’re looking for a reputable mirrorless camera, then you could do far worse.

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