The best DSLR camera for beginners
While it’s true that DSLRs don’t enjoy nearly the same popularity as they did a decade ago, you can’t argue with the fact that they represent an older, but trustworthy technology and that their ergonomics, larger and easier to use controls and the excellent battery life still makes them a worthy purchase for any person that knows how to appreciate those advantages.
This especially holds true if you consider yourself a beginner or an amateur photographer. A DSLR is a great tool to learn about photography in general, all the different settings, types of lenses and techniques that will help you capture interesting images in many different conditions.
While your smartphone will give you good looking photos in an instant, due to its heavy software processing doing all the work in the background, learning to use a DSLR properly will give you even better results and that’s the part of the appeal of owning a dedicated camera and taking the time and patience to learn about all the technology behind it
Dimensions: 5.16 x 4.06 x 2.99 inches | Weight: 1.14 Pounds | Sensor Type: 24 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels | Battery Life: 800 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 7.5 fps | Screen Size: 3 inches | Screen Resolution: 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 95% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.51x (35mm equivalent)
The Canon 850D represents an evolution of an already familiar design found on many of Canon’s DSLRs through the years and only brings changes and upgrades where it’s necessary. If you’ve ever used an entry level Canon DSLR before you will feel right at home with this camera, no matter if it’s the button placement or the intuitive user interface.
Despite being a beginner’s camera at heart, the 850D still includes a plethora of modern features like the 4K video recording, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a fully articulating touchscreen and a support for decently fast UHS-I memory cards. It’s also a pretty quick camera for its class, with a fastest shooting speed of up to 7.5 fps.
One of the best things about it has to be its autofocus system. It combines a very capable 45-point AF system reserved for shooting through the viewfinder and Canon’s familiar Dual Pixel AF for live view action, meaning that you’ll have a nice experience shooting people, animals or any kinds of moving subjects, especially thanks to that 7.5 fps burst rate.
Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.66 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 0.99 Pounds | Sensor Type: 24 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels | Battery Life: 1070 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Screen Size: 3 inches | Screen Resolution: 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 95% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.54x (35mm equivalent)
If you’re already sold on the idea of a DSLR being your first real camera, but you want it to be as portable as possible, then the Canon 250D should be on the top of your list of potential investments. In terms of its overall dimensions, it’s the smallest DSLR included in this article and is the one that will give you the most spare room in your backpack for other items.
Still, despite being smaller and lighter than most beginner DSLRs, the 250D still manages to pack some punch in terms of its features. It has a viewfinder that’s slightly larger than the likes of the 850D and also includes the same flexible fully articulating touchscreen, which will help you use the camera more effectively if you’ve previously only fiddled with smartphones.
Canon have also decided to put more focus on the user composing and shooting photos using the rear screen, instead of the viewfinder by including its Dual Pixel AF technology, which will give you similar focusing performance in video and stills to any modern smartphone. Also, there’s always the option to tap on the screen and acquire focus yourself.
Dimensions: 5.08 x 4.02 x 3.03 inches | Weight: 0.96 Pounds | Sensor Type: 18 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Battery Life: 500 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 3 fps | Screen Size: 2.7 inches | Screen Resolution: 230,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 95% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.5x (35mm equivalent)
The Canon 4000D is the company’s most affordable DSLR currently available and is targeted at beginner photographers with limited budgets and a lot more interest in learning about photography than worrying about the specifications of their cameras. You won’t find many modern features like 4K recording or a touch sensitive screen on this device.
The important thing to point out is that despite not having the most exciting specs, the 4000D is still a very functional camera in its own right. Its 18 Megapixel APS-C sensor is more than capable of producing very good photos in good lighting conditions and decent quality ones in low light, especially if you pair the camera with a lens that has an aperture of at least f/2.
You will find the 4000D to be very comfortable to hold and to use. It may not have the most durable body, but it certainly handles like a traditional DSLR. Its user interface is clean, nicely organized and easy to navigate. We would also like to mention its respectable battery life of 500 shots per charge, which is still better than most mirrorless cameras on the market.
Dimensions: 4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 0.8 Pounds | Sensor Type: 24 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Battery Life: 1550 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Screen Size: 3 inches | Screen Resolution: 921,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 95% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.57x (35mm equivalent)
The Nikon D3500 is the latest entry in the long list of the company’s entry level series of DSLRs and despite its budget price it still manages to include enough important features to satisfy the needs of any beginner or casual photographer. You’ll be getting everything from a very capable APS-C sensor to an excellent endurance that will allow you to shoot for days.
The 24 Megapixel sensor in question forgoes an optical low pass filter found in most entry level cameras, meaning that you’ll be able to get even sharper photos than with regular sensors. It’s also an already established APS-C sensor and is known for providing the camera with natural colors, great dynamic range and very good low light performance.
For beginner photographers, the most interesting feature found on the D3500 may be its Guide mode. Enabling it simplifies the user interface, giving you easier access to the camera’s main functions like shooting or viewing and deleting photos. It will also give you useful information along the way, helping you learn to use those features more effectively.
Dimensions: 4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 1.03 Pounds | Sensor Type: 24 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Battery Life: 970 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Screen Size: 3.2 inches | Screen Resolution: 1,037,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 95% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.55x (35mm equivalent)]
The Nikon D5600 presents itself as a step up from the D3500 in terms of features and functionality, while still being similar in size and also not costing too much money. It’s a great DSLR for anyone who’s prepared to invest a little more to get a much better AF system, a touch screen and a microphone jack.
If you are very much used to touch screen devices right now, then you’ll certainly like using the fully articulating 3.2 inch display found on the D5600. It’s sharp enough, responsive and works well with the user interface Nikon have created for their DSLRs. It will also allow you to tap anywhere on the screen to acquire focus, just like you would on a smartphone.
The 39-point focusing system inside the D5600 is the same one featured in some of Nikon’s older upper tier DSLRs, meaning that it will provide you with quick focusing and nice subject tracking performance. So, even while you’re learning about photography, you’ll still be able to capture some action and wildlife shots and see if it’s something you’re attracted to.
Dimensions: 4.94 x 3.66 x 2.91 inches | Weight: 1.52 Pounds | Sensor Type: 24 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Battery Life: 410 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 6 fps | Screen Size: 3 inches | Screen Resolution: 921,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 100% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.63x (35mm equivalent)
It’s quite evident by looking at the specs of the Pentax K70 that it’s trying to accomplish different things from the likes of Canon and Nikon’s beginner friendly DSLRs. Here we have a camera that’s bigger and heavier than most of them, but also one with a much better viewfinder, more feature rich software and interestingly enough, built-in image stabilization.
On the topic of optical viewfinders, a lot of entry level and mid range DSLRs don’t feature a viewfinder that’s 100% accurate, meaning that while you’re framing your photos you won’t be able to see what their edges will look like in the final image. The one inside the K70 is 100% accurate and you will always be able to perfectly compose your images with it.
It’s also brighter, thanks to its pentaprism technology, usually reserved for more expensive DSLRs. Another useful feature found on the K70 has to be its image stabilization. It will allow you to get sharper images with any kind of lens you decide to pair with it, but also make use of the camera’s special Pixel Shift Resolution mode to get even better photo quality.
Dimensions: 3.58 x 4.84 x 2.87 inches | Weight: 1.49 Pounds | Sensor Type: 20 Megapixels APS-C | Highest Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Battery Life: 410 shots | Fastest Shooting Speed: 5.4 fps | Screen Size: 3 inches | Screen Resolution: 921,000 dots | Viewfinder Coverage: 100% | Viewfinder Magnification: 0.63x (35mm equivalent)
The Pentax K-S2 follows a slightly different philosophy when it comes to its design and features when compared to the K70. It still brings familiar features found in a lot of Pentax DSLR such as sensor-shift image stabilization, a large 100% viewfinder and the complex, but highly customizable user interface, but it also adds weather resistance on top of them.
This makes the K-S2 an especially useful camera to those photographers who live in the parts of the world with a lot of rainfall. Most of us would avoid bringing our cameras outside in the rain, but those kinds of weather conditions do have their own charm and the K-S2 will allow you to photograph your surroundings without the fear of damaging it in the process.
Pentax have decided to include as many physical controls as they can to make it easier for the user to access all the most important functions. That’s the reason why the Pentax K-S2 has two control dials. Once you’ve learned how to control your exposure settings, you will have a much better time adjusting them than with the DSLRs with only a single control dial.
Full Frame sensor – Also called a 35mm sensor. It’s the type of imaging sensor found in most professional cameras, but also used as a point of reference for comparing the sizes of all the other sensors found in cameras, smartphones and other devices.
So, when you hear the term “35mm equivalent” it refers to the field of view or focal length of an APS-C or Four Thirds lens as if it were used on a Full frame sensor. If you don’t own a Full Frame camera, it isn’t something you should be worried about at all.
APS-C sensor – The most common type of image sensor found in many mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. It’s smaller than Full Frame, but still big enough to give you very good image quality and great low light performance.
Four Thirds sensor – The type of image sensor that’s half the size of a Full Frame sensor, which generally means that it’s image quality is slightly below APS-C sensors, but on the flip side, allows for even smaller and lighter camera bodies and lenses.
EVF – An Electronic Viewfinder. It will allow you to compose your photos by putting the camera to your eye, instead of looking at the main screen. It often offers better visibility in direct sunlight, makes it easier to focus on your subject and also gives you more stability when holding the camera.
RAW – The type of imaging format that will give you the most flexibility and creative freedom while you’re editing your photos. Your camera will usually produce decent enough images in its default JPEG format, but shooting in RAW will give you more room to adjust the colors, brightness, contrast and sharpness to your own liking, after taking those photos.
Film simulation modes – The types of photo filters exclusively found on Fujifilm cameras. Their main goal is to imitate the look of different film types found on older manual cameras, which can give some additional character to your photos.
So, for example, the Eterna mode will produce less saturated and more soft images, Acros will give you sharp black and white photos, Provia will produce a very balanced look and so on.
FPS – Frames Per Second. It’s a term used to measure the number of images a camera can take in only one second. Since taking photos of moving subjects is never easy, having the ability to take a lot of photos at once will improve your chances of getting a sharp photo that also puts your subject in a position you desire.
Now that you’re done with consuming our article, you can clearly see that the age of DSLRs is far from being over. Yes, they aren’t the main focus of the companies that produce them or the photography oriented media and websites, but they are still widely available and a part of the kits of many professional, as well as beginner photographers.
A DSLR will always be more durable than your average smartphone or mirrorless camera, more comfortable to hold and to operate and will also allow you to take many more photos on a single charge thanks to its often impressive endurance. What’s great is that such an endurance isn’t only reserved for higher end models, but also for entry level ones as well.
Beginner photographers will also appreciate the fact that many DSLRs tend to be more affordable than mirrorless cameras, which also holds true for their native lenses. There’s many older new or second hand lenses available that will allow you to amass a nice collection of different focal lengths and apertures without burning a hole in your wallet.
So, no matter what kind of DSLR you’re looking for, be it a portable type, one that will save you as much money as possible or the type that will work great even in wet and dusty conditions, we’ve got you covered. There’s still some life left in good old DSLRs and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise and hinder your enjoyment in using a DSLR.