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Start shooting like a pro with the best camera for beginners

Kick off your new photography hobby on the right foot. Our guide will help you pick out good cameras for beginners.

Published Nov 20, 2023
6 min. reading time
Image of 3 cameras including Minolta, Lumix and Olympus

Compare cameras for beginners

Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm VR Lens with 32GB Bundle

D3500 camera with lends, memory card, accessories and bag

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Video Camera with 18-55mm Lens

Image of Canon EOS DSLR in black

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS

Front view of Canon compact camera in black

Sony ZV-1 Camera

Sony digital camera with boom mic and display screen

Konica Minolta MND50 4K Video 48.0 Megapixel Digitial Camera

Side view of Konica Minolta digital camera

Panasonic LUMIX G7 4K Digital Camera

Black Lumis DSLR camera front view

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV Mirrorless Camera with 14-42mm EZ Lens

Olympus digital camera in silver and black
Price
You save $100 (10.01%)
$899$999
Price
$479.99
Price
$269.99
Price
$648
Price
You save $10.00 (7.69%)
$119.99$129.99
Price
You save $152 (21.71%)
$547.99$699.99
Price
$799.99
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Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars at Walmart

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 4.7 out 5 stars at Best Buy

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars at Canon

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars at Target

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars at Best Buy

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars at Amazon

Consumer ratings

Average star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon

Specifications
Megapixels
24.4
Megapixels
24.1
Megapixels
20.2
Megapixels
20.1
Megapixels
48
Megapixels
16
Megapixels
20.3
Digital?
Digital?
Digital?
Digital?
Digital?
Digital?
Digital?
Special features
Utilizes Bluetooth connectivity for wireless sharing of images to your mobile device
Special features
Built-in wifi for photo sharing
Special features
Built-in WiFi and NFC to share and transfer photos and video
Special features
Side-opening Vari-angle LCD screen for easy shooting and review
Special features
Time-Lapse and Slow-Motion recording for video recording
Special features
Ability to assign favorite settings to any of the six function buttons
Special features
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity for photo sharingg
Pros & cons
  • Takes photos and video

  • Guide mode helps you learn new techniques

  • Includes carrying case and memory card

  • Higher price point

  • Continuous shooting is limited

Pros & cons
  • Built-in WiFi for photo sharing

  • DIGIC 4+ image processing engine for fast shots

  • Nine-point autofocus

  • Not the best for pictures in low light

  • Doesn’t include an SD card

Pros & cons
  • Slim and compact

  • Sharp photos with minimal blur

  • Relatively affordable

  • SD card not included

  • Some reported issues with flash

Pros & cons
  • Compact size

  • Comes with a mic jack

  • Produces hi-res images with low noise

  • Small parts can be choking hazards for children

  • Internal mic may not be the best quality

Pros & cons
  • Memory card included

  • Lower price point

  • No viewfinder or optical zoom

Pros & cons
  • Lightweight model

  • Silent shooting

  • Some users report issues with the screen in video mode

Pros & cons
  • Art filters allow for in-camera editing

  • Shoots 4K video

  • Memory card not included

Whether you’re starting a photography class or just want to dabble, there are many options when it comes to choosing the right camera. If you get one that’s too advanced, figuring out how to use it can be a struggle. But you also don’t want one that comes with too many presets.

This is where we come in. Our editors have searched high and low to find the best camera for beginners. The best part? It doesn’t matter if you have no photography experience. The cameras on our list have easy-to-use and easy-to-learn functions and menus. 

We’ve got DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for those that are more serious. There are also point-and-shoot cameras for folks who don’t want all the hassle but still want great photos.

Check out our picks for the best camera for beginners. 

Read more: See our recommendations for the best cameras for kids and teens

Browse top cameras for beginners

D3500 camera with lends, memory card, accessories and bag
Best overall
Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm VR Lens with 32GB Bundle
$899 at Walmart
Image of Canon EOS DSLR in black
Top DSLR pick
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Video Camera with 18-55mm Lens
$479.99 at Best Buy
Front view of Canon compact camera in black
Best compact camera
Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS
$269.99 at Canon
Sony digital camera with boom mic and display screen
Top pick for vlogging
Sony ZV-1 Camera
$648 at Target

Specifications

  • Type: DSLR

  • Includes: Camera body, 18-55mm lens, Digital Slave Flash, 32GB SD card, UV/CPL/ND filter kit, 55mm two-piece wide and tele lens set, battery, battery charger, camera bag and neck strap

Pros & Cons
  • Takes photos and video

  • Guide mode helps you learn new techniques

  • Includes carrying case and memory card

  • Higher price point

  • Continuous shooting is limited

If you’re looking to break into photography as a hobby or a professional, this Nikon D3500 bundle is the way to go. It comes with everything you need to get started, including a decent kit lens. It’s compact, flexible and intuitive, making it easy to use. You can check your photos on the 3-inch LCD screen or use SnapBridge to share images. 

What makes this the best camera for photography beginners is the Guide Mode feature. This mode takes a step-by-step approach to help newbies get specific photographic looks or techniques.  The camera has 10 special effects, and you can take Full HD video, too. This camera was made for first-time DSLR owners.

Specifications

  • Type: DSLR

  • Includes: One lens, battery, dust cap, body cap, USB charging cord, eye cup

Pros & Cons
  • Built-in WiFi for photo sharing

  • DIGIC 4+ image processing engine for fast shots

  • Nine-point autofocus

  • Not the best for pictures in low light

  • Doesn’t include an SD card

The Canon EOS Rebel is a good beginner camera, especially for those looking to take professional-grade photos. It’s easy to use and has six shooting modes. Plus, the camera has face detection to get crystal-clear smiles. It’s also got great focal length.

It is an interchangeable lens camera, so you can start investing in more specialized lenses as your skill increases. Photo sharing is easy with the built-in WiFi and you can use your mobile device as a second monitor or remote control.

It’s also a good camera if you’re interested in sports photography — at three frames per second, you can get all the fast-action shots.

Best compact camera

Specifications

  • Type: Point & Shoot

  • Includes: Wrist Strap, battery pack, battery charger

Pros & Cons
  • Slim and compact

  • Sharp photos with minimal blur

  • Relatively affordable

  • SD card not included

  • Some reported issues with flash

If you want a camera for travel, check out our pick for the best compact camera. This Canon PowerShot is super slim and a great entry-level camera. Its Optical Image Stabilizer makes it easier to get crystal clear photos whether you shoot zoomed-in, full frame or from afar.

If you’re a social media maven, this is one of the best digital cameras for beginners. That’s because it’s got WiFi and NFC to share and transfer photos and video.

Additionally, this digital camera has Hybrid Auto Mode, which captures a short video of the seconds before you take a photo. Plus, Story Highlights Mode to combine images and video, add effects and create a short movie of your day.

Top pick for vlogging

Specifications

  • Type: Point & shoot

  • Includes: Windscreen accessory, camera, battery

Pros & Cons
  • Compact size

  • Comes with a mic jack

  • Produces hi-res images with low noise

  • Small parts can be choking hazards for children

  • Internal mic may not be the best quality

If you’re just starting out with video content, this Sony compact camera is a great model for beginners in vlogging. It has a mic jack, so you can use an external mic for the best-quality sound.

It also produces 4K video and has advanced video features, such as a large aperture lens to create background blur. There are quick, smooth focus transitions and a side-open vari-angle LCD screen.

The camera has advanced, real-time eye and tracking autofocus. Plus, it also has auto-exposure functions that won’t blow out an image when you step into harsh light or black it out in dark environments. It’s perfect for any budding content creator who’s just getting started.

Best budget option

Side view of Konica Minolta digital camera
Photo: Best Buy

Specifications

  • Type: Point & Shoot

  • Includes: Carry pouch, USB cable, hand strap, battery, AC adapter, 32GB memory card

Pros & Cons
  • Memory card included

  • Lower price point

  • No viewfinder or optical zoom

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good quality beginner camera. Minolta is another well-known camera brand, and this cheap model is our pick for the best budget option. For lower price points, you get so much in return. It has several shooting modes, including panorama, face detection and smile capture. 

As far as digital cameras go, it’s compact and ergonomic and has a relatively intuitive design for the menu and functions. And when it comes to burst shooting, it has a 10 frames per second burst rate.

Use macro mode to get incredibly detailed amazing image quality. Plus, it’s one of the few cameras on our list that comes with an SD card.

Best for mirrorless photography

Black Lumis DSLR camera front view
Photo: Amazon

Panasonic LUMIX G7 4K Digital Camera

You save $152 (21.71%)
$547.99$699.99

Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless

  • Includes: Camera body, lens, batter

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight model

  • Silent shooting

  • Some users report issues with the screen in video mode

If you’re looking to venture into mirrorless cameras, this model by Panasonic Lumix is our top pick. It’s an interchangeable lens camera that is touted as the next generation.

It’s a great beginner photography camera with high-quality images and intuitive controls. You’ll get a fast and precise autofocus system and tracking with silent shooting. With the high shutter speed, you can get amazing photo bursts and action shots. 

This digital camera also has high-quality low-light autofocus, meaning you can get breathtaking photos — even in dark settings. The large sensor sizes help with this as well. 

Plus, with the hi-res viewfinder and LCD screen, you can make sure you’ve got the best shot before clicking the shutter.

Top choice with multiple features

Specifications

  • Type: Mirrorless

  • Includes: Battery, adapter, USB cable, shoulder strap, camera, lens

Pros & Cons
  • Art filters allow for in-camera editing

  • Shoots 4K video

  • Memory card not included

The Olympus OM D E-M10 is our top pick for cameras with multiple features. There are over 10 shooting modes and art filters, meaning you can experiment with style and look for each photo. You can also take 4K video and take advantage of the large ISO range.

This top-tier camera for beginners is the entry-level model in Olympus’ DSLR-like lineup, though it’s a step up from their more beginner-focused E-PL line. You can’t customize settings, but it has a whopping 12 shooting modes, 10 modes of autofocus, four exposure modes and 11 drive modes.

The Olympus OM D E-M10 also has great sensor sizes, including the 20-megapixel live MOS sensor and a 3-inch flip-down touchscreen display.

What to consider when purchasing a beginner camera

Buying a digital camera is a pretty significant investment, which is why it’s so important to think over a few things before you buy. There are different cameras designed for different levels of photography — and even different types of photography. 

Here are some things to consider when looking for the best cameras for beginners.

  • Easy to use: If you’re just starting out in photography, it can be overwhelming if you get a pro camera with all the bells and whistles. For now, stick with cameras that are easy to navigate and have intuitive controls.

  • Purpose: If you’re looking to get into photography, you’ll want a camera with interchangeable lenses and customizable settings. If you simply want something to take good shots on vacation, you’ll want to lean towards a point-and-shoot. If you want a camera for taking action shots, go for a model with continuous autofocus.

  • Mirrorless vs. DSLR: Mirrorless cameras are lighter, more portable, and often have better video quality. They also typically have faster shutter speeds. Meanwhile, DSLRs have a wider range of lenses and take better low-light photos. They also have two autofocus systems and longer battery life.

Which cameras get our stamp of approval?

So, you’re ready to buy a camera. Our editors have been thorough, and you can’t go wrong with any of the options above. But if we had to select our top picks for the best digital camera for beginners, they’d be the following.:

  • Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera: Yes, it’s the most expensive option on the list, but it comes with everything you need to get started in photography. It’s easy to learn how to use and you can’t go wrong with Nikon’s quality.

  • Canon - EOS Rebel T7: The Canon Rebel is a solid choice for a first camera if you want to learn more advanced skills. It’s a good size at a great price. And you’ll get plenty of use out of it before you’ll need to upgrade.

  • Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS: If you’re not in the market to start serious photography, the Canon PowerShot is a great choice. We love the story highlights feature, as well as Hybrid Auto Mode.

  • Sony ZV-1 Camera: In the age of influencers, having a good, solid vlogging camera is so important. We like this Sony model because it’s small enough to take anywhere, but still produces high-quality videos and images.


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Prices updated on 11/20/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Emma Kalka

A former music writer, Emma Kalka works to help customers find little ways they can save at their favorite brands. Emma previously worked at The Korea Herald and Groove Korea. Today, she lives in Florida and writes murder mysteries in her free time.

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