Five Best DSLR Cameras

If you're ready to graduate from a point-and-shoot to take advantage of all the features of a more advanced camera, you'll need a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. What's the best choice when you want to make that switch? Here's a look at five of the most popular DSLR models, based on reader nominations.

Title photo by Luke Ma

Shopping around is essential when buying cameras — prices vary widely (and you can often do better buying from overseas sites). With a DSLR, you'll need to buy both the body and any required lenses, though many stores offer beginner bundles combining the two which can offer considerable savings. Lens mounts typically remain consistent for a given manufacturer, so if you upgrade the camera body later on you can continue to use your lens collection.

Nikon D800

Nikon's high-end D800 includes a stack of features and options, and offers unparalleled photo and video quality in a relatively compact and portable frame. It's a 36.3 megapixel model, can shoot photos at four frames per second, and can capture full 1080p video at up to 30 frames per second (fps). It utilises Nikon's F mount so you can use it with a massive array of lenses, and supports both SD and Compact Flash storage options. For more features and specs, check out Gizmodo's review.

Canon EOS 5D

The Canon EOS 5D series of cameras premiered in 2005. While we've linked to the year-old Mk III model above, many of you may be more familiar with the older 5D Mk II, which has been around since 2008. The Mk II has a 21.1 megapixel camera, shoots photos at 3.9 frames per second, and can capture full 1080p video. It supports CompactFlash for storage, and uses Canon's EF lens mount. The MK III is a 22.3 megapixel model, shoots at up to 6 frames per second, captures 1080p full HD video, and supports SD or CompactFlash storage. It also uses the EF lens mount. Check out Gizmodo's review of the Mk III.

Canon EOS 600D

The 600D was designed as a more affordable alternative to some of Canon's higher-end models. It packs an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, offers continuous shooting at 3.2 frames per second, shoots full HD video at 1080p, supports SD storage, and leverages Canon's widely used EF lens mount so you have access to a huge library of compatible lenses. Many of you nominated it as an incredible bang-for-the-buck model, especially for a budding photographer who shouldn't spend thousands of dollars on a camera before they develop their skills. Read Gizmodo's review here.

Nikon D600

The Nikon D600 is a step down from the D800. It sports a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, offers continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second, captures full 1080p HD video at 30fps, and uses SD cards for storage. It uses Nikon's F mount, so any lenses you may have for other Nikon cameras should work just fine. Many of you nominated it for cramming a number of the D800's better features into a smaller, slimmer body with a considerably lower price tag. Check out Gizmodo's review here.

Canon EOS 6D

The EOS 6D is a recent addition to the market, having launched late last year. It's a 20.2 megapixel model with a CMOS sensor, and is the first Canon EOS model to support built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, which let you auto-tag your photos and videos with location and instantly upload them. It supports SD storage, uses Canon's standard EF lens mount, offers continuous shooting at 4.5 frames per second, and records full 1080p HD video. Check out Gizmodo's review here.

Honourable mentions this week go to the Canon EOS 7D and the Nikon D5100, which missed by just two. We also want to give a nod to the Pentax K5-II.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favourite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Tell us your own favourite pick (and why it's worth the money) in the comments.


    2nd hand D3. Can be had for cheaper than a D600, professional body, still an awesome sensor, you're lacking MP (which I think in most cases aren't needed) and video (wasn't important for me).

    Absolutely love my little 600D. It's been the best camera to learn on, and is light and compact for travel. The added bonus is Magic Lantern software which just adds a ridiculous amount of features to an already well featured camera! That, and DSLR controller for android

    why is the 1DX never mentioned. It can do EVERYTHING!!!! Potentially even create world peace.

      Agreed, an interesting list missing out the flagship cameras from both Canon and Nikon, which are technically the "best".

      If this is about affordable, accessible quality, I'd go with a 2nd-hand 5DMk2 or 7D. Both were sufficiently high-end that the previous owners would have been pretty serious users and many have been well cared for. Both are also good for 150,000 shutter cycles which most people never get close to, so there shouldn't be problems with reliability.

        "Here’s a look at five of the most popular DSLR models, based on reader nominations"

        That's why. Its reader nominated, and i'd take a wild guess and say that most readers would be high end enthusiasts.

    K-5 II deserves a lot more than an honourable mention...
    (And no mention of k-30?)

    Ummmm while all 5 cameras are really, really decent. Am I the only one in thinking that the title is slightly misleading? It seems that the title and intro paragraph seem to target newcomers to the DSLR world and yet talk about 5 high-end(ish) cameras that would be far too powerful and expensive for those people. Seriously - full-frames for someone who's NEVER used an SLR?

    I seriously think this is overkill. Also, while Nikon and Canon are good, there should've been some more thought given to the other manufacturers like Olympus and Sony.

    Also, while DSLR's are the de facto "next step" from point and shoots, a lot of people (including pro photographers) are starting to use and recommend the mirror-less/micro four-thirds systems.

    Again, no mention of that anywhere (unless the honourable mention of the Pentax is referring to that).

    Before anyone reading this list and looking to make the move to a DSLR dashes out and buys something from this list (or any such list), bear in mind that the camera body itself is only a small part in the overall capability of your equipment. The lens(es) are what makes the difference (and the body *behind* the camera). I have a couple of Nikon bodies - D70 (bought new when it came out years ago) and a D40 (bought 2nd hand last year) - and I get better use out of those relatively low end, old bodies than many friends I know who've bought the latest and greatest but only scratch the surface of their camera's capabilities. 95% of the time you'll be using capabilities which *all* DSLRs have.

    Pick a camera manufacturer you like (it's pretty much a Mac v PC type argument), buy a 2nd hand body and spend the rest of your cash on a decent lens or two (or three or...). If you outgrow the capabilities of your camera body then sell it (or keep it as a spare) and buy a newer, more capable one.

    Last edited 11/02/13 5:40 pm

    What about the Panasonic GH2? It has better video capabilities in some respects than the Canon DLSRs (12 minute clips anyone?), far less moire and aliasing, a depth of field closer to 35mm, and is substantially cheaper. Combined with the ability to take almost any lens, it is a serious contender for both photography and DSLR video. Or did lifehacker just get paid-off (and sold out) to present cameras from only 2 manufacturers?

    I love Canon EOS 5D camera. Many people are use low quality or resolution camera, or a mobile phone which appear 3MP camera. But i have pick a manufacture camera you like such as Canon EOS 5D camera. But one more thing i really like
    Best DSLR Cameras

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