best canon dslr for beginners

It may not be the cheapest, nor the newest, but the Canon EOS Rebel T7i is still the Best Canon Dslr For Beginners. We were incredibly impressed with its performance, from autofocus to shooting speed to battery life, and it has one of the most approachable user interfaces of any camera. But perhaps the best thing about it is that it leaves you with some room to grow into; you won’t find yourself longing for a better canon dslr camera after you master the basics.

best canon dslr for beginners

Canon Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D

Canon Rebel T6

One of the few DSLRs on this list that I wouldn’t recommend is the Canon Rebel T6 (also known as the Canon EOS 1300D). That’s simply because it sells for $400 with a kit lens – a good price, but equal to the newer T7! Although the two are practically identical cameras, the T7 has a 24 megapixel sensor rather than 18 on this T6. So, I don’t really see why anyone would buy the T6 kit at its current price, aside from being confused by Canon’s sprawling DSLR lineup.

However, you can sometimes find a good deal on the T6 camera that includes a 70-300mm zoom alongside the regular kit, making it potentially a very good buy indeed. Last year, around the holidays on Canon’s own website, the T6 was selling with two lenses – the 18-55mm kit lens and a 75-300mm telephoto – refurbished for $280. At such a price, the T6 would jump up higher than #10 and potentially be one of the best options on this list. So, it’s really all about price.

(There is also a relatively similar camera known as the 4000D – or 3000D in some markets – which is not generally sold in the US, but retails for potentially even less at $340 or so at the time of publishing this article.)

Canon Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D

Canon T7

The Canon T7 is one of the newer options on this list (from February 2018), but its specifications already feel outdated. The camera has 24 megapixels, 3 frames per second shooting, and a 9-point autofocus system. It doesn’t have a touchscreen or a tilt-flip screen for taking pictures at tricky angles. However, it sells for just $400, which is a good value overall.

Canon has two different 24 megapixel aps-c sensors (with “aps-c” meaning that the sensor measures 22.2 millimeters in width). The Rebel T7 has the older one. So, you won’t get quite the level of image quality as with the newest aps-c Canon cameras – and we’ve found that even those lag behind Nikon’s sensors in low light. Nevertheless, this is still a high-quality camera sensor, capable of detailed photos in both daytime and nighttime conditions. In fact, every DSLR on this list has very good image quality, and the differences are mainly visible under exaggerated conditions.

That said, the #2-ranked Nikon D3500 is a better camera in essentially every way, and it only costs $50 more at $450. If value is your aim, that’s where I’d focus instead.

If you have the Rebel T7, don’t despair; it’s a good camera, just not really priced according to its specifications. But I will say this – despite the T7’s flaws, if you can’t take the photos you want with this camera, it’s unlikely that any of the DSLRs below will solve your problem.

Here’s a quick table comparing Canon’s popular entry-level cameras, including the T7:

T6 / 1300DT7 / 2000D / 1500DT6i / 750DT7i / 800DSL3 / 200D
Announcement DateMarch 2016February 2018February 2015February 2017June 2017
Megapixels1824242424
Autofocus Points9919459
Continuous Shooting3 fps3 fps5 fps6 fps5 fps
LCD Tilt-Flip CapabilityNoNoYesYesYes
Dual Pixel AFNoNoNoYesYes
Battery Life500 photos500 photos440 photos600 photos1070 photos
Weight (with battery and card)485 g475 g555 g532 g449 g
Price (early 2020, with 18-55mm kit lens)$400$400$560$700$650

7. Canon 77D / EOS 9000D

Canon 77D

For the same reason that the Pentax KP is placed at number nine, the Canon 77D / EOS 9000D sits at number seven. It is an advanced camera with an impressive control layout, and it includes almost all of Canon’s newest features as well. But it costs $850, second most expensive on this list.

The 77D sports an excellent 45-point autofocus system in the viewfinder, and it has a tilt-flip touchscreen – whereas the Pentax KP has a tilt-only screen without touch sensitivity. Perhaps even more important is that the 77D includes Canon’s famous “dual pixel autofocus” to focus quickly and accurately via the rear LCD screen (whereas most DSLRs mainly focus well through the viewfinder). It also has Canon’s newest 24 megapixel sensor for excellent quality images.

Unfortunately, the $850 price is a steep asking point. You wouldn’t lose much by going with a camera like the Canon T7i, Nikon D5600, or Pentax K-70 – and you could save hundreds of dollars along the way. If you need the build quality of the 77D, don’t let me stop you, but at least consider the less expensive options before you make the leap.

Sunrise Light and Color with Canon 80D
From the 77D’s very similar older brother, the Canon 80D (70mm, ISO 160, 1/125, f/5.6)

6. Canon Rebel T6i / 750D

Canon Rebel T6i

One solid value in Canon’s lineup of entry-level DSLRs today is the Rebel T6i / EOS 750D, released in February 2015. Perhaps because of this camera’s age, Canon has been putting some impressive discounts on the T6i, which now sells for just $560 with a kit lens (though you won’t always be able to find it selling new with a lens, probably because Canon’s inventory is being replaced with the newer T7i).

This camera ticks a lot of the right boxes: 24 megapixel sensor (though the older one), 19 autofocus points, 5 FPS shooting, and a tilt-flip touchscreen. The T6i does not have dual pixel AF, however, which does harm its prospects for video. And keep in mind that the 24 megapixel sensor is Canon’s older version, which doesn’t perform quite as well as its competition in low light (including the Nikon and Pentax cameras on this list, plus the newer Canons).

One camera with noticeably better specifications is the Canon Rebel SL3 released in 2019 (ranked #1 below). That camera is $90 more. The SL3 is smaller and lighter, making it easier to carry along. It also has much better battery life and Canon’s dual pixel AF, as well as better video features (4K and 1080p 60 fps video shooting vs just 1080p 30 fps) – not to mention the newer 24 megapixel sensor rather than the older version. The only real advantage of the T6i over the SL3 is that it has 19 autofocus points versus 9, which is not enough to steer most photographers to the T6i.

Compared to the Canon T7i, things are a bit closer, largely because of the T7i’s higher price of $700. But you gain a 45-point autofocus system, one more FPS (6 vs 5), and the newer 24 megapixel sensor on the T7i, as well as minor improvements to battery life and weight. To me, that’s worth the extra $140 – but you may disagree.

There is also a version of the T6i with a slightly more advanced layout called the Canon T6s. It has two dials and a top LCD, but otherwise is identical to the T6i. However, it sells for $650 body only (so you’d need to buy the lens separately), which means it is overpriced by comparison. I don’t think it’s worth considering unless you find a deal that brings it within $50-75 of the T6i in price, including a lens.

5. Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 800D

Canon T7i Front View

Every camera from here on out is what I’d consider a really good buy for the typical consumer. Even though the Canon Rebel T7i / EOS 80D ranks fifth, it’s one of the most balanced cameras on the market and offers some pretty impressive features.

For example, the T7i matches the 77D in essentially every single specification, aside from the advanced control layout (no second dial), and yet it costs $150 less at $700 (though the price can fluctuate; you may want to check in case there’s a sale).

At that price, you get all of Canon’s bells and whistles, including the new 24 megapixel sensor, dual pixel AF, and 45 autofocus points. These specifications are versatile enough to be used for anything from landscape photography to sports and theater performances.

I would put the T7i higher on the list, but the $700 price range is popular for entry-level DSLRs, so there’s a lot of competition here. For example, before you settle on this camera, take a look at the Canon Rebel SL3 ($50 less at $650, matching or exceeding many of the T7i’s specifications). Or the $700 Nikon D5600, which is very similar to the T7i, but weighs less and has better battery life.

That said, if you find a good deal on the T7i, or its specifications seem perfect for you, go for it. This camera is a pleasure to use – one of my favorites from testing – with a great LCD and an excellent kit lens. Not long ago, it sold for $850, and even then I could see a case for buying it.

Canon Rebel T7i Sample Photo of Architecture
Canon EOS Rebel T7i + EF-S18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM @ 31mm, ISO 100, 1/100, f/5.0

Canon Rebel SL3 / 250D

Canon-SL2

The top camera on this list is also the newest: the Canon SL3 / EOS 250D. It’s a great camera, and tremendous fun to use.

The SL3 is tiny and lightweight, yet the grip is still comfortable, and it has some of Canon’s most advanced features (including the newer 24 megapixel sensor). When I reviewed the nearly identical previous version (the Canon SL2) in New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands and Chicago’s glass-and-steel jungle, I came away with the impression that this is a fantastic camera for any photographer – not just for a first-time DSLR shooter, even though that is the SL3’s target audience.

Main features? The SL3 has an excellent touchscreen LCD, with a full range of tilting motion for easy composition (like the Nikon D5600). And the 24 megapixel sensor is Canon’s newest, with excellent image quality, though it still lags slightly behind Nikon in low light (for the technically minded, no more than one stop of difference at high ISOs, based on our tests). Video users also will be happy to hear that the SL3 has dual pixel autofocus, the least expensive Canon camera to include it.

The big difference compared to the earlier SL2 is that the SL3 has 4K video – the only camera on this list to have it, although it only works with a heavy 2.64x crop relative to full frame.

The Canon SL3 currently sells for $650 with a kit lens, which is a bit pricy, but you certainly get good features for the money. Compared to the Nikon D3500, for example, it adds a tilt-flip screen, 4K video, and dual pixel AF, making it much more useful for video. I also prefer the kit lens that comes with the SL3 in terms of ergonomics and size. The two cameras are otherwise pretty similar, so if you don’t shoot much video, I’d save the $200 and get the excellent D3500 instead.

Alternatively, you can still buy the older SL2 used for less money. The SL2 also has a tilt-flip screen and dual pixel AF; it just doesn’t have 4K video, and its battery life is a bit worse. Everything else is the same between the SL2 and SL3.

And that does it! However, before you focus too much on the specific rankings here, let me return for a moment to the #5 camera on this list, the Canon T7i. That camera loses to the SL3 in weight (532 vs 449 grams) price ($700 vs $650), battery life (600 vs 1070), and video (no 4K option), but beats it in autofocus performance (45 vs 9 autofocus points) and frame rate (6 FPS vs 5 FPS). If you’re thinking that the T7i could easily be the preferred option for many photographers at that point, you’re completely right. The difference from #5 to #1 on this list is pretty small. But in those small differences – the SL3 wins out.

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