There’s always an ongoing debate over DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (opens in a new tab) and which one is best, but both are a great way to get started with photography and we’ve included both of them in our guide.
In general, a DSLR (opens in a new tab) is bigger and thicker and has a longer battery life. It might cost a little less to purchase, and you have a wide variety of lenses to choose from. A mirrorless camera is smaller and lighter and is a better choice for video and vlogging.
To be fair, DSLRs are an endangered breed, and nearly every major camera manufacturer has moved on to developing mirrorless systems. However, if you buy a Canon or Nikon DSLR camera, you can choose from a variety of lenses and your camera will likely be fully usable for years to come.
At the end of this article, there are a few more tips for choosing the best entry-level camera, but it comes down to price, versatility, and ease of use.
When shopping, you should think about lenses.
DSLR and mirrorless cameras are usually sold with a “body only” or kit lens. Obviously it’s cheaper to buy a camera body yourself, but it’s a false saving: unless you already have the lenses, it’s always cheaper to buy a kit than to buy the lens separately. You’ll usually get a basic lens with a 3x zoom or something, but that’s a good start.
We recommend a kit lens for each of the following cameras and they are almost always a standard lens option for these cameras.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has a new 20 megapixel sensor, gradually improved image stabilization and a new foldable and tilting screen. The Mark IV retains the 4K video and eye-catching design that made the Mark III so appealing to consumers, making it a great choice for anyone looking for an entry-level camera that can do just about anything. This is one of our all-time favorite mini cameras – small enough to take anywhere and far more powerful than it looks. The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a camera that you can have with you for a long time.
Despite its small size, the Nikon Z50 has a good grip and good external controls, and the retractable 16-50mm kit lens is notable not only for its pancake lens size, but also for its overall performance . Its main selling points are 4K video, 11fps burst shooting, and the fact that the Z mount is identical to larger cameras, allowing you to use Nikko Z DX lenses, Nikko Z lenses, and standard Nikon DSLR lenses through the FTZ. adapter. Above all, the Z50 is great value for money, especially when bought as a dual lens. Long after its release, however, it still only has three original DX-format lenses, so that’s a disappointment, meaning you’re stuck with older DSLR lenses via Nikon’s FTZ adapter or larger full-frame Nikko Z and more expensive for now. lenses, which are limited to wide-angle photography due to the sensor’s lower “crop factor”.
Even though it’s six years old now, the A6000 is still one of Sony’s best entry-level cameras, mainly because it’s often available at reasonable discounts – it’s too expensive for the new A6100, A6400 and A6600 models, even if that’s enough. in the same margin for still photography. With a compact camera design and Sony’s range of interchangeable lenses, it’s a small body with a lot of power. The resolution of the 24.3-megapixel image sensor is very good, although the 1,440,000-dot resolution of the electronic viewfinder is a bit poor by today’s standards, and the 921,000-dot tilting screen also feels rather cramped. It lacks the ability to record 4K footage and lacks the high-tech autofocus of Sony’s latest A6000 series cameras. But if you can live without them, the solid build, image quality, continuous shooting, and autofocus performance are better than you’d ever expect for its price.
The Nikon Z fc is arguably the sleekest camera on this list. It’s a retro-style mirrorless machine with dial-based controls and is a joy to handle, use and watch. Internally, it’s essentially the same as the Nikon Z50, with the same APS-C sensor and processor, and many of the same specs. A few extras, like the built-in flash, have been left out and it’s more expensive than the Z50, so if you don’t care about aesthetics, Nikon’s other DX-format camera is the smarter choice. But if you’re the type who can’t resist the siren song of the best retro cameras (opens in a new tab), the Nikon Z fc is the way to go. It’s not the cheapest camera for starters, but you get a lot of features for your money, and the looks alone can inspire you to take photography seriously.
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D / EOS 200D Mark II
This isn’t the cheapest DSLR you can buy either way, but it’s often worth paying a little extra to get a much better range of features – and that’s a perfect example. The EOS Rebel SL3 (aka EOS 250D / EOS 200D Mark II) features Canon’s top-of-the-line APS-C sensor with 24.1MP resolution and brilliant live view thanks to a fully articulated touchscreen and Canon’s fast Dual Pixel . CMOS AF autofocus. In fact, we would say that this is one of the few DSLRs where composing images using the screen is much better than using the viewfinder. Canon also offers 4K video encased in the smallest DSLR body you’ll likely see, although if you’re specifically looking for video, one of the SL3’s mirrorless rivals will likely do a better job.
If you are concerned about the intricacies of DSLR cameras, don’t worry. The Nikon D3500 has a great “Guide” shooting mode that serves as a fully interactive guide to photography and camera settings via the rear LCD screen. The controls on the D3500 are simple and easy to understand. The price means it removes some of the more advanced features. For example, all other Nikon DSLR series do not have a custom settings menu to customize camera functions to your preferences. The Live View autofocus and video shooting modes are a bit slow, although the Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f / 3.5-5.6G VR lens speeds this up and is the best lens in the kit. Overall, the image quality and performance of the Nikon D3500 is very good for the price, and the 5fps speed is quite sporty for an entry-level DSLR. Check out the many other great Nikon lenses (opens in a new tab) that you can use with this DSLR system.
Panasonic Lumix G100
Interested in the idea of vlogging? It has a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor, but it has an electronic viewfinder, which Sony doesn’t have, so it’s a pretty smooth match. Photographers and vloggers alike will love the simplicity of the Lumix G100. Simplify capturing high-quality videos and photos with an accessible button layout. Even people who are not interested in the technicalities of shooting great videos can get results with this camera. With its mini-DSLR style and electronic viewfinder, Panasonic has given the G100 an edge in a highly competitive market.
If your interest is half video and photography, a new vlogging camera like the Sony ZV-E10 is perfect. It cuts down on the photographic side slightly, as it lacks an electronic viewfinder, but comes back with video capabilities, including 4K video and a fully variable angle of view. It also has a large and well-functioning internal microphone (with clip-on silencer), Sony’s excellent autofocus and an attractive price. Too bad it doesn’t have a built-in image stabilizer and you can’t control menus with the touchscreen (perhaps a pretty obvious omission for a vlogging camera), but for newcomers to video surveillance this probably won’t be a major inconvenience. Best of all, because it uses Sony’s E-mount, it has access to a wide range of lenses from Sony and independent brands.