Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Best camera body for beginners
- 3 Lenses
- 4 Lens filters
- 5 Memory cards
- 6 Tripods
- 7 Camera bags
- 8 Conclusion
Between learning basic skills like composition, developing your techniques, and picking out equipment, your to-do list can quickly become daunting.
Before you can practice your skills and develop your own personal style, you need the right photography equipment for beginners. No, you don’t have to go out and buy all the latest and greatest gear (not yet, anyways.) But you do need a few things:
- A camera that will allow you to shoot in “manual” mode
- Memory cards
- Protective gear
- Additional accessories, like a tripod and camera bags
That all seems simple enough until you see the massive amount of products available in each category. How do you know which camera is best for beginners? What kinds of lenses should a beginner have in their bag?
To give you a head start, we’ve broken down each category to give you some insight into what to look for, along with our suggestions in each.
Keep in mind that the gear you choose will depend largely on what you intend to use it for. A landscape or wildlife photographer will not carry the same equipment as a portrait or wedding photographer. Before you start investing in equipment, take some time to define your scope of work, even if it’s just to say “I want to shoot everything, so I need something versatile.”
Best camera body for beginners
The first – and most obvious – piece of equipment you’ll need is a camera body. You’ll want to look for a camera that allows you to manually select your settings and interchange lenses.
If you’re planning to shoot digitally, you’ll be looking for what’s commonly called a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. For the sake of this article, we will be focusing on digital photography equipment.
A search for “DSLR cameras” will come up with thousands of results, ranging from ultra-basic to high-end professional models. The options are virtually endless – so where’s a beginner to start?
There are several factors to consider when picking your first camera body. We’ll go over some of the most important ones to help you narrow down a choice that will help you reach your short and long-term goals.
This is not to say that any one brand is “better” than the other, but the brand of camera you choose will dictate a lot of your choices down the road. A given camera body will only work with select lenses, so your choice here will affect your choice of lenses as you continue to add to your gear.
No doubt you’re already familiar with the two behemoth brands of photography: Nikon and Canon. While they are certainly backed with impressive reputations and excellent products, there are several other brands worth considering, including Pentax and Sony.
Even if you’re just starting out, you’re probably already familiar with the term “megapixels.” Even people who don’t know much about photography are often quick to ask “How many megapixels does your camera have?” Don’t be fooled into thinking that a camera’s megapixel count is the only important factor; sensor size (more on that later) and lens quality are equally – if not more – important.
What is a megapixel?
So, what is a megapixel? Simply put, a megapixel is a unit of measure equaling about 1 million pixels. The more megapixels a camera has, the higher the image resolution, which means the image will be clearer and contain more detail.
Why are megapixels important?
The number of megapixels in an image is directly related to the image’s quality when printed. Have you ever seen an image that looks blocky and pixelated? That’s often the result of a too-low image resolution. When printed, a low-resolution image (one with not enough megapixels) will appear chunky and pixelated.
How many megapixels do I need?
Most DSLRs on the market today have at least 10 megapixels, which is enough to print up to a 16×20″ print. As a beginner, you don’t need to rush out and buy a camera with a huge megapixel count. Other factors are much more important to consider at this stage of the game, so rest assured that even the entry-level DSLRs of today will have plenty of megapixels for you to get a great start.
If you’ve done some research on DSLRs, you might have caught wind of a debate between crop sensor and full-frame cameras. This refers to the physical size of a camera’s sensor. We won’t dive into all of the details about sensor size here, just enough to give you a sense for the right sensor size for your needs.
A crop sensor typically measures about 23.60 x 15.60 mm in size. Crop sensor cameras are the top choice for beginner and intermediate photographers because of their affordability. When used correctly, they can take photos that are indistinguishable from full-frame cameras in terms of quality.
Most professional photographers use cameras with full-frame sensors, which measure about 36 x 24 mm. Full-frame cameras are significantly more expensive than crop sensor cameras, which makes them better suited to professionals or serious enthusiasts.
Why is sensor size important?
There are a few major differences between a crop sensor and a full frame camera. The first, and probably most noticeable, is the difference in the final crop of the image. Simply put, an image taken on a full frame camera will “see” more of what is in front of it than a crop sensor. See the below image as an example:
Image from Captain Kimo
In addition, the larger surface area of a full-frame sensor picks up more light while the camera’s shutter is open. This means that you can achieve proper exposure even when shooting in poorly-lit conditions with relatively fast shutter speeds.
Keep in mind that one isn’t objectively “better” than the other. As a beginner, a crop sensor camera will most likely suit you better than a full-frame camera, since full-frames tend to be geared toward professionals and therefore are more complicated to operate. Many crop sensor cameras take photos that are indistinguishable from full-frame photos in terms of quality.
The bottom line? We’d recommend a crop sensor while you’re starting out. You can always upgrade if you have the need for full-frame way down the road.
Internal focus motor
An internal focus motor allows your camera and lens to work together to autofocus on a subject. These motors can be present in a camera or lens; you don’t need both, but you need at least one in order to autofocus. Some DSLRs contain internal focus motors, which means they will be able to autofocus even with lenses that don’t contain their own motor (more on that later).
Understandably, cameras with internal focus motors are more expensive than those without. However, there’s a trade-off when it comes to purchasing lenses: you’ll save some money when purchasing lenses without an internal motor. We’ll dive more into that when we talk about lenses later on.
In every camera’s menu, you’ll find a range of controls that can affect anything from your shooting settings to your display modes. Once you start shooting regularly, it is imperative to learn to navigate this menu quickly. Fiddling with too many settings and dials can mean missing great shots in the long run.
On top of the digital menu, DSLRs have a number of dials and switches that can be used to change your aperture, shutter speed, and other settings. These vary between camera models; consult your camera’s manual for more information on its controls.
While every DSLR will come with its own learning curve, some are inherently easier to navigate than others. Starting out with a professional-level camera is likely to send your head into a spin; there are so many knobs and buttons and diagrams to remember!
On the other hand, most entry-level DSLRs are relatively simple to navigate. Sure, you might still have to consult the manual now and then, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
By the time you’re ready to graduate to a higher-end camera, you’ll be a master of your camera’s controls. Assuming you stick with the same brand, your next camera should be fairly similar and easy for you to adapt to.
A note to remember
While you might think it makes sense to go all-in with a professional-level DSLR upfront so you won’t have to invest in upgrades in the future, you’re better off starting with an entry-level model and upgrading over time.
As long as they’re taken care of properly, most DSLRs hold their value very well compared to other electronics, meaning you’ll be able to trade in your old model once you’re ready for an upgrade. Every several years when you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll be able to do so for hundreds of dollars versus going all-in on a $5,000 camera upfront.
Best photography cameras for beginners
1) Nikon D3300
- 24.2 MP CMOS DX-format sensor
- 5 frames per second continuous shooting
- 11 AF points with 3D tracking
- ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)
- 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps) HD video (MPEG-4/H.264/MOV)
Note: Two older alternatives are Nikon D3200 and Canon T3i. Check out the article comparing Nikon D3200 vs Canon T3i. The comparison contains table, user reviews & detailed specs comparison.
2) Canon EOS Rebel T5
- 18 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor with DIGIC 4 image processor
- EF-S 18-55mm IS II standard zoom lens expands picture-taking possibilities
- 3-inch LCD TFT color, liquid-crystal monitor for easy viewing and sharing
- EOS 1080p full HD movie mode helps you capture brilliant results
- Features include continuous shooting up to 3fps, Scene Intelligent Auto mode, creative filers, built-in flash and feature guide
3) Pentax K-50
- 16 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor. A high performance 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor strikes the perfect balance between resolution and image quality. DA-L 18-55WR lens included
- ISO Speeds up to 51200. High sensitivity shooting up to 51200 ISO range improves noise performance throughout, even in low lighting.
- Eye-Fi Card Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless SD cards, the user can send images to a smartphone. Users can enable automatic transmission of images to a smartphone for sharing. Users can even select favorite images and resize before transmission.
- Innovative In-body Shake Reduction (SR) Mechanism. The PENTAX in-body, sensor-shift Shake and Dust Reduction technology ensures sharp, image stabilized, auto-leveled, and dust-free imaging with any mounted lens.
- Weather-sealed, Dustproof, Cold proof Design. With 81 weather seals your K-50 ensures use in any weather condition, be it rain or sand. The K-50's rugged, cold proof design is also made for use in freezing, wet, snowy winter conditions (-10C, 14F).
Can’t find what you’re looking for? If none of my top 3 suggestions doesn’t suit you well, I suggest looking at the bestseller cameras list:
|1||Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43 16 MP Digital Camera with 4X Optical Zoom and 2.7" LCD Screen...||395 Reviews||$65.00||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Nikon D3300 1532 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens 24.2 MP Digital SLR –...||781 Reviews||$446.95||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens + 58mm Wide Angle Lens...||357 Reviews||$479.95||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens||987 Reviews||$598.00||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Nikon Coolpix L340 20.2 MP Digital Camera with 28x Optical Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)||825 Reviews||$173.93||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera with 60x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch...||979 Reviews||$249.99||Buy on Amazon|
- How to choose slow shutter speed camera.
- How to choose fast shutter speed camera.
- Want to print & shoot pictures instantly? Read more about polaroid cameras.
- Want high quality images but can’t afford DSLR? Point and shoot cameras are right choice for you.
As any experienced photographer will tell you, the quality of your lens is absolutely paramount to taking great photographs. Many even argue that the quality of the lens is more important than the camera body itself. Even the most advanced camera will not perform well when outfitted with a mediocre lens.
That being said, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars upfront in order to take great photographs. Most photographers can get away with 2-3 quality lenses in their bag, so don’t succumb to the feeling that you need all the gear you can get your hands on.
Many camera kits (like the ones listed above) come with their own “kit” lens. These are typically wide angle lenses with variable apertures (we’ll talk about variable apertures later on).
There are two main things to consider when choosing a lens: focal length and aperture. We’ll go into both in the next few paragraphs.
There are two primary types of lenses: prime and zoom. A prime lens has a fixed focal length (no zoom). A zoom lens has a variable focal length so you can zoom in on your subject.
In the beginning, you really don’t need more than two lenses: one prime and one zoom. The focal length you choose will depend on how you plan to use your camera.
An effective, commonly-used prime lens is a 50mm. Often called the “nifty 50,” it’s a versatile lens that’s good for just about everything: portraits, landscapes, or just walking around town. If you plan to photograph a little bit of everything, a quality 50mm lens is a must-have.
However, if you plan to focus primarily on one type of photography, you might consider a focal length more specific to your type of photography. For example, landscape photographers might want a shorter focal length (35mm or shorter) to allow for more of the scene to be captured in an image.
On the other hand, someone who shoots primarily portraits might want to use an 85mm as this focal length puts you closer to the subject and minimizes distortion, making it an excellent portrait lens.
As with most things photography-related, there’s not necessarily a “right” choice here, just the choice that’s right for you. Consider what you plan to photograph the most and let that guide your decision.
While prime lenses tend to take images that are sharper and technically more correct, a good zoom lens is a must for virtually every photographer. Just as with prime lenses, the focal lengths you choose will depend upon the style of photography you plan to shoot. Landscape or architectural photographers would do best with a wide-angle lens, whereas wildlife photographers will need a telephoto lens to capture far away wildlife.
There’s a virtually endless list of zoom ranges out there, so it would be impossible to list them all here. Instead, here’s a short list to give you an idea of some different focal lengths in each category:
- Wide angle zoom: A short focal length with the ability to capture a large amount of a scene in one picture. Good for landscape and architectural photography. E.g., 10-18mm, 12-24mm, 16-35mm, etc.
- Mid-range telephoto zoom: A medium focal length, good for a variety of types of photography, including portraits and sport photography. E.g., 55-200mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm.
- Super-telephoto zoom: Extremely long focal length, good for professional wildlife photography, astro-photography, etc. E.g., 650-1300mm.
Aperture refers to the size of the opening in your lens’s diaphragm. This opening allows light to pass through to your camera’s sensor. It is measured in f-stops, denoted as f/#. The lower the number, the larger the opening, as shown in this diagram:
Your aperture affects your depth of field (DOF) and the amount of light that enters your camera.
When choosing a lens, it is important not only to consider its focal length, but its maximum aperture as well. A camera with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 will provide a more shallow DOF and better low-light performance versus a camera with a maximum aperture of f/4.
However, a lens with a smaller maximum aperture (such as an f/4) will suit most beginners just fine, and you’ll save a pretty penny in the long-run. Generally speaking, the larger the aperture range, the more expensive the lens.
Fixed vs. variable aperture
Some lenses have what is referred to as a fixed aperture, meaning that its maximum aperture stays the same no matter what focal length you are shooting at.
On the other hand, lenses with variable apertures will automatically reduce your aperture the more you zoom in. For example, a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 when zoomed all the way out to 70mm. But when you zoom in to 300mm, the maximum aperture drops to f/5.6, which can be problematic in low-light situations.
If you can afford it, a fixed aperture lens will typically perform better overall than one with a variable aperture. Variable aperture lenses are still capable of delivering great photos; just be aware that the changing aperture will affect your final exposure.
As we mentioned earlier, some lenses come with their own internal focus motors to allow them to autofocus even when a camera body doesn’t have a focus motor. If you purchase a camera without an internal motor, you will need a lens that has one in order to autofocus.
Lenses without internal motors are generally less expensive than those with them. For example, compare these two 50mm f/1.4 lenses from Nikon. The lenses are virtually the same except for the presence of a focus motor:
Nikon 50mm with focus motor
- 50mm focal length, 75mm equivalent focal length on DX cameras
- F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
- Ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing, 58mm filters
- Minimum focus Distance : 0.45m/17.72 Inches
- Nikon F mount for FX and DX DSLRs
Nikon 50mm without focus motor
- The AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4D DSLR Lens from Nikon is a very effective standard length lens compatible with both FX and DX format Nikon DSLRs
- Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
- Closest focusing: 0.45m/1.5 ft.
- Accepts 52mm filters
- Includes 52mm lens cap, rear cap
If your camera doesn’t have a focus motor, you will need to be sure every lens you purchase has its own motor, otherwise you will only be able to focus manually.
Best lenses for beginners
Best prime lenses:
We recommend a 50mm f/1.8 lens for most beginners. They’re relatively inexpensive, and the large maximum aperture works well in low-light situations. The brand of camera body you choose will determine the lens you purchase.
Prime lense for Nikon users
- Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX-format prime lens
- Focal Length-50 mm, Minimum Focus Distance-1.48 ft.(0.45 m)
- Newly developed optical system with Aspherical lens element, Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- M/A Focus Mode Switch,Filter Thread 58 mm, Autofocus: Yes
- Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both FX and DX-format D-SLRs
Prime lense for Canon users
- 50mm focal length and maximum aperture of f/1.8
- Great for portraits, action, and nighttime photography
- Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 ft. (0.35m) and a maximum magnification of 0.21x
- Stepping motor (STM) delivers near silent, continous Move Servo AF for movies and smooth AF for stills
- 80mm effective focal-length on APS-C cameras, 50mm on full-frame cameras
Prime lense for Pentax users:
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Best zoom lenses:
If you don’t need a particularly long lens and you’re looking to save a few bucks, you can stick with your kit lens in the beginning. However, if you find yourself needing more zoom range, consider upgrading to a medium telephoto lens.
Zoom lense for Nikon users:
- Compact telephoto zoom that's great for action, people and travel.
- Focal Length Range : 55 -200 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 3.7 ft. ( 1.1 m)
- Super Integrated Coating (SIC) delivers superior color quality while reducing ghosting and lens flare
- Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass nearly eliminates optical distortion, while a rounded seven-blade diaphragm makes out of focus elements look more natural
- Nikon Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization provides 4.0 stops of blur free handheld shooting, assuring dramatically sharper still images, steadier HD videos and enhanced low-light performance
Zoom lense for Canon users:
- Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS Mark II Lens for Canon SLR Cameras PREMIUM RITZ CAMERA BUNDLE KIT INCLUDING:
- Polaroid Tulip Lens Hood 58mm
- Ritz Gear Medium Neoprene Protective Pouch for DSLR Camera Lenses
- Focal length and maximum aperture: 55-250mm 1:4-5.6
- Diagonal angle of view: 27 Degree 50 ft. - 6 Degree 15 ft.
Zoom lense for Pentax users:
- Weather-resistant to handle damp, inclement conditions.
- Flexible 4X zoom coverage in the telephoto range.
- The PENTAX-original Quick-Shift Focus System allows instant switching from autofocus to manual focus operation.
- An Extra-low Dispersion glass lens element and two aspherical lens elements offer superior sharpness with minimum chromatic and spherical aberration.
- Simple and functional design improves operability and body-based depth of field control.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? If these 6 lenses doesn’t suit your needs or you just want something different, you should lok
|1||Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras||1566 Reviews||$216.95||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens||1514 Reviews||$125.00||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras||2690 Reviews||$196.95||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens||652 Reviews||$149.00||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens||554 Reviews||$268.12||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Apexel 4 in 1 12x Zoom Telephoto Lens + Fisheye + Wide Angle + Macro Lens with Phone Holder + Tripod...||51 Reviews||$19.99||Buy on Amazon|
So you’ve got your camera and lenses and you’re anxious to get shooting. But there’s one more very important piece of equipment you might not have considered: a lens filter.
There are several different types of lens filters, each with their own unique function. We won’t go into detail on all of the different types of filters here, but at the very least you should have a neutral-color (NC) filter to protect your lenses.
The glass on the front of your lens (called the “front element”) needs to be protected against scratches, dust and moisture. A neutral-color filter – sometimes called a UV, clear, or haze filter – will protect your lens’s front element.
Most lenses are compatible with “screw-on” filters, which are circular filters that mount directly to the lens filter thread. These are the most commonly used filters, and they’re the ones that we’ll be talking about today.
Make sure you purchase the correct filter size for your lens by checking your lens’s diameter. Most lenses have the diameter printed or etched directly onto them. Look for the diameter symbol “ø” and the number next to it. For example, a lens reading “ø52” will require a 52mm filter.
How many filters do I need?
At the very least, you should have one neutral-color filter for each lens you own. It’s recommended to purchase a separate filter for each lens, partially because your lenses might not be the same diameter and partially because you don’t want to keep switching the filter back and forth between lenses. Filters are fairly inexpensive and absolutely necessary for protecting your bigger investment: the lenses themselves.
When it comes to buying lens filters, it’s imperative to look for quality. Poor filters can cause reflections, “ghosting,” and overall poor image quality.
Don’t compromise your picture quality for the sake of a few bucks; stick with quality filters. A good NC filter should be completely see-through with no visible reflections. To test this, you can place the filter on a clean white piece of paper. The glass should be virtually invisible to the eye.
Best lens filters
Nikon screw-on neutral color filters
Available in sizes 52mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, & 77mm
Tiffen Digital Ultra Clear Protective Filters
Available in sizes 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm, & 82mm
Memory cards are pretty simple, right? Actually, there’s more to choosing a memory card than you might think. Fortunately, for beginners, it doesn’t need to get complicated. As an amateur photographer, you mainly need to consider format and storage size. Eventually you’ll need to look at a few more factors, like read and write speed, but for now we’ll stick with the basics.
There are two main formats of memory cards: CF (Compact Flash) and SD (Secure Digital). CF cards are generally used for video cameras and the most advanced digital cameras. Most DSLRs on the market today are compatible with SD cards, so we’ll focus on these for purposes of our article.
There are 3 basic categories of SD cards: SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Each one offers a different range of storage capacity.
These are the original SD cards. The majority of digital cameras are compatible with traditional SD cards. These have a pretty limited maximum capacity of 2GB, which means a lot of switching out memory cards if you take a lot of pictures.
To increase storage capacity, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards were created. SDHC cards can hold up to 32GB of memory, which is more than enough storage for the average amateur photographer. SDHC cards were introduced in 2006, so they should be compatible with any camera produced after 2006.
In 2009, SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards were introduced as a maximum storage solution for serious photographers. Capable of storing up to 2TB (1TB = 1,000GB), these cards are capable of holding a huge amount of photographs in even the most demanding file formats.
How much storage do I need?
Most amateur photographers will do fine with between 2 and 8GB. The amount of photos you can take on a given memory card depends largely on the file format you shoot in (i.e., JPEG vs. RAW). Since most beginners will start out shooting in JPEG, less memory is needed to store pictures.
We’d recommend choosing an SDHC card with around 8-16GB to start. Stick with a well-known brand, since your memory card’s reliability is imperative. If your card becomes corrupt, you’re likely to lose everything on it. Memory is relatively inexpensive these days, so you won’t need to break the bank to get several quality memory cards.
Best memory cards
SanDisk SDHC Class 10
- Up To 40MB/s Read Speed
- 10-Year Warranty
- Easily Back Up Files With "SanDisk Memory Zone" App
SanDisk is one of the most trusted names in digital memory. Their line of SDHC Class 10 memory cards ranges from 8-32GB – plenty of storage for the beginner photographer.
After 32GB, they offer SDXC cards capable of storing up to 64-128GB; however, the smaller sizes should more than suffice, and they’ll cost you a lot less.
Lexar Platinum SDHC
- High-speed performance, start to finish
- Leverages UHS-I technology for transfer speed up to 300x (45MB/s)
- Designed for fast-action photography and HD video
- Speed rated at Class 10
- High-capacity options for HD video archival or laptop memory expansion
Similarly to SanDisk, Lexar produces a line of Platinum SDHC cards ranging from 8-32GB and SDXC cards from 64-128GB.
We’d recommend choosing between the 8GB or 16GB to start, then increase if you find you need the space.
You might think you don’t need a tripod, and you certainly might be able to get away without one for a while. We’re all guilty of resorting to using a nearby chair or table (or rock!) as a makeshift tripod in the absence of the real thing, but it’s not ideal. A tripod will provide you a steady surface that you can adjust until you’re satisfied with the final composition of your image.
When will I need a tripod?
- Low-light conditions – your camera will need to use a slow shutter speed to take in enough light, which will cause camera shake if you shoot handheld.
- Time-lapse or long exposure photos – like star photography (link to article on how to shoot star trails).
- During sports and action photography – a tripod is essential for panning to convey motion in your image.
Things to consider when buying a tripod
- Height: Tripods come in a variety of height ranges. Don’t just look at the maximum height; the minimum height is important too.
Product and food photographers who do a lot of closeup photography on tables will do well with a tabletop tripod, and will most likely not require a tripod that extends to a very tall height. On the other hand, many other types of photography will require a tripod that reaches eye-level.
- Weight: The lighter the tripod, the easier it will be to transport it. The more mobile you are, the more important it is to have a tripod that isn’t too heavy and cumbersome to lug around. If you’re primarily shooting in one location such as a studio, a heavy tripod won’t be as much of a burden as it would for somebody who’s constantly on the go.
- Load capacity: Not to be confused with the weight of the tripod itself, a tripod’s weight (or load) capacity measures how much weight it can hold. You should choose a tripod with a load capacity that is greater than your heaviest camera and lens combination. Most tripods on the market today are capable of holding at least 4 pounds, which is plenty for an entry-level DSLR and standard lenses.
- Stability: A wobbly tripod is no better than shooting handheld. Pick something that’s sturdy. A lot of this comes down to overall quality of construction and materials used.
- Head attachment: There are a few different types of head attachments. The primary types are pan-and-tilt and ball-and-socket.
Generally speaking, pan-and-tilts are easy to operate and relatively inexpensive, but don’t offer much flexibility. Ball-and-socket attachments tend to be more expensive and cumbersome to use, but are highly flexible.
- Leg locking: Some tripod legs can be extended with a simple flip-and-lock switch, where others require you to twist and screw the legs into place.
Best tripods for beginners
The tripod you choose will be largely based on the type of photography you will be pursuing. Therefore we’ve split up our recommendations based on the types of photography they are best suited for.
Pedco Ultrapod II
- Lightweight and compact tripod with fold-out legs and non-slip vinyl feet fits any device with a tripod socket (1/4-20 female thread)
- Removable D-ring VELCRO brand cinch strap secures tripod to posts, tree limbs, railings, pack frames, or any sturdy object
- Unique ball and socket camera mount assembly positions camera and other devices at any angle
- Use with DSLR cameras, 35 mm cameras with larger lenses, compact camcorders, spotting scopes, and binoculars; Maximum Safe Load: 6 pounds (2.7 kg)
- Weight: 4 oz. (119 g); Dimensions-folded: 7 inches x 2 inches x 2 inches (17.8 cm x 5.1 cm x 5.1 cm); Made in the USA; Lifetime warranty
- Folded dimensions: 7 in. x 2 in. x 2 in.
- Height: One height
- Weight: 4.2 oz.
- Load capacity: 6 lbs.
- Head attachment: Ball and socket
- Legs: Fold-out with no-slip feet
- Lightweight & full-size – best for on-the-go photographers
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Tripod
- Lightweight tripod with adjustable-height legs and rubber feet
- Compatible with most video cameras, digital cameras, still cameras, GoPro devices, smartphone adapters (not included), and scopes.
- Recommended max load weight is 6.6 lbs (3kg) for optimal performance
- Weighs 3 lbs; Extends from 25 inches to 60 inches when center post is fully extended; Carrying case included
- Two built-in bubble view levels and 3-way head to allow for tilt and swivel motion; portrait or landscape options
- Height: 25 inches (min.) – 60 inches (max.)
- Weight: 2.75 lbs.
- Load capacity: 6.6 lbs.
- Head attachment: Pan-and-tilt
- Legs: Flip-lock mechanisms
- Heavy duty – best for studio-based photography or heavy equipment
Benro A2970F Versatile Tripod
- Only products shipped from and sold by authorized resellers such as Amazon.com can ensure that you will be receiving product that has a valid 5 year US warranty upon registration.
- Height: 26 inches (min.) to 68.8 inches (max.)
- Weight: 4.5 lbs.
- Load capacity: 22 lbs.
- Head attachment: Ball and socket
- Legs: Flip-lock mechanisms
Some other tripods to consider (top 6 bestselling tripods):
|1||AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag||6145 Reviews||$23.49||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Acuvar 50" Inch Aluminum Camera Tripod and Universal Smartphone Mount||2295 Reviews||$13.95||Buy on Amazon|
|3||JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom. Flexible Tripod with Ballhead Bundle for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras Up To...||1639 Reviews||$59.99||Buy on Amazon|
|4||AmazonBasics Lightweight Mini Tripod||579 Reviews||$6.99||Buy on Amazon|
|5||AmazonBasics 50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag||6145 Reviews||$13.95||Buy on Amazon|
|6||KobraTech Mini Phone Tripod Stand - TriFlex Mini - Flexible iPhone Tripod for Any Smartphone||559 Reviews||$19.95||Buy on Amazon|
Once you’ve got all your fancy equipment, you need a safe and reliable way to transport it. Your gear is an investment and should be treated as such; lugging it around in a poor-quality case (or worse, with no case at all) is an accident waiting to happen.
Factors to consider when choosing a camera bag
There are a number of different bag styles available for photographers. The style you choose will depend on a number of factors. Before purchasing a bag, consider the following:
- The type of photography you are pursuing: A portrait photographer will not need the same heavy-duty bag that a wildlife photographer needs.
- The amount of lenses you will be carrying: Some bags provide enough room for multiple lenses, while others only have enough room for one or two.
- How often you travel: If you’re a frequent flyer and plan to take your camera along, you’ll want to look at a bag that adheres to airlines’ ever-increasing luggage restrictions.
- How much protection your gear needs: If you plan to brave harsh climates and rugged terrain, you’ll need a case that can protect your gear against the worst.
Different camera bag styles
So, exactly how many different styles of bags are out there? As you might imagine, it’s a pretty extensive list. For our purposes, we’ll be looking at some of the most commonly used and beginner-friendly styles.
A classic choice for the busy photographer, backpacks offer the versatility and comfort you need for a long day behind the lens. Even weight distribution between both shoulders means you’re much less likely to become fatigued throughout the day.
In terms of space capacity, most backpacks are sizable enough to carry a DSLR, several lenses, extra accessories, and even a tablet or small laptop. But make sure you’re not picking just any backpack: look for one that is specifically designed for carrying cameras, as these will have compartments to keep pieces of gear from clanging against each other while you move.
- Capable of carrying a lot of gear
- Gear isn’t as easily accessible as with some other styles of bag
Shoulder bags are available in an almost infinite variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Also known as “messenger bags,” these versatile bags are among the most commonly-used bags used by photographers. They are generally comfortable to carry for long periods of time. However, it’s important not to overload a shoulder bag because they don’t distribute weight as evenly as a backpack, which can lead to shoulder strain.
The average messenger bag can carry a DSLR with a couple of lenses, as well as extra accessories like memory cards, batteries, chargers, and even an external flash. Some are large enough to fit an iPad, tablet, or even a small laptop.
- Capable of carrying a lot of gear
- Easy to access gear
- Available in a variety of styles, including some that resemble regular purses
- Weight isn’t distributed between both shoulders, which may lead to shoulder pain with heavy gear
Best camera bags
- Backpack holds and protects 2 smaller SLR/DSLR camera bodies, 3-4 lenses, and additional small accessories
- Durable black polyester/nylon exterior; ample interior storage
- Outer dimensions: 11.5 x 7.2 x 15.6 inches (292mm x 183mm x 396mm); Internal: 10 x 5 x 14.75 inches (254mm x 127mm x 374mm)
- Distributed by Amazon.com; backed by one-year AmazonBasics warranty
- Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
The AmazonBasics backpack is large enough to carry 2 small DSLR bodies (or 1 large professional-grade body), as well as 3-4 lenses and additional accessories. The foam-lined main compartment has adjustable cells so you can customize it to fit your gear snugly and safely.
Evecase Professional Camera Bag
- Customizable padded divider set that allow you to hold DSLR Camera, 4-6 lenses and all your accessory gear
- The separate padded Laptop compartment(17 x 10.5inches) fit up to 15.6inch laptops/notebooks or tablets
- The heavily padded handle and shoulder straps make the backpack comfortable on the go
- Many versatile features including accessory pockets, rain cover, tripod holder with strap
- Compatible with Nikon D7200, D7100, D7000, D500, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D3300, D3200, D3100, D810A, D810, D800/D800E, D750, D700, D610, D600, D90, D5
For the no-frills photographer in search of an effective shoulder bag, this Evecase bag provides all of the room you’ll need for your camera body, lenses and accessories. An additional compartment provides room for a laptop or tablet. With a rain cover and waterproof EVA base, it’s also made to protect your gear against the elements.
Koolertron Vintage Fashion Shoulder Bag
- Outside size: 29*13*21CM （11.41*5.11*8.26 Inch）
- Insert Liner size: 27*12*18CM (10.62*4.72*7.08 Inch)
- Material: PU Leather, It is made of PU Leather, which is an all man-made material which is designed to have many of the qualities of leather without the care, even so, it does require care itself, or it will not last nearly as long as leather.
- The Bag fits a DSLR with 2 lenses
- Take out the liner, can be used as a leisure bag
Looking for all of the space with a little more fashion sense? Koolertron’s vintage fashion camera bag is made of faux leather and has enough room for your camera body, up to 2 lenses, and additional accessories.
The interior cells are adjustable for the perfect fit no matter what you’re carrying, and two front pockets make it easy to store your cell phone or other small personal items.
This bag is a great option for the photographer who doesn’t necessarily want to look like they’re carrying around a big bag of gear. From the outside, it looks like a standard messenger bag.
Everyone has it’s own unique style, if my suggestions doesn’t fit yours maybe you’ll like some of these 6 bags:
|1||Monoprice 110568 Large Neoprene Lens Cap||3 Reviews||$15.14||Buy on Amazon|
|2||A.P. Donovan - Leather Travel Bag - Shoulder Bags - Weekender - Shoulder Bag - Men||No ratings yet||$131.95||Buy on Amazon|
|3||A.P. Donovan - Laptop Bag Leather brown 15 "- Laptop Case for MacBook Pro 13 and 15 - flat||No ratings yet||$99.95||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Framed Art Print 'Summer' by Amy Donaldson||No ratings yet||$161.97||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Monoprice 108428 Dummy IR Bullet Camera with Flashing Red Activity LED (Black)||1 Reviews||$12.84||Buy on Amazon|
|6||A.P. Donovan - iPhone 6 / 6s Case Leather Organizer - Case Leather Case - Credit Card Wallet - Brown||No ratings yet||$49.95||Buy on Amazon|
Once you’ve done a little research and gotten an idea of what gear will best suit your needs, it’s time to get started. Grab your gear and get practicing. As your skill increases, you’ll slowly acquire more gear until you’ve got a full collection.