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Best Entry Level DSLR Cameras in 2019

Here’s our list of the best entry level DSLR cameras in 2019.
Many new photographers don’t have the budget or need for the most professional camera systems. Especially since some of these can cost thousands of dollars.
Entry level cameras provide photographers the chance to capture amazing scenes without breaking the bank. After all, it’s all about the person and not the camera.
A close up of a photographer taking shots in a dark forest - best entry level dslr camera
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What Is an Entry Level DSLR?

A DSLR is a digital single reflex camera. This type of camera uses one lens to view the scene and capture it on the sensor. It does this by using a mirror that changes it from viewing to capturing.
DSLRs can range from$400 for the Canon Rebel T6 to $5,500 for the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II. The former is an entry level camera, while the latter is a professional DSLR.
There is a world of difference between these systems, but they have the same basic functions. Both cameras have a digital sensor, the same exposure triangle settings and other basic functions, such as autofocus, burst shooting, and mirror lockup.
Where they differ is the extent of these functions. Both cameras have a sensor, but, the 1DX has a resolution of 20.2 MP and the T6 has 18 MP.
The 1DX II can photograph 16 times a second, whereas the entry level T6 can only manage three. Both cameras function in the same way, yet they are different for many different reasons.
There are smaller learning curves with entry level DSLR cameras, because their settings and features are limited.
A closeup of a photographer holding a canon dslr camera

Warning – Don’t Buy The Bundle

When it comes to searching for an entry level DSLR camera, we really want you to heed the following warning: Don’t go for the bundle package.
There’s a reason we link and show photos of the camera without any extra stuff, specifically lenses. This is because the lenses that come with the camera are usually not great.
These lenses are what we call ‘kit-lenses’ and are lower quality than other lenses. When I bought my first DSLR, I went for the 400D in 2006. I got an 18-55mm lens with it.
The lens felt light and plastic – basically, it felt cheap. It wasn’t the highest quality lens, and I found out that it wasn’t focusing 100% where I wanted it to go. It was slow and didn’t provide the greatest quality.
The lens bundle also cost more, and I wish I hadn’t spent my money on it. When I became more experienced and tried other lenses, I found that the kit lens was really sub-par.
My advice is to buy the body and lens separately. When I think back, I wish there was someone to give me this information. The lens I really wanted was the Canon 24-70mm f 2.8l ii USM. I now know this would have been more beneficial.
This lens works out to be 16x more expensive, but it would have helped in droves. The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a cheaper option at $600.
With the bundle, you get a lot of junk that you won’t need. Because of this, these bundles are actually overpriced. The items are of low quality, and perhaps items you don’t need or never use.
If you need memory cards and bags, source them individually. You’ll save money and get what you want.

Canon

Canon Rebel T7i

  • $699
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.18 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 6 fps
  • 45-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon T7i, otherwise known as the EOS 80D has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Canon DSLR. It comes with a 24-Megapixel sensor, dual-pixel AF and even a tilt-flip touchscreen.
The viewfinder shares the same 45-point autofocus system from the 77D, making it a great contender for sports photography. This also matches with the possible 6 fps.
This camera shares most of the same specifications as the T6i. The resolution is the same, the weight is similar and they both have WiFi built in, alongside a vari-angle LCD screen.
The advantages with the T7i is the advanced technology, the longer usage time and the slightly faster burst rate. These come at a higher cost by around $150.
This is one of the best entry level DSLRs avaliable, and possibly the best that Canon has to offer in this list.
Canon Rebel T7i - best entry level dslr

Canon Rebel SL2

  • $499
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1 lb
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 9-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon Rebel SL2 boasts a great deal. It has a Digic 7 processor, Dual pixel autofocus, WiFi with NFC and Bluetooth. It even comes with a new interface, making it more accessible to beginners.
Its small size might be misleading, but as Nikon’s D3400 main competitor, it is just a tad smaller and lighter. The less weight is a welcome feature, perfect for long hikes and country hopping.
Compared to the SL1, it’s almost the same. Except here you get better focusing in live view. In terms of the Canon Rebel T7i, you do get more, but for a higher price.
If you don’t need the extra autofocus points, stick with this model. It will capture scenes excellently without breaking the bank.
Canon Rebel SL2 - best entry level dslr camera

Canon Rebel T6i

  • $549
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.22 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 19-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon Rebel T6i was the newer version of the Rebel T5i, adding more megapixels, a slightly faster burst capacity, and 10 more phase-detection points to its autofocus system.
Also coming with this system is the addition of WiFi and Near Field Communication (NFC).
Here, you’ll find the Hybrid CMOS AF III. Canon claims that the performance of the Hybrid CMOS III is close to that of the Dual Pixel AF found in the 70D and 7D II.
It’s a great camera to use. The image quality is excellent, and it performs well in low light situations, making it one of the best entry level DSLRs out there.
Canon Rebel T6i - best entry level dslr camera

Canon EOS 70D

  • $725
  • 20.2 Megapixels
  • 1.7 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 7 fps
  • 19-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon 70D is the most expensive option among their entry level DSLR range. It shares the same autofocus sensor as the more expensive mid-range 7D.
It has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels, but it uses a Dual Pixel CMOS AF design. This means each pixel is split into two separate readable photodiodes, which face left and right.
This means that, in principle, it is capable of phase detection autofocus. This feature works across 80% of the frame, down to 0 Exposure Values and up to f/11. All these attributes make this a very capable autofocus system.
Other attributes are the 7 frames per second and the Digic 5+ processor that was first seen in the beast we know as 5D Mark III.
Canon EOS 70D - best entry level dslrs

Nikon

Nikon D3400

  • $315
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 0.87 lbs (without battery)
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 11-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Nikon D3400 is the update on the Nikon D3300. It is specifically made for those first-time photographs with no experience of ILC (Inter-changeable Lens Cameras).
The difference here is the Snapbridge connectivity across devices using built-in Bluetooth. The battery life increased, but they scrapped the Ultrasonic sensor cleaning.
In terms of competition, this is a very similar Nikon version of the Canon T6i. The one thing that does set them apart is the battery life. The Nikon can capture 3 times more images on a single charge.
This camera is great for travel or any field of photography where you’ll need to hold your camera for extended periods of time. It doesn’t even weigh 1lb, so your arms and back will thank you for it.
Canon EOS 70D - best entry level dslr camera

Nikon D5300

  • $378
  • 24.1 Megapixels
  • 1.05 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The benefit of having an entry level camera is its ease of use. There is no need to have all the bells and whistles if you aren’t going to use them. They’ll just hinder your learning curve as a hobbyist photographer.
With the Nikon D5300, you get a very competitive range of features and settings. These are the 39 autofocus points, the 25,600 ISO range, and the 24-megapixel resolution.
The difference with this system is the added GPS. This makes it easy to reference your images, especially with Lightroom’s map module.
The few problems people have found with this entry level DSLR is the overly aggressive noise reduction. While most settings are easily found and changed, the white balance setting is buried deep within menus.
Nikon D5300 - dslr camera for beginners affordable dslr camera

Nikon D5600

  • $597
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.04 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The first thing you will notice about this miniature beast is its lightweight body. It is also very connected, having WiFi and Bluetooth built into the camera.
As we look across these entry level cameras, we see they are very similar. The only thing that separates this model from the Nikon D5600 is the addition of Snapbridge.
Snapbridge, if this is a new term for you, is Nikon’s answer to syncing the images you capture with your DSLR to other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.
The image quality is excellent, and in terms of the high ISO range, it is one of the best in our list. It keeps the quality high even in the lowest light situations.
best dslr camera for beginners

Nikon D5500

  • $529
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.4 lbs (with lens)
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 6 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

At 24.2 Megapixels, the Nikon D5500 is nothing special. It also has the competitive WiFi feature built-in, and a usual 39 point autofocus and 25,600 ISO range.
These settings are usually in this area of entry level cameras. It does have a solid noise reduction capability and is smaller and lighter than the Nikon D5300, also on this list.
How did they manage to make it lighter? Instead of polycarbonate, this camera uses a carbon fiber composite. It’s a great camera to use. One of the reasons for this is the curved grip, making it easier to hold.
Although it utilizes a pentamirror rather than the brighter and clearer pentaprism, you won’t notice any problems with this easy-going system.
Nikon D5500 - best dslr cameras for beginners

Pentax

Pentax KS-2

  • $555
  • 20 Megapixels
  • 1.49 lbs (with lens)
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5.4 fps
  • 45-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 51,200 ISO range

You might only be aware of Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Yet, Pentax makes a few really great entry level DSLRs that might surprise you.
The Pentax KS-2 is an all-weather camera. This means you can embrace the elements with landscape and adventure photography, without worrying about your device.
It is compact, yet is slightly heavier than the other entry level DSLRs. Some people prefer that, as the weight makes it easier to grip, hold and shoot with.
It offers excellent quality and decent performance for its class. The biggest area you will find that sets itself apart is its extended ISO range of a maximum 51,200. This is perfect for low light situations.
Pentax KS-2 - best entry level dslr camera

Pentax K-70

  • $670
  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.5 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 6 fps
  • 11-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 102.400 ISO range

There is a lot to like about this camera. Its incredibly high ISO range, faster frames-per-second than other entry level DSLR cameras and shift-stabilizer.
This is a function where the camera automatically detects a slanted horizon and corrects it. On top of this, there is the pixel shift function. Here, the camera takes four images to produce one huge photograph.
The body is splash-proof and can be used in inclement weather conditions.
The K-70 has two unique buttons to Pentax cameras. On the top is a green button that switches functions back to their default settings.
On the left-hand side, the camera offers a button that allows the user to toggle between JPEG and Raw mode. The camera offers two Raw formats: Pentax’s own “PEF” format and Adobe’s “DNG” format.
Pentax K-70 - best entry level dslr camera

Sony

Sony Alpha a68

  • $598
  • 24 Megapixels
  • 1.34 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • No Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 8 fps
  • 79-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Sony is almost a hybrid when it comes to DSLR cameras. It has an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical one, for example.
What you’ll find with this system is a 24 megapixel cropped sensor. It gives you a 79-point autofocus selection, and a frame rate of 8 shots a second.
These two settings make this camera great for fast-moving subjects that vary in distances from the camera.
This camera has lots of dials and buttons, making it easy to flip between the settings you need. Everything is viewed from the display panel, which can illuminate when dark.
Most of these buttons are customizable, allowing you to make the most of your device.
You won’t find WiFi or a touch screen – but these are bonus points and not necessary for amazing photography.
At $600, you’d be hard pushed to find another camera system that has this many advantages. If you don’t mind the electronic viewfinder, this camera is for you.
Sony Alpha a68 - best entry level dslr

Comparison

Like anything else in photography, your camera needs to reflect your field and involvement. DSLRs are a little too complicated and over-the-top if you are looking to only capture family group shots.
There are many DSLRs on the market across 4 or 5 different manufacturers. they come in a range of prices, suited to attracting hobbyists and professionals alike.
The best thing about owning an entry level DSLR camera in 2019 is they are far superior to the ones found in 2015, for example. As technology progresses, those changes drop-down to even the cheapest options.
Below is our comparison list of the 11 cameras we have reviewed.
Comparison list of the 11 cameras we have reviewed - best entry level dslr camera
Many of them are very similar across different specifications. They all create a 20-24 MP image, all have a cropped sensor, come with WiFi as standard and have an almost exact ISO range.
These are standard and expected even among entry level DSLR cameras. My professional camera from 10 years ago doesn’t have the same ISO range, but they are a standard in 2019.
Looking at this list, we see the specifications that are better and worse than the camera’s competitors. This is a good place to start, as it shows you the strengths and weaknesses of each system.
You will no doubt have an idea in mind of what you plan on doing with your camera. For me, being a live gig and musician photographer, a high ISO range is a must.
Due to this reason, I’m more likely to go for the Pentax cameras. For you, the ISO range of 25,600 might be enough. This range doesn’t mean that the cameras are going to be perfect when pushed to their limits.
If you are looking to capture moving objects, then the Sony is your best bet. This Alpha a68 system will capture 8 fps, 20% faster than its competitors.
For those who will spend long times outdoors, such as travel or street photographers, a weighty camera is a no-no. Here, you are more likely to go for the Nikon 3400 as it weighs less than an lb.
If budget is a big issue, then the cheapest entry level DSLR camera will be your best bet. Many photographers will tell you that your money is better spent on lenses rather than camera bodies and sensors.
They are right in some aspects, the main one being printing. The Nikon D3400 is only $315 but will allow you to print your images bigger than 20×30 inches. That should be enough.
Feeling lost and want to know more before buying? Check out our new post about understanding the different parts of a camera next!

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