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 market that is suitable for you.
We’ve gathered together the best DSLRs that are on sale in 2019. They range from those for beginners, up to those that you’ll see the most advanced professionals sporting around the touchline.
So, if you’re confused about the different options out there, read on to discover which could be your next DSLR camera.
It’s like two cameras in one, combining speed and low-light performance with great detail resolution
Sensor: 46.89MP FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor ISO Range: 64 – 25,600 (native), 32 – 102,400 (expanded) Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder, 100% field of view Screen: 3.2-inch touch-sensitive TFT LCD with 2,359,000 dots Video: 4K video recording Dimensions: 146 x 124 x 78.5mm / 1,005g (with battery and XQD cards)
Pros: It bags the detail and can keep track of fast-moving subjects in low light
The Nikon D850 is a full-frame or FX format DSLR with 45.7 million pixels on its backlit CMOS sensor. It sits below the Nikon D5 in the company’s DSLR line-up and above the D810. While the 45.7Mp sensor ensures plenty of detail is captured, the maximum shooting rate of 7fps, which can be boosted to 9fps with the optional battery-grip, plus the superb 153-point AF system (the same as is in Nikon’s flagship D5) gives the D850 all-round appeal for experienced photographers, professionals and dedicated enthusiasts.
The Expeed 5 processing engine has enabled Nikon to give the camera a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64-25,600. There are also expansion settings that extend the range to the equivalent of ISO 32-102,400.
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon’s latest professional DSLR is built for speed and shooting in low light
Sensor: 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor ISO Range: ISO 50 to 819,200 Screen: 3.2-inch touch-sensitive TFT LCD with 2,100,000 dots Video: 4K 12-bit Raw internal video recording Dimensions: 158 x 168 x 83mm
Aimed at professional users, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is a replacement for the EOS-1D X Mark II and uses a 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor alongside Canon’s latest DIGIC 8 processor.
Built for speed, the EOS-1D X Mark III offers continuous shooting rates of up to 20fps with AF tracking in Live View or 16fps when shooting with the viewfinder.
Sensitivity is improved, offering a wide native range of ISO 50 to 819,200. There’s also a new High Detail Low-Pass Filter, which Canon says samples the light over a greater number of points to help produce sharper images.
There’s also a new AF system that features 191 selectable AF points, 155 of which are cross-type.
Canon is also targeting videographers by providing 4K 12-bit Raw internal video recording. The EOS-1D X Mark III is the first non-cinema Canon camera, in fact, to offer Raw recording.
What’s more, it is also the first EOS-1 series camera to support Movie Digital IS – providing 5-axis stabilisation to cope with a wide range of movements – a feature seen in high-end Canon cinema cameras like the EOS C500 Mark II.
Nikon’s first DSLR since launching the Z series cameras brings hybrid mirrorless technology
Sensor: Full-frame (FX) 24.5Mp CMOS ISO Range: ISO 100-51,200, expandable to 50- 204,800 Viewfinder: Optical with 100% view Screen: 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot tilting touchscreen Video: 4K at 30p/25p/24p
Perhaps the most interesting camera on our list of the best DSLRs, the D780 is the first DSLR Nikon has introduced since it unveiled the mirrorless Z7, Z6 and Z50. This means it’s also the first camera to benefit from mirrorless camera technology and consequently the autofocusing in Live View mode is streets ahead of that of other Nikon DSLRs.
Like the D750 it replaces, the Nikon D780 is a full-frame or FX format DSLR with the Nikon F-lens mount. That means its has a sensor that’s the same size as a 35mm film frame.
Nikon has also stuck with a very similar resolution as the D750 for the D780. However, the 24Mp sensor in the D780 is much newer than the D750’s. And although Nikon’s representatives weren’t able to confirm it ahead of the official announcement, it seems highly likely that the D780 has the same 24.5Mp backside illuminated (BSI) sensor as the Z6. The biggest clue to this is the fact that in video and Live View mode, the D780 uses the same hybrid autofocus system as the Z6.
This system combines phase detection with contrast detection and there are 273 points available for selection, plus Eye-Detection AF for stills-shooting. This AF system is claimed to be sensitive down to -4Ev in normal circumstances and -6Ev in Low Light AF mode with lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2 or wider.
As it’s a DSLR, the D780 has another autofocus system for when images are composed in the optical viewfinder. This has a dedicated AF sensor with 51 user-selectable phase detection AF points with 15 cross-type points. According to Nikon this AF system is sensitive down to -3Ev and it offers ‘flagship tracking capabilities’.
ISO capability to blow your mind – a low light demon for press and sports photographer
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)
Pros: Durable build, superb AF system and great in low-light
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.
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)
Pros: A real workhorse with a first-rate AF system. It’s perfect for professional photographers, especially sports, action and wildlife photographers
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.
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
Pros: An excellent all-round high performer, perfect for enthusiasts, sports and wildlife photographers
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-rounder 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.
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)
Pros: Ideal for enthusiast photographers, those looking for an all-round performer
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.
A great camera to learn and grow with, the D5600 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 / 465g (including battery and memory card)
Pros: Perfect for beginners who think they are going to be serious about photography.
Nikon has two cameras aimed at beginners, the D3500 and the D5600. The D5600 is a little more expensive, but you get a lot more for your money than the D3500. If you’re looking for something that you can grow into, it makes 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 D5600 fantastic for resolving detail. There’s also a vari-angle touch-sensitive screen and a viewfinder which offers 95% coverage.
There’s Nikon’s Snapbridge system built-in to help with sharing images, and a number of picture effects. As you can tell, Nikon has packed the D5600 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.
The intuitive guide mode helps beginners learn how to use the camera
Sensor: APS-C (DX format) CMOS Megapixels: 24.2 Lens Mount: Nikon F AF System: 11-point phase-detect system, including one cross-type sensor Viewfinder: Optical pentamirror viewfinder, 95% coverage Screen: 3-inch, 921k-dot Max video resolution: 1080p Max frame rate: 5fps Dimensions & Weight: 124 x 97 x 69.5mm 415g with battery and memory card
Pros: Great Guide mode and Snapbridge to keep life simple
The Nikon D3500’s intuitive guide mode is a great feature for novice photographers. It helps you learn about photography with on-screen instructions and guides you through making settings selections. It uses non-technical language but helps you learn so that you can eventually take direct control over the camera.
With its 24Mp APS-C sized sensor, the D3500 is capable of producing great images. It’s ideal for beginners but has the chops for use by more experienced users and it can be paired with a huge range of lenses.
If you’re used to sharing your images straight from your phone, make use of Nikon’s Snapbridge connectivity to send images across to your phone via Bluetooth for uploading to social networking sites and the like. If your budget can stretch a little further, also consider the Nikon D5600. Amongst other things, it adds a vari-angle touchscreen to the mix.
Canon EOS 200D/ Canon Rebel SL2
If small and light is your main concern, the 200D has you covered
Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 24.2 Lens Mount: Canon EF AF System: 9-point phase-detect system, including one cross-type sensor (Dual Pixel CMOS AF available in Live View). Viewfinder: Optical pentamirror viewfinder, 95% coverage Screen: Vari-angle, touch-sensitive, 3-inch, 1040k-dot Max video resolution: 1080p Max frame rate: 5fps Dimensions & Weight: 122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm 453g-456g depending upon colour
Pros: Articulating touch-screen, user-friendly interface
The world’s smallest and lightest DSLR with a vari-angle screen, the 200D is an ideal first-step for those new to DSLR photography. It features a bright and colourful user interface which explains how certain settings will have an impact on your final image – making it a great camera to learn photography with.
The vari-angle touch-sensitive screen is great to use, especially when shooting in Live View as the quick and snappy Dual Pixel CMOS AF is very responsive. There’s also Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth for quickly sharing with your phone. High image quality is delivered thanks to the APS-C sized sensor.
Once you’re ready to move on to better and more advanced optics, Canon has one of the biggest and most varied lens ranges on the market.