The Best Cameras For Beginners On A Budget 2019: Compacts, DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras

Here, we round up the best of each type of camera for photography beginners who have limited funds to spend on a camera.

|  Powershot SX540 HS in Digital SLRs
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If you're starting out in photography, it can be tricky to know where to start when it comes to buying your first camera. Never fear, though, as we are here to try and help you find the perfect photography companion with our 'Best Cameras For Beginners On A Budget' top list. 

As a beginner, there are 3 main factors you need to consider when purchasing a new camera:

  • Ease of use
  • Price point
  • Portability

You are going to need something that is easy, and not too complicated, to use until you get more familiar with your new hobby. Plus, you probably won't want to spend too much money either because, as you progress, you will most likely want to upgrade your kit, be it more lenses or a new body, to something a little more advanced. It's also wise to consider the size of your new camera because if you find it too cumbersome you'll not want to take it out with you.

Here, we are going to list the best cameras for beginners in 4 main categories - DSLR, mirrorless/CSC, ultra-zoom/bridge and compact to give you a wide range of options that may suit you. 


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Why Is My Favourite Camera Not On The List?

Feel free to make a suggestion in the comments section below if you don't see a camera, you think, is perfect for beginners. 

DSLRs For Beginners 

The original and still considered the most versatile camera choice is the DSLR. If you are serious about photography and want to learn all the ins and outs, including working manually, then a DSLR is an ideal choice. You can get a decent body for under £400 and then as you progress, you can choose to buy new lenses as you please and not have to worry about getting used to a whole new setup. If you have a bit more money to spend, have a look at our Top 10 Best APS-C DSLRs for more choices. 


Canon EOS 2000D 

Canon EOS 2000D

The Canon EOS 2000D is an update to the Canon EOS 1300D, with the 2000D now featuring a 24mp APS-C CMOS sensor. There's built-in Wi-Fi and NFC as well as a number of scene modes and effects. Images have good colour reproduction, the camera is really easy to use and it has good ergonomics/handling. Battery life is decent, too. 

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Nikon D3500 

Nikon D3500


The Nikon D3500 is a very compact Digital SLR, and offers DSLR quality images, thanks to a large APS-C CMOS sensor. It would make a great option for those looking for their first DSLR as it's easy to use, is a reasonable price and captures great photos. The most impressive feature of the Nikon D3500 is the incredible battery life, with the camera offering up to 1550 shots! If you're sick of having to charge batteries, change batteries, or if you travel a lot, then this camera may be the ideal camera for you.  

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Pentax K-S2 

Pentax K S2 (2)


The Pentax K-S2 has a flip-out screen, ideal for photographing from different angles. It has a very ergonomic design for easy grip while still being compact, and features a 20.12-megapixel sensor. 

There are inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC, as well as 20 digital filters to choose from. The camera is also weatherproof and a very affordable bundle. 

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Mirrorless / CSC Cameras For Beginners 

Mirrorless camera still give you the versatility to change lenses and achieve full manual control, ideal for those wanting to progress in photography. The main plus point for mirrorless cameras is size. Rather than reflecting the light to the sensor using a mirror-like in conventional DSLRs, mirrorless cameras skip this element, allowing them to be much slimmer. Check out our best entry-level mirrorless cameras for more options.


Canon EOS M100

Canon EOS M100

The Canon EOS M100 is a compact mirrorless camera, that is easy to use, and results from the camera are good, with colourful images, that are detailed with well-controlled noise. For beginners, this would make a great mirrorless camera as it's a mostly point-and-shoot camera that's easy to use but it doesn't have many external controls. You may also want to look at the older Canon EOS M10 which the EOS M100 updates. If you have more money to spend, have a look at the Canon EOS M6

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Olympus PEN E-PL9 

Olympus PEN E-PL9

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is a stylish mirrorless camera, that delivers excellent image quality, with numerous shooting features, and a wide range of lenses making this a great choice. The Olympus PEN E-PL9 delivers the same high image quality of other Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, giving excellent colour reproduction and great JPEG images straight from the camera. Noise performance is good, although doesn't quite match the performance of some APS-C cameras.

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Ultra Zoom/Bridge Cameras For Beginners

If you don't want the fuss of having to change lenses but still want a big reach in terms of zoom, then a bridge camera could be the answer. Still providing reasonably large sensors and manual settings, they are a great in-between choice for those transitioning to a manual camera. If budget isn't a problem take a look at our best ultra-zoom cameras article for more choices. 


Panasonic Lumix FZ82

Panasonic Lumix FZ82


The Panasonic Lumix FZ82 ultra zoom is an update to the FZ72, with a 60x optical zoom lens, and 4K video recording. The lens is the equivalent to 20 to 1200mm in 35mm terms, making it one of the widest angle lenses available in a camera, ideal for estate agents, as well as one of the longest zoom cameras available with 4K video. The camera features an improved electronic viewfinder, an 18-megapixel sensor, and a 3inch touch screen. The only thing that could make this camera better, is the provision of a tilting screen, but if you can live without it, then the Panasonic Lumix FZ82 makes an excellent choice.

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Nikon Coolpix P900

Coolpix P900


The Nikon Coolpix P900 also has a whopping 83x optical zoom and Wi-Fi. There is a tilting and flip-out screen for ease of use when shooting in different situations, and it's also possible to shoot at less than 1cm away from your subject, making it great for macro photography. 

You can shoot video in FullHD 1080p, and there is an Auto HDR mode ideal for those looking to learn more about this method of shooting. The camera is really ergonomic, featuring a good grip and has special modes for shooting birds and the moon, too. 

If you have a lot more money to spend, have a look at the Nikon Coolpix P1000.

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Canon Powershot SX540

Canon Powershot SX540 HS


The Canon PowerShot SX540 HS is an updated version of the SX530 HS, which we reviewed in October 2015. 

The SX 540 HS has 50x optical zoom and good low light imaging capabilities. It has a 20.3-megapixel sensor, compared to the 16-megapixel sensor of the SX530 HS. It also has the power of a DIGIC 6 processor. ZoomPlus allows you to digitally double the zoom capability without losing resolution.  

The camera sports a good grip and is relatively small for the huge zoom range. There is a pop-up flash and the camera also has a bright, good-sized screen on the back. The design is well thought out with large buttons. 

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Nikon Coolpix B600 

Nikon Coolpix B600


The Nikon Coolpix B600 offers a 60x optical zoom lens in a relatively compact camera body, with easy to use controls, and good handling, but with just a 3inch screen on the back, and no electronic viewfinder, or tilting screen, it doesn't offer the same level of features as the competition. This coupled with a fairly high price make it difficult to recommend. If the price were to drop then it could be worth looking at, as colour reproduction is good.

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Compact Cameras For Beginners

If you're not sure whether a hobby in photography is for you, or simply wish to start basic, there are easy to use compact cameras that are good value and still capture a good image. These are very compact, so can be slipped into a pocket or bag when not used. If you're looking for more compacts that won't break the bank, have a look at our best budget cameras article


Canon Powershot SX620 

SX620 HS PowerShot


The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS features a 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4+ processor and an eight mode Intelligent Image Stabiliser. It also has a 25x optical zoom that's extendable a further 50x with ZoomPlus. 

The SX620 is actually an update of the SX610 and it features more zoom than the previous model, better battery life and a higher resolution screen. Plus, it's smaller in size as well. 

As you'd expect from a modern compact, Wi-Fi and Dynamic NFC are built-in along with a Creative Shot mode for applying effects such as miniature and fish-eye. The PowerShot SX620 HS captures full HD movies with Dynamic IS and video footage can also be merged with stills with the help of Story Highlights.

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220

Cyber-shot WX220


This Sony Cyber-shot WX220 ultra-compact camera also has an ultra-compact price. It has an 18.2-megapixel sensor and a 10x zoom lens. If you're style-conscious, this one looks pretty sleek. 

The camera has HDR and iSweep panoramic modes along with built-in image stabilisation. It also has an impressive 10 frames per second continuous shooting mode. 

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10

Panasonic Lumix SZ10  (8)

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 has a tilting selfie screen and a 12x zoom. There is a 16-megapixel sensor and the lens has optical image stabilisation. The camera has a good rubber grip and a simple layout of controls. Ther is also built-in help to explain options and settings, ideal for beginners. 

The camera has lots of creative effects and is compact and lightweight.

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Not Found The Camera For You? 

If you're still looking for the perfect camera, have a look at our 'Best Gear' section of the site. Don't forget you'll also need a memory card to go with your new camera and perhaps a camera bag


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Photographs taken using the Powershot SX540 HS

LizardCaptain of the boatLet's all go Hicking for Silly Sunday.Beach and shadowsRoxyLong distance little trainRock fallHis Own ThoughtsPort Roxa continued.Silly CockerelPort RoxaCliffsRed pathThe Waffle CaféZante Town

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24 Jul 2019 11:50AM
Awesome low-budget cameras..very good article, useful for many beginners. Cheers from Fotograf Nunta Sibiu!

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