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The process of choosing your first real camera—not a smart phone, not a disposable, but something that a serious photographer would acknowledge with a nod of appreciation—can feel a little overwhelming. There’s just a lot to know. Do you want a point-and-shoot or a DSLR? What are your needs for shutter speed, aperture, and interchangeable lenses? Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be too complicated if you’re just starting out.
Below, travel cameras we’ve tried out and loved. All of them are especially great for beginner photographers and can be used for a variety of photography styles. They’re relatively easy to learn on-the-go, so they’ll make for a great travel companion.
To be helpful, we’ve linked to a couple of bundles that give you the camera itself and all the neat bits and bobs you’ll want, like SD cards, zoom lenses, and other useful accessories.
Sharp, clear photos are the name of the game with Nikon’s latest beginner model, the D3500. The brand touts it as the perfect first DSLR camera due to features like the Guide Mode and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth for easy photo transfer and sharing. This kit comes with the camera, a handy travel case, a 32GB memory card, multiple zoom lenses, a filter kit, and an LCD/lens pen.
Waterproof, crushproof, freezeproof, dustproof, anti-fog—the geniuses at Olympus were not kidding around when they named this camera the Tough TG-6. Take this bad boy on hikes and climbs, white river rafting and sailing, and everything in between. Users can enjoy four macro shooting modes and five underwater shooting modes. How’s that for a good adventure partner?
In addition to one of the best beginner DSLR cameras on the market, this bundle includes accessories like an SD card, a large tripod, a filter kit, and a wide-angle lens. The camera itself is great for shooting video (it has UHD 4K24p video and 4K time-lapse movie features), has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, and a touchscreen.