Best DSLR Under 1000 – We Review The Top Expert Picks

best dslr under 1000

SLR camera technology continues to gather momentum, and several outstanding shooters are now available at more affordable prices than any time before. The DSLR market is currently dominated by companies from Japan and the 5 leading manufacturers are all Japanese.

Instead of having to rely on a basic point-and-shoot or your smartphone to capture the most important moments in your life, you may want to consider taking your game to the next level and invest in a product that has a little more ‘oomph’ such as a DSLR.

Kodak was the first to launch a commercial Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) in 1991. By the close of the last century, technology had made such made great advances such that the cost of production and DSLR cameras prices had come down significantly

Today, for under $1,000, it is possible to get a quality DSLR camera from major brands like Nikon and Canon. With such a modest budget, you can still get the best mirrorless camera under 1000 bargains.

Nowadays, for well under a thousand bucks, you can pick up a digital SLR that packs plenty of photographic horsepower.

A Complete Buying Guide Best DSLR Under 1000

Here is my review of the best 5 DSLR under 1000 cameras:

1. Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR

best dslr under 1000

Capture every special moment in the lifelike quality it deserves--and have a great time doing it! With the zoom lens that is included, the new super-compact AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, the D3300 is an easy-to-use, small HD-SLR.

While the resolution of the D3300 may be similar to that of the D3200, it now comes with plenty of extra improvements. Key among them is the new Expeed 4 image-processor. This is Nikon’s fastest processor yet, greatly improving the camera’s ISO sensitivity to an awesome max of 25,600 and the shooting rate to 5fps.

The D3300 is very impressive for an entry-level camera. No wonder this has been rated as one of the best dslr camera under 1000 Nikon products.

  • 24.2 MP CMOS Sensor in DX-forma
  • Continuous shooting with 5 frames per secon
  • 11 AF points with 3D tracking
  • 3 inch LCD with 921,000 dots
  • Easy panorama mode and beginner-friendly Guide mode
  • Wi-Fi enabled with WU-1a Wireless Adapter and compatible smartphone or tablet
  • 'Expeed 4' processing and Easy panorama mode and beginner-friendly Guide mode
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory

Like sharing photos? The D3300 photos will appear right away on your compatible tablet or smartphone, allowing sharing using an add-on WU-1a Wireless Adapter*! Whether you are creating high-resolution wide panoramas, adding artsy special effects or making HD videos with sound, the D3300 will allow bring you endless joy, memories and excitement—just like the special moments of your life.

Life is full of joyful, surprising moments—moments you want to remember. The D3300 makes it easy and fun to save those moments in the lifelike vividness they deserve. The D3300 doesn't only take great photos; it takes dazzling 1080p Full HD video with sound, too! You can even apply those fun special effects for more creativity!

2. Canon EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR

best camera under 1000

Photo enthusiasts have reason to rejoice! The new Rebel Line’s spectacular flagship, the EOS Rebel T5i, is now available. With its full-featured functionality and amazing imaging features, this is surely going to renew your artistic side.

The T5i Kit includes 17 items/accessories that are manufacturer supplied, all with USA Warranty:

  • Impressive 18 megapixel CMOS sensor plus powerful image processor
  • Standard zoom EF-S 18-55mm IS II lens expands your shooting possibilities
  • 3-inch liquid-crystal LCD TFT color monitor for easy sharing and viewing
  • DIGIC 5 Image Processor
  • Expandable to 25600
  • Full HD 1080p Video
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • 9-point All Cross-Type Autofocus

Other features you will get with the Canon EOS Rebel T5 SLR include Intelligent Auto mode, creative filers, continuous shooting (3fps), and built-in flash. With a very useful Feature Guide, lightweight, rugged construction and the proven design from Canon, this camera makes EOS SLR photography easier and faster than ever!

Its simplicity is amazing– to start shooting, just press the dedicated Movie Recording/Live View button. Perhaps this is the best dslr under 1000 today.

3. Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera

best dslr camera under 1000

The EOS 70D offers most of what any camera enthusiast would look for in a DSLR. This modestly priced product even takes matters a step further by giving you excellent Live View as well as Movie Mode Autofocus.

To sweeten the deal, it provides excellent continuous shooting performance and Wi-Fi.

Other features include:

  • Good quality JPEGs across ISO range
  • Excellent LCD
  • Dual Pixel AF and Live View modes
  • Good size, not too large to hold
  • Responsive touchscreen

The Canon EOS 70D digital SLR is an outstanding combination of quality and control in a compact and reasonably priced package. No wonder the Canon 70 D is rated as the best camera under 1000 in its class.

4. Nikon D5500 DX-format Digital SLR

best dslr camera under 1000

What has set the Nikon D5500 apart? It is not just the features it has borrowed from the higher-end Nikon models, but the amount of work that has been put in by the manufacturer. This has made this product such a pleasure to use.

Notable features include:

  • 4.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor
  • 39-point AF system
  • Continuous 5 frames per second shooting
  • ISO 100 - 25,600
  • High resolution
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • Smartphone-like touchscreen
  • 1080/60p HD video capabilities
  • Smartphone compatibility and built-in Wi-Fi.

The D5500 gets 3 important things very right: the grip, the image quality, and the price. With that combination, you are assured of getting amazing results. This makes the Nikon D4400 a worthy contender for best DSLR camera under 1000.

5. Samsung NX500 28 MP Wireless Smart Mirrorless Digital Camera

best mirrorless camera under 1000

With the NX500, Samsung has done an excellent job. The hybrid AF system of Samsung is very effective. The system is certainly more than sufficient for the majority of situations when you want to use this type of camera.

This could be your best mirrorless camera under 1000 bargains. Why:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Accurate and fast and autofocus
  • Impressive screen display
  • Great Wi-Fi connectivity.

Pairing with your Android device is easy and you also benefit from a continuous connection with your NX500. Although if you are connecting with an iPhone, this has to be done manually, I believe it is worth the effort. Either way, the NX500 remote capture app is outstanding, giving great results.

Choosing The Best DSLR Under 1000

If you are a new photography enthusiast looking to buy your first DSLR or are looking to upgrade, the good news is that nearly all the major camera manufacturers are now offering models that cover all ability levels and price points. Today, you will not even need to spend thousands of dollars on a quality and professional camera that guarantees top-notch results. You can now pick up an impressive DSLR that has formidable photographic horsepower for $1,000 or less.

According to award-winning photographer John Greengo, for beginners, when it comes to finding the best dslr under 1000, the key is to understand the market and what to look for

Key Features To Consider

Although now lots of compact system cameras are using APS-C sized sensors and are able to compete against DSLRs when it comes to critical image quality, many photography enthusiasts still prefer going for a DSLR.

This love affair is partly explained by the available larger range of DSLR lenses, including lots of specialist optics not available for CSCs. While they are also heavier and larger than CSCs, Digital SLR cameras are designed for comfortable handling and are purpose-built for those who seek serious photography.

Physical Controls

Digital SLR cameras have been designed to rest comfortably in your hand, allowing easy access to the broad variety of physical controls available. These are what enable you to change quickly the settings without necessarily scrolling through the camera menu.

Although the majority of DSLRs are generally similar in build design and size, the position of controls, the handgrip styling, as well as other ergonomic features could differ drastically. Look for one that has features you are likely to feel most comfortable using.

If it’s is too small or big for comfortable holding, or if the physical controls have not been laid out in a design that suitable for your needs, odds are high that you may not enjoy the shooting as you ought to.

Camera Sensor & Adaptability

The majority of under 1,000 Digital SLR cameras use APS-C sensors which are around 13 times larger in terms of surface area compared to the 1/2.3in sensors employed by most compact cameras. A larger camera sensor translates to superior image quality and enhanced dynamic range at higher sensitivity settings. Generally, a larger sensor comes with several advantages compared to a smaller one.

DSLR’s ability to change lenses opens up a world of possibilities for photographers. Adding to this, there is a sizeable collection of other accessories such as filters and flashes that make a DSLR adaptable to lots of different situations. The quality of your image quality is greatly impacted by the lens quality used.


Unfortunately, all camera manufacturers are engaged in the endless megapixel race. This is certainly is a marketing tool as the majority of buyers tend to assume that with more megapixels you will get better image quality.

According to photography writer Nasim mansurov, megapixels are only important if you are a professional photographer because getting large print sizes for sale is important. Having more megapixels is also useful if you are a bird photographer as these are small creatures and not easy to reach. In this case, you may end up cropping your images (“digital zoom”).

Burst Mode

Photography expert Matt Galowczynski recommends that if you are planning on shooting sports or other types of fast-moving action, it may be worthwhile to invest a DSLR with a good burst rate. This is the ability to quickly shoot or capture a burst of images through just holding on to the shutter release. This is an excellent feature for action and sports photography.

Hillary Grigonis advises that if you are a sports photographer, it is essential that you get a DSLR camera that has good speed Speed is important if you are taking pictures of kids in action. For any budding portrait photographer, this also helps in capturing the best expressions.

Optical Viewfinder

Today, nearly all DSLRs come equipped with optical viewfinders. Although the majority of photographers still prefer optical viewfinders, the new electronic viewfinder technology is making great strides among the latest cameras.

With these cameras, the semi-transparent mirror, rather than redirect light to your eye, it redirects the light to an autofocus sensor. This is a great feature you may want to consider as you search for your best mirrorless camera under 1000.

Autofocus Speed & Continuous Shooting

Compared to point-and-shoots, Digital SLRs come with another big advantage—speed. Often, a major concern with compact cameras is the time it takes between hitting the shutter button and when your camera captures a picture, the shutter lag. Also, a concern is the time you have to wait between taking your photos—recycle time.

Because most DSLRs generally focus extremely fast, they also deliver shutter lag that is almost immeasurable. Similarly, with a Digital SLR, you are assured of continuous shooting, typically measured in frames per second. You should, at the minimum, look for a DSLR camera capable of shooting three frames per second. If however, you are nature or sports photographer, you may want one that shoots faster than 5 frames per the second. Of course, your autofocus system needs to be capable of keeping up with that particular frame rate.

HD Video & Live View

Video recording in most DSLRs is a standard feature now. Therefore, look for a camera that, in addition, has autofocus as you record. Ensure you also check the camera’s autofocus speed when you are using live view to take photos, as some can be quite slow.

If you are planning to use the video function frequently, get a camera that has a microphone input jack. This is because an external mic captures much better sound compared to a built-in microphone.

Matthew Bragga notes that the majority of cameras have the capacity to capture 720P video, but several newer models can also shoot in 1080P. However, the higher your camera’s resolution, the more free space you will require in your card, so choose the shooting modes you use accordingly.

Lens Mount & External Flash

Buying a DSLR also means gaining access to an extensive range of lenses. Although Nikon and Canon are currently offering the biggest DSLR lenses choice, Sony and Pentax are also providing an extremely broad selection that includes lots of specialist optics.

Liz Barclay points out that with on/off camera flashes, you can generate some good effects. Relatively inexpensive, off camera flash is good when shooting at night or for important events. Using your off camera flash accords you additional capabilities and more control.

Therefore, research what is being offered by the DSLR in terms of cable or wireless flash. You may also want to go for high-speed sync as it allows the usage of flash with shutter speed.

Dust Protection

A feature that is gaining ground fast is image sensor dust protection. Some of the latest cameras even have self-cleaning for the image sensors – a feature that is going to greatly assist in alleviating lots of frustration experienced by lots of DSLR photographers. Currently, this is a feature mainly found on the lower end DSLRs although, its certain to find its way onto the new professional camera models too.


Getting photos from the camera to the printer or computer has for long being done using USB. You may want to look for a DSLR camera that comes with features such as Wireless or FireWire.


Now the best cameras under 1000 units also have an additional a new feature: anti-shake technology. Although it’s been quite common to install ‘image stabilization’ technology in camera lenses, the whole concept of having it inbuilt as part of the camera body is something that is quite appealing to many photographers.

Possibility Of Future Upgrades

While the majority of entry level Digital SLR cameras have been attractively priced, they generally tend to update faster compared to higher end models and there is a possibility of you outgrowing them as your thirst for more features grows. A likelihood as your photography prowess rises.

So, it is wise to ask yourself whether, in the foreseeable future, you will you be in a position of upgrading the features of your camera? It is good to ask yourself several questions regarding your current expertise level in photography and whether you are a fast learner who may want to go a notch higher after mastering the basics.


With noteworthy advancements being made in terms of DSLR technology, the prices for many high performing cameras are now lower than ever. This makes it even more important that you select yours wisely. Before you finally decide on your pick, check what online reviews have to say about it. In general, comments from past and current users will be a good indication of the camera quality.

Digital SLR cameras have a wide span when it comes to their price range. They start from entry-level cameras to full-fledged professional models. Of course, as would be expected, as you move upwards in the price range, you'll also be moving up in terms of features and quality. With advancement in technology and the passage of time, cameras with high standards, intriguing and latest features are dropping in terms of their price range. Now it’s possible to get the best dslr camera under 1000 products from reputable makers such as Canon, Pentax, and Nikon.

But what I can assure you is that you don’t need to break the bank or wreck your budget to get your hands on the best DSLR under 1000.

Product images sourced from

Best DSLR Under 1000 – A Complete Buying Guide

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