Over the years of working for Photography Life, I’ve had the chance to test almost every entry-level DSLR out there and review which ones are the best. Today, I’d like to circle back and rank these cameras for photographers who are trying to decide on a DSLR, either for yourself or as a gift. Hopefully, this list gives you a good idea of which camera will be right for you.
2023 Update: Since this article was first published, almost every camera on the list below has changed in price, some more than others. I’ve updated the rankings below accordingly. For a quick comparison, scroll down to the section called “Complete Table” to see all the specs and prices of these cameras in an easy-to-compare table format.
DSLRs Versus Mirrorless Cameras
The list below is only for DSLR cameras. You may have heard that these days, most camera companies are paying attention to their mirrorless lineups more than DSLRs. And even though that’s true, a DSLR may still be the right choice for you.
Simply put, the biggest difference between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras is the viewfinder. DSLRs have an optical “through the lens” viewfinder due to the internal mirror that reflects light into the viewfinder area. Mirrorless cameras either have an electronic viewfinder (basically a tiny LCD) or no viewfinder at all.
Mirrorless cameras are usually lighter and smaller than DSLRs because it saves some space to remove the mirror and optical viewfinder. Mirrorless cameras are also getting more and more advanced as time goes by, while most companies are no longer making DSLRs.
Yet a DSLR remains a great choice even in 2023 for two reasons. First, DSLRs are selling for simply amazing prices, especially on the used market. Second, DSLRs have more native lens options than most mirrorless cameras. Lenses are arguably even more important than the camera itself, so a DSLR paired with a good lens is arguably the best deal for camera equipment you’ll find today. See more in our broader DSLR vs Mirrorless article.
What Counts as an Entry-Level DSLR?
My first DSLR was the Nikon D5100, which is almost the definition of entry-level. But when I heard people actually call it entry-level, I was taken aback. It was a good camera! I had saved money and spent a lot of hours researching which one to buy, but professional photographers nonetheless dismissed it as “consumer” or “amateur.” The few times I heard people call the D5100 a prosumer camera, I nodded in agreement. And prosumer is a ridiculous word.
That’s my way of saying that the cameras on this list are still really good, even though the title of the article says “entry-level.” The category of the camera doesn’t determine the category of the photographer. Besides, I stretched the definition a bit just because I wanted to do a great top-10 list and needed to reach the quota. Other than a few older or obsolete DSLRs that are still sold new for some reason, this guide includes every current entry-level DSLR on the market; it’s the most comprehensive list you’ll find anywhere today.
In total, I’ve ranked six DSLRs from Canon, two from Nikon, and two from Pentax. The overwhelming number of Canon cameras is simply because Canon’s lineup has more entry-level DSLRs. It’s not a sign of Canon favoritism (and you might notice that the bottom spot belongs to Canon, whoops). In fact, one camera from each manufacturer makes it to the top three. I didn’t plan that ahead of time, but it’s a pretty nice sign that each company is competitive in this space.
Last, I have to mention my (somewhat boring) takeaway after testing several entry-level cameras last year: They’re all very similar in quality, without any real duds among them. The difference between the best and worst cameras on the list below is surprisingly small. Your individual needs – say, a desire to shoot video more than stills – could shift where each camera falls for you, perhaps significantly.
Don’t Buy the Bundle
Before jumping into the rankings below, take just a moment to heed a quick warning: Don’t buy that all-purpose photography bundle!
Most of the cameras in this article, due to their price range, are targeted largely at first-time DSLR buyers. As a result, you can buy most of them as a bundle with lots of extra photography accessories. This sounds good since it saves you some effort buying accessories separately – but the equipment included in these bundles is often quite overpriced.
Here’s just one example. Right now, on Amazon, you can buy the Nikon D3500 with a kit lens for $560. Or, for $660, you can add two 32 GB memory cards, a remote shutter release, a bag, a flash, a filter kit, and two converters to turn the lens into a wider angle and a tighter telephoto. That sounds like quite a deal, right? But it’s actually very overpriced.
In practice, the only useful accessories in that bundle are the memory cards and the remote shutter release (and maybe the bag). The filters are going to be low in quality, and as we’ve shown before, a bad filter clearly harms the sharpness and flare performance of your camera system. The wide-angle and telephoto converters are just novelties; your image quality generally will be terrible when using either of them. And the flash isn’t automatic, just a cheap manual one.
Instead, you can buy two better 32 GB memory cards for $9 apiece, a generic AmazonBasics remote for $11 (the other one is generic anyway), and a simple bag.
This isn’t to say all photography bundles are low quality, but that it’s easy to get a bad one if you’re just starting out and don’t know any better. When in doubt, don’t buy the bundle, and get all the accessories you need separately instead.
Now that you know the basics, here’s the list of the top 10 entry-level DSLRs available today, ranked from worst to best:
10. Canon Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D
One of the few DSLRs on this list that I wouldn’t recommend is the Canon Rebel T6 (also known as the Canon EOS 1300D). That’s simply because it sells for $450 with a kit lens – a good price, but basically the same as the newer T7! Although the two are practically identical cameras, the T7 has a 24-megapixel sensor rather than 18 megapixels on this T6. So, I don’t really see why anyone would buy the T6 kit at its current price, aside from being confused by Canon’s sprawling DSLR lineup. These days, the T6 is rarely found for sale new anyway, and you’d have to look on the used market.
However, speaking of buying used, you can sometimes find a good deal on the T6 camera if you look on eBay or used equipment forums. At a low enough price, any camera is a good deal, and that applies to the Rebel T6! On eBay, it’s selling for around $250 at the moment, lens included, which is a good price for what you get.
(There is also a relatively similar camera known as the 4000D – or 3000D in some markets – which is not generally sold in the US, but retails for potentially even less at $340 or so.)
9. Pentax KF
The 24-megapixel Pentax KF is the newest DSLR on this list, announced in late 2022. It’s positioned just at the edge of entry-level. The KF also has the highest-end control layout of all ten cameras here. You get two separate dials to change camera settings, which is in line with most $3000+ professional cameras.
So, why is this camera only at position number nine? It all has to do with value. The Pentax KF is $950 with an 18-55mm kit lens, making it double the cost of some other cameras on this list. The autofocus system has a pedestrian 11 points. Arguably, many of the less expensive cameras in this list have more advanced feature sets in some important ways.
However, landscape photographers may be interested in the KF. It’s the only camera here to have a pixel-shift technology that allows capture of full color information at each pixel, if you’re photographing nonmoving subjects. That may sound technical, but the end result is that you can get more detailed images out of the KF than anything else on this list, equal to at least 48 megapixel shots taken the normal way.
Even so, I’d still look at other cameras on this list before considering the KF. Not to mention that because this camera is so new, you won’t find any good deals on the used market for it just yet.
8. Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
The Canon T7 isn’t a super old camera, but its specifications feel outdated. The camera has 24 megapixels, 3 frames per second shooting, and a 9-point autofocus system. It doesn’t have a touchscreen or a tilt-flip screen for taking pictures at tricky angles. The good news is that it sells for just $480 including a kit lens, and sometimes goes on sale for less. Because many camera companies have been raising their prices of entry-level DSLRs, this makes the T7 one of the best values on this list.
Canon has two different varieties of their 24-megapixel APS-C sensor (with “APS-C” meaning that the sensor measures 22.2 millimeters in width). The Rebel T7 has the older type of sensor. So, you won’t get quite the level of image quality as with the newest APS-C Canon cameras – and we’ve found that even those lag behind Nikon’s sensors in low light. Nevertheless, this is still a high-quality camera sensor, capable of detailed photos in both daytime and nighttime conditions. In fact, every DSLR on this list has very good image quality, and the differences are mainly visible under exaggerated conditions.
Here’s a quick table comparing Canon’s popular entry-level cameras, including the T7:
|T6 / 1300D||T7 / 2000D / 1500D||T6i / 750D||T7i / 800D||T8i / 850D||SL3 / 200D|
|Announcement Date||March 2016||February 2018||February 2015||February 2017||February 2020||June 2017|
|Continuous Shooting||3 fps||3 fps||5 fps||6 fps||7 fps||5 fps|
|LCD Tilt-Flip Capability||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Pixel AF||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Life||500 photos||500 photos||440 photos||600 photos||800 photos||1070 photos|
|Weight (with battery and card)||485 g||475 g||555 g||532 g||515 g||449 g|
|Price (when sold new, with 18-55mm kit lens)||$450||$480||$650||$860||$900||$750|
7. Canon Rebel T6i / 750D
One solid value in Canon’s lineup of entry-level DSLRs today is the Rebel T6i / EOS 750D, released in February 2015. Perhaps because of this camera’s age, Canon has been putting some decent discounts on the T6i, which now sells for just $650 with a kit lens (although Canon replaced most of its inventory with the newer T7i and T8i, so you’ll probably need to buy it used).
This camera ticks a lot of the right boxes: a 24-megapixel sensor (though the older one), 19 autofocus points, 5 FPS shooting, and a tilt-flip touchscreen. The T6i does not have dual pixel AF, however, which does harm its prospects for video. And keep in mind that the 24-megapixel sensor is Canon’s older version, which doesn’t perform quite as well as its competition in low light (including the Nikon and Pentax cameras on this list, plus the newer Canons).
However, the T6i falls behind the Canon Rebel SL3, T7i, and T8i, all of which I’ve ranked higher than it. Those cameras all have the newer 24-megapixel sensor, and they’re lighter, more advanced cameras in other ways as well. The difference comes down to price, and to me, the price savings of the T6i aren’t enough to justify its weaker features.
There is also a version of the T6i with a slightly more advanced layout called the Canon T6s. It has two dials and a top LCD but otherwise is identical to the T6i. However, it’s hard to find and usually sells for inflated prices. I don’t think it’s worth considering unless you find a deal that brings it within $50 of the T6i in price, including a lens.
6. Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 800D
Every camera from here on out is what I’d consider a good buy for the typical consumer. Even though the Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 80D ranks sixth, it’s one of the most balanced cameras on the market and offers some pretty impressive features.
For example, the T7i builds on the T6i with 45 autofocus points, dual pixel AF, and the newer 24-megapixel sensor. However, it’s no longer sold new now that Canon released the T8i, at least in most markets. When it was available new, it sold for a rather high $860.
Before you settle on this camera, take a look at the Canon Rebel SL3. It’s a less expensive camera (both new and used) but it matches or exceeds many of the T7i’s specifications. You may also want to consider the $800 Nikon D5600, which is very similar to the T7i, but weighs less and has better battery life.
That said, if you find a good deal on the T7i or its specifications seem perfect for you, go for it. This camera is a pleasure to use – one of my favorites from my years of testing – with a great LCD and an excellent kit lens. I just think that for the money, you can find something with slightly better features.
5. Canon T8i
The Canon T8i, released in early 2020, is an advanced camera in many ways. It includes almost all of Canon’s newest bells and whistles. However, it costs $900 with a kit lens, making it one of the most expensive cameras on this list.
The T8i sports an excellent 45-point autofocus system in the viewfinder, and it has a tilt-flip touchscreen. Perhaps even more important is that the T8i includes Canon’s famous “dual pixel autofocus” to focus quickly and accurately via the rear LCD screen. Most DSLRs are only fast at focusing through the viewfinder, so this is a nice feature.
Beyond that, the Canon Rebel T8i has Canon’s newest 24-megapixel sensor for excellent quality images, and it shoots in 4K video. (Among the other cameras on this list, only the Canon Rebel SL3 also has 4K.) Compared to the prior Canon T7i, it shoots 7 FPS instead of 6 FPS shooting and has somewhat better battery life (800 versus 600 shots).
Unfortunately, the $900 price is a steep asking point. You wouldn’t lose much by going with a camera like the Canon T7i, Nikon D5600, or Pentax K-70 if you’re trying to save some money. Yes, the T8i is more advanced than those cameras, but not drastically so. At least consider the less expensive options before you make the leap.
4. Nikon D3500
Nikon’s D3000 lineup is arguably the best value for a DSLR today, and the D3500 is an excellent continuation of the previous versions (see my review). This is often the first DSLR I recommend to my friends who want a new camera.
The bad news is that Nikon is slowly phasing out their DSLR lineup, so you probably won’t be able to find the D3500 on the new market. You’ll need to buy used. If that doesn’t bother you, wait patiently, and you’ll find it on eBay for about $350 with the 18-55mm kit lens.
What’s more, the D3500’s 24-megapixel camera sensor is excellent – the same as on the D5600, which is perhaps the best APS-C sensor on the market today. If the image quality is all you care about, the D3500 is equal to or better than every other camera on this list – not a small feat considering its low price. Only the Pentax KF could beat it, if you happen to be shooting a nonmoving subject that allows the KF to use pixel shift.
Given all that, why didn’t I rank the D3500 even higher? A few things. First, although the D3500’s image sensor is fantastic, cameras are about more than just a sensor. Other factors like ease of use, autofocus system, screen quality, and so on, also play a role. These are all areas where the D3500 sometimes falls behind the competition.
To start, the camera’s LCD does not tilt or flip at all, and it’s not a touchscreen. Video shooters especially will want to look at something like the Nikon D5600 or Canon SL3 instead, which fixes those problems. The D3500’s autofocus system also has pretty low specifications with 11 autofocus points, although it surprised me in practice with how accurate it was.
If budget is your main concern, I wouldn’t necessarily get the newest version of this camera. The D3500 isn’t all that different from the D3200 that launched way back in April 2012, let alone the D3300 and D3400. All of the older versions sell for very good prices on the used market. Here’s a table showing the progress of all of Nikon’s D3000 series DSLRs since the Nikon D3100:
|Nikon D3100||Nikon D3200||Nikon D3300||Nikon D3400||Nikon D3500|
|Announced||August 2010||April 2012||January 2014||August 2016||August 2018|
|Max Frame Rate (Stills)||3 fps||4 fps||5 fps||5 fps||5 fps|
|LCD Screen||230,000 dots||921,000 dots||921,000 dots||921,000 dots||921,000 dots|
|Max Video Frame Rate at 1920 × 1080||24 fps||30 fps||60 fps||60 fps||60 fps|
|Bluetooth||No||No||No||Yes, which lets you use SnapBridge||Yes, which lets you use SnapBridge|
|Remote Shooting||With IR remote||With IR remote||With IR remote||With IR remote||With your phone via SnapBridge|
|GPS||Yes, with GP-1 or GP-1A||Yes, with GP-1 or GP-1A||Yes, with GP-1A||Yes, with SnapBridge||Yes, with SnapBridge|
|Battery Life||550 shots||540 shots||700 shots||1200 shots||1550 shots|
|Weight (Body Only)||16.0 oz / 455 g||16.0 oz / 455 g||14.5 oz / 410 g||13.9 oz / 395 g||12.9 oz / 365 g|
|Dimensions||124.5 × 96.5 × 73.7 mm||127 × 97 × 79 mm||124.5 × 99.1 × 76.2 mm||124 × 98 × 75.5 mm||124 × 97 × 70 mm|
3. Nikon D5600
Next up is the Nikon D5600, which is one of the best entry-level DSLRs available today. When I reviewed the D5600, I wrote: “in many ways, it is the perfect option for people who just want an advanced camera that gets out of their way.”
So, why didn’t I rank it number one? For a long time, I did; you’ll see plenty of references to that in the comments section below. But recently, Nikon decided to boost the D5600’s price (with a kit lens) from a brilliant $550 to a less exciting $800. It’s now more in line with other entry-level DSLRs in price.
That said, the D5600 is a great camera. Having tested it side-by-side against Canon’s 45-point AF system on the T7i and T8i, I found that the D5600’s 39-point autofocus system worked better. The Canon T8i shoots 7 FPS rather than the 5 FPS on this camera – but the D5600’s better autofocus means it’s still the slightly better camera for action photography. Beyond that, the two cameras are quite similar, but the D5600 weighs less (465 vs 515 grams) and has a better battery life (970 vs 800 photos).
So, if you’re looking for the best autofocus system on this list, arguably the best camera sensor, a great lineup of native lenses, a tilt-flip touchscreen, and a lightweight kit overall, the D5600 is an excellent choice. The only issue is the price; at $550, it was a no-brainer and clearly the #1 camera on this list, while at $800, it’s harder to justify. That said, I recommend checking the current price both at B&H and at Amazon. If you find it even slightly on sale, it’s probably my #1 recommendation. (I update this article any time that I notice a price change, but Nikon, Canon, and Pentax put these cameras on sale all the time.)
If you want to save money, you can always buy an older model from the Nikon D5600 lineup, many of which are available used or refurbished for a great price. In fact, that’s my top recommendation of this entire article: Get an older D5000-series camera if you find a good deal, even if it’s refurbished or used.
Here’s a quick table showing the differences between the D5600 and the prior versions. Even back to the D5200, this is a great lineup of cameras, and all of them are worth considering today if you want to save some money. The differences between them are not very big, to be frank:
|Camera Feature||Nikon D5200||Nikon D5300||Nikon D5500||Nikon D5600|
|Announced||November 2012||October 2013||January 2015||November 2016|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 4|
|Autofocus||39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX||39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX||39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX||39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX|
|Frame Rate||5 FPS||5 FPS||5 FPS||5 FPS|
|LCD Size||3″ Diagonal||3.2″ Diagonal||3.2″ Diagonal||3.2″ Diagonal|
|LCD Resolution||921,000 dots||1,036,800 dots||1,036,800 dots||1,036,800 dots|
|Built-in GPS||No||Yes||No||No, but can use your phone’s GPS data via SnapBridge|
|Max Video Frame Rate||60i||60p||60p||60p|
|Weight (with battery and card)||555 g (1.22 lbs)||530 g (1.17 lbs)||470 g (1.04 lbs)||465 g (1.03 lbs)|
|Dimensions||129 × 98 × 78mm||125 × 98 × 76mm||124 × 97 × 70mm||124 × 97 × 70mm|
2. Pentax K-70
If you want a combination of top build quality, advanced controls, and a tilt-flip screen, look no further than the Pentax K-70.
This is an excellent and overlooked camera for beginners, and it’s a good value at $750 (check current price, as it often goes on sale for $650). With a 24 megapixel sensor, 11 viewfinder autofocus points, and 6 FPS shooting, the K-70 is a highly capable camera with few downsides. It even has “hybrid AF” in live view, similar to Canon’s dual pixel AF and great for video shooters.
Any issues with the K-70 depend upon your personal requirements, including how much you’re willing to invest in a smaller DSLR company. Canon and Nikon are certainly more established names in the camera business, with a larger camera and lens lineup should you wish to upgrade in the future. That said, Pentax does also make some full-frame DSLRs, so you do have an upgrade path if you pick this camera.
The nearest competitors to the K-70 are the Canon T7i and Nikon D5600. All of these cameras are priced within $100 of each other and have very similar specifications. To me, though, the K-70’s more rugged build quality and better handling – especially the second control dial – are more valuable than the lighter weight and better autofocus of the Nikon and Canon. But not all photographers will agree; in fact, I’m probably in the minority there.
Still, for photographers who put a priority on build quality and an advanced control layout – say, landscape photographers who know they’ll be shooting in bad weather – the Pentax very well could be the top camera for you. Although 11 autofocus points isn’t much, everything else about the camera is hard to beat and worth the price. If you find it on sale for $650, it could be my top recommendation of the group.
1. Canon Rebel SL3 / 250D
The top camera on this list is the Canon SL3 / EOS 250D. It’s a great camera, and tremendous fun to use.
The SL3 is tiny and lightweight, yet the grip is still comfortable, and it has some of Canon’s most advanced features (including the newer 24-megapixel sensor). When I reviewed the nearly identical previous version (the Canon SL2) in New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands and Chicago’s glass-and-steel cityscape, I came away with the impression that this is a fantastic camera for any photographer – not just for a first-time DSLR shooter, even though that is the SL3’s target audience.
The main features? The SL3 has an excellent touchscreen LCD, with a full range of tilting motion for easy composition (like the Nikon D5600). And the 24-megapixel sensor is Canon’s newest, with excellent image quality, though it still lags 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 users also will be happy to hear that the SL3 has dual pixel autofocus, the least expensive Canon camera to include it.
The big difference compared to the earlier SL2 is that, like the T8i, the SL3 has 4K video – although it only works with a heavy 2.64x crop relative to full-frame.
The Canon SL3 currently sells for $750 with a kit lens (also in stock at Amazon and Adorama if backordered on B&H), which is in line with other cameras on this list despite the more comprehensive features. Compared to the Nikon D5600, for example, it adds 4K video and dual pixel AF, making it much more useful for video. I also prefer the kit lens that comes with the SL3 in terms of ergonomics and size.
Alternatively, you can still buy the older SL2 used for less money. The SL2 also has a tilt-flip screen and dual pixel AF; it just doesn’t have 4K video, and its battery life is a bit worse. Everything else is the same between the SL2 and SL3.
And that’s what it takes to be number one! However, before you focus too much on the specific rankings here, let me return for a moment to the #6 camera on this list, the Canon T7i. That camera loses to the SL3 in weight (532 vs 449 grams), price ($860 vs $750), image quality (old vs new 24-megapixel sensor), battery life (600 vs 1070), and video (no 4K option). But beats it in autofocus performance (45 vs 9 autofocus points) and frame rate (6 FPS vs 5 FPS)! The T7i could easily be the preferred option for sports and wildlife photographers. Clearly, the difference from #6 to #1 on this list is pretty small. But in those small differences, the SL3 wins out.
After seeing all the cameras in list form, I thought it would be useful to compare all these DSLRs and their key specifications in a table as well, hopefully to help you understand the specifications of each one a bit more clearly. For size purposes, I’ve divided it into two tables, first with cameras ranked tenth through sixth:
|Feature||Canon T6 / 1300D||Pentax KF||Canon T7 / 2000D / 1500D||Canon T6i / 750D||Canon T7i / 800D|
|Announced||March 2016||November 2022||March 2018||February 2015||February 2017|
|Sensor Resolution||18 Megapixels||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels (older version)||24 Megapixels (newer version)||24 Megapixels (newer version)|
|Frame Rate||3 FPS||6 FPS||3 FPS||5 FPS||6 FPS|
|Max Video Specs||1920 × 1080p, 30 fps||1920 × 1080p, 60i fps||1920 × 1080p, 30 fps||1920 × 1080p, 30 fps||1920 × 1080p, 60 fps|
|Battery Life||500 photos||400 photos||500 photos||440 photos||600 photos|
|Weight (with battery and card)||485 g||684 g||475 g||555 g||532 g|
|Dimensions (W×H×D)||129.0 × 101.3 × 77.6mm||125.5 × 93.0 × 74.0mm||129.0 × 101.3 × 77.6mm||131.9 × 100.9 × 77.8mm||131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm|
|New Price (early 2023, with 18-55mm kit lens)||No longer sold new||$950||$480||No longer sold new||No longer sold new|
|Used Price with Lens (approximate)||$250||$900||$280||$350||$450|
And then cameras ranked fifth through first:
|Feature||Canon T8i / 850D||Nikon D3500||Nikon D5600||Pentax K-70||Canon SL3 / 250D|
|Announced||February 2020||August 2018||November 2016||June 2016||April 2019|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels (newer version)||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels (newer version)|
|Frame Rate||7 FPS||5 FPS||5 FPS||6 FPS||5 FPS|
|Max Video Specs||3840 × 2160, 24 fps; and 1920 × 1080p, 60 fps||1920 × 1080p, 60 fps||1920 × 1080p, 60 fps||1920 × 1080p, 30 fps (and 1920 × 1080i, 60 fps)||3840 × 2160, 24 fps; and 1920 × 1080p, 60 fps|
|Battery Life||800 photos||1550 photos||970 photos||410 photos||1070 photos|
|Weight (with battery and card)||515 g||415 g||465 g||688 g||449 g|
|Dimensions (W×H×D)||131 × 103 × 76 mm||124 × 97 × 70mm||124 × 97 × 70mm||125.5 × 93 × 74mm||122 × 93 × 70 mm|
|New Price (early 2023, with 18-55mm kit lens)||$900||No longer sold new||$800||$750||$750|
|Used Price with Lens (approximate)||$600||$350||$450||$400||$450|
Even though the Canon SL3 is number one on this list, remember that it isn’t necessarily the best camera for your needs. If you’d rather pay $50 extra for better autofocus and forego 4K video, the D5600 might be your top choice. Or, if you want great advanced controls and top build quality, the Pentax K-70 could be the way to go. The same is true of the D3400 for its impressive value and battery life – or, frankly, any camera you find on sale for a great price. The point is, you have plenty of options.
That said, I hope this article gave you a good idea of where to start when you’re looking for an entry-level DSLR. There are so many cameras available today that things can get a bit overwhelming, but the list above encompasses every important entry-level DSLR available today, as of 2023. Again, there’s not a dud in the bunch – just some cameras priced higher or lower than they should be, based on their competitors.
And most importantly, these might be “entry-level” DSLRs, but they’re all good enough to let you take high-quality photos. If you aren’t getting the pictures you want, it’s time to work on your technique instead!
Other articles of mine that you may be interested in, if you found this one:
The first photo shows the Pentax KP instead of the KF?
Both Pentax DSLR are almost identical, the K-70 shares “pixel-shift”, 2 dials, inbody SR (shake reduction) and WR (water and dust resistant). The only difference is higher resolution.
Actually, the Pentax K70 has Pixel-Shift as does the Pentax KF and it has as well 2 dials as you mentioned for the KF. What makes both special is WR (water resistant) and inbuilt SR (shake reduction). Aside of the LCD resolution they are more or less the same. Both have also 2 dials like professional and much more expensive cameras.
The 1.st photo doesn’t show the KF but the KP which was discontinued!
I wrote a similar comment yesterday, but it vanished?
Hi Henry, I see both comments just fine. Can you try refreshing the page and letting me know if you’re still not seeing both of them? In any case, I agree with you, the K-70 is one of the most advanced cameras here.
A very interesting comparison. But the Pentax K-70 is even more advanced than it shows:
Not only the KF has pixel-shift but the K-70 as well. Also the K-70 shares the same two seperate dials, which is as noticed for the KF “in line with most $3000+ professional cameras”.
What makes both Pentax bodies stand out is that they are WR (Water resistant) and have inbuilt Shake-Reduction which allows the use of all lenses without built in SR (OS). The SR of Pentax drains much less batterylife than Sigmas OS for example (even is switched of it drains!).
And yet, I think the competition is as good, just different.
Dear Cox, your articles are terrific and easy to read and understand. I appreciate the narration and description of the cameras for each and every detail. A must read for everyone enticed with photography.
Thank you for saying so – I’m happy to hear that you liked the article!
Excellent Article for the entry level , and found the use off the tables with data is very helpful . It has cleared up some questions and will assist with my process of buying my first DSLR camera . Great work !! Thanks
You’re welcome! Glad you found it so useful.
Damn, people, he wrote an excellent article, but you still want him to make your decision for you! Use the data provided and take a chance!
Cox left out some key capabilities here re sports photography. I’d like to emphasize that if you’re shooting INDOOR SPORTS, anti-flicker capability is mandatory to get consistently good quality photos – and is all too often overlooked by reviewers and others who make techhnical comparisons among various DLRSs. CANON developed anti-flicker first – and it was many years later until Nikon added it (2016/17).
Thank you for such a wonderful review. I’m dipping my toe into the DSLR water and this was very helpful. And I’m now following you on Instagram!
Thank you so much for this guide–so glad I did a little research and stumbled on this excellent resource for comparison and evaluation. I found a barely-used Nikon D5600 with an 18-200mm lens for $500, so I snapped it up. I just got it today, and it’s my first DSLR, but it seems like a really versatile setup. Wondering if you have a recommendation for an even longer-range telephoto lens for wildlife photography, or other accessories/gear I’ll need. I really appreciate the time and knowledge.
Mr. Cox. Well met for the name. However, I have a question for you? The prices you mention in this post are far different from what I am seeing, pricewise. Are your prices still accurate and if so, where should I buy the camera from?
Awesome information mate. Really appreciate your time and effort you put in. Legend!