Home Cameras Best DSLR under 500 dollars: Top 2 Cameras

Best DSLR under 500 dollars: Top 2 Cameras


So you’re looking to buy a DSLR camera, but you don’t have tons of money to spend? No worries, a lot of camera manufacturers offer special beginner models in their product range. While these DSLR cameras still offer high image quality and an impressive set of features, they are not as expensive as many of their bigger brothers.

To make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck, we’ve listed an overview of the best DSLR under 500 dollars. Currently our overview consists of 2 cameras: the Nikon D3300 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1.

Best DSLR under 500: Quick Comparison

 Nikon D3300Canon EOS Rebel SL1
ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Price range$$$$$$
Resolution24.2 MP18 MP
Optical Zoom3x3.1x
Continuous Shooting Speed54
ISO RangeAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600 (with boost)Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (25600 with boost)
Image StabilisationNoNo
Video Resolution1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps)
Monitor Size3"3"
Autofocus Points119
Memory CardsSD / SDHC / SDXCSD / SDHC / SDXC
BatteryLithium-Ion 7.2 VoltsLithium-Ion 3.7 Volts
Weight0.95 pounds0.9 pounds
Dimensions3.86 x 2.99 x 4.88 inches3.58 x 2.72 x 4.61 inches
Lens MountNikon F (FX), Nikon F (DX)Canon EF, Canon EF-S
Kit Lens Type18-55mm, medium-telephoto18-55mm, medium-telephoto

Overall Best DSLR under 500 dollars:
The Nikon D3300


Sensor: CMOS DX, 24,2 Megapixels
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR NIKKOR Zoom Lens
ISO Range: ISO 100-12800
Video: HD 1080p (60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps)
LCD: 3.0 inch,  920.000 dots
Body dimensions: 4.9 x 3 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 15.2 ounces
Memory Card: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Price: check current price


The Nikon D3300 is probably the best DSLR you can find under 500 dollars. The D3300 is the successor of the widely reputed Nikon D3200, a very popular entry-level DSLR. The D3300 has a CMOS DX sensor that’s capable of shooting pictures up to 24 megapixels. This sensor is one of the best of its class according to DPReview, delivering perfectly sharp and colorful images.

This version of the D3300 comes included with a NIKKOR Zoom Lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6), that offers pretty high quality in terms of clarity, precision and reliability.

The camera has a lot of extra features: live view mode, a special guide mode for beginners, wifi-connectivity and 11 autofocus points. On top of that, it also has a

What makes this camera really stand out from it’s competitors is its long battery life and its excellent video functionality. Unlike many competing models, the D3300 has full autofocus functionality during filming. This will help you keep your shots sharp at all times. Next to that, it has the option to film in 60 fps in 1080p, making it possible to film full HD slow motion shots. It’s also possible to connect an external microphone.

Last but not least: it’s price is set just beneath the $500 mark (that is including the 18-55mm kit lens!). All in all, this makes the Nikon D3300 an excellent camera for beginning photographers and videographers. It comes in a standard black, but also in a stylish red look.

Pros and Cons


  • 24,2 megapixels CMOS DX sensor provides high image quality
  • Excellent video features: 1080p recording, full autofocus and external microphone
  • Special guide mode for beginners
  • Excellent build quality with rubberised grip
  • Includes a very decent NIKKOR Zoom Kit Lens
  • Compact size



  • Non-movable LCD screen
  • Beginner guide mode doesn’t support RAW
  • Not compatible with a battery grip

Video Review

The guys from digitalrevTV did a good video review on the Nikon D3300:

Runner Up: The Canon EOS Rebel SL1


Sensor: CMOS (APS-C), 18.0 Megapixel
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM Zoom Lens
ISO Range: ISO 100-12800
Video: HD 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps) + 720p (60, 50 fps)
LCD: 3.0 inch,  1,040,000 dots
Body dimensions: 4.6 x 2.7 x 3.6 inches
Weight: 14.4 ounces
Memory Card: SD / SDHC / SDXC
Price: check current price


While the Nikon D3300 is our first choice in the sub $500 price range, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is a good runner up. The Rebel SL1 is also a very decent entry-level DSLR camera. Its body measures only 4.6 x 2.7 x 3.6 inches, making it a really compact model. Despite its small dimensions, the SL1 still has an excellent build quality and provides a good grip for people with medium sized or smaller hands. It should be noted that people with larger hands may find this camera a bit difficult to hold and operate.

A large part of the camera’s settings are controlled using a touchscreen interface. This makes it easy for first time DSLR users to find their way through all the camera’s settings. The LCD screen is sharp and bright, the only downside is that you can’t move it or flip it over (which would have been nice for shooting video).

The camera produces excellent image quality. Exposure, white balance, contrast and saturation are almost always set correctly. The camera performs surprisingly good in low light, photos that are shot at an ISO of 6400 are often still usable.

The Rebel SL1 is also suitable for recording video in full HD. Thanks to its SMT lens, it’s possible to use autofocus while filming. There’s also the possibility to attach an external stereo microphone.

The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is priced just a bit higher than the Nikon D3300. If you only want to purchase the body, then it dives below the $500 mark, around $450. A package deal with the 18-55mm kit lens will cost you around $550, though there are often discounts and special deals. Click here to check latest price amazon.

Pros and Cons


  • 18 megapixels large CMOS APS-C sensor provides high image quality
  • High quality LCD with responsive touchscreen
  • Very compact model: small and lightweight
  • Nice video features: 1080p recording, full autofocus and external microphone
  • Includes a decent kit lens
  • Relatively good picture quality in low-light conditions



  • Non-movable LCD screen
  • Size may be too small for people with large hands
  • May become difficult to handle with larger lenses

Video Review

Adorama provides a great video review on the Canon EOS Rebel Sl1.


So which camera should you choose? Well, we think the Nikon D3300 is the overall best DSLR under 500 dollars. While both cameras offer similar image quality, the D3300 offers more features and is priced a little lower than the SL1.

You should choose the EOS SL1 if you really care for its small size, or if you want a more easy to navigate touchscreen interface.