Point-and-shoot cameras have their limits. Yes, they’re easy to use and convenient to carry around, but to get the most out of your photography (and most easily control your shots), you’re best off with a DSLR. Don’t let the vest-wearing pros intimidate you, though — your first DSLR can be both easy to use and inexpensive, especially if you start with one of the three entry-level DSLRs below.
Canon EOS Rebel T6
The first thing you’ll notice about the Rebel T6 is its price tag. You simply won’t find another DSLR camera this affordable that isn’t used or refurbished. That’s mostly what makes it such an attractive option for people who want to go one step above a point-and-shoot, but don’t want to leap into a $2,000 pro-level DSLR. The Rebel T6 is capable, with a 18MP sensor, 9-point autofocus, 6400 ISO maximum range, 1/4000 sec shutter speed and, like most modern cameras, built-in wi-fui for uploading photos and videos on the go. It also features a shooting mode designed specifically for DSLR first-timers: Scene Intelligent Auto, which helps find the perfect balance of ISO, aperture and shutter speed — settings you’ll eventually be able to master on your own.
A few steps above the Rebel T6 is Nikon’s D5500. It’s still user friendly, but it boasts a bit more pixel power with a 24MP sensor, 39-point autofocus, 25,600 ISO maximum range and 1/4000 second shutter speed. Like the Rebel, it can transfer photos and videos via wi-fi. All this translates to one simple point: more beautiful photos, and better adaptability in low-light environments.
Sony’s SLT-A68 has all the features of a quality beginner DSLR: 24MP sensor, 25,600 ISO maximum range and 1/4000 sec shutter speed. But what sets it apart from other introductory cameras is its impressive 79-point autofocus, able to lock in subjects quickly and clearly. It also has a flip-up LCD screen, for taking awkwardly positioned shots where the viewfinder won’t serve.