I get asked all the time about what the best cameras are for moms and beginner photographers is. Which is funny since I was never that person who carried a camera around and snapped tons of photos growing up. Photography basically found me when I decided to become a mom because I knew I wanted the best camera for a beginner like me to beautifully capture all the milestone moments that were about to unfold in my bleary eyed stupor of new motherhood.
At that time, many many many years ago…DSLR cameras were all the rage. Every mom was finding that she might be able to forgo the expensive newborn portraits and invest in a “fancy camera” for beginner photographers instead.
Now in 2021, photography is even MORE accessible to moms, and beginner photographers. Yes, the DSLR cameras are still amazing but technology has changed and there are mirrorless cameras that are lighter and more compact. Not to mention how far phone photography has come too. Those tiny cameras in our pocket can do A LOT to capture our precious moments.
With all the options available these days, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m asked A LOT of questions about which camera is the best one out there today!
Should I buy a Nikon, or Canon, or Sony?
Do I REALLY need a DSLR camera? Or can I stick to my phone?
What is a Mirrorless camera and why should I consider one in 2021?
Should I keep using what I have, or splurge on an upgrade?
I’m going to share some of my thoughts about the best cameras for moms and beginner photographers in just a minute but before I do have to let you in on a little secret about me.
I actually HATE being asked about cameras. And gear. And technical details about photography.
I love teaching the basics. I love watching moms have the “ah ha” moment of technical photography starting to ‘click’ (ha ha – see what I did there?), and I love watching women find purpose and confidence through the camera lens.
Those feelings aren’t driven by the camera. They come from the heart.
However, I know if you were recently bitten by the photography bug and want to explore you options – that answer is probably not super helpful.
So, let’s breakdown the 3 big camera types and help you figure out which one might be best for you right now and I’ll share with you my top pick and runner up in each category to help you with your research.
What type of mom or beginner photographer should consider a DSLR camera?
DSLR cameras are an affordable place to begin to take your photography skills from beginner to amateur or professional (if you have those aspirations). With a substantial camera body and an endless selection of interchangeable lenses, this is typically what a mom or beginner photographer will think about when looking for her first ‘fancy camera’.
Pros of DSLR cameras
If you want to be able to more consistently snap photos that match what you see with your eyes, DSLRs are your best bet for crisp, clear, vibrant photos. Just make sure you’ve gotten the right lens to match the photos you’re trying to achieve!
Cons of DSLR cameras
There is a misconception I see moms and beginner photographers make when it comes to investing in a DSLR, however. The camera will not automatically take good photos. You do have to know the right settings and buttons to achieve those professional results.
If you are committed to practicing your new found hobby, and learning about the technical tools available on your equipment, a DSLR camera will be the perfect camera for you!
Best DSLR cameras for moms & beginner photographers in 2021
These are what I consider to be the newest and best entry level DSLR cameras for moms or beginners. I am personally a Nikon user which is why they took the top spot. However, Canon cameras are GREAT options as well so you’d be in good hands with either. These options won’t break the bank, they have a good balance of technical supports and creative freedom, and they are a newer technology that should stay relevant for many years to come. If these options are out of budget for you, look for older or refurbished cameras in the same series (ie: Nikon 5000 series – 5100, 5300, 5600, etc…)
Runner Up: Canon t8i
? RELATED: Moms guide to buying a DSLR camera
What type of mom or beginner photographer should consider a Mirrorless camera?
Mirrorless cameras are VERY similar to DSLR cameras in that they offer interchangeable lens options and the opportunity for anyone to take high quality professional level photos. The big difference is in technology as DSLR camera are made of glass and heavier materials while mirrorless cameras are a transition to a fully digital system. Why does this matter?
Pros of Mirrorless cameras
Well, the BIG different that matters to moms is that Mirrorless cameras are MUCH lighter and more compact. And it has a much more accurate live view shooting mode than DSLR cameras (which do their best work when you shoot through the viewfinder).
Cons of Mirrorless cameras
If you’ve been a DSLR shooter for awhile, the transition to mirrorless can be a little odd. And depending on the model you get you might feel like the photos aren’t as sharp or accurate as those you can snap with your DSLR equipment. There is a bit of a learning curve with a mirrorless system which may be a con if you’ve previously used DSLR cameras.
If you are a new mom just buying her first camera to take on the go OR you have have been taking photos for a few years and are considering an upgrade – making that transition to mirrorless might be the right choice for you! I made the switch a few years ago and I’ll never go back to DSLR again, that’s how much I LOVE my mirrorless system.
Best Mirrorless cameras for moms & beginner photographers in 2021
I did extensive research when it came to choosing a mirrorless camera. The Fuji brand was my final choice because the body was a bit lighter to carry around than the Sony system. I also loved the vintage color option (which has nothing to do with the shooting capabilities but it’s still a super fun feature!)
If you plan to use your mirrorless system professionally the heavier and full frame Sony may be a better fit for you. Several of our clients and community members rave about this one and it’s a great choice as well but not a necessity for new moms or beginners!
What type of mom or beginner photographer should consider a Phone camera?
I can’t help myself here – we MUST talk about phones. Because in 2021, I have to be honest, at least 80-90% of my photos are taken with my phone. For that sheer fact alone, I like to keep my phone current and as up to date as possible so I can capture my day to day family life without have to dig out the DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Pros of Phone cameras
This goes without saying, but the phone is ALWAYS with you. It’s in your back pocket, or purse, or diaper bag and ready at a moments notice. The technology just keeps getting better and better too (hello portrait mode!). Not to mention all the after effects and editing apps that you can easily play with right after you snap a photo you love.
Cons of Phone cameras
Even with phone technology getting more and more amazing as the years go on, a trained eye can still see the difference between the clarity and bokeh of a DSLR or Mirrorless camera vs. Phone. I also find myself more intentional about what I’m shooting and sharing with my “big fancy camera” vs. my phone that I typically reserve for day to day snapshots.
Best Phone cameras for moms and beginner photographers in 2021
I have to admit, I am an Apple girl through and through. So my top pick goes to Apple. I don’t think I’ll ever stray from their system. However, Samsung also has improved their phone cameras immensely and they are a great runner up option if you’re not in love with Apple technology. Here’s the most current 2021 models that are incredible options if you’re considering a phone upgrade:
Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
So which camera is the best one for YOU?
In 2021 we can capture our memories in SO many ways and for so many different reasons. And for most moms or beginners, we are looking for a certain FEELING when we look at our photos.
Yes it always helps when the photos are crisp, and sharp, and bright, and vibrant. But a camera is only half of what captures the shot. A big piece is all about how you show up and tell your story. Through composition, and light, and editing.
So the short answer here is a bit cliche but true, the best camera is always the one you have with you.
Hi, I’m Beryl of Be Young Creative! I was never a person who carried a camera with me wherever I went. But I fell in love with photography in 2009 as a way to document the exciting time of becoming a mom and rediscover my creative spark along the way. I believe that when you choose the creative path, you discover it’s never too late to change course, find happiness, heal, try more, do less, be bold, get quiet, & cultivate a life of courage and connection. I created the Cultivate Creativity Planner as a way to make space for you in the chaos of daily life and explore what it means to create a life you love.
The 100 Steps Project Kit will help you get the most out of your camera! It will help you feel more creative, connected and calm without taking tons of time out of your already crazy schedule.