Best DSLR Cameras 2014

Best DSLR Cameras 2014

DSLR cameras still are the best of the best—they have the largest sensors, most megapixels, and highest quality selection of lenses. Below we break down the leading digital SLRs on the market in 2014. The entry-level and prosumer models have crop-frame image sensors (DX for Nikon or APS-C for Canon), which means that the field of view is smaller than a full-frame 35mm format. These cameras also have and a number of automatic and manual shooting modes for learning and experimenting as you become more comfortable. Most professional photographers shoot with full-frame cameras, which have the largest image sensors and most megapixels but are considerably more expensive.

 

Entry-Level DSLRs

The D3300 was Nikon’s big DSLR announcement to kick off 2014, and although the improvements are subtle, they have really hit the sweet spot among consumers. First, Nikon removed the optical low pass filter for better sharpness. Second, they added Nikon’s newest EXPEED 4 image processing engine to reduce noise. Finally, Nikon lightened the camera body slightly and cut the weight of the new 18-55mm VR II kit lens by 20%. This means the Nikon D3300 offers improved image quality in a lightweight set-up to rival a mirrorless camera. For those looking to save, the older Nikon D3200 currently is selling at a discount.
Megapixels: 24.2
Sensor Size: 357 sq. mm
Weight: 15.1 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D3300
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The popular Canon Rebel series of entry-level DSLRs has stood the test of time, making consumers happy for years with their ease of use and impressive image quality for the price.  The T5i is the newest in the Rebel line—the most notable improvement over the T4i is the new 18-55mm STM kit lens, which has continuous live video autofocus and better optics than the old kit lens. If video isn’t a major consideration, the T4i has very similar specs and is slightly cheaper. Both Canon Rebel models (as well as earlier versions) are excellent DSLRs for beginning photographers.
Megapixels: 18
Sensor size: 332 sq. mm
Weight: 20.5 oz.
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The D5300 is the latest in a long line of popular mid-range DSLRs from Nikon. The D5300 was released at the end of 2013 and is similar in many ways to its predecessor, the Nikon 5200. The most notable changes are the lack of an anti-aliasing filter for more detail, and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. Compared to cheaper DSLRs like the D3330 above, the D5300 has better low light performance, shoots faster, and boasts a number of features like in-camera HDR and a flip-out screen for movies. All things considered, you would be hard pressed to find a better DSLR in this price range and the D5300 is a great option for those who want more features than a base model.
Megapixels: 24.1
Sensor Size: 366 sq. mm
Weight: 16.9 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D5300 
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Prosumer DSLRs

Canon EOS 70DCanon EOS 70D ($999)
Canon’s leading APS-C format camera is the 20.2-megapixel Canon EOS 70D. This prosumer DSLR is similar in specifications to the Nikon D7100 below but has a flip-out screen, built-in Wi-Fi, and continuous focus for video. One weakness of the Canon 70D—as well as the full-frame Canon 6D below—is a relatively unsophisticated autofocus (the 70D has only 19 focus points). It’s still a great camera, but those who frequently shoot action or video should take this into consideration. For those looking to save, the older Canon EOS 60D currently selling at a big discount.
Megapixels: 20.2
Sensor Size: 337.5 sq. mm
Weight: 26.6 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Canon 70D
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Nikon D710Nikon D7100 ($947)
The Nikon D7100 is Nikon’s leading DX-format camera and boasts outstanding image quality and build. Compared to the Nikon 5300 above, the D7100 shoots faster, has a more advanced autofocus, performs better in low light, and is weather sealed. With many of the bells and whistles of an advanced camera, the D7100 is an enthusiast's crop-frame DSLR and a great option for travel and the outdoors. The D7100 was the first Nikon DX-format camera to omit an optical low-pass filter for better sharpness, and based on its success, a number of recent Nikon models have followed suit.
Megapixels: 24.1
Sensor Size: 366 sq. mm
Weight: 27 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D7100
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Full-Frame DSLRs

Canon EOS 6DCanon EOS 6D ($1,899)
The two leading choices in the relatively new entry-level full-frame DSLR market are the Canon EOS 6D and the Nikon D750 below. The Canon 6D is a terrific camera that boasts excellent image quality, Full HD 1080p video, and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. What are the weaknesses of the 6D? The number of focus points (11 vs. 51 on the D750) and megapixels (20.2 vs. 24.3 on the D750), making it inferior for fast-paced action and video. But the 6D also is cheaper, and it's a nice option for those looking to enter the full-frame market at a reasonable price point. You can’t really go wrong with either camera, but if you mainly shoot stills, we recommend saving with the 6D. 
Megapixels: 20.2
Weight: 27.2 oz.
Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Canon 6D
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The Nikon D750 is Nikon’s leading "budget" full-frame DSLR, featuring a 24.3-megapixel sensor, Full HD 1080p video, an impressive 51-point autofocus, and dual memory card slots. This camera recently replaced the D610 and D600, which were promising releases plagued by an unusual accumulation of dust and dirt on the sensor. Finally, Nikon has resolved the issue and the D750 is an outstanding full-frame camera for enthusiasts and professionals who don’t want to spend the extra $1,000 for the D810. If you’re not planning on enlarging your photographs to massive proportions, the D750 is a great value in a full-frame camera.
Megapixels: 24.3
Sensor Size: 861 sq. mm
Weight: 25.6 oz.
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III (3,399)Canon EOS 5D Mark III
The 22.3-megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark III is Canon's top full-frame DSLR and a popular choice among professionals. For the majority of uses, there are few discernable differences in quality between it and the D810 below. If you plan on enlarging photographs to massive proportions, the difference in image quality between the 22.3 megapixels of the Canon 5D Mark III and 36.3 megapixels of the Nikon D810 will start to become apparent at multiple feet wide. What are the advantages of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III over the Nikon D810? The Canon 5D Mark III is faster both in frames-per-second (6 fps vs. 4 fps) and shutter lag. And if you prefer Canon functionality over Nikon, the Mark III is a great choice.
Megapixels: 22.3
Sensor Size: 862 sq. mm
Weight: 33.5 oz.
Best Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Canon 5D Mark III
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Nikon D810 CameraNikon D810 ($3,297)
The D810 is the long-awaited successor to the D800 and a very impressive camera indeed. With the D810 you get the same powerful 36.3-megapixel full-frame image sensor at the D800, but new is the lack of an antialiasing filter for better sharpness, an upgraded Expeed 4 image processor, faster shooting at 5 frames-per-second instead of 4, a longer battery life, and an improved grip. The D800 is excellent in its own right, but the D810 is a worthy upgrade that quickly has become a favorite of top professionals. Of course, the cost is prohibitive to some, and you expect to spend a healthy amount more for FX lenses that measure up to the D810’s monster sensor. 
Megapixels: 36.3
Sensor Size: 861 sq. mm
Weight: 31.1 oz.
Best Lenses: See our Best Lenses for Nikon D810
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What About Mirrorless?

In you haven’t yet heard, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras are making a big splash in the world of photography. What do you need to know? This need breed of camera was built entirely for digital without the internal mirrors that are present in DSLRs. For this reason, mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter but have similar sensors and image quality. It’s a tough call when deciding between the two camera types: DSLRs from brands like Canon and Nikon have much larger selections of lenses and are currently are cheaper. Mirrorless cameras are newer and the market is still developing, but the smaller size is a significant upside. For more information, see our list of the best mirrorless cameras of 2014.