DSLR cameras offer high quality, beautiful photos straight to your fingertips. They give you a lot more flexibility with their manual settings and interchangeable lenses, giving you full control of your picture structure and effects. So which camera will be right for you?
- 1 Best Budget Entry-Level DSLR Cameras
- 2 Best Mid-Level DSLR Cameras
- 3 What are DSLR cameras?
- 4 Compact System Cameras vs. DSLRs
- 5 So What are the Best Entry-Level Cameras?
Best Budget Entry-Level DSLR Cameras
If this is your first DSLR camera then the Canon EOS 100D is the perfect choice. It’s the smallest DSLR camera in the world, making it lightweight and easy to carry. It has an optical viewfinder, touch-sensitive screen and has an 18 million pixel sensor with Full HD video features. This is by far the best budget, entry-level DSLR camera on the market, making it the top of my list. It’s simple and easy to use, giving you flawless photo quality from the outset.Get it now on Amazon
This camera is perfect for everyday use. It comes with built in Wi-Fi, meaning it can be connected to your smartphone or another device so you can upload your photos straight away, then and there. The Nikon D5300 has built-in GPS, giving you the option of sharing the location of where the photo was taken. It has a 24.2 megapixel DX-format and very powerful low-light performance (extendable up to ISO 25,600), it’s an impressive way to improve shooting quality in low level light. Although this is a very good entry-level camera, the extra gadgets like GPS and Wi-Fi mean that there is less control over the camera itself. There are significantly less manual controls to play around with that some beginners may wish to use. If you are looking for a DSLR that you can have full manual control over, then this may not be the best choice.Get it online at Currys
Canon dominates the DSLR camera market, and the 1300D is one of the best-loved models for those starting out. Simple functionality means that it is easy to get used to and start capturing your favourite moments straight away.
Choose from auto or manual focusing, so you can experiment with style or let it do all of the hard work for you. Onboard Wi-Fi enables you share your photos automatically between devices, no matter where they are, using the dedicated app. So, you can share precious moments with family members across the world if you wish. Full HD movie capability means you aren’t limited to only still photos either.Get it online at Argos
It’s easily one of the best entry-level, budget cameras. It undoubtedly has the best image quality, very long battery life and easy to use controls – perfect for a beginner to learn the ins and outs of photography. Perhaps the best feature on this little camera is the guide that will walk you through, step by step, what all the camera settings mean and how to use them properly. This camera is a little smaller and lighter than some of the other bulkier DSLRs, so it’s a good option if you’re looking for a more compact body. It has an APS-C sized image sensor with 24 megapixels of resolution, giving the Nikon very high quality photos.Get it now on Amazon
Newer than the D3300, this camera is compact with high-quality images produced. Guide mode provides help for anybody who needs advice on how to take the best picture under certain circumstances, which could be especially handy for beginners. It gives step-by-step assistance and tells you the best settings to use.
You have the creative freedom of manual controls, allowing you to capture images with blurry backgrounds or the best low-light shots. The SnapBridge app for iOS and Android provides you with the possibility to share these images straight to social media. Full HD video and autofocus ensures you always get the best out of your home movies.Get it online at Currys
Another little gem that has pushed its way through the Canon and Nikon dominated world of entry level cameras is the Sony Alpha 58. With incredible quality pictures, the Sony shoots at 8fps and has very sharp autofocus for both video and still photos. It’s very lightweight and easy to use, making it perfect for beginners. The only shortcoming for the Sony Alpha 58 is its inability to deal with low light situations. But its positives surely outweigh any negatives, making the Sony one of the best budget, entry-level DSLR cameras.Get it now on Amazon
Best Mid-Level DSLR Cameras
The EOS 7D means business. With 20.2 megapixels and faster shooting with dual DIGIC 6 processors, you have everything to start photographing like a professional. The scene is split up into 252 different areas, with each separate square analysed for lighting and focus levels. You can either go ahead with the automatic settings or finely tune for a more personalised shoot.
Don’t worry if there are low lighting levels or you are photographing wildlife or extreme sports. It can handle everything from speed to conditions which make seeing hard to the naked eye, such as darkness or direct sunlight. The controls are straightforward to use and allow full customisation.Get it now online at Currys
When this camera first came out it didn’t seem to look much different from its predecessor, the Nikon D7100. But after playing around with it, it does have some upgraded features. The controls seem to be the same as the D7100 but they are easy to use, so why mess with them! With 24-megapixel APS-C format sensor and at 6fps this camera is really great for photography enthusiasts. Improvements have been made to the battery life too, going from 950 to 1,100 shots. The Nikon D7200 includes Wi-Fi without needing a router, so can be connected to your smartphone, tablet or laptop wherever you are. Images are of high quality and this is another great mid-range camera.Get it now on Amazon
If you are looking for perfect image quality then the Nikon D810 is the camera for you.With a 36.3 megapixel, full frame image sensor, the quality of photos is probably the best that you will find in a consumer level DSLR. The D810 has a long battery life and is versatile, allowing you to shoot in many different formats like JPEG, RAW or even TIFF. This camera is probably suited to a more experienced photographer as some of the controls are a little tricky to learn and understand. It’s also from the pricier end of the spectrum.Get it now on Amazon
At just over £2,000, the Canon EOS 5Ds means business. With 12.8 Megapixels, full frame sensor and a 2.5 inch LCD, the 5Ds provides top notch image quality. One downside to this DSLR is the lack of built-in flash, however it makes up for this with lots of impressive features that many cameras do not include. It has a 61-point autofocus system, two memory card slots (CF and SD) and shoots in 5 fps making it better suited for experienced photographers. If you want quality and a lot of versatility then this is the perfect camera for you.Get it now on Amazon
Moving away from the Canon and Nikon dominated market, this Sony model has 4D Focus so you can track and super-focus quickly and effortlessly, never missing a moment. A 79-point phase detection system has points placed within the central area of the frame, which is the most widely used section. Great for keeping track of moving items. The 8fps lens gives continuous shooting, perfect for nature photographers who are scared of overlooking the ideal shot.
Auto-focus also performs highly in low light conditions, even when the naked eye has difficulty seeing objects. A control wheel allows you to rapidly change settings without having to move the camera. The top display panel is also a lot more suited to those who frequently use a tripod setup or put the camera on a very low level.Get it now on Amazon
What you Need to Keep in Mind when Buying a DSLR Camera
- If you’re new to photography or this is one of your first cameras then don’t worry about buying the most expensive. Stick to an easy to use, entry-level camera that fits your experience. By opting for an expensive camera, you may become overwhelmed by all of the settings and functions, so they could be lost on you. It’s not worth it
- They are an ongoing cost to run. It’s not like a simple point and shoot digital camera, DSLRs can cost a lot of money because of their interchangeable lenses, flash units and other accessories, like tripods, cases, etc. Just keep in mind that it is not as simple as just buying the body
- The brand of the camera body you buy ties you to their other merchandise, like with Canon or Nikon. This means any lense you buy in the future will only be compatible for that camera body. Make sure you look into the quality of lenses and prices for them before you fully commit to a specific brand for your camera body. Also be aware that some manufacturers may make different lense mounts within their own family of DSLRs, so not all Canon lenses fit all Canon bodies. Just make sure that they fit exactly
- DSLR cameras can be pretty chunky and weighty, especially including the lenses. If you’re planning to carry it around with you, it may be a good idea to buy a smaller one that is easy and lightweight to carry around, like the Canon EOS 100D
Important Things to Look at when Buying a DSLR Camera
What is Sensor Size & Why is it Important?
Put simply, sensor size can affect the quality of your images. When buying your first DSLR camera, make sure you speak to someone reputable to help you decide which sensor size is right for you. Image sensors can vary between different levels of DSLRs so go for the camera with the biggest sensor you can afford.
What is ISO?
A camera’s ISO is another important feature. It allows you to shoot in different environments easily. The ISO settings regulate the image sensor’s sensitivity to light, so high ISO means you can shoot in low light settings.
What are Megapixels?
Very simply, megapixels are the number of pixels that makes up an image. The higher this number is the better your image quality and it means you can enlarge your photo without the risk of it becoming pixelated. But cameras have come a long way so around 10 megapixels should be enough for good image quality.
Whether you are new to photography or experienced, picking the right DSLR for you can be a tricky decision, with lots of different manufacturers and options to take into consideration. My only advice is not to get too worked up about the MP and ISO settings and features. Rather, you need to decide what you will be using your DSLR for, like videos or photos. That way you can decide which camera will be right for you based on which features and settings will give you the best image quality and beautiful photos.
What are DSLR cameras?
DSLR cameras are digital single lens reflex cameras. Basically they merge the optics and mechanisms of a single lense reflex (SLR or old school, film) camera, but have a digital imaging sensor instead of photo film and development.
The reason they are so good and very popular amongst budding photographers is because the lenses are interchangeable and there is an abundance of different attachments available. The manual settings leave you in full control of your photos. It can change the way your photos look, making them original and beautiful with every single shot. It also gives you more versatility, with manual zoom and focus.
One thing to remember for first time users: one size does not fit all. Brands tend to stay within their own brands, so lenses are only really compatible with the same brand body. So Canon fits Canon and Nikon fits Nikon.There are converters to allow this swap over, however it’s not recommended as some of the functions can stop working automatically, like auto focus. This is a very important part of deciding what is the right camera for you.
Compact System Cameras vs. DSLRs
DSLRs are different from the growingly popular compact system cameras that have shot up over the past few years. These compact systems also have interchangeable lenses while resembling more of a simple point and shoot camera, like the Olympus E-M10 or the Sony Alpha. Although they are a little similar, the biggest difference between these two are that many of the newer CSCs have a digital viewfinder, or none at al l, meaning you have to look at the LCD screen to judge your photos. Rather, DSLR cameras still use the optical viewfinders offering much more clarity and a real-time view through your lense, instead of the delay found with some of the digital viewfinders of many of the CSCs.
So What are the Best Entry-Level Cameras?
If you are new to photography or have never used a DSLR camera before, it is important to buy the right entry-level camera suitable for you. Then you can learn the basics of photography, like ISO and aperture settings. Buying a super fancy and expensive camera initially means many of the complex features and settings could be lost on you and may end up scaring you off photography forever! So it’s best to stick with something user-friendly for a little while, until you get to grips with the basic functions and settings.
Perhaps the biggest and hardest decision to make when buying an entry level DSLR is your brand. The market is dominated by Nikon and Canon. These two brands are both excellent and are perfect for first-time users because they are rarely complex to use.
So there you have it. These are the hottest cameras at the moment.