Best DSLR & ILC Cameras: Entry Level
2017 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
Best DSLR and ILC Entry Level Cameras 2017!
There are two types of interchangeable lens cameras on the market today. DSLRs, or digital single-lens reflex cameras, are cameras where a movable mirror system directs light either to the optical viewfinder or to the image sensor. ILC cameras, also called mirrorless cameras, drop the mirror and pass light directly from the lens to image sensor. DSLRs and ILCs have two main advantages over fixed-lens systems; they typically have larger image sensors (Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, and Full Frame), which improve overall performance, and the ability to swap in any lens that fits your specific camera's mount. In that sense, becoming a Nikon or Olympus or Canon or Sony or Panasonic or Fujifilm customer for the first time means that, as you learn and grow as a photographer, you can upgrade your camera body while retaining your favorite lenses.
The Entry Level DSLR / ILC market is in an interesting transition. DSLRs were long the go-to camera for larger image sensors and improved performance over point-and-shoots, but the performance benefits of a DSLR (namely speed and sensor size) are mainly found in more expensive cameras. At this sub-$1,000 budget level, the truth is ILCs are going to be faster, lighter, and more compact while offering features like in-body image stabilization.Here are our picks for the Best Entry Level DSLR & ILC Cameras for 2017, presented in alphabetical order!
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" 180-degree tiltable LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 7fps up to 9fps with AF lock | Video Recording: 1080/60p
PROS: Tilting Touch Screen, Build Quality
CONS: No 4K, Focus can struggle in low light
The Canon EOS M6 is a great first camera for someone getting into the interchangeable-lens camera world. Its Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase-detection focuses quickly and precisely to help ensure you catch the shot you want. Its 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) captures all the colors and contrast you could want and then share with the world through the camera's built-in wireless connectivity including Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. The video is only 1080p, though for someone just dipping their toes in this world it's not a dealbreaker.
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3" Vari-angle touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 2.5 fps or 5fps with One shot mode | Video Recording: 1080/60p
PROS: Large sensor, Adjustable back screen
CONS: Video only 1080p, Slow burst mode
The smallest and lightest EOS DSLR camera to feature both an APS-C sensor and a Vari-angle LCD, the EOS Rebel SL2 is compact and convenient with no compromise in performance. It has a rounded grip that can sit comfortably in your hand and is conveniently sized for everyday use. The burst mode only does 5fps in certain modes which might be confusing for new photographers, but this isn't an action camera. It's also just barely over $500 dollars, so, it's still a great deal. If you want to grow as a photographer, have access to an amazing stable of pro glass, and/or make vlogs and videos, this SL2 is a great place to start (and it's a HUGE step up from the original SL1).
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" Touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 8fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p, 1080p/60
PROS: 4K video, Wi-Fi enabled
CONS: AF not as good as other OM-D cameras, M4/3 sensors are noisier than APS-C
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is small, lightweight, and easy to use with a touchscreen and shortcut buttons. It packs a punch greater than many DSLRs that are much more expensive, but struggles at times to find focus and while it has 4K video, it's not the sharpest. Still, with lots of great educational and creative modes, if you're looking for a compact shooter with functionality, this is the camera for you.
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.2" fully adjustable touchscreen | Max Burst Shooting: 5fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p
PROS: Good color rendition, Fast AF performance
CONS: Shooting RAW limits burst to 4fps, No 4K video
With 39 points of Autofocus, a fully adjustable touch screen, and 5fps burst shooting, the Nikon D5600 is one of the best beginner DSLRs you can buy. It's only 1080p like so many cameras at this level, but it's a very strong camera that takes sharp images that will make your memories last forever.
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3" Inch Tilting Touch LCD | Max Burst Shooting: up to 30fps at 8MP | Video Recording: 4K/30p
PROS: Very Small, 4K video
CONS: EVF not great
If you're going for small but don't want a point and shoot, this may be the camera for you. It weighs less than a pound and can be slipped inside almost any bag or cargo short pocket. With its tilting screen and wireless capabilities, this camera is an engineering marvel from the Lumix team.