Bulky and expensive digital single lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras are the highest performing cameras you can buy. They have larger sensors for better image quality and provide faster auto-focus and shooting speeds. These models have removable lenses so you can use the lens that is perfect for the shot you are trying to take.
Buyers should note that the prices we list reflect the camera body only and not any additional lenses. You will need to buy or use lenses for your specific task and also remember that each brand has its own mounting system so one lens will not fit all cameras. No matter how good your camera is, it still needs good quality lenses to take outstanding pictures.
One of the most important aspects of DSLR’s is the sensor. There are two main types or sizes of sensors available – APS-C and full-frame. Full-frame sensors are so-called because they are the size of one frame of 35mm film and are the best you can buy. The APS-C type sensor is smaller and cheaper.
Below you can read our reviews of the best DSLR cameras. For this list we focused on units that cost less than $4000 and also tried providing options from several different price points and tiers of quality.
For $3297 our choice for the best DSLR camera is the Nikon D810. It captures incredible photos with its 36.3 MP FX-format full-frame CMOS sensor. The D810 is also really fast for images of this high of resolution capturing up to 5 FPS in burst speed. While that is not as fast as some other models, remember that these are massive image file sizes. This camera is also great for all types of video in full 1080p HD recorded at 60, 50, 30, 25, or 24p uncompressed to an external device, compressed to an internal CF/SD card or both simultaneously.
Due to the sheer volume of pixels you might notice a bit of noise it low light conditions, but when you get it right you won’t find a better quality picture. Buyers should note that this is the most expensive DSLR on our list and there are cheaper quality options out there for those of you on a budget.
If you are looking for a more affordable full-frame sensor SLR camera then we recommend the $2297 Nikon D750. It is very similar to the D810, but with significant savings of $1000. The D750 uses the same AF system and metering technology, but it has a 24.3 MP CMOS sensor. It also features a tiltable LCD display, WiFi, 6.5 FPS continuous shooting, and full 1080 HD video at 60/50/30/25/24p.
Just released the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is already the #2 best seller on Amazon just on pre-orders and retails for $1799. The EOS 7D Mark II has a 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with Dual DIGIC 6 image processors for beautiful imagery. It has an outstanding autofocus system, high speed burst shooting up to 10 FPS, full HD 60p video recording, records to both SD and CF cards, and has built in GPS functions.
One slight negative is that the 3-inch LCD screen does not articulate, nor is it a touchscreen. It is also a bit pricey for a APS-C type unit, for a bit more money you could step up to a full-frame sensor.
Do you need a good action digital SLR? If so then we highly recommend the Sony Alpha 77 II which costs about $1049. One of the highest rated models available on Amazon with a 4.8 rating comes with an APS-C sensor with 24.3 megapixels. What truly stands out is the speed, especially in this price range. It is capable of shooing 12 frames per second for 5 seconds all while refocusing for each shot. Combine that with outstanding image quality, OLED view finder, 79-point phase detection auto focus system, and WiFi/NFC for sharing and you get perhaps the best APS-C camera available.
If you are looking for a model that is a step up from the entry level choices, but don’t need or want to spend the money of a more professional unit, then check out the Canon EOS 70D available for $999. In addition to providing great photo and video quality, the most outstanding feature is the auto-focus system. It uses a Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast focus when using the LCD for framing and a 19-point auto-focus system in the viewfinder. That makes the EOS 70D a good choice for video makers.
The $699 Canon EOS Rebel T5i scored the highest rating from the leading consumer magazine. It gives you more manual controls and features than other models in this price range while still providing outstanding image quality. One nice feature is the high quality swiveling touch screen LCD. It also has 5 FPS continuous shooting, ISO up to 25600, and solid HD video at 30 FPS.
The T5i is a great choice for an entry to mid-level DSLR camera.
If you are looking for an entry level DSLR then you can’t go wrong with the $547 Nikon D3300. Not only was it rated as a Best Buy by the leading consumer magazine, but it also is the best selling version available on Amazon. The D3300 provides very good photo quality, but does not have a robust feature set. It records video at a smooth 1080p at 60 frames per second. While not super fast, it performs quite well for a model in this price class.
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