Best Budget DSLR Cameras for Beginners 2020
If you’ve decided to jump forward and switch to a DSLR camera, here are the best Entry Level SLR cameras to buy this year. Brands, features and prices, here’s how to choose your next reflex to start, with the ranking of the best models on the market for beginners and enthusiasts. Scroll down to know more about best budget DSLR cameras for beginners in 2020.
Whether you come from a compact or a latest-generation smartphone, moving to an SLR camera is a decisive step that marks a clear difference in the quality of your shots.
Buying an SLR for beginners means opening the doors to the world of professional photography. You will discover many things previously unknown, you will have to learn some notions that will allow you to use your new camera to the full of its abilities, and you will begin to understand how professional photographers achieve high-quality results.
The DSLR SLR camera will not only be a machine that you will carry with you during the holidays; it will thrill you so much that you will start taking photos even in everyday life, making photography a real cultural pastime that perhaps in the future will also become something more substantial.
The choice of which model to buy is, therefore, an aspect to be carefully evaluated. Given that there are many choices on the market, between different brands and models, hiring the right entry-level can be a complicated undertaking.
For a quick global view, let’s start with a summary table of the best entry-level DSLRs on the market today and their main technical characteristics.
How to choose an entry-level reflex: Selection guide
To make the right choice, the best thing to do to get started is to start with your needs before going into the choice of the camera.
Ask yourself what your type of photography is, if you intend to do a little bit of everything or if you are specialising in a specific sector, such as sports and action, nature photography, landscapes, portraits, social photography or product photography.
It is also essential to know where and when the camera will be used to understand if the weight, structure and quality of the camera body will have an impact on your choice. For example, if you use the camera in humid environments or extreme weather conditions, it will be worth considering a camera body designed to withstand adverse weather.
Keep in mind that when you enter the reflex world, the choice of the brand will accompany you for a while, because after purchasing the camera, you will also have to buy lenses and other compatible components. For example, if you use a Canon camera, you won’t be able to use a Nikon lens unless you buy an adapter. The good news is that each production company boasts a large selection of lenses, flashes and other compatible components.
Just for photos or even videos?
Ask yourself if you will need to use the camera to produce high-quality videos, for example, if you want to create content for social media.
Today’s DSLRs are perfect for producing videos in Full HD at high resolution (1080p and 4K) and also in slow motion, but not all of them have these characteristics, so be careful when choosing.
If, on the other hand, you are not interested in the video part and plan to use it only for photographs, it will be possible to save a few euros and choose a camera that has the right characteristics for high-quality photos but without much pretension in the production of films.
Once you understand what the areas in which you intend to put the camera to the test are, it will be easier to choose. Depending on the use, you can automatically exclude some of the cameras proposed below and narrow the field down to a select few. The final decision is then up to you, depending on your budget and your preferences.
Best Budget DSLR Cameras for Beginners in 2020
Now let’s see what the best SLR cameras to start and understand what are the main differences between them, to identify better which one is the right one to buy according to your needs are.
- Nikon D3400
The best entry-level reflex camera to start in economics
The Nikon D3400 is the perfect choice for those who want to take photos or portraits and then immediately share on social media, thanks to the integrated Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to transfer images directly to smartphones as soon as they are taken.
With a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensor and a 3 ” LCD with a resolution of 921,000 points, this entry-level SLR from Nikon has all the features you are looking for in a quality camera.
The optical viewfinder has a magnification of 0.85x. Thanks to the 11 focus points, you can use the Nikon for portraits and group shots without worrying about your subject being out of focus.
The battery life is perfect, and if this is the first reflex that you will use, Nikon offers an excellent tool called Guide Mode (thanks to which you can quickly learn all the most essential features of a DSLR.
The display is not a touch screen, which means that you cannot select the focus point by touching the screen, but you will have to use the button selector. This is usually not a massive disadvantage in the world of digital photography. Many professional cameras do not have a touch screen, and in any case, find general approval in the professional world.
With the Nikon D3400, you can shoot in continuous shooting mode up to 5 frames per second, allowing you to capture the perfect pose within a single shot.
Record videos in FULL HD at 1080p up to 60p, you can then record slow-motion movies up to 60 frames per second, and audio output for an external microphone recommended improving the sound of your shots.
- Canon EOS 800D
The entry-level DSLR with top of the range performance
The Canon EOS 800D is the best entry-level DSLR to start with if you want the best performance. With this camera, you can produce high-quality photos, even in demanding situations such as sporting events and activities.
This is made possible by the autofocus speed that Canon achieves thanks to the 45 focus points. The shutter speed reaches up to 6 frames per second, ideal for capturing fast actions and selecting the best photo. The AF system is also equipped with an AI Servo function that allows you to follow moving subjects.
The screen is a touch screen and fully articulated, allowing angles of all kinds, even in selfie/vlog mode. The video quality is FULL HD 1080p up to 60fps. Thanks to IS (image stabilisation) technology, it will be possible to film by hand without micro-vibrations to obtain a semi-professional video quality. Too bad you cannot record videos in 4K, it would have been an excellent addition to a camera that has a price that is close to semi-professional.
Canon also offers a user experience that helps you better understand the camera as soon as you start using it. With the ” Guided Display ” option, it will be easy to understand the different features and settings and enter the world of photography with DSLR.
Bluetooth connectivity and Canon smartphone application will make it possible to share photos on your phone and use the camera remotely from your mobile phone.
- Nikon D5600
The best all-round reflex for expert beginners
A direct competitor of the Canon EOS 800D, and in the same price range, the Nikon D5600 arises, probably the best Nikon SLR camera to start.
In the Nikon world, the D3000 series (like the D3400 described above) speaks to an amateur and beginner audience, while if you want performances that come closest to a professional DLR, you will have to look for the severe D5000. We will say that the D5600 is the right choice for the amateur and enthusiastic photographer, who wants to give body to their creativity with a camera that meets every need, even when you want to use it in more demanding situations sport and action.
The D5600 is the camera that succeeds the D5500; the sensor is a 24.2 MP APS-C like the cameras mentioned above, system39-point AF and a 3.2 ”screen that can be angled in all directions with a touchscreen that behaves like that of your smartphone, with image enlargement and focus functions.
Note that unlike the Canon EOS 800D and Nikon D3400, the D5600 does not include a beginner’s guide mode, making learning the digital SLR a bit more difficult for beginners.
The video resolution reaches 1080p up to 60fps, even here it is not possible to shoot in 4K, and we report that the live-view AF system is a bit slow. In any case, the 39 focus points have a good response and allow you to isolate the subject without inaccuracies.
Also Check: Best Budget DSLR Cameras for Beginners in 2020
Like the D3400, with the Snapbridge mobile app, it will be possible to share photos instantly on the phone, and thanks to the adjustable screen, you can also shoot videos and take pictures in selfie or vlog mode.
Being in the same price range and having similar characteristics, if you are wondering which of the Nikon D5600 and Canon EOS 800D is the best, we would recommend Canon because the AF system is slightly better in speed and precision, there are more AF points available (45 against Nikon’s 39), and with Canon, you have the guide mode and continuous shooting of 6 fps against Nikon’s five fps.
For those who already have Nikon lenses to pair with the D5600, the two cameras are still very similar in image quality and performance; if you buy the D5600, you certainly won’t regret it.
- Sony Alpha A68
The SLR to start faster and faster
The Sony A68 is not strictly a traditional DSLR, nor is it strictly a reflex for beginners. It represents a hybrid system between reflex and mirrorless, called DSLT (T stands for translucent).
Inside the camera body in front of the sensor, there is a translucent mirror that does not rise when the shutter button is pressed. Being this an electronic shutter, the continuous shooting speed is higher than the traditional DSLR, and reaches up to 8 fps with the A68, against the 5 or 6 fps of the rivals.
The 79-point AF focusing system is also high-speed. Image recognition lives up to the most snappy professional cameras, making this camera body an ideal tool for taking action, sports and nature photos with moving animals. You can also record FULL HD movies at 1080p up to 50p.
The LCD screen is unfortunately not the best, indeed in this ranking, it ranks last among the selected cameras. The dimensions are 2.7 inches, and the resolution is 406,800 points, not only will it be difficult to use the screen to take photos, but checking that the image taken is to your liking will not be very pleasant. You will have to wait to view the photo on the PC or smartphone before realising the actual quality.
Fortunately, the Sony Alpha A68 comes equipped with wi-fi technology to download and display the image on the phone. It also boasts an excellent quality OLED electronic viewfinder, which covers 100% the frame and ensures optimal vision when carrying the camera to the eye.
- RICOH PENTAX K-70
A waterproof and quality entry-level DSLR
For those who like adventure and want a camera resistant to humidity and dust, the Pentax K-70 is the ideal choice, and with a performance that just isn’t entry-level. We will say that this camera can easily be placed among the mid-range DSLRs.
As for features, the Pentax has nothing to envy to competitors Nikon, Canon and Sony: 24MP APS-C sensor, six fps in continuous shooting mode, Wi-Fi connection to download photos to mobile, and internal stabiliser. The video part boasts FULL HD 1080p recording up to 60i (interlaced), or 720p to 60p for those who want to record slow-motion videos.
At a price close to the new entry levels of rival houses, the characteristic that leaves something to be desired is the quality of the autofocus system, which with only 9 AF points, is not in step with the competitors Nikon D5600 or Canon EOS 800D. Another aspect to consider is the weight; the Pentax is certainly the most robust and resistant camera compared to the cameras described in this article; unfortunately, this quality is at the expense of portability and lightness.
Attention to the battery life that is not the best, up to 480 shots, quickly resolved with the purchase of a spare battery to keep in the bag.
Apart from this, if you are looking for a camera that approaches the performance of a professional DSLR and that you can take with you without being afraid of rain, sand and dust, the Pentax K-70 is a highly recommended purchase, especially for the image quality that it can achieve thanks to Pentax’s JPEG engine which is one of the best, and the absence of an AA (anti-aliasing) filter which eliminates the moiré effect and allows more excellent definition.
- Pentax K-S2
Economic, robust and waterproof
A cheaper alternative to the K-70 is the Pentax K-S2, which also has the same qualities of strength and waterproofness, and the price is even less high.
The sensor resolution in the K-S2 is lower than its rivals, 20 MP against the 24 MP of the other cameras in this range, but apart from that, the camera has significant advantages. There is a 4K time-lapse recording option that no other camera in the same range has, 11 AF points and no AA filter for sharper and sharper images.
The LCD screen is adjustable and articulated, 3 ”and 921,000 points, and you can transfer photos to smartphones via Wi-Fi and through the dedicated Pentax application.
- Nikon D3300
One of the best SLR cameras to start ever
The Nikon D3300 sits just below the Nikon D3400; the two cameras have the same characteristics, except that the D3300 does not have the same connectivity functions unless you purchase an external device that allows it to connect Wi-Fi. Fi to the smartphone.
For the rest, the camera body is the same as the D3400, and the characteristics are the same, the image quality does not change, and the AF and continuous shooting performance are unchanged: 11 AF points and five frames per second in continuous shooting mode.
We recommend the purchase for beginners who are not interested in using the sharing function on smartphones; this camera is still one of the best on the market in terms of value for money, and for the amateur photographer who simply wants to enter the reflex world without spending too much money, the Nikon D3300 represents a respectable choice.
- Canon EOS 750D
The best choice for the beginner who starts from scratch
The Canon EOS 750D is perhaps Canon’s best camera for getting started with SLR photography from scratch. The image quality is excellent, and the characteristics are among the best in this category, at an affordable price.
Let’s go specifically: the 750D has a very solid and well-built machine body, with polycarbonate exterior and aluminium skeleton; the display is a 3, “and the resolution is 1,040,000 points with touchscreen technology; 19-point AF system; continuous shooting at five fps; video resolution up to 1080p. For the beginner and amateur photographer, these characteristics will be more than enough to satisfy all needs.
The 750D is the camera that precedes the 800D (described above), and unlike the Nikon D3300 / Nikon D3400 case where the gap between the two cameras is minimal, here we would like to report that for photographers looking for more modern performance, spend a little more and buying the 800D will, in the long run, be a more profitable choice.
Let us explain better: the Canon EOS 750D has all our respect and if you do not have too many claims, the quality of the photos and the performances are up to par, but if you proceed in the path from amateur photographer to enthusiastic expert, you will find that the 750D will have hardware limitations difficult to bridge.
First of all, the EOS 800D has 45 AF points against the 19 of the 750D, in video mode with the 750D, you can record a 1080p movie up to 30fps. In contrast, the 800D allows you to record 1080p up to 60fps, also not to be underestimated that with the new 800D, you also have the video stabiliser.
- Nikon D5300
A smart choice to start with the reflex
With a feature pack similar to the latest D5600, the Nikon D5300 is still a more valid option in the world of entry-level DSLRs. Announced by Nikon in October 2013, the D5300 boasts a 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, 39 autofocus points, 1080p video recording up to 60 fps, five fps continuous shooting and a 3.2 ”angled screen variable.
One of the differences between the D5300 and the D5600 is that in the new Nikon camera, the screen is the touchscreen; otherwise, the sensor is the same and the main features also. You can also connect the D5300 to your cell phone via Wi-Fi to download photos directly to your smartphone.
For those who are out and about all day, the Nikon D5300 can take up to 600 photos before the battery runs out, beating the Canon EOS 750D in this department.
The beginner photographer who loves taking generic photos and who does not need a touch screen will find that the D5300 meets all the characteristics and at an affordable price within the category.
- Canon EOS 200D
The compact entry-level DSLR for the frequent traveler
For those looking for a small size DSLR, we recommend the Canon EOS 200D. Canon has put this line of SLR cameras into production (the EOS 100D first and then the 200D) to respond to the growing popularity of mirrorless cameras. The EOS 200D is, therefore, excellent for the photographer who travels a lot and who wants to approach the DSLR world.
If you compare the characteristics of the 200D with the more expensive and modern 800D, you will find that the differences are minimal, perhaps the most important is the amount of AF points that in the 800D are 45 while in the 200D they are 9.
For bloggers and amateurs of the movie, the 200D offers FULL HD quality at 1080p up to 50 fps, and the articulated screen allows you to film from unconventional positions.
The world of photography, in the digital age, has opened doors for many new enthusiasts who for the first time, and in an amateur way, approach the wonders of this activity.
In this article we have given the guidelines for Best Budget DSLR Cameras for Beginners in 2020 analysing the selection criteria, drawing up the list of the best DSLR cameras of the moment, and suggesting the most effective and proven stratagems to save on the final price.
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