You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best DSLR camera for beginners. And you’re not alone.
Research from The Royal Photographic Society estimates that camera sales dropped 64% during the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 99% of photographers reported that their businesses were affected by the pandemic.
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But then the pandemic ended—and sales rebounded. Experts say camera sales grew from $41.71 billion in 2022 to $43.54 billion in 2023. As a result, many people are beginning to explore this fulfilling new hobby, so there are plenty of resources for you to explore as you navigate using your new DSLR camera.
This guide contains everything you need to know about the best DSLR cameras for beginners in UAE 2024. All options are ranked, reviewed, and updated with the latest information on these high-quality products.
Best DSLR Camera for Beginners in UAE and Saudi Arabia for 2024
The Nikon D5600 camera is the best DSLR camera for beginners and is very affordable.
First launched in 2016, this camera represents the best of what the leading brand Nikon has to offer. Nikon offers a selection of cameras at varying levels of complexity. D3 cameras are typically on the lower end of the Nikon lineup, while D7 cameras are pricier and more difficult to use.
- Highly affordable
- Unparalleled image sharpness and quality
- Ergonomic design with diagonal touchscreen
- Reliable autofocus
- Touch-sensitive shutter
- The slightly outdated autofocus system
- No 4k video capabilities
- SnapBridge (Nikon’s software) takes some time to get used to.
The D5600 sits right at the centre of the Nikon lineup, offering the accessible features of an entry-level device with the scaling ability of a professional model.
This camera has an ergonomic design that is unusually light among others of its kind. It is highly portable and grooves to place your fingers. The buttons—albeit hard to see—are arranged ergonomically on the camera’s right side. There’s also an external microphone, shutter release, and mini-USB cable port. But best of all, this camera was one of the first to be equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth. It has an LCD screen with an intuitive interface, making it great for beginners.
The camera offers excellent performance with the AF-P 18-55mm lens and an ISO range of 100-25,600. It generates saturated images and a unique sharpness and detail to each photograph. The image quality sets it apart from others, and this camera has 1080p video—which isn’t quite 4k but should be entirely suitable for your needs.
The autofocus is a reliable, 39-point system that allows you to track moving subjects well. It is outdated, but it shouldn’t matter if you’re starting.
Lastly, this camera has a live view with a touch-sensitive shutter operation, making it incredibly easy to capture that elusive shot.
We chose this camera as our top pick because it offers more versatility than others. It is affordable compared to other models, and though it is beginner-friendly, it has all of the advanced features you need to learn and grow.
Although the Nikon D5600 is our favourite camera for beginners, plenty of other options are on the market. Consider the following runner-ups before making your ultimate decision.
If you’re brand new to photography, the Nikon D3500 is an excellent choice.
As mentioned, Nikon uses a naming system to rank cameras by the level of expertise needed. This model sits at the bottom of the lineup, making it an excellent choice for beginners. It’s also highly affordable—even more so than the D5600—and boasts features that are even easier to use.
- Super light and portable
- Guide Mode to help you acclimate to the camera
- Reliable autofocus
- Crisp images
- No touchscreen LCD
- Requires an eventual upgrade (most adaptive for entry-level photographers)
- Increasingly hard to find
Like other Nikon models, this camera is small, light, and easy to carry. It comes equipped with Guide Mode for beginners, a system that will teach you how to use the camera as you go along. This feature is unlike any other model, making it the superior choice for those who know little about photography.
The D3500 takes crisp, sharp pictures. It has a 24-megapixel camera sensor that empowers you with incredible image quality and sharpness. It also has an ISO range of 100-12,800 and an 11-point autofocus system, which is not as sophisticated as the D5600 but offers reliable focus nonetheless.
It comes equipped with an LCD screen that, unfortunately, does not tilt but is accessible and easy to read.
There are a few drawbacks to this camera, however. The interface isn’t always reliably easy to use, and this model, like the previous one, lacks a 4K video.
Additionally, Nikon is steadily phasing out its older DSLRs, which can make it hard to find on the market.
Lastly, this camera processes images relatively slowly, which shouldn’t be an obstacle if you’re starting.
Pentax might be your brand if you want an alternative to Nikon’s DSLRs. Pentax specifically makes DSLRs geared toward all skill levels, so this camera is relatively accessible and pairs easy-to-use features with state-of-the-art technology.
The Pentax K-70 is the older of the two Pentax models on this list. It has a rugged build and is completely weatherproof, so it’s great for those who want to shoot in variable weather conditions. Although it boasts an ergonomic shape, it is more extensive and bulkier than other models.
Like the Nikon models, this camera takes exceptionally sharp, crisp photographers with highly saturated colour due to its high-resolution sensor of 24.0MP. It also has an APS-C sensor like other cameras.
This camera has a vastly broader ISO range than the D5600, making it better for those who plan to shoot from a distance and in variable lighting conditions. Unlike the D5600, t has sensor-shift image stabilization—an excellent detail for beginners with shaky hands—and 11 viewfinder autofocus points.
The Pentax K-70 also has a built-in, revolving LCD screen to view your pictures confidently. It has a second control dial, making it easier to use and take pictures much faster.
Pentax’s software is also relatively easy to use and offers helpful guiding tips to assist you as you go. The company provides a selection of superior models, so you can easily upgrade without having to trade in all of your paraphernalia or learn the skills necessary to operate a different model.
The Pentax KF is the newest addition to the Pentax family—and the latest camera on this list.
For this reason, it has many desirable features that make it an excellent choice for beginners and advanced photographers alike.
The Pentax KF is one of the company’s most miniature designs, though it is still larger and heavier than Nikon cameras. The extra gripping, however, makes it easier to handle for clumsy hands, which can be a tremendous advantage for cameras.
The camera has several buttons, including AWE, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes. It then adds two additional features that are both great for amateur photographers. The Sensitivity Value setting allows you to set your ISO to accommodate lighting conditions.
It lets the camera determine the best shutter speed and aperture to take your picture. It also has a TAv mode, which allows you to set the aperture and shutter speed while relying on the camera to determine ISO. These features ensure that you can learn from your camera as you go without having to master each aspect of photography immediately.
The Pentax KF produces excellent depth and detail photographs thanks to its multi-pattern exposure system. The pictures are natural-looking thanks to a powerful auto white balance feature.
It’s best for landscape photography thanks to its pixel-shift technology. This feature captures colour in every pixel, leading to sharp, colourful images.
Canon Rebel T8i
Canon is known for providing top-of-the-line devices to accommodate the needs of advanced photographers.
However, the company has recently released a new line of DSLR models suitable for beginners and amateur photographers.
The Canon Rebel T8i, released in early 2020, offers a happy medium between basic, easy-to-use features and advanced capabilities.
It is light, compact, and easily portable. It has vast lens compatibility, so you can upgrade over time without buying a new lens (trust us, it’s worth it). Plus, Canon is one of the only brands planning to continue selling DSLRs, so you’ll have plenty of resources to guide you.
The T8i has a much more powerful sensor than other models, making capturing your desired shot easier.
Best of all, this camera boasts Canon’s proprietary “dual pixel autofocus” system, which allows you to focus quickly and efficiently from the LCD screen on the back of your camera. This factor makes it excellent for beginners just learning to use focus systems.
Unlike other cameras on this list, the Rebel T8i has 4K video, so it takes much sharper videos at higher resolutions. This factor makes it an excellent camera for videographers and those seeking to develop their video capabilities.
Canon EOS Rebel SL3
Although more expensive than most, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is the best Canon model available to beginners.
That’s because this camera boasts many unique benefits. First, it is small, compact, and portable, making it an excellent choice for frequent travellers (and travel photographers).
Additionally, it has a medium-sized grip that makes it easy to carry and hold. It has a slightly smaller and cheaper LCD screen, but it generates crisp images, and you can flip the screen to use it at any angle.
As for performance, the SL3 has several features that allow it to produce highly saturated shots with extensive detail. First, it has a broad dynamic range, allowing you to photograph subjects in high and low-lighting situations.
This camera also has 4K video, making it an excellent choice for amateur videographers.
You can also use the crop feature in 4K mode to render more specific images.
Lastly, it offers fewer physical controls than its predecessors, so you won’t have to learn as much to start and take your first pictures.
Keep in mind that this camera does have its drawbacks.
The Rebel SL3 only has a nine-point autofocus system, so it may not be the best option for sports photographers and those seeking to capture rapidly moving subjects.
Essential Factors to Consider When Buying a DSLR Camera as a Beginner
When purchasing a DSLR, it can be hard to determine which camera to buy.
DSLRs are different from mirrorless models in that they have fixed digital sensors and can autofocus. They combine the capabilities of a single-lens camera with more sophisticated features.
Your budget is the first and most important thing you’ll want to consider.
Most camera bodies for beginners range from AED 2,500 to AED 3,500, but you’ll need to factor in additional lens costs.
Remember that you’ll get plenty of use out of your camera; sometimes, making a heftier investment is worth it. More expensive cameras tend to have more features, allowing you to grow as a photographer.
Additionally, they are often more durable and allow for more versatility.
However, the cheapest cameras on this list still represent some of the best the industry has to offer. The Nikon D5600, for example, is among the more affordable models featured here, but it’s also the best.
Camera Body and Ergonomics
Your camera’s body and ergonomics will heavily inform how comfortably you use it.
When buying a DSLR, you should remember that most cameras of this type are pretty heftier—much bigger than the small, compact cameras that regular people use. To that end, opting for a lighter, more compact model like the D5600 is best.
However, some people prefer a heavier camera, which is often more durable and easy to grip. The choice is yours.
Megapixel Count and Image Quality
Megapixel count determines the degree to which your photo will appear high-quality when printed. The higher the count, the better quality your images are supposed to be.
However, most experts agree that megapixel count isn’t as important as it’s made out to be. That’s because most cameras produce ultra-sharp images—regardless of the megapixel count.
Ultimately, most of the cameras on this list will generate high-quality images since a camera that doesn’t is relatively rare.
User-Friendly Features and Modes
As a beginner, you’ll want to consider how beginner-friendly your camera is.
When considering beginner friendliness, look at the ergonomics, build, and available features. The perfect camera should be easy enough to understand but complex enough to allow you to grow.
Furthermore, many cameras have unique modes that can guide you as you go.
The Nikon D3500, for example, comes equipped with a Guide Mode that walks you through every feature and detail on your camera. This can be a significant advantage for those not used to photography.
Kit Lens and Lens Compatibility
While most DSLR cameras are sold with one lens, one of the perks of a DSLR is that you can swap out lenses.
For this, you’ll have to remember that compatibility is limited. Some cameras only work with specific lenses—and some brands will leave you with little choice of lens.
For example, since Nikon is phasing out some of its DSLRs, you might have a more challenging time customizing your camera due to the need for more availability of lenses.
Battery life is an essential yet often-overlooked aspect of DSLR cameras. Since your camera operates on a battery, you’ll need to check it frequently to determine much battery life you have left.
What Are the Alternatives to DSLR Cameras for a Beginner?
There is only one alternative to DSLR cameras: a mirrorless model.
Mirrorless cameras differ from DSLRs in that they don’t have a mirror. These cameras are smaller and more compact in build. They also often have faster shutter speeds and electric viewfinders.
Mirrorless cameras, however, have weaker sensor exposure than DSLRs. They also have viewfinder limitations and much weaker battery life than the DSLR. And although they have better video capabilities, their images are only sometimes as sharp and reliable.
Ultimately, the two offer different benefits, so many photographers get both!
FAQs when buying a DSLR Camera for a Beginner
Consider the following answers to our most frequently asked questions about the best DSLR cameras for beginners in UAE.
Should I buy a camera with a built-in flash or invest in an external flash?
How can I learn to use a DSLR camera as a beginner photographer?
What accessories should I consider purchasing alongside a DSLR camera as a beginner?
Bottom Line – Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Choosing the proper DSLR for a beginner can be complex. With so many options in the market, you might be scratching your head.
This guide offers everything you need to know about the best DSLR cameras for beginners in the UAE. All have been tested, ranked, and reviewed for your convenience.
Remember to exercise patience—you’ll learn as you go—and enjoy your new hobby!
Abbas has been covering tech for more than two decades- before phones became smart or clouds stored data. He brought publications like CNET, TechRadar and IGN to the Middle East.