Entery Level DSLR
For a solid entry level DSLR that still allows you to manually control your exposure settings, I recommend the Canon T5i. This camera feels a little more solid that the previous version, the T4i. Here are the specs:
- EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects, manual exposure control and multiple frame rates built-in stereo microphone, manual audio level adjustment and Video Snapshot
- Vari-angle touchscreen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II (approximately 1,040,000 dots) with smudge-resistant coating features multi-touch operation and Touch AF
- 18.0 megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to H: 25600) for shooting from bright to dim light and high performance
- 9-point all cross-type AF system (including a high-precision dual-cross f/2.8 center point) for exceptional autofocus performance when shooting with the viewfinder and Hybrid CMOS AF
- Includes EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM compact and lightweight standard zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer for up to four equivalent stops of shake correction
Mid Range DSLR
If you are a serious hobbyist looking for a bit more, the mid range Canon 6D fits the bill. Maybe the coolest features on this camera are the GPS receiver that automatically geotags each image you take and the built in Wi-Fi transmitter that can wirelessly transfer your images.
- 20.2 MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor DSLR and EF24-105mm f4L IS USM Lens
- 11 Point AF points, 63-zone Dual-Level Metering Sensor
- Canon iMAGE GATEWAY to Share and Upload Photos Anywhere on iOS or Android Devices with Free EOS Remote Application
- Built-in GPS Receiver and Wi-Fi Transmitter
- Memory Cards: SD/SDHS/SDXC, and Ultra High-Speed (UHS-I) cards
Pro Level DSLR
My favorite pro level camera and the camera that I use and shoot with on a daily basis is the Canon 5D Mark III. $3,400 is a lot of money for most of us and this definitely was not my first camera. I only invested in the 5D Mark III after using other less expensive bodies and upgraded when I was making enough from photography to justify the investment.
- 3.2-inch TFT LCD display
- New 61-Point High Density Reticular AF including up to 41 cross-type AF points with f/4.0 lens support and 5 dual diagonal AF points (sensitive to f/2.8).
- iFCL Metering with 63 zone dual-layer metering sensor that utilizes AF and color information for optimizing exposure and image quality.
- EOS HD Video with manual exposure control and multiple frame rates (1080: 30p (29.97) / 24p (23.976) / 25p, 720: 60p (59.94) / 50p, 480: 30p (29.97) / 25p) with 4 GB automatic file partitioning (continuous recording time 29 minutes 59 seconds), selectable “All i-frame” or IPB compressions, embedded timecode, manual audio level control while recording, and headphone terminal.
- Newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, wide range ISO setting 100-25600 (L:50, H1: 51200, H2: 102400) for shooting from bright to dim light and next generation DIGIC 5+ Image Processor for enhanced noise reduction and exceptional processing speed; 170° viewing angle, 1,040,000-dot VGA, reflection; magnesium-alloy body with shutter durability tested up to 150,000 cycles, enhanced dust-and-weather resistance, and updated EOS Integrated Cleaning system for improved vibration-based dust removal.
- Newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, wide range ISO setting 100-25600 (L:50, H1: 51200, H2: 102400) for shooting from bright to dim light and next generation DIGIC 5+ Image Processor for enhanced noise reduction and exceptional processing speed.
In my research the Panasonic Lumix TS5 stands out as one of the best options currently available. It’s affordable, ($289) takes HD video and 16.1 MP stills, rugged, and waterproof up to 43 feet.
- 16.1 MP 1/2.33″ CMOS sensor
- 28-128mm equivalent f/3.3-5.9 lens (4.6x optical zoom)
- 5-axis optical image stabilizer
- Up to 10 FPS continuous shooting (7 images max./full resolution) plus 40 FPS high-speed burst
- ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 6400)
- 1080/60p HD video (AVCHD/MPEG-4)
- 3″ TFT LCD with 460,000 dots
- Built-in GPS, WiFi and Altimeter
- Pressure resistance of 200 lbf/100 kgf
- Waterproof to 43’/13m
- Shockproof from 6.6’/2m
- Freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C