Choosing the best camera for a novice photographer

You are an aspiring photographer. Perhaps you already have experience shooting with a handheld camera – a “soap box” – or even an Instagram account with a good hundred followers, where you upload photos taken on your smartphone. But at some point you may want more: do creative photography, try to make wedding photography, or just get high-quality images in conditions that your equipment can’t cope with. One way or another, your way to a large photograph lies through the store where you come for a real, serious, professional camera. And here…

However, there may be many further options for the development of events: you can buy a SLR camera for professionals , take a camera offered by a sales assistant, you can wait a while for the final choice and, bogged down in reading endless reviews, wait for a new mythical camera to be released without any shortcomings. But we offer a simpler solution: having tested many cameras, talked with hundreds of amateur photographers, carefully examined the prices on the market, we have selected for you three models that are ideal for the role of a camera for a novice photographer. Why exactly them? We will talk about this in our article. However, you can simply scroll to the end and see these cameras.

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The best camera for a novice photographer. 2017 year

First, let’s decide which camera to choose , what functions you will need for teaching photography and creative photography. The first is manual settings . The camera must have them. Moreover, all manual settings should be at hand, easily accessible. Therefore, we sweep away all “soap dishes” at once. Cheap compact cameras most often do not have the ability to manually set the basic parameters.

Compact cameras are convenient and easy to use, but do not provide the same creative potential as SLRs

The second is the ability to shoot with a blurry background . Separating the main subject from the foreground and foreground using a shallow depth of field is a very common artistic technique that should be in the arsenal of any photographer. But to get such a blur in the frame will not work with any camera. First of all, the size of the image sensor – the matrix – is important. The bigger it is, the better. In SLR cameras, large matrices are traditionally used: 24×36 mm format or APS-C (approximately 23.5 x 15.6 mm). Hence the glory of cameras with a high-quality image, fixed to the mirrors. But here the roots of one mass misconception lie: the mirror itself in the design of the SLR camera does not affect the image quality in any way, but is necessary only for the optical viewfinder to work.

SLR camera. The section shows a large matrix hidden behind a mirror. The mirror is needed only for the optical viewfinder

Therefore, in our list of the best cameras for the novice photographer to classic SLR cameras, I would also add a significantly newer type of camera – compact system cameras with interchangeable lenses , they are also called mirrorless cameras .

Mirrorless cameras have a large matrix, work with interchangeable optics, but at the same time more compact than DSLRs

And since we are talking about interchangeable optics, then let’s say a few words about it. Both in SLRs and in mirrorless ones, the quality of the future image is at least 50% dependent on the lens used. Moreover, it is the mounted lens that determines how far the camera will zoom in or out (see the article “Choosing the right lens for the camera” ). The term “zoom” is not used at all for such cameras. You can additionally buy and install almost any lens on the camera. There are lenses for macro photography, lenses for portraiture, telephoto lenses for shooting distant objects … There are huge opportunities for further development. But we will return to the choice of the first lens a little later in other articles, but for now, let’s figure out the choice of camera model.

Interchangeable optics makes it possible to shoot any plot in any situation

Professional, semi-professional and amateur models

All SLR and mirrorless cameras can be safely divided into three groups: “professional” , semi-professional and “amateur” . Having a large purchase budget, I want to choose something professional for myself. But to cool your ardor, I will draw an analogy with the world of cars. The professional camera in this comparison is closest to heavy trucks, excavators and dump trucks, and not at all to luxury SUVs and sports cars. It is as difficult to master as an excavator. Its main disadvantage is the inability to obtain a high-quality result without special skills.

Professional DSLR Canon EOS 1D X

Professional Nikon D4S DSLR

Buy Nikon D5200

And it is not even a matter of specific functions – all cameras are shot according to the same principles , using the same functions. Just management of professional and semi-professional cameras is designed for experienced photographers. Each important function is assigned its own button or lever, and the settings are changed by simultaneously pressing the corresponding button and rotating a specific selector. That is, you need to know not only where to access a certain function, but also in what cases to apply this or that setting. Once I sat in the cockpit of a modern construction crane – the same sensations: hundreds of buttons and levers, and it is not at all clear what they are for.

You will have to control a professional or semi-professional camera with the help of many buttons and selectors

Buy Canon EOS 650D

“SLR cameras for fans” is an analogue of ordinary passenger cars. They are easier to manage, and the quality of images is no worse. Moreover, the matrix responsible for the quality of photographs can very often turn out to be the same in an amateur and semi-professional camera. In such a technique there is also its own premium class – it is an analogue of expensive cars. But we will talk about such cameras in another article. Today we choose a really high-quality camera for a reasonable price.

Amateur DSLR Interface

How to save money on buying a camera?

To get more and pay less is so nice! When buying a camera, there are several ways to save from ten to fifty percent of the cost. How? Very simple! The first way is to buy a camera with your hands, albeit not a new one. I do not recommend this method. The fact is that even an experienced specialist will not be able to identify possible problems in the camera for a limited time – this is so complicated technology. Repair of even a small malfunction is most often carried out in a very radical way – by replacing half of the filling of the camera, which, together with the cost of the work, is very, very expensive.

Buy Sony Alpha A5000

Therefore, in order not to find unnecessary problems, it is better to buy a camera with a new one, in a store, with an original warranty card . And the only safe way to save money is to buy a model not of the latest model range, but of the previous one. Most often, such cameras differ only in some additional functionality and are very close in image quality and a set of basic functions. The difference in price can be palpable.

Prophotos recommends

We took into account all the factors described above and chose three camera models “for beginner photographers” , which today give the best quality photos, do not have an overpriced price and are simple and clear to operate. Choose the one you like best!


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