Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp

Although cell phone cameras get better every year, nothing beats a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. DSLR cameras deliver top-tier photo quality, versatility, and longevity. However, finding the best DSLR for your needs and budget can prove difficult. Additionally, with high sticker prices, it’s often tough to find the proper DSLR. Check out the best DSLR for your money in 2017.

Defining “Best” DSLR

Fact: DSLRs are not cheap. Entry-level models clock in around $500 on the low end, and it’s easy to consider even a $1,000–2,000 DSLR a mid-range camera. However, we’re focusing on the best consumer-class DLSRs for your money. If you’re a professional photographer, it’s much easier to justify the expense of a pricey DSLR.

For this list, we’ll focus on DSLRs under $2,000. Our range of options should cover both beginners and photo enthusiasts. If you’re just making the foray into digital photography, check out this beginner’s guide A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography You may think that picking up a digital camera, turning it on, and taking the photo is all that you need to know about digital photography. Think again. Read More to get you started.

Why Get a DSLR?

While you can snag excellent fixed lens cameras for less, a DLSR justifies its premium. There’s more longevity in a DSLR, mainly because of its interchangeable lenses. While megapixels are fixed and contingent on the body of the camera, future lens upgrades lengthen the life of a camera. In addition to versatile lenses and accessories, there’s typically enhanced low-light shooting and much better photo quality. Plus, you’ll usually find a faster shutter speed than on a non-DSLR camera.

Once you’ve selected your DSLR, make sure you’re getting the most out of it Are You Getting The Most From Your DSLR? Are You Getting The Most From Your DSLR? A great shot is a split second event. Getting it right is knowing which camera feature to use and when. Here are ten DSLR features that could inspire you to power on your camera. Read More .

The Best Budget DSLRs

Pentax K-S1 ($385/£411)

Pentax-K-S1
Image Credit: Amazon

Sub-$500 DSLRs are rare, so the Pentax K-S1 DSLR is absolutely the best budget DSLR available. This 20 MP camera features an LED indicator light on its grip and shoots 5.4 frames for continuous shooting. There’s full 1080p HD video recording, and you can find the Pentax K-S1 in an assortment of vibrant colors. Yet it’s not just the aesthetics that set the K-S1 apart. In addition to its funky colors, the Pentax K-S1 features a tiny body.

PC Mag praised the bold, memorable design and noted its fantastic image quality. Premium features such as shake reduction and a 1/6,000-second shutter make the K-S1 an excellent entry-level DSLR. However, the Pentax K-S1 is admittedly a budget camera. While image quality and photo performance is superb, PC Mag found its video quality lacking. Similarly, there’s no microphone input. Yet while most DSLRs can shoot video, it’s probably best to have both a DSLR and a dedicated video recording What I Think About DSLR Video [Opinion] What I Think About DSLR Video [Opinion] If there's one thing that I know, it's that DSLR video production is here to stay. As a DSLR-owner, I've finally succumbed to the new wave of production, and I can't complain too much (though... Read More device. The continuous shooting buffer is fairly small, and although the small form factor is easier to tote, the handgrip may be too shallow for larger hands.

If you can step above the $500 threshold, the Pentax K-S2  (UK) loses the green LED strip but adds a weatherized body. Ultimately, the Pentax K-S1 is an amazing camera for the price, though video enthusiasts might find it lacking.

Pros

  • Colorful design
  • Small form factor
  • Superb image quality
  • 20 MP
  • 1/6,000-second shutter speed
  • Shake reduction

Cons

  • Poor video quality
  • Slow video
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Lacks touchscreen
  • No mic input

Nikon D3300 ($447/£319)

Nikon-D3300
Image Credit: Amazon

As TechRadar states in its review, “the Nikon D3300 is still the entry-level DSLR to beat.” If you can spring a bit more money, the still under $500 Nikon D3300 is a phenomenal camera. The D3300 features a 24 MP sensor for stunning images. TechRadar further praises the Nikon D3300’s superb battery life and ease of use. This makes it a solid pick for a beginner DSLR. There’s no optical low-pass filter which means more detailed pictures. Because it’s a Nikon offering, the D3300 remains compatible with an array of lenses and accessories.

However while the D3300 specifications include a non-low-pass filter and high pixel count, it’s missing several features found on mid-range and high-end cameras. You won’t find Wi-Fi or a touchscreen. The LCD is fixed, not rotating, and connection options are fairly limited. But like the Pentax K-S1, the Nikon D3300 is lightweight and small. Specs including an 11-point autofocus and 3D-tracking autofocus compensate for lack of mid- to high-end trimmings. If you’re looking for the best budget DSLR available, the Nikon D3300 is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • 24 MP
  • Great battery life
  • No low-pass filter
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good autofocus
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Lacks touchscreen

The Best Mid-Range DSLRs

Canon EOS 750D/T6i ($750/£580)

Canon-EOS-750D
Image Credit: Amazon

Canon is arguably the strongest current camera manufacturer. Its T6i/750D yields stellar performance over past iterations. CNET appreciated the overall build quality and image quality. The Canon 750D is fast and features premium inclusions like Wi-Fi and back-display shooting in addition to viewfinder use.

Yet CNET found the T6i/750D image quality somewhat disappointing in low light. For good to moderate lighting, the Canon EOS Rebel T6i/750D fared well. Unfortunately, its low-light image quality falters. Moreover, its autofocus in low light scenarios also disappoints. However, it’s a Canon which means loads of compatibility with lenses. Many quality, fast lenses may be purchased at reasonable prices. Therefore the Canon EOS Rebel T6i/750D is a phenomenal value despite its fairly poor low light shooting.

Pros

  • 24.2 MP
  • 19-point autofocus
  • 1080p/30 FPS video
  • Wi-FI
  • Excellent image quality
  • Wide array of compatible lenses and accessories

Cons

  • Poor performance in low light

Nikon D5600 ($697/£653)

Nikon-D5600
Image Credit: Amazon

An upgrade over the Nikon D5500, the Nikon D5600 is an excellent mid-range DLSR. With its 24.2 MP sensor, you’ll capture incredibly detailed pictures. There’s a whopping 39-point autofocus system along with an articulating touchscreen. With its high pixel count and superb autofocus, the Nikon D5600 is a solid option. The articulating touchscreen adds a high-end feature. TechRadar comments that the Nikon D5600 feels comfortable, particularly its handgrip.

Yet TechRadar criticized the lack of 4K video. The D5600 is limited to 1080p. Still, it’s capable of 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p frame rates. There are a stereo microphone and an added 2.5mm input for an external mic. A new touch separating the D5600 from its D5500 predecessor is the Near Field Communication (NFC), Wi-Fi inclusion and SnapBridge. With SnapBridge, you may maintain a constant connection with the camera and a smart device. Thus, a low-energy Bluetooth connection transfers images automatically from the D5600 to a Wi-Fi enabled device. You’ll need the app, however. TechRadar does note that while it’s a neat feature, SnapBridge is decidedly unpolished.

Overall though, the D5600 is a worthy successor to the D5500 and sports phenomenal image quality with a range of premium specs.

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • 24.2 MP
  • Comfortable to hold
  • 39-point autofocus
  • Articulating touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
  • SnapBridge for auto image transfer

Cons

  • No 4K
  • SnapBridge is a bit cumbersome

The Best High-End DSLRs

Canon EOS Rebel T6s ($1,050)

Canon-Rebel-T6S
Image Credit: Amazon

Canon remains at the forefront of DSLRs and its EOS Rebel T6S is a superb camera. The Canon EOS Rebel T6s comes outfitted with 24 MP, 5 FPS continuous shooting, and a 19-point autofocus. There are an LCD touchscreen and an informational display on the top of the camera body. Additionally, Wi-Fi comes standard. PC Mag praised its control dials on the front and rear, as well as its LCD touchscreen and Wi-Fi.

But with DSLRs, it’s photo performance that matters. The T6s shoots continuous 5 FPS pictures. There is a limitation when using RAW or RAW and JPG images of six continuous photos. After that, the shooting rate diminishes. Its autofocus is spectacular as well with a 19-point system. PC Mag comments that while the D5500 boasts a 39-point autofocus, the T6s features more accurate cross-type. In their review, PC Mag did question the lack of 4K video as well as the limitation to a 30 FPS frame rate for video. Additionally, when shooting with RAW file types, the T6s reduces its buffer.

But the T6s is a phenomenal choice with excellent image quality and value.

Pros

  • 24 MP
  • 19-point autofocus
  • Wi-Fi built in
  • LCD touch display
  • Top of camera information display
  • Solid autofocus for video

Cons

  • No 4K
  • HD video limited to 20 FPS
  • Slow buffer when shooting in RAW

Sony Alpha 77 II ($1,200/£952)

Sony-Alpha-77-II
Image Credit: Amazon

In its review, PC Mag awarded the Sony Alpha 77 II DLSR a 4.5 out of 5. The Alpha 77 II arrives with a slew of superb high-end specs. You’ll find a super fast 12 FPS continuous shooting rate, 79 point autofocus, and spectacular high ISO image quality. There’s built-in stabilization, Wi-Fi, and an articulated LCD screen. For 1080p, the Sony Alpha 77 II can shoot 60p.

Despite its excellent rating, PC Mag criticized the Alpha 77 II’s slow startup and shooting. Other minor quips included lack of GPS and a sole memory card slot. As an odd choice, Sony opted for an electronic viewfinder. Many photo enthusiasts prefer an optical viewfinder, making the Alpha 77 II arguably stronger than the Pentax K-S1 with its green LED array. However, the Alpha 77 II offers phenomenal image quality especially for fast motion with its rapid-fire shooting and 79-point autofocus.

Pros

  • 79-point autofocus
  • 12 FPS continuous shooting
  • Stupendous high ISO image quality
  • Articulating display
  • Wi-Fi
  • 1080p 60p video

Cons

  • Slow to start
  • No GPS
  • Lacks optical viewfinder

The Best DSLRs for Your Money

A DSLR is a fantastic investment. You’ll get amazing picture quality even with a budget camera body and lens. Sure, smartphone cameras have improved substantially, but DSLRs offer longevity with interchangeable lenses. Plus, even a little zoom and the photo quality on your smartphone camera degrades. Low light shooting on a DLSR compared to a smartphone or non-DSLR is unrivaled.

Although there are plenty of $1,000-and-up DLSRs, you don’t have to break the bank for a solid performing DSLR. Try sticking with a known brand like Canon or Nikon, though Pentax and Sony provide stellar DLSRs as well. Pentax usually offers compatibility with its spectrum of lenses, so those with quality lenses from compatible film DSLRs may consider a Pentax so as to reuse their accessories. After you’ve picked out your DSLR, peruse these websites for DSLR gear and DIY tips 3 Websites To Find DSLR Gear & DIY Tips 3 Websites To Find DSLR Gear & DIY Tips Did you just get a DSLR for making videos? Did you believe that once you got it you would instantly be making creative, beautiful videos that would make all your friends think you are a... Read More . If you’ve got some DIY skills, you can even cobble together your own DSLR remote shutter release Make Your Own DSLR Remote Shutter Release Make Your Own DSLR Remote Shutter Release One accessory you'll no doubt be after is a remote shutter; this allows you to place the camera on a tripod or rest it somewhere and trigger the shutter without the chance of shake that... Read More .

Which DSLRs do you recommend in 2017?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. JFuqua
    April 23, 2017 at 12:35 am

    That is not what i would call "high end"

  2. JFuqua
    April 23, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Not what i would call "high end"

  3. Joe V.
    April 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    For me it's the Nikon D7100. It's all I need right now.

  4. Keith
    April 22, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the MUO Deal on the Pentax K-S1 (US$299.95): https://deals.makeuseof.com/sales/pentax-k-s1-dslr-camera-w-18-55mm-lens-kit

  5. Drew F
    April 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    FWIW: I have a Pentax K-x (their earlier budget model that also came in cool colors) from 2011 and I still LOVE it to this day. Definitely a great buy and thats before you even consider the fact that Pentax has had a standard lens mount for the past like 40 years so you can grab a new lens to play with pretty much anywhere (and sometimes for cheap!)