best dslr camera for beginners - Asian young woman with long hair (wearing a red beanie and a denim blouse over a yellow top) smiling while holding a DSLR camera in her photography studio with photography warm white studio lights in the background.

Best DSLR Cameras for Beginners (2023): How to Choose Your First Camera

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If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in photography or becoming a professional photographer, there are many more factors to think about prior to getting your first camera.

While DSLR cameras are still the ideal choice for new photographers, it’s important to know the fundamentals when you’re just starting out. We’ll provide you with more information as you conduct your own research on DSLR cameras.

In this article, we will go through with you some important things to consider. And to help you make better informed decision to get your photography endeavours off the ground, we’ve also included the best and the latest DSLR camera recommendations for you.

We periodically update our list, to only recommend you the best DSLRs for your needs. All of the products reviewed are based on quality, performance and user experience.

Check out the table of contents below to learn more.

Table of Contents

  Should I really choose a DSLR camera as a beginner?

  Advantages of a DSLR camera

  How do I choose my first DSLR camera?

  Best budget DSLRs for beginners

  1. Canon EOS 4000D
  2. Nikon D5600 DX-Format
  3. Canon EOS 250D
  4. Pentax K-70 Weather-Sealed

  Best DSLRs for beginners to go Pro

  1. Nikon D780
  2. Pentax K-1 Mark II
  3. Nikon D850 FX
  4. Canon EOS Rebel T8i

  Final Thoughts


Should I really choose a DSLR camera as a beginner?

A DSLR camera provides endless opportunities for creative expression and exploration. Experimenting with an array of shooting techniques of your DSLR will help you get a better overall grasp of photography.

The flexibility to change lenses is a significant benefit of having a DSLR camera. You will have greater shooting options and your photography skills will improve significantly. Suffice to say, if you’re using a DSLR, you should be OK swapping lenses.

Shooting with a DSLR can be a lot of fun too. If you want to go Pro, make DSLR your primary camera and perhaps a mirrorless as your backup option.


Advantages of a DSLR camera

DSLR is an abbreviation for Digital Single Lens Reflex. They are adaptable and durable cameras that you can bring with you on every photographic outing. No matter what level of photography skills you’re at, there is a DSLR that will meet your needs.

Let’s examine what makes a DSLR camera a better buy:

Sharper print and image quality

DSLR cameras use far larger image sensors to capture photos, resulting in higher-quality images than point-and-shoot cameras.

Bigger sensors focus more light on the image and thus, enhancing the overall quality of the shots you take. These big sensors also capture images with higher dynamic ranges, allowing for the production of a wider variety of colors.

A larger sensor minimizes the amount of blur and noise in photographs. As a result, images shot with DSLRs appear considerably sharper and more vivid when printed.

Also, better images in low light

DSLR cameras have great light sensitivity. This benefit lets you capture photos in dimly lit environments. This is why a lot of wildlife photographers use DSLRs to capture night-time scenes.

Faster auto-focus and shutter speed

The image sensor in point-and-shoot cameras serves two functions. One is to focus on the subject and the other to shoot the photo. As a result, the camera takes its time to focus and process the image, resulting in shutter lag. This is why, in many cases, people are unable to take clear photographs of moving subjects with standard cameras.

These actions are distributed between two sensors in a DSLR camera; which is the image sensor and the phase detection sensor. The image sensor is in charge of capturing the image, while the phase detection sensor is in charge of keeping the target in focus.

As a result, DSLRs have quicker focusing shutter speeds, allowing you to shoot images one after the other. This is especially advantageous when you’re taking several photographs in a short period of time and don’t have time to manually focus on the subject.

More and better controls

DSLRs are incredibly advanced cameras. They provide you with the ability to make subtle yet important adjustments that can enhance the outcome of your photo shooting. You can adjust the ISO, shutter speed, aperture, or white balance. Most standard cameras don’t have these features.

Interchangeable lenses

A DSLR camera also supports a variety of lenses. You can utilise different lenses or mount extra lenses, depending on your needs. For close portrait photography, you can use an 85mm lens, or go with 50mm to capture a wider view.

Other cameras don’t have this function, which makes DSLRs unique when it comes to professional photography.

Longer battery life

Compared to point-and-shoot or mirrorless cameras, DSLRs typically have longer battery life. You can click at least up to 500 high-quality images on a full charge using a beginner DSLR camera. Depending on the settings used when capturing the images, this number may vary.


How do I choose my first DSLR camera?

Primary features to look out for:


Spending too little can result in a camera with subpar image quality, while spending too much will put a dent on your budget. If you’re considering buying a DSLR camera, it’s important to be realistic with your own budget.

While there are some amazing DSLR bundle deals out there, they tend to include a lot of camera accessories that you’ll probably never use…or are low quality and will break after a couple of uses.

Our best advice; spend your money on a recent camera model, and if you’re going for the bundle, just get one that includes a lens or two.

As you have more money, consider investing in new lenses to expand your photography skills.

Image quality

You already know how vital this functionality is. All DSLR cameras should be able to shoot way much better than your phone. Examine product reviews and the resolution specs of the DSLR you’re interested in.

Types of lenses

The flexibility to change lenses is a significant benefit of having a DSLR camera. Most DSLR packages offer only one lens and most of them won’t zoom very far.

Interchangeable lens camera or lens kit adds significant value to your photography endeavour. If you’re opting for it, consider the price range, focal lengths, and if there are used lenses available, they could be a worthwhile investment too!

Size and ergonomics

Size is more of a personal preference, and it is also quite subjective. The ergonomics of a camera refers to not just how it feels on your hand, but also where the buttons are located. It should feel sturdy in your hands and not too big to accompany you on all of your adventures. We recommend reading reviews and gauging the size of a camera by its measurements.

Autofocus (AF) and shutter speed

Most modern DSLRs priced around $500 and more offer adequate autofocus speed for casual use.

A faster shutter speed (anything above 5 frames per sec.) will help you capture fast-moving subjects, but it must be combined with good autofocus tracking ability to guarantee your images are in focus.

However, the ability to fire off hundreds of frames isn’t necessarily a desirable thing, as there’s also the issue of how quickly your buffer can ‘clear’ (how long the camera will be ‘locked up’ while transferring photos to the memory card).

By comparing the specs of several DSLR models, you should be able to determine which one best meets your performance requirements.

Secondary features to consider

The following features will help you make your final decision when choosing your first ever DSLR camera. Only you will know whether they’re indeed crucial for your needs. So, just have a look.

  • Manual shooting modes – if you’re serious about learning and growing your photography skills, a camera with a Manual shooting mode is essential.
  • High ISO performance – allows you to shoot photos in low light without using a flash.
  • Rotating LCD screen – useful for experimenting with compositions.
  • Image stabilization – for better video recording and handheld shooting.
  • RAW image – often known as “digital negatives,” they include all of the data that your camera sensor captured in a shot…unprocessed. When editing, RAW images provide greater flexibility than JPEGs.
  • Mic input/output – essential for video recording
  • Weatherproofing/Dustproofing – helpful if you travel a lot or shoot in various weather conditions.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity – useful to transfer photos and videos wirelessly.


Best budget DSLRs for beginners

1. Canon EOS 4000D

Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera with Canon EF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 III Zoom Lens
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The Canon EOS 4000D is pretty well equipped to help you take the first steps in photography.

For an entry-level DSLR camera, you get a good image sensor, an interchangeable lens mount system, and good battery life. It also features a live view mode, and a good autofocus system. It can capture full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second, with good video quality.

The camera has an EF-S lens mount, which is compatible with several lenses. The 18-55mm lens can provide decent, sharp images with a lot of details. But mount a 50mm F/1.8 lens, you will see a huge increase in image sharpness.

•  Excellent as an entry-level camera
•  Very easy to use controls
•  Lightweight

•  Viewfinder is small
•  No touchscreen
•  Does not have Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology
•  The accompanying 18-55mm kit lens lacks image stabilization.

Good for: Landscape and still photography

Canon EOS 4000D specs:
Weight: 0.96 lbs (435gm)
Focus type: Auto
Max resolution: 18 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 1080p
Shooting speed: 3 frames per sec.


2. Nikon D5600 DX-Format

D5600 DX-format Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
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Highly recommended by photographers who are using it, the Nikon D5600 can be your ideal DSLR, if you’re a beginner or amateur and wanting to grow and improve on your photography skills.

Its high-resolution sensor and wide ISO range deliver excellent image quality. You can take images and capture movies in almost any environmental conditions – from bright sunlight to dimly lit events.

•  Quick and reliable 39-point auto-focus
•  Long battery life – suitable for all-day shooting
•  Excellent image quality – photos still look awesome when printed in larger sizes.

•  No USB charging
•  Video auto-focus isn’t great
•  Does not have 4K video recording
•  No Aperture Control for video recording.

Good for: Landscape, concert and travel photography

Nikon D5600 DX-Format specs:
Weight: 1.6 lbs (726gm)
Focus type: Manual & Auto
Max resolution: 24.2 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 1080p
Shooting speed: 5 frames per sec.


3. Canon EOS 250D

Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 Digital SLR Camera Body with Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 is STM Lens DSLR Kit Bundled with Pixibytes Complete Accessory Bundle - International Model (Renewed)
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The Canon EOS 250D, sometimes referred to as Rebel SL3, is a feature-rich and simple to use entry-level DSLR.

This camera is one of the most well-liked among photography students because of its useful built-in guide modes, accessibility to the vast Canon EF lens selection, and capacity to produce stunning photographs without spending a fortune.

The EOS 250D uses Canon’s unique Dual Pixel sensor technology, which is faster than the conventional ‘contrast AF’ used by most DSLR sensors in live view. This means the camera can focus quickly in live view or when capturing videos.

•  Lightweight & easy to use
•  Excellent as an entry-level camera
•  Records up to 4K video at 60fps
•  Produces vivid color photos
•  Photos still look awesome when printed in larger sizes.

•  Limited 9-point AF system
•  Small buttons

Good for: Landscape, still or food photography

Canon EOS 250D specs:
Weight: 1.0 lbs (454gm)
Focus type: Auto & Manual
Max resolution: 24.1 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 2160p
Shooting speed: 5 frames per sec.


4. Pentax K-70 Weather-Sealed

Pentax K-70 18-55mm Lens Kit Black, APS-C
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The Pentax K70, like most of its flagship DSLRs is well known for its outstanding weather-resistant performance. This is what sets the camera apart from other DSLRs, as no other brands have yet to pack such an amazing feature in a camera in this price range.

It is built to withstand water, fog, snow, and dust, allowing it to work well in harsh field conditions. The K70’s ergonomic design enables for effortless use even while you’re wearing gloves.

This camera is especially ideal if you do a lot of outdoor shooting. With some practice, you can definitely advance and grow your photography skills with this camera.

Other stand out features of the K70 includes a built-in image stabilizer, freely adjustable and wide-angle LCD screen, ergonomic four-way button controls for easy access and Pixel Shift Resolution with motion correction to provide high-resolution images with fine detail.

•  Weather-proof
•  Ergonomic button controls
•  Has built in flash
•  Good high ISO performance for an APS-C sensor
•  Great image quality with Pixel Shift Resolution enabled
•  External mic connector for off-camera audio capture.

•  No touch-screen
•  Viewfinders are rather dim
•  Slow buffer clearing
•  Below average battery life
•  It takes a bit longer to power up the camera.

Good for: Landscape and still life photography

Pentax K-70 specs:
Weight: 1.6 lbs (907gm)
Focus type: Automatic, Continuous-Servo AF, Single-Servo AF
Max resolution: 24.0 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 1080p
Shooting speed: 6 frames per sec.


Best DSLRs for beginners to go Pro

1. Nikon D780

Nikon D780 with AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
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The Nikon D780 is the D750’s successor, and offers even more powerful performance.

This is the first Nikon DSLR to include focal-plane phase-detection AF, offering significant improvements to live view photography. Its 51-point AF algorithm detects and follows subjects with more tenacity.

The camera also has a wide range of advanced image-making capabilities, such as better time-lapse movies.

•  Outstanding low light performance
•  Works like a mirrorless camera
•  Well-organized camera and touchscreen controls
•  Works nicely with other Nikon lenses
•  Built with extreme durability and designed for long-term use.

•  No built-in flash or AF-assist lamp.
•  May be too pricey for a beginner’s camera
•  The tilt screen does not completely articulate.
•  Focus points of the camera doesn’t cover a larger viewfinder.

Good for: Sports, action, landscape and wedding photography

Nikon D780 specs:
Weight: 3.31 lbs (1.5kg)
Focus type: Auto/Manual
Max resolution: 24.5 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 2160p
Shooting speed: 12 frames per sec.


2. Pentax K-1 Mark II

Pentax K-1 Mark II with D-FA 28-105 WR Lens
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The PENTAX K-1 Mark II features a new, powerful image-processing technology to provide the stunning image quality that all photographers expect.

It creates photographs with rich colour and gradation, great resolution, and excellent bokeh reproduction.

The camera also has increased ISO sensitivity, GPS, Shake Reduction II, and Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution, to mention a few.

•  Weather resistant and dust-proof
•  Great image-processing features – delivers sharper and better image quality and colors
•  Image stabilization sensor with 5-axes
•  LEDs illuminate the camera in the dark
•  Noise reduction ISO settings that can be customized.

•  Slow continuous shooting speed especially in low light
•  Not ideal for action photography
•  May be too pricey for a beginner’s camera
•  AF fine-tune adjustments required to get the best from your lenses.

Good for: Landscape photography

Pentax K-1 Mark II specs:
Weight: 5 lbs (2.26kg)
Focus type: Automatic, Continuous-Servo AF, Manual Focus, Single-Servo AF
Max resolution: 36.4 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 1080p
Shooting speed: 6 frames per sec.


3. Nikon D850 FX

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body with AF-S NIKKOR 24-120MM F/4G ED VR Lens
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The Nikon D850 has an incredible 45.7-megapixel wide-angle lens and fast image processing, which makes this camera capable of producing incredibly superb image quality.

You will be especially impressed with the sheer amount of detail collected in the RAW images. As a result, the RAW files will be huge, so make sure you have enough storage space for it.

Even in low light, the D850’s autofocus works very effectively. You can create 4K and 8K UHD time-lapse videos with crisp and clear photos silently. It also captures slow-mo full HD videos at 120p/100p smoothly.

The read/write speed and memory card transfer speed are incredibly fast. Except when you’re doing continuous shooting, the SD card by itself will start slowing down as it can’t clear the buffer fast enough.

If you have the budget, the D850 is one of the best cameras you can buy. You won’t feel the need to upgrade your camera anytime soon.

•  The focus speed is incredible
•  Produces outstanding image quality
•  Outstanding low light performance
•  Well-organized camera and touchscreen controls
•  Durable, weather-proof and designed for long-term use.

•  No built-in flash or AF illuminator
•  Rather heavy – may not be suitable for all-day use
•  Wi-Fi connection isn’t the best
•  May be too pricey for a beginner’s camera
•  The autofocus isn’t the best while shooting video.

Good for: Travel, landscape, action and portrait photography

Nikon D850 FX specs:
Weight: 2.02 lbs (0.916kg)
Focus type: Auto & Manual
Max resolution: 47 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 1080p
Shooting speed: 7 frames per sec.


4. Canon EOS Rebel T8i

Canon EOS Rebel T8i EF-S with 18-55mm is STM Lens Kit, Black in color
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The EOS Rebel T8i features autofocus technology that helps capture moments in impressive detail. Professional photographers do recommend this camera for beginners as it offers really good image quality. It has excellent image stabilization capabilities as well.

The Rebel T8i’s 4K video capture capabilities are ideal for shooting stationary videos. You can also transfer photos via its Bluetooth connectivity. This saves you time from having to remove your SD card.

•  Excellent as an entry-level camera
•  Great autofocus feature – produces amazing image quality
•  Ergonomic, compact and lightweight
•  Captures crisp and mostly grain-free photos even at high ISO levels.

•  Bulky construction and a rather plasticky design
•  Camera lenses won’t zoom out far enough to capture distant images.

Good for: Sports, landscape and travel photography

Canon EOS Rebel T8i specs:
Weight: 2.9 lbs (1.3kg)
Focus type: Auto
Max resolution: 24.1 megapixels
Video capture resolution: 2160p
Shooting speed: 7 frames per sec.


Final Thoughts

We hope this article has served adequate and useful information for you to invest, kickstart your interest in photography and grow your skills.

Remember, your skill as a photographer is far more valuable than the camera hardware. So don’t be too concerned with the numerous camera types and functionalities because every camera brand is unique.

When you’ve purchased your first ever DSLR camera, learn how to use it, experiment and practice perhaps with a daily or weekly photo challenge. With constant practice, you will see significant improvements in your photography skills.

Also, remember to have fun!

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