Best Cameras for Amateur Photographers in 2024

Finding the best cameras for amateur photographers is basically the same process as finding a camera when you're a professional. I'm Jeff Fried and I have been a professional photographer in the photography industry for over a decade. There are some simple questions you need ask yourself before you buy your first camera and I can help. After reading this article you should feel ready to select a camera to purchase.
canon m50 ecomm photo

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Canon M6 Mark II Mirrorless camera

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canon g7x mark iii

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What is the Best Amateur Photographer Camera

Best at What

The idea of 'what is the best' is always a subjective one, so it's no different when you ask what are the best amateur cameras. Let's start with what is an amateur. The first definition on for amateur is "[a] person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons."

What Does Amateur Even Mean

Amateur stems from the Latin word amātor which means lover. Consider the origin of the word amateur when you are considering what camera to buy as an amateur photographer, as a lover of photography.

Is there a camera that is best for someone who is a lover of photographer? It seems like a lover of photography would love all cameras so answering the question comes down to what the individual wants to achieve with their camera.
If the goal is to continue loving photography, engaging in the practice and leaving room for growth, then you'll benefit from a camera with basic functions and a few solid features.

An Example of a Great Mid-range Camera

Looking for a great cost-effective mid-range camera? Something like a Canon Powershot G7x Mark III may be the camera for you.  It's compact so carrying it around is effortless. You don't have to worry about multiple lenses with its 4.2x optical zoom lens (24-100mm f/1.8-2.8) — and optical image stabilizer. It shoots 4k video in addition to photo and supports vertical shooting. The Canon G7x has a large 3-inch touchscreen that flips and rotates for perfect selfie view.
canon g7x mark iii with flip touch screen set up for a selfie
Check the Price of the PowerShot G7 X on Amazon

What is the Best Amateur Photographer Camera

The Simple Truth About Amateur Photography Cameras

There is not an absolute best amateur photographer camera. Any camera is better than no camera for amateur photography.
There are great options across many different price points and then there are some garbage options too. The same is true when considering an amateur camera as is true when considering a professional camera. Perhaps then, the best camera for amateur photographers is the one that fits their budget.

Interchangeable Lenses: A Versatile Choice for Amateur Photographers

Embracing Flexibility with Mirrorless Cameras

For the budding photographer looking to expand their skill set, mirrorless cameras are an excellent choice. Their interchangeable lens system offers flexibility to tackle various genres of photography, from macro to landscape. The absence of a mirror mechanism allows for a more compact design without compromising on image quality, providing an entry point into high-end photography that can grow with your skills and interests.

The Enduring Appeal of DSLRs for Beginners

DSLRs continue to be a reliable gateway into professional photography for amateurs. Their robust design and extensive lens catalog open up a world of possibilities. The optical viewfinder of a DSLR offers a direct view of your subject, a feature many purists still prefer. Plus, the tactile experience of adjusting dials and buttons helps novices learn the manual aspects of photography organically.

Simplicity Meets Quality in Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Point-and-shoot cameras are a testament to how simplicity and quality can go hand in hand, perfect for those who are just starting. With features like powerful zoom lenses and intelligent auto modes, they take care of the technical details, letting you focus on composition and creativity. They're also typically more budget-friendly, making high-quality photography more accessible.

What's more important than the Best Amateur Photography Camera

The Person Holding the Camera is More Important Than Which Camera is Being Held

Again, there isn't an absolute best amateur photographer camera — that's a myth. 

While the market teems with contenders for the title of 'best camera for amateur photographers,' the true essence of photography lies in the vision and skill of the one behind the lens. The right camera is a tool to realize this vision, and while there is no single "best amateur photography camera," there are options that align closely with individual aspirations and stylistic preferences. Whether it's a "beginner-friendly DSLR," a "versatile mirrorless model," or the best "point-and-shoot for travel photography," the key is finding a camera that resonates with your creative pulse and grows with you on your photographic journey.

Unleashing Creativity: Cameras that Complement Your Passion

Dive into the world of photography with a camera that champions your creativity. The debate around the "best beginner's camera" often overlooks the personal touch that transforms ordinary snapshots into captivating images. Consider "entry-level cameras with manual controls" or "easy-to-use cameras with impressive auto modes" to enhance your learning curve. The "best starter camera" is one that becomes an extension of your artistic intent, encouraging exploration and discovery without overwhelming you with complexity.

Future-Proofing Your Hobby: Selecting a Camera That Grows with You

Selecting a camera is not just a present investment but also a step towards your future in photography. A "good camera for beginners" is one that strikes a balance between user-friendliness and the potential for technical progression. Models offering "interchangeable lenses" or those with "expandable features" provide a pathway from novice enthusiasm to seasoned expertise. Remember, the best camera for an amateur is one that will stand the test of time and support your evolving passion for photography.

Three Great Cameras for Amateur Photographers

Canon has been a trustworthy brand name among amateurs and professionals for decades.

With the release of their newest Canon M50, they have once again proven that they can be trusted to deliver high-quality products.

The M50 is designed to be a versatile camera that is suitable for both amateurs and professionals alike. It can shoot in both Full HD and 4K video, which makes it perfect for those who are looking to make their first foray into the world of filmmaking.

The M6, on the other hand, is a mirrorless with interchangeable lenses — designed with professional photographers in mind.

The G7X is excellent for those who are looking for something more compact but still want quality images.

Check the prices and buy on Amazon.

canon m50 ecomm photo

See the Canon M50 on Amazon

Canon M6 Mark II Mirrorless camera

Check the Canon M6 on Amazon

canon g7x mark iii

Price Check the Canon G7x on Amazon

Essential Camera Features for Amateur Photography Enthusiasts

Decoding Sensor Size for the Perfect Shot

Sensor size is pivotal in achieving the look and feel you want in your photographs. Larger sensors generally provide better image quality, especially in low-light conditions. They offer a shallower depth of field, which is key for portraits with a blurred background. Understanding this can help you choose a camera that will deliver the artistic effects you aspire to create.

Megapixels Matter: Balancing Quantity with Quality

While megapixels are important, they don't tell the whole story. A camera with a higher number of larger megapixels will capture more detail, which is crucial for prints or large-scale enlargements. However, the quality of those pixels, determined by the sensor's performance, is equally important, especially for amateurs interested in digital photography where images are often viewed on screens.

Mastering Camera Modes: From Auto Ease to Manual Mastery

Modern cameras offer a spectrum of shooting modes. While auto modes can handle most scenarios effectively, learning to use manual modes can significantly improve your photography, giving you control over exposure, focus, and more. A camera that offers a range of modes is ideal for amateurs, allowing the room to grow from automatic to full manual control as your skills develop.

Budget-Conscious Cameras that Don’t Skimp on Features

Finding Value Under $500: Budget Cameras That Deliver

You don't have to break the bank to get started in photography. There are excellent cameras available for under $500 that offer key features like good low-light performance, HD video recording, and user-friendly interfaces. These cameras are perfect for learning the basics and are capable of producing stunning images that can rival more expensive models.

Canon EOS R100 RF-S18-45mm

See the Canon R100 18-45mm on Amazon

KODAK PIXPRO WPZ2 Rugged Waterproof Shockproof

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Panasonic LUMIX FZ300

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Mid-Range Cameras: Striking a Balance for the Aspiring Photographer

Mid-range cameras strike the perfect balance for those who are serious about their hobby. They often feature better build quality, larger sensors, and more advanced settings. They can be the best investment before making the leap to professional gear, offering a taste of pro features without the intimidating complexity or cost.

Sony Alpha 6600

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Nikon Z 5

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Canon EOS R8

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High-End Cameras for the Unrestricted Hobbyist

For those not limited by budget, investing in a high-end camera from the start can be rewarding. These cameras typically come with full-frame sensors, the broadest dynamic range, and the ability to shoot in almost any condition. While they require a larger investment, they can be worthwhile for an amateur who is committed and wants to experience the best from the beginning.

Canon EOS R5 body only

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Sony Alpha 7 IV body only

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Nikon Z 8

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Which Camera Should I Buy

When trying to find the best camera for amateur photographers the first step to take is to think about what you want your camera to do. Do you want to be able to change lenses? Do you want a built-in optical zoom? Do you want a camera that also shoots video?

Make a short list of three must-have capabilities. 

Think about which format (or sensor size) will work best for your needs. A full frame camera offers the most detail in the image — it will also increase the value of the camera.

Budget is the number one factor when it comes to amateur photographer cameras. Determine what price point you want then find the camera that servers the features you need.

Buy This Camera if You're an Amateur Photographer on a Budget

If you're not making money from the camera then it's likely fair to say you are investing in the experience you'll gain from making and sharing images. So the best camera for amateur photographers is going to be the one that fits the budget and provides the right features and benefits.

For just over$1,000 the Canon offers the M6 is easily the "best" amateur camera — it's lean, lightweight, captures photo and video, and the image quality is excellent.

If you need to be under the $600 mark, then you should consider mirrorless Canon M50. It allows for interchangeable lenses. It's compact and great for aspiring photographers.

The Canon G7x Mark III is less than the M6 but more than the M50.

The Best Amateur Camera if Money is No Object

If your budget is not constrained then you will extremely pleased if you go with a Leica. More specifically go with the Leica M10 and start with a 35mm lens — ideally you can start with a 35mm and an 85mm. The Leica M10 is a sexy, low-profile work horse. Leica has been around since 1869 and has been regarded as a leading brand since.

leica m10 ecomm photo
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