Chart: Top 5 Digital SLR Cameras Under $1500

Chart: Thinking of picking up a new camera, but don't want to jump straight into the pro-level deep end? Here are the best entry-level and enthusiast digital SLRs available in Australia for under $1500 (with kit lens) as of April 28, 2015.

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In this list, we're focusing on the top 5 digital SLRs made for the beginner, intermediate and enthusiast users — not necessarily the professional or semi-pro camera guy. We've also left out some brand new models, instead opting for tried and tested models that have been widely reviewed. The Canon 6D, for example, just edges over that $1500 barrier but the almost-as-good Nikon D5500 is a few hundred dollars cheaper.

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Similarly, the new Nikon D7200 is available now but it's brand new and slightly above our price barrier. If you have a bit more cash to spend than $1500, take a look at Canon's 6D or the Nikon D7100 or D7200. If you don't necessarily need a digital SLR, consider the equally excellent Samsung NX1 or Sony Alpha A7 II.

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We've picked these cameras as being some of the best under the $1500 price point when sold with a single lens kit, usually being a wide-angle 'kit' zoom. Chart Note: Pricing can change regularly. Use the Dick Smith links for a guide to current costs.


Top 5 Chart

Click review for more information

9.0
8.7
8.7
8.7
8.6

Canon EOS 70D

Nikon D5500

Nikon D5300

Canon EOS 60D

Nikon D3300

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Quick Specs
Resolution 20.2 megapixels 24.2 megapixels 24.2 megapixels 18.0 megapixels 24.2 megapixels
ISO Range (Native) 100-12800 100-25600 100-12800 100-6400 100-12800
Video Resolution 1080/30p 1080/60p 1080/60p 1080/30p 1080/60p
Autofocus Points 19 39 39 9 11
Battery Life 920 shots 820 shots 600 shots 640 shots 700 shots
Weight 755g 420g 480g 755g 430g
AU Price Guideline (Single Lens Kit) $1499 $1299 $1199 $1399 $699

Comments

    The 70D is Really good:

    1. Fast shooting, much better than the 3-digit cameras and even faster from the 7D, which is not possible but in testing the 7D just wouldn't auto-focus or something while the 70D was snapping happy.

    2. Comes (or can come with) a silent lens from 18 mm to 135 mm which is much better than the older 18-55 mm which had a motor in it so you would hear zooming sounds every time you press and also the 55 mm doesn't take you too far as well so the 18-135 mm is really a blessing. You would doubt yourself the first few times wondering if it had actually zoomed, but you can tell from the beep sound.

      +1 on the 70D. Just upgraded from a 5 year old 500D for only $900 (after cashback) body only.
      Coupled with the 17-55mm f/2.8... it is one excellent setup.

    eBay is your friend, and as long as you don't mind not having the 'latest and greatest' you can pick up a perfectly reasonable DSLR for around $300 including body, lens and extras.

    Also, as good as Giz reviews are for a BASIC overview, if you're delving into cameras and DSLRs specifically you can't go past http://www.dpreview.com/ for a more in-depth resource (including the kind of older models you'll find on eBay).

    Last edited 21/04/15 2:53 pm

      eBay is Great for used items but will ruin the experience for brand new.

      On eBay you probably will save the 10% GST for items above $1000 if they don't send you an invoice for customs. But what happens when and if the thing breaks down? brick and mortar stores offer more security for return merchandise; not that you might need it as these cameras above, i think, all come with 2 years warranty by default.

      Also the performance of the SD card is a bottleneck, now that within the Class 10 you have various speeds, you have to be really sure the SanDisk card from eBay is not a counterfeit.

    Nikon D7100 with 18-55 can be picked up for well under $1500, best camera by far in that price range.

      Got mine for just over $900 at jb hi fi (body only ) fantastic camera, great upgrade from my d3100

      Yeah, since the D7200 came out, the D7100 has become really affordable.
      The D7200 can also be had with a lens for under $1500, it is my go-to camera for just about everything now.

    Should be renamed to -

    "Top 5 Digital SLR Cameras Under $1500* that you can buy at our Sponsor Dick Smith"

    * so we won't include the Pentax K-3 despite it scoring equal top out of the 5 cameras actually listed.

      You can't buy all of them at Dick Smith, FWIW. That's not at all relevant to my writing this article.

      And I didn't include the Pentax K-3 because for the majority of the prices I found, it was over $1500 with a kit lens. I had a K-7 for a long time, I really like Pentax's build quality, but it wasn't appropriate for this list.

        Might wanna reword your article then - "Here are the best entry-level and enthusiast digital SLRs available in Australia for under $1500 (body only) as of April 21, 2015" or better yet check the prices of the K-3 which you can buy for $1498 with a Weather Resistant 18-135 Lens (which is a loads better than the 18-55 you normally get) straight from the Pentax online Australian store - https://www.pentax.com.au/product/pentax-k-3-18-135-wr

      Here are the best entry-level and enthusiast digital SLRs available in Australia for under $1500 (body only) as of April 21, 2015.

      We’ve picked these cameras as being some of the best under the $1500 price point when sold with a single lens kit, usually being a wide-angle ‘kit’ zoom.

      Which is it?

    The Pentax K's are not bad pieces of kit, based on everything I read on dpreview. I remember tossing up between the K(something) and the Sony Alpha A-330 (?). Ended up getting the Sony, but Pentax would have been just as good I'm sure.

    And err yes ... shouldn't 'advertorial' content be clearly marked as such ? :)

    Last edited 22/04/15 10:12 am

    It would be a toss-up between the Canon EOS 70D and the Sony Alpha 7 II for me. Both are about the same price and have similar reviews. Although these cost the most of all that is listed.

    Who still buys DSLRs other than Uncles with oversized zoom lenses?

    You'd have to be crazy to buy the d3300 with it's tiny, tiny viewfinder over the $499 Olympus E-M5, where amateurs can see the photo they're about to take before they take it thanks to the EVF.

      The focus tracking on the M5 is terrible, half the controls are hidden in menus.
      There is noticable Chromatic Abberation, and no correction for it in camera, and there is some noticable haloing on hard contrast boundaries.
      It isn't a bad camera, but has issues compared to better DSLRs.

        I haven't missed my DSLR once since getting an EM5, and I paid a LOT more that $500 for it. At the current price they are an absolute bargain. Not to mention that glass is a lot cheaper than DSLR gear too, so it's much easier to build up a great collection of lenses.

        I have mostly primes now (only zoom is the 12-40 PRO), and I did notice some colour fringing with the 12-50 kit zoom that it came with, but never any on my current lenses without pixel peeping. Not really sure what controls you'd ever want that are hidden in menus either, everything I'd ever use is very easy to assign to any of the fully programmable buttons or knobs.

        I won't comment on the focus tracking as honestly I never use it, nor did I on my old Canon system. I can say that for the average enthusiast I can't think of any reason the justify the extra size, weight and cost of an SLR. Mirrorless is the future.

    @campbellsimpson The 60D? Really?
    This camera is 5 years old, that's like 35 digital camera years.
    Also, it was EOL'ed about 2 years ago.
    Also, it's not available on the Dick Smith website.
    Perhaps you meant the 760D?
    http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/category1529_1.htm

    how about quoting sensor size? Not megapixels, but actual dimensions?
    I'd take a lower-megapixel full frame sensor, over an APS-C "cropped" sensor any day. Are any of these full frame 35mm sensors?

      Sometimes, is better go to APC-S and take full advantage of the cropped lens setup; if you wont go print them large formats or make great magnifications, the APC-S is the best choice.

        I do billboard work with APS sized sensors, the old argument that you can't do blowups from APS-C is long dead. You can blow up an image from, say, the D7200 to any feasible size really with no issues.

          If you shoot 360 degree panoramas, you increase cover (reducing overall number of shots) by combining a wide angle lens with - a larger sensor.
          The Nikon D600 and D610 can be found online, very close to the $1500 mark. Some places a little over, some a little under (until you factor in postage).

        Not to mention increased DOF from a smaller sensor can be a big advantage with lower priced systems, as you can use a larger aperture and lower ISO without losing depth. Obviously this goes both ways if you want to do portrait work with good subject isolation, though.

        Horses for courses, but those that claim a "full frame" sensor (which is tiny compared to a medium format system anyway) is always better are very misinformed.

    Where are any of the Sony options on this list? You can totally get a Sony a77ii for under $1,500, and it would beat almost Every. Single. One. on this list.

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