Our Holiday Guide Picks for Top DSLR Cameras

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DSLRs typically offer the highest level of performance and control a photographer can ask for, at a higher price.  These cameras use mirrored through-the-lens viewing systems (though some offer Live View shooting through the LCD), and feature interchangeable lenses.

Always known as the workhorse of the photography world, DSLR cameras have become increasingly more affordable and more popular than ever before. This has created a new brand of buyers called “prosumers.” These buyers are looking for a camera with maximum flexibility, creativity and rugged design. In a class of cameras that has generally been reserved for the professional photographer, all of the major manufacturers have released DSLR cameras that are affordable to the budding amateur photographer. Check our top picks this season for DSLR cameras to fit almost every budget.

If you don’t see the perfect camera in the list we’ve provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our “What Camera Should I Buy?” discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best camera for you.

#1 Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is the long-awaited successor to the 5D Mark II. It offers all the benefits of the Mark II along with some notable AF and speed improvements.

As a serious professional photographer, there is so much to love about the Mark III. Canon pulled out all the stops for this full-frame DSLR. This supercharged camera has the ability to produce amazing images with its 22.1MP CMOS sensor. With the ability to produce beautiful HD quality video, the only thing standing in your way might be the $3,499 price tag.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review

#2 Nikon D7000

The D7000 is a 2012 editor’s pick. It offers some of the best high ISO performance and image quality in its cropped-sensor class. The D7000 soared to the top of the charts in 2010 and has held on ever since.  Nikon’s D7000 features a 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor, 6 fps continuous shooting and Full 1080p HD Movies.

The D7000 packs a mighty punch in a smaller sized body. Weighing in at 24.3oz the prosumer will find this camera easy to maneuver. Combined with the impressive lineup of Nikkor lenses, the D7000 can be used to create amazing images for the amateur and profession alike. The $1,199 retail price for the body makes it a budget friendly addition to your camera bag. 

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Nikon D7000 Review

#3 Canon EOS Rebel T3i

The Canon Rebel EOS T3i was announced in March and quickly became the company’s flagship entry-level model. With a retail price for a mere $600, this compact DSLR is affordable and easy to use. The T3i boasts a 18.0MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4 Image Processor. The Rebel T3i offers 1080 HD quality video. While the 3.0 inch articulating LCD monitor is a nice option over a fixed screen. The camera is compatible with Canon’s EF and EF-S lens lines giving it access to some of the best lenses money can buy.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Canon EOS Rebel T3i Review

#4 Canon EOS Rebel T3

Not to be outdone by the Canon EOS Rebel T3i, the Rebel T3 has held steady as one of the top entry-level DSLR cameras.

The T3 features a 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and improved DIGIC 4 processor, a nine point auto focus (AF) system with a single center cross-point sensor and a 100-6400 ISO sensitivity range. A 1280 x 720 HD video capability is on board and still image continuous shooting rates are up to 3 fps. Purchasing this camera with the 18-55mm IS kit lens retails at only $550.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Canon EOS Rebel T3 Review

#5 Nikon D3200

The Nikon D3200 provides some welcome updates to the entry-level series, like a high-res LCD and 4 fps burst shooting. With just a few quirks, it’s a worthy option for any beginning user. The 24.2 megapixel DX CMOS sensor is combined with Nikon’s EXPEED 3 processing technology.

The D3200 is fairly light and compact as DSLRs go, and the kit lens provides decent overall image performance. The camera is fully compatible with over 40 Nikon AF-S/AF-I lenses and tele-converters in the current Nikon catalog – lenses that range from 10mm to 600mm (with an 800mm on the way). The camera is offered in several colors and a retail price of about $700.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Nikon D3200 Review

Want to know which noteboooks are tops in the minds of NotebookReview‘s readers?  Check out our Most Popular Cameras lists, based on traffic across our site!

Looking for the best product buys in desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and cameras?  Go to our Holiday Guide 2012 main page to find the best choices for technology products this holiday season!

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