best entry level digital camera

Right or wrong, the digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) is the default for a beginner camera. This is the camera that most people think about when they want to step up from the smartphone camera or, in days past, something like a disposable point-and-shoot camera. At B&H Photo, this is the type of camera that many rookie photographers, or their benefactors, are most interested in purchasing. Let us review the Best Entry Level Digital Camera, best entry level mirrorless camera and the best starter dslr camera under 500 for your choice and budget.

best entry level digital cameras

10. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1 lb
  • APS-C sensor (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 9 AF points
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 4K video

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 boasts a great deal. It has Dual Pixel autofocus, WiFi with NFC and Bluetooth. It even comes with a new interface, making it more accessible to beginners.

Its small size might be misleading, but as the Nikon D3500’s main competitor, it is just a tad smaller and lighter. The less weight is a welcome feature, perfect for long hikes and country hopping.

Compared to the SL1, it’s almost the same. Except here you get better focusing in live view. In terms of the Canon Rebel T7i, you do get more, but for a higher price.

If you don’t need the extra autofocus points, stick with this model. It will capture scenes excellently without breaking the bank.

In live view mode, you can use the excellent eye detection Canon has added to Dual Pixel systems. 4K video recording lets you capture memories in higher resolution than ever before in an SL camera.

Canon Rebel, one of the best entry level dslr cameras

9. Canon EOS Rebel T6i

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.22 lbs
  • APS-C sensor (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 19 AF points
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i was the newer version of the Rebel T5i, adding more megapixels, a slightly faster burst capacity, and 10 more phase-detection points to its autofocus system.

Also coming with this system is the addition of WiFi and Near Field Communication (NFC).

Here, you’ll find the Hybrid CMOS AF III. Canon claims that the performance of the Hybrid CMOS III is close to that of the original Dual Pixel AF found in the 70D and 7D II.

It’s a great camera to use. The image quality is excellent, and it performs well in low light situations, making it one of the best entry-level DSLRs out there.

Canon Rebel T6i

8. Canon EOS 70D

  • 20.2 Megapixels
  • 1.7 lbs
  • APS-C sensor (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 7 fps
  • 19-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Canon EOS 70D is the most expensive option among their entry-level DSLR range. It’s actually an older midrange model, which slowly descended into more affordable territories. It’s almost 7 years old now, but we still consider it to be a great digital camera.

It has a resolution of 20.2 megapixels. Its autofocus system is one of the first implementations of the Dual Pixel technology. This means each pixel is split into two separate readable photodiodes, which face left and right.

This means that, in principle, it is capable of phase detection autofocus. This feature works across 80% of the frame, down to 0 Exposure Values and up to f/11. All these attributes make this a very capable autofocus system.

Other attributes are the 7 frames per second and the Digic 5+ processor that was first seen in the beast we know as 5D Mark III.

Video mode is accessible with the flick of a lever. The camera provides continuous autofocus tracking during live view and video recording.

The 70D bridges the gap between entry-level and professional cameras. There are many similarities between the 70D and Canon’s 6D and 7D lines.

It has the separate top LCD for showing exposure parameters even when the main LCD screen is turned off. It has two control dials, making manual operation a lot easier.

Its function buttons are laid out next to the top LCD, which makes it quicker to operate blindly. You can concentrate on getting the image and what happens in the viewfinder.

Canon 70d dslr

So, if you’re planning to upgrade but don’t yet have the budget, it might be the perfect option.

Nikon

7. Nikon D3500

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 0.86 lbs (without battery)
  • APS-C sensor (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 11-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The Nikon D3500 is the update on the Nikon D3400. It is specifically made for those first-time photographs with no experience of ILC (Interchangeable Lens Cameras).

The difference here is the Snapbridge connectivity across devices using built-in Bluetooth. The battery life increased, but they scrapped the Ultrasonic sensor cleaning.

In terms of competition, this is a very similar Nikon version of the Canon T6i. The one thing that does set them apart is the battery life. The Nikon can capture 3 times more images on a single charge on paper, although the difference is smaller in real life.

This camera is great for travel or any field of photography where you’ll need to hold your camera for extended periods of time. It doesn’t even weigh 1lb, so your arms and back will thank you for it.

Nikon D3400 dslr camera

6. Nikon D5300

  • 24.1 Megapixels
  • 1.05 lbs
  • APS-C sensor (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The benefit of having an entry-level camera is its ease of use. There is no need to have all the bells and whistles if you aren’t going to use them. They’ll just hinder your learning curve as a hobbyist photographer.

With the Nikon D5300, you get a very competitive range of features and settings. These are the 39 autofocus points, the 25,600 ISO range, and the 24-megapixel resolution.

The difference with this system is the added GPS. This makes it easy to reference your images, especially with Lightroom’s map module.

While this is not the newest generation of the Nikon 5X00 series, it’s still a viable choice if you’re on a slightly lower budget.

Nikon D5300 camera

5. Nikon D5600

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.04 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi & Bluetooth
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The first thing you will notice about this miniature beast is its lightweight body. It is also very connected, having WiFi and Bluetooth built into the camera.

As we look across these entry-level cameras, we see they are very similar. The most important thing that really separates the Nikon D5600 from the Nikon D5300 is the addition of Snapbridge.

Otherwise, this is an incremental, but useful update.

Snapbridge, if this is a new term for you, is Nikon’s answer to syncing the images you capture with your DSLR to other devices, such as a smartphone or tablet.

The image quality is excellent, and in terms of the high ISO range, it is one of the best in our list. It keeps the quality high even in the lowest light situations.

Its dynamic range is outstandingly wide, market-leading in the entry-level segment.

For the Nikon range, this is one of the best cameras for excellent image quality.

Nikon D5600 camera

4. Nikon D5500

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.4 lbs (with lens)
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 6 fps
  • 39-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

The D5500 falls between the D5300 and the D5600 in terms of age and features, but also price. It also has the competitive WiFi feature built-in, and a usual 39 point autofocus and 25,600 ISO range.

These settings are usually in this area of entry-level cameras. It does have a solid noise reduction capability and is smaller and lighter than the Nikon D5300, also on this list.

How did they manage to make it lighter? Instead of polycarbonate, this camera uses a carbon fiber composite. It’s a great camera to use. One of the reasons for this is the curved grip, making it easier to hold.

Although it utilizes a pentamirror rather than the brighter and clearer pentaprism, you won’t notice any problems with this easy-going system.

Nikon D5500 dslr camera

Pentax

3. Pentax KS-2

  • 20 Megapixels
  • 1.49 lbs (with lens)
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 5.4 fps
  • 45-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 51,200 ISO range

You might only be aware of Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Yet, Pentax makes a few really great entry-level DSLRs that might surprise you.

The Pentax KS-2 is an all-weather camera. This means you can embrace the elements with landscape and adventure photography, without worrying about your device.

Image stabilisation counteracts hand movement and ensures sharper images when shooting handheld.

It is compact, yet is slightly heavier than the other entry-level DSLRs. Some people prefer that, as the weight makes it easier to grip, hold and shoot with.

It offers excellent quality and decent performance for its class. The biggest area you will find that sets itself apart is its extended ISO range of a maximum 51,200. This is perfect for low light situations.

If you’re a fan of vintage manual lenses, a Pentax camera is a great option you. Pentax has kept the same lens mount for many decades now, allowing intercompatibility with old lenses.

Pentax K-S2 camera

2. Pentax K-70

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • 1.5 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 6 fps
  • 11-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 102.400 ISO range

There is a lot to like about this camera. Its incredibly high ISO range, faster frames-per-second than other entry-level DSLR cameras and image stabilization are among them.

There is a function where the camera automatically detects a slanted horizon and corrects it. On top of this, there is a pixel shift function. Here, the camera takes four images to produce one huge photograph. This will give you a high-resolution image without having to invest thousands of dollars into top-notch specialised gear. You need a tripod to fully use this feature, though.

Image stabilization allows you to shoot sharp images in darker conditions than usual, by reducing the movement caused by your own hands.

The body is splash-proof and can be used in inclement weather conditions.

The K-70 has two unique buttons to Pentax cameras. On the top is a green button that switches functions back to their default settings.

On the left-hand side, the camera offers a button that allows the user to toggle between JPEG and Raw mode. The camera offers two Raw formats: Pentax’s own “PEF” format and Adobe’s “DNG” format.

Pentax K-70 entry level dslr camera

Sony

1. Sony Alpha a68

  • 24 Megapixels
  • 1.34 lbs
  • APS-C (Cropped Sensor)
  • No Built-in WiFi
  • High-Speed continuous shooting at up to 8 fps
  • 79-point Autofocus
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • 25,600 ISO range

Sony is almost a hybrid when it comes to DSLR cameras. It has an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical one, for example.

What you’ll find with this system is a 24 megapixel cropped sensor. It gives you a 79-point autofocus selection, and a frame rate of 8 shots a second.

These two settings make this camera great for fast-moving subjects that vary in distances from the camera.

This camera has lots of dials and buttons, making it easy to flip between the settings you need. Everything is viewed from the display panel, which can illuminate when dark.

Most of these buttons are customizable, allowing you to make the most of your device.

You won’t find WiFi or a touch screen – but these are bonus points and not necessary for amazing photography.

At this price, you’d be hard pushed to find another camera system that has this many advantages. If you don’t mind the electronic viewfinder on this mirrorless camera, this camera is for you.

Sony A68 entry level dslr camera

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