If you are planning to get into photography but don’t want to spend a fortune on getting a good camera, we got you covered. We tested & reviewed more than 30 different cameras and came up with the 5 best budget dslr cameras in the market for this year. Let’s not waste any more time and take a look at them.
1. Nikon D90
The best budget DSLR camera comes unsurprisingly from Nikon and its D90. This camera is a pretty old one for today’s standards, however, it still delivers plenty of desirable qualities on its beautiful chassis. It is one of the easiest DSLRs to use, takes amazing photos, has a great build quality and durability, a wide set of features and many more. If you want to begin your photography journey you can’t go wrong with the Nikon D90, a top-notch camera.
First off I have to mention that this is a pretty compact camera, which measures about 5.2x3x4.1 but it is a little hefty at about 1.55-pounds. However, this weight adds, substantiality and durability to the product, making it an ultra quality camera. It has a nice style and aesthetics, that make this camera look cute, and there are tons of buttons and dials on the device that give you plenty of control on the fly.
On top you will spot a status LCD that allows you to see different info, the body is also equipped with Vibration Reduction, which is a form of optical image stabilization to provide clear results. The 3-inch LCD in the rear is also pretty dense and you can get amazing reviews of your photographs with great accuracy, and you can control the settings easily from the screen.
This camera is amazingly easy to use, as its handgrip, albeit small, delivering plenty of security and stability while shooting. The controls are very easy to use as I mentioned, and the camera is extremely quiet while operating, it has a pretty quick startup and it is also speedy overall. On the optical viewfinder, you will spot the 11-point autofocus points aligned in a diamond shape, and the Multi-Cam 1000 AF engine delivers 3D focus tracking and face detection abilities.
The Nikon D90 is equipped with a 12.3MP CMOS sensor that is excellent and delivers amazing results in a lot of scenarios and it has 12-bit output. It delivers consistent and excellent results in high ISO settings as well, and in good lighting, it takes amazing pictures, in addition to that the Live View mode just makes things amazing. Definitely one of the best budget DSLR cameras out there.
2. Nikon D3300
Most camera manufacturers are extra careful about their entry-level devices because most of the first time buyers will continue their path with the devices from the same brand if the experience was pleasant and amusing. The most notable camera brand in the entry-level market is Nikon, and it is also the most popular one with beginners as they have mastered producing such cameras. The Nikon D3300 is such a product delivering plenty of desirable qualities at its affordable price, like its ultra-powerful sensor that offers great images, ease of use, quality build and many more.
Despite being a budget camera, the Nikon D3300 has pretty good construction, thanks to its single-piece polycarbonate build, that makes it very sturdy and durable, while not raising the costs at the same time. It has a pretty compact body that weighs just 460grams in total, with the battery and SD card included. On its body you will spot a pretty deep and comfortable handgrip that makes it very comfortable and gives security, the leather texture just makes things better.
The device comes with 11-point autofocus and 1 cross-type autofocus point, on top of that it also has an AF assist illuminator and a 3D tracking AF system, making this camera a pretty capable one, and you will learn a lot about AF. The camera was very speedy, in good light conditions it was great, and in dim ambients, it wasn’t far back.
Speaking about the speed it can shoot 5 frames per second in burst shooting mode and has a pretty capable battery life of about 700 shots. The dedicated 420-pixel processor is responsible for collecting exposure for better focus and white balance. The ISO range of this camera is from 100 to 12800 and can be expanded up to 25600, however, you don’t have a low-pass filter. The colours were bright and natural even with the lack of it though.
With its 24.2MP CMOS DX sensor, this device is destined for bigger things and you will be pleased regardless of your skill level.
3. Canon EOS Rebel T3i
Canon’s prowess in the camera manufacturing business is pretty impressive, as it is one of the most notable and popular brands in the market. Its budget cameras are one of the best, and if you have a little more relaxed budget, you can opt for a nicer camera like the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, which delivers nice qualities, such as the sharp 18MP sensor, amazing vari-angle display, 1080p video shooting capabilities, fast shooting, and easy to use features, that make it a gem in the budget range.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i gives a pretty unassuming first impression, adopting the design of many entry-level DSLR cameras, not a bad thing per se though. This is a measurement that the manufacturer probably took, to cut down the costs while still delivering good shooting performance.
However, when you take a deeper look, you will notice the 3-inch vari-angle display on the back of it, that is rated at 1 million pixels and compared to other entry-level cameras the adjustability makes it a preferable choice, allowing you to be more versatile and give you plenty of shooting opportunities.
The lens mount on this camera is one of the most important features, allowing you to use all the lenses over the 60EF-S, thanks to its Canon EF mount. It is also equipped with plenty of buttons and dials, delivering you a professional level of control and adjustability, and it is worth mentioning that they are very intuitively placed, meaning that you can use them on the fly. The optical viewfinder on this camera offers a 95-percent of coverage, and while it is not the brightest, it is pretty good with its diopter control and rubber eyecup.
The Canon EOS Rebel T3i uses the same 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor that the company’s high-end models use, and don’t worry about the 18MP because it will prove to be plenty for most of the shooting you will do. In burst shooting mode it managed to shoot 4 frames per second, and the results came out very vibrant, colourful and detailed. The autofocus system worked very well and it focused rather quickly, but it didn’t have too many autofocus points.
Impressing with its performance, and affordable price, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i is a camera to be a fan of.
4. Canon SL1
For frequent travelers that want to dive into the DSLR camera market, I would suggest a compact camera that shoots fast and can focus in a quick manner. The Canon SL1 fits the description, with its portable design, touchscreen display, seamless live view focus experience, amazing performance in high sensitivity settings, ease of use and affordable price, the Canon SL1 does everything right.
This DSLR camera is pretty small and tiny measuring 3.6×4.6×2.7-inches in total and weighs just about 14-ounces, making it your perfect travel companion. However, it is worth mentioning that the handgrip is a little too shallow, so you have to be careful when handling it, but that’s about it for negatives. Interestingly enough, it employs the same size of lens as its larger counterpart the T5i, but this device has no viewfinder at all, apart from the display on the back.
The thing that surprised me the most, was the number of controls that you get in this ultra-small DSLR, a full array of dials and buttons that you get in most of the DSLRs. It is fitted with a 3-inch LCD touchscreen display, with plenty of sharpness at 1040k-dot, but it is fixed and can’t be tilted. However, it offers plenty of functionality and you can even adjust the focus point, on top of that the live view mode was a joy to work with this camera.
The Canon SL1 is pretty snappy and quick when it comes to shooting, as it has only 0.1-second shutter lag in most scenarios. It is capable of shooting 4 frames per second, and the 9 point autofocus system is pretty speedy, while it suffers a little in dimly lit rooms it is still excellent overall, thanks to its phase-detect pixels.
The images shot with the Canon SL1 are very colourful and deliver plenty of detail. Interestingly enough this camera was a capable shooter in high ISO settings, staying true to the source, and keeping plenty of accuracies while keeping the noise out of the picture.
Covering all your needs for a travelling camera, the Canon SL1 impresses with its qualities and its a dream come true.
5. Canon EOS 5D
Let’s admit it, photography is a pretty expensive hobby, just buying a beginner camera may cost you a lot if you are not careful, and after that, you are in for life, there’s no escape and in a short amount of time you’ll have 5 cameras and 12 lenses. However, if you are on a budget, this list will help you find the best DSLR camera for your purposes. For absolute beginners I have the Canon EOS 5D, which is a pretty old camera as of now, however, it delivers excellent performance, LCD screen, good low-noise images at high-ISO settings, good continuous shooting and many more nice qualities making it great for beginners.
The Canon EOS 5D has a classic DSLR shape with a nice grip on its side and it is a very small device, measuring 9×4.4×6-inches in total without the lens and has a weight of 1.7-pounds, making it one of the lightest and smallest Digital SLR camera in the market. It has an optical viewfinder up top and the controls are integrated excellently, and they are fairly simple to learn to make for an excellent DSLR for beginners.
Most importantly, despite being a pretty old device, the Canon EOS 5D retains its quality and you should not worry about its durability, because this device can really take a beating.
This particular model features a large 2.5-inch that has plenty of resolution making it perfect for previewing your results, the menus are very readable and has a pretty wide viewing angle. However, it isn’t the brightest in the market, and I would have prefered for it to have some option to turn the brightness up or down.
For an ancient camera, the Canon EOS 5D is pretty snappy and fast, meaning that it takes a little time to focus and shoot a subject.
In the drive mode, the camera will shoot 3 frames per second, however, it lacks a little buffer depth. Because it lacks digital image stabilization you have to keep the camera pretty steady to get clear results, but then again if you get it right the results are vibrant and detailed, and you can get excellent results even in high ISO settings.
With its plenty of shooting modes, affordable price and good detail reproduction, the Canon EOS 5D is one of the best budget DSLR cameras for beginners.