Best DSLR cameras: The best interchangeable lens cameras available in the UK Featured

Best DSLR cameras: The best interchangeable lens cameras available in the UK

Confused about which DSLR camera to choose? Then you've come to the right place, as this is where we round-up the best DSLR cameras available in the UK today.

We'll guide you through the hottest cameras available - and only models that we've seen in reality - to save you time when it comes to working out what the best options are.

About lenses

Lens mount

First thing's first: cameras don't work in a one-size-fits-all way. Brands like to keep their own heritage and, as such, each manufacturer has its own lens mount.

For Canon it's EF, for Nikon it's F-mount, for Pentax it's K-mount, and Sony has A-mount. There are some exceptions, but these are the most popular four options.

Sensor size

Second to the equation is sensor size. Entry and mid-level cameras typically have what's called an APS-C size sensor. Some pro-spec cameras have full-frame sensors that, because they're physically larger, need specific and more advanced lenses that are capable of covering the larger dimensions. In each case the mount size remains the same, irrelevant of the sensor size. If you are not familiar with the technical terms we will make it easier to understand once you get into the lingo of the manufacturer it's not too diffcult.

Focal length equivalent

There are plenty of things to consider with lenses and this all depends on the type of photography you are planning on doing. If it is all about portraits you'll want something around the 50mm or 75mm mark. If you are trying to photograph a lion in Kenya then you'll want something with a long zoom closer to 300mm or beyond.

See also: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review: Approaching perfection

Nikon D3300

If you've decided that a DSLR camera is what you want, but you don't want a large outlay and too much complexity. The Nikon D3300 is the entry-level model to Nikon's series: an affordable and well-balanced choice in the world of DSLR.

Complete with a Guide mode on its main mode dial, the camera can assist you in a visual way to generate the types of photographs you want. These visual cues will help in expanding your understanding of exposure, aperture values and depth of field. But at the same time if that that sounds too daunting then just stick the camera in auto mode and press the shutter button - it'll do all the autofocus and exposure metering for you and, will give consistently good results.

An entry level DSLR does have a drawback it's that the optical viewfinder has a 95 per cent field-of-view, meaning that the outermost five per cent of the shot will be captured, but won't show up in the preview. Image quality from the D3300's 24-megapixel sensor is top quality.

PRICE: £399 amazon uk

The Best small scale DSLR

Canon EOS 100D

The Canon EOS 100D is as small as DSLR cameras come and that in itself is a great reason to buy one. It's a technological mini marvel with at a very affordable price.

Although it's small it doesn't mean that it's not capable, delivering quality akin to the EOS 700D model thanks to the 18-megapixel sensor on board, the same as its bigger brother. The 100D stands out on its own, it's a pocket wonder and doesn't cost the earth.

It's also likely to be the last of its type, as Canon concentrates on making a mirrorless equivalent: the EOS M5.

PRICE: £399 amazon uk

The Best mid-level DSLR

Canon EOS 80D

If you're looking for an all-rounder when it comes to both still images and movie capture then the 80D is one of the best pure DSLRs to cater for such a varied feature set. Where the 80D really excels is with its new autofocus system that really works.

The Dual Pixel AF system - which uses on-sensor phase-detection via live view and a different phase-detection system through the viewfinder - comprises 45 autofocus points, all of which are cross-type, 27 of which are sensitive to f/8 (nine of those are cross-type sensitive) to ensure heightened sensitivity if you're using, say, a slower lens or zoom extender. It's a super-fast and detailed autofocus system at this level, which bumps the 80D above the likes of the 760D/750D models.

Elsewhere the 80D ups the viewfinder ante with a 100 per cent field-of-view, while its 3.2-inch, tilt-angle touchscreen remains one of its strong points, however you choose to use the camera.

Great new technology, great image quality, and great to use.

PRICE: £819 (body only) amazon uk

The Best entry-level full-frame DSLR

Full-frame capability comes at a cost. Around £1,500 needs to be spent for that full-frame experience - and that's before considering lens costs - it's a big jump in technology and price.


Nikon D610

The D610 replaces the earlier D600 and, frankly, doesn't change much. Historically there have been complaints about some Nikon D600 owners experiencing issues with oil on the camera's sensor. Then, out of the blue the D610 came out, with only a modest amount of extra features, suggests that previous problems may have been noted. One of the new features is a new shutter mechanism.

More might of been expected from the new model, as the D610 only really adds Wi-Fi accessory compatibility and an ever so slightly faster burst rate to its predecessor. But the D600 was a very capable camera and now it's even better in this new guise.

This camera is the lesser version of the high-resolution D810 (see below). As most people won't need the full feature set or 36-megapixel resolution of the D810, the 24-megapixel D610 offers the full-frame door to a wider audience. Top image quality for a great price.

PRICE:  £1100 (body only) amazon uk

The Best high-resolution DSLR

Nikon D810

Nikon announced the 36-megapixel D800 in 2012 - with its super-high resolution full-frame sensor and it was and still is amazing. Then in 2014 along came the D810 which maintains the resolution but tweaks performance and image quality. The result is one of our favourite DSLR cameras ever.

The Nikon might not have the upper hand when it comes to those low-light shots, due to some image noise at the higher ISO settings, and the sheer volume of pixels means potential blur from movement can be amplified. But get it right and the results are a sight to behold.

There are plenty of top-spec features: the 51-point autofocus system is the best out there in our view, image quality even at this super-high resolution is astounding and the solid build, battery life and slew of features are hard to beat.

PRICE: £1900 (body only) amazon uk

The Best DSLR for movie capture

 

Sony Alpha A99 / Mark II

A high price but with Sony's single lens translucent (SLT) technology (not strictly speaking DSLR), but when it comes to movie capture - it offers exceptional fast and quiet autofocus.
There's a silent control wheel to the front of the camera for live adjustment during recording, while the full-frame sensor is spot on for blurred-background effects and creating those pro-looking 1080p shots.
All this can be seen in real time on the rear LCD screen without any cost to autofocus ability which, because of the SLT design, is just as fast as when using the camera through its electronic viewfinder - and that's also possible when capturing video.

PRICE: £3900 (body only) amazon uk

See also: Nikon D3300 camera review: Entry Level SLR

The Best enthusiast full-frame DSLR

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

You are knowledgeable photographer. You want to take the full-frame sensor plunge, but you are not ready to buy a super-fast pro-spec camera. Yet you still want just enough power in a feature set that's rounded enough to cover sports, portraits, landscapes - the works. Then the 5D Mark IV is a great choice.

The 5D IV is a deft balance between resolution, image quality, autofocus ability and control, seeing it stand head and shoulders above its predecessor and it's current competition. With Nikon's current absence in this market, perhaps only the near-priced Sony A99 II will be an alternative option - but it doesn't offer the same still image quality. And there's not a mirrorless model to compete at this level as yet.

The latest 5D is not cheap - but covers all the bases and that 30-megapixel sensor is not only fantastic in good light, it aces low-light too. The medium-high resolution won't be for everyone though.

PRICE: £2998 (body only) amazon uk

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