7 Best DSLR Cameras for 2020 in the UK

Our Pick For March

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Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens - Black
311 Reviews
Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens - Black
  • Take beautiful photos and movies with background blur
  • Easily connect, shoot and share on the move
  • Express your creativity with easy to follow guidance
  • Explore the power of DSLR and interchangeable lenses

Top 3 Right now in UK

SaleBestseller No. 1
Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens - Black
311 Reviews
Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens - Black
  • Take beautiful photos and movies with background blur
  • Easily connect, shoot and share on the move
  • Express your creativity with easy to follow guidance
  • Explore the power of DSLR and interchangeable lenses
SaleBestseller No. 2
Canon EOS 2000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens, Black
94 Reviews
Canon EOS 2000D DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens, Black
  • Take elegant photos and movies with background blur
  • Easily connect, shoot and share on the move
  • Express your creativity with easy to follow guidance
  • Explore the power of DSLR and interchangeable lenses
Bestseller No. 3
Canon EOS 4000D 18MP DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens with 64G Memory Card- Black
36 Reviews
Canon EOS 4000D 18MP DSLR Camera and EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens with 64G Memory Card- Black
  • Take beautiful photos and movies with background blur
  • Easily connect, shoot and share on the move
  • Express your creativity with easy to follow guidance
  • Explore the power of DSLR and interchangeable lenses

Table of Contents

1. Nikon D850 – Best Pick Under £3000

Introduction

Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body
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Nikon D850 has made a reputation for combining two traits that were considered, for many years, incompatible, at least for professional photographers. While not pushing further the resolution bar, it couples it with a remarkable continuous shooting speed.

At a Glance

  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • Display Size: 3 inches
  • Effective Still Resolution: 26.2 megapixels
  • Image Stabilization: Optical
  • Dimensions: 14.4 x 11.1 x 7.5 cm
  • Weight: 0.77 kg
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 13.43 Watt Hours
  • Power supply:EN-EL15a lithium-ion battery (supplied)
  • Max Focal Length: 70
  • Min Focal Length: 24
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 27.1 megapixels
  • Optical Zoom: 2.9x
  • Removable Memory: Secure Digital Card
  • Special Features:
    Shutter Priority
    Aperture Priority
    Tilting touchscreen
    Focus Shift shooting mode
    Viewfinder Type: Optical
    Sensor: 7MP FX-format CMOS (35.9 x 23.9mm)
    Focal length conversion:1x
    Memory:1x XQD, 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
    ViewfinderOptical pentaprism: 100% coverage
    Max video resolution: 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 at 30/25/24p
    Total Pixels: 46.89 million
    4K Ultra HD video recording, slow motion up to 120 FPS at 1080p
    ISO range:64-25, 600, expandable to 32-102,400
    Autofocus points:153-point phase-detection AF, 99 cross-type
    Max Burst rate:7fps (9fps with grip)
    ScreenTilting: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 2,359k dots
    Shutter speeds:1/8000 sec to 30 sec, bulb, time
    File system: DCF 2.0, Exif 2.31, PictBridge

Design & Build

Let us start with the basics. The D850 is neither heavy nor lightweight, but it will certainly feel good in the hands of the professional or seasoned amateur photographer.

As to the controls and buttons, yet again you get Nikon’s classic layout for professional DSLRs – a learned photographer will take it and start using it without even having to look at the buttons, especially if he or she had ever used a Nikon before. So, let’s turn our attention to some more interesting design features.

The Live View mode is activated by a button on the back. A lever enables switching from stills mode to video. The D850 is equipped with the standard Nikon contrast autofocus – just a bit faster. Note also that the high-resolution rear screen has a nice tilting mechanism, as well as a touch-AF and touch-shutter options. The tilting display is an excellent addition for more precise tripod-mounted photography.

The D850 is equipped with the standard EN-EL15a battery used in all high-end Nikons. What is surprising in this particular model is that it consumes much less energy than we would expect, thus enabling 1,840 shots on a single charge!

Now, as expected, the D850 can be customised to the user’s preferences or interests. For instance, those keen on action shots or extended portrait format sessions can use the MB-D18 grip, getting fast continuous shooting, a set of vertical shooting controls, and much greater battery life.

Also, note that Nikon’s D850 boasts a vast range of pro and specialist lenses.

Last, note that the D850 comes with two very fast card slots, one for XQD cards, the other for UHS-II SD cards.

Features

The new sensor comes with a resolution of 45.7MP, which is considerably larger than many of its competitors. It has no anti-aliasing filter to capture even the tiniest details.

Note that despite the Multi-CAM 20K AF’s might, its coverage cannot reach the edges of the frame. If you wish for full coverage, you must switch to Live View and make use of the new tilting touch-screen display. Besides, the new Pinpoint AF mode enables you to target tiny objects – very useful considering the camera’s resolution.

Next, we should mention the gargantuan resolution – 45.7million pixels, among the two or three highest resolutions among modern-day full-frame DSLRs.

The maximum continuous shooting speed is at 9fps at full resolution with a buffer capacity of 51 uncompressed 14-bit Raw files – which is amazing. Take into account though, that such performance requires the optional MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack and an EN-EL18B battery. Without them, you cannot expect anything more than 7fps, which is still more than decent.

A nice feature of the Live View mode is the silent photography mode, allowing you to shoot without the slightest sound at up to 6fps at full resolution. If you drop the resolution, you can reach even the 30fps. This mode is just ideal for sports snapshots, as well as theatrical performances and weddings.

The D850 has what the previous two picks lacked, that is a 4K UHD video capability. It works great, using the full sensor width and keeping the same lens focal lengths, saving you the trouble to mess with crops and stuff.

The D850 can also capture and process 4K time-lapse movies in-camera, as well as 8K time-lapse movies with silent interval timer shooting, with the aid of an external software for the latter.

Other great features include the in-camera multiple exposure overlay mode (for multi-image composites of moving subjects), the new 1:1 image ratio for square shots and the in-camera raw batch processing. There is also a small thumb-stick on the back, perfectly positioned to help you adjust or change the focus point without removing your eye from the viewfinder.

Performance

Let’s begin with the image quality, which is superb, capturing even the slightest detail. This, of course, is good news for experienced and gifted photographers, but the less skilled or seasoned ones may find all of their errors explicitly depicted, so you have a double-edged sword here!

We should hardly mention the speed of the continuous shooting, which is probably D850’s trump card. Next, of course, is its resolution, which is already sufficiently praised above, surpassing by far our test-charts.

The colour rendition is awesome, augmented by a set of three (!) different Auto white balance options, covering every possible condition.

The autofocus system surprised us even more, but do remember that the exposure area won’t extend to the edges of the frame. There is always, of course, the Live View option when things get tricky.

Last but not least, please bear in mind that you will need really fast memory cards to make the most of these amazing features. They cost more, but the result is truly worth it.

Pros
  • Amazing continuous shooting speed
  • Top-notch resolution – unsurpassed detail
  • 7fps, 9fps with grip
  • 4K full frame video
  • Great battery life
  • Reasonably priced, value for money
Cons
  • Requires fast memory cards

Our Opinion

A monster hidden within a beauty. This is the best way to describe Nikon D850’ vast and complex capabilities, who truly push its mechanical and electronic design to the limits.

Designed for really skilled photographers, it will surely embarrass the rest, since its ability to capture even the slightest details requires genuine talent and professionalism to master. Last, its combination of high resolution, immense continuous shooting speed and 4K full frame video is simply unsurpassable among its rivals.

 

2. Sony A99 II – Runner up Under £2,800

Introduction

Sony Alpha A99 II DSLR Camera (Body)
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Sony A99 II shocked the market when launched, marking an unexpected turn of the firm, who decided to produce a mirror camera with almost all the traits and features of a mirrorless one. Its fixed, translucent mirror allows light to reach the sensor at the back of the camera, feeding at the same time a sophisticated autofocus sensor. However, we should not try to run before we can walk, should we? Let’s start with the basics.

At a Glance

  • Connectivity Technology: HDMI
  • Display Size: 3 inches
  • Effective Still Resolution: 4 megapixels
  • Dimensions: 14.3 x 10.49 x 7.62 cm
  • Weight: 0.77 kg
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 11.5 Watt Hours
  • Optical Zoom: 1x
  • Viewfinder Type: Electronic
  • Sensor: 42.4MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24.0mm)
  • Focal length conversion on the lens: 1x
  • Memory:1x multislot for Memory Stick Pro Duo/SD, 1x SD card slot
  • Viewfinder: XGA OLED, 2,359k dots
  • Max video resolution:4K (UHD) 3,840 x 2,160
  • ISO range:100-25,600 (50-102,400 expanded)
  • Autofocus: Hybrid Phase Detection AF, 79-point/399-point, 15/79 cross-type
  • Max burst rate: 12fps
  • Screen: 3-inch articulating TFT, 1,229k dots
  • Shutter speeds:30-1/8,000 sec, Bulb
  • Weight: 849g (body only, with battery and memory card)
  • Dimensions: 143 x 104 x 76mm
  • Power supply: NP-FM500H lithium-ion battery (supplied)

Build and handling

Featuring such an array of improvements and extra features, one would reasonably expect a larger casing for Sony’s A99 II. Still, it is smaller than the previous model, thanks to a smart redesign of the interior.

Indeed, being surprisingly compact, it has a dust- and moisture-proof casing consists of a magnesium alloy chassis connecting the top and bottom plates.

The shutter mechanism boasts a quoted life expectancy of 300,000 shots. Unfortunately, the battery life expectancy is a bit limited – just 390 shots in Live View and 490 using the EVF, which means that you must take with you several spares if you plan on an extended shoot.

Other nice design features include a thumbstick located on the back, making menu navigation and focus point positioning easier than ever (although precision will be an issue until you get the hang of it).

Next, we have an electronic viewfinder which is simply awesome, making us almost forget that Sony’s A99 II, despite its SLR handling, does not have an optical viewfinder.

Next, we have a really clever rear screen, equipped with a tilt mechanism and an extra cantilever section, allowing the angling of the screen higher and further forward for waist-level shooting. It can hinge at the base too if you need overhead shots. A central pivot also enables you to turn the screen sideways and get straightforward vertical shots.

Features

A99 II’s first trump card is a combination of high resolution and high continuous shooting speeds. It can shoot with a 42.4MP resolution at up to 12 frames per second! Note that it can also capture 54 raw+JPEG images.

Its second trump card is its brand new hybrid autofocus system and a 79-point/399-point hybrid phase-detection system that includes a dedicated phase-detection sensor above the mirror. Designed to work together these two systems make sure you get shots tailored to your needs and wants.

The 42.4MP sensor is coupled with a Bionz X processor and a front-end LSI, resulting into a surprisingly expanded sensitivity, reaching as high as ISO 25,600 (and 102,400 in expanded mode) and minimal noise.

Last, you get in-body five-axis image stabilisation and inspiring video capabilities, including full-frame 4K movies and high-resolution oversampled 4K.

Performance

Let’s start with the 42.4MP sensor, which indeed delivered what expected, especially if you can resist zooming in on every little detail.

The colour rendition, dynamic range and exposure accuracy are simply excellent. High-ISO performance, essential for professionals, is more than decent. The noise stays well-controlled, and image quality is good even at an ISO setting of 102,400, which you’ seldom use. Last, the autofocus system proved extremely effective.

Pros
  • 4-MP resolution
  • Excellent hybrid autofocus
  • 12fps continuous shooting
Cons
  • Poor battery life compared to DSLRs

Our Opinion

Sony’s A99 II’s boasts amazing specifications, enabling photographers to shoot at these frame rates and so high a resolution. Combined with a 79/399-point hybrid AF system, it is indeed an option worthy of your consideration.

 

3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II – Best Pick Under £1,500

Introduction

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera - Black
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Canon EOS 6D has been in the market for several years now, introduced in 2012 and having keen amateurs and professionals alike as its intended market. Its fans demanded a new version of this classic model for quite some time, and the EOS 6D Mark II was the answer to their prayers.

The EOS 6D Mark II features several upgrades over its predecessor, especially in its sensor and ISO range, as well as the autofocus system and continuous shooting mode. While these improvements boosted the price considerably, both Canon fans and Digital SLR camera buffs will tell you that the new model is an excellent value for money option.

At a Glance

  • EOS 6D Mark II
  • Eyecup Eb
  • Camera Cover R-F-3
  • Camera Strap
  • Battery Pack LP-E6N
  • Battery
  • Charger LC-E6E
  • User Manual Kit
  • Dimensions: 144 x 111 x 75mm
  • Weight: 765g (body only, with battery and memory card)
  • Power supply: LP-E6N lithium-ion battery (supplied)
  • Sensor: 26.2MP full-frame CMOS (35.9 x 24.0mm)
  • Memory: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot (UHS-I)
  • Focal length conversion 1x
  • Viewfinder Optical pentaprism, 98% coverage
  • Max video resolution: Full HD 1,920 x 1,080
  • ISO range: 100-40,000, expandable to 50-102,400
  • Autofocus points: 45-point phase-detection AF, all cross-type
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Max Burst rate: 6.5fps
  • Screen Vari-angle: 3-inch touchscreen, 1,040k dots
  • Shutter speeds: 30-1/4,000 sec, Bulb

Design & Build

Canon’s EOS 6D has always been a nice looking camera, and it is even nicer to hold and handle, mainly due to the nicely curved top plate and pentaprism, along with the buttons and controls that are organised in a well-studied pattern, which is easy to remember.

You have 4 buttons on the top plate for your main shooting settings, namely

  • the AF mode (One-shot AF, AI Focus AF, AI Servo AF),
  • the Drive mode,
  • the ISO setting,
  • and the metering pattern (allowing you to turn the front control dial and change the setting).

Moving to the back, you have 3 buttons, nicely placed around the point you rest your thump:

  • focus point mode control (Spot AF, 1-point AF, Zone AF, Large Zone AF, Auto selection AF),
  • the AF-L/AF-L button,
  • and the AF-On button, enabling independent autofocus activation (ideal for action shots).

Note though, that the 6D Mark II, while much faster than its prototype, it is not ideal for sports and action photo sequences. There is no separate drive mode, and, as expected, you have a twin-dial, one dial on the top of the grip, and another one on the back. All buttons and positions respond fast and are easy to handle.

Next, you have an interactive, touch-activated Q menu, again very responsive, with simple and streamlined navigation through your settings options and live view focus control. The touchscreen makes video, macro photography and other similar tasks much easier. It flips out and rotates following your handling, keeping a crisp and clear view when kept out of the sun. If the daylight is too strong, just use the optical viewfinder, which, unfortunately, does not offer a full, 100% view.

Unfortunately, you get just one memory card slot.

Let’s move now to the features.

Features

Well, the first thing we should mention the new 26.2-megapixel sensor, marking a huge resolution upgrade over its predecessor. It also delivers fast phase-detection autofocus even in live view mode.

The regular autofocus system gets a – much needed – update, with a 45-point array (all cross-type). Combined with the more advanced DIGIC 7 image processor it greatly improves object recognition and focus tracking, enabling the prediction of movement across the frame and delivering an impressive ISO range of 100-40,000, expandable to 50-104,400.

The EOS 6D Mark II can shoot at 6.5 frames per second, much faster than its predecessor and pretty decent for action photos. Its buffer captures up to 150 JPEGs or 21 RAW files – nice for amateurs but, as already mentioned, not enough for sports specialists.

Note you don’t have a 4K video, but you do get a Full HD video of up to 60fps, along with in-camera five-axis digital stabilisation for movies – a ‘first-ever’ on a full-frame DSLR camera.

You got the standard GPS location tracking, as well as Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Performance

The 45-point autofocus system’s performance was just great, for static and moving subjects alike. Naturally, Live View offers much wider views and, combined with the Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, you get excellent results. The on-sensor phase detection autofocus is surprisingly fast, and the autofocus area almost reaches the screen’s edge. You can also tap and focus, activating the touch shutter release.

The exposure metering system is decent. Canon’s Highlight Tone Priority combined with the improved ISO delivers excellent highlight rendition and dynamic range.

The resolution and image quality is what you would expect from a DSLR camera of this price level, and noise control can be extended up to ISO 40,000. Its ability to apply automatic distortion, chromatic aberration, diffraction and peripheral shading correction are great additions too.

Pros
  • Great build, excellent design and button positioning
  • Fast Dual Pixel live view AF
  • Excellent vari-angle rear touchscreen
  • Packed with numerous smart features
Cons
  • lacks a 4K video
  • Single memory card slot

Our Opinion

Certainly, a set of major upgrades on an already great model, the EOS 6D Mark II delivers excellent operational speed and performance, it is easy to handle and ideal for people looking for their first full-frame DSLR.

 

4. Canon EOS 7D Mark II – Runner up Under £1,500

Introduction

Canon EOS 7D MARK II
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We have already included in our 7-best list Canon’s EOS 6D Mark II, but, since we decided to pick the best DSLR cameras from different price levels, we could not leave out Canon’s best APS-C format DSLR to date, the EOS 7D Mark II.

Featuring a new sensor and processor, as well as advanced metering and AF systems, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is far better than its predecessor, EOS 7D, and justifiably holds sway over Canon’s APS-C format DSLR cameras.

At a Glance

  • Effective Still Resolution: 20.2 megapixels
  • Weight: 0.82 kg
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 4.9 Watt Hours
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 20.9 megapixels
  • Optical Zoom: 7.5x
  • Removable Memory: Secure Digital Card; Secure Digital Card; CompactFlash
  • Water Resistant
  • Viewfinder Type: Optical
  • Screen size: 3.0 inches, 1,040,000 dots
  • Optical sensor size: 22.4 x 15.0 mm.
  • Sensor:2MP APS-C CMOS
  • Lens mount:Canon EF-S
  • Burst shooting:10fps
  • Autofocus:65-point AF
  • Video:Full HD 1080p
  • Connectivity:N/A
  • Battery life:670 shots
  • Weight:910g

Design & Build

First, of all, we should note that its magnesium alloy chassis, perfectly curved at the right angles, affords a solid and comfortable feel, further enhanced by the textured coating on the grips. While a bit larger and heavier than its predecessor (around 90 gr), the EOS 7D Mark II it has a much better dust and water resistance – the second best among Canon’s range.

Controls-wise, some minor changes pose no challenge to those among you already familiar with previous Canon models. In fact, they will make things even easier for you, especially the sprung selection lever around the mini-joystick control at the back of the camera, used as a function controller.

On the back, you will find a 3-inch 1,040,000-dot LCD screen, designed for composing Movies or images in Live View mode.

The optical viewfinder shows 100% of the field of view and displays important data, including the drive mode.

At the top, aside from the addition of a lock on the mode dial, the layout remained the same. The autofocus system comes with a dedicated section, as well as a series of selectable Case Studies specifying the tracking sensitivity, acceleration and deceleration tracking and AF point switching.

According to Canon, EOS 7D Mark II’s has a shutter durability of 200,000-cycles, as for the battery, the camera is designed for the improved capacity of the LP-E6 battery.

An HDMI port provides uncompressed (4:2:2) feed to external recorders. Other ports allow you to simultaneously connect a microphone and a headphone. The USB 3.0 port enables faster image transfer.

EOS 7D Mark II comes with dual card slots – one for SD/SDHC/SDXC media, and the other for CompactFlash cards.

Features

Let’s start with the Autofocus. Coupling speed with accuracy, it is designed to deliver even in rather poor light conditions. Mastering seven focus point selection modes and an array of AF Al servo adjustment options (Tracking sensitivity, Acceleration/deceleration tracking and AF point auto switching) to use in continuous AF mode, it will take you some time to fully understand its potential and make the most of it.

The 65-point system (all cross-type) is certainly a major improvement.  On top of that, the central point is a dual-cross type at f/2.8 and sensitive down to f/8 – ideal when using an extender with telephoto lenses. Note that the central point can function as low as to -3EV – corresponding to moonlight conditions!

The EOS iTR AF and AI Servo AF III autofocus technologies are greatly improved, matching those of far more expensive models, affording the photographer six shooting scenarios and the ability to customise the AF system to his/her subject movement and needs.

There are also seven AF point selection modes; Single Point Spot (Manual Selection), Single Point (Manual selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual selection, surrounding points), AF Zone (Manual selection of zone), Large Zone AF (Manual selection of zone) and 65-point automatic selection AF. These enable the photographer to set the starting AF point and, in continuous AF mode, tell the camera how to track the subject if it moves.

The hybrid AF system, available when composing video or still images on the LCD screen in Live View mode, locates its target even in poor light conditions. The STM lens mounted minimises the back-and-forwards adjustment, allowing you to use Live View mode even from a distance.

The 20.2MP sensor, with redesigned microlenses for upgraded efficiency and image quality at higher ISOs. With a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000 expandable up to ISO 51,200 – truly astounding numbers.

Exposure is managed by a 150,000-pixel RGB and an infrared sensor, enabling the camera to tailor its response to numerous different conditions and situations. Bear in mind that the added Flicker detection option remedies inconsistent exposure under fluorescent lights.

Next, we should surely mention the Dual Pixel AF technology (enabling smoother and faster focusing), the Full HD video feature, the intervalometer for time-lapse shooting sequences, the multiple exposure mode, and the built-in compass and GPS technology.

No built-in Wi-Fi connectivity though, which was disappointing. You will need the Canon WFT-E7B Wireless Transmitter to transfer images wirelessly.

Performance

Not much to say here. With specifications of this sort, performance was what we expected. Extremely fast and responsive, it scored maximum continuous shooting speed of 10 frames per second (fps) for 31 raw files with a UDMA 7 CF card, and a 252-zone metering system. The Evaluative metering system performed nicely in more challenging conditions too.

The automatic white balance system did well too. As for resolution, considering you have a 20.2-MP sensor, it delivered more than we expected. Last, we found that noise is well-controlled throughout the native sensitivity range.

Pros
  • Fantastic, ergonomic design
  • Advanced metering and AF systems
  • Numerous customisation options
  • Good noise control
Cons
  • Decent but not top-notch resolution
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity built-in

Our Opinion

Undeniably, this is the best APS-C format DSLR Canon has ever produced. While its resolution is not the top you can find, its brand new sensor and processing engine, as well as its highly advanced metering and AF systems certainly worth your attention!

 

5. Canon EOS 80D – Best Pick Under £1000

Introduction

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera with 18 - 55 mm IS STM Lens
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We come next with Canon’s EOS 80D, an excellent DSLR, known for its sturdiness, cleverly arranged controls and ergonomics and array of features.

At a Glance

  • Display Size: 3 inches
  • Effective Still Resolution: 24.2
  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 7.85 x 10.52 cm
  • Weight: 0.65 kg
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 1,100 Watt Hours
  • Max Focal Length: 55 mm
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 25.8 megapixels
  • Optical Zoom: 1
  • Removable Memory: Secure Digital Card
  • 45-Point Cross-Type AF System, 7 Fps Continuous Shooting Rate
  • ISO 100-16,000 and Flicker Detection
  • Intelligent Viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Vari-Angle LCD Touch Screen
  • Full HD 60p, Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Wi-Fi and NFC Connectivity

Design & Build

Let’s sweep through the design and build features: nicely curved, with well-positioned buttons and controls (most of them on the right side, either on the back or top-plate). The top plate also features a handy status display for key settings.

The Quick Menu provides fasts access to frequently used features. It would better, though, if it were customisable. Touch-control is great, and the viewfinder provides a nice bright view covering 100%.

A nice addition is the Custom Function III 4, making it possible to customise up to nine controls and access quickly certain features. The articulating screen proved useful, especially in low angles shots.

Features

First, you get a brand new 24-million-pixel sensor coupled with a Digic 6 processing engine, resulting in a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000, and a maximum expansion value of ISO 25,600. The maximum continuous shooting rate is at 7fps, with a burst depth of 110 JPEGs or 25 raw files.

The EOS 80D comes with an upgraded Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which is fantastic – once you get the hang of it since its wealth of features and capabilities require time to master.

Even though you don’t get a 4K recording, you have Full HD (1980 x 1020) video recording coupled with a headphone port for audio monitoring, along with an external mic port.

Last, you get NFC (Near Field Communication), allowing easy connection with smartphones or tablets, not just for image transfer, but also for remote controlling.

Performance

Despite the very low light, the camera was able to focus, and noise is controlled well for ISO 16000. Click here for a full-size version.

The autofocus (AF) system performed exceptionally, along with the Live View and the Video mode AF system.

Pros
  • 24Mp sensor resolves detail well
  • Fast and effective AF system
  • Excellent screen
Cons
  • APS-C format instead of full-frame
  • Complex AF system

Our Opinion

EOS 80D is ideal for photography buffs that would love to devote time to master its complex but truly magnificent features!

 

6. Nikon D7200 – Runner up Under £1,000

Introduction

Nikon D7200 Digital SLR Camera Body
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Featuring a sensor with a resolution of 24.2 million pixels, the D7200 remains one of the most popular DSLRs despite the launching of the D7500. Let us find out why.

At a Glance

  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 24.2
  • Lens mount: Nikon F-mount
  • Screen: 3.2-inch screen, 1,200,000 dots
  • Burst shooting: 6fps
  • Autofocus: 51-point AF
  • Video: Full HD 1080p
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Battery life: 1,100 shots
  • Weight: 765g
  • Effective Still Resolution: 24.2
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 14 Watt Hours
  • Max Focal Length: 90 mm
  • Min Focal Length: 19.5 mm
  • Optical Zoom: 0.94x
  • Removable Memory: Secure Digital Card; Secure Digital Card
  • Special Features:
    Serial Shot Mode
    Shutter Priority
    Aperture Priority
    Viewfinder Type: Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
    Operating environment – temperature 0 °C – 40 °C (+32 °F – 104 °F)
    Eyepoint 19.5 mm (-1.0 m-¹; from centre surface of viewfinder eyepiece lens)
    Wi-Fi and NFC support
    Shutter unit Tested to 150,000 Releases

Build and handling

Nikon D7200 both looks and feels good. Both grips are coated with a soft textured material, while key buttons and controls fell nicely just where your fingers rest: the middle finger underneath the protrusion for the shutter release button, the forefinger and thumb on the shutter release and rear scrolling dial.

Weatherproofed and designed to be used with both hands, the D72000 has the mode dial on the top left, with nine options, together with two slots for custom settings. A handy lock averts any risk of accidental settings changes. Underneath the mode dial, there is a second one for drive mode selection, with its dedicated lock button.

All of the buttons are near the edges, close to your thumbs, most of them on the back of the camera. Just below the lens mount, you will find a customisable function button, activating 18 different functions. The rest of the controls are pretty standard for all Nikon DSLRs. Note the i-button in the left-hand corner (quick menu button).

The optical viewfinder is bright and clear, offering 100% coverage. For more precise focusing while shooting challenging subjects, turn to Live View. Instead of a screen, you got a fixed monitor.

Video footage can be saved to one of the D7200’s dual SD card slots. You can also use the HDMI cable to transfer them to an external recorder. There is an ME-W1 wireless mic, capturing from a maximum distance of 150 feet!

Last, you get Wi-Fi connectivity, making image transferring a breeze, as well as NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity – the first Nikon ever having both.

Features

D7200 has a focus capability of as low as -3EV, due to its MultiCAM 3500 II 51-point autofocusing system. The autofocus module features no less than 15 cross-type sensors, plus one central, sensitive down to an f/8, enabling the use of the autofocus system with telephoto lenses and teleconverters.

The D7200 does not have an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, thus producing sharper images and better detail rendering. You also have a much improved internal processor (Expeed 4), delivering a better buffering capacity.

Capable of capturing 100 JPEGs or 27 12-bit NEF raw files in a burst, D7200 boasts a nice set of useful applications with its 1.3x crop mode (lens reach extension, distribution of the 51 autofocus points over the whole frame etc.), and a native range of ISO100-25,600, along with Hi BW1 and Hi BW2 expansion settings, upping it to a staggering ISO 102400.

Picture Control 2.0 is another nice addition, offering seven different Picture Controls.

Video-wise, the D7200 shoots full HD 1080p footage at 30/25p, or, if you use the 1.3x crop mode, you can go up to 60p/50p.

Performance

Now, a few things about the performance. The metering system produced well-exposed images in almost all conditions, even with high contrast scenes. The automatic white balance system also performed well in various light conditions too; in daylight, it proved impeccable.

The EXPEED 4 processor, coupled with the 24.2 million-pixel sensor, guarantees excellent results, while battery life allowed us 1,100 shots and 80 minutes’ video recording.

Pros
  • Well designed and built
  • Brilliant AF system
  • 2MP AA sensor
Cons
  • Lacks a touch-sensitive screen
  • Slow movie focusing

Our Opinion

Long story sort, D7200 remains one of the best DSLRs out there, ideal for people who wish to take their DSLR experience to the next level.

 

7. Nikon D3500 – Best Pick Under £500

Introduction

Nikon D3500 + AF-P DX 18–55 VR Kit
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Our next pick is Nikon’s D3500 took the baton from a series of very successful DSLR cameras. Costing much less than our previous choice, it is intended for photography buffs with a smaller budget that wishes to move their photo skills to the next level.

At a Glance

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 12.4 x 9.7 cm
  • Weight: 415 grams
  • Effective Still Resolution: 24.78 megapixels
  • USB, Micro USB, HDMI
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Display Size: 3 inches
  • Autofocus: 11-point AF
  • Video: Full HD 1080p
  • Image Stabilization: Optical
  • Lithium Battery Energy Content: 2 Watt Hours
  • Battery life: 1,550 shots
  • Optical Sensor Resolution: 24.78 megapixels
  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
  • Removable Memory: SDHC
  • 2 MP DX-format Sensor
  • ISO Light-sensitivity Range: of 100-25600
  • Full HD Movies at Frame Rates of Up to 60p
  • Razor-Sharp Autofocus System
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Screen: 3.0-inch fixed display, 921,000 dots
  • Burst shooting: 5fps

Design & Build

Not much to say here, since Nikon tends to follow the same nice and handy pattern in its models. Nicely and sturdily built, it facilitates handling with the positioning of the buttons and controls.

Better move swiftly to some nice design features. Nikon decided to keep the 3.0-inch display, upgrading a bit its resolution (921,000 dots). You don’t get a vari-angle display or a touchscreen with this one, but something would have to be missing to justify the price tag.

Aside from the handy rear display, you got the optical viewfinder offering a cleaner view, albeit with slightly smaller coverage (around 95%). Nice and clear, it delivers a bright view and excellent colour accuracy.

The LCD features a pretty decent resolution (considering the price), with fairly crisp details.

Nikon D3500 can be bought either with as a standalone camera, without a lens, or as part of an all-inclusive kit with an 18-55mm lens – that’s ideal for most beginners, covering almost anything, from portraits to wide-angle landscapes. We recommend buying it as part of a kit – you get an excellent lens for slightly more money.

Probably the most inspiring trump card of Nikon’s D3500 is its fabulous 24.2MP sensor. Without an optical low-pass filter in front of the sensor, it allows you to capture significant details. The APS-C sized sensor, while pretty typical for a first-timer’s DSLR and quite larger than the ones used in most compact cameras, is truly excellent. To make the most of it though, you will need a slightly better lens than the 18-55mm one.

A few words about the battery are in order, since it constitutes one of D3500’s winning points, with an impressive 1,550-shot capability – far superior to most of its competitors.

Features

Unfortunately, there is no 4K video, but the Full HD is excellent. The D3500 can also shoot at a 60/50p, a 30/25p and a 24p, without lacking lower-resolution recording options. You cannot attach a separate microphone, but the built-in monaural microphones perform quite well (still not suitable for people planning to shoot video regularly).

The D3500’s ISO sensitivity range is the same as its predecessor, but still wide and efficient enough 100-25,600. The Picture Control options provide a decent (and adjustable) range of colour and contrast treatments, namely Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape and Flat (designed for video).

While there is no Wi-Fi connectivity, you got a Bluetooth connection, allowing you to transfer images using Nikon’s SnapBridge feature. You can also configure the app to transfer all images automatically to your smartphone or tablet!

Performance

Now, a few comments on its performance.

First of all, image quality, for a DSLR of this price, is fantastic. The D3500 delivered the usual (and highly effective) 24.2MP pixel count we knew from its immediate predecessor, but with the new sensor, you can up it to as much as 24.78MP.

The AF system performed nicely too, especially when used on static subjects. Focusing is silent and delivers a nice and crisp result, especially in good light and combined with the central AF point and its increased cross-type sensitivity. Note also that there is an AF assist lamp when light conditions are poor, which can be easily deactivated when you don’t need it.

Aw already mentioned, the D3500 is not made for action shooters. Still, the metering yielded steadily great performance, consistent exposures. The Auto White Balance proved equally efficient, even in artificial lighting.

Last, dynamic range performance was similarly good, without image noise or detail loss even in underexposed shots. As to the ISO performance, we got minimal noise even in shots of up to ISO800/1600.

Pros
  • Compact, with cleverly positioned buttons
  • A stunning 1,550-shot battery life
  • Fantastic image quality
  • Great Sensor
  • Versatile, dynamic range
Cons
  • No 4K video
  • No touchscreen control
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity

OUR VERDICT

A great option for those among you who have not used a DSLR camera before, the Nikon D3500 is by far the greatest pick among the under £400 range.