Best DSLR Camera

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Digital SLR cameras are an evolution of the 'single lens reflex' camera, swapping the film roll for an image sensor. These cameras offer superior performance compared to point-and-shoot models, and provide users with more control over final output. If you'd like a primer on what to look for when buying a dSLR camera, have a look at our buyer's guide.

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 their ability to deliver top-notch picture quality for their class, while demonstrating excellent build quality and ergonomics that make them both durable and a pleasure to use. We also looked at features such as HD video recording, although specific features such as built-in WiFi are not yet consistently included with DSLR cameras. Price was not considered objectively, but each of the following cameras offers good value, thanks to their outstanding performance for their respective class.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

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

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    Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

    EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

    Designed primarily for more advanced photographers seeking an affordable and compact DSLR, Canon’s top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR offers excellent all-around performance. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II delivers impressive image quality, while also offering impressive continuous shooting capabilities. Although it lacks somewhat in video features, this camera is extremely well-rounded and capable for its price. Read Full Review

    EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

    D810 DSLR Camera (Body Only)

    For those seeking a Nikon full-frame camera, the D810 is one of the absolute best you can buy without going for an absolute top-of-the-line pro-level camera. The D810 offers some excellent upgrades to upgrades which provide enhanced speed, improved continuous shooting, and better low light capability. Read Full Review

    D810 DSLR Camera (Body Only)

    Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

    The Canon EOS Rebel line has been split into two models, the Rebel T6i and the Rebel T6s. Both cameras contain the same internals and produce the same results, with most of the differences being primarily cosmetic. While the Rebel T6i is geared primarily toward beginners, those who are more experienced may want to spend the little bit more to get the added control of the Rebel T6s. Read Full Review

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      Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

      Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body (Black)

      If you’re looking for an enthusiast DSLR on a budget, the Nikon D7200 should be at the top of your list. This camera offers several small updates to its predecessor, while retaining its excellent auto-focus and weather-sealed body. Image quality is excellent even in low light conditions, and plenty of customization options and controls make this camera suitable for photographers of all experience levels. Read Full Review

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        Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body (Black)

        Best DSLR for Video:

        Introduced in 2008, HD video-capable DSLRs have since taken the world of digital media by storm. These models offer impeccable video quality with feature films as well as TV shows now being filmed using digital SLRs. We’ve chosen some of the best DSLR cameras for video based on their video performance first and foremost, ensuring that each of our picks offers full HD recording with excellent quality. We also considered the flexibility and control of these cameras, determined by their features such as uncompressed HDMI outputs, inclusion of both a headphone and a mic jack, and at least basic controls over exposure and audio. Finally, we considered the overall value of the following best DSLR cameras for video. Although not all of the following cameras are cheap, they all justify their price by offering a level of performance to match their corresponding price tag.

        Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

        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

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          Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

          EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

          If you’re looking for a DSLR for video, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II should be one of your top options. The 7D Mark II is one of the best all-around DSLRs currently available, and its video performance is no different. Despite lacking some less essential features, this camera shoots in full HD and offers excellent control. Read Full Review

          EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

          Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera

          Canon's DSLRs have always been impressive performers when it comes to video, and we'd expect no different from the latest EOS 70D. The movie modes support 1080/30p video capture, and the articulated screen provides a very user-friendly interface for manually controlling various functions while recording. Read Full Review

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            Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera

            Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

            Offering excellent all-around performance for entry-level DSLRs, the Canon EOS Rebel T6i and T6s produce outstanding results both in terms of photo and video quality. These easy-to-use cameras have appeal to beginners and more advanced shooters alike, offering tremendous performance at a relatively budget-friendly price. Read Full Review

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              Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

              Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

              While the Nikon D5300 doesn’t fully meet all of our criteria for this list due to it not having both a headphone and a mic jack, it earns its spot on our list for its excellent performance and video quality at an affordable price. Although the most serious videographers will want to consider other options, this easy-to-use camera is a good option for those looking for a less expensive DSLR intended for more casual video work. Read Full Review

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                Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                Best Canon DSLR:

                Canon has been a top producer of cameras and lens for decades. With their excellent image quality, advanced features, user friendly interfaces, and support for a broad line-up of lenses and accessories, it’s hard to go wrong with a Canon Digital SLR. Our picks boast top-notch performance and image quality for their class, showcasing what Canon is capable of at every level. The following DSLRs also offer outstanding versatility, with their capabilities extending beyond their intended niche and thus making them well-rounded choices for a wide variety of photographers. Although the following picks all fall into different price categories, each of these DSLRs send out clear value messages, with performance, features, and build quality that more than justify each selections price.

                Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

                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

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                  Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera

                  EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

                  While the Canon EOS 7D Mark II’s APS-C sized sensor prevents it from ever being a full-blown professional’s DSLR, this camera offers advanced photographers tremendous performance and image quality for the money. Relatively compact and affordable, this camera also offers excellent video capture capabilities. Read Full Review

                  EOS 7D Mark II Black SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

                  Canon EOS-1D X Black SLR Digital Camera Body Only (18.1 MP)

                  The price of the Canon EOS-1D X will keep away most buyers aside from professional photographers, but these shooters are exactly who this impressive DSLR is made for. As Canon’s flagship full-frame DSLR, this camera offers everything that action photographers and photojournalists need. Read Full Review

                  Canon EOS-1D X Black SLR Digital Camera Body Only (18.1 MP)

                  Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera

                  The EOS 70D represents Canon's replacement for the prosumer 60D, and this is a case where the total package is more than just a sum of its parts. Performance-wise, the 70D can outperform the 7D in many cases, thanks to its new image sensor and variety of shooting modes that really work. Read Full Review

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                    Canon EOS 70D 20.2 MP Digital SLR Camera

                    Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

                    Despite having been split into two models, Canon’s familiar Rebel line continues to offer the same excellent value that it always has. Both the Rebel T6i and the T6s offer the same performance, with the latter having slight ergonomic differences in order to appeal to more advanced photographers. Upgrades such as the use of Canon’s Digic 6 processor have enhanced the performance of these cameras over that of their predecessor, the Rebel T5i, making either one an excellent choice for photographers of all ability levels. Read Full Review

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                      Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

                      Best Nikon DSLR:

                      Nikon’s digital SLR cameras have a dedicated following of die-hard users, matched only by the fans of Nikon lens offerings. The following list of DSLRs is a sample of Nikon’s best efforts, ranging from the top-of-the-lie D4S to beginner and budget-friendly models. We’ve chosen these cameras based on their ability to perform beyond their intended niche, thanks to their versatility and well-rounded performance. Each of the following DSLRs offers outstanding image quality for their class, and can perform consistently in a variety of conditions. These cameras also demonstrate excellent build quality and ergonomics. For anyone dedicated to or looking to get into the Nikon system, the following DSLRs are some of the best picks at almost any price range.

                      Nikon D4S 16.2 MP CMOS FX Digital SLR

                      This is the camera for professional photographers who need the best, fastest-responding camera they can have. The Nikon D4S is a speed demon, offering almost instant responses and outstanding performance across the board. If you already have a Nikon D4 you may be unlikely to find reason to upgrade, but for those who need a new camera in this class, this is one of the absolute best. Read Full Review

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                        Nikon D4S 16.2 MP CMOS FX Digital SLR

                        Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body (Black)

                        The update to the excellent D7100, the Nikon D7200 doesn’t disappoint. Despite not having drastic enough updates to warrant switching for current D7100 owners, the D7200 retains much of what made its predecessor great, while adding increased performance and features such as built-in WiFi. Read Full Review

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                          Nikon D7200 DX-format DSLR Body (Black)

                          D810 DSLR Camera (Body Only)

                          The Nikon D810, like its predecessor the D800, has a primary focus of producing top-notch image quality. This full-frame DSLR offers faster performance and an extended ISO range over the D800; although subtle changes, there wasn’t very much that needed to be updated. The D810 isn’t cheap, but buyers in this category will likely find the 36-megapixel resolution and outstanding image quality well worth the money. Read Full Review

                          D810 DSLR Camera (Body Only)

                          Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                          For beginners or for more seasoned photographers seeking an affordable every day DSLR, the Nikon D5300 is an excellent choice. With very good all-around performance and better photo and video quality than many other cameras in its class, this inexpensive but extremely capable camera is worth a look. Read Full Review

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                            Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                            Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                            This inexpensive DSLR from Nikon is an excellent choice for a novice photographer, thanks to its easy-to-use controls and a mode specifically for helping beginners. Although some photographers coming from point-and-shoot cameras may be disappointed to find that the Nikon D3300 doesn’t include built-in WiFi, it offers excellent overall performance and image quality for the price. Read Full Review

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                              Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                              Best Beginner DSLR:

                              For beginner DSLR photographers, it's important to select a camera that's easy to learn and straightforward to use, yet will not quickly become obsolete when photography skills begin to expand. Our selections for best beginner DSLR are firmly in the 'entry level' bracket of the DSLR market, perfect for amateur photographers learning the ropes of DSLR photography thanks to clean, and intuitive features. In addition to their affordability, these cameras offer reliable performance and will remain useful photography tools long after an individual’s skills have progressed beyond the beginners level.

                              Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

                              The Canon Rebel line has enjoyed considerable success due to its compelling combination of affordability, ease-of-use, performance, and features. With the latest version, Canon has chosen to split the line into two models: the Rebel T6i and the Rebel T6s. While both share the same internal components and produce the same results, the slightly less expensive Rebel T6i is geared specifically toward beginners. With excellent performance and image quality, this is a top-notch choice for any beginner photographer. Read Full Review

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                                Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR

                                Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                For those seeking a DSLR camera that delivers some of the best all-around performance for its sub-$1,000 price class, the Nikon D5300 should be a top contender. This DSLR lends itself very well to beginners and general purpose use, with excellent image quality and video quality. Although not the fastest camera, the D5300 is more than sufficient for most every day use. Read Full Review

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                                  Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                  Canon EOS Rebel T5i 18.0 MP CMOS Digital SLR

                                  The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is a fantastic beginner DSLR. Despite not being the latest model anymore, this consumer camera still offers everything that those looking for a beginner DSLR needs at a lower price than the latest model. Read Full Review

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                                    Canon EOS Rebel T5i 18.0 MP CMOS Digital SLR

                                    Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                                    Nikon’s D3300 offers the ease-of-use and versatility that beginner photographers need, despite being somewhat light on features such as built-in WiFi. However, this affordable entry-level DSLR produces very good picture quality and solid overall performance, and would definitely suit the needs of a beginner photographer upgrading from a point-and-shoot. Read Full Review

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                                      Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                                      Nikon D5200 24.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                      The Nikon D5200 serves as Nikon's advanced beginner DSLR, offering an improved shooting experience over the D5100. All in, this DSLR excels as a general purpose camera. This ability to strike a balance makes it an excellent choice for a beginner, even those looking outside the direct price range competitors of the D5200. Read Full Review

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                                        Nikon D5200 24.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                        Best Budget DSLR:

                                        Capturing and recording images on digital media instead of film, early DSLRs were essentially clones of the analog 35mm SLR (single lens reflex) cameras which dominated photography for 60+ years of the 20th Century. Possessing the same ergonomically excellent form of the SLR, these best budget DSLRs can shoot rings around even the most highly evolved professional-grade cameras of the SLR era.

                                        To make this list, each of these cameras were required to have multi-point auto-focus systems far faster and more accurate than those on any SLR and the vast majority of DSLRs. Another mandatory feature is a sophisticated exposure system with numerous metering segments, artfully balancing bright, cloudy and shadowy areas to produce consistently above average overall images.

                                        Each of these Best Budget DSLRs also feature full HD video recording, a large bright LCD viewfinder, and exceed budget-class lens standards in most shooting situations while working seamlessly with a wide range of specialized lenses.

                                        Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                                        Rarely does a latest and greatest version of anything really live up to its pre-release hype. The Nikon D3300 DSLR, however, is a major exception to the rule. Its excellent rankings in so many areas critical to great photography make it an easy best-in-class choice. Read Full Review

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                                          Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera Kit w/ 18-55mm Lens

                                          Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital Camera Kit w/18-55mm Lens

                                          Canon has always over-achieved in providing big bangs for the buck in this category and the T5 continues this tradition. With features like dual-layer exposure metering and Scene Intelligence Mode, it’s a stellar choice for photographers who'd rather concentrate on composing their shots. Read Full Review

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                                            Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital Camera Kit w/18-55mm Lens

                                            Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                            The Nikon D5300 offers a combination of the ease-of-use of an entry-level DSLR with the performance of a higher end model, making it an excellent choice for a novice photographer or anyone on a budget. This camera produces outstanding photo quality for its class while also offering a good feature set and fast performance overall. Read Full Review

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                                              Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

                                              Sony a5100 16-50mm Mirrorless Digital Camera

                                              For those looking for DSLR-like performance in a more compact and lightweight body, the mirror-less Sony a5100 may be a good option. Combined with an incredibly affordable price point, this camera easily justifies its place on the short list of any budget DSLR shopper. Read Full Review

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                                                Sony a5100 16-50mm Mirrorless Digital Camera

                                                Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit

                                                While the Pentax K-50 doesn’t particularly stand out in any single way when it comes to performance, it is the only entry-level DSLR in this price range that comes with a fully weather-sealed body. This isn’t the say the K-50 is a slouch, as its excellent build quality and ergonomics, good dynamic range, and solid auto focus make it an overall well-rounded performer. Read Full Review

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                                                  Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit
                                                  Leave a Question or Comment
                                                  17 comments
                                                  • Nicholas Nicholas

                                                  Why all the reviews focus on video mode - Digital SLR cameras have to shoot great pictures?

                                                  Posted on 6/13/2011 10:14 am | Reply
                                                  • Mkaif Mkaif

                                                  Hey Jeff, where does the Nikon D3100 fits on this list?

                                                  Posted on 2/19/2011 4:38 pm | Reply
                                                  • TOOBAD2 TOOBAD2

                                                  WHICH FLASH UNIT -METZ ,mecablitz 58 AF-1 --OLYMPUS -FL-50R --PANASONIC - DMW FL500 --WOULD WORK BEST ON THE NEW PANASONIC - LUMIX - GH2-? IN ONE REVIEW I READ THE DMW5OO WAS NOT COMPATTIABLE WITH THE GH2. PLEASE HELP ME DECIDE. I ALSO HAVE A OLYMPUS E-510 AND A PANASONIC GF1. THANK YOU.

                                                  Posted on 12/17/2010 10:27 am | Reply
                                                  • glb1053 glb1053

                                                  Are there _any_ 2x extenders compatible with my lens EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM canon lens canon eos 7D cameraJeff I really need an answer about the 2x extender

                                                  Posted on 11/26/2010 3:13 pm | Reply

                                                  The Canon 2x extender is not compatible with that lens, and I'm not aware of any other third-party manufacturers that offer a lens extender that'll fit that lens. You can use an extension tube such as http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Extension-Tube-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0000U1N38/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1290977950&sr=1-4, but I'm not sure if that'll provide the benefit you are looking for.

                                                  Posted on 11/28/2010 1:02 pm. In reply to glb1053 | Reply
                                                  • glb1053 glb1053

                                                  Are there any 2x extenders compatible with my lens EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM canon lens canon eos 7D camera

                                                  Posted on 11/23/2010 7:14 pm | Reply
                                                  • glb1053 glb1053

                                                  Are there any 2x extenders compatible with my lens

                                                  Posted on 11/18/2010 8:38 pm | Reply
                                                  • glb1053 glb1053

                                                  cant seem to get an answer to my question

                                                  Posted on 11/13/2010 8:39 pm | Reply
                                                  • glb1053 glb1053

                                                  will the canon EF 2x II lens extender work with my canon eos 7D camera with a EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens?

                                                  Posted on 11/11/2010 7:46 am | Reply

                                                  Sorry for the delayed response. According to http://www.usa.canon.com/app/pdf/lens/EFLensChart.pdf, this lens is not compatible with either the 1.4x or 2x extender.

                                                  Posted on 11/14/2010 1:32 pm. In reply to glb1053 | Reply
                                                  • Anonymous Anonymous

                                                  "I dont agree with this at all. best dslr overall? only one of those is even considered a pro camera. you obviously dont know what youre talking about putting these plastic pieces of crap on the top of any list."While it's true the D90 is a polycarbonate body, it's also true that it does share much of its electronics with the titanium bodied D300s that rings up the register at nearly twice the price. The D90 is also 4fps vs 7 to 8 of the D300s and only has 11 focal points versus the 51 of the D300s.For an entry into the DSLR world the D90 is hard to beat. For an upgrade from a good DSLR it may not be the step up you're looking for.Personally, I think I'm going for the D300s, but I'm not sure if I'm wasting money by not just getting the D90. I shoot a lot of outdoor action so the extra speed and weatherproofing of the D300s I hope will be worth the pain in the wallet!

                                                  Posted on 6/6/2010 8:41 pm | Reply
                                                  • Anonymous Anonymous

                                                  I dont agree with this at all. best dslr overall? only one of those is even considered a pro camera. you obviously dont know what youre talking about putting these plastic pieces of crap on the top of any list.

                                                  Posted on 5/26/2010 4:35 pm | Reply
                                                  • Aryan Aryan

                                                  the best or at least the second best should be surly,,nikon d-300

                                                  Posted on 4/15/2009 10:50 am | Reply
                                                  • Busby Busby

                                                  Iam planning to buy a Nikon D90, any disadvantages of it?

                                                  Posted on 11/26/2008 7:00 am | Reply
                                                  • Eyal Eyal

                                                  The video functionality isn't great, but its a first generation setup and to be expected. You don't get a digital SLR for video anyway.

                                                  Posted on 1/12/2009 12:24 am. In reply to Busby | Reply
                                                  • DaveRL DaveRL

                                                  Best DSLR out of 3 that i have owned. Incredible low-noise/high ISO and image quality/detail. Very responsive. Photo taking has never been funner :D

                                                  Posted on 11/12/2008 5:08 pm | Reply
                                                  • audiojunkie audiojunkie

                                                  Hi, I am in the market at about 600GBP and have been considering the Canon D3200, is it a good choice? Thanks.

                                                  Posted on 2/10/2014 4:47 am. In reply to DaveRL | Reply