Today’s top tier DSLR segment has plenty of exciting options that push the bounds in their respective classes. And while the mirrorless revolution is in full swing, DSLRs are here to stay.
They’re still the go-to choice in a professionals arsenal for their reliability, speed, and power. But, not every option in the competitive semi-professional and professional categories are created equal.
In this list, we’ve compiled the top five best DSLR cameras ready to tackle the most challenging photographic demands. And the options that have proven themselves worthy to become the leaders of their respective class and top contenders today.
5 – Nikon D7500
Nikon’s D7500 is the latest model and current flagship in the semi-professional D7000 series. And it’s the budget-friendly alternative to their flagship D500, with similar capabilities without the demanding starting price. Released in the summer of 2017, it features a 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor without an aliasing filter, the EXPEED 5 processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, weather sealing, digital stabilization, wireless connectivity, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses a 51-point phase-detect AF system, with 15 high-end cross-type points. And the new EXPEED 5 processor gives the camera Face Detection and 3D-tracking, combining to deliver the best subject tracking performance in the series. Nikon’s also installed a tilting touchscreen with full touch navigation for easy settings adjustments. Yet, with 8 fps bursts for 100 images and a battery life of 950 shots, it provides exceptional stamina for this class.
Overall, Nikon’s D7500 is a hidden gem in their lineup. It delivers similar speed and power as their flagship D500, but at a far more attractive price point. And it’s the perfect alternative for those wanting the D500, without its hefty price.
4 – Canon EOS 90D
Canon’s EOS 90D officially replaces the widely popular EOS 80D and is a full overhaul in capabilities over its predecessor. Released in the fall of 2019, it features a 32.5-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 8 processor, 4K video up to 30 fps, and 1080p video up to 120 fps. It also has a 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen, weather sealing, 10 fps burst, wireless connectivity, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It features Canon’s 45-point all-cross type AF system with Dual Pixel CMOS AF. But, unlike recent releases, it obtains the best iteration of this system to date. New for the system is a whopping 5,481 selectable AF points, the most on any of their cameras so far. The result is the best focusing camera Canon offers outside of the 5D Mark IV and 1DX flagship. This camera also debuts the world’s first 32MP sensor, making it the highest resolution APS-C digital SLR. Yet, even with its power, it still offers an excellent battery life of 1,300 shots per charge.
Overall, Canon 90D is a perfect example of a split personality SLR and mirrorless hybrid. It’s a game-changing release from Canon that redefines the traditional capabilities from an SLR. And it marks a notable improvement over the predecessor and their best APS-C camera to date.
3 – Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon’s 5D Mark IV marks the latest installment into their acclaimed 5D series. The EOS 5D series is one of the most sought-after and respected lineups in the industry, and the Mark IV surely continues suit. It features a 30.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 6+ image processor, 4K UHD video up to 30 fps, and 1080p full HD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, dual card slots, weather sealing, built-in timelapse, 7 fps burst, wireless connectivity, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It obtains the 61-point phase-detection AF system from the flagship 1DX Mark II, with 41 higher-end cross-type points. And it also inherits Canon’s renowned Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smooth and confident focusing in Live View. The combination creates the best focusing system in the 5D series to date. And it’s new 30MP sensor also provides the best image quality, and dynamic range Canon offers outside of their 1DX. Plus, battery life is excellent for the class at 900 shots per charge.
Overall, Canon 5D Mark IV holds steadfast to the original heritage of the 5D series and remains a well-rounded competitive camera. To date, it’s their cornerstone camera and remains the workhorse in a professionals arsenal as an all-in-one tool. And it carries the familiar design and layout, with the greatest performance the series has ever seen.
2 – Nikon D850
Nikon’s D850 is their latest trailblazer release in the super-high-resolution DSLR market and the official replacement to the popular D810. Initially released in the fall of 2017, it features a 45.7-megapixel CMOS sensor without an aliasing filter, the EXPEED 5 image processor, 4K UHD video up to 30 fps and 1080p FHD video up to 60 fps. It also has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 9 fps bursts, weather sealing, dual card slots, time-lapse, wireless connectivity, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It obtains the same 153-point phase-detection autofocusing system from Nikon’s flagship D5. And combined with its 3D-tracking and Group-Area AF, it’s performance now rivals Sony’s as the best focusing system in the category. However, unlike rivals, its enormous 45MP back-side illuminated sensor provides class-leading resolution and best-in-class dynamic range at 12 stops. Yet, it still manages to deliver the longest battery life in this entire class at 1,840 shots per charge.
Overall, Nikon’s D850 up’s the standards in professionalism and robustness, despite the current trends towards smaller mirrorless cameras. It represents the culmination of Nikon’s best improvements and technology throughout their entire ecosystem into a single body. And it’s one of the most fully-featured SLRs on the market to date.
1 – Nikon D780
Nikon’s D780 officially replaces the highly popular D750. And not only is it their newest camera, but it’s also their most refined and, arguably, versatile release. It features a 24.5-megapixel CMOS sensor, the EXPEED 6 image processor, 4K UHD video up to 30 fps, and 1080p Full HD video up to 120 fps. It also has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 7 fps burst, time-lapse, weather sealing, dual card slots, wireless connectivity, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses the same 51-point phase-detection AF system with 3D-tracking and group-area AF as the D7500. However, it’s the first to incorporate a 273-point PDAF Live View system with eye-detection for critically sharp portraits and videos. The camera can also shoot at 12 fps in complete silence using Live View. And unlike the predecessor, Nikon’s equipped this camera with 10-bit N-log and HLG to preserve detail, dynamic range and contrast for professional video recordings. And with a battery life of 2,260 shots per charge, it offers stamina unmatched by any camera.
Overall, Nikon’s D780 shatters our expectations of traditional SLR capabilities. It’s an enormous upgrade to an already proven platform. And with updates to speed, processing, video capabilities, and focusing, this is Nikon’s best all-rounder. And surely their best DSLR for video.