Recommended DSLR Cameras

Canon Rebel T4i

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
18MP • 18-135mm Lens • The 18-135mm lens is a great lens to have and a perfect walk around lens for your first camera! The T4i is not the latest on the market, but has been proven to be a great camera if you’re looking at starting out with Canon.

Canon 70D

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
20MP • 18-135mm Lens • This 70D was recently announced by Canon has some nice upgrades. If you’re looking for something a little better than the T4i/T5i, this would be the camera for you! The 18-135mm is a great lens to have on the camera too for a kit lens.

Nikon D5200

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-105mm Lens • This was an amazing camera compared to the late Canon T5i. There are a lot of nice features in this Nikon. To see a full review by Jim and Dustin – click here.

Nikon D7100

♥ ♥ ♥ Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-105mm Lens • This is the update to the successful D7000. If you thought about moving up to the D7000, you might as well pick up this bad boy and enjoy the new features. To see full list of specs, click BUY NOW.


Canon 6D

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
20MP • 24-105mm Lens • Full Frame • For Canon’s entry level Full-Frame DSLR, you can’t go wrong with this camera. Apart from not having a flip-out touchscreen, this Canon comes feature packed with amazing shots! It’s a great way to get started in the full-frame segment.

Nikon D600

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 24-85mm Lens • Full-Frame • This technology rich camera can satisfy nearly anyone who was considering the D800. Also full-frame and contending with the Canon 6D – you cannot go wrong with this Nikon if you’re looking to stay within the family.

Sony A77

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • 18-135mm Lens • Sony is working hard to keep enter the competive race of DSLRs. They have some great cameras with bleeding edge technology that is trying to get mainstream. Read below for our thoughts on Sony cameras.



Canon 5D Mark III

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
22MP • 24-105mm Lens • Full Frame • There have been a lot of great reviews on this camera and loved by Sports and Portrait photographers. The camera operates faster than the Nikon D800 when it comes to fast paced shoots.

Nikon D800

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
36MP • BODY-ONLY • Full-Frame • If you are looking for a high-quality imaging camera. This is the one for you! Tons of megapixels that you can see every little detail in your photo with clarity. Landscape photographers are simply in HEAVEN with this one.

Sony A99

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Improve’s Review:
24MP • BODY-ONLY • Full-Frame • This is Sony’s top of the line full-frame camera that they offer. It’s compariable to the Canon 5D Mark III as the D800 seems to be a little out of this world sometimes. For Sony Pro’s, here you go!



Which DSLR is better? Canon or Nikon?

There are many differences between Canon and Nikon.  Some of the differences are significant, but most are trivial.  Having the opportunity to shoot both brands on a regular basis, here are the major differences that I have found between Canon and Nikon cameras.

Benefits of Nikon DSLR Cameras

  • Nikon cameras almost always have more focus points.  This is a major advantage because it enables you to follow the rule of thirds where Canon cameras often don’t have focus points near the third lines–forcing the photographer to focus and recompose.
  • Nikon cameras are often slightly less expensive than comparable Canon cameras.
  • Slightly larger sensors.  Nikon uses a crop sensor that is slightly larger than the comparable Canons.  Obviously this isn’t true for full frame cameras, which are identical in size between the brands.
  • Megapixels.  Some photographers discount the benefit of having high megapixel cameras, but I personally find it immensely useful when cropping.  Also, working with a high megapixel image in Photoshop makes a big difference because the increased amount of data allows you to push tools further without showing a loss of detail.
  • Built-in features.  Nikon is often more willing to include features such as timelapse and bracketing into its cameras.

Benefits of Canon DSLR Cameras

  • Better color and contrast in RAW files.  Many photographers think that RAW files come straight off the sensor without processing, but that is not technically true.  Canon RAW photos look more polished when you first look at them on the computer, but please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not saying Nikon photos look any less colorful or contrasty when finished.  I’m only saying they look more polished straight out of the camera when shooting in RAW.  If you shoot in JPEG, you’ll notice a difference in the color styles, but the final photo will look just as good from one camera as the other.
  • More user-friendly UI.  The user interface and menu system on Canon cameras has always seemed more intuitive to me than the Nikon system.  However, Nikon is working to improve on this front with new GUI features on the D5200.
  • Focus motor.  There are very few lenses on the market that require the camera to have its own focus motor.  Usually the focus motor is found in the lens.  However, the popular Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens requires a focus motor and some of the entry-level Nikon DSLRs don’t have a focus motor.  This means that newer photographers are forced to spend an extra $120 for the 50mm f/1.8G lens to get a focus motor.  This is a very minor difference, but since most new photographers will eventually buy this lens, it is something to be aware of.  Advantage Canon.
  • Video.  Canon is currently winning the DSLR video race, but the difference is now only minor.  The last few announcements from Nikon in 2013 have brought their DSLR video functionality very close to what Canon has succeeded with in previous years.

When it really comes down to it, buy whichever brand has the best camera in your price range and then stick with that brand.

What about Sony and “the OTHER guys?”

Canon and Nikon currently dominate the DSLR camera market.  In fact, we recently did a survey of the Improve Photography community and found that over 95% of them shoot either Canon or Nikon.  Obviously, this number doesn’t mean that Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, or any other camera brand is inferior.

In fact, Pentax uses excellent camera sensors and Sony cameras have excellent frame rates and other drool-worthy features.  Olympus is changing the landscape of the camera industry with its excellent Micro 4/3 cameras.

HOWEVER (and this is a significant however), if you are going to buy a DSLR I still recommend sticking with Canon or Nikon for most photographers.  Why?  Because Canon and Nikon have dominated the market for so long that they have unmatched lens lineups, more compatible accessories, your friends are shooting them so you can borrow lenses, etc.

Now the Sony question… My two major beefs with Sony cameras are (1) Their lens line up simply doesn’t compare to Nikon or Canon.  This is true even if you look at the Rokinon, Zeiss, and other third party lenses.   Don’t get me wrong.  There are HUNDREDS of lenses available in Sony mount, but if you get serious about your photography and go pro, you may find some missing holes in the lens lineup–particularly in the super telephoto range.  (2) Their accessories, particularly for flash photography, are nowhere near what you can get from the two main manufacturers.  Since Sony stuck with the Minolta hot shoe instead of using the same hotshoe as Canon and Nikon, you miss out on some flash photography accessories.

Sony makes fantastic cameras.  For many users, I think the Sony cameras will be their best option–particularly for those who need a fast frame rate and do not plan on buying expensive professional lenses.  I only mention these reservations as a point of note before you make the Sony leap.

Should I go full frame?

Good question… one which I have answered extensively in this post.

Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. says

    Very profound, Slavo! However, I find that I think about all three (with emphasis on the second ;-/), because without money, there is no way of acquiring the gear, no matter how much light there is…. :-)

    • SLAVO says

      Yes, money is the power… it’s so sad… hmm my Pentax K1000 and 50 mm f/1.7 cost me a year work in 1988 , now probably few pounds on ebuy… and still give me better pic then d4 or 5d if light is perfect of course… my cell phone now give me better pic then my first dslr… so what??? for me if you see (feel) the light you will find the way to take a pic…

  2. Joefbs says

    I have the T5i and I am wondering if i made a good purchase or if I should have spent the extra money to get something better. After listening and reading, I am finding that all the talk is about the higher end cameras. I am a beginner and i’m sure that this camera is fine for me……but, will I be looking o upgrade quicker than expected? I want to be able to take great photos with what I have.

  3. Carrie says

    I have heard that the Canon T4i has been recalled and is difficult to purchase even if you are willing to put up with the reasons it was recalled. As I would like either a T5i or T3i, it would be helpful to know your opinion about either of these options since the T4i is not really an option. Thanks!

  4. Cherri says

    I have been using a Pentax in one form or another for many years. I love my K5iis and don’t really don’t want to change, but now that I’m getting serious about learning from the experts I’m finding it frustrating that everything seems to be geared for the Canon and Nikon users. One advantage to the Pentax is that the anti-shake mechanism is in the camera body so it doesn’t have to be duplicated in each lens, keeping the cost of lenses down.

  5. Cherri says

    Not sure if this will help, but I really kind of beat up my first good camera…it took some time to really learn how to take care of it, handle it so it wouldn’t drop, bang around, etc. Starting with something affordable that you can learn on and then saving for an upgrade makes sense. When you buy the next camera, you’ll be more knowledgable and ready to get the most out of it.

  6. says

    IMHO for good photos most important thing is photographer’s mind, all other factors (camera’s model, optics etc.) are much less important.

  7. Sammy says

    So, I’m just starting out. I’ve gone some photography of my mothers products for her and were happy with the results. So, when my cousin asked me to do her wedding photos I figured why not?

    So I purchased a nikon d3200 that came with two lenses. Was this a bad choice for a beginner who wants to pretend to be a photographer?

    I was also looking at flashes and what not and I’m becoming increasingly paranoid I’ll make the wrong choice here. She knows I’m new, and my cousin can’t afford a real photographer, but that doesn’t mean I want to half ass this. Hell, I probably would have bought thousands of dollars in equipment if I could have afforded it.

    Any advice that would help me best capture my cousins wedding would be a blessing.

    And thank you for all the information this site has. It seems I have a lot of studying to do :/

  8. Camilla says

    I currently have a Canon XS Rebel with the two kit lenses.
    I am unsure if I should upgrade to a new body (like the 7D) or go for a new lens like the Tamron 24-70.
    I am obviously on a budget but am getting in lifestyle photography (paid gigs).
    What is a better investment at this time?

    • Fox says

      Hey Camilla,

      that’s a bit of difficult situation. No offence, but the XS (better known as the 1000D) really isn’t such a great camera, both in terms of features, image quality and built quality. I would still recommend investing in better lenses first.

      There are some cheap but outstanding prime lenses out there which will show you that your camera is capable of producing much better results than you could with your kit-lenses. They are also rather fast (large aperture) which makes them perfect for gigs. I’d recommend a fast (something around f/1.7) 50 mm and/or 35 mm prime.

  9. Adrian Long says

    Hi I love your show I have two questions. I currently have a Nikon D60 with the two vr kit lenses. I’m thinking of upgrading my equipment & have been told that it’s better to just buy better lenses & keep the camera body. Is this true & if so which lenses do you suggest ? Or should I upgrade my camera to a 5200 or 7100 ? I like to shoot landscapes & candid street photography mostly. Thanks. Adrian from Cork, Ireland

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