Fed up with taking low quality images on a smartphone? Dream of having a photo library so impressive it’ll have your friends and families gawping? It’s time to invest in a proper camera.
If you’re new to the world of photography, it can be tricky to know where to start - there are so many different types of cameras on the market from DSLR and mirrorless to compact and film focused. Luckily, we’re on hand to help you make sense of it all and get you set up with the perfect camera for beginners.
Here are our top four considerations when purchasing your first camera:
Resolution - Also known as ‘megapixels’ or ‘MP’, this number links to the size of the image that the camera can capture. Although a higher MP number means a higher resolution, there isn’t need to go above a 12MP camera - that will produce A3 size prints without any blur.
Design - If you’re planning on splashing out on a good quality camera, then you’ll want it to be perfectly suited to your needs. Every camera is unique and has a different set of qualities, so consider whether you’d prefer something smaller and compact for portability, a touchscreen model or a larger camera with clear controls.
Connectivity - Nowadays most cameras will connect to your mobile phone and apps in some way or another. The most common ways are through bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC connectivity or a mixture of two or more.
Lenses - You’ll need a high quality lens in order to capture good images. Most cameras come with a fixed lens that offers a standard zoom range. However, there are beginner cameras that offer a lens kit that allows you to swap lenses based on the distance of the image you’re taking.
Now you know what to look out for, shop our top recommended cameras for beginners below - there’s everything from budget friendly mirrorless models to premium compact cameras.
Shop our selection now
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
A great budget camera, and a fine choice for beginners, the E-M10 is small and aimed at stills photographers, while still retaining some video capabilities.
Its 20MP sensor conforms to the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning it is smaller than the full frame or APS-C sensors found elsewhere, and brings a 2x crop factor to your lenses. The camera is perfectly capable of taking amazing pictures, and the smaller sensor means it can be even more compact than its mirrorless peers.
While it lacks a few advanced features, such as phase-detect autofocus, 4K/60 video recording, and microphone or headphone sockets for video use, it does have an effective IBIS system, offering up to 4.5 stops of stabilisation.
The Micro Four Thirds lens mount is supported by Olympus and Panasonic, with third parties such as Sigma and Samyang bringing more budget-friendly options to the table.
The other thing about the E-M10 is its pleasing retro style. It’s a fully modern camera, though, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, and a great range of in-camera effects via the Advanced Photo mode.
Buy now £649.00, Jessops
Nikon Z 30 Mirrorless Camera
Developed with creatives in mind, the Nikon Z30 is Nikon’s best vlogging camera yet. It’s the perfect device to help elevate your content and make that much needed switch from smartphone to mirrorless cameras.
Thanks to its compact and lightweight features it’s the perfect travel companion and will ensure you capture and document those unforgettable moments.
There are tons of advanced features compared to previous models - 4K video, 20.9MP, 11FPS, and 125 MIN.recording will take your videography and photography to the next level. The touchscreen monitor is easy to use and allows you to shoot from any angle. For beginners, the deep grip ensures stable handheld shooting that minimises any shakiness or image blurring.
Impressively, there’s space for vloggers to record 125 minutes of video footage and that can easily be uploaded to social media platforms via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When it comes to audio, there’s a built-in mic that works perfectly as well as the option for an external mic to get that extra crisp and clear sound. The onboard wind-noise reduction function reduces external sound.
Buy now £839.00, Jessops
Kodak M35 Film Camera
This M35 is a plastic-bodied simple-use camera with a fixed focus lens and the only setting being flash on or off. It’s easy to wield in every capacity and looks similar to the Ilford Sprite-11 - being around the same size and lightweight.
If you’re looking to take your first steps in the world of analogue photography, this is an enjoyable beginner’s camera to get. Both modern and retro - you can choose between a range of cool colours like red, yellow, light green, sky blue and pink.
With this little point-and-shoot, you will look forward to such refined and romantic pictures, simply load with 35mm film and start snapping your favourite memories.
Buy now £21.00, Amazon
Akaso Brave 7 LE
With a cost below £200, the Akaso Brave 7 LE is accessibly priced for practically anyone, whether you’re a videography veteran or a complete beginner. The ideal introductory action camera (or a good choice if you’re prone to breaking your tech), it offers fantastic value and 4K video, plus a handy front display screen for selfie shooting.
While the camera alone is waterproof only to one metre, diving housing is included in the box and has a depth rating of 40 meters. There’s also a very handy second battery, as you’ll likely only get an hour to an hour and a half out of each charge.
Like the Hero9, 10 and DJI Osmo Action, it has a front display that enables you to view yourself while shooting, but it’s a feature you get at close to half the cost. The touchscreen back display is also exceptionally intuitive, allowing you to adjust modes and camera settings with a quick tap.
Buy now £139.99, Amazon
Canon EOS R10
Released only a few months ago, Canon’s latest offering is an impressively versatile camera that joins the company’s fast-moving mirrorless lineup. If you’re looking to move away from a DSLR or smartphone camera, this is the perfect next step.
The R1 can manage an extremely fast burst of 15fps using its mechanical shutter, rising to 23fps if you use the electronic shutter, which also enables a shutter speed of 1/16,000th of a second - perfect for capturing wildlife or moving objects.
Other notable features include built-in stabilisation, 4K/30p video quality and YouTube live streaming for the budding bloggers amongst us.
With the same AF system as cameras that cost four times as much,the R10 looks very much like a baby version of Canon’s pro cameras.
Buy now £899.00, Canon
Trading blows with Canon’s cheaper cameras, the D3500 was launched in 2018 and pairs a decent 24MP APS-C sensor with responsive autofocus and a beginner-friendly body.
The rear screen is fixed, there’s no 4K video, and it features only one SD card slot. However, you do get a burst speed of 5fps, and an 11-point AF system using the viewfinder that certainly gets the job done.
‘Modest but effective’ are the words to cover most of the D3500’s features. You get 1080p video at 60fps, and focusing in Live View is simply a matter of touching the screen.
Not bas as a camera for someone just starting out on their photographic journey.
Buy now £475.35, Amazon
Dubblefilm Show 35mm analogue camera with flash point
This camera is perfect for beginners - but then again quite a lot of reusable film cameras are.
If you want to move away from taking phone snaps, but still want to be in the moment and not have to worry about camera settings or lenses - this may be your best bet. You can still learn with this device like how to load and unload film or explore creativity using a 35mm point and shoot. It is a great all-rounder, and overall image quality is really good.
This camera comes in black and pink and sits inside a plastic case. This case isn’t exactly a camera bag and there’s no padding whatsoever but it’s handy for carrying the camera around in and is more environmentally friendly than disposable cameras.
Buy now £58.00, Selfridges
Polaroid Go Instant Camera
This iconic camera with its signature retro look is far from retro in terms of its features. We love the addition of a selfie mirror, LED film counter display, a self-timer and a micro USB charger to keep it running. As one of the smallest compact cameras on the market (designed to be used with just one hand), it’s the perfect starter instant camera and is designed for on-the-go movement as it fits easily into most pockets.
If you’re looking to buy the Polaroid Go, look out for deals which include sets of film so you can start taking pictures instantly.
Buy now £84.99, Amazon
Sony Vlog camera ZV-1
If content creation is your thing and you love documenting the latest TikTok trend but want to take your filming to the next stage sans a smartphone camera, little else rivals the Sony Vlog camera.
Featuring a selfie-friendly LCD screen, a recording lamp and a body grip, this camera is perfect for taking videos and photos wherever you are.
When it comes to videoing or taking pictures of people, there’s a Soft Skin Effect that optimises natural skin tones and brightness. Coupled with the real-time Eye AF technology that tracks people’s eyes, even in 4k videos, this camera is top notch.
We particularly liked the 3-capsule microphone attached to the camera which reduces background wind noise making your voice clearer - perfect for those outdoor vlogs. The ZV-1 is also compatible with Sony’s Bluetooth shooting grips which makes recording even easier.
Buy now £667.00, Amazon