Putting Smartphones to Shame
If you’re feeling limited by what your point-and-shoot can do, there are plenty of reasons to consider an interchangable lens camera (ILC), whether it be a traditional DSLR or a more modern mirrorless model. These advanced shooters feature larger image sensors, superior optics, robust manual controls, faster performance, and the versatility of changeable lenses.
All this functionality doesn’t come cheap, though, and the cost of an ILC can add up, especially when you start factoring in lenses. You also need to remember that you’re buying into a camera system. If you start with Canon, chances are that your next one will be as well, simply for the fact that you’ll be able to make use of existing lenses and accessories. Here are the most important aspects to consider when you’re shopping for a digital SLR, as well as the highest-rated models we’ve tested.
Entry-Level DSLRs vs. Mirrorless Cameras
A decade ago, if you wanted a camera with interchangeable lenses, an SLR was really your only option. Times have changed. Today’s mirrorless cameras, even those at the entry end of the price spectrum, are just as, if not more capable than an SLR at a comparable price point. And while you can buy a mirrorless camera without a built-in viewfinder, more and more low-cost models include the feature.
Our favorite entry-level ILC, the Sony a6000, has an autofocus system that runs circles around comparably priced SLRs and an 11.1fps burst rate, and there are many mirrorless models available for under $1,000 with 4K video—you’ll need to spend at least $1,200 to get an SLR with 4K support.