Are you new to photography? Or are you a casual photographer who just wants a camera to capture memories? Entry-level cameras are great for beginners. They pack enough features and processing power to meet almost all your needs. But what qualifies as a camera for beginners? Of course, beginner DSLRs (and mirrorless cameras) are usually inexpensive.
But there are several mid-range entry-level cameras in the market that cater to the needs of beginners. Explore our top ten picks for the best DSLRs for beginners in India from top players in the optics and imaging realm like Canon, Nikon, Sony, and more. We also have a buying guide to teach you the technical side of things.
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Table of Contents
We explore various factors involved in buying a beginner DSLR camera, like megapixels, image stabilization, sensor size, and many more in the sections below. Read our buying guide to learn the technicalities and their significance.
The prime difference between these two types is that a DSLR has a mirror that reflects light into the viewfinder, while in mirrorless cameras, the light goes straight to the sensor. The absence of mirrors makes mirrorless cameras extremely lightweight and compact.
Beginners will find mirrorless cameras easy to use since they come with digital viewfinders, while DSLRs have optical ones. What you see on the LCD screen while making adjustments to the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc., will be very similar to what you will see on a digital viewfinder.
Here are some aspects that could soon become irrelevant. There are numerous lenses from various manufacturers available for DSLRs, while the range of lenses for mirrorless cameras is small. Many mirrorless cameras in the market feature 5-axis image stabilization, but the same is rare in DSLRs. There is no winner here. Pick a camera that has features you want the most.
Entry-level or beginner cameras often come with "kit" lenses. Canon and Nikon usually provide the 18 - 55 mm lens, Panasonic comes with a 15 - 45 mm lens, and Sony gives you a 16 - 50 mm lens. You don't have to worry too much about the numbers.
They come under the wide-angle to mid-telephoto zoom lens category and are good for landscape as well as portrait photography. If you are into wildlife photography, you would want to go for a camera that comes with a telephoto zoom lens.
The 55 - 250 mm lens from Canon, 70 - 300 mm from Nikon, and 55 - 210 mm from Sony are some examples. These qualify as wide-angle as well as telephoto lenses. Dual lens kits are also available. For example, you can buy a Canon E0S 1500D that comes with 18-55 mm and 55-250 mm lenses, which are great for portrait, landscape, sports, and wildlife photography.
Beginner DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with APS-C and full-frame sensors are available in the market. A full-frame sensor is 36mm wide, while an APS-C is a bit smaller (size varies across brands). Since the full-frame sensor is larger, it will capture more of the scene than an APS-C sensor.
Each pixel in this type of sensor is larger, capturing more light, which creates an image with a better dynamic range. The larger pixels also give better performance in low-light situations. Since full-frame cameras allow for a shallower depth of field, you will be able to capture portraits with beautiful bokeh (the same will be sharper in an APS-C camera).
Full frame cameras cost higher than an APS-C sensor camera. But there are advantages to buying a camera with an APS-C sensor too. A DSLR with an APS-C sensor is lighter and compact, making it easy to carry while traveling. The images look more zoomed in, which makes macro, wildlife, and sports photography easier.
You must have seen smartphone manufacturers marketing the high megapixel (MP) count of their products. But does that matter in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras? The more megapixels a camera has, the more you can crop the picture before the individual pixels start showing.
Pictures taken with high MP cameras allow you to make large prints since more detail is captured. If you need pictures for social media or to print photographs, a camera with megapixels between 12 and 24 MP is more than enough. Don't be fooled by the high megapixel count marketing tactics of DSLR and mirrorless camera manufacturers.
Just because a camera is expensive doesn't mean that it will have the features you want. For example, if you want a camera for vlogging or for taking selfies while traveling, you would want one with a flip screen. Similarly, having a camera with NFC will allow quick transfer of photos and videos to your smartphone.
Nowadays, companies like Sony are making affordable entry-level cameras that support 4K video recording. Content creators on a budget usually go for such cameras. Some cameras like the Nikon D3500 come with guide mode to educate rookies about the various functions and features of the camera. Check the specifications on the official website of the maker before buying.
A DSLR or a mirrorless camera with image stabilization (IS) will help you capture sharp images even in low light conditions, when you may be forced to shoot at slower shutter speeds to get a properly exposed image.
There are two types: lens-based and in-camera. Lens-based image stabilization works by shifting the lens in the opposite direction of the camera shake. In-camera stabilization works in a similar manner: it adjusts the image sensor.
A lens that comes with IS will be much more expensive than its non-IS counterpart. But in-camera systems allow you to use any type of lens. Companies use different names for the IS technology they use. Find out about the type of image stabilization from the product description.
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Features a Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD Monitor
Fast and Accurate Autofocus With 79 AF Points
Has a Dust and Weather Resistant Body
Affordable 4K Camera for Vloggers
Faster Autofocus With Face and Eye Detection Algorithm
Alpha ILCE 6000Y
Comes With WiFi and NFC
Instantly Transfer Photos Using SnapBridge
Canon’s Affordable 4K Beginner DSLR
Single and Dual Lens Kits Available
Guide Mode Helps Beginners Create Amazing Photos
With continuous autofocus, you can shoot crisp full HD videos with the Canon EOS 80D. The camera comes with 45 autofocus points, enabling faster and more accurate photography and videography. Compared to its predecessor, EOS 70D, which has only 19 AF points, this is quite an upgrade.
It has a native ISO range of 100-16000, which is not that impressive considering the price point. Although it can be expanded up to 25600, it is not recommended since you are likely to end up with grainy photos. The 18 - 135mm lens that comes with the camera has image stabilization available, which means there is no in-camera stabilization.
In burst mode, the EOS 80D is capable of reaching 7fps, allowing you to capture brief moments in crisp clarity. Another key feature of the EOS 80D has is the touchscreen. You don't have to turn any dials or press any buttons to change settings while in Live View mode.
Sony Alpha ILCA-68K is an affordable beginner camera with some decent specifications. The camera's shutter speeds can go up to 1/4000 sec, enabling you to shoot in very bright conditions and also capture fast-moving objects with crisp clarity.
The ISO range for still images is 100 - 25600, while the upper limit reduces to 12800 while shooting videos. The Alpha ILCA-68K viewfinder comes with in-camera image stabilization. This means you pay less if you want to buy extra lenses.
This camera comes with 79 AF points. Cross-type autofocus is much more accurate than normal AF. While our first recommendation (Canon EOS 80D) has 45 cross-type AF points, this camera only has 15, and the rest are the normal type. With a tiltable screen and a top display panel, beginners will find the Alpha ILCA-68K easy to use.
Although a bit on the pricey side, the Pentax K-70 comes with some impressive features. With shutter speeds capable of reaching up to 1/6000 sec, you can easily capture fast-moving subjects. A broad ISO range of 100 - 204800 means shooting in extremely dark conditions is going to be a cakewalk.
Beginners can experiment and learn a lot with the several scene modes, image modes, and digital filters available in the camera. Its in-camera stabilization allows you to use a wide range of Pentax and legacy lenses. We recommend Pentax K-70 to travelers too.
It has a dust and weather-resistant body that enables shooting in adverse conditions. Also, the vari-angle LCD monitor is great for selfies and vlogging. For a DSLR, the Pentax K-70 is compact and lightweight.
Panasonic LUMIX G7 is one of the most affordable cameras on our list. It may come as a surprise to you that it can shoot videos in 4K. 25 fps. It is possible for this price range because the camera features a micro four-thirds sensor, which is smaller than APS-C. This also makes the camera compact and lightweight (410 grams), making it easy for you to carry while traveling.
It also has a vari-angle touch-enabled LCD monitor. The 14 - 42mm that comes with the camera is a wide-angle to medium telephoto lens. On an APS-C camera, this lens would have been a short-telephoto lens. Although it has a micro four thirds sensor, the dynamic range of the camera is quite impressive. We recommend Panasonic LUMIX G7 to amateur photographers and vloggers.
Here is another 4K mirrorless camera for casual photographers and vloggers. The Fujifilm X-T200 shoots videos in 6K and downsamples it to 4K. This results in exceptional image quality and very little noise. It also comes with an HDR (High Dynamic Range) movie mode that captures videos with three different exposure settings and combines them.
This technique preserves details in shadows and highlights. The X-T200 offers three types of image stabilization. The digital gimbal stabilization uses gyro sensors and algorithm to compensate for camera shake, but there will be a 2x video frame crop. The second type, digital image stabilization, only does a 1.1x crop.
If you don't want any digital cropping, you can choose optical image stabilization that's built into the company lenses. Online reviews about this camera always highlight the confusing menus and control, which could be a drawback for beginners.
The Sony Alpha ILCE-6000Y comes with two lenses: a 16 - 50mm (wide-angle to mid-telephoto) and a 55 - 210mm (wide-angle to telephoto). The former is good for portrait and landscape photography, while the latter offers a versatile zoom range for portrait, landscape, wildlife, and sports photography. Since it is a mirrorless camera, it is compact and lightweight, making it a wonderful travel companion.
The camera has WiFi and NFC capability. If your memory card fills up, you can transfer the photos and videos to an NFC-enabled device quickly and easily. Beginners will find the camera's electronic viewfinder helpful since it shows you exactly what the camera's sensor sees, allowing you to click properly lit photos.
Sony Alpha ILCE-6000Y doesn't have in-camera stabilization. But the kit lenses have built-in optical image stabilization. If you are planning to buy extra lenses, look for Optical Steadyshot (OSS), which is Sony's marketing term for lens-based image stabilization.
Nikon D5600 two lens kit comes with an 18 - 55mm wide-angle to short telephoto lens and a 70 - 300mm medium telephoto lens. Both have Vibration Reduction (VR), which is Nikon's marketing term for lens-based image stabilization.
The 24.2MP sensor allows you to click pictures for large prints. Install the SnapBridge app on your smartphone, and you can instantly transfer the pictures that you click in full resolution or as 2-MP versions.
Nikon D5600 has a CIPA rating of 820 shots, meaning the camera can click that many photos on a single charge. You apply filters, resize pictures, trim videos, and do many more with ease right from the touch-enabled LCD screen. User reviews show that the camera performs well in low-light conditions.
While shooting using the optical viewfinder of the Canon EOS 200d II, you can make use of the nine cross-type autofocus points. Switch to live view mode, and you can select up to 3975 focus positions, allowing more accurate and more precise focusing on your subjects.
You can shoot 4K videos at 25 fps and full HD videos at a maximum of 60 fps. But we don't recommend this DSLR for vlogging since the total weight of the body and the 18 - 55 lens that comes with it goes up to 869 grams. You could tire your arms pretty quickly.
Canon EOS 1500D is the cheapest camera for beginners on our list. The CIPA rating for this camera is 500 shots with optical viewfinder shooting and 240 shots when you use the live view monitor. On a full charge, you can shoot 1 hour 30 minutes of full HD video.
The camera only has 9 AF points, of which the one in the center is the only cross-type point, so don't expect it to be quick in keeping a moving subject in focus. You can click images of acceptable quality if you stay in the native ISO range of 100 - 6400. But if you decide to push it further (expandable up to 12800), you may end up with some extremely grainy shots.
Nikon D3500 is popular as a beginner-friendly camera. It comes with an Auto mode that lets the camera decide the optimum settings for the scene. You just have to focus on composition. There is also a guide mode, when turned on, provides on-screen guidance to new photographers.
Worried that you may miss those brief, beautiful moments? Turn on Burst mode, and the camera will capture up to five frames per second. You can shoot full HD videos at 60, 50, 30, 35, and 24 fps. Connect to the SnapBridge app in your smartphone using Bluetooth for seamless sharing of your favorite moments.
Did you choose your very first DSLR? If not, check out other cameras like action cameras, camera drones, and vlogging cameras. As usual, we have a top 10 list and a buying guide to advise you on how to choose the best one for your needs.
Both cheap and expensive DSLRs are good for beginners. Expensive DSLRs come with tons of features that will make capturing photos easier, while cheaper models will push you to find ways to overcome the camera's limitations.
Mirrorless cameras are on par with DSLRs. Our buying guide explains the differences between them, which will help you decide if it is the right one for you. Make sure that you don't fall for pumped-up megapixels of modern cameras. It just doesn't matter unless you plan on clicking pictures for large prints.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
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