Best entry-level DSLRs 2017: What to look for and which to buy

If you’ve outgrown your point-and-shoot camera or are no longer satisfied with the snaps you get from your smartphone, and feel like you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, then an entry-level DSLR is the most obvious choice.

You may also want to consider a mirrorless camera as an alternative, although you won’t find one with a viewfinder at the same price as a DSLR.

If you are thinking about a mirrorless camera, then you might want to read this:Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences . Or, if you’re not sure what kind of camera you need at all, then read our easy-to-follow guide to camera types: What camera should I buy?

Entry-level DSLRs deliver a big step up in image quality from a compact camera or smartphone, offering far more manual control and the ability to change lenses to tackle a huge variety of projects. Don’t worry though – there are also a host of auto modes to help you out until you’re comfortable with the more creative controls.

Obviously, the more features you want, the more you’ll pay, but do you actually need them? Our top camera is one of the cheapest on the market, but still offers impressive performance and image quality, plus enough features to handle most assignments, especially if you’re still learning.

DSLR bundles

If you’re buying your first DSLR, it makes sense to go for a ‘kit’, which generally includes the camera body along with an 18-55mm lens. This covers a broad zoom range, perfect for everything from landscapes to portraits, but that’s just the start.

The key advantage of DSLRs over compact cameras is that you can add to your kit with, for example, wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses, a flashgun, and other accessories, to make the most of whatever types of photography you’re into.

Canon and Nikon offer the largest collections of DSLR lenses, but Pentax and Sony also offer decent ranges. You’re not limited to own-brand lenses either, with the likes of Sigma, Tamron and Tokina selling quality lenses at prices that are often lower than the camera manufacturers’ equivalent lenses.

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300

Nikon’s D3400 might have replaced it, but the D3300 is still our top pick. Why? Unless you want improved connectivity, then the D3300 is pretty much identical to the D3400 and quite a bit cheaper. The 24.2MP sensor resolves bags of detail and like much like pricier Nikon DSLRs, it does away with an anti-aliasing filter to maximise image sharpness. This is also a very easy camera to live with. Its clever Guide Mode is a useful learning tool that gives real-time explanations of important features, whilst the collapsible 18-55mm kit lens is great when you’re on the go. It’s a shame you don’t get an articulated touchscreen display or Wi-Fi connectivity, but Nikon does make a cheap plug-in Wi-Fi adaptor if that’s a deal-breaker for you.

Canon EOs 750D

Canon EOs 750D

Nikon doesn’t have the top spots in our line-up all to itself because by paying more cash will get you a lot more camera. The EOS Rebel T6i (Called the EOS 750Doutside the US) may have just been superseded by the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D , but that won’t be available until April, so there’s a chance to track down a good deal on this great entry-level DSLR. Featuring a 24.2MP sensor that delivers stunning image quality, there’s a solid AF system, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC pairing and a articulating, touch-sensitive screen that’s a enjoy to use. It pips the Nikon D5500 to second place thanks to more comprehensive controls and marginally superior image quality.

Nikon D5500

Nikon D5500

The D5500 competes directly with Canon’s EOS Rebel T6i / EOS 750D at the upper end of the entry-level DSLR market. Where Nikon’s D3000-series cameras are designed as cost-conscious introductory DSLRs, the D5000-series is preferable if you want to get more creative. The D5600 has just been announced, but both feature a virtually identical feature set, so the D5500 is the better buy at the moment because its that much cheaper. The D5500 sports a touchscreen control and there’s also built-in Wi-Fi – but it’s a pity GPS hasn’t been carried over from the D5300 , and live view autofocusing speed is no faster. There isn’t much wrong with the D5500’s 24.2MP, non-anti-aliased sensor, though, and while it may be pinched from the older D5300, it still delivers excellent results.

EOS 760D

EOS 760D

Just to confuse matters, Canon launched two updates to the EOS Rebel T5i / 700D – the EOS Rebel T6i / 750D (above) and the T6s / 760D. Internally at least, the EOS Rebel T6i / 750D and T6s / 760D are very pretty much identical, but it’s the exterior controls are where differences start to appear, notably the addition of a rear thumbwheel and top plate LCD display. Features which only normally appear on Canon’s higher end enthusiast models. For newer users, the T6i is the better bet, but if you’re looking for lightweight DSLR with a comprehensive set of features, then you won’t go wrong with the T6s. It’s just been replaced by the new EOS 77D , available from April, and won’t continue in the range like the T6i / 750D, so if you want one, snap one up now.

Nikon’s latest DSLR is almost identical in specification to the D3300 – our top pick here, but adds Nikon’s SnapBridge bluetooth connectivity to transfer images directly to your smart device to make it that much easier to share image. The D3400 is a very good entry-level DSLR, with a range of features to appeal to new users. The newest camera here means the D3300 is a bit better value for money at the moment, but the price of the D3400 has dropped quite a bit since its launch late last year.

D5300

D5300

The D5300 was around for little more than a year before the D5500 technically replaced it. It shares the same 24.2MP sensor with an identical maximum ISO25,600 sensitivity as the D5500, whilst the D5300’s EXPEED 4 image processor and 39-point autofocus system have also been carried over to its replacement. Whilst the D5300 doesn’t sport fancy touchscreen control, you do get GPS instead. The D5300’s 600-shot battery life has since been beaten by the D5500, but it’ll still outlast a Canon T6i / 750D. All in all, it may not be the latest entry-level DSLR, but the D5300 is still a smart buy.

EOS 700D

EOS 700D

Stick the EOS Rebel T5i / 700D next to the T6i / 750D and you’ll struggle to tell them apart, as the new camera inherits the T5i’s excellent ergonomics and class-leading touch-sensitive screen. Even the good old button controls are more comprehensive than on rival Nikons, making the T5i intuitive to use, regardless of your ability. However, the T5i’s sensor can trace its roots back to the T2i released in 2010 and it’s now outclassed in terms of noise suppression and dynamic range. The 9-point autofocus system is also dated and you don’t get Wi-Fi connectivity. The T5i’s slashed price does make it a tempter, but the T6i is a more future-proof choice. Now we’ve got the new EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D, expect to see this start to disappear from shop shelves soon.

EOs 100D

EOs 100D

Canon introduced the EOS Rebel SL1 (EOS 100D outside the US) to compete with the influx of compact system cameras and it was the smallest DSLR available when it was introduced in March 2013. It’s getting on a bit now, but while the image quality hasn’t diminished, its price has, making it a good choice for anyone buying their first DSLR. Inside is Canon’s stalwart 18MP APS-C format sensor, a hybrid CMOS AF II variant which means that the focusing is faster than the T5 / 1200D when you’re composing images on the main screen – though it’s not especially quick. The three-inch screen is also touch-sensitive, which makes the SL1 easier to use thanks to Canon’s excellent interface, although there are fewer buttons and dials than on models like the T6i / 750D. Despite the SL1’s small size there’s a good chunky grip to make it feel comfortable and secure in your hand. Image quality is good, but the 24MP Nikon D3300 captures more detail.

EOS 1300d

EOS 1300d

The EOS Rebel T6 (known as the EOS 1300D outside the US) uses the same sensor as the camera it replaces, the T5 / 1200D, but it has a newer processing engine and this enables it to produce slightly better quality images. In reality you’re unlikely to be able to spot much difference at normal image viewing sizes though, so it’s not a real biggie. Where the EOS Rebel T6 does score over the T5 though is the connectivity department; its got Wi-Fi and NFC technology built-in. This means you can transfer images to your smartphone for super-quick sharing. You can also use your phone to control the camera remotely, which is ideal for taking group shots with you in the frame. The screen has also been upgraded from a 3-inch 460K dot unit to one with 920K dots, which makes images look much sharper.

Pentax K-50

Pentax K-50

Pentax is renowned for producing DSLRs with maximum bang per buck, and the K-50 is no exception. Weatherproof DSLRs that are rain and dust resistant usually cost a packet, but the K-50 offers this protection at a bargain price so you can shoot in all conditions. Just remember that you’ll have to partner it with more expensive WR (weather resistant) lenses to get the full benefit. Regardless of the lens you use, Pentax’s in-camera Shake Reduction system cuts camera shake and can even correct slightly skewed horizons. The only reason the K-50 isn’t higher on our list is Pentax’s relatively restricted lens range.

Fossil Enters India’s Wearable Market With Q Series and Misfit Ray

Fossil Enters India's Wearable Market With Q Series and Misfit RayAmerican luxury watchmaker Fossil has entered the wearable market in India, bringing in the Misfit Shine 2 and Ray, and its Q line-up of smartwatches among other products.

Both the Misfit products are capable of automatically tracking steps, distance, calories, and sleep. They can also provide alerts for calls and messages, and come with a smart button equipped for home automation. To add to that, the wearables are swimproof – unlike most Fitbit devices – though they lack a display entirely. That does mean the battery can last for up to 6 months, though.

The major caveat for some could be that the Shine 2 originally launched back in October 2015 and the Ray was announced in January 2016. Pricing wise, you’re looking at Rs. 7,495 for the cheapest version of the two. Shine 2 is available in Carbon Black and Rose Gold colour variants, and the Ray comes in Carbon Black, Rose Gold, Navy, Forest, Stainless Steel, and Stainless Steel Gold with either a sport or leather band.

As for Fossil’s own Q line-up, there are two options: the Q Wander and the Q Marshal. Both are IP67 water resistant, offer interchangeable straps (leather or metal) and are powered by Android Wear, and hence offer the same functionality. You can respond to messages using the screen, and even listen to music or receive navigation alerts using the built-in microphone and speaker.

Fossil promises a battery life of 24 hours, based on usage, and you can get 80 percent charge in less than 2 hours. The two smartwatches are priced between Rs. 21,995 to Rs. 22,595. They went up for pre-order in India last week.

The other products Fossil announced at the event include smartwatches with the brand name of Michael Kors, Skagen, Emporio Armani, and Chaps – all of which have been licensed by Fossil.

Michael Kors Access, as it is known, comes in two variants called Bradshaw Access and Dylan Access. They run Android Wear, provide activity tracking, voice activation, water resistance, wireless charging and a number of strap options – from silicone to rose gold tone. Depending on what you pick, they will run from Rs. 25,995 to Rs. 29,495.

The Skagen lineup contains the Hagen Connected hybrid smartwatch and a Skagen Connected activity tracker. Since Hagen Connected doesn’t run on Android Wear, it can provide a battery of 4-6 months, while still offering “filtered email and text notifications”. Pricing is between Rs. 14,295 and Rs. 15,495.

The Emporio Armani Connected wearables also fall in the hybrid smartwatch category, and will be available in Rose Gold, Black, Gunmetal, and Stainless Steel metal finish, and are complimented by either a three-link bracelet or a leather strap. They will cost from Rs. 17,495 to Rs. 27,995.

Rounding up the lot is the Chaps hybrid smartwatch, from Rs. 9,995 to Rs. 10,495. Fossil says that you can expect “all the functionality of a world class tracker with notifications, hidden in the beauty of a traditional watch”.

Fossil is investing heavily in the country because it believes India is the fastest growing market in Asia Pacific, and that smartwatches will constitute 40 percent of wearable market by end of this year, Jack Quinlan, APAC senior vice president of Fossil Group, said in a statement.

Sonny Vu, president and CTO for Fossil Group’s Connected Devices division, added that he believes Indians are “quick to adopt the latest” in the world of technology. That, in combination with an Indian population that is relatively young – 56 percent of 1.2 billion people are aged 30 or under – has convinced Fossil that its push in the wearable market will come good.

GoPro Unveils Foldable Karma Drone Alongside Hero5 Black, Hero5 Session Cameras

GoPro Unveils Foldable Karma Drone Alongside Hero5 Black, Hero5 Session Cameras

  • GoPro Karma drone costs $799, will be available starting Oct. 23
  • GoPro Hero5 Black costs $399; Hero5 Session $299
  • Karma drone bundled with Hero5 cameras will cost starting $999

GoPro on Monday took to the sky with a Karma drone with its first-person-action mini-cameras as part of a move to become a platform for modern-day storytelling.

GoPro founder and chief executive Nick Woodman unveiled Karma while introducing new Hero5 cameras and a new cloud-based service for storing, editing and sharing video.

“We want to help you all become great storytellers,” Woodman said after making a rock-star entrance at a media event in a tent at the Squaw Valley ski area where the 1960 Winter Olympic Games were held.

“We transformed GoPro into an end-to-end storytelling solution.”

Karma drones will be priced at $799 (roughly Rs. 54,000) when they become available starting on October 23.

The drones boast simple joystick and touch-screen controls, and fold easily into a padded backpack that is provided.

An image-stabilizing grip in the drone is designed to hold Hero cameras, which are not included in the backpack.

GoPro’s much anticipated entry into the drone market comes as the California-based company strives to distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive market for mini-cameras that can be used to capture adventures or sports from personal perspectives.

The new Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session cameras, which boast features such as voice control and ultra-high-definition image quality, will be available on October 2 with pricing of $399 (roughly Rs. 27,000) and $299 (roughly Rs. 20,000), respectively.

Karma drones bundled with Hero5 cameras will be priced at $1,099 or $999, depending on whether a Black or Session model is selected.

The company is setting out to build its adventure-oriented community, and create a steady revenue stream, with a GoPro Plus subscription service that uploads imagery to the internet cloud and provides simple tools for editing and sharing from smartphones or desktop computers.

GoPro Plus will cost $4.99 per month after it becomes available to the public on October 2.

Woodman said GoPro was packing more into its cameras, and making it easy for users to quickly compose story vignettes to share, whether doing adventure sports or enjoying beautiful moments.

“Get out there and live a big life everybody, that is what it is all about,” Woodman said as he wrapped up the media event.

 

GoPro Developer Program Announced

GoPro Developer Program

GoPro has announced the launch of the GoPro Developer Program and they have teamed up with around 100 different companies to develop apps and accessories for their GoPro devices.

Including in the list of 100 companies are BMW who are making a lap timer app for GoPro cameras, Fisher Price is developing mounts for children’s toys and there are many more projects in the work with companies like Periscope.

“Over the last few years we’ve been excited by the creativity and enthusiasm other brands have demonstrated when integrating GoPro into their own solutions,” said Nick Woodman, CEO and founder of GoPro. “The GoPro Developer Program is a way for us to celebrate the innovative work of our developer community and more importantly, help enable what comes next. We’re grateful to benefit from the collective genius of the participating developers and we’re excited to now officially support their efforts with our developer toolkits.”

Asus ROG Spatha MMO Gaming Mouse Unveiled

ASUS ROG Spatha MMO Gaming Mouse

Asus has unveiled a new gaming mouse they have created in the form of the ROG Spatha MMO witch as the name suggests has been specifically designed for massively-multiplayer online (MMO) games and comes equipped with 12 programmable buttons.

The Asus ROG Spatha MMO mouse is constructed from a magnesium alloy and includes the Asus exclusive easy swap switchable socket design together with programmable RGB LED effects.

Asus Explains a little more about what you can expect from the new gaming mouse.

Intuitive command and control : With a total of 12 programmable buttons, including six thumb buttons situated on the left side of the mouse body, ROG Spatha puts all commands at the user’s fingertips. The six buttons feature Alps switches for tactile feedback and are arranged to resemble the iconic ROG eye.

ROG Spatha has a premium magnesium-alloy chassis and an easy-swap switch socket design for quick customization. The main left and right mouse buttons are independent of the mouse body and feature OMRON switches with a 20-million-click lifespan for increased durability, responsiveness, and tactile feedback. ROG Spatha has a sensitivity of 8200 DPI; it has a DPI clutch that lets users switch between two sensitivity levels while in the middle of a game.

Dual modes for additional flexibility : Whether used in wired or wireless mode, ROG Spatha provides precise and instantaneous cursor response. In wireless mode, ROG Spatha uses a high-speed wireless connection for high data throughput and low latency.

ROG Spatha gives a polling rate of up to 2000 Hz in wired mode. A special raised connector design prevents the cable from dragging on the desk to ensure a smooth glide across any surface. ROG Spatha can be charged in wired mode, or when placed in its charging dock. It comes bundled with a braided 2 m cable and a 1 m rubber cable.

Customizable LED effects and ROG Armoury : ROG Spatha has an aggressive angular design with independently customizable RGB LED effects on the scroll wheel, side buttons, and ROG logo. It offers six different presets – Static, Breathing, Color Cycling, Trigger, Random, and Battery mode. ROG Spatha has built-in flash memory to save five different user profiles. The intuitive ROG Armoury dashboard lets users customize profiles, LED effects settings, program macros, and more.

Unfortunately no information on pricing or worldwide availability has been released as yet by Asus, but as soon as information comes to light we will keep you updated as always.

GoPro Teams With Developers to Spur Camera Sales

GoPro Teams With Developers to Spur Camera Sales

GoPro on Thursday announced it is teaming up with outside developers to make it easy to use the company’s mini cameras with apps or synch them with other devices.

The effort to make GoPro products more versatile and, ideally, more tempting to buyers was revealed a day after the California-based company announced that it hired away an Apple veteran to become vice president of the GoPro design team.

A GoPro Developer Program publicly launched at an event in San Francisco has been underway quietly for more than a year, according to the company.

“The GoPro Developer Program is a way for us to celebrate the innovative work of our developer community and more importantly, help enable what comes next,” said GoPro co-founder and chief executive Nick Woodman.

“We’re grateful to benefit from the collective genius of the participating developers and we’re excited to now officially support their efforts with our developer toolkits.”

As of launch, 100 companies including BMW, Fisher-Price, and Telefonica had partnered with GoPro in the developers program.

Technology industry titans including Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft have long courted outside developers whose innovations can make products or services more hip, fun, or functional.

Woodman said he hoped enlisting outside developers would make GoPro cameras “even more versatile, and more importantly, become even more relevant in the lives of customers we share.”

GoPro also announced a “Works with GoPro” program that provides a way for products to be verified as working with the company’s offerings.

GoPro shares took a hit after it reported quarterly earnings in February that were worse than the market’s already dismal expectations but regained a little ground on Wednesday on news of the hire of Daniel Coster, who worked on product design at Apple for some 20 years.

The company said it lost about $34.5 million (roughly Rs. 230 crores) during the holiday season quarter that ended last year, as revenue sank some 31 percent to $436.6 million (roughly Rs. 2,906 crores) when compared to the same three-month period in 2014.

GoPro became an early hit with extreme sports enthusiasts who used the mini-cameras to film their exploits, and went on to win over teens and young adults interested in sharing videos on YouTube and social networks.

The company went public in June 2014 with shares initially priced at $24 that soared in subsequent months, more than tripling in value at one point.

But investors began to worry about the company’s growth prospects and the possible saturation of an increasingly competitive market.

Win A DJI Phantom 4

DJI-Phantom-4-Drone-3

Just a quick reminder for our readers that we have teamed up with Stack Commerce and are giving away a DJI Phantom 4.

As usual the contest is free to enter, all you need to do is head on over to the Geeky Gadgets Deals store at the link below and enter your email address.

The DJI Phantom 4 is the latest drone, it can fly autonomously and can also be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

It comes with a range of features built in which include autopilot, auto follow, obstacle avoidance and more. You can find out more details about our DJI Phantom 4 contest at the link below.

SmartAll Personal Assistant And Home Security System

SmartAll home security system

SmartAll as created a new personal assistant and home security system that provides an artificial intelligence butler that is easy to install and setup and provides a fully integrated Internet of Things solution, say its creators.

The SmartAll AI Butler can be interacted with in a number of different ways even using your voice, gestures or companion smartphone application. Watch the video below to learn more about this new personal assistant that will compete with the likes of Siri and Amazons Echo devices.

SmartAll home security system

The SmartAll project is currently over on the Kickstarter crowd funding website looking to raise $100,000 in pledges to make the jump from concept to production. The creators of the SmartAll explain little more about its functionality and design :

SmartAll is a fully integrated IoT solution that customizes your home experience. It is an AI Butler that learns and adapts to your habits, anticipates your needs and orchestrate digital services to keep everyone happy and satisfied.

This smart home hub is a home security guard and the future of smart home. From ringing alarm for strangers, automatically tuning the thermostat to comfortable temperature to switching TV channels, SmartAll has everything covered. Smart and affordable, SmartAll is the best home automation solution for everyone.

What makes SmartAll more intelligent, is in its advanced machine learning function. After 7-day learning period, SmartAll will memorize every family member’s specific taste, learns their respective habits and automatically connects with other home devices to orchestrate a personalized home automation service. SmartAll AI Butler is part of the family! You can interact with the butler in various ways. SmartAll can hear you! Speak, and it will control home devices for you.

So if you think SmartAll is something your home or life style could benefit from, visit the Kickstarter website now to make a pledge and help SmartAll become a reality.

FIXD Active Car Health Monitor, Save 20%

FIXD Active Car Health Monitor

Car fans will love today’s Geeky Gadgets Deal, you can save 20% off the FIXD Active Car Health Monitor in our deals store.

The FIXD Active Car Health Monitor normally retails for $49 and we have it available in our deals store for $38.95.

FIXD Active Car Health Monitor

Fact: this compact sensor could save you thousands of dollars in car repairs. Just plug it into your car and connect to your phone via Bluetooth to get started. FIXD does everything from deciphering a “check engine” light to determining whether a problem is drivable or needs immediate attention. Even set it up with multiple cars, so no vehicle goes unprotected.

Here are some of the features:

  • Translates your check engine light in simple terms
  • Tells you the severity & consequences of the car problem
  • Reminds you when maintenance is needed
  • Allows you to clear the check engine light
  • Lets you remotely monitor all your family’s vehicles

GoPro Hires Apple Designer as VP of Design

GoPro Hires Apple Designer as VP of Design

Shares of GoPro jumped on Wednesday on word that the troubled maker of mini-cameras popular for capturing first-person action had hired away a longtime Apple designer.

GoPro shares were up slightly more than 19 percent to $13.90 at the close of trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

The California-based company announced that Daniel Coster would become the company’s vice president of design at the end of the month, reporting directly to founder and chief executive Nick Woodman.

“Ironically, Danny and I first met in December, 2001, on the beach in Sayulita, Mexico at the very start of the five-month surfing trip where I developed and tested the first GoPro prototype,” Woodman said.

“His design pedigree speaks for itself, but I will say that we feel energized to have him join GoPro.”

Coster was a member of Apple’s industrial design team for more than 20 years, contributing to a range of devices from the iPhone 4 to a wireless keypad for the iPad, GoPro said.

He said in a press release that he was honored to join the GoPro team.

“This extraordinary company is close to the hearts of so many people around the world,” Coster said.

“Its brand and products inspire us to capture and share our lives’ most important moments.”

GoPro shares took a hit last month after it reported quarterly earnings that were worse than the market’s already dismal expectations.

The company said it lost about $34.5 million during the holiday season quarter that ended last year, as revenue sank some 31 percent to $436.6 million when compared to the same three-month period in 2014.

Wall Street had braced for GoPro to essentially break even but had not expected the company to post a loss for the year-end shopping season.

The Silicon Valley-based company announced early this year it would cut seven percent of its workforce and that revenue last year was less than expected, causing shares to sink.

The job cuts represent hundreds of positions, with the stated intent being to “better align resources to key growth initiatives.”

GoPro became an early hit with extreme sports enthusiasts who used the mini-cameras to film their exploits, and went on to win over teens and young adults interested in sharing videos on YouTube and social networks.

The company went public in June 2014 with shares initially priced at $24 that soared in subsequent months, more than tripling in value at one point.

But investors began to worry about the company’s growth prospects and the possible saturation of an increasingly competitive market.

GoPro went into a prolonged slide last year.