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.

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 3212, followed in second place by the Sony A99 II with a rating of 3117. 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 3212100 Full Frame 45.44K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
2. Sony A99 II 311792 Full Frame 42.24K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
3. Canon 5D Mark IV 300391 Full Frame 30.14K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
4. Canon 1D X Mark II 294488 Full Frame 20.04K/60p Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
5. Pentax K-1 II 2935- Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
6. Pentax K-1 285796 Full Frame 36.21080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
7. Canon 6D Mark II 285685 Full Frame 26.01080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
8. Nikon D500 283883 APS-C 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
9. Nikon D5 282588 Full Frame 20.74K/30p Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
10. Nikon D7500 276186 APS-C 20.74K/30p Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
11. Canon 80D 273279 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
12. Leica S3 2706- Medium Format 64.04K/24p Sep 2018 24,490 i i Leica S3
13. Pentax K-70 2672- APS-C 24.01080/60i Jun 2016 649 i i Pentax K-70
14. Canon SL3 2658- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
15. Canon 250D 2658- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 599 i i Canon 250D
16. Nikon D5600 265884 APS-C 24.01080/60p Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
17. Canon 77D 264678 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
18. Pentax K-3 II 260080 APS-C 24.11080/60i Apr 2015 1,099 i i Pentax K-3 II
19. Canon 200D 258779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017 549- i Canon 200D
20. Canon SL2 258779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2

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.

~

    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 2706- Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2018 24,490 i i Leica S3
    2. Pentax 645Z 51.1 2264101 Medium Format1080/60i Apr 2014 8,499 i i Pentax 645Z
    3. Canon 5DS 50.3 243587 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
    4. Canon 5DS R 50.3 243586 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
    5. Nikon D850 45.4 3212100 Full Frame4K/30p Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
    6. Sony A99 II 42.2 311792 Full Frame4K/30p Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
    7. Pentax 645D 39.5 176482 Medium Format- Mar 2010 9,995- i Pentax 645D
    8. Leica S Typ 007 37.5 2377- Medium Format4K/24p Sep 2014 24,490 i i Leica S Typ 007
    9. Leica S-E Typ 006 37.5 1990- Medium Format- Sep 2014 16,900- i Leica S-E Typ 006
    10. Leica S Typ 006 37.5 185276 Medium Format- Sep 2012 21,950- i Leica S Typ 006
    11. Leica S2 37.5 1615- Medium Format- Sep 2008 22,995- i Leica S2
    12. Pentax K-1 II 36.2 2935- Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2018 1,999 i i Pentax K-1 II
    13. Pentax K-1 36.2 285796 Full Frame1080/60i Feb 2016 1,799- i Pentax K-1
    14. Nikon D810 36.2 256297 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
    15. Nikon D800E 36.2 209796 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
    16. Nikon D800 36.2 209495 Full Frame1080/30p Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
    17. Canon 5D Mark IV 30.1 300391 Full Frame4K/30p Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
    18. Canon 6D Mark II 26.0 285685 Full Frame1080/60p Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
    19. Nikon D3X 24.4 190688 Full Frame- Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
    20. Sony A900 24.4 186479 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 365 g 124 x 97 x 70 g 2038 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2018 429 i i Nikon D3500
    2. Nikon D5500 420 g 124 x 97 x 70 g 2335 APS-C 24.0 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
    3. Canon 4000D 436 g 129 x 102 x 77 g 1434 APS-C 17.9 Feb 2018 399 i i Canon 4000D
    4. Nikon D3400 445 g 124 x 98 x 76 g 2042 APS-C 24.0 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
    5. Canon SL3 449 g 122 x 93 x 70 g 2658 APS-C 24.0 Apr 2019 599 i i Canon SL3
    6. Canon 250D 449 g 122 x 93 x 70 g 2658 APS-C 24.0 Apr 2019 599 i i Canon 250D
    7. Canon 200D 453 g 122 x 93 x 70 g 2587 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2017 549- i Canon 200D
    8. Canon SL2 453 g 122 x 93 x 70 g 2587 APS-C 24.0 Jun 2017 549- i Canon SL2
    9. Nikon D5600 465 g 124 x 97 x 70 g 2658 APS-C 24.0 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
    10. Canon 2000D 475 g 129 x 101 x 78 g 1702 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon 2000D
    11. Canon T7 475 g 129 x 101 x 78 g 1702 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2018 449 i i Canon T7
    12. Canon 1300D 485 g 129 x 101 x 78 g 1740 APS-C 17.9 Mar 2016 449- i Canon 1300D
    13. Canon T6 485 g 129 x 101 x 78 g 1740 APS-C 17.9 Mar 2016 449- i Canon T6
    14. Canon 800D 532 g 131 x 100 x 76 g 2567 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon 800D
    15. Canon T7i 532 g 131 x 100 x 76 g 2567 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 749 i i Canon T7i
    16. Canon 77D 540 g 131 x 100 x 76 g 2646 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
    17. Canon 750D 555 g 132 x 101 x 78 g 2282 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 749- i Canon 750D
    18. Canon T6i 555 g 132 x 101 x 78 g 2282 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
    19. Canon 760D 565 g 132 x 101 x 78 g 2305 APS-C 24.0 Feb 2015 649- i Canon 760D
    20. Canon T6s 565 g 132 x 101 x 78 g 2305 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 143463 APS-C 17.91080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon 4000D
    2. Nikon D3500 429 2038- APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2018 i i Nikon D3500
    3. Canon 1300D 449 1740- APS-C 17.91080/30p Mar 2016- i Canon 1300D
    4. Canon T6 449 1740- APS-C 17.91080/30p Mar 2016- i Canon T6
    5. Canon 2000D 449 170271 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon 2000D
    6. Canon T7 449 1702- APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 i i Canon T7
    7. Nikon D3400 499 204286 APS-C 24.01080/60p Aug 2016- i Nikon D3400
    8. Canon 200D 549 258779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017- i Canon 200D
    9. Canon SL2 549 258779 APS-C 24.01080/60p Jun 2017- i Canon SL2
    10. Canon SL3 599 2658- APS-C 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 i i Canon SL3
    11. Canon 250D 599 2658- 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 230570 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015- i Canon 760D
    14. Canon T6s 649 230570 APS-C 24.01080/30p Feb 2015- i Canon T6s
    15. Nikon D5600 699 265884 APS-C 24.01080/60p Nov 2016 i i Nikon D5600
    16. Canon 800D 749 2567- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 i i Canon 800D
    17. Canon T7i 749 2567- APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2017 i i Canon T7i
    18. Canon 750D 749 228271 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2015- i Canon 750D
    19. Canon T6i 749 228271 APS-C 24.01080/60p Feb 2015- i Canon T6i
    20. Canon 77D 899 264678 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:

    You are here  »   »