Best DSLR Cameras Under $500 – 2020 Guide

Our general understanding is that if a product is not expensive and doesn’t leave us broke, no matter how promising it seems, then it is not up to par, and you will have to compromise in quality. We are here to debunk such myths.

DSLRs are usually considered to be expensive items; the pricier, the better.

However, we bring to you some of the best DSLR cameras that are under $500 yet allow you to capture mesmerizing shots.

Comparsion Chart of the Best DSLR Cameras Under $500

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with built-in wireless connectivity
  • Auto focus feature is very fast
  • Offers variety of frame rates and recording sizes
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  • Offers 3D matrix metering
  • Equipped with Bluetooth and GPS
  • Able to shoot from any angle
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  • Best for the Money
  • Comfortable and compact design
  • Easy and simple to use for beginners
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  • Best Canon DSLR Under $500
  • Comes with many added accessories
  • Auto focus is smooth and quiet
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  • Best DSLR Camera for Beginners Under $500
  • Includes caps, body strap and cleaning cloth
  • Uses an optical viewfinder
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Can You Find a Quality DSLR Camera Under $500?

While it is true that quality photography gear usually falls heavy on the pocket, that doesn’t mean you cannot find decent equipment without loosening your purse strings excessively. However, this requires dedicated research and time, which can intimidate quite a lot of customers.

Therefore, we have compiled all you need to know about buying a DSLR camera under $500, including a list of some of the best options.

One thing that needs to be understood here is that most DSLRs that are expensive come from renowned high-end brands, and while they do provide top-of-the-line products, you do not only pay for the equipment but also the logo. However, many brands have products that fall under various budget options, and the options we have come up with are from reputable companies.

How to Choose a DSLR Camera if You’re on a Budget

The quality of your photos not only depends on your skills but also largely on the equipment you use, especially your camera. Therefore, when you are buying a DSLR, especially if you’re on a budget, there are certain things you need to be mindful of.

How Would You Use Your DSLR Camera

The first and foremost thing that should be clear and you should consider is why you want to buy a DSLR camera. Do you want to use it for outdoor projects, take it on hiking or other traveling trips, to make Vlogs, or are you interested in experimenting? This will determine the kind of features you are looking for.

Since we are on a budget, the items on our list may not have all features for every situation, but they will all have fundamental features common to all quality DSLRs.

Consider Long-Term Usage 

You may start out your photography passion confined to one genre, however with time, the chances are that you will develop a knack for it and would want to further experiment with it. This would require you to add extra lenses and flash, therefore before purchasing, see how your DSLR can be modified in the future.

Focus on the Lens Rather Than the Body

Since you are on a budget, there will be some features that you will have to compromise on. The body of your lens is one of those things. You should be more focused on the performance, and the kind of pictures that your DSLR would click and a lens would dictate that more significantly than the body.

Quick Take - Best DSLR Cameras Under $500

Before we dive into our review, here are the best DSLR cameras under $500:

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T7
  2. ​​Nikon D5300
  3. Nikon D3500

Review of the Best DSLR Cameras Under $500

Now that we have discussed the essentials of a DSLR camera under $500, it is time to look at the options that we have chosen for you after much deliberation and reflection. Therefore, rest assured that every item on this list is a quality product and has been chosen after a great deal of research.

Best Overall:
Canon EOS Rebel T7

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm lens | Built-in Wi-Fi|24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | |DIGIC 4+ Image Processor and Full HD Videos

PROS

  • Produces high-quality images
  • Has a fairly sufficient battery life
  • Built-in NFC and WiFi technology
  • Controls are logically laid out, making it easy to use
  • Optical viewfinder with roughly 95% viewing coverage

CONS

  • Doesn’t have 4K video option
  • Continuous shooting is a bit slow
  • Stationary LCD doesn’t allow for any tilt

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers have loved using this product and claimed that they had clicked some of the most stunning photographs using this DSLR. Some even attached their unedited work on reviews, and the images produced by this are nothing short of a high-end DSLR.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most striking feature of this DSLR is that it comes with an automatic setting and a manual setting. If you are a beginner, then the automatic setting will come in handy. However, if you wish to experiment, then the possibilities with the manual mode are endless, and you will love using both of them.

Who Will Use This Most

This camera is designed in a way that it can easily be used by beginners as well who can learn the basics from the automatic mode and then set out to experiment with the manual mode. Furthermore, it is easy to use, and its logical configuration of options makes it well-suited to less experienced photographers as well.

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a remarkable product that has managed to deliver on all its promises. Customers everywhere have loved using this, and we hope you have ​an amazing time capturing all your memories with this.

Runner-up:
Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS Body Only (Black)

PROS

  • Built-in WiFi and GPS technology
  • High resolution and a vari-angle screen
  • Suitable for videos and still photography
  • Has an upgraded EXPEED 4 processing engine
  • 24MP sensor provides impressive performance

CONS

  • GPS is a bit faulty in some models
  • Made in China, so US Nixon doesn’t ​offer a warranty
  • LCD is glossy therefore prone to glare, making it hard to read in bright sunlight

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers have reported that they have had an amazing time using this camera and have shot some of the most spectacular photos from this. The feel of this in hands is very comfortable as it is not too big and fits the frame of your hands easily. Some customers did miss the touch screen option, but the image quality makes up for it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While this DSLR has a lot of terrific features, the ones that stand out are its built-in WiFi and GPS systems. This has made connectivity and transferring your images tremendously easy, and the GPS system comes in handy when you are exploring the wilderness or are in a foreign land.

Who Will Use This Most

While this camera can be used by everyone with a passion for photography, it is user-friendly, making it suitable for beginners as well. Furthermore, people who are interested in outdoor photography and photos rather than videos will find that this is a great option for them.

Bottom Line

Nikon has been manufacturing quality products for a long time, and the D5300 is no less. It gives you impressive features that allow you to take captivating photos. You will love using this. Rest assured that it is an investment you won’t regret making.

Best for the Money:
Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black

PROS

  • Surprisingly snappy live view
  • Well-crafted body and a comfortable grip
  • Efficient and impressive auto-focus that works quite fast
  • Excellent photo quality by a camera that can be used as a point and shoot DSLR
  • Compatible with Nikon Snapbridge app to share photos with compatible phones

CONS

  • Rear screen is fixed
  • Has HD video option rather than 4K
  • Lacks time exposure mode, WiFi, and mirror lockup

What Recent Buyers Report

Many customers did not expect this model to be much different than its predecessor, however, the image quality was a pleasant surprise, especially with respect to the white balance. Moreover, they found it to be lightweight and loved the auto-focus and high ISO performance. The one thing that could be improved is Nikon’s customer service, but their product is an exemplary one.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The features offered by this DSLR are seldom present at the price ​that it comes at. It is not only affordable but also worth your money and gives you a value product. If used with the right lens by a skillful photographer, this DSLR can produce images similar to those from an expensive high-end camera.

Who Will Use This Most

This could be classified as an entry-level DSLR for photographers who are just starting out. Its practical architecture and long battery life make it a wonderful option. As mentioned above, the image quality of this DSLR is also phenomenal, so anyone who buys it can use it to create masterpieces.

Bottom Line

A lot of people argued that this DSLR is not much of an upgrade from the last model, however, once they used it, they felt the difference, and its fan base started to grow exponentially. This is an incredible camera that will give you exquisite results.

Best Canon DSLR Under $500:
Canon EOS Rebel T6

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital Camera: 18 Megapixel 1080p HD Video DSLR Bundle with 18-55mm &75-300mm Lenses 32GB (2 x 16GBSD Card) Flash Filter Kit & Bag - Professional Vlogging Sports & Action Cameras

PROS

  • Has an in-camera WiFi
  • Allows you to take high-quality pictures and videos
  • In-built AF system can even capture speedy objects
  • EOS Scene Analysis System will adjust your camera settings automatically
  • 24.2 MP CMOS (APS-C) sensor makes your images sharp, natural, and captures the fine details

CONS

  • No touch screen feature
  • Auto-focus doesn’t work on video mode
  • Auto-focus becomes slow in dimly lit settings

What Recent Buyers Report

Canon fans bought this DSLR due to brand image and were not disappointed. Many people who were beginners report that this model allowed them to explore numerous features under varying circumstances. Some of them did have to make a few more purchases like a card with more storage or extra batteries, but that diverges from person to person.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is one of the most extraordinary DSLRs released by Canon at this price range. You can discover different imaging capabilities, producing excellent results without a lot of noise. Moreover, it cannot just capture moving objects but also objects moving at considerable speeds, which is a feature that deeply impressed us.

Who Will Use This Most

This camera can be used by beginners, but a skillful photographer would enjoy it more, a little experience never hurts. Furthermore, people who need to take quality pictures and videos will find it to their liking, especially if they are working in poorly lit conditions.

Bottom Line

If Canon has earned a name for itself on the market, then that is because of a reason. They deliver on promises and are innovative with their designs, and this DSLR is in line with their image. The brilliant performance of this model makes it a unique favorite.

Best DSLR Camera for Beginners Under $500:
Canon EOS 4000D

PROS

  • Very easy to use
  • Comes with in-built WiFi technology
  • Produces images of excellent quality
  • The controls have been logically laid out
  • Has an enormous range of lenses that are compatible with it

CONS

  • No touch screen option
  • Auto-focus can struggle sometimes
  • LCD display has low resolution hence gives a cramped view

What Recent Buyers Report

This DSLR is a well-received product, and customers have given it high ratings and positive reviews on many platforms. Some parents even bought this as a gift for their kids and claimed that it is a splendid product. All the claims and promises made by the company regarding the product turned out to be true as per customers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a simple yet elegant camera that does not have flashy features but takes extraordinary photos; perhaps, this is what made us fall in love with it. It has commendable features that ​give it the superior performance that it does.

Who Will Use This Most

We believe that this DSLR has specifically been designed, keeping in mind beginners or photographers that lack experience, hence, professionals would find it to be unsuitable for them. It can be used by students or people that have recently developed a passion for photography but are not well-versed with the complexities of a professional camera.

Bottom Line

Knowing what the product is designed for is a must before you make a purchase, and so is true for this one. If you expect it to give you results like those from a high-class camera, then you will be disappointed, however, if you know that this is a beginners camera, then you will have a hard time finding a better alternative.

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Buying your photography gear is not something you do regularly, you do expand your arsenal, but you don’t want to keep buying something on which you have already spent money on. After all, the equipment isn’t exactly cheap. Therefore, it is better to do your research beforehand, so you know what to look for.

Ensure You Are Buying the Right Model

While this may sound absurd and extremely obvious, you would be surprised to know that some websites and online retailers are not very keen on specifying the model they are selling. Reluctantly, the buyer ends up with a product that he/she did not order.

Moreover, some even go as far as to label an older model as an upgraded one or change the name to cajole them. This is highly immoral, and you should be aware of such hoaxes. Therefore, make sure that if you are buying online, you are doing so from a trusted and renowned retailer.

Check if the Camera Body is Compatible With the Existing Lens

People who are expanding their photography gear or are interested in experimenting usually have old lenses from a thrift store, old DSLRs, or a gift from a friend. In such a situation, you should be mindful that old lenses are compatible with only some of the DSLR models.

Hence, we recommend that you check from reliable sources beforehand that your lens is compatible with the DSLR you are willing to buy. Each one has a unique design, body, and functionality, therefore, this is an important factor that needs consideration.  

People Also Ask

Although we have tried to cover all bases to make sure you know all that you need to know about buying a DSLR when on a budget, this section caters to some pre-existing questions or concerns that may have popped up while reading this article.

What Does DSLR Stand For?

This is a very common question and makes complete sense, everyone should know what they are about to spend money on or what it means. The abbreviation stands for the digital single-lens reflex camera. What this means is that the mechanisms and optics of a single-lens camera are amalgamated with a digital sensor.

What is the Difference Between SLR and DSLR?

While both the terms are used interchangeably now because SLRs aren’t as widely manufactured anymore, the two do have a technical difference. SLR means a single-lens reflex camera, which means that it uses a reflex mirror to bend the light towards the optical viewfinder to be framed. 

DSLR, on the other hand, uses a digital sensor to record images.

What is the Difference Between Mirrorless and DSLR?

Both of these are used for serious or advanced photography and have similar features. There is one technical difference which is that DSLRs have a reflex mirror in-built through which the light bounces on to the optical viewfinder. 

Meanwhile, in a mirrorless camera, the light directly hits the image sensor, which uses an LCD monitor or electronic viewfinder to project the image on the screen.

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