For decades, the DSLR (digital SLR) has been the top choice for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a DSLR offers three key ingredients: manual controls, excellent picture quality and interchangeable lenses.
Mirrorless cameras are another option of course. They’re smaller, mechanically simpler and, like DSLRs, they take interchangeable lenses. If you want to know more about how they compare, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences. Or, if you want to know more about different camera types in general, check out our step-by-step guide: What camera should I buy?
Don’t want to spend a lot on DSLR and need a basic entry-level camera, then you can head over to the list of best DSLRs under Rs 50,000.
In between entry-level and full-frame DSLRs are a whole range of models aimed at different users, different levels of experience and different budgets. But if you are not concerned about the budget and need the best DSLR at your service, check these out:
1. Nikon D850
High resolution meets high speed
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 45.4MP | Autofocus: 153-point AF, 99 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt angle touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert
Top-end quality images
Slow Live View AF speed
The Nikon D850 is the ultimate DSLR right now. We know its pricey, but this full-frame monster is as stunning as they come. It’s huge 45.4MP sensor delivers images with stunning detail and noise performance, while the sophisticated 153-point AF is borrowed from Nikon’s flagship D5.
In addition to this, a 7fps burst shooting and a host of advanced features all fitted in a durable magnesium alloy body gets you a camera that’s pretty much at the top of its game.
Read our in-depth Nikon D850 review
2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
One of the most complete DSLRs we’ve seen
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 30.4MP | Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert
Advanced AF system
Expensive compared to rivals
4K video options limited
Canon’s EOS 5D series of cameras has a rich heritage – the original EOS 5D bought full-frame photography to the masses, the Mark II unleashed Full HD video capture for the first time on a DSLR, and the Mark III became a firm favourite amongst photographers.
The 5D Mark IV pretty much tweaks and improves on everything before it. With a new sensor that delivers pin-sharp results, a 61-point AF system that’s incredibly advanced and some very polished handling, the EOS 5D Mark IV has to be one of the best DSLRs we’ve seen. It is a serious investment, but you won’t be disappointed.
Read the full review: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
3. Nikon D500
Nikon’s baby D5 is perfect for the action photographer
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Autofocus: 153-point AF, 99 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert
Stunning 173-point AF system
Rugged, metal body
Relatively low pixel count
Video still limited
Nikon has taken their flagship D5 DSLR and most of its high-end features and distilled all of this into a smaller, but still very durable, metal body. The full-frame sensor is replaced by an 20.9MP APS-C sized chip. That means the D500 can shoot at a rapid 10fps and the high ISO performance is that much better, while the 153-point AF arrangement is perhaps the best autofocus system out there right now.
A brilliant all-rounder, it excels at fast action like sports and wildlife photography, but still has the chops to shoot landscapes and portraits. If the cost is a bit steep, then Nikon’s just announced the D7500 that sits below that D500 and inherits much of its tech, including the 20.9MP sensor.
Read the full review: Nikon D500
4. Nikon D7500
Nikon’s enthusiast DSLR is a brilliant all-rounder
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 922,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate
Excellent 20.9MP sensor
Powerful 51-point AF system
Only one SD card slot
Live View focusing slow
Cheaper than the D500 and while it doesn’t offer quite the same pro-spec performance, the Nikon D7500 packs in the same excellent 20.9MP sensor, but in an even more compact and affordable body. The new camera may not get the 153-point AF system from the D500, but the enhanced 51-point system in the D7500 still puts a lot of rival systems in the shade. The 4K video capture, tilt-angle touchscreen display and 8fps burst shooting are some of its other highlights.
The D7500 is bound to be a tempting prospect for both new and existing users. Alternatively, take a look at the 24.2MP D7200 – it may have been surpassed by the D7500, but it’s still one of the best DSLRs for the photo-enthusiasts out there.
Read our in-depth Nikon D7500 review
The best value for money set up for both video and still
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.1MP | Autofocus: 9-point AF | Screen type: 3.0-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate
4K video recording
The recently-launched Canon EOS 200D II is a nice upgrade to the well-loved 200D. It is one of the easiest DSLRs to use thanks to its intuitive UI and the touchscreen. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s a beginners’ camera, as it has enough hardware and performance capabilities to go head-to-head with the best, thaks to the new Digic 8 image processor, Dual Pixel AF with eye-tracking.
This is also one of the more affordable DSLRs with 4K recording, albeit with a crop. It continues the trend of being extremely compact and light-weight while retaining the ability to change lenses. Other strong points include great battery life and swift processing.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS 200D II review
6. Nikon D3400
A very basic yet brilliant DSLR
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Autofocus: 11-point AF, 1 cross-type | Screen type: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner
Good 24MP sensor
Value for money
Basic external[ controls
At the opposite end of the spectrum to some of the full-frame DSLRs here, the D3400 is cheap as chips, has one of the sharpest APS-C sensors there is and a neat retracting kit lens. It’s proof that you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a great camera, and we say its sheer value for money makes it just as impressive as much more advanced (and much more expensive) alternatives. It has a great 24MP sensor and although the controls are designed to be simple for novices, in the right hands the little D3400 is a match for cameras costing far more. A great DSLR for the first-time user.
Read our in-depth Nikon D3400 review
Canon EOS 800D
A compelling combination of top-notch ergonomics and a superb sensor
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Autofocus: 45-point AF, 45 cross-type | Screen type: 3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 6fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Easy to use
No 4K video
Costing a bit more than the Nikon D3400, but offering quite a bit more in the way of features, the Canon EOS 800D is a great entry-level DSLR. The new sensor impresses, as does the 45-point autofocus system backed up by excellent live view AF, while the newly designed graphical interface will certainly make this camera even more appealing to new users. The absence of 4K video and the quality of the exterior materials disappoint, but this aside, if you’re looking for a well-rounded and easy to use camera for your first DSLR the EOS 800D is certainly a very good bet.
Read our in-depth EOS 800D review
8. Nikon D750
A full-frame DSLR with performance, versatility and value
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type | Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting, 1,229,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 6.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Intermediate
Good 24MP full frame sensor
Handy for video
Like the look of Nikon’s D850 further up the top, but don’t want to shell out quite that much, then look no further than the 24MP full-frame D750. It doesn’t have that magnificent 45.4-megapixel sensor that the D850 does, but its 24-megapixel alternative still delivers top quality results, especially at high ISO settings. The D750 also features a decent 6.5fps continuous shooting speed, a handy tilting screen and a pretty attractive asking price.
Read our in-depth Nikon D750 review
9. Canon EOS 7D Mark II
As fast as pro DSLRs but priced for amateurs, the 7D Mark II ticks all the boxes
Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 20.2MP | Autofocus: 65-point AF, 65 cross-type | Screen type: 3.0-inch, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert
Hybrid and 10fps shooting
Expensive for an APS-C camera
Just like D500, the EOS 7D Mark II borrows many of its features from its big brother, the EOS-1D X (that’s now been replaced by the EOS-1D X Mark II), bringing 10fps shooting and a professional autofocus system to the amateur market. Now you can shoot action and sports like the pros, but at a price within the reach of enthusiasts. The EOS 7D Mark II isn’t just a high-speed specialists, it’s a terrific all-round camera. It’s tough, with an alloy body and weather-sealed controls, it has a great sensor with an advanced dual-pixel hybrid autofocus system, and it’s a powerful video camera too.
Read our in-depth Canon EOS 7D Mark II review