Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

1st Aug 2013 | 15:15

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Get the best digital SLR for your needs

Best Canon DSLRs

Updated: Our list of best DSLRs has been revised to include new cameras and to show the latest prices, in British pounds, US and Australian dollars.

Choosing the best DSLR for your needs can be a decision fraught with difficulties, not least because there are so many capable models on the market that it's hard to know which camera is the top digital camera for your needs.

At one end of the scale manufacturers compete fiercely to provide the easiest entry point into DSLR photography, with intelligent exposure modes and in-camera guides to make the journey as painless as possible, while at the other they battle to deliver the most environmentally-sealed, fastest-shooting models complete with high-resolution sensors, detailed LCD screens and, of course, video recording.

Such variety means that you as the consumer are more likely to end up with a camera tailored to your requirements, but finding the best camera for your needs is a question of weighing the many pros and cons attached to each.

Best DSLR

The following guide has been designed to make your decision easier.

We've broken down the specs of all the manufacturers' top DSLRs that are current or still available to purchase in order to help you choose the best Canon DSLR, best Nikon DSLR or digital SLR camera from any of the other manufacturers, to suit your needs as a photographer.

Within each section you will find, for instance, the Canon DSLRs' or Nikon DSLRs' key functionality broken out so that you can compare which camera offers the best specs at a glance.

We've also picked out our best digital camera buys for a range of budgets, starting from the novice with some savings to blow through up to the professional who may require a more solid workhorse.

Best Canon DSLRs

What's the best Canon DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Canon DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.

We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Canon DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.

Canon EOS 1100D/Rebel T3

Price: £300/US$400/AU$400 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 12.2MP, HD video: 720p


Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

Launched in early 2011 as a successor to the 1000D, the 1100D raised the game for entry-level Canon DSLRs, ushering in video shooting, a higher resolution image sensor, a later generation Digic 4 image processor capable of producing 14-bit colour depth raw files, and a larger LCD. The 1100D even boasts iFCL (intelligent Focus Colour Luminance) metering, first introduced on the 7D.

However, the camera has been on sale for a long time, and the features and specifications that made the 1100D look so impressive for a beginner's DSLR back then now seem rather pedestrian. Sure, you get video shooting, but it's only 720p, whereas all other current Canon DSLRs deliver Full HD 1080p video. Similarly, with all the other EOS DSLRs offering at least 18MP image sensors, its 12.2MP sensor is lacking in resolution. And while the LCD is bigger than that on the 1000D, it's only a 2.7-inch screen with a low resolution.

Another improvement over the 1000D is that, as on the 100D and 600D, there's a nine-point autofocus system, with one cross-type point at the centre - this resolves detail in both the horizontal and vertical planes, enabling greater accuracy, especially with targets that are tricky to lock on to. However, the centre AF points on the 100D and 600D enable greater sensitivity when used with lenses that have an aperture of f/2.8 or wider, whereas the 1100D is limited to f/5.6; in practical terms, it struggles to autofocus in very dull lighting, even at wide-aperture lens.

One of the 1100D's big plus points is that it's simple to use, even for complete beginners. However, it looks a bit of a poor relation in comparison to Canon's newer models.

Read our full Canon EOS 1100D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 700D/Rebel T5i


Price: £620/AU$849/US$749 (body only)
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p

Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

The Canon EOS 700D is an excellent choice of camera for anyone wanting to take their photography more seriously, shoot from creative angles or start recording videos. However, it is only a minor improvement on the Canon EOS 650D, and owners of this slightly older camera need feel no compulsion to upgrade.

The vast majority of the Canon 700D's specification is the same as the Canon 650D's. For example, the 18 million pixel APS-C sensor and the Digic 5 processor are the same. It also has the same hybrid autofocus system for use in live view or video mode as well as a nine-point, all-cross type phase detection system for use when using the viewfinder.

The sensor has pixels that are used for the phase detection part of the hybrid autofocusing system that is available when using Live View mode or shooting HD videos.

The 700D can shoot at 5fps, and the sensitivity can be set in the native range ISO 100-12800, which can be expanded to ISO 25,600 if necessary. This makes it a pretty versatile camera, capable of shooting in a wide range of situations.

This model has also been designed to have a more expensive feel, with a textured coating and a 360-degree mode dial added. The latter means it can be twisted all the way around, rather than reaching a point where it stops and has to be twisted back again.

The Canon EOS 700D is a very capable and versatile camera that produces high quality images. It has a comprehensive feature set and affords all the control expected by enthusiast photographers while providing automatic hand-holding options for less experienced users.

Read our full Canon EOS 700D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1

Price: £500/US$650/AU$750
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p

Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

Amazingly compact and lightweight, the new 100D still packs plenty of punch, with a raft of major improvements over the 1100D. Inside the world's smallest DSLR is a new, higher-res 18MP APS-C image sensor, a larger high-res 3-inch touchscreen LCD and a Digic 5 image processor.

The hybrid CMOS sensor enables both contrast-detection and phase-detection autofocus, delivering better performance in Live View mode and when shooting video. The latter also benefits from a new STM (Stepping Motor) 18-55mm kit lens option, which sacrifices a little in autofocus speed but gives quieter, smoother transitions in video shooting. Video capture itself is Full HD 1080p.

In stills shooting modes there's a real step up in terms of speed compared with the 1100D. For starters, the 100D has a much greater sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800, and up to ISO 25600 in expanded mode. Continuous drive mode shooting is also faster, at up to 4fps (frames per second) in both raw and JPEG quality modes. That's slightly faster than the 600D, whereas the 1100D only manages 3fps at best, slowing right down to 2fps in raw quality mode.

The beginner-friendly 100D has the same Scene Intelligent Auto system as the 600D and 700D, which analyses the type of scene you're shooting in real time. It also features a wealth of scene modes. These range from the typical Sports, Landscape, Portrait and so on to more unusual options such as Kids, Candlelight and an HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode. There's an SCN setting on the main mode dial that provides quick access to more advanced scene modes, which works particularly well in conjunction with the intuitive touchscreen LCD.

Read our full Canon EOS 100D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 700D/Rebel T5i

Price: £550/US$750/AU$850
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p

Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

It may seem surprising that, at the time of their recent launch, the 700D was only marginally more expensive to buy than the entry-level 100D. However, a quick look through the specifications lists reveals that the two cameras are almost identical in many ways. Both have the same sensitivity ranges, image resolution, Digic 5 processors and iFCL metering systems. However, there are a couple of important differences.

The 700D uses cross-type sensors for all of its nine AF points (similar to the 60D), whereas the 100D only has a single cross-type point at the centre of the frame. The maximum burst rate is also a little higher, at 5fps instead of 4fps. The 700D boasts an LCD that's not only a touchscreen but is also articulated. In this respect, the 700D is the same as the 650D that it replaces.

One surprise, given that the launch of the 700D and 100D were almost simultaneous, is that the 100D boasts a newer 'Version 2' hybrid image sensor. Even so, the contrast/ phase detection AF system seems to work equally well in the 700D, being a good match for the new 18-55mm and other STM lenses.

The 700D is currently top of the range for Canon's beginners' DSLRs that feature pentamirror viewfinders, instead of the more up-market pentaprism viewfinders found on enthusiast and professional cameras. Overall build quality is good, and the camera is a smart compromise between being a lightweight and compact design, while still offering direct access to a good range of shooting settings. As with the 100D, the 700D's touchscreen system also works well with the Quick menu for easily accessing and adjusting key shooting parameters.

Read our full Canon EOS 700D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 70D

Price: £1079/US$1199/AU$1,790 (body only)
Specs: 20.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: Canon 70D

Canon's 70D replaces the Canon EOS 60D, which first appeared in the manufacturer's DSLR lineup way back in August 2010 and it brings with it a new 20.2 million effective pixel CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel technology to allow phase detection focusing in live view and video mode.

In addition, the Digic 5+ processor enables a maximum continuous shooting rate of 7fps for 16 raw files or 65 JPEGs, and a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800 with an expansion setting of ISO 25,600.

There's also a 3-inch 1,040,000-dot vari-angle touch-sensitive screen and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Canon 70D is set to go on sale at the end of August and will be priced at £1,079.99 (around US$1,645 / AU$1,790) body only. Or you'll be able to buy it for £1,199.99 (around US$1,830 / AU$1,990) with the 18-55mm STM lens or £1,399.99 (around US$2,135 / AU$2,315) with the 18-135mm STM lens.

Read our hands on Canon 70D review

Canon EOS 7D

Price: £1,070/US$1,440/AU$1,250 (body only)
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p


Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

A real speed machine of a camera, the 7D has a blistering 8fps maximum burst rate, due in no small part to the inclusion of not one, but two Digic 4 processors. Originally announced back in September 2009, it's the oldest DSLR in Canon's current lineup, but it launched with a host of standout features, some of which have since filtered down to later models. These include iFCL metering and the ability to use the pop-up flash as a wireless flashgun transmitter. In other respects, though, the 7D still rules the roost.

Along with a 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed, matched only by the 60D and 5D Mk III here, the 7D has an oversized memory buffer with enough space for 25 raw files. As you'd expect from Canon's top APS-C camera, the 7D also boasts a pentaprism viewfinder which, unlike that of the 60D, delivers 100 per cent frame coverage and full 1.0x magnification.

The autofocus system is another leader in Canon's APS-C range, with 19 points instead of the usual nine, all of which are cross-type. Other refinements include autofocus fine-tuning for individual lenses - which is curiously lacking on the 60D, even though the feature was included in the older 50D - while the new Version 2 of the 7D's firmware brings a raft of updates, from in-camera raw image processing, JPEG resizing and image ratings, to auto ISO customisation and GPS compatibility.

The 7D's handling is tailored to experienced photographers, and it's a tough camera too, with a rugged magnesium alloy body. There are no scene modes, but you can set three custom shooting modes. The 7D really has stood the test of time, and is still our favourite APS-C body... but we still can't wait for the new 7D Mk II.

Read our full Canon EOS 7D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 6D

Price: £1,600/US$1,900/AU$2,300 (body only)
Specs: 20.2MP, HD video: 1080p

Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Pretty much the same size, and exactly the same weight, as the APS-C-format 60D, the 6D is compact for a full-frame camera: it's noticeably smaller and almost 200g lighter than the 5D Mk III. Handling and build quality are similar to the 60D in many respects, with a few key differences. The 6D lacks a vari-angle LCD and, unlike the 700D, it's not a touchscreen either. The 6D also lacks a pop-up flash; this isn't an issue for most 'serious' photographers, who often wouldn't think of using anything other than a flashgun, but a pop-up flash can be useful for wirelessly triggering off-camera units.

The sensor resolution of 20.2MP almost equals that of the 5D Mk III, and both cameras feature the same Digic 5+ processor. Being a more modestly priced full-frame body, however, the 6D has a less impressive autofocus system, with just 11 AF points, of which only the centre point is cross-type.

The 6D features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. However, when enabled, the GPS system drains the battery rapidly. By default the GPS remains active even when the camera is switched off; you can set it to power off when the camera is switched off, but you then have to wait for it to work out where it is when you switch the camera on again.

Build quality is a cut above the 60D. The top of the body shell is still polycarbonate, but the front and back sections are sturdier magnesium alloy. The 6D is beginner-friendly for a full-frame camera, featuring Scene Intelligent Auto and Creative Auto shooting modes, plus a variety of scene modes. For advanced users there are plenty of direct shooting control buttons, and low-noise image quality is very good at high sensitivity settings.

Read our full Canon EOS 6D review | Compare the best prices

Canon EOS 5D Mk III

Price: £2,340/US$3,150/AU$3,600 (body only)
Specs: 22.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best Canon DSLRs: 8 tested

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

This full-frame body is as good as it gets without splashing out over twice the money on a mighty 1DX. Even so, the 5D Mk III is still classed as a professional camera, yet it's much easier to carry around than the 1DX. The 5D Mk III is nearly 400g lighter, which when you're out and about makes a real difference.

In terms of resolution, the 5D Mk III wins out over the 1DX, with a 22.3MP image sensor against the more expensive camera's 18.1MP. The maximum drive rate is only about half that of the bigger camera but, even so, 6fps is very respectable for a full-framer. Compared with the 5D Mk II, which only had a nine-point autofocus system, the Mk III gets a massive 61 AF points, of which 41 are cross-type sensors and five are dual cross-type. This ensures supreme accuracy, even with really tricky targets. The 5D Mk III level-pegs the 1DX in its autofocus system, and a new firmware version enables autofocus at f/8, which is handy for using 2x Extenders (teleconverters) with f/4 telephoto lenses.

As on the 6D, little luxuries like a touchscreen or vari-angle LCD are absent; there's no pop-up flash, although this is typical of a 'pro' camera. One nice touch is dual card slots, which can accommodate both CompactFlash and SD/HC/XC cards. These are useful when shooting in raw+JPEG quality mode, since the different files can be written to separate cards.

The layout of the buttons and overall handling is very similar to the 7D, although the full auto shooting mode of the 5D Mk III includes intelligent scene analysis. Overall image quality is truly brilliant and a very close match for the 1DX, making the 5D Mk III a bit of a bargain, despite its relatively high price compared with other bodies in this group.

Read our full Canon EOS 5D Mk III review | Compare the best prices

Canon 1D X

Price: £4,850/US$6,730/AU$7,300 (body only)
Specs: 18.1MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Canon's amalgamation of its 1D and 1Ds models, the 1D X aims to cater for a variety of professional users. Although its resolution is a step down from the 21.1MP of the previous 1Ds Mark III, its 12fps burst mode – expandable to 14fps in the Super High Speed Shooting mode – as well as a 61-point AF system and maximum extended ISO setting of ISO 204,800 set a new standard for the pro market.

Read our Canon EOS-1D X review

Best Nikon DSLRs

What's the best Nikon DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Nikon DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.

We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Nikon DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.

Nikon D3200

Price: £440/US$600/AU$820 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 24.2MP, HD video:1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Best DSLR

Nikon introduced the D3200 as a better specified companion to the D3100 in its entry-level range of DSLRs. It features a 24.2 million pixel CMOS sensor and the same EXPEED 3 processing engine as the top-end D4. The novice-friendly Guide Mode found on the D3100 is present, but has been enhanced with guides including Reds In Sunsets. Noise is well controlled through the native sensitivity range (ISO 100-6400) and images have plenty of detail, but the screen doesn't always display image colour accurately.

The Nikon D3200 wins our Best entry-level DSLR award.

Read our Nikon D3200 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D5200

Price £650/US$800/AU$920
Specs: APS-C, 24.2MP, ISO 100-6400 (expandable to ISO 100-25,600), vari-angle LCD, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR

The Nikon D5200 is a blend of the Nikon D5100 and Nikon D7000 with a new 24.2 million-effective pixel sensor. Apart from the addition of a drive mode button on its top-plate and very minor changes to the size, the Nikon D5200 looks very similar to the Nikon D5100. Inside, however, it has the same metering and AF systems as the Nikon D7000 above it in the Nikon DSLR lineup.

Like the Nikon D5100, the Nikon D5200 has a 3-inch 921,000-dot articulating LCD screen that enables you to compose images from a range of angles. Disappointingly this screen is not touch-sensitive.

While the Nikon D5200 has a simple control layout and a clear user interface that gives relatively quick access to the most important features, enthusiast photographers may wish for a few extra direct controls.

Our tests reveal that the Nikon D5200 generally produces high quality images, but the shadow areas of some images taken at ISO 3200 and above may suffer from slight banding, which limits the size at which they can be used.

Read our Nikon D5200 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D5300

Price £740/US$1100/AU$930
Specs: APS-C, 24.2MP, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to ISO 100-25,600), vari-angle LCD, HD video: 1080p

Nikon D5300

Given that Nikon still leads the way for the SLR pixel count it is perhaps no surprise that it should stick with a 24-million-pixel sensor for the D5300. However, it hasn't used the same sensor as is in the D5200 or the Nikon D7100, as the D5300 uses a new 24.2MP device without an optical low-pass filter.

Perhaps the most significant change from the D5200 is the switch to the new EXPEED 4 processing engine. While the D5200's native sensitivity range is ISO 100-6400, the D5300's has been pushed a stop further to ISO 100-12,800. Aimed at aspiring photographers, the D5300 generally produces pleasant images that have lots of detail and nice, vibrant colours and the 39-point phase detection AF system (with nine cross-type points) is generally fast and accurate.

The new 3.2-inch 1,037,000-dot screen provides a nice clear view with a little more detail being visible, which is especially useful when using the enlarged view to focus manually. Another key change for the D5300 is the addition of built-in Wi-Fi and GPS technology. The addition of Wi-Fi connectivity is particularly good news as users become increasingly keen to share images quickly.

Though it doesn't exactly have the tank-like feel of the Nikon D4, the D5300 certainly feels well-made and solid enough in your hand. Apart from a few extra holes for the stereo mic above the viewfinder and the GPS and Wi-Fi icons, the top plate of the D5300 looks just the same as the D5200's. The control layout is relatively simple, so you can find the settings that you want and get to grips with the camera quickly.

A 24-million-pixel SLR with a 3.2-inch articulating screen, 39-point AF system and Wi-Fi connectivity is a good option for someone looking to take their photography more seriously. The control layout is simple, too, so you can get to grips with the camera quickly

Read our Nikon D5300 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D7100

Price: £844/US$1,197/AU$1549 (body only)
Specs: 24.1MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: Nikon D7100

Its relatively low burst depth may not make the D7100 the best camera for shooting sport and action (although it is still capable of doing so), but it is a great option for landscape, still life, macro and portrait photography.

As there's no anti-aliasing filter over its 24.1MP sensor, the D7100 is capable of resolving an impressive amount of detail. However, high sensitivity images have more noticeable noise than comparable shots from some of Nikon's other SLRs, That said, the noise is fine grained and evenly distributed with no banding or clumping.

The Nikon D7100 is aimed at enthusiast photographers and they will find it a great choice provided that they understand how metering systems work and are prepared to keep an eye on the camera's histogram view.

Read our Nikon D7100 review

Nikon D300s


Price: £1,120/US$1,700/AU$1,850 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The winning formula of the D300 with the added extra of video functionality, the D300s is a solidly crafted mid-range DSLR. While its focusing system and higher frame rate place it above the cheaper D7000, its resolution and video quality both fall a little short by comparison - for these reasons, an upgrade is believed to be just around the corner.

Read our Nikon D300s review | Compare the best prices

Best full-frame Nikon DSLR

Nikon D700

Price: £930/US$1,300/AU$950 (used, body only)
Specs: 12.1MP, 51-point AF

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Announced back in July 2008, almost a year after the Nikon D3, the Nikon D700 is the second-oldest Nikon full-frame DSLR. It was a radical departure from the D3's chunky build, lacking a built-in vertical grip. Instead, it looks and feels almost identical to the Nikon D300 APS-C camera, albeit with a larger viewfinder. Indeed, the control dials and buttons are all pretty much identical to the D300's, apart from an upgraded multi-selector around the back, inherited from the D3 and later featured on the D300s.

It's a good compromise between lightweight compactness and sturdy build quality, thanks to a tough magnesium alloy body shell. Like all Nikon's full-frame bodies apart from the D600, the D700 is classed as a 'professional' body.

Despite the 'professional' classification, the shutter life is only rated at 150,000 cycles, compared with 300,000 on the older D3. This shorter shutter life is something to bear in mind if you're buying a second-hand camera. The D700 is also the only Nikon full-frame DSLR in which the viewfinder doesn't give full coverage of the frame, delivering a slightly cropped 95 per cent.

Despite its age, performance is good in many areas. The 51-point autofocus system and 3D Colour Matrix II metering systems are highly accurate. In other respects, the D700 falls behind newer models. Image resolution is only 12.1MP, just like in the D3 and D3s. The Live View system is quite rudimentary, and there's no video shooting facility. Actual image quality is very good, apart from being noisier than most at very high ISO settings.

If you don't mind the relatively low image resolution and don't need video capture, the D700 is a good second-hand buy at the price.

Read our full Nikon D700 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D600

Price: £1,370/US$2,000/AU$2,120 (body only)
Specs: 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Whereas the older Nikon D700 was like a full-frame version of the Nikon D300, the Nikon D600 takes its design cues from the Nikon D7000 APS-C body. As such, the D600 is particularly compact and light in weight for a full-frame camera and, again, the similarities vastly outweigh the differences between the two.

There are a few position changes in the control buttons, and the D7000's Live View latch has been ditched in the D600, while a lock/release button, which guards against accidental switching between shooting modes, has been added to the mode dial.

Also like the D7000, the D600 features a 39-point autofocus system with nine cross-type points. It's called an FX rather than DX autofocus module but, even so, the AF points are all fairly close to the centre of the frame. One nice touch is that, like the D800, D800E and D4, the AF system works with f/8 lens apertures, enabling autofocus with a greater range of telephoto lenses when used with teleconverters. Although this is the only FX Nikon body classed as 'consumer', build quality is good, based on a polycarbonate body shell with magnesium alloy top and rear sections.

The 5.5fps maximum drive rate is faster than the D800's and marginally quicker than the D700 and D3x's. Metering is excellent, based on a 3D Colour Matrix II module that has twice the resolution of the D700, while the reduction in autofocus points shouldn't be a major issue for most photographers. The relatively high resolution of the 24.3MP sensor doesn't impact on high-ISO image quality, the Expeed 3 processor helping to keep noise down to very acceptable levels.

The Nikon D600 is worth the extra outlay compared with a used D700, and is a better bet than the D800 if you need a fairly fast continuous drive rate.

Read our full Nikon D600 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D610

Price: £1,500/US$2,000/AU$2,125 (body only)
Specs: 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Nikon D610

Built on the shoulders of the already excellent Nikon D600, this updated model offers a similarly good experience with a few very minor changes and an updated shutter mechanism that appears to resolve the D600's dirty sensor problem. At $1996/£1499 body only the D610 isn't a cheap camera, but it's a relatively affordable step into full-frame photography for Nikon lovers. A full-frame sensor brings benefits to wide-angle shooting and depth of field control.

While it's smaller and less tank-like than the Nikon D4, and doesn't have the monocoque construction of the D5300, it has a part-magnesium alloy body and feels pretty tough. There are also seals that keep moisture out so you can continue to use it if the weather turns bad. The D610 has a solid feeling body, and there are plenty of direct controls so that adjustments can be made quickly and easily. A rubber-like coating on the chunky finger-grip on the front of the camera and the thumb-ridge on the back ensures a comfortable, secure hold.

While the D610 can't resolve more detail than the D7100 ($1,147/£839), thanks to its larger photosites it has greater dynamic range and a higher signal to noise ratio. This means that it produces cleaner images with greater tonal range. The FX sensor also means that depth of field can be more easily restricted to blur backgrounds (and foregrounds) and FX format lenses show their full width.

The D610 is a very good camera that offers a superb introduction to full-frame photography. It has a wealth of features and produces excellent images.

Read our full Nikon D610 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D800

Price: £1,930/US$2,800/AU$3,200 (body only)
Specs: 36.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Tipping the resolution scales at 36.3MP, the Nikon D800 has the highest pixel count of any Nikon DSLR made to date. This makes it possible to take enormously detailed photographs, but also puts lenses to the ultimate test in terms of sharpness. The D800 munches memory cards, too, especially if you're shooting in top quality raw mode, but you can double up on cards as it has dual slots (unlike the D700) to take both CompactFlash and SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

When it comes to size and weight, the D800 is a more modest proposition than some of Nikon's other offerings. It doesn't have a built-in vertical grip, and so weighs a very manageable 1kg (2.2lbs) exactly, which is only about two-thirds the weight of the D3, and it's not much bigger than the D600.

It feels consummately professional, however, with a magnesium alloy body and a top plate akin to those on larger professional-level cameras. Even so, it still retains the pop-up flash that's been discarded from big-bodied cameras like all variants of the D3 and the D4.

The image sensor and Expeed 3 processor team up to deliver spectacular levels of detail. Even more impressively, given the ultra-high pixel count, image noise is very restrained even at extremely high ISO settings. The 51-point autofocus system works a treat, as does the super-high resolution 3D Colour Matrix III 91k resolution metering module. Both the autofocus and metering systems are identical to those featured in the mighty D4. The only real drawback is that the D800's very high image resolution comes at the price of a very pedestrian maximum continuous drive rate, which limps along at a mere 4fps.

The Nikon D800 shares a lot of the D4's key features, but costs less than half the price. It's a stunning camera that's worth every penny.

Read our full Nikon D800 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D3s

Price: £2,000/US$4,000/AU$3,500 (used, body-only)
Specs: 12.1MP, HD video: 720p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

First announced in October 2009, the Nikon D3s is a revamp of the Nikon D3, which was launched just over two years earlier. Despite the two cameras looking almost identical, quite a lot was changed inside, and at its heart the D3s has a redesigned image sensor.

It has the same 12.1MP resolution as the D3, which caused some consternation when it was released, but higher maximum sensitivity settings of ISO 12800 and ISO 102400 in standard and expanded modes respectively. Another advantage of the fairly modest resolution is that the D3s has the same brisk continuous drive rate as the D3, at up to 9fps. This is boosted to 11fps in DX crop mode.

The D3s is also capable of shooting video, a function unavailable in the D3. Even so, maximum video resolution is 720p rather than the Full HD 1080p delivered by most recent Nikon DSLRs.

Other worthwhile improvements include a quiet shooting mode, in which shutter release noise is suppressed, and an automatic sensor cleaning system. There are no upgrades to the image processor, metering or autofocus systems.

The most noticeable improvement in performance over the original D3 is that image noise is less noticeable at very high sensitivity settings of ISO 6400 and above. Live View focusing is also faster in contrast-detection Live View mode. The D3s is a more expensive camera to buy secondhand than the D3, but you'll be getting a newer camera with extra features, making it well worth the extra outlay. If you're shopping around for a top-spec professional DSLR, we think it's the best used buy.

A secondhand Nikon D3s is a very sensible option if you want a fully professional body but can't stretch to a new Nikon D4.

Read our full Nikon D3s review

Nikon D800E

Price: £2,350/US$3,300/AU$3,500 (body only)
Specs: 36.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Take away the need for a fast continuous drive rate for action sports and wildlife photography, and we'd have to say that the Nikon D800 is one of our favourite cameras of all time. So what's the deal with the Nikon D800E? In a bid to produce even greater retention of fine detail in images, the D800E has a specially-modified low-pass filter.

The low-pass filters in most cameras cause a slight softening effect, helping to avoid moiré patterning when shooting objects that have fine grids or regularly repeating textures (such as somebody on TV who's wearing a tightly striped shirt),

The result is that the D800E delivers detail and texture that rivals medium-format cameras, which will be enough to sell it to many a professional photographer. The downside is that there's an increased risk of moiré patterning but, even then, Nikon Capture NX2 and the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for the latest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom have tools for removing this.

Interestingly, the Nikon D7100, a 24.1MP APS-C camera, has no low-pass filter at all. The bonus of retaining a 'modified' low-pass filter in the D800E is that it still blocks infrared light and has anti-reflective abilities which help to combat ghosting and flare.

As you'd expect, the D800E delivers even greater sharpness than the D800, making the very most of its 36.3MP image sensor. In all other respects, performance is practically identical. If you can afford the extra outlay, and that last bit of sharpness is high on your agenda, the D800E is well worth the additional cost.

Read our Nikon D800 vs D800E feature

Nikon D3

Price: £2,400/US$2,200/AU$2,500 (used, body only)
Specs: 12.1MP, 51-point AF

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Nikon D3 set the professional arena alight when it was announced back in August 2007, but since then the march of progress has been relentless. It's all the more remarkable, then, that many of its features and specifications still compete so well with some of the very latest cameras.

You get a 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type points, a sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400 (ISO 100-25600 in expanded mode), a fast 9fps maximum drive rate, dual CompactFlash memory card slots and a whopping battery life of 4,300 shots.

In other ways, the D3 does show its age. Just like the D700, which launched soon afterwards, the D3 has no video shooting facility and image resolution is only 12.1MP. At least the Kevlar/carbon fibre shutter unit has a life expectancy of 300,000 cycles, in keeping with the later D3s and D3x variants, and this figure is only beaten by the D4, which is rated at 400,000 cycles. Like all of these cameras, the D3 is big and chunky, constructed with a built-in vertical grip and an extra info LCD at the bottom of the back plate.

Handling is everything you'd expect from a top-flight pro body. The image quality is very impressive for a camera of its age, although the D3 has been largely overtaken when it comes to low image noise at very high ISO settings. The autofocus and metering work flawlessly.

The Nikon D3 is still a great camera but became obsolete over three years ago, so you'll have to buy one secondhand. Most D3 bodies have been owned by hard-working professionals so you'll need to check carefully, since you might struggle to find one that hasn't been really hammered over the years.

Read our full Nikon D3 review

Nikon D4

Price: £4,250/US$6,000/AU$6,800 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Nikon D4's image resolution represents a modest increase on the D3 and D3s, up from 12.1MP to 16.2MP, rather than a radical ramping up. This is combined with a new Expeed 3 image processor, also featured in the D600 and D800. The net result is a blisteringly fast continuous shooting rate of up to 11fps.

The camera also has an oversized memory buffer, with capacity for between 69 and 98 raw files, depending on quality and compression settings. Suffice to say that you can take long sequences of shots in quick succession. A class-leading shutter unit takes the strain, with a life expectancy of 400,000 cycles.

As Nikon's current flagship camera, the D4 boasts all the advanced features and top-notch build quality you'd expect, yet is only marginally more expensive than the ageing D3x. Then again, many of its features aren't unique. The D4 has the same autofocus system and newly designed metering module as the much less expensive D800, which offers more than twice the image resolution. It's only natural to hope that a D4s and a D4x might be coming soon.

Image quality is immaculate and the D4 really delivers throughout its enormous sensitivity range of ISO 100-12800 (ISO 50-204800 expanded). Images are remarkably noise-free with plenty of fine detail, even at high sensitivity settings. Our only complaint is that the battery life is a 'mere' 2600 shots, compared with around 4300 shots from the older D3, D3s and D3x, with their higher-capacity battery. Ultimately, the D4 makes up for its modest image resolution with sublime high-ISO image quality and sheer shooting speed.

You can't have everything but, if you don't need ultra-high-resolution images, then the Nikon D4 is unbeatable.

Read our full Nikon D4 review | Compare the best prices

Nikon D3x

Price: £5,250/US$7,000/AU$7,250 (body only)
Specs: 24.5MP, 51-point AF

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Launched about a year after the D3, and a year before the D3s, Nikon's D3x is radically different from its siblings. Whereas the other two cameras have 12.1MP image sensors, the D3x boasts just over double the resolution at 24.5MP. Back in 2008, when the camera was announced, that was really quite something. The high-res attraction has been enough to keep the D3x in production, and it's still available to buy new today, although it looks like its days are numbered. The much cheaper D600 delivers practically the same resolution, and it's been overtaken by the D800 and D800e.

In other respects, the D3x is closer to the D3 than it is to the newer D3s. There's no video shooting facility, Live View mode is similarly rudimentary, and the layout of control buttons and dials is identical. One drawback of the D3x is that the maximum drive rate drops from the 9fps of the D3 and D3s to 5fps. It's really a camera that's designed for high-end landscape, portraiture and studio-based fashion photography, types of photography where high resolution is critical but drive speed is less important.

A price you often pay for very high image resolution is an increase in noise at high sensitivity settings. As such, the standard ISO range is reduced to ISO 100-1600, with a maximum of just ISO 6400 in expanded mode. Image quality holds up well throughout the standard range, but at ISO 3200-6400, there's significantly more noise than you'd get with the D600 or D800 cameras. Stick to low sensitivity settings, however, and the camera delivers excellent results.

The Nikon D3x is a great camera for studio work but now looks rather overpriced compared with the newer D600 and D800.

Read our full Nikon D3x review | Compare the best prices

Best Sony DSLRs and Best Sony SLTs

Strictly speaking Sony doesn't offer DSLRs any more, because its Alpha cameras have a fixed translucent mirror. Sony calls them Single Lens Translucent cameras or SLT cameras for short, but for many photographers the difference is insignificant.

That fixed mirror means that SLTs can use phase detection autofocusing regardless of whether the image (or video) is being composed on the screen or in the viewfinder. Most SLRs have to use a slower contrast detection system in live view and video mode.

Another consequence of the mirror being fixed is that SLTs have an electronic viewfinder (EVF) rather than an optical one. This link explains more about Sony SLTs.

So which is the best Sony SLT? In this section we'll take a look at the best Sony DSLT/DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.

We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Sony DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.

Sony Alpha a37

Price: £300/US$500/AU$550 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 16.1MP, HD video:1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Sony has designed the Alpha 37's 16.1 million pixel sensor to work in harmony with the Bionz processor to produce better images than its predecessor, the Alpha 35. The 15-point AF system with three cross-type points also offers improved object tracking and Quick AF modes. Sony's Auto Portrait Framing system that automatically crops an image to improve composition post-capture sounds odd, but usually works well. The A37 delivers bright, punchy pictures with accurate colours, adding up to an enticing camera for novices and enthusiasts on a budget.

Read our Sony Alpha a37 review | Compare the best prices

Sony Alpha a57

Price: £500/US$500/AU$730 (body only)
Specs: 16.1MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Alpha 57 borrows heavily from the design of the enthusiast Alpha 65 while maintaining a reasonable asking price. The camera sees a revised Object Tracking AF system and a new Auto Portrait Framing option, together with an ISO 100-16000 sensitivity span and even a 12fps burst option (at a reduced resolution).

Read our Sony Alpha a57 review

Sony Alpha a65

Price: £650/US$700/AU$1,000 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best dslr: top cameras by price and brand

Over £300/$500 cheaper than the Sony Alpha 77, but with the same 24.3MP sensor, 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder and 1080p video mode, the Sony Alpha 65 may be considered something of a bargain. It's also based on the same SLT design as its senior stablemate, with a semi-translucent mirror enabling full-time phase detection AF.

Read our Sony Alpha a65 review | Compare the best prices

Sony Alpha a77

Price: £830/US$1,100/AU$1,500 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The flagship model in Sony's SLT series, the A77 combines many of the features found in the cheaper A65 but throws in a faster frame rate and a more sturdily built body into the mix. You also get an additional LCD screen on its top plate, as well as a second command dial and flash sync socket, together with faster flash sync and maximum shutter speeds. It also has the best electronic viewfinder (EVF) around.

Read our Sony Alpha 77 review | Compare the best prices

Sony Alpha a99

Price: £2,200/US$2,800/AU$2,800 (body only)
Specs: Full-frame, 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Sony Alpha a99 is the first full-frame interchangeable lens camera to have an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is an OLED Tru-Finder with 2,359,000 dots, and it covers 100% of the image frame.

In addition there's a 3-inch 1,228,000-dot screen on an articulating hinge to make it easier to compose images from unusual angles.

Our tests reveal that the Sony a99 is capable of capturing lots of detail and that image noise is generally well controlled. There are also some very useful features such as the ability to control the AF range, and there's a healthy level of customisation available. However, the AF system is a little slower in some situations than the competition.

Read our Sony Alpha a99 review | Compare the best prices

Best Pentax, Olympus and Sigma DSLRs

Best Pentax DSLRs

What's the best Pentax DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Pentax DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.

We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Pentax DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.

Pentax K-30

Price: £460/US$630/AU$650 (body only)
Specs: APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

One of the most attractive selling points of the Pentax K-30 is that it has a high build quality and is sealed so it can take more exposure to inclement weather than competing cameras.

The K-30's AF system is pretty good, provided that you don't use the standard 18-55mm kit lens. The smc DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR lens is a much better performer in this respect, but this adds around £250($300) to the kit price.

Read our Pentax K-30 review

Pentax K-5


Price: £570/US$740 (around AU$855) (body only)
Specs: 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Pentax's current flagship model brings together a 16.3MP CMOS sensor, 7fps burst shooting and Full HD video capture, while its magnesium-alloy body is weather sealed. Just as impressive is the 100% coverage of its pentaprism viewfinder, and its sensitivity span of ISO 80-51,200.

Read our Pentax K-5 review | Compare the best prices

Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs

Pentax K-5 II price: £730/US$1,100/AU$1,100 (body only)
Pentax K-5 IIs price: £860/US$1,200/AU$1,200 (body only)
Specs (both): APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Pentax has two K-5 II offerings, the K-5 II and the K-5 IIs, but the only difference between them is the anti-aliasing filter in the Pentax K-5 II. Despite being more expensive, the Pentax K-5 IIs has no anti-aliasing filter over the sensor, and this enables it to capture a little more detail but with heightened risk of moiré patterning.

Aside from a slightly improved LCD screen and an allegedly revamped sensor, the most notable difference between the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-5 it replaces is its SAFOX X autofocus system. This offers a noticeable speed and accuracy boost over the original Pentax K-5, and focusing is swift even in quite dark environments.

Like the Pentax K-30, the Pentax K-5 II (s) is weather-sealed so it can be used with confidence in during inclement spells.

We found the image quality is high, but the K-5 II failed to impress with its resolution scores.

Read our Pentax K-5 II review | Compare the best prices

Best Olympus DSLRs

What's the best Olympus DSLR? In this section we'll take a look at the best Olympus DSLRs that are either current models or still available for purchase.

We've included the price, key specs and a short synopsis of each Olympus DSLR to give you a better idea of which camera is best for your needs.

Olympus E-5

Price: £1,270/US$1,700/AU$1,790 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The flagship Four Thirds DSLR, the Olympus E-5 upgrades the resolution and processor of its predecessor, while also squeezing in an articulated 3-inch LCD with a 920,000 dot resolution on the rear. An HD movie mode also makes an appearance, and the XD card slot has been dropped in favour of the more common SD standard (in addition to CompactFlash).

Read our Olympus E-5 review

Best Sigma DSLRs

Sigma has just a pair of DSLR cameras in its current range, the SD15 and the SD1 Merrill, so choosing the best Sigma DSLR isn't as difficult here as it is with some of the other manufacturers. Following a significant price drop, the latter is a much more tempting proposition, although the cheaper SD15 has potentially wider appeal to more users.

Sigma SD15

Price: £585/US$930 (around AU$880) (body only)
Specs: 14MP, HD video: none

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Sigma's only mid-range DSLR offering, the SD15 incorporates a Foveon X3 sensor and a 3-inch LCD screen with a capable - though not particularly competitive - 460,000 dots. Other features of interest include a 77-segment metering sensor and a DDR II buffer said to be twice as large as that found in the previous SD14 model.

Read our Sigma SD15 review | Compare the best prices

Sigma SD1 Merrill

Price: £1,840/US$2,300 (around AU$2,760) (body only)
Specs: 46MP, HD video: none

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Recently rebranded and cut in price by around £4,000/$6,000 (!), the SD1 Merrill is Sigma's answer to both professional DSLRs and medium format systems. It sports a new 46MP sensor as well as a magnesium alloy body and an 11-point twin cross AF system. Other features of note include 3-inch LCD screen with a 460,000 dot resolution as well as pentaprism viewfinder.

Read our Sigma SD1 Merrill review

Best DSLR cameras under £500 or $700

Whether you're a beginner or simply looking for a back-up to your main DSLR, there are a lot of great DSLR cameras on the market for less than £500/$700 that offer a wide range of features and pretty solid results.

In this section we'll help you choose which camera offers you the most, for less. Below are our top five best DSLR cameras under £500/$700.

Canon 1100D/Canon EOS Rebel T3

Price: £300/US$400/AU$400 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 12.2MP, HD video: 720p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

This is perhaps the cheapest current DSLR on the market, but it's still an excellent choice for those new to DSLR photography on a budget. Headline features include a wide 9-point AF system, respectable ISO span of ISO 100-6400 and HD movie recording, together with a graphic user interface designed specifically for the novice user.

Read our Canon EOS 1100D
 review

Nikon D3100

Price: £330/US$450/AU$490 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 14.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Nikon's most junior DSLR rounds up Full HD movie recording, an 11-point AF system, 3-inch LCD and a respectable resolution of 14.2MP, and delivers it all for just over £400/$650, with an 18-55mm VR kit lens included.

Read our Nikon D3100 review

Canon 700D/Canon EOS Rebel T5i


Price: £490/US$700/AU$690 (body only)
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p

Best dslr: top cameras by price and brand

A slight upgrade over the (cheaper) EOS 650D/T4i, the 700D/T5i is a very capable and versatile camera that produces high quality images. It has a comprehensive feature set and affords all the control expected by enthusiast photographers while providing automatic hand-holding options for less experienced users.

Read our Canon EOS 700D review

Nikon D3200

Price: £440/US$600/AU$820 (with 18-55mm kit lens)
Specs: 24.2MP, HD video:1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

An entry-level camera with a pixel count of 24.2-million means that novices have plenty of scope for cropping images to improve composition post-capture. The Guide Mode is also superb for those wanting to learn more about photography and how to control their camera.

Read our Nikon D3200 review

Nikon D90


Price: £440/US$780/AU$750 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The first DSLR to have been equipped with HD video recording, Nikon's mid-range D90 proves itself to be an all-round capable performer with its high-resolution 3-inch LCD, 11-point AF system and 4.5fps burst rate. It's not the newest Nikon DSLR, but being bundled with an 18-105mm kit lens does give it a slight edge over the more typical 18-55mm kit packages.

Read our Nikon D90 review

Pentax K-30

Price: £460/US$630/AU$650 (body only)
Specs: APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p, ISO 80-51,200

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

One of the most attractive selling points of the Pentax K-30 is that it has a high build quality and is sealed so it can take more exposure to inclement weather than competing cameras.

The K-30's AF system is pretty good, provided that you don't use the standard 18-55mm kit lens. The smc DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR lens is a much better performer in this respect, but this adds around £250($300) to the kit price.

Read our Pentax K-30 review

Sony Alpha a58

Price: £500/US$500/AU$730 (body only)
Specs: 20.1MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Alpha 58 replaces both the Alpha 57 and 37 in Sony's SLT line. The most notable improvement to the camera perhaps comes in the shape of the EVF, which is now an OLED device. It's significantly brighter than the previous version and is very easy to use.

We've been impressed by the detail, colour rendition and generally good exposures in the images the Sony a58 shoots. Sony has produced a very good camera, and we're sure that anybody who buys one will be very pleased with its performance.

Read our Sony Alpha a58 review

Best DSLR cameras from £500-£1000 or $700-$1500

If you're willing to cross that £500/$700 threshold, you can get some truly special cameras these days.

Many of the new Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs released this year, for instance, boast features such as Full HD movie recording or articulated LCD screens that give photographers a whole new range of creative options and flexibility.

To help you choose which camera is right for you, below are our top five best DSLR cameras in the £500-£1000 price bracket.

Canon 70D

Price: £860/US$1100/AU$1260 (body only)
Specs: 20MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Canon's latest mid-range DSLR has a higher pixel count than the manufacturer's other recent APS-C format sensors. The EOS 70D's sensor is a Dual Pixel CMOS device too, which enables faster focusing during Live View and video mode.

The 70D can shoot at up to 7fps at full resolution for up to 65 JPEGs or 16 raw files, and sensitivity may be set in the native range of ISO 100-12,800, with an expansion setting allowing the equivalent of ISO 25,600. Overall, Canon has produced a very well rounded camera for enthusiast photographers.

Read our full Canon EOS 70D review

Pentax K-5


Price: £570/US$740 (around AU$855) (body only)
Specs: 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The K-5 can be had for £570/US$740 (around AU$855) (body only), which is excellent value for money when you consider what it offers. Features include a 921,000 dot LCD, 7fps burst mode and a wide sensitivity range right up to an equivalent ISO 51,200 option.

Read our Pentax K-5 review

Sigma SD15

Price: £585/US$930 (around AU$880) (body only)
Specs: 14MP, HD video: none

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Sigma's only mid-range DSLR offering, the SD15 incorporates a Foveon X3 sensor and a 3-inch LCD screen with a capable - though not particularly competitive - 460,000 dots. Other features of interest include a 77-segment metering sensor and a DDR II buffer said to be twice as large as that found in the previous SD14 model.

Read our Sigma SD15 review

Nikon D5300

Price £700/US$800/AU$930
Specs: APS-C, 24.2MP, ISO 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,600), vari-angle LCD, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR

Nikon currently leads the field in terms of SLR pixel count, and has stuck with a 24-million pixel sensor for the D5300. However, it hasn't used the same sensor as is in the D5200 (which still continues in the company line-up) or the Nikon D7100, as the D5300 uses a new 24.2-million pixel device without an optical low-pass filter for slightly sharper images.

Another key change for the D5300 is the addition of built-in Wi-Fi and GPS technology. The Wi-Fi connectivity allows the camera to transfer images wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet via Nikon's free Wireless Mobile Utility app (iOS and Android). From there, images can be shared on any of the usual social networking sites. The same app can also be used to trigger the shutter remotely. Meanwhile the GPS system allows images to be tagged with the longitude, latitude and altitude of the shooting location.

The new 3.2-inch 1,037,000-dot screen provides a nice clear view with a little more detail being visible, which is especially useful when using the enlarged view to focus manually. The screen also copes reasonably well with bright light and doesn't suffer excessively from reflections.

The D5300 is aimed at those upgrading from a compact camera or who want to be more creative with their images, and so is a good option for someone looking to take their photography more seriously. The control layout is simple, too, so you get to grips with the camera quickly.

Read our Nikon D5300 review

Sony Alpha a65

Price: £650/US$700/AU$1,000 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best dslr: top cameras by price and brand

Arguably the best value Sony Alpha model currently available, the A65 is replete with technology straight from the more expensive A77 model, and is available for as little as £700/$800 with a kit lens – perfect for those planning to upgrade from previous Alpha models. It includes a 24.3MP sensor, together with a 10fps burst rate and a maximum sensitivity option equivalent to ISO 25,600, in addition to the 2.4million dot OLED viewfinder that has already been widely praised for its clarity.

Read our Sony Alpha a65 review

Nikon D7100

Price: £844/US$1,197/AU$1549 (body only)
Specs: 24.1MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: Nikon D7100

This 24.1MP model replaces the Nikon D7000 and is Nikon's most up-to-date APS-C format offering for enthusiast photographers.

There's no anti-aliasing filter the sensor and this helps the D7100 resolve an impressive amount of detail. However, high sensitivity images have more noise than comparable shots from some of Nikon's other SLRs. That said, the noise is fine grained and evenly distributed with no banding or clumping.

Read our Nikon D7100 review

Pentax K-5 II and K-5 IIs

Pentax K-5 II price: £730/US$1,100/AU$1,100 (body only)
Pentax K-5 IIs price: £860/US$1,200/AU$1,200 (body only)
Specs (both): APS-C format, 16.3MP, HD video: 1080p, ISO 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 80-51,200)

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Pentax has two K-5 II offerings, the K-5 II and the K-5 IIs, but the only difference between them is the anti-aliasing filter in the Pentax K-5 II. Despite being more expensive, the Pentax K-5 IIs has no anti-aliasing filter over the sensor, and this enables it to capture a little more detail but with heightened risk of moiré patterning.

Aside from a slightly improved LCD screen and an allegedly revamped sensor, the most notable difference between the Pentax K-5 II and the Pentax K-5 it replaces is its SAFOX X autofocus system. This offers a noticeable speed and accuracy boost over the original Pentax K-5, and focusing is swift even in quite dark environments.

Like the Pentax K-30, the Pentax K-5 II (s) is weather-sealed so it can be used with confidence in during inclement spells.

We found the image quality is high, but the K-5 II failed to impress with its resolution scores.

Read our Pentax K-5 II review

Sony Alpha a77

Price: £830/US$1,100/AU$1,500 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Sony's best-specified APS-C model, the A77 is a considerable upgrade over previous generation Alpha models. The high resolution of its 24.3MP sensor is matched with an equally impressive 2.4million dot OLED electronic viewfinder, while a 12fps burst mode, Full HD video and an articulating LCD screen make it suitable for all kinds of stills and movie recording.

Read our Sony Alpha 77 review

Best DSLR cameras over £1000 or $1200

If you're serious about your photography and are willing to spend a bit more money, there are some truly exceptional digital SLR cameras to choose from.

Improved AF systems, faster burst rates and higher sensitivities are just some of the features you can get from the top digital cameras in this price bracket.

To help you choose the best camera for your needs, below are our five best DSLR cameras priced more than £1,000/$1,200.

Canon EOS 7D

Price: £1,070/US$1,440/AU$1,250 (body only)
Specs: 18MP, HD video: 1080p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The full-frame EOS 5D Mark II may still be preferable where video recording is concerned, but the cheaper EOS 7D brings a more complete focusing system, faster burst rate, wireless flash control and a number of additional improvements to the table, at an even better price.

Read our Canon EOS 7D review

Nikon D300s


Price: £1,120/US$1,700/AU$1,850 (body only)
Specs: 12.3MP, HD video: 720p


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The winning formula of the D300 with the added extra of video functionality, the D300s is a solidly crafted mid-range DSLR. While its focusing system and higher frame rate place it above the cheaper D7000, its resolution and video quality both fall a little short by comparison - for these reasons, an upgrade is believed to be just around the corner.

Read our Nikon D300s review

Canon 6D

Price: £1,600/US$1,900/AU$2,300 (body only)
Specs: 20.2MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR

Although it has a full-frame sensor like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the Canon EOS 6D has a much smaller body and a simpler control layout, making it more appealing to enthusiast rather than professional photographers. In many ways it's like a full-frame Canon EOS 60D.

The 20.1MP Canon 6D has the honour of being the first DSLR to feature Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS technology built-in. The Wi-Fi system is particularly useful because it enables the camera to be controlled remotely (with a decent selection of settings, including exposure, being adjustable) by an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

It's a great camera that's capable of producing superb images in a range of situations, but some may be disappointed by its 97% viewfinder coverage (rather than 100%) and lack of a built-in flash.

Read our Canon EOS 6D review

Sigma SD1 Merrill

Price: £1,840/US$2,300 (around AU$2,760) (body only)
Specs: 46MP, HD video: none

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Recently rebranded and cut in price by around £4,000/$6,000 (!), the SD1 Merrill is Sigma's answer to both professional DSLRs and medium format systems. It sports a new 46MP sensor as well as a magnesium alloy body and an 11-point twin cross AF system. Other features of note include 3-inch LCD screen with a 460,000 dot resolution as well as pentaprism viewfinder.

Read our Sigma SD1 Merrill review

Nikon D800 and D800E

Nikon D800 price: £1,930/US$2,800/AU$3,390 (body only)
Nikon D800E price: £2,360/US$3,100/AU$3,670 (body only)
Specs: 36.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The D800 is another sterling addition to Nikon's DSLR stable. The inclusion of a 36.3MP full-frame sensor inside a relatively compact body makes it ideal for those looking to travel light, while the strong video specifications make it more of a match for Canon's EOS 5D Mark II and III models.

It, and the D800E, rules the roost with regards to detail resolution and it produces images with a very impressive dynamic range - especially considering the pixel count.

Read our Nikon D800 review

Sony Alpha a99

Price: £2,200/US$2,800/AU$2,800 (body only)
Specs: Full-frame, 24.3MP, HD video: 1080p, ISO 100-25600

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The Sony Alpha a99 is the first full-frame interchangeable lens camera to have an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This is an OLED Tru-Finder with 2,359,000 dots, and it covers 100% of the image frame.

In addition there's a 3-inch 1,228,000-dot screen on an articulating hinge to make it easier to compose images from unusual angles.

Our tests reveal that the Sony a99 is capable of capturing lots of detail and that image noise is generally well controlled. There are also some very useful features such as the ability to control the AF range, and there's a healthy level of customisation available. However, the AF system is a little slower in some situations than the competition.

Read our Sony Alpha a99 review

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Price: £2,340/US$3,150/AU$3,600 (body only)
Specs: 22.3MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Its pixel count may only be 1.2MP higher than the 5D Mark II's, but that's still 4.2MP more than the 18.1MPCanon EOS-1DX at the top of Canon's DSLR lineup. In addition many of the core features have been upgraded on the previous incarnation.

For a start the processor is a DIGIC V unit, which is faster than the DIGIC IV in the 5D Mark II, and this enables better, more complex noise reduction calculations to be applied as well as a faster maximum shooting rate of 6fps. There's also a much more refined, customisable AF system and a wider ISO span (ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO 50-102400).

Read our Canon 5D Mark III review

Nikon D4

Price: £4,250/US$6,000/AU$6,700 (body only)
Specs: 16.2MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

The 16.2MP Nikon D4 is a fabulous camera, but £5,290/$6,000 (body only) it's only every going to be bought to professional and well-healed enthusiast photographers.

It's 91,000 pixel metering sensor is reliable and the maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps with full exposure and focusing control at full-resolution makes it a great choice for sports photography. It's also the only camera so far to support the latest XQD media format.

Read our Nikon D4 review

Canon 1D X

Price: £4,850/US$6,730/AU$7,300 (body only)
Specs: 18.1MP, HD video: 1080p

Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Canon's amalgamation of its 1D and 1Ds models, the 1D X aims to cater for a variety of professional users. Although its resolution is a step down from the 21.1MP of the previous 1Ds Mark III, its 12fps burst mode – expandable to 14fps in the Super High Speed Shooting mode – as well as a 61-point AF system and maximum extended ISO setting of ISO 204,800 set a new standard for the pro market.

Read our Canon EOS-1D X review

Nikon D3x


Price: £5,000/US$6,700 (around AU$7,500) (body only)
Specs: 24.5MP, HD video: none


Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand

Externally similar to the D3s, but with a higher resolution sensor on the inside to justify the premium price. Developed with studio and landscape work more in mind, you also don't get quite as high a frame rate nor as wide a sensitivity range as the D3s, and there's also no video recording. Where resolution is concerned, the D800 poses a significant threat to the D3x, offering a 36.3MP full-frame sensor for half the price.

Read our Nikon D3x
 review

DSLRs digital cameras cameras Buying Guides camerasbuyingguide-en-gb camerascarousel-en-gb cameraspromo-en-gb camerasrecommended-en-gb vertical_links_box-en-gb
Share this Article
Google+

Apps you might like:

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version