best dslr camera for professional photography

Many photographers prefer the size, weight and optical viewfinder of the digital SLR design, and while it has been a lean couple of years for new DSLR cameras, things are turning around! But what is the best DSLR to get? What is the Best Dslr Camera For Professional Photography? That will depend on your budget, your experience and what you want to shoot! Beginners will be looking for a low-cost camera that’s easy to use, enthusiasts will want a powerful all-round camera that offer many of the tools of pro cameras but without the cost, while professional photographers will want image quality and features, for sure, but durability and dependability too. 

DSLRs are not all expensive professional cameras, though. Far from it! A DSLR camera is still just about the most affordable way for a novice to get into proper photography – and remember that every DSLR has a viewfinder, which is an unusual feature to see on low-cost mirrorless cameras. 

best dslr camera for professional photography

#1 Pick Nikon D810 DSLR Camera

Nikon D810
The Nikon D810 DSLR camera offers a great mix of high-quality features at a reasonable price point.

AwardEditor’s Choice/DSLR For Video

Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Nikon D810 Review| Image Sensor Size: Full Frame | Resolution: 36.3 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best image quality you’ll find in a consumer level DSLR

The Nikon D810 is one of the best DSLR cameras on the market right now, providing high-end features at a reasonable price point. With a 36.3 MP full frame image sensor, the D810’s image quality is extremely impressive for an intermediate-level DSLR. You can shoot in JPEG, RAW, or TIFF image formats, which gives this model some versatility.

The D810’s autofocus system is accurate and fast, and you can shoot at a burst mode of between 5 and 7 frames per second. The D810’s battery life is well above average. Nikon gave photographers quite a few customization options through numerous buttons and dials with this model, which may make the D810 a bit too powerful for some photographers. But if you have some photography experience and you can fit this model in your budget, it’s going to impress you. It could be considered a best travel camera.

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#2 Pick Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR Camera

Canon Rebel T6i
Canon’s Rebel line of DSLR cameras has always excelled in the entry-level area of the market, and the T6i is another strong option.

AwardBest For Beginners

Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Canon Rebel T6i Review| Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Inexpensive DSLR camera provides well above average image quality.

Canon’s Rebel DSLR cameras have been popular for more than a decade among those seeking a first advanced interchangeable lens camera. And the Rebel T6i offers some significant improvements over its predecessors, including 33% more resolution and faster burst mode performance than the T5i. Canon added built-in Wi-Fi with the T6i, which also features an articulated display. For a compact model, check out the best compact camera.

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#3 Pick Pentax K-S2 DSLR Camera

Pentax K-S2
The K-S2 digital SLR from Pentax combines a rugged camera body design with good entry-level DSLR features.

AwardDSLR Under $500

Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Pentax K-S2 Review| Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 20.1 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Weather proofed coating makes this DSLR a rugged performer.

Pentax might not be as well known as Canon and Nikon, but this long-time camera maker has plenty of great digital SLR offerings.

The Pentax K-S2 offers a weatherproof design, which protects it against minor weather problems. It really feels well-built and sturdy, which you don’t always find in the low-priced area of the DSLR market. It offers an articulated display screen and can shoot at speeds up to 5.4 frames per second. Compare this one to the best digital camera to see how it stacks up. Keep in mind that not all cameras are created equal. The best home security camera isn’t the same as a DSLR.

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#4 Pick Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR Camera

With 50.6 megapixels of resolution in a full frame image sensor, the Canon EOS 5Ds is a strong professional-level DSLR.

AwardProfessional-Level DSLR

Price: Check Price | Image Sensor Size: Full Frame | Resolution: 50.6 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Pros will appreciate the outstanding image quality in this DSLR.

Even though you’ll have to drop a few thousand dollars on the Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR camera — and that’s for the body only — you’ll receive top-notch image quality and the type of camera performance that will appeal to advanced photographers. It has both a CF and SD memory card slot, 5 frames per second burst mode in the RAW image format, and a 61-point autofocus system, all of which will appeal to advanced photographers. If you’re a newcomer to the DSLR world, the 5Ds might be more camera than you want to tackle right now. But once you have some experience with DSLR photography, this Canon model is one that’s a great option if you have the budget for it. If you need some water protection, read about the best waterproof cameras. Of course, if you need the best spy camera, we won’t ask why.

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#5 Pick Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera

Nikon D3300
For those seeking an entry-level DSLR, the Nikon D3300 is a strong contender, offering good all-around performance at a good value.

AwardCompact DSLR

Price: Check Price | Read Full Review: Nikon D3300 Review| Image Sensor Size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Very versatile entry level DSLR with great price point too.

The Nikon D3300 represents one of Nikon’s most basic DSLR cameras, yet it will serve a photographer seeking a first DSLR well. Nikon gave this model a Guide mode, which can walk you step by step through using some of the camera’s settings, which is a great beginner-level feature. It has an APS-C sized image sensor with 24 megapixels of resolution, yielding strong image quality. If you have smaller hands, the D3300 is a nice option, as it’s a little smaller and lighter than most other DSLR cameras. It would have been nice if Nikon had given this model a touchscreen display or built-in Wi-Fi, but keeping those features out of the D3300 maintains a price below $500. Many users are also looking for the best mirrorless camera for something more compact. Our best electronics section has a lot of good choices.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.https://da360a56a245c0803c5da779cd8113ff.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’

Digital-Camera-Accessories

Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.https://da360a56a245c0803c5da779cd8113ff.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

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