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Best DSLR Camera: Nikon D7100 vs Canon 70D vs Canon T5 vs T5i

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Nikon logo D3300
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Canon logoT5i
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Nikon logo D7100

Tired of using your smartphone to take pictures at important events? Do the pictures turn out blurry? Smartphones just don’t have the capabilities to take ultra-sharp photos that really pop! Step up your photography game by purchasing a DSLR camera. We reviewed some of the best entry level DSLR cameras and ranked them based on price, features, quality and user friendliness.

What is a DSLR?

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. A DSLR camera combines the optics and mechanisms of a single lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. The main difference between a DSLR and a regular digital camera is that the DSLR has a reflex design scheme. Did any of that make sense? Let’s simplify.

A digital SLR camera lets you see exactly what your lens sees. So what you see will be different depending on which lens you have attached to your camera. Yes, you can change the lens on your DSLR! So, depending on the lighting and what you are photographing you may want a different lens.

DSLR Lenses

Note: Check the specs carefully before you buy a camera as most of these reviewed here do not come with a lens and you will need to make a separate purchase. However, once in awhile you can find an all-in-one package including lens, bag, carry strap, etc. for a great deal which might make it worth a short wait.

Nikon Vs Canon: What’s the Difference?

Honestly, for most it probably doesn’t matter whether you choose Nikon or Canon. Both are excellent brands that produce top quality products. Whichever you choose, you should try to buy the best in your price range and stick with that brand. Once you choose Nikon or Canon you’ll be buying attachments, accessories and lenses to go with the camera so if you ever upgrade you’ll want your attachments to be transferable. The most important part of your camera is the lens you put on it. Take the time to pick out a lens that fits your needs so you get photos you love.

Nikon D3300 Review

#1Nikon D3300

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The Nikon D3300 takes great photos and has good video options at a reasonable price. In fact, this is the camera that I own. We found a great deal on it and could not pass it up! We’ve been very pleased with it and find it to be very user-friendly. The camera is easy to learn and it’s one of the best DSLR cameras for beginners. One of my favorite features is the 11 point autofocus. I like going to the park and exploring with the camera and testing out different apertures and shutter speeds.

Pros

Cons

  • Compact and light
  • Guide Mode for beginners
  • Good photo quality for the price
  • Limited burst shooting in RAW mode
  • Limited features

Price

Tech Specs

  • Sensor Resolution: 24.2 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size: 15.6 x 23.5mm
  • Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Display: 3″ LCD
  • Included Accessories: audio/video cable, battery charger, body cap, dust cap, eyepiece cover, lens cap, neck strap
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
  • Lens Aperture: f/3.5-5.6

Nikon D3300 Video

To see more of the Nikon D3300 check out this video review. It goes through some of the key features and differences between other Nikon models.

Canon T5I Review

Canon T5I#2

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This camera is basically a Canon T5 with a few more features. T5i is better with video than the T5. It offers a higher resolution flip out screen that makes filming video easier. If you are choosing between the Canon T5 and the Canon T5i and video is important to you, go with this model. The T5i produces photos with great image quality, including in-camera HDR, and has a fast autofocus. Another member of our team has this camera and recommends it just as highly as I recommend our #1 pick. So again, pick which is best for you and move on. You really cannot make a bad decision between our top two contenders.

Pros

Cons

  • Great image quality with HDR which combines various exposures of the same pic to get the best photo
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Compact
  • Limited burst shooting in RAW mode
  • Choppy autofocus for video if you have a non-STM lens
  • Not the best battery life

Price

Tech Specs

  • Sensor Resolution: 18.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size: 14.9 x 22.3mm
  • Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Display: 3″ touchscreen LCD
  • Included Accessories: USB cable, battery charger, body cap, dust cap, eyecup, lens cap, neck strap
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
  • Lens Aperture: f/3.5-5.6

Nikon D7100 Review

Nikon D7100#3

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The Nikon D7100 has a great autofocus with 51 points. This is the highest in this comparison article. So if detail is what you are looking for then the D7100 may be a good choice for you. It’s a little bit more advanced than some of the others in this review and it’s a bit quicker. So if you’re looking for something more basic and aren’t worried about speed it may not be worth it to spend the extra cash on this one.

Pros

Cons

  • Fast autofocus
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Good image quality but not much better than the D5200
  • 51 autofocus points
  • Many pro-level features, yet user-friendly
  • Limited burst shooting in RAW mode
  • Heavy
  • Images can be noisy at ISO 3200 and up
  • Lack of aperture control

Price

Tech Specs

  • Sensor Resolution: 24.1 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size: 15.6 x 23.5mm
  • Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Display: 3.2″ LCD
  • Included Accessories: USB cable, battery charger, body cap, eyecup, eyepiece cover, neck strap, shoe cap
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/8000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
  • Lens Aperture: Instant return, electronically controlled

What’s the Best DSLR Camera?

Below are some other cameras we reviewed that did not make our top 3 but are still great picks for taking pics.

Canon 70D | Canon T5

Canon 70D Review

Canon 70DView on Amazon

The biggest complaint with this camera is that some of them have autofocus problems. The Canon 70D has a 19 point autofocus system but sometimes is unable to focus completely. This occurs in a select few of the cameras and if you decide to purchase one and you see this problem you should be able to return it to get a replacement. Just be sure to explore the ins and outs of your camera before the return window closes. If this is not an issue for your specific model, then this is a great camera for beginners and intermediate photographers. The Canon 70D will work great if the features listed in the cons below are not deal breakers for you.

Pros

Cons

  • Smooth autofocus for video
  • Display is touch screen
  • Built-in Wifi
  • Pro-level features for video recording
  • Good high ISO performance
  • Expensive relative to other models reviewed here
  • Can’t record video if Wifi is enabled
  • Autofocus problems for some devices
  • 1080p video can only be filmed at 30fps

Price

Tech Specs

  • Sensor Resolution: 20.2 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size: 15.0 x 22.5mm
  • Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Display: 3″ touchscreen LCD
  • Included Accessories: USB cable, battery charger, body cap, dust cap, eyecup, lens cap, neck strap
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/8000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
  • Lens Aperture: f/3.5-5.6

Canon T5 Review

Canon T5View on Amazon

The Canon EOS Rebel T5 has an attractive price tag and takes good photos. However, this camera only has the most basic features. It’s a solid DSLR that has been around for years to prove its lasting power. But, today you can get a better camera for a little more money. We suggest going for another DSLR model unless you are getting a really good deal on this one. Or maybe you started on the Canon T5 and already have some accessories? If so, we recommend an upgrade to the Canon T5i to take your video capabilities to the next level.

Pros

Cons

  • Decent photos for the price
  • Performs well
  • Color is accurate
  • Lightweight
  • Limited features
  • Slow burst mode
  • Autofocus struggles without a flash in low lighting
  • No continuous autofocus in video mode
  • No external mic jack

Price

Tech Specs

  • Sensor Resolution: 18.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size: 14.9 x 22.3mm
  • Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Display: 3″ LCD
  • Included Accessories: USB cable, battery charger, body cap, eyecup, eyepiece cover, neck strap
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
  • Lens Aperture: f/3.5-5.6

What Should I Do With All My Photos?

So you’ve purchased your DSLR, have taken all these great photos, and now you want to share them. What should you do? Photo books are a great way to display your photos and an excellent way to reminisce. Check out some of the best online photo books to turn your digital pictures into a great gift or accent for your coffee table.

Where’s the Best Place to Purchase a DSLR?

When looking for a DSLR, we suggest looking on Amazon (links included above) or warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. They offer great deals on kits that are almost impossible to pass up. We purchased our Nikon D3300 as a bundle. That’s partially what helped persuade us to purchase our Nikon instead of another DSLR. The price was unbeatable and, so far, we have been very pleased with our purchase.

What is the Best DSLR Camera for Beginners?

You can’t go wrong with any of the cameras we’ve reviewed here. Once you have purchased your own DSLR you may need some help learning how to use it. I went to Fro Knows Photo for all of my user guide questions. He has great articles and videos to help you learn the ins and outs while getting the most out of your new camera.

What’s your favorite DSLR?

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Kimberly researches everything before she buys. She wants to make sure she is getting the best bang for her buck by purchasing the best product/service, which is why she loves her work. She has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and has been researching and writing professionally since 2013 to help consumers make more educated decisions.

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