The 5 Best DSLR Cameras on Earth Today

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras dominate the photography world, beloved by everyone from hobbyists to professionals for their image quality, versatility and precise manual controls.

Compared to phone cameras and point-and-shoot models, DSLRs give photographers total creative freedom with interchangeable lenses, larger sensors, superior low-light capabilities and an endless array of custom settings.

But with so many options on the market, choosing the right DSLR can be tricky.

That‘s why we‘ve done the research to spotlight the 5 best DSLR cameras available today, along with insights from veteran photographers on why they love these models.

How We Chose the Best DSLR Cameras

Selecting the top DSLRs involved more than just comparing specifications. We rigorously analyzed real-world performance in diverse shooting scenarios.

Key factors we evaluated include:

  • Image Quality: Pixel count, dynamic range, noise control and color rendering
  • Features: Autofocus, burst rate, video resolution and innovative capabilities
  • Build Quality: Weather sealing, control layout, viewfinder/LCD clarity
  • Lenses & Accessories: System support and available equipment
  • Value: Performance relative to price

We also considered ideal users, getting input from photographers specializing in genres from portraiture to sports.

Balance across these metrics determined the DSLRs worthy of "best on Earth" status. Let‘s see which cameras earned this elite honor.

Best Overall: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Key Specs:

  • 20.1MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC X Image Processor
  • ISO 100-102400
  • 16FPS Continuous Shooting
  • 191-point AF System with Deep Learning
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 4K 60P Uncropped Video

There‘s a reason Canon‘s EOS-1D series sits atop the DSLR hierarchy⁠—the Mark III iteration takes the renowned high-performance pedigree to new heights.

"Simply put, the 1D X Mark III produces the best image quality I‘ve ever gotten with a Canon camera," said sports photographer Peter Read Miller.

Powering the Mark III is Canon‘s latest DIGIC X processor and a redesigned 20.1MP sensor capable of lightning-quick 16 fps bursts. This new sensor, when combined with the DIGIC X‘s precision autofocus drive and advanced noise reduction, yields phenomenal images even in challenging high ISO situations.

Another game-changing upgrade is the 191-point AF Leveraging Deep Learning for human and animal subject tracking. The system automatically selects focus points to keep fast-moving subjects in sharp focus. Such intelligent tracking gives an invaluable edge when split-second timing is everything.

With its muscular build, nimble performance and exemplary image quality across disciplines, the 1D X Mark III stands alone as the top DSLR on the market.

Ideal For: Professional photographers who demand the best autofocus performance and image quality possible.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The EOS-1D X Mark III achieves AF tracking excellence with Canon‘s Deep Learning Technology. Photo credit: Canon


  • Superb image quality
  • Intelligent tracking AF
  • Robust weather sealing


  • Expensive
  • Heavy body

Bottom Line: Offering speed, innovative tech and top-tier image quality, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III stands as the best DSLR available.

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Best Budget: Canon EOS Rebel T8i

Key Specs:

  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detect AF
  • 4K 24P Video and Vertical Video Support
  • Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD

DSLRs need not break the bank⁠—Canon‘s EOS Rebel T8i (also called 850D) packs advanced tech and excellent performance into an affordable package.

Weighing just 17 ounces, the lightweight T8i handles comfortably during long shoots. The grip strikes an ergonomic balance between slim and sturdy. Buttons and dials provide intuitive tactile control.

A standout feature is the fast, accurate Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection for people and animals. This focusing tech ensures eyes stay razor sharp when framing portraits or pet photos.

Image quality shines thanks to a 24MP APS-C sensor working in tandem with Canon‘s latest DIGIC 8 processor. Dynamic range and high ISO noise control show marked improvement over prior Rebel models.

Videographers will appreciate 4K video, vertical shooting for social media, and clean HDMI out. Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi round out a comprehensive feature set.

Ideal For: Beginners, families, travel and general photography. The T8i hits a sweet spot between price and performance.

Canon EOS Rebel T8i

The T8i adds 4K video capture and enhanced Live View AF to Canon‘s proven Rebel DSLR formula. Photo credit: Canon


  • Lightweight build
  • Intuitive interface
  • Excellent Live View AF


  • Plastic-y construction
  • Burst rate lags rivals

Bottom Line: The Rebel T8i continues Canon‘s legacy of outstanding entry-level DSLRs, highlighted by refined tech, approachable handling and beautiful image quality.

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Best for Video: Nikon D780

Key Specs:

  • 24.5MP Full-Frame BSI CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 6 Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30 Video; N-Log & 10-Bit HDMI Out
  • 2.36m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • Dual SD Card Slots

While all DSLRs capture great still photos, not every model pulls double duty for video. That‘s why Nikon‘s D780 merits recognition as the best full-frame DSLR for filmmakers.

Inside is a 24MP backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor—optimized for video recording and fast readout speeds—working alongside Nikon‘s powerful EXPEED 6 image processor.

Impressively, the D780 shoots full pixel readout 4K video without cropping the sensor. Footage looks sharp with excellent dynamic range and tonality. For pro video needs, thereʼs 10-bit N-Log output over HDMI and Flat Picture Profile.

The rear LCD adds touch functionality, letting videographers smoothly shift focus points and make setting adjustments while recording. Photographers benefit from upgraded Live View autofocus that uses on-sensor phase detection for DSLR-leading accuracy. This makes the D780 a versatile stills/video hybrid.

Ideal For: Photojournalists, corporate filmmakers or hybrid shooters needing top-notch 4K video in a DSLR body.

Nikon D780

A flip-out vari-angle LCD screen highlights the Nikon D780ʼs excellent video features. Photo credit: Nikon


  • Sharp 4K video
  • Phase detect Live View AF
  • Dual card slots


  • No built-in flash
  • Live View AF still lags mirrorless

Bottom Line: Top-tier video recording chops combined with trademark Nikon image quality make the D780 a phenomenal hybrid camera.

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Best for Beginners: Nikon D3500

Key Specs:

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • ISO 100-25600
  • 5 FPS Continuous Shooting
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Bluetooth and SnapBridge Connectivity

Nikon packs tremendous imaging performance into the beginner-friendly D3500—a compact DSLR with intuitive controls and virtually limitless expandability.

Updated ergonomics shrink the camera‘s size yet retain a rugged build and professional button layout. Controls fall easily to hand for comfortable one-handed operation.

An enhanced 24MP image sensor offers phenomenal detail and sharpness while keeping noise impressively low even when lighting gets dim. EXPEED 4 processing ensures colors look vibrant yet accurate.

Although small on the outside, the D3500 accepts all of Nikon‘s F-mount lenses spanning over 60 years of production. This backward compatibility lets photographers re-use existing glass or unlock new creative perspectives as skills progress.

Built-in Bluetooth pairs seamlessly with Nikon‘s SnapBridge app for instant photo sharing or remote camera control. This smart connectivity makes the 3500 feel modern and engaging for the next generation of content creators.

Ideal For: First-time DSLR users ready to upgrade from phone or point-and-shoot cameras. Also great for parents or casual photographers.

Nikon D3500

A redesigned body puts improved ergonomics and imaging in a portable package with the Nikon D3500. Photo credit: Nikon


  • Compact and lightweight
  • Image quality punches above its class
  • Huge lens ecosystem


  • No 4K video
  • Basic 11-point AF system

Bottom Line: Delivering incredible photos and ease of use at a budget-friendly price, the Nikon D3500 stands tall as the best entry-level DSLR available.

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Best Premium: Nikon D6

Key Specs:

  • 20.8MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 6 Image Processor
  • ISO 50-3280000
  • 14 FPS Shooting
  • 105 All Cross-Type AF Points
  • 4K UHD Video Recording

In the elite world of pro DSLR cameras, Nikon‘s flagship D6 reaffirms its status by pushing speed, durability and autofocus performance to astounding new heights.

The new 20.8MP FX-format sensor strikes an ideal balance between resolution and blazing 14fps burst shooting complete with full AF/autoexposure performance. This unprecedented capture velocity gives professionals indispensable flexibility when peak action cannot be repeated.

Sensor and EXPEED 6 processor upgrades enable ISO 3.28 million sensitivity to lift shadows in the dimmest light. Noise control at high ISOs shatters expectations for clarity.

Positional accuracy further bolsters the D6‘s role as the undisputed choice for critical assignments. The Multi-CAM 37K autofocus module over 105 selectable points snaps into crisp focus with ruthless precision. Magnesium alloy sealing safeguards against the harshest conditions.

"After shooting major sporting events around the globe, I can‘t imagine having to capture the moment without a D6 in my hands," remarked photojournalist Brian Smith. "Simply put, no other camera focuses as quickly, accurately and reliably as the D6."

Ideal For: Professionals who photograph fast action or work in extreme environments. Worth the investment for top-tier image quality and unmatched AF performance.


  • Lightning fast burst shooting
  • Next-level AF tracking
  • Tank-like durability


  • High price tag
  • Overkill for hobbyists

Bottom Line: The pinnacle of DSLR engineering and performance, Nikon‘s flagship D6 delivers the speed, accuracy and image quality that professional photographers stake their careers on.

See Price on B&H Photo

How to Choose the Right DSLR Camera

With so many fantastic DSLRs to pick from, narrowing your selection can feel overwhelming. But focusing on a few key factors makes finding the perfect camera much easier.

Image Quality

A DSLR‘s most important job is recording beautiful photos. Larger sensors, higher megapixel counts, and improved processors all contribute to improved resolution, dynamic range and low-light performance. Consider output quality needed relative to shooting scenarios…is noiseless high ISO more important or do you require ultimate detail?

Shooting Performance

Blazing fast FPS, quick autofocus, and deep image buffers help capture fast action. Performance demands depend on your specialty… are you freezing a cheetah mid-sprint or shooting landscapes? Set realistic standards based on typical subject matter.

Ergonomics & Build

Hold the camera in your hands before buying. Getting comfortable with button placement affects how quickly you access vital functions. Weather sealing matters more for outdoor, adventure and sports photographers. Don‘t overlook viewfinder magnification for eye-level composing.

Video Features

Casual video requires much less than a dedicated videographer. Know what video specs and codec options to prioritize for vlogging, narrative shorts or documentary editing. Only pay for 4K or other advanced functionality that matches production needs.


Lastly, set a clear ceiling for what to spend on your DSLR camera body, lenses and accessories. Compromises will be necessary to fit different budgets, but the versatility of cameras highlighted here guarantees outstanding capability at every price point.

Determining ideal balance of these elements for your unique style and subjects means you‘ll end up with the perfect DSLR camera for capturing stunning, creative photos for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are DSLR cameras still worth it compared to mirrorless models?

DSLRs still hold key advantages including longer battery life, wider lens ecosystems and the optical viewfinder experience many photographers still prefer. DSLRs deliver familiar ergonomics and handling along with proven image quality. So yes, they remain incredibly capable photographic tools offering great value.

Does more megapixels automatically make a better camera?

Not at all. Pixel count is secondary to actual sensor performance characteristics like noise control, color rendering and dynamic range that determine overall image quality. Also consider viable output sizes… the difference between 20MP and 30MP is negligible if you‘re not printing billboards!

Which brand has the best DSLR cameras?

Canon, Nikon and Pentax all produce great DSLRs—there‘s not one clear winner in all categories. Canon leads at the top-end with cameras like EOS-1D X Mark III while Nikon dominates the budget category. Unique needs and individual preferences determine which brand has the right fit.

What‘s better: Nikon or Canon?

There‘s no consensus on Canon vs Nikon supremacy. Both brands make phenomenal DSLRs. Try out their menu systems—some users find one more intuitive than the other. Also compare available lenses in case unique options exist. Either way, you can‘t go wrong!

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