Best DSLR Under 500 – Reviews And Complete Guide

what is a dlsr camera

Looking for the best DSLR under 500 dollars?  The variety of cameras available today in the market is massive and increasing at amazing speeds. And this could be quite overwhelming for a first-time camera buyer on a limited budget. It however, doesn’t matter whether you are a complete beginner or a professional photographer; when your budget is in the range of 500 dollars or less, your you still can get a great DSLR camera!

What is a DSLR Camera?

DSLR is a shortened form of ‘Digital Single Lens Reflex.’ It is also called a digital SLR or simply DSLR. Basically, as opposed to using photographic film, a digital SLR camera combines the conventional mechanisms and optics of a standard Single Lens Reflex camera with an advanced digital imaging sensor.

The best way of understanding what that actually means is by looking at how DSLR works. You will then understand why most pros prefer using the simplest DSLR than even the best point and shoot camera under 500.

How does DSLR Work?

The basic point of difference between other digital cameras and a DSLR is the reflex design scheme. With a digital SLR camera, what you see is exactly what your camera lens sees, as it uses a single lens. Typically, DSLRs use autofocus that depends on phase detection. In general, phase-detection autofocus is faster compared to other passive techniques.

With a DSLR, you can change the lenses. This essentially means that you can go closer to the target object without having to move your feet by simply zooming. Digital SLR cameras are extremely versatile.

Now that we have cleared what a DSLR camera is, let's then look at the features of the best DSLR cameras under 500 dollars. A Digital Single Lens Reflex camera comes with lots of advantages when pitted against a point-and-shoot or digital Polaroid.

The best DSLR camera under 500 would grant you the advantage of changing lenses -- depending on the location and distance of the target object. This will depend on the needs of the person operating the camera. Different lenses can grant you a diversity of effects. These can range from sharper focus to wider angles in case your subject is located in a background that is more blurred.

Selecting the best Digital SLR Camera

It is certainly not that easy to decide on a good DSLR camera under 500, for there are lots of the. And that is why I have prepared this informative post and highlighted some the best DSLR cameras under 500 bucks! If you are in the market for a good camera to capture those special moments, then read on and click on the five I have detailed for you below.

How does DSLR Work?

The basic point of difference between other digital cameras and a DSLR is the reflex design scheme. With a digital SLR camera, what you see is exactly what your camera lens sees, as it uses a single lens. Typically, DSLRs use autofocus that depends on phase detection. In general, phase-detection autofocus is faster compared to other passive techniques.

With a DSLR, you can change the lenses. This essentially means that you can go closer to the target object without having to move your feet by simply zooming. Digital SLR cameras are extremely versatile.

Now that we have cleared what is a DSLR camera, let us then look at the features of the best DSLR cameras under 500 dollars. A Digital Single Lens Reflex camera comes with lots of advantages when pitted against a point-and-shoot or digital Polaroid.

The best DSLR camera under 500 grants you the advantage of changing lenses depending on the location and distance of the target object. This will depend on the needs of the person operating the camera. Different lenses can grant you a diversity of effects. These can range from sharper focus to wider angles in case your subject is located in a background that is more blurred.

Selecting the best Digital SLR Camera

It is certainly not that easy to find a good under 500 DSLR camera. And that is why I have prepared this informative post and highlighted some the best DSLR cameras under 500 bucks! If you are in the market for a good camera to capture those special moments, then read on and click on the five I have detailed for you below.

A Complete Buying Guide – Best DSLR Under 500

Image

Name

  Type

Megapixel

Price

Rating

best dslr under 500

Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR

Digital SLR

24.2

$$$

best dslr camera under 500

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR

Digital SLR

18

$$$

best digital camera under 500

Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera

Digital SLR

14.2

$$

best mirrorless camera under 500

Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Mirrorless

20.1

$$$

best camera for under 500

Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera

Digital SLR

16

$$

1. Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR

best dslr under 500

Already having launched the D4 and the D800, two professional-grade DSLRs earlier this year, with the D3200, maker Nikon is now focusing on the entry-level end side the camera market. The new product’s headline-grabbing feature is undoubtedly the formidable sensor, the 24.2MP APS-C CMOS. This new system represents a considerable boost compared to 14.2MP chip that was available in the D3100.

This could be your best digital camera under 500 dollars considering its awesome features:

  • 18-55 mm zoom lens with a massive 24.2 megapixel resolution
  • CMOS DX-format sensor
  • 11 point Autofocusing.

Besides the new sensor, much work has gone into improving the D3200 Guide Mode. The concept driving the new guide is to offer newbies to DSLR technology practical advice on strategies towards getting the best results, no matter the scenario. Aspects covered include controlling blur when shooting fast-moving subjects, or when you want to create a shallow depth-of-field suitable for portraits.

Because this camera also comes with a WU-1a wireless mobile adapter, it means that you can dispatch your images instantly to your smartphone through this simple app. This one has been rated by many reviews as the best DSLR camera under 500.

2. Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR

best point and shoot camera under 500

This has been rated by many users as one of the best camera for under 500. It is ideal if you want to capture family memories or are using DSLR for the first time. The EOS Rebel T5 has this unique ability to make dazzling photos and movies.

If you are a beginner searching an intuitive camera that is not too overwhelming, the simple layout of the EOS Rebel T5 is great. It gives you ample control to master the basics of SLR photography. The new T5 is now also lighter, having lost 15g to be exact, which makes handling and portability a little easier.

Although the camera dimensions have generally stayed same, the LCD has received a boost of 0.3" and this has doubled the resolution.

  • 18 megapixel CMOS sensor along with a DIGIC 4 image processor
  • Standard EF-S 18-55mm IS II zoom lens
  • 3-inch liquid-crystal, LCD TFT color monitor
  • Continuous shooting up to 3fps
  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode, and much more!

Coming with a handy Feature Guide, lightweight and rugged in construction, the EOS Rebel T5 makes one of the best point and shoot camera under 500 ever! When you are shooting in areas of low light, this camera performs quite respectably considering it’s still an entry-level Digital Single Lens Reflex, keeping noise levels to a minimum. This noise level isn't too bad coming as it does from ISO 100-800 that is not equipped with noise reduction.

3. Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera

best digital camera under 500

Nikon has added live view and video to the D3100 thus giving its new entry-level DSLR camera all those great features missing from its predecessors. The result is a great camera that encourages even the beginner, whatever their current knowledge level.

The Nikon D3100 has now incorporated a DX format CMOS sensor. This is largely targeted at users who want to upgrade from a compact for the first time or families that want a decent camera that captures beautiful pictures. Also added as part of the camera’s package, is an Enhanced Guide, good for first timers.

  • Friendly interface for a beginner
  • Excellent image quality
  • Highly advanced AF system
  • Fast and easily accessible Movie controls and Live View mode
  • Variety in terms of in-camera Raw conversion as well as post-processing options.

To simplify use is a largish 3in LCD screen that has been equipped with Live View. You can also deploy it as an aid to manual focusing and framing, or as an alternative to the standard optical viewfinder.

First time DSLR users have rated this as their best digital camera under 500. Why? Because it enables them to fully maximize on its unique features.

4. Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

best mirrorless camera under 500

Capture the smallest detail using this 20.1MP camera. The 180 Degree-tilting screen and self-portrait-friendly zoom lever allow you to view the shots as you capture them. This is one digital camera that literally makes quality photography appear so easy.

The built-in high sensitivity allows you capture great shots even when working in low light areas without using a flash. You can also minimize noise, clearly freeze fast-paced action, and while at the same time maximizing detail.

Reviews have rated this as one of the best mirrorless cameras under 500 units today for several reasons.  The core Sony Alpha a5000 features include:

  • For great images you have 20.1 MP Exmor APS-C sensor
  • Mirror less DSLR - Interchangeable Compact Lens camera system
  • Quick Wi-Fi smartphones connectivity via NFC

Expect outstanding results from the latest high-speed processing engine from Sony. This facilitates hyper-real detail, better noise reduction, and truer color rendering. If you love sharing those photos, you can do that very fast through wireless one-touch NFC connectivity.

Shooting video is a breeze with the Sony Alpha a500 mirrorless. Simply start recording by pressing the dedicated MOVIE button for stunning HD movie captured in the AVCHD format. You have a choice between the fast paced 1080/60i5 setting if you want to record super-smooth action scenes or for your traditional look, the slower 24p5. Simplicity is what you will get from this best DSLR under 500 bucks quality camera!

5. Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera

best dslr under 500

Forget the conventional, and get some serious photography with the PENTAX K-50, perhaps the best digital camera under 500. This is a mid-level DSLR with advanced and fast functionality, all wrapped up for you in bold colors.

As expected from a good Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, you will have access to fairly comprehensive menus set to facilitate fine tuning the camera’s performance to suit your individual needs. These are record, playback, movie, set up & custom setting.

Key features that will leave you amazed include:

  • Innovative in-body shake reduction
  • 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Continuous and fast shooting at 6 frames per second
  • High sensitivity shooting up to ISO 51200

The K-50 offers you advanced auto-focus module and 100% field view. On top of that, you get your camera in an original weather-sealing pack from PENTAX. The easy ergonomics of the K-50 are ideal for family settings and everyday photography.

The PENTAX K-50 digital camera uses SD/SDHC/SDXC memory media. It is also Eye-Fi SD card compatible, giving you the ability to perform wireless images transfer to a smartphone or computer.

Whether you are a newbie who wants to take your photography experience beyond the basics offered by a point and shoot camera or a semi-professional photographer, when looking at a modestly priced camera for less than $500, your best bet is a DSLR model.

To properly respond to "what is a dlsr camera?" it is important to understand some basics regarding an SLR camera mechanics. Nothing gives a clearer picture than looking at the advantages that come with the camera features.

DSLR Cameras Advantages

For decades, digital SLR) has remained a choice of those interested in taking their photography a notch higher. Compared to even the best point and shoot camera under 500 or digital Polaroid, a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) offers you lots of advantages for this price range.

Whether you're a pro or just beginning, a DSLR comes with three important ingredients or features those are typically not found in other cameras: excellent picture quality, manual controls for flexibility, and speed through interchangeable lenses.

At the pace at which camera technology is moving, it is not a big wonder that you can actually get a DSLR camera for less than 500 dollars. Even more amazing are the fantastic features you will have in such a modestly priced, yet quality mid-level camera.

Image Quality

For this price range, Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras will give you the best image quality. And it’s not just that, the quality of your image can actually be improved depending on which lenses you attach to your camera. Even with the zoom lens that comes with your camera, it is still possible to capture great quality pictures, but you can improve it even better by investing in other lenses later.

Flexibility

With a DLSR, you have the flexibility of changing lenses when you wish to further enhance the quality of your image. And with different lenses, you can also have a variety of effects from angles that are wider to give your object sharper focus in case you are working with a blurred background.

What this means is that without having to physically move your feet, you can get closer to the target object using a zoom lens. You can also, using a wider-angle lens, fit more into your picture; keep the subject sharp by blurring the background more. In fact, you can do lots of other; and other creative and cool things. A DSLR really opens up your world of photography!

Speed

At the speed at which photography technology is advancing, it’s not surprising that you can now get such awesome cameras in the price range of $500. With interchangeable and flexible lenses, great image quality, and Wi-Fi connectivity, the camera precision and speed is almost assured, particularly with good DSLR models and brands. This is ideally what makes these cameras so appropriate whether you are an enthusiastic beginner or a semi-professional.

DSLR cameras are fast to focus, which means you will quickly ‘lock in’ on the subject, and they offer ‘shutter speeds’ that are extremely fast. These fast shutter speeds help in freezing objects that are moving quickly such as kids on a sports day!

Picking The Best Camera For Under 500

Most of the features I am discussing below cannot be considered exclusive to only DSLRs. It is possible to find them on the best mirrorless camera under 500 or on a P&S camera or even on your smartphone camera. However, the most important distinction is that the majority of these features tend to perform even better with your DSLR. This is because DSLR cameras have superior components for faster speed and enhanced performance.

Sensor Size & Megapixels

Sensor size is defined as the surface area that is used in collecting light and other vital information when you are taking digital photographs. Although marketers give it less prominence than megapixels, it is more important.

Megapixels are the volume of tiny dots on the camera’s sensor, expressed in mega-millions. These, however, have less impact on the image quality. Therefore, as you shop for the best dslr camera under 500, it’s more prudent to go for a higher count sensor rather than focusing on the megapixels.

Wi-Fi-Enabled

Available on some camera models, Wi-Fi capability allows for easy uploading of your photos to a tablet or smartphone for instant wireless sharing. Some of the best dslr under 500 cameras even have GPS technology that allows tagging of the location where you took the photos.

Burst Mode

Burst mode in a camera refers to the ability to capture a rapid succession of photos through holding on to the shutter button. It is measured in terms of frames per second and implies means the number of photos captured per second. Some DSLRs are capable of taking as many as 10 shots, or even more by the second. After a "burst", you can then review all of them and choose the one you think is best.

In order to take maximum advantage of your DSLR camera’s burst mode, you may want to have it outfitted it with an appropriately fast memory card capable of keeping up with that particular camera model.

Scene-Recognition Modes & Multipoint Autofocus

The DSLR multipoint autofocus capabilities and scene-recognition modes give you more precise auto-control over more shot settings. The multiple-point autofocus function locks onto a moving object, tracking and keeps it in constant focus. This is excellent when you want to take action shots. When using video mode, this is particularly useful.

Some DSLR cameras provide automatic scene recognition. This selects the right exposure and correct mode for you. The face recognition feature automatically adjusts focus and balance to show faces in the best light possible. In fact, lots of DSLRs make diverse exposure and autofocus adjustments, automatically adjusting several settings as you press the shutter button.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

If you have always thought that DSLRs are only for the pros, think again! Cameras that have an HDR function are capable of taking several pictures of each selected scene — all at varying exposures. Your camera then determines the best section from each photo to keep and which to discard. And this where it all happens: your camera will then combine the best aspects from each photo to create one great shot.

Video Mode

Another aspect that sets DSLR cameras apart is the video mode. As a result of their light-gathering lenses and sensors, they are capable of capturing Full HD videos featuring images that are highly detailed, as well as in brilliant, bright colors. In addition, more and more of these classy performers now have special autofocus technology designed for video taking, so that moving objects can be kept in focus for the perfect video.

Rear LCD

The camera rear LCD screen is becoming more advanced as the camera price rises. Depending on your model, your camera may have a swiveling or tilting LCD and at times even touchscreen functionality. And of course, the higher the screen resolution, the easier it becomes to read as well as navigate. Be keen when choosing your DSLR as this is one aspect where lots of manufacturers tend to cut down on features in attempts to make the camera more affordable.

Viewfinder

For the more skilled photographers, towards perfectly lining up a shot and ensuring focus is correct, the viewfinder is very important. However, lots of entry-level cameras, lack this function and these actions can only be done through the rear LCD. This viewfinder technology makes your work of creating serious photos more accurate and easier. If you value the photo composition aspect, then choose one of the best dslr cameras under 500 as it is likely to have this feature.

Video: How to Use a DSLR

Conclusion:

It is not that easy to select the best digital camera under 500 as many of them are excellent performers. Because you are spoilt for choice, I have tried my best to review for you the most affordable and best DSLR cameras under 500 dollars in the market today. These are some of the best reviewed and top rated cameras. If you want a good camera to start your photography journey or to simply capture those special and magical travel or family moments, then you cannot fail with one of these.

When you pick up one of the above best dslr cameras under 500, nobody expects you to be a pro and they also have convenient auto modes, meaning you can still revert to the point and shoot mode as you are getting used to your new baby!

Best of all, even when your photography needs change down the lane as you become an expert and you feel the need to acquire a new camera; simply get different lens.

If you want the best camera for under 500, remember to have a peep at several customer reviews. Nothing gives you more clues regarding what a camera can do than comments and reviews from current and past users!

The bottom-line: the most important factors when looking for the best DSLR under 500 camera come down to shutter speed, camera size, total megapixels, output file types, touch screen capabilities, battery type, and mechanical noise.

Product images sourced from Amazon.com

Best DSLR Under 500 – A Complete Buying Guide

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