With a mountain of advice on the Internet for the best beginner camera, sifting through all the lingo is intimidating. This list is meant to be as diverse as you are, and it can be suited to the type of adventure photographer you want to be. Whether you’re ready to spend money on a piece that will take you from amateur to professional or you’re getting your feet wet (literally) shooting some gnarly waves, you can find your first quality camera here.
Sony Alpha A6000
This camera has mirrorless technology, which means it is less bulky and claims to have the fastest focus function (which is great when you need to get the shot quickly). The Alpha A6000 will fit in your carry-on, and it offers the option of multiple lenses if you want them.
The Rebel series offers the best — and best value — entry-level DSLRs. If you’re serious about learning all the ins and outs of a DSLR camera, this one will keep you busy at a reasonable price point. If you’re a checked-baggage traveler anyway, you can afford the space to bring a full lens kit with you.
Don’t let this camera’s size fool you — it’s compact, but it still has 24 megapixels, fast focus, long battery life and easily accessible settings. There’s a cult following for this retro-style piece, and its many fans will tell you it’s one of the best professional cameras for street photography.
Mariko is a high school English teacher who has three children, illegible handwriting and an obsession with mail-order artisan ice cream. She lives in Hawaii, but she makes a point to eat her way through big cities as often as she can.