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So we’ve gone through awesome cameras for the beginner and the budget conscious photographer, but what if you want to make an in road to the world of DSLR cameras? The DSLR camera market is incredibly dense with a plethora of choices for just about every budget, sometimes it’s a little hard to figure out what kind of camera would suit you and your wallet. The main draw of a DSLR system is the flexibility of having very high quality interchangeable lenses available as well as a more “fully featured” body with all the modern bells and whistles you could ask for. Granted, the line between mirrorless and DSLR is getting blurrier by the day, there is still something about shooting a DSLR, for the serious amateur and hobbyist.

So we will look at a few cameras that I think are the best bets for starting the expensive and poisonous journey into DSLR photography!

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Entry Level Shooter (Under RM3,000)

The reason I chose under RM3,000 for this is so that you will have plenty left over from your purchase for things like cards and various accessories for your camera. At this point there are various other options but I believe these cameras represent the best value for money and the more futureproof choices.

Canon EOS 100D + EF-S 18-55mm kit (18MP | 1080p | 4fps | Tiny!) – RM2,150

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This is one of my favourite smaller & cheaper cameras in the market. When it was released, the 100D shocked me by being absolutely tiny in comparison to most DSLRs out in the market today! As you see from the photo above, that’s the 100D compared to our usual 700D. The 100D packs a decent amount of features into that tiny body. The downside to this is that the camera will look mighty strange with anything larger than a kit lens! Great for ladies (and smaller men) who don’t want to lug a huge camera around!

Nikon D5300 + 18-55mm Kit (24.2MP | 1080p | 5fps | Great Performance For Decent Price) – RM2,758

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In the Nikon corner, I choose the D5300 mainly because its the newest of the lower end DSLRs and while I could choose the D3200, I have a soft spot for this camera. The 24.2MP sensor is capable of outputting some incredible files and the fact that they removed the Optical Low Pass filter on the camera, like its very very very big brother the D800E means that the images from the D5300 will be ultimately sharper albeit suffer from oodles of Moire.

Mid To High End Crop Sensor (Under RM5,000)

This segment represents the serious amateur. If you are looking for a reliable shooter that will last you many years to come and still be relevant when you upgrade to a full frame kit as a second body, this is the segment for you. The best of the best in the crop sensor market, these cameras are the best you can buy for the given budget.

Nikon D7100 + 18-105mm Kit (24.1MP | 1080p | 6fps | 51 Focus Point, Magnesium Alloy Body) – RM4,698

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When the D7000 came out, it was quickly lauded as the best crop sensor camera in the market, safe to say with that sort of pedigree the D7100 in my opinion carries that title extremely well, bumping up everything from megapixel count, focus points and video recording capabilities. In all honesty, I would pick this camera over most of the other cameras on this list simply for the price and where it would be in my kit as a perfect second body.

Canon 70D+ 18-135mm STM Kit (20.2MP | 1080p | 7fps | Dual Pixel CMOS AF) – RM4,450

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The 70D was Canons first camera with the newfangled Dual CMOS Autofocus system and boy is it one heck of a camera. If you’re in the market for a Canon system and have cash to spend, this a a great place to start. The autofocus is pretty awesome in low light and this is perhaps Canons best crop camera to date. You even get WiFi connectivity and a touchscreen!

Entry Level Full Frame

This is a relatively new segment of the market that has only been around for a little over a year. Previously to get Full Frame body’s you would have to pay an arm and a leg! These days, it’s become a lot more accessible to get full frame pictures at crop sensor prices! From here on out, I’ll be only recommending body’s with no kit as if you’re on Full Frame, chances are you already have a lens or an idea of what lens you want to get.

Canon 6D (20.2MP | 1080p | 4.5fps | WiFi & GPS enabled | Amazing high ISO performance) – RM5,858

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Canon’s first foray into the Entry Level Full Frame market is the 6D. I would prefer this greatly over the D600 or D610 for that matter for what is squeezes into this body for the price. While the D610 seems like a better camera on paper, in execution i’d have to give it to the 6D. From the ergonomics to the features, this is a great camera.

Sony Alpha A7 (24.3MP | Uncompressed 1080p | 5fps | WiFi NFC | Amazing Design) – RM4,558

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Okay, i’m cheating here. This is not a DSLR, rather it’s a Mirrorless camera but hang on to your pitchforks for just a second. The Sony Alpha A7 is possibly one of the most beautiful and well executed full-frame cameras i’ve seen in a long time. The ability to output uncompressed 1080p and use a full range of E mount lenses is fantastic. You even get AF with Alpha lenses and an adapter! Granted Sony was never a contender like Nikon and Canon were in this segment, but with this amazing device, they have just about made the best entry possible in BOTH the mirrorless and “DSLR” segments. Scary thing is… this is not even their best camera.

Sony Alpha A7R (36.4MP | Uncompressed 1080p | No Optical Low Pass | Tilt Screen) – RM6,398

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This one is. The Sony A7R is my favourite camera to come out last year and in fact it’s the first camera that really got be excited since the D7000 made its debut a while back. An astounding 36.4MP, no optical low pass filter, uncompressed 1080p video, this camera is a dream to shoot. Check our our article on the samples here. At the price of RM6,398 body only this is the cheapest, fully featured full frame option that just about blows the entry level away and plays with the big boys up top. One thing however is the lack of a pentaprism and mirror, a very big deal for me. At this price and features however, I’ll be willing to forgive that.

High End Full Frame 

We know that there are only 4 (maybe 5) cameras that compete in this space, so I’m going to select 2 of my favourites here. If you can afford this as your first camera, hats off to you!

Nikon D800E (36.3MP | 1080p | 4fps | No AA Filter | Rugged build ) – RM9,950

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To me, this is Nikon’s best camera and not the D4. I’m not a huge fan of the removal of the AA filter but i’ve seen the image difference and it definitely is a difference. I believe that the D800E is a perfect upgrade (albeit expensive) for anyone using the older full frame cameras and will not feel the least bit alien in terms of features and buttons. This is a very subjective thing however, if you are a sports shooter, you’d definitely want a faster fps camera but if you need the raw megapixel power, this is a great camera for you.

Canon EOS 1DX (18.1MP | 1080p | 12fps | ISO 51200 | Gigabit Ethernet port | Amazing AF) – RM18,998

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Don’t get me wrong, this is not in comparison to the D800E because that would just be silly. I prefer the 1DX over the Nikon D4 because of so many features on this camera that make it really a RM20,000 camera. The camera shoots blazing fast, has the ability to tether via ethernet, wireless and have GPS as well as boast incredible high ISO performance. This is not saying the D4 is a lousy camera, it’s just that the 1DX is a bloody incredible one. If you have enough for this as your new camera, you have enough to buy me one too.