Best DSLRs for Beginners iMore 2020

Our phones take amazing photos. Still, if you want to learn photography and express your creative side, you need a camera. DSLRs offer superior handling, output accurate colors, and come with a smaller price tag than today's mirrorless models. If you're ready to make the jump, take a look at our favorite beginner DSLRs this year.

Best for basics: Nikon D3500

Our pick

This is Nikon's newest entry-level camera. The D3500 sports a 24.2-megapixel (MP) sensor, 11 autofocus points, and HD 1080p video output of up to 60FPS. Under the hood, you'll get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a flippable backside LCD, a viewfinder, and a comfortable to hold rubberized grip. With the D3500, Nikon is throwing in their 18-55mm kit lens for free. It is perfect for landscapes and portraits. Nikon bills the D3500 as an easy-to-use DSLR, and it is. If you currently have a point and shoot camera or take pics with your phone, you'll have no trouble learning the ins and outs of this camera.

$397 at Amazon

Inexpensive option from Canon: Canon EOS Rebel T7

Canon is beloved the world over for their easy to learn systems, inexpensive lenses, and ergonomically friendly designs. The EOS Rebel T7 has an impressive 24.1MP crop sensor, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and 9 autofocus points. The optical viewfinder is crisp, and there's a 3-inch live viewfinder on the back. Canon gives away the popular 18-55mm kit lens with this bundle. It's a superb lens that captures realistic landscapes and people in photos. If you're already invested in Canon or love the famous Canon colors, the EOS Rebel T7 is a solid camera with a small learning curve.

$399 at Amazon

Excellent weather sealing: Pentax K-70

Most entry-level cameras don't come with much in the way of weather sealing. The Pentax K-70 is different. Known for their hearty weather sealing, this Pentax DSLR operates at temps from 14 degrees to 104 degrees, and in snow, sleet, hail, and rain. The K-70 has 24.2 MP, in-body image stabilization, a variable-angle LCD on the back, a viewfinder, and Wi-Fi. It also includes an 18-135mm kit lens. It's an excellent lens for almost any situation, including wildlife at the park, shooting action, or capturing sunsets.

$797 at Amazon

Best action camera: Nikon D7500 Kit

It costs a little more than some of our other choices, but the Nikon D7500 is a camera you can grow into and use for years to come. Complete with two lenses, including an 18-55mm and a far-reaching 70-300mm, this model is a cut above the rest. The image quality is outstanding! With 51 autofocus points, you'll have no trouble zooming in on a bird in a tree or your kid playing on a soccer field. The D7500 has a 20.9MP sensor, weather sealing, 4k UHD video up to 30fps, and has both a built-in viewfinder and a bright LCD on the back. If you want a camera you will be happy to use years from now, this is the one for you.

$1197 at Amazon

World's smallest DSLR: Canon Rebel SL3

Canon's EOS Rebel SL3 is the world's lightest and smallest DSLR. Fresh to market, the Canon SL3 comes equipped with a 24.1MP sensor, 9 points of autofocus, a 3-inch rear screen and viewfinder, and 4K video. The tiny Rebel SL3 produces useable JPEGs straight out of the camera, no fancy editing software needed. This is an ideal camera for those who like the size of mirrorless but still prefer the steady handling one gets from DSLRs. The SL3 comes with Canon's excellent 18-55mm kit lens and a battery.

$649 at Amazon

Final thoughts

Whether you're just learning the tricks of the trade or you want a lightweight DSLR for hikes and travel, beginner-friendly cameras live up to the hype. Priced right and feature-packed, DSLRs are a great entry point into the world of photography.

You'll get the most bang for your buck with the Nikon D3500. It's lightweight enough to carry around all day, has a comfortable grip, takes beautiful photos, and it comes with a kit lens.

If you shoot outdoors and don't want to worry about protecting your investment, the Pentax K-70 offers the best in weather sealing. This is also the only camera on our list with built-in image stabilization. The K-70 is a well-rounded model that comes complete with an excellent walkabout lens.

The Nikon D7500 is a camera you won't outgrow. With the same specs as the class-leading D500, this model takes superb action photos and stills. There are numerous buttons and dials, many of which can be programmed, and the camera has just the right about of heft to fit comfortably in your hand while still being lightweight enough to hold all day.

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