From Canon to Nikon and everything in between, tons of DSLR cameras are excellent for beginners. Knowing which one to choose can be the most challenging part of starting a new photography hobby.
To make the process a little easier, we’ve gathered a list of the best DSLR cameras for beginners. We’ll briefly go over the basics to get you started, and the choice is yours from there.
“Canon Camera Lineup” by jaredpolin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Canon EOS Rebel T8i
One of the best DSLR cameras for beginners is the Canon EOS Rebel T8i. This upgraded version of the Canon Rebel maintains the familiar design that photographers might already be used to, and it’s compatible with all Canon lenses and flashes.
The quick autofocus for both stills and videos is a great feature for beginners, especially. It’s affordable and easy to use while still capturing high-quality photos.
While this is a solid choice for novel photographers, there are a few downsides to it. The T8i doesn’t have many upgrades over the T7i, making people wonder if it’s worth the additional cost.
However, you can’t beat how compact and lightweight this model is, even if it isn’t that different from its predecessor.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / EOD 800D
Just two products in and this camera has already been mentioned twice in our reviews. As its name suggests, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i camera came a version earlier than the T8i and embodies basically everything that has made Canon DSLRs popular today.
This model uses a 24MP sensor in tandem with the Dual Pixel AF system, improving autofocus. The built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC are super helpful for a wide range of technological features, and the simplified interface is user-friendly.
The motive behind this camera is glaringly apparent to anyone who knows anything about photography: it’s made for casual photographers, perhaps even your dad on a family vacation. That’s what makes it a fantastic choice for beginners who are just getting their footing and trying to learn more.
Battery life can be a bit finicky. While the initial rating is good at 820 shots per charge, that number does drop to 550 when you use the flash frequently.
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Canon Rebel T6i / 750D
Moving right down the product line, the Canon brand keeps its reputation with an older Rebel model, the T6i. While there are now two other models with some upgraded features, this one still holds its own and proves to be a solid choice for a novel photographer.
The T6i delivers excellent image quality and features quite the polished control layout. A well-organized, easy-to-understand control setup is critical for learners who are just trying to figure everything out.
We also love the T6i because of its high-quality touchscreen, which compounds well with the button and dial control. With built-in WiFi and NFC, you’re still getting the high-tech design of newer cameras.
The Rebel T6i is built tough and meant to last, but it’s still lightweight and easy to carry around. Textured coatings give you a firm, non-slip grip and the thumb bridge ensures optimal comfort. This model comes with many positive features, but we will say that the D5600 has a better resolution.
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Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 might cost you a few extra bucks, but we’re here to tell you that it’s worth the money. While there are certainly cheaper models on the market, this one is going to give you all the features you need to get started – included a massive 1,070 shots per charge.
The SL3 is super lightweight and compact, making it excellent for traveling, exploring, and even short walks around the park. It has fantastic autofocus response, a vari-angle touchscreen, and controls that you can actually understand and figure out on your own.
While some mirrorless competitors have a thinner body, we still consider this camera a convenient size for the package. With this model, Canon seemingly consolidated features to include more, rather than upgrading more specific details. This is great for beginners because you learn more instead of focusing on just a few areas.
At an affordable price with good performance, the SL3 seems like it was made just for beginners.
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Canon EOS 90D
This mid-range, APS C CMOS DSLR camera didn’t come into the picture for a whopping 3+ years following the 80D model. The EOS 90D made several improvements to the latter, adding a newer and better high-resolution sensor, bolstered live view AF, and 4k video capture.
While all the upgrades make it seem like an entirely new camera, Canon managed to fit all of this into a safe and familiar package, closely mimicking the look and feel of the previous version.
With top-notch dual pixel autofocus, a fully articulating touchscreen, and max video capture with no crop, it’s easy to say this camera is high-quality.
That being said, with the upgraded and additional features comes a higher cost. Beginners might find it a bit difficult to justify the price point, but you’re paying for a great option.
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Canon EOS 77D / EOS 9000D
At a reasonable price, the Canon EOS 77D offers a wide range of cohesive features that work out to a well-rounded package. The main purpose of even creating this model was to give enthusiasts and up-and-comer photographers a product to latch onto.
The sensor on this Canon supports dual pixel cross type AF technology and provides fast focus in live view while processing data much faster than previous models. It also has a high burst speed and excellent buffering.
As far as video goes, there are definitely cameras that can get you better results. However, you can access full HD with the 77D in MP4 format.
The camera also includes internal electronic image stabilization for movie recording. While you can’t use it for stills, it’s still very handy for those motion pictures – especially for the newest of users.
Technically, the 77D is classified as an enthusiast camera rather than an entry-level model. So, if you’re still in the middle of the learning process, you can pick up this camera while still developing your skills and looking for more features to toy with.
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Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
This affordable DSLR camera is a user-friendly compact that features everything you need to get started, including a 24MP sensor, DIGIC 4+ image processing, and an ISO range of 100 to 6400.
What really stands out about the Canon Rebel T7 is the wide range of scene modes and creative filters that you can shoot in. Scene Intelligent Auto mode is excellent for beginners who aren’t sure what to shoot in quite yet.
Connectivity is super easy with this camera, as it implements WiFi with NFC so that you can share through the Canon app. The 3-inch screen is easy to see and use, and the camera itself weighs just one pound.
Settings, modes, and buttons are super easy to learn and manage, so beginners shouldn’t have too much trouble getting started with this Canon choice.
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Canon Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D
As a beginner, there’s a good chance you’re simply looking for a camera that hits all of the basics and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. If that’s what you’re interested in, then you might consider trying out the Canon Rebel T6.
While this model isn’t the absolute best on the market, it does fall nicely into a budget-friendly price range. With that in mind, new photographers may not mind sacrificing some features for a good deal.
The Canon Rebel T6 has excellent photo and video quality, which should be one of your main concerns. However, it does run pretty slowly, so it might test the patience of someone during a family photo shoot.
If all you’re looking to do is point and shoot, then you can’t go wrong here. You can swap out lenses easily, too, allowing you to get a little creative. Just know that you won’t be getting all of the bells and whistles with this Canon.
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Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D
The Canon EOS Rebel T100 is an incredibly affordable camera that you can easily pick up to figure out if photography is your new passion. It’s straightforward to use, so there’s not a lot of complicated features to figure out for a newby. Everything is very organized and logical; plus, it’s got great battery life.
All of that being said, there’s not much else to boast about this simple device. It’s certainly not a camera that an expert or even an intermediate photographer would use. The screen is quite small with low-resolution, and there’s no touchscreen option. It also uses some cheap plastic in its construction, which is a turn-off for many dedicated artists.
But, with an affordable price, you can’t go wrong as someone who’s just sinking their teeth into the world of photos. If nothing else, it will help you get a feel for holding a camera and discovering basic controls, tools, and accessories.
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The D5600 is the first Nikon DSLR camera on our list. We chose it because of its excellent image quality that will make any beginners feel like a pro. The touchscreen interface is perfect for newbies who are used to handling smartphones and tablets, while the comfortable handgrip can make you feel right at home. The excellent battery offers a whopping 970 shots per charge.
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The Nikon D5600 isn’t truly known for one or two impactful features but rather builds a solid repertoire of necessary details. It’s got a high-resolution sensor that delivers on quality and is very easy to handle. The AF system is great, and the overall performance is impressive with 60 fps.
Perhaps the biggest downside to this camera is its cost. While we do consider it an entry-level DSLR, it is slightly more advanced than some of the other cameras on our list. So, while the price might seem like a deterrent, it really is worth it for beginners who have a little bit of experience under their belts.
“Young Photographer” by nhoffmann75 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Nikon D3500 is more of a classic type of DSLR camera that strays a little bit away from the over-popularized notion that a good camera must be tiny and compact. While a smaller size can be super convenient, beginners may actually prefer the chunkier style of the D3500.
For starters, a larger camera means there is more surface area to better organize and lay out all of the controls and features. The little icons on a compact camera can sometimes be tough to distinguish, especially if you’re not paying close attention.
With the D3500, users also get a deeper grip. Beginners may be nervous about getting into tricky shot situations, but this extra grip is a confidence boost, for sure.
We will note that this camera does not feature a touchscreen. This doesn’t impact the overall performance of the camera, which is good, but it may turn people away who are used to taking pictures on their smartphones.
Overall, you can expect high-quality images, less noise, and excellent visibility with this Nikon. You also have access to full HD video and great capture speeds for an entry-level model.
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One of the best things the Nikon D500 APS C has to offer new photographers is fast shooting speeds, high-quality continuous shooting, and great autofocus performance. Unlike many other entry-level cameras, the D500 includes 4k video support – a feature that’s hard to find in this price range.
While it does include wireless features, they aren’t the greatest in terms of performance. However, this isn’t what we consider a make or break detail.
Newbies just exploring the art form will love the image quality they get out of this camera. It has a very streamlined design that allows you to get out there and get the shot, having fun while figuring out all the details as you go.
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The Nikon D5300 is definitely considered more of an advanced beginner DSLR, prompting us to recommend this camera to beginners who have at least a little bit of camera experience to offer. With a 24MP sensor, a 39 point AF system, tons of physical controls, and improved video mode and quality in full frame, someone with a little bit of knowledge could really expand their skill set with this model.
Overall, the D5300 is very similar in both looks and features to the D5200. The main upgrades include lighter weight and a slightly more compact design. Although, the D5300 does have better resolution, which leads to improved image quality.
The LCD screen is also fully-articulated and slightly bigger than the previous version, and it was the first of Nikon’s DSLRs to include WiFi and a GPS system. With better battery life to boot, new photographers can spend more time practicing their shots.
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Interested in photographing sporting events? Look no further than the Nikon D7500. This APS C model gives you everything you need to start exploring active photography without the high price tag you’re afraid of.
Not only is this model dust and splash-proof, but it takes 4k video, offers eight fps continuous shooting, and uses 3D AF tracking.
As an entry-level camera, it certainly lacks some of the high-end features you might find elsewhere. Your video will also suffer, as the 4k crops quite a bit.
But, you can’t beat the price, and as someone who’s just getting into the arts, that plays a big factor. And with quick shooting and excellent focus, you’re sure to grab some awesome action shots. In fact, you might be shocked at the level of image quality the D7500 can achieve in comparison to its price tag.
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The Pentax K-70 DSLR camera is a model that looks snazzy and has a few high-tech upgrades that will make any beginner feel like they’re the best photographer in the room.
This compact camera gives you the small size that most professionals prefer, and it’s made to be completely durable and rugged for all types of photoshoots – risky or otherwise.
With tons of cool, innovative features, you can easily transition from novice to enthusiast with the K-70 without having to upgrade in a short period of time.
First, let’s talk about anti-shake technology. This unique detail is excellent for beginners who are just getting a grip on the picture-taking situation. A steady hand can be difficult to accomplish, especially if you’re nervous, so this feature is a thumbs-up for us.
Likewise, you also get hybrid live view autofocus plus a long-range 18 to 55mm lens kit with the K-70. Some professionals think this kit lens isn’t the most impressive thing in the world, but it’ll be a fun piece to work with for new hobbyists.
The K-70 is also made for the outdoors, with dustproof, weather-resistant, and cold-resistant protective details. The nice grip even holds true when you’re wearing gloves; hello, snowy photoshoots!
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There are some experts who call the Pentax KP potentially the best crop-sensor DSLR of 2020. That’s a bold statement considering many photographers head straight for the Canon or Nikon brands.
However, what’s truly captivating about the KP is its unique blend of old and new features – all of which come together for a blend of practical, professional, and uncommon offerings.
This well-built camera is designed to take on harsh weather, so durability isn’t an issue. It uses the K-mount system, meaning you can use a wide range of lenses dating as far back as the 70s.
While the KP has a fairly standard sensor with a 1.5x crop, it offers a 5-axis stabilization system that minimizes shake with any kind of lens you choose. With the right lens, the autofocus is also decent.
The sturdy build quality and the excellent detachable grip make this a solid piece for any beginner. It’s going to last you a long time, and it certainly gives you free rein to explore with all kinds of lenses until you find your niche. Likewise, the battery life gives you a solid 390 shots per charge.
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What Counts as an Entry-Level DSLR?
There are many things that can constitute an entry-level DSLR, but one of the biggest factors is cost. Many entry-level photographers don’t have a designated budget for new equipment. Plus, it’s tough to explore a potential new hobby with high costs, especially if you aren’t sure you’re going to stick with it.
Many entry-level DSLR cameras come at a much more affordable price than other more advanced models.
These same types of cameras also use one lens for viewing and capturing, implementing a single reflex. Using a DSLR camera also requires a smaller learning curve because they have limited settings, features, and basic functions.
Best DSLR Camera for Beginners: Canon or Nikon?
Canon and Nikon are two of the biggest names in the photography industry, so it’s common to be unsure which is the better choice for you. As a beginner, the choice doesn’t become much easier; both manufacturers have an excellent selection of DSLR cameras.
However, when compared directly, the Nikon tends to be a better choice for beginners overall. While the Canon has more speed and is excellent for sports, the Nikon is a more affordable option that has easy-to-understand settings and terminology.
Nikon’s entry-level DSLRs also tend to produce sharper image quality, which can really be helpful to a novel photographer. Plus, even their additional lenses are more cost-effective.
Don’t Go For the Bundle
In most cases, any kind of bundle is going to be a deal that saves you money in the long run. However, DSLR camera bundles tend to tell a different story – especially for beginners.
Buying a camera bundle usually means knowing what you’re looking for, which, in turn, helps you determine whether the deal is worth it or not. As a beginner, you’re still exploring your options and interests, so a bundle could leave you with a bunch of accessories that you don’t actually need or end up using.
For example, many DSLR bundles come with a bunch of different lenses. At first, this might seem nice, but it can ultimately be a bit limiting. The lenses included are probably pretty generic, ranging from 18 to 55mm. You will find yourself buying more lenses individually as you narrow your photography to a specific field of interest, like landscapes.
When you’re first starting out, it’s often a good idea to get your camera and learn how to fully use it. From there, you can slowly start to expand your accessories and experiment with other tools. You can also do this at a pace that is budget-friendly.
Photography is a beautiful art form that allows you to really stretch your creativity, explore different interests, and even travel the world. The best place to start is with the right entry-level DSLR camera.
With several options listed above, you’re sure to find the best camera one for you on our list. Take some time to really check them all out, and try to borrow one or two from a friend to get a good feel for it.
From there, you’re free to learn, grow, and create.