The camera technology changes all the time, so do not buy too expensive cameras if you don’t know exactly what you are paying for. If you will buy second hand, don’t buy more than 3 year old camera bodies.
Interchangeable lens vs lens fixed on the body?
Definitely interchangeable. Forget about the “super-zooms”.
DSLR or Mirrorless:
Having a mirror in the camera body adds to the size, but enables you to see through the lens, helps to focus faster and prolongs battery life, as you won’t use the back-screen so often. Check this excellent article for more on this subject.
If battery life, faster focus and bigger choice of lenses is more important for you, then we recommend a Nikon or Canon DSLR.
If smaller size and live preview (what you see is what you get) is important for you, then the mirrorless offers from Sony, Olympus and FujiFilm are excellent cameras.
Sensor size – cropped or full frame:
This relates to the size of the sensor of your cameras, and is in fact the most important choice that can have a significant impact on the quality of your photos. We recommend a cropped sensor camera (Nikon: DX, Canon & Sony: APS-C) for beginners.
Nikon vs Canon vs Sony vs Olympus vs Fujifilm
Another hot debate – the answer is that it doesn’t matter too much.
If you want a DSLR, our recommendation for beginners is Nikon and Canon on the entry segment. We rated Nikon slightly higher due to its excellent & affordable 35mm f/1.8 lens option.
For the mirrorless, Sony, Olympus and FujiFilm have the great mirrorless offerings around. Sony has the lead with the most advanced technologies and high quality sensors. However we find that their menus are still too complicated – obviously designed by engineers, not photographers. Olympus is very impressive with its in camera stabilization technologies, however the lens choices are more limited vs others. Fujifilm is an excellent option too with amazing designs. However the settings are for more intermediate photographers who feel comfortable with Aperture and Shutter speed direct controls.