Best dSLR Overall:
Digital SLRs provide photographers with full creative control over their images, and can be used with a wide variety of interchangeable lenses. These five dSLR cameras represent varying combinations of performance, features, and value, but each one stands out in its own way. Our picks are based on picture quality, build quality, ergonomics, battery life, and features such as HD video recording.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is very expensive, but earns the top spot for a number of reasons. Despite appearing inferior on paper to its direct rival, the Nikon D800, Canon has practically reinvented the segment thanks to the snappy DIGIC 5+ processor and the performance boost it provides. Read Full Review »
Nikon has delivered a technological knockout with the D800. This full-frame DSLR carries an incredible resolution of 36.3 megapixels, housed in a body which has been refined to near perfection from the early days of digital photography. The only downside is its price, but this drawback is hardly unexpected. Read Full Review »
Full-frame dSLRs carry numerous advantages, but not everybody is enamored with the format. The EOS 7D is Canon's top APS-C model, and is the professionals' go-to choice when working with EF-S lens. The sturdy build quality and high photo/video performance makes the 7D ideal for all situations. Read Full Review »
The Nikon D7000 is similar enough to the Canon EOS 60D that it will come down to brand preference for the majority of DSLR buyers, but the D7000 offers better overall photo shooting performance while ceding ultimate HD video capability to the EOS 60D. The D7000's position as a prosumer camera is further affirmed by the higher build quality and pro-friendly features. Even with the high price, the Nikon D7000 is easily one of the best dSLRs available today. Read Full Review »
Canon's beginner-friendly EOS Rebel series further encroaches on 'enthusiast' territory, thanks to the updates found in the latest T4i model. The DIGIC 5 image processor improves performance all around, and consumer-friendly features such as the integrated stereo microphones and dedicated 'movie mode' switch position make this dSLR more accessible to newcomers. Read Full Review »
Best dSLR for Video:
A relatively new feature introduced in 2008, HD video-capable dSLRs have taken the world of digital media by storm. These models offer impeccable video quality; feature films as well as TV shows are now being filmed on Digital SLRs. Here are the best digital SLR cameras for video based on video performance, supported formats, and value.
Canon's latest EOS 5D Mark III offers improved video functionality, which should come as no surprise. The newer image sensor offers cleaner video output, with unwanted artifacts and rolling shutter kept to a minimum. The EOS 5D Mark III is poised to become the preferred choice for videographers, displacing its immediate predecessor. Read Full Review »
Simply put, if you're looking for a digital SLR for video, the Canon EOS 7D should be your first choice. The 7D is already considered to be one of the best all-around DSLRs on the market today, and its video performance leaves all other DSLRs in the dust. Movie modes include 1080p at 24, 25, and 30 frames per second, as well as 720p and 480p at 50fps/60fps. Full manual filming controls are offered, and the autofocus works extremely well even for fast-moving subjects. Read Full Review »
If you're looking for simplicity, the EOS Rebel T4i should be your first choice. The DIGIC 5 image processor boosts video capabilities considerably over the already-good T3i, and the Vari-angle LCD allows shooting from awkward angles. The EOS Rebel T4i also features integrated stereo microphones, making external mic attachments largely unnecessary for casual recording. Read Full Review »
Canon's full-frame EOS 5D Mark II is a perennial favorite amongst amateur videographers and professional filmmakers alike, thanks to its versatile HD video modes. Both full-length movies and TV dramas have been shot with the 5D Mark II, which is a testament to this dSLR's video capabilities. A wide range of third-party equipment is available for the EOS 5D Mark II, making this dSLR easier to use as a 'makeshift' camcorder. Read Full Review »
Although Canon has decided to take the EOS 60D downmarket compared to its direct predecessor (the prosumers' favorite EOS 50D), the updates and new features allow the EOS 60D to be much better-suited for shooting video. The smaller APS-C image sensor provides higher quality video capture, and the fully-articulated screen makes it much easier to film from awkward angles. Enthusiast videographers will prefer the EOS 60D to the entry-level Rebel T3i because of the more extensive manual controls offered. Read Full Review »
Best Canon dSLR:
Canon has been a top producer of cameras and lenses for many years now. With their excellent image quality, advanced and innovative features, user friendly interfaces, and support for Canon’s broad line-up of lenses and accessories, it’s hard to go wrong with a Canon Digital SLR. These top dSLRs are the best Canon has to offer. Please note the intended use for each of the cameras listed below.
(Best All-Around Canon DSLR) - The EOS 5D Mark III represents a comprehensive overhaul of the model line, starting with an entirely new image sensor and the DIGIC 5+ processor. The result is a noticeably faster camera with better still image and video quality, with rearranged controls for improved ergonomics. This is arguably Canon's best camera yet, and is definitely worth the cost even if you don't own Canon gear. Read Full Review »
(Best Canon DSLR for Advanced Photographers) The APS-C sized image sensor in the EOS 7D prevents it from being considered anything more than a high-end enthusiast model, but that's a label that the 7D wears well. Image quality is outstanding, and the movie modes make having a camcorder completely redundant. Read Full Review »
(Best Canon DSLR for Professionals) Judging by its enormous size, it's clear that Canon's top-of-the-line EOS-1Ds Mark III is designed solely for professionals. The 21.1 megapixel full-frame image sensor allows extreme image quality, and this feature is precisely why many professionals simply will not look at anything else in Canon's lineup. Another good example of the 'professionals only' philosophy is the price, which will turn away all but the most dedicated Canon fans. Read Full Review »
(Best Canon DSLR for Enthusiasts) Canon has aimed the EOS 60D squarely at the enthusiast market, and from what it looks like, this offering is right on target. The plastic body is disappointing and may be considered a step back from the 50D, but the shooting performance has gone up thanks to the improvements in hardware. The articulated screen is extremely convenient when shooting from awkward angles, and pairs well with the 1080p and 720p movie modes. Read Full Review »
(Best Canon DSLR for Beginners) - The EOS Rebel series has always encompassed beginner-friendly, high-performance dSLRs that cater to newcomers and more experienced users alike. The Rebel T4i is more of the same, with its powerful DIGIC 5 image processor providing outstanding still image and video quality. The high price may be an issue for some, however. Read Full Review »
Best Nikon dSLR:
Nikon’s digital SLR cameras have consistently been ranked highly their respective classes. The following list of cameras represent the best Nikon has to offer in digital SLR photography. Please note the intended use for each of the cameras listed below.
(Best All-Around Nikon DSLR) The Nikon D7000 is arguably one of the best APS-C DSLR cameras available today. While not entirely positioned as a replacement for the much-loved D90, the D7000 inherits all of the prosumer features while upping the performance to compete with semi-pro DSLRs. Unless you're ready to shell out big bucks to move into the realm of full-frame 'pro' DSLR cameras, this is the best there is. Read Full Review »
(Best Nikon DSLR for Professionals) The Nikon D3S features several improvements over the D3, including a redesigned full-frame image sensor that excels at high ISO settings. While the maximum resolution is still capped at 'only' 12.1 megapixels, no other DSLR on the market today can come close to the D3S in terms of low-light photography. Image quality is excellent, and the 720p video mode can record movies in low light. It's expensive, but you won't find these capabilities anywhere else. Read Full Review »
(Best Nikon DSLR for Semi-Pros) Nikon's new D800 is more than a simple technical update of the D700. The 36.3-megapixel full frame image sensor offers more resolution than any other standard DSLR sold today, and image quality is simply excellent despite the added pixel density. The weather-sealed body is more streamlined than before, yet remains fully functional thanks to well-placed controls and top-notch build quality. The D800 isn't cheap, but serious Nikon shooters will find the upgrade to be worth every penny.
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(Best Nikon DSLR for Amateur Enthusiasts) Nikon's D5100 is a fantastic new midrange offering that combines the ease-of-use of an entry-level DSLR with the image performance of the prosumer models. While not a direct replacement for the venerable D90, this new model comes closest to that camera's balance of performance and versatility without breaking the bank. The D5100 introduces several unique features such as 1080p video recording and built-in Effects. Read Full Review »
(Best Nikon DSLR for Beginners) While you may be surprised to see one of Nikon's most affordable DSLR cameras recommended here, the truth is that the D3100 is an incredibly well-designed camera which caters to the DSLR newcomer crowd. While overall performance is obviously not up to the standards set by the D7000, the D3100 has plenty to offer for photographers learning the ropes of DSLR operation at a very reasonable price. Read Full Review »
Best Beginner dSLR:
For beginner dSLR photographers, it's important to select a dSLR that's easy to learn and straightforward to use, yet will not quickly become obsolete when photography skills begin to rise. All of the dSLRs recommended here are in the 'entry-level' bracket of the dSLR market, and boast reasonable price tags that will allow amateur photographers to learn the ropes of dSLR photography without breaking the bank.
The EOS Rebel T4i provides beginners with plenty of features and superb image/video quality, all in a user-friendly package. The inclusion of Canon's DIGIC 5 processor has brought major gains in performance all-around, and features such as the integrated stereo microphones and artsy filter effects will appeal to users upgrading from point-and-shoot models. One of the only downsides is the high price, which can easily exceed $1000 for packages that include a kit lens. Read Full Review »
Most beginners buy dSLRs because of the performance jump compared to point-and-shoot compacts. Nikon's entry-level D3200 pairs a 24-megapixel image sensor with responsive operation, and leaves out intimidating extras to make the camera easier to use overall. Read Full Review »
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i features intuitive automatic shooting modes with both still photos and video, and offers excellent image quality even at higher ISO settings. This is a great entry-level DSLR for learning the quirks of DSLR photography, and the user-friendly features such as the 'Vari-angle' screen and the affordable price will make many amateur photographers happy. Read Full Review »
If you already have previous experience with someone else's DSLR camera and prefer to purchase one that has more features than the most basic models, the Nikon D5100 is your best bet. Although the D5100 still leans towards the 'entry-level' side of things, many of its features and capabilities overlap the much-loved Nikon D90. Picture quality and low-light performance are suitably high (as expected), and the 'Effects' modes can make for interesting photographs. Read Full Review »
Try not to be put off by the lack of a 'big name' on the camera. The Pentax K-r represents a minor update to the excellent K-x, so this model retains the class-leading high-ISO performance of its predecessor. The viewfinder now features live focus points, and the high resolution 3-inch screen is easier on the eyes than what was found on the K-x. Considering the performance that the K-r offers, it's priced incredibly reasonably. Read Full Review »
Best Budget dSLR:
Nikon, Canon, and other manufacturers produce great entry-level digital SLRs that cost a fraction of the price of top tier professional models, yet still provide excellent image quality, extensive manual controls, compatibility with a wide range of lenses and accessories, and all the features you’ll need. These entry-level models are ideal for beginners buying their first dSLR - or budget-minded advanced photographers and enthusiasts looking to expand tool sets.
Nikon's D3200 provides several advancements that allow this entry-level model to stand out from the crowd. The 24-megapixel image sensor and EXPEED 3 processor combo delivers outstanding performance, and the bright 921,000-dot screen and built-in stereo microphones will appeal to all users. Read Full Review »
Nikon's excellent D5100 is a good choice for anyone shopping for a DSLR regardless of price. The D5100 is designed to be easy to use while maintaining high levels of performance, making it highly suitable for DSLR newcomers and more skilled amateurs alike. The articulated screen and superior movie modes compared to the D3100 are genuine advantages, and budget-conscious shoppers will appreciate the more affordable price tag next to the D7000. Read Full Review »
Pentax has plenty of experience building DSLRs, so don't automatically dismiss the K-r just because it's priced much lower than the competition. The compact K-r offers up outstanding image quality (especially at higher ISO settings), quick performance, 720p HD video mode, and good build quality all without breaking the bank. The K-r offers live auto focus points in the viewfinder, though manual focus may sometimes be needed for a clear shot. For the price, this is one of the best DSLRs available today. Read Full Review »
The Nikon D3100 is a great way to acquaint yourself with the unique operating characteristics of a DSLR without breaking the bank. Spending less does not mean giving up on performance - the D3100 offers excellent picture quality even at higher ISO settings, and is capable of recording in 1080p. Nikon was also thoughtful enough to include intelligent automatic modes as well as a 'Guide Mode' which provides a real-time tutorial. Read Full Review »
Although the Canon EOS Rebel T3i is significantly more expensive than the other four affordable dSLRs recommended here, you get more in return. The EOS Rebel T3i offers niceties that you won't find on other 'budget' DSLRs such as an articulated screen, rubberized grip areas, and various HD video capture modes. Read Full Review »