What is the best beginner camera - a test!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by photo1x1.com, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey all,
    I have tried to answer the question of what is the best beginner camera - or entry-level camera - so often, that I thought it might be wise to do a "real life" entry-level camera test to enable people to make an educated purchase.

    I tested 9 entry-level cameras:
    CANON t7i (800D)
    CANON t7 (1500D or 2000D)
    CANON M50
    NIKON D5600
    NIKON D3500
    OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 III (what a name :D)
    FUJI X-T100
    SONY a5100
    SONY a6000

    out of competition for comparison how they stack up:
    SONY a7III
    CANON 5D MkIII

    Here is the first in-depth video about how these cameras performed in regard to focus. I tested different focus scenarios tracking, low light,... with different lenses (two kit lenses, 70-200 f/4 IS, nifty fifty).

    I hope this is helpful for people looking for camera recommendations:


    Next up will be low light performance, a quick test of the lenses,...


     
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  2. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What could be less important than a camera? Photography is all about creativity and technique. The camera just captures what the photographer saw and did. They pretty much all do that. Choose something that appeals and go make some images.
     
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  3. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hasselblad H6 with 400Mp Back. and 50-150 mm Lens.
     
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  4. photoflyer

    photoflyer TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Something that requires film. I don't shoot film but I did when I was a kid. When you only have twenty or thirty six shots to work with before you have to reload and when there is a real cost to every click of the shutter, it forces you to be disciplined.

    I was in a camera store while a mom and daughter were purchasing a film camera for a summer course the daughter was taking. I said that it would make her a much better photographer. They looked at me incredulously. Then I made the points I just did above. I think it really sank in.
     
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  5. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A good entry level camera needs one thing...an automatic setting.
    This will allow a new photographer to actually take decent photos without getting confused or too discouraged. If the interest is still there, the desire to explore more will follow and so will experimenting with the camera.

    I hear the argument for film and agree with some of it. But there's no feedback on what you just shot until the film is developed and it is very likely, especially for a new photographer, to not remember just what was done or not done as far as settings go.
     
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  6. mjcmt

    mjcmt No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd say the best beginner camera is the one that feels best in your hand and the controls are intuitive, all within your price range. I shot film years earlier, but my first digital camera was a Canon G-10. It just felt right and I enjoyed taking photos for a long time with it. When I felt the image quality was too lacking I up-graded to the Fuji X100T for the same reason of feeling comfortable. It's likewise a rewarding camera to shoot with. My next camera will have a variety of focal lengths to choose from.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Ummmmm, no, not really. If photography were all about technique and creativity, then an iPhone 6 and a Canon 1Dx would be equal nin terms of shooting an NFL football game, and a VW New Beetle and a Formula One car would each be equal in a Formula One race.

    Your statement is laughable. Driving is all about steering and braking, ergo any car is equal to any other car.according to your logic
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The more experience a photographer has the more he or she can overcome limitations with a camera and or a camera lens combo. To the beginner the quality of the camera and its ease of operation and its successful completion of basic photographic tasks, the more important the camera itself is. I used to sell cameras. My experience with hundreds of clients is that the mid-level photographer is the one that benefits the most from advanced camera features. The serious enthusiasts can often make excellent use of high-level amateur or pro bodies. Many working professionals use nothing but manual exposure mode and a limited subset of camera features.
     
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  9. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have to agree with Derrel. And I have to disagree with a lot of other things that have been said. For example the Fuki X-T100 is a fabulous camera in regard to controls and menu structure, yet it is so laggy, and has issues with focusing, that it can't keep up with the competition. For me as a Canon and Sony user, it was painful to work with the Nikons menu structure. But that's because I'm used to another system. You get used to everything and once you are, what felt comfortable before is a pain.
    Sony for example is said to have a terrible menu system and not all that great handling due to the size. When I shoot Sony for a while and then get back to my Canons, the latter feels just totally wrong.
    To me it is the hard facts that count. Particularly when it comes to focus, which I tested.

    Another point was a beginner camera has to have an auto-setting.
    Well yes, it has - and most do. But how well does the camera track focus in that auto-mode, how well does it handle low light, so that the newby doesn't get frustrated when he needs to set ISO1600+ (and yes, I'm moderating two facebook groups - that is an issue). And what happens if people outgrow that auto-setting? Many times people save the money to buy a camera for months, they just don't have the funds to go and buy a new one after a few weeks/monts.

    Regarding Film: when I want to photograph a dog running towards me, I shoot that 36 images in 4 seconds. Why? Because I can. Have people done great dog shots in film age? I think I even got some myself. Are the ones with e.g. a Sony a6000 with 11fps better (not talking about cams that shoot 20fps)? No doubt they are, because you highly likely get the better pose - particularly if you are not a professional dog photographer, but only do it once in a while - hence beginner.

    I think we all need to take a step back and sometimes need to appreciate that other people shoot different things than we do, and have a different budget. Film to learn landscapes or even portraits? Yes, maybe. Film to learn sports photography - why?
     
  10. photoflyer

    photoflyer TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I draw a lot from experiences as an aviator.

    There is truism that is counter intuitive: if you can land a Piper or Cessna you have the skills to land an airliner. The opposite is not true. Hand flying an an airplane is a skill that is difficult to develop and quickly lost, performed very little in airliners (two percent of a one hour flight) and even when done in airliners, assisted by "cheats" like a flight director and auto throttles. These are good things for safety. But in an emergency all the automation goes out the window: think Southwest 1380.

    In the US we have a great safety record because so many of our airline pilots come up through general aviation building time hand flying. The same is true for some military flying. When bad things happen, turn the automation off; you may not have a choice.

    In photography we have seen the developement of automation. Does one have to learn film to become a proficient shooter. No. But like so many fields, those who understand the fundamentals have an advantage especially when the automation cannot achieve a non-standard result.
     
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  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When people say "start with film" it often has little to nothing to do with film vs digital and more to do with learning to take carefully taken shots compared to just "spray and pray" of a digital system. Thing is that is both a benefit and a negative.

    See when you're on film you might take less shots because each shot costs. This will typically encourage person to focus on areas they CAN do and reduce the chances for experimentation because each shot is costing them. Plus, as has been outlined, they have to take notes at the same time if they want to remember what settings and situation they were in at the time. They might not get results back for days after that.
    With digital you get results that very moment, even if it might be until the end of the day until you get them up on a proper screen. Furthermore it saves all the data for the shot on the file. This encourages a person to experiment. They've total freedom to play with the aperture and shutter and SEE what those settings do. They can take "risky" shots in situations they are not familiar with and be quite happy and safe that they are not "wasting money". If anything I would argue that digital is a superior tool to learn on in terms of being able to experiment and record your settings and situation.

    It allows you a powerful learning tool which is repetition. The whole "Learn to take one shot that counts rather than thirty that don't" will only ever come with experience, practice and time. Be it on film or digital you can't really skip that aspect unless you withdraw and focus on only one or two very niche areas.

    Furthermore many are learning on their own ;if you're not in a classroom then self-learning can take even longer - digital again opens up a lot of experimentation doors and also the easy access to the internet for feedback. Of course for a price you can get your film negative scanned.



    Finally I think many forget that postprocessing is part of the whole picture; film is far more time consuming and differently focused than digital even if many of the processes share the same name. Cloning out a few stray hairs is seconds in digital; its longer in film. Plus many never touch on it in film and rely on the lab.



    And the very final thing is that some people are just not interested in digital. Or they aren't interested in film. So suggesting that they go to the other side might well not help. I know that I never had an interest in film photography and if I'd been pushed that way early on chances are I'd never had developed very far on my own. Of course I'm but one example; others might flourish under film instead of digital; but often as not that is something they know a bit with themselves as opposed to being advised by others.
     
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  12. photoflyer

    photoflyer TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    All very good points. Of course one could do both.
     

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