Best beginner cameras 2024: Models from Canon, Sony, Nikon and more

The best beginner cameras are an important part of every budding photographer's journey. The perfect camera should be easy enough or beginners to use, while also allowing you to improve your skills, whether you're interested in portrait, landscape, or astrophotography.

Our list of the best beginner cameras includes models from the leading brands such as Sony, Canon and Nikon. Our ranking takes these cameras' ease of use, features and of course price points into account, so there should be an option for every taste and budget among them. 

One of the most daunting thing about photography is the jargon it comes with. To suit this guide for beginners, we've simplified and thoroughly explained everything you should consider when choosing a camera. We've taken all the guesswork out of figuring out what camera will be the best for you by providing clear and straightforward descriptions about each camera.

Our expert reviewers are photographers themselves and have used their expertise to put these models through their paces, carefully considering their accessibility for entry-level photographers. While there are options to suit all budgets in this guide, we'd recommend you keep an eye on our regularly updated camera deals page if it's a bargain you're after.

If you're not a beginner, we have plenty more camera and photography buying guides worth checking out, including the best cameras of the year. If you need other photography gear to go alongside your camera, we've covered the best tripods, travel tripods, and camera backpacks, among many others.

The quick list

Below we've summarised our top picks of the best beginner cameras available, including their main characteristics. If you want more in-depth information on a particular camera, click the links to read more.

The best beginner cameras we recommend in 2024

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The best beginner camera overall

Best overall: A moderate beginner price tag, but worth it for its capabilities and style

Specifications

Megapixels: 21MP
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
ISO Range: 200-51,200
Weight: 0.98 lb (444g)
Memory card type: UHS-I SD

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish looks
+
Responsive touchscreen
+
Good build-quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
Adding extra lenses makes the package expensive
-
No usable grip
-
More advanced users may look to upgrade soon
Buy it if

✅ You want a stylish camera: The design is really pleasing.

✅ You want a camera with a touchscreen: This one has a very responsive screen.

✅ You want a sturdy camera: this one has excellent build quality.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: The camera itself isn't cheap, and the extra lenses add on costs.

❌ You want the highest-quality optics: More advanced users will look to upgrade quickly.

The bottom line

🔎 The Nikon Z fc is a beautifully-designed beginner camera with some impressive specs. ★★★★½

Design: The Nikon Z fc is a stylish camera, and while its design is very retro, inside it you'll find all the latest tech. It's a great blend of old and new, heightened by the fact that the camera build itself feels high-quality and solid in the hand.

This mirrorless camera packs a punch despite its lightweight design, consistently producing great results in different shooting conditions. It's user-friendly, making it a joy to take photos with, especially for beginners. It's just a shame that there's no weatherproofing, and the choice of lenses available is somewhat limited.

Performance: You can read more details about this camera's performance in our Nikon Z fc review, but the long and short of it is we were very impressed. The autofocus is excellent, meaning you can easily shoot moving objects, and importantly, it is easy to set up and use. There are mere seconds separating the moment you turn the camera on and taking your first shot. 

Functionality: We liked the touchscreen's responsiveness and were surprised at how quiet the focusing and shutter sound was; it's perfect for taking candid photos discreetly. The ISO performance was much better than we'd expected for an entry-level model. The Nikon Z Fc perfectly balances functionality, accessibility, and a charming retro appearance.

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Nikon Z fc
AttributesNotes
DesignGood build quality.
PerformanceReady to shoot in less than a second.
FunctionalityResponsive touchscreen.

Best for content creators

Best for content creators: A vast amount of in-body customization and incredibly simple file transfer

Specifications

Megapixels: 26MP
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
ISO Range: 160-12,800 (expanded 80 to 52,200)
Weight: 0.84 lb (383g)
Memory card type: 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC

Reasons to buy

+
Very light and compact
+
Good connectivity options
+
Quick auto-focus

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life isn't great
-
Tilt-only (rather than articulated) screen
-
Menu could be more intuitive 
Buy it if

✅ You're often on the go: This camera is light and compact, perfect for travel.

✅ You want fast autofocus: The autofocus is quick on this camera.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You go on long shoots: The battery life isn't great on this camera.

❌ You want an articulated screen: This one is tilt-only rather than fully articulated — this could be an issue for vloggers.

The bottom line

🔎 For taking everyday snaps, travel photography or even landscape photos, the Fujifilm X-T30 II will see you right for years to come at an affordable price. ★★★★½

Design: One of our favorite things about the Fujifilm X-T30 is its beautiful vintage appearance. It's a seriously stylish camera, but its retro aesthetic shouldn't fool you: on the inside, it's as capable as any modern camera.

It's impressively light and compact, too, which makes the X-T30 perfect for traveling, or simply carrying around in your bag without feeling weighed down. Especially if you want to try your hand at street photography or travel photography, being able to keep a camera on your person to pull out whenever the opportunity strikes is hugely important.

One drawback of this camera is that the screen only tilts rather than being fully articulated. Suppose you frequently use a gimbal or want to do photography that involves shooting low to the ground — the comparable Canon Rebel SL3/250D with its articulating screen might be a better option.

Performance: We were impressed with the overall speed of the camera's operation—it's ready to take pictures in less than a second after starting up, and the focus operates exceptionally quietly. 

During our Fujifilm X-T30 II review, we experienced a little 'focus hunting' when we presented the camera with a mixture of shadow and light. When it comes to ISO, it performed slightly better than expected, with values up to ISO 1600 producing no real noticeable noise.

Functionality: The X-T30 II is delightfully user-friendly, packed full of helpful features for beginners. It boasts 18 user interface aids and presets for different scenarios, making it easier to achieve your desired shots. Adjusting color depth, white balance, clarity and grain is easily done in-camera, which can save a lot of editing time further down the line. 

That said, it is also very quick and simple to transfer images from your camera to your smartphone. All you need to do is download the Fujifilm Camera Remote app and connect it to your camera, and the process is done in just two clicks. 

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Fujifilm X-T30
AttributesNotes
DesignVery light and compact.
PerformanceBetter than expected ISO performance.
FunctionalityOffers in-camera editing.

Best for travel

Best for travel: A handy in-built guide mode and time-saving content creator functionality

Specifications

Megapixels: 24.1MP
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
ISO Range: 100-25,600
Weight: 0.85 lb (383g)
Memory card type: SDHC and SDXC

Reasons to buy

+
A good array of options for content creators
+
Good updated autofocus
+
Excellent face tracking and detection 

Reasons to avoid

-
No headphone socket
-
4K cropping can be irritating 
-
Buttons too close together
Buy it if

✅ You're a content creator: There are plenty of options including live-streaming.

✅ You take portraits: There's excellent face tracking and autofocus on this camera.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to listen to sound as you record: There is no headphone socket.

❌ You want to shoot 4K: The sensor crops 4K video considerably.

❌ You've got large hands: The buttons on this camera are very close together.

The bottom line

🔎 The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a great option if you're a content creator looking for a reliable and stylish travel-friendly camera that takes nice detailed photos. ★★★★

Design: Since the release of the first M50, this M50 Mark II has had numerous worthwhile upgrades. They're not all instantly obvious, but the changes made to autofocus and auto-shooting are perhaps the most noticeable, making this camera even better for beginners.

This camera stands out with its eye-catching appearance, especially in white like the one we tested. It's compact and feels a bit delicate, but despite its small size, it's easy to grip and surprisingly comfortable to hold. Even people with larger hands should find it comfortable to use — although the buttons are fairly close together which could become fiddly if you use it a lot.

There's a microphone input for video recording, but oddly, there's no headphone socket to listen back to any footage you've recorded. 4K video recording is achievable, but it's worth noting that it is heavily cropped. Its battery life is also quite limited, so this camera might not be ideal for vloggers or aspiring filmmakers. However, if you're focused on still photography and working with a budget, there's plenty to appreciate here.

Performance: It's not just in appearance that the Canon M50 stands out. It also performs remarkably well where it matters thanks to its 24.1MP sensor, which creates beautifully detailed and vibrant images. This makes it a great camera for shooting outdoors in the daytime, so aspiring travel and street photographers may consider it a good choice. 

However, it's worth noting that this camera comes with no in-body image stabilization, so it's best suited to shoot in low light or with slow shutter speeds. Astrophotographers may want to steer clear or use a tripod to avoid blurry shots. We also noted that the battery life left to be desired compared to other cameras in this guide; you will get around 300 shots before needing to charge it.

Functionality: In our review of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II, we were quite impressed with its ability to effortlessly track and detect faces when taking photos or videos of people, even when they were moving within the frame.

This camera does have live streaming, which enables you to stream directly to YouTube while using Wi-Fi, and a vertical video mode, which could be a significant time-saving asset if you create social media content.

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Canon EOS M50 Mark II
AttributesNotes
DesignSmall and user-friendly.
PerformanceNo image stabilization.
FunctionalityImpressive face detection and tracking.

Best mid-range model

Best mid-range model: The Nikon D5600 is an affordable beginner-friendly camera with some more advanced features, too

Specifications

Megapixels: 24.2MP
Type: DSLR
Sensor: APS-C
ISO Range: 100-25,600
Weight: 1.25 lb (566g)
Memory card type: SD

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent tilting touchscreen 
+
Good live view with touch shutter release
+
Quick autofocus 

Reasons to avoid

-
4K video missing
-
Expensive
-
Fiddly Nikon interface and menu operation at times
Buy it if

✅ You want a touchscreen: This camera has an excellent tilting screen.

✅ You use autofocus: This camera has a quick autofocus function.

You want all the bells and whistles: This has a good live view and touch shutter release.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to shoot video: This camera doesn't have 4K video.

❌ You're on a budget: This camera is on the expensive side.

❌ You want an intuitive camera: This one has a fiddly interface at times.

The bottom line

🔎 The Nikon D5600 has great image quality and is slightly more affordable than some of the newer SLR or mirrorless cameras. ★★★★

Design: The Nikon D5600 is one of the few DSLR cameras still on the market. It's a great mid-range camera despite the fact it has been replaced by many newer models with more modern features. It's far from cutting edge and a bit heavier than other models on this list, but it shines by its reliability and its high-quality shots.

Given its chunky design, the Nikon D5600 is comfortable to hold and will fit most hands with ease. Its controls are intuitive and easy to work your way around, too, and the articulating touch-sensitive screen is a great touch. In our Nikon D5600 review, we praised its responsiveness and noted it's even easy to use in bright sunlight.

Performance: The D5600 offers a variety of lens options, but it comes with an AF-P 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, giving you everything you need to get started. While it's not the sharpest or most durable lens available, it still takes excellent images and is quite adaptable for beginners. We loved the camera's ability to produce colorful and beautiful images across various situations.

One thing to note is that the Nikon D5600 doesn't offer 4K video recording, so it may not be the best choice if you want a camera primarily for video.

Functionality: The menu on this camera enables you to pick between shooting in JPEG or RAW formats, and you can control the ISO speed too. The connectivity of the D5600 is to be praised — it boasts WiFi, Bluetooth and a standard SD card slot and an HDMI slot for connecting to external screens. 

We loved the live view mode, which allows you to press on the screen to mark where you want the camera to focus. This is an especially attractive feature for beginners. 

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Nikon D5600
AttributesNotes
DesignOlder camera, but still keeps up with newer models.
PerformanceOutstanding picture quality.
FunctionalityFeatures a functional tilting touchscreen.

Best for versatility

Best for versatility: Take it anywhere and share your snaps quickly

Specifications

Megapixels : 24.2MP
Type: DSLR
Sensor: APS-C
ISO Range: 100-25,600 (expanded 100-51,200)
Weight: 0.98 lb (449g)
Memory card type: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Vari-angle touchscreen
+
Great live mode 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as small as mirrorless alternatives
-
Fiddly controls 
-
APS-C crop sensor means limited lens choice
Buy it if

✅ You want a portable camera: At under 1 lb, this camera is one of the lightest on this list.

✅ You shoot video content: It can shoot 4K and has a great live mode.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a mirrorless camera: This is a DSLR.

❌ You want to add different lenses: The APS-C lens lineup is a lot smaller than the full-frame lens lineup.

The bottom line

🔎 The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is an easy-to-use beginner camera that doesn't disappoint when it comes to image quality. ★★★★

Design: The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (known as the Canon 250D in the UK), has a sensor and image system largely similar to Canon's EOS M series of mirrorless cameras. It also has an optical viewfinder, which many users prefer over viewing their image on an electronic viewfinder — essentially a small screen in the same housing.

In terms of handling, the camera is easy to use and feels sturdy and chunky while remaining smooth and comfortable to hold. In our Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D review, we found it to be an excellent option for aspiring photographers and videographers looking for a compact and lightweight camera that you can carry with you wherever you go without taking up too much space.

Performance: While the Canon 250D is more than capable of taking beautiful stills, it's an excellent choice for videography. It can record in 4K and boasts a 'live' mode if you're interested in streaming. 

Its ISO range is very impressive given the price bracket of the camera, too. It can shoot between 100 to 25,600 ISO — essentially the camera's sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more light it will let into a shot. High ISO shots can often be noisy, but we were impressed with how well the Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D performed in this area. It's a valid choice if you want to get into astrophotography and take pictures of the night sky.

Functionality: The SL3/250D is perfectly suited to beginners and comes with a tutorial mode which walks users through setting up the perfect shot. The camera also has Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity which allows you to easily transfer photos to your PC or laptop. You can also edit photos in-camera, for example by adding a fish-eye effect or sepia filter. 

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Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D
AttributesNotes
DesignSturdy and comfortable to hold.
PerformanceQuite a straightforward setup.
FunctionalityEasy transfer to smartphone or tablet.

Best Micro Four Thirds camera

Best micro four-thirds: The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is perfect for beginners wanting a good all-rounder camera

Specifications

Megapixels: 20MP
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
ISO Range: 200-25,600
Weight: 0.84 lbs (381g)
Memory card type: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-1

Reasons to buy

+
Good autofocus
+
Classic attractive styling
+
Small and compact 

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't have an inbuilt microphone
-
Would rather see an articulated rather than a flip-down screen 
-
Plastic feel reduces weight but doesn't feel 'premium'
Buy it if

✅ You want a stylish camera: The Olympus has a classic attractive design.

✅ You want to take it on the go: It's small and lightweight, perfect for traveling.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to film content: This camera doesn't have a built-in microphone, so you'd have to connect a separate one.

❌ You want an articulated screen: This one has a flip-down screen.

The bottom line

🔎 The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a small, lightweight camera that offers a great balance between usability, quality and a beginner-friendly interface. ★★★★

Design: This is a seriously stylish camera. Its retro aesthetic stands out, but although it looks old-fashioned, it's very capable of producing fantastic images. It's a true entry-level camera, and it's a great choice for those who want something small and lightweight. It's easy to slip in and out of a pocket whenever you need it.

As we discovered in our Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review, this stylish little camera balances impressive quality and usability with a beginner-friendly user interface that beginners will love. 

Performance: The Olympus OM-D E-M10 isn't the fastest camera to start up, but it will still be ready to use within a few seconds of turning it on. The quality and resolution of the screen is particularly impressive, and we only wish it had been articulated for the purposes of pointing it at the sky. We were also impressed by the 20-megapixel sensor, which captures beautifully crisp and smooth photos in RAW and JPEG, and the image stabilization it provides. 

Functionality: The camera comes with 21 scene modes that have settings adjusted for various environments and scenarios. This makes adjusting easy for beginners, and reduces the need for heavy editing. It is also easy to share files via WiFi and Bluetooth, so transferring them to a laptop or phone takes a matter of minutes. 

The OM-D-E-M10 Mark IV is an affordable camera with impressive features; it is easy to use and offers superb performance. If you've been taking photos with your smartphone up until now and want to advance your photography skills, we think this is a great step to improve your images.

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Olympus OM-D E-M10
AttributesNotes
DesignDesigned with beginners in mind.
PerformanceDelivers clear and balanced images.
FunctionalityWe'd like a fully articulating screen.

Best for autofocus and tracking