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Best Digital Cameras for Beginners

There are a lot of different cameras out there, so when you are just getting started, it's hard to know where to start. Buying a camera with too many features can be confusing, but picking up a model that lacks the proper assets can be just as frustrating. Beginners should look for a camera that's easy to use but also has advanced features like manual modes, RAW capture and a large sensor. But, when you are just starting out, the budget is usually pretty low. Here are our recommendations to get a beginning photographer started off on the right foot.

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Olympus PEN E-PL8

The Olympus PEN E-PL8 may be one of the manufacturers' more affordable options, but it's still a serious shooter with a stylish, compact body and solid features.Using the same Micro Four Thirds sensor, the E-PL8 offers 16 megapixel resolut...

Grade: B+ Price: $21.00

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Fujifilm X-A3

The Fujifilm X-A3 re-wraps the company’s higher-end options into a cheaper camera, bringing Fujifilm-quality images to a $600 price tag. But budget cameras should always be approached with caution — what did Fujifilm take out to reach ...

Grade: B- Price: $14.00

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Nikon D3400

Nikon’s 3300 is a solid beginner’s DSLR and now the manufacturer is expanding on that with the D3400. The latest entry-level DSLR from Nikon wraps up much of the same features as the 3300. So what’s new? Nikon has added Bluetooth...

Grade: A- Price: $26.00

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Canon EOS Rebel T6

Canon has needed to update their budget DSLR for some time now, but, frankly, the Rebel T6 isn't really much of an update. Canon has added wi-fi and NFC, but the specs otherwise appear to be identical to the older T5. And the T5 didn't hav...

Grade: B- Price: $399.00

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

When it comes to the micro four thirds format, Olympus is the camera brand that comes to mind. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is an affordable entry into the popular line, sitting at under $800 with a kit lens, a pretty nice price point considerin...

Grade: B+ Price: $449.00

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Pentax K-3 II

While Nikon and Canon are the most popular DSLR manufacturers, Ricoh/Pentax shouldn't be overlooked--they're continuing to prove their worth with the introduction of the Pentax K-3 II, a high-end APS-C DSLR that offers improved autofocus s...

Grade: A Price: $829.00

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Pentax K-S2

With a weather-sealed, compact body, wi-fi and a solid set of imaging capabilities, the Pentax K-S2 certainly looks to be a competitor among the available DSLRs for beginners. Updating on the quirky K-S1 less than a year after it's release, th...

Grade: A- Price: $697.00

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Fujifilm X-A2

If camera shopping is like dating, the Fujifilm X-A2 is the date you remember for their personality. Because while it certainly has a few flaws, when it comes down to what really matters (i.e. image quality), the X-A2 hits all the right marks. Fuj...

Grade: B+ Price: $550.00

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Nikon D5500

The Nikon D5500 mixes the company's longstanding DSLR reputation with some new tech, switching to a touchscreen, while continuing to slim down the body. But do all the new smartphone-esque features like the touchscreen and wi-fi ruin what'...

Grade: A Price: $599.00

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Sony Alpha a6000

Mirrorless cameras have been known for lagging behind DSLRs in autofocus speed; Sony is attempting to bridge the gap with a 179 point phase detection autofocus (there's also a 25 point contrast autofocus option). We haven't seen it in acti...

Grade: A Price: $498.00

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Nikon D3300

Nikon's entry level DSLRs have always been an excellent option for beginners—My first DSLR was actually the D3000, back in 2009. The D3300 is Nikon's latest addition to the line and has proven to be a solid shooter for novices.But al...

Grade: A- Price: $446.00

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Olympus Stylus 1

A few years ago, the advanced compact wowed with large sensors and manual modes allowing for big images from tiny cameras. But there's been one thing sorely lacking from the advanced compact category—zoom.Well, it's not missing any l...

Grade: A- Price: $830.00

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Fujifilm X-M1

Classic. Compact. Simple. There's a lot of great words to describe Fujifilm's X-M1—and very few bad ones. Fujifilm has really hit the mark with their 2013 classically styled mirrorless in two big ways—one, with the filterless A...

Grade: B+ Price: $900.00

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Sony NEX-3NL

The camera market is saturated with mirrorless models—there are lots of them out there. And there are even a few $500 budget models. But budget models with an APS-C sized sensor (that's the same size used in entry level DSLRs) for under ...

Grade: A- Price: $500.00

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Pentax MX-1

Pentax's new MX-1 brings a retro styling to the small yet sophisticated advanced compact category. Introduced in February 2013, the MX-1 has the undeniable look and feel of a classic camera with a full neck strap, brass trim, textured grip and...

Grade: B- Price: $400.00

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Nikon D3200

The D3200 is a surprising upgrade to Nikon's entry-level D3100, replacing the latter and effectively outclassing the higher-end D5100 in one fell swoop. The headliner here is the 24.2 megapixel sensor, similar to the one used in Sony's A65...

Grade: A- Price: $518.00