Best DSLR Cameras 2017 - Buyer's Guide & Reviews

Best DSLR Cameras 2017 - Buyer's Guide & Reviews

Ready to buy your first DSLR or looking to upgrading your existing camera?

We’ve selected the 5 best DSLR cameras available in 2017, making sure that there is something for everyone in our selection. So whether you’re a complete beginner, or a budding amateur photographer you’ll find the perfect DSLR camera for you in our list.

Best DSLR Cameras 2017

Below are our top 5 DSLR cameras for 2017. You can also scroll down, or click the links for our full reviews of each camera.

CameraSensorVideo 
Nikon D3300
Best Entry-Level DSLR
24.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i
Best Mid-Range DSLR
24 MP1080p / 30fpsCheck Price
Pentax K-50
Best For Action Photography
16.3 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Nikon D5500
Best Semi-Pro DSLR
24.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Canon EOS 6D
Best Affordable Full Frame DSLR
20.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Introduction

Thinking of buying your first DSLR? Ask yourself this important question:

Do you primarily want a camera with lots of flashy gimmicks and gadgets so that you can show them off to everyone you know? Or are you getting into photography because you want to take good photographs?

If it’s the former, then you can quickly empty your bank account paying for (admittedly often useful, but rarely actually essential) features that will be the envy of all your friends for at least several…umm, minutes. Or, if you really just want to take good photos but haven’t got a huge budget to play with, then you can save your money and go for the camera that offers the best image quality at the lowest price possible.

The choice is entirely yours of course, and it’s true that having built in Wi-Fi can be pretty handy, as can be a touch-sensitive screen – or many of the other extra options that start to be included in camera designs once you move up the price-scale. But just remember that neither of these additions will make even the slightest bit of difference to the quality of the photographs you take with the camera. None. Zero. Whereas investing in, say, a decent lens, or a tripod that doesn’t wobble around each time you use it, very definitely will have a positive effect on your image making.

So, if cost is an issue, then you might be better advised to go for the simplest model and save any extra money for one of these other more essential items instead.

Ask yourself this important question: do you primarily want a camera with lots of flashy gimmicks and gadgets so that you can show them off to everyone you know, or are you’re getting into photography because you want to make good photographs?

With that said, here’s our review of the 5 best entry-level DSLR cameras currently available at different price points.

1

Nikon D3300 – Best DSLR For Beginners In 2017

Nikon D3300

Considering the price, then, there’s very little negative that can be said about the D3300.

Let’s start right off by saying that it’s pretty impressive that Nikon are able to offer a camera capable of producing such sharp, detailed images at this price point.

Sure, you don’t get all the latest time and labour-saving features of more expensive models, but if your number one priority is shooting good quality photographs that will stand up to enlarged printing then this camera will get you there more cheaply than anything else currently on the market.

While the 3300’s predecessor, the 3200, also offered an impressive 24.2 megapixel image sensor (APS-C CMOS), what makes this model a real leap forward in terms of image quality is the removal of the anti-alias filter, leading to much sharper photos.

The D3300 offers a fairly stripped-down shooting experience, without too many unnecessary distractions or gimmicks – in many ways  exactly what is needed when first getting to grips with the technical basics of photography. As if this didn’t sufficiently establish the camera’s beginner credentials, Nikon have included a useful guide mode that offers example images and step-by-step instructions on how to achieve certain kinds of photographs.

front / side view
front / side view
Rear view / viewfinder
Rear view / viewfinder
front view with flash
front view with flash
navigate_before
navigate_next

Considering the price, then, there’s very little negative that can be said about the D3300.

Continuous-shooting is at a very respectable 5 fps, ISO ranges from 100 through to 12800, and video recording is full HD 1080p at 60 fps. The only notable omission, when compared to higher priced cameras, is the lack of Wi-Fi for offloading your images. Although even this isn’t such a big deal in the end, as for those that cannot bare the tedium of having to use ye olde card-reader to get their files onto the computer, Nikon sell a fairly cheap Wi-Fi adapter separately anyway.

Oh, but you wanted one of those nice shiny-touch screens? One that swivels out too? Tough. This camera does everything you actually need to shoot high quality images, and it does so at an amazing price. You want integrated back-scratcher and foot-massager? Fine, but you’ll pay a lot more.

View On Amazon

2

Canon EOS 750D – Best Mid Range DSLR In 2017

canon-eos-750d

The 750D offers many of the ‘luxury extras’ that the Nikon D3300 lacks.

In many ways the 750D is quite similiar to Nikon’s highly recommended D3300 (above): the excellent quality sensor (APS-C CMOS) captures 24.2 megapixel images; burst shooting is an identical 5 fps; and ISO also runs from 100 up to 12800 (although this is expandable to 25600). Likewise, video is full HD 1080p.

However, it should be noted that Nikon’s (cheaper) offering outperforms the 750D as far as frame rate is concerned, with the Canon only managing 30 fps (as opposed to the Nikon’s 60 fps).

If stills photography is your main concern, rather than video, then naturally this last point isn’t likely to sway your decision too much. What might push you further in the direction of the Canon, however, is the fact that the 750D offers many of the ‘luxury extras’ that the Nikon D3300 lacks.

There’s no foot-massager or peanut-dispenser unfortunately, however the Canon is equipped with Wi-Fi and a 3-inch articulating touch-screen, so if you really do feel like you need these convenient features then laying down the extra cash to invest in the 750D will net you them without either breaking the bank or forcing you to accept a compromise in image quality.

In fact, if anything, the Canon’s sensor is perhaps marginally better than the Nikon’s. This is especially the case in lower lighting conditions, where the Canon performs extremely well and shooting at a higher ISO produces relatively little noise.

Finally, as another point in its favour, the 750D offers a 19-point focusing system, so will likely be a touch faster than the Nikon (which has 11 focus-points).

Side view
Side view
Front view
Front view
Rear view / viewfinder
Rear view / viewfinder
navigate_before
navigate_next

Aside from the price difference and the somewhat average video fps-rate, the only other slight drawback of the EOS 750D, when compared with the Nikon D3300, is just the size of the camera: Nikon’s offering is on the small size for a DSLR, while Canon’s leans more towards the larger end of the scale (but obviously isn’t nearly as big as a full-frame camera).

To sum up, then, if video isn’t your primary concern, and you’ve got a little more money to spend, then by all means make the jump up to the EOS 750D and enjoy the unquestionable convenience this camera offers in the way of extra features.

Note: The Canon EOS 750D is known as The EOS Rebel T6i in the USA.

View On Amazon

3

Pentax K-50 – Best DSLR For Action Photography In 2017

Pentax K-50

All in all, then, Pentax’s K-50 offers an affordable route into shooting all-weather action and adventure photography.

The primary advantage the K-50 offers over the other DSLRs we’ve looked at so far is that this camera is weatherproof (note that this means it’s dust and rain proof and fully functions down to -10 degrees, not that you can drop it in the bath).

Of course, the K-50 is by no means the only such DSLR on the market, but it’s certainly one of the cheapest cameras to offer this level of protection against the elements – although you’ll need to use it with one of Pentax’s similarly weather resistant (WR) lenses if you want to be sure it’s fully doing its thing.

This fact, coupled with a marginally faster burst-shooting rate, make the camera an ideal tool for capturing extreme sports. In this context too, the 100% viewfinder will prove an aid to fast and accurate composition of the action and Pentax’s built-in Shake-Reduction image stabiliser will help keep your images free of movement even when shooting on the run.

Naturally, in offering such a durable piece of equipment at this cheaper price point something had to give, and in many respects the K-50 is inferior to other similarly or even lower priced cameras. Most glaringly, although its sensor (APS-C CMOS) is of high quality, the Pentax manages only a paltry 16.3 megapixels.

Additionally, there’s no Wi-Fi and the screen is neither touch-sensitive nor articulating. Equally, the limited range of compatible lenses might put some people off too (but really, how much choice does anyone actually need?).

For the rest, everything is pretty standard though, and certainly wont hold you back in any way: ISO is 100 to 51,200; video is full HD 1080 and will capture at a rate of up to 60 fps. Slightly less standard, though, is that the K-50 comes in an enormous choice of different colour schemes – should you be in the market for a fuchsia and lime-green camera.

All in all, then, Pentax’s K-50 offers an affordable route into shooting all-weather action and adventure photography. if this is your thing, and you can live with the trade-off in other areas (principally image quality), then there’s little else out there that’ll get you up and running (or skiing, or dirt-biking, or…) at so reasonable a price.

View On Amazon

4

Nikon D5500 – Best Semi-Pro DSLR In 2017

Nikon D5500

The only notable criticism we can make is that, given the increased financial outlay for this camera when compared with the D3300, Nikon really should have made more of an effort to get the live-view focusing working a bit faster.

Lighter and more compact than some of the other DSLRs we’ve looked at here, Nikon’s D5500 makes a great alternative to the D3300 for anyone wanting to get the same great Nikon image quality without compromising on either portability or features.

Like the D3300, the D5500 has a fantastic 24.2 megapixel, non-anti-aliased sensor (APS-C CMOS); burst shoots up to 5 fps; has a maximum video resolution of 1080p and will capture video at a rate of up to 60 fps.

However, unlike the D3300, built-in Wi-Fi is included and the camera not only features an articulating touch-sensitive screen, but one that is slightly bigger than the usual 3-inch screen found on most entry-level cameras. ISO goes up to 25,600 and the D5500 produces relatively noise-free images up to around 6400 ISO.

For sure, this is not the same kind of bargain-priced, foot-in-the-door to top-standard imagery that the D3300 offers, however for the extra premium you pay for the D5500 you still get all the same high-quality essential features as on the 3300, plus many additional ones that no doubt make shooting just that little bit easier.

The only notable criticism we can make is that, given the increased financial outlay for this camera when compared with the D3300, Nikon really should have made more of an effort to get the live-view focusing working a bit faster. Nonetheless, overall it’s a great all-round camera that is capable of delivering high-quality images and is unlikely to leave you wishing for too many extra features.

In short, the only real step up beyond the D5500 would be to a full-frame model – which, it just so happens, is precisely what we’ll look at next…

View On Amazon

5

Canon EOS 6D – Best Affordable Full Frame Camera In 2017

canon-eos-6d2

If you do decide to go the full-frame route then what’s certain is that it currently doesn’t come much cheaper than this.

The 6D offers the same high-quality, full-frame sensor (36 x 24mm CMOS) as Canon’s famous 5D MKIII – but for a lot less money.

Sure, 20.2 megapixels doesn’t sound particularly impressive in this day and age – especially when you consider that even the cheapest camera we’ve looked at here outdoes this figure – but it’s important to mention that, while megapixel-count is clearly still an important factor, it is no longer the sole determinant of image-quality. This is not the place to go into a full discussion of precisely what does dictate image quality, but needless to say that a camera that comes equipped with a full-frame sensor has a pretty considerable head-start over others that aren’t quite so well endowed.

Some of you might be asking whether a full-frame DSLR counts as a ‘beginner’s camera’. It’s a reasonable question. A reasonable answer might be to make a comparison with cooking: just because an assistant-chef is only starting out in their profession doesn’t mean that they should use poor-quality ingredients (someone still has to eat the results of their handiwork). Likewise, just because you still have a lot to learn doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re never going to want to make large-scale prints of any of the images you produce in your first few years.

Side view
Side view
Front view
Front view
Rear view / viewfinder
Rear view / viewfinder
Top view
Top view
navigate_before
navigate_next

Whether you’re serious enough about photography to justify spending the kind of money that the 6D retails for is a question you’ll have to answer for yourself, but if your interest in shooting goes beyond just documenting personal and family moments to upload to social-media then you may want to consider making the leap to a full-frame camera sooner rather than later.

Although all the other cameras we look at here are no doubt capable of producing great prints, none will have quite the level of quality and depth as photos shot on the 6D. Again, for anyone just uploading their shots to flickr, full-frame is clearly overkill. But if, on the other hand, you think that you might one day want to do something else with your images, then shooting them full-frame now will keep that door open for you until such a day might arrive. If you do decide to go the full-frame route then what’s certain is that it currently doesn’t come much cheaper than this.

OK, so full-frame is good. We got that. What’s the bad news?

Well, if you were hoping you could talk yourself out of the 6D on the grounds that it’s missing numerous essential features, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you somewhat. Of course, even at this relatively high price you can’t expect to be given absolutely everything. Firstly there’s no built-in flash (although this is often a sign that a camera is pitched towards more serious photographers). Perhaps less forgivable in the eyes of some users, however, is the fact that the rear screen is fixed. Also, while not the end of the world, the viewfinder covers only about 97% of the image area. Furthermore, there’s only space for one SD card – again, not a major crime, but a little moan about this doesn’t feel totally unjustified considering the price tag. The 11-point autofocus system is certainly no better than some of the much cheaper options we’ve looked at here, and at 4.5 fps the burst rate is actually the worst of all five. But that’s pretty much it.

Meanwhile, the 6D’s video capability is equal to all the other cameras we’ve reviewed above (1080p), if not better (60 fps), so there’s nothing to worry about on this front, and ISO runs from 100 to 25,600, so no problems there either. Likewise, Wi-Fi is present, as is GPS, so anyone craving a little pampering and luxury is equally catered for.

We should note that the 6D has been around for a few years now and rumours about the imminent release of a MKII version have reached feverish levels in the last few months. Hence if you do decide that the 6D is for you then it might be worth biding your time slightly – either to pick up the next generation with all its inevitable improvements as it hits stores, or alternatively to grab the original version at a discounted price.

View On Amazon

So Which Is The Best DSLR Camera in 2017?

In closing, lets go back to what was said in the introduction regarding essentials and luxuries: Wi-Fi, touch-screens, built-in flash etc. are all fine, and can be a genuine aid to shooting, but they will not help you become a better photographer.

Furthermore, as a beginner who still hasn’t found their own particular shooting-style, you are not yet in a position to know which of the many extra technical features out there you might genuinely have need for. This will come with time and experience ‘in the field’.

In the meantime, whether you trigger the release by means of Wi-Fi over your smartphone or by dialing up an assistant from a payphone on the other side of the street and asking them to press the shutter, viewers of your photos will be none the wiser. On the other hand, you can be sure that they will notice if the technical quality of your images isn’t up to scratch. By all means choose a camera that offers useful extra features, but make sure it doesn’t do so at the expense of image quality.

Having said this, while the 5 different DSLRs we review here offer varying levels of technical sophistication, and some may have more or less handy features than others, they are all capable of producing high quality images and offer excellent value for money.

However, if we were to choose two from these that are best suited to beginners who want to get to grips with the basics of serious photography whilst keeping an eye on their budget, then the clear favourites would be the Nikon D3300 at one end of the spectrum, and the Canon EOS 6D at the other.

Both are no-nonsense workhorse cameras that dispense with unnecessary gimmicks in favour of knuckling down to do the job they are designed to do in the most straightforward way. Yes, there’s a major step up in cost between the one and the other, but arguably if you’re going to spend more than the price of a D3300, then you might as well go the whole-hog and jump for the full-frame 6D and be done with it.

CameraSensorVideo 
Nikon D3300
Best Entry-Level DSLR
24.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i
Best Mid-Range DSLR
24 MP1080p / 30fpsCheck Price
Pentax K-50
Best For Action Photography
16.3 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Nikon D5500
Best Semi-Pro DSLR
24.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price
Canon EOS 6D
Best Affordable Full Frame DSLR
20.2 MP1080p / 60fpsCheck Price

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *