In the age of the smartphone, we’ve all become photographers. We have a camera at all times, give or take. But what about taking things a step further photography-wise? Why not take the plunge and buy a real camera? Like a seriously real camera.
But what type? A DSLR, mirrorless, or point-and-shoot camera? You already have a point-and-shoot camera on your phone and mirrorless, which is the increasingly popular choice, might be a bit tech-heavy. Overall, it’s important that you buy a camera that allows you to grow and gain confidence in your photography skills. The best camera is the one that feels “right in your hand” and you will actually be able to use.
Many amateur photographers start with DSLR cameras because they have multiple options, lenses, and classic handling.
What is a DSLR camera?
DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex. DSLRs have been popular because of how easy they are to use and the multitude of lenses available. DSLRs have a mirror in the lens. This mirror reflects the optical image into the camera’s viewfinder and the photo is captured on an SD card. Just to clear up any potential confusion: The difference between a DSLR and an SLR is mainly that SLR uses film while DSLR is all digital.
Is mirrorless better than DSLR?
As always, it’s less about what’s better and more about what suits you best — though the current trend does seem to be towards mirrorless, which are the more popular type of camera at the moment. Mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller and more compact (that’s one of the big selling points). And though DSLRs are bulkier, they tend to have better battery life for this reason. Reviewers also talk about the “handling” of DSLR cameras — the classic feel of a chunky, grippable, easy-to-use camera.
The other differences to note are that DSLRs have a classic optical viewfinder, whereas mirrorless cameras have an electronic viewfinder or sometimes no viewfinder at all — they prioritise an LCD monitor for “live view” shooting instead. DSLRs have also implemented these monitors on the rear side, though that means DSLRs have two different autofocus systems for both viewfinder and monitor.
One benefit of DSLRs is the sheer number of lenses available, particularly from manufacturers that have been in the DSLR game for years, such as Canon and Nikon.
Do DSLR cameras shoot video?
One of the big differences between DSLR and mirrorless is that mirrorless cameras are better for shooting video. So, if video is a big priority for you, it might be worth picking up a mirrorless camera instead. However, the DSLRs in this roundup all shoot video — and some even capture 4K video — so they’re not exactly slouches in the video department.
Are DSLRs good for beginners?
DSLRs do have some advantages over mirrorless cameras. One thing worth noting is that because the mirror covers the sensor, it’s protected against dust and dirt when you remove or change lenses. This makes cleaning a lot easier for beginners. And while DSLR cameras are bulkier and heavier than the new mirrorless options, pros and newbies alike will prefer the beefier construction and easy-to-use tools.
DSLR cameras with a built-in viewfinder are the cheapest option within this category, and you can expect a basic set up complete with camera, zoom lens, and carrying case to run you anywhere from £300 to £2,000.
What is the best DSLR camera for beginners?
We’ve checked out everything on offer for beginners, and lined up the very best DSLR cameras from top brands. There should be something for everyone and every budget in this list. You just need to pick the model that best fits your requirements.
These are the best DSLR cameras for beginners in 2023.