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This post was most recently updated on November 13th, 2022

Upgrading to a DSLR camera can seem daunting at first. With so many options and features available, the definition of an entry-level camera can seem bewildering.

There are a lot of possibilities with a single lens yet the basics for a DSLR remain the same. A digital sensor and the expected functions of burst shooting and an Autofocus.

The DSLR you buy can come with so many features that it becomes difficult to use without a manual at hand. You could be tempted by a bundle package, yet that could make things worse.

Options are great but too many may hamper your learning of how to capture the best photographs.

For a beginner, you should not have to break the bank to find the right DSLR for you. The right camera will have the features you need, with controls you can easily practice with.

Whether you are on a budget or want a camera you can progress with. In this guide, we have found the best DSLRs for beginner photographers.

Best Entry-Level DSLR For Ease Of Use – Nikon D3500

There are cameras that are just as easy to use as your regular ‘point and shoot’, the Nikon D3500 is one such DSLR. This is a step up from your smartphone with a 24.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor that captures images in gloriously high detail.

An 11-Point Autofocus with Dynamic and 3D tracking is fit for a higher-end DSLR so we were surprised it was found here. Included in the D3500, it makes getting the right shot of your subject effortless.

You still want to show off your photos, don’t you? With the SnapBridge app that’s easily done due to its Bluetooth compatibility. Keep a smartphone or tablet nearby and those photos can be admired without handing over your camera.

All the functionality you would expect from a DSLR while making it easy to share your fantastic photos.

Pros

  • SnapBridge App – Bluetooth compatibility to let you share your photos on a tablet or smartphone
  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor – Ideal for capturing all the available detail in your photos
  • 11-Point Autofocus – For capturing a subject on the move
  • Excellent Battery – Expect to take over 1,500 photos on a single charge

Cons

  • Lack Of A Touchscreen – Unless you are taking videos, this should not be a huge problem

Best Entry-Level DSLR To Progress With – Canon EOS 90D

Mirrorless DSLRs that still pack in the best features can be difficult to find. The Canon EOS 90D is an exception making it a camera to learn alongside. Firstly, this was an ideal camera to hold with a deeper grip that we really enjoyed in our testing.

A joystick for switching to the Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus was very handy too.

Aside from being easy to handle, the 45-point Autofocus means moving targets should not be daunting. Try it out with rapid subjects, and you may be surprised by how stunning the photos are. Especially with a brilliant color reproduction that provides a wealth of detail.

For continuous shooting, there is a more than decent 10 frames per second. Then again, the video is just as good with 4K 30 frames per second and a full wide-angle view.

Pros

  • 45-Point Cross-Type Autofocus System – Track and capture moving subjects such as wildlife or during sports events
  • 10 FPS – Quick enough for those vital photos from continuous shooting
  • 4K 30FPS Video Compatibility – Enjoy a full wide-angle view when you record a video

Cons

  • Price Tag – With features to grow into, this is priced at the higher end of the market

Best Entry-Level DSLR For Adventures – Pentax K-70

If you want to truly test your DSLR then you want one that can stand up to the elements. The Pentax K-70 is fit to deliver stunning photos, even in the wet, the wind, and the cold.

A dustproof and all-weather-resistant body means you should not worry about taking the camera out almost anywhere. Throw in a dust removal system that is unique to Pentax and that is some surefire reassurance.

Even in difficult situations such as low-light scenes or extensive zooming, in-body shake reduction keeps your images blur-free. You should also maintain control in the cold with ergonomic controls like a comfortably high mode dial.

Then again, you could just use the wireless functionality and use a mobile device to adjust settings, check and capture images.

Pros

  • Dustproof And Weather-Resistant – Take out the camera into all conditions with a dust-removal system and a cold-proof design to keep out water
  • Shake Reduction – An in-body shake reduction mechanism ensures sharp photos even in difficult situations
  • Ergonomic Buttons – Even with gloves on, you should be able to choose the settings you want.
  • Wireless Functionality – Remotely check the image and adjust the camera settings through a mobile device

Cons

  • Limited Autofocus Points – For all the added adventure-centered features, an 11 point autofocus is a little disappointing

Buyers’ Guide

Getting the best DSLR as a beginner photographer is an exercise in knowing what you want. If you want to learn photography as you go then find one with several features that remains easy to use.

There are also cameras that are built for durability and come with a design you can rely on. The entry-level DSLRs are also designed for experimenting so you should find them relatively simple to handle.

A solid battery life for long hours of practicing should also be expected.

Ergonomic Controls

Knowing what the various controls and settings mean is one thing, being able to change them easily is quite another. A lot of manufacturers have only tweaked the design of their controls but that can make a huge difference.

Chunkier dials so you do not accidentally decide on the wrong one and curved buttons you can feel. Learning how to use your first DSLR can simply be getting out there and holding it. Over time, you can practice and learn what each control means and how it feels when you change them.

Wireless Connection

The development of smartphones means that a lot of us believe we are amateur photographers already. We also expect to be able to publish them on an app within moments of the event happening.

While you may have a good eye for a great photo you will also want to share it quickly with others, and the world. A wireless connection can mean sharing them with another Bluetooth-enabled device. It should also prove easy to upload your photos and videos to various apps too.

Autofocus System

The autofocus is how the camera tracks and captures a moving subject. The more autofocus points a camera has, the quicker and easier it will recognize the subject that you want to capture.

This is very important if you want to capture a live event such as sports where there could be several possible focus points. In the brief time it takes your camera to recognize the subject you want to capture and the scene itself, that moment could be gone.

Continuous Shooting

Experimenting with continuous shooting is another great way of capturing a still image from a moving scene. This could be wildlife while on safari or a roaring fire, and you look for an increased number of frames per second.

The higher the FPS, the higher the chance of capturing the image you want from a wide selection.