The holiday season is upon us, and I get asked every year which cameras are ideal for gifting. I pretty much universally recommend the Canon Rebel series, but this year I am making a change in my recommendation for the first time… ever!
The future of digital photography is in mirrorless cameras, and things have been headed in this direction for quite some time now on the professional level. In the past 1-2 years, there have been several new releases at the hobbyist (crop sensor/affordable) level, including a couple of options from Canon that I can recommend for a beginner. Mirrorless cameras are going to be more expensive, even at the “prosumer” level, but I think it’s worthwhile unless you are really uncertain how committed you are to learning photography.
Mirrrorless cameras have a few significant changes from your traditional DSLR: they incorporate features and technology that you will not see in a regular DSLR (particularly when it comes to focusing technique), there is a learning curve when coming from a traditional DSLR, and mirrorless camera bodies require a new lens mount, meaning your older lenses will work with your new mirrorless camera only with an adapter.
So, it makes sense to start your photography journey with a mirrorless camera since there are different controls and features, and most importantly, any lenses you purchase will be relatively future-proof.
My Picks for Cameras:
- Good: Entry-level crop-sensor DSLR with EF kit lens (18-35 mm), such as the Canon Rebel T7 or T8i. Skip the two-lens kit with the telephoto lens and save up for a 50 mm 1.8 lens instead. Canon Rebel
- Better: Mirrorless crop-sensor DSLR, such as the NEW Canon R10 with 24-105 f/4 RF lens and/or 50 mm 1.8 RF lens. Canon R10, my TOP PICK
- Best: Full-frame mirrorless, such as the Canon EOS R6 with 24-105 f/4 RF lens and/or 50 mm 1.8 RF lens. The semi-pro option, Canon R6. (On a budget but want a full-frame mirrorless camera? Check out Canon RP.)
Companion gifts for giving with a camera:
50 mm (or 35 mm) 1.8 lens, an essential lens for learning photography:
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Click on the image below to see my full range of beginner picks:
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