A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad

When you use links on apotelyt.com to buy products,
the site may earn a commission.

PW

The best DSLR

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras are a very popular choice for amateur and professional photographers alike. These cameras feature an optical viewfinder that presents a direct optical view through the lens. In contrast, mirrorless cameras capture the image with their sensor and project it on a screen.

DSLR
Schematic diagram of a DSLR[ephotozine.com]

There is a wide and growing choice of DSLRs on the market. It is not easy to decide which one is best. Indeed, what does it really mean to look for the best DSLR? The camera that offers the best imaging experience? The one with the highest sensor resolution? The one that is most portable? The DSLR that does not break the bank? The answers to these questions come down to personal preference, but hopefully the listings below will prove to be useful for your camera decision process.

ad

The highest rated DSLR

Top Elo
Camera with highest Elo: Canon 1D X Mark III

The Camera Elo represents a comprehensive rating that takes the body, sensor and feature characteristics of digital cameras into account. It is based on the outcomes of thousands of pair-wise comparisons undertaken via the CAM-parator app.

The Canon 1D X Mark III is currently the top-ranked DSLR with a Camera Elo of 2863, followed in second place by the Nikon D780 with a rating of 2832. The table below lists the 20 highest ranked DSLR in descending order of their Elo. It also reports the cameras' DXO Mark sensor quality score, which can be taken as indicators of pure image quality. For both the Camera Elo and the DXO score, higher values represent better performance.

scroll hint
The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Lens
Mount
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IIICanon EF 286391 Full Frame 20.04K/60p Jan 2020 US$ 6 499 amazon.com
2.
 
Nikon D780Nikon FX 283295 Full Frame 24.34K/30p Jan 2020 US$ 2 299 amazon.com
3.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIPentax K 282085 APS-C 25.64K/30p Mar 2021 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
4.
 
Nikon D6Nikon FX 280595 Full Frame 20.74K/30p Feb 2020 US$ 6 499 amazon.com
5.
 
Canon 90DCanon EF-S 269583 APS-C 32.34K/30p Aug 2019 US$ 1 199 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon D850Nikon FX 2635100 Full Frame 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 US$ 3 299 amazon.com
7.
 
Pentax K-1 IIPentax K 259193 Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
8.
 
Leica S3Leica S 253898 Medium Format 64.04K/24p Sep 2018 US$ 18 999ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SL3Canon EF-S 252882 APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 US$ 599 amazon.com
10.
 
Canon T8iCanon EF-S 251783 APS-C 24.04K/24p Feb 2020 US$ 749ebay.com
11.
 
Sony A99 IISony A 251192 Full Frame 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 US$ 3 199ebay.com
12.
 
Canon 5D Mark IVCanon EF 247791 Full Frame 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 US$ 3 499 amazon.com
13.
 
Canon 6D Mark IICanon EF 246585 Full Frame 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
14.
 
Nikon D500Nikon DX 243483 APS-C 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 US$ 1 999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D7500Nikon DX 243186 APS-C 20.74K/30p Apr 2017 US$ 1 299 amazon.com
16.
 
Pentax K-1Pentax K 242296 Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2016 US$ 1 799ebay.com
17.
 
Canon 1D X Mark IICanon EF 241588 Full Frame 20.04K/60p Feb 2016 US$ 5 999ebay.com
18.
 
Canon SL2Canon EF-S 238779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017 US$ 549ebay.com
19.
 
Nikon D5Nikon FX 237788 Full Frame 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 US$ 6 499ebay.com
20.
 
Canon 77DCanon EF-S 237578 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 US$ 899ebay.com
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

You can access more detail on the listed cameras by clicking on the camera's name. Alternatively, you can compare two DSLR using the search boxes below. Just enter two model names into the input fields and you will promptly be taken to a respective comparison.

~
    loader

    The highest resolution DSLR

    Perhaps your primary aim is to capture images with great detail, for example in landscape photography, or to have the ability to crop images heavily in post processing while still maintaining good image quality. In this case, the best DSLR might be the one with the highest sensor resolution. The following table lists the 20 DSLRs with the highest megapixel count. Again, clicking on the camera's name will reveal further detail.

    scroll hint
    The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Mount
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Leica S3Leica S 64.0 253898 Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2018 US$ 18 999ebay.com
    2.
     
    Pentax 645ZPentax 645 51.1 2033101 Medium Format1080/60i Apr 2014 US$ 8 499ebay.com
    3.
     
    Canon 5DSCanon EF 50.3 211187 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 US$ 3 699ebay.com
    4.
     
    Canon 5DS RCanon EF 50.3 211186 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 US$ 3 699ebay.com
    5.
     
    Nikon D850Nikon FX 45.4 2635100 Full Frame4K/30p Jul 2017 US$ 3 299 amazon.com
    6.
     
    Sony A99 IISony A 42.2 251192 Full Frame4K/30p Sep 2016 US$ 3 199ebay.com
    7.
     
    Pentax 645DPentax 645 39.5 158082 Medium Format- Mar 2010 US$ 9 995ebay.com
    8.
     
    Leica S Typ 007Leica S 37.5 219393 Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2014 US$ 24 499ebay.com
    9.
     
    Leica S-E Typ 006Leica S 37.5 192393 Medium Format- Sep 2014 US$ 16 599ebay.com
    10.
     
    Leica S Typ 006Leica S 37.5 166176 Medium Format- Sep 2012 US$ 21 949ebay.com
    11.
     
    Leica S2Leica S 37.5 155282 Medium Format- Sep 2008 US$ 22 999ebay.com
    12.
     
    Pentax K-1 IIPentax K 36.2 259193 Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2018 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
    13.
     
    Pentax K-1Pentax K 36.2 242296 Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2016 US$ 1 799ebay.com
    14.
     
    Nikon D810Nikon FX 36.2 225897 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2014 US$ 3 299ebay.com
    15.
     
    Nikon D800ENikon FX 36.2 203496 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 US$ 3 299ebay.com
    16.
     
    Nikon D800Nikon FX 36.2 203395 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 US$ 2 999ebay.com
    17.
     
    Canon 90DCanon EF-S 32.3 269583 APS-C4K/30p Aug 2019 US$ 1 199 amazon.com
    18.
     
    Canon 5D Mark IVCanon EF 30.1 247791 Full Frame4K/30p Aug 2016 US$ 3 499 amazon.com
    19.
     
    Canon 6D Mark IICanon EF 26.0 246585 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2017 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
    20.
     
    Pentax K-3 IIIPentax K 25.6 282085 APS-C4K/30p Mar 2021 US$ 1 999 amazon.com
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    The most portable DSLR

    A well-known proverb states that the best camera is the one that you have with you. As such, a smaller and lighter camera will likely get more use than a bulkier and heavier model. The table below lists the 20 lightest DSLR that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their weight.

    scroll hint
    The Lightest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Mount
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Nikon D3500Nikon DX 14.6 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 2023 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2018 US$ 429ebay.com
    2.
     
    Canon T100Canon EF-S 15.4 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.0 in 1812 APS-C 17.9 Feb 2018 US$ 399 amazon.com
    3.
     
    Nikon D3400Nikon DX 15.7 oz 4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 1982 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2016 US$ 499ebay.com
    4.
     
    Canon SL3Canon EF-S 15.8 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2528 APS-C 24.0 Apr 2019 US$ 599 amazon.com
    5.
     
    Canon SL2Canon EF-S 16.0 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2387 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2017 US$ 549ebay.com
    6.
     
    Nikon D5600Nikon DX 16.4 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 2367 APS-C 24.0 Nov 2016 US$ 699ebay.com
    7.
     
    Nikon D5500Nikon DX 16.6 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 2092 APS-C 24.0 Jan 2015 US$ 899ebay.com
    8.
     
    Canon T7Canon EF-S 16.8 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1926 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2018 US$ 449 amazon.com
    9.
     
    Canon T6Canon EF-S 17.1 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1822 APS-C 17.9 Mar 2016 US$ 449ebay.com
    10.
     
    Canon T8iCanon EF-S 18.2 oz 5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in 2517 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2020 US$ 749ebay.com
    11.
     
    Canon T7iCanon EF-S 18.8 oz 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 2352 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 US$ 749ebay.com
    12.
     
    Canon 77DCanon EF-S 19.0 oz 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 2375 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 US$ 899ebay.com
    13.
     
    Canon T6iCanon EF-S 19.6 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2040 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 US$ 749ebay.com
    14.
     
    Canon T6sCanon EF-S 19.9 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2067 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 US$ 649ebay.com
    15.
     
    Sony A68Sony A 21.5 oz 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in 1994 APS-C 24.0 Nov 2015 US$ 699ebay.com
    16.
     
    Pentax K-S2Pentax K 23.9 oz 4.8 x 3.6 x 2.9 in 2094 APS-C 20.0 Feb 2015 US$ 749ebay.com
    17.
     
    Pentax K-70Pentax K 24.3 oz 5.0 x 3.7 x 2.9 in 2271 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2016 US$ 649ebay.com
    18.
     
    Canon 90DCanon EF-S 24.7 oz 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in 2695 APS-C 32.3 Aug 2019 US$ 1 199 amazon.com
    19.
     
    Pentax KPPentax K 24.8 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in 2318 APS-C 24.1 Jan 2017 US$ 1 099ebay.com
    20.
     
    Nikon D7500Nikon DX 25.4 oz 5.4 x 4.1 x 2.9 in 2431 APS-C 20.7 Apr 2017 US$ 1 299 amazon.com

    The most affordable DSLR

    A DSLR is only as good as the lens that is placed in front of its sensor. Thus, the best DSLR is one that leaves room enough in the budget to purchase a high quality lens to go with it. More generally, budgetary considerations are almost always important when deciding on a camera purchase, so that the following listing should be of interest. It displays the 20 least expensive DSLRs that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their launch prices (camera only). The latter provide a good idea on the market position of the cameras, but it is often worthwhile to check the current pricing, as all except the most recent models might be available at discounts or as great deals on the pre-owned market.

    scroll hint
    The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Mount
    Launch
    Price
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Canon T100Canon EF-S US$ 399 181263 APS-C 17.91080/30p Feb 2018 amazon.com
    2.
     
    Nikon D3500Nikon DX US$ 429 202383 APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2018ebay.com
    3.
     
    Canon T7Canon EF-S US$ 449 192681 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 amazon.com
    4.
     
    Canon T6Canon EF-S US$ 449 182266 APS-C 17.91080/30p Mar 2016ebay.com
    5.
     
    Nikon D3400Nikon DX US$ 499 198286 APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2016ebay.com
    6.
     
    Canon SL2Canon EF-S US$ 549 238779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017ebay.com
    7.
     
    Canon SL3Canon EF-S US$ 599 252882 APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 amazon.com
    8.
     
    Pentax K-70Pentax K US$ 649 227180 APS-C 24.01080/60i Jun 2016ebay.com
    9.
     
    Canon T6sCanon EF-S US$ 649 206770 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015ebay.com
    10.
     
    Nikon D5600Nikon DX US$ 699 236784 APS-C 24.01080/60p Nov 2016ebay.com
    11.
     
    Sony A68Sony A US$ 699 199479 APS-C 24.01080/60i Nov 2015ebay.com
    12.
     
    Canon T8iCanon EF-S US$ 749 251783 APS-C 24.04K/24p Feb 2020ebay.com
    13.
     
    Canon T7iCanon EF-S US$ 749 235280 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017ebay.com
    14.
     
    Pentax K-S2Pentax K US$ 749 209479 APS-C 20.01080/30p Feb 2015ebay.com
    15.
     
    Canon T6iCanon EF-S US$ 749 204071 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015ebay.com
    16.
     
    Canon 77DCanon EF-S US$ 899 237578 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017ebay.com
    17.
     
    Nikon D5500Nikon DX US$ 899 209284 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jan 2015ebay.com
    18.
     
    Pentax KPPentax K US$ 1 099 231881 APS-C 24.11080/60i Jan 2017ebay.com
    19.
     
    Pentax K-3 IIPentax K US$ 1 099 225880 APS-C 24.11080/60i Apr 2015ebay.com
    20.
     
    Canon 90DCanon EF-S US$ 1 199 269583 APS-C 32.34K/30p Aug 2019 amazon.com
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    Further Reading

    Additional information on the calculation of the Camera Elo can be found on a respective Elo methodology page. Moreover, there are other rankings of cameras by category that might be of interest:

    You are here Home  »  Best Camera  »  Best DSLR

    ad