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2021 | Our Top 3 Starter Cameras for the Absolute Beginner

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

New to DSLRs and need the most 'basic' of cameras to start with? Here are THREE of our budget-friendly cameras for someone who is trying out photography for the first time. Prices of these cameras can vary throughout the year, so we have included links to the products so you can reference the price on our site.

Prices range from $1,000, and can be as low as $499 (all depends on rebates).


The three cameras we will be comparing are the following:

What Features all Three Cameras Share

All three cameras have the same image quality at roughly 24MP across the board.

All three have the ability to connect to your phone to transfer images.

You can use your phone as a remote for all three cameras, however the Nikon D3500's app doesn't allow for live view remote shooting -- and the camera does not allow for wire shooting/infrared remote.

All three cameras allow for video shooting at 1080p.

All three cameras shoot raw.

If you are basing your choice in camera based off of price alone...

Off the bat, the most affordable camera of the three is the Canon T7 two lens kit. This camera kit will always include the bag with the camera. The second most affordable is the Nikon D3500, and of the three, the highest priced kit is the Sony A6000.

Based on price alone, we would recommend the Canon T7.

If you are basing your choice in camera based off of size and weight, compactness...

We would recommend the Sony A6000. Body alone, the camera is 344 grams, versus the 365 grams of the Nikon D3500 and the 475 grams of the Canon T7.

Based on size alone (weight), we would recommend the Sony A6000.

If you are basing your choice in camera off of how many shots you can get per battery life...

We would recommend the Nikon D3500. Nikon purposefully increased the battery life from the previous model by nearly DOUBLE! Currently, you can take up to 1,550 shots per charged battery in the Nikon D3500. The Canon T7 takes second place at 500 shots per charged battery. In contrast, the Sony A6000 will only take 360 shots per battery life. This is a sharp contrast as it is a mirrorless camera, the viewfinder is no longer glass -- it is a constant video feed from the sensor, thus using more energy than the average DSLR. The plus side: You can charge your Sony mirrorless cameras using a micro-USB, rather than needing a dedicated battery charger.

Based on shots per battery charge, if you're looking to get the most out of each battery -- the Nikon D3500 takes the cake with over 1,000 shots!

If you are looking for a camera that will shoot the fastest frame rate (wildlife/sports photography)...

The Sony A6000 blows the Canon T7 and Nikon D3500 out of the water with 11FPS. The Nikon D3500 comes in second at 5FPS, and the Canon lands last place at 3FPS.

Based off of how 'fast' the camera can shoot, we recommend the Sony A6000.

If you are looking for a camera with the most accurate autofocus system...

The Sony A6000 has 179 autofocus points, in comprison to the Nikon D3500's 11 AF points and the Canon T7's 9 AF points.

If you are looking for a camera with the most accurate AF system, we recommend the Sony A6000 series.

In Conclusion! There are many factors when it comes to choosing the right camera for you, as you can see, no one camera will completely knock every feature out of the park. It all comes down to really deciding on what features you want. Hopefully this guide helped point out a few features that you hadn't considered before!


Thank you for reading our blog post ! If you are interested in seeing our new blog posts as we release them, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter! This blog post is shareable on social media, so please do share if you found this useful.

The Shutterbug is a Oregon Family Owned & Operated Camera Store, with four locations in Oregon. We have been in the industry of helping photographers like you since 1971.

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Ed Gentry
Ed Gentry
Jun 02, 2021

Learning photography has never been so easy with our collection of photography articles that run the gamut from landscapes to portraits, composition tips to post-processing, and everything in between. These in-depth photography articles have detailed instructions, gorgeous sample images, and even helpful videos that aim to help you develop skills that will result in improved photos.

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