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The 5 Best DSLR Cameras - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best DSLR Cameras
71 Cameras Tested
  • Store-bought cameras; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
  • Supported directly by you via insider access and when you purchase through our affiliate links
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

DSLR cameras have long been the preferred tool of amateur and professional photographers, with a wide variety of choices that cater to almost every skill set and budget. While they've ceded some of their market dominance to mirrorless cameras in recent years, there's still no shortage of traditional DSLRs that deliver a versatile overall performance.

It's worth noting that a camera's overall performance can vary drastically depending on what kind of lens you use. Your lens influences the amount of light entering the camera, an image's depth of field, autofocus behavior, and stabilization performance. That's without mentioning the physical aspects of your lens: a larger lens with a longer zoom length and a wider maximum aperture might make it easier to take the kind of photos you want, but it could make your camera more of a hassle to carry around. For the sake of consistency and user-friendliness, we currently test a camera with its standard kit lens.

We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best DSLR cameras. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. If you'd prefer a mirrorless alternative, you can take a look at our list of recommendations for the best mirrorless cameras, the best cameras for beginners, and the best cameras.


  1. Best Full Frame DSLR Camera: Nikon D780

    7.8
    Travel Photography
    8.0
    Landscape Photography
    8.1
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    5.2
    Vlogging
    7.9
    Studio Video
    5.0
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

    The best DSLR camera that we've tested with a full-frame sensor is the Nikon D780. This enthusiast-level DSLR feels very well-built, with a large, textured handgrip and well-spaced physical controls. Its screen can tilt upward if you like to shoot from the hip, and there's also a small display on the top of its body that lets you easily check settings and remaining battery life. That, along with its remarkably easy-to-navigate menu system, makes it very comfortable to shoot with. It's also advertised to be weather-sealed against rain and humidity.

    The camera delivers amazing overall image quality, and it has incredible RAW noise handling capability at higher ISO levels, so you can take photos at high ISOs in low light without introducing too much noise. Its autofocus system is also fantastic, with 51 advertised detection points and a superb success rate when tracking moving objects, so your subject should stay in focus even when moving, whether you're taking photos or shooting video. It also has an exceptional battery life that should last for approximately 2,260 photos, according to Nikon.

    That said, it doesn't have in-body image stabilization, meaning you'll have to rely on the optical stabilization of whichever lens you're using. With its Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR kit lens attached, it does a poor job of reducing camera shake when recording video without a tripod, particularly in 4k. On the upside, it performs a lot better for photography, allowing you to get clear shots even when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds. Overall, this is one of the best cameras we've tested for photography.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    Full Frame
    Tested Lens
    Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

    If you want to save some money on a full-frame DSLR, check out the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. Unlike the Nikon D780, it doesn't shoot 4k video and has a slower continuous shooting speed, but it's considerably cheaper and still a great option if you need a full-frame DSLR for photography. It's well-built and comfortable to use, and it has a fully articulated screen that gives you more flexibility to shoot from unconventional angles. It delivers amazing image quality with great dynamic range to bring out details in high-contrast shots. Its RAW noise handling capability is excellent, allowing you to shoot at high ISOs in more dimly-lit conditions. Its autofocus system does an excellent job tracking moving subjects in video, though it's only decent when taking photos. The camera also has a much shorter battery life, though this can vary with real-world conditions.

    Get the Nikon if you want the best DSLR camera we've tested, and 4k video capability is essential to you. If you want to save some money and are primarily interested in still photography, the Canon is a solid alternative.

    See our review

  3. Best APS-C/Crop Sensor DSLR Camera: Canon EOS 90D

    7.4
    Travel Photography
    7.3
    Landscape Photography
    7.7
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    6.6
    Vlogging
    7.8
    Studio Video
    4.2
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    Canon EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM

    The best DSLR camera that we've tested with a crop sensor is the Canon EOS 90D. This mid-range DSLR feels very comfortable to shoot with. It has a large, high-resolution viewfinder, a fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles, and it's weather-sealed. Its menu system is highly intuitive, and it has a small display on top of its body so you can see settings and battery life at a glance.

    The camera uses a high-resolution 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor with a wide ISO range. Overall image quality is good, and images have an impressive amount of dynamic range at the camera's base ISO. Its autofocus system also does a good job tracking moving subjects and keeping them in focus. While it doesn't have in-body image stabilization, it does have a digital stabilization feature, and you can further help its stabilization performance with an optically stabilized lens.

    Unfortunately, it's not as well-suited to shooting in low light since its high ISO performance is just okay. There's minimal noise at moderately high ISO settings, but it becomes noticeable at ISO 3200 and above. The camera also doesn't support USB charging, which is a bit inconvenient, but on the upside, it has an excellent battery life that should last a long time, depending on your usage habits. All in all, this is one of the best APS-C DSLRs that we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget DSLR Camera: Nikon D5600

    7.5
    Travel Photography
    7.5
    Landscape Photography
    7.0
    Sport & Wildlife Photography
    6.7
    Vlogging
    5.1
    Studio Video
    3.4
    Action Video
    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    Nikkor AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

    If you're on a budget, the best DSLR that we've tested for most people is the Nikon D5600. It's a decently constructed APS-C camera with a simple design, comfortable handgrip, and intuitive menu system. It has a built-in flash and a fully articulated touchscreen to help you shoot from different angles. Nikon also offers a wide array of DSLR lenses to choose from, which you can invest in with the money you save by going with a more affordable model like this one.

    It has a 24.2-megapixel sensor and delivers great overall image quality with excellent dynamic range and good noise handling capability when shooting in JPEG. Its RAW noise handling capability is okay, though noise starts to become visible at moderate ISOs, meaning it's not as well-suited to shooting in very dim conditions. Still, it has a decent autofocus system that does an excellent job tracking moving subjects. Also, its advertised photo battery life is fantastic, though this can vary with settings and usage.

    Unfortunately, this camera can't record 4k video, and its video features are limited. It can record 1080p video at up to 60 fps, meaning it can capture smooth, fast action, down to more cinematic-looking 24 fps video. However, FHD video quality is disappointing, and its autofocus system performs poorly for video. Despite that, this is still one of the best beginner DSLRs that we've tested and should be a good choice for those on a budget.

    See our review

  5. Easier To Use Alternative: Nikon D3500

    Body Type
    DSLR
    Mirrorless
    No
    Sensor Size
    APS-C
    Tested Lens
    Nikkor AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

    If you'd prefer a camera that's even easier to use, check out the Nikon D3500. Its autofocus system isn't as effective as the Nikon D5600, and its screen is fixed, giving you less flexibility when composing shots through Live View. It's affordable and has a unique 'Guide' shooting mode that helps novice users grasp the fundamentals of photography. It's a simple camera with an APS-C sensor, but it delivers impressive image quality with relatively little visual noise. Unfortunately, it's similarly lacking in video features since it can't shoot in 4k and offers middling FHD video quality. However, it has an even longer battery life that should easily last through a day of shooting depending on settings and usage habits, although it doesn't support USB charging. It's also compatible with all the same lenses the D5600 is, so it's a good option to grow with as a photographer.

    Get the D5600 if you want a more robust autofocus system and a fully articulated screen. If you're a total newcomer to photography and want simplicity and an extensive guide mode, the D3500 is a good alternative.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a great full-frame DSLR camera, but it's more expensive than the Nikon D780 and performs a bit worse in battery life, photo autofocus, and video quality. See our review
  • Canon EOS Rebel T8i: The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is a crop-sensor DSLR with a fully articulated touchscreen and an autofocus system that delivers exceptional overall performance while recording FHD video. That said, it can only record in 4k with a severe crop. It also does a poor job of smoothing out camera shake, and overall video quality is somewhat grainy. See our review
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL3: The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a highly portable entry-level DSLR with an APS-C sensor. It can also shoot 4k video, making it a good choice for vlogging, but its 4k video features are limited, and it has a worse battery life than the Nikon D5600. See our review
  • PENTAX K-3 Mark III: The PENTAX K-3 Mark III is a premium APS-C DSLR that offers excellent image quality and is especially impressive in low light, given its crop sensor. However, it's significantly pricier than the Canon EOS 90D, and its autofocus isn't as reliable. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 24, 2021: Moved the Canon Rebel SL3 to Notable Mentions.

  2. Nov 26, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given category.

  3. Oct 29, 2021: Verified that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories.

  4. Oct 01, 2021: Replaced the Nikon D3500 with the Nikon D5600 as the 'Best Budget DSLR' and made the Nikon D3500 an 'Easier To Use Alternative'. Added the PENTAX K-3 Mark III to Notable Mentions.

  5. Sep 02, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best DSLR cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for DSLR cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.

Discussions