4 Best Beginners SLR Cameras for 2020

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By Wiredgraft Editor
Last updated: May 27, 2020


The best SLR for beginners comes from Canon and is called EOS 800D. The camera convinces with excellent equipment, very good autofocus and good picture quality. The Nikon D5300 delivers even better photos. However, she is already getting a bit old and therefore lags slightly behind in the equipment. The Canon EOS 800D clearly wins the medal for the best entry-level DSLR.


No camera class is currently as competitive as the digital SLR (DSLR) to about 800 dollars & that, though more and more buyers resort to a mirrorless system camera. Good for you, because the offer is huge – there is certainly something suitable for you.


The big advantage of a DSLR: You can change the lens. So the camera will be fit for any subject, such as a wide landscape or portrait photos of your loved one. Although mirrorless system cameras can do that too, DSLRs are superior in some ways to them. For example, as far as the range of the battery or autofocus is concerned – here are far more expensive system cameras to the DSLRs on.


Short overview: Our recommendations


Canon EOS 800D

Together with the Canon EOS 77D, our test winner delivers the best autofocus in the test field, top equipment, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as a brisk series pacing – with the Canon EOS 800D, do not compromise. In all, the EOS 800D remains easy to use, Canon has paid attention to. And the sensor delivers a good picture quality. In addition, with this camera, you benefit from the immense lens and accessories program that Canon has to offer.


Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300 scores with the best picture quality in our review and is also available for a very reasonable price. You have to make cuts in autofocus, the viewfinder image is slightly smaller than the Canon competition. But the D5300 GPS has onboard – ideal for travel and vacation photographers. And the range of interchangeable lenses is similar to Canon.


Sony Alpha 68

In terms of video and fast continuous shooting, no other camera makes the Sony Alpha 68 something. It’s possible because it has an electronic viewfinder instead of a classic DSLR viewfinder. Although not quite as brilliant but larger than all other viewfinders in the test field. Another advantage of the concept: In the “Live View” mode, the Alpha 68 offers by far the fastest autofocus – important for video recordings. And you can connect an external microphone. But you are missing GPS and WLAN.


Canon EOS 2000D 

The EOS 2000D Canon has reduced to the essentials – and brought out a DSLR for austerity. 24 megapixels but also has the cheapest camera in the test field, Wi-Fi and NFC are also on board. The autofocus is a bit lame, the viewfinder is small and comparatively dark. For less experienced photographers there is a particularly simple designed camera menu with help texts.


Important to entry-level DSLRs

All camera manufacturers make sure to keep the price as low as possible for their entry-level DSLRs. That one must, therefore, make compromises, is obvious. But the differences are in detail, the manufacturers use their red pencil in different places.


For example, they save on the camera housing, which is usually not specially protected against splashing water in this class. As long as you do not intend to take pictures in the pouring rain, that’s no problem. However, if the splash guard is important to you, take a look at the Pentax K-70. Not only is it sealed, but it also has the toughest case in our test field.


Manufacturers often incorporate tried-and-tested components into their entry-level models, rather than developing them from scratch – this also helps to save costs. Or you can immediately have an older model on the market, while the successor is already available. This is what Nikon does with the D5300, which is considerably cheaper than the little improved D5600 successor.


In addition, the very cheap cameras have a particularly simple autofocus module. For example, our price tip, the Canon EOS 2000D, needs only nine AF sensors. Our favourite and the even better equipped Canon EOS 77D, on the other hand, offer 45 AF sensors, the Sony Alpha 68 even has 79! The more AF fields a camera has, the safer it also focuses on very small subjects and on subjects outside the image centre.


The design of the viewfinder also helps with pricing. Thus, the side-correct viewfinder image is generated in almost all SLR cameras in our test field by a mirror construction. Therefore, the viewfinder is a bit dark and synonymous with the cheapest cameras synonymous small. Only the Pentax K-70 offers a more elaborate pentaprism. It is therefore very far ahead if you have a good viewfinder is important. But even the Nikon D3400 offers a relatively large viewfinder, as well as the Sony Alpha 68. However, strictly speaking, it is not a single-lens reflex camera because its viewfinder image is generated electronically.


At cheap you have to live with drawbacks


There are big differences in our test field at a continuous speed. If you want to photograph the Filius while playing sports or Fifi frolicking, it should already be 6 frames per second. So fast are about our test winner and the sister model EOS 77D; the Sony Alpha 68 even comes to 8 frames per second. Landscape or holiday photographers can do without a high frame rate and should focus on a camera with good image quality, such as the Nikon D5300.


The money is also a particularly good facility. So, the most expensive camera in our test field, the Canon EOS 77D, is not in vain equipped with a shoulder display. With her, a quick look at the top is enough to see how the camera is set up. The new models also have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on board. These cameras can be paired with a smart device, such as to remotely control them or upload photos to the Internet.


There are no major differences in image quality in our test field – neither instil nor in the video. All cameras are equipped with a 24-megapixel sensor, so you get high reserves for subsequent cropping. Visible differences exist at best when you need to shoot in high light with high ISO values. Then the models of Nikon settle a bit, for best picture quality recommend the Nikon D5300 or Nikon D5600, but also the Nikon D3400 is good.


In terms of video, the DSLRs in the test field also do not differ fundamentally. Full HD resolution dominates them all, 4K can not do a single model. Especially suitable for video recordings is the Sony Alpha 68, which offers the best autofocus during video shooting. But also the Canon EOS 800D and the EOS 77D have useful autofocus for video recordings on board.


Our favourite: Canon EOS 800D

It is impressive how much functionality and features the EOS 800D offers. There is practically everything for novices as well as budding photo professionals. Especially the sophisticated autofocus stands out clearly in the test field because only the more expensive EOS 77D can keep up.


Canon EOS 800D 

This is also true for video recordings and recordings in live view mode with the display as a viewfinder. For poor lighting conditions, the EOS 800D has a small fold-out flash on board. Thanks to its 24-megapixel resolution, the EOS 800D’s image sensor delivers detailed images with beautiful colours.


Operation and handling

Although the EOS 800D is equipped like a semi-professional DSLR, Canon also clearly has the beginner in mind. So there is not only an intelligent automatic, in which you really only have to press the trigger. But also a set of special functions for difficult situations. For example, an HDR program that combines several differently exposed images into one image. Canon has a particularly big heart for novices, the entry-level DSLRs are equipped with a particularly user-friendly camera menu – including the EOS 800D.


Canon’s entry-level DSLRs offer a choice between a traditional camera menu and a simplified menu of help and explanation texts. For beginners, there is an extra menu


If you prefer to take a look at the screen instead of through the viewfinder, you can be happy: the monitor on the EOS 800D has been moveable in many directions. This is especially useful when shooting overhead or near the ground. In addition, the display of the Canon is sensitive to touch, to focus and trigger a finger tipper.


Practical also: The EOS 800D is sufficiently equipped with switches and buttons. There are few controls with dual function – making it easier to operate the camera. The even more expensive EOS 77D Canon has provided on the back with a practical thumbwheel – who does not constantly adjust his camera but can do without good.


Good is the viewfinder with the EOS 800D. Here the camera shows some important information, the AF fields are well marked. The Pentax K-70 offers an even better viewfinder. It is the only camera in the test field that has a classic pentaprism. Despite the good equipment Canon has packed the technology in the EOS 800D way, in a fairly compact case. Although it is not the lightest camera tested at 532 grams, it still remains handy. The battery range is okay with 600 photos. Significantly more can only do the Nikon models, especially the Nikon D3400 with 1200 shots per battery charge.


Autofocus and burst rate

For a long time, the autofocus of a DSLR was superior to that of a mirrorless one – above all, it was faster. But this lead has lapsed more and more recently. Since then, the DSLR is struggling with one drawback: simple models with only nine AF sensors only cover a very small area in the centre of the image.


Not so the EOS 800D from Canon – it has at least 45 AF sensors, which are also designed as cross sensors. They work well even if you aim for a uniform surface, such as a wall. The simpler line sensors can not keep up.


But even if you switch to “Live View”, so look at the viewfinder image on the rear display, the EOS 800D pretty quickly sharp. That can only the Sony Alpha 68 better, which is almost always in live view mode with its electronic viewfinder. Even fast-moving pictures easily


With a burst rate of 6 frames per second, the 800D is almost a sports cannon. This is definitely enough for fast snapshot series and it is also fast enough for sports photos. On paper, the Alpha 68 of the EOS 800D with 8 frames per second is indeed superior, but it can not track the focus at this high speed, it only manages to do so at 5 frames per second. That’s why the EOS 800D and its sister EOS 77D are particularly well suited for action photos.



Like all DSLRs, the EOS 800D is not as good for video recording. Mirrorless system cameras can do this better. But if you only want to record a movie occasionally, you can do that with the EOS 800D. Thanks to her »Dual Pixel AF«, she focusses on the focus as she shoots the film – which only makes the Sony Alpha 68 even better. Class also: The EOS 800D is equipped with an electronic image stabilizer. He leaves video footage of the hand as prevents you from getting seasick while watching the pictures. Like all DSLRs in our test field, the Canon EOS 800D does not shoot in 4K resolution. It creates a maximum of full HD, at least with 60 frames per second.



Canon has equipped the EOS 800D with connectivity like a professional camera. Above all, it offers many ways to connect wirelessly: for example, it connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth to save energy. The camera receives the location coordinates from each shot – so the EOS 800D can do without a built-in GPS receiver. This makes it fully in line with the trend, even the smaller EOS 200D and the EOS 77D exchange data via Bluetooth. At Nikon, the models D5600 and D3400.


Alternatively, our test winner connects via WLAN with a smart device. Through this connection, the camera sends photos to the smartphone or receives remote control commands. All this is served via a relatively easy-to-use app on the smartphone. Except for the Alpha 68, all cameras in the test field offer WLAN and a suitable app. Videos and photos are presented with the EOS 800D easily and conveniently on a TV or monitor connected via HDMI. There are the usual USB socket and a connection for an external microphone.


Canon EOS 800D in the test mirror


We liked the EOS 800D from Canon in the test field the best, it offers the most for the money. The well-known test magazines see it that way, although they often give preference to the more expensive EOS 77D. But we think the extra price for the better equipped EOS 77D you can save yourself – our favourite really offers everything that newcomers and risers need on their DSLR.


The Stiftung Warentest (06/2018) saves a look at the sister model and puts it clearly to the point:


“The Canon EOS 800D is a good reflex camera with the optical viewfinder, large image converter and network function. Makes good pictures (picture grade: 2.1), even in low light. The impression in the eye test: very good. « In addition, the testers point out that the basic handles simply work.”


the camera is also very impressed with the Canon EOS 800D and especially highlights the fast autofocus:


“The Canon EOS 800D autofocus system is undeniably superior to a premium entry-level model. Only a few other SLR models are included here.”


However, dkamera criticizes that the image quality at very high ISO levels decreases sharply.


Moritz Wanke of Chip (05/2017) finds the performance of the EOS 800D solid and says:


“The APS-C sensor with 24 megapixels provides sharp and detailed images, the autofocus works fast and accurate.«
He gives an extra plus for the swivel touch screen.”


The respected American online magazine Dpreview (05/2017) finds the Canon EOS D800 even so good that it gives the camera a rare Gold Award. For the testers from Seattle, she is the best entry-level camera Canon has ever brought out.


The online magazine Imaging Resource (05/2018) has nothing to complain about with the EOS 800D but prefers the sister model EOS 77D. We think: Save yourself the extra charge for the better-equipped sister model, the money is better for other things laid out – for example, as the basis for a higher-quality lens.



In the sum of the features, the EOS 800D is clearly the best DSLR for beginners. However, if one or the other feature is especially important to you, there are interesting and also cheaper alternatives.


Nikon D5300

Although the Nikon D5300 has been around for a few years, its image quality still shows where it’s at. As clear and detailed as the D5300, no other camera takes pictures – unless it is also from Nikon. This is also true in a bad light because she is even superior to our favourite.


As a typical entry-level DSLR, the Nikon D5300 is very compact. For heavy professional lenses, it is therefore not so well suited, but it remains on a trip or on vacation with less than 500 grams of weight really portable. It is also equipped with a touch screen that can be turned up and down and sideways. Important, if you already have older Nikon lenses in the house: The D5300 lacks the AF motor, it can focus only newer AF-S lenses with its own focus drive.


Although the camera offers many features, Nikon has made the D5300 easy to use. The most important functions are called up with a large dial. Current settings and measured values ??are displayed by the camera on the rear display, and the layout of the display can be adapted to suit the needs of the entry-level user.


The Nikon D5300 is no longer the youngest, but its autofocus system is quite up to date. It consists of 39 AF sensors, of which, however, only nine in the centre are designed as particularly sensitive cross-type sensors. When filming and in Live View mode, it sets very slowly – this can be our top recommendation much better. With a continuous frame rate of 5 frames per second, the D5300 is not the fastest, but quite fast enough for successful snapshots.


Sony Alpha 68

The Sony Alpha 68 is strictly speaking not a single-lens reflex camera. With her, there’s no optical viewfinder, but a video viewer like a mirrorless one. However, your autofocus is designed like a classic DSLR, with a special module just for focusing. The special feature of this concept: This phase AF works synonymous when shooting and in Live View mode – a classic DSLR can not do that. So, if you’re looking for a DSLR that works great for video, make sure to check out the Alpha 68.


Especially since the camera from Sony synonymous otherwise has much to offer. For example, autofocus, which covers a large part of the picture with 79 fields. Or a so-called shoulder display, which informs with a view of the current camera settings and measured values.


Elsewhere Sony has saved but: So the display with a diagonal of 2.7 inches is smaller than usual today. And it dissolves roughly with only 460,800 pixels untimely. In addition, the bayonet connection is made of plastic, for very frequent lens changes, the camera is not designed.


When it comes to operation, Sony relies on freely configurable buttons. Ten of them have the Alpha 68 on board. This allows the camera to operate quickly and safely – after everything has been set up awkward. Special menus for beginners, the Alpha 68 does not, but great automatic features. For example, a face recognition that automatically focuses on a face.


The Alpha 68 plays a leading role in image quality. Only when high ISO values ??are required in bad light does it weaken. Nikon’s cameras are better at that. Colours record the Alpha 68 very naturally, its 24-megapixel sensor escapes no details.


Canon EOS 2000D

The Canon EOS 2000D stands out especially with its sensational low price out of our test field. Sparfüchse has to accept a few restrictions, however.


Fortunately, not with the image sensor, which resolves high with 24 megapixels. However, Canon puts him an outdated image processor to the side, which does not fully exploit the potential of the sensor. As long as you do not have to take pictures in dim light with high ISO values, that is, fortunately, no problem. With low and moderate sensitivity, the EOS 2000D delivers crisp photos with fresh colours.


The autofocus is content with only nine measuring fields in the middle of the picture. On subjects on the edge of the picture, you can only focus awkwardly by first sighting them directly and then swivelling the camera with the shutter button halfway pressed. And for action photos, where one runs through the picture quickly, the system is not suitable at all. But there remains the EOS 2000D with its slow burst rate of only 3 frames per second anyway outside.


The operation has Canon well matched to DSLR beginners. If necessary, there is an easy to understand menu with help texts. And the most important settings can be reached with a large mode dial on top of the camera.


The EOS 2000D even has WLAN on board, in this price range not a matter of course. Videos she shoots in Full HD resolution, but only with 30 frames per second. Since fast movements are not quite as fluent. All in all, the EOS 2000D offers a low-cost entry into the world of DSLR photography – and is expandable in all directions thanks to Canon’s immense lens offering.



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