Skip to main content

Best DSLR Cameras 2019

Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras have traditionally offered the best-quality images, mainly because these cameras have the largest type of image sensors. This lets you capture sharp, detailed photos, especially in low light. In addition, you can change the lens on a DSLR, from fisheye and wide angle to telephoto, which expands your creative potential. Also, because there is tremendous competition in the interchangeable-lens camera market, it's common to find great DSLR deals.

After testing dozens of DSLRs under $1,500, we found that the best DSLR for beginners is the Nikon D3500, as it offers great image quality and approachability for under $500. For photographers who want to step up, we recommend the Nikon D5600, which has a better sensor and autofocus capabilities for under $700.

You may also want to check out our best mirrorless cameras page, as they offer many of the same benefits as DSLRs, but in a smaller package. And if you're trying to figure out what will work best for you, be sure to read our DSLR vs. Mirrorless camera comparison guide.

Make sure you check out all of our top picks for DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and more on our best cameras page. And, once you've taken your photos, you'll want to make a photo book or show off your best images in a photo frame.

We expect that a lot of cameras will be discounted on Black Friday, so you may want to wait until then to purchase a new camera. Be sure to check out our main Black Friday deals page, as well as our Black Friday camera deals

Latest News and Updates (October 2019)

Best DSLR for most people

Nikon D3500

Best DSLR for most people

Megapixels/sensor: 24.3/APS-C | ISO Range: 100-25,600 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Autofocus: 11-point phase/contrast | Display: 3-inch fixed LCD | Battery Life: 1,550 shots | Ports: USB, mini HDMI | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | LCD Slides: 4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 12.9 ounces

Affordable
Good image quality
Feature-rich
Excellent battery life
In-camera RAW processing
Fixed LCD
No touch capabilities
Modest video AF performance

A camera that lets you grow, the beginner-focused D3500 has guides to explain its more advanced features, but it will shoot great photos in almost any situation. While it has many of the same features as its predecessor, including a 24.3-MP sensor, the Nikon D3500 has a faster processor and a refreshed design that makes it easier to use. We also appreciate the longer battery life and the ability to control the camera (somewhat) from your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Read the full Nikon D3500 review

Best DSLR under $1,000

Nikon D5600

Best DSLR under $1,000

Megapixels/sensor: 24.2 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-25,600 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Autofocus: 39-point phase/contrast | Display: 3.2-inch articulating touch screen | Battery Life: 970 shots | Ports: UUSB, mini HDMI, microphone | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | LCD Slides: 4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 14.7 ounces

Top-notch image quality
Responsive performance
Very good battery life
External microphone jack
Easy transfer of images to mobile devices
Solid set of features
Minimal manual control for video
No 4K video

The D5600 sports a 24-megapixel camera and an articulating touch screen, which makes tapping to focus (stills and video) and snapping a photo with a single touch a cinch. The D5600 delivers very sharp and detailed images, and sharing them is now easier with the inclusion of SnapBridge, which lets you transfer photos to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Read our full Nikon D5600 review.

Great DSLR for enthusiasts

Nikon D7500

Great DSLR for enthusiasts

Megapixels/sensor: 20.9 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-51,200 | Max Video Resolution: 4k/30 fps | Shooting Speed: 8 fps | Autofocus: 51 points | Display: 3.2-inch tilting touch screen | Battery Life: 950 shots | Ports: USB, mini HDMI, 3.5mm audio, stereo mic | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 5.4 x 4.1 x 2.9 inches | Weight: 22.6 ounces

Excellent image quality
Speedy continuous shooting
Fast autofocus
Responsive touch screen
Extensive feature set
No dual card slots
4K video cropped
AF erratic in video capture

By combining the innards of its pro-grade D500 with the more compact body from its midrange DX-level cameras, Nikon's new 20.9-megapixel D7500 is an enthusiast's ideal DSLR. In addition to the Expeed 5 image processor it shares with the D500, the D7500 sports continuous shooting at up to 8 fps, 4K video recording up to 30 fps and a handy 3.2-inch tilting LCD display. And like all of Nikon's recent cameras, the D7500 sports the company's Snapbridge tech, so you can use Bluetooth, NFC and built-in Wi-Fi to for super-simple photo sharing.

Read our full Nikon D7500 review.

The best full-frame DSLR

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

The best full-frame DSLR

Megapixels/sensor: 26.2 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-102,500 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 6.6 fps | Autofocus: 45-point phase detection | Display: 3-inch articulating touch screen | Battery Life: 1,200 shots | Ports: USB, mini HDMI, microphone | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 2.9 x 5.7 x 4.4 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds

Fully articulated LCD touch screen
Solid battery life
Improved AF system
Faster-than-average Live View and movie AF
No 4K video
Limited AF point coverage in viewfinder
Single SD card slot, UHS-1 speed support only
Does not support EF-S lenses

Now that it's a few years old, this full-frame camera has come down in price to where it’s affordable for those whom photography is not a full-time profession. Thanks to its larger image sensor, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II takes excellent photos in a variety of conditions. We also like that it can shoot at 6.6 frames per second and has a fully articulated touch screen. Its autofocus has a good 45 points, but doesn't cover the entire sensor. We also wish that this camera had more than one memory card slot, but for those who want a full-frame DSLR without spending a truckload of cash, this is a good option.

Read our full Canon EOS 6D Mark II review.

Credit: Canon

(Image credit: Canon)

Top DSLR for video

Canon EOS 80D

Top DSLR for video

Megapixels/sensor: 24.2 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-12,800 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 7 fps | Autofocus: 40-point phase detection | Display: 3-inch articulating touch screen | Battery Life: 960 shots | Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, headphone, mic | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 3.09 x 5.47 x 4.14 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds

45 Autofocus points
Articulated LCD
Microphone and headphone jacks
No 4K video
Single card slot

When shooting video, the dual-pixel sensors of the EOS 80D lock focus on the subject you designate, keeping it sharp regardless of where it moves. Plus 45 autofocus points ensure that it can accurately track subjects moving in front of the lens. It's just too bad it doesn't shoot 4K video. A flip-out, tilting 3-inch touch screen lets you compose stills and video at a variety of odd angles, and a headphone and a mic jack will ensure you get the best audio.

Read our full Canon EOS 80D review.

Credit: Nikon

(Image credit: Nikon)

Excellent midrange DSLR

Nikon D7200

Excellent midrange DSLR

Megapixels/sensor: 24.2 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-25,600 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 6 fps | Autofocus: 51-point phase detection | Display: 3.2-inch LCD | Battery Life: 1,100 shots | Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, headphone, mic | Card Slots: two SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 5.3 x 4.2 x 3.0 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds

High image quality
Relatively fast continuous shooting
well-suppressed noise at high ISO
weather-sealed body
dual command dials
Limited manual exposure control for video capture
shallow handgrip
LCD doesn't tilt or rotate

Those who want to step up from their starter DSLR will find a lot to like in the Nikon D7200. Though it's been replaced by the D7500, the D7200 is still very capable, and costs less than $1,000 with a lens. It has two SD card slots, a bevy of ports (microphone jack, headphone, micro USB, HDMI and accessory), and is weather-resistant. The D7200 also lacks a low-pass filter, which makes images sharper, but more prone to moire effects.

The D7200 shows its age in a few places: The 3.2-inch LCD is not touch-enabled, and doesn't tilt or flip out, and the max video resolution is 1080p. But you can't ask for much more in a camera at this price.

Read our full Nikon D7200 review.

Credit: Canon

(Image credit: Canon)

Strong mid-level shooter

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

Strong mid-level shooter

Megapixels/sensor: 24.2 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-25,600 | Max Video Resolution: 1080p/60 fps | Shooting Speed: 6 fps | Autofocus: 51-point phase detection | Display: 3.2-inch LCD | Battery Life: 1,100 shots | Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, headphone, mic | Card Slots: two SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 5.3 x 4.2 x 3.0 inches | Weight: 1.4 pounds

Very good image quality
Speedy autofocus
Good high-ISO handling
Full-featured mobile app
External microphone jack
Slightly larger and heavier than the competition
Only average battery life

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i has a lot of features and on-screen tips friendly to amateur photographers who are looking to grow in experience. It's a comparatively fast shooter, and its articulating touch screen means that it's easier to capture videos from above or below. There are also a number of creative filters built in, letting you achieve a more artistic effect with your photos. Canon's Dual Pixel Autofocus helps keep subjects in focus when using the camera to shoot video.

The T7i's low-pass filter helps eliminate moire patterns, but those who prefer a slightly sharper image might prefer Nikon's offerings. We also wish it had a longer battery life. But overall, this is another great camera under $1,000.


Read our full Canon EOS T7i review.

4K Video on a Budget

Canon EOS Rebel SL3

4K Video on a Budget

Megapixels/sensor: 24.1 APS-C | ISO Range: 100-25,600 | Max Video Resolution: 4K/24 fps | Shooting Speed: 5 fps | Autofocus: 9-point phase detection | Display: 3-inch LCD | Battery Life: 1,000 shots | Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, mic | Card Slots: one SD/SDHC/SDXC | Size: 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 15.8 pounds

Good image quality
fully articulated touchscreen
4K video
excellent battery life
compact
Modest AF points
not compatible with 3rd-party flash units

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is the least expensive DSLR that can shoot 4K video; this camera, which is aimed at beginners, is also very small and light, and has a bevy of in-camera guides to help novice shooters. We also like its articulating touch screen, which makes it easier to take photos from odd angles. In general, this camera takes good photos and video, but its internal image stabilization is only moderately effective, and its hot shoe doesn't work with third-party flash units.

Read our full Canon EOS Rebel SL3 review.

How we test DSLRs

To evaluate DSLRs, we use them in a variety of settings, including low light, outdoors, indoors and more. We also photograph a number of subjects, such as people and pets, to see how well the camera captures skin tones. We generally use the kit lens that comes with the camera, to more closely emulate the same experience as consumers purchasing the camera.

In addition to still and video quality, we also rate the camera based on its ease of use: Are the physical controls easy to access, and are the menus logically laid out? Finally, we evaluate the camera's battery life and other features, such as wireless control.

Credit: Tom's Guide