What Are the Best Budget Cameras at the Start of 2023?

Everybody's got to start somewhere. The difference these days is about where you want to start. Whether it's vlogging, still photography, or making feature films, beginner cameras have really branched out into specialized tools in recent years.

Tech Through The Lens' River Sheppard helps make sense of all of those specialized tools by distilling the list to four budget cameras that can fit four different niches in the photo/video world.

For the vloggers in the crowd, he pitches the Sony ZV-1F Vlogging Camera, a camera whose unique calling card is a 20mm-equivalent f/2.0 lens that Sheppard says is ideal for vloggers because as an ultrawide but not too-ultrawide, it lets in enough of the background while not introducing a ton of distortion. It is not quite a use I ever thought of for this lens (I always ended up using a 20mm for astrophotography), but it is an interesting camera and concept for certain. Sheppard also discusses the camera's photo capabilities and audio quality in the video above. He also mentions the interchangeable lens version of the camera, the ZV-E10, though the other major difference between the cameras is sensor size: one inch for the 1F and APS-C for the E10.

What I think is a controversial choice for a beginner photo camera is the Canon EOS Rebel T7. While not as cut rate as the EOS Rebel T100 that fellow Fstoppers Writer Ivor Rackham (correctly) rants about, the bottom Rebels have always been cameras that my students and beginner photographer friends very quickly outgrow. I've always subtly nudged folks towards the i-series Rebels, such as the T8i, which, for a little extra cash, offer huge upgrades such as 4K video and Canon's excellent Dual-Pixel CMOS AF system, not to mention creature comforts such as an articulating touchscreen. That said, at least in terms of still image quality, the T7 will hang in there; it will just make you work a little harder for it.

The surprise video choice from Sheppard, at least for me, was the Nikon Z30. It's a small, viewfinder-less camera with an APS-C sensor that carries a lot of the advantages of a mirrorless camera with it. While Nikon isn't generally the first name that comes to mind when it comes to video, the Z30 certainly seems to make huge strides in this area, with sophisticated autofocus and video options.

Check out the full video above to get the details on why these cameras are good for beginners, and if you have any of your own beginner cameras that you think should have made the list, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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1 Comment

I am surprised he didn't choose an m43 for budget video camera. M43 camera would already feature IBIS and advance recording options in Nikon Z30 price point.