Best DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras are the best still photography cameras in the world. Being able to see through a real viewfinder exactly what your photo will be when you shoot is why they feel so natural. They offer the greatest image capture speed, autofocus speed, reliability, and usually have the largest image sensors. They are also rated for hundreds of thousands of photos- this means you can shoot for a long time before the shutter mechanism needs to be replaced. A major plus to DSLR’s is their ergonomics. They are very comfortable to shoot with for extended periods and when you get to the professional level DSLR’s they are weather-sealed and built to withstand the rigours of environment and use. Most photographers/videographers will tell you there has been a time when the tripod fell over or worse. The magnesium alloy build of many of the cameras such as the top of the line Canon 1DX Mark II can easily handle such things. Another plus for DSLR’s is they can shoot video for extended periods of time without overheating (a problem that Sony Mirrorless systems have). DSLR’s also allow for broadcast quality video and have been a major player in digital video. Camera’s like the Canon 5D Mark 2 and 3 were legendary performers in pro video and only recently with the introduction of mirrorless systems have lost some of their desirability.

Jump straight to each segment:

Best of the Best

Best Value

Best on a Budget

As you move higher up in the price range you find that the video capability of the DSLR’s becomes more and more professional. The Sony mirrorless systems still offer more than DSLR’s for video so if video is the only thing you need I would recommend skipping straight to my report on Best Mirrorless Cameras. I usually avoid the highest priced Camera because its simply out of most peoples budget, but in this case I the winner overall is the Canon 1DX Mark II. Its a very expensive camera but it is known as “The Mark of Legends” and because I own one and absolutely love it, have included it in this report. It really is the best DSLR in the world hands down. If you are a documentary photographer or filmmaker the DSLR can offer you the best of both worlds: best in still photography and nearly the best in video. Though most photographers and filmmakers will have both a DSLR and another camera (like a mirrorless camera for video), a camera like the Canon 1DX Mark 2 with absolutely stunning high bitrate 4K Video capabilities and dual-pixel autofocus can be your goto camera for nearly everything.

BEST OF THE BEST



BEST OF THE BEST

Sensor

Speed

Video

#1 WINNER

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

20.2 megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame High sensitivity 

14 fps, or 16 fps in live view.

Internal 4K UHD at up to 60fps and 1080p Full HD up to 120 fps

#2 WINNER

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

30.4 Megapixel  35 mm Full-Frame CMOS


7 fps

 Internal 4K  UHD up to 30fps, Full HD up to 60 fps.

#3 WINNER

Canon EOS 5DS R

50.6 Megapixel 35mm Full-Frame with no low-pass filter

5 fps

Full HD 1080p at 30 fps

 

#1 WINNER
Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

Sensor: 20.2 megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame High sensitivity CMOS.

Maximum Continuous Speed: 14 fps, or 16 fps in live view.

Video: Internal 4K UHD at up to 60fps and 1080p Full HD up to 120 fps. No 4K output

Pros: Weather-sealed, Best build quality, the fastest continuous shooting (16 fps).

Cons: No 4K output signal (for external recorders), no C-log profile, Expensive.

“The Mark of Legends”! Most people would agree this is hands down the best DSLR Camera in the world. Built in GPS. The 1DX Mark II is blazing fast which is great for action photography and wildlife photography. The sensor size is good but not the best for printing large poster size prints. Its best for 16 by 20” inch prints. If you want to have large prints then have a look at the Canon 5DS R. The huge ISO capability of this camera greatly expands its versatility. The 1DX Mark II has a high shutter mechanism expectancy and is rated for 400,000 shots. This camera brings production level video and can be used in cinema productions and for broadcast. It lacks some of the features found in the Canon cinema line (like the Canon 1DC) like focus peaking and zebra lines. It also cannot output a 4K signal to external recorder. This becomes an issue if you want to record to a different codec or to record uncompressed. The compression that the 1DX mark II uses is Motion JPEG which is very high quality but when you’re recording 4K at 60fps internally the very expensive CFAST cards get filled up very fast. The ergonomics and build quality of the 1DX Mark II is unrivalled. This camera overall is a huge winner. I own one and love it!

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#2 WINNER
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Sensor: 30.4 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame CMOS

Maximum Continuous Speed: 7 FPS.

Video: Internal 4K UHD up to 30fps, Full HD up to 60 fps.

Pros: Built in GPS, large 30.4 MP Sensor. Weather and dust sealed.

Cons: The C-Log upgrade isn’t free and has to be sent to Canon service centre.

The 5D mark IV carries on the 5D line’s reputation for being the best workhorse for the professional photographer. Though its lost a lot of the market it used to have for professional videographers to the Sony mirrorless line particularly the Sony A7S II. It has built in WIFI which you can use to control the camera remotely and to transfer images. The addition of 4K video makes this one of the best DSLRs on the market. Canon has improved the megapixels on this sensor to 30.4 from 22.3. This means you have more flexibility and a larger image size for printing. Continuous shooting speed could be better but is good enough for most scenarios.

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#3 WINNER
Canon EOS 5DS R

Sensor: 50.6 Megapixel 35mm Full-Frame CMOS with no low-pass filter.

Maximum Continuous Speed: 5 FPS

Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps.

Pros: Biggest sensor available in a DSLR. Low-pass filter cancellation (no anti-aliasing).

Cons
: No 4K video.

If video isn’t your main focus and you want to print very large prints or to re-frame your photos this is the camera for you. It has the largest sensor on the market for DSLR’s at the moment. You can print huge prints without losing any detail. Landscape images are much much sharper due to the removal of the low-pass filter. The 5DS R is a versatile well built, weather-sealed professional tool. It doesn’t have the best continuous shooting speed which is to be expected with a sensor of this size. Its more than good enough for most scenarios. If you’re focus is wildlife photography you may find the FPS here to be insufficient. This is a Landscape photographer specialist camera which lacks many video features found in the 5D Mark III, and IV. It can still shoot respectable HD video so this may be the camera for you.

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BEST VALUE



BEST VALUE

Sensor

Speed

Video

#1 WINNER

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

22.3 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame CMOS 

6 fps

1080p HD up to 30fps

#2 WINNER

Nikon D810 

36.3 Megapixel 35mm Full-Frame no optical low-pass 

5 fps

1080P Full HD at 60fps

#3 WINNER

Pentax K-1

36.4 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame with APS-C Mode

4.5 fps

1080p Full HD at 60 fps

 

#1 WINNER
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Sensor: 22.3 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame CMOS

Maximum Continuous Speed: 6 FPS

Video: 1080p HD up to 30fps.

Pros: In-camera HDR. Fast autofocus.

Cons: Already a generation behind the 5D Mark IV

Usually I wouldn’t include a previous version of a camera but when it comes to Canon’s 5D Mark III, I have to list it. The original 5D was the first camera to give enthusiast and professional photographers access to a full-frame sensor for a reasonable price. The 5D Mark II set the standard for shooting pro video with a DSLR and continues well into the mark III and IV. The mirrorless revolution has started to take a fair amount of sales away from the 5D mark III and IV but overall the 5D mark III is a great camera which any enthusiast or professional will love. Since the release of the 5D Mark IV the current list price of the Mark III makes it a great choice. Unfortunately it doesn’t shoot 4K although there are rumours that you can jailbreak it and it will shoot 4K. If video is your focus go for a the 5D Mark IV. The still image quality of this camera is phenomenal. This camera is built to work: it is weather-sealed and has a solid magnesium-alloy build.

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#2 WINNER
Nikon D810

Sensor: 36.3 Megapixel 35mm Full-Frame CMOS with no optical low-pass filter.

Maximum Continuous Speed: 5FPS.

Video: 1080P Full HD at 60fps.

Pros: Good sensor size for still photos.

Cons: No 4K Video.

This is one of Nikon’s best DSLRs. I like the sensor size which gives you a solid 6 MP more than the Canon 5D Mark IV. The D810 has incredible low light performance and theres a whole slew of great FX lenses that work with it. It doesn’t offer 4K video so if thats what you need I would go with the Canon 5D Mark IV. The D810 is a few years old but I think it has tremendous value. The D810’s replacement is the D850 which has all of the features you would expect like 4K video and a huge sensor so if price isn’t an issue for you go for the D850 instead.

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#3 WINNER
Pentax K-1

Sensor: 36.4 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame with APS-C Mode for lens compatibility.

Maximum Continuous Speed: 4.5 FPS

Video: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps.

Pros: Focus peaking. Compatibility with Pentax APS-C Lenses.

Cons: No 4K video.

This camera is excellent for still photography. It offers a huge sensor size which is amazing for large prints and image detail. The K-1 is weather-sealed, dust proof, cold-resistant, and offers an articulating LCD. If you want to get into full-frame photography and have a large sensor this is about the best priced option. The continuous shooting speed ins’t great. This isn’t a great camera for a pro video. Another downside is that the available lenses for this camera just can’t beat Canon or Nikon.

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BEST ON A BUDGET



BEST ON A BUDGET

Sensor

Speed

Video

#1 WINNER

Canon E0S 6D

 20.2 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame CMO

4.5 fps

1080p Full HD at 30 fps

#2 WINNER

Canon EOS 80D

24.2 Megapixel CMOS APS-C 

7 fps

1080p Full HD at 60 fps

#3 WINNER

Canon EOS Rebel T6i

24.2  Megapixel APS-C CMOS

5 fps

Full HD 1080p up to 30 fps

 

#1 WINNER
Canon EOS 6D 

Sensor: 20.2 Megapixel 35 mm Full-Frame CMOS

Maximum Continuous Speed: 4.5 FPS

Video: 1080p Full HD at 30 fps

Pros: Built in GPS. Full-frame sensor at this price. Weather-sealed.

Cons: No 4K Video.

The 6D is an amazing camera for still photographers. At this price it is the best and easiest way to get into full-frame technology. Since the sensor doesn’t have a lot of megapixels it may not be the best for you if you want to print large prints. Its also not the best at autofocus speed and continuous shooting speed. The 6D lacks 4K video. This is a great camera for an enthusiast but definitely lacks the power and versatility of the 5D mark III and IV. Canon recently released the 6D Mark II without 4K video which has left many people disappointed.

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#2 WINNER
Canon EOS 80D 

Sensor: 24.2 Megapixel CMOS APS-C

Maximum Continuous Speed: 7 FPS

Video: 1080p Full HD at 60 fps.

Pros: Great quality images and solid overall camera. Weather-sealed.

Cons: No 4K Video. Not full-frame.

This is a great camera for those wishing to move from a a beginners DSLR to the enthusiast level. This camera can pretty much do it all. It can take full-frame or APS-C lenses as well as the EF-S silent motor lenses. When coupled with a silent motor lens this is a fantastic video camera. You really hardly have to worry about focus at all. You also don’t hear any noise when recording audio when the video is refocusing. The downside is its not 4K capable and its not a full-frame sensor. The articulating touch LCD is great for selfie videos and vlogging. The 80D is weather-sealed which is a big bonus.

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#3 WINNER
Canon EOS Rebel T6i

Sensor: 24.2 Megapixel APS-C CMOS.

Maximum Continuous Speed: 5FPS

Video: Full HD 1080p up to 30 fps.

Pros: Excellent overall value.

Cons: No 4K Video. Not weather-sealed.

This is one of the best beginner DSLR’s on the market. The articulating LCD is great for selfies photos and video. Video is easy to do with this camera when coupled to an EF-S (silent motor) lens. This Rebel has great connectivity with WIFI and NFC built in. The T6i offers a lot of megapixels for the price. Its easy to use and has a great touchscreen. The video quality is good and its a great camera for vlogging. If 4K video is what you need this isn’t the camera for you.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Shooting stills with a DSLR is super fun! The autofocus speed and being able to see exactly what you are shooting through an optical viewfinder really makes for the most accurate, confident, and real photography experience you can have. As you can see Canon is a big winner in the area of DSLRs.

Chances are your choice for DSLR will be based on what lenses you have. If you are new to DSLRs you can chose whichever one you like and then worry about the lenses after. Though there have been great advances in Mirrorless cameras most enthusiast and professional still photographer’s main goto camera will be a DSLR. If you spend most of your time on Video you now have a very real choice between DSLR’s and Mirrorless systems.