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What’s the Best Camera for Beginners? (6 Top Picks)

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There are camera options specifically designed for first-time users, and we’ll show you some of the best camera for beginners options.

A lot of newbies find choosing their first camera intimidating. Looking at all the buttons and switches alone can be overwhelming.

Check out this guide to the best beginner cameras if you’re looking to buy yourself a camera.

[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]

Features to Consider Before Heading to the Store

All cameras cater to certain types of people. Even entry-level options have different features that reflect the needs of their intended users.

So before buying a camera, it’s crucial to know what you want to do with it first.

Do you need a simple device that’s easy to use but still takes beautiful photos? Do you want an option that’s light and compact so you can bring it on your travels?

Or perhaps a more advanced version that produces professional results without breaking the bank?

Take these questions into consideration so you know which features to look for when buying a camera. Not all the options on the list will have what you need, so you need to weigh each one’s pros and cons.

If you’re comfortable shooting in Auto mode, then most of the cameras on our list are perfect for you. Most of them are also light enough to bring on your travels.

But they all differ in size so it’s up to you how big or small you want to go.

What if you need pro features like manual controls phase detection and 4k recording? We also have a few options that have you covered.

Now let’s go through the list and see which one is the best camera for beginners.

Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Olympus E-M10 Mark III - best camera for beginners

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
  • Megapixels: 16.1 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • LCD: 3-inch 1,040K dot tilt-angle touch screeen
  • Maximum Continuous Shooting Speed: 8.6 fps
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K
  • User Level: Beginner to enthusiast

If carrying heavy gear isn’t your thing, then this camera is for you. It’s a mirrorless body and micro four-thirds sensor makes it light and compact.

That’s why it’s the perfect option if you love to travel and have limited space in your luggage.

Even the lenses for this camera are small as compared to the other ones. That means you’d still have a lot of space left in your bag even if you bring two or three of them.

But don’t let the size fool you. The OM-10 is a highly capable camera. It has fantastic in-body stabilization to prevent motion blur (a common issue among beginners).

And if you feel like capturing video of your adventures, then you’re in luck because it even shoots in 4K. It’s definitely a pro-level feature for an entry-level camera.

The downside of this camera is that it only has 16.1 megapixels. In most cases, this amount of resolution would be considered decent.

Since it also has a small sensor, its limitations quickly become obvious especially if you shoot in dimly lit scenes.

Regardless, this is the best mirrorless camera for you if you want a hassle-free camera to apply your photography skills. And, if you’re shooting mostly in the day time, you wouldn’t even notice the limitations of the EM-10 at all.

Fujifilm X-T100

Fujifilm X-T100 - best camera for beginners

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • LCD: 3.2-inch 1,040,000 dot articulating touchscreen
  • Maximum Continuous Shooting Speed: 6 fps
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K
  • User Level: Beginner

This newest offering from Fujifilm is not only budget-friendly but also looks sleek and elegant. Like most of Fuji’s cameras, the X-T100 features a classic design the company is famous for.

Fujifilm has established itself as one of the leading brands that professionals and experienced enthusiasts prefer. But for the most part, their cameras are either not as affordable or too difficult for beginners to use.

That’s why the Japanese company built the X-T100 to cater to the beginners looking for their first mirrorless camera. It’s easy to learn and boasts top-tier functions such as 4K video recording and an articulating touch screen.

Its autofocus tends to be slow. But it should be manageable for anyone who has the time to learn how a camera works.

The X-T100 also lacks the X-Trans sensor which produces sharp images and minimizes moire effects. But at 24.2MP, the small difference in resolution wouldn’t even be noticeable in most applications.

This entry-level camera may not have the features that professionals need. But it has all the functions that any beginner would find useful.

If you’re looking for an option that’s both cheap and elegant, the X-T100 is the way to go.

Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus Tough TG-5 - best camera for beginners

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 1/2.3in
  • Megapixels: 12MP
  • Lens: 25-100mm f/2-4.9
  • LCD: 3in, 460k dots
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Beginners

A GoPro may be nice for selfies and POV action shots, but it’s not the best camera to use in regular situations. And that’s where point-and-shoots like the Olympus Tough TG-5 come in.

Think of the TG-5 as a regular camera encased in shock and waterproof casing. It has all the functions of any other point and shoot options. But it’s built to handle the stress of action sports and travel.

The TG-5 can shoot 20 frames per second, which is impressive for a compact camera. In comparison, even most DSLRs can only shoot around 6 to 8 fps. It also has an optical zoom to let you shoot from any distance.

The downside of the TG-5 is that it only has a 1 2/3 inch 12MP sensor. That means it ranks low on the list as far as resolution is concerned. But remember that its sensor is still bigger than GoPro’s, making it better in terms of picture quality.

The TG-5 may not be as exciting as the GoPro at first glance. But consider all the things it can’t do that its competitor can’t. You’ll see that this camera is really the best point-and-shoot camera you’ve been looking for.

Sony Alpha a5100

Sony Alpha a5100 - best camera for beginners

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.3 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • LCD: 3in 921,600 pixels flip-up touch screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 6fps
  • Max video resolution: 4K
  • User level: Beginners

Sony’s line of cameras is among the most user-friendly. Even their flagship cameras have plenty of auto functions that it’s so easy for just about anyone to use it.

If you’re an absolute newbie, then the Alpha a5100 is for you. It has all the perks of any mirrorless camera such as interchangeable lenses and manual controls.

The only difference is that the a5100 comes in a smaller body and has simpler features that are perfect for beginners.

If you find manual focus intimidating, for instance, you can take advantage of its eye detection autofocus. Once you turn it on, the camera automatically detects your subject’s eye to ensure sharp images.

One major disadvantage of the a5100 is that it lacks a viewfinder. That means you’ll be stuck using the LCD screen at all times. And if that doesn’t bother you at all, then get the a5100 by all means.

Canon 4000D

Canon 4000D - best camera for beginners

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 18 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • LCD: 2.7” TFT LCD Screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 3fps
  • Max video resolution: 1080p HD
  • User level: Beginners

One factor that prevents people from buying cameras is that they’re expensive. In particular, DSLRs often cost more than their point-and-shoot counterparts.

The good news is that Canon has created the best budget DSLR specifically for beginners: the 4000D. For only $300, you can finally have your own camera that creates pro-level pictures.

Due to its price, the 4000D has the least features on this list. For instance, it can only record up to 1080p as opposed to 4K. Its continuous shooting speed is only 3fps. And it doesn’t even have a touch screen unlike the rest on this list.

But what makes the 4000D great is that you can get it brand new for cheap. And it’s so simple that it allows you to focus more on practicing your skills as a photographer.

If you’re especially interested in Canon, you can also check out our full review of the best beginner Canon cameras!

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 - best camera for beginners

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP
  • Lens: Interchangeable
  • LCD: 3.0-inch 921,000 dot Screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps
  • Max video resolution: 1080p HD
  • User level: Beginners to enthusiasts

We’ve featured point-and-shoot as well as mirrorless cameras on this list. But if you’re the type of person who wants to learn on a DSLR, then the D3500 is for you.

The D3500 is budget-friendly like the Canon’s 4000D. But it has a few extras that its Canon counterpart doesn’t have. For instance, it features a 24.2MP instead of 18, and 5fps instead of 3.

It may not seem much, but it’s a considerable difference if you’re particular about quality and performance.

You can also connect the D3500 to your mobile device seamlessly with Nikon’s Snapbridge. Sure, it uses Bluetooth instead of Wifi, but it’s a perfect addition especially for an entry-level DSLR.

One feature that beginners would have loved but the D3500 lacks is a tiltable screen. That means you’ll need to crouch low on the ground if you want to shoot low angle shots.

If you don’t mind getting dirty learning the basics of photography, then the D3500 is your best choice.


Any of the options mentioned in this list are perfect for any type of beginner photographer. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which camera you want to get.

It all depends on what you want to use it for. If you’re an adventurer, then the Olympus Tough TG-5 is perfect for you.

If you want to combine style with functionality, the Olympus E-M10 Mark III and Fujifilm X-T100 are great choices.

If you’re serious about honing your photography skills, you can pick between the Canon 4000D, Nikon D3500, and Sony Alpha a5100.

Take your time to weigh features that each camera offers. The right choice is the one that matches most if not all of your needs.

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