The widespread and ever-growing popularity of DSLR cameras continues to become evident as time goes on. Nowadays, when people ask for “what’s the best camera or video camera?”, you’ll most likely find the answer “a DSLR camera, of course!” come up more often than not. One particular downfall is their rather high price-points as compared to some other camera solutions. However, if you sift through the rubble and numerous popular models out there, you’ll find some great quality DSLR cameras for under $500 to help keep our budgets intact. We found a few for you to look at today.
What is a DSLR camera?
Although many may already know, for those who do not, a digital single-lens reflex camera, also known as a digital SLR or DSLR, is simply a digital camera that combines optics as well as the mechanisms of the single lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor unlike a photographic film. The primary difference between a digital camera and a DSLR camera is the reflex design scheme. They’re the most popular digital cameras (and video cameras depending on who you ask) and are continuing to dominate the market in the digital photography scene.
DSLR cameras under $500 have a clearer view with enhanced image quality and are still attainable when it comes to the average wallet. They have many brilliant features that make them superior from the conventional SLR cameras within their price point. So how do you choose the best? Well, it depends on a few factors that are subjective to your preferences and conditions.
Picking the best DSLR camera under $500
- Your exact budget – Good thing you’ve been able to narrow down to this price point, because the range for the lower tier of pricing with DSLR cameras goes down to a few hundred bucks, while the most expensive cost thousands of dollars (more so in the full-frame DSLR camera category). For this article, we’ve been able to find the lower range to $500. There is a decent difference between a model within the two hundred point while others right near our $500 target — whether it’s in the amount of megapixels, overall sensor quality and more. It all depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice.
- Do you want video? Most of these provide filming videos in HD (typically at 1080p, 4K resolution isn’t as common), but if this is important to you, double-check to make sure your camera allows you to do so because many older DSLR did not. A few of these models also made it into our best DSLR camera for filming videos article.
- Do you need lenses? Although many depend on photo manipulation in their image editing programs, some say the lens makes or breaks the overall feel of their photography. Do you agree? This is a big deal when it comes to DSLR cameras — some lenses cost more than the cameras themselves! Many of what we found in here already come with a lens, so you’ll be fine in terms of remaining under $500. However, some may be body only and may require you to purchase a lens so keep that in mind when adding up your budget. For more information on this, we love Gizmag’s lens buying guide. Otherwise, sticking to the included lenses in these packages or grabbing a cheaper, popular DSLR lens on Amazon will do you just fine for most applications.
The best DSLR cameras under $500
The Nikon D3300 is regarded as one of the best DSLR cameras under $500 because it takes stunning 24.2 megapixel photos as well as gives us the ability to film in 1080p full HD videos that include a zoom lens. It was listed in our best video camera for YouTube for a reason. It’s considered one of the best beginners DSLR cameras as well since it’s easy to use without a lot of bells and whistles yet still provides some nifty features to customize your image capturing and video filming. It is as easy to use as sharing photos since you can conveniently see the photos instantly on your compatible tablet or smart phone. You can also add some special artistic effects along with HD videos while creating high-resolution panoramas. ‘Easy Panorama Mode’ can support you when it is not possible to capture the whole scene. You can edit the photo and can add colors of your choice. If you wanted an immediate answer for the best DSLR camera under $500, take a look at this and don’t look back. It was first in Pocket Lint’s best DSLR camera article.
Canon EOS Rebel T5
The Canon EOS Rebel T5 is a great addition in the world of best DSLR cameras under $500. It is ideal for the use of families and budding photographers. It features a powerful and magnificent 18 MP APS-C CMOS image sensor for the convenient recording of HD video as well as high-resolution photos. For interesting live view recording and review as well, the Rebel T5 offers a huge 3.0 inch LCD screen. It is a compact and lightweight DSLR camera for under $500 and can be taken anywhere (just be careful lugging it around — they have cases sold separately). If the previous model was a bit too expensive for you and you’re ok with sacrificing some megapixels in the quality of photos, take a look at this one since it’s a little cheaper than the D3300.
Not many people may recognize the Pentax brand name since DSLR cameras are dominated by Canon and Nikon. This one is well-under $500 so it’s worth checking out — it made it into CNet’s best entry-level dslr camera article. It is a mid-level model with advanced and rapid functionality. The Pentax K-50 has a 16 MP APS-C CMOS sensor. With this tech, it delivers some great balance between the resolution and image quality. The innovative feature of their ‘In-body Shake Reduction (SR) Mechanism’ and the dust reduction technology ensures that it is auto leveled and sharp. The image is stabilized and dust free imaging is achieved with any compatible mounted lens. On top of these highlights, it can also provide you the facility of full 1080 h.264 HD video recording. Enjoy capturing 30 frames per second and stunning video quality with HDR finishing options. The Pentax K-50 is ideal for everyday photography and is one of the cheapest we’ve been able to find that are worth looking at.
Here’s a Nikon model that’s a tad bit lower on the D-series spectrum of their popular DSLR cameras. The D5200 brings the creative vision to life with great clarity. It offers video capability, 24 megapixels, a crop CMOS sensor, and weights only around 18 ounces (without a lens).This DSLR camera under $500 takes 2 shots at varying exposures; then it blends them into a single image. Their ‘scene recognition system’ is used to compare the shot against the on-board database for maximum exposure. If you want to transfer the images to your tablet or smart phone, add the optional WU-1a wireless mobile adapter as well as their wireless mobile utility app. The camera also provides a built-in stereo microphone which you can control manually and automatically. Tech Radar’s D5200 review rated it pretty highly for a reason.
Canon EOS 30D
Up last we have another solid Canon DSLR camera under $500. This highly rated model replaced their award-winning model EOS 20D and brings the proven EOS technology to our creativity. It incorporates a host of magnificent new features along with Canon’s great 8.2 MP CMOS sensor as well as the DIGIC II image processor. It has a high precision, nine-point wide area AF system which uses both high and normal precision focus, depending on the aperture and available light. It also offers a nifty 2.5 in. LCD monitor featured with about 230,000 pixels. This particular monitor displays more information as well and it can be viewed at a 170 degree angle as compared to other conventional LCD monitors. To make critical focus and larger exposure, it provides a zoom feature as well. Just another solid model under 500 dollars to check out.