Guide to choose and buy the best SLR camera you need. We explain in a simple way which features are more critical and which SLR camera best suits you.
- Features common to all SLR cameras
- DSLR cameras recommended for amateurs
- Cheap SLR cameras (amateurs/beginners if your budget is tight)
- SLR cameras for advanced amateurs
- SLR cameras for specialized photography and professional ranges
Features common to all DSLR cameras
- They are interchangeable lens cameras
- You can use the lens that best suits each situation: portrait, product photography, landscapes, architecture, macro photography, bird and nature photography, sports.
- They have an optical viewfinder
- The viewfinder allows the photographer to frame the scene correctly and also helps to achieve a more stable position
- They have a large sensor: + image quality
- The sensor is an essential part of the camera since it is the element that transforms the light from the scene into an image. Large sensors offer higher image quality.
- Manual modes
- SLR cameras include modes that allow the user to take control of the camera parameters to achieve the look or artistic effect they are looking for in each photo or video.
- All SLR cameras can record video.
- One of the advantages of these cameras is that they can offer exceptional video quality in addition to photography quality.
Here you have more information about what is a SLR camera .
Best SLR Camera For Amateurs
Camera user/usage type:
- He is a user for whom photography is an occasional hobby (field trips, family photography, and videos, travel/tourism)
- Looking for an excellent image quality
- You want to learn photography or improve as a photographer by putting new techniques into practice
- The camera will have a general use: many types and styles of photography, some video.
- A camera that you can use for many years without limiting yourself
We recommend any of these models:
- Canon EOS 800D ( Canon Rebel T7i in America )
- Nikon D5600
Any of these SLR cameras more than meets the needs of an amateur photographer or someone who wants to start in the world of photography.
They are cameras that will not limit you.
They offer excellent image quality and include functions and features that help a lot in a photographer’s day to day: fully articulated screen, touch screen, many configuration options, perfect focus system.
It is a long-term investment since they are models that can last you a lifetime and will continue to offer excellent benefits.
You will have at your disposal the entire catalogue of Canon or Nikon lenses, including third-party brands and the entire second-hand market.
If the price is a little out of your budget, you can take a look at these cheaper SLR cameras. You sacrifice some features, but the image quality will be very similar.
Canon EOS 800D / Canon Rebel T7i
Excellent camera for both photography and video. Very complete and balanced for the intermediate range, aimed at amateurs and advanced amateurs.
In the video, the performance is very, very good. The only limitation is that it doesn’t record in 4K, but its focus and tracking system is very reliable.
If you are looking for a camera with a good compromise between photography and video, the Canon 800D is a perfect option.
Here’s more on the Canon EOS 800D
You also have the Canon EOS 200D (Rebel SL2) and the Canon EOS 250D (Rebel SL3) slightly smaller reflex cameras, which do without some of the more advanced features of the 800D, for example, the focus system in photography is a somewhat older, they have a lower burst firing speed…
But for most fans, both the Canon 200D and Canon 250D can also be a great choice. Comparison Canon 800D vs Canon 200D.
A camera with incredible features and price. It is a very complete and balanced camera, more oriented to photography than video.
The image quality that can be offered with a good lens is excellent, at the height of professional range cameras.
Like all Nikons, it stands out above all in photography: a high-performance sensor that offers exceptional image quality: dynamic range, behaviour at high ISOs, image cleanliness in terms of noise.
If you are going to do photography above all, the Nikon D5600 is a camera for life, it will not limit you, and it will allow you to grow as a photographer.
In the video, it is a camera that offers outstanding quality, but its video focus system is not too good, so for more or less severe projects, you would have to work with manual focus.
More information, features, and valuation of the Nikon D5600
SLR camera for advanced amateurs
Camera user/usage type:
- For this type of user, photography is still a hobby, but he has achieved quite advanced knowledge of photography
- In many cases, he is a photographer who has specialized in some type of photography, for example, landscape photography, macro photography, astrophotography, bird photography.
- Look for a camera with certain specific features and functions, not included in mid-range cameras. For example, a more advanced focus system, more buttons, and dials for quick access, more burst shooting speed, better video recording system.
- The camera is still in general use, but in many cases, it will be used for a specific type of photography.
In this range, I recommend these models:
- Canon EOS 90D
- Canon EOS 80D
- Nikon D7500
Canon EOS 90D
As with the previous version (Canon 80D) the Canon 90D is aimed at two types of user:
1) Advanced hobbyists are looking for a fast camera, good value for money, for bird photography or sports photography.
2) Someone is looking for a camera with useful features for vlogging, youtube channel, or video projects.
Key points of the Canon 90D:
- Ergonomics and comfort, even when using large telephoto lenses
- Excellent image quality
- It is a high-speed camera, up to 11 photos per second, perfect for birds and sports
- Attractive video features: records 4K / 30p, unique raw camera spot colour, one of the best focus and tracking systems
- Available the entire catalogue of Canon SLR lenses (EF / EF-S mount)
Canon EOS 80D
Excellent camera for advanced users, but it has been sold as a video camera for youtube/vlogging channels for its image quality and Dual Pixel focus and tracking system.
Key points of the Canon 80D:
- Robust camera, very well built, very complete
- Being a camera oriented to a more advanced user, it is effortless to use for any user; it is a good option as the first SLR camera
- Excellent performance for photography and video
- Widely used for youtube/vlogging channels
- Available the entire catalogue of Canon SLR lenses (EF / EF-S mount)
A real beast for sports photography and nature photography (birds, wild animals). In addition to its image quality, what stands out about this camera is the burst shooting speed.
Key points of the Nikon D7500:
- Excellent image quality, one of the best APS-C sensors today.
- Very clean images of noise, and excellent dynamic range
- A very robust camera, designed for photography of sports, birds, nature.
- Superfast, both burst speed and internal buffer, allowing very long bursts to capture every little movement in the scene
- Access to entire vast lens catalogue for Nikon
SLR camera for specialized photography and professional ranges
Camera user/usage type:
- You are a user who is professionally engaged in photography or video or an advanced hobbyist who has specialized in a kind of photography that requires more sophisticated equipment
- Find a camera that you can fully trust to do your job
- Or look for a camera that exactly covers a feature you need for your type of photography (for example high burst speed for bird and wildlife photography or sports photography)
- It has to be a reliable camera in any circumstance, robust, with the best technical features to work in critical situations: low light, adverse atmospheric conditions, scenes that develop very quickly, and there is only one opportunity to capture the perfect image.
In professional ranges, there are at least three types of cameras:
- The general-purpose cameras
- are used to cover social events: weddings, communions. For photojournalism. For studio photography.
- Advertising and fashion photography cameras
- Very similar to general-purpose cameras, but prioritize sensor resolution. Above Full Frame, ranges would be medium format cameras ( Medium format ), with larger sensors than standard 35mm (full-frame), aimed at highly specialized fashion photography and advertising.
- Sports photography
- cameras These are cameras in which speed is prioritized: they usually have the best focusing systems, they have a very high burst speed, they can work in extreme conditions (ambient and light)
Professional range reflex cameras with an APS-C sensor
- Canon 7D Mark II
- Oriented very oriented to sports and nature photography (birds, wild animals)
- Nikon D500
- A camera designed for sports and nature photography. Excellent focusing system and shooting speed
Professional range reflex cameras with Full Frame sensor
Canon Professional Range:
- Canon 6D Mark II
- It would be the ‘entry’ full-frame camera within the Canon professional range
- Canon 5D Mark IV
- The quintessential Canon series. A versatile camera for all types of professional photography: events, social photography (weddings, baptisms, communions ), journalism, study
- Canon 5DS / 5DS R
- Cameras oriented to the world of fashion and advertising. They give priority to the resolution of the image (approx. 50Mpx) to capture even the smallest detail and minimize the Moiré effect
- Canon 1D X mark II
- This line is geared towards sports photography: super fast and precise focus system + burst speed
Nikon Professional Range
- Nikon D610 would
- correspond to the entry line to the Nikon professional segment.
- Nikon D850
- It is Nikon’s general-purpose professional camera: social photography, events, journalism. Virtually any type of photography would fall within the scope of this excellent camera.
- Nikon D5
- Corresponds to the professional line oriented to sports photography (sports, outdoor events, nature, adventure )
Why only Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras?
On SLR cameras I think these are currently the only reasonable options.
Pentax has made great cameras, and we have recommended its mid-range SLR cameras for hobbyists in the past, for example, the K-50 was a camera with features only seen in higher ranges. In the professional field, it has the extraordinary Pentax K-1 or the medium format Pentax 645Z.
However, I think Pentax has lagged a bit, and its market share has dropped a lot.
This implies that when looking for second-hand material or example, third-party lenses to have a greater variety of ranges and prices, we will have fewer options.
Also, if for any reason we have to sell our equipment in the second-hand market, the usual thing is that its price is significantly devalued (for the purposes we have discussed)
If you buy an SLR camera from Pentax, be sure that you purchase reliable equipment and that it will offer you excellent image quality and features. In that sense, have no doubts.
But being honest with our users, especially for amateur users looking for their first SLR, I think it is more practical to choose an SLR from Canon or Nikon.
Sony has bet everything on its ranges of mirrorless cameras (Sony E mount). Its line of SLR cameras and lenses with a Sony A (for SLR) mount inherited from Minolta has been stagnant for years.
The other major manufacturers are in the market for mirrorless cameras:
- Sony (E-mount)
- Olympus (Micro 4/3 system)
- Fuji (Fuji X mount and Fuji GFX mount)
- Panasonic (Micro 4/3 system and L system)
Canon and Nikon are also moving to mirrorless systems, but they are still betting on their SLR systems:
- Canon (M system and R system)
- Nikon (Z system)
Keep in mind that currently any of the mirrorless cameras in these systems is comparable in performance to the SLR cameras of Canon and Nikon for their equivalent ranges.
But Canon and Nikon SLR systems probably have the broadest range of proprietary and third-party lenses and accessories, well away from other systems.
And also in photography, the second-hand market moves a lot.
Canon and Nikon have long held a significant market share of SLR cameras and lenses. Therefore it is easier to find material from these brands, compared to other manufacturers with less market share or who have a more recent history in the market.