The Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 – Our Ultimate Guide

Whether you’re just starting out in photography or you’re looking for a budget-friendly upgrade, a DSLR camera is an excellent investment for any photographer. Today some of the best cameras sell for over $20,000 so they price people out of the market.  Here we review some of the best DSLR cameras over the years that still sell for under $300. 

The benefits of a DSLR camera over a point-and-shoot or smartphone camera are numerous. With a DSLR, you have more control over settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, which allows you to take more creative and professional-looking photos. Additionally, DSLRs have larger sensors and interchangeable lenses, both of which contribute to higher-quality images.

The world of photography is the most inspiring place in my view, it draws in enthusiasts and professional photographers across the genres with its promise of artistic expression and the ability to freeze moments in time. For those keen to take their skills to the next level, a DSLR camera offers a gateway to this broader universe. The versatility that DSLRs bring with their manual controls, larger sensors, and interchangeable lenses empowers you to experiment and craft stunning images that truly reflect your creative vision.

Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 in 2023 - Our Top Picks

However, the cost factor can often serve as a hurdle, especially for those just beginning their journey in photography. High-end DSLR cameras come with a hefty price tag, proving prohibitive for many. But fear not, there’s good news – there are budget-friendly alternatives that don’t compromise on quality. This article has been curated to guide you through the top 7  DSLR cameras available under $300.

These options provide a fantastic blend of affordability and photographic prowess, making them an excellent choice for beginners and those looking for a cost-effective upgrade. whether you are looking for a budget camera or a slightly more expensive camera, let’s dive in!

What are the main differences between Mirrorless and DSLR cameras?

  1. Size and Weight: DSLR cameras are generally larger and heavier due to their internal mirror mechanism. In contrast, mirrorless cameras are more compact and lightweight as they lack this mirror system.
  2. Viewfinder: In DSLR cameras, an optical viewfinder is used, offering a direct optical view through the lens, thanks to the mirror system. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras either use an electronic viewfinder or no viewfinder at all, displaying the digital image on the camera’s LCD screen.
  3. Autofocus Speed: Traditionally, DSLR cameras have had faster autofocus systems, making them a preferred option for sports and wildlife photography. However, more recent mirrorless models are closing this gap with improved autofocus capabilities.
  4. Battery Life: Typically, DSLR cameras have longer battery life since they can shoot without using the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder, both of which consume a lot of power. Mirrorless cameras, due to their dependence on electronic viewfinders and LCD screens, tend to have shorter battery life.
  5. Lens Selection: DSLR cameras, particularly those from established brands such as Canon and Nikon, have a wide range of compatible lenses. While the range of lenses available for mirrorless cameras is growing, it is not as extensive as for DSLRs.

Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 – Our Review

Canon Rebel XTi DSLR – Our Top Pick

The Canon Rebel XTi DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (old model) is the ideal camera for those just starting out with photography or for hobbyists looking to level up their snapshots. There’s plenty of value in this device as it offers manual adjustments, an auto-setting to use the camera like a point-and-shoot, 1080p video recording, and comes with a zoom lens.

Though there are some downsides, like its slow frame rate and short recharge time between shots, as well as its need for a CF memory card (not standard for more recent cameras), the added features make up for these drawbacks. It follows the design of the EOS 350D, being very compact and lightweight but providing excellent manual controls and excellent performance.

The Rebel XTi has two megapixel step up from its predecessor (at 10 MP), along with 9-point AF sensor from the EOS 30D and an anti-static surface coating dust system so you can get amazing images every time without worrying about dust spots ruining your pictures! It’s also able to take up to 1800 photos on one battery without flash charge so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice mid photo shoot either. For beginners or hobbyists looking to take professional level photos at a great price, this is the perfect choice at this price point.

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Canon EOS Rebel T6:

Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera Body Only

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is a great entry-level DSLR camera that, despite its budget-friendly price, doesn’t compromise on quality. With an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processor, the T6 captures sharp, high-resolution photos with impressive detail. It also features a 9-point AF system, a 3-inch LCD screen, and built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for easy sharing and remote control. Overall, the T6 is a fantastic option for beginners or photographers on a tight budget.

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Nikon D3400:

The Nikon D3400 is an impressive entry-level DSLR that is sure to please any aspiring photographer. Featuring a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, 5fps burst shooting speed, 11-point AF system, 3 inch LCD screen, and built in Wi-Fi and NFC for remote control and image sharing capabilities, the D3400 has all the features you need to take your photography to the next level.

Additionally, Nikon’s range of lenses and accessories are compatible with the D3400, allowing you to customize your photography experience even further. The camera is also small and lightweight, making it a great camera for traveling or casual outings. Furthermore, fast startup times and slightly above average shutter lag provide photographers with reliable performance when capturing photos.

Equipped with a 24-megapixel DX sensor which also has no optical low-pass filter meaning it captures more detail than normal cameras – the Nikon D3400 offers users impressive image quality while remaining affordable. With its plethora of features and reliable performance backed by Nikon’s reputation as one of the best camera manufacturers in the world – if you’re looking for an entry-level DSLR that can deliver great results without breaking the bank then look no further than the Nikon D3400.

Canon EOS 60D – My Personal Favorite 
The Canon EOS 60D is an ideal digital SLR camera for photography enthusiasts and amateurs alike. Originally released in 2010, the camera has impressive 18 pixel resolution and 1080p video capabilities, is lightweight and shoots in near-silent mode. This was my first DSLR camera and I still use it today. 
Its fast and positive autofocus allows users to keep up with moving subjects, while capturing a fine level of detail. There are helpful auto-shooting modes included such as portrait, landscape, close-up, sports and night portrait. Additionally, a dedicated video mode makes it easy for when you want to shoot videos only. Comfort wise, there’s a textured area on both the deep hand-grip and around the thumb-rest on the rear of the 60D. This makes it easier to grip it securely when holding it for long periods of time.
So if you’re looking for a starter or back-up camera that won’t break your budget while delivering quality results – then check out the Canon EOS 60D!. The EOS 60D is an excellent option for beginner and amateur photographers looking to step up their game without breaking the bank. 
Nikon D40 – A True Classic
The Nikon D40 is the perfect entry-level DSLR for photography enthusiasts. First released in 2006 this camera still stands the test of time. With a high-resolution 6.1 megapixel CCD imaging sensor, exclusive Nikon image processing engine and intuitive controls, this camera ensures stunning sharpness and color accuracy with every shot.
The Nikon D40 is also the smallest digital SLR ever made, making it easy to take with you anywhere. Additionally, Nikon’s “Assist Images” feature helps you know the correct settings for each image by displaying an example of it when you press the “?” icon on the LCD screen – a great resource for first-time DSLR users. Plus, it features Auto Focus with AS-F or AS-I lenses and can take up to 2.5 frames per second (fps).
While there are some downsides to this camera such as its lower Megapixels than other cameras and heavier weight than others on this list, if you’re just starting out using a DSLR then the Nikon D40 is an excellent choice for an affordable price for those that like a small camera!

Panasonic Lumix FZ80 – Best for Recording

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is an incredible camera perfect for the budding photographer looking for an affordable option. With a huge 60x optical zoom, you can capture perfect close-ups of wildlife and portraits alike, along with 4K 30 frames per second video recording capabilities. It boasts a great low light performance due to its wide maximum aperture of f2.8 and 18.1 megapixel photos for drastically reduced noise at higher ISOs. Aside from the impressive focal range, you can also shoot in RAW format and transfer your photos quickly using the built-in WiFi connectivity. Additionally, the post focus feature means that you can change the focal point after taking the photo, so no detail goes unnoticed. Although relatively large and heavy compared to other cameras in this range, if you’re looking for great value and professional quality imaging capabilities without breaking the bank then Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is a great bet!

Nikon D3300:

Like the Canon EOS Rebel T6, the Nikon D3300 is another entry-level DSLR camera that packs a punch. The Nikon D3300 is a great choice for first-time photographers and those on a tight budget. With 24.2 megapixels to capture stunningly sharp images, the camera offers excellent image quality and decent performance with faster autofocus and shooting speeds compared to its predecessor.

It has a user-friendly interface that caters to beginners, thanks to the special ‘guide mode’ which acts as a walkthrough for a number of features helping you learn the best way to take amazing shots while you’re out on the move and make beautiful prints for your living room cabinet.

Users have praised it for its intuitive controls, ease of use, sharpness and detail in photos, although some have mentioned that the camera can feel slow in certain situations.

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Important Things to Consider when Purchasing a DSLR Camera Under $300

  1. Image Quality: Check for the camera’s sensor size and resolution. A larger sensor and higher resolution can deliver superior image quality.
  2. Ease of Use: If you’re a beginner, look for a camera that is user-friendly with an intuitive interface and helpful features like auto-focus.
  3. Lens Compatibility: Ensure the camera is compatible with a wide range of lenses, offering you the versatility to tackle different photography styles.
  4. Battery Life: You wouldn’t want your camera dying in the middle of a shoot. Look for models with good battery life.
  5. Weight and Size: If you plan on traveling with your camera, choose a model that is lightweight and compact without sacrificing the essential features.
  6. Video Capabilities: If you’re interested in videography, consider a camera that offers high-quality video recording, preferably in 4K.

Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 in 2023 - Our Top Picks

Frequently Asked Questions about DSLR Cameras

  1. What is a DSLR camera?
    A Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, uses digital imaging sensor combined with single lens reflex and optical viewfinder, providing high-quality image output.
  1. Is a DSLR camera suitable for beginners?
    Yes, many DSLR cameras are designed with user-friendly interfaces and features that make them ideal for beginners. The Canon EOS Rebel T5 is a popular choice for novice photographers.
  1. What makes a good travel DSLR camera?
    A good travel DSLR camera is compact, lightweight, and durable. It should also have a good battery life to ensure it doesn’t run out of power during important moments. The Nikon D3500 is a preferred choice for many travelers.
  1. How does the sensor size impact the image quality?
    A larger sensor can capture more light, resulting in less noise and better image quality. It also influences the depth of field.
  1. Are DSLR cameras compatible with different lenses?
    Most DSLR cameras are compatible with a wide range of lenses, which allows you to switch lenses based on the type of photography you are interested in.
  1. Can DSLR cameras record videos?
    Yes, most modern DSLR cameras come with video recording capabilities, with many offering high-quality 4K recording.

Final Thoughts:

So, there you have it – the best DSLR cameras under $300. Whether you’re a beginner photographer or you’re just looking for a budget-friendly upgrade, these cameras are all great options if you’re looking to buy a new camera.

As a seasoned photographer who was once starting out, I’ve come to appreciate the value of a good DSLR camera. When you’re on a budget, selecting the right camera might seem daunting, but remember that a higher price tag doesn’t always mean a better fit.

Here’s some good advice I was once given when buying a camera:

  1. First, determine what you’ll primarily use the camera for—be it portraits, landscape photography, or action shots. This will guide your focus toward the features that matter most.
  2. Second, consider the camera’s sensor size. An APS-C sensor like those in the Sony Alpha a58 or Canon EOS Rebel T5, for instance, offers a good balance between cost and performance.
  3. Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of an intuitive interface and a comfortable design. You want a camera that feels good in your hands and doesn’t hinder your creative process. In the end, the best DSLR camera will be the one that fits your personal style and shooting needs, all while staying within your budget. I think this is the most important thing.

Good luck with your choice and happy shooting.  Let us know how you get on!

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The Photography Revision team are a group focused to simplifying the world of photography through revision tools, info sheets, product reviews and many more. We are an experienced team of photographers looking to help people who share the same passion.

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