For many photographers, the digital single-lens-reflex camera, better known as the DSLR, is their instrument of choice. With the ability to swap lenses and numerous levels of adjustable settings, DSLRs can capture whatever desired image a photographer demands. For newbies, the newest entry-level models offer the handholding they need to get started. The end-result is usually image quality that surpasses that of smaller point-and-shoot and smartphone cameras.
The latest DSLRs offer stronger performance and features than earlier models, and with the ability to capture high-quality videos. If you’re in the market for a new DSLR or looking to trade up, here are current favorites.
Why should you buy this: Versatile, strong DSLR for photos and videos
Who’s it for: Anybody who wants the best from an enthusiast DSLR
How much will it cost: $2,000 (body only)
Why we picked the Nikon D500:
If you had to buy one DSLR, make it the D500. Nikon packed it with so many features that it’s the most versatile DSLR you can buy. The 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor should satisfy a wide range of photographers, and support for 4K (UHD) at 30p makes it a capable video camera.
Although Canon’s EOS 80D has a more superior autofocusing system for video and a lower price, the D500’s strong feature set, along with excellent capture quality for both photos and videos, puts it ahead of the competition and is worth the premium. It can deliver clean shots up to ISO 12,800 and even 20,000 if a wide-aperture lens and tripod is used, but if you want to go wild, the D500 can hit a high ISO of 1,640,000.
Nikon also introduced its new Snapbridge wireless connectivity system in the D500, which uses Bluetooth to handle low-level functions with a smartphone, like transferring downsized photos you can use for the web, or upload to the cloud. Another advanced feature is support for XQD flash memory, which is quicker than the fastest SDXC card – handy for sports photographers, since the D500 can shoot bursts of 10 frames per second (fps).
Ultimately, its image quality won us over. As we said in our review, the D500 holds its own against more expensive full-frame cameras, and Nikon pulled out the stops in creating its flagship APS-C DSLR.