Knowing what first camera to buy can easily become a nightmare. There is just SO MUCH choice! Where do you start?
I always tell my clients to start with their budget.
Camera equipment can easily mount up so have a good think about what you can reasonably afford without putting yourself in any unwanted debt. And don't forget to factor in that you may need to buy additional lenses, memory cards, a spare battery, and a bag.
Next up, think about what features you want and need.
Do you need it to produce big images so you can print billboard size, or will A3 prints be enough?
Do you need it to zoom in and focus quickly because you enjoy photographing
wildlife or sports, or is that not really a concern because you just want to photograph things that don't move like buildings and landscapes?
Will you be using it in poor light conditions or mainly during the day when the sun is well and truly up?
Do you need it to be light and portable so you can take it with you on long hikes or does weight not really matter because you will mainly be sat in a hide?
Once you have a bit of an idea you can start to take a look at some of the many cameras on the market, but don't forget to stick within your budget.
Personally, I think it's nice to get a good camera but not a superduper camera when you begin. It's a bit like getting a run around when you first pass your driving test or going straight for the Ferrari. Keep things simple so you can concentrate on taking the photos.
Here are a few examples of beginner cameras I would look out for in the Black Friday and winter sales...
I'd probably go for a secondhand DSLR. Not the lightest option but some bargains can be had from the second-hand market. Camera manufacturers are concentrating on making mirrorless cameras, so now is a great time to get some really good image quality, low-light capabilities, and a solid camera that would have cost a few hundred pounds more, just a few years ago.
I don't think you can really beat the Nikon D3500 or if you have a bit more to spend the Nikon D5600, for the price they are excellent beginner cameras.
If you want something a bit more than a beginner's camera take a look at the Canon EOS 90D.
When buying second-hand, I only buy cameras in "Excellent" Condition and with a relatively low shutter count (Under 50,000 if possible)
If you would prefer to buy something new and weight is not too much of a problem for you, I would take a look at the Nikon D7500. I think this camera is brilliant, for around £1000 you can't go wrong.
If you would like to get into the mirrorless world for under £1000, then check out the:
Sony A6100 - Great in low light and has great autofocus. The only thing I personally don't like about this camera is that the viewfinder is off to one side, I do prefer them to be in the middle but maybe you would like it. The other thing is the menu is a tad complicated.
If you have a bit more to spend, take a look at the Nikon Z50 and consider buying a mount so you can use older lenses with your sparkling new camera.
And my last thought would be the Sony A7 iii coming in just under £2,000 with a lens. A fantastic camera that I have personally owned. Fantastic camera if you want something that is considerably more powerful than a beginner's camera but want to stay under £2000 for everything!
Please note these are just my personal thoughts as the market stands in November 2022. Things are changing very quickly and ultimately you need to be happy with what you buy. I think it is still good practice to go into an actual camera shop and pick up a few cameras and see how they feel in your hands before you buy.
All the best with your camera shopping and I hope to see you soon :-)