Best DSLR Cameras for Beginners Under $500 – Buying Guide

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If you are an enthusiast photographer who loves to shoot good photos through point-and-shoot cameras or your smartphone cameras and actually are good at it, than chances are that there would be a certain time in your photography growth. In that certain period of time, you would no longer be satisfied with your photos. The reason would be the limitations of your point-and-shoot camera or your smartphone camera. You would feel like there’s something missing from what you want and what you are getting. At this point, you should not waste a moment and get your hand on an entry-level DSLR camera as it would take your photography to the next level.

Entry-level DSLRs will give a boost to your photography skills and you would feel a big change in the quality of your photos as compared to the cameras you were using earlier. Entry-level DSLRs are designed in such a way that the users would feel welcomed in the world of professional photography.

In any DSLR, whether professional ones or the entry-level ones, there is a bundle of manual controls, lighting options and interchangeable accessories providing a touch of professionalism and quality to the photos. Beginners should not be worried by seeing all these controls and buttons on a DSLR camera as there is a plethora of auto modes which would assist them until they are comfortable enough to play with the manual controls and other accessories.

Best entry-level DSLRs under a budget of $500

Our readers who want an entry-level DSLR on a budget should not be worried. We have got you covered with a list of the best entry-level DSLRs which can be purchased under just $500. Have a look.

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Last updated on April 25, 2019 11:12 am

1. Canon EOS Rebel T6

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Last updated on April 25, 2019 11:12 am

The T6 (also known as 1300D) by Canon is a decent entry-level DSLR which boasts an 19MP APS-C sensor with 9-point autofocus system and an ISO range of 100-6400, further expandable to 12800. It has a continuous shooting of up to 3 frames per second and comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for easy connectivity. It is the successor to Canon’s famous Rebel T5 and can record videos at Full-HD 10800/30p. It has a fixed optical viewfinder and the 3-inches wide LCD is neither touch-enabled nor tiltable and contains 920,000 dots on it. The battery of the Rebel T6 will get you around 500 shots on a single charge.

Easy Guide Menu for the beginnersLens similar to the older model
Wi-Fi and NFCNor touch-enabled neither titlable LCD

2. Nikon D5300

Nikon calls the D5300 as a Hybrid DSLR or HDSLR. A HDSLR is capable of recording incredible videos with better voice and video quality. The D5300 is an excellent entry-level DSLR featuring 24.2MP DX format CMOS sensor with an amazing 39-point autofocus system including 9 cross-types. The ISO range varies between 100 to 12800 and is further expandable to 25600. The D5300 offers a better burst shooting range of 5 frames per second which is reasonable considering the fact that the D5300 is an entry-level DSLR and that too under a price range of just $500.

A Full-HD video recording of 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p can be recorded through this entry-level DSLR. The built-in Wi-Fi allows the user to transmit the data wirelessly without any hassle and the 3.2-inches wide LCD is fully articulated allowing the user to take self-portraits or images in crowded places. The LCD however is not touch-enabled but contains an exciting amount of 1,036,800 dots on it. The battery timing is also pretty decent and will give you around 600 shots on a single charge.

39-point AF systems including 9 cross types.LCD is not touch-enabled
Built-in Wi-FiNo NFC or Bluetooth
Bigger and brighter LCD of 3.2-inches

3. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

The OM-D E-M10 II is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera produced by Olympus. It is an excellent camera under the budget of $500 as it boasts a 16MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor powered by TruePic VII processor which is responsible for faster processing time and deeper colors in images and videos. The ISO range of the E-M10 II is ranges between 100 to 25600 which is pretty decent considering the price of this camera. It offers an exciting amount of continuous shooting at the rate of 8.5 frames per second and has a 5-axis image stabilization allowing you to take better images and videos.

Talking about the video, the OM-D E-M10 II allows you to record Full-HD video recording of 1080 at 60/30/24p with additional 4K time-lapse. The touch-enabled LCD is 3-inches wide with 1,040,000 dots and is tiltable allowing you to take images and record videos in different situations. On the other hand, the electronic viewfinder is also pretty good and comfortable while using. There is built-in Wi-Fi for easy connectivity and the battery will give you more than 700 shots on a single charge.

Excellent continuous shooting rangeNoise present in images
Touch-enabled and tilting LCDNo NFC or Bluetooth
4K time-lapse

4. Sony Alpha SLT-A68

Next in the line-up is Sony with their Alpha SLT-A68. The A68 is the successor the A58 and is equipped with a 24.3MP APS-C sensor with an intriguing 79-points autofocus system including 15 cross-types. It has ISO settings ranging between 100 to 25600 with an Auto ISO Mode as well for the amateur photographers.

The burst shooting mode allows 5 frames per second and the built-in sensor shift image stabilization makes sure that the images and videos are free from all kind of fuzziness. The video recording capabilities are also pretty modest and allow you to record videos at Full-HD resolution of 1080p at 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p. The electronic viewfinder is pretty satisfying and gives a magnification of up to 0.88x.

On the other hand, the LCD is substantially smaller as compared to the competitors as it measures 2.7-inches and is not touch-enabled either. It is however tiltable and you can take shots in different positions with this 460,800 dotted screen. Battery life is average and you can capture around 500 shots with a single charge. Moreover, there is no Bluetooth, NFC or Wi-Fi and you have to go old-school to transfer your data.

79-points autofocus  including 15 cross-typesNo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or NFC
24.3MP sensorLimited battery life

5. Pantex K70

Another Japanese company in the line-up is Pantex with their K70. The K70 exhibits an excellent 24MP APS-C sensor with 11-points autofocus system alongside 9 cross-types. The K70’s ISO settings are 100-102400 but the luminance noise factor is higher in this entry-level DSLR as compared to the competing cameras. The burst shooting mode allows 6 frames per second which will surely gain you an entry in any sporting event.

There is a sensor shift image stabilization in the K70 allowing more control over images and videos. Talking about the videos, there is no 4K and the highest format is the Full-HD video of 1080p at 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p. The electronic viewfinder is also similar to any other competing DSLR with a pentaprism, 100% scene coverage and 0.95x magnification. The LCD is 3-inches wide with 921,000 dots and is fully articulated. It is however not touch-enabled. The Wi-Fi is pre-built into the K70 but there is no NFC and Bluetooth. The battery life is disappointing as you can only capture 400 shots with a full charge at once.

24MP sensorPoor battery timing
Articulated LCDNo NFC and Bluetooth

6. Nikon D3400

Nikon has used the same strategy in their D3400 which they have used in all their DSLRs i-e, better ergonomics and superior quality of images and videos. The D3400 comes equipped with a blistering 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor with an autofocus system of 11-points but contains only one cross-type. It offers an ISO range of 100-12800 which could be further expandable to 25600. The continuous shooting mode offers a decent 5 frames per second which would increase your chances of getting the one perfect shot.

In terms of video, the users who are in for recording better videos would feel the absence of an external microphone port. In general, the camera can record Full-HD video of 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p. The viewfinder has a magnification up to 0.85x and offers up to 95% of scene coverage so you might want to look after edges. The monitor of the D3400 is 3-inches wide and contains 920,000 dots or pixels on it. It is fixed and isn’t touch-enabled either. For connectivity, there is no Wi-Fi or NFC but only Bluetooth. The battery life is pretty impressive as the D3400 will give you more than 1,200 shots with a single charge.

24MP sensor with better autofocusNo Wi-Fi or NFC
Brilliant battery lifeFixed LCD with no touch-screen

7. Sony Alpha A6000

Sony’s Alpha line is famous for their amazing image stabilization capabilities. One of the best in Alpha series for beginners is the Sony Alpha A6000 which boasts an amazing 24.3MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor powered by the BIONZ X image processor which is responsible for producing noise-free and richer photos. The most amazing feature of this economical camera is the 179 phase detection points which can cover almost the entire image. It makes use of both phase and contrast-detection autofocus capabilities allowing the user to take brilliant photos and videos. ISO settings are 100-25600 and 51200 with Multi-Frame NR.

An amazing amount of burst shoot is available in the A6000 as you can take 11 frames per second when shooting in continuous mode. The videographers would also find this camera interesting as it offers Full-HD resolution of 1080p at 60p/60i/24p. The OLED viewfinder gives magnification of 0.70x and gives a complete 100% coverage of the scene. The LCD on the other hand is also pretty nice as it is tiltable and is 3-inches wide with 921,600. It is however not touch-enabled and you have to use the navigation keys to scroll between the settings. Wi-Fi and NFC are pre-built into the A6000 but there is no Bluetooth. The battery timing is pretty terrible as you can only get around 350 shots per charge.

Impressive autofocus of 179 phase detection pointsNo touch-screen
Continuous shooting mode of 11 frames per secondTerrible battery life
Wi-Fi and NFCNo Bluetooth

8. Canon Rebel S1

The SL1 is yet another entry-level DSLR from Canon’s Rebel series which is targeted towards amateur photographers. The Canon Rebel S1 (EOS 100D) boasts an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor with t 9-point autofocus system. ISO settings are 100 to 12800 which could also be boosted up to 25600. If you like to shoot fast moving objects than you can make use of the 4 frames per second continuous shooting of this entry-level DSLR. In terms of video, it performs quite well at Full-HD resolution of 1080p with 30/25/24p.

The viewfinder and LCD are also pretty decent. The viewfinder will give you a magnification of up to 0.87x and a scene coverage of 95%. LCD on the other hand contains 1,040,000 dots and is 3-inches wide. The LCD is fixed but is touch-enabled allowing you to navigate through on-screen options easily. There is no Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC for connectivity but you could add an external Eye-Fi Mobi card to transfer pictures and videos directly to your phone. The battery life is below average as it offers only 380 shots per single charge.

Decent sensor and autofocus capabilitiesTerrible battery life
Touch-enabled LCDNo Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or NFC
95% scene coverage through viewfinder

Final Verdict:

DSLRs could be very interesting and could pave the way for you to become experienced and professional photographers. To understand the true extent of digital photography, one must get their hands on an entry-level DSLR like the ones described above. Canon’s Rebel T6, Rebel SL1 and Olympus OM-D E-M10 II might prove themselves as the perfect companion for our beginners. The A6000 and the SLT-A68 from Sony’s Alpha line-up are also very interesting particularly for those who love macro photography. Nikon’s D5300 and Pentax K70 should be considered as well as they are equipped with some pretty decent and easy-to-use features.

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