I want to start into the world of photography and I noticed that the best option is to buy a mirrorless camera but the problem is the price. My budget could go from 300 to 400 max. So what options or advices could you give

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you think a mirrorless camera is the best option? Depending upon several considerations (use case, affordability, etc.), it may or may not be your best option. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 20, 2019 at 1:09
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think DSLR is a much better option for a beginner on a budget. There are lots of them available second hand and prices are very low. Plus the technology is mature so it doesn't get out dated as fast as mirrorless. I would start with a mid-range or even high end DSLR second hand with a 50 mm lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Oct 20, 2019 at 8:39

4 Answers 4


I just helped a friend in a similar situation.

To me, taking courses is a must. If you have enough self-discipline, I guess free Youtube or pre-recorded courses (From udemy, Tony Northtrup, Jared Polin or someone else) could be fine. But in my case, I really liked live courses at a local club or shop. This can send you back a 100$

So, how to get the hardware for 200 or 250 $ ?

Buy used !

My trick : Go to kijiji (or craiglist or ebay... but kijiji is ususally a beter place to shop and inspect used camera gear, since you meet in person... there is no delivery fee either, since you go get it), search in you whole province/state and type something like "canon mm" or "nikon mm". I am a Canon user, so the rest of this post will be Canon oriented... but frankly, this does not matter to beginners. Canon and Nikon are, IMHO, the best value for used gear since there is a lot a material on the market.

Then, I would get the best APS-C (smaller, yet very good) sensor DSLR I could get for my budget. I would also favor getting A DSLR, the kit lens and a fast prime (I Canon, that would be a 50mm 1.8 or, 24mm 2.8 or 40mm 2.8, for under 100$).

200-250$ is a little tight... but here is an example that works.

Get the graph(see image below) at the bottom of the Canon EOS Wikipedia article. Canon EOS Comparison Decide which model to target, along with prices on Ebay, Kijiji, etc.

If I had to buy all this for 200-250, I would get an older XSi, T2i or T3i + a 50mm, like so...

A great T2i with 2 lense = around 200$ + shipping A great T2i with 2 lenses

A nifty fifty (Canon EF 50mm 1.8) around 50$ + shipping enter image description here

And don't forget the courses ! You won't go far in that hobby(or any other) without proper knowledge !


I'm torn here, because on the one hand, I believe the best camera is the one that gets you done with worrying about what camera to buy the fastest — all of the big-name cameras today are great tools for learning photography and creating amazing photographs.

So, as others have said, you can get a decent used mirrorless camera in your price range. Or, you could pick up a slightly older model like the Fujifilm X-A10 for currently very low prices.

The thing is, buying cheap bits piecemeal is a recipe for spending more overall. You're buying things you're likely to replace, and if you buy used, you're buying without the benefit of a warranty. So, another approach is:

Work to learn what you can photographing with your phone, and save up until you can afford to spend three to five times what you're planning now — $1000 to $2000. That may sound shocking, but if you can afford to spend $400 now, it's probably in reach with some savings over a number of months. And with that, you'll be much happier and have something that will really grow with you.

Aim for a mid-range camera body (see Are there disadvantages to a prosumer camera for a beginner, aside from cost?) and get either one or two great prime lenses or a high-quality zoom (look for one with a constant maximum aperture rather than one with a very large zoom range) plus a budget 35mm or 50mm prime. And, add a budget wirelessly-triggered flash (there are number of these available under $150 including the trigger) — this will let you go through Strobist 101.

With this, you probably won't need to buy any new gear for years. You might at some point figure out that a particular added item will let you do something you can't already, but you won't be left looking to spend $100 here or $200 there to make up for perceived deficiencies in your initial budget buy.


Just my two cents...

The "world of photography" is a bit board.

Everyone is focusing on the camera and a better lens than the kit lens. I am worried also about the "need to have a mid-range price camera" or the need to replace it in some years... Yes and no.

Of course, there are situations where it is better to have a better camera, but that is when you are making money with it. I still use sometimes a 10-year-old DSLR of only 10Mpx.

Learning photography could be about light, then you probably could use your phone and spend 400 on light, softboxes for example, for product photography or for portrait photography. Define your goals.


As others have said a mirrorless camera might not be the best choice if you are on a budget.

My suggestion based on recently being in your shoes and doing my reasearch before buying is to first select the system you are buying into.

I did that by checking used prices for the gear I would like to have in a more complet kit and then planned out a path to buy that some bits at a time.

My intermediat goal was a used 5d mark ii, a 17-40 and a 55-200. The first two items was above my initial budget so I found a used 350d with a 55-200 for about 150€ and started with that.

You target gear might be different but doing enough reasearch to determin what you need is always a good idea. I was spending a couple of hundred hours on youtube reviews.


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