Best mid-range DSLR

If you're shopping for a mid-range DSLR, you've come to the right place! At my sister-site Camera Labs I write in-depth reviews of cameras but understand you're busy people who sometimes just want recommendations of the most outstanding products.

So here I'll cut to the chase and list the bestmid-range DSLRs around right now, with links to my reviews.

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Gordon's favourite mid-range DSLR right now: Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 70D review - order from Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


The market for mid-range cameras is always an exciting one, offering a step-up from budget models, but without the cost or complexity of true semi-pro bodies. There's some cracking options here whether you're shopping for a mirrorless camera or a traditional DSLR. Nikon's D5200 and D7100 are very strong contenders as are the higher-end Olympus PENs, but for me right now my personal favourite is the Canon EOS 70D.

The Canon EOS 70D is a mid-range DSLR featuring a 20.2 Megapixel APS-C sensor, Full HD video, a fully articulated touch-screen monitor, built-in Wifi and an innovative new 'Dual Pixel CMOS AF' system which delivers far superior continuous focusing during Live View and movies. It's the latter which has always plagued DSLRs, but by effectively switching any of the sensor pixels into confident phase-detect AF points and back again, Canon's nailed the solution. It's literally revolutionary if you use your DSLR for movies, but Canon's not neglected the traditional aspects, bringing it close to the semi-pro 7D and even surpassing it in some respects. So with the 70D you get a camera that takes great quality stills and movies. Compose with the viewfinder and you'll enjoy a fast AF system and quick burst shooting which makes it ideal for action or quick portrait and street shots. Switch to Live View and you'll enjoy a fully-articulated touch-screen and Single AF acquisition that's as good as the best mirrorless models. Start filming video and you'll benefit from the best continuous movie AF on the market. It's an easy camera to Highly Recommend.

Pros: Quality stills & movies; best C-AF for movies; Wifi; articulated touchscreen.
Cons: Live View AF is confident but slow. No built-in GPS. No miniature mode.
Overall: A powerful DSLR balancing traditional and modern features.

Highly recommended Alternatives

Nikon D7100 review - buy it from Amazon USA, B&H, Adorama, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


The D7100 is Nikon's latest upper mid-range DSLR aimed at enthusiasts. Slotting between the D7000 and full-frame D600, Nikon describes the D7100 as being the best that the DX-format can offer. It inherits the 100% viewfinder, 6fps shooting and twin SD card slots of the D7000, but increases the resolution to 24.1 Megapixels, boosts the AF system from 39 to 51-points, offers 1080p at 24, 25 and 30fps, boasts full weather-sealing and introduces a new 1.3x crop mode resulting in an overall field-reduction of two times at a resolution of 15.4 Megapixels and boosted speed of 7fps. It also becomes the company's second DSLR after the D800e to dispense with the low pass filter for sharper images. In my tests the images may not have been perceptively sharper than the D5200, but the D7100 offers so much more to the enthusiast photographer that it remains highly recommended. Just remember that you can essentially match the image quality with the D5200 and enjoy many of the same features with the D7000, both at a noticeably lower price - see below.

Pros: 24MP; weatherproof; 6fps; 100% viewfinder; Full HD; dual SD slots.
Cons: Screen doesn't flip-out; no Wifi or GPS built-in; no better quality than D5200.
Overall: A very capable mid-range DSLR even if the lack of OLPF has little impact.

Canon T5i / EOS 700D - buy it from Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Canon's EOS T5i / 700D is a step-up from an entry-level DSLR, and goes up against models like Nikon's D5300. It features an 18 Megapixel sensor with hybrid AF (for smoother focusing in live view and movies), a 3in articulated touch-screen screen, 5fps continuous shooting and 9-point AF system (all cross-type). The T5i / 700D may be available in different kit options depending on price and location, but if you're filming movies the one to go for is the STM lens which focuses very quietly and smoothly compared to the normal version. Unlike the D5300 though, there's no built-in Wifi on this Canon, and the big question for many will be whether to go for the smaller and more affordable EOS SL1 / 100D instead. Unless you really want the articulated screen, I'd go for the SL1 / 100D.

Pros: 3in articulated touch-screen. Good continuous movie AF for a DSLR.
Cons: Basic 3-frame bracketing. No built-in Wifi or GPS.
Overall: A step-up from budget DSLRs, but compare closely with SL1 / 100D.

Nikon D5300 review - buy it from Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Nikon's D5300 is a step-up from an entry-level DSLR, sporting the same 24 Megapixel sensor as the mid-range D7100, along with becoming the first Nikon DSLR to boast built-in Wifi and GPS. The D5300 also remains the only current model in the range to feature a fully-articulated screen that can flip and twist to face any direction, and its 3:2 shaped panel perfectly matches the images the camera captures. There's also 1080p video at up to 60p. The kit zoom is looking - and sounding - a bit dated for movies as its AF system is much more audible in operation than Canon's STM lenses or the wealth of mirrorless options available; the Wifi implementation is also much more basic than most mirrorless cameras too. But none of this stands in the way of what's still a very solid DSLR for the money. Do compare closely with Canon's EOS T5i / 700D. Note there may be discounts on the earlier D5200, but if the prices are close, go for the D5300.

Pros: Great quality; 1080p video with mic input; flip-out screen; built-in Wifi & GPS.
Cons: C-AF in video distracting; no viewfinder proximity sensor or touchscreen.
Overall: A step-up from budget models and one of the best Nikons for video.

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