So you’re thinking of buying your first DSLR – that’s awesome. When you’re just beginning to learn photography, it’s common to stick with your trusty smartphone or a humble fixed-lens camera while you get a feel for it. But in time, you’ll naturally reach a point where you need to progress to something a little more substantial – and an entry-level DSLR is the perfect choice.
The days of the DSLR being solely for enthusiasts or professionals is long gone. Today, many beginners are trying their hand at these interchangeable lens cameras having never held a real camera before. While DSLR cameras remain a great choice for capturing all manner of serious photography, our expert team at Ted’s Cameras has witnessed a recent push for more user-friendly cameras, with the latest entry-level models featuring simple interfaces and intelligent automatic modes.
So, what are the best entry-level DSLR cameras on the market right now? Without further ado, here are our picks for the best DSLRs for beginners:
The Nikon D3500
The Nikon D3500 is the exact camera I would think of when combining the best features of Digital Compact Cameras and Digital SLRs. Internally, this camera relies on a fantastic 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor and Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processor, which it uses to produce stunningly detailed images, even in the trickiest of lighting conditions. It can also fire off images at a respectable 5 frames per second, which is great news if you want to photograph sports, or just keep up with your active kids.
Physically, the Nikon D3500 is very comfortable in hand – it’s small and light enough for daily use, but still has enough presence to make it known that you’re using a real, high-quality camera.
For the novice, the D3500 makes use of Nikon’s wonderful built-in Guide Mode, which not only lets you capture images in a quick and easy fashion, but also helps you learn the ropes of photography as you go – so you can quickly say goodbye to your training wheels!
Good news if you’re coming from a smartphone background – the Nikon D3500 keeps you connected to your social networking sites, more than any dedicated camera before. Nikon’s SnapBridge function automatically transfers images to a compatible smart device when they are taken, making it easy for your friends and family to see what you and your new camera are up to.
The Canon 1500D
Canon’s beginner-friendly DSLR, the EOS 1500D, is another model that’s designed to shorten the learning curve of the novice user, and make sure they have fun along the way. The 24MP APS-C sensor and Canon’s Digic 4+ processor are on board to deliver exceptional image quality, creating prints that don’t just look good on your screen but can also be printed as large, detailed posters. Entry-level Canon DSLRs have been light-weight for some time, and the 1500D continues this trend, somehow managing to be even lighter than previous models.
Like the Nikon D3500, the 1500D makes use of a handy guide mode, which Canon refers to as its Canon Camera Assist Program. This program makes use of handy video guides to help you get to know and understand the controls of the camera, so you can use them to their full effect. There are also more advanced tips and instructions on how to take your photography to the next level, as you confidently stroll past the beginner stage.
With the Camera Assist function, you are also guided through connecting your phone to a compatible smart device, making use of the Canon Camera connect app and therefore being able to share photos directly from your DSLR to your Smartphone.
The Canon EOS 200D II
Have a bigger budget to play with? You might want to consider the Canon EOS 200D Mark II. With a newer processor, higher maximum ISO (International Organisation of Standardisation, or light sensitivity) and Canon’s dual pixel CMOS AF, this camera is a slightly more advanced option. You won’t outgrow the 200D Mark II in a hurry.
This camera also features a burst rate of 5 frames per second, a tilting and touch-sensitive LCD screen, and 4K resolution video. As a beginner, you should ask yourself if you really need the extras the 200d Mark II offers, or if you would be better off with the simpler Canon EOS 1500D and the considerable savings it provides.
The Nikon D5600
Another slightly more expensive option, the Nikon D5600 offers a few key highlights that the D3500 can’t match. Although both cameras have the same video resolution, the D5600 has a built-in microphone port and a larger articulated screen, which is generally considered a better option for filming videos.
The D5600 offers built-in WiFi connectivity, compared to the D3500’s Bluetooth – but all of this comes at a higher cost and a heavier body. In a key omission, the D5600 doesn’t feature the very helpful guide mode which made the D3500 one of our picks for the best entry-level DSLR cameras for beginners.
Finding your way as a beginner photographer
Any of these entry-level DSLRs will give you the chance to progress your skills and capture amazing images without breaking the bank. Remember that you’re still learning, so this is your chance to figure out what works best for you, and to build your own unique style – and have fun. To learn more about the best cameras for photography, check out Ted’s Cameras’ Digital Camera Guide.