Are you looking for a DSLR camera?
Are you a just getting into photography?
Or are you someone with more experience with a camera?
Whether you’re looking for your first DSLR camera or your fifth, sixth, or tenth one, we got you covered!
Be sure to read on to find the best DSLR camera under $1000 for your needs!
Navigate Our Top 7 DSLR Cameras and Top 3 Mirrorless Cameras Under $1000
Below is the table which shows the 7 Best DSLR Camera Under $1000 2020. Each camera has been reviewed for your convenience! Be sure to also check out our pick for the Top 3 Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000 2020!
|Camera Image||Camera Name||Megapixel||ISO Range||Price|
|Canon EOS Rebel T6i (Editor's Choice)||24||100-12800|
|Canon EOS 70D||20||100-12800|
|Canon EOS Rebel T5i||18||100-12800|
Photography has been a bold and sometimes provocative form of expression for more than 150 years now. Ever since their introduction, photographs have given us a glimpse of some of the most iconic events in the world’s history, and continue to be relevant in the digital age as an art form as well as a commentary on our society.
You don’t just need good instincts and interesting subjects to be a great photographer though – the right equipment is a must, and DSLR cameras are the way to go! They’re much more advanced than what you’d find with your cellphone or other point & shoot models – the image quality is better, you have a much better overview of what you’re taking pictures of since you see what the lens is actually looking at, you can take multiple images per second, and there’s more room for customization with different depth of field modes and interchangeable lenses.
All of this can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never bought a DSLR camera before. This is a guide that will help you get your bearings and decide on a model which suits your needs the best. I’m taking a look at cameras from trusted brands that aren’t ultra-expensive, but give the budding beginner as well as the seasoned pro the power to create something extraordinary! Once you know the camera you want, be sure to also check out our DSLR Camera Buying Guide for more tips on what to pay attention to when buying a DSLR camera!
In the meantime, let’s go over our list of top picked DSLR cameras!
1. Canon EOS Rebel T6i – The Overall Best DSLR Camera under $1000
Canon’s Rebel series cameras have had their fair share of success in the past, bringing outstanding photo capabilities to hobbyists and undemanding professionals at an attractive price. It’s no understatement that they’ve managed to outdo themselves yet again with the T6i line, both in terms of much improved old features and some exciting new ones
The first improvement is the increase in its sensor’s pixel count. The APS-C CMOS sensor now features a solid 24 megapixels, allowing for crystal clear photos with more details than before. Its AF system now uses nineteen points for phase detection which enhance the clarity and responsiveness of its live view. Even though noise levels remain mostly the same as with the T5i, the overall image quality has seen a big improvement.
Sharing your photos or controlling the camera remotely is easy too, since it comes with both NFC and Wi-Fi. Another feature you’d probably expect to find on a more expensive camera is the touchscreen capability of its LCD screen. It responds beautifully to the touch and the various menus you get access to are never more than a tap or two away. Its usefulness is even greater thanks to the screen’s ability to assume different angles in relation to the camera. This makes shooting at odd angles and in crowded situations easier.
The T6i is an ideal example of how much can be improved upon an already good camera in just one single generation. This is why the Canon EOS Rebel T6i is TRVNK’s pick for the best DSLR camera under $1000 for 2020!
2. Nikon D7100 – An Older Model DSLR Camera Still Worth Every Penny
The D7100 was one of Nikon’s flagship models back in 2013. It came with a slew of features and a steep price that was more than justified at the time. Four years later, it is still going strong, and the price decrease means that it has become an affordable but powerful tool for any photographer.
As soon as you pick it up you’ll notice its solid build. Most of its body is constructed from a magnesium alloy which protects the camera better if it ever gets hit or dropped. Various parts have also been sealed against the weather, so you can still take breathtaking photos even if the weather conditions aren’t ideal.
Its sensor is rated at 24.1 megapixels, and can go toe to toe with those of newer models. It takes pictures at a respectable 6000×4000 pixels in normal mode, or 4800×3200 when using crop mode. The D7100 is capable of a burst rate of 6 frames per second. To get that perfect shot, there are sixteen different scene options to choose from, and a magnification of 1.3x is helpful in capturing smaller details you’d otherwise miss.
It’s a testament to Nikon’s expertise that the D7100 is still considered a great investment. Its picture quality, light sensitivity and scene options are on par with many of today’s cameras, and the reduced price makes the decision to still get one even easier.
3. Nikon D3300 – An Entry-level DSLR Camera with Plenty to Offer
Similarly to the Nikon camera discussed above, the D3300 isn’t the newest model in its range, but the features it comes with, at an accessible price, make it a sweet deal if you’re just starting out.
Its frame is constructed out of a single piece of polycarbonate, and the camera is therefore light yet more durable than its previous version. The standard lens it comes with can be collapsed, taking up even less space.
With an APS-C sensor of 24.2 megapixels, the D3300 is on par with some enthusiast-level cameras. Its AF system has only 11 points though and there are a total of 13 effects to choose from, which is in line with the camera’s price and intended use.
Expeed 4, a newer version of the engine present in the D7100, allows the camera to take continuous shots at 5 frames per second, but can save up to 100 of them in JPEG format. The engine is also very power efficient – expect to be able to go through a day of intense shooting while using up less than half of the battery.
This is the best DSLR camera under $1000 as a starting piece of equipment for people who want to take their first serious steps in the photography world. A razor-sharp sensor, very good color and white balance as well as a long-lasting battery will do wonders in keeping you interested and improving your skills.
4. Pentax K-S2 – A Consumer-grade Camera with Quite a Few Enthusiast Features
Pentax, a brand you’d normally associate with a conservative approach to cameras, has a model that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, is easy to use and has a few features normally reserved for other companies’ more expensive models, the K-S2.
This is one of the most compact cameras you’ll find that has a weather-resistant chassis. Neither dust nor humidity bother it much, so capturing magnificent nature scenes while the elements stir around you isn’t out of the question. Other premium features include two controlling dials for easier access to all of its features, and a special pentaprism viewfinder that captures much more of the light that falls on it.
The LCD screen can be set at an angle and even swivel. If you turn it towards the lens for that sweet selfie, the camera’s Wi-Fi button can be used to snap the picture. Built-in Wi-Fi is also a big step up since now you don’t have to rely on specialized SD cards anymore to link your smart devices to the K-S2.
All things considered, the K-S2 is a well-rounded model that offers a lot of bang for your buck. It is a small, weather-resistant camera that will make a great addition to an established photographer’s gear or give a newbie a solid foundation.
5. Canon EOS 70D – One of the Most Affordable Enthusiast DSLR Cameras
Progress is a wonderful thing! In the case of the savvy consumer interested in photography, it means that if you don’t mind waiting a generation, you can find a candidate for the best DSLR camera under $1000 that cost considerably more than that at release. Canon’s EOS 70D is an enthusiast-level camera that fits this to a T!
The EOS 70D has an innovative 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. Two photodiodes measure the light of each pixel, which speeds up focus on objects in the live view both in video and photo mode. At 7 frames per second saved as either a maximum of 16 raw or 65 JPEG files, the autofocus isn’t the only quick thing about it.
Its LCD touch screen can be viewed from multiple angles, and provides easy access to most of the camera’s interface options, including a number of filter options and a HDR mode where three photos are taken and then combined to produce more realistic colors.
Now is a great time to buy the EOS 70D! It is young enough for its features to remain relevant for a good long while, and competitively priced to boot. If you need a professional camera that comes with almost all the trimmings at a price that can’t be beat, there’s almost no better option available.
6. Canon EOS Rebel T5i – An Older Alternative to the Guide’s Top Pick
The T5i is the older brother of this guide’s best DSLR camera under $1000. It lacks some of the features the newer model arrives with, but if you aren’t dead set on going with the T6i, you can be sure that it is a good alternative.
Most of its features make the race between the two cameras a close one. A responsive touch screen, good low-light performance as well as the fast and accurate viewfinder mode are all present. The kit lens that comes as part of the bundle is excellent too.
Since it isn’t the newest in the Rebel series anymore, don’t be surprised to discover the T5i at a bargain price. If you manage to find one that’s a bit cheaper than the newer model, its slightly worse performance should definitely not keep you from taking advantage of the deal.
7. Nikon D5500 – A Mid-Range Camera with Almost no Faults
Is the D3300 a bit too simple for your tastes, but you don’t want to buy the more advanced D7100? Not to worry, Nikon have combined the best of both worlds inside an intriguing mid-tier camera, the D5500
As you’d expect, its sensor is rated at 24.2 megapixels, and like that of the 3300, it doesn’t have an anti-aliasing filter. The larger resolution means it isn’t needed to deliver crystal clear results, while concerns over moiré patterns are too small to really matter at this point.
Nikon has also fixed the biggest flaws present with the D3300, a fixed LCD screen with no touch responsiveness. With the D5500 you get to make full use of both features for only a marginal price increase.
Although the differences between the D5500 and its more beginner-friendly cousin aren’t vast, it has some advanced features and more flexibility which are the only reasons you’ll need to invest in one. As an all-around camera capable of more than just the basics, the D5500 is a smart choice indeed.
Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000 2020
It is worth noting that DSLR isn’t the only option anymore when it comes to professional photography.
|Camera Image||Camera Name||Megapixel||ISO Range||Price|
|Sony Alpha a6000 (Editor's Choice)||24||100-25600|
|Panasonic LUMIX G7||16||160-25600|
|Panasonic LUMIX GX85||16||200-25600|
Mirrorless cameras have started to appear in the past couple of years, and possess features that give DSLR a run for its money. Like their name suggests, there are no mirrors or prisms needed to produce the image, just a digital sensor, meaning that mirrorless cameras can be smaller and much lighter. Other benefits include faster shutter speeds and better video recording capabilities.
On the other hand, there aren’t as many lenses or accessories specifically created for them yet, and since their viewfinder is electronic, it isn’t as accurate at showing you the scene in real time, especially in low light conditions. Even so, mirrorless has already become a viable alternative and will only get better in the future, so here are some of the best mirrorless camera choices you should take note of:
1. Sony Alpha a6000 – The Best Mirrorless Camera Under $1000
The Alpha 6000 is one of Sony’s earlier entries in the mirrorless camera market, but it shows barely any signs of aging and can still duke it out with many a DSLR model in the same price range.
The greatest argument in favor of this is its outstanding picture quality. An improved sensor with a 24.3 megapixel resolution as well as a wide ISO range give the Alpha a6000 the capability of shooting detailed images in various light conditions with minimal noise.
It is also an extremely fast camera when you need to take continuous shots. At 11 frames per second, all clear and in focus thanks to hybrid focus tracking, you can capture exciting sports or nature scenes and get a perfectly-timed shot twice as fast than with a DSLR camera.
Speaking of which, the Alpha a6000 is more compact and more lightweight than one, and yet it still feels solid at a comfortable weight of 285 grams. Its buttons are clearly labeled and easy to navigate, as is its LCD screen. The electric viewfinder has received a major update from previous versions too, and now reproduces very life-like colors and more details than before.
Regardless, this is absolutely the best mirrorless camera under $1000. Affordable, super-fast, high-quality results, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! If there’s any model that packs some serious arguments for you to switch over to mirrorless, then it’s this one. This is why the Sony Alpha a6000 is TRVNK’s pick for the best mirrorless camera under $1000 for 2020!
2. Panasonic LUMIX G7 – The Best Mirrorless Camera for Video Recording
Digital cameras have been offering video capture capabilities for years now, but not until recently have manufacturers upped the ante and started to include 4k as one of the available recording modes. With the release of the DMC-G7HK, Panasonic have joined in on the trend, in a fantastic way.
Even though it has solid capabilities as a mirrorless camera, the DMC-G7HK’s true strength comes from its additional video recording options. As mentioned above, it can record in 4K, but Full HD and even smaller resolutions like 640×480 are available too.
The video quality is outstanding, and the four autofocus types as well as six modes ensure that your videos will never be too blurry or shaky. Its built-in stereo microphone isn’t too shabby either, although the sound quality starts to decrease the farther the source is.
You can easily review all your movies and images on the touchscreen. It comes jam-packed with different menus and information like histograms, which you can then reposition to suit your needs. Both movie and photo modes have ample lighting, contrast and effect options the smart menu system lets you get to with ease.
The DMC-G7HK is certainly the best mirrorless camera for video recording at this price point, and certainly one of the better ones when pitted against more expensive pro models. Add to that its solid photography performance, and you’ve got a versatile camera that can help you expand your artistic horizons in new ways.
3. Panasonic LUMIX GX85 – The Best Mirrorless Camera for Beginners
Slightly cheaper and not as focused on making videos as the previous Panasonic model, the GX85 offers beginners the chance to experiment with both while they’re learning the tricks of the trade.
It lacks some pro-oriented features like lots of different ports and weather sealing, but it makes up for that with the quality of the images it takes. Costs had to be cut somewhere to cram so much into a single camera, and it’s nice to see that Panasonic didn’t compromise on its most important aspect.
Still, some very welcome advanced features did make it in. Dual lens and body stabilization helps keep the camera steady for taking those perfect stills, and a slew of effects and editing features in post mode give you the creative freedom to work on your photos and even change their focus point after the fact.
Shooting 4k videos and even extracting photos out of them is a snap. The autofocus helps keep things in perspective in both modes, and there’s an option to quickly switch focuses in your viewfinder by using your finger on the camera’s touchscreen.
All in all, the GX85 has many more strengths than weaknesses. It is user-friendly, produces good photos and videos, plus its wide array of editing options will give you something to learn from and tinker with. We learn best by trying out new things, and this is the best mirrorless camera for beginners who want to get their photography chops with varied hands-on experience.
DSLR/Mirrorless Camera Buyer’s Guide
Did you manage to spot your favorite yet? Even if you did, finding out some general info on what to consider before buying your next camera will help you confirm you’ve made the right choice.
- Sensor Resolution vs Size – Manufacturers always like to make a big deal about the resolution of their cameras. While more megapixels have some impact on image quality and eliminate the need for anti-aliasing filters, any camera with 10 megapixels or more can be used to make masterful photographs. Sensor size plays a much more important role in determining the level of detail you can expect. A bigger sensor can pick up on more information, making the picture clearer.
- Camera Lenses – At this price point, most cameras come with 18-55 mm kit lenses. These offer solid zooming capabilities and will allow you to accomplish much. As you learn and experiment more, you’ll want to buy additional ones to make your camera more versatile. Consider spending more on a camera that is compatible with multiple camera lenses.
- Display – A component you don’t want to cheap out on. It doesn’t need to have touchscreen capabilities, but a good resolution and color balance are important in getting a feel for what the final picture will look like across multiple platforms. Adjustable screens are a big plus too, helping you take pictures at hip level, over people’s heads etc.
- Effects & Balance Modes – The more the merrier! You’ll find standard modes like incandescent, portrait or night mode on most cameras, but some have many more and more specialized ones to choose from. Don’t neglect the quality of the auto mode as this is the one that you’ll be using the most when on the fly and when not experimenting with manual settings or other modes.
- Viewfinder Coverage – Your camera’s viewfinder lets you see the image you’ll be taking as it is reflected off of the lens. Many models don’t offer complete coverage though, capturing only 95% of the scene or even a bit less. You’ll have to take this missing info into account when planning your compositions as unwanted parts of it you didn’t know were there can be captured if you aren’t careful.