Best Entry Level DSLR

Best Entry Level DSLR

If you are an inexperienced photographer who is looking for the best entry level DSLR camera, then this article is for you. I’ve made the list of the most user-friendly, affordable and popular beginner DSLR models produced by Canon, Nikon and Pentax. Here you can find the best Canon cameras for portraits, Nikon devices for wedding shooting, and more.

best entry level dslr

What Is the Best Entry Level DSLR?

Forget about your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, take one of these 15 entry level DSLRs and start taking professional and high-resolution photos right now.

best entry level dslrs for photographers

You are probably only planning to start your career as a professional photographer. In this case, an entry level DSLR is the best choice for you. If you don’t have enough practice, it will be difficult to start taking photos with manual settings.

Best Entry Level DSLR in 2022

So, you need to buy a nice, easy-to-use, and durable DSLR for beginners. Choose among these 15 best entry level DSLR camera bodies and recommended lenses.

1. Nikon D3400

nikon d3400 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • At high ISO, digital noise is low
  • The camera has small dimensions and minimal weight
  • The autonomy is fine (740 shots per one battery)
  • Bright photos
  • Not found

Many users who aim to buy the best DSLR camera for beginners assert that Nikon D3400 met their expectations. Despite the fact that this camera body was created for inexperienced photographers, the quality of thew final shots is amazing. What makes this model different from competitors is its 11-point autofocus. The wide ISO range is incredible. Another advantage of the Nikon D3400 DSLR is the ability to use continuous shooting at 5 fps. Thanks to its detailed explanations and various YouTube lessons, you won’t face any problems with this camera.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF S 85mm f/1.8G

This model features the up-to-date AF-S system. As a result, you can enjoy excellent focusing and perfect pictures. Created especially for the 36mm x 24mm FX sensor frame, this lens perfectly suits the a DSLR camera by Nikon. The photographer receives a convenient field of view – 128 mm.

nikon d3400 photo sample Photo sample by Nikon D3400

2. Canon SL2

canon sl2 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • 24MP APS-C photosensor
  • Flexible usage of the touchscreen
  • Vari-angle touch LCD
  • Viewfinder shooting with just 9 AF points
  • Size advantage reduced

The best professional DSLR camera must provide an opportunity for taking top-quality, accurate and appealing images with rich colors. The Canon SL2 successfully covers the demand of easy-to-use camera with high-level of quality. Its color reproduction is perfect, while the resolution of 24.2 megapixels looks amazing, even without image editing.

You can easily take pictures with a shallow depth of field, as this body features big APS-C photo sensor. It is the best choice if you plan to create large format prints, as well as create your photo stories. What is more important, this camera can cope with poor lighting. It provides excellent results thanks to the DIGIC 7 processor. This DSLR works fast because of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

Known as an ideal portrait lens, this piece of equipment is in high demand among modern amateur and professional photographers. I highly recommend trying to use this lens not only for shooting people, but also for street photography. Noiseless and fast focusing make it easy to use, while the lens helps take accurate and nice-looking photos.

canon sl2 photo sample Photo sample by Canon SL2

3. Pentax K3

pentax k3 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Upgraded autofocus system
  • Focusing in Live View mode is perfect
  • The viewfinder is brighter than its competitors
  • Compact body
  • Durable construction/strong materials
  • Button placement isn’t very convenient

According to the list of pros and cons, you can see that this camera has a great number of benefits. This is one of the best cameras for beginners that features an APS-C format CMOS sensor (23.5 x 15.6 mm). The resolution of images is high. It reaches 23.35 million pixels. Many users appreciate the modern PRIME III processor, which was recently designed by the company. The noise reduction functions without any issues. Shooting with the Pentax K3 is your chance to take clear and detailed pictures that have smooth transitions.

Recommended camera lens:

Pentax DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6

With an extended 7.5X zoom range, this lens can be successfully used for many professional purposes. It is suitable for photographing in various weather conditions. The DA 18-135mm performs fine mobility because of its small size and minimal weight. The Direct Current (DC) provides spotless autofocus work. The aspherical element allows for taking high-quality shots.

pentax k3 photo sample Photo sample by Pentax K3

4. Canon 4000D/T100

canon 4000d t100 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Cheap
  • The brightness optimizer functions well
  • Integration with smartphone/mobile apps
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Perfect battery life compared to competitors
  • Only automatic adjustment of exposure for recording videos
  • The camera doesn’t feature the direct selection of the focused area
  • The absence of diopter adjustment

If you want to buy the best DSLR for taking outstanding landscape and street images, think about one of the most popular Canon cameras – the Canon 4000D/T100. Are you dreaming about an amazing blurred background? Or you need to take nice photos in spite of poor lighting? In any case, the Canon 4000D/T100 will become one of your favorite devices. The 18-megapixel photosensor and the modern autofocus with a frequency of 3 fps are the main advantages of this camera. I recommend it as the DSLR camera for beginners who plan to pursue a travel photography career. As for the other benefits of this model, they are the optical viewfinder, the 6.8 cm diagonal LCD screen and the DIGIC 4+ processor.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6

The combination of perfect performance and optical excellence explains the popularity of this lens. In spite of its small dimensions, you can enjoy the super-wide angle of view. It also has the 4-group optical zoom system and you will get a device worthy of your attention. Its UD, large-diameter and aspherical elements allow taking brilliant pictures without special efforts.

canon 4000d t100 photo sample Photo sample by Canon 4000D / T100

5. Canon 5D

canon 5d entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Full frame
  • Swift to focus and start
  • Decent high ISO performance
  • Remarkable image quality
  • Without a built-in flash
  • Expensive

The EOS 5D is the first version of the widely known 5D cameras that has 12.8MP. Being only 810 gr, it’s a great example of the last generation of digital SLR cameras with a full-frame CMOS sensor (35.8 x 23.9 mm). The camera corresponds to 35mm film frame size and is able to shoot at 3 fps and 60 high-resolution frames in JPEG format in series in continuous shooting mode. Using this body, you can see pictures from a full viewing angle without the appearance of a grain effect.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L

The ultra-wide-angle zoom lens features three aspherical elements and a Super UD glass element. As a result, you can enjoy excellent optics, no matter how low the lighting is. This 17-40mm model allows amateur photographers to broaden their perspective and get perfect images.

canon 5d photo sample Photo sample by Canon 5D

6. Canon 7D

canon 7d entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • The camera allows for setting high ISO
  • Up-to-date autofocus
  • The image sensor is big
  • Viewfinder is huge
  • Flash motor produces much noise

The Canon 7D can compete with all best digital cameras for beginners mentioned above. You should try this camera if accurate and detailed pictures are your first wish. The EOS 7D camera works quickly enough and provides perfect resolution with an 18 million-pixel sensor. So, you will enjoy taking 14-bit photos at a speed of 8 fps. This model helps capture every action and takes up to 126 large JPEG pictures in a continuous shoot.

When photographing without a tripod in disappointing light conditions, the model provides high ISO up to 6400. In case you are unable to turn on the flash, the ISO can increase to 12800. I also want to mention the viewfinder and a 1.0x magnification, which ensures full and natural 100% view.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8

The fast Canon lens has a max aperture of f/1.8. This piece of equipment helps take pictures with nice shallow depth and provides good results in spite of poor lighting. The AF action is fast, smooth and quiet, thanks to the ultrasonic autofocus motor. You can also add special filter effects without problems.

canon 7d photo sample Photo sample by Canon 7D

7. Nikon D5600

nikon d5600 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Impressive battery life
  • Intelligent auto mode operates perfectly
  • Swift and precise autofocus
  • NFC and Bluetooth modules for fast wireless setup
  • Wi-Fi integration for wireless shooting control and image transfer
  • Unable to adjust the settings while shooting with a Wi-Fi connection
  • The buffer isn’t large enough for swift continuous shooting

The D5600 has a DX-format matrix with a resolution of 24.2 million pixels. The model may accurately reproduce the finest textures and generate images with fascinating details. The sensitivity range is 100–25 600 ISO. It can be extended to 6,400 in the “Night landscape” mode. So, the camera allows for getting excellent results in low light or unusual lighting conditions. These important features put this model on the list of the best DSLR cameras.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm F4.5-5.6G

This lens stands out from competitors due to its small dimensions and minimal weight. It really suits travel lovers and everyone who needs compact and portable equipment. You can receive sharp and detailed pictures because of the Vibration Reduction (VR) stabilization. The lens is also useful for videographers. It provides excellent brightness and rich colors, as well as high performance.

nikon d5600 photo sample Photo sample by Nikon D5600

8. Pentax K-70

pentax k70 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • The best low light AF in the class
  • Wi-Fi connection
  • Protected from bad weather conditions
  • Durable
  • RAW buffer isn’t big
  • Outdated autofocus

It’s the best starter camera for users who want to buy a sturdy, strong and compact device for extreme photography in snow, rain or smoke. This digital camera has great moisture, dust and weather-resistance. So, you can surely use it for outdoor photo shoots. The main benefit is the opportunity to take images with the ISO 102,400 sensitivity. You will be able to get sharp and bright results while using the Live View mode.

Recommended camera lens:

Pentax DA 300mm f/4

This premium telephoto lens is designed for convenient photography in all weather conditions. Its 460 mm focal length corresponds to 35 mm format. It has been manufactured using state-of-the-art technologies and the top-grade materials.

pentax k70 photo sample Photo sample by Pentax K-70

9. Canon T7i

canon t7i entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Burst photography at the speed of 6 fps
  • Dual Pixel AF works very well for recording videos
  • Swift 45-point autofocus
  • Not a very big pentamirror viewfinder
  • Video limit is 1080p

The upgraded APS-C 24.2MP image sensor generates incredible details even in problematic shooting conditions. The immediately triggered EOS REBEL T7i features a bright optical viewfinder and enables users to shoot continuously at 6 fps. While creating a frame on a variable-angle screen, it focuses precisely within 0.03 seconds . It may be undoubtedly called the best entry level DSLR.

Recommended camera lens:

Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3

Offering a 1:3 macro ratio, this telephoto lens was created for APS-C devices. With the implementation of state-of-the-art Sigma technology, this piece of equipment is made of perfect materials and helps take brilliant outdoor shots. Besides, it corresponds to a 27-450mm lens and effectively controls aberration.

canon t7i photo sample Photo sample by Canon T7i

10. Canon SL1

canon sl1 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Convenient to use
  • 4fps continuous shooting
  • Port for a microphone
  • Efficient high ISO results
  • Lacks flip-out screen
  • Colors are too saturated in tone priority mode

This 18MP camera is considered to be one of the best entry level DSLR models that ensures amazing photo and video quality. It has touch panel controls and an optical viewfinder. With this DSLR camera you can take photos with additional effects, applying various filters, for example, Grainy B/W, Toy Camera and Miniature Effect.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

This practical and lightweight Telephoto Zoom Lens has a high degree of magnifying power. It impresses with a wide focal length range from standard to a telephoto equivalent to 29-320mm in the 35mm format. The lens has an Optical Image Stabilizer, which allows for making effective correction of up to 4-stops, even at full zoom.

canon sl1 photo sample Photo sample by Canon SL1

11. Canon 700D

canon 700d entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Wonderful picture quality
  • Fast recording speed
  • User-friendly touchscreen interface
  • You need some time to adjust the lens while recording videos
  • Problems with optimization

Having used this best DSLR camera, you would be able to print pictures in high quality due to a multi-pixel matrix with a hybrid CMOS-autofocus. Besides, you can take images with low noise. The sensitivity range is ISO 100-12800 (can be enhanced to ISO 25600).

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G

This model is the first one released in the 'Contemporary' category of Sigma’s line. Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4, created as a universal lens for APS-C sized sensors, has an effective focal diapason of 25-105 mm. The Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) and an Optical Stabilizer (OS) are other advantages. It is an ideal multi-use lens for every shooter.

canon 700d photo sample Photo sample by Canon 700D

12. Canon T6

canon t6 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Amazing image quality
  • 18MP sensor
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Fast autofocus
  • Short battery life
  • Convenient wireless synchronization

This DSLR boasts a great 18.0 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. These features allow for taking distinct and vivid photos. Other advantages of this best entry level DSLR are an integrated viewfinder, large APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) sensor and excellent autofocus. Photographers, especially those engaged in portrait shooting, will like the doubled resolution of the LCD screen, which ensures vibrant photos.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

This portable, small lens ensures satisfactory sharpness in the center. It is only 23mm long and is convenient to carry. This model will enable you to take high-quality images from the center to the edges. This is possible thanks to an improved lens configuration, together with an aspheric element, a bright 2.8 aperture, and optimized coatings. This positively affects the color balance and minimizes glare.

canon t6 photo sample Photo sample by Canon T6

13. Nikon D5300

nikon d5300 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • User-friendly and efficient
  • Perfect photo quality
  • Wi-Fi and GPS support
  • Compatible with various lenses
  • A wide ISO range
  • Short battery life
  • Poor results in Live View mode
  • Expensive accessories

This is a magnificent beginner DSLR with a 24.2-megapixel DX-format. It will help you realize your ideas, producing pure and colorful pictures. This is undoubtedly the best DSLR with Wi-Fi, which allows transferring photos to another device right after a photo shoot. A handy GPS function helps to indicate the location where your photos were taken. Thanks to a large screen, you can take photos from almost all possible angles. Prefer to shoot in the late hours of the day? This camera guarantees sharp images even in the dark.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G

This cross-functional, user-friendly DX-format zoom lens is suitable for various shooting conditions thanks to a 7.8-x magnification and well-thought out design. The Nikon Silent Wave Motor has fast, precise and low-noise autofocus with a minimal focusing distance of 1.48ft. Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) intensifies optical transmission efficiency, ensures top color consistency and minimal flares.

nikon d5300 photo sample Photo sample by Nikon D5300

14. Nikon D3500

nikon d3500 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Small
  • Great photo and video quality
  • Reasonable price
  • 5p/s continuous shooting
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Fixed LCD without touch support
  • Lacks microphone port

D3500 is a good starter camera that has a large DX format matrix with a resolution of 24.2 million pixels, so you can take high-quality images and record Full HD videos. If you want to take magnificent portraits with a blurred background, use this Nikon camera together with one of the NIKKOR lenses.

Recommended camera lens:

Nikon AF FX 50mm f/1.8D

This 50 mm focal length lens with a fast f/1.8 aperture enables you to take first-class photos with objects clearly visible against the background thanks to the small depth of field. Regardless of whether you take portraits, food or landscapes shots, work inside or outside the studio – the AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D makes a beautiful, natural blurred background with Bokeh.

nikon d3500 photo sample Photo sample by Nikon D3500

15. Pentax K-S2

pentax k s2 entry level dslr View Prices on Amazon
  • Wi-Fi/NFC support
  • Weather-sealed entry level DSLR
  • Purple fringing
  • Touchscreen is absent
  • Rolling shutter effect while recording videos

This Pentax doesn’t have a 24-megapixel sensor, which is a peculiar feature of the best DSLR cameras, but is equipped with a 20-megapixel filterless APS-C CMOS sensor. Many beginner cameras please photographers with wonderful 1080p full HD video recording at 60 fps, but the Pentax K-S2 has other advantages. For instance, you can enjoy 4K internal movie capture and 1080p h.264 HD video recording. Well, I think it’s a good camera for travel videos for your YouTube channel.

Recommended camera lens:

Pentax 21mm F/3.2

It is 25mm long and weighs 140 grams. Such small dimensions make it an ideal lens if you plan to take photos while traveling and don’t need bulky equipment.

pentax k s2 photo sample Photo sample by Pentax K-S2

List of 15 Best Entry Level DSLRs

Image Camera Details  
nikon d3400 entry level dslr
Nikon D3400
  • 24.2MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon sl2 entry level dslr
Canon SL2
  • 24.2MP
  • Dual Pixel CMOS
canon 4000d t100 entry level dslr
Canon 4000D/T100
  • 18.0 MP
  • CMOS APS-C sensor
nikon d5300 entry level dslr
Nikon D5300
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon 5d entry level dslr
Canon 5D
  • 12.8MP
  • full-frame CMOS sensor
canon 7d entry level dslr
Canon 7D
  • 18MP
  • APS-C CMOS sensor
nikon d5600 entry level dslr
Nikon D5600
  • 24.2MP
  • CMOS sensor
pentax k70 entry level dslr
Pentax K-70
  • 24MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon t7i entry level dslr
Canon T7i
  • 24.2MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon sl1 entry level dslr
Canon SL1
  • 18MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon 700d entry level dslr
Canon 700D
  • 18MP
  • CMOS sensor
pentax k3 entry level dslr
Pentax K3
  • 24MP
  • CMOS sensor
canon t6 entry level dslr
Canon T6
  • 18MP
  • CMOS sensor
nikon d3500 entry level dslr
Nikon D3500
  • 24MP
  • CMOS sensor
pentax k s2 entry level dslr
Pentax K-S2
  • 20MP
  • APS-C CMOS sensor

How to Choose the Best DSLR for Beginners?

Every amateur photographer has problems choosing a camera. First of all, keep in mind that the model should fully meet your goals and personal shooting style. Do you need the best camera for portraits or want a device for product photography? Do you specialize in wedding photo sessions or feel more enthusiastic about newborn shooting? All this plays a vital role and greatly affects the characteristics of your photo equipment. Check the size of the sensor, megapixels, diverse modes, shooting speed, manual controls and, of course, the price.

1. Price


Keep in mind that together with the body of the camera, you will buy additional accessories. That’s why the price is one of the main criteria you have to pay attention to and sometimes it makes sense to buy a cheap camera and invest more in a lens. While purchasing the best digital camera for beginners, you will probably need to buy a backpack, a tripod, lenses and other equipment.

2. Sensor Size

Sensor Size

In order to make the shooting process even more pleasant and enjoyable, we recommend choosing devices with smaller sensors, for example, cropped-sensor cameras for food photography (APS-C size). Such cameras are lighter, smaller and more convenient and practical to use.

3. Flexibility


Even if you’ve decided on the photography genre you like, you may change your mind and will need to buy another camera. To minimize the expenses, opt for versatile devices.

4. Megapixels


The number of megapixels influences the amount of information the sensor can record. More megapixels means more detailed shots.

5. Frames Per Second

Frames Per Second

This parameter matters a lot for photographers looking for the best budget video camera? If you can record many frames per second, you’ll get a chance to capture even fast moving objects.

6. Lens kit

If you are a beginner photographer and trying to master manual camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, spending many hours behind the camera, then you will need a small and lightweight model for ease of use.

The most convenient cameras for beginners are the Nikon D3500 and the Canon 250D. They are surprisingly small for DSLRs, so have a closer look at them.

7. Weight and Dimensions of a Camera

Lens kit

Purchasing the best entry level DSLR, try to find a “kit” option that will include both a camera body and a lens. Thus, you can save a decent sum of money.

Difference Between DSLR and Mirrorless

A few years ago, there was no particular choice. For professional photography, you had to buy a DSLR camera. However, when the first mirrorless cameras appeared, everything changed. Many photographers have underestimated mirrorless cameras, since the camera relies entirely on the display or electronic viewfinder. So what's better? Here are 5fivedifferences that will help you figure it out.

  • Read my full review of all similar functions and differences between mirrorless vs DSLR cameras. It will be very helpful before buying your first camera.

1. Size & Weight

 Size & Weight

As a rule, mirrorless cameras are more practical due to the smaller size. DSLR camera bodies are larger, as they need to fit both a mirror and a prism.

2. Viewfinder

Every DSLR camera has an optical viewfinder as it is one of the key elements of the mirror construction.

3. Autofocus Speed


The phase detection technology typical for DSLRs is used to measure the convergence of two beams of light. Mirrorless cameras have the contrast detection technology, which detects the highest contrast that coincides with focus.

4. Previewing Images

Previewing Images

Thanks to the optical viewfinder, you can see exactly what a DSLR camera will capture. Mirrorless camera displays images on the screen. Some mirrorless cameras use the electronic viewfinder (EVF) instead of the optical one.

5. Video Quality

 Video Quality

Due to built-in focus sensors, mirrorless cameras are more suitable for video recording. During video shooting, DSLR cameras can’t use phase detection technology and are inferior to their mirrorless rivals in this aspect. Nowadays, you can find many cool mirrorless cameras under 1000 dollars to hone your shooting skills.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more