Buyers Guides |Best DSLRs in the world in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best DSLRs in the world in 2022

There's still life in the single lens reflex camera, despite the naysayers. These are our picks for the best DSLRs you can buy today

Nikon D6 review
Buyers Guide

The best DSLRs are solid, dependable cameras you can use in all conditions. Though mirrorless technology is where the market is moving, DSLR cameras still offer a few advantages that really suit particular types of photography.

For instance, many landscape photographers may prefer viewing their scene through an optical viewfinder, which is a hallmark of the DSLR. Meanwhile, sports and wildlife photographers might appreciate the precision of a DSLR’s phase detection autofocus. The best DSLRs also have a rugged body design that is weather-sealed to prevent water ingress, and many photographers also love the DSLR’s classic deep handgrip.

Another benefit of DSLRs is that, as the best mirrorless cameras have seemingly taken over, the best DSLRs have come down in price considerably. You can get some real bargains these days on cameras that you once would have paid through the teeth for.

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 2021. 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. And if you’re looking for the best DSLR for a particular job or type of performance, you might find these guides useful:

Are DSLRs still relevant in 2022?

And while companies like Canon and Nikon are still developing their mirrorless lens systems, you currently have a lot more lens choice buying a DSLR. Canon’s EF and Nikon’s F mounts are well-rounded systems with plenty of choice for whatever it is you want to shoot.

Also, we know that AF systems are better overall in mirrorless cameras, bu if you use manual focus most of the time this really isn’t an advantage to you.

The best DSLRs you can buy right now

All of the best DSLRs on our list were chosen based off our experience testing them. For a deeper dive into the many different camera types and features available, check out our range of camera buying guides.

Nikon D850

Best Camera: Nikon D850

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame (FX) DSLR
  • Announced: 24th August 2017
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Sensor: 45.7Mp full-frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) backside-illuminated CMOS
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 7fps as standard, 9fps with the optional MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack for up to 51 14-bit lossless compressed raw files or 170 12-bit lossless compressed raw files
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor 153 focus points (including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8), of which 55 (35 cross-type sensors and 9 f/8 sensors) are available for selection, Live view: Contrast detection
  • Viewfinder: Optical pentaprism type
  • Screen: Tilting, touch-sensitive 3.2-inch TFT LCD with 2,359,000 dots
  • Dimensions: 146×124×78.5mm / 5.8×4.9×3.1inches
  • Weight: 1,005g / 2lb 3.5oz with battery and XQD memory card but without body cap, 915g /2lb 0.3oz camera body only

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 D6 in the company’s DSLR line-up. 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.

Photographers normally have to choose whether they want high resolution or high frame rates and sensitivity settings, but the D850 is like a boosted D810 combined with the D500. It’s extremely capable with a very fast, accurate focusing system and a sensor and processor combination that delivers high-quality images.

If you’re looking for a high-quality DSLR that can be used in poor weather and get moving subjects sharp or deliver large images with lots detail then the Nikon D850 is an excellent choice. Its price puts it beyond the reach of many but its full-frame sensor, flagship processor, high-quality build and extensive feature set as well as the two-cameras-in-one functionality go a long way to justifying it.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D850 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£3500
$3296.95
Check current price

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 7th January 2020
  • Sensor: Full-frame (24x36mm) 20.1Mp CMOS
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Processing engine: Digic X
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: 100-102400, expandable to ISO 50-819,200, Video: ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO 100-204,800
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: phase detection with 191 points, 155 cross-type AF at f/4 including 1 dual cross type at f/2.8, Live View: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Face+Tracking and 3,869 points
  • Max continuous shooting rate: Viewfinder: 16ps, Live View: 20 fps with mirror locked up with exposure and AF tracking
  • Max video quality: 4K raw (5496x2904) at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94fps, 4K DCI (17:9) 4096x2160 at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94fps intra or inter frame
  • Viewfinder: Optical, pentaprism type with 100% coverage, 0.76x magnification and 20mm eyepoint
  • Screen: Fixed 3.2-inch / 8.01 cm TFT with 2,100,000 dots
  • Storage: Dual CFexpress 1.0 Type B
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm
  • Weight: 1250g body only

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.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£6499
$6499
Check current price

For

  • 16/20fps continuous shooting with a massive burst depth
  • Excellent AF system
  • Great new Smart Controllers

Against

  • Huge price
  • Fixed screen is frustrating in Live View and video mode
  • Big and heavy

Nikon D780

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 7th January 2020
  • Sensor: Full-frame (FX) 24.5Mp CMOS
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Processor: Expeed 6
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100-51,200, expandable to 50-204,800
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: 51-points with 15 cross-type, Live View: hybrid (phase and contrast detection) with 273 points and Eye detection
  • Max continuous shooting rate: 7fps with AF/AE, 12fps in Silent Live View mode or 30fps at 8Mp and 120fps at 2Mp
  • Max video quality: 4K at 30p/25p/24p
  • Viewfinder: Optical using a pentaprism with 100% view
  • Screen: 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Storage: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
  • Battery: EN-EL15b rechargeable Li-ion battery (supplied)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 143.5 x 115.5 x 76mm / 5.7 x 4.6 x 3inches
  • Weight: 755 g / 1 lb. 10.7 oz. body only, 840 g / 1 lb. 13.7 oz.,with battery and SD card but without body cap,

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’.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D780 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£2199
$2696.95
Check current price

For

  • Excellent Live View AF system
  • Great battery life
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots

Against

  • High launch price
  • SLR design means the Live View is not visible in the viewfinder
  • No joystick for speedy AF point selection when using the viewfinder

Nikon D6

Nikon D6

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 12th February 2020
  • Sensor: 20.8Mp full-frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) CMOS
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Processing engine: Expeed 6
  • Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism with 100% coverage, 0.72x magnification (with 50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-¹), 17mm eye-point and -3 to +1 m-¹ diopter adjustment
  • Screen: Fixed 3.2–inch 2359k-dot TFT touch-sensitive LCD
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 102,400, expandable to ISO 50-3,280,000
  • Continuous shooting: Up to 14 fps, Continuous Low: 1 to 10 fps, Continuous High: 10 to 14 fps, Quiet: 1 to 5 fps
  • Shutter speed: 1/8000 to 30sec, Bulb; Time; X250
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: TTL phase-detection with 105 focus points, all cross-type, 15 at f/8, Live view: Contrast-detect AF, focus point selected by camera when face detection or subject-tracking is used.
  • AF-area mode: Viewfinder: Single-point AF; 9-, 25-, 49-, or 105- point dynamic-area AF; 3D-tracking; group-area AF; group-area AF (C1); group-area AF (C2); auto-area AF, Live view: Face-detection AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF
  • Video resolutions: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD); 30p (progressive), 25p, 24p, 1920 x 1080; 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p, 1280 x 720: 60p, 50p, 1920 x 1080 crop: 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p¹; Actual frame rates for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, and 23.976 fps respectively
  • Storage: Dual CFexpress (Type B) and XQD memory cards
  • Connectivity: USB-C, HDMI Type C, 3.5mm mic port, 3.5mm headphone port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Battery: One EN-EL18c rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 160 x 163 x 92mm / 6.3 x 6.5 x 3.7inches
  • Weight: 1450g / 3 lb. 3.2 oz. with battery and two CFexpress cards, 1270 g / 2 lb. 12.8 oz. body only

The Nikon D5 is a robust and reliable workhorse of a camera that has served many professional photographers well. While the D6 doesn’t make a huge step forward in terms of specification or handling, it does enough to make professional sports and news photographers stick with a DSLR rather than switch to a mirrorless camera.

It has the start-up and response times that news and event photographers need, plus its AF system is capable of getting fast-moving subjects sharp – even in gloomy conditions.

If you’re a professional photographer and you need a solid, dependable camera that has fast responses, can cope with low light and delivers sharp images in a wide range of conditions, then the Nikon D6 is a great choice.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D6 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£6299
$6496.95
Check current price

For

  • 14fps shooting with continuous focusing
  • Superb AF system for use with the viewfinder
  • Great low-light performance

Against

  • Contrast detection AF in Live View and video mode
  • Fixed screen is frustrating in Live View mode
  • Huge price

Nikon D5

Specification

  • Camera type: Full-frame (FX) DSLR
  • Sensor: 20.8Mp Full-frame (35.9 x 23.9mm)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: 153-point with 99 cross-type, Live View: Contrast detection
  • Burst Mode with C-AF: 12fps
  • Burst Mode with S-AF: 14fps
  • Viewfinder: Optical with pentaprism 100% coverage
  • Screen: 3.2-inch TFT LCD with 2,359,000 dots
  • Dimensions: 160 x 158.5 x 92mm
  • Weight: 1405g with battery and two XQD 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.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D5 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£5299
Check current price

For

  • 153 AF-points, 99 cross-type
  • ISO 50-3,280,000

Against

  • Can only shoot 4K video for 3 minutes at a time
  • Minor handling issues

Nikon D500

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 5th January 2016
  • Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.7mm) 20.9Mp (5568 x 3712)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Processor: Expeed 5
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100-102,400 expandable to ISO 50-1,640,000
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: 153-point with 99 cross-type Live View: contrast detection
  • Max continuous shooting rate: 10fps
  • Max video quality: 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30p, 35p, 24p
  • Viewfinder: Optical using a pentaprism with 100% view
  • Screen: 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot TFT LCD touchscreen
  • Storage: XQD and SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
  • Battery: EN-EL15b rechargeable Li-ion battery (supplied)
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 147x115x81mm /5.8x4.6x3.2 in
  • Weight: 860g with battery and XQD card

Nikon introduced the D500, at the same time as the full-frame D5, as its flagship APS-C (DX) format DSLR. It also has the same sensor architecture and 153-point Multi-Cam 20K autofocus module as the D5, which means it’s extremely capable. The AF system particularly impresses, getting fast-moving subjects sharp (and tracking them) in very low light.

Also, thanks to the Expeed 5 processing engine, the D500 has a maximum continuous shooting rate of 10fps (frames per second), which gives it extra appeal to wildlife and sports photographers.

Another bonus for photographers who like shooting outdoors is that the D500 is weather-sealed to a high standard. There’s also an optional grip available to make it more comfortable to use with long lenses when shooting in portrait orientation.

While the D500 is capable of shooting 4K video, the screen is fixed and the Live View AF system relies on contrast detection, which means it’s not really the ideal choice of camera for shooting video.

However, the D500 produces high-quality stills with a good level of detail maintained all the up to around ISO 6400 and even images shot at ISO 12,800 look very good. This, combined with D500’s rugged build, excellent viewfinder-based AF system and fast-shooting capability, make it a popular choice for wildlife photographers.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D500 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£1730
$1996.95
Check current price

For

  • Same sensor design as the Nikon D5
  • Same AF system as Nikon D5
  • Dual card slots

Against

  • Modest pixel count
  • Poor Live View and video AF system
  • Limited use of touch-screen

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 Review

Specification

  • Camera type: APS-C (DX) format DSLR
  • Announced: 30th August 2018
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Sensor: 24.2Mp APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100-25,600
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: 11-point with 1 cross-type, Live View: Contrast detection
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 5fps (frames per second)
  • Viewfinder: Optical with pentamirror 95% coverage
  • Screen: 3-inch TFT LCD with 921,000 dots
  • Storage: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I
  • Dimensions: 124 x 97 x 69.5mm
  • Weight: 365g body only

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.

Find the latest deals on the Nikon D3500 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£479
$596
Check current price

For

  • Excellent 24Mp APS-C format sensor
  • Superb guide mode that teaches you about photography
  • Compatible with an extensive range of lenses and accessories

Against

  • Max video resolution is Full HD
  • Fixed screen

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D Review

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 10th April 2019
  • Sensor: 24.1Mp APS-C CMOS
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-S
  • AF System: 9-point phase detection, Dual Pixel CMOS AF (via Live View or Video)
  • Viewfinder: Pentamirror 95% coverage optical viewfinder
  • Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen with 1,040,000 dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98, 25fps
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm
  • Weight: Black/Silver 449g, White 451g

The Canon EOS 250D, known as the EOS Rebel SL3 and the EOS Kiss X10, is designed for beginner photographers, however, it has a bit more to offer than the Canon EOS 2000D (EOS Rebel T7) and EOS 4000D.

It’s also the smallest DSLR with a moveable screen and the replacement for the Canon EOS 200D / Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS Kiss X9. It has an APS-C format 24.1Mp Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, 4K video technology and a vari-angle touch-screen.

Canon has paired the SL3’s sensor with its Digic 8 processing engine. As well as enabling 4K movies recording, this powers a maximum continuous shooting rate of 5fps (frame per second), 4K time-lapse mode and 4K image grab from movies.

In addition, the standard sensitivity range for stills is ISO 100-25,600, with an expansion setting of ISO 51200. With Full-HD movies, the native range is ISO 100-12, 800 (expandable to ISO 25600). In 4K movie mode, the maximum level is ISO 6,400.

Overall, the EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 also a capable little camera that can get subjects sharp quickly and captures attractive images with a good level of detail. In fact, it’s one of the best DSLRs for beginners at the moment.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£530
$599.99
Check current price

For

  • APS-C format sensor
  • Phase detection autofocus system in video mode
  • Vari-angle touchscreen

Against

  • Switch between using the viewfinder and screen isn't seamless
  • Viewfinder AF system has just 9 AF points
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4 Comments
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Thomad Cook
1 year ago

just bought my first dslr camera. your article helped alot thank you for this guide

shanu
9 months ago

I have benefited after your article.

Elizbeth Tenday
6 months ago

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 D6 in the company’s DSLR line-up. 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