A Beginner’s Guide: What should you choose for your first camera?

In recent years, smartphones have become increasingly capable of taking pictures, and have basically been able to meet the needs of consumer photography. Some people believe that with the development of smartphones, cell phone cameras will completely replace traditional digital cameras. But it is undeniable that the current stage of cell phone photography capabilities can not be compared with professional cameras. Professional digital cameras are still the first choice of most photographers and enthusiasts. In this article, we will introduce the basic parameters of digital and the introduction of 3 popular entry-level cameras.

Definition of camera parameters

The followings are some common camera parameters and their definitions explained.

  • Resolution: The number of pixels that a camera can take a photo with, usually expressed in megapixels, such as 24 megapixels. The higher the resolution, the clearer the details of the photo, but the file size will increase accordingly.
  • Shutter speed: The time it takes for the camera shutter to open and close, expressed in seconds. The faster the shutter speed, the better the ability to shoot fast-motion scenes.
  • Aperture: refers to the size of the lens aperture, usually expressed in “F-number”, such as F/2.8. The larger the aperture, the stronger the ability of the lens to capture light, to obtain better results in low-light conditions.
  • ISO sensitivity: refers to the range of light intensity that the camera can withstand, usually expressed as a number, such as ISO 100, ISO 400, etc. The higher the ISO sensitivity, the better the camera’s ability to shoot in low-light conditions, but it also increases photo noise.
  • Exposure compensation: Refers to controlling the brightness of a photo by manually adjusting the exposure value in automatic exposure mode. It is usually expressed in the form of +/- EV.
  • Focusing method: refers to the way the camera performs auto-focusing, there are multi-point focusing, center-point focusing, and other methods. Different focusing methods are applicable to different scenes.
  • Image stabilizer: refers to the camera’s built-in function for reducing blur caused by camera shake when shooting handheld. Image stabilizers are divided into two types: lens stabilizers and body stabilizers.

Development trends in digital cameras

The development trend of digital cameras is to continue to develop in the direction of higher pixels, higher light sensitivity, smaller bodies, more intelligence, more diversified functions, etc.

  1. Increased resolution: As pixel technology continues to advance, so does camera resolution, and more and more cameras have reached or exceeded 20 megapixels. This allows users to take more detailed and clearer photos.
  2. Improved image sensor: The image sensor is one of the most critical components of a camera, which determines the image quality of the camera. In the future, camera image sensors may be more efficient, more light-sensitive, and better able to handle high-contrast scenes.
  3. Adding smart features: Smart cameras will become an important direction in the development of digital cameras. The camera may be equipped with more intelligent functions, such as automatic recognition of shooting scenes, automatic recognition of faces and expressions, automatic picture correction, etc.
  4. Smaller bodies: The size of camera bodies is already shrinking, and they are also becoming lighter. In the future, cameras may become more compact, portable, and easier to carry.
  5. Video shooting: In addition to shooting photos, the camera can also shoot high-quality video, which is an important development direction for the camera in the future. In the future, the camera may have higher video resolution, more stable video shooting function, better video editing function, etc.

What is an entry-level camera?

Entry-level cameras are a category of products in the camera market, usually referring to cameras with relatively low prices, relatively simple functions, easy to operate, and suitable for beginners. Entry-level cameras usually have basic shooting functions, such as automatic mode, manual mode, white balance adjustment, flash, continuous shooting, etc., and can also be upgraded and expanded by changing lenses, etc.

Compared to high-level professional cameras, entry-level cameras are more affordable, usually between a few hundred and several thousand dollars. These cameras are also relatively light, easy to carry, and suitable for travel, family photography, and other daily shooting needs. Entry-level cameras usually also have a more user-friendly interface and instruction manuals, allowing beginners to quickly get started and understand basic photography knowledge.

You can check the most popular cameras on the Amazon through the below link:

100 Hot Digital SLRs

Entry-level camera recommendations

Canon M200

The Canon M200 is an entry-level micro-single camera, released on September 25, 2019. It is suitable for beginners or enthusiasts who need high-quality photos and videos.

Canon EOS M200 Frontshot

Camera parameters of Canon M200

ParameterDescription
BrandCanon
Camera TypeMirrorless camera
Sensor TypeAPS-C CMOS sensor
Sensor Pixels24.1 million
Image ProcessorDIGIC 8
Max Resolution6000 x 4000
Max Video Resolution4K (3840 x 2160) @ 24p / 25p
Autofocus SystemDual Pixel CMOS AF
Focus Points143 points
Max Continuous Speed6.1 frames per second
Shutter Speed Range30 seconds – 1/4000 second
Exposure Compensation Range±3 EV
ISO RangeISO 100-25600
Shooting ModesAuto, manual, scene, creative filters, and more
Memory Card TypeSD / SDHC / SDXC
FlashBuilt-in pop-up flash, guide number of 12m (at ISO 100)
Display3-inch tilting touch LCD screen
Battery TypeLP-E12 lithium-ion battery
Battery LifeApprox. 315 shots (depending on shooting conditions)
Dimensions (W x H x D)108 x 67 x 35 mm
WeightApprox. 299g (body only)

Highlights of Canon M200

  • Easy to carry: Canon M200 uses the design of a micro-single camera, compact size, only palm-sized, daily travel shooting is very portable.
  • Easy to operate: The Canon M200 features an easy-to-understand user interface that is very easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Lightweight and portable: The Canon M200’s body weighs only 299 grams, making it very lightweight and suitable for prolonged shooting.
  • High image quality: The Canon M200 features a 24.1 megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 8 image processor that delivers high-quality images and video.
  • Self-timer function: The Canon M200 also has a self-timer function, which is very convenient for taking self-timer photos and videos.
  • It is equipped with a 180° full-function flip-up screen and also supports full-function touch control.
  • Equipped with Canon’s eighth-generation processor, the picture is very pure, and rich in detail, and manual mode has seven filters to choose from.
  • 4 levels of beauty function, especially for girls selfies are very suitable.
  • Support wifi/Bluetooth connection to the phone, transferring photos to send friends more convenient in the open face + tracking mode can be eye detection autofocus, for capturing people shooting is very powerful.
  • There is a silent mode, very suitable for use in concerts, museums, art galleries, and other occasions to shoot.

Disadvantages of Canon M200

  • USB port does not support charging
  • No stabilization function: The Canon M200 does not have a built-in stabilization function and needs to be paired with an anti-shake lens to capture stable images.
  • No viewfinder: The Canon M200 does not have a built-in viewfinder and requires framing through the screen, which may cause some trouble when shooting in bright light.
  • No shutter cable interface: The Canon M200 does not have a shutter cable interface and cannot be shot remotely via the shutter cable.
  • Video recording time limit: The video recording time limit of Canon M200 is 29 minutes and 59 seconds, which may not meet the needs of long-time video shooting.

Sony ZV-E10

The Sony ZV-E10 was released on July 27, 021, and is an entry-level camera designed for vloggers and creators. The following is an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Sony ZV-E10

Camera parameters of Sony ZV-E10

ParameterDescription
BrandSony
Camera TypeMirrorless camera
Sensor TypeAPS-C CMOS sensor
Sensor Pixels24.2 million
Image ProcessorBIONZ X
Max Resolution6000 x 4000
Max Video Resolution4K (3840 x 2160) @ 30p / 24p
Autofocus SystemFast Hybrid AF
Focus Points425 points
Max Continuous Speed11 frames per second (mechanical shutter), 8 frames per second (electronic shutter)
Shutter Speed Range30 seconds – 1/4000 second
Exposure Compensation Range±5 EV
ISO RangeISO 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 51200)
Shooting ModesPhoto, video, slow and quick motion, interval shooting, and more
Memory Card TypeSD / SDHC / SDXC
Display3-inch vari-angle touch LCD screen
Battery TypeNP-FW50 lithium-ion battery
Battery LifeApprox. 440 shots (with viewfinder), approx. 125 minutes of video recording (with LCD screen)
Dimensions (W x H x D)115.2 x 64.2 x 44.8 mm
WeightApprox. 343g (body only)

Advantages of ZV-E10

  • High-quality video capture capability: The ZV-E10 can capture high-quality 4K video, supports high bit rate XAVC S format, and multiple color configurations such as HLG and S-Log 2/3, which makes it ideal for producing professional video content.
  • High-speed autofocus: The fast hybrid autofocus system locks onto subjects quickly and accurately, while 425 autofocus points cover most of the image area to ensure that subjects remain sharp while shooting video.
  • Rotatable LCD screen: The ZV-E10’s 3-inch rotatable LCD screen is perfect for selfies and vlogging, and the screen quality is excellent.
  • Optional external microphone: It supports a 3.5mm microphone jack, which allows you to upgrade the quality of your recordings, while the built-in 3-microphone system provides good recording results.
  • Lightweight and portable: The ZV-E10 is small in size and weight, making it easy to carry in a backpack or pocket.

Disadvantages of ZV-E10

  • Limited lens options: Although a wide range of lenses is available with the E-mount, the limited number of E-mount lenses available at this time may be a problem for photographers who need specific lenses.
  • Latency problem: When using the LCD screen for live shooting, there may be some delay in the camera, which may affect the quality of the shot.
  • Battery life: The ZV-E10 has a relatively short battery life, so if you shoot HD video, you may need a spare battery.
  • Lack of built-in anti-shake: The ZV-E10 lacks a built-in anti-shake system, which can cause shake and blur in videos. An optional lens with stabilization or a stabilizer is required to get a more stable picture.
  • Overall, the Sony ZV-E10 is a full-featured, lightweight entry-level vlogging camera for vloggers and creators who need high-quality video production. It has some limitations, but given its price and design goals, these issues are acceptable.

Nikon D3500

Nikon_D3500

Specifications of the Nikon D3500:

SpecificationsDetails
Sensor24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
ProcessorNikon Expeed 4
ISO Range100-25600
Image StabilizationNone
Autofocus System11-point AF system with one cross-type sensor
Burst Shooting5 fps
Video1080p Full HD up to 60 fps
Monitor3-inch 921k-dot TFT LCD
Battery LifeUp to 1,550 shots
ConnectivityBluetooth and SnapBridge compatibility
Weight415 g (body only)

Released on August 30, 2018, the Nikon D3500 is an entry-level digital SLR camera with the following pros and cons.

Advantages

  • Easy to use: The D3500 is designed to be simple and easy to use for beginners. The camera has automatic and manual modes, as well as a variety of scene modes, allowing users to easily obtain the desired shooting results.
  • High-quality images: Equipped with a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor and Nikon EXPEED 4 image processor, the D3500 captures excellent HD images with fine colors and good dynamic range.
  • Lightweight and portable: The D3500 camera is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around and shoot anywhere, anytime.
  • Good battery life: The D3500 has a long battery life and can take multiple photos or record long videos on a single charge.
  • Low latency autofocus: The D3500’s autofocus system locks onto the subject quickly and accurately, and has good performance in fast continuous shooting mode.

Disadvantages

  • Lack of 4K video: Compared to modern cameras, the D3500 can only shoot 1080p video, with no 4K option, which may be a drawback for some photography enthusiasts.
  • Lack of Image Stabilization: The D3500 does not have built-in image stabilization, which can cause shaky or blurry photos when shooting video or long exposures.
  • Lenses that cannot autofocus: Some older Nikon lenses may not have autofocus, which may result in reduced autofocus performance when using these lenses.
  • Lack of sensor cleaning function: The D3500 does not have an automatic sensor cleaning function and requires manual cleaning with special tools.

Overall, the Nikon D3500 is a good-performing entry-level DSLR camera with the advantages of ease of use, high image quality, lightweight, and portability. However, the lack of some advanced features such as 4K video recording, image stabilization, and autofocus lens may have some impact on some photography enthusiasts.

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