9 Powerful, Entry Level Cameras Perfect for Beginners and Beyond

These powerful, entry level cameras are perfect for beginners, hobbyists, and more. 

When the term ‘entry-level’ was muttered by photographers in years gone by, one would instantly think of poor performing, nothing to write home about, cameras that really didn’t inspire anyone to pick up the thing to create images. My how times change. Today, entry-level cameras are powerful, feature-rich devices capable of creating stunning images when paired with nice glass. In this roundup we will take a look at nine entry-level cameras perfect for beginners, hobbyists, and even pros looking for a backup camera.

All of the cameras listed below are affordable (almost all of them being under $1,000). They are feature rich, have amazing sensors that can create incredibly detailed, color-rich images, and they all put the magic of creative possibilities in the hands of anyone who picks them up. Yes, they may be entry level cameras, but they can and do serve those who use them well. If you’re a beginner looking to step up from a smartphone camera, a hobbyist who is looking for a new platform to jump in to, or a pro who needs an affordable, reliable back up camera, this round-up is for you.

 

Sony A6000

 

entry level cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent autofocus that is very intelligent but still isn’t as fast as Micro Four Thirds cameras. In some ways it is the greatest autofocusing system that we’ve seen
  • Great image quality
  • Very useable high ISO output at 6400
  • Great feeling in the hand
  • Excellent EVF

Cons

  • Really wish that there was a thumbstick for quick AF point selection
  • Tracking a subject as it moved back and forth requires you to stop down to at least f4 to get it in focus

Buy now ($398): Amazon

 

Olympus OMD EM10 Mk II

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful wink and a nod to the retro ergonomics
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Good image quality, but the Micro Four Thirds sensors currently used by Olympus are starting to show their age
  • Fast AF
  • AF selection pad using the LCD screen is freakin’ brilliant!
  • S-OVF’s effects were simulated easily with some tweaks to previous cameras, but it’s nice that they made it more simplistic and put into one setting
  • Not a single mis-focus during our testing even in very low light conditions
  • Olympus by far leads the way when it comes to ergonomics in the Mirrorless camera world. This camera is evidence of that fact.

Cons

  • Image quality is still great, but it’s starting to show its age vs APS-C sensors
  • We wish the dials would have been created with a higher quality metal

Buy now ($449): Amazon

 

Nikon D5500

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Fast focusing abilities
  • 5FPS shooting
  • Pretty quiet shutter
  • Small size
  • Such a great grip that we never even bothered to use a camera strap

Cons

  • It’s not doing anything really new for the market segment

Buy now ($599): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you’re about to buy your first camera, or will be giving a camera to an aspiring photographer, everything might be a little overwhelming at the start of  the journey. Modern cameras are much easier to use than they use to be, but there is a lot to be learned about photography in general. Fortunately there are a ton photography tutorials that can help you learn at a rapid pace. This Fundamentals of Photography course is quite possibly one the best tutorials around. You’ll learn everything there is to know at a rapid pace, and you’ll be capturing images like the pros in no time. Pick this up and make your learning experience a good one.

 

Canon EOS 77D

 

entry level cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Pretty decent image quality if you’re not pixel peeping, or printing large above ISO 800
  • Fantastic autofocus
  • Incredible battery life
  • Solid feel yet lightweight
  • If you’re a Canon user, the controls are intuitive
  • WiFi, NFC, and beaming to Canon’s printers
  • An interesting approach to the on/off switch
  • The mode dial is an interesting yet subtle nod to the retro ergonomics that Canon has been fighting so hard
  • Tilt and swivel LCD screen is beautiful
  • Canon continues to have a great menu system

Cons

  • We wish it had more direct AF point control
  • We seriously wish that Canon would have made a full frame version of this camera instead of yet another APS-C camera. In fact, this camera deserves a full frame sensor

Buy now ($649): Amazon

 

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • A fair amount of creative options
  • Not bad autofocus
  • Not bad image quality at high ISOs
  • Good colors
  • Touchscreen
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Tilt-swivel screen

Cons

  • No way to edit the RAW files within the camera in the same way that you can with the higher end cameras
  • Canon’s sensors are starting to fall behind
  • Not a whole lot of dynamic range

Buy now ($649): Amazon

 

Nikon D7500

 

entry level cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid Build
  • Incredible Battery life
  • Control Wheels and Thumb ‘Multi Selector’ changes setting quickly.
  • Touchscreen to preview images, and control finer settings
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth integrated
  • Burst function works wonderfully
  • Much more affordable than the D500

Cons

  • Needed to remove lens to carry in small messenger bags

Buy now ($796.95): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: A camera can represent a pretty big investment, so you’re going to want to make sure it lasts you a long time. One of the best things you can do for your gear is clean it regularly. By keeping your camera clean you can extend the life of it. There are plenty of affordable cleaning kits on the market, but these for APS-C, and Full Frame cameras come with cleaning swabs that will allow you to keep your sensor clean too, which means you can eliminate frustrating dirt and dust spots that you will inevitably find inside your camera.

 

Sony a6400

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Compact & lightweight
  • Fast & accurate autofocus
  • Excellent image quality
  • 11 FPS continuous shooting with AF & AE tracking (mechanical shutter only)
  • Improved Real-time Eye AF
  • Real-time Tracking
  • Real-time Animal Eye AF
  • 4K video recording without 30 minute limit
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Lacks in body image stabilization
  • External battery charger not included
  • Single SD card slot with support for only up to UHS-I speed cards
  • Rear screen flips up into where the hot shoe is located and becomes essentially useless if you’ve got any attachments mounted onto the camera

Buy now ($898): Amazon

 

Fujifilm X-T30

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid construction that we’ve come to expect and love about Fujifilm cameras
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Almost everything that made the X-T3 such a hit

Cons

  • Lacks in-body image stabilization & weather sealing
  • Rear touchscreen only tilts up and down, unlike the X-T3 which also tilts to the right as well
  • Perhaps a tad too compact, particularly for photographers with larger hands
  • New joystick is awkwardly placed on the rear of the camera body, making single-handed operation challenging and increases the risk of accidentally dropping the camera due to its diminutive size
  • Unremarkable battery life

Buy now ($899): Amazon

 

Canon EOS RP

 

entry level cameras

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • This isn’t Canon innovating on the inside, but instead on the outside
  • This is the smallest and lightest ILC full frame camera on the market
  • Goes well with a wrist strap and a light prime lens
  • Weather sealing
  • The autofocus isn’t bad, and it’s quite usable in a number of working conditions
  • Pretty good image quality

Cons

  • This camera is begging to be paired with a nice 50mm f1.8 lens.
  • Could have done better with a joystick
  • The competition from Sony charges around 1/3rd more of the price and offers more

Buy now ($1,299): Amazon