BEST ENTRY-LEVEL DIGITAL CAMERAS 2015/2016
“What’s the best entry-level digital camera?” That’s definitely the question I get asked the most. So, I decided to put together a comprehensive list of the best digital cameras on the market for an easy reference. This is going to be a unique list. It includes digital SLRs (single-lens reflex) and mirrorless cameras, because over the years there have been huge advancements in digital photography and digital SLRs are no longer the only viable option. Manufacturers are now building extremely powerful cameras in small bodies, giving the photographer the power to control light in any situation. Power and weight is a key ratio to me; unlike before, I now want the smallest, most powerful camera I can get my hands on. It’s also a lot easier for me to travel, get into complex shooting positions and overcome general fatigue with a powerful lightweight camera. I’ve also discovered that people are less intimidated when I have a smaller camera, allowing me to capture truly honest and authentic photographs.
These models all have advanced features that professional shooters need. The ability to shoot HD video, effective low-light imaging at high ISOs, fast quality lenses, easy aperture and shutter speed control. If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
Canon EOS M3:
Canon EOS M3 – Mirrorless Digital Camera Kit, with EF-M 18-55mm F3.5/5.6 IS STM Lens, and Mount Adapter EF-EOS M
Designed to inspire, the EOS M3 digital camera brings true EOS performance and image quality to a compact, stylish and elegant package. A pleasure to operate, with the sophistication to create stunning still and moving images, the EOS M3 is an ideal EOS for many applications, such as portraiture, landscape, travel and everything in between. With its large 24.2 Megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 Image Processor, the EOS M3 captures high-resolution images and Full HD movies suitable for most any application. Its lightweight, mirrorless body and interchangeable lenses add a whole new level of portability to the EOS system without compromising performance. In addition to a number of dedicated EF-M Lenses, the EOS M3 is compatible with a range of EF* and EF-S* Lenses and Speedlites, has an optional shoe-mounted electronic viewfinder, wireless capabilities, plus numerous features designed for fun and fast image capture. The EOS M defies the assumption that compact means compromise, with performance and features photographers and moviemakers can rely on to help bring their creative ideas to life.LEARN MORE
Sony DSC-RX100 IV:
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Digital Camera, Black
Rather than weighing you down with extras, the new pocket-size RX100 IV gives you the pro-class essentials you need at hand. You’re equipped for go-anywhere freedom to capture marvelous moments in memorable images. Welcome to the incredible new world of super speed shooting. Inside the compact RX100 IV is the world’s first memory-attached 1.0-type stacked CMOS sensor—a remarkable advance in image shooting possibilities. Use it to reveal the wonders of up to 40x super slow motion, super-high-speed 1/32,000 sec. Anti-Distortion Shutter, and handy 4K movies. Now explore infinite imaging freedom beyond imagination. Once primarily on pro cams, extremely high-frame-rate (HFR) movie recording of up to 960fps produces super slow motion of momentary movements invisible to human eyes. This feature has various settings to suit active subjects, so you can make pro-style movies of a “hidden” universe of movement all around you. High-speed continuous shooting – Up to 16fps continuous shooting without blackout. Despite high 20.1MP count, the camera allows fast readout for continuous shooting up to 16fps without blackout—catching decisive moments in motion without missing some action. Give your creative powers free rein. The camera features native 4K video capture, shooting of up to 5 minutes. Pro-grade XAVC S codec ensures beautiful footage with high bitrate recording. My favorite part, the retractable XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ is a standout feature in a camera of this size. Treated with ZEISS® T* Coating, this EVF provides corner-to-corner clear viewing. Finally, the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8-2.8 24-70mm lens is the perfect choice for this all purpose over-achiever.LEARN MORE
The thrill of control. The passion for shooting. First, photographers had to be a master of their camera to produce great work. Then, anyone could become a photographer thanks to advances in technology. Now, a camera has been created that leaves all the control in the hands of the photographer, but backs it up with advanced technology. Packed with new features such as: 16.3 MP 23.6mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS II with primary color filter, EXR Image Processor II offers excellent low-light imaging at high ISOs and up to 6 fps continuous shooting, 23mm f/2 lens (equivalent focal length to a 35mm lens on a full frame camera), electronic shutter with silent action and shutter speeds up to 1/32,000-second, the world’s first electronic rangefinder – a high-quality fusion of optics and electronics, A 3.0″ LCD monitor, built-in flash, hot shoe, built-in Wi-Fi and 1080p video. Important to note: This camera is a favorite among street photographers and it also comes in a chrome version. I personally prefer the black one.LEARN MORE
Nikon 1 V3:
Nikon 1 V3 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom Lens, DF-N1000 Electronic Viewfinder & GR-N1010 Grip, 18.4MP, 3″ LCD Display
A new pinnacle of Nikon 1 performance. Introducing the new Nikon 1 flagship, the Nikon 1 V3, a thrilling camera that combines the portability of a compact camera and image quality and capabilities usually associated only with a D-SLR along with game-changing speed and accuracy. An enhanced 18.4-MP image sensor is paired with Nikon’s new EXPEED 4A image processor to achieve the world’s fastest continuous frame rate, brilliant low-light performance and cinema-quality video capabilities. Add an ultra-fast autofocus system, the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi® for sharing photos and controlling the camera with a compatible smartphone or tablet and compatibility with both 1 NIKKOR lenses and legendary NIKKOR F-mount D-SLR lenses (with the optional FT-1 Mount Adapter), and the Nikon 1 V3 is a D-SLR owner’s dream come true. When it comes to capturing sports, fast action and other spontaneous moments that demand fast performance, the Nikon 1 V3 is second to none.
Nikon 1 V3 captures quality 1080/60p HD video with ultra-smooth slow motion (up to 120 fps capture). One of my favorite features is the new Vibration Reduction ‘Movie e-VR’ feature which keeps videos steady.LEARN MORE
Olympus Pen E-P5:
Olympus Pen E-P5 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Digital Camera with 17mm f1.8 Lens, VF-4 Electronic Viewfinder, Black
POWERFUL. POCKETABLE. PEN. A CLASSIC DESIGN WITH A MODERN FLAIR. Designed with a modern twist to the original PEN® F, fans of the award-winning Olympus PEN family of cameras now have the PEN E-P5. The flagship PEN body that delivers a portable, premium quality experience. The E-P5 is packed with the latest innovations Olympus technology has to offer including 1/8000s Shutter Speed, 5-Axis Image Stabilization, “F.A.S.T” AF Speed, Built-In Wi-Fi capability, 2×2 dial control and more.
Featuring the 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor of the OM-D E-M5, the Olympus Micro Four Thirds fourth generation PEN E-P5, is optimized to maximize the performance of all mZuiko digital lenses in any shooting condition. Improvements to the sensitivity and read-out speed of the existing sensor makes shooting and Full HD movie recording possible.
The PEN E-P5 is equipped with the world’s first 5-Axis image stabilization system with IS-Auto. 5-Axis IS compensates for vertical, horizontal, and rotational camera shake that conventional 2-axis systems of the past have been unable to handle. While the new IS-Auto mode detects both vertical and horizontal panning and automatically deactivates image stabilization on the panning axis. IS-Auto will allow you to make spectacular panning photos of a speedy car. There are so many more features on this camera, it’s actually kind of crazy — I highly recommend learning more about this camera!LEARN MORE
Canon EOS 6D:
Canon EOS-6D Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
The EOS 6D DSLR camera is the ideal tool for unlocking your creative vision. It features a 20.2 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS sensor, a wide ISO range of 100-25600, expandable to L: 50, H1: 51200, and H2: 102400, for incredible image quality even in low light, and a DIGIC 5+ Image Processor delivers enhanced noise reduction and exceptional processing speed. A new 11-point AF including a high-precision center cross-type AF point with EV -3 sensitivity allows focusing in extreme low-light conditions, and with continuous shooting up to 4.5 fps, you are ready to capture fast action. Full HD video with manual exposure control, multiple frame rates, and the benefits of a Full-Frame sensor provides stunning performance and creative flexibility. The built-in Wi-Fi® transmitter allows you to wirelessly transfer your images to social networking sites through CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, or upload virtually anywhere from your iOS or Android smartphone with the free download of the Camera Connect app. You can use your smartphone for remote camera control and operation (with the Camera Connect app), or even print your images on a Wi-Fi® compatible printer^. Perfect for travel and nature photography, the built-in GPS allows location data to be recorded while shooting. Compact, lightweight, brilliant low-light performance, and loaded with easy to use features, the EOS 6D is truly the Full-Frame DSLR camera for everyone.
The Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon’s ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike. This is one of my favorite workhorse lenses, I’ve used for everything from shooting live music, to travel and portraits. This is a lens you’ll keep in your collection forever.LEARN MORE
Sony Alpha a7II:
Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
5-Axis Image Stabilization, Fast Hybrid AF, BIONZ X Processor, XAVC S Full HD Movies, WiFi and NFC – the camera offers outstanding image quality in a compact size and light build, and it carries on the traditions of the α7 series, which includes the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens full-frame camera (α7R). A 24.3 effective megapixel 35 mm full-frame Exmor® CMOS sensor moves along five axes to compensate for camera shake, providing optical image stabilization equivalent to up to 4.5 steps faster shutter speed of correction for still images. Shooting sharp handheld stills and video is now possible under conditions that may have required a tripod in the past. In this and other scenarios, users can enjoy beautifully rendered images from the full-frame sensor with the convenience of image stabilization. In-camera image stabilization also offers sharper images for those using A-mount lenses on an optional lens adapter.
World’s first full-frame camera with optical 5-axis image stabilization. Detects and corrects various camera shake along five axes for still images and video, including angular shake (pitch and yaw) that tends to occur when shooting with a telephoto lens, shift shake (along the X and Y axes) that becomes noticeable as photographing magnification increases, and rotational shake (roll) that often affects shots at night or when recording video. There’s just not enough room in this section to tell you everything this camera has to offer.LEARN MORE
Nikon D750 DSLR Camera w/AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens W/AT AT8024 Mic
Last, but not least…Take your passion to the next level, 24.3MP FX-format sensor and EXPEED 4. Full-frame freedom, outstanding agility and the convenience of built-in Wi-Fi®. For those who find inspiration everywhere, who switch between stills and video without missing a beat, who want the look only a full-frame DSLR can achieve and who love sharing their shots, the D750 is the tool to unleash your artistry. With features inspired by D4S and D810, the D750 brings dazzling image quality, cinematic video capabilities and pro-inspired handling in a nimble design with a tilting Vari-angle LCD and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Enthusiasts upgrading from a DX-format DSLR will marvel at the D750’s full-frame performance. Pros seeking a primary or secondary camera for fast-paced shoots will appreciate the D750’s familiar handling and speed. And filmmakers looking for a compact DSLR to bring a production to life or to capture B-Roll will find the D750 a perfect fit. The D750 is a thrilling centerpiece of an exceptional imaging system.
Ignite your creative desires. A serious tool for serious shooters. The D750 has a feature set unlike full-frame DSLRs its size. It uses the same autofocus and metering technology as the D4S and the D810—Nikon’s powerful 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors and 3D Color Matrix Metering III with a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor. It’s fast and responsive; shoot 6.5 fps at full resolution. And it’s endlessly versatile; shoot stills in multiple formats, video with enhanced definition, smooth time-lapse sequences up to 9,999 shots in-camera and more—all with stunning sharpness and rich tonality. Open new compositional possibilities with its 3.2-inch 1,229k dot tilting Vari-angle LCD display, or use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote monitor for Live View shooting.
Fast Facts: FX Format, 24.3 Megapixels, 6.5 FPS Continuous Shooting, 100 -12,800 ISO Expandable to 51,200, Full HD video 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p.
The Lens: Fixed f/4 standard zoom lens with greater telephoto reach. This upgraded, advanced 5x standard (24mm) to telephoto (120mm) zoom lens delivers stunning image quality at any aperture or focal length. The lens body is impressively slim and compact, despite having built-in Vibration Reduction (VR II) and a host of Nikon’s advanced lens technologies. The AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR is a standard zoom lens of exceptional utility and value, especially for FX-format users.
Bonus: Includes an Audio-Technica AT8024 Stereo/Mono Camera-Mount Microphone.LEARN MORE
I spent months researching and testing these cameras. I started with a list of over 30 cameras, drilling it down to 16 and eventually getting it down to these eight options. I wanted to feature a variety of cameras at three different price points. It’s my recommendation to purchase the best camera you can afford. It’s an investment; it will capture all the important adventures and moments in your life. Before you invest in any one brand, think about the future and what each brand has to offer. As you build up your gear, save up and only buy quality lenses, because they’ll last a life time. Be patient and save, don’t just buy a cheap lens because you want it now.
Final thought: The most important element in photography is your eye. Learn to frame your photographs, take your time, be thoughtful about each photograph and have fun!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will respond as soon as possible.