dslr nikon camera

Best DSLR Under $500 of 2021

If you are looking for the DSLR experience without paying a small fortune for it stop right here. The market is flooded with all sorts of products and it can be a struggle to find the right one that will suit your needs.

This guide will show you with clear arguments why you should opt for an affordable DSLR over a point and shoot camera. On top of this we will give you an in-depth analysis of the best DSLR under $500.

Top 6 DSLR Under $500 Overview Table

PictureNameFeaturesCapabilitiesRating (1-5)
Rating (1-5)
1. Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR18-55mm NIKKOR/ 24.2 MP CMOS DX-format Sensor/ ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)5 fps continuous shooting/ 11-point AF System/ Full HD 1080 Video at 60 fps4.7
2. Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S 18-55mm IS II Digital SLR Kit18-55mm EF-S/ 18 MP CMOS APS-C Sensor/ DIGIC 4 image processor/ 3" LCD Display/ Viewfinder3 fps continuous shooting/ 9-point AF System/ Full HD 1080p4.7
3. Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR CameraISO 100-6400/ 3" LCD Display/ Beginner Friendly Mode/ Viewfinder4 fps continuous shooting/ 11-point AF System (3D tracking/ Full HD 1080p Video4.7
4. Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR18-55mm Zoom Lens/ 18 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor/ ISO 100-12800(expandable to 25600)4 FPS continuous shooting /Full HD 1080p Video at 30 fps/ 9-point AF System4.7
5. Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit18-135mm NIKKOR/ 10.2 MP DX-format/ 2.5" LCD Display3 fps continuous shooting/ 9-point AF System/ Full HD 1080p4.6
6. Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera18-55mm NIKKOR/ 10.2 MP DX-format imaging Sensor/ EXPEED image processing11-point AF System/ Beginner Friendly4.6

DSLR Superiority Over Point and Shoot

  • Speed. A DSLR lets the user take shots a lot faster than a point and shoot camera. With the available burst modes the user can take several pictures with one push of a button. This can be essential to grasp the ideal memorable moment.
  • Versatility. Once you get a DSLR you can easily upgrade it by buying a more powerful lens. This gives you the means to match your improved photography skills and take pictures with better quality.
  • Performance. Hands down a DSLR in the hands of a photographer with mediocre skills will outperform a point and shoot camera in any case. A DSLR simply gives you more possibilities to take the picture you want to, whereas a point and shoot limits you on many fronts.
  • Value for Money. The budget is always a factor, so it is in this case. A DSLR will serve you well for several years, a point and shoot camera gets outdated in a fairly short period of time. Once you do the math the higher initial cost ends up being much lower when you divide the price with the years of use.

Top 3 Best DSLR Under $500 Reviews

1. Nikon D3300 Digital SLR

You may not expect much from a DSLR within this price range, but the D3300 will surpass your expectations. It’s by far the best DSLR camera under $500. This is due to its performance, capabilities and the freedom it gives to the user.

It’s equipped with a powerful 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS Sensor that will virtually absorb even the tiniest details. You can mount a hot-shoe flash if necessary that will give you the edge to take exceptional pictures. With the D3300 you can transfer your creations very easy with the built-in Wi-Fi. It is capable of taking full HD videos at 60 fps.

This Nikon product is super popular because of the minimalistic yet powerful software. It’s the choice of novice photographers as it’s very simple to use. Because of its specifications we can easily say it’s the best DSLR under $500.

2. Canon EOS Rebel T5

Canon is Nikon’s fiercest competitor, together they dominate the market. Unlike Nikon’s products, the Rebel T5 has access to the APS-C CMOS Sensor. This particular DSLR is equipped with 18 MP sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor. Once they’re combined you can do magic with them.

The battery life lets you take up to 500 photos which can be considered enough for few photo sessions. The pictures once taken can be reviewed on the 3 inch LCD display. It is compatible with EF and EF-S lenses if you want to upgrade the current 18-55mm.

Bottom line is the Rebel T5 is a suitable rival of the D3300, however the simple Nikon interface gives the D3300 an advantage. As such Canon’s representative sits on the well-deserved 2nd place.

3. Nikon D3200 Digital SLR

This is the predecessor of the D3300 and as such we can expect it to have fairly similar features. With the capabilities the D3200 it practically breathes in D3300’s neck. It paved the way for our throne holder within this price range.

All of its features are not as good as the ones the has D3300 by a small margin. It acts as a prototype that lived up to the expectations and eventually became the D3300. It’s more affordable, but we can’t rank it any higher than this. If we incrementally improve the features we will come up with today’s most popular entry-level DSLR. Although it’s not as powerful as the previous DSLRs it still deserves a place among the top 3 of the best DSLR under $500.