Thanks to the cameras that can be found in smartphones, more people are developing a love for photography. This is a wonderful thing. However, knowing which traditional cameras to buy when you’ve outgrown your mobile camera can be challenging.

It used to be that entry-level traditional cameras were bare bones. Newcomers to photography would buy these cameras and would quickly outgrow them. This caused them to dip into their wallets or purses again rather quickly. Fortunately, this isn’t the case anymore. Fortunately, today’s entry-level traditional cameras now offer everything an aspiring photographer could need.

Some entry-level traditional cameras feature IBIS, they all have incredible autofocus systems, electronic viewfinders, touchscreens and excellent sensors. They’re affordable too. More importantly, these traditional cameras will help you hone your skills, and they will help you grow. These cameras are so good that you won’t have to go out and buy another camera anytime soon. Let’s take a look at five of the best entry-level traditional cameras.

Traditional cameras — Sony a6100 (The entry-level autofocus king)

traditional cameras

The Sony a6100 is one of the least talked about cameras that Sony makes. It’s a real shame because this APS-C camera packs a punch. The Sony a6100 has one of the fastest autofocus systems in the world. Amazingly, it can acquire focus in as little as 0.02 seconds. A flip-up screen makes selfies and vlogging easy, and the 24-megapixel sensor captures a ton of detail.

I used the Sony a6100 at a Motocross track and was blown away with its tracking performance. Real-time eye AF is also superb. On top of the great autofocus performance, you’re going to get 4K video, a decent EVF, Wi-Fi connectivity to easily share images to your phone, a 3.5mm mic jack, great battery life and access to the largest collection of mirrorless lenses on the market. For the price, it’s a bargain. You can grow easily with this traditional camera.

Goodbye smartphone — Olympus OM-D E-M5 III (It loves to play in the rain)

There’s nothing entry-level about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 III. This micro four-thirds camera has features that even pros would love. The IBIS (in-body image stabilization) system is class-leading. The 20-megapixel sensor will help you create stunning images, the 121-point autofocus system will allow you to capture anything with ease, and it’s fully weather sealed. In our review said:

“Given its feature set, it’s a great first camera for someone looking to dive right in. It would also serve well as a backup or travel camera for professionals, especially given its performance and size.”

Bryan Esler

If you want a camera that will last you years rather than months, the E-M5 III is a fine choice. It’s easy to get to grips with yet offers professional features. For less than a grand, the E-M5 III is a major step up from a smartphone. There are also a ton of quality affordable lenses available for this platform as well.

Traditional cameras — Fujifilm X-S10 (The best option for JPEGs)

traditional cameras

The X-S10 foregoes the vintage look and feel that Fujifilm is known for. Instead, Fujifilm opted for a modern look. Fujifilm believed that their retro-inspired cameras might have been putting off new photographers. So the X-S10 has a basic control layout that should make those who are looking at their first traditional camera feel more at ease.

Like the other traditional cameras on this list, this is an entry-level camera in name only. Fujifilm managed to cram the brilliant 26.2-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor from the X-T4 in the small X-S10 body. They managed to give it IBIS as well. There’s a fully articulating screen, a great EVF, and it can shoot beautiful 4K video. Of course, you’ll have access to the gorgeous Fujifilm Film simulations too. If you want to stick to shooting JPEGS before jumping into editing photos, this is the camera for you.

Move over mobile! — Nikon Z 50 (A low-light monster)

The Nikon Z 50 is one of the best mirrorless APS-C cameras I have used. The camera doesn’t get much attention, especially now that the Nikon Z fc is on the market (a retro-inspired camera). Still, it should be high up on the list of traditional cameras to look at if you want more than the camera in your phone.

To start with, the Nikon Z 50 has fantastic ergonomics. Then there’s a gorgeous touchscreen LCD and a responsive electronic viewfinder. The 20.9-megapixel sensor is capable of greatness, especially in low-light. I took shots at ISO 12,800 and they were as clean as a whistle. The flip-down screen makes selfies and vlogging a piece of cake. Snapbridge makes transferring images to your phone simple, and the autofocus system is solid.

Traditional cameras — Canon EOS RP (A gateway to full-frame cameras)

traditional cameras

You can get an entry-level full-frame camera for under $1,000! That’s crazy. It’s wasn’t long ago that even entry-level traditional cameras with full-frame sensors would cost more than double this amount. The Canon EOS RP is a little more basic than some of the other cameras on this list. Still, it has everything an aspiring photographer needs.

The Canon EOS RP features Canon’s easy-to-use menu system, and it has great ergonomics. There’s a fully articulating screen, great autofocus, and even a little weather sealing too. You’ll get a 26.2-megapixel sensor and a DIGIC 8 image processor. When you pair these two pieces of silicon up with arguably the best mirrorless lenses available, you can create magic.