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The Best DSLR For a Beginner Photographer

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When you’re ready for a step up from your phone camera, and start looking at DSLRs, it can be super overwhelming to know what to choose.

Deciding on a DSLR for a beginner photographer can be a little bit of a crap shoot, since you aren’t sure of your personal camera preferences yet.

As a beginner, you’re going to want a camera that’s not packed full of extra bells and whistles that distract from you learning how to use a DSLR. You’re also going to want to be able to carry the camera around with you so you can use it a lot and get really familiar with it.

I’m going to concentrate on fairly light and relatively pared down cameras here for those just jumping into the world of DSLRs, and you can read other people’s reviews from there. I’m also not including mirrorless cameras, simply because I know zero about them. Remember: people get super nit-picky about their cameras, so read the reviews with this in mind!


Where to Start When Choosing a Beginner DSLR

Canon and Nikon have been battling it out forever with their DSLRs, from professional to beginner models. You basically can’t go wrong with one of these 2 brands, but it’s a little bit similar to popular cars. They get to a point where they are on top for so long, they may let something slip here and there, they’re constantly coming out with new models, and sometimes they just throw in too many weird, random extras.

Luckily, you aren’t putting your life in the hands of these cameras as you are with cars, but at the same time, you want the best camera for your money and for your needs.

Let’s look at which are the best DSLR cameras for a beginner photographer. 

Okay. So I’m assuming you know you can’t buy the very cheapest camera, but really who needs top of the line, unless you’re a pro or have a ton of money to throw around?

Best Canon Beginner DSLRs

This Canon is a crowd favorite- especially for the YouTube/Instagram set (check out the video creator kit also offered with this camera.) Includes the articulating touchscreen, continuous shooting, and wireless connectivity.

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens - Wi-Fi EnabledCanon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens – Wi-Fi EnabledCheck Price

Small, lightweight, but powerful camera, especially if you travel or want to carry it around a lot. Here it is with its starter lens, but you can just buy the the camera body and add an extra higher-quality lens. It also has an articulating screen that flips out all over the place, so you can take so many selfies.

 Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm STM Lens – WiFi EnabledCheck Price


Best Nikon Beginner DSLRs

Nikon D5600 – This little sucker is a lightweight DSLR from Nikon, and comes with a telephoto lens, and an lcd articulating screen and touch screen (not included in the D3400 below).

Nikon D5600 DSLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G EDNikon D5600 DSLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G EDCheck Price

The Nikon D3400 replaced the Nikon D3300 (still a great camera), and quickly turned into many people’s favorite entry-level camera. I’m showing it here with another lens, a great starter telephoto lens with lighting-quick autofocus. (This lens is around $350 on its own, but only $100 if you buy it with the camera body.)

Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G EDNikon D3400 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G EDCheck Price

Summary For Beginner DSLR Camera-Buying

  • Don’t buy the very cheapest cameras as a general quality rule
  • Read a ton of reviews, but take people’s personal preferences into account
  • You’ll figure out what you like and dislike about your camera by using it, so dig in and play around with it A LOT
  • The lenses you buy have so much to do with how your camera performs

Hope this is helpful! With a teen photographer in the house, I have been keeping my eye on these cameras as a graduation gift idea. Ultimate graduation gift, am I right?

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