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Best DSLR Cameras 2014 - Top 10 Digital SLR Cameras

Updated on March 19, 2014

Best DSLR Cameras 2014

Choosing a DSLR requires careful consideration, whether you are buying your first camera or upgrading. With so many options available, and DSLRs having apparently identical features, picking the best one for you and your photography isn't always an easy task.

Overall performance, efficiency, functionality, versatility and adaptability are the SLR's strong suits. Performance indicates better responsiveness to the photographer's needs: flexibility in configurations and functions; sharp, clean, accurate and bright optical viewfinder; as well as the best image quality that the latest technology can offer.

Versatility means the SLR camera is part of a much larger system of components - ready to be customized and personalized to whatever kind of photography you intend to pursue.

Image: Canon EOS-1D X

One Size Doesn't Fit All

The price tag on a digital SLR varies from around $500 to more than $10,000, so naturally there are tons of variations. If you compare and contrast models at the extremes the distinctions will be totally obvious, however they are less noticeable when you compare models from adjacent classes.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Top 10 Digital SLR Cameras

The Rebel is a solid anchor at the entry level end of Canon's SLR camera line, and the T3i is the latest type. It won TIPA's Best Entry level SLR Award in 2011.

It comes with an 18-megapixel sensor with Canon's Digic4 image processor, a 3-inch, million-dot, tilt-and-swivel LCD panel and does 1920x1080 HD video. With these specifications it might easily move up a weight class - but Canon presently has that section well-covered.

Pros: Adjustable 3-inch LCD; Outstanding image quality even at ISO 1600; Wireless flash transmitter for multiple flashes; Full HD recording options with external mic jack.

Cons: Some physical controls are oddly placed; Auto White Balance struggles in indoor lighting; Lack of single-button movie recording.

Nikon D5100

Nikon launched the D5100 early in this year. When compared to the D5000, the D5100 has been improved on many fronts: a bigger sensor (16,2 versus 12.3 mps), bigger LCD (3 inch versus 2.7 inch), broader iso range (100-6400 vs 200-3200) and much more advanced HD video modes.

Pros: Good image quality; Improved live view mode; Responsive AF; Excellent low-light/high-ISO performance; Impressive movie options.

Cons: Non-customizable effects; No AF-point lock; No remote commander; Requires AF-S lens with built-in AF motor.

Pentax K-R

The K-r pushes the performance envelope for this class of SLR camera with a fast burst rate of 6 fps, shutter speed of around 1/6000s and ISO sensitivity range of 200-12,800 (with + and - boost modes that extend it down to ISO 100 or up to ISO 25,600). It utilizes an 11-point AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, and has in-body image stabilization. It can command a Pentax auxiliary flash in wifi mode.

The 12.4-mp CMOS sensor also records 720p high definition video. The body of the camera is polymer over a stainless steel chassis. The K-r is among the few SLRs which can be used with standard AA batteries (using the optional AA-holder).

Pros: Excellent image quality; Easy to use; Thorough feature set; Excellent high ISO performance.

Cons: No depth-of-field preview button; LCD screen must be turned off and on manually; No AF in video recording.

Small, lightweight, inexpensive starter DSLR

Nikon D7000

The D7000 won TIPA's 2011 Best Advanced SLR award. This is a great example of technology leap frogging. When it was first released it closed the gap on Nikon's professional-class SLR cameras like the D300. Now it has the highest resolution sensor in the Nikon DX family 16.2 mega-pixels) and countless testers state high-ISO noise performance is remarkable.

Pros: Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots; Great low-light/high-ISO performance; Very good image and video quality; Fantastic Autofocus system; Great battery life.

Cons: Function and bracket buttons difficult to access; A little expensive; Kit lens doesn't show camera's full potential; Full-time autofocus in video mode needs work; New Nikon users will face a learning curve.

Canon EOS 60D

Canon unveiled the latest high-end APS-C digital camera, the EOS 7D that somewhat took over the market that the EOS 10D through BOD had served for ten years. So when Canon refreshed that series with the 60D in 2010, it geared the camera in a a little more amateur-friendly direction. The digital camera was a little bit small compared to earlier generations and had new Basic+ settings that simplified exposure settings. But additionally, it has many innovative and advanced content such as a swivel-tilt LCD screen, 18-mp sensor and top quality Hi-def video modes.

Pros: Vari-Angle Screen; Wireless flash control built-in; Superb video, external mic jack, and audio control; In-camera raw processing and image resizing; Extensive software bundle included; Good battery performance; Excellent image quality, even at high ISO settings.

Cons: Poor Auto White balance under tungsten lighting; Slow focusing in Live View; Clumsy access to Movie mode.

An excellent upgrade for EOS Rebel owners

Sony SLT65 and SLT77

SLT cameras make use of a fixed mirror and no pentaprism. There are many advantages to this such as less vibration since the mirror is not flapping down and up during exposure, size and weight advantages. Sony's SLT65 / SLT77 have a lot in common, including 24-mp sensor, high resolution 3-inch LCD screen, 2.3-million-dot electronic viewfinder, 1200-zone metering system and built-in GPS.

The SLT77 is a little bigger, slightly heavier and costs $350-400 more, but offers you a bigger buffer, 1/8000 top shutter speed (versus 1/4000), broader plus more flexible EV and flash compensation, and an screen with more movement angles.

Pros: Fastest continuous shooting speed in its class; Excellent image quality; Generous range of HD movie recording options; Lots of useful features and customization options.

Cons:  EVF still not as good as a traditional viewfinder; Poor battery life.

Olympus E-5

On paper the Olympus E-5 does not seem very impressive: only12.3-mp sensor and "simply" 720 HD. But the proof is in the using, and this digital slr was extraordinary enough to win TIPA's 2011 Best Expert SLR award. The E-5 is a minor improvement to the E-3 and carries forward the durable dustproof and splashproof construction. It's now the Olympus flagship.

Pros: Weather-resistant body; Dual card slots (CF and SD); Wireless flash control built in; In-body image stabilization; Fast auto-focusing; Level gauge; Tilt-and-swivel 3-inch LCD; 100-percent field-of-view optical viewfinder.

Cons: Lackluster high ISO performance above 1600; Only 5 fps burst mode; Limited video options; No mode dial; 12 megapixel sensor.

A rugged, dependable DSLR body with a broad, creative feature set

EOS 1Dx Canon's New Top Gun

Canon introduced the latest flagship, the EOS 1Dx, which is going to replace the 1D Mark IV and IDs Mark III. It will not be available until March 2012, but Canon Canada has set the market price at $6999, and even included a lot of detail in its media announcement.

The IDx features an 18-mp full-frame CMOS sensor. The sensor uses "oversized" pixels-1.25 microns larger than the EOS-1D Mark IV sensor and 0.55 microns larger than the EOS-5D Mark II sensor-and an innovative gapless microlens design. What this means is higher level of sensitivity and much less noise.

The digital camera runs on the trio of processor chips, two of the revolutionary DIGIC 5+ variety and a DIGIC 4 processor only for metering and auto-focus. The auto-focus system is new - Canon calls it the 61-point high-density reticular AF, A second AF system called ITR uses facial recognition as well as the typical phase-detection system. Native ISO sensitivity is of 100 to 51,200 but one low mode drops it to 50 and 2 high modes boost it to 204,800. EOS-1D x includes two flash card slots and built-in gigabit Ethernet capability.

Pros: Performs exceptionally well in low-light situations; Capable of shooting breathtaking bursts at high speed; Feels robust and up to the task of any photo challenge.

Cons: AF drive mode isn't displayed through the viewfinder when it's being changed; Star rating isn't as intuitive as that on the EOS-5D Mark III; No identifiable movie-record button on the body

Video performance has been improved in two ways. To begin with, full 1920x1080 Hi-def video can be captured at more bit rates, including 24p, 25p and 30p, But the camera also breaks the 4GB video file size barrier by a file-splitting technique which allows recording to multiple 4GB files with no frames lost - up to a maximum of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

Pentax K-5

The K-5 is really a tough warrior in an extremely cut-throat category. The camera works by using Pentax's newest 16.28 megapixel CMOS sensor and Prime II image processor. The ISO sensitivity is 100 to 12,800, but special modes at both ends drop it down to ISO 80 or as much as ISO 51,200.

One of the features of the K-5 is its design and construction. It is magnesium alloy over a stainless steel chassis, and just about any crack is sealed. The entire body has 77 special seals, and the company says it's dustproof, weather resistant and cold resistant (works to -10°C).

Pros:  Great ergonomics; Fantastic high-ISO performance; Outstanding dynamic range; Improved auto-focus, especially AF-C compared to the K7; Easy to navigate menu system.

Cons:  Audio records at 32KHz sample rate; Only has a single SD/SDHC slot; Limited to 1/180 X-Sync speed; Images shot in portrait don't auto-rotate on playback.

The K-5 brings Pentax up to a new level of quality imaging

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    • profile image

      sadia733 2 years ago

      I use Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital SLR. There is no doubt this is one of the best DSLR camera. But others DSLR also nice. I got 10 best DSLR cameras of upcoming 2015 here

      http://top10sob.blogspot.com/2014/12/top-10-best-d...

    • profile image

      PhotoPleasure 3 years ago

      Thank you for creating this lens about the best DSLR cameras of 2013. For more information about this topic, you can visit prophotographyguide.com.

    • profile image

      camera_warehouse 3 years ago

      I am currently using a Canon EOS XSi (borrowed-my son's) and love it. Just learning how to use a dslr camera and finding it relatively easy. I'm looking to purchase my own digital, but a somewhat lower priced camera.

    • Guy E Wood profile image

      Guy E Wood 3 years ago from USA

      Going back and forth between the Nikon 3200 and 5200. I mostly don't like the 5200 because of the display that pops out. I think I'd rather have the fixed display--fewer moving parts to break or get sand into (this camera will travel a lot!).

      I'd be interested in knowing if there is any real benefit to having the movable display. Is that something you've used and would prefer not to live without? Or, on the flip side, have you used the movable display and wish you hadn't?

      Thanks!

      Guy

    • john-doornkamp profile image

      john-doornkamp 3 years ago

      Would be helpful if you could add the names by which these camera are sold in UK.

      Otherwise, great lens.

    • profile image

      robertmclain 3 years ago

      A San Francisco Bay Area video production professional I have been using the Canon 5d MarkIII along with the Tascam DR60D reviewed here. Makes for a nice combo and lets me capture audio I can finally overlay when doing editing on Final Cut. Incidentally I learnt this art from your free video tutorial. Great work, let us have more.

      www.jonathanacosta.com

    • profile image

      venumo 4 years ago

      Do any of you own Nikon D5100, Is it good or do anyone have problems with it? I am thinking to purchase it, kindly let me know your experiences if any.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      Very informative. I am saving up for a DSLR. Going to bookmark this lens.

    • marvmac profile image

      marvmac 4 years ago

      Good information in this lens

    • profile image

      pluson 4 years ago

      Great lens. However, being a user of the Sony A65, I have to disagree with your points slightly. the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on both the A66 and A77 are so clear you wouldn't think you are looking at one initially! Plus it can have so many overlays of screens and controls such that you won't even have to move the camera away from your face. Just keep adjusting and snapping! The battery life may be slightly shorter than others (due to powering the OLED EVF), but it can last me more than a whole day of shooting. For most people that would be sufficient. I would usually have about 30% battery left after an exhaustive day taking 300 to 400 shots and above.

      Check out my lens to learn more about the Sony SLT technology.

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 4 years ago

      Wow what a great info and lensâ¦just awesome! I would appreciate it very much if you could check out mine about  

      Giant Celestron SkyMaster 

        to ;-) ?

    • profile image

      TheWritingProdigy 4 years ago

      Has anyone tried Canon's EOS 1Dx? Anyone care to share their experiences with it?

    • christina josli profile image

      christina josli 4 years ago

      Nice lens! I have a Nikon D3100 and I love it! From what I understand it is a beginner camera which was perfect for me. I also have a review blog for DLRS http://dslrcamerareviewdslr.blogspot.ca

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I think your lens needs to be updated as the Canon EOS Rebel T5i and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 were just released April 2013 and are getting great reviews.

    • profile image

      cybermondayelectronics 4 years ago

      Awesome review :) I've got my own Best DSLR Camera 2013 reivew as well :)

    • barryk lm profile image

      barryk lm 4 years ago

      Great review - Great lens. I am currently using a Canon EOS XSi (borrowed-my son's) and love it. Just learning how to use a dslr camera and finding it relatively easy. I'm looking to purchase my own digital, but a somewhat lower priced camera. The CANON EOS REBEL T3 12.2 MP CMOS DIGITAL SLR is the one that has caught my eye, based on the reviews,its features, and price.

    • masmasmous lm profile image

      masmasmous lm 4 years ago

      great stuff !

    • profile image

      edwards_fire 4 years ago

      Liked your article. I thought you would be interested in my new lens here:

      http://www.squidoo.com/canon-6d-digital-slr

      for a review of Canon 6D

    • profile image

      mrmarchuk 4 years ago

      Awesome review :) I've got my own Nikon D5100 DSLR reivew as well :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice Cameras thanks for helping.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 4 years ago

      great lens! all of the major brands for dslr are here. and good thing that there are many links. for research purposes to those who are interested in purchasing this item!