The Best Cameras For Beginners in 2020 for Photography

Table of Contents

Best cameras for beginners in photography

Getting started in photography? Then you have landed at just the right spot. I am writing this guide with the intent to help beginners pick up the best beginner camera for photography. Best cameras for beginners in photography are difficult to find in the 2020’s long list of cameras from Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic. But before all that, let’s take a look at photography itself.

The Art of Photography

Camera. What a marvelous invention. You may be able to imagine a life without cameras; not everyone is interested in taking pictures. However, can you imagine a life without pictures? Now that is much more challenging.

There are several college degrees that may be required to understand cameras. It involves questions like ”how a camera works?” and ”what makes a picture appear on the screen?”. And all the technical stuff. This is for those who want to learn how to build a camera.

But you don’t need all of that to create art with your camera. Sure you do need some basic understanding of what your camera is capable of, but at the end of the day, the camera is your paintbrush and the world is your canvas. In other words, cameras for photography are like pens and paper for writing.

Photography aims to capture the art that already exists in the world. All it takes is a new perspective, a new style, and a new imagination.

You just have to find it. You just have to find the right moment, the right subject and the right action to capture a piece of art. Here, we are just on the first steps of this journey. It starts with why. Ask yourself this question before reading on to find the best cameras for photography.

Maybe, for you, the answer to this question is that you want to capture the beauty of nature. I love nature. It’s the reason why I started out on my journey of photography. Nature is just out there, waiting to be explored and captured for all to see.

nature photography
Nature in all its splendour.

You will find the best camera for nature photography in this article. I wish I knew this before buying my own camera, but I hope with my experience you can gain some benefit. Of course, the criteria for selecting such cameras include things like durability, robustness, and picture quality to qualify them as best cameras for photography.

How is owning a professional camera different from a smartphone camera?

You may have been using your smartphone camera or point and shoot camera, but when it comes to honing your photography skills then you have to take control of many things that your camera currently does for you automatically. A DSLR camera or a mirrorless camera are two types of cameras that let you take full control of your photography.

By full control, I mean that you as a photographer will now be responsible for balancing the various factors that contribute to clicking a good picture. These are some fancy terms such as Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO. To learn more about these, you can read our guide, DSLR Photography: A Complete Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide.

Why buy a camera?

Photography cameras for beginners may depend on your needs. If you are a casual photographer who occasionally takes some pictures, then a smartphone camera may be enough. However, if you are looking for anything more, then investing in a DSLR or Mirrorless camera is the way to go.

Our digital camera reviews are by no means limited to just beginners. We also list the best camera for professional photography. Including these cameras in the list for beginners’ cameras is just to indicate their ease of use for beginners. But most of these cameras are fully suitable for professional use.

These cameras will open up as you become more comfortable with them. Once you have cleared the beginner level, you can continue using them as a professional, if you intend to. Otherwise, photography is a very satisfying hobby and a useful skill to have even if you are not earning with it.

Best features in a camera for beginner photography

I wrote this guide to help you select the best cameras for photography, with a focus on beginner-friendly cameras. I want to guide you through the process I took in building this list. You can use this for your own and research cameras yourself if you are interested. So here are the best features in a camera for beginner photography:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Weight
  3. Changeable lens
  4. Warranty
  5. After-market support

Moving on, we will be reviewing the best cameras for beginners in photography. Choosing your first camera isn’t going to be easy. Because there are tons of models available in the market ranging from entry-level to pro-level. Therefore, we will list only those that best support the needs of a beginner photographer as well as one that will even support you as a professional.

Not interested in reading lengthy reviews? See the “Final Verdict” about best cameras for beginners in photography.

List of the best cameras for beginners in photography

These are some of the best cameras for beginner photographers. I have included DSLRs as well as some mirrorless cameras. To know the basic difference between the two read an article about DSLR vs Mirrorless.

best cameras for beginners in photography
Nikon D330
best cameras for beginners in photographyNikon D3400
best cameras for beginners in photographyNikon D3500
best cameras for beginners in photographyNikon D5300
Nikon D5600
best cameras for beginners in photography Panasonic Lumix GX85
best cameras for beginners in photography Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III 
best cameras for beginners in photographyCanon EOS 200D
best cameras for beginners in photographyCanon EOS 750D
best cameras for beginners in photographyCanon EOS 1300D

Beginner’s guide of getting started with a camera

To get started with your first DSLR or mirrorless camera, you have to learn some things. These are some concepts that must be learned and mastered in order to operate your camera effectively and get the best out of it.

We will cover these concepts in detail but if you are only looking for the cameras then skip ahead!

These concepts are:

  1. The exposure triangle.
  2. Different shooting modes.
  3. Focusing
  4. Exposure Compensation.
  5. File size/types.

1. The “Exposure Triangle”

Exposure Triangle
Source: Photography Life

Although the “exposure triangle” is the most important concept in manual photography, yet we will not cover it in very great detail because I have already discussed it in-depth in my guide, DSLR Photography: A Complete Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide.

Basically the “exposure triangle” is comprised of three things:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO

Manual photography is all about balancing these three factors. Once you master the art of balancing these according to situations, only then you can get the best result out of your camera.

Example of balancing the “Exposure Triangle”

Let us consider a situation where we want a narrow depth of field or in other words, a blurred background. Like the one in the photo below

dslr photography

Here we may set our aperture to f/1.4 or f/2. This aperture setting lets the window of the lens wide open. Therefore, more light enters through the window. So, we have to balance the other two factors to reduce greater light exposure. Thus, preventing an overexposed photo.

This can be done in the following ways.

Situation#1: Decrease shutter speed to 1/40-1/60th of a second

Situation#2: Decrease ISO to ISO100.

Situation#3: Combination of both shutter speed and ISO that is 1/20-1/30th of a second and ISO to ISO200-ISO300.

2. Different shooting modes.

Besides manual and automatic mode, every camera comes with different shooting modes. These are kinds of semi-automatic modes. They will let you take control of aperture or shutter speed and adjust the other automatically.

1. Aperture-Priority (Av or A)

Aperture-Priority is a kind of “semi-automatic” mode that lets you take control of aperture settings. It will automatically set the shutter speed according to the aperture settings. This mode can help beginners to learn to balance the two factors.

Aperture is like a window of the camera lens. The wider the opening, the more the amount of light will enter into the lens. Aperture is calibrated in f/stops, like f/1.8,f/2 e.t.c. The higher the number then narrower the opening becomes and vice versa.

Since aperture decides the depth of field. So in this mode, the photographer takes direct control of the depth of field while the rest is handled by the camera.

2. Shutter-Priority (Tv or S)

Shutter speed is also a “semi-automatic” mode. This mode lets the photographer take control of the shutter speed. The aperture setting is adjusted accordingly.

Shutter speed is the measure of how long the sensor is exposed to light. The Shutter is a kind of a curtain that can close within a fraction of a second and thus control the duration of light exposure upon the sensor. It is, therefore, measured in fractions of a second. For example 1/2 (Half of a second), 1/30, 4/1 (4 seconds) and so on.

Shutter speed is of greater importance when the subject is in motion. To avoid blur in such scenarios, the shutter speed should be kept fast, which is in fractions of a second. Therefore, this mode allows you to be carefree of the shutter speed while you capture a moving subject.

3. Program (P)

Program mode lies half-way between the semi-auto modes discussed above and the full manual mode. This mode lets you take control of either aperture or shutter and adjust the other one accordingly. It is different from shutter-priority and aperture-priority because they let you take control of one factor only. You can’t get the freedom in these modes without switching between the two.

4. Manual

Manual mode is the real pro mode. It gives you full control over the camera. You have to balance the “exposure triangle” yourself. In manual mode, you can’t blame your camera for a bad picture.

3. Focusing

Source: Digital Photography School

Focusing is another important factor in photography. A photo with an out-of-focus and blurred subject is considered a bad photo. In cameras we have two focus modes:

  • Auto-Focus
  • Manual-Focus

Focus Points

Before discussing the focus modes, we will see what are focus points and why are they significant.

Source: Nikon Images

You can see these small squares when looking through the viewfinder. These squares are basically the points on the screen that will be focused on by the camera. These squares are used by both of the focus modes.

One of these dots gets highlighted when you half-press the shutter. This is called the active point and this is the point that is focused. Auto-mode takes care of selecting the active point.

However, as a photographer, one is always tempted to take control of focus as well. In that case, a photographer selects the active point by using the direction buttons on the camera.


Although a camera may have many different auto-focus modes, the two basic auto-focus modes are:

AF-S (Autofocus single)– This mode automatically selects a single active point when you half-press the shutter. This point remains in focus as long as the button in on hold or is half-pressed.

AF-C(Autofocus-Continous)– As the name suggests, the active point is locked over a subject and it re-adjust according to the subject’s motion.

4.Exposure Compensation

best cameras for beginners in photography

One of the important functions that a camera does is automatic metering. It assesses the entire photo scene, identifies bright and dark areas and tries to optimize them to an average value called the “middle grey” (18% grey).

Although, this mechanism works perfectly in many scenarios. But sometimes it can adjust the exposure aggressively. Therefore, leaving some photos underexposed or overexposed.

Exposure compensation” lets the photographer take control of metering. It works with modes like Av, Tv, P or any other scene mode. Exposure compensation has no role in manual mode unless auto ISO is turned on.

5. File size/type

When it comes to photography, there are two types of file formats that you must know about:

1. RAW

A RAW file is an uncompressed file that carries a lot of image details. This provides an image editor more flexibility in the post-processing of an image. But it comes with a cost and that is the file size. A single RAW image may take up to 30 MB of space.


A jpeg image is processed by the camera. The extra and unwanted pixels are shed off during the processing. The pixels are well-packed. Jpeg images may not offer the post-processing flexibility but they take up much less space than RAW image. An average jpeg file is around 6 MB.

Best cameras for beginners in photography- Product reviews

Ready to get started? Here we review some best cameras for beginner photographers.

1. Nikon D3300 – Best camera for beginners in photography

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen Fixed 3.0″ 921k-dot LCD
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Nikon D330 is the best camera for beginners in photography owing to its low cost, ease of use and rich features.

Nikon D330 is one of the Nikon’s entry-level. Its 24.2 MP is what makes it stand out among the group of cameras for beginners. It is geared with Nikon’s top-performing processor, “Expeed 4 image-processing engine”.

It increases the ISO sensitivity and shooting speed up to 5fps. Furthermore, its 11-point AF system and 3.0″ 921k-dot LCD further adds to its elegance. However, the built-in Wi-fi is missing. Therefore, it restricts the camera’s connectivity options.

You will need an optional wireless adapter to transfer images. The body is made of plastic, although the build quality is not as good as the higher-end models, yet the quality is good enough at such a low price.

Nikon D330 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II kit lens is also one of the chief updates to this model. This lens is retractable and much more compact than its predecessor. Overall, Nikon D330 is good within this range.

Pros and Cons

1. Low cost.
2. Easy to use.
3. 24.2 MP sensor.

1. Limited Connectivity options.
2. No touch screen.
3. High level of image noise.


2. Nikon D3400

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen Fixed 3.0″ 921k-dot LCD
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


In the league of best cameras for beginners in photography, Nikon D3400 is one of the popular choices. While we cannot see a major change in specs than the predecessor D3300. Yet Nikon has included some updates to D3400.

The major updates in D3400 are its prolonged battery life (probably due to weaker flash), decreased weight, and new built-in Bluetooth (Snapbridge). The ISO sensitivity is increased to 25600.

However, one of the bad things about it is that the microphone port is removed. This is certainly not good news for videographers. As it restricts them to the built-in monaural microphone. However, for beginners, it isn’t a big deal.

Although D3400 is a successor of D330, we can see that there are no major changes. Photographers who aim at a better battery life may be tempted to buy this model.

Pros and Cons

1. Good battery life.
2. Easy to use.
3. Low cost.
4. Built-in bluetooth.

1. No touch screen.
2. No microphone port.
3. Limited connectivity options.
4. Not a big change than D3300.


3. Nikon D3500

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen Fixed 3.0″ 921k-dot LCD
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Nikon D3500 is yet another addition to Nikon cameras for beginners. Although, it doesn’t incorporate many changes from its predecessor- Nikon D3400. Yet, we see some design changes in D3500.

It is 45g lighter than D3400. The design is changed a little bit. In D3400, some buttons that were positioned at right are now shifted to left. This design change helps to keep everything in easy reach.

The grip has become slightly more comfortable. Another improvement is the battery life, which is rated to be 350 shots more than D3400.

We can’t see any major changes in going from D330 to D3400 and to D3500. But all these are entry-level cameras. One may be tempted to buy the latest model. That is why these are included in the list of the best cameras for beginners in photography.

Pros and Cons

1. Reasonable price.
2. Light-weight
3. Better handling

1. No tilt or touchscreen.
2. No Wi-fi.
3. Not a big change than D3400.


4. Nikon D5300

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen 1.04M dot 3.2″ vari-angle LCD monitor
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Nikon D5300 is a member of a new series of Nikon entry-level cameras. It packs many changes than the D3000’s.

It comes with a 39-point AF-system and Wi-fi connectivity. Furthermore, the higher ISO values make low-light photography much better than the previous models.

The resolution remains as 24.2 MP, but Nikon has upgraded the quality of the image sensor. They have removed the optical low pass filter which can blur photos on some occasions. The screen size is considerably increased by 1.04M dots.

This camera pushes a little bit further than the very basic models like D3300 or D3400 and is aimed for more serious beginners.

Pros and Cons

1. High ISO capabilty.
3. Greater build quality.
4. Tilt Screen and built-in Wi-fi

1. No touchscreen.
2. Slow live-view focusing.
3. Some control are oddly placed.


5. Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600
Credits: Nikon
Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen 3.2-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Nikon D5600 is an advanced entry-level camera by Nikon. Although, it doesn’t seem to be much different than its predecessor D5500 or even D5400. But yet it is one of the famous Nikon entry-level DSLRs.

Nikon D5600 is as light as a mirrorless camera, but its fine grip makes it feel comfortable. The image quality and camera speed are the features that can be bragged about D5600.

Although, it is slightly expensive. Yet, this is a choice for photographers who are a bit pro-oriented.

Pros and Cons

1. Tilt and touch screen.
2. Excellent image quality.
3. Good AF system.

1. Slightly expensive.
2. Slow live-view focusing.
3. Snapbridge needs work.


6. Panasonic Lumix GX85

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels16.0 MP
Screen3.0-inch, 1,040k, tilt, touch 
Max video resolution4k
Continous shooting speed8fps


Panasonic Lumix GX85 is a mirrorless camera. It is fairly compact and portable. It comes with many features that can be as exciting as a DSLR.

Its 16 MP sensor is perfect for still shots but the most attractive feature is its 4k video recording. Many users praise its picture quality as well as auto-focus.

Its slim design and fewer knobs make it more compact and portable. Furthermore, it comes with a 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 (24-64mm equivalent) retractable lens. It can be modified with a wide variety of lenses from Panasonic and Olympus.

It is suitable for users who demand point and shoot like camera portability with better photo quality.

Pros and Cons

1. Small Size
2. Wi-fi enabled.
3. Good for stills and 4k movie.

1. Modest picture resolution.
2. Small viewfinder.
3. Screen doesn’t articulate


7. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III – Best camera for nature photography

Key features

Megapixels16.1 MP
Screen3.0-inch 1,040k tilt touch
Max video resolution4k
Continous shooting speed8.6fps


Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the best camera for nature photography owing to its mobility, resilience and reasonable price.

OM-D E-M10 Mark III is an entry-level mirrorless camera from Olympus. Its retro-style design resembles its 70s models. Yet, its build is quite strong with angled-thumb grip and handgrip which makes it easy to handle.

The 16.1 MP sensor gives out a very crispy result. It is equipped with a powerful TruePic VIII imaging engine, that brings several improvements, including 4K video shooting.

Along with basic shooting mode, it offers 25 scene modes. Furthermore, it has an advance photography mode that can help inexperienced photographers get started with the camera.

If you are looking for a travel-friendly, small and portable camera with great results. Then this is the right choice.

Pros and cons

1. Portable and light-weight.
2. Classic design.
3. Reasonable price.

1. Modest picture resolution.
2. Slow Auto-focus.
3. Fiddly menu system


8. Canon EOS 200D

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots 
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Canon EOS 200D is Canon entry-level camera. It is supported by Canon DIGIC 7 image processor. This processor is powerful enough to support ISO in range 100-25,600 as well as enhance AF performance.

Canon EOS 200D has a 3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen display with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots. The coverage of the optical viewfinder is only 95%, which is typical at this price.

It has more connectivity options. It has built-in Wi-fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Therefore, the pictures can be shared on social media on the go. Of course, after installing the free sharing app.

The 9-point AF system is somehow a weak point in this variant. At this price, users expect at least an 11-points AF system. However, this camera is still good for beginners and for users who want to do a transition from mirrorless to DSLR.

Pros and Cons

1. Ease of use.
2. Varied-angle touchscreen.
3. Compact size.

1. Short batery life.
2. 9-point AF is very basic.
3. Slightly expensive.


9. Canon EOS 750D

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels24.2 MP
Screen3.0-inch, vari-angle touchscreen
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed5fps


Canon EOS 750D is a mid-level Canon addition to EOS 700 family. It is meant for enthusiast photographers who want to get more than just an entry-level camera.

There is a 19-point phase-detect AF system. For manual focusing, you have two options single AF-focus and zone-AF focus. With single AF-mode, you can select one of the 19 focus points while in zone mode a group of 5 is selected for focus.

Furthermore, face detection, tracking AF, FlexiZone-Multi and FlexiZone-Single modes are available with live view.

Most photographers prefer this variant for low light photography. Since it has an expandable ISO range of ISO100-12,800 (expandable to ISO25,60). This model is for more enthusiasts who are more leaned towards a pro-model but on a tight budget. And that is precisely what makes it one of the best cameras for beginners in photography.

Pros and cons

1. Fully articulating touch-sensitive screen.
2. Great image quality
3. More connectivity options.

1. D5600 offers more detailed resolution in same price.
2. Need a quicker way to set AF-point


10. Canon EOS 1300D

best cameras for beginners in photography

Key features

Megapixels18 MP
Screen 3-inch, 920,000 dots
Max video resolution1080p
Continous shooting speed3fps

Canon EOS 1300D is another entry-level variant by Canon. It comes with an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. It has an ISO range of 100-6400 and is capable of 3fps burst shooting. The image processor has been bumped up to Canon’s Digic 4+.

The sensor has a total of 9 autofocus points including one cross-type point in the center. It comes with built-in Wi-fi and NFC connectivity. Till ISO 800, this model performs really well and gives crisp and quality results. However, at higher ISO such as ISO 1600, the quality starts to fall.

However, for budding photographers, this is still a good model to be considered in the list of best cameras for beginners in photography.

Pros and Cons

1. Small and light.
2. Reasonable price.
3. Built-in Wi-fi and NFC.

1. No touch-screen.
2. Slow shooting speed.
3. Slightly heavier.


Price Comparison [2017,2018,2019 & 2020]- Reviews Garage

The prices are compared for the following models

  1. Nikon D330.
  2. Nikon D5600.
  3. Panasonic Lumix GX85.
  4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
  5. Canon EOS 200D.
  6. Nikon D5300.
  7. Canon EOD 1300D.
  8. Canon 750D.

We can see a decreasing trend in DSLRs prices. This is because people tend to prefer mirrorless cameras nowadays. New mirrorless cameras offer much more than a DSLR like portability features, 4K recordings, etc.

Writer’s pick

I personally use “Nikon D5300“. In the series of best cameras for beginners in photography, we have reviewed this model. It offers much more than an entry-level camera. It gives you a pro-feeling. I have been using it for 3 years and I am happy with its results.

Particularly, in lit environments, it can give really beautiful results. However, in a low-light environment, it can degrade quality a bit. Its body is made up of plastic yet I feel the build is strong enough.

Final verdict

In this series of best cameras for beginners in photography, we pick “Nikon D3500” to be the best beginner camera for photography. It is because it provides all the necessary features required for a budding photographer.

It is easy to use, light-weight and gives a better result. But maybe along the road, you might need to upgrade it if you plan to become a professional photographer.

What’s next?

So let’s say you have ordered yourself a brand new camera. It’s so exciting. You can’t wait to get your hands on it and shoot the first picture.

Play around with your camera. Experiment with different things. After all, it is your camera. Take it outside. Take pictures from all the built-in modes and see how they differ. And then move on to the manual mode, the secret sauce of a professional camera.

Here is a potential roadmap you could chart for yourself. It will help grow your photography skills while giving you career opportunities. Feel free to tweak it to your needs and set it as a goal.

Step 1: Learn to use your camera at full potential

Our digital camera reviews might have helped you in getting your first camera, but it won’t benefit you fully unless you maximize it’s potential. A professional camera offers so much control than simple point-and-shoot cameras found in smartphones.

It is up to you to explore all those options so you can figure out the limits of your camera for photography.

Step 2: Build a portfolio

After you have gotten the hang of it, you should start critiquing your pictures to find the best ones. You can upload your pictures on various platforms like Pixabay or Unsplash. Many bloggers use these websites to get images in their blog posts.

Your pictures would, in turn, get exposure (pun intended) and you could make a name for yourself. This could help your best camera for professional photography to get to work and make money.

Step 3: Sharpen your skill

You could do this in many ways. You could ask a friend, a relative or maybe a professional photographer to show you the way around your camera. However, if you can’t find anyone, you can always take some great online courses like this one here.

Step 4: Buy some accessories

Buying a camera is just the first step. If you are looking to take it to the next level, then you might want to invest in some essential accessories like tripod, flashlight, and lenses.

Buying a camera for the first time leaves people with a lot of questions. We have got answers for some burning questions.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which brand of camera is best for beginners?

Answer. For me, the answer is Canon. It feels easy to use and has plenty of resources available on the internet. The same can be said for Nikon, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.

Q. What types of cameras are best for beginners?

Answer. Mirrorless cameras are the best for beginners. They are lightweight, less intimidating and work almost as well as DSLR cameras, and in some cases even better. However, they are generally more pricey than DSLR cameras.

Q. How much does a good camera cost?

Answer. Beginner camera costs in the range of $300 to $500. If you are looking for a good camera, they are more pricey, going upto 1000 dollars.

Q. How much does a camera weigh?

Answer. Beginner DSLR cameras weigh between 0.9 to 1.5 pounds. While Mirrorless cameras weigh between 0.6 to 1.6 pounds.

We have attempted to answer some of the questions. However, if you have any other question or need any help with photography, feel free to comment below and we will do our best to assist you.

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