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Point-and-shoot cameras 6 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Style, Features or Optics 6 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Style, Features or Optics Some people may want the most stylish camera, others may want superior zoom, and some may be on a strict budget. Don't worry, we have you covered. Read More have their place, but they’re extremely limited and don’t always snap the best photographs. If you want to take your photography skills to the next level, or you know someone else who does, then there’s no better way than to enter the world of DSLR cameras.

You can always learn the basics of photography by using a virtual DSLR 3 Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR 3 Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR Rather than learning your photography from books and tutorials, this web application from Canon Canada is the most fun yet. Outside of Auto from Canon is a gentle introduction to the basics of photography. Read More , but it’s no match for having an actual camera in your hands. Also, while the best value would be had by buying a used DSLR Buying A Used Digital SLR? Wait! 3 Things To Look Out For Buying A Used Digital SLR? Wait! 3 Things To Look Out For Buying a used digital SLR is a great way to save some money, but you should be aware of the risks involved in doing so. Read More , there are reasons why you may not want to go that route (e.g. buying the camera as a gift).

The hardest choice is deciding which DSLR to buy. It’s tricky: you don’t want to invest too much up front but you also don’t want to skimp on important features. Here are some recommendations that fit the bill.

Canon Rebel T5i ($700)

The Rebel series of cameras by Canon has been one of the most popular selections of the past several years. They’ve been used for all sorts of projects ranging from food photography Photographing Food? 6 Tips To Help You Make That Dish Look Appetizing Photographing Food? 6 Tips To Help You Make That Dish Look Appetizing Do you know what’s better than sitting down to an amazing meal? Taking pictures of it, of course. With that said, some food photos… Well, they just plain suck. Read More to home movies 10 Simple Tips To Make Home Videos Look Professional 10 Simple Tips To Make Home Videos Look Professional As mobile phone cameras have gotten progressively better, they've become reliable tools for recording videos on the go. Here are 10 tips for making your videos look professional. Read More to viral YouTube videos Want More YouTube Views? 5 Key Tips To Follow Want More YouTube Views? 5 Key Tips To Follow Here’s the situation: you've been putting out YouTube videos for a while now and you aren't sure why your viewership hasn't skyrocketed. It’s not uncommon, and people ask how to increase video views all the... Read More .

The Rebel T5i, also known as the 700D, is almost indistinguishable from the T4i but since the latter was discontinued, the T5i has taken over as one of the best Canon DSLRs for new photographers. Here are the important specs:

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  • 18 Megapixel resolution
  • ISO 12,800
  • 1/4000 to 30 second shutter speed
  • 1080p @ 30fps video resolution
  • Canon EOS lens mount

The lack of improvement between the T4i and T5i means that Canon has fallen behind a bit, but that doesn’t mean this is a bad camera. The image quality is crisp, the interface is simple enough for a newbie, and the body sits comfortably in the hands. The autofocus is both fast and quiet, which is a big plus.

It comes with an EF-S 18-55mm IS STM which has above average image quality and image stabilization for a kit lens.

Canon EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit Canon EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor Buy Now At Amazon $599.00

Nikon D3300 ($500)

Though Nikon has lost some market share to Canon over the last few years, they’re still a solid contender with solid offerings. Canon is arguably more newbie-friendly but it isn’t uncommon to hear about ex-Canon users who have converted to Nikon due to build superiority.

The Nikon D3300 shoots with impressive quality, improving on the D3200 which was already producing great shots. Here are the important specs:

  • 24.2 Megapixel resolution
  • ISO 25,600
  • 1/4000 to 30 second shutter speed
  • 1080p @ 60fps video resolution
  • Nikon F lens mount

On paper, it beats the Rebel T5i in almost every category by an inch. However, it’s a bit slow at focusing and shooting under good lighting and performs even slower in low-light conditions. Don’t be surprised if consecutive shots sometimes take upwards of several seconds to snap.

The bundled AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm VR II performs above average for a kit lens but otherwise isn’t deserving of special praise.

Nikon D3300 1532 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens 24.2 MP Digital SLR – Black Nikon D3300 1532 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens 24.2 MP Digital SLR – Black 24.2 MP CMOS DX-format sensor Buy Now At Amazon $446.95

Pentax K-50 ($430)

Pentax isn’t as well-known as Canon or Nikon and they don’t control as much market share. This has no bearing on their quality — in fact, most of their cameras are pretty darn good — but it does mean that Pentax has far less availability than Canon and Nikon in terms of lenses and peripherals.

That being said, the Pentax K-50 is a fantastic option with good performance, though slightly worse than the Rebel T5i and D3300 mentioned above. Here are the important specs:

  • 16.3 Megapixel resolution
  • ISO 51,200
  • 1/6000 to 30 second shutter speed
  • 1080p @ 30fps video resolution
  • Pentax K lens mount

One benefit of the Pentax K-50 over its Canon and Nikon contenders is its weather-sealed body. This could be a deal-maker for photographers who intend to be out in the rain, out by the ocean, or under any other inclement condition on a regular basis. If you like the K-50 but don’t need the weather-sealing, consider getting the K-500 which is cheaper while being the same in all other respects.

It comes with a DA L 18-55mm WR lens, which is also sealed against weather.

Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm WR f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm WR f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black) 16 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor. A high performance 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor strikes the perfect balance between resolution and image quality. DA-L 18-55WR lens included Buy Now At Amazon $449.00

Sony SLT-A58 ($400)

Like Pentax, Sony is dwarfed by Canon and Nikon in the DSLR department. That’s probably because Sony doesn’t actually make too many of them, though the ones they do make are somewhat good. As good as Canon and Nikon? Not quite, but still worth checking out.

The Sony SLT-A58 is what remained after Sony discontinued the rest of their entry-level DSLRs. It’s not the greatest — in fact, it’s a little worse than some of the ones that were discontinued — but it’s very affordable. Here are the important specs:

  • 20.1 Megapixel resolution
  • ISO 16,000
  • 1/4000 to 30 second shutter speed
  • 1080p @ 60fps video resolution
  • Sony A lens mount

Overall, it’s about par for the course. There’s nothing hideously bad about it but none of its features stand out either. Image quality, build quality, and controls are all average. The price is its biggest benefit, so it could be good for those who aren’t going to dive too deeply into photography but are interested enough to play around with interchangeable lenses.

Sony SLT-A58K Digital SLR Kit with 18-55mm Zoom Lens, 20.1MP SLR Camera with 2.7 -Inch LCD Screen (Black) Sony SLT-A58K Digital SLR Kit with 18-55mm Zoom Lens, 20.1MP SLR Camera with 2.7 -Inch LCD Screen (Black) 20.1 MP Exmor HD APS sensor with 5 FPS shooting Buy Now At Amazon

Final Thoughts

A crucial note before you dive in: when buying a DSLR, you’re buying an entire system. The rule of thumb is that Nikon lenses only work with Nikon cameras, Canon lenses only work with Canon cameras, etc. Investing in a specific brand often means being locked into that brand and the only way out is to start over.

This is just one of many important considerations when buying a camera 8 Tips You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Digital Camera 8 Tips You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Digital Camera Regardless of what you have been told, there is no such thing as a "do-it-all" camera. If there was a "do-it-all" camera, competition in the industry would suffer, seedy patents would be made, one company... Read More .

Which entry-level DSLR looks best to you? For photography veterans, which DSLR would you recommend to a newbie? Share your thoughts and advice with us in the comments below!

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