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Start Your Photography Journey: The 11 Best Cameras for Amateur Photographers (2021)

11 Best Cameras for Amateur Photographers in 2021 (Definitive List)

My updated list of the 11 best cameras for amateur photographers in 2021.

Let’s face it:

Finding that “good, quality camera” isn’t an easy job, so I’d like to make it easier for you.


Well, in this buying guide I’ll list my top 11 starter cameras for 2021 (across 4 different brands), and what key parameters to look for in a camera, especially as an amateur. 

To speed your research up:


What is the best camera for a beginner photographer? Let’s find out!

Best Canon Camera for Beginners (My Top Pick)

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens - Wi-Fi Enabled

Canon Rebel T6i (750D)

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 555 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800 (can expand to 25600)


If you’ve ever read my other articles on cameras, you’ll probably see that I often recommend T6i for people just starting in photography.

Why do I recommend it the most?

Because it offers a great price/quality ratio and it’s pretty versatile and can be used for different photography genres, which include but not limited to:

  • vacation/travel photos,
  • sports photography,
  • nature/landscapes,
  • portrait shots,
  • blogs, Instagram and other social media platforms.

Point is…

The camera’s 24MP sensor, fast autofocus system, tilting touchscreen, WiFi/NFC connection and other great features will help you realize your photography potential.

Very cool.

My Top Recommended Canon DSLR for Amateurs

Truth is:

Canon T6i (750D outside the North America) rightfully deserves to be in my list of top recommended photo gear in 2021.

Listing all the awesome features might take a while, so if you have time, read my full review to help you make an educated buying decision.

==> Here’s my full review.

If you feel that you’re ready and would like to read Amazon reviews as well, click on the button below to take a closer look at Canon T6i DSLR.

Without a doubt:

It’s a great investment and a great choice for starting your photography journey.


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Best All-Around Mirrorless Compact Under $1000

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera Kit with EF-M 15-45mm lens, 4K Video, Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth technology, White

Canon M50

  • Type:SLR-like mirrorless
  • Weight: 390 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600 (expands to 51200)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather-sealed: No 


I personally own this baby and I love it. Just like many other (video) content creators do. Truth is, it’s one of the best mirrorless compact cameras that you can get under $1000.

There are several things you’ll love about it:

  • it’s compact and stylish,
  • it has an amazing dual pixel autofocus system,
  • it has a high burst rate,
  • high quality video shooting,
  • it has a very to use interface (which is important for newbies),

Just to name a few.

One of the downsides is that it has a fairly short battery life when video recording, so I recommend you buy extra couple of batteries. That’s exactly what I did and I just change the batteries after I’m done shooting a video for my YouTube channel.

Speaking of, check out this review done by Matt Ballard:

A LOT of video content creators actually love, use and highly recommend this little beauty and for good reasons.

I strongly encourage you check Canon M50 out, especially if you’re a YouTube/traveller yourself.

Mirrorless Compact Camera for YouTube Videos


The reason why this compact is so popular among YouTubers is because Canon created it with (video) content creators in mind.

That’s why there’s this dual pixel autofocus feature present so that people can move around and have focus in place. The fact that it has a fully articulated LCD screen is also helpful, you can just flip the screen however you want and see yourself while recording a video.

I encourage you to read my full review here but point is, this baby is one of the most underrated cameras on the market today.

Cheap Canon Camera for Photography Beginners

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (100D)

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 407 g
  • Resolution: 18 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800 (can expand to 25600)


If you think that the previously mentioned T6i is too advanced, or you don’t want it for whatever reasons, then have a look at Canon EOS SL1 (also known as EOS 100D outside the US).

Today, it’s considered to be one of the most budget-friendly entry-level DSLRs on the market.

In my opinion, SL1 is also one of the best Canon cameras overall.

Here’s why:

  • excellent price,
  • offers great quality images that corresponds to the level of an amateur DSLR,
  • FULL HD video shooting (1920 x 1080 at 25/30 frames per second)
  • a wide range of convenient auto-modes,
  • advanced autofocus in Live View mode and video shooting.

… just to name a few.

Even a professional photographer will be glad to work with this camera as the true potential of the camera outshines many of the competitive models.


First of all, it’s light and compact (407 grams without the lens), which, in comparison with the older models is a good result.

Secondly, the ergonomic parameters turned out to be successful: the SL1 focuses quickly, has a convenient grip, and the control can be done via the touch screen.


If you don’t take into account the noise starting from about ISO 6400, then, in my opinion, Canon EOS 100D can safely be attributed in the category of the best cameras for beginners.

SL1: Great Cheap Camera for Amateur Photography

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 combines the advantages of a DSLR and a compact digital camera.

As a beginner in photography, you’ll find that SL1 is a great tool for creating your first shots in many ways thanks to auto modes and a great system of built-in hints.

It gets better:

Not only is it cheap, but it also is one of the smallest, lightest DSLR available on the market.

(And if you replace the kit lens with one of Canon’s compact lenses, then this camera will take up minimum of space and become an ideal companion in your travels.)


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Great Semi-Pro DSLR for Amateur Photographers

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization STM Lens - Black (Renewed)

Canon EOS 80D

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 730 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (22.5 x 15 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: Yes 
  • ISO: Auto, 100-16000 (boost to 25600)

I think Canon EOS 80D is a mid-level DSLR that can become an excellent “educational device” for beginners.

I’ll be straight:

Studying this camera with all the possible modes and functions (especially if there is an extended set of lenses) may take several days for a novice.

However, the result of such “harsh” studying can exceed all expectations: talented beginner photographers will see impressive results from the very first works.

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DCM is my #1 recommended course for beginners to become a better photographer. Check out my full review + get your 80% OFF.


The ergonomics of EOS 80D is a successful compromise between size and convenience.

It doesn’t take up much space compared to its full-frame counterparts and it’s comfortable to shooting with. It is also convenient to operate the camera using the touch interface and a fully articulated LCD screen.

Video shooting is possible in Full HD resolution with a frequency of up to 50/60 frames per second. The videographer is offered an excellent autofocus, the manual exposure control, and an input for headphones and a microphone.

For fans of time-lapse shooting: there’s a built-in interval timer.

Very cool.

A Semi-Professional DSLR That’s Suitable for Beginners

Here’s what I think:

Canon was always confident in the DSLR cameras market but it further strengthened its position by releasing another very successful model – the Canon EOS 80D.

And even though this camera doesn’t have any revolutionary or breakthrough technologies, its main advantage is a serious set of characteristics/features.

As for enthusiast videographers, this camera is simply a gift because of its working phase autofocus in Live View mode in combination with a fully articulated touch screen and an output for an external microphone.

In a nutshell, a successful semi-professional camera.


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Good Cameras for Amateur Photographers 2021

Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Canon EOS 70D Body

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 755 g
  • Resolution: 20 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (22.5 x 15 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Weather sealed: Yes 
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800 (can expand to 25600)

Here’s the deal:

This universal camera has conquered many professionals and certainly is capable of becoming a reliable gadget in the hands of talented beginner photographers.

What stands this camera out is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor, which provides smooth and accurate auto focus adjustment for video recording in Full HD format, as well as fast autofocusing when taking photos in Live View mode.

The sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800 allows you to shoot in low light and use lower ISO values without compromising image quality.

That’s important!

As for video fans, they will truly enjoy the stereo sound recording using the built-in microphone, as well as the ability to improve the sound quality with a plugged-in external microphone.

Other features worth mentioning:

Being dust and water resistant and having fully articulated touchscreen really helps with shooting from uncomfortable angles and in different weather conditions. Also, 70D allows you to work remotely with just your smartphone. 

In manual mode, it is possible to fully control such parameters as ISO sensitivity and aperture.

This freedom of action helps the beginning photographer to improve their skills.


While the interface is friendly interface, you’ll still have to spend some time with the camera settings but over time you’ll have no issues with it.

==> Learn how to set up a camera if you’re a new DSLR owner.


Many experienced people point out that it’s even better if you have had at least some sort of experience with DSLRs before getting the Canon 70D.

In any case, if you do decide to go for it, there are no reasons for discontent and disappointment: the camera is just as good as its (rather average) price tag.

Great for Total Amateurs and Enthusiast Photographers

Here’s the thing:

Canon EOS 70D is a worthy successor of the semi-professional cameras. It combines the reliability of older models, high performance and affordable cost.

Between the auto focus, audio displays, touch screen and great camera body I think this one is a real winner.

I’d recommend it to a novice and experienced enthusiast photographers alike. 


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Best Entry-Level Nikon DSLR for 2021

Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Black)

Nikon D3400

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 445 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No 
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600

Here’s the deal:

The ergonomic parameters of this camera is exactly what you’ll need as a beginner on your photography journey.

Not only is the D3400 lightweight and has good design/structure, but also in this camera, the Guide Mode is implemented.

(Meaning you won’t need to read the manual to understand the settings.)

And it’s not just a set of tips, rather it’s an interactive guide to action!

Here’s how to access it:

Choose “Shoot”, then “Advanced functions”. Now select the scene or effect that you want to use in the picture.

It itself will explain which settings you need to apply for this and helps install them with its understandable graphical interface.

With one stone you end up killing two birds: choosing optimal settings for the scene, as well as understanding what this or that setting is responsible for.

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The main things I love, and you will too, about this DSLR:

  • low price tag (usually under $500 but prices on Amazon often change!)
  • color rendering, saturation and contrast
  • guide mode
  • very easy to learn, even as a total newbie

In terms of shortcomings, I’ll mention the small memory buffer, as well as a digital noise at certain ISO values. You still get quality photos though.

(And honestly, with the price that you pay for Nikon D3400, you can simply close your eyes to such insignificant shortcomings.)

Best Nikon Camera for Amateur Photographers (IMHO)

D3400 is one of the most popular starter cameras on the market right now and for good reason.

This is a good choice for those who are unsure about their skills in photography, want to dip their toes in the water without having to spend thousands of dollars on photo gear.

It gets better:

For a rather cheap price, you will get to create surprisingly beautiful photos.

And this cameras excellent characteristics are the reason why it’s my number one recommended Nikon camera for beginner photographers.

==> Read my full review here to understand why I often recommend it.


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Best Nikon Cameras for Beginners 2021

Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black)

Nikon D5300

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 480 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 12800 (25600 with boost)

Without a doubt:

D5300 sure is one of the Nikon’s best entry-level SLRs.

This camera was created similarly to D3400 camera model. Despite the already brilliant ergonomics of the camera, the Nikon D5300 body presents new improvements.

The main changes have to do with the internal filling and related technical characteristics.

The resolution of the new sensor is 24.78 megapixels, which clearly points to the “intra-corporate” struggle for every one hundredth of a pixel in order to improve the final result of the photo.

A lot of work was done on the balance of settings in order to enhance the color rendition and the relevant aspects.

Another qualitative leap was made in the field of the “weak link” of all average-budget DSLRs from Nikon: good sensitivity finally allows shooting at ISO 1600, bypassing the noise and loss in quality.

What you might like about it:

  • the possibility of shooting at ISO 1600 without noise
  • presence of the time-lapse function
  • high quality photos

… just to name a few.

Considering the features it offers, purchasing Nikon D5300 would be an excellent investment.

One more thing:

It’s easy to take photos in different genres, from landscapes to portraits. A great autofocus allows you to even try yourself in a reportage shooting.

This being said, I do recommend D5300 as a first DSLR in 2021 and I encourage you to read my full review + samples here.

Definitely have a look at it.

Nikon D5300: Yet Another Awesome Entry-Level DSLR

Nikon D5300 is an example of an excellent camera for beginners and advanced photographers alike:

  • the ease of operation and excellent results in auto mode will appeal to the former,
  • and the highest for its class image quality will appeal to the latter.

Also it can surprise:

When shooting with good lighting it provides the highest detail, and when shooting with low lighting, you will have a clean and noise-free image.

Sweet, isn’t it? 


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Another Nikon for Starting Photography Journey

Nikon D7100 24.1 MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR (Body Only)

Nikon D7100

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 765 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: Yes
  • ISO: ISO 100 – 6400, Lo-1 (ISO 50), Hi-1 (ISO 12,800), Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)


Nikon D7100 is a classic SLR camera.

It’s a great camera in terms of price-quality ratio, suitable for those who already had worked with cameras at least from a low-price range.

In the heart of the camera is a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor with a physical size of 23.5 x 15.6 mm.

Why photographers like it:

  • the ergonomics aspect is at its best
  • truly great for landscape photography
  • good color rendition

Its main feature is the absence of a low-pass filter, which traditionally serves to suppress the moiré effect by forcibly reducing the detail of the image.

Since this filter is not available on Nikon D7100, nothing gets in the way of obtaining maximum image detail.


I have to note that this Nikon will be very harsh to complete beginners, as the learning each button and the meaning of all the icons on the monochrome display can take more than just a day.

(Therefore, switching from point-and-shoot cameras to this camera will not be as easy as it seems.)

This is the only reason why this model is not recommended to aspiring photographers as their first DSLR.

Of course, if anything, there is a fully auto mode available.

On the other hand, if you have basic photography skills, the set of settings available on this SLR can’t but make you smile. As for the technical equipment, the camera outshines most of its competitors, including from its own line.

And like I’ve already mentioned earlier…

Nikon D7100 kit works well when shooting landscapes.

An Excellent Choice for Enthusiast Photographers

Nikon D7100 is an excellent choice for an enthusiast photographer who is familiar with the theory and practice of photography.

In general, this camera was very successful given its highest quality of the image (especially with good optics and at low ISO), convenience and fast control, as well as an impressive set of characteristics.

Only a relatively little image buffer can limit the serious professional application of D7100.

==> Here’s my full review.


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Best Pentax Camera for Amateur Photographers

Pentax K-3 SLR Camera - Body Only

Pentax K-3

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 800g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fixed
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: Yes
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 51200

If you don’t really want Canon or Nikon, there’s also another great Japanese mid-range camera that you can get: Pentax K-3 (Mark I or II whatever your current budget is).


The filling of this device really looks decent: a 24.71 Mp sensor allows you to take photos with a resolution of 6016 x 4000, and instantaneous stabilization is achieved due to the use of optics and the shift of the sensor.  

It also has:

  • improved autofocus
  • two-level image stabilization system
  • high speed shooting
  • awesome quality photos for the crop
  • super comfortable grip

The manufacturer also improved the phase focusing compared to its earlier camera models, which is a bonus.

How does it stand out?

The main feature of this is a phenomenally good image quality, even despite the installed kit lens.

Usually kit lenses aren’t THAT great but Pentax makes images taken with Canon kit lenses seem very mediocre. K-3 is that good.

(If you’re primarily into landscapes, check out Pentax K-1 on Amazon).

Thoughts: An Excellent Choice For a Photo Traveler

Pentax K-3 is an excellent choice for a photo traveler.

It has proven itself in shooting in the most difficult conditions: no snow, no rain, no shortage of light will be a problem.

Pentax made a rather great camera, which can confidently compete with other mid-range DSLRs.

I encourage you to consider it.

(Keep in mind that the link below offers body only, so you’ll need to get a lens separately.)


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Best Translucent Mirror DSLR for Amateurs

Sony a68 Translucent Mirror DSLR Camera (Body Only)

Sony SLT-A68 (a68)

  • Type: Mid-size SLR
  • Weight: 610 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • LCD screen: Tilting
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100-25600

Sony a68 (also known as ILCA-68) is an amateur level camera, endowed with a number of abilities of more serious models.

In its essence, this is a simplified version of the semi-professional model ILCA-77M2, from which the a68 has borrowed many strengths.

The first one is autofocus.

The 79-point phase AF module works clearly, quickly and steadily in all conditions. Face recognition function and focusing on the eyes only adds convenience.

Its ergonomics deserves a special praise: it’s thoughtful and has a finely tuned control. The tilting LCD screen is an additional sweet bonus.

With Sony a68 you can shoot great panoramic photos, and enjoy the HDR photography.

Video shooting is also at its best:

  • Full HD with a frequency of up to 50/60 frames per second,
  • a high bit rate,
  • phase autofocus is enabled during video shooting.

As for the quality of the image, the camera confidently shoots at ISO 1600, though with the ISO 3200 being already a “border line”.

Considering this camera has a 24 MP sensor resolution, with the correct settings, you can achieve an excellent balance of color depth and naturalness, something that lacks in many of its competitor counterparts.

Check out the video review of Sony Alpha-68 (ILCA-68):

What you might like about it:

  • high speed of continuous shooting
  • effective built-in stabilizer
  • good image quality up to ISO 3200
  • high-quality video with autofocus and stabilization

What you might not like about it:

  • plastic camera body
  • average screen
  • small buffer

Also, it has slightly reduced detail compared to camera models that are equipped with anti-moire filter sensors.

Helps You Make the First Step Into the Photo World

Sony a68 is the most anti-crisis camera in the market. It is an excellent solution for photographers making their first step into the world of photography.

This model allows you to receive beautiful shots in difficult conditions, and it has many advanced features borrowed from Sony’s older sister ILCA-77M2.

Yes, the developers saved themselves from working on secondary elements but this way they minimized the cost of the camera.


Where to buy online? Check price and availability on:

Good Sony DSLRs for Amateur Photographers

Sony SLT-A58K Digital SLR Kit with 18-55mm Zoom Lens, 20.1MP SLR Camera with 2.7 -Inch LCD Screen (Black)

Sony Alpha SLT-A58 Kit

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 492 g
  • Resolution: 20 MP
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, 100-16000 (25600 with boost)

Sony SLT-A58 represents a compromise between price and quality.

Since it’s the simplest camera in the lineup, so minor drawbacks such as small buffer size, average kit lens and noise at high ISO values are quite expected (and forgivable).

It has some advantages though.

First of all, it’s the price. Sony a58 is pretty cheap.

Add to this a convenient camera body, thoughtful management, the ability to build a frame on a tilting display with the preservation of fast phase autofocus, a capacious battery…

And in the end we will get a very good camera for a beginner photographer.

Check out John Sison’s video-review of Sony SLT-A58:

What you might like about it:

  • low cost of the kit
  • low weight
  • a lot of filters and auto shooting modes
  • high rate of continuous shooting
  • tilting LCD
  • high-quality electronic viewfinder

What you might not like about it:

  • high noise level at ISO above 1600 units
  • average kit lens

Pretty good deal, IMHO.

Will Realize Almost Any Creative Intentions of Yours

Sony SLT-A58 is designed for novice amateur photographers.

It is perfect for those who want to buy their first camera and those who already got tired from limited capabilities of point-and-shoot cameras.

This is a simple, but at the same time, a functional camera that can realize almost any creative intentions of beginner photographers.

Newbies will certainly enjoy its ability for a fast autofocus, an abundance of auto modes and various additional effects.

Best Mirrorless Superzoom Bridge Camera

Canon Powershot SX60 16.1MP Digital Camera 65x Optical Zoom Lens 3-inch LCD Tilt Screen (Black)

Canon PowerShot SX60

  • Type: SLR-like (bridge camera)
  • Weight: 650 g
  • Resolution: 16 MP
  • Sensor: 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
  • LCD screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No
  • ISO: Auto, ISO 100-3200 (6400 in low light mode at low resolution)


Arguably, out of all camera kinds the mirrorless compact cameras are the most suitable for beginners in terms of acquiring photography skills and developing as a photographer.


One of the most worthy candidates for the title of the best mirrorless camera for beginners is Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, which has quite great technical characteristics and ergonomic parameters.

As with many Canon products, this camera has the Connect function, which is necessary for remote shooting and fast transfer of multimedia data via Wi-Fi.

Among the technical parameters the sensor of 16.8 megapixels should be noted, as well as a large range of focal lengths (the camera is suitable for macro photography, portraits, panoramas, etc.)

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Its main advantage is a lens with an amazingly high optical zoom of 35x.

It will be appreciated by travel lovers who will like taking photos of things in distance that they can’t physically come close to.

For most buyers, this superzoom is likely to be the first digital camera, so its ability to work in auto mode plays a very important role.

Of course, the auto mode option of this camera can be relied upon.

It does a good job of determining the exposure in most complex scenes, and, if necessary, it is ready to receive corrections from the user.

(Fun fact: In 2017, it was Sony RX10 III that won the official EISA Award as the best superzoom camera.) 

Check out how incredible the zoom of this camera is:

What you might like about it:

  • 65x zoom
  • built-in Wi-Fi
  • tilting screen
  • convenient grip
  • high rate of continuous shooting

What you might not like about it:

  • difficulties shooting in low light conditions
  • large physical dimensions

And it’s yet another great budget camera.

An Inexpensive Camera With The Most Versatile Lens

You should consider getting what’s called a bridge camera:

These cameras tend to be more affordable than DSLRs, with similar handling and versatility, and many offer superb features like the massive 65x zoom as seen in Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.

If you just came into the world of photography and you need an inexpensive camera with the most versatile lens, then consider this one.

How to Choose A Camera for Photography Beginners

How to choose a camera for beginner photographers (guide)


What is the best camera to buy for amateur use?

Here’s the thing:

Professional photographers who have made a hobby their main job need expensive equipment that not only has high key parameters, but also includes a number of subtle, and often completely redundant functions and settings. 

However, if you are a beginner photographer, I recommend that you pay attention to the following key parameters of the camera:

1) Camera Type:

Many photography masters say that compact digital cameras are ideal for beginners, the mastering of which is much simpler than studying DSLRs.

However, the reverse is also true:

If one learns how to work with SLR cameras, the beginning photographer will have a device with a large set of functions and settings that are inaccessible to digital analogues.

2) Camera Cost:

 Don’t overlook this factor, because the better is the camera the greater is its the price.

It so happened that compact digital cameras are much cheaper than DSLRs, even under comparable (or superior) parameters.

However, the latter give greater freedom of creativity, which is the decisive factor in determining the type and price range.

3) Guide Mode Availability:

Recently, some of the DSLRs are equipped with a built-in Guide Mode, thereby making life easier for beginners in the photography world

If you are one of those – look for a model with the presence of such a function.

(Nikon D3400 is one example.)

4) Physical Dimensions of the Sensor: 

Do not pay much attention to the clever advertising trick about megapixels, since in DSLR cameras this function is not so important. 

It is much more important to know the size of the sensor – the more its dimensions are, the better is the color rendering, the higher is sensitivity and less noise even at high ISO values.

5) Camera Zoom: 

The camera for an amateur should have at least a 3x zoom, as well as come with interchangeable lenses. 

These factors significantly expand the your possibilities as a photographer.

6) Battery Life: 

Even professionals sometimes need to make several shots in order to achieve the desired effect from photography.

Newbies often face the problems of the first-try frame, so autonomy, which determines the number of possible shots with one full charge of the battery, is one of the key parameters.

7) Presence of Auto Mode Settings: 

At the very beginning of using a DSLR, it will be very difficult for the user to navigate in the settings.

Therefore, you should give preference to cameras with ready-made parameters for different types of shooting, whether it’s landscape, portrait or sport.

8) Autofocus and Optimal Exposure Detection: 

The implementation of these two functions in the auto mode will significantly simplify the process of photographing for the beginner.

So, here are my 8 tips for choosing a good starter camera in 2021 (and beyond).

Having the aforementioned features in your camera will greatly aid you as a beginner photographer.

Let’s do a quick recap:

11 Best Cameras for Amateur Photographers

  • Rebel T6i – My top recommended entry-level Canon DSLR for 2021.
  • Canon M50 – Best mirrorless compact camera for content creators.
  • Rebel SL1 – Cheap Canon camera for photography beginners.
  • Canon EOS 80D – A semi-professional DSLR that works for amateurs.
  • Canon EOS 70D – Great for total amateurs and enthusiast photographers.
  • Nikon D5300 – One of the best Nikon starter DSLRs in 2021.
  • Nikon D3400 – Best cheap camera for amateur photography.
  • Nikon D7100 – Yet another excellent choice for enthusiasts.
  • Pentax K-3 – Amazing kit for travel and landscape photography in 2021.
  • Sony SLT-A58 – Great translucent mirror DSLR for amateurs.
  • Sony SLT-A68 – Will realize almost any creative intentions of yours.
  • Canon SX60 HS – Best mirrorless (superzoom) camera for beginners.

I will be updating this content as time goes on, but right now this is my list of top cameras for beginner photographers right now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Is it okay to buy inexpensive camera for beginners who want to take photography seriously?

Here’s the thing:

The price isn’t the only thing that defines the quality of a product. Although admittedly most times more expensive products equal to better specs, you can still find some good products at a reasonably inexpensive price.

In my opinion, it’s not so bad to start off with a decent inexpensive camera as a beginner. In fact, you should start with cheaper options. Having the more expensive gear doesn’t mean you’ll automatically take awesome shot.

There are a handful of decent beginner cameras that are budget-friendly. For example, there’s a Nikon D5300 that performs really well but is not as expensive as it seems. It’s a great value for your money, IMHO.

You see…

What matters more is having a camera that you feel good with. Something that you are comfortable using. Plus you can have more freedom taking photos if it’s easier to use, right?

2) Which is better for amateurs, mirrorless or DSLR?

There are different kinds of cameras you can choose from, and among the most popular picks are DSLRs and mirrorless.

But what really is the difference between these two and which performs better?

Most professional photographers use DSLRs for a variety of reasons. It has a lot of features that are quite complicated for beginners. But don’t get me wrong, there are cameras like these that are super beginner-friendly and has easy-to-use interface.

In comparison to mirrorless, DSLRs are bulkier and heavier. The reason for this is because the latter have more glass components that help the photographer see what the lens is actually seeing in real time. It’s called an optical viewfinder.

On the other hand, mirrorless cameras don’t have these “mirrors” (or the additional glass parts that reflects images to the viewfinder), hence being more lightweight. But this doesn’t mean mirrorless ones don’t have viewfinders. Actually, most have Electronic Viewfinders. Though it may not be as accurate as an OV, it does it’s job in letting you see what your lens is seeing.

Now, on the question about which one is better between the two.

Honestly, that depends on your personal preference. If you are more of a travelling photographer, then you might appreciate the reduced baggage of mirrorless ones.

3) How do beginners start with photography?

The first thing you should do if you want to start your photography journey is to find inspiration. Look around you and see what sparks your interest. There are different photography genres and you might want to take this time to think about what you want to focus on.

The next step should be getting yourself a decent camera. When you are looking for a camera, keep in mind the tips mentioned above so you stay guided and make the best out of your buying decision.

Then, you can invest in great photography courses online.

The rest of the steps depends on you. Take your time exploring different sceneries and subjects. And practice your skills. Do some research about your craft, and learn more about it. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun while you are doing all these things. That’s what matters the most.

4) Do Megapixels Matter?

For those who don’t know, a megapixel is a graphic measurement unit that is equivalent to one million pixels, or 1,048,576 (220) to be exact. You also need to know that a megapixel is not just used to describe the number of pixels on an image but also to tell the number of image sensor elements in a digital camera.

Let’s imagine that you have a digital camera with 12 megapixels and another with 48 megapixels. This means that one of these cameras can display roughly 12 million pixels. The other can display approximately 48 million pixels; the more pixels a camera has, the better the overall image quality.

So, in short, yes, megapixels do matter. However, on an important side note, the image sensor’s quality will make a difference. You could have a 10 MP camera and a 12 MP camera, but if the 10 MP camera has much better sensors, the image quality can still turn out better than on the 12 MP camera.

5) Why Not Just Buy a Mirrorless Camera?

Not much work and effort are going into developing more functional and higher-end mirrorless cameras. However, they aren’t perfect. There are a few significant disadvantages associated with mirrorless cameras when compared to DSLR cameras.

Due to the way mirrorless cameras work, they often have much worse battery life than comparable DSLR cameras, up to 25% less, or even worse.

Some people also don’t like how mirrorless cameras have electronic viewfinders because they don’t always perform well in low-light conditions.

There’s also the fact that the lens selection for mirrorless cameras is limited compared to the vast selection available for DSLR cameras.

Although most like the small and compact nature of mirrorless cameras, people with larger hands may not find them comfortable or ergonomically friendly.

6) What Counts as an Entry-Level DSLR?

Some of the cameras that we would consider to be great entry-level models include the Canon Rebel SL3, the Nikon D3500, the Pentax K-70, the Nikon D5600, the Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 800D, the Canon Rebel T6i / 750D, the Canon 77D / EOS 9000D, and the Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D.

When looking for a beginner-friendly DSLR, look for a small and light camera with a good burst speed, a decent viewfinder, a good display. It should be easy to navigate and is compatible with many basic lenses. If you want to start with a photography hobby, an excellent entry-level DSLR is a perfect place to start.

7) What are the Best DSLR Camera Brands?

There are some really great camera brands as far as DSLR cameras go. Some of the best and most popular brands include Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus, and Leica.

Get the Right Camera for Amateur Photography

You decided to get into the world of photography because you are not satisfied with point-and-shoot cameras anymore.

Now what?

Since the professional cameras can be too expensive and difficult to master for beginners, and the simplest models will not allow you to seriously improve your photography skills, you might have a look at the cameras that were mentioned in this article.

All the aforementioned cameras have a large sensor and auto modes, and almost all of them have the possibility of using interchangeable lenses, which will allow you to shoot in any situations. 

Now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • Which brand you prefer, Canon or Nikon, for starting photography journey?
  • Mirrorless or DSLRs?

Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed my list of the top rated digital cameras for beginners in 2021!

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