Best DSLR

If you’re shopping for a DSLR you’ve come to the right place! At Camera Labs I write in-depth reviews of cameras but understand you’re busy people who sometimes just want recommendations of the most outstanding products. So here I’ll cut to the chase and list the best DSLRs around right now. Note if you’re looking for cameras by Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic or Sony, check out my best mirrorless camera guide. Also note like my other guides they’re listed by review date, not in order of preference.

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Best DSLR

Nikon D850 review

The D850 is Nikon's highest resolution DSLR to date, boasting a new 45.7 Megapixel full-frame sensor, coupled with the flagship D5's 153-point AF system, and fast burst shooting at 7fps, boost-able to 9fps with the optional battery grip. As such, this long-awaited successor to the D810 appeals to both those who desire the highest resolution images as well as wildlife and sports shooters who demand fast bursts and top-end autofocus. Movie shooters will also appreciate the presence of un-cropped 4k as well as a tilting touch-screen, but Nikon continues to lack embedded phase-detect AF on its DSLRs, so video and live view AF lacks the confidence of Canon and Sony. Meanwhile SnapBridge lacks the speed and flexibility demanded by pros who'll be driven to a Wifi accessory for the best wireless performance. But below-par movie autofocus and average Wifi aside, there's very little the D850 can't do. Indeed it's arguably one of the best DSLRs overall to date and comes Highly Recommended.

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Canon EOS 6D Mark II review

The EOS 6D Mark II is a 'low-priced' full-frame DSLR aimed at enthusiasts and upgraders from APSC bodies. The photo and movie quality looks great with the default settings and delivers noticeably less noise than the 80D at high ISOs. The combination of a fully-articulated touchscreen and Dual Pixel CMOS AF means shooting movies or in Live View is a highlight with confident focusing anywhere on the frame. The viewfinder AF is less successful though with limited coverage and a lower hit rate than in Live View. The 6D II also lacks 4k video, higher frame-rate 1080p, dual card slots and headphone jacks, four features present on most mirrorless cameras at this price, albeit normally combined with smaller sensors. So it's Canon's usual story of a feature-set carefully-pruned so not to step on the toes of its higher-end models. If you're wedded to Canon's World, you'll enjoy the 6D II's excellent touch interface, easy Wifi, effortless GPS tagging, leading movie autofocus, and crisp, clean photo quality. Recommended if you desire a full-frame camera at this price point but compare closely with Nikon's D750 and Sony's A7 Mark II.

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Canon EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 review

Canon's EOS 200D / Rebel SL2 is a compact DSLR aimed at photographers and vloggers buying their first interchangeable lens camera. Replacing the four-year-old EOS 100D / SL1, it offers a more sophisticated point-of-entry than the cheapest DSLRs and a smaller body to boot. You get a choice of three body colours, a 24 Megapixel APSC sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smooth and confident refocusing in Live View and movies, a fully-articulated touchscreen, and Wifi with NFC and Bluetooth for easy connectivity. The entry-level EOS 1300D / T6 may remain Canon's cheapest DSLR, but with its smaller body, superb movie autofocus, mic input and flip-out touchscreen, the EOS 200D / SL2 is simply much more compelling for first-time DSLR buyers who are willing to spend a little extra. It may not have 4k video, and the viewfinder autofocus and burst shooting are basic for sports and action, but overall for the money it remains a highly desirable and highly recommended camera, especially if you're into video.

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Nikon D3400 Review

The Nikon D3400 is an update to Nikon's entry-level DSLR, replacing the two year old D3300. The headline new feature is SnapBridge - Nikon's low-power Bluetooth connection that allows continuous image transfer to your smartphone in the background while you shoot. Battery life has been boosted to an impressive 1200 shots on a full charge and the kit lens has also been updated with quicker and quieter continuous AF for movies and Live view shooting. SnapBridge will ensure that the D3400 continues to be a popular choice for improving photographers who want a camera that’s more capable than a point-and-shoot compact or a phone, but don’t want to sacrifice the ease of sharing that those devices provide. Beyond that, there’s not a huge amount that’s new here over the D3300 and indeed a couple of features actually missing: the 3.5mm microphone input and ultrasonic anti-dust filter, no longer present on the D3400. Ultimately mirrorless cameras offer more features – not to mention greater portability – at this end of the market, but there’s no denying the D3400 offers one of the least expensive routes to a body with an APSC sensor, optical viewfinder and interchangeable lenses. As such it’ll continue to attract beginners and students, while the addition of SnapBridge means you’ll be sharing images quicker and more easily than most rival cameras.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review

Canon's EOS 5D Mark IV is the long-awaited fourth model in the enormously popular series of full-frame DSLRs. Coming over four years after the previous EOS 5D Mark III, the Mark IV boosts the resolution to 30.4 Megapixels with a new full-frame sensor that supports Dual Pixel CMOS AF for confident refocusing during Live View and movies. It accelerates continuous shooting from 6 to 7fps, inherits the 61-point AF system and 3.2in touch-screen of the EOS 1Dx Mark II, and can film 4k movies (in the DCI Cinema format) up to 30p, along with 1080 / 60p and 720 / 120p. The body shares essentially the same control layout as before so will be immediately familiar to owners of the Mark III, but now features improved weather-proofing along with a built-in GPS and Wifi with NFC. It represents a significant step-up from the Mark III, but high-end videographers will be frustrated by the tight crop and high bit-rate when filming 4k, and the lack of Log profiles, peaking, zebras and 4k on the HDMI output; indeed if you're only into shooting 4k video, I'd recommend Sony's A7s Mark II for full-frame or the A6300 for APSC. But Canon is keen to retort the Mark IV is more about stills and it does these very well. It's undoubtedly a powerful all-rounder, just no longer the no-brainer the Mark III was for video.

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Nikon D7200 review

The Nikon D7200 is the company's latest upper mid-range DSLR aimed at enthusiast photographers. Successor to the D7100, it slots between the D5500 and D610 in the range, making it the highest-end Nikon DSLR with a cropped DX-format sensor. Externally the D7200 is essentially identical to the D7100, so you get a weather-sealed body with an optical viewfinder boasting 100% coverage, 3.2in / 1229k dot screen, 6fps burst shooting (boostable to 7fps in 1.3x crop mode), twin SD slots and a wealth of ports. The resolution remains 24 Megapixels but new to the D7200 are improved low-light AF, an enlarged buffer and built-in Wifi with NFC. Other enhancements include the faster EXPEED 4 processor, 9-frame AEB, a 50p / 60p video option (albeit only in the 1.3x crop mode), timelapse shooting, slightly extended battery life and a flat picture control profile. Compare closely with the Canon EOS 80D and 7D Mark II.

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Canon EOS 80D review

Canon's EOS 80D is a mid-range DSLR that's equally confident whether shooting through the traditional optical viewfinder or in Live View with the fully-articulated touch-screen. The new 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor may have four more Megapixels over the earlier 70D, but importantly upgrades the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that now supports smooth and confident refocusing with the entire EF lens catalogue, and in 1080p movies up to 60p. Meanwhile the new viewfinder AF system sports a broader and denser array of AF points than the 70D and works down to dimmer light levels of -3EV. But beyond addressing some feature shortfalls with the 70D and rival Nikon bodies, there's not a great deal that's really new here and crucially for a camera which otherwise excels at movies, there's still no 4k video. But equally there's no denying the charm of the EOS 80D. There's something highly compelling about composing stills - especially following action - through a traditional optical DSLR viewfinder, then switching into Live View and knowing you have one of the best AF systems around for movies. I also love having a fully-articulated touch-screen and built-in Wifi, and while a handful of powered zooms have been available from other manufactures in the past, it's nice to see Canon offering one for its EOS system. A solid all-rounder.

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Nikon D500 review

The D500 marks Nikon's welcome return to the high-end APSC DSLR market. The combination of a new 20 Megapixel sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, a deep buffer (especially if you're using XQD cards), and a new 153-point AF system shared with the D5, makes for a supremely confident camera. In my tests the D500 effortlessly tracked any subject I pointed it at, rattling-off bursts of focused images with eerie precision and consistency. On top of that you're getting a large viewfinder, twin memory card slots, tough build quality, and backlit buttons which make it easy to use in the dark. It also features a large and detailed screen that's touch-sensitive and tilts vertically, and allows you to record 4k UHD video in addition to 1080p. Learn how to configure SnapBridge and you'll also enjoy one of the easiest ways to wirelessly tag and share your images. Sports and wildlife photographers will love the D500 which is arguably the most confident APS-C DSLR to date.

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Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 review

The abundance of alternatives to the EOS 1300D / Rebel T6, both DSLR and mirrorless, highlights the need for Canon to keep pace with its competitors if its entry-level DSLRs are to continue to be attractive options for aspiring photographers. As a response to that challenge, the EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 is frankly a little underwhelming. But though it may be a little lacklustre, it nonetheless remains one of the least expensive routes to a body with an APSC sensor, optical viewfinder and interchangeable lenses. As such it'll continue to attract beginners and students, but remember if you want a kit lens with stabilisation, make sure you get the bundle with the EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II rather than the DC III version which is unstabilised and only fractionally cheaper.

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Canon EOS 5DS review

The Canon EOS 5Ds is essentially an EOS 5D Mark III with double the resolution: no fewer than 50 Megapixels, making it the highest resolution full-frame DSLR to date. Sure there's a number of other small but useful upgrades, many focused on ensuring the resolution isn't squandered by vibration, but there's no denying the 5Ds is all about the sensor. Basically if you loved everything about the EOS 5D Mark III but wished it delivered bigger files, then this is the camera for you. The only question for those who want to stay committed to the EF system is whether to go for the 5Ds or the 5Ds R which cancels the effect of the low pass filter for potentially crisper results at the risk of greater moire. It depends on your subject and how bothered you are about moire. If you shoot natural landscapes or other organic shapes, there's normally little chance of the fine repeating patterns which can trigger moire, in which case go for the 5Ds R. But if you mostly shoot man-made textures like clothing, or even fine patterns in buildings, then moire can be an issue, in which case the 5Ds is probably a safer bet. If you're open to the idea of mirrorless though, I'd strongly recommend considering the Sony Alpha A7r Mark II.

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Canon EOS Rebel T6s / 760D Review

Canon's EOS 760D / Rebel T6s is a solid DSLR that represents a good step-up over entry-level models. This has always been a very successful category for Canon, so it's not surprising to find the company now splitting it into two options: the EOS 750D / T6i gives you the core spec of 24 Megapixels, 19-point AF, 5fps burst shooting, pentamirror viewfinder, fully-articulated touchscreen and 1080p movies. Then if you fancy something a bit more sophisticated, spending an extra $100 USD / 70 GBP or so gets you the EOS 760D / T6s which adds an upper LCD information screen, eye sensor, rear control wheel and viewfinder levelling gauge, along with digital zoom and HDR options for movies, and continuous AF in Live View. These additions add up to a camera that handles much better than its cheaper sibling and is well worth spending the extra on, but equally I feel mirrorless options such as Panasonic's Lumix G7 and Sony's A6000 offer more still to the target audience - compare closely if you're not wedded to the idea of having an optical viewfinder.

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Nikon D5500 review

Nikon's D5500 is an upper entry-level DSLR aimed at photographers looking for a step-up from a budget model without the expense or complication of a higher-end camera. It shares the same 24 Megapixel resolution as the models above and below it, but remains the only model in the entire range to feature a fully-articulated, side-hinged screen. Like the D5300 before it, the screen remains large at 3.2in, but in a welcome upgrade, it's now touch-sensitive. The GPS of its predecessor has sadly gone, but the Wifi remains, allowing you to wirelessly transfer images or remote control it with your smartphone. The collapsing kit zoom impacts the ultimate image quality, and the movie / live view autofocusing is slower and noisier than rival Canon bodies fitted with STM lenses. But none of this stands in the way of what's a very solid DSLR for the money. Do compare closely with Canon's EOS T6i / 750D, and in the mirrorless World, models like the Sony A6000.

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II review

Canon's EOS 7D Mark II is one of the toughest, fastest and most confident DSLRs for sports, action and event photography. If you always wanted the flagship 1Dx but couldn't afford it or accommodate the size and weight, the 7D Mark II will give you most of its handling performance in a smaller, lighter and much cheaper package. Indeed it'll also throw-in AF in lower light, effective focusing for movies and a built-in GPS receiver. Sure it can't compete with full-frame cleanliness in low light, but the field reduction applied by the APSC sensor is actually preferred by many sports and wildlife photographers. If you're after a camera mostly for landscape, architecture or more general-use, you'll be better-served by one of the many high-end mirrorless options now available, but if you're a sports, action or event shooter who likes to seamlessly capture quality stills and video, the 7D Mark II will make your job a breeze. If you're not wedded to EF lenses though, also consider Nikon's newer and arguably even more confident D500.

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Nikon D750 review

The Nikon D750 is a very capable high-end DSLR that successfully positions itself between the existing D610 and D810 - a slot which may, at first, seem unnecessary, but which has ended up delivering one of the most compelling models in the range. Nikon's been very careful with the feature-set, picking aspects of both models on either side of it, while adding others that make it unique and arguably the company's most forward-thinking full-frame DSLR to date. So the D750 gives you a 24 Megapixel full-frame sensor in a tough body that's weather-sealed to the same extent as the D810, a 51-point AF system that works in lower light than the models on either side of it, 6.5fps continuous shooting, 1080 video at 60p, 9-frame AEB, and becomes the first full-frame Nikon DSLR to feature an articulated screen and built-in Wifi. It lacks the ultimate resolving power of the D810, not to mention its 1/8000 shutter and PC Sync port, but costs around $1000 USD less while also including Wifi and the tilting screen. It's become my favourite DSLR in the current Nikon line-up.

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