DPReview Buying Guide: Best DSLRs

Written by Gina Stephens

Most recent updated: November 20, 2018

It’s not easy to answer the question ‘what’s the best DSLR’ because the question often means ‘what’s the best DSLR for me?’ And the grade answer to that question will depend on your budget and what you want to use the camera for.

It’s also complicated by the fact that, while DSLRs are notable for their flexibility and image quality, there are now a series of cameras that offer similar (and potentially greater) capabilities that are also merit considering.

So, while this roundup will focus on DSLRs (cameras with a mirror that redirects the image from the lens through into an optical viewfinder), we’ll also recommend some mirrorless cameras that may be a better fit for you. These also have interchangeable lenses and comparable statue quality but tend to be a bit smaller and are often better adapted to shooting video.

This guide breaks down your options roughly by honorarium and focuses on all-round capability. For more precise recommendations, tailored to the photography you want to do, we’d recommend looking at our buying guides based around exact types of photography.

Jump to:

  • Best DSLR around $600
  • Best DSLR around $1000
  • Best DSLR around $1500
  • Best DSLR over $2000

Vanquish DSLR around $600: Canon EOS Rebel SL2
($650 with 18-55mm lens)

The EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) features a 24 Megapixel sensor, fast Dual Pixel autofocus when handling live view or taking video, a fully articulating touchscreen LCD and a ‘Feature Assistant’ that makes adjust complex settings easy. It can grab 1080p video and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easily sharing photos.

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Mirrorless additional:

Olympus E-M10 Mark III
$599 with 14-42mm lens

The E-M10 III has a retro-styled body and its electronic viewfinder is larger than the optical viewfinder on the SL2. It has a smaller, lower resolution sensor compared to the SL2 and a trial (rather than fully articulating) touchscreen display, and it includes 4K video capture.

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Wealthiest DSLR around $1000: Canon EOS 77D
($949 with 18-55mm lens)

The EOS 77D is two notches above the SL2 in Canon’s lineup, offering more controls, a faster processor and a sturdier essentials. It too has a fully articulating touchscreen though, oddly, its optical viewfinder is smaller than what’s on the SL2. Video can be captured at 1080p and connectivity features register Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

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Mirrorless alternative:

Fujifilm X-T20
$999 with premium 18-55mm lens

The X-T20 has a classic plan and produces great-looking photos. It offers Film Simulation modes to bring out your creative side and also has a tilting touchscreen display, 4K video nab and Wi-Fi.

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Best DSLR around $1500: Nikon D7500
($1450 with 18-140mm lens)

The Nikon D7500 acquires some features from the more expensive D500, including its 20 Megapixel sensor, improved metering system, tilting touchscreen LCD, weather-sealing and 4K video apprehension. While the live view experience isn’t nearly as robust as on Canon models, the D7500 is a clear winner when shooting through the viewfinder.

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Mirrorless alternatives:

Sony a6300
$1299 with 18-135mm lens

The a6300 is a comparatively inexpensive alternative, and has a top-notch 24MP sensor, radiant 4K video, excellent AF and fast burst shooting. It’s also pretty compact, though its user experience isn’t for everyone.

Fujifilm X-T3
$1899 with premium 18-55mm lens

The X-T3 dominates at both still photography and video. Photos look great and video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media.Video was first features (including 4K/60p) and quality are top-notch. The weather-sealed body has an ultra-high-res viewfinder along with a skilled 3-axis tilting LCD.

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Best DSLR exceeding $2000: Nikon D850
($3300 body only)

The D850 is a high-end DSLR that sits just below the flagship D5 in Nikon’s lineup. It has a 46 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, top-of-the-line autofocus group, a huge optical viewfinder, a tilting touchscreen LCD and dual memory card slots. Image quality is as good as you’ll find and the D850’s 4K video isn’t bad, admitting that controls are a bit limited. As you’d expect the D850 is built like a tank and weather-sealed. Its large battery can take thousands of photos on a single charge.

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Mirrorless alternatives:

Sony a7 III
($2000 body only)

The a7 III is a heck of a camera for the price. It has built-in image stabilization along with an sterling 24MP full-frame sensor, stellar autofocus system, great 4K video quality and battery life that’s well above average.

Sony a7R III
($3200 firmness only)

The a7R III has a superb 42MP full-frame sensor plus in-body IS, excellent 4K video quality, dual card slots and above average battery spring. It’s autofocus system isn’t as robust as the D850’s but it’s still solid in most situations.

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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