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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.

The highest rated DSLR

Top Elo
The camera with the highest Elo: Nikon D850

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 Nikon D850 is currently the top-ranked DSLR with a Camera Elo of 3151, followed in second place by the Sony A99 II with a rating of 3043. 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 (as far as these are available), which can be taken as indicators of pure image quality. For both the Camera Elo and the DXO score, higher values represent better performance.

Best DSLR: The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
1. Nikon D850 3151100 Full Frame 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
2. Sony A99 II 304392 Full Frame 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
3. Canon 5D Mark IV 295091 Full Frame 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
4. Pentax K-1 II 2940- Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
5. Canon 1D X Mark II 290488 Full Frame 20.04K/60p Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
6. Pentax K-1 286996 Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
7. Canon 6D Mark II 284985 Full Frame 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
8. Nikon D500 281783 APS-C 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
9. Nikon D5 278088 Full Frame 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
10. Nikon D7500 277886 APS-C 20.74K/30p Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
11. Leica S3 2750- Medium Format 64.04K/24p Sep 2018 24,490 i i Leica S3
12. Canon 80D 273379 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
13. Canon SL3 2690- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
14. Canon 250D 2690- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 599 i i Canon 250D
15. Canon 77D 268778 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
16. Nikon D5600 268384 APS-C 24.01080/60p Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
17. Pentax K-70 2672- APS-C 24.01080/60i Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
18. Canon 200D 262779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017 549- i Canon 200D
19. Canon SL2 262779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
20. Pentax KP 2613- APS-C 24.11080/60i Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP

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.

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    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.

    Best DSLR: The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Leica S3 64.0 2750- Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2018 24,490 i i Leica S3
    2. Pentax 645Z 51.1 2197101 Medium Format1080/60i Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
    3. Canon 5DS 50.3 236387 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
    4. Canon 5DS R 50.3 236386 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
    5. Nikon D850 45.4 3151100 Full Frame4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
    6. Sony A99 II 42.2 304392 Full Frame4K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
    7. Pentax 645D 39.5 176982 Medium Format- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
    8. Leica S Typ 007 37.5 2336- Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
    9. Leica S-E Typ 006 37.5 2016- Medium Format- Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
    10. Leica S Typ 006 37.5 186276 Medium Format- Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
    11. Leica S2 37.5 1617- Medium Format- Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
    12. Pentax K-1 II 36.2 2940- Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
    13. Pentax K-1 36.2 286996 Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
    14. Nikon D810 36.2 245497 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
    15. Nikon D800E 36.2 197696 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
    16. Nikon D800 36.2 197495 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
    17. Canon 5D Mark IV 30.1 295091 Full Frame4K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
    18. Canon 6D Mark II 26.0 284985 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    19. Nikon D3X 24.4 186188 Full Frame- Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
    20. Sony A900 24.4 183579 Full Frame- Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900

    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.

    Best DSLR: The Smallest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Launch
    Price
    (USD)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Nikon D3500 12.9 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 1922 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
    2. Nikon D5500 14.8 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 2308 APS-C 24.0 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
    3. Canon 4000D 15.4 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.0 in 1429 APS-C 17.9 Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
    4. Nikon D3400 15.7 oz 4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 1932 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
    5. Canon SL3 15.8 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2690 APS-C 24.0 Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
    6. Canon 250D 15.8 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2690 APS-C 24.0 Apr 2019 599 i i Canon 250D
    7. Canon 200D 16.0 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2627 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2017 549- i Canon 200D
    8. Canon SL2 16.0 oz 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8 in 2627 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
    9. Nikon D5600 16.4 oz 4.9 x 3.8 x 2.8 in 2683 APS-C 24.0 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
    10. Canon 2000D 16.8 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1697 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
    11. Canon T7 16.8 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1697 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
    12. Canon 1300D 17.1 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1744 APS-C 17.9 Mar 2016 449- i Canon 1300D
    13. Canon T6 17.1 oz 5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 1744 APS-C 17.9 Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
    14. Canon 800D 18.8 oz 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 2606 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon 800D
    15. Canon T7i 18.8 oz 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 2606 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
    16. Canon 77D 19.0 oz 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in 2687 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
    17. Canon 750D 19.6 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2279 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
    18. Canon T6i 19.6 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2279 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
    19. Canon 760D 19.9 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2294 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 649- i Canon 760D
    20. Canon T6s 19.9 oz 5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 2294 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 649- i Canon T6s

    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.

    Best DSLR: The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Sensor
    Class
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    (announced)
    Street
    Price
    (USD)
    Used
    Price
    (USD)
    Camera
    Model
    1. Canon 4000D 399 142963 APS-C 17.91080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon 4000D
    2. Nikon D3500 429 1922- APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2018 i i Nikon D3500
    3. Canon 1300D 449 1744- APS-C 17.91080/30p Mar 2016- i Canon 1300D
    4. Canon T6 449 1744- APS-C 17.91080/30p Mar 2016- i Canon T6
    5. Canon 2000D 449 169771 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon 2000D
    6. Canon T7 449 1697- APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon T7
    7. Nikon D3400 499 193286 APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2016- i Nikon D3400
    8. Canon 200D 549 262779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017- i Canon 200D
    9. Canon SL2 549 262779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017- i Canon SL2
    10. Canon SL3 599 2690- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 i i Canon SL3
    11. Canon 250D 599 2690- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 i i Canon 250D
    12. Pentax K-70 649 2672- APS-C 24.01080/60i Jun 2016 i i Pentax K-70
    13. Canon 760D 649 229470 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015- i Canon 760D
    14. Canon T6s 649 229470 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015- i Canon T6s
    15. Nikon D5600 699 268384 APS-C 24.01080/60p Nov 2016 i i Nikon D5600
    16. Canon 800D 749 2606- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 i i Canon 800D
    17. Canon T7i 749 2606- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 i i Canon T7i
    18. Canon 750D 749 227971 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2015- i Canon 750D
    19. Canon T6i 749 227971 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2015- i Canon T6i
    20. Canon 77D 899 268778 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 i i Canon 77D

    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:

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