More top picks: Under $500 | Pocketable enthusiast | Enthusiast long zoom

Last updated: November 20, 2018

This guide has been updated to include details of the Olympus PEN E-PL9, which have not yet been fully reviewed and could, when tested, change our recommendations.

If you want a camera that offers more advanced features than typical budget options, there are several products available in the $500-1000 price range that should fit the bill.

The cameras in this buying guide tend to offer more direct controls than cheaper models, better autofocus systems, and some feature 4K video capture as well. Some of them are easy to pick up and use, while others require a bit more work to get the hang of.

Our pick for DSLR: Nikon D5600

Small, lightweight and versatile, the Nikon D5600 is our top pick. It offers outstanding out-of-camera JPEGs and impressive Raw files—and features a highly capable autofocus system.

The D5600's user interface is straightforward and easy to navigate; a touch screen aides in its ease-of-use. Plus, the D5600 can maintain a constant connection to your smart device via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to seamlessly transmit photos for sharing.

Other standout features include: great battery life, 1080/60p video capture (sorry, no 4K,) a large 3.2" fully articulating LCD and a super comfortable grip. And then there are the countless compatible lenses designed for Nikon's F mount, which has been around for 60 years.

Also consider: Olympus OM-D E-M10 III

The Nikon D5600 might be the most polished camera on this list, but the OM-D E-M10 III is among the most well-rounded (and stylish). Its JPEG and Raw files are very good, and it is capable of excellent-looking 4K video. Plus 5-axis sensor stabilization means the camera can easily shoot smooth hand-held video (or stills). Autofocus is reliable in single-shot mode, but less dependable when it comes to photographing action or moving subjects.

Dual top plate control dials, a tilting touch LCD and multiple customizable buttons give users a lot of control—something that is unusual at this price point. This is good if you wish to make the most of setting up the camera, but can be overwhelming for the novice. Other features include a high-res OLED viewfinder and built-in Wi-Fi.

One of the big advantages of the Micro Four Thirds system is the enormous amount of lenses available from not only Olympus but Panasonic and third party lens makers too.

We've picked our two winners above, but there are several other cameras that fit into the to $500-1000 price range, many of which are also worth consideration. We've listed them all out below with detailed breakdowns of their features and performance:

Also available:

Pending review: