You’re ready to move on from your smartphone and invest in a DSLR. That’s a bold move right there. But before you jump into the deep end, we advise that you start with an entry-level DSLR. DSLR can be complex. The entry-level DSLRs are designed to help beginners ease into professional photography and transition from point and shoot cameras.
Unfortunately, choosing a beginner DSLR is not a walk in the park. It’s even worse if you don’t understand the tech used in these cameras. Luckily, I’ve taken the initiative of compiling a review list of the best entry-level DSLR cameras. The list is based on performance vs. price and situations you can use them.
Regardless of your budget and whether you are an aspiring film-maker or a casual photographer, you’ll find something suitable for you.
Quicklook: Best DSLR’s For Beginners
Entry Level DSLR Cameras
The first DSLR camera hit the market in 1999. It was a Nikon product. It featured a 2.74 MP sensor. At the time this was a big deal as is evident from the waves it made and the price tag it came with. But today, the 2.74 MP fades in comparison to what today’s entry-level cameras sport.
Throughout the years, DSLR technology has improved tremendously. So much so that such review guides are necessary.
Now, you probably are wondering which brand you should buy Canon or Nikon? Or perhaps smaller brands like Sony and Pentax? Well, before we dig deep into this, it’s important that I point this out – with DSLRs, the brand is important. This is especially when it comes to buying accessories and lenses. It can be expensive to make a switch.
However, this doesn’t mean that one brand is necessarily better than the rest. Its true Nikon makes great DSLRs but so does Canon, Pentax, and Sony. Sure this year Nikon might be leading the pack but the next, who knows? The tables might turn.
What to Look For In the Best Beginner DSLR
There’s a lot to learn in this section so stay with us.
Sensor Size and Design
When taking photographs, light passes through the camera lens and lands on the sensor. Sensors record images of the objects. The size of the sensor determines image resolution and image quality in low lighting. DSLR cameras have two sensor sizes APS-C and full frame sensors.
APS-C sensors are smaller and a better option for beginner photographers. They are affordable and easier to use compared to full frame sensors. Though full-frame sensors are better in performance, they are best suited for professionals. A full frame camera is bound to be overkill for a beginner.
Also, most manufacturers have realized that sensors work better without the optical low pass filters. The sensors achieve richer colors and more details.
Megapixels as you know from smartphone cameras, determine the resolution of the camera. The higher the pixel count the clearer the images are. But though they are important, don’t make the mistake of buying a DSLR based off of megapixels alone. With DSLRs. sensor size stomp megapixels in determining resolution. That’s why a 16 MP DSLR is way better than a 42 MP smartphone.
Also, it’s important to note that it’s not always higher resolutions infer better images. Some cameras with more megapixels suffer noise at higher ISOs. Lastly, higher resolution means you’ll have to deal with larger image and video files. And though this is not a deal breaker, you’ll most certainly need to invest in a larger SD card.
Shooting speed is especially important for a budding sports photographer or if you are a parent looking to capture special moments of your kids. Speed is critical to capture the actions without blur.
Now, shooting speed is a little tricky to pin down. But generally, burst speed is a great indicator. Most beginner DSLR cameras have burst speeds of about 5fps meaning they can capture 5 images in a single second. The higher the burst speed the higher your chances are of taking a shot of that perfect moment.
Top Beginner DSLR Camera
We’ve spent several hours testing most of the DSLR cameras and seeing how they compare to the above-mentioned factors. Also, to give objective reviews, we’ve included consumer reviews and experiences with the cameras.
This is a well-rounded entry-level DSLR. The D3400 is a sequel of the D3300. It features a compact and lighter camera body. Though it sports the same 24.2 MP APS-C sensor like the D3300, it offers double the battery life. Moreover, it upgraded to 1080p video quality at 60fps, added SnapBridge and a Bluetooth photo transfer system.
The addition of the ‘Guide Mode’ to guide beginners is a gem. Last but not least, it sports the ISO100-25,600/18-55mm VR kit lens for capturing impeccable image details.
Overall, the price to performance ratio, comfortable frame and speed make this a perfect choice for casual and sporty photographers.
- Superior battery life at 1200 shots
- Great single-shot AF
- HD Resolution
- Beginner guide mode
- No touchscreen
- Lacks a microphone port
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
When I think about design the first thing that pops into my mind is color and style. It’s probably the same for you. But with the Rebel T6i, design shines a light on its superior ergonomics. Its comfort provides for steady and firm grips which ensure steady shots.
Its large grip offers comfort to every beginner regardless of their hand size. Moreover, its performance is up to par with the design. Equipped with an exemplary 24.2 MP sensor perfect for HD images and videos. You can take photos using the manual viewfinder. Alternatively, you could use its 3-inch LCD touchscreen display.
The camera also sports built-in NFC and Wi-Fi technology which makes it quicker to transfer files.
- Responsive touchscreen
- NFC and Wi-Fi
- Vari-angle screen
- Setting the AF point could be quicker
- Average battery life
This is not a radical DSLR. It offers standard features including a 24.2 MP sensor designed to capture great images in low light. It also takes full HD video quality at 60fps. What makes it stand out is its weatherproof design. Its body is weather resistant and dust proof. It can withstand temperatures up to 100C.
The fact that its weather sealed makes it one of a hell of a beginner DSLR camera for all weather, but for this feature, there is a tradeoff; it is a heavy beginner DSLR.
- Weather sealed
- Unique anti-shake technology
- Few autofocus points
- Relatively heavy
- Relies on the interactive display
- Poor lens performance
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
If you intend to launch to use your DSLR for vlogging, then this is the perfect option. The Rebel T7i works perfectly under all lighting conditions. Like all other DSLRs listed, it features an APS-C sensor with a 24.2 MP rating. This sensor is designed to capture shots at 6fps. It captures 1080p videos at 60fps.
The 3-inch touchscreen makes quick work of menu and settings navigations. With the Wi-Fi setting, uploading your content to your online storage is a breeze. Lastly, it features high ISO which ranges between 100 and 25,600. This ISO can be expanded to about 51,200. It provides a range of perfect filming conditions.
- Awesome touchscreen
- Excellent sensor
- Plastic finish
- No 4K video
Though it lacks some features like Wi-Fi that its successor, the D3400 sports, it offers impeccable image and video quality. It’s superior to counterparts in its price range. At 24.2 MP you can take1080 HD videos. Overall, the DSLR camera has an intuitive and ergonomic build.
- Has a guide mode
- High-quality images and videos
- Lacks an optical low pass filter
- Fixed LCD
- Limited connectivity
A quick run-down of all you need to choose the best beginner DSLR camera. We should point out that though I factored in price when compiling the list, it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. DSLRs are a culmination of features. What features a DSLR has and how they blend determine if it’s a perfect choice for your needs.