What is the best DSLR camera? In 2021, there are many different makes and models of DSLRs on the market, and poring over the technical specs, features, and prices can be headache inducing to say the least. We’ve done the legwork for you, so that you can make an informed decision with your next purchase and choose the best DSLR camera to buy for your individual needs and budget.
Best digital SLR camera
What is the best DSLR camera?
Before we jump straight into our ranking of the top DSLR cameras, let’s make sure we have a baseline understanding of what a DSLR is. DSLRs are digital cameras with both photo and video capabilities. They tend to be great introductory cameras for beginners ready to take the next step up from a phone camera or point-and-shoot camera.The D in DSLR stands for digital, while SLR stands for single-lens reflex. SLRs shoot on film while DSLR record digital photos and videos to a storage device. If you are interested in shooting on film vs digital, you can peruse our rundown of the best film cameras of 2021. Now without further ado, let’s determine what the best DSLR camera today is based on photo capabilities, video capabilities, feature set, and price.
Top DSLR cameras
The Canon Rebel series has served as a reliable source for quality, beginner DSLRs. The cameras in this line are always intuitive and easy to use yet capable of deeper image control once you pass the learning curve. If you’re just getting into photography or videography, the T8i makes for a great stepping stone that won’t break the bank. For even cheaper options, you can go back a couple of models in the Rebel series to pick up an older model at a discount.
The T8i does shoot 4K but comes with a number of drawbacks when using that mode. You are best off sticking to 1080p video shooting with this camera. This is a contender for the title of best DSLR camera for photography for beginners.
Best DSLR camera to buy
The EOS 5D Mark IV isn't the newest or most powerful DSLR on the market. But it has remained a go-to camera for both photographers and filmmakers for its quality, control, ergonomic design, and expansive feature set and color profile. It does have one major drawback, however: the price.
The 5D Mark IV is great for stills and more than enough for professional photography work. The camera fares even better on the video side, though its options are admittedly limited. 4K video is a possibility, but the top-notch 1080 footage is the big draw with the Mark IV.
Best DSLR camera for beginners
3. Nikon D3500
The Nikon D3500 just might be the best budget-friendly DSLR option. Coming in much cheaper than some of the other options on our list, the Nikon D3500 offers a lot of value at an affordable rate. While you can find cheaper DSLRs out there, the D3500 will outperform them all and even some pricier DSLRs on the market.
It might be the best DSLR camera for beginners, but it will leave professional photographers or videographers wanting more control, options, and fidelity.
Best DSLR camera to buy
The EOS 90D is easily Canon’s best DSLR camera for beginners. It serves the enthusiast, and semi-pro markets well too. Pros may even be able to get everything they need out of the 90D depending on their specific areas of focus.
The 90D shoots photos at a whopping 32.5 megapixels, which is much higher than many comparable DSLRs. The 90D is also capable of 4K video and has a major leg up over some other 4K DSLRs.
The 4K shot by the 90D is un-cropped, which is something not all 4K DSLRs can boast. There are some drawbacks, such as buffer capacity limitations and detail loss at higher ISO levels, but the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks for most shooters.
Best DSLR camera for video
1. Nikon D850
The Nikon D850 is a powerhouse of a DSLR with only one major drawback: the price. For the price, you might be better off going with one of the best 4K cameras dedicated exclusively to video in place of a DSLR depending on your needs, though the D850 does shoot great 4K footage.
The D850 shoots incredibly high-quality images with its top-notch full-frame sensor. Nikon managed to keep the body of the camera tight and compact without making any sacrifices to the hardware. It features a great auto-focus system and can shoot 45.7MP photos and 4K video. The D850 is powerful enough to use for most professional productions.
Best Video Cameras For Filmmakers
Those were our picks for the top DSLR cameras on the market in 2021. But, what about when a DSLR doesn’t cut it? For those of you focused on video and filmmaking goals, sometimes a DSLR isn’t ideal. To find your ideal camera for pro and semi-pro film projects, here are the best video cameras for filmmakers.