When starting out in photography, you are immediately blasted with dozens of potential cameras you can buy. Picking the right one can be one difficult task. When buying a camera, you are not only investing in a device, but rather in a system of lenses, accessories, and much more. This is why picking the first camera is often a very important choice. In this article, we will see which cameras are the best for beginners. The last one might surprise a few of you.

Being part of the new era of Canon gear, it is only natural that I open this list with something that is modern and has the potential to be a companion for both video and photo work for years to come. While not offering the best image quality (the sensor is cropped, instead of full frame), it still delivers great 24.1-megapixel stills, which is plenty to print on a billboard if you need. It features the DIGIC 8 image processor, as well as a dual-pixel CMOS autofocus system, making focusing a breeze even in difficult conditions.

Another great thing that many photographers will like about the Canon EOS R50 is that it has a 3-inch Vari-Angle touchscreen LCD. It makes it super easy to shoot from various angles, including low angles and overhead shots. With ISO going up to 51,200, you can forget worrying about low-light performance, as this is more than enough. That said, I would not recommend shooting above ISO 12,800, even on a modern crop sensor. The grain shows up quite fast beyond this point and can be a distraction from the image itself.

Lastly, this camera has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, making it more or less future-proof. You can easily transfer the images to your smartphone or computer. However, as with most cameras these days, it would be great to see better connectivity options and easier ways to share your work online. Perhaps integrating cellular connectivity and a feature such as AirDrop could be of benefit to many photographers who want to share more seamlessly.

A well-reviewed unit, this camera has both great video and photo capabilities. If you are looking to do both on an equal level, go for this camera. Photography-wise, it has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, with a BIONZ X image processor and a 425-point phase detection autofocus system. So far, the reviewers have pointed out the accuracy and speed of this particular camera’s autofocus, which will again make capturing sharp and detailed images a breeze. Just like the EOS R50, it has a 3-inch screen that flips 180 degrees for vlog filming. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth should you need to connect it. The video capabilities of this camera are some of the best in the beginner market. It can film 4K at 30 fps, and Full HD at 120 fps for the extra creamy slow motion.

The Fujifilm X-T30 is yet another mirrorless camera that offers substantial image quality and features that make it an excellent choice for beginners. One of the things I like a lot about Fujifilm cameras is the presets that are built in. You can customize your images to look like a particular film stock, which removes the hassle of having to edit the color by hand. This is especially useful for those of us who are not yet familiar with editing software. Equipped with a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and a powerful X-Processor 4 image processor, the X-T30 is comparable in image quality to other cameras on this list. The Fujifilm X-T30 also has an excellent autofocus system, with 425 autofocus points that cover almost the entire frame. The camera can shoot up to 8 frames per second, making it a decent choice for action photography. Personally, though, I would suggest getting something more substantial such as a used Canon 1D X for action photography, as that camera outperforms all of the ones on this list when it comes to pure speed.

This is a budget-friendly full frame option for those of us who don’t have much to spend but still want to get excellent image quality for many years to come. While it is a fairly old camera, it is still highly popular among professionals and amateurs alike. It has a 9-point autofocus system, which delivers okay results. I would only recommend this camera to people who don’t need the fastest autofocus in the world, such as portrait, fashion, still life, landscape, or some event photographers. The great thing about this camera is its sensor, which delivers beautiful raw files, even by modern standards. I’ve done a number of articles on how excellent this camera truly is. I have been a long user of the 5D Mark II as well. I have shot everything from headshots to fashion to events on this magnificent camera and will happily use it for work now if I don’t have the budget for a better-performing piece of gear. 

A lot of traditional photographers won’t like this choice, but in 2023, I think it is inevitable to mention a phone in such a list. While the obvious limitations are there, such as not being able to change the lens or use it as a dedicated camera, I still believe that an iPhone can be a fantastic choice to get into both photo and video. After all, with things such as computational photography, the capability to shoot 48-megapixel raw files, and a selection between wide angle, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, this is an obvious choice for someone who wants to spend less money and get both the latest iPhone and a great camera in one package. The mighty iPhone 14 Pro has the most intuitive interface of them all, while also featuring things such as Smart HDR and Night Mode, making shooting in any conditions a fairly easy task. It delivers impressive results, which are comparable to a dedicated camera. I am an avid iPhone shooter, and I switched to iPhone 14 Pro as my travel camera and casual photography camera.

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