Investing in an entry-level DSLR or digital single-lens reflex camera is a great starting point for photographers who want to take this hobby or profession a bit more seriously. Point-and-shoot cameras may be able to help you learn the basics but a DSLR can certainly take you into another level. With the many options available in the market today, it may be a quite daunting task to pick the best beginner DSLR that can help you in tweaking and learning the ins and outs of photography. Not only are these cameras able to provide you with good quality photos and videos, they are also more consistent, reliable and can provide longer battery life, too. As the different manufacturers release more models, the more options that you have in return.
There are some entry-level DSLRs that are remarkably affordable while other models can be really expensive. Additionally, there are also those that are very user-friendly and some may be very confusing and tricky at first glance. Of course, the more features that you want, the higher the price you will also need to pay for, as well. So, the main question here will be, what kind of camera do you really need or want to have? Knowing the answer to this question can definitely help you in determining the right one to spend your money with.
Why you need a DSLR camera
Let us first have a look at some of the reasons as to why investing in a DSLR camera might be a good decision for you. Even though this upgrade will also mean having to pay for more, at the end of day you will also realize that it is worth the price, indeed.
Better Image Quality
Since DSLRs have image sensors that are typically larger than your average point-and-shoot camera, you are getting pixel sizes that are larger, too. ISO is also faster so that means you get to have faster shutter speeds with less noise and grain. If you have used an average point-and-shoot camera for quite a long time you will surely notice how the DSLR differs as you press the shutter release and take the actual photo. Now you no longer have to worry about missing that perfect shot or moment because there will be no more delay or lagging on the shutter. Another advantage is that you can also take photos in low light and your images will still be usable.
Although compact cameras nowadays may come with longer optical zoom abilities, DSLRs on the other hand are able to open up a new dimension as they also offer options to change lenses depending on your preference. As a beginner it is very crucial to note that the quality of your images will greatly vary and rely on the quality of the lens that you have. Aside from the lens, you can also opt to change flashes and other accessories depending on the kind of project you wish to tackle.
Another advantage of a DSLR camera is that it is designed in a way that the photographer can always control the settings manually. Although some average cameras can also have the manual mode, DSLRs are greatly built for those who want full control while shooting.
The anti shake technology is among the very famous features that you can get from a DSLR. This feature works in a way that the image stabilization technology has already been built into the body of the camera, hence making it more reliable.
Most DSLRs nowadays come with the ability to get connected wirelessly through Wi-Fi. Now you can easily view, transfer and edit your shots using your smartphone or other device.
A few tips and tricks
After learning more about the advantages of having a DSLR, you are surely more than excited to head on the store and buy your very first DSLR camera. Now, if you really want to choose the best beginner DSLR, there are several tips and tricks that you can keep in mind so you won’t have to get caught up with a lot of options, in the end causing you to just pick something without having a really deep thought about it.
How much is your budget?
If you are just beginning as a professional photographer, chances are you do not have overflowing fund yet. For that reason alone, you will need to consider a very important factor before deciding. How much will you be able to shell out for your new camera? Can you afford the latest model or do you think an older model will do as long as the quality is passable to your standards? Don’t forget that when you talk about budgeting, you are not only referring to the camera body alone, but also the budget for other things that you will need, as well, such as memory cards, additional batteries if you want, filters, tripod and flash, along with camera case and bag, too.
Cameras come in so many megapixels that at times you may just get confused on which one is actually the better. Generally speaking, anything that scores above 10MP is impressive enough. This will actually depend on how you plan to use your camera. Of course, if you want to shoot professional photos that are larger and sharper, a higher resolution is a must for that. If you are to ask any professional photographer, you might be surprised to know that higher is not always better.
Size also matters.
Others may find it a disadvantage that DSLR cameras are often bigger and heavier, making it hard to squeeze into your personal things. If you think the same too, then perhaps you will also need to consider the size of the camera that you are going to buy. It is true that there are several ones that are a bit heavy but it is also not very hard to find one that is lightweight and compact.
Best beginner DSLR cameras to choose from
For a budget-friendly DSLR for beginners, the Nikon D3300 will surely be a best buy. It is impressively packed with features that you would often find in other higher end DSLRs, but it still is surprisingly under the category of entry-level cameras. Beginners will never have a hard time using this camera as it boasts user-friendly interface and with features that you cannot easily resist. The kit will come with a Guide Mode that can give you a better understanding of how the features and functions work, which is indeed a great tool for those with less experience.
With an EXPEED 4 processor and an image sensor of 24.2MP, the D3300 also comes without the optical low-pass filter making it really close to the Nikon D5300, only cheaper and easier to use. As you go about shooting, you will surely be impressed with how the filterless sensor is able to produce images that are with undeniable good resolution and sharpness. Its ISO capabilities are very unusual an entry-level camera not to mention the battery life that is above the average, too.
Canon also has a wide range of entry-level cameras that can also very well compete with other brands and models. With the Canon Rebel T5, not only has the imaging sensor updated, but you can also enjoy the advantages of improved HD resolution, plus a better exterior design that features a rubberized handgrip. It is exciting to note, too, that the T5 is also offered at an affordable price, as it is still considered budget-friendly by most photography enthusiasts.
The Canon T5 might just be the best beginner DSLR that you are looking for if you are very particular with the image quality, hue and color accuracy and quick autofocus. While it is not as fast as other models when it comes to ISO performance and burst shooting, the Canon Rebel T5 is still a great alternative if you want a camera that is easy to use and comfortable, too. One of its amazing features is the Scene Intelligent Auto Mode which basically combines several Canon technologies – all in a single shooting mode. Other features include the Picture Style Auto, Automatic Lighting Optimizer, Automatic White Balance, Automatic Exposure and Autofocus. These factors altogether contribute to achieving images of high contrast as you shoot.
Once again, another Nikon model made it to this list – this time with the Nikon D3100 on the line. This camera has won various awards as one of the best entry-level cameras. With 14.2 megapixels on full HD movie mode, it also comes with the Guide Mode that lets you familiarize yourself with the different modes and settings of the camera. It is also the very first Nikon DSLR that offers 1920×1080 movie recording, which is great news for those who also want to enjoy shooting videos and short movies using this camera. Other key features include ISO 100-3200 range (which can be expanded up to 12,800), 3’0” LCD monitor of 230,000 dots and an image sensor cleaning or what is usually referred to as the sensor shake.
Sony Alpha a77II
Although Sony has been focusing more on producing mirrorless cameras, it does not mean that they have stopped developing a wide array of entry-level DSLRs. In fact, the Sony Alpha a77II is also among the top picks when it comes to choosing the best beginner DSLR. Actually, it does not only compensate beginners, but even those from the intermediate level would also prefer this camera. With 24.3MP BIONZ X image processor and APS-C sized Exmor CMOS sensor, one can tell how it can fairly compete with other popular models. Its other strengths include 1080p/60 video recording, ISO 25600 and continuous shooting of up to 12 fps.
Another enticing feature of the Alpha a77II is that it gives you the ability to share and view images wirelessly, with its built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Now it is easier for you to transfer, edit and view your shots using other devices.
It seems to be a common practice for entry-level cameras to usually sacrifice some advanced features so that the manufacturer may be able to lower the market price for it, too. Well, this is definitely not the case with the Pentax K-50, thankfully. With 16.3 megapixels and APS-C sensor, the K-50 still manages to produce images of high quality with the help of its Prime M Processor. You can also expect to shoot at 6 frames per second at a continuous pace, not to mention the ISO sensitivity of 51,200 for low light shootings. As for the video function, it boasts of 1080 HD with maximum of 30 frames per second. The Pentax K-50 also features pentaprism optical viewfinder that was originally from the K-30.
This camera is also perfect if you are the adventurous type, as it also bears the 81-point weather sealing design from Pentax, keeping it conveniently protected from different weather conditions. May it be snow or rain or anything else. But then, remember that this camera is not waterproof so make sure not to go swimming while holding it. And if you want to maximize the weather sealing benefit, you can also opt to purchase weather resistant lens, although that can be a bit expensive.
Choosing the best beginner DSLR
Don’t let yourself be stopped by the sprouting models and brands that are available in the market, because at the end of the day, it will still be you who will make the final decision. Don’t get carried away by really low price tags or brand popularity because those are only minor considerations when making a choice. Make sure to know what you really want and how you intend to use your camera. Look closely at the features and don’t forget to consider other factors, too. If you are on a tight budget, you might want to put that on your priority list, but if you are looking for something more advanced and high end, that is also fine.
As a beginner, there would still be a lot of things that you will need to know about this profession. If you want to take this seriously, buying the right DSLR camera makes you one step closer to it. This is why it is very essential that you pick only the best camera for you. You can also ask around especially if you know a lot of good photographers. They can surely help you out in coming up with a decision. Alternatively, you can always look online and read about reviews written by other photographers. This will surely help you out in deciding.