If you’ve outgrown your point-and-shoot camera and feel like you’re ready to take your photography to the next step, then an entry-level DSLR is the obvious choice. You might also want to consider a mirrorless camera as an alternative, although you won’t find one with a viewfinder at the same price as a DSLR.
DSLRs deliver a big step up in image quality from a compact camera, far more manual control and the ability to change lenses to tackle a huge variety of projects. Obviously, the more features you want, the more you’ll pay, but do you actually need them? Our top camera is one of the cheapest on the market, but still offers impressive performance and image quality, plus enough features to handle most assignments, especially if you’re still learning.
Here’s our pick.
The D3400 is a beefed up version of the D3300. It’s an entry level DSLR targeted toward shooters who are ready to move on from their smartphones to a more advanced shooting platform. The camera has 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor found along with an ‘EXPEED 4’ image processor, Full HD video capture and an 11-point auto focus system. It has Bluetooth LE connectivity for transferring images from the camera to a smartphone via the ‘SnapBridge’ app.
It provides a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600 to suit working in a variety of lighting conditions. The lightweight camera body incorporates a 3.0″921k-dot LCD screen for live view monitoring and image review.The built-in Guide Mode feature has been improved.
Should you buy it?
Like its predecessor the D3300, Nikon D3400 is a good choice for competent and inexpensive, general-purpose DSLR and it is still better than current similarly priced competitors.
Pros: Very good photo and video quality for its price.
Cons: The Bluetooth-only wireless solution isn’t very good.
Canon EOS 750D
Canon EOS 750D is an excellent DSLR for amateurs and semiprofessionals.
The 24.2-megapixel sensor is a major improvement and you can record videos at a resolution of 1080p at 30fps. It provides a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800, which can be extended up to 25600.
750D has fairly up-to-date wireless connectivity and supports Wi-Fi and NFC, through which you can quickly connect and transfer images and movies to compatible smartphones, tablets, printers or the Canon Connect Station, for easy sharing with your social networks.Through the Canon Camera Connect App, you can transfer images and control the shutter remotely. This App also allows you to shoot remotely with your Canon camera and you can also alter camera settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from your mobile phone or tablet.
Should you buy it?
Excellent DSLR for amateurs and semi-professionals on a tight budget.
Pros: Image quality, 2,016 pixel Fast 19-point AF, Wi-Fi and NFC, Canon Camera Connect App. Cons: Limited video capture, Viewfinder coverage.
Create stunning images with great clarity and detail using the 24.1 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor on the D5200. Its advanced 39-point autofocus system never misses its target. For video shooters, the D5200 can record Full HD 1920 x 1080 movies at up to 60i or 50i, although this uses a central crop of the sensor area. More conventional 30p, 25p, and 24p modes use the full width of the sensor. In manual mode you have the option to take limited control of both shutter speed and ISO, but not aperture.
Nikon EXPEED 3-branded processor as offering higher speed, better color reproduction, and improved noise reduction. The camera also supports Nikon’s WU-1 a Wi-Fi unit, which plugs into the camera’s accessory terminal and allows images to be transmitted wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet for uploading to social media. The device can also be used as a remote control for the camera, complete with Live View.
Pros: High-res sensor, Good interface.
Cons: No touchscreen.
Should you buy it?
Decent camera with good performance
The Nikon D5000 is good for photographers looking for a very compact DSLR offering a higher level of features than the D3000 series. It is one of the smallest and lightest DSLR made by Nikon
The D5500 has a smaller and lighter body with an improved grip, a faster processor, touch-enabled LCD,’flat’picture control, and built-in Wi-Fi. The D5500 uses the same 24.2MP CMOS sensor as the D5300 and comes with Nikon’s latest Expeed 4 image processing engine. On the video front, the D5500 continues to support 1080/60p recording but now offers a ‘Flat’ Picture Control, which allows for easier color grading in post-production.
Should you buy it?
The Nikon D5500 is a solid performer in the budget segment. If you own a budget level DSLR up to D5200 then upgrading to the D5500 will be a better choice in the long run.
Pros: Fast autofocus, Good touchscreen interface, Wireless connectivity. Cons: No in-built GPS.
Sony Alpha SLT-A68
Sony’s new interchangeable lens camera – A68 – uses Translucent Mirror Technology to offer high-speed shooting and a smaller body size. The 24.2 megapixel A68 features up to 8fps burst shooting, 1080p Full HD Movies in the XAVC Sv format, 79-point autofocus system including 15 cross points and a dedicated F2.8 AF sensor point, a 2.7-inch tilting LCD, an XGA OLED electronic viewfinder with 2359k dot resolution, backlit top LCD display, Dynamic Range Optimizer and HDR, and an ISO range of 100-25600.
A68 is good for advanced beginners. With its fast and comprehensive AF system, it’s a good camera for tracking moving subjects.
Should you but it?
If you look at the alternatives available, you can choose between a DSLR, and all of the competitors at this price point feature built-in Wi-Fi. Alternative Digital SLRs can be Pentax K-S2 or Canon EOS 750D.
Pros: Fast AF system. Cons: LCD screen, 2.7inch screen, Lacks Wi-Fi.