Best beginner cameras 2023: Models from Canon, Sony, Nikon and more

One of the best beginner cameras is the perfect piece of kit to start learning and developing your photography skills. As a newcomer to photography, it can be tricky to know where to start when faced with lots of technical jargon, so our expert reviewers have broken things down to bring you a list of the best entry-level models for starting your photography journey.  

Beginner-friendly models are usually more affordable than their professional counterparts, and with Black Friday fast approaching on November 24 we're expecting to see some even better deals coming up on some of these cameras. Keep an eye on our Black Friday deals hub for the best camera deals. Or, check out our guide to buying cameras on Black Friday to help you plan ahead and be sure to keep an eye on our camera deals page to help you bag the best bargain.

This guide should help you narrow down your options, with models aimed at all different purposes and budgets. If you're looking to complete your setup, we also have guides to the best tripods, best travel tripods and best camera backpacks. And if you're looking for specialized equipment for shooting the night sky, check out our lists of the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.

The quick list

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

The best beginner cameras we recommend in 2023

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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 an ergonomic camera: there is no usable grip.

❌ 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 aesthetic design is the first thing that you'll notice about the Nikon Z fc. Retro in style, bringing back fond memories from decades past of the brand's classic products. It is a stunning camera that seamlessly blends old and new thanks to its vintage design but modern functionality. The camera body also feels solid and of excellent quality.

The mirrorless camera system is both lightweight and powerful, consistently producing excellent results in various situations. It stands out as one of the most impressive and enjoyable entry-level cameras. The only improvements we'd like to see in this camera are weatherproofing and a broader selection of lenses.

Performance: When we reviewed the Nikon Z Fc, we were impressed at this camera's capabilities. When you hit the power button, the camera is ready to shoot in less than a second, which is perfect for situations where you need to act fast to capture a fleeting moment.

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

Read more: Nikon Z fc review

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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

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.

✅ You want a camera that connects to your phone: this one has good connectivity options.

✅ You want automatic features: 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're a complete beginner: the menu isn't the most intuitive.

❌ You want an articulated screen: this one is tilt-only rather than fully-articulated.

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: We love the Fujifilm X-T30 II for its chic retro design, reminiscent of the X-200 (which used to be on this list), but now with enhanced features that produce even more stunning and vibrant photos. Plus, it's a fantastic option for creative filmmakers. It provides great value for your money and is loaded with features. This camera is perfect for shooting while you're on the move, travel photography, and capturing beautiful landscapes.

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 the camera 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: It couldn't be easier if you're ready to transfer your images onto your smartphone or tablet. The Fujifilm Camera Remote App lets you do this with just two clicks.

This camera comes with an impressive set of 18 user interface aids and film simulations, each of which is explained within the camera to help filmmakers choose the right option for their intended results. Like many beginner-friendly cameras, you can streamline your editing process directly in the camera. You can adjust aspects like grain, clarity, color depth and white balance, all before your images are saved, saving you time in post-processing.

Read more: Fujifilm X-T30 II review

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

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 want quality autofocus: it's been updated on the M50 Mark II.

✅ You take portraits: there's excellent face tracking 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: The M50 Mark II has received several worthwhile upgrades, many of which are subtle, but the improvements to autofocus and auto-shooting modes stand out the most.

Although there's a microphone input, the camera doesn't have a headphone socket — which we thought was an odd omission — and the sensor crops 4K video quite considerably. This and the quick battery drain while in video mode means that vloggers or filmmakers may want to look elsewhere (unless they will be plugged into power when filming). That said, this could be your model if you're a skilled shooter looking for a quick, small, and user-friendly video camera for on-the-go shooting.

Performance: This camera captures images with vibrant colors and an impressive level of detail. However, since it lacks in-body image stabilization, you might need a gimbal or a tripod when using slow shutter speeds to avoid getting blurry shots.

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 for those who like to vlog and create social media content.

Read more: Canon EOS M50 Mark II review

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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

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: Even though it's a slightly older camera model, the Nikon D5600 still occupies a useful mid-range spot, offering some higher-level features at a more affordable price point. It's very compact and lightweight for an SLR camera and feels nice in the hand, with all the controls falling within easy reach. A real highlight is the articulating 3.2-inch touchscreen on the rear of the camera, which we found extremely responsive and provided easy viewing even in bright light.

Performance: The kit is impressive, since it comes with Nikon's own AF-P 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens, and beginners will like how easy it is to attach this lens and begin shooting straightaway. Whilst it doesn't feel like the most robust lens out there, we were more than happy with the image quality. It produces sharp, detailed images with a high level of color accuracy and the auto functions on the camera make it straightforward and easy to use. One thing to note is that this camera doesn't offer 4K video recording, so there are better options out there for videographers.

Functionality: You can pick between shooting in JPEG or Raw formats and control the ISO speed through the menu. The camera also boasts WiFi, Bluetooth, a standard SD card slot and an HDMI slot for connecting to external screens. 

One of our favorite features on the Nikon D5600 is its live view mode, which gives you the ability to press on the screen where you want the camera to focus. We think this is a neat and intuitive function that makes focusing very accessible to beginners and really sets this camera apart from other models.

Read more: Nikon D5600 review

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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

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 want a good touchscreen: this camera has a vari-angle screen.

✅ You shoot video content: this one has a great live mode.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a mirrorless camera: there are more portable models in that category.

❌ You want intuitive controls: the controls on this camera can get fiddly.

❌ You want to add different lenses: the APS-C crop sensor means you have limited choice.

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: This camera offers a relatively straightforward setup, primarily designed for beginners who may not have much experience with camera settings. However, it does feature 4K video capabilities and an excellent live mode. It's particularly well-suited for aspiring travel photographers due to its compact and lightweight design. The Rebel SL3 is adaptable and versatile, making it a highly recommended choice for a first camera, whether you're a novice or a more advanced photographer.

Functionality: The SL3 has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for simple image transfer to a smartphone or tablet. With this model, like a couple of other beginner cameras on this list, you can even edit the images in the camera itself. It also offers a handy tutorial mode to help beginners get the perfect shot. Then, to publish your edited images quickly, you can also add various filters and effects like sepia and fish-eye to eliminate the need for further post-processing.

Read more: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D review

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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

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 camera with autofocus: this one has good AF.

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

✅ You want to take it on the go: this one is small and compact.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to film content: this camera doesn't have a built-in microphone.

❌ You have an articulated screen: this one has a flip-down screen.

❌ You want a premium-feel camera: the plastic body reduces the weight but doesn't feel expensive.

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 entry-level camera from Olympus is designed for beginners who would prefer a mirrorless over a DSLR camera. 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.

Performance: The 20-megapixel sensor in this camera delivers clear and well-balanced photos, whether you're shooting in RAW or JPEG mode. It also provides 21 scene modes that automatically adjust settings for optimal shots in different shooting environments, reducing the need for extensive editing after taking the pictures. Additionally, you can easily share your files using WiFi and Bluetooth, and the camera comes with effective image stabilization features.

Functionality: Although an articulating touch screen on the back would have made it easier to point the camera upwards for astrophotography or when utilizing gimbals for shooting, we love its classic design.

The OM-D-E-M10 Mark IV is an affordable camera with impressive features, it is easy to use and offers superb performance. We think this model is a great option if you're still taking pictures with your smartphone but would prefer a camera to advance your photography skills.

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 review

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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