Getting started with photography? Here’s what to look for in a great starter camera.

Excellent Quality

Still and video capabilities with a high-resolution viewfinder. Panasonic

While your typical DSLR camera from brands like Nikon and Canon are more widely used, mirrorless cameras, like this one, are beginning to catch up—and for good reason. Typically, mirrorless bodies are more lightweight and have comparable shooting speeds to DSLRs. The kicker for mirrorless cameras are that they have electronic viewfinders, providing you with the ability to see what your photo will look like on an LCD screen before you take the photo.

Three-inch LCD monitor and built-in Wi-Fi. Canon

If you’re looking to hop right into a specific genre of photography—for example, sports or wildlife—you’re going to need a longer lens. Not only will you be able to zoom in on action many yards away from you, but this will also keep you at a safe distance. Be aware, though: Kit lenses, like the 75-300mm that comes with this camera, have great range but are also limited in low-light situations with an aperture of f/4 to f/5.6.

All the Basics

Comprehensive set including tripod, filters, external flash, SD card and more. Nikon

Not really sure what type of photography you want to get into? There’s an affordable, all-in-one camera kit, like this one, that will help introduce you into basically any genre. For starters, kits like these come with a bag to carry your equipment; many also have two kit lenses for short- and long-range shooting, a macro attachment for super-close shots and much more.