Picture Perfect: The 10 Best Cheap DSLR Cameras


If you are entering the world of photography or you want to ditch the point and shoot camera, a DSLR camera is the next logical choice. DSLR cameras do not come cheap. Investing all your hard-earned money on a model that costs thousands of dollars may leave you without the best accessories to accompany your new DSLR camera.

That’s where a cheap DSLR camera comes in. It does not compromise on the quality it’s only that you will get fewer features compared to a high-end DSLR camera.

Features to Consider in Good Cheap DSLR Camera

  • Sensor Size
    The large the sensor, the higher the quality of images you are going to capture with a DSLR camera. Comparing the sensor size of different cameras regardless of the megapixels will give you a good idea of the quality of shots.Sensors are either CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) or CCD (Charged Couple Device). CCD were first considered to be superior to CMOS but thanks to the likes of Canon and Nikon, CMOS sensors have equal or better quality as that of CCD sensors.You will encounter sensor sizes like full-frame (36mm x 24mm) which is equivalent to the 35mm Negative to APSC (23.6mm by 15.8mm), APS-H (28.7 x 19mm), Four Thirds (17.3 x 13mm), and CX (1inch).
  • Megapixels
    After you have zeroed in on the perfect sensor size, you will also need high Megapixel number. High MPs give you the versatility of formatting a photo like when enlarging or cropping it. DSLR cameras can have megapixels as small as 5MP to as high as over 24MP. Finding the right size means you will get good prints, zoom in, and crop your pictures without distorting the image.Note that a high MP camera will shoot images that take up more space in your SD.
  • Viewfinder
    DSLR cameras come with an LCD and an eye-level viewfinder. It is important that your DSLR camera comes with a bright viewfinder so that your focusing is clear and you can see images from corner to corner.
  • Image Stabilization
    The chances of ending up with a blurry image even when your hands are the steadiest cannot be understated with a DSLR camera. That’s where image stabilization comes in. It prevents the occasional blurriness that usually happens when the shutter has to stay open for longer. This is in situations like shooting after dark or in bad weather.
  • Optical Stabilization
    This method uses gyroscopes on the camera body instead of stabilizers on the lens. This method is common as it senses when the image moves and it is then moved to the sensor for a clear shot.
  • Digital Stabilization
    This is a more advanced way of shooting clear images as it involves changing the camera settings after you capture the image. It includes features like Intelligent ISO which automatically adjusts itself to a higher ISO when the camera detects a moving object in low light.
  • Flash Settings
    DLSR cameras have either inbuilt flashes or have the allowance of attaching an external flash. An inbuilt flash means you will not be adding any weight to your already heavy camera. It allows you to take more gear and travel light if you are taking a hiking trip or a backpacking trip.
  • Autofocus Speed
    The beauty of DSLR cameras is that they do not suffer any lag. The point of autofocus makes it essential alongside the speed as the camera will detect the image for you and all you have to do is press the shutter button.

Best Cheap DSLR Cameras Under $500

1. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera with Full Accessory Bundle

Why we like it: It is a full package with all the components for starting in photography. The lenses are interchangeable which is one of its attractive features for the price.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
The Canon T6/EOS 1300D is an entry-level DSLR camera that is a step up from a compact or smartphone camera. It uses an 18MP APS-C sensor which is in the midrange size for capturing clearer and reasonable quality photos. The camera is compatible with a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens which is included in the package.

It has a smooth learning curve which is what you need when you are starting out. This way, you can move up with cameras from the same brand as you master more and more functions. The camera offers a 9-point AF module and 3fps burst shooting. With 1080/30 video capture feature, you can start experimenting with this camera by capturing the best aspects of nature.

Canon T6 has a beautiful representation of color and white balance. Everything will appear in its natural state as long as there’s enough light. The camera offers ISO from 100-6,400 which is expandable to 12,800. Its color noise is not noticeable at ISO 800, but once in the high ranges from 1600, it becomes pronounced.

Convenient Features
This camera supports Wi-Fi connectivity. You can wirelessly transfer files to a smart device where you can select which ones you want to keep or delete. Its battery life is decent as it can give you up to 500 shots on one charge.

Canon EOS T6 includes lots of accompanying accessories that include 32GB and 10GB flash memory cards, camera case, lens protector, pocket tripod, Xit tripod, remote shutter release, etc.

Canon T6 EOS, 1300D DLSR Camera, has its best fit in the hands of a beginner. It can offer only so much when you want to spend as little as possible on a DSLR camera. It produces decent photos and videos buts it has no advanced functions to propel your photography to higher heights.

  • Comes with a complete accessory bundle
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Wide ISO range
  • W-Fi and NFC support
  • Lightweight design
  • Smooth learning curve
  • 9-point autofocus
  • Fixed LCD screen

2. Nikon D3400 w/AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Why we like it: It is an entry-level camera with superior features compared to cameras in its class. It boasts simplicity in operation with stunning image quality.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Nikon D3400 is a decent entry-level camera that features a lightweight body. You could mistake it for a compact camera, but its features are nowhere close. The camera is built around a 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor that does not have an optical low-pass filter.

This is an advanced sensor much better than the D3300 as it performs with excellence in low light. It has an 11-point AF system coupled with 5fps burst shooting. It is powered by EXPEED 4 image processor which makes every photo look professional and delightful no matter the shooting conditions. All thanks to Nikon’s 3D-tracking technology.

Although it does not offer 4k video shooting, its 1080p videos are complemented by 60fps frame rates. It makes it fast and easy to focus on moving images without instances of choppy images. It has, however, omitted a microphone port which is crucial to video lovers. Instead, you will be using its inbuilt monoaural microphones.

Its ISO range is much more extensive than Canon’s T6 coming in from 100-25,600. It is a wide expansion which it executes excellently, for the most part, except for the high range from 12,000.

Convenient Features
Nikon D3400 works in harmony with your smartphone using the always-on Bluetooth function. It provides the seamless transfer of images to your smartphone so that you can share your best pictures with family and friends.

With SnapBridge wireless technology, it transfers photos automatically to your phone as soon as they are captured. SnapBridge also works hand-in-hand with Nikon’s cloud storage where you can back up your photos and share them widely.

Nikon D3400 costs a little bit higher than entry-level DSLR cameras, but this is because it has more advanced features. On top of being lightweight, the camera is easy to use and operate for the beginner. It is simple to navigate throughout the functions to ensure that you get the most out of your purchase.

  • Excellent photo and video quality in low light
  • It has dramatically reduced color noise
  • Smooth autofocus
  • 1080/60p video capture
  • Wide ISO range
  • Improved sensor and impeccable EXPEED 4 image processor
  • It does not have a mic port

3. Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Camera

Why we like it: It may not have all the latest features, but what it does, it achieves high levels of perfection.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Introduced in 2014, Nikon D3300 represents a friendly DLSR camera for the beginners. It has most of the features on the Nikon D34000 except for having a microphone port, and the inclusion of an optical low-pass filter. Its 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor allows capturing of sharp-detailed images day and night. It may not be the best for night shooting but we are talking entry-level so what you see is what you get.

This camera allows you to take stunning full HD videos at 60fps. Its mic port means you get to capture better sound to make your videos more audible and fun to listen. We like that it uses an optical stabilizer that will come in handy to freeze images in real time and prevent shooting of blurry photos.

This camera is an excellent option if you are about nice quality of images. With the active D-lighting, the camera will preserve the best colors of your images whether in bright light or low light. It provides 5fps burst shooting and 11-point AF system. It is not that advanced, but you are sure to capture breathtaking photos.

Convenient Features
If you are shooting in a less than perfect environment, you can always apply one of the six scene modes. This way, the lighting will be perfect, and you will not end up with smeared photos. The camera can also select the most desirable scenic mode just by choosing the auto-mode. So next time you are unsure, let the camera do all the work, and you get to keep all the credit.

The optical viewfinder on this camera offers 95% field of view. You will see everything in your field of view so don’t worry about capturing something you did not intend. It remains bright and clear for days. With an ISO range from 100-12,800 expandable to 25,600, this camera remains versatile for a wide range of lighting conditions.

Nikon D3300 has basic features in photography. It is user-friendly with an excellent sensor for bright and decent quality photos. Its video recording capability ranks high for the cost. Its quality is primarily on every photographer who is all about shooting great images instead of having trending features.

  • 24.2MP CMOS sensor
  • Six scene modes and auto-scene function
  • Brightens shadowy backgrounds
  • 11-point autofocus
  • Comfortable handling with fewer buttons
  • Shares images with a WU-1a wireless adapter
  • It has limited connectivity options

4. Canon Rebel XS DSLR Camera

Why we like it: It has a smooth feel with all the buttons at your fingertips for one-handed operation.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
When you are looking for a cheap DSLR camera and are not willing to shell out over $1000, getting a model that has a solid performance at a certain price point is critical. Canon Rebel XS is one such camera that will leave you more impressed than you would have anticipated.

This model is designed for portraits and large quality prints. With a 10MP APS-C CMOS sensor, this model beats most cameras with such a resolution. It captures decent still images thanks to its tonal range and high clarity. It is 2024, but this camera is not ancient in the world of photography.

It has a fixed 2.5-inch screen and a 7-point autofocus system couples it. But the AF can be annoying because of the red spots that flash briefly when the image is in focus. This camera can, however, shoot in 7fps when shooting JPEGs, but it gets as low as 4fps in RAW mode shooting.

Convenient Features
Canon XS has a live view mode where you can zoom the image manually or 5X and 10X. You can view the image directly which is much better than with a point and shoot camera. It also comes with a self-cleaning sensor unit. It prevents dust collection on the imaging sensor and the front low-pass filter. This feature protects the inner components from damage.

If you are looking to wet your feet in photography familiarizing yourself with the specs of a DLSR camera will come in handy as you progress to higher levels. With the Canon Rebel XS, it lets you have the feel of a button camera and not what you would usually use with a smartphone. The resolution is limited making it ideal for portraits and print photos.

  • Easy to learn and operate
  • Live view LCD
  • Contrast detection autofocus
  • Inbuilt cleaning system
  • Compatible with a variety of lenses
  • Limited resolution

Best DSLR Camera in 2024 Under $1000

1. Nikon D5600 DSLR w/18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GVR and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED

Why we like it: It is a compact and portable DSLR camera with a wide variety of compatible interchangeable lenses and a touchscreen LCD.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Nikon D5600 is an advanced level DSLR camera that has more to offer regarding resolution, handling, and imaging. The camera uses a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor to deliver highly-articulated images. It is built without a low-pass filter to give more details in every picture.

With a 39-point autofocus system, the camera gives you more points to see and use before you press the shutter button. It has 9-cross-type points, and it supports 5fps continuous shooting. The camera uses Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processor which is typical of the D3 and D5 line in Nikon. But this camera ranks top of the list when comparing all Nikon cameras.

One of Nikon’s D5600 notable features is the vari-angle touchscreen LCD that is 3.2 inches wide. It has a crop function and toggling between images has been made it easy thanks to the frame-advance bar. Its optical viewfinder offers a 95% field of view. You will have a bright and clear view to help capture everything you have in mind.

Its video capture is still in the entry-level as it is full HD (1080) with frame rates from 24 to 60fps. Thankfully there is a microphone port at the side of the camera. It is useful when you want to shoot watchable videos with great sound.

Convenient Features
Connectivity on this camera has been taken a notch higher. It supports Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth technology through SnapBridge. You can receive photos on your tablet or your phone in between shots. Its Bluetooth connectivity supports up to 5 users.

Nikon D5600 has lots of inbuilt camera features like HDR imaging to produce images with a high dynamic range. It is every photographer’s favorite feature since it showcases a high skill level.

Nikon D5600 is an impressive model that oozes quality and outstanding features. Whether you are a professional or a beginner, this camera provides excellent usability in its imaging and handling. It gives you powerful performance that will bring life to every photo and video capture.

  • Highly sensitive APS-C sensor
  • EXPEED 4 image processor
  • Adjustable touchscreen LCD
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Built-in HDR
  • High-resolution imaging with the Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • Lens has a zoom feature
  • It does not offer 4K video capture

2. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera

Why we like it: It is as small you can get with a traditionally shaped DSLR camera. It has stepped up its features to match top rated DSLR cameras.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Coming in a white color, you may be scared that after a couple of years your lens will be dirty and the body will have yellowed from greasy hands. But that’s not the case with this camera. It can maintain its sleek exterior for many years in good condition. On top of that, you have grippy sides that help to hold and operate the camera using one hand.

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 has a 24MP APS-C sensor which fits in a compact-sized camera. Except for capturing highly-contrasted images with accurate color rendition; it competes exceptionally well with its mirrorless cousins. The camera supports Canon’s line of lenses so you can interchange them to cover all your shooting needs.

This camera comes with a fully articulating screen. It allows you to shoot in different angles and it even has a selfie mode to spice it up. It is a touchscreen which allows you to do everything you want with a touchscreen like cropping and zooming.

Convenient Features
Canon SL2 shoots in full HD at 60fps. It provides an inbuilt mic and an option for an external mic. This is good news to vloggers and video fans as it will come in handy when you want to post great videos with nice audio. And consequently, you are bound to get more views and grow your vlog.

This camera will connect via Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. Sharing photos and videos is now as easy as pairing your devices and posting your favorite moments on social media.

Canon is a remarkable design that gets you excited thinking of all the shots you could make with it. Its picture and video quality lines up with the best high-end DSLR cameras. You get to enjoy lots of connectivity options, dual-pixel autofocus, and exceptional low-light performance.

Take this camera to all your outdoor excursions and bring home your best memories.

  • Supports a microphone jack
  • Brilliant photos and videos in low light
  • Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Articulating screen
  • Small and lightweight with a 24MP APS-C sensor
  • It has 5fps continuous shooting

3. Canon EOS Rebel T7i Digital SLR Camera

Why we like it: It is best for shooting moving images making it a good pick for live events.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a powerful entry-level camera with few limitations. It has some significant updates like the 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor that has a 39-point autofocus system and dual pixel autofocus. It will focus fast and smoothly allowing you to capture the best aspects of a scene. The dual-pixel autofocus is useful for video since it prevents marred images.

The camera focuses at speeds of 0.03 seconds. This feature provides for detecting how far an object is; thus guiding the lens where it should focus for still images. Images will always be still making it ideal for shooting at a sports event.

This camera also uses a DIGIC 7 image processor to help produce noise-free images that are brilliant and lifelike. It uses a 45-point all cross-type autofocus system in its optical viewfinder. It shows you can shoot pictures at any distance without experiencing any lag.

Convenient Features
When you think of casual shooting, a mirrorless option is a nice pick, but for the outdoors, you will need a camera like the Canon T7i because of the long battery life. It can give you 600 shots on one charge which is much better than with a mirrorless camera.

We like that this camera has a guide system that makes it easy to learn the controls. This feature is essential since it allows any beginner who has no idea about photography to learn the controls in a simplified manner.

Canon T7i is a welcome entry-level camera with some of the best-advanced features. It has a sophisticated graphical interface and an intuitive touchscreen that will definitely appeal to new users.

  • 45-point all cross-type autofocus
  • Dual pixel autofocus
  • Advanced DIGIC 7 processor
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Feature assistant
  • Movie Electronic IS6
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity
  • Single command dial makes it hard to adjust the shutter speed and aperture at the same time in manual mode.

4. Pentax K-70 Weather-Sealed DSLR Camera with 18-55mm lens

Why we like it: It is a weather resistant camera that will get you through rains and cold temperatures in bright and low light.

Editor’s Rating:

Design Features
Durability is an important factor in any camera. Pentax brings their A-game to this camera ensuring that you can use it in extreme conditions without damaging any of the interior components. Pentax K-70 is an upgrade of the KS2 bringing you a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with on-sensor PDAF.

The camera uses a PRIME MII image processor to provide brilliant images that are worth bragging to your followers on social media. It has its clever shake-reduction in-body image stabilization as is its take away point. You will never experience blurry shots when capturing moving images like girls dancing on a stage or antelopes running in the wild.

It has a 3-inch vari-angle LCD monitor, so you can shoot from a high or low angle. It provides different LCD settings such as the outdoor view setting and night vision. This feature offers improved imaging in varied light conditions. Since it omits an anti-aliasing filter, the camera can provide sharper images with lifelike resolution.

Convenient Features
This camera has both the digital controls and the button controls. With the external controls, you don’t have to toggle through features on the LCD screen, you just dial in, and you can operate it fast and easy in manual mode.

Pentax K-70 is a highly-competitive cheap DLSR camera. It is fast, accurate, and lots of fun to use. Its AF is significantly faster than with other models in its class so you will be successful while shooting birds, animals, and other moving targets. It will give you serious value for money if you are a beginner but not so much for professional photographers.

  • 100% viewfinder
  • Vari-angle LCD screen