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Best Budget DSLR Cameras For Beginners 2021

Here are a range of DSLR cameras ideal for starting out in photography - they're budget-friendly, easy to use and still offer lots of pro features. If you want to give photography a go while in lockdown, one of these will be a great place to start.

|  Canon EOS 4000D in Digital SLRs
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Nikon D3500

 

If you've been shooting with a compact, or even a smartphone camera for a while but are now wanting to progress your photographic journey with a more advanced camera, then a DSLR might be for you. Here we list some of the best DSLR options available for beginners, or those on a budget.

 

Why Choose A DSLR?

When you pick up and use a DSLR you'll see that image quality is vastly better when compared with a compact camera and you'll also have access to many more manual controls. The low light performance of DSLRs is also much better than what compact cameras and smartphones can offer, too. Plus, you can change lenses when using a DSLR, something you won't have had the option to do with a point-and-shoot and even though lenses are available for smartphones, the quality won't be anywhere near that of what the interchangeable lenses for DSLRs can offer. 

As you'll probably be new to shutter speeds and apertures, you'll be happy to hear that DSLRs do also have auto modes to help you out until you're more proficient in using your new DSLR. 

 

The Price

Cost is another consideration as you probably don't have a spare £1000 to spend on a new camera so all of the DSLRs we have listed here can be purchased for around £500. There are a couple which are a bit more money but it shouldn't take you too long to save up the extra £100. Some are also purchased as a 'kit' where you get a standard 18-55mm lens supplied with the camera. The lens covers a decent amount of focal lengths until you have the money, or the need, to purchase other lenses such as wides, macro lenses and telephotos. Eventually, you will probably also want to buy a flashgun, tripod and other accessories.

 

More Options

You may want to consider purchasing a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR as they're much smaller in size or if you're not sure which camera is for you, take a look at our camera buying guide. Some of the best mirrorless camera options for beginners include the Panasonic Lumix G100, Nikon Z50 or the Olympus PEN series such as the E-PL10

 

Best DSLR Cameras For Beginners 2021:

 

Nikon D3500 

D3500
 

The Nikon D3500 is an update to the D3400 and features low-power Bluetooth for automatic transfer of images, a built-in guide mode, plus long battery life, and a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. 

For those looking for DSLR image quality then noise performance is very good and better than much of the competition at this price point. Focus and shutter response are both fast when using the optical viewfinder, becoming much slower when using liveview. The 18-55mm kit lens performs reasonably well, and is quite compact, but to get the best results, a prime lens, such as the 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 is recommended.

If you want a Digital SLR that can instantly share photos to your smartphone, then the Nikon D3500 offers great image quality and good value for money. It offers incredible battery life for days out shooting.

  • Rating: 
  • Price (At Time Of Writing)for kit with 18-55mm lens: £449.49 
  • Pros: Good handling Good noise performance, Impressive battery life, Built-in guide and help, Bluetooth for instant image transfer, 5fps continuous shooting
  • Cons: Small optical viewfinder, No HDR or Auto Exposure Bracketing mode, slow live view

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Canon EOS 250D 

Canon EOS 250D

 

The Canon EOS 250D offers a compact DSLR, with Canon’s typical, and excellent, colour reproduction. Noise performance is improved compared to other entry-level Canon, and Nikon DSLRs. For those that want the true DSLR experience, with an optical viewfinder, and the impressive battery life that goes with it, the EOS 250D offers a very neat little package.

The small size, and easy to use design should make it appealing to beginners and it'll be particularly appealing if you want to upgrade from an older Canon EOS DSLR, and have a range of lenses that will fit right on to it. 

  • Rating: 
  • Price (At Time Of Writing): £581.57
  • Pros: Compact DSLR with a vari-angle touch-screen, a 24mp sensor with good noise performance, 4K video recording, Excellent colour reproduction, Easy to use menu system and controls
  • Cons: Only 9 AF points when using OVF, Slow continuous shooting in comparison to mirrorless cameras, No built-in panoramic shooting mode, Could be quicker access to controls

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Pentax K-70

Pentax K 70 DSLR (6)
 

Weatherproofed DSLRs don't usually come cheap but the Pentax K-70 is reasonably priced and weatherproof so you can keep shooting in all conditions (so long as you have a weatherproof lens). Shake reduction is built-in along with Wi-Fi and a hybrid live view autofocus system that means you can quite happily use the screen rather than the viewfinder when framing. Image quality is let down by the 18-135mm kit lens, which can give soft images, and a prime lens is recommended to get the best out of the camera but overall, it's a really good camera for its price point. 

  • Rating: 
  • Price (At Time Of Writing): £579
  • Pros: Good colours, excellent noise performance, built-in Wi-Fi, Dual-axis electronic level, Pixel Shift Resolution (plus others, see the review for more info)
  • Cons: Live view focus and shutter response could be quicker, 18-35mm lens isn't great

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Canon EOS 2000D

Canon EOS 2000D (3)
The Canon EOS 2000D was seen as a little behind the competition in terms of what it brought as an upgrade to the EOS 1300D (not much, apart from a new 24-megapixel sensor). However it does represent a good beginner budget purchase at just over £300 for the body and an 18-55mm kit lens.

Continuous shooting speed is a rather pedestrian 3fps, and the ISO range is the same at ISO100 to ISO12800 (extended). The camera records FullHD video at 30,25,24fps, with mono sound, and there is no mic socket. The camera features 9 AF points. 

The camera has full manual controls, as well as scene intelligent auto mode and a number of creative effects, including a grainy black and white effect. Wi-Fi and NFC are built-in, which will make it quick and easy to connect to compatible smartphones. You can connect to Android smartphones using NFC, if they support it, and this makes it very easy to connect and transfer photos, as well as remotely control the camera.  

  • Rating: 
  • Price at time of writing: £339
  • Pros: Wi-Fi and NFC built-in, Good colour reproduction, Good ergonomics and handling, Easy to use, Decent battery life, Auto White Balance options of warm or white.
  • Cons: Disappointing ISO range, with poor noise control, Only 3fps continuous shooting, Lacks auto-HDR shooting, slow live view focusing, Chromatic aberrations

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Canon EOS 750D

Canon EOS 750D (3)
 

This entry-level DSLR does have a newer competitor (800D) but the 750D is still worth considering. The Canon EOS 750D sports a 24MP sensor, good noise performance, a vari-angle screen and Wi-Fi as well as NFC is built-in. Colour reproduction is good and the fact that the screen is touch responsive is a nice bonus. 

  • Rating: 
  • Price (At Time Of Writing): £469
  • Pros: 24MP sensor with low noise, 3inch vari-angle touch-screen, excellent colour reproduction (plus others, see the review for more info)
  • Cons: Does not feature AF micro-adjustment, lens aberration correction slows continuous shooting slightly

 Buy On Amazon UK   

 

Canon EOS 4000D

Canon EOS 4000D White BG (2)
 

The Canon EOS 4000D sits at the bottom of Canon's entry-level DSLR line-up, and is designed for students and those on a tight budget. Because of this it does lack some of the features the other cameras here have to offer but it is currently available for under £300.

The 4000D uses an 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the same sensor found in the 1300D. The camera has full manual controls, as well as scene intelligent auto mode, and a number of creative effects. Built-in Wi-Fi makes the camera much more appealing for entry-level and younger shooters.

  • Rating:  
  • Price at time of writing: £295
  • Pros: Wi-Fi built-in, Good colour reproduction, Decent ergonomics, Easy to use, Decent battery life, Auto White Balance options of warm or white.
  • Cons: Disappointing ISO range, with poor noise control, Only 3fps continuous shooting, Lacks auto-HDR shooting, Slow live view focusing, Plastic lens mount will worry some, Poor kit lens, with chromatic aberrations, and no IS.

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 4000D

On the wallGoing localEmptyFlowers in the cityView from a bridgeAlpacaPuppetryBollardsBoatingMovingWe’re offA sticky situationSunday shoppersSunset silhouettesIn the act

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Comments


30 May 2020 12:56PM
I am surprised a little that the K-3II is on the list, is it is a much more advanced camera. Then again it has been out of production for a little while but still has an impressive array of features. If it is due to the cost of a new one coming right down to compare to the likes of the D3500 and 250D, I would not hesitate and choose it over the others. I have had mine for 4 years and still impresses me with it's ability.
Certainly a camera that someone can grow into as a photographer without the need to upgrade. Spend the money on buying glass for it.
petebfrance 9 3.0k France
19 Jan 2021 12:56PM
A 'word of caution' for readers. The comment for the Canon EOS 750D "Cons: Does not feature AF micro-adjustment," is a little misleading because one could assume that all the others do have AF micro-adjustment whereas (I'm pretty sure that) only the Pentax in this selection has that feature.

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