Our phones take amazing photos. Still, if you want to learn photography and express your creative side, you need a camera. DSLRs offer superior handling, output accurate colors, and come with a smaller price tag than today's mirrorless models. The best beginner camera is easy to learn while also giving you enough features to grow with your hobby. If you're ready to make the jump, take a look at the best DSLRs for beginners.
Best for basics
Nikon's newest entry-level camera made our best digital cameras list. The D3500 sports a 24.2-megapixel (MP) sensor, 11 autofocus points, and HD 1080p video output of up to 60FPS. Under the hood, you'll get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a flippable backside LCD, a viewfinder, and a comfortable to hold rubberized grip. With the D3500, Nikon is throwing in their 18-55mm kit lens for free, as well as a few extras. If you currently have a point-and-shoot camera or take pics with your phone, you'll have no trouble learning the ins and outs of this camera.
World's smallest DSLR
Canon's EOS Rebel SL3 is the world's lightest and smallest DSLR. Fresh to market, the Canon SL3 comes equipped with a 24.1MP sensor, 9 points of autofocus, a 3-inch rear screen and viewfinder, and 4K video. The tiny Rebel SL3 produces useable JPEGs straight out of the camera; no fancy editing software needed. This is an ideal camera for those who like the size of mirrorless but still prefer the steady handling one gets from DSLRs. The SL3 comes with a battery and wall charger.
Excellent weather sealing
Most entry-level cameras don't come with much in the way of weather sealing. The Pentax K-70 is different. Known for its hearty weather sealing, this Pentax DSLR operates at temps from 14 degrees to 104 degrees and in snow, sleet, hail, and rain. The K-70 has 24.2 MP, in-body image stabilization, a variable-angle LCD on the back, a viewfinder, and Wi-Fi. If you plan to take your camera out no matter what the weather, this is the best beginner camera on our list.
A classic from Canon
Canon is beloved the world over for their easy to learn systems, inexpensive lenses, and ergonomically friendly designs. The EOS Rebel T7 has an impressive 24.1MP crop sensor, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and 9 autofocus points. The optical viewfinder is crisp, and there's a 3-inch live viewfinder on the back. You'll get a few extras with this bundle, including an 18-55mm lens, a 75-300mm lens, and a black shoulder bag to carry it all. If you're already invested in Canon or love the famous Canon colors, the EOS Rebel T7 is a solid camera with a small learning curve.
Best action camera
It costs a little more than some of our other choices, but the Nikon D7500 is a camera you can grow into and use for years to come. This model is a cut above the rest. The image quality is on par with many full-frame cameras! With 51 autofocus points, you'll have no trouble zooming in on a bird in a tree or your kid playing on a soccer field. The D7500 has a 20.9MP sensor, weather sealing, 4k UHD video up to 30fps, and has both a built-in viewfinder and a bright LCD on the back. If you want a camera, you will be happy to use it years from now; this is the best beginner camera for you.
An inexpensive full-frame DSLR
If you want to start with a full-frame camera instead of the crop sensor usually found in cameras for newbies, grab the Canon 6D Mark II. It's a full-frame DSLR with 26.2MP, 45 AF points, and Full HD at 60fps. On the back is a vari-angle 3-inch touchscreen that's positionable for selfies and video. The 6D Mark II is a beginner full-frame DSLR that's a cinch to use and outputs beautiful images and video.
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The best digital camera for you is the one that fits your budget and gives you a little room to grow. Whether you're just learning the tricks of the trade or you want a lightweight DSLR for hikes and travel, beginner-friendly cameras live up to the hype. Priced right and feature-packed, DSLRs are a great entry point into the world of photography.
You'll get the most bang for your buck with the Nikon D3500. It's lightweight enough to carry around all day, has a comfortable grip, takes beautiful photos, and it comes with a kit lens.
If you shoot outdoors and don't want to worry about protecting your investment, the Pentax K-70 offers the best in weather sealing. This is also the only camera on our list with built-in image stabilization. The K-70 is a well-rounded model that comes complete with an excellent walkabout lens.
The Nikon D7500 is a camera you won't outgrow. With the same specs as the class-leading D500, this model takes superb action photos and stills. There are numerous buttons and dials, many of which can be programmed, and the camera has just the right amount of heft to fit comfortably in your hand while still being lightweight enough to hold all day.
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Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. She's a freelance writer for iMore, Android Central, and Windows Central.