Choosing a great camera while you’re still a beginner can be a hectic price. More often than not, you’re confused between breaking your bank for that high-end camera or settling for a more subtle, easy to use camera which won’t bleed your bank dry. However, choosing the best cameras for beginners in 2020 shouldn’t cause you jitters and sleepless nights. This article is here for you. It will give you, at a glimpse the best cameras to start your photography career with.
What are the best cameras for beginners in 2020? While shopping for great beginner-level cameras, there’s always the penchant to look low on the price-list. After all, most beginners don’t have the budget of a prince to play around with. That said, the following ten cameras will provide quality service to any beginner, while also helping them learn the ropes of the trade.
- Nikon D3500
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100K
- Nikon D5600
- Canon EOS 4000D
- Fujifilm X-T100
- Sony Alpha A6100
- Olympus Tough TG-6
Best Cameras for Beginners in 2020
The guide to choosing a good beginners camera
A good beginner camera, more often than not ticks all, or most of the following checklist
- Low on price– You shouldn’t spend a thousand dollars on a complicated, high-end camera when you don’t know how to use it.
- Easy to use– With hardly any training, or on-camera experience, going for a camera with easy dials, quick to learn interface and a normal control panel should be a good idea.
- Medium to great videos– Not all beginner level cameras can shoot 4k or 8k videos. This doesn’t imply that 1080p videos are worse off. For anything, learning the art with lower resolutions will help you learn how to manage the higher ones.
- Compatible with a large range of lenses– Lenses are crucial to cameras. When thinking about DSLR and mirrorless cameras, you can’t keep the lens conversation at bay. The two are twins. Get a camera that fits your lenses. The more sensible thing is to buy a camera that’s compatible with a wide range of lenses to be on the safe side
- Used or new? –Often, going for entry-level cameras is all about the prices, rather than the personal experience. Often, you can find good used cameras, which are priced way lower than new ones. If you can live past the bias of having a second-hand or refurbished camera, go for the used options.
Let’s roll our sleeves for the best beginner cameras in 2020, shall we?
You will probably meet the Nikon D3500 or its predecessor the D3400 in a lot of places. A lot of places means almost everywhere because it’s one of the most commonly used DSLR cameras around. While some professionals tend to look down on it, its realistically speaking, the best camera any beginner should start with.
I tend to think that the D3500 is primarily a traveler’s camera. It was made just right for the young, urbane digital nomad who looks to snap great photos and videos while on the move. It’s versatile, really easy to use and quite easy on the eye. The whole of this camera looks like any other DSLR design. It doesn’t move away from the cornerstone of Nikon design. The edges are curved around smoothly, while the body remains as compact as a DSLR can be. Even though it probably won’t stand out in terms of power and delivery, it does just enough to maintain its evergreen nature among beginner camera.
DSLR cameras might be fading away, but not just yet…………..
While this kind of DSLR models might be fading away, the Nikon D3500 will be around for quite a while. First off, the fact that the camera undergoes an upgrade almost every other year makes it a worthy contender for the longevity prize. Besides that, its reasonable price, especially when compared to other cameras makes it an alluring buy for anyone.
The D3500 does not stand based on the simple fact that it is Nikon’s cheapest DSLR alone. It simply has more than that. It also is the lightest, weighing a paltry 415g. Since a beginner doesn’t need a big, bulky and sometimes cumbersome camera, it will fit right into your other luggage.
Size and weight aside, the ability to switch lenses should also be a consideration when buying a beginner-friendly camera. While you would probably think that this low-end camera can only take one set of lenses, I’m happy to prove you wrong. The D3500 is compatible with tens of third-party lenses, of different sizes mark you.
The revamped version of the camera also comes with a touchscreen LCD, an optical viewfinder and medium-range video abilities; while it certainly won’t shoot in 4K, it does well in HD.
I have been reviewing cameras for quite a while. For as long as I have done that, the Olympus M10 has always been around. One thing that surprises me every time I come across this mirrorless camera is how timeless it has become. It is almost, the only mirrorless camera that survives the unending design cuts and new styles that keep rocking the mirrorless boats every other couple of years.
While the mirrorless industry is still developing, and slightly tumultuous to say the least, the Mark III stands out primarily for one reason. It’s extremely simple to use. This simplicity, apart from making it a dalliance of the camera crowd, also makes it an ultimate purchase for a beginner’s camera.
Very few cameras have kept the vintage look as much as Olympus has. Vintage on tech products often looks chic. However, the fact that the same vintage look often helps in keeping the cameras as grounded, and as sharp as possible is often overlooked. For this camera, the vintage look creates an aura of hardline functionality around it. It makes you itch to touch it and to scroll the dials way. Moreover, it also allows for some of the camera’s innate features to be included in the body, without necessarily distorting how the camera functions.
The simplistic design employed on the original Olympus design is the perfect mold for ergonometry. When handling the camera, it feels stable and rough enough not to slide through sweat-soaked fingers. It also has edges in all the right places. While still talking about the design essence, the front panel should also be a point of focus. While the camera comes with a touch-screen display, the more rudimentary parts like the side buttons and the viewfinder have also been molded pretty well into the camera fuselage.
For anything, my favorite aspect of this camera is the sharp focus it has. Most lightweight cameras will often sacrifice the sharpness of the focus, or its the camera’s range abilities to keep the weight below medium. Not so for the Olympus. The autofocus is as sharp and accurate as it can be. It almost feels like a pricier camera on this aspect. Besides the autofocus, the SA-F mode focus feature will also help you pinpoint the right places to focus on when shooting. At 24.1 megapixels, the video quality will be as sharp, probably as close to your eyes as any camera can get. Talk of so much help for a beginner.
The other favorite feature is the silent shooting mode. Often, we probably identify cameras by listening to the click of the shutter button, or the whirr of the lens opening. In case you hate the sound as I do, you can switch it off altogether with this camera. The same can also be done when you’re shooting sensitive people, like small babies who’d get startled with the same clicks and whirrs.
For someone who often has to dump a camera into the bag, this camera works just great. Besides that, I would probably recommend it for a beginner who feels a little old, or mature enough to be carrying something that looks vintage.
Let’s step away from the two evergreen cameras for a moment. It’s so rare to see a new entrant featuring among “the best cameras for beginners.” In case you desire a newly introduced camera, rather than the two time-tested pieces above it, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100K will do right for you.
The Panasonic Lumix is a compact travel camera. Though it’s quite pricy, It comes with the power of a large DSLR camera, crammed into the small body of a compact camera. Unlike other Panasonic Lumix Camera, the intentions of the camera’s designers on this one can be seen from the onset. It’s quite clear that they wanted something different, something that would break from the Panasonic fold. The ZS100K did just that. It packs enough of performance with the subtlety of a small sports car.
The first thing you might notice about this camera is the lenses. You hardly ever meet quality Leica lenses along these beginner streets. Couple that with a strong 1-inch sensor which can only be found in high-end Nikons and Canons. For resolution, you get a strong 20.1 megapixels with more than 16x zoom just in case you feel like getting your subject closer.
Easy to use point and shoot camera
For beginners, this camera is extremely easy to use. By minimizing size, you essentially go into the point and shoot conversation. Given the size, the screen has to be a touchscreen LCD, and the shooting button has to be somewhere at the top of the camera body. There are n variations on that, even on this camera. Usually, using a point and shoot is as easy as powering your camera and focusing it. It’s not rocket science or cracking the Fibonacci series. It might be as simple as eating sometimes.
Although point and shoot cameras are generally easy to use, they often come with one flaw; they are ruthlessly unstable. A video shot on a point and shoot can be heard from a mile away. It dances, and totters, and cringes like an old SUV on a heavily unmaintained dirt road. To solve this, the ZX 100 includes a five-axis hybrid stabilization system. While it doesn’t give you the stabilization quality of a hand-held gimbal, it does its part in ensuring that your video does not dance around. Given we’re already talking about the videos, the 4k video capabilities of the camera are also worth a mention. Yes, you can pull off a great 4K video in 24-30fps while using this camera.
One defining feature on the ZS100 is the Wi-FI. We’ve pretty much skirted around every other feature on the other cameras apart from internet connectivity. This camera supports live sharing to several social media platforms straight from the camera. In case you want to please the crowd while getting new things, it should help you achieve just that.
Slightly more expensive than cheap doesn’t mean the same thing as cheap. However, the closeness can also be a chasm between real quality and trash. That’s what the D5600 is all about. While the price is not what you would get a D3500 with, there’s a large space in terms of performance between the two. Needless to say, the D5600 is the leading one. Moreover, it also is way ahead of the D5500, which is its predecessor.
Small size, still powerful
Unlike the D3500, this camera is relatively smaller. In fact, for my relatively average hands, I felt my fingers struggling to crawl beneath the body every time I tried shooting. However, the small size doesn’t take away any of its power or performance quality. Neither does it reduce the camera’s ability to shoot the best stills you will get in the market. While the body might appear small, the camera’s tilting LCD screen is quite large. yes, it’s average at best, but it pops out from the rest of the miniature design.
The Snapbridge App works well here
In case you are ann absolute greenhorn, the word snapbridge won’t ring any bells to you. However, anyone who has used Nikon DSLRs for anything above five years would know about the apps. It was a pain.
One of the major undoings of the D5000s series, which this camera is part of( it’s the sixth member of the family) is the fact that the Snapbridge app rarely ever worked the way it ought to. Having tried out the camera, I can comfortably assert that isn’t the case anymore. Since the upgrade in late 2017, the app doesn’t have as many issues as it did before. On this camera, the Snapbridge works quite well. You can see your pictures on an Android phone in realtime as you shoot. However, this camera app is still rudimentary at best. Although you can see, edit and share the pictures on your camera from the android phone, you can’t really do anything else with the app.
A relatively well-priced video camera
For those who are more into shooting videos, we ranked this camera among The 10 Best Cheap Cameras for Youtube Videos. While the reasons for that are extensively elaborated on that post, one of the main ones is the fact that this camera comes off as a versatile option. It has great color saturation for both stills and videos. Moreover, it also comes with autofocus for both videos and still, and phase detection as a bonus feature to top it off.
This camera, though small would provide the essential performance that any beginner would need, without too much fanfare. Though it has relatively higher prices, it pays off the cost with more versatility and faster shooting speeds than most of its competitors. However, in case you do buy it, you should be ready to survive the torturous process of powering on the camera after every few moments because it automatically switches off when not in use.
If there’s a company that can pull off a ridiculously miraculous DSLR camera at equally ridiculously low prices, you can bet its canon. The Canon EOS 4000D( rebel in other terms) is the perfect example of a beginner’s camera. It’s cheap, good looking, subtly powered and has all the features you would be looking for in a beginner camera.
The camera’s 18MP sensor has been around for a decade now. Come to think of it, its the same sensor that was used to upgrade the DSLR camera from woeful 12MPs. Even with the low sensor power, the camera shoots clear videos and clearer stills. That’s unless you try checking out the same product from the 3-inch LCD screen, which makes them appear grainy.
Simple and easy to use
While the Rebel has fought a valiant battle with heavily powered used-camera options, it has maintained the simple look, easy to use front face and an averagely stacked 55mm lens. Come to think of it, all these features feel basic at best. This implies that any beginner can learn how to use the camera on the first day, and get off some great shots on the same day.
Certainly, you don’t expect this camera to perform at the same level with high-end vlogging cameras when it comes to videos. That would be asking too much of it. However, you can expect good quality 1080p videos without too much struggle.
We do agree that the Rebel has a range of lows. It has a grainy screen and a few other features which should be changed. However, it makes the perfect fit for a beginner who is not looking for too much detail in a camera. More apt, it’s perfect for someone who wants to learn first, rather than jump into the gene pool of expensive cameras.
Just like the way the Canon EOS rebel is the cheapest available DSLR Canon the market, the Fujifilm proudly takes the crown for the cheapest available hybrid Fujifilm in the market.
On any day, I would easily pick this camera over most other entry-level cameras for the following reasons
- It has a great electronic viewfinder and a hybrid autofocus system which rivals that in more expensive cameras from competing manufacturers
- The 24MP CMOS sensor workes beautifully. This camera can shoot in all kinds of ISO levels without a hitch. Besides that, it can also pull off the best videos because it does 4k seamlessly(only at 15fps though).
- A simple, rugged-looking design blends well with my penchant for life on the edge.
- Unlike other low-cost mirrorless cameras, this one is not a cut and paste smartphone upgrade. It’s a powerful enough camera on its own!
Small size, but great design
Given its small size, there’s always the chance that you would mess with the wrong buttons at the wrong time. I did exactly that. It pissed me off for a while. However, after some time, you learn to keep your fingers in the right spots. The only other issue I had with the camera is the tendency to have extreme levels of exposure. This spoils the image quality on some occasions. It also is the absolute spark for a sour shooting day.
Nonetheless, the camera is quite effective on all other fronts. It performs exemplarily well in point and shoot situations. However, there’s a catch to using it. It’s quite technical. Unlike the other entry-level cameras, its not something you can buy and use there and then. The usability is quite a learning curve.
If you’re a newbie with a pair of technical balls, and good hands, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t jump the hurdles and start with a mirrorless camera.
Sony’s range of mirrorless cameras is highly underrated. I easily can say that, because I’m a proud owner of a member of the alpha series. Yes, they might cost an arm and a leg when compared to other mirrorless or DSLR camera. They might also come small. Besides, they can also be tougher than the normal camera when it comes to ease of use. Nonetheless, the exemplify the essence of great design and seamless shooting in all-round circumstances.
The a6000 is an older version of the Sony Mirrorless range. After it, there have been three other Sony Alpha cameras. A fourth one is admittedly on the way according to recent forum rumors. Even the specs are already out. Given that the other three are razor-sharp cutting edge products, there’s no reason why this older version couldn’t get cheaper. That’s the only reason why it goes for less than $500 in most shops.
The a6000 comes with a 24Mp sensor which is complicated by crazy fast autofocus and generally high-speeds of shooting in optimum conditions. For a beginner camera, this camera packs a good amount of power and an equally good level of performance.
The design is an all-out sony attack on large cameras. It has nifty pockets here and there for your fingers and compact dimensions. It also weighs less than half of what a normal DSLR camera does. This means that you can hardly feel its presence in a bag when walking around.
Should you have a little more money when shopping, you can also check out the a6100. Although the later certainly doesn’t make the cut for a beginner’s camera, it is better than going for the benchmark product.
All in all, the a6000 will provide you with great service, and equally great videos for a newbie.
The inclusion of the Olympus TG-5 in this article is almost an afterthought. As the final one, it almost defies reason to include a camera with a low amount of power. However, there are solid reasons why this camera works well for some people, especially kids.
I would love to think of it as a bonus product for the following reasons:
- This camera doesn’t look close to any of the DSLR or the mirrorless ones. It’s a rugged, compact ensemble that defies most of the subtle design rules and recreates its own rules.
- Unlike the rest, you only get a 12MP sensor on this one. For anything, this amount of power is underwhelming. However, it pays off the low power with higher than average outdoor abilities
- Since the camera is designed for the outdoor world, It’s heavily waterproofed. It’s all tough looking. The outer coating is glazed over and made rough.
In general, if you consider kids in the same lane as beginners, this should be the perfect camera for them. It won’t cost you that much. Moreover, it will survive the tumbles, falls, and sands of a kid’s daily activity. It will also inspire them to shoot better in the future.
A good beginner camera doesn’t always mean “cheap.” While most of them certainly sell at entry-level rates, some of them are more about ease of use rather than price management. If you have keen eyes for hidden gems, some of the lesser-known cameras will appeal to you. However, that should only apply to those who are ready to risk it. Some cameras work only well if you know them beforehand. For the rest, going for a time-tested, highly rated and well-reviewed camera will do the trick.