Finding the best DSLR camera for beginners will help you to take your photographs from nice to WOW! While it’s true that smartphone cameras are producing good quality photos, using the best entry level DSLR will produce photos that you’ll want to show off to friends.
But where do you start? Should I just keep taking photos using my iPhone?
In 2017, we live in a technological age where products and tech are changing all too quick. That’s why we’ve took the time to test out 10 popular, and not so popular cameras, to find the best DSLR camera for beginners.
Best DSLR Camera for Beginners
Before choosing the best DSLR camera for beginners, we advise that you think about why exactly you need it? Are you in search of the best camera for travel photography? Whilst most of the cameras featured in this article are of similar spec, some cameras are smaller and lighter than others.
The cameras listed below are all powerful photography machines. Most cameras will come with a standard lens (usually a 18-55mm lens) which will produce great shots even in Auto mode. However, these lenses do have some limitations. Having said that, lenses included with your camera are great for beginners, so you won’t need to upgrade any time soon.
**TOP TIP – Image quality produced from DSLR cameras is a step or two above point and shoot cameras you might otherwise be use to**
Nikon D3300 – Our Top Pick
Top of our list the popular Nikon D3300. This is the camera critics are labelling as the best DSLR camera for beginners.
Although it’s popular amongst budding photographers starting off in their creative lifestyle, the Nikon D3300 is also a popular choice amongst professionals and enthusiasts alike. With a weight of only 410g, and packing a powerful 24.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor in its core, we think the D3300 could be the best camera for travel 2017! But what are the photos like? James & Laura at Frequentravlr say it’s the best camera money can buy for under £400, branding this the best camera for travel blogging.
With more shooting modes than you can throw a hat at, we really love how user friendly the Nikon is. In all there are 13 shooting modes to choose from. But what we really enjoy is the “Guide” mode which teaches you everything you need to know from ISO sensitivity, to setting your camera up in a way that suits you. This is particularly useful if you’re unsure about how DSLR cameras function. For movie maniacs, we believe the video recording features on the Nikon are fantastic. Simply switch to D-Movie mode and start recording in Full HD (1080p), with crisp clear sound. The perfect rival to your GoPro.
We found that the 18-55mm lens included with the D3300 is easy to use, great for capturing detail in your photos. If you’re unsure as to whether you’ll want to upgrade, we recommend sticking with the standard 18-55mm as it’s more than capable of producing professional and contrasting images. We were somewhat disappointed to find out that the Nikon D3300 didn’t come with built in Wi-Fi. So if you want to share your photography skills with your friends or on Social Media, you’re going to have to opt in for a wireless Mobile Adapter. But due to its ease of use and powerful 24.2mp sensor, the Nikon D3300 goes top our list for best DSLR camera for beginners.
Nikon D3400 – A Modern Upgrade
Second only to its older and slightly cheaper brother the D3300, Nikon have certainly come up with the goods when they decided to create the D3400.
Similar to the D3300, Nikon have packed a 24.2 megapixel DX-Format sensor on the D3400 with the ability to produce amazing photographs using Nikon’s very own EXPEED 4 image processor found on the NIKKOR lens. If you’re looking for the best DSLR for beginners, this is one of them. Whilst being so impressed with the quality of our photos when testing the Nikon D34400, we were surprised to learn that it’s aimed at entry level photographers. What we really love about this camera is how easy it is to control contrast and saturation, something that can be extremely frustrating to work out when stepping in to the world of photography.
But we can’t ignore the main feature. SnapBridge connectivity. Can’t wait to get home and share your photos with the world? Now there’s an even easier way using SnapBridge, a feature we find amazing. Seamlessly sync your images whilst on the go, without lifting a finger. Simply connect your phone to the camera and your photos will transfer over completely automatically. Don’t forget to download an app such as camera connect.
Cinematic mode allows you to record professional standard footage, carefully focusing in low light thanks to the D3400’s wide ISO light-sensitivity range. Although, if you are wanting to take your recording skills to the next level, it’s worth pointing out that there’s no input for an external microphone.
Having said that, it’s clear that this famous brand have kept up to speed by including useful features such as SnapBridge connectivity. The Nikon is a great option if you’re looking for the best entry level DSLR.
Canon EOS 100D – Best camera for travel
What is the best DSLR camera for beginners Canon or Nikon? Now that is a tough question. Canon have managed to find a competitor to rival the mirrorless entries found in Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic cameras. Packed with a powerful 18 megapixel sensor, and light enough to forget it’s with you, there’s a reason why the Canon EOS 100D has been described as the best camera for travel.
If you do in fact travel a lot, this is the camera for you. Canon have have described the EOS 100D as the ‘world’s smallest, lightest APS-C DSLR’ weighing in at only 407 grams. Although, users have reported unwanted hand shake when using the 100D. However, still a popular choice for those on the move wanting the best camera for travel bloggers. But does it come up with the goods when taking photographs?
Once we had the 100D in the grasp of our willing hands, we noticed one of the most effective Auto settings found on a DSLR. A feature called Scene Intelligent Auto allows users to forget about ISO sensitivity or over exposure. So if you just want to take awesome photos, the 100D analyses the scene in front of it and sets the most appropriate settings. We found this to be one of the stronger points when using the Canon, perfect for a best entry level DSLR.
What we really enjoy about taking shots with the EOS 100D is a feature called Extra Effect Shot. Canon have installed a really helpful and handy feature called Extra Effect Shot. If you’re feeling creative and ready to experiment, it allows you to capture a creative, filtered version of your shot, whilst also saving a standard version. This is perfect if you’re shooting objects that are moving. And we can’t ignore the ability to record high-quality video at Full-HD (1080p). But what sets the Canon EOS 100D amongst the pigeons is the 3 inch LCD screen that’s been added to this lightweight compact camera. A great, light option if you’re looking for the best DSLR camera for beginners.
Canon EOS 750D
Still in the wonderful world of this popular brand, Canon say the EOS 750D is their most popular camera to date. Packed with a tonne of features for budding photographers, it’s user friendly interface and creative shooting modes, there’s no surprise it’s made our list of the best DSLR camera for beginners.
We totally agree with Academy of Photography who have labelled it the easiest DSLR to use in the Canon range. Scene Intelligent Auto allows you to grab hold of the camera and start shooting your favourite scenes, without worrying about any of the controls that can seem daunting to newbie photographers. We were somewhat surprised at how easy it was to point and shoot.
But the best feature has to be Wi-Fi connectivity. Why do we say that? Because in todays modern, fast paced world, we all want things now. And that doesn’t change when we’re on holiday. The Canon EOS 750D allows you to share your most desired photos using your smartphone. So if you’re looking for the best camera for travel blogging, it’s always worth holding out for a DSLR with Wi-Fi. However, it is only possible to share photos with a smartphone and with NFC compatibility. But this is common with most DSLR cameras with Wi-Fi connectivity.
But how did it perform when taking photos with a twist? What we really love about the 750D is the miniature effect you’ll find when recording. The Hybrid CMOS AF III sensor more than takes care of any worries with focussing. We were able to really notice how clear and focussed videos where when shooting in Mp4 format. A bonus if you want to quickly transfer your footage to a device. Replay all of your action using the 3 inch, vary angle touch LCD screen.
If you’re looking for a DSLR camera with great recording abilities, we recommend trying the Canon EOS 750D.
Canon EOS 1300D – Powerful Sensor
It’s becoming clear that Canon are doing a pretty good job when it comes to the best entry lever DSLR cameras on the market. The EOS 1300D is a powerful 18 megapixel photography machine packed with easy to use shooting modes and features and at a great price.
When using the Canon EOS 1300D we were took back by how easy it was to start capturing clear images. Thanks to the 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ technology found in the hub of this powerful DSLR, we believe you’ll be more than satisfied with the image results.
But as with all cameras, what we love about the 1300D is the very useful feature of built in Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for the best camera for travel photography, this is an important feature, enabling you to share images across your social media platforms. However, it is only possible to share photos using a smartphone with NFC compatibility. When using the Canon, we noticed how useful the 3 inch LCD screen was. When comparing the Canon EOS 1300D vs Nikon D3300, we noticed that images appeared clearer on the Canon. However, we noticed that overall picture quality wasn’t as good when compared to the Nikon D3300.
But if you’re looking for a camera that is easy to use with strong Wi-Fi compatibility, we recommend finding the best DSLR for beginners such as the Canon EOS 1300D.
Pentax K-50 – Best Camera for Travel Blogging
Moving on to the lesser known camera of our 10 top picks, the PENTAX K-50 is a powerful and modern mirrorless but by no means a camera to dismiss. What you will instantly love about the PENTAX is how robust it is. With the ability to shoot sports in FULL HD movie mode, and strong enough to with stand the toughest of elements, there’s more than one reason why this camera is on our list.
We heard about how popular the K-50 is amongst wildlife and adventure lovers. So we took her for a spin on one dark and rainy day to capture some action shots in a local forest. Looking back at our images, we were amazed by how well the K-50 handled the elements in amongst rain in low light, and even some mud. This is why we love the PENTAX, and you will too. The clever lot at this company have made sure that the core of the camera are protected by installing 81 protection seals to the K-50 for complete solid protection against water, dust, sand and even snow. So, if you’re looking for the best camera for action and adventure, we highly recommend the PENTAX K-50. Shooting continuously at 6 frames per second, it’s perfect for catching those action shots.
Have you ever seen a photo of your favourite landscapes and thought WOW, I wish I could do that!? Well now you can. Thanks to the optical finder that’s been installed with 100% field of view. So never miss a single thing in your shoot, ever again. We found this particularly useful for beginner photographers since it can be difficult adjusting to the settings of a DSLR camera. You’ll feel totally at ease knowing that the PENTAX with respond efficiently to subjects even if your hand is moving slightly. Once you’ve got you’re point of focus, this will be confirmed on the viewfinder, indicated by a red point. Think of it as a helpful way of saying “Get set, start shooting“.
Although some users have experienced issues with image stabilisation software, we have to say that the PENTAX K-50 is one of, if not, the best DSLR camera for beginners who love to shoot sports and love the great outdoors, without worrying about your equipment from getting wet.
Canon EOS 700D
The Canon EOS 700D is a great place to find the best DSLR camera for beginners. Released to the world in March 2013, it has since become a favourite amongst Nomads and holiday lovers being labelled as the best camera for travel photography.
When testing other cameras of similar spec and price, we noticed that the 18 megapixel EOS produces superb photos due to its low noise Hybrid CMOS AF sensor. It’s no surprise that a well known and reputable brand such as Canon have ensured that images are packed with detail in the 700D. But if you’re looking for the best DSLR camera for beginners, you’re in the right place. What sets this camera apart from its competitors such as Sony and Nikon is the Scene Intelligent Auto mode. We were able to pick up the Canon and start shooting immediately, with ease. However, once we’d finished testing the EOS 700D, we did notice that some of the pictures we had taken weren’t as focussed as we had wanted. This seems to be a common problem amongst first time users of this camera.
But what struck is how well it performed as the best DSLR camera for beginners. This was particularly noticeable when shooting in low light but due to the ability to capture using ISO 100-12800 sensitivity, extending to ISO 25600, we were able to capture small details such as plants in extremely poor light.
What we really love about this camera is the best gadget feature found on the 700D. It has to be the Vari-Angle Clear View LCD II Touch Screen. If you enjoy shooting videos close to the ground or capturing details at different angles, this feature puts the EOS 700D up there with the best entry level DSLR cameras. If you don’t have the steadiest hand or not sure how to use the focussing elements of a DSLR, Movie Servo AF ensures that moving subjects are kept in focus when recording.
If you need a camera that holds your hand as you step over in to photography, the optical Image Stabiliser on the Canon EOS 700D reduces the risk of unwanted camera shake.
Canon EOS 70D – A Powerful Camera
One of the most powerful cameras in its bracket, there’s no wonder this 4 year old Canon EOS 70D has been branded best DSLR camera for beginners.
With 20.2 megapixels stored away in the brains of the operation, it’s never a difficult task capturing sharp, detailed images on the 70D. Compared to the 100D which weighs only 407g, it’s a little more on the heavy side with a weight of 753g. But this is what you’d expect to find in a powerful camera like the Canon EOS 70D and due to it’s powerful APS-C CMOS sensor and a strong DIGIC 5+ image processor, you’ll be able to take amazing photographs from the word GO!
The thing that really impressed us is how well Canon have done fitting a 3 inch Vari-angle ClearView II LCD capacitive touchscreen to EOS 70D. We were able to capture images and videos at extremely awkward angles by switching to Live View mode. If you’re like us and prefer shooting videos using something other than an action camera, you’ll be impressed with the quality of footage that can be captured on this camera. Record in Full HD at 7fps with fast and accurate autofocus. All thanks to Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology found on the EOS 70D.
What we really love about using the Canon is how large and magnified its field of view is. With an intelligent viewfinder covering 98% of the subject, we were able to grab more than expected in our photos. So if you’re looking for the best camera for travel photography, then we recommend giving the EOS 70D a try as you’ll get more than you think in your images. But compared to other entry level DSLR’s, it’s a little less user friendly.
But what really ticks our boxes is the built in Wi-Fi on this camera. We were able to hook up to our Macbook and control the camera from a few meters away. However, we did notice that the connection was temperamental meaning we had to keep connecting from the camera. But this wasn’t a huge issue. So if you’re looking to buy the best DSLR camera for beginners, you’ll be impressed with the features found on the Canon EOS 70D.
Sony Alpha 68k – Easy to Use
A brand we are all too familiar with, (for good reason) Sony always bring nothing but goodness when it comes to their line of products. And it doesn’t look any different with the Alpha 68k.
We instantly felt comfortable using the 68K. Once we began shooting with this much loved DSLR, we noticed how much detail it was capturing in its frame.The Sony A68 is proud to have the world’s highest number of phase-detection AF points (79 in total) which meant that we were able cover a wide AF area. The reason why the Sony A68k is on our list.
In terms of ease of use, we found some of the controls easier than others but shooting was never a difficulty. The thing you’ll love about the 68k is how easy it is to focus on your subject, whether its moving or still. We were able to shoot continuously at 8fps whilst keeping track of our subject using the autofocus feature. Coming away from the likes of Nikon and Canon, it was nice to get a feel for something different. The Sony was a breath a fresh air. We were really impressed with how clear and full of colour our final pictures were. This is thanks to the powerful 24MP APS-C sensor with an ISO sensitivity rage up to 25600 meaning you’ll always be able to shoot in low light.
Although the A68k has no built in Wi-Fi, we were still able to transfer our images easily using the SD memory card. If you’re looking for the best camera for travel blogging, the Sony Alpha 68k is a top option, allowing you to show your travel photographs off in a professional and unique way. For this reason, it’s in the list for best DSLR camera for beginners.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 – Popular Choice
Last but certainly not least we have the popular (very popular) Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330. Another firm favourite amongst budding photographers starting out in the big and beautiful world of photography. Although you may be paying slightly more than cameras such as the Nikon D3300, there’s a reason why this little ripper is on our list.
What we immediately noticed about the Lumix is just how modern and new it feels. When starting out in photography, the most desired skill of newbies is the ability to shoot extraordinarily crisp photos. You’re in luck. With a lens length of up to 600mm, the FZ330 can shoot video and photo in clear striking 4K. We were blown away by how professional our images were upon first use of this camera. And if you’re making the leap from a point and shoot, we recommend trying the Panasonic as you’ll instantly feel comfortable using the 3.0 inch free-angle touch panel rear monitor.
Although it’s 10 megapixels less than some cameras of this price, the highly sensitive MOS sensor and Venus engine allow you to take photos in extremely poor light conditions. But what you’ll notice about using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 is how easy and responsive the focussing attributes are. Perfect if you’re still not use to the controls of a DSLR camera. But what we really enjoy about using the Lumix are the user friendly creative settings such as RAW Data Development whilst using the camera. The Lumix FZ330 can capture images in RAW-format and even develop them right inside the body of the camera without editing knowledge. So you’ll have total control of colour space setting (sRGB/AdobeRGB), white balance, exposure, photo styles, intelligent D-range control,highlight/shadow, contrast, saturation, noise reduction, sharpness and even intelligent resolution.
Another firm favourite amongst adventure seeking photographers, the Lumix has been designed to withstand the toughest of conditions. We have to say that due to it’s Wi-Fi connectivity, the FX330 could well be the best camera for travel bloggers. Due to its ease of use, the Lumix goes in our list of best DSLR camera for beginners.
Best DSLR Camera for Beginners Canon or Nikon?
If you’ve found the best DSLR camera for beginners, chances are it’s going to be a Canon or a Nikon. But which one is best for you? For complete confidence and for the popularity vote (only because it’s awesome) we recommend the Nikon D3300. The user friendly settings make taking professional photos a breeze in the park. Focussing is accurate in Auto mode, keeping the subject at hand clear in the cameras view. We really love the D3300, so much so, we own one ourselves.
But does that mean you should dismiss any other camera? Not at all. We love the modern features found on the Panasonic Lumix FZ-330 and capturing memories in clear 4k is what makes the Lumix a great choice.