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Cheap SLR cameras: good deals

Still considered the Rolls Royce of digital photography, this system is still very efficient and the most versatile, but it is also the most cumbersome and the most expensive. Today competing with high-end compacts and especially hybrids, it still has real assets for it and still enjoys significant success. It is all the more true that today many manufacturers are releasing very compact models without compromising on image quality, and in particular without reducing the size of the sensor.

We have chosen to select some thoracically replaced models, but still available because of a clearly favorable price-performance ratio.

Nikon D3500: the best mid-range DSLR

nikon D3500

Aimed at amateurs looking for a door into the world of DSLR, the D3500 offers a very interesting image quality for its price, even when the brightness decreases, thanks to its 24 mgapixel CMOS sensor in APS-C format. Its autofocus module is sensitive and precise and its shutter / processor couple ensures a burst rate with point tracking of 5 i / s. Communication with smartphones is possible thanks to a bluetooth connection and the D3500 is compatible with the whole of the very beautiful Nikon optical range.

WE LOVEThe quality of the photo image The responsiveness of a specific navigation mode for beginners (deactivable) The price The compatible optical range The presence of a built-in flash

We are not bornThe absence of UHD The only rudimentary use in video The fixed screen and not touch The viewfinder a little triqu

Canon EOS 250D: the best amateur SLR for standard use

canon eos 250D

Canon EOS 250 D bare body – 519.99 on Fnac

Successor of the EOS 200D, it takes up its reduced size, the CMOS sensor of 24 mgapixels in APS-C format with which it associates a DIGIC 8 processor of the latest generation. The image quality offered is very good (better in particular than that of the hybrids in this price range) and thanks to the technology of development by phase correlation integrated into the so-called Dual Pixel AF sensor and the presence of an adjustable touch screen, it is more precise and more responsive in liveview and video than its competitors in the amateur SLR range. Its video mode also evolves and integrates the UHD format at a rate of 30p. Compact, efficient and versatile, it also benefits from a very studied price.

WE LOVEImage quality and compactness The easy-to-use photo and video focusing system The adjustable touch screen The UHDInterface simplifies for beginnersThe priceThe compatible optical range The presence of a built-in flash

We are not bornThe viewfinder a little triq Cropping in video (really important in UHD)

Canon EOS 77D: the best value for money-versatility of the expert range

canon eos 77D

Successor to the late 760D of which we thought the most good, it is an EOS 800D (see our test of the Canon EOS 77D) with ergonomics oriented towards expert use (2 adjustment wheel and LCD screen on the hood). The advantage of this new generation lies mainly in the progress of autofocus (45-point main module, much more efficient in low light conditions, and Dual pixel AF system from 80D in liveview and video) and a slight progress of the burst that goes from 5 6 fps. The image quality is also always very good (the images can be used without worries up to 6400iso, even 12800 iso depending on the uses). A healthy and efficient box able to provide services to many users.

WE LOVEImage quality Compactness Convenient photo and video focusing system Tactile and swiveling screen UHD The possibility of using a simplified interface for beginners The price The compatible optical range The presence of a flash integrated

We are not bornThe lack of UHD

Nikon D610: the full-frame SLR less than 1000 euros

Image 1: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?

Nikon D610 botier nu – 899 on Fnac

The Nikon D610 is a very slight evolution of the D600, free of its dust problem. It therefore incorporates the main qualities (excellent finish and good image quality thanks to a full-frame sensor of 24 Mpixels for a low cost) which it actually only updates under another name. Released 5 years ago, it currently enjoys a very interesting price-quality ratio, it is indeed the only full-frame SLR camera under 1000 euros.

WE LOVEImage quality Full-frame sensor Construction quality Beautiful viewfinder 100

We are not bornRudimentary video mode (no UHD, no focus tracking) Fixed, non-touch screen

Pentax K70: the expert, robust and affordable SLR

Image 2: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?

Pentax K70 + 18-135mm Zoom Lens – 899 on Fnac

Entirely tropicalized, equipped with the most comfortable viewfinder of the category (and by far), of a good image quality (thanks to the borrowing from the expert model K3 II of its very good APS-C sensor of 24 mgapixels) and of a flowing and sensitive autofocus in all situation, the K70 has serious advantages. To avoid spoiling anything, it also offers two adjustment knobs as on the expert models and a high-performance mechanical stabilization system for the sensor. Admittedly its use remains rustic, but its particular qualities make it a case without equivalent in its category, all the more that a tariff repositioning gives it a very interesting quality / price ratio.

WE LOVESolidity Image quality Ergonomics well thought out for manual use Stabilization of the sensor Value for money

We are not bornThe eastern non-touch screen The absence of UHD The large size for an APS-C

Nikon D7500: the DSLR for expert photographers under 1000 euros

Image 3: Comparison: which is the best SLR camera?

Very well built, the D7500 has enough to make you salivate. Despite the reservations regarding certain classic ergonomic choices at Nikon, the rigor of its design and the introduction of a touch screen (with limited functionality) are to be welcomed. If the image quality is there (new APS-C CMOS sensor of 21 mgapixels associated with the Expeed 5 processor), the overall performance is very solid. The main AF module does its job perfectly. The focusing module by contrast detection used in video and liveview is no match for the competition, however hard-working photographers looking for a very efficient and less expensive camera than the D500 will probably find their happiness there (read our review of the Nikon D7500).

WE LOVEImage quality Photo reactivity Tiltable touch screen Beautiful optical viewfinder

We are not bornOrganizing menus Cropping result in UDH Limited number of video formats

Canon EOS 90D: high resolution and high performance

Image 4: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?

Last EOS SLR two figures to date (and last anyway?), The 90D has solid arguments against the hybrid offer. It offers indeed a precise picture indicated in its category with the record definition for an APS-C box of 32.5 Mpixels. The couple sensor / processor Digic 8 offers in addition a very beautiful response in low light from the point of view of the restitution of the details. The dynamics when the luminosity decreases are conventionally more limited. Thanks to two high-performance phase-corrected AF modules (one classic with SLR and the other integrated into the sensor) and an efficient shutter, its reactivity and precision are very good in photography (10 fps with point tracking in classic mode and 7 fps in liveview) as in video. The presence of an adjustable touch screen and a UHD 30p mode (up to 120p in Full HD) also make it a very comfortable camera in video mode.

WE LOVEThe restitution of fine details The very nice responsiveness The ergonomics expert The tactile and orientable screen The presence of UDH without cropping The uncompressed HDMI output (4: 2: 2 / 8bits) The tropicalization The resolution-performance-price ratio

We are not bornThe essentially plastic construction The non-stabilized sensor The dynamic limit when the brightness decreases

Nikon D500: the professional APS-C

Image 5: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?

By presenting a volume and ergonomics very close to that of the full-frame D810, the D500 is undoubtedly cut to meet the requirements of professionals. Solid and waterproof, it takes up the excellent AF module of the D5 and offers mechanical qualities of competition (ex: burst of 10 fps with point tracking) and a 100% high-flying target. Given the qualities in low light (sensitivity 12800 iso still usable), the APS-C sensor format is even an advantage by allowing very wide coverage of the AF module and a multiplying coefficient favorable to long focal lengths. With a tilting and touch screen and UHD format, its video mode is very well provided. This level of quality nevertheless costs money and the price of the D500 remains high.

WE LOVEThe build quality The beautiful 100% viewfinder The image quality The sensitivity The reactivity The tilting and touch screen The presence of the UDH

We are not bornThe important cropping in UHD

Nikon D850: the most powerful professional SLR in photo

Image 6: Comparison: which is the best SLR camera?

Thanks to a backlit full-frame 45 mgapixel CMOS-type sensor with a low-pass filter, the latest from Nikon's factories offers very high-quality image quality even under difficult conditions, as well as speed, reactivity and precision formidable. The user comfort has been taken care of and the video mode is very interesting, with the exception of an AF module that could be improved. Add that to a very competitive relative price in terms of its qualities and competing proposals, and you have before you the most high-resolution professional SLR camera of the moment, quite simply (see our test of the Nikon D850).

WE LOVEImage quality The care given to construction (especially at the low level of vibration caused by raising the mirror when triggered) The very efficient and largely adjustable autofocus Ergonomics The very beautiful wide and bright viewfinder The UHD 30p without Cropping and the possibilities of slow motion The tilting touch screen

We are not bornThe silent trigger mode available in liveview The autofocus in video

Aim as a cornerstone

The optical sight reflex (SLR) is what historically gave its name to this range of devices. The image is captured by the lens, returned by a mirror and then returned to the spot by a Pentaprism (or a pentamirror) to be delivered to it via a viewfinder. This system, the only way to accurately appreciate the sharpness and depth of field with such acuity, has reigned supreme in the world of photography for decades.

Today it is seriously challenged by the system semi-transparent mirror from Sony (SLT). Less natural there and today less precise in the appreciation of sharpness and contrasts, because it is an electronic aim, it offers other advantages which we will come back to (for discretion in particular). Even if on a strictly technical level the devices fitted with this aiming system are rather classified on the side of hybrids, their positioning and the audience they target are definitely those of the SLRs from which they take all the other characteristics (including the presence of a mirror, even if it is fixed and not opaque). For clarity, we have therefore chosen to treat them jointly with SLR cameras.

Some models offer adjustable notches, a real advantage for looking for different angles which are particularly appreciable, even essential in video mode.

Image 7: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?SLR cameras operating with a mirror system (Credit: CC BY-SA Jean Franois WITZ)

Sensor size and accuracy

Still in the mid-range, the format APS-C quickly disappears in favor of full format as soon as we enter the segment 1500-2000 euros bare body. The recent exit from APS-C boxes mechanical performance worthy of the best professional models (eg Canon 7D MkII or Nikon D500) nevertheless leads to qualify this general observation. For certain uses the multiplying coefficient of the focal length that this format induces however provides certain advantages: without cropping the long focal lengths see their effectiveness reinforced. Likewise, the target area is so reduced, in the expert range the autofocus sensors cover wider areason these boxes than on those with sensitive surface 2436.

The full format is better than the other sensor formats of smaller sizes from all points of view (sensitivity, dynamics, etc.), provided that the increase in the surface does not necessarily go hand in hand with an excessive increase in the definition.

We are entering a complex area here, because if information
what really matters is the area
, the definition can paradoxically play in
both ways: its increase leads to a decrease in quality
image in high sensitivity when the image requires a viewing of
proximity or large. However, the grain produced is also more
end and, size of print paper equal, the sensors of very large
precision (36 mgapixels and more) now bear comparison with
those proposing a more modest definition. However, with some exceptions in
the very high sensitivities, the gap is widening quite clearly on the ground
of digital noise,
dynamics or colorimetric drives.

Optical range and accessories

In the world of SLR, the camera is just one of the many elements of the shooting system among which the lenses occupy a place almost as important as the camera. Their influence on the final image is indeed fundamental. So make sure that the brand you choose offers a optical range according to your needs. In this area all qualities and all prices exist. Two remarks to help you orient yourself within an extremely varied offer: versatility is often the enemy of quality (from the point of view of piquing no trans-standard zoom, even professional, will be worth a 50mm f / 1.8 100 or 150 euros) , for leisure use exposing you to extremely diverse situations, it would still be better to favor versatility.

Another observation: even if the volume of the boxes tends to be reduced, and even drastically for certain recent models, the obstruction of the objectives plays, as for hybrids, an important limiting factor. Indeed, despite the real efforts of the manufacturers, impratives related to the laws of optics do not allow to miniaturize the objectives beyond a certain limit. Consequence: only very flat fixed focal length type pancake are for the moment even to really contain the bulk of the camera-lens pair.

If you want to add your camera-lens couple other accessories such as a cobra flash, an extended ring for the macro, a remote shutter release, etc. (the list is long), we also advise you to compare the prices with the various manufacturers before making a final choice of case. Some tend to profit a little too much from user captivity.

Finally, an element that seems obvious, but which is too often left aside in fact: be very attentive battery life, because there is no point in having the best camera in the world if it is unable to trigger when you need it and the models are far from equivalent in this area.

Mechanical qualities and light measurement

A reflex system is supposed to allow a varied use, therefore be vigilant with the performances of autofocus, of shutter (maximum speed, flash sync, burst) and the stabilization. For the record, optical stabilizers are, with some exceptions, more efficient, but also more expensive (you have to pay for each lens) than those that work mechanically.

Even without being a specialist, one element makes it possible to steer among the various autofocus systems: globally the modules fitted with cross type collimators are the most efficient. Today many models offer this kind of module in the image center, however significant disparities remain in the peripheral areas, so we advise you to be particularly attentive.

Likewise, to prepare for all situations, make sure that your camera has a light measuring cell having all the necessary modes (matrix, central weighted and selective / spot).

Ergonomics and construction

The reflex cameras are normally designed to allow you to face the most varied situations, the design of commands and menus should also catch your eye. If you take too long to access the setting you need, you can indeed miss your image. So choose a box at clearest operation and as easy as possible. Again, all manufacturers are not equal, in the design of menus as in the choice of commands directly accessible by dedicated buttons (sensitivity, exposure, switch to video mode, light measurement mode, etc.).

Likewise, make sure that the design of the device allows good grip. A too small handle for your hands will take photos at low speed at a calvary, because it will be difficult for you to ensure sufficient stability to ensure clarity. Also be careful when building the camera: for everyday use, most SLR cameras will do the trick from this point of view, on the other hand, a habit of traveling off the beaten track would be preferable to tropicaliss botiers enjoying a metal construction.

Image 8: Comparison: what is the best SLR camera?A large handle will ensure good stability, even with a consequent objective.

Video quality

Until recently, the case
SLR cameras certainly offered very good image quality on video, but
suffered a significant delay on the hybrids and the SLT range in the
autofocus area. Their systems were indeed
until now too slow to effectively follow up on the subject. Now the
large size of the sensors causing a shallow depth of field,
manual focus is far from obvious.

Autofocus system integration
 phase detection directly on the sensors allows today a very
good level of performance on some models. We therefore invite
users who want to use their reflex to film very
vigilant autofocus and favor the boxes incorporating modules
this guy.

Other point don't
neglect: in order to best meet the specific needs of
video use, some manufacturers have released optics including the race
less brutal and quieter operation (e.g.
Canon STM range). Those of you who are particularly sensitive to
Video footage was of interest in moving to this type of material.