When I first started photography, I had no clue what cameras were the best to buy, how to shop for lenses, or what all was needed to start taking great photos. With that being said, here is a list of the best/most affordable photography gear for beginners based on my 5+ years of experience in photography.
1. Canon Rebel T6i ($599 with kit lens)
This is the camera I have used for the past two years and loved! The t6i has produced some amazing images that I’m still proud of today. The 24 megapixel crop sensor camera shoots photos at 5 frames per second (FPS) and 1080p video at 30 FPS. It has a 3 inch articulating monitor (flips out and tilts) which is very helpful if you’re shooting any angles that may be hard to see normally. The t6i was released in 2015, and has 19 autofocus points and Wi-Fi capability. This camera is great for beginning photographers and videographers because of its wide range of accessibility. It gives you all the manual controls of a higher-end DSLR but with lots of automatic and semi-automatic options to use while you’re learning at a great price point.
- Canon Rebel T7i ($849 with kit lens)
This is the T6i’s big brother with slightly better features. You still get 24 megapixels and the 3 inch vari-angle touchscreen but the difference is that this camera can shoot Full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second (which is great if you’re someone who wants to shoot high quality videos). If you’re just wanting to do photography, the T6i might be a better option. Upgraded from it’s previous 19 af points, the T7i has 45-point all cross-type autofocus points which helps ensure you are nailing your focus every time. More features include, up to 6fps, built in WI-Fi, and HDR Movie and Time-Lapse recording. The Canon Rebel is a great option for beginning photographers as well as videographers.
- Nikon D3400 ($449 with kit lens)
If there is a camera that can give Canon’s T6i a run for its money, it is the Nikon D3400. This camera is a well-priced powerhouse, boasting 24 megapixels, 11 autofocus points and a burst rate of 5 FPS. It also has a 3 inch LCD (but fixed) screen and ability to record 1080p video at 60 frames per second. The D3400 makes a good choice for videographers as well and has been a very popular choice for beginners ever since its release date.
- Sony a6000 ($549 with kit lens)
Sony cameras are up there with some of the best cameras on the market right now. If you want a camera that’s smaller in size but still gives you amazing features, Sony’s a6000 mirrorless camera is for you. The a6000 is a great option and comes with some key features like the 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, a whopping Autofocus system with 25 contrast-detect and 179 phase-detect points, Full HD video recording at 1080/60 frames per second, 3 inch tilting LCD screen and continuous shooting at 11 frames per second. It also has Wi-Fi capability and downloadable apps. This is a workhorse of a camera and would be a good choice for any beginning photographers/videographers.
Lenses that pair well with the Canon Rebel T6i and T7i:
- Canon 50mm f1.8 (great option for portraits and making the background blurred out)
- Canon 55-250mm (great option when you need to photograph a subject from a far distance. This lens has image stabilization which helps your images come out tack-sharp and is great for video options)
- Tamron 28-75 f2.8 (great option for portraits because of how blurry you can make your background. It also allows you to get that blurred out look in tight spaces with its 28-70mm range)
Lenses that pair well with the Nikon D3400:
- Nikon 50mm f1.8 (same as Canon’s 50mm but for Nikon and is a great option for portraits while making the background blurred out)
- Nikon 35mm f1.8 (gives you a wide field of view while still giving you the that “out of focus” look due to its wide 1.8 aperture)
Lenses that pair well with the Sony a6000:
- Sony 50mm f1.8 (also a great option for portraits and making the background blurred out)
- Sony 16mm f2.8 (gives you a very wide field of view while still giving you the that “out of focus” look due to its wide 2.8 aperture)
Neewer 43 inch 5-in-1 Reflector: In my opinion, every photographer needs a reflector. The Neewer 5-in-1 reflector gives you a collapsible 43 inch multi disc light reflect with translucent, silver, gold, white and black sides. The gold side gives a great option when trying to create a nice “golden hour” effect and the translucent piece is amazing when trying to get nice soft light on your subject in harsh lighting situations. It’s $19 price points makes it almost impossible to pass up.
Neewer 59”x79”5-in-1 reflector: This rectangular shaped reflector still offers the translucent, silver, gold, white and black sides. However, at its 59”x79” size, the Neewer reflector provides you the options to light your subject at full body lengths. This is a great option for fashion photographers.
Tripods and Monopods:
The BONFOTO B671A: The BONFOTO B671A Tripod offers outstanding value with its aluminum build. Weighing only 2.9 pounds, the maximum weight it can hold is 17.6 pounds, which is excellent for the how cheap it is. The B671A is capable to extend to a maximum height of 55 inches and a compact folded height of 15 inches. This really is sized perfectly for traveling as well as landscape and portrait photography.
Vanguard VEO 204AB: This aluminum tripod with ball head is an excellent option for traveling due to its easy/compactable fold. It’s sturdy build ensures that you can trust leaving your camera on without collapsing under its weight or blowing over in the wind. The legs offer three different leg angles and options to extend to a height of 53.1 inches and when folded down reaches a size of only 15.6 inches.
SIRUI P-326 6 Section Carbon Fiber Monopod: The Sirui monopod is a great option for photographers who need a quick set-up. With only one leg you can run around snapping photos at a high speed pace without the headache of trying to level your sometimes bulky tripods. The Sirui has a light-weight 8x carbon fiber in 6 sections, reversible ¼”-20 and ⅜”-16 screw on mounting plate, wrist strap and hand grip for comfortable hold and insulation and silicon twist lock durability.
*Images were all taken on Canon Rebel t6i with the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens*