Last updated: December 18, 2018

It's not easy to answer the question 'what's the best DSLR' because the question often means 'what's the best DSLR for me?' And the correct answer to that question will depend on your budget and what you want to use the camera for.

It's also complicated by the fact that, while DSLRs are renowned for their flexibility and image quality, there are now a series of cameras that offer similar (and potentially greater) capabilities that are also worth considering.

So, while this roundup will focus on DSLRs (cameras with a mirror that redirects the image from the lens through into an optical viewfinder), we'll also recommend some mirrorless cameras that may be a better fit for you. These also have interchangeable lenses and comparable image quality but tend to be a bit smaller and are often better adapted to shooting video.

This guide breaks down your options roughly by price and focuses on all-round capability. For more precise recommendations, tailored to the photography you want to do, we'd recommend looking at our buying guides based around specific types of photography.

Jump to:

Best DSLR around $600: Canon EOS Rebel SL2
($650 with 18-55mm lens)

The EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) features a 24 Megapixel sensor, fast Dual Pixel autofocus when using live view or taking video, a fully articulating touchscreen LCD and a 'Feature Assistant' that makes adjust complex settings easy. It can capture 1080p video and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easily sharing photos.

Read review | Check prices | More info

Mirrorless alternative:

Olympus E-M10 Mark III
$599 with 14-42mm lens

The E-M10 III has a retro-styled body and its electronic viewfinder is larger than the optical viewfinder on the SL2. It has a smaller, lower resolution sensor compared to the SL2 and a tilting (rather than fully articulating) touchscreen display, and it includes 4K video capture.

Read review | Check prices | More info

Best DSLR around $1000: Canon EOS 77D
($949 with 18-55mm lens)

The EOS 77D is two notches above the SL2 in Canon's lineup, offering more controls, a faster processor and a sturdier body. It too has a fully articulating touchscreen though, oddly, its optical viewfinder is smaller than what's on the SL2. Video can be captured at 1080p and connectivity features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Read review | Check prices | More info

Mirrorless alternative:

Fujifilm X-T20
$999 with premium 18-55mm lens

The X-T20 has a classic design and produces great-looking photos. It offers Film Simulation modes to bring out your creative side and also has a tilting touchscreen display, 4K video capture and Wi-Fi.

Read review | Check prices | More info

Best DSLR around $1500: Nikon D7500
($1450 with 18-140mm lens)

The Nikon D7500 inherits some features from the more expensive D500, including its 20 Megapixel sensor, improved metering system, tilting touchscreen LCD, weather-sealing and 4K video capture. While the live view experience isn't nearly as robust as on Canon models, the D7500 is a clear winner when shooting through the viewfinder.

Read review | Check prices | More info

Mirrorless alternatives:

Sony a6300
$1299 with 18-135mm lens

The a6300 is a comparatively inexpensive alternative, and has a top-notch 24MP sensor, gorgeous 4K video, excellent AF and fast burst shooting. It's also pretty compact, though its user experience isn't for everyone.

Fujifilm X-T3
$1899 with premium 18-55mm lens

The X-T3 excels at both still photography and video. Photos look great and video features (including 4K/60p) and quality are top-notch. The weather-sealed body has an ultra-high-res viewfinder along with a clever 3-axis tilting LCD.

Read review | Check prices | More info Read review | Check prices | More info

Best DSLR over $2000: Nikon D850
($3300 body only)

The D850 is a high-end DSLR that sits just below the flagship D5 in Nikon's lineup. It has a 46 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, top-of-the-line autofocus system, a huge optical viewfinder, a tilting touchscreen LCD and dual memory card slots. Image quality is as good as you'll find and the D850's 4K video isn't bad, though controls are a bit limited. As you'd expect the D850 is built like a tank and weather-sealed. Its large battery can take thousands of photos on a single charge.

Read review | Check prices | Read more

Mirrorless alternatives:

Sony a7 III
($2000 body only)

The a7 III is a heck of a camera for the price. It has built-in image stabilization along with an excellent 24MP full-frame sensor, stellar autofocus system, great 4K video quality and battery life that's well above average.

Sony a7R III
($3200 body only)

The a7R III has a superb 42MP full-frame sensor plus in-body IS, excellent 4K video quality, dual card slots and above average battery life. It's autofocus system isn't as robust as the D850's but it's still solid in most situations.

Read review | Check prices | More info Read review | Check prices | More info