Welcome to the wonderful, exciting world of photography. We congratulate you on deciding to be a creative mind behind the lens. Moving on from the world of smartphone cameras and point and shoots can be incredibly exciting, but it can also hard to decide which camera you want to buy. Which brand do you choose? Do you go with a traditional DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera, or do you choose a new mirrorless body? There are so many options on the market now, but all are priced very well. Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best entry level cameras for aspiring photographers in 2018.
Cameras from Canon
Canon have been making outstanding cameras for a very long time. They are rock solid when it comes to construction, and their reliability is top notch. If you decide to join team Canon you can look forward to buying into quite possibly the best lens selection on the planet. Canon’s L Series line of glass is quite simply legendary. Lets take a look at the entry level cameras that Canon bring to the table.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
The Canon Rebel series of cameras are great for photographers who are just starting out, and the T7i is no exception to this rule. While the T7i is not the cheapest entry level camera that Canon makes, it is perhaps their most feature packed, entry level model. Really, for $769 you are getting a lot of camera. The T7i has a 24.2 Megapixel APS-C sensor, Canon’s Digic 7 image processor, 45 focus points to help you get the shot you want, a burst rate of 6 frames per second, and it is capable of shooting video in 1080p at 60 frames per second. Image quality is very good, and high ISO performance is good too.
“Lots of folks are bound to shoot the Canon Rebel T7i and only use JPEG mode. And for the most part the JPEGs are very nice. I never had an issue just throwing them up on Instagram, providing that I nailed the shot to begin with.”
This camera is most definitely for the beginner who just wants to get out and shoot nice pictures, transfer them to a phone via the built in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth, and then share them on social media. You can do that easily on this camera while learning about composition, and the exposure triangle. The vari-angle touch screen, and the Dual-Pixel CMOS autofocus system have become favorites with photographers and vloggers for good reason, and they will help you nail your shots most of the time. When you are ready you can put the T7i into manual mode and unleash its full potential. Get it on Amazon
Canon T7i Sample Images
Pro tip: Protect your new camera with a great camera bag
Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless
If you would like to start your journey with a mirrorless Canon body, the EOS M50 is hard to beat. Canon mirrorless cameras use the new EF-M mount, so the amount of lenses available is smaller when compared to the DSLR line, but it’s growing all the time. The M50 uses a 24.1 Megapixel APS-C sensor, and the new Canon Digic 8 image processor. The M50 has a burst rate of 7.4 frames per second, and has a ISO rating of 100-25000
“The JPEGs from the Canon M50 are very good. With confidence you can beam them to your phone and then to Instagram. Personally speaking, I’m smitten with their monochrome rendition of images providing that you’ve also locked your white balance.”
The M50 employs a EVF (Electronic View Finder) which means that you can see how your photo will look as you make adjustments to ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. This can help when it comes to learning manual mode as you can see what each adjustment you make does to the image in real time. The vari-angle touch screen, wireless connectivity, Dual Pixel autofocus, Eye Detection for perfect portraits, 4k video, and a 120 frames per second slow motion video feature will serve you well as you embark on your journey. Buy it from Amazon
Canon M50 Sample Images
Pro tip: Keep your camera sensor in tip top shape with sensor cleaning swabs
Cameras from Nikon
Nikon, like Canon, have been producing quality cameras for many years, and their offerings in the entry level camera category are very strong. If you choose to go with Nikon you can look forward to using some of their amazing Nikkor lenses, and can be treated to some of the most feature packed bodies available.
The Nikon D5500 is an entry level DSLR with features galore. While it may be a few years old now, it is still one of the best entry level DSLR’s you can get from Nikon. It’s new brother the D5600 is available, but the differences between the two are negligible, in fact the only difference is that Nikon added NFC and Bluetooth connectivity to the D5600.
“The Nikon D5500 is a great camera. It’s bound to make a great gift for anyone who wants to get into photography. Know someone having a brand new baby? This is the camera for them when paired with a couple of zooms and the 50mm f1.8 G. It’s a small size, has WiFi integration and 5fps shooting. At the entry level, you really can’t ask for much more.”
It is by no means the cheapest camera for beginners, at $664, but what you will be getting is a camera you can learn and grow with. The D5600 offers a much more advanced autofocus system than its smaller brother, the D3400, with 39 autofocus point instead of 11. Couple those features with the 5 frames per second burst mode, impressive high ISO performance, wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi, a vari-angle 3.2 inch touchscreen, and the ability to use Nikons extensive Nikkor lens collection and you have a camera that will treat you right for a good few years before you decide to move on to the next level. Get one at Amazon
Nikon D5500 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Protect your cameras screen with quality screen protectors
If you feel like spending a little more money as you start your photography adventure, theD7500 might just be the camera for you. The price point of $1,499 might be too high for some who are just getting into photography, but for those who know they will be in it for the long haul this might be the best bang for your buck. The D7500 packs a 20.9 Megapixel sensor that can capture great amounts of detail, and Nikon’s new and improved Expeed 5 image processor will ensure great color rendition. The 51 autofocus points are spread evenly across the sensor to ensure you don’t miss focus, and the 8 frame per second burst mode will help you nail the shot in the toughest conditions. The inclusion of a tilting 3.2 inch touch screen will help you compose shots at any angle.
“This is a fantastic camera. The only snag I hit was the bluetooth connectivity. There is a pet peeve in the photography community about hearing, “Wow, great shot, you must have a fantastic camera!” implying that the photographer’s skill has nothing to do with it. I would say this camera is a great one to allow a new or intermediate photographer’s skill to grow to meet the challenge of the product. I could use this thing every day for a year and still be learning. It survived a trip that my luggage did not, and gave me the opportunity to take photos I will cherish forever.”
Image quality is quite possibly the best you can get in a entry to intermediate level camera, and the feature set will allow you to grow with this body for many years. This camera is definitely a ‘pay more upfront and less down the line’ one as you will not need to upgrade to a newer body for a while. Buy it on Amazon
Nikon D7500 Image Samples
Cameras From Sony and Fujifilm
Who says you have to stay with options from the big two? Sony and Fujifilm are making huge waves in the world of photography with their mirrorless options. If you want to go mirrorless you would be remiss to not take a look at the offerings from these two. Lets take a look at their options for beginners.
Sony Alpha A6000
The Sony a6000 is a few years old now, but it is quite simply one of the best entry level mirrorless cameras. The $548 Alpha a6000 with a 16-50mm kit lens is about as small as APS-C based cameras can get, but it is still incredibly comfortable to hold and use, even for those with larger hands.
“The Sony a6000 hands down has what could arguably be called the best autofocusing system out there. While it isn’t the fastest, it by far is the smartest and the most responsive–putting some DSLRs to shame in our tests for sure. Granted, Sony did this with an APS-C sensor and have yet to do this with a full frame sensor. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll have an autofocusing beast in the palm of your hand.”
The Alpha a6000 has an ultra fast autofocus system that employs 179 focus points spread across the sensor, and a burst mode that tops out at 11 frames per second. These two features together make object tracking easy and pain free. The OLED electronic viewfinder is quite stunning, and it allows you to see what your image will look like before you even hit the shutter. When you add 1080p video recording into the mix, along with a 120 frames per second slow motion recording function, you have a feature packed camera that’s great fun to learn with. Get one on Amazon
Sony Alpha a6000 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Ditch the factory furnished camera strap and use a much more comfortable shoulder sling
The $699 Fujifilm XT-100 is a small, retro inspired mirrorless camera that both looks great and performs admirably. Like Sony, Fuji have been making waves of their own when it comes to mirrorless bodies. The XT100 is feature dense and offers good image quality thanks to its 24.2 Megapixel APS-C. Fujifilm have included some of their great film styles that can applied to both photos and videos that you capture which enables an extra level of creativity. Build quality is another area where Fujifilm have done well.
“The Fujifilm XT100 is built well, but when you hold this and then the XT2 or the X Pro 1, you’ll notice the build quality difference. The Fujifilm XT100 feels like a more modern Canon A-E1 film SLR. It does a good job of this. With that said, it isn’t weather sealed, it feels plastic, and it’s both small and lightweight. If you’re okay with this, then please go for it!”
The XT-100 is capable of shooting 15 frames per second and 4k videos, while the Bluetooth connectivity will allow for easy sharing to your smartphone. Perhaps the only downside to this camera is that there are only 26 lenses to choose from, but that number is expected to grow. The XT100 is a great choice for those who want to break away from the mainstream, and who want a fun, unique looking camera to learn on before moving on to a more pro body. Get one at Amazon
Fujifilm Xt100 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Be sure to stock up on memory cards. You never want to leave home without them.
What do you think the best cameras for beginners are? What camera did you start with? Let us know in the comment section below.