Cameras:

Best entry-level digital SLR cameras of 2014

Updated

Avid photographers who want full creative control over their images should consider a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera. These models offer the advanced features that experienced shooters need, and all of them are compatible with a wide range of interchangeable lenses and accessories. Of course, they're generally more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras, with prices starting at about $600 for the body only. The good news is that if you've already invested in a set of 35mm SLR lenses and accessories, there's a good chance that you'll be able to find a digital SLR body that's compatible with them.

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Nikon D5300

There aren't enough features to tempt existing users to upgrade, but newcomers to Nikon's mid-range SLR will not be disappointed with its performance.

Price: $535.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best entry-level dSLR

Nikon D5200

The Nikon D5200 improves performance over its predecessor, making it a great general-purpose dSLR.

Price: $494.00 - $999.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent Nikon D5200

Canon EOS Rebel T5i

While the Canon EOS Rebel T5i is -- almost literally -- the same solid camera as its predecessor, it's starting to lag frustratingly behind the competition in some ways.

3.5 stars Very good

Canon EOS Rebel Rebel T3i

This is a superb example of a consumer-level digital SLR that gets its video implementation right first time. We're sure that all users, regardless of skill level or interest in videography or stills photography, will appreciate it.

Price: $526.61 Check prices

4 stars Excellent Canon EOS 600D

Nikon D5100

Though it doesn't rank first based on any individual aspect of the camera, the Nikon D5100 delivers a solid combination of image quality, performance, features, and design that puts it out in front if you're looking for a well-rounded option under $1,000.

3.5 stars Very good

Nikon D3300

Nikon brings its new entry-level SLR in line with higher-end models by removing the anti-aliasing filter and boosting its speed.

3.5 stars Very good

Canon EOS Rebel SL1

Offering the same image quality as other entry-level Canon SLRs but with a much smaller body, the 100D is a satisfying first step into the world of SLR photography.

Price: $542.43 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Pentax K-50

A reasonable option for an entry-level dSLR, the Pentax K-50 should satisfy if you need the weather-sealed design. But while acceptable, it and its cheaper sibling the K-500 lag behind the competition in image quality and performance.

3.5 stars Very good

Nikon D3200

A solid if unexceptional entry-level dSLR, the Nikon D3200 should still please most folks looking for an upgrade from their point-and-shoots.

3.5 stars Very good