Whether it's a last minute xmas present or something to snaffle in the January sales, these models are for those new to photography or who want a camera that’s capable of taking good-quality images without breaking the bank
Canon EOS 200D
Price: £559, with 18-55mm lens
Positioned between the entry-level EOS 2000D and mid-range EOS 800D models, the 24.2MP EOS 200D is Canon’s smallest DSLR and comes with some key features not found on the EOS 2000D. These include Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology that speeds up focus performance when the camera is in live view, plus a vari-angle touchscreen LCD display. The intuitive control layout makes it easy to use, while Canon’s guided user interface helps beginners learn the main settings. If you’re considering the 1300D but have a little more to spend, the 200D is worth a look.
Canon EOS M50
Price: £649, with 15-45mm lens
Canon’s entry-level mirrorless model is a really likeable camera that’s easy for beginners to use but offers plenty of manual control as they grow more experienced. Its compact size and light weight make it easy to carry anywhere, while the 24.1MP APS-C offers great image quality, aided by Canon’s excellent JPEG processing. The dual-pixel CMOS sensor enables fast and accurate autofocus, even when using EOS SLR lenses via the EF-EOS M mount adapter. At the back, the fully articulated touchscreen is great for shooting at unusual angles.
Price: £599, with 15-45mm lens
Fujifilm’s successful X-T series expanded earlier this year with the X-T100. Aimed at novices who desire an electronic viewfinder and tilting screen at a more affordable price than any previous X-T series camera, the X-T100 is equipped with a 24.2MP APS-C sensor and provides a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200 with expansion. It has all the charm of the X-series design, with useful user aids such as low-power Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi to share images effortlessly. As a model designed for first-time buyers and those advancing from smartphones, it’s very appealing from both an aesthetic and performance perspective.
Price: £479, with 18-55mm lens
Nikon’s entry-level DSLR is a solid performer, providing excellent image quality from the 24MP DX-format sensor, aided by a proven 11-point autofocus system. There’s an easy-to-use Guide Mode for beginners, along with full manual control for more-advanced users. Bluetooth connectivity allows images to be transferred to a smartphone for sharing on social media. The updated D3500 provides a near-identical feature set in a redesigned body, that features a deeper, more comfortable handgrip and improved battery life rating for only a little more money. However as long as stocks remain in the shops, the D3400 represents better value.
Price: £649, with 18-55mm lens
Positioned above the D3400 but below the D7200, the 24.2MP D5600 is an upper-entry-level DSLR. As such, it comes with some additional and enhanced features over the D3400, including a larger and sharper 3.2in, 1.04-million-dot vari-angle LCD display (compared with the D3400’s fixed 3in, 921,000-dot display) that also provides touchscreen control. In addition, the D5600 gets 39 AF points compared to the D3400’s 11 AF points. The D5600 also features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity along with a time-lapse movie mode.
Olympus PEN E-PL9
Price: £579, with 14-42mm lens
The E-PL9 is the entry point to Olympus’s stylish range of mirrorless cameras. Equipped with a 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, the E-PL9 also benefits from effective 5-axis in-body image stabilisation. While there’s no electronic viewfinder, it has a tilting screen for selfies that supports touch control. Video capabilities extend to 4K 30p capture with the option to extract 8MP still images from movie footage. Those after a camera with a similar spec but also a viewfinder should check out the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX800
Price: £299, with 12-32mm lens
The GX800 is an entry-level mirrorless camera built around a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. Designed to be easy to use, the GX800 is nonetheless equipped with a good range of features, including 4K video capture and Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode. While it lacks an electronic viewfinder, the tiltable 3in, 1.04-million-dot rear LCD display provides touchscreen control, and can be flipped upwards by 180° for easy selfies. The tiny 12-32mm kit zoom is a perfect match for the small body.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80
Price: £399, with 12-32mm lens
This small but well-featured mirrorless camera is built around a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. It has built-in 5-axis image stabilisation, 4K video capture, a 2.76-million-dot electronic viewfinder, a 1.04-million-dot tilting touchscreen and 4K Photo mode that facilitates the extraction of 8MP still images from 4K movie footage. Small and portable, and usually bundled with a tiny retractable zoom, the GX80 is a well-rounded camera that’s attractively priced.
Price: £629, with 18-50mm lens
Pentax has gained a deserved reputation for producing cameras that provide exceptional value for money, and the entry-level K-70 DSLR is no exception. Built around a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, notable highlights are a large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage, full weathersealing and an in-body image-stabilisation system – none of which you’ll find on the K-70’s direct rivals from Nikon and Canon. Other features include ISO sensitivity of ISO 100-102,400 and 6fps continuous shooting. For the price, it’s very hard to beat.
Sony Alpha 6000
Price: £499, with 16-50mm lens
Released in 2014, the 24.3MP Alpha 6000 is best thought of as a slightly less advanced, yet significantly cheaper, alternative to the more recent Alpha 6300 and Alpha 6500 models. While it lacks 4K video, the Alpha 6000 still has some solid features, such as its hybrid autofocus system that combines 179 phase- detection AF points and 25 contrast-detect ones for almost instant focus lock, plus ISO sensitivity of ISO 100-25,600, up to 11fps continuous shooting and Wi-Fi/NFC functionality. There’s also a built-in electronic viewfinder and tilting rear screen.