The best digital SLR camerais always going to be able to outdo point and shoot cameras in terms of image quality and performance speed. These advanced cameras allow you to change lenses to meet different photography needs, and they provide the ability to fully control the camera’s exposure manually, which is great for more experienced photographers. So, if you’re looking for the best possible image quality in a digital camera, there’s no question you’ll achieve it with a DSLR camera.
There’s also no question that the best DSLR cameras in 2021 represent the hottest part of the digital camera market. Manufacturers are slowly abandoning the compact camera portion of the market, and to separate themselves from the smartphone camera market, they’re focusing on top DSLR camera designs.
A DSLR isn’t a necessity for every photographer, mainly because of its high cost and large size. Point and shoot compact cameras or a compact camera can be easier to use at a lower price, while also fitting in a pocket or purse, which may fulfill simple photography needs better than the large DSLR. Still, if a desire for top-notch image quality trumps all other factors, you’ll want to read through our 2021 DSLR camera guide.
Top DSLR for 2020
|Nikon D810 DSLR||Canon EOS Rebel|
|Pentax K-S2 DSLR||Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR||Nikon D3300 DSLR|
|Ranking||#1 - Editor's Choice/Best DSLR For Video||#2 - Best DSLR Camera For Beginners||#3 - Best DSLR Under $500||#4 - Best Professional-Level DSLR Camera||#5 - Best Compact DSLR|
|Full Review||Nikon D810 DSLR||Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR||Pentax K-S2 DSLR||Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR||Nikon D3300 DSLR|
|Image Sensor||Full Frame FX|
format (35.9 x 24.0 mm)
|APS-C (22.3 by 14.9 mm)||APS-C (23.5 by 15.6 mm)||Full Frame format (36 x 24 mm)||APS-C DX (23.5 x 15.6 mm)|
|Resolution||36.3 MP||24.2 MP||20.1 MP||50.6 MP||24.2 MP|
|Maximum Burst Mode||Between 5 fps |
and 7 fps (depending
on resolution setting)
|5 fps||5.2 fps||5 fps||5 fps|
|Autofocus System||51-point AF||19-point AF||11-point AF||61-point AF||11-point AF|
|Articulated Display Screen|
|ISO Range||64 to 51200||100 to 25600||100 to 51200||50 to 12800||100 to 25600|
|Viewfinder Coverage||Between 97% &100% (depending on |
aspect ratio setting)
|Between 93% and 95% (depending on |
aspect ratio setting)
|Approximately 100%||Approximately 100%||Approximately 95%|
|Lens Mount||Nikon F mount||Canon EF mount||Pentax K mount||Canon EF mount||Nikon F mount|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
#1 Pick Nikon D810 DSLR Camera
Award: Editor’s Choice/DSLR For Video
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best image quality you’ll find in a consumer level DSLR
The Nikon D810 is one of the best DSLR cameras on the market right now, providing high-end features at a reasonable price point. With a 36.3 MP full frame image sensor, the D810’s image quality is extremely impressive for an intermediate-level DSLR. You can shoot in JPEG, RAW, or TIFF image formats, which gives this model some versatility.
The D810’s autofocus system is accurate and fast, and you can shoot at a burst mode of between 5 and 7 frames per second. The D810’s battery life is well above average. Nikon gave photographers quite a few customization options through numerous buttons and dials with this model, which may make the D810 a bit too powerful for some photographers. But if you have some photography experience and you can fit this model in your budget, it’s going to impress you. It could be considered a best travel camera.
#2 Pick Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR Camera
Award: Best For Beginners
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Inexpensive DSLR camera provides well above average image quality.
Canon’s Rebel DSLR cameras have been popular for more than a decade among those seeking a first advanced interchangeable lens camera. And the Rebel T6i offers some significant improvements over its predecessors, including 33% more resolution and faster burst mode performance than the T5i. Canon added built-in Wi-Fi with the T6i, which also features an articulated display. For a compact model, check out the best compact camera.
#3 Pick Pentax K-S2 DSLR Camera
Award: DSLR Under $500
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Weather proofed coating makes this DSLR a rugged performer.
Pentax might not be as well known as Canon and Nikon, but this long-time camera maker has plenty of great digital SLR offerings.
The Pentax K-S2 offers a weatherproof design, which protects it against minor weather problems. It really feels well-built and sturdy, which you don’t always find in the low-priced area of the DSLR market. It offers an articulated display screen and can shoot at speeds up to 5.4 frames per second. Compare this one to the best digital camera to see how it stacks up. Keep in mind that not all cameras are created equal. The best home security camera isn’t the same as a DSLR.
#4 Pick Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR Camera
With 50.6 megapixels of resolution in a full frame image sensor, the Canon EOS 5Ds is a strong professional-level DSLR.
Award: Professional-Level DSLR
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Pros will appreciate the outstanding image quality in this DSLR.
Even though you’ll have to drop a few thousand dollars on the Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR camera — and that’s for the body only — you’ll receive top-notch image quality and the type of camera performance that will appeal to advanced photographers. It has both a CF and SD memory card slot, 5 frames per second burst mode in the RAW image format, and a 61-point autofocus system, all of which will appeal to advanced photographers. If you’re a newcomer to the DSLR world, the 5Ds might be more camera than you want to tackle right now. But once you have some experience with DSLR photography, this Canon model is one that’s a great option if you have the budget for it. If you need some water protection, read about the best waterproof cameras. Of course, if you need the best spy camera, we won’t ask why.
#5 Pick Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera
Award: Compact DSLR
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Very versatile entry level DSLR with great price point too.
The Nikon D3300 represents one of Nikon’s most basic DSLR cameras, yet it will serve a photographer seeking a first DSLR well. Nikon gave this model a Guide mode, which can walk you step by step through using some of the camera’s settings, which is a great beginner-level feature. It has an APS-C sized image sensor with 24 megapixels of resolution, yielding strong image quality. If you have smaller hands, the D3300 is a nice option, as it’s a little smaller and lighter than most other DSLR cameras. It would have been nice if Nikon had given this model a touchscreen display or built-in Wi-Fi, but keeping those features out of the D3300 maintains a price below $500. Many users are also looking for the best mirrorless camera for something more compact. Our best electronics section has a lot of good choices.
Guide to Lenses
Interchangeable Lenses: Unlike a point and shoot camera, the lens on a DSLR is removable and replaceable. Different lenses offer different capabilities, whether it’s the ability to shoot over long distances, extremely sharp closeups, or wide open apertures.
Focal Length Guide. If you’re unsure what type of focal length you need in a lens, remember that a focal length of around 50mm is considered close to matching human vision. Anything higher than 50mm is more of a telephoto lens for shooting over long distances. Anything lower than 50mm is considered more of a wide angle lens. And there are zoom lenses available for DSLR cameras, which offer a range of focal lengths, such as 18-50mm or 70-200mm. A lens that offers just one focal length, such as 50mm, is called a prime lens.
Lens Mount Differences: Remember that every lens doesn’t fit every DSLR camera body. The threads on the lens barrel, by which you’ll screw the lens onto the camera body, must match. Each camera has a particular type of lens mount, which is the portion of the camera body where you’ll attach the lens. And each type of lens can work with a certain lens mount, so be sure any lens you want to purchase matches your DSLR’s lens mount.
Lens Compatibility. Do not assume that because the manufacturer of a particular lens and DSLR match up that you can use the lenses. Some camera makers will offer more than one type of lens mount within their family of DSLRs. Additionally, some third party lens makers will offer lenses for a particular DSLR, but perhaps not for every DSLR from the same manufacturer. Look at the name of the lens mount and lenses carefully and make sure they match exactly.
Can I Use Film Camera Lenses on a DSLR? This is a common question, as those who have invested in lenses on a SLR 35mm film camera may want to migrate those lenses onto a DSLR. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule regarding this. Check with the manufacturer of the DSLR camera you’re considering to see whether it can accept some film camera lenses.
2 Things to Avoid
Too Much Camera: For those who are new to digital SLR photography, you don’t need to spend a huge amount on the DSLR. Varying levels of DSLR cameras exist, ranging from entry-level models that cost a few hundred dollars to professional-level models for several thousand dollars. Unless you’re an advanced photographer, chances are good you won’t be able to take advantage of the features in a top-of-the-line DSLR. Stick with an entry-level DSLR when you’re just learning, and you’ll save some money, while ending up with a camera that won’t overwhelm you with features.
Not Enough Budget: Purchasing a DSLR is not like buying a fixed lens camera, because the cost of using a DSLR is far more than just the camera body itself. You must figure in the cost of interchangeable lenses, flash units, a tripod, and other add-on accessories that you must have. So don’t spend your entire budget on the camera body; save some money for the needed add-ons.
Image Sensor: A large image sensor in any digital camera should yield photos with better image quality versus a camera with a small image sensor. And within the DSLR class itself, varying sizes of image sensors are available, so pay attention to the physical size of the sensors of the DSLRs you’re considering.
Burst Mode: A fast performing DSLR is great for moving subjects, allowing you to record several photos per second. Pay particular attention to whether the camera greatly slows its burst mode when shooting in RAW versus JPEG shooting speeds.
Articulated Display Screen: We love to see a digital SLR camera with an articulated LCD screen, as it allows you to attach the camera to a tripod that may be low to the ground, while tilting the display screen upward to make it easy to frame the scene without having to stoop to use the viewfinder.
Read: Best Waterproof Camera
Most Important Features
- Image Sensor: As discussed in our What Is a Digital Camera article, the image sensor is key to a camera’s image quality. Image sensor sizes vary quite a bit in different levels of DSLRs, so try to pick a model with the largest sensor you can afford.
- Resolution: Digital SLR cameras are starting to appear with really large resolution numbers, which can give you great image quality and flexibility for editing photos later.
- RAW/TIFF Shooting: Using these advanced image formats will preserve image quality without compression, as occurs with JPEG formats.
- Maximum Burst Mode: Top-notch DSLRs should offer an ability to shoot several frames per second in burst mode.
- Movie Recording: High-quality movie recording is now an expectation with DSLRs.
- Autofocus System: The more autofocus points the DSLR can use, the more accurate its autofocus system will be.
- ISO Range: The ISO setting determines the image sensor’s sensitivity to light, so a high ISO allows you to shoot in low light conditions successfully.
- Articulated Display Screen: A digital SLR with a display screen that can tilt makes it easier to use these cameras with a tripod.
- Viewfinder Coverage: Some digital SLR viewfinders only show part of the scene, so you want a model that displays as close to 100% of the scene as possible.
- Lens Mount: A DSLR camera can only accept interchangeable lenses that match its lens mount.
Which DSLR Camera Is Best For You
Finding the best digital SLR camera for the money can be a challenge. It’s important to attempt to match your photography skill level to the type of DSLR camera you want to purchase. Photographers with limited experience don’t need to spend a few thousand dollars on advanced gear. An entry-level DSLR will serve the less experienced photographer well while he or she is learning about advanced photography.
That doesn’t mean that someone new to digital photography can’t purchase a digital SLR as a first camera. DSLR manufacturers are doing a great job these days of merging the advanced features of DSLR cameras with easy-to-use configurations. If you find that the best affordable digital SLR camera is outside your budget limit, look at our best digital cameras of 2021 for some ideas of great cameras, including both fixed lens cameras and some nice DSLR options.
What Else Should You Know About Digital SLR Cameras
Our expert staff at Gadget Review provide the most in-depth product reviews on some of the best dslr camera reviews including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, and other brands. We let you compare the top digital camera brands and models before buying, get expert advice on features, find out where to shop for these digital cameras. What are the best Digital SLR cameras available? Find out now with our expert reviews.
That all said, a DSLR camera is going to give you the highest level of performance and image quality available in digital cameras aimed at both consumer-level and professional-level photographers. When you're seeking the best DSLRs, reading through our DSLR camera reviews will help you make an informed choice, which is important with a unit that will cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
What Are DSLRs?
DSLR stands for “digital single-lens reflex camera” . A DSLR camera is the most advanced type of still image camera on the market, including the best components to create the highest quality photos. DSLRs make use of interchangeable lenses, allowing you to gain access to the lens features you need for particular scenes.
When trying to answer the question, what is a DSLR camera, you have to think back to the days of film photography, when 35mm film cameras used the single lens reflex design. This design involves using a mirror to direct the light to the viewfinder until you press the shutter button. Then the mirror lifts upward to allow the light to strike the image sensor (or the film).
What Price Should You Expect To Pay For A DSLR Camera?
DSLR cameras aimed at advanced photographers can cost as much as $2,000 to $5,000, while DSLRs for beginners may carry a price point of $400 to $750 for the body and a kit lens. (A kit lens is a basic lens that ships with some DSLR camera bodies when you purchase them.)
Remember that you'll have additional costs for the interchangeable lenses you'll use with the DSLR camera, so be sure to set your budget appropriately. Individual lenses can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500 or more.
Which Are The Leading DSLRs Brands?
Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs are the most well known types of digital SLR cameras. Ricoh continues to make DSLRs using the Pentax brand name, but manufacturers like Sony and Olympus have cut back significantly on their DSLR entries.
What Are The Key DSLR Features To Look For?
The best DSLRs are going to offer the ability to perform especially well in low light, which is a significant advantage they have over the best compact digital cameras. Look for a model with a wide ISO range, as larger ISO numbers should yield better results in low light.
Otherwise, if you want the highest image quality possible, pay attention to the size of the image sensor. Professional level DSLRs have larger image sensors (in physical size) than intermediate or entry level DSLRs.
What Mistakes Should You Avoid When Buying A DSLR Camera?
Don't assume just any lens will fit on any DSLR. The lens you pick must be compatible with the lens mount on the camera body.
And if you're new to DSLR photography, don't pick a camera body that only has manual control features that may be too confusing to use. Instead, look for the best DSLR camera for beginners that offers both automatic and manual control settings.
What You Need To Know Before Buying The Best DSLR Cameras
In the market to check out the best DSLR cameras? Checking the DSLR camera reviews can help you nail the buying decision. There are several factors that affect the image quality and performance of the DSLR cameras. At Gadget Review, we provide the most extensive information on the top digital slr cameras 2018 from the house of brands like Sony, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, to name a few. From comparing the features to the pros and cons of each model, our best dslr camera reviews online have you covered.
Buying one of the best Digital SLR cameras in the market involves good investment. The top digital SLR cameras 2018 may cost up to several thousand dollars. So, don’t forget to check our best dslr camera reviews 2018 to get the best bang for your bucks. Before we go ahead with our DSLR camera reviews, here’s some more information for you:
What Are DSLR Cameras
DSLRs stand for digital single-lens reflex cameras, and they are the most advanced cameras available in the market. They incorporate the latest technology in digital cameras to deliver the best quality images. The models may be categorized into budget, mid-range, and full frame dslrs. Some of the other variations are weather sealed and mirrorless cameras that come with aps c sensors.
The full frame cameras belong to the highest range and they come with some of the high-end features such as high isos, cross type sensor, extended battery life, full frame sensor, continuous shooting ability, built in wi fi, fast shutter speed, point and shoot. However, you don’t need to get into the technical details as our industry experts have simplified things for you in the best dslr camera reviews 2018.
Leading DSLR Camera Brands
Canon and Nikon rule the market, and they are followed by other brands like Pentax, Sony, and Olympus. Our review includes the top models like canon eos rebel, canon eos 5d mark iv, canon eos 80d, nikon D500, and nikon D3400.
When it comes to the price, the beginner’s camera may cost you between $400 and $800 while the advanced DSLRs may fall into the $2,000 to $5,000 price bracket for the body frame and kit lens (excluding the cost of interchangeable lenses), so it pays to take a look at the dslr reviews 2018.
At Gadget Review, we also provide the latest news and updates about the industry. Whether you are looking for advanced DSLR cameras that can take great pictures in low light or the ones that offer 4k video capture, our DSLR camera reviews 2018 let you compare, analyze, and then hit on the purchase button.