Looking to make the step up to DSLR photography on a budget? One of these best entry-level DSLRs of 2015 could be the camera for you
Entry-level DSLRs aren’t necessarily ‘low spec’ DSLRs at all; indeed many of the latest ‘entry-level’ models are actually quite well specified.
At the very least you can expect your new DSLR to come with an APS-C sensor that’s around ten times larger than the standard 1/2.3in sensors found in most compacts.
In addition, you can also expect the autofocus system to be faster and more flexible, with the optical viewfinder providing you with a window that allows you to concentrate on framing your image correctly.
With all of that in mind, here are some of the best entry-level DSLRs of 2016.
Street price: £229 with 18-55mm lens
The Canon EOS 1200D follows on from the EOS 1100D in a long line of great Canon entry-level models.
The DSLR is nice and compact, while managing to maintain an impressive specification.
The APS-C sensor features a boosted resolution, with the chip now delivering an 18.1MP resolution up from 12.1MP. Even at this boosted resolution the 1200D still delivers a continuous shooting speed of 3fps with a burst depth of around 70 frames when shooting JPEG files.
Of course, there’s also the fact that in buying Canon you’ll be buying in to an impressive DSLR ecosystem that includes a proliferation of second-hand optics at affordable prices.
Best entry-level DSLR for: Joining the Canon DSLR tree at an affordable level
Street price: £349 with 18-55mm lens
If you’re concerned about a camera body that has a small size, the 100D could be the one for you. At the time of its release it was the smallest DSLR in the world – a title it still holds on to today.
It’s got an 18 million pixel sensor, an optical viewfinder, and a touch-sensitive screen.
Like with the 1200D, it’s also worth considering that you’ll be buying into an expansive DSLR ecosystem.
Best entry-level DSLR for: keeping it small
Street price: £288 with 18-55mm lens
The A58 takes the highlights of the older A57 and A37 models and condenses them into a single model. Sony has since announced the A68, but at the time of writing it’s not available on the market.
Strictly speaking, the A58 isn’t technically a DSLR – rather it’s what Sony calls a ‘SLT’ (Single Lens Translucent) camera.
This basically means that it uses a fixed semi-transparent mirror that allows some light to the sensor and some to the phase detection sensor in the prism.
The upshot of this is that the camera employs a 1.44m-dot electronic viewfinder instead of an optical viewfinder. The pay-off for this is increased shooting speed, with the A58 able to shoot at a very healthy 8fps – making it great for capturing fast-moving action with.
Best entry-level DSLR for: Continuous shooting
Street price: £375 with 18-55mm lens
The Pentax K-50 sits in the entry-level space within Pentax’s DSLR range.
What sets this apart from the others here is its “weatherproofing” credentials.
This one is rain and dust resistant, but you’ll need to invest in a weather resistant lens to make it fully sealed. Other interesting features include a 16.3 million pixel sensor, a continuous shooting speed of 6fps, and a 3-inch 921,000-dot screen.
It’s a great camera for those who like to shoot in all conditions and want a beginner DSLR that reflects that.
Best entry-level DSLR for: Photographers with a sense of adventure
£310 with 18-55mm kit zoom
The Nikon D3300 follows on from two incredibly popular DSLRs in the Nikon D3200 and D3100.
Perhaps the most note-worthy feature is the model’s 24.3MP sensor, carried on from the Nikon D3200. What’s different is that the camera’s anti-alias filter has been removed and as such it should result in sharper images.
This high megapixel count and the lack of an anti-alias filter reuslt in some truly impressive image quality that belies the camera’s entry-level status, making the D3300 worthy of a place on the shortlist.
Best entry-level DSLR for: High-resolution entry-level photography