Suggest me which camera to buy

The best camera for beginners: Our advice for beginners

Would you like to buy your first camera and are overwhelmed by the many offers on the market? Then you are exactly right with us. We'll show you which cameras are the best choice for beginners and give you specific buying tips.

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It's probably the question we get asked most often: "Which camera should I buy as a beginner?"

So far we have always referred to our detailed article on camera purchase advice.

Since it is also about cameras for advanced photographers, we decided to write our own article about the best cameras for beginners.

And here it is!

In this article you will find cameras that are well suited to getting started in photography and that above all do not cost a fortune.

All cameras presented here are priced between 250 and 600 euros.

Our tip: If you want to learn photography, be sure to take a look at our online photography course and our photo guide for beginners.

Quick overview: the best cameras for beginners

If you don't have the time or inclination to read the entire article, here's a quick compilation of our top 3 purchase recommendations.

Best DSLR camera for beginners

Our favourite: Nikon D5600
Price: approx. 600 euros including kit lens

Buy at Foto Koch
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Calumet

Best system camera for beginners

Our favourite: Sony Alpha 6000
Price: approx. 500 euros including kit lens

Buy at Foto Koch
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Calumet

Best bridge camera for beginners

Our favourite: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000
Price: approx. 500 euros

Buy at Foto Koch
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Calumet

System camera or reflex camera?

If you are hesitating between a reflex camera and a mirrorless system camera when buying a new camera, our detailed article about the advantages and disadvantages of both systems may help you.

In the following article we will show you the differences between the two types of cameras and what is the right choice for you:

System camera or single lens reflex: differences simply explained

Everything you need to know to buy a beginner camera

If you want to buy your first camera, you are sure to have a lot of questions buzzing through your head. We want to clarify these questions right from the start.

What does an entry-level camera cost?

The cheapest cameras cost around 250 euros. If your budget is very limited, you can definitely buy one of the very cheap cameras. They're really ok to start with.

If your budget is a bit bigger, we recommend that you look around in the price range around 500 euros. The quality differences to the very cheap cameras are relatively large and you benefit from your investment for longer.

Many beginners spend significantly more money on a camera right from the start. Of course, if money doesn't matter to you, that's fine. Otherwise, we would rather advise against taking that much money into your own hands.

If you are not yet sure whether you will use the camera regularly at all, it would be a shame about the money. The risk is simply too great that the camera will eventually get dusty in the drawer.

Buying a cheap camera doesn't mean you can't take good pictures with it either. It is much more important to actually be able to operate the camera.

There are so many people out there who have wickedly expensive equipment and still can't get nice photos. And then again there are people who take the best pictures with a € 400 camera.

Our tip: If you would also like to belong to the second group, we can warmly recommend our 22places online photography course for beginners. There we explain the complete basic knowledge of photography to you in easily understandable texts and videos. So you can take really great photos even with a beginner's camera.

Here we have two sample photos that we took with a cheap entry-level camera. It doesn't look too bad, does it?

Which camera manufacturer is the best?

In all honesty, that cannot be said across the board. Whether Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus or Panasonic - they all make good cameras and also have entry-level models on offer.

In the area of ​​single-lens reflex cameras, Canon and Nikon are still the pioneers and score above all with a huge selection of lenses.

When it comes to mirrorless system cameras, the other providers are ahead and have really shaken up the camera market in recent years.

Isn't a smartphone enough for taking photos?

We hear this question more often and of course it is absolutely justified. You can take really good pictures with a modern, high-quality smartphone.

Then why buy a camera at all? Let's put it this way: if you're just an occasional snapper, then a smartphone is really enough. You always have it with you and it takes good pictures.

But if you really want to take photos and not just take pictures, then that simply doesn't work with the smartphone. With a real camera, you can just do so much more. Taking photos is more fun and it is also done much more consciously.

If you ask us, there is no alternative to a real camera if you really want to take photos.

What do I have to look out for when buying an entry-level camera?

Now we come to the most important features your camera should have. Basically, you don't have to worry that you will be completely wrong with your purchase decision.

There are no such things as absolutely bad cameras, and you can take good pictures with everyone. There are, however, minor differences and we want to go into the most important points here.

Manual adjustment options

If you really want to learn how to take photos properly, your camera must support manual settings. You should at least be able to set the aperture and shutter speed yourself on the camera.

If that doesn't mean anything to you now, that's fine. You can tell whether the camera can do this by the fact that there is a wheel on top of the camera on which the letters P, S, A and M are depicted (on Canon P, Tv, Av, M).

If the camera has that, you're on the safe side.

Matching lenses

If you decide to use an SLR or system camera (more on this decision will come in a moment), you will need a lens for these cameras.

There are often so-called kits for beginners in which the camera is delivered with a lens. These kits are usually very cheap compared to buying them individually.

Such kit lenses have a relatively bad reputation, but in our opinion that is often nonsense. Of course, a kit lens is usually a relatively inexpensive lens especially for photography beginners. But it's perfectly fine to get started with.

The great thing is that you can simply buy a new lens later when your demands on it have increased. Fortunately, every manufacturer offers a large selection of lenses, so you should quickly find what you are looking for.

You can of course also find a detailed article on what to look out for when buying a lens from us:

Lens purchase advice: Our tips for lens purchase

Folding display: yes or no

Many photography beginners want a camera with a flip display. We personally don't attach great importance to it, but in principle it's pretty practical.

If this is an important feature for you too, be sure to pay attention to it when buying. Not every camera has a flip display.

What type of camera is best for beginners?

Before you decide on a specific camera model, you first have to consider what type of camera it should be. There are four different types of cameras:

  1. Single lens reflex cameras (DSLR)
  2. Mirrorless system cameras (DSLM)
  3. Bridge cameras
  4. compact cameras

In the following sections we will introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of the individual camera types and give you our assessment of what is the best choice for you when buying a beginner camera.

For each type of camera, we also give you our recommendations on which cameras are best for beginners.

System camera or single lens reflex: differences simply explained

SLR cameras for beginners

I'm sure everyone knows SLR cameras. They are still seen by many as the ultimate in photography, even if that is no longer necessarily true.

Basically, an SLR camera is not a bad choice for beginners. There are very cheap and good models especially for beginners. With a reflex camera you are also very flexible, as you can easily retrofit it with better lenses later.

The biggest disadvantage is certainly the size and weight of SLR cameras, although the entry-level models are still relatively light.

Also read our great buying guide for single lens reflex cameras for beginners

Advantages of a DSLR camera for beginners:

  • There are good and, above all, inexpensive cameras for beginners.
  • You have a wide range of lenses to upgrade your camera later.
  • The picture quality is very good.
  • DSLRs impress with their ease of use and good handling.
  • The batteries last a very long time.
  • SLR cameras are relatively robust and resilient.

Disadvantages of a DSLR camera for beginners:

  • SLR cameras are relatively large and heavy.
  • They often offer a little less technical aids than a mirrorless camera

Is a DSLR camera the right choice for beginners?

You are definitely not doing anything wrong with an SLR. You have many options later to easily upgrade your entry-level camera with a better lens.

However, single lens reflex cameras are larger and heavier than any other type of camera. If you prefer to travel with less weight, this is probably not the best choice for you. Due to their size, SLR cameras are also best in the hand, which in turn is an advantage.

Our purchase recommendations: Inexpensive SLR cameras for beginners

If you're looking to get started with a DSLR camera, you won't get past Canon and Nikon. You will find the largest selection of good entry-level DSLRs at these two manufacturers.

If price is the deciding factor for you, we recommend the Canon EOS2000D or the Nikon D3500. These are the cheapest entry-level models on the market. Special features such as For example, you will have to do without a foldable display.

If you want to take around 100 to 200 euros more in your hand, you will of course also get a better camera. Both Nikon and Canon offer good entry-level cameras in this price range with the Canon EOS250D and the Nikon D5600. The advantages over the very affordable models include a folding display and improved autofocus functions.

In our opinion, the price difference is definitely worth it, as you really get a lot more for your money.

Overview: The best entry-level SLR cameras

Canon EOS 2000D

The price of the Canon EOS 2000D cannot be beat. With a simple kit lens, you can get this entry-level camera for as little as 350 euros.

At 475 grams, the EOS2000D is relatively light for a SLR camera and still quite handy.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Nikon D3500

The Nikon D3500 is Nikon's affordable entry-level model. The camera costs around 450 euros with a kit lens.

With a weight of 415 grams it is a whole lot lighter than the Canon EOS2000D.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Canon EOS250D

The Canon EOS250D is our purchase recommendation if you don't want to buy the most affordable DSLR camera for beginners. With a kit lens, it costs around 550 euros and, in addition to a foldable display, also offers better resolution for videos.

In addition, the housing is slightly lighter and more compact than that of the EOS2000D at 450 grams and the display is slightly larger.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is also available with a kit lens for around 600 euros. At 465 grams, the camera is a little heavier than the other entry-level models.

In direct comparison to the Canon EOS250D, we would prefer the Nikon D5600 because of the better autofocus. That's why it's our top buy recommendation among entry-level DSLRs.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Mirrorless system cameras for beginners

Mirrorless cameras have increasingly overtaken single-lens reflex cameras in recent years. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm were the pioneers here and now offer a large selection of cameras and lenses.

Nikon and Canon slept through the trend for a long time, but are now also offering their first models. The future definitely belongs to mirrorless cameras.

Advantages of a mirrorless system camera for beginners:

  • Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than a single lens reflex camera
  • Simple operation and good handling similar to a DSLR
  • Mirrorless cameras offer very good image quality
  • You have a large selection of lenses, but not quite as large as with SLR cameras

Disadvantages of a mirrorless system camera for beginners:

  • The battery usually lasts much shorter with mirrorless cameras
  • Mirrorless system cameras are not quite as inexpensive as single-lens reflex cameras

Is a Mirrorless System Camera the Right Choice for Beginners?

Just like an SLR camera, a mirrorless system camera is a good choice for beginners. If you'd rather carry a little less weight with you, a mirrorless camera is a better choice for you.

Another advantage of a mirrorless camera is that manufacturers are currently focusing on these systems. This means that the selection of suitable lenses is growing as new ones come onto the market on a regular basis.

Our purchase recommendations: Inexpensive mirrorless system cameras for beginners

The prices for the cheapest entry-level system cameras are slightly higher than for the SLR cameras. You have to put almost 500 euros on the table for a system camera including a kit lens.

Sony Alpha 6000

With the Alpha 6000, Sony sparked the boom in mirrorless system cameras in 2014. Even if the camera has been around for a few years and there are already several successor models, it is still our tip for beginners.

For around 500 euros you can get the Sony Alpha6000 including a kit lens and you definitely won't go wrong with this purchase. We took photos with the Alpha6000 ourselves for a few years and can only warmly recommend it.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

For us, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is the best beginner camera from Olympus. The camera with lens is available for around 600 euros.

Particularly noteworthy here is the integrated image stabilizer, which is unrivaled in this price category.

To the camera at Amazon / at Calumet

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX80

And we also want to introduce you to our favorites from Panasonic. For us, the ideal system camera for beginners is the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX80.

For around 450 euros you can get a solid camera including a kit lens. A big advantage is the very small size of the camera. It's super handy and, depending on the lens, hardly bigger than a compact camera.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Bridge cameras for beginners

Many beginners to photography choose a bridge camera first. In contrast to SLR cameras and mirrorless system cameras, bridge cameras have a built-in lens.

These lenses usually offer a very large zoom, but in most cases the image quality cannot keep up with SLR cameras or system cameras.

If you need to dive deeper into photography later, you can't just buy a better lens with a bridge camera, you have to buy a new camera right away.

Advantages of a bridge camera for beginners:

  • Bridge cameras are relatively compact and lightweight
  • The built-in lens has a very large zoom
  • Bridge cameras are very cheap

Disadvantages of a bridge camera for beginners:

  • You cannot buy new lenses with it
  • The image quality is not the best in all situations (e.g. in the dark)

Is a bridge camera the right choice for beginners?

We would only recommend a bridge camera for beginners in certain cases.

If you already know pretty well that you will never have greater demands on your photography, then a bridge camera is a good choice. You can use it to take solid photos and also play with manual settings.

In some situations (e.g. in poor lighting conditions) you will sooner or later reach your limits with a bridge camera. If that doesn't bother you, a bridge camera is a good and, above all, inexpensive alternative.

Our purchase recommendations: Inexpensive bridge cameras for beginners

The big advantage of a bridge camera for beginners is the low price. You can get a solid model from around 250 euros.

Canon PowerShot SX540 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS is an affordable entry-level model. For only 250 euros, it offers a really good price-performance ratio.

The 50x optical zoom is more than sufficient for all situations and the camera even has an image stabilizer.

Of course, you shouldn't have the highest demands in terms of operation and image quality for this price, but this is definitely a good choice to start with.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ82

When it comes to bridge cameras, Panasonic offers one of the largest selection of models. The cheapest entry-level model is the FZ82.

For only about 250 euros, it offers 60x zoom and 4K video recording. Just like the Canon just presented, it offers an excellent price-performance ratio.

To the camera at Amazon / at Calumet

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000

If you want to spend a little more on a bridge camera, we recommend the Lumix DMC-FZ1000.

With a price of around 500 euros, it belongs to the upper class of bridge cameras. The larger image sensor in particular makes the difference to the two very affordable models. At the end of the day, you can see that in the image quality.

The camera offers a 16x zoom, which is completely sufficient and can do more than most lenses of single-lens reflex and system cameras. The relatively high speed of the lens should also be emphasized.

If we had to choose a bridge camera for beginners, we would take this one.

To the camera at Foto Koch / At Amazon / At Calumet

Compact cameras for beginners

Compact cameras are the smallest and lightest alternative when buying a camera. If all other types of cameras are too big for you, a compact camera might be an option for you.

Due to the small size, however, you have to make compromises in terms of image quality and handling.

Advantages of a compact camera for beginners:

  • As the name suggests, they are compact and light

Disadvantages of a compact camera for beginners:

  • You cannot buy new lenses with it
  • The image quality is not that good, especially with cheap models
  • Handling and operation are not as comfortable as with a larger camera
  • You have fewer manual setting options

Is a compact camera the right choice for beginners?

We would not recommend a compact camera to get started.

Basically, a compact camera doesn't have to be bad, we like to use one ourselves if we don't want to take the large equipment with us.

However, you have to put a lot of money on the table for a good compact camera, which is why they are not the best option to get started.

In the end, affordable compact cameras in particular offer little more than a smartphone. In addition, the operation of a compact camera can be quite complicated, especially for beginners.

Many control elements, for which larger cameras have their own buttons and wheels, are more difficult to find on a compact camera due to the smaller space available.

Our purchase recommendations: Inexpensive compact cameras for beginners

If, despite everything, you have decided on a compact camera to start with, we of course also have a purchase recommendation. Here we can really only recommend a camera in the lower price segment with a clear conscience.

Sony DSC-RX100

The Sony DSC-RX100 offers a decent picture quality and is relatively bright. The built-in lens has a focal length of 28 to 100 mm, which roughly corresponds to a 4x zoom.

A big disadvantage for us is the lack of a viewfinder, but that's normal in the price category. The weight of 240 grams and the very small design are of course ideal to have the camera with you wherever you go.

To the camera on Amazon

Do you have any questions?

These were our tips for buying your first camera. Do you have any questions about us? Or maybe you would like to share your experience of buying a camera with us? Then we look forward to your comment.