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How to Pick the Best Beginner DSLR in 2020 – Top 6 Picks

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    New to the world of photography? Then welcome! Whether you have decided that you’d like to make this a hobby and get better photos than your smartphone can provide, or you’re hoping to go pro, I’m excited to tell you more about it to help you get started.

    First up, the thing you’ll be needing is a good camera. Because there are so many choices and features, beginners often aren’t sure what’s best for them. I’ve created this handy guide to help you decide on one that fits your photography needs, as well as included some of my absolute favorite cameras that I think are just perfect for budding photographers.

    It is my sincere hope that you find this helpful for your creative needs to make the best purchase. Before I tell you about the best cameras for beginners for 2019, let me give you some tips for choosing the right camera body.

    – How to pick the right camera for you

    First, I want you to ask yourself the following questions and see what would best suit your requirements. Then we can move on to my best beginner camera picks!

    – How do you plan to use your camera?

    Planning for everyday shooting? Then something that’s really lightweight and compact would be perfect. Generally speaking, the smaller and lighter your camera, the more likely you’ll be to grab it and take it along everywhere you go. But just because you’ll shoot every day doesn’t mean you can’t choose something a little bulkier, it’s just more comfortable for daily use. If you don’t care about the weight or size, you can choose a pro DSLR but more on that in another post. I have plenty of recommendations below so there’s bound to be something for you, just keep reading.

    – Are there enough gear and lens options for the camera you’re choosing?

    When you invest in a camera system, it’s important to think about what other options you have for add-ons in the future in regard to lenses and accessories. You might not be ready for all of them right now (or even have the budget to consider them at this stage), but having a set of options is much better than being limited.

    You can still choose something with more limited options though. Most photographers don’t have just one camera. But at this stage, it might behoove you to find a main that’s more flexible just in case. You can always buy other cameras, but mastering the first one, you buy and getting to know its intricacies is an important first step in your photography career.

    – Will you only be shooting stills or would you like to shoot videos too?

    If you’re not interested in video, then it doesn’t matter much, but you may decide you want that option later on. For video, you can choose a camera that has an excellent auto focusing system for video recording as well as microphone inputs, so you can use an external mic, like this one for better audio quality, because, let’s face it, the built-in one won’t cut it. The microphones your camera has built-in are fine if you’re making videos of your kids or your family vacation, but in a professional context, they would tarnish your reputation.

    For vlogging, you’ll want something with a flip-up LCD screen so you can see what you’re recording as it’s being recorded so look out for a DSLR, with a flip screen (more on that later), as one facing the front instead of up and down wouldn’t be suitable, unless you want to look in a mirror, just kidding spare yourself the hassle.

    So now you’ve given some thought to what you need your camera for and what you’d like it to do. Let’s look at the cameras, shall we?

    Nikon D3500 DSLR camera

    1- Nikon D3500

    One of the most renowned brands, Nikon has never disappointed me. The D3500, in particular, is nice to start with. It’s a really compact DSLR that shoots fantastic pictures, though they come out best when you use an external light source along with a diffuser to avoid harsh lighting, something you should also budget for.

    It’s a small, lightweight camera, and when you use it with the bundle 18-55mm collapsible lens, it gets the job done without bogging you down. It’s often likened to the D3400, its predecessor which is also a great camera with a high ISO and autofocus capability, but the biggest difference between them, and arguably my favorite improvement, is that this D3500 has outstanding white balance. Additionally, the placement of the buttons on the D3500 is great for one-handed shooting, making it really easy to use!

    The one major caveat with this is that the built-in flash is underwhelming, but that’s not a deal breaker in my opinion, as I strongly advise against using any kind of harsh lighting, especially not flashlight, so, aim to shoot in optimal lighting conditions. Ultimately, I think you’ll find this a fantastic camera to start out with.

    Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera

    2- Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D

    Canon is another one of the top brands, and this ultra-compact offering is another one I wholeheartedly recommend for beginners. The EOS Rebel SL2 has all of Canon’s iconic and most updated tech like Dual Pixel AF, Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, and a DIGIC 7 processor. Plus, the interface is really easy to use, thoughtfully put together for helping beginners get comfortable with the camera.

    Don’t let the small size fool you though. It’s quite a capable camera that allows you the pleasure of live view and video with the AF, 9-point autofocus with the viewfinder, a solid 3-inch LCD touchscreen, burst shooting at 5 fps, an input for external mics, and plenty of other perks. If you love Canon’s technology but are intimidated by the more advanced options, this is the way to go. You get the latest tech in an easy-to-operate camera, a solid choice for sure!

    Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera

    3- Nikon D5600

    Now, this one is a bit different from the Nikon 3500, something you might be keen on spending a little extra for. It’s also compact and wonderfully capable. This sleeker DSLR counterpart has multimedia imaging capabilities and wireless technology. You’ll find it more sensitive than other options with the 24.2MP DC-format CMOS sensor plus the EXPEED 4-image processor, giving you a range of ISO between 100 and 25600. That’s perfect for different lighting conditions and the smart technology will help you out a lot.

    You can shoot up to 5 fps when dealing with moving subjects too. Speaking of moving, the video recording can support up to 60 fps along with time-lapse capabilities. Not a bad choice for those of you that want to use it for video recording.

    It’s still small like the D3500, but it has a nice 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen that makes it easier to work from both high and low shooting angles. Another great feature, SnapBridge, makes the best of low Bluetooth energy for easy wireless sharing of your photos straight to any of your mobile devices. It allows you the ability to transfer resized images back and forth, though should you need larger file transfers, the Wi-Fi with NFC helps you get the job done.

    Both the D5600 and the D3500 are excellent cameras, but what it comes down to is whether or not you need these extra features or not. It’s certainly worth mulling over though it’s a win-win whichever you choose, as long as you’re choosing the one that best matches your needs.

    Canon EOS 2000D Rebel T7

    4- Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D

    The EOS Rebel T7 is a nice budget choice that doesn’t skimp on quality. It has great specs and features that are ideal for beginners. A little noisy with the kit zoom autofocus, it’s forgivable for the rest of the quality.

    With a simple shooting mode dial that has a fully-automatic setting, you can get a real-time analysis of your scene and have access to many scene modes too. Something else I liked with this was the clear feature guide that’s built in. It’s a nice thing to have as a beginner to help you fully get the most out of this camera. Also, love the Creative Auto mode that gives you more advanced shooting modes, among them aperture/shutter priority, plus completely manual modes.

    The 24.2 megapixel count is good, along with the high-res LCD and ability to adjust the viewfinder give this beginner camera the kind of features that the brand’s own 4000D entry level, cheaper model don’t have which is why this one might make more sense for you. Design-wise, it’s a bit dated, but check it out for its other more-than-capable features.

    Canon EOS 4000D Rebel T100 DSLR Camera

    5- Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D

    I wanted to cover the Rebel T100 too as I just made mention of it in reference to the EOS Rebel T7. This one is a less expensive option, yet it comes with a kit EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III lens that is a great choice for beginners. It has intelligent features though not as many as the T7.

    On this one, you’ll like the Quick menu option and scene modes, plus a few more advanced shooting modes than some other basic camera offerings. Creative Auto mode lets you go from basic to creative with ease, which you’ll no doubt appreciate. I found the 18MP image sensor to be lacking a bit, which is why I had recommended the T7, though this might not be problematic for your specific needs, unless you love pixel peeping.

    With a rear LCD that’s a little on the small side, you might want to opt for the T7, but don’t entirely cast this one aside just yet. My advice is to go into your local camera store and check them both out. You may find the T7 is worth the little extra splurge or you may be happy with this one. If you have good eyesight, the viewfinder on this one won’t bother you so much. Ideally, I really recommend it if you’re dabbling into photography as a hobby and not so much if you’re planning on making this your day job.

    Pentax K-70 DSLR Camera

    6- Pentax K-70

    This entry-level option by Pentax which has many avid fans, is a nice choice for its distinctions. With the K-70, you get a 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a PRIME MII image processor to keep up with the impeccable sensitivity of the ISO 204800, the 6 fps continuous shooting, and the full HD 1080p/30 fps video recording.

    I’ve got to say this one is really loaded up with excellent features that will carry through even when you get more advanced at photography. It’s also quite versatile, allowing you to take both photos and videos. One of my favorite things is the Shake Reduction image stabilization, a very useful addition especially for beginners who haven’t yet perfected their techniques.

    If you love taking photos outdoors, this is the right choice for you. It’s weather sealed, giving it more durability than other models. The built-in Wi-Fi allows for wireless sharing and even controlling the camera remotely from a linked device of your choosing. Overall, a phenomenal choice for the beginner that seeks to eventually go pro.


    I have tried out each of these cameras myself and have the experience to have tried out their predecessors too. Based on my observations as well as other seasoned photographers’, I’ve recommended these cameras for beginners above all others. If you’re looking for something more advanced, I suggest you take it slow and work within your abilities. There’s nothing that would be worse than to spend more money on a pricey pro camera and not be able to take full advantage of it.

    Especially if you’re just starting out, it’s wise to choose an entry level camera. The ones on my list have the kind of updated features you want without the hefty price tags of their more advanced counterparts. And believe me, don’t try to run before you walk. There’s time to upgrade later on, plus these are rather versatile and well-known brands that make it easy to add accessories too. You may find as you become advanced in photography that your first camera is still one of your favorites as you’ve quite literally mastered the art of using it like no other.

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