The best DSLR cameras produce the best pictures of any type of camera and also open the door to more creative photography. All controls for focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance are at your fingertips. They give you the choice of trusting the camera’s automatic settings or taking full control of manual exposure when you need it. Whether you’re looking for a top-of-the-range model or an entry-level DSLR, there are plenty of options available, all depending on your budget.
If you’re just starting out, look for a DSLR that can grow with you as you progress your photographic skills. Do you travel a lot and are concerned about shooting in the elements? Opt for a camera that has built-in weather-sealing to keep out moisture and dust. However, while the best DSLR cameras have intuitive controls and great handling, and produce the pictures of your dreams, the worst suffer from poor design, cheap build quality or short battery life.
How much should I spend on a DSLR? DSLRs cost anywhere from around £300 for the most basic entry-level model, and go up to £5,000 or more for high-end cameras. Our Best Buy DSLRs range from £400 for beginners, to an eye-watering £3,500, although the latter price does buy you the kind of camera that professional photographers aspire to. You also have the choice of buying the camera without a lens (body-only).
Typically, this only makes sense if you already own a collection of lenses, or you prefer to select speciality lenses for specific tasks. But it’s worth double-checking to see if your existing lenses are compatible with your new, prospective camera. The most important thing to consider about photography gear is that it typically lasts for a very long time – especially camera bodies and lenses. Photography is an expensive hobby and you shouldn’t be swayed by fancy technology that you’ll never use. So whatever camera you end up buying, think of it as a long-term investment, and it should serve you well for many years to come.
Which DSLR brand is best?
There are four main brands that manufacturer DSLR cameras: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony. Each brand has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the brand you choose will be down to personal preference. For example, if you’ve only ever used Nikon cameras and lenses, you’re likely to stick with the brand you know, and less likely to choose the brand you know nothing about. In committing to one manufacturer you’ll be buying into its range of lenses and accessories, and it can be really expensive to switch.
Although there’s no correct answer as to which is best, and there’s no one brand that is better than the other, it’s worth knowing the key differences between different models to make an informed decision. Our recommendation is to choose a camera based on its features, not brand. Before making any purchases, research the different lenses and accessories available for the cameras you are considering. For example, if you want to shoot wildlife photography, make sure the camera has a compatible telephoto lens.