You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to start photographing with a DSLR camera.
For the past few years, there have been a lot of cameras under $500, and in 2016 you’ve got more options than ever before.
If you’ve never owned a DSLR before and want to start, there’s really no better way than to start with an entry level model. They’re highly affordable, and like all other DSLRs, allow you to change lenses, control every setting manually, shoot in low light, get better auto focus and much more.
Our favorite model is the Canon Rebel T5 and it’s also the most affordable on the list.
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Whether you choose Canon or Nikon won’t really make a difference, there’s millions of users shooting with each. What matters is which features matter more to you in a specific camera, and only then do you check if the competitor model offers something better. Quality, speed wise, all of these cameras are the same so there’s no need to worry that you will lose something by going with one brand.
1. Canon Rebel T5 – Cheapest
The Canon Rebel T5 costs less than $400 and is just as good as the T6 which was announced in 2016! It features an 18 megapixel sensor which is more than enough even for large prints, let alone sharing pictures on the internet, has 9 AF points, 3fps burst mode and can also record Full HD videos at 30fps.
It’s a perfect choice if you have never owned a DSLR before and want to start with something affordable.
2. Nikon D3200
For just a little bit more, the Nikon D3200 gives you much more bang for the buck. It’s got a 24 megapixel sensor, 4 frames per second, 11 AF points and ISO that expands up to 12,800, making it great for night time photography as well. If you’ve got a little bit extra to spend then the D3200 is a much better deal, for both action and still photography.
3. Nikon D3400
The Nikon D3400 is the latest of all the DSLRs on this list (released in 2016). It features an improved sensor compared to the D3200, but also has 24 megapixels (however, Nikon removed the low-pass filter which results in slightly sharper images). For action, the burst mode has been increased to 5ps which is acceptable for wildlife and fast sports, and Full HD video is now possible at 60fps.
There’s also SnapBridge which allows yoou to instantly send all of your shots to your smartphone.
Looking for the smallest DSLR available? The Canon Rebel SL1 is perfect if you never want to own a big DSLR, but still love the quality and freedom they give you. Specification wise it’s better than all Canon cameras on this list, which is quite amazing considering it’s so small. You get an 18MP sensor, 4fps burst mode, Full HD at 30fps, ISO up to 25,600 and a touch screen LCD.
The Canon Rebel T6 is almost like the T5, and the only reason you should go with the T6 is if you need the built-in WiFi and NFC. Sensor, processor and focusing points are all almost identical and you’d be better off with the T5 if you don’t need the connectivity features.
If you’d like to buy your DSLR in a bundle and save some money, check out our posts: