Best DSLR Cameras for Professional and Amateur Photographers

While it is true that DSLR cameras are bulkier than mirrorless cameras, it is also true that they produce beautiful, high-quality images. A DSLR gives you the experience of seeing directly through the lens thanks to its optical mirror viewfinder, and in some cases the battery lasts longer. Today, the Nikon D780 stands out among the best DSLR cameras; its great performance (shooting with both the viewfinder and live view mode), along with a high quality video mode, make this a great option for serious photo lovers; even for some professionals.

Although it’s also a good idea to learn about mirrorless cameras, if you’ve already decided to buy a DSLR, we’ll help you choose with this list of our favorites.

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First: what is a DSLR camera?

Many photographers still prefer DSLRs for intensive work. Any modern DSLR, coupled with a good lens, is capable of creating incredible images. The more advanced models offer solid performance, more features, and higher build quality, but of course they don’t come cheap.

A DSLR is a type of camera that uses interchangeable lenses. DSLRs are also known as digital SLRs, the modern version of SLRs that used to use film. A DSLR uses a mirror to reflect light from the lens upward to the optical viewfinder; when the trigger is pressed the mirror moves so that the light then reaches the sensor.

Although the mirror makes these cameras larger than other types, the optical viewfinder shows a clearer image, as it is like looking through a window rather than looking at a small screen. This is also the reason why the battery in these cameras lasts longer: they don’t need to power those electronic viewfinders. However, you won’t be able to see the effects of your exposure settings like you would on a mirrorless camera.

The DSLR camera makers that dominate the market are Canon and Nikon, although you can also find good quality options from Pentax and other brands.

Nikon D780

Why should you buy it? Because it’s a DSLR that can handle just about anything.

For whom it is?

For those hobbyists who want a powerful camera that can do a lot of things.

The D780 is not only Nikon’s newest DSLR; it is also the most refined. It replaced the incredibly popular D750 (from 2014) and uses a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor. Although the resolution is the same as the D750, the D780 is capable of reaching an ISO of 51,200.

The D780 can be considered the DSLR version of the Nikon Z 6 without a mirror. This is the first DSLR to incorporate phase detection autofocus on the chip, giving it good performance in both live viewing and video shooting. The eye autofocus is particularly impressive. And unlike the Z 6, the D780 includes two SD memory card slots.

Through the viewfinder, the D780 uses the same 51-point autofocus system as the D750, but has been updated with the flagship D5 camera’s autofocus algorithm for greater precision. And while it wasn’t created specifically for sports photography, the D780 does a great job in this field, capturing up to 7 frames per second. If you switch to live view you will have 12 frames per second with the electronic trigger.

When compared to mirrorless cameras (and most other DSLRs), the D780 has a marathon battery. It can work all day, producing 2,260 shots per charge, the best performance we’ve seen. Sure, not everyone needs that power, but it’s a very useful feature for those who do, like wedding photographers.

Video is another strong point of the D780. Not only does it have 4K quality, but it also offers 10-bit output via HDMI for recording to an external device. That, combined with Nikon’s flat N-Log color profile, makes it suitable for professional use. This is the first Nikon DSLR with these features and thus its best DSLR for video. The LCD screen rotates up and down to allow you to shoot from different angles.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Best Canon DSLR

Why should you buy it? This versatile full-frame camera offers fast 4K autofocus

For whom it is?:

For photographers who are moving into the world of full-frame photography

Full-frame, or full-frame cameras tend to be well built across all components, and there are plenty of great options, but Canon’s EOS 5D Mark IV is one of our favorites. For its price, it features a host of Canon’s latest technology, within a camera body that isn’t much larger than high-end APS-C DSLR cameras, which is ideal for sports or activity photographers. fast moving, they need to run or carry multiple cameras with them. In our hands, the camera felt comfortable to hold, especially during a full day of shooting, from morning to night. The 5D Mark IV is a full-frame camera that will appeal to professionals and enthusiasts, particularly those who are entering full-frame for the first time.

In addition to a newly developed 30 megapixel full-frame sensor, and the latest image processor (Digic 6+), the 5D Mark IV uses a 61-point autofocus system and Canon’s dual-pixel AF system, which provides fast autofocus when in live view mode. The camera also features Dual Pixel RAW, which allows you to correct focus errors. Even when we tested it in the dim darkness of dawn and dusk, we found the autofocus to be fast and accurate. The camera also has faster continuous shooting, at 7 fps (no limit when using JPEG), and is the first model in the 5D series to include Wi-Fi / NFC and GPS. Dual card slots (CompactFlash and SD) allow you to save RAW images to one, and JPEG to the other, simultaneously.

The 5D Mark II camera made the DSLR cinema trend more popular. Although the 5D series is no longer the standard carrier, Canon brought 4K video capture to the 5D Mark IV. The camera records very good video, particularly at Full HD 1080 at 60fps, but 4K video is cropped and the camera does not support 4K outputs via HDMI, so videographers might find the 5D Mark IV limitation for a stream of 4K work.

Canon’s latest 5D is a stellar and versatile full-frame camera that will suit many photographers, whether on the move or in the studio. While it does have some downsides in video, it is a strong camera for videography. If you are looking for a camera with a faster burst speed, you should consider the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II or the Nikon D5. For high resolution still images, the Canon EOS 5DS is best suited for portrait work and studio photography, but for everything else, the 5D Mark IV is our pick.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i
The best DSLR for beginners

Why should you buy it? For its performance, features and ease of use, all in an affordable package.

For whom it is? For those buying a DSLR for the first time.

The Rebel T7i is still Canon’s best Rebel. Built around the same sensor and autofocus systems as the more expensive EOS 80D, the T7i packs a punch for an entry-level camera. In our review, we found that its 45-point viewfinder autofocus easily kept up with the planes competing in the Red Bull Air Race, while the on-sensor dual-pixel autofocus worked almost flawlessly for video. and live image capture. With a burst rate of 7 frames per second, you won’t have a problem keeping up with your kid’s minor league game either.

But performance isn’t the only thing that makes the T7i a great camera. It also incorporates the new Function Wizard menu system, which guides beginners through the various exposure modes and settings, offering illustrated explanations of aperture effects and shutter speeds. This makes the T7i as accessible as it is powerful, and it is truly one of the most comprehensive cameras available for beginners and hobbyists on limited budgets.

Canon EOS 90D
Best DSLR for video

Why should you buy it? For its excellent autofocus in live view mode, its articulated touch screen and its good battery.

For whom it is? For those who need a camera to make video.

The truth is that the Nikon D780 could also be in this category. But if you want a camera that makes quality video without having to shell out more than $ 2,000, the 90D is worth a look. Plus, this one has something the D780 doesn’t: a screen that rotates 180 degrees. Not that we recommend a DSLR for vlogging, but if you wanted, you could do it with the 90D.

With Canon’s EOS 80D came Dual Pixel autofocus technology to speed up autofocus in live view mode. Now the 90D adds 4K quality to the equation. Unlike previous Canon DSLRs with 4K, the 90D does this without cutting the sensor, which means that your field of view does not switch between still and video modes, or when you switch between 1080p and 4K resolutions. And with the latest firmware update you can shoot 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second, while 1080p can reach 120 frames per second, for slow motion playback.

The 90D is also a good camera for still photography. Its 32.5 megapixel sensor is the highest resolution in a cropped sensor camera, and its 10 frames per second burst is capable of capturing almost any action. Its battery is good too, with 1,300 shots per charge, and the image quality is among the best among cameras with an APS-C sensor.

Nikon D3500
The best DSLR for travel

Why should you buy it? For its beginner-friendly features and compact body.

For whom it is? For travelers and people who have never used a DSLR before.

This entry-level Nikon DSLR is a lightweight, easy-to-carry camera whose redesigned body is also more ergonomic and compact. Also, the design was made with beginners in mind. Its controls are simple and it has a Guide mode that gives you tips to take better photos.

Despite its small size, the D3500 houses a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor that offers images of a much higher quality than the photos on your phone, plus you will have the versatility of interchangeable lenses. It only shoots bursts of 5 frames per second and uses an 11-point autofocus system, but its price is very affordable and, if you are a beginner, you will not need more.

The maximum video quality is Full HD at 1080p, and you won’t have the help of things like Dual Pixel autofocus. But for newbie photographers, the D3500 offers more than enough to inspire you to put your phone aside and venture into the world of interchangeable lens photography.

Should you buy a Canon or a Nikon DSLR?

Long-time rivals Canon and Nikon often have models that compete side by side. Which brand is better? There is no quick and easy answer to the question, as both brands are excellent. You may be the first to introduce a compelling new technology, or have a better-performing feature, but there is rarely a clear winner.

Comparing specific models is better for making up your mind than just going by brand. Look for the features that matter most to you, which could be low-light image quality, speed, or live view autofocus performance, and pay attention to the lenses as well. Nikon, for example, makes a 105mm f / 1.4 lens that Canon doesn’t have, while Canon offers an incredibly wide 11-24mm f / 4 lens, nonexistent at Nikon.