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

The Nikon D5300 is a great choice as a general-purpose dSLR.

Price: $599.00 - $796.95 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: $489.95 - $599.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

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.

Price: $609.95 - $849.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Canon EOS Rebel Rebel T3i

For the money, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i is a great choice for dSLR videographers--though the cheaper T2i can still suffice if you don't need the articulated LCD--and it's a solid choice for creative still shooters. But though the image quality and general shooting performance are top-notch, if you're upgrading to capture sports, kids, or pets, the T3i may not be able to keep up.

Price: $549.00 - $739.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

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

Very good photo quality for its class plus decent performance make the Nikon D3300 A solid choice for a first dSLR.

Price: $596.95 - $746.95 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Canon EOS Rebel SL1

While the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is a perfectly reasonable entry-level dSLR, you can get the same photo and video quality in a smaller body for the same money (or less) by opting for a mirrorless interchangeable-lens model.

Price: $466.79 - $599.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Nikon D3100

A very good entry-level dSLR, the Nikon D3100 delivers excellent photo quality in a body that's streamlined for experienced photographers, but relatively unintimidating for the less advanced. Its only weakness is performance; though solid, it nevertheless lags behind the competition.

Price: $388.00 - $619.95 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

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.

Price: $535.19 - $546.95 Check prices

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.

Price: $476.95 - $656.00 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good
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