The best DSLRs your money can buy, for every user

There’s a huge wealth of DSLR options for consumers on the market right now. Whether you have just a couple of hundred pounds to spend or can part with a more serious hunk of cash, there’s a camera on the marker that is suitable for you.

We’ve gathered together the best DSLRs that are on sale in 2016, ranging from those for beginners, up to those that you’ll see the most advanced professionals sporting around the touchline.

Specs for each camera can vary wildly, and you may find that a camera that is suitable for one photographer is completely unsuitable for another. With that in mind, we’ve included information on who is best suited to which camera.

So, if you’re confused about the different options out there, read on to discover which could be your next DSLR camera.

Best DSLRs 2016: Nikon D5

Best DSLRs in 2016: 01 Nikon D5

ISO capability to blow your mind – a low light demon for press and sports photographers

Sensor: 20.8MP FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor

ISO Range: 100 – 102,400 (native), 50 – 3,280,000 (expanded)

Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder, 100% field of view

Screen: 3.2-inch touch-sensitive TFT LCD

Video: 4K video recording

Dimensions: 160mm x 158.5mm x 92mm / 1,405g (with battery and two memory cards)

For Nikon photographers, the D5 is the creme de la creme. We could probably write a thesis on the pros and cons of this compared with Canon’s rival, the 1DX Mark II, but it’s safe to say both are fantastic cameras.

The D5’s key selling point, and indeed most awe-inspiring, is its incredible low light capability. The standard ISO range can be expanded to 3,280,000.

While you probably won’t want to use the shots taken at this ridiculously high setting, it’s the settings towards the top of the native range that are particularly useful to news and press photographers who are reliant on getting the shot in less than perfect lighting conditions.

Low light shooting is supported by a 153-point AF system which includes 99 cross-type sensitive sensors which work all the way down to -4EV.

Elsewhere, other specs which make it appealing include 12fps continuous shooting, 4K video recording, and a touch-sensitive screen which you can use in playback to swipe between and zoom into shots.

The D5’s body is rugged and waterproof, making it ideal for professionals working in all conditions, but this has the downside of making it not suitable for inbuilt Wi-Fi – you’ll have to pay extra for an adapter.

Lastly, the D5’s incredible battery life of 3,780 shots means investing in a second battery is not strictly a necessity for every photographer.

Best for
Working professional photographers, especially those that shoot in low light conditions. Existing Nikon owners are well served by the latest upgrade.

Best DSLRs 2016: Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Best DSLRs 2016: 02 Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Fast speed and superb handling for Canon’s flagship professional DSLR

Sensor: 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor

ISO Range: 100 – 51200 (expandable to 409,600)

Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism 100% viewfinder

Screen: 3.2-inch TFT LCD, 1.62-million dots

Video: 4K Video recording

Dimensions & Weight: 158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm / 1530g (with battery and memory cards)

Canon’s superb 1DX Mark II brings with it a wealth of updates from its predecessor, the 1DX. If you’re an existing Canon full-frame user, it’s a natural progression for you if you have the budget to match the asking price.

Its killer selling point is the super high frame rate of 14fps, which can be upped to 16fps when shooting in live view. Not only that, but the improved buffer from the previous generation means that you can, if you use a CFast card, shoot for 170 raw shots, or until the card is full for JPEG shooting – a real bonus for sports photographers who rely on capturing the decisive moment.

Other interesting specs include a respectable high ISO figure, that while not on a par with Nikon’s mind-boggling top figure, is just as useable at sensitivity speeds which are most likely to actually be used.

There’s a 61-point AF System II with 41 cross-type points, with sensitivity down to -3EV, suggesting the Nikon D5 is perhaps the better choice if you consistently shoot in very dark conditions – it’s probably not enough to warrant switching from one system to another if you’ve already invested in a number of Canon accessories though.

Best for
Working professional photographers, especially sports, action and wildlife photographers. Existing Canon DSLR owners looking to upgrade.

SEE MORE: Best cameras for beginners in 2016

Best DSLRs 2016: Nikon D500

Best DSLRs 2016: 03 Nikon D500

All-round excellence for enthusiasts with this APS-C sensor DSLR

Sensor: 20.9MP DX format (APS-C) CMOS Sensor

ISO range: 100 – 51200 (native), 50 – 1,640,000 (expanded)

Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder, 100% field of view

Screen: 3.2-inch, touch-sensitive 2359k-dot TFT LCD

Video: 4K video recording

Dimensions & Weight: 147 x 115 x 81mm / 860g with battery and XQD card

We had to wait a long old time for Nikon to replace the D300S, and when it finally did, we weren’t disappointed.

The D500 is one of the best DSLRs Nikon has ever made, neatly filling the gap between enthusiast and professional level cameras, even being good enough for some types of professional despite having an APS-C sized sensor.

The smaller sensor can actually be a benefit to wildlife and sports photographers as it increases the focal length of your lenses – for example, a 200mm lens becomes a 300mm on a crop sensor.

in other areas, the D500 has a lot in common with the top-spec D5. It’s got the same processor, the same 153-point Multi CAM 20K autofocus system with 99 cross-type points, the central one being sensitive down to -4EV. While it doesn’t have the ridiculously high ISO range of the D5, it’s still very very high at an expanded maximum of 1,640,000 – more than enough for most uses.

There’s a tilting 3.2-inch touch-sensitive screen which can be used not only when previewing images, but also to set the autofocus point – handy when shooting in live view. Dual card slots mean the D500 accepts both SD cards and the much faster XQD format, facilitating fast frame rates of 10fps for up to 200 raw files. It can also record 4K video.

In short, the D500 is the perfect all-rounded for the experienced enthusiast or professional who needs a workhorse to tackle lots of different types of subjects.

There’s also Nikon’s SnapBridge technology which maintains a constant connection with your smartphone via low power Bluetooth to make your shots always available for quick sharing online.

Best for
Enthusiasts, sports and wildlife photographers, those looking for an all-round high performer.

SEE MORE: Best cheap cameras that are actually pretty awesome

READ MORE: DSLR cameras explained: 10 things to know about single lens reflex

Best DSLRs 2016: Canon 80D

Best DSLRs 2016: 04 Canon EOS 80D

Canon’s middle-range DSLR packs a lot of punch for enthusiast photographers

Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor

ISO Range: 100 – 16000 (expandable up to 25600)

Viewfinder: 100% pentaprism optical viewfinder

Screen: Touch-sensitive vari-angle 3.0-inch, 1040k-dot, TFT LCD

Video: Full HD (1080) video recording

Dimensions & Weight: 139 x 105.2 x 78.5mm / 730g (including battery and memory card)

The 80D holds a lot of appeal for enthusiast photographers, with a range of specifications designed to tempt you to upgrade from a beginner model.

There’s a 24MP sensor which performs well to produce greatly detailed images, along with low-light capability that is impressive.

There’s a good amount of customisation to be enjoyed when using the 80D, and it’s a Canon camera with a touchscreen that can actually be used to make changes to settings and so on – it’s also vari-angle, making it excellent to use when shooting at awkward angles.

Capable of taking on a wide range of different subjects – which is perfect for enthusiasts – sports and nature photographers can take advantage of 7fps shooting with a burst depth of 110 JPEGs or 25 raw files. The autofocus system has also been improved when compared with the 70D, with all 45 of the AF points being the more sensitive cross-type.

Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity is included for quickly sending your images over to your phone for instant sharing, something which is missing from some of the more expensive cameras on the market.

Best for
Upgrading enthusiast photographers, those looking for an all-round performer.

What is a DSLR camera: Nikon D5500

Best DSLRs 2016: 05 Nikon D5500

A great camera to learn and grow with, the D5500 is ideally suited to beginner photographers looking for lots of features

Sensor: 24.2MP DX format (APS-C) sensor

ISO Range: 100 – 25600

Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror optical viewfinder with 95% coverage

Screen: 3.2-inch 1037k-dot, touch-sensitive TFT LCD

Video: Full HD (1080) video recording

Dimensions & Weight: 124 x 97 x 70mm / 470g (including battery and memory card)

Nikon has two cameras aimed at beginners, the D3300 and the D5500. The D5500 is a little more expensive, but you get a lot more for your money than the D3300. If you’re looking for something that you can grow into, it make sense to plump for the slightly higher model.

It’s got a 24.2 million pixel sensor without an anti-aliasing filter, which makes the D5500 fantastic for resolving detail. There’s also a vari-angle touch-sensitive screen and a viewfinder which offers 95% coverage.

There’s inbuilt Wi-Fi and a number of picture effects – as you can tell, Nikon has attempted to pack the D5500 full of features which particularly appeal to beginners.

Most importantly, image quality is great and this is a camera that you should be happy to keep for a while as you learn more about photography before you’re desperate to upgrade to an even more advanced model.

Best for
Beginners who think they are going to be serious about photography.

Best DSLRs 2016: Canon 1300D

Best DSLRs 2016: 06 Canon EOS 1300D / EOS Rebel T6

Cheap and cheerful for those who want to get their first step on the DSLR ladder

Sensor: 18MP APS-C sensor

ISO Range: 100 – 6400 (expandable to 12800)

Viewfinder: Pentamirror optical viewfinder, 95% coverage

Screen: 3.0-inch LCD TFT, 920k-dots

Video: Full HD (1080)

Dimensions & Weight: 129 x 101.3 x 77.6mm

If you’re keen to get your first DSLR but don’t have a huge pot of cash to spend, then the 1300D can help you get started.

You can pick up a kit which includes a lens for under £300, and if you’re coming from a smartphone or compact camera then you should notice the quality of your photographs rockets.

There are fully automatic modes, but you’ll be able to learn and grow with this camera as it’s got all the manual modes that any other DSLR provides.

The camera has an 18MP sensor, and a modest set of functions that provide good results. If you already have a Canon DSLR you may also want to consider the 1300D as a well-priced second camera to use as your backup body.

There are of course compromises to be made with a camera that is this cheap, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a fantastic bargain that suits a first-time DSLR perfectly.

Best for
Beginner photographers on a strict budget