What Camera Should a Beginner Buy in 2020? – Tiny Tips 21

Last Updated on September 24, 2020 by Susheel Chandradhas

Most first-time dSLR camera buyers ask around a lot, and do a lot of research before making their first (or second) camera purchase. They’re justified in their concern that they should not buy something that turns out to be a bad choice. I have good news for all such buyers. Beginners should buy the camera that they can afford immediately. They’re likely to get the most benefit from that decision. Here is why.

There Aren’t Any More Really ‘BAD’ dSLR Cameras 

Digital cameras are no longer in the experimental phase. They’re now solidly established in terms of technology, and as a result, you’d be hard pressed to find any dSLR camera made in the last 5 years that is a ‘bad’ buy.

There are good imaging sensors everywhere! On phones, on micro four-thirds cameras, on APS-C & Full-Frame dSLR and Mirrorless cameras.

In short, you would have to work very hard to find a camera that is demonstrably bad.

So, instead, let’s look at how to find a camera that is the best fit for you: 

  1. Decide how much money you want to spend on your camera gear at this point in time.
  2. Pick a brand that you like: Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus – they’re all good technically, and mechanically with only small differences between them. They’re all supported by major software players like Adobe, Capture One, etc.
  3. Don’t worry about the number of Megapixels the camera offers. Anything over 12 Megapixels has long been sufficient. Today most cameras, including your cell phone’s front facing camera offers image files that are over 8 Megapixels, and often go as high as 108 Megapixels.
  4. Look at the range of lenses that the brand (or third party lens makers) offers. This is probably the most important part of the purchase, because you’re going to want to expand your collection of lenses … possibly even before you outgrow your camera body. Believe me on this. Canon, and Nikon probably have the best lens collections available, but 3rd party manufacturers like Sigma, Tokina, Samyang and others have collections of cheap, yet good quality lenses too.
  5. Try out the ergonomics of the body you’re about to buy: Once you decide on a camera body based on the principles outlined above, try it out at a local camera store. They’ll most likely have a demo camera on show for customers to try out. If you like how it feels in your hand, then it’s all good… Go buy it!
  6. Don’t think about it any more: Just buy it. Every possible choice is a ‘Good’ choice. Like I said before … there are no bad choices anymore.  The more time you spend contemplating the good and bad aspects of each of the 15 cameras that you’ve picked out, the less time you have to take photographs, and that’s what you should be doing anyway!

Where to buy your dSLR Camera

Make your camera purchase on AmazonB&H, or Adorama and you’re good to go.

8 comments Add yours
  1. Great post! I love your focus on not overthinking things. With market diversity these days, it’s so easy to get bogged down with making the “right” decision that you lose sight of how incredible camera technology has become.

    Good move highlighting lens selection as well. It’s no fun to buy an awesome camera and find out that it doesn’t accommodate many good lenses. I’ve been very impressed with Sony’s lens offerings lately. Are you familiar at all with any of the E- and A-Mount systems? I’ve found them to be surprisingly comparable in quality to many of Canon and Nikon’s offerings.

    How long do you typically “test drive” a camera before making a decision to purchase? I always try to go out and shoot for at least a few days, and with short-term camera rentals becoming more popular that’s easier than ever. Nothing beats actually feeling the camera in your hands and seeing how the shots turn out!

    1. Hi Sara,

      Glad you like the post. I’ve recently bought a Sony A6300 in an effort to get to know the Sony ecosystem a little better before splurging, so yes, I’m a little more familiar with the E mount lenses now. Some really good stuff in the G Master series. There’s also some very good 3rd party lenses for the system, some mainly geared towards the filmmaking community.

      I generally don’t ‘test drive’ a camera for too long. Maybe a day or so at the most. However, with the slightly more expensive purchases, I guess renting the camera for a few days makes your purchase decision all that more secure.

      Thanks for stopping by. I like your website.

  2. Cheap and viable cameras are what the beginners should go for. Take a gander at the scope of focal points that the brand (or outsider focal point producers) offers. This is presumably the most vital piece of the buy, since you will need to grow your gathering of focal points conceivable even before you exceed your camera body. Trust me on this. Group, and Nikon most likely have the best focal point accumulations accessible.

    1. I’m guessing that you mean ‘lenses’ when you say ‘focal point’. You’re 100% right about choosing a camera platform based on the collection of lenses on offer, and yes Canon, Nikon, and now Sony have quite a good range.

  3. Think of a Nikon 3300DX with a 35mm f1.8 prime lens. First, it meets your price point. Second, that body doesn’t have an autofocus motor in the body–it relies on the lens have the motor. So that saves size and weight. Third, that 35mm prime is small and light, sharp, good for low light, and good for street photography. When I was using that lens, I got chromatic aberration in bright light but otherwise very sharp, quick and good for landscapes, buildings, and people (inside and out).

  4. Just don’t be astonished when (not if) the perfect lense costs more than the camera! But the difference in your photos is frequently amazing.

    1. I totally agree… Since we’re talking about beginners though… It’s great to strike a balance. The perfection of expensive lenses comes into play when one starts looking into high end photoshoots that are intended for very specific destinations that actually need perfection..

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