Dave's Picks

Beginner

Most Popular Beginner's Cameras

Camera Name Res Lens Avg. Price
Sony Alpha ILCE-A6000 digital camera image Sony Alpha ILCE-A6000 24.3 3.13x $785.50
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III digital camera image Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III 20.2 2.92x $788.33
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Sony Alpha SLT-A58 digital camera image Sony Alpha SLT-A58 20.1 3.06x $480.45
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 digital camera image Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 16.0 2.67x $698.99
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 digital camera image Olympus OM-D E-M10 16.1 3.00x $761.30
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Canon EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D) digital camera image Canon EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D) 18.0 3.06x $743.35
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Nikon D5300 digital camera image Nikon D5300 24.2 7.78x $1,002.50
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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS digital camera image Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 50.00x $394.18
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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D) digital camera image Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D) 18.0 3.06x $636.60
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Nikon D3200 digital camera image Nikon D3200 24.2 3.06x $699.95
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Editor's Choice Res Lens Avg. Price
image of Sony Alpha SLT-A58 digital camera Sony Alpha SLT-A58 20.1 3.06x $480.45
Arguably the best image quality we've ever seen from an entry-level DSLR Though the 20.1-megapixel Sony A58 DSLR made some compromises to come in at a more consumer-friendly price than its predecessor, the A57, the camera doesn't skimp on imaging performance. The A58 delivers sharp, detailed photos that rival those from much more expensive models, as well as smooth, high-quality video. Add in responsive and accurate autofocusing, and the camera makes picture-taking an absolute joy. Some may be disappointed by the A58's plastic lens mount (rather than metal), downgraded LCD screen and slower max still and video frame rates, but there's no doubt it's still a tremendous value for beginners. Read our in-depth Sony A58 review to learn more, or buy one now! (minimize)

image of Nikon D3200 digital camera Nikon D3200 24.2 3.06x $699.95
Another great family SLR from Nikon Affordable and easy to use, the Nikon D3200 really doesn't disappoint, providing a small body, improved controls, and a remarkably high-resolution 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor. We found it capable and pleasantly quiet to shoot, and it's still easy to recommend to novice or advanced amateur alike. We wish the lens stood up a little better to the high-resolution sensor, but we think most family photographers will be quite happy with both camera and lens. Click here for our review of the Nikon D3200! (minimize)

image of Canon EOS M digital camera Canon EOS M 18.0 3.10x $329.99
A bargain mirrorless camera for Canon DSLR owners and beginners Thanks to a recent firmware update that improves its autofocusing speed, the 18-megapixel, APS-C-sensored Canon EOS M is a much better mirrorless camera now than it was when announced a year ago. Today, it's also much cheaper and stands as a relative bargain to its close cousins, the Rebel T4i and T5i DSLRs, delivering similar (good!) image quality in a much more compact package. The EOS M also possesses some serious video skills, including the ability to record Full HD (1080p) movies and to change aperture, shutter speed and more while filming in manual mode. Though it has its flaws, the camera could be a good investment for Canon DSLR owners wanting a smaller second body -- and who can mount their existing lenses using an accessory adapter -- as well as for beginners wanting to step up from a point-and-shoot. Read our in-depth Canon EOS M review to find out if this mirrorless model is right for you! (minimize)

Other Top Choices Res Lens Avg. Price
image of Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D) digital camera Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D) 18.0 3.06x $636.60
The smallest DSLR we've ever reviewed still packs a punch
Pairing the compact, lightweight body of a mirrorless camera with the performance and image quality of a digital SLR, the Canon SL1 DSLR provides, in many ways, the best of both worlds. And while it appears to be just a miniaturized version of the Rebel T5i, the SL1 proves to be much more than that, offering an advanced Hybrid CMOS II AF system that significantly improves Live View and Movie shooting. This small DSLR takes great still pictures and boasts impressive video skills, plus it comes kitted with the better-than-average EF-S 18-55mm IS STM lens, which is sharp, smooth and virtually silent. Check out our in-depth Canon SL1 review for more details! (minimize)

image of Canon EOS Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) digital camera Canon EOS Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) 12.2 3.00x $599.99
Canon's new entry-level Rebel adds the latest must-have features, yet still manages an even lower pricetag
A little under three years ago, we reviewed Canon's Rebel XS SLR, and while we found some quirks that might lead enthusiasts to look elsewhere, we felt it to be a pretty well-rounded design, when the entry-level pricetag was factored into the equation. Although the Rebel XS is still available at a discount until the remaining stock is sold through, the Canon T3 is essentially a replacement for that camera, and as such marks the new entry-level point to the company's SLR lineup. On paper, it's an interesting design, with a mixture of significant upgrades in some areas, and features that have been pared back in others. Based around a newer 12-megapixel image sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 offers up a very worthwhile expansion in its upper sensitivity limit, which now tops out at a useful ISO 6,400 equivalent. It also adds two more focus points, and switches to Canon's clever dual-layer iFCL metering chip, which takes account of color information when determining exposure variables. Canon has also slightly increased the T3's LCD display size, added high definition video capture capability, and updated the kit lens to provide an even more effective stabilization system. With a pricetag some $100 below that of its predecessor at launch, though, something had to give. While the Canon T3 has a new optical viewfinder, it actually has just slightly lower magnification and a significantly tighter dioptric correction range than that of its predecessor. Burst shooting speed is also towards the lower end of the range, compared to its main competitors--and that's in JPEG mode. Switch to RAW or RAW+JPEG shooting, and the burst speed and depth is low indeed. In addition, Canon has removed the mechanical portion of its EOS Integrated Cleaning System, leaving the T3 reliant solely on antistatic coatings and software mapping to combat the adverse effects of dust on image quality. To find out whether one hand gave more than the other took away--and whether the Rebel T3's aggressive pricing makes it easy to overlook the occasional shortcoming--you'll want to read our Canon T3 review. (minimize)

image of Canon EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 600D) digital camera Canon EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 600D) 18.0 7.50x $520.12
The flagship Rebel offers just about all you could wish for in a consumer SLR
Truly easy to recommend, the versatile Canon T3i sets the standard at the top of the consumer SLR market. Especially if you're looking for a reasonably affordable SLR that lets you shoot from multiple angles, the Rebel T3i should be at or near the top of your list. With an 18-megapixel sensor, a high-res articulating LCD, an improved grip, and Full HD video recording, the Canon T3i has what it takes to get great shots in most conditions. Its bundled 18-55mm kit lens is improved over its predecessor, and the alternate 18-135mm kit lens is also good quality, covering a near-ideal range for most situations. Image quality is good enough for 20x30-inch prints from ISO 100 to 3,200, and ISO 12,800 shots make a good 8x10. It's quite a camera, to be sure. Click here for more on the Canon T3i! (minimize)

image of Canon EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D) digital camera Canon EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D) 18.0 7.50x $1,199.00
The latest Rebel remains a top choice among consumer SLRs
It's no surprise that the latest flagship Canon Rebel T4i remains easy to recommend. New features like its new 5-frames-per-second frame rate, multi-shot modes -- including HDR -- and Full HD video with stereo recording, are real improvements worth noticing. We weren't as impressed as we expected with the on-sensor phase-detect autofocus, so add a grain of salt to Canon's claims in that area, but it's still a little faster than past offerings, and quieter as well. Add all that to the Canon T4i's excellent 18-megapixel image quality and it's once again easy to recommend the Canon T4i. (minimize)

image of Canon EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D) digital camera Canon EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D) 18.0 3.06x $743.35
Canon didn't significantly change its Rebel flagship -- and that's a good thing
When Canon's consumer-friendly flagship Canon T5i launched, many were quick to criticize the minimal upgrade. There's more to the story, though: Sometimes, maintaining the status quo can be a good thing. The earlier T4i was a capable camera, and the Canon T5i retains every feature, while bundling a better kit lens with a quieter STM motor. Boasting great image quality, a solid build, useful features aplenty, and a more affordable pricetag, the Canon Rebel T5i is even easier to recommend than was its mirror-image predecessor. (minimize)

image of Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS digital camera Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS 10.1 12.00x $155.24
The long-zoom "everywhere" camera just got smaller
Iconic and capable at the same time, the PowerShot 520 HS represents quite an evolution in Canon's classic ELPH design. Duplicating the same diminutive shape and size as its spiritual predecessors, the Canon 520 offers a 12x zoom ranging from 28-336mm with optical image stabilization. Its 3-inch LCD has a higher resolution of 461K-dots, and its simple control set and intelligent exposure modes make getting good stills and videos easy. Click here for our review of the Canon 520 HS! (minimize)

image of Canon PowerShot SX260 HS digital camera Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 20.00x $299.95
High-quality travel zoom appeals to enthusiasts and novices alike
There's nothing like a pocket travel zoom digital camera when you want to get creative shot on vacation. The PowerShot SX260 HS is Canon's best attempt yet at meeting the needs of both the point-and-shooter and the enthusiast photographer, regardless of the destination. Its 20x zoom has great optical quality, and combined with its 12-megapixel sensor the Canon SX260's image quality is good enough to output a 16 x 20-inch print! What with the built-in GPS, we wish it had a little better battery life, but overall the Canon SX260 is looking pretty good. Click here for our Canon SX260 HS review! (minimize)

image of Canon PowerShot SX50 HS digital camera Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 50.00x $394.18
Superzoom, super pictures, super simple to use
Canon has outdone itself once again. Boasting a whopping 50x optical zoom range (24-1200mm equivalent) and excellent image quality for its class, the Canon SX50 may not only be the company's finest megazoom offering to date, but also the best megazoom we've ever tested. Improved image stabilization and advanced features such as RAW capture vault it over its predecessor, though it does suffer some of the same expected shortcomings, including poor low-light autofocus performance and fuzzy images at ISO 800 and above. Learn more by reading our in-depth Canon SX50 review here, or buy one right now! (minimize)

image of Nikon Coolpix P510 digital camera Nikon Coolpix P510 16.1 42.00x $319.00
Nikon does it again with the Coolpix P510!
Sometimes product categories are defined by one popular line, and the Nikon P510 continues the tradition of excellence in ultrazoom digital cameras, with a very wide, very long zoom lens and impressive print quality. With a zoom that ranges from 24 to 1,000mm equivalent, it has a tendency to make you see the world differently, allowing you to realize shots you hadn't before imagined. With great handling, a nice grip, an articulated LCD and built-in GPS, the Nikon P510 offers more than ever before. Click here for our Nikon Coolpix P510 review! (minimize)

image of Nikon D5200 digital camera Nikon D5200 24.1 3.00x $622.87
Mid-level DSLR matches the image quality of more serious cameras at a fraction of the price
The Nikon D5200 may technically be geared for "advanced beginners" -- boasting an easy-to-use design and relatively affordable price -- but it also carries a considerable amount of photographic power. The digital SLR captures exceptional photos that rival those taken by more higher-end cameras, even in low light, thanks to its sophisticated 24.1-megapixel sensor and imaging processor. Add in Full HD movie recording, a relatively fast burst shooting mode and a ton of advanced features, and the D5200 stands as one of the best DSLR investments a fledgling photographer can make. Read our Nikon D5200 review for more details, or start shopping for one now! (minimize)

image of Nikon D5300 digital camera Nikon D5300 24.2 7.78x $1,002.50
Improved images, better video and advanced features make this mid-range DSLR an excellent choice
The Nikon D5300 brings some high-end features down to their latest top-tier consumer DSLR, including a high-resolution 24.2-megapixel sensor that does away with the optical low-pass filter (a la the D7100) to increase sharpness and fine detail. Plus, squeezing in Nikon's powerful EXPEED 4 image processor not only gives the D5300 improved high ISO performance, but also better video specs with 1080/60p Full HD video. It also features some firsts for Nikon DSLRs, such as built-in Wi-Fi and GPS for easy sharing, remote control shooting and geotaging. All in all, this compact, mid-range DSLR adds up to be an excellent choice for upgrading beginners and budding enthusiasts alike. Read our in-depth Nikon D5300 review for all the details, or shop for one now!  (minimize)

image of Nikon J1 digital camera Nikon J1 10.1 3.00x $399.99
Nikon's J1 answers the demand for a truly compact system camera, and does it with style
Nikon bided its time before entering the compact system camera market, and when it finally did so, wasn't afraid to take a path untrodden. The Nikon J1 adopts a rather smaller sensor than its main rivals, but in doing so also offers a worthwhile savings in weight and size--not only for the camera body, but perhaps more importantly for its lenses. That's not the only attention-grabbing feature, either. An unusual hybrid AF system and a speedy new EXPEED processor make the J1 swift even by SLR standards, and all this in a body that looks less camera than fashion accessory. Inquiring minds must know, though: how does that smaller sensor fare against its system camera rivals, and does it offer enough advantage over enthusiast compacts? To find out, click here and read our Nikon J1 review. (minimize)

image of Olympus OM-D E-M10 digital camera Olympus OM-D E-M10 16.1 3.00x $761.30
High-end features, performance and affordability come together in this versatile mirrorless camera.
Olympus combines the enthusiast-oriented E-M5 and professional E-M1 cameras into the lightweight and affordable Olympus E-M10. With the E-M1's powerful image processor, a similar AA-filterless sensor and the E-M5's compact design, the E-M10 manages to bring impressive class-leading image quality, dynamic range, and excellent high ISO performance in a lightweight design down to an entry-level price point. With improved HD video quality, built-in Wi-Fi and a raft of customizable functions, dials and buttons, the E-M10 is great for entry-level shooters and enthusiasts alike. Click here for our Olympus E-M10 review! (minimize)

image of Olympus PEN E-PM2 digital camera Olympus PEN E-PM2 16.1 3.00x $499.99
Surprisingly sophisticated step up from point-and-shoot cameras
Like its big brother -- the PEN E-PL5 -- the Olympus E-PM2 captures stunning, detailed images, thanks to the 16-megapixel sensor it borrows from the top-rated Olympus E-M5. However, the E-PM2 is smaller, lighter and less expensive than the E-PL5, and it relies primarily on touchscreen controls that make it an ideal option for photographers transitioning from point-and-shoots into a compact, interchangeable-lens camera system. The lack of a physical Mode dial and dedicated settings buttons may be a turn off to some enthusiasts, however, the PEN E-PM2 still offers an impressive variety of advanced photographic capabilities that surpasses what some higher-end DSLRs and CSCs can offer. Though a little lacking in action AF and video recording performance, the Olympus E-PM2 mainly overcomes its limitations by delivering fantastic image quality at such an affordable price. Read our in-depth Olympus E-PM2 review for more details, or buy one here. (minimize)

image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 digital camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 16.0 2.67x $698.99
The first truly 'micro' Micro Four Thirds camera packs the power of the GX7 into your pocket
While we may have called the GX7 the Micro Four Thirds model we've all been waiting for, the Panasonic GM1 make take its spot, or at least be called the perfect companion camera to the GX7 or other larger M43 cameras. The GM1 packs the same sensor and processor as the GX7 providing excellent image quality and performance as well as offering a ton of advanced features such as a touchscreen LCD and robust Wi-Fi capabilities. The super-compact size lets this well-built camera go practically anywhere, while still retaining the larger sensor and the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. Read our in-depth Panasonic GM1 review for all the details, or shop for one now! (minimize)

image of Pentax X-5 digital camera Pentax X-5 16.0 26.00x $259.47
Entry-level, versatile superzoom makes taking pictures fun and easy
Boasting a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and a 26x optical zoom lens, the Pentax X-5 offers family, travel and beginning photographers a serious-looking, but ultimately easy-to-use camera that can capture good photos at a long distance. The camera features a ton of preset modes and automated functions that make picture taking fun and simple. And the X-5's 22-580mm equivalent range can bring the action up nice and close. Though it may look and feel like a DSLR, the X-5 is clearly not geared for enthusiasts wanting advanced photographic capabilities or DSLR-like image quality. While the X-5 delivers crisp, detailed images in good light -- most likely where casual photographers would use it most -- it doesn't fare as well at higher ISOs and when shooting in dim or overcast conditions. It's also a slow camera to operate, especially for candid work. Still, at its price point and with its point-and-shoot lineage, the Pentax X-5 does a lot of things right, and ranks as one of the best entry-level superzoom models we've tested. Click here for our full Pentax X-5 review or go buy one now. (minimize)

image of Sony Alpha ILCE-A3000 digital camera Sony Alpha ILCE-A3000 20.1 3.06x $348.49
The staggeringly-affordable Sony A3000 takes the interchangeable-lens camera back to basics, with only the features you really need
Some cameras are all about cramming in features; the Sony A3000 doesn't play that game. It's been pared down to the basics -- you get precisely what you need, and little more. But while rivals in its pricetag skimp on the basics with plastic lens mounts and years-old designs, Sony plays its own game, making an affordable camera that you'd actually want to own. But that's not to say that there are no compromises in the A3000. Read our in-depth Sony A3000 review, and find out whether Sony's hit the perfect balance between features and cost! (minimize)

image of Sony Alpha ILCE-A6000 digital camera Sony Alpha ILCE-A6000 24.3 3.13x $785.50
The Sony A6000 is affordable, fast, and takes really great pictures. Could this be the ultimate all-rounder camera?
Not only does this high-res speed demon cram in plenty of desirable features, the Sony A6000 also shaves a couple of hundred dollars off its predecessor's price. That's the recipe for greatness, so it's no surprise this has been one of our most popular reviews in recent memory -- and now, it's finished! So what was our final verdict on this affordable, swift-shooting camera, and is it time you bought one for yourself? Read our in-depth Sony A6000 review, and see what we thought! (minimize)

image of Sony Alpha NEX-3N digital camera Sony Alpha NEX-3N 16.1 3.13x $375.15
Easy-to-use compact system camera gives beginners a terrific bang for their buck, and great images to boot
For photographers looking to step-up from a point-and-shoot to an interchangeable lens system camera, the Sony NEX-3N does it as seamlessly as any entry-level model we've ever tested. It employs a simple but effective user interface, and even places a zoom lever right on the camera body. What's more, the NEX-3N takes great photos that rival those from higher-end mirrorless cameras, and even some DSLRs, thanks to its relatively large APS-C-sized sensor. While experienced photographers may focus on the camera's limitations, and might only consider it as a compact backup, beginning shooters will love how easy the NEX-3N is to use, how fun and fast it is to shoot with, and how much bang for the buck it delivers. Read our in-depth Sony NEX-3N review for more details or go buy one now! (minimize)

image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 digital camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 20.4 50.00x $389.83
Sony's feature-packed, all-in-one superzoom captures images few camera can
Boasting an incredible 50x optical zoom (24-1,200mm equivalent) reach, the all-in-one Sony HX300 showcases one of the most versatile built-in lenses we've ever tested. This bridge camera's relatively small 1/2.3-inch imaging sensor means its image quality won't rival the output of a DSLR or premium compact -- especially in low light -- but it's definitely capable of capturing photos few other cameras can. Packed with features including Full HD video at up to 60p in a comfortable, ergonomc body, this superzoom is ideal to take on any photo trip when you need to travel light. Read our Sony HX300 review to find out all the details, or order one now! (minimize)

image of Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III digital camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III 20.2 2.92x $788.33
The Sony RX100 III is a stunning, pocket-friendly shooter, but can it defeat its amazingly popular siblings?
It was clear from its heritage that the Sony RX100 III would be an exciting camera, given that both its predecessors earned our Pocket Camera of the Year award, two years running. But that level of success also meant some mighty big shoes to fill. Sony's pocket-friendly shooter line are in a class of their own, and we shot all three models side-by-side to determine once and for all -- which is the best compact camera that money can buy? Did the RX100 III have what it took to steal the crown? Read our Sony RX100 III review, and find out! (minimize)

 
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