The 8 Best DSLR Cameras

Updated May 25, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

8 Best DSLR Cameras
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Both professional shooters and amateur snappers will be able to find the perfect DSLR camera from our comprehensive selection. Compare brand names, features, and image quality with our user friendly guide written in a language all levels of photographers will be able to understand. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dslr camera on Amazon.

8. Pentax K-S2

The Pentax K-S2 is certainly not a pro level camera, but with a 20 MP resolution and APS-C CMOS sensor with ISO speeds up to 51,200, it is more than enough camera for most amateurs. Its housing is also dustproof and weather-sealed, making it great for travel.
  • comes with built-in wi-fi
  • dedicated selfie mode
  • only has 11 autofocus points
Brand Pentax
Model K-S2 SLR lens kitw/18-5
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4

The easy to use Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4 is made for taking pro quality videos, capable of recording 4k UHD 24p cinematic video. It can even capture 8.8 MP stills while shooting video, and its autofocus responds quickly to moving targets.
  • weighs roughly one pound
  • real-time output via hdmi
  • image quality suffers over 3200 iso
Brand Panasonic
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Sony A77II

The Sony A77II has fantastic image tracking abilities with its pro-grade autofocus. When combined with the fast burst rate, it becomes capable of catching even the fastest subjects in crystal clarity. Its sole drawback is the lack of an optical viewfinder.
  • wi-fi and nfc connectivity
  • fits well in the hand
  • weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
Brand Sony
Model ILCA77M2Q
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Nikon D750

The Nikon D750 is available with or without a lens and has an EXPEED 4 image processor that can shoot up to 6.5 fps at full resolution. It is also capable of simultaneously recording uncompressed and compressed data, and allows for manual ISO control.
  • power aperture control
  • slim unibody design
  • variable angle lcd display
Brand Nikon
Model 1543
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a 22 MP full frame CMOS sensor, 100% viewfinder coverage, and a touchscreen LCD monitor. Its ISO range is 100-32,000 with 50-102,400 expansion, which makes it more than suited for taking pictures of quick moving targets.
  • excellent depth of field
  • whisper quiet operation
  • high frame rate and resolution
Brand Canon
Model 5260B002
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Sony a99II

The Sony a99II has a crisp and clear 3-inch LCD display and an optical viewfinder, so you can frame your shots perfectly, even in full sunlight. It features a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, making it capable of producing stunning, high resolution images.
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • durable shutter mechanism
  • 79 hybrid af cross-point array
Brand Sony
Model ILCA99M2
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Nikon D7100

The Nikon D7100 is a good entry level choice for students and those just taking up the hobby. It can take 24.1 MP shots and has a DX-Format image sensor that produces exceptional color clarity. Overall, it's a great value at this price point.
  • average battery life of 950 photos
  • iso range from 100 to 6400
  • can control remotely via smartphone
Brand Nikon
Model 1513
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Canon EOS-1D

The Canon EOS-1D is a professional level DSLR that is a true powerhouse of a camera. It can capture images at the lightning fast shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, has a 61-point, wide area autofocus system with 41 cross-type points, and can record 4K video.
  • accurate subject tracking
  • continuous shooting speed of 14 fps
  • maximum burst rate of up to 170 raws
Brand Canon
Model 5253B002
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Problem Of Pixels

I found my family's old digital camera from the early aughts a few months back, and it still had the little promotional stickers attached to it that boasted its features. It had a whopping three megapixels!

It was kind of like going back and watching the first iPod launch as Steve Jobs says his 5 GB music device is just the size of a deck of cards. Now, I don't know how many of you remember those first generation iPods, but they were like big, alien bricks of soap compared to the sleek nano design that exists today.

Over a similar span of years to the iPod's development, the camera industry has become obsessed with that one statistic: the megapixel count.

An increase in megapixels is rarely a bad thing, but it's only one of a slew of variables that determine your overall picture quality. The reason it gets so much attention is that it's easy to quantify; it's a relatively small number that you want to be as big as possible.

But what do the megapixels actually do?

Well, a megapixel measures two basic things: whether or not light is hitting it, and how much light is hitting it.

When you stack those pixels tightly together, you can achieve higher resolution photos from the same field by having more nuanced contrast throughout.

The problem is a law of diminishing returns. As you increase your pixel count beyond 10 MP the amount by which your resolution increases gets smaller and smaller.

What's worse is that an increased pixel count also decreases your low light performance. You ever enter a dark room after being out in the blazing sunlight, and you can't see anything until your eyes adjust?

Well, pixels are like pupils with a fixed diameter, so if they're too small, they can't drink up light from a darker source.

All this is to say that, unless you're shooting high resolution photographs for print advertisement with a bevvy of professional lights and maybe even a couple of assistants, you don't actually need anything more than 12 MP. So, focus, instead, on these cameras' other stats.

What's In A (Brand) Name?

Reaching back into the film era, the two giants of the camera industry dominated the landscape and posed the same question from shooter to shooter: Nikon or Canon, Canon or Nikon?

Even then there were better cameras on the market, namely by Leica and Hasselblad, but they were often cost prohibitive for the vast majority of photographers. They still are.

In today's digital market, there are a few competitors keeping up with the big two by offering features that they don't. For example, Panasonic introduced 4K to consumers while Nikon and Canon were still perfecting their performance at 1080.

And neither Canon nor Nikon has a viable mirrorless system. Each company has tried, but you've probably never heard of the cameras–they were that bad.

Still, photographers tend to gravitate toward one of these two brands, especially if they're working professionals in still photography fields.

There was a time when Canon's 5D Marks II and III were the finest videography DSLRs in the world, and Nikon was desperate to catch up, but Sony has come along with its a7s series and taken that corner of the market by storm.

Between Nikon and Canon, really, there's almost no difference. I recommend putting one in your hand and playing with it. Personally, I found Nikon's control layout much more in tune with the way my brain works when shooting, but then all my friends shoot Canon.

The Best Kind Of Camera

In the late 1960s, the only two people apparently not taking immeasurable amounts of drugs (or perhaps the only two taking enough of them) developed the first digital imaging technology using a CCD sensor.

Just six years later, Kodak had invented the first digital camera incorporating this technology, with a whopping 100x100 pixel resolution.

Sony and Kodak both chipped away at the concept for the next 15 years until Nikon came around with its E Series in 1991, a 1.3 MP digital camera that would kick off an engineering and marketing race that we're still enduring today.

Canon came to the party a little later, but since they had already established themselves as an imaging conglomerate in many more fields than Nikon, they were poised to sink more money into R&D, especially around the DSLR's potential as a video camera.

I won't spend too much time discussing the advent of the cameraphone and what that means for the future of DSLRs. There's an old saying in the camera world, though, that goes back to long before a digital image was ever rendered: "The best kind of camera is the one you've got on you."

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Last updated on May 25, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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