Best DSLR For Beginners and Newbies

Finding the best digital SLR can be a tough task for a beginner. There's so many options, brands, and features. However, there are several cameras that are ideal for beginners because of their simplicity, and ease of use. These are great options to consider if you want a simple DSLR that doesn't sacrifice on image quality and performance.

1) Canon Rebel T2i

Looking for a beginner DSLR? Get the Rebel T2i. It should absolutely be the first DSLR you should own, and for many good reasons.

It's incredibly easy to use, the image quality is excellent (as well as video), and it's reasonably priced. And if you want to become a serious hobbyist, or professional one day, there's really no shame in using the T2i at all.

The T2i is incredibly nimble, and light, but with a comfortable, ergonomic grip. We absolutely love the 3 inch display. It's bright enough to use in bright sunlight.

The mode dial system is pretty easy to use, and you'll get the hang of it, especially if you used a Canon point and shoot camera before. There's also several shooting modes that should be familiar to beginners like Sports and Night Portrait.

In terms of photo quality, the Rebel T2i delivers. If you've been using a point and shoot your entire life, trust me when we say you'll be visually stunned at the quality of the T2i. Even in low light conditions, the T2i performs well. It's not until we reach an ISO of 1600 until we see some noise. But that's pretty remarkable for a DSLR of this price range, and caliber.

The video quality is solid, and unless you got a keen eye you won't notice much difference between the video quality of the T2i compared with higher-end models.

The Rebel T2i is the ideal beginner DSLR in our eyes. Easy to use, yet still packing in tremendous photo and video quality. And if you ever decide to pickup photography seriously, it's a great camera to learn with, as well.

What's great about it:
- Easy to use
- Solid photo quality
- One of the more inexpensive DSLRs
- Easy to grow with as you learn more
- Performs well in low light

What's not so great:
- Slow shooting speed compared with others
- Video is not the best.

2) Nikon D3000

The Nikon D3000 is considered a mid-range camera but it is extremely newbie-friendly. In fact, it's targeted especially for beginners. It lacks most advanced features, but still packs great performance and image quality that is in line with competing cameras in this price range.

One example of how they make this camera newbie-friendly is the introduction of a "show me everything" mode that does all the hard work of shooting. The display is also user friendly, with the options arrayed around the edges, which is easier to look at than a cluttered screen.

Since it's for beginners, the photo quality and performance must suffer, right? Nope. The D3000 manages to make everything easy to use, while still maintaining excellent image quality and fast performance, compared with similarly priced models.

If you're making the transition from a point and shoot camera to a DSLR, the Nikon D3000 is probably the best camera for you. If you're planning to become a professional photographer, the D3000 is probably not the best camera to start learning the craft because it lacks a lot of advanced features. For that, we'd recommend the D5000.

What's great about it:
- Lightweight
- Excellent quality at low ISO
- Fast performance

What's not so great:
- LCD screen could be improved
- ISO capped at 1600

3) Nikon D5000

The D5000 is like the D3000 but with a bit more advanced features. Its layout is pretty similar to that of most Nikon cameras. They did get rid of several direct access buttons and replace it with the display. Here, you can adjust several settings such as the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. Fairly easy to learn and use.

The performance and image quality are excellent, and we got no complaints. It's quite fast. Power on to shoot takes just .2 seconds, with burst shooting at 4 frames per second, which is as good as it gets.

The photo quality is great. We saw accurate colors, and solid exposure in all our photos. The noise was not noticeable until we reach ISO of 1600. The video though left a lot to be desired. It just shoots at a poor 24 frames per second 720p.

If you're looking for an easy to use camera that has more advanced features, better image quality, faster performance, AND you got the extra cash to spend, it's a no brainer, Go with the Nikon D5000 instead of the D3000.

What's great about it:
- Good image quality
- Fast performance
- Supports video capture
- Solid kit lens

What's not so great:
- Small viewfinder could be improved

4) Olympus E620

As with most Olympus models, the E620 contains a twistable LCD screen, which we found convenient in many situations.

We're big fans of the controls of the E620. They may look awkwardly laid out for the seasoned veteran, but if you never used a DSLR camera before, we think you will get used to it pretty quickly. It's sort of like using a longtime Windows user using a Mac. It's awkward. But for someone who never used a PC, the Mac is the most user friendly.

The performance is solid for the E620, though nowhere close to that of the competition. In fact, we would rate it as more on the slow. Power and shoot takes 1.4 seconds, which is quite slow. Shooting continuously takes .5 seconds, which is reasonable. And it's 3.1 frames per second, which is again average.

The photo quality should not disappoint however. We saw accurate, consistent photos in every ISO level until we reached 800, even at 3200 at times.

If you need a DSLR with video capture capability though, you will need to look elsewhere because the E620 doesn't support it.

What's great about it:
- Buttons are illuminated
- LCD screen can be rotated
- Great image quality
- Small and light
- Reasonably priced

What's not so great:
- No video
- LCD resolution is not as good

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