The Best DSLR Camera For Beginners

What is the best DSLR camera for beginners? I’ve been asked this question a lot. Even though I am not a pro by any stretch of the imagination, people still ask me that question – perhaps because they know that I once walked in their shoes. It’s easy to simply point them to the camera I chose without any real explanation other than “it’s pretty easy to use,” but I’ve been feeling a bit guilty for that simple answer.

When you are a beginner, and you ask about the “best DSLR camera for beginners” some people assume that you are really asking for “cheap and easy.” But, as someone who has made this query myself, I can tell you that “cheap and easy” is *not* what I was really looking for. So, here’s my attempt at a better answer:

Assumption #1

For the sake of argument I am going to assume that since you are visiting this site, you probably are interested in both video and photography for use at your church. So, you are probably looking for a device that excels at both.

Assumption #2

I am also going to assume, since you are visiting this site, that while cost is not the main issue, it is a very important consideration – especially if the church is footing the bill.

Important Factor #1

When I was looking for a camera, a huge concern was being able to grow with the camera. What I mean is this: even though I was a beginner, I did not want a camera that I outgrew too soon. It needed to be simple enough to get started, but had enough depth of features and complexity to satisfy my increasing curiosity and ability as I became more adept at using it.

Important Factor #2

Another major concern I had was making sure this camera could be a bridge device. What I mean is this: I did not want to invest in a bunch of hardware that would become useless as soon as I upgraded to a better camera. I wanted to be able to invest in lenses, filters, and accessories that would also work on my next camera.

Important Factor #3

Probably the most important factor during my search for the best DSLR camera for beginners is that the end result (the photos and videos) would be high enough quality that no one could tell I was using a “beginner’s” camera.

So, what did I choose?

Well, for me, the logical answer to my questions was and still is the Canon T3i. It meets all the criteria above. (A#1) It excels at both video and still photography. (A#2) It is relatively inexpensive. (IF#1) It’s deep enough feature-wise that I am still exploring it’s capabilities. (IF#2) The glass and accessories I’ve bought will go with me to my future camera upgrade. Plus, I’ve got buddies with Canon glass that I can borrow. (IF#3) It produces great work – as long as I do my part. And, with the addition of the third-party Magic Lantern Firmware add-on, this camera has surpassed all my expectations.

Yes, I will buy an “upgrade” camera one day (probably the next Canon 5D iteration), but I have all ideas that I will keep the T3i as a “B” camera.

What should you choose?

I would highly recommend the Canon T3i for the same reasons I chose it, but you can easily use and modify these criteria on your own to find the best DSLR camera for beginners that suits your needs. By the way, a VERY CLOSE 2nd place, in my opinion, is the Canon T2i – an even more affordable option, which has only marginally lower spec’s. Happy hunting!


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