A DSLR opens up a world of creative opportunity and will take you on an enthralling photographic journey of discovery. Shooting with a DSLR allows you to add a pleasing blur to the background of your shots, capture an impressively high level of detail in the dark and take full control of the settings to realise your photographic vision. Here we take a look at 5 of the best entry level DSLRs you should consider to take your photography to the next level.
1. Canon 1300D
The Canon 1300D has an 18MP sensor
Canon’s entry level DSLR is a great start point if you’re looking for something to progress your hobby. It comes with an 18MP APS-C sensor with a built-in Optical Low Pass Filter to combat moiré. This might be the lowest resolution of the 5 DSLRs under review here, but it’s still plenty big enough to make reasonable crops and print A3 size. The sensor is paired with Canon’s DIGIC 4+ processor, and this gives the 1300D a native ISO range of 100-6400, but this can be expanded to ISO 12,800 for extreme low light shooting. The frame rate is capped at a pedestrian 3fps, but unless you’re looking to shoot hair-raising action this is fast enough for everyday situations. For focusing the 1300D employs a 9-point AF system, and if you want to shoot movies Full HD is on offer. If you can’t wait to share your shots with the world this camera features both WiFi and NFC so it can be paired with your smartphone for instant wireless image transfer. On the back of the camera you’ll find a 3.0in 920k-dot LCD, and the entire body weighs just 485g. This is one of the most affordable DSLRs on the market and is a great introduction to the benefits of DSLRs.
2. Nikon D3400
Nikon’s entry level DSLR has a 24.2MP sensor
The entry level offering from Nikon features a 24.2MP APS-C sensor with a built-in Optical Low Pass Filter. This is resolution is matched by most other APS-C DSLRs on the market, and seems to be the current optimum pixel count for a cropped sensor camera. It’s partnered by Nikon’s EXPEED 4 processor and this gives the chip a native sensitivity of ISO 100-25,600, allowing for plenty of detail when shooting in low light. With a top shooting speed of 5fps, it’s a bit speedier than Canon’s entry-level DSLR. To set the focus there’s an 11-point AF system on board. If you’re looking to shoot Full HD movies with your DSLR then the D3400 also includes a built-in microphone and speaker for the accompanying audio. The D3400 can also be connected to a smart device, but opts for Bluetooth over WiFi as it consumes less power, and speaking of which the included battery will last for 1200 shots. On the back there’s a 3.0in 921k-dot LCD and the body weighs just 460g.
3. Pentax K-S1
The Pentax K-S1 offers built-in image stabilisation
If you’re a fan of the Pentax brand then you should be considering the K-S1 as your first DSLR. It’s the only camera in this entry-level bracket that offers built-in image stabilisation to help reduce the effects of camera shake. The sensor offers a resolution of 20.1MP and instead of an Optical Low Pass Filter features an Anti-Aliasing filter simulator to minimise moiré. The K-S1 has an ISO range of 100-51,200 and shoots at a speedy 5.4fps – the fastest of any entry-level DSLR under review. For focusing the K-S1 has an 11-point AF system, 9 of which are the more advanced cross-type AF sensors. This camera also shoots Full HD video, and uniquely features a strip of LEDs in the handgrip which change colour when shooting movies or stills, and also act as a countdown during the self timer. On the rear there’s a 3.0in 921k-dot LCD, and the body tips the scales at 558g.
4. Canon 200D
The Canon 200D is the lightest DSLR with a vari angle LCD
The 200D is the smallest DSLR in Canon’s line-up, but sits above the 1300D in terms of tech specs. Inside the diminutive body there’s a 24.2MP sensor with a built-in Optical Low Pass Filter. The imaging chip is powered by Canon’s DIGIC 7 processor which makes it more powerful than the 1300D, giving a top shooting speed of 5fps. The more advanced processor also gives the 200D a better low light performance, with a native ISO range of 100-25,600, which can be expanded to 51,200 if need be. For setting the focus there’s a 9-point AF system, or if using Live View there’s 49 AF points on offer and these feature Canon’s Dual Pixel technology to achieve the focus with more speed and precision. The 200D is well-suited to 2017 as WiFi and NFC are included, allowing the camera to be easily paired with your smart device. Like the other DSLRs in this category, the 200D also offers Full HD movie recording. On the rear of the camera you’ll find a 3.0in 1040k vari angle touchscreen, and weighing just 453g it’s the lightest DSLR in the world that also features a vari-angle LCD.
5. Nikon D5500
The Nikon D5500 offers a 3.2in 1037k-dot vari angle touch LCD
If you’re keen on a Nikon DSLR but want a bit more bang for your buck then the D5500 is worthy of your consideration. It shares the same 24.2MP sensor and EXPEED 4 processor at the D3400, so the shooting speed is matched at 5fps and the same sensitivity of ISO 100 – 25,600. The D5500 kicks it up a notch when it comes to focusing, and uses a more advanced 39-point AF system, giving lots more options when focusing through the viewfinder. Unlike the D3400 this more advanced DSLR features WiFi to allow you to pair the camera with your smart device to transfer files and instantly share online. The D5500 also offers the biggest screen of any of these entry-level models, with a 3.2in 1037k-dot vari angle touchscreen, making it a breeze to compose from more challenging angles. Tipping the scales at just 470g, it’s also one of the lighter DSLRs around.