We’ll guide you through the hottest cameras available – and only models that we’ve seen in reality – to save you time when it comes to working out what the best options are.You want to buy a DSLR camera but don’t know what to go for? Then you’ve come to the right place, as this is where we round-up the best DSLR cameras of 2016.
This variety allows you to start small and build-up to the more varied, sharper and desirable featured lenses as you go along. It also adds hands-on control for zoom and focus precision unlike that of most compact cameras.DSLR cameras – which stands for digital single lens reflex – have removable lenses so that different optics can be attached in order to give a different view on the world.
They are the ones that typically look a little more like point-and-shoot cameras but also have interchangeable lenses (there are exceptions to that, with some models acting as out-and-out DSLR replacements).DSLR cameras aren’t to be confused with the newer compact system cameras that are also infiltrating camera shops up and down the land. We’ve got the best system cameras covered in another feature, linked below:
Whether you’re new to the DSLR concept, are looking to upgrade, know plenty about cameras already and are weighing up the options, or are considering a more pro-spec option, we’ve broken down our list of great DSLR cameras into sub-headed categories to make things that bit easier to digest. You name it, we’ve got you covered.
A quick lesson in lenses
First thing’s first: cameras don’t work in a one-size-fits-all way. Brands like to keep their own heritage and, as such, each manufacturer has its own lens mount.
For Canon it’s EF, for Nikon it’s F-mount, for Pentax it’s K-mount, and Sony has A-mount. There are some additions and exceptions, but those are the current four to focus on. Don’t fall into the trap by buying the wrong lenses just because the brand names match up.
Second to the equation is sensor size. Entry and mid-level cameras typically have what’s called an APS-C size sensor. Some pro-spec cameras have full-frame sensors that, because they’re physically larger, need specific – typically pricier and more advanced – lenses that are capable of covering the larger dimensions. In each case the mount size remains the same, irrelevant of the sensor size. If you are looking at a top-of-the-range lens for a top-of-the-range camera, you’ll know all this already. For those starting out, don’t worry: it may seem a bit of a minefield out there, but a fairly easy one to understand once you get into the lingo of the manufacturer you’ve chosen.
Focal length equivalent
There are plenty of things to consider with lenses and this all depends on the type of photography you are planning on doing. If it is all about portraits you’ll want something around the 50mm or 75mm mark. If you are trying to snap that lion on the Savanna and don’t want to get eaten then you’ll want something with a long zoom closer to 300mm or beyond.
Best entry-level DSLR
You’ve decided that a DSLR is the one for you, but you don’t want to fork out masses of cash and don’t want overbearing or complex controls to get in your way. The Nikon D3300 is the entry-level model to Nikon’s series: an affordable and well-balanced choice to introduce you to the world of DSLR.
Complete with a Guide mode on its main mode dial, the camera can assist you in a visual way to generate the types of photographs you want. These visual cues will help in expanding your understanding of exposure, aperture values, depth of field and all those things that – quite probably – you don’t know about just yet. But at the same time if that that sounds too daunting then just stick the camera in auto mode and press the shutter button – it’ll do all the autofocus and exposure metering for you and, more often than not, do it well.
If there’s a drawback it’s that the optical viewfinder has a 95 per cent field-of-view, meaning that the outermost five per cent of the shot will be captured, but won’t show up in the preview. It’s typical of DSLR cameras at this level without exception.
Image quality from the D3300’s 24-megapixel sensor is top quality, and compared to to its D3200 predecessor it’s removed a filter between the lens and sensor for optimum sharpness. Competition comes in the form of the Canon EOS 1200D/1300D, which would be our other choice option at this level (see below).
Canon EOS 1200D
The Canon EOS 1200D is a safe bet, because it’s just been replaced by the Wi-Fi-wielding 1300D, making it a highly affordable entry point into the market (our 1300D review will be underway soon).
But back to the 1200D. If you want to use the rear LCD screen to take pictures then you might as well forget about it and look to a compact system camera instead. But if you’re after an affordable viewfinder-based option with the latest and greatest image quality at this level then the 1200D has definite plus points.
Just like the Nikon D3300 (above) the Canon 1200D has the same 95 per cent field-of-view viewfinder limitations, but that’s to be expected at this price point. Which, like we say, at under ￡300 is a bargain.
Between the 1200D and the Nikon D3300 there’s not a huge difference in performance, price, or resulting image quality. The Canon’s 18-megapixel resolution may sound “inferior” to the Nikon’s 24-megapixels – but that’s not precisely the case, and is roughly nine times the overall resolution of the Full HD television in your lounge anyway. Both cameras mean large images aid with the ability to crop into the shot if you want too.
The Canon has a companion app to aid your learning, while Nikon opts for an in-camera Guide Mode. Whichever suits, choose wisely as once you’ll be investing in a lens mount, so it’ll pave the way for any future purchases and camera body progression.