Best camera for beginners in 2022

Best camera for beginners in 2022

The most suitable camera for beginners in 2022, among all cameras, for novice friends, how to choose a camera suitable for beginners. Today we take a look at the recommendations.

If you’re a novice photographer looking to upgrade to a DSLR camera, the number of options on the market may feel a bit intimidating. It can be tempting to look at cameras packed with lots of premium features off-the-bat, but it may be more helpful to start with a more affordable model. That way, you can familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s unique build, menu system, and selection of lenses before investing a lot of money.

It’s worth mentioning that a camera’s overall performance can vary depending on the lens you use. The lens affects how much light enters the camera, so it helps determine an image’s depth of field and autofocus and stabilization performance, and that’s without mentioning the physical aspects of your lens. As a general rule, it’s better to invest in a less expensive camera body and higher-quality lenses than to invest in an expensive camera body and cheap lenses.

The best beginner DSLRs remain fantastic options for those new to photography. Despite the recent big shift towards mirrorless technology, traditional DSLR is still a practical choice especially if you’re leaning towards a budget-friendly camera.

DSLR cameras come with a few advantages. If you want the latest autofocus technology, a more compact form factor, and burst shooting that goes beyond 10fps, you might be better served by one of the best mirrorless cameras. But, if you’re keen on long battery lives, optical viewfinders, excellent handling and a great range of compatible lenses, then these classic cameras are the way to go.

We’ve spent hundreds of hours testing most cameras over the last decade, which makes us the experts which models are worth considering and what makes an excellent DSLR. To help you find the ideal entry-level DSLR for you, we distilled our findings into this guide.

Not long ago, I had a chance to test several entry-level DSLRs side by side and review which ones were the best. Today, I’d like to circle back and rank some of these cameras for photographers who are trying to decide on a DSLR, either for yourself or as a gift. Hopefully, this list gives you a good idea of which camera will be right for you.

Best camera for beginners in 2022

1Nikon D3500 Digital SLR CameraView on Amazon
2Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IVView on Amazon
3Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DXView on Amazon
4Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 DSLR CameraView on Amazon
5Nikon Z50 + Z DX 16-50mm Mirrorless Camera KitView on Amazon
6Canon EOS 850D (Rebel T8i) DSLR CameraView on Amazon

1.Nikon D3500 Digital SLR Camera

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Nikon may not have announced any new entry-level DSLRs for a while, but the D3500 remains an excellent option for those who are new to photography. It picks up from where the D3400 left off, but with a handful of extra perks. Unlike power-hungry mirrorless models, the major advantage of this camera is battery life. We found that it could keep going for over 1,500 images between charges, which is way ahead of most other DSLRs. In our tests, the 24MP sensor also delivered excellent image quality.

Nikon also revised the body and control layout of the D3500 compared to previous generations, which we think makes it nicer to handle and easier to use. The useful Guide Mode also takes the first-time user’s hand and walks them through all the key features in a way that makes everything easy to understand. We still love the D3500 – and if you’re just getting started, we reckon you will, too.

2.Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

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With a new 20MP sensor, incrementally improved in-body image stabilization and a new flip-down and tiltable monitor, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has plenty to shout about. Retaining the 4K video and attractive styling that made the Mark III so attractive to consumers, the Mark IV is a great choice for anyone looking for an entry-level camera that can do pretty much everything. This is one of our favorite pint-sized cameras ever: it’s small enough to carry around anywhere, and much more powerful than it looks. The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a camera that could be with you for a long time to come.

3.Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX

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The Nikon D3500’s 24-megapixel sensor can create images with pleasing colors, and its Guide Mode has insightful explanations of camera modes and operations. Its battery lasts far longer than that of most competitors, and it is lightweight for a camera in this category and portable enough to carry anywhere. Connecting the D3500 to your smartphone is easy, which allows you to share what you capture quickly. It shoots 1080/60p video too.

4.Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 DSLR Camera

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The EOS Rebel SL3 (also known as the 250D and 200D Mark II, outside the US) isn’t Canon’s cheapest DSLR, but we think it offers the best blend of features, performance and value around. For a start, it’s the smallest and lightest DSLR with an articulating screen, which means it isn’t an intimidatingly large as some of its rivals. It also adds a fresh processing engine and 4K video recording to its Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) predecessor.

We were impressed with its responsive touchscreen, speedy start-up time and excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which also works when you’re shooting 1080p video (though not sadly in 4K). Its 5fps burst shooting can’t compete with the latest mirrorless cameras, so those who like to shoot sports or action should look elsewhere. But for our money, the EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D makes slightly more sense than Canon’s super-budget DSLRs like the EOS Rebel T100 (also know as the EOS 4000D / EOS 3000D), if you can afford to pay that bit more.

5.Nikon Z50 + Z DX 16-50mm Mirrorless Camera Kit

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Despite its small size, the Nikon Z50 has a good grip and good external controls, and the retracting 16-50mm kit lens is remarkable not just for its pancake lens dimensions but for its overall performance. Key selling points include 4K video, 11fps burst shooting, and the fact that its Z mount is identical to that on the larger cameras, so you can use dedicated Nikkor Z DX lenses, full frame Nikkor Z lenses and regular Nikon DSLR lenses via the FTZ adaptor. Best of all, the Z50 is terrific value, especially when bought as a twin-lens kit. However, long after its launch it still only has three native DX format lenses, so that’s a disappointment – it means you’re stuck with using older DSLR lenses via Nikon’s FTZ adaptor for now, or bigger and more expensive full frame Nikkor Z lenses which are limited for wide-angle photography because of the smaller sensor’s ‘crop factor’.

6.Canon EOS 850D (Rebel T8i) DSLR Camera

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The Canon EOS Rebel T8i (know as the EOS 850D outside the US) takes the baton from the popular Rebel T7i / EOS 800D, which is now tricky to find. This new model isn’t a huge upgrade, with the most notable addition being a 4K video mode that we found to be hampered by frame-rate restrictions. Still, the Rebel T8i / EOS 850D remains one of our favorite all-round DSLRs for beginners.

You get a Dual Pixel phase-detection AF system, which in our tests was fast, reliable and great for video. Its button layout is also very considered, while the vari-angle LCD screen handles really well. As long you ignore that headline of 4K video, which involves a crop and the loss of phase-detection autofocus, it remains a great option for anyone who’s starting a photography hobby and prizes DSLR advantages like battery life and handling over the latest mirrorless tech.

How to choose the best beginner DSLR for you

There are three main factors to consider when buying a beginner-friendly DSLR: the camera’s size, screen and kit lens options.

If you’re trying to learn your way around manual settings like aperture and shutter speed, which is one of the main benefits of a DSLR, then you’ll ideally need a model that’s small and light. This means you’ll be more likely to take it out regularly and master those controls. The most beginner-friendly cameras, like the Nikon D3500 and Canon 250D, tend to be particularly small for DSLRs, so take a close look at those.

Looking to shoot lots of video along with your stills? DSLRs can be a cheap way to get into vlogging too, so make sure you look out for models with a vari-angle screen (like the ones on most Canon models) if you need this. These can help you shoot from different angles and also flip round to the front so you can check your framing while recording to camera.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider lenses. As a beginner, you’ll most likely be starting from scratch, which means it makes more sense to buy your DSLR with a kit lens. A word of warning here, though – most manufacturers offer two types of kits lens, one with image stabilization and one without. It’s best to go with the image-stabilized kit lens, as you’ll be able to shoot sharper images at slower shutter speeds.

While an 18-55mm kit lens will be more than enough to get you started, one of the big benefits of DSLRs is being able to add extra lenses for different kinds of photography. For example, wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses, as well as high-quality macro options. You can also add a flashgun and other accessories, which help you to make the most of whatever types of photography you’re into.

How we test cameras

We test DSLR and mirrorless cameras(opens in new tab) both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera’s ISO range. We use both real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides.

Best camera for beginners: What to look for

  • Price: Yes, price is important, especially for beginners, we get that! Don’t rule out spending a little extra, though, as it will often get you a lot more features.
  • Interchangeable lenses: There’s only so much you can achieve with your kit lens, so if you plan on buying more, go for a camera with a good lens range behind it.
  • Simple controls: All these cameras have automatic modes that will help you build your confidence, and manual controls for later on, when you get more ambitious.
  • Manual modes: The auto modes on cameras may start out smarter than you are, but that won’t last! You’ll also need manual control, because one day you will need to take charge.
  • Video: 4K has become the new norm for video capture, so if your main interest is vlogging, choose a more recent 4K mirrorless camera.
  • Megapixels: Megapixels aren’t everything, but they do have an impact on image quality. However, almost all beginner cameras are in the 16-24MP range, and you won’t see colossal differences in the results.

A basic guide to photography terms

There are a few terms you should become familiar with when you are starting out in the world of photography.

Aperture: A camera’s aperture lets light in and its size is recorded with f-stops or f-numbers.

  • Shutter speed: The shutter speed determines how long a camera’s sensor is exposed to light (exposure time). Generally, you want higher shutter speeds for motion/action photography.
  • ISO: ISOs can be set to change how sensitive your camera is to light. A higher ISO is for higher sensitivity, and a low ISO setting reduces sensitivity.
  • Exposure: Exposure is how much light reaches a camera sensor.
  • Bokeh: Bokeh is the blurry background effect you often see in professional photos. This can be achieved with lenses or during the editing process.
  • Depth of field: Depth of field is the distance between the closest and furthest objects that are still sharp. You can change this by tweaking your aperture settings or by switching lenses.
  • Burst: Burst modes are used to simultaneously capture images in quick succession. You could use this mode to capture a bride walking down the aisle, for example, but there may be a subsequent delay in shooting as they are processed.
  • RAW: RAW is a file format — like JPG or PNG — which photographers often prefer. Images are not compressed and so these source images save a lot of information. During editing, the more information, the better.
  • Noise: Noise is the term used to describe distortion in images that can appear as specks or grain.

Are lenses important?

Arguably, lenses can be more important than a camera body. If you have a camera able to support interchangeable lenses, you can experiment with different ways to frame an image — whether by using a telephoto, a fixed lens, a fisheye, or macros — and this can also further your own development as a photographer. It’s absolutely worth exploring both fixed and zoom lenses, too, as the former can give you better still quality — but the latter has more versatility.

Why is a camera better than a smartphone?

Why buy a camera for beginners when you’ve got a perfectly decent camera in your pocket? While it may seem easier to stick with the smartphone, cameras do have many advantages of their own that the physical limitations of smartphones mean they can’t compete with.

Cameras can make use of optical zoom lenses, allowing you to get closer to your subject with no loss in quality, and can also use high-quality prime (fixed focal-length) lenses designed to produce as sharp an image as possible. Whether you’re going for maximum shooting versatility or maximum image quality, a camera can outstrip a smartphone on both fronts.

The list of advantages goes on. Cameras have more sophisticated autofocus systems, capable of tracking moving subjects, and can burst shoot at high speeds to ensure you never miss the moment. Higher megapixel counts also mean that images can be printed at higher quality.

What are the different camera sensor sizes?

The physical size and shape of a camera means it’s able to field a much larger sensor than a smartphone. The main thing to remember is that a larger sensor can have larger pixels, which means cleaner images with less noise, especially in low light. Images taken with a larger sensor have much more dynamic range (tonal difference between areas of light and dark).

These are the sensor sizes you’ll likely encounter when shopping for a camera, from smallest to largest:

1/2.3-inch type, 1/2.5-inch type, 1/1.7-inch type:

This is the rough sensor size generally found in smartphones and cheaper compact cameras. It makes for affordable cameras, but the trade-off is poor low light performance.

1-inch type:

These sensors are often found in compact cameras and bridge cameras. Offering a step up from smartphone sensors, a 1-inch sensor will produce less noise in images.

Micro Four Thirds:

A sensor size standard for mirrorless cameras, Micro Four Thirds sensors are found in Olympus and Panasonic models. Larger than 1-inch type, Micro Four Thirds cameras tend to be nicely compact while still offering impressive image quality.

APS-C:

This is the sensor size that bridges the gap between enthusiast and professional. Some camera manufacturers like Fujifilm have based entire systems on APS-C sensors.

Full-frame:

So-named because it is roughly the size of a frame of 35mm film, full-frame is generally the standard for professional photographers.

Medium format:

A larger sensor size that roughly equates to that of 120 film, medium format cameras are very expensive (you won’t get one for less than a four-figure price) and tend to be used by specialist shooters.

What are the different types of camera?

There are a few main types of camera that we’ve included in this guide, as each one can be well-suited for beginners. Here’s a quick rundown of the key types and the differences between them.

DSLRs: Once the professional standard for digital cameras, the DSLR is still among the most popular type of camera around. The name stands for “digital single-lens reflex”, which refers to the fact that it uses a single lens for shooting and focusing (old rangefinder-style cameras used two). DSLRs have an internal mirror mechanism that allows them to field an optical viewfinder, which many photographers still prefer to an LCD screen for composing images. They also tend to be hardier and more weatherproof than other types of camera, though this varies from model to model.

Mirrorless: Mirrorless cameras, like DSLRs, have a lens mount that allows lenses to be swapped at will. However, they forgo the mirror mechanism that allows for an optical viewfinder, the trade-off being that this allows them to be built smaller and lighter. Mirrorless cameras are very much seen as the future in the photo and video community, and this is generally where the most exciting developments in imaging technology are taking place.

Compact: Compact cameras have a fixed lens on their front that cannot be changed; this may be a zoom lens that allows for covering a set focal range, or a fixed-focal-length “prime” lens with an emphasis on quality. Compact cameras, also known as point-and-shoot cameras, were once thought of as cheap and poor-quality, but now have been forced to up their game to compete with smartphones. These days, amny compacts offer imaging quality to rival that of interchangeable lens cameras.

Instant film: Like the Polaroids of yesteryear, instant film cameras are capable of producing a physical print of an image moments after capture! While they’ll never win awards for technical perfection, these cameras provide a kind of knockabout fun that makes them great for beginners – and these days they can connect wirelessly to smart devices to open up new shooting possibilities.

But which is the best camera for beginners to pick? It depends on what you need. Do you want something small and portable or hardy and weatherproof? Are you likely to be shooting video as well as stills? Do you see yourself buying more lenses, or would you prefer a single package that does it all? The answers to all these questions will affect which camera is best for you.

Is mirrorless or DSLR better for beginners?

For beginners, mirrorless cameras are often a better choice due to their more compact size and simpler controls. Mirrorless cameras are also more likely than a similarly priced DSLR to have a touchscreen and thus are more like using a smartphone camera.

Is Canon or Nikon better for beginners?

Nikon’s large hand-grip makes it convenient for a beginner to hold the camera properly. When debating Canon vs Nikon for beginners, Nikon’s D3500 is clearly better than Canon’s Rebel series, as Nikon’s cameras are easier to handle and offer high quality images in its range.

Which is better DSLR or mirrorless?

The DSLR offers a wider selection of interchangeable lenses, longer battery life, and better low-light shooting thanks to the optical viewfinder. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras are lighter, more portable, offer better video quality even in lower-end models, and can shoot more images at faster shutter speeds.

Should beginners use mirrorless camera?

Mirrorless cameras are a great option for beginner photographers thanks to their electronic viewfinders, which allow you to see how different camera settings affect your image in real-time through the viewfinder.

Is DSLR going away?

DSLRs are not dead. The top manufacturers may be moving away from DSLR production. But they’re not dead and buried yet. Their popularity will endure over the next few years.

How long do mirrorless cameras last?

Given the build quality of mirrorless cameras, they can last 10+ years if properly maintained and only naturally fail you when critical components like the sensor or image processor break.

How long can a DSLR last?

The quick answer is that most DSLR cameras will last 5-10 years. It’s more likely that it will become outdated or that it will get damaged before the shutter wears out. This post will explore the aspects of DSLR durability and longevity that you need to know about.

Are mirrorless cameras sharper than DSLR?

Most of this focuses on the tracking of moving subjects – an area where the phase detection autofocus found in digital SLRs is still superior (although the gap is closing). But when it comes to focusing on still subjects, the mirrorless camera is a better tool.

Will mirrorless camera last longer than DSLR?

Do Mirrorless Cameras Last Longer Than DSLR Cameras? Yes, a mirrorless camera can last longer than a DSLR camera because using the electronic shutter inside a mirrorless camera does not count towards the shutter life of the camera.

Can a digital camera last 20 years?

In general, a digital camera will not wear out over time. The only major component that can eventually wear out is the camera shutter. With that said, unless you’re taking hundreds of photos every day for years, most hobbyists and casual shooters can expect their digital camera to last around 5 years of regular use.

Is DSLR or mirrorless better for portraits?

For portrait photography, many mirrorless systems have already surpassed DSLRs in AF performance and accuracy, thanks to specific features such as eye-tracking. Cameras like the Sony A9 have already demonstrated that mirrorless can even compete with DSLRs for shooting fast action.

Why do professional photographers use DSLR cameras?

DSLRs offer a wide variety of manual settings and creative controls but you can also take images in Automatic mode, so don’t get scared! The shutter speeds can reach much faster ranges than the cameras above and have a better low-light capability.

What are the 4 types of cameras?

There are four main types of digital camera: compact, bridge, DSLR and mirrorless cameras. DSLRs and mirrorless models have interchangeable lenses.

Is it worth getting a digital camera?

If you want to take your photography more seriously, either as a hobby or for professional reasons, then you should definitely get a digital camera. Doing so allows you to experiment with things like shutter and aperture, which are impossible with a smartphone camera.

What’s the difference between SLR and DSLR?

DSLR and SLR cameras both reflect light that enters through the lens using a mirror so that an image can be seen in a viewfinder. However, an SLR camera uses a film made of plastic, gelatin and other material to record the image – a DSLR captures the image digitally, on a memory card.

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