The best entry-level camera isn’t always the cheapest camera available (although affordability is definitely an important factor). It’s also important to seek a camera body that’s simple to operate and will develop with you as your photographic talents improve.
The best camera for beginners will include a mix of automated and manual settings. This means you may develop your technical skills while also having the option to switch to Auto mode whenever you choose. This is ideal for beginning photographers who want to dedicate themselves to honing their profession, but it’s also suitable for more casual shooters looking for a step up in quality from the best point and shoot cameras or camera phones.
If you’re just starting out in photography, you may be dealing with a more limited budget. This is acceptable given that you may not want to invest too much of your hard-earned money at this moment. Fortunately, entry-level digital cameras have improved to the point where they are not only virtually universally of decent quality, but also reasonably priced.
If you’re looking for the Best Entry Level DSLR Camera, an interchangeable lens camera is a good choice. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite models that are currently on the market.
10 Best Entry Level DSLR Cameras
1. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D
The SL3 is small and lightweight, but it boasts a pleasant grip and some of Canon’s most advanced capabilities (including the newer 24-megapixel sensor). When I tested the virtually similar predecessor (the Canon SL2) in New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands and Chicago’s glass-and-steel cityscape, I came away with the idea that this is a terrific camera for any photographer – not simply a first-time DSLR shooter, despite the SL3’s target audience.
What are the main characteristics? The SL3 offers a fantastic touchscreen LCD with a complete range of tilting motions for simple creation (like the Nikon D5600). And the 24-megapixel sensor is Canon’s most recent, with superb image quality while lagging slightly behind Nikon in low light (for the technically minded, no more than one stop of difference at high ISOs, based on our tests). Video enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that the SL3 includes dual-pixel focusing, making it the least costly Canon camera to do so.
The main difference between the SL3 and the SL2 is that the SL3 has 4K video, making it the only camera on our list to do so, however, it only works with a heavy 2.64x crop relative to full-frame.
The Canon SL3 is presently available for $650 with a kit lens, which is a bit pricey, but you get a lot of functionality for your money. When compared to the Nikon D3500, it features a tilt-flip screen, 4K video, and twin pixel AF, making it far handier for video. In terms of ergonomics and size, I also prefer the kit lens that comes with the SL3. Otherwise, the two cameras are very similar, so if you don’t take a lot of videos, I’d save the $200 and purchase the fantastic D3500 instead.
Alternatively, you can still find used SL2s for less money. The SL2 likewise includes a tilt-flip screen and dual pixel AF; it only lacks 4K footage and has a somewhat shorter battery life. Everything else about the SL2 and SL3 is the same.
2. Nikon D3500
At the time of writing, the D3500 was available for $450 with a kit lens. (Prices sometimes fluctuate, and I recently saw it for $400; check the current D3500 pricing.) Furthermore, the D3500’s 24-megapixel camera sensor is superb, as is the D5600’s, which has one of the greatest APS-C sensors on the market today. If the image quality is all that matters, the D3500 is on par with or better than every other camera on this list — a minor feat given its inexpensive price.
In that scenario, why isn’t it ranked first? Several things. First, while the D3500’s image sensor is excellent, cameras are more than simply sensors. Other features such as ease of use, focusing mechanism, screen quality, and so on are also important. All of these are areas where the D3500 occasionally lags behind the competition.
To begin, the camera’s LCD does not tilt or flip in any way, and it does not have a touchscreen. Instead, video shooters should choose something like the Nikon D5600 or Canon SL3, which addresses those issues.
The D3500’s autofocus mechanism has similarly modest specifications, but it shocked me with how good it was in practice. Still, the D3500 has just eleven AF points in the viewfinder, which is insufficient to track a subject around the full frame. If you’re capturing something that moves quickly, such as sports or other performances, a camera with superior autofocus technology may be preferable. For good autofocus on a reasonable budget, consider the D5600 or Canon T7i, or the Canon 77D or Pentax KP if your budget is a little higher.
For years, the Nikon D3000 series has been the company’s most affordable DSLR line, with the fewest features but the greatest prices. Unfortunately, Nikon’s recent improvements to this lineup didn’t add much to the mix. The D3500 offers a slightly longer battery life, a deeper grip, and a one-ounce weight reduction over the D3400 (30 grams). Having said that, I’ve now used the D3500 for lengthy field testing, and it’s certainly an improvement. The D3500’s major advantage is its grip; the D3400 had a very unpleasant grip, which we complained about in our review, whereas the D3500 is quite comfortable to handle.
3. the Pentax K-70
This is a wonderful and underappreciated camera for novices, and it is a good buy at $700. (check current price). With a 24-megapixel sensor, 11 autofocus points in the viewfinder and 6 frames per second shooting, the K-70 is a competent camera with few drawbacks. It even offers “hybrid AF” in live view, which is akin to Canon’s dual-pixel AF and is ideal for video shooters.
Any drawbacks with the K-70 are dependent on your own needs, such as how much money you’re willing to invest in a smaller DSLR manufacturer. Canon and Nikon are unquestionably more well-known names in the photography industry, with a broader camera and lens lineup to choose from if you decide to upgrade in the future. Simultaneously, Pentax now produces two full-frame cameras (the K-1 and K-1 Mark II) with larger sensors and the company’s most sophisticated features, thus this camera still has an upgrade route.
The Canon T7i and Nikon D5600 are the K-70’s main rivals. All of these cameras cost $700 and have nearly identical specs. To me, the K-70’s more durable build quality and superior handling – particularly the second control dial – outweigh the Nikon and Canon’s reduced weight and better autofocus. But not all photographers will agree; in fact, I believe I am in the minority.
The Nikon D3500 and Canon Rebel SL3 outperform the K-70 on this list, owing mostly to the price/performance ratio. At $450, the Nikon is an excellent value, while the Canon has similar specifications to the K-70 but costs $50 less and includes a 4K video.
Still, for photographers who value build quality and an advanced control layout — for example, landscape photographers who know they’ll be shooting in inclement weather – the Pentax could be the best camera for you. Although the camera only has 11 AF points, everything else about it is excellent and well worth the increased price.
4. Nikon D5600
So, why didn’t I put it first? For a long time, I did; there are numerous allusions to this in the comments area below. However, Nikon just decided to raise the price of the D5600 (with a kit lens) from a spectacular $550 to a less thrilling $700. That alone is enough to propel this camera to the top of the list.
Having said that, the D5600 is essentially the camera that Canon cloned with the T7i. (The Nikon was the first to market: November 2016 vs February 2017.) And it’s slightly better overall between the two.
Despite having the same number of focusing points (39 on the Nikon and 45 on the Canon), the D5600’s autofocus system performed better. The Canon T7i shoots at 6 frames per second rather than the D5600’s 5 – but the D5600’s stronger autofocus means it’s still the slightly better camera for action photography. Aside from that, the two cameras are very similar, however, the D5600 is lighter (465 g versus 532 g) and has a longer battery life (970 vs 600 photos).
So, if you want the best-focusing system on this list, possibly the best camera sensor, a solid range of native lenses, a tilt-flip touchscreen, and an overall lightweight package, the D5600 is a terrific pick. The only issue is the price; at $550, it was an easy choice and certainly the best camera on this list. Having stated that, I urge that you verify the current pricing. If it’s even marginally discounted, it’s probably my top recommendation. (I update this article approximately once a month to reflect changing pricing, but Nikon has these cameras on sale all the time.)
If you want to save money, consider purchasing an older model from the Nikon D5600 family, many of which are available used or reconditioned for a low price. In fact, if you find a decent deal on an earlier D5000-series camera, even if it’s reconditioned or used, that’s my #1 recommendation.
5. Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 800D
The T7i, for example, matches the 77D in almost every single specification except the sophisticated control layout (no second dial), but it costs $150 less at $700 (though prices do fluctuate; you may want to check in case there’s a deal).
At that price, you get the new 24-megapixel sensor, dual pixel AF, and 45 focus points, as well as all of Canon’s bells and whistles. These standards are broad enough to be used for everything from landscape photography to sports and theatre performances.
The T7i would be higher on my list, but the $700 price bracket is popular for entry-level DSLRs, so there is a lot of competition here. For example, before you buy this camera, consider the Canon Rebel SL3 ($650, which matches or exceeds several of the T7i’s specs). Or the $700 Nikon D5600, which is similar to the T7i but lighter and has longer battery life.
However, if you find a fantastic offer on the T7i or its specifications appears to be ideal for you, go for it. This camera is a joy to use – one of my favorites from testing – and comes with a good kit lens and a great LCD. It recently sold for $850, and even at that price, I could see myself purchasing it.
6. Canon Rebel T6i / 750D
This camera checks a lot of boxes: a 24-megapixel sensor (albeit an older one), 19 focus points, 5 frames per second shooting, and a tilt-flip touchscreen. The T6i, on the other hand, lacks dual-pixel AF, which hurts its video chances. Also, take in mind that the 24-megapixel sensor is an older version from Canon that doesn’t perform as well in low light as its competitors (including the Nikon and Pentax cameras on this list, plus the newer Canons).
The Canon Rebel SL3 (rated #1) is a camera with considerably better specifications. That camera costs an additional $90. The SL3 is smaller and lighter than the SL2, making it easier to transport. It also offers a far longer battery life, Canon’s dual pixel AF, and greater video features (4K and 1080p 60 fps video recording vs only 1080p 30 fps) — not to mention the newer 24-megapixel sensor rather than the older version. The T6i’s only major benefit over the SL3 is that it has 19 focusing points versus 9, which isn’t enough to sway most photographers in its favor.
Things are a little closer when compared to the Canon T7i, owing to the T7i’s greater price of $700. The T7i, on the other hand, gains a 45-point autofocus system, one additional FPS (6 versus 5), and a newer 24-megapixel sensor, as well as small improvements in battery life and weight. That, in my opinion, is worth the extra $140 – but you may disagree.
The Canon T6s is a variant of the T6i with a little more advanced layout. It has two dials and a top LCD, but else is the same as the T6i. However, it costs $650 for the body just (the lens must be purchased separately), making it pricey in comparison. I don’t think it’s worth thinking about until you can find a deal that takes it within $50-75 of the T6i’s MSRP, with a lens.
7. Canon 77D / EOS 9000D
The 77D boasts a tilt-flip touchscreen and a superb 45-point focusing system in the viewfinder, but the Pentax KP has a tilt-only screen with no touch sensitivity. Perhaps more importantly, the 77D incorporates Canon’s well-known “dual pixel autofocus,” which allows for quick and accurate focusing via the rear LCD screen (whereas most DSLRs mainly focus well through the viewfinder). It also contains Canon’s most recent 24-megapixel sensor for high-quality photos.
Unfortunately, the $850 asking price is quite high. You wouldn’t lose much by opting for a camera like the Canon T7i, Nikon D5600, or Pentax K-70 – and you might even save hundreds of dollars in the process. If you require the build quality of the 77D, don’t let me stop you, but at the very least investigate the less expensive alternatives before making the plunge.
8. Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
Canon offers two 24-megapixel APS-C sensors (APS-C refers to the sensor’s diameter of 22.2 millimeters). The older one is on the Rebel T7. As a result, you won’t obtain the same degree of image quality as with the latest APS-C Canon cameras — and even those lag behind Nikon’s sensors in low light. Nonetheless, this is a high-quality camera sensor capable of taking detailed photos both during the day and at night. In truth, every DSLR on this list has quite a good image quality, with the variations noticeable only under extreme conditions.
However, the Nikon D3500, ranked second, is a better camera in almost every category, and it costs only $50 more, at $450. If you want to add value, I’d concentrate on that instead.
Don’t despair if you own a Rebel T7; it’s a good camera, but it’s overpriced for its specifications. But I will say this: despite the T7’s limitations if you can’t take the shots you want with this camera, none of the DSLRs listed below are likely to address your problem.
9. Pentax KP
So, why is this camera only at number nine? It all comes down to value. The Pentax KP costs $950 with an 18-55mm kit lens, which is more than double the price of some of the other cameras on our list. Arguably, the less expensive Canon 77D has stronger basic characteristics without sacrificing much in terms of additional features. The $700 Canon T7i and Nikon D5600 both outperform it in key features, despite not having the same high-end layout. In fact, although costing only $700, Pentax’s own K-70 is pretty equivalent to the KP.
If build quality and control layout are high factors for you and you have a larger budget, don’t disregard the Pentax KP completely. It’s still a good camera — potentially in the top three on this list if the price is ignored. However, when it comes to value, you can obtain a better camera for your money with the other options listed below.
10. Canon Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D
However, you can occasionally discover a decent offer on the T6 camera that includes a 70-300mm zoom lens in addition to the standard kit, making it a potentially excellent investment. Last year, over the holidays, the T6 was available reconditioned with two lenses – the 18-55mm kit lens and a 75-300mm telephoto – for $280 on Canon’s own website. At such a low price, the T6 would rise above #10 and become one of the top alternatives on this list.