The best point-and-shoot cameras for beginners should offer not only good automatic shooting modes but also a way to slowly ease you into fully manual workings. Generally, beginners want the thrill of being able to produce high-quality images without too much fuss. But once your skills and knowledge progress, you want to be more hands-on with all the settings.
It is also arguable that the top range of cameras can be used in fully automatic mode. But these cameras can also look initially overwhelming, with all those dials and buttons. Therefore, we have brought you a mix of point-and-shoot cameras for beginners, which all deliver high resolution while taking you down the path of automatic to fully manual mode for when you want to get more adventurous.
1. Nikon Z 50
If you want to go down the route of having a fully-capable camera for all types of conditions, a camera that can take interchangeable lenses, with the scope to go from beginner to pro, the Nikon Z 50 has a lot going for it. The camera may not have all the bells and whistles of its full-frame counterparts, but it does have enough features wrapped around its 20.9MP CMOS DX-format sensor to slot into any shooting scenario.
There are 209-point hybrid AF points available to make sure every image has sharp focus. And with an ISO range up to 51,200, low-light photography is more viable than ever. For those who prefer sports, events, or wildlife photography, the camera is capable of shooting 11 fps. Plus, with advanced focusing features such as Eye Detection AF, the Nikon Z 50 is equally capable in both single-shot and continuous shooting modes.
Video facilities are also available shooting UHD 4K at 30 fps and Full HD at 120 fps. There are plenty of ways to develop images in-camera with creative picture controls and in-camera editing. The Z 50 can be picked up with a pretty good-quality kit lens which is a great starting point until you want to venture into owning more expensive optics.
On the whole, our full review of the Nikon Z 50 finds it to be a little powerhouse of a camera, which will provide years of shooting fun. As a plus point, you can access a wide range of prime lenses.
2. Fujifilm X-T200
Right from the beginning, Fujifilm decided to design their mirrorless cameras with retro good looks, rather than complete utilitarian aesthetics. Looks alone wouldn’t cut it, so it’s a good job that the X-T200 is also a very capable shooting machine. The X-T200 brings all the fun from the higher-end models at a more affordable price point, but still equally capable.
The camera contains a 24.2MP APS-C-format CMOS sensor, with a wide-ranging ISO of 200-12,800, an eight fps shooting speed, and 4K video at 30 fps. Images can be composed or previewed via the rear multi-angle 3.5-inch 2.76m-dot touchscreen LCD. There are plenty of ways to transfer your images via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The all-manual controls on the higher-end models have been slimmed down on the Fujifilm X-T200 to a simpler layout. The simpler controls still give you that feeling of using an old film camera, with the capabilities of the latest mirrorless cameras. Essential if you want to mix up a very chic looking camera with Fujifilm’s mirrorless capabilities, the Fujifilm X-T200 is a fine choice.
3. Canon EOS Rebel SL3
For current Canon owners, the Rebel series was most likely their first entry into the DLSR world proper and the huge world of interchangeable lenses. If there is one thing these little DSLRs teach you more than anything else is that with a quality lens, they are very capable of producing professional results.
The Rebel SL3 comes with a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a very usable ISO range of 100-25,600, along with 4K/24p video and time-lapse movies. The autofocus system is reasonably efficient, with features from the higher-end models such as Dual Pixel CMOS AF. There may be only nine AF points available, but this also simplifies focusing matters for the beginner.
A dial on the top plate can quickly move from fully automatic to manual mode, with creative options available for your own personal shooting tastes. There are also lots of scene modes available such as landscape, sports, and night portraits if you want more point-and-shoot capabilities. Plus, a full manual mode when you really want to dive into setting your own aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings.
Although mirrorless cameras have taken hold, the humble DSLR is still a capable shooter with the benefits of the longest battery life and as-you-see-it optical viewfinder. The other benefit to the EOS Rebel SL3 is that it is very affordable and can take advantage of the huge catalog of Canon EF lenses. Read our full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 review for the rest of the details.
4. Nikon D3500
Just as Canon has their own entry-level DLSRs, Nikon has the D3500. This is an equally useful entry-level DSLR, coming with a 24.2MP CMOS sensor, ISO range of 100-25,600, shooting speed of five fps, and full HD 1080p/60 fps video.
The autofocus system has 11 AF points, which can be easily selected through the bright optical viewfinder or the three-inch 921k-dot LCD screen. Plus, being a DSLR, it has an amazing battery life of up to 1,550 shots, and just like Canon, has access to a wealth of interchangeable lenses. Most importantly, the camera can be used in fully automatic mode for point-and-shoot images, with aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes, just like its larger siblings.
With the D3500 and the Canon option above, it’s a good idea to check out these cameras thoroughly before you buy, possibly rent one for the day. Mainly because if you choose one of these options, it can lead to a lifetime of brand loyalty and obsession. We break down all the features in our review of the Nikon D3500.
5. Sony a6000 (Budget Winner)
The Sony a6000 just about scrapes in as our lowest cost solution, bringing together a nice mix of point-and-shoot capabilities with the option of advanced features. The 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor sensor has an ISO range up to 25,600 for low-light shooting and a burst mode of 11 fps.
Being a Sony camera, the autofocus system is highly capable with 179 phase-detection AF points and advanced features such as Eye AF for accurate portraits. If video is more your thing, the a6000 doesn’t shoot 4K, but is still more than capable in HD 1080p mode, having some tasty advanced features such as focus peaking and external recording.
As a point-and-shoot camera, the Sony is everything you could possibly need, with built-in picture effects, anti-motion blur, lots of a6000 lenses available, and an as-you-see-it electronic viewfinder. The a6000 also gives you a taste of the higher-end models in a much more convenient package. We go deeper in our Sony a6000 review.
How to Find the Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras for Beginners
Really, the first decision is if you want to go down the DSLR or mirrorless camera routes. Both have their pros and cons, with DSLRs still having the widest range of lenses, best battery life, and optical viewfinders.
Mirrorless cameras are generally lighter in weight and one of the big plus points is the image you see an electronic viewfinder is what you will see in the final image render.
In any case, all the camera examples above are excellent examples for those who want point-and-shoot cameras for beginners, with the option to take full control of the camera at a later date.