best dslr cameras

Best DSLR Cameras | Top 2021 Choices for Beginners and Pros

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DSLRs are an essential piece of equipment that most professional photographers can’t do without. For me, buying a DSLR camera signified my first step into the world of professional photography.

People have often asked me about the difference between DSLRs and standard points and shoots. Well, simply speaking, DSLRs give you much more control over framing the shot, not to mention the superior image quality. Moreover, these cameras, shot in RAW format, give you more room for post-processing.

Editor’s Choice
Nikon D3500

An affordable beginner’s camera packed with all the essentials.

Of course, mirrorless cameras do offer similar features, but those have their own drawbacks. For example, DSLRs have better battery life and more choices when it comes to interchangeable lenses than mirrorless models.

Getting a DSLR involves a considerable investment of money. Therefore, it’s essential to make your choice after careful consideration. Here I have specially curated a list of the best DSLR cameras that are available in the market. Check out the guide below.

Best DSLR Cameras for Beginners (Updated November 2021)

Shifting to a DSLR is a good choice for enthusiasts who want to make a mark in the field of professional photography. But, selecting your first DSLR may be more difficult than you think.

While you may be fascinated by an advanced model, it’s not always the best idea to shift directly from a point and shoot to a professional-level camera. The reason is simple. You won’t have the required knowledge and expertise to make the most of your camera.

But not to worry, there are several DSLRs explicitly designed to make photography easier for novice users. Here are some of the best DSLR cameras for beginners to help you start the journey in this field.

Nikon D3500

An affordable beginner’s camera packed with all the essentials.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 25600Megapixels: 24.2
Lens Mount: Nikon FWeight: 21.7 oz
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

The Nikon D3500 is one of the best DSLRs to start your journey in photography. This affordable, lightweight camera comes with a host of features suitable for the needs of a beginner.

Packed with a 24.2 megapixel sensor, this entry-level camera captures clear and excellently detailed images with ease. I love how easy it is to use, especially for a beginner unaccustomed to the many different controls present in a DSLR.

It comes with an 11-point AF system, which does an excellent job of tracking movement. In addition, the 5 fps continuous shooting speed works well while shooting fast-moving subjects.

I felt that this is a versatile camera that can perform well enough for shooting portraits, wildlife, landscapes, macro, etc., provided there is enough light. While the low light performance isn’t up to par, it’s still good enough for the price range.

When talking about the video quality, the camera lacks 4k capability, which is somewhat disappointing. However, on the brighter side, the full HD videos are clear and detailed enough for general users.

Overall, this is a great camera that has every basic feature that a beginner would need. Therefore, this is perfect for building up your skills before moving on to an advanced professional-level DSLR. You can even use it as a travel-friendly camera for all your vacations.

Pros
  • Decent image quality
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • Full HD video recording
  • Lightweight and affordable
Cons
  • No in-body image stabilization
  • Small optical viewfinder
  • No 4k video capability

Canon EOS Rebel T7

A perfect combination of essential features at an affordable price.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 6400Megapixels: 24.1
Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-SWeight: 23.8 oz 
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a very affordable entry-level DSLR designed to make photography easier for beginners.

The camera combines a 24.1-megapixel sensor with a DIGIC 4+ image processor to give you precise, vibrant, and detailed images, especially in bright light. Unfortunately, the low ISO range of the camera restricts it from excelling in low light – which is a bit disappointing. But the built-in flash comes handy if you want to shoot in places with inadequate lighting.

It comes with a 9-point AF system that does a decent job of focusing on moving subjects. The video quality is excellent, although it doesn’t have 4k capability. Sharing is easy, thanks to the built-in Wi-fi and NFC connectivity.

A fully articulated touchscreen would have made shooting with the Rebel T7 easier, but unfortunately, it lacks both. In addition, the screen is fixed and not touch-enabled, which may be an issue for some users. But compared to the price, this model offers much more than expected.

The camera is beginner-friendly and lightweight, and you can grab the body along with a kit lens at a budget of less than $500. Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a low-budget DSLR camera to learn the basics of professional photography.

Pros
  • 24.1-megapixel sensor
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Built-in Wi-fi and NFC
  • RAW file format support
  • Can function as a webcam with the help of Canon EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software
Cons
  • Lacks a touchscreen
  • No 4k video capability
  • Low light performance is not satisfactory

Canon EOS 4000D

A perfect combination of essential features at an affordable price.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 6400Megapixels: 18 
Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-SWeight: 15.38 oz 
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

If you are a photography enthusiast thinking of upgrading from a smartphone camera, the Canon EOS 4000D is an option worth considering. This model is an excellent choice for beginners, thanks to its intelligent auto mode that automatically detects the right setting depending on the scene.

I loved the background blur effect of the camera, which instantly adds beauty to both images and videos. The photographs are vibrant and nicely detailed when shot in good light. But shooting in high ISO settings leaves you with visibly graining photos.

The video quality is decent enough for the price. Sadly, it doesn’t have 4k capability, but the full HD resolution is enough for primary use, in my opinion.

One complaint that I had with this camera is that it lacks a dedicated on/off button. Instead, these functions need to be accessed from the rotating dial on top of the camera body, which isn’t the best option when you are in a hurry.

The LCD screen is relatively small, but that doesn’t pose much of a problem while shooting. I would have liked it more if it came with a touch-enabled screen, but its lack isn’t very surprising given the price range.

All in all, this is a pretty reliable option for people looking for the best DSLR camera for beginners. I would also recommend it as a worthy model for people who want a DSLR for casual use.

Pros
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Full HD recording
  • Built-in Wi-fi with remote shooting ability
  • Wide range of compatible lenses
Cons
  • No dedicated on/off button
  • Small screen size
  • Lacks a touchscreen

Canon EOS 2000D

A well-designed entry-level model perfect for basic photography.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 6400Megapixels: 24.1
Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-SWeight: 16.75 oz
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

The Canon EOS 2000D is much like an upgraded version of the Canon EOS 4000D in several aspects. For instance, it packs in a higher resolution 24.1 megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor to ensure better image quality.

This model works well for all types of basic photography: portraits, macro, landscapes, or wildlife. Being compatible with a variety of different lenses from the brand, this model is a good choice for beginners to hone their photography skills.

The AF system comes with 9 focus points, making it easy to track a moving subject. The images are mostly clear and well-detailed, although it doesn’t perform as well in low light. In addition, it comes with several beginner-friendly features like Scene Intelligent Auto, which enables a beginner photographer to shoot even without the need for manual control.

The optical viewfinder is great for composing a shot in bright conditions (when viewing on the screen becomes difficult). Just a word of caution here, you can only see around 95% of the frame through the viewfinder, so keep that in mind while taking a shot.

Similar to the EOS 4000D, this model also lacks a touch-enabled screen and 4k video capability. While this may feel a bit disappointing, it’s still a good model for those who want a decent camera within a tight budget.

Pros
  • 24-megapixel sensor
  • 9-point autofocus system
  • Full HD video recording
  • Built-in Wi-fi and NFC
  • Decent battery life
Cons
  • No touchscreen
  • Low light performance could be better

Best Professional DSLR Cameras 

Professional photographers need advanced cameras with a host of essential features like excellent image quality, high continuous shooting speeds, compatibility with a wide range of kit lenses, and preferably a full-frame sensor.

One might argue that mirrorless cameras are a more convenient option due to their lightweight body, which is true to some extent. But professional digital single-lens reflex cameras do have a few advantages in front of their mirrorless rivals, an important one being better battery life.

So if you are a professional photographer looking for the perfect camera to use in combination with your vast collection of DSLR lenses, take a look below. Here are some of the best professional DSLR cameras that are sure to impress you.

Nikon D6

A rugged, high-performance full-frame camera that all professionals would love.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 102400Megapixels: 20.8
Lens Mount: Nikon FWeight: 44.8 oz
Storage: XQD / CFexpressFlash: No

The Nikon D6 is one of the best cameras that professionals can get. This full-frame camera packs in a 20.8-megapixel sensor and a brilliant AF system that makes shooting with it pure joy!

You can expect great image quality thanks to the full-frame sensor. The high ISO range (100 – 102400) ensures that your images are crisp and clear no matter what lighting conditions you’re shooting in. I was absolutely amazed by the low-light photographs with incredible details and no visible noise!

This full-frame DSLR is the best choice for sports, action, or wildlife photography. Being interested in the latter, I tried out the camera for one of my shoots, and the results were truly delightful.

The camera is equipped with a 105-point autofocus system, all of which are cross-type sensors. This makes focusing on almost any part of the frame extremely easy – you are guaranteed to not miss any shot due to slow autofocus or shutter speed! I am absolutely in love with the vibrant and richly detailed images captured by this camera.

The 14 fps continuous shooting speed in burst mode would also appeal to any sports or action photographer. Furthermore, the touchscreen makes it very convenient to change the settings while composing a shot.

The camera body is built for action! It is well-designed and robust and comes with pro-grade weather sealing that can battle all climatic conditions. Moreover, it is a perfect companion for long shoots as it comes with long battery life and dual memory card slots!

All these advanced features come at a cost (literally)! The Nikon D6 is a highly expensive camera, although the price seems justified looking at its fantastic performance. Indeed, this is a camera built for expert professionals.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality
  • 105-point autofocus system
  • 14 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Highly responsive touchscreen
  • Built-in Wi-fi, GPS, and Bluetooth
  • High ISO range
  • Long battery life
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Rugged weather-sealed body
Cons
  • No built-in flash
  • Expensive

Canon EOS 90D

A 32.5 megapixel DSLR, perfect for professional photographers and videographers alike.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 25600Megapixels: 32.5
Lens Mount: Canon EF/EF-SWeight: 42.9 oz 
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

The Canon EOS 90D is a moderately-priced DSLR that offers a great deal of value for beginner and experienced professionals in the field of photography. It comes with an impressive 32.5-megapixel sensor that delivers stunning images in most lighting conditions.

Although it does not feature a full-frame sensor, the image quality doesn’t feel compromised at all. In fact, photographers interested in bird and wildlife photography will love the high megapixel count that allows more room for cropping. I was actually surprised with how the cropped images did not seem to lose out much in terms of quality.

Wildlife and action photographers will also like the 45-point AF system of the Canon EOS 90D, all of which are cross-type. This greatly enhances the focusing and tracking power of the camera, giving you blur-free shots.

Moreover, it is equipped with a 10 fps continuous shooting speed , so you need not worry about missing out on the perfect moment while shooting action.

The camera is also a good choice for videographers, as it is equipped with 4k recording capability. I felt that the videos were clear and richly detailed both in 4k and full HD shooting mode. Sharing is easy, thanks to the built-in wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Additionally, you can also convert this camera into a webcam using the Canon EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software or a clean HDMI output. This feature will appeal to vloggers too!

All in all, the Canon EOS 90D is one of the best DSLR models for basic and intermediate photographers. I recommend it to anyone looking for high performance at a moderate price.

Pros
  • Stunning picture quality
  • 45-point autofocus system
  • Fully-articulated touchscreen
  • 10 fps continuous shooting
  • 4k video recording
  • Built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth
  • Decent battery life
  • Can function as a webcam
Cons
  • No USB charging
  • A bit heavy
  • Low light performance is slightly lacking

Nikon D7500

A 32.5 megapixel DSLR, perfect for professional photographers and videographers alike.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 51200Megapixels: 20.9
Lens Mount: Nikon FWeight: 42.2 oz
Storage: SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: Yes

The Nikon D7500 is one of my favorite DSLRs because of its exceptional image quality and ease of use. I feel this is a perfect camera for all types of essential professional work.

It comes with a 20.9-megapixel sensor and a high ISO range, enabling you to shoot images with nice details even in low light. This camera is especially suitable for shooting wildlife and birds thanks to its fast and accurate autofocus.

Being a wildlife photographer, I found its 51-point AF system quite diligent in identifying and tracking moving animals and birds. Long story short, I was quite proud of the images I captured after roaming around with this camera for a day.

This camera also captures lovely portraits with rich color and fine detailing. In addition, it can perform well for action and sports photography, thanks to the 8 fps continuous shooting in burst mode.

Although it has a tilting screen that works well for taking shots from high and low angles, I felt that a fully-articulated screen would have been better. Also, a second memory card slot would have been great for long shoots, especially when the camera has long battery life.

Of course, the Nikon D7500 is not the best DSLR camera out there. But if you are looking for a versatile camera within a moderate budget that doesn’t disappoint with its performance, this is the one to go for.

Pros
  • 51-point autofocus system
  • 8 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Tilting LCD screen
  • 4k video
  • Decent battery life
  • Weather sealed body
Cons
  • No fully articulated screen
  • Lacks dual memory card slots

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

A 30.4 megapixel full-frame DSLR, perfect for all types of photography.

Sensor Type: CMOSAspect Ratio: 3:2
ISO Range: 100 – 32000Megapixels: 30.4
Lens Mount: Canon EFWeight: 31.4 oz
Storage: CF1 / SD / SDHC / SDXCFlash: No

Canon is a well-known name among the leading camera manufacturers at present, and the 5D Mark IV model shows us why the brand totally deserves this title.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is an amazing camera from various aspects, and I feel it can perform exceptionally for all types of photography. It comes with an impressive 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor and dual pixel CMOS AF that ensures smooth and accurate tracking and stunning detailed photos.

I mostly shoot wildlife and need my camera to perform well in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV nails it in the above aspects. It comes with a decent ISO range that shoots images with rich details and minimal noise, even in low light. Furthermore, it has a weather-sealed body, so you won’t have to worry about damaging your camera when shooting in damp weather.

Moreover, the 61-point autofocus system and 7 fps continuous shooting speed make shooting with it an absolute pleasure. It’s fast and accurate enough to meet the expectations of wildlife, sports, and action photographers.

If you have used the older 5D models, you would have no problem adjusting to the controls of this camera, as the design is quite similar. In addition, the touchscreen is highly responsive, making it easy to change the settings while shooting. The screen is fixed, though, which I felt was disappointing as it greatly restricts shooting from creative angles.

All in all, the 5D Mark IV looks and works great, and I would recommend it to all professionals looking for a high-performance full-frame DSLR that has the potential to excel in all shooting conditions.

Pros
  • 4k video capability
  • 61-point autofocus system
  • High ISO range
  • 7 fps continuous shooting
  • Touch-enabled screen
  • Comes with weather sealing
Cons
  • Fixed rear LCD
  • 4k videos consume a lot of memory

FAQs

What is the difference between a DSLR and an SLR camera?

Photography enthusiasts may often feel confused between DSLR and SLR cameras. The confusion is not unjustified, though, because both these formats have several similar features.

While both types are based on single-lens reflex technology, the sensor type is different. DSLRs are equipped with digital sensors, which are slightly more advanced than the ones found in SLRs. But in terms of image quality and detail, SLRs do have the upper hand over DSLRs.

Moreover, SLR cameras capture images in rolls of film, which restricts the number of photos they can capture at a time. On the other hand, DSLRs use memory cards for storage so that you can store thousands of pictures easily.

In addition, DSLRs are often equipped with LCD screens for easy viewing, while SLRs only have optical viewfinders. You can also use DSLRs to shoot videos, but SLRs lack this feature.

Are DSLR cameras good for video?

While many prefer mirrorless cameras for videos, a DSLR camera is still a good choice for video recording, especially if it has 4k capability. A traditional DSLR is more suitable for shooting films and long videos as it has a much better battery life than a mirrorless model.

Additionally, you can easily find DSLRs with good video capabilities at a lower price than mirrorless cameras.

What DSLR camera should I buy?

The perfect DSLR for you depends on your requirements and skillsets. If you are a beginner, you should go for a lightweight camera with an easy-to-use interface. The Nikon D3500 and the Canon EOS 2000D are some models worth checking out.

The requirements of professional photographers are usually more advanced, as they need fast and accurate focusing abilities, higher resolution, and fast shutter speeds. The Nikon D6 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV are some of the best professional models you can opt for.

Will DSLR cameras become obsolete?

With several leading camera brands shifting their focus from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras, the future of the former may seem uncertain. But, of course, the demand for mirrorless models has gone up in recent years due to their compact build and good picture quality. But it doesn’t mean that DSLRs are outdated.

Many professionals still prefer DSLRs due to the brilliant picture quality and long battery life. In addition, the choice of a wide range of DSLR lenses is also a great advantage.

So, while mirrorless technology is emerging as tough competition for DSLRs, there’s still a long way to go before these cherished models become obsolete.

Also read: Best 360 Cameras – DSLRs are fun but you can take it to the next level with 360 degrees!

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