This guide will take you through some of the best Sony cameras for beginners.
Buying a camera as a newbie can be intimidating.
It’s hard to know where to start and what will give you the best value for your particular needs.
Worry no more. Sony offers a great range of beginner cameras for everyone, and this guide will fill you in on what they are.
(You’ll also learn a lot from our article on the first lenses beginners should buy.)
Now, let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Sony Camera for Beginners in 2023?
|Sony a6400||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Sony ZV-E10||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Sony A7C||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Sony FX30||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
|Sony a7III||Check Amazon Price → Check B&H Price →|
Sony a6400 (Best Sony APS-C Camera for Beginners)
- Reliable, fast autofocus
- High-quality RAW files
- Outstanding autofocus
- Eats through batteries
- No in-body image stabilization
The Sony a6400 is one of Sony’s highly portable compact cameras with a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor and a powerful BIONZ X processor.
The files it produces are extremely vibrant and detail-rich 14-bit RAW images. That’s great for beginners as their pictures will already look great straight out of the camera, which is a useful confidence builder that will inspire them to take more photos.
And the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
This processor and sensor combination also means the camera has great low-light performance, even when shooting at high ISOs, so initially, you might not need to invest in a flash.
The a6400 has a bright, high-quality Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which will help you compose your shots precisely, especially in bright conditions.
There’s also a tilt-able 3-inch touchscreen, which will help newbies navigate the menu settings easily and give them a way to get creative or compose images in tight situations.
Arguably, one of Sony’s best features, and a feature that is ideal for novice shooters, is their market-leading autofocus.
Whether you’re shooting portraits or action, the a6400’s fast and accurate autofocus tracking modes will ensure your photos are in focus in all the right places.
Beginners will also like that you can shoot in a fully automatic mode through priority modes to a fully manual mode. So, the camera can take you from the very beginning of your photographic journey to further on when you feel comfortable to take more control of the functions.
You should be aware that the Sony a6400 lacks in-body image stabilization, so make sure you use it with one of Sony’s image-stabilized lenses.
Remember that the a6400 has a higher resolution EVF, is weather-sealed, and (for beginners wanting to shoot video) has cinematic S-log and HLG profiles. So it might be worth spending the extra.
Sony ZV-E10 (Best Sony Vlogging Camera for Beginners)
- No in-body image stabilization
This tilt-screen camera is aimed at beginners who want powerful photography features and would also like something that is just as good for shooting video.
It’s very small, lightweight and compact, and designed to be small enough that you would consider ditching your smartphone and using the Sony ZV-E10 instead to create your content.
As it’s designed for newbies, it focuses on ease of use. It has an exceptionally good button layout, with everything feeling like it’s in the right place, and the menu (at least for Sony) is simple and easy to navigate.
It has the same sensor and processor as the a6400 above, so you’ll get the same outstanding image quality and low-light performance.
Plus, it also has the same excellent autofocus system, so beginners won’t need to worry about getting anything out of focus.
It has a vari-angle flip-screen, which can be used to set the focal point, take photos, navigate the settings, and give you creative possibilities that aren’t there with a fixed rear screen.
For vloggers just starting out, this camera is a dream, and it’s set up so that everything is as easy as possible for you.
The 4K video, super-sampled from 6K, looks great out-of-camera thanks to Sony’s in-built colour profiles.
Sony’s excellent autofocus has face detection (which will keep your face in focus no matter how much you move around) and Product Showcase Mode, which ensures a smooth transition between you and the product when you’re talking about it and want to show it to the screen.
You get unlimited recording time, and the camera has no overheating issues. There’s also a handy LED indicator on the front of the camera so you know when you’re recording.
Plus, you can live stream directly from the camera if you connect it to a computer or mobile device.
The camera is also a good introduction to an interchangeable lens system, which most advanced camera systems use, and you’ll need to use it eventually as you progress.
Not only is this useful for a beginner, but it also means you have a lot of choices and have access to all of Sony’s E Mount lenses.
Sony A7C (Best Sony Full-Frame Camera for Beginners)
- 4K with no crop
- Exceptional image quality
- Outstanding autofocus
- Learning curve for beginners is somewhat steep
- Minimal external controls
Even though this is a full-frame mirrorless camera, it’s still designed in a way that makes it accessible to beginners.
It has an intuitive button layout and a menu system that is easy to navigate, and although it’s a full-frame, it’s lightweight and easy on those novice hands who aren’t used to carrying a camera around.
It has Sony’s world-beating autofocus system, with various tracking modes that will ensure you get sharp, in-focus images regardless of whether you’re shooting people or fast-moving objects.
The autofocus is lightning-fast, too, so you won’t miss anything.
The images it produces are excellent, and the camera creates detailed pictures with well-rendered colours. Everything looks good right out of the camera.
So, novice photographers who aren’t yet up to speed with photo editing software can feel confident they’re producing good imagery without it.
The full-frame sensor gives you exceptional low-light performance and great dynamic range.
You get a tilting 3-inch LCD touchscreen, which is a great help for shooting in tight spots. The touchscreen also makes it a breeze to set your focus and adjust your settings.
Both beginner photographers and videographers will love the in-body image stabilization, which will help them get sharp shots at low shutter speeds or when filming handheld.
And the Sony A7C delivers 4K video without any crop. So, right from the beginner stage, you can produce full-resolution footage; no need to upgrade as you become more experienced.
Sony FX30 (Best Sony Cinema Camera for Beginners)
- Excellent autofocus
- User-friendly layout
- ND filter
- In-built image stabilization
- Pro colour profiles
- Body isn’t particularly ergonomic
- A lot of features for beginners to learn
The Sony FX30 is a great gateway camera for beginners looking to enter the world of film and videography.
It is a powerful device made specifically with filmmaking in mind, but despite its high-end video-making capabilities, it’s still beginner-friendly.
It offers a simple and intuitive layout, both in terms of the menu and on the body. That helps you get shooting straight away.
And the quicker you start shooting, the quicker you start learning about composition and all the other elements that will help you progress as a filmmaker.
Despite it being an entry-level camera, it’s also part of Sony’s Cinema Line. That means it has pro-level features like in-built cinematic colour profiles, which enhances dynamic range and colour flexibility.
It houses a 26-megapixel sensor, allowing it to shoot 10-bit colour 4K (super-sampled from 6K) at up to 60fps with no crop, and up to 120fps with a slight crop.
You can shoot super-slo-mo at 240fps in Full HD.
If you pair the camera with an external recorder, you can get it to produce 16-bit pro-resolution RAW video. However, that extra equipment might be too much of an investment for those just starting out.
The FX30 has Sony’s amazing autofocus system. It’s quick and precise and will simplify the process of capturing footage for any beginner.
There’s built-in image stabilization, too – which is especially useful for anyone who is not used to shooting handheld – and a built-in fan, so you don’t have to worry about overheating.
Another built-in feature is the ND filter. This makes exposure control easy for beginners, as they won’t need to manually adjust their aperture and shutter settings when shooting in changeable light conditions.
Sony a7III (Best Sony Camera for Serious Beginners)
- Powerful sensor and processor
- User-friendly menu
- Image stabilisation
- Excellent autofocus
- Steep learning curve
For people looking to go deep into photography, the Sony A7III is a solid performer, providing just about everything you need to grow as a photographer.
However, it’s the most complex camera on this list and has the steepest learning curve.
It has a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor and BIONZ X processor, which means that you’ll get consistently great images even in difficult lighting conditions.
As you’d expect from Sony, its autofocus capabilities are exceptional, quick, and accurate, so beginners need not worry about getting shots out of focus.
There’s even eye tracking. With portraits, the eyes need to be in focus, so beginners using this mode can focus on composition.
The layout of the menu is much improved compared to older Sony cameras. If you’re new to photography, menus can be intimidating, so the Sony A7IIIs menu will help newbies get to learn their camera and its settings easily.
That menu can also be accessed from the camera’s touchscreen, making it even easier to use.
The Sony A7III’s body has in-built image stabilisation, which makes it ideal for novice shooters who won’t be used to taking photographs in low light, shooting video handheld, or simply holding a camera for a long time.
And for those shooting video, you get full-resolution 4K footage capabilities that use the sensor’s high dynamic range to allow you to film high-quality content, even in low light.
How to Choose a Sony Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
As a beginner, you want to ensure that the Sony camera you choose won’t overwhelm you with complexity while also allowing you to grow as a photographer.
One of the most important features to have is a user-friendly menu system that’s intuitive and easy to navigate.
You want to be able to learn the essentials of your camera quickly
It also helps if that menu system is accessible through a touchscreen and the standard buttons and dials.
Being able to adjust your settings quickly is a great help to beginners.
This means that another important feature for your camera to have is a touchscreen.
Normally, as well as allowing you to navigate the menus, touchscreens will often let you set your focal points and even take your shot.
If the touchscreen is articulating, that’s even better. The more angles you can get, the more creative you can be.
Reliable autofocus is essential, too. Beginners must focus mainly on composition, so anything that gives them less to worry about is great.
Luckily, Sony delivers one of the best autofocus systems in the world, with a host of tracking modes tailored to different situations.
Different creative modes and auto modes are also useful for novice photographers. Either by taking control of all or some of the camera settings or showing the photographer different potential image styles, the camera can teach you a lot.
Another useful feature, although not essential, is to have a camera that uses an interchangeable lens system.
That way, you get access to a larger variety of lenses, and it’s more likely you’ll be able to grow with the camera.
Should I Get a Full-Frame Camera as a Beginner?
This choice generally will come down to the budget you’re working with and whether you want your beginner camera to be something you grow with long-term.
Crop sensor (APS-C) cameras are generally cheaper, and they’re also more beginner-friendly, which means they often have more automatic modes that are suitable for the learner.
The flip side of this is that eventually, you will probably grow out of your crop sensor camera, as you need a more advanced machine.
Another advantage of crop sensor cameras is that their lenses are also cheaper than lenses designed for full frame cameras, so it’s easier to expand your kit and creative possibilities.
But, those lenses are only compatible with crop sensor bodies, whereas lenses for full-frame bodies are compatible with crop sensor bodies. So, if you’re buying only crop sensor lenses, you’ll need to buy new lenses if you upgrade to full-frame.
You must also consider image quality (which is better on full-frame) and portability (crop sensor cameras are lighter).
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about.
Whether you decide to go straight to full-frame depends on your unique personal needs.
FAQs about Sony Cameras for Newcomers to Photography
Which Sony Alpha camera is best for beginners?
That depends on what you’re going to use it for.
All of the Sony Alpha cameras in this guide are suitable for beginners and beginners of different types.
There are Sony cameras for people who want to start out with a cheaper or more compact camera or something more expensive for full-frame photography.
What is the best Sony camera for video beginners?
For vlogging, it’s the Sony ZV-E10; for film production, it’s the Sony FX30.
Which Sony mirrorless camera is the best for beginners?
The best Sony mirrorless camera for beginners is the one that suits your budget and needs best.
For example, if you want to start making videos, you’ll need to choose a different camera rather than taking photos.
Use the guide above to help you!
Should a beginner buy an expensive camera?
That depends on how much money the beginner has and how serious they are about pursuing photography.
It’s a hobby that only gets more expensive the deeper you get into it, so you should honestly question your commitment level before diving in at the deep end.
Is the Sony a7III a beginner camera?
Technically, no, as serious photo enthusiasts and pros could use these Sony cameras.
But, if you’re a beginner who is serious about photography, has the budget, and is willing to be confronted with a steep learning curve, then the Sony A7III is a good choice.
Is Sony a7 good for beginners?
The Sony A7 is a decent choice, yes.
It’s compact, easy to learn to use, and has great image quality.
All modern Sony cameras, including this one, have excellent autofocus capabilities, allowing beginners to focus on improving composition skills.
Which is the best Sony camera for photography beginners?
Well, that depends on the beginner.
In this guide, I’ve covered a good range of cameras for every beginner, from those who are on a budget to those who aren’t and from those who are looking for a steep learning curve to those who want something very easy to get the hang of.