Last updated on 03/21/2014
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 latest DSLRs have all eliminated the optical low pass filter to enhance the sharpness, detail and low light quality. The D3300 is their mid-line APS-C DSLR, and the only one to include a tilting LCD screen. The D5300 has an excellent 39-point autofocus system and offers solid image quality. There's a lot more pros to this model then there are cons, with high ratings for image quality and user experience.