Last updated on 10/09/2013
First-time DSLR buyer who doesn't want to spend a lot for "too much" camera? Experienced hobbyist on a budget? If you need a DSLR for under $1,000, we've lined up the best of the bunch below. $1,000 is still a lot of money, but considering that some DSLRs cost up to five times that much, we consider anything under the four-figure mark "affordable." The cameras below marry a quality feature set with best-in-class image quality, and all represent a fantastic value. Read on to see our favorites.
Sony's A3000 is very compact--and the $400 price point can't be beat. The 20 megapixel APS-C sensor is paired with the same sensors in Sony's other popular DSLRs and a 25 point autofocus system, so it shoots like a DSLR and not a mirrorless despite the small size. The 3.5 fps burst isn't the best in the category, but at $400, who can complain? Overall, another excellent budget option from Sony.
Pentax offers a few features that the two big brands don't offer. The K-50 is weather-sealed and can also take AA batteries with an adapter, two features that you can't find anywhere else for the price. The K-50 has a lot of other features for the price as well, like a 6 fps burst mode and an in-body image stabilization system. We put the K-50 through an extended test review and were quite happy with the quality of the images as well as the comfort and usability of the camera.
Nikon's D5200 uses the same large 24 megapixel sensor as the D3200 (one of our affordable DSLR picks for last year), but adds several features of the older D7000, like a 39-point autofocus and faster 5 fps burst mode. While nearly twice the price of the SLR Sony A37, the D5200 includes more megapixels for a better resolution and a viewfinder. The D5200 also includes RAW shooting.