5 Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 [2019 Update]
A DSLR camera is a good option when you want to step up your photog game from your smartphone camera.
For starters, a DLSR camera can offer image stabilization, higher resolutions and sharp colors.
DSLR cameras are typically expensive, but because photography is such a popular hobby, now there are products for budget prices.
Go too cheap, though, and you’re not doing much better than your phone. If you want a true upgrade, set your budget to about $300.
Now all you need is a little research on the best DSLR cameras under $300, so here are the top picks to help you select:
5 Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 – 2019
This surprisingly well-priced camera comes packed with features. This DSLR has an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, which comes with image stabilization capability as well.
The biggest feature:
The 12.2 MP CMOS sensor with DIGIC III image processor.
The CMOS sensor can capture images with superior clarity. The sensor is massive—it’s APS-C sized, and can offer up to 1.6x increase of focal length.
The image processor works intuitively and offers the best performance. This DSLR is equipped with an EOS Rebel XSi A/D converter, which means it also works very fast.
The DSLR is precise and speedy thanks to the 3.5 fps continuous shooting. It’s really great for capturing pictures of moving objects.
This camera also has a generously large LCD screen. The screen is 30 percent brighter to use conveniently in bright settings.
This DSLR offers up to 10x zoom. However, zoom is only digital and not optical.
This camera is compatible with both SD and SDHC memory cards.
Additional advanced features include:
External flash settings, magnification viewfinder, and spot metering.
Users can improve white balance of features with spot metering. The camera can auto choose the best feature to capture large, sprawling scenes.
One more perk:
The lenses are self-cleaning. Dust is shaken off using ultrasonic vibration, which is auto-activated.
- Top-notch image sensor
- Image stabilizer lens
- Plenty of advanced shooting features
- Self-cleaning mechanism
- Extra bright LCD screen
- No optical zoom
This Canon is compact and easy to hold. But these are hardly its best features.
It has an 8MP CMOS sensor paired with a DIGIC 4 image processor. The image processor is one of the latest versions, even though the camera model is not a new release.
And the lens:
It has EF-S 18-55mm IS II standard zoom lens. It should be sufficient for average picture-taking needs.
The lenses are great for regular needs. But if you want photographs with excellent depth of field, you might want to switch over to 1.8 aperture lens.
This camera has no image stabilization capabilities. That can be a downer when you need to shoot moving objects.
It offers continuous 3FPS shooting. In addition, the 3-inch LCD monitor has a crystal clear screen.
This DSLR supports 1080p Full HD movie shooting. You can shoot high-quality movies in the comfort of your home.
However, this camera lacks an audio jack. So the great picture quality of videos is accompanied by a terrible audio.
Other than that, this is a really decent camera for entry-level users.
- Clear LCD screen
- Supports FULL HD video
- Reliable zoom lens
- No image stabilization
- No audio jack
This is an old but golden Canon DSLR model. The camera build is a bit bulky but is relatively compact width-wise and easy enough to carry.
Like most Canons, this camera is equipped with an EF-S 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 zoom lens. It also has a 10.1 MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC II image processor.
The camera has a relatively large 2.5 LCD display. There are many manual controls around the display that older users may prefer.
The CMOS sensor has the same ratio as film cameras—3:2. So you can get an angle view about 1.6 times larger than the normal lens focal length.
A surprising perk:
Despite being an older model, this camera supports a pixel resolution of 3,904 x 2,598. That is the most pixel concentration for this class of camera.
The camera is really responsive. All the shooting information is readily available on the screen, including 160-degree greater angle view of previews.
This DSLR is really speedy. The startup time is only 0.2 seconds.
It can record an image in 1/4000 seconds. The 3 fps rate can be maintained for 27 consecutive shots.
The standard zoom lens gives 28-90 mm focal length. The lens can focus as close as 0.9 feet without losing clarity.
The lens is also coated to prevent ghosting and flaring. The lens can self-clean to remove dust too.
As for downsides, this camera lacks an image stabilizer. You will not find many common features available on newer DSLRs like Wi-Fi or USB connectivity.
- Coated lens that prevents ghosting
- Speedy performance
- Hi-res screen
- Large display
- Same CMOS sensor ratio as film cameras
- No image stabilization
- No new features like Wi-Fi
This Nikon is small and compact but comes packed with features. It’s equipped with a sleek 10.2 MP DX Format CCD image sensor.
The sensor yields high-res images effortlessly. It’s easy to create enlarged images for printing and crop pictures in-camera.
But these are not the only cool features you can expect. This DSLR has a 3D-Color Matrix Metering II. The color metering gives stats on color, contrast, and brightness of images.
This data is used to precisely calculate the exposure. Users can choose between as many as 11 spot meters.
The industry standard for AF spotting is only 9. Besides, this camera offers broad ISO sensitivity.
Users can boost sensitivity or manually adjust it between 100 and 1,600.
There are loads of in-camera edits. You can edit out mistakes like the red-eye effect directly from the camera.
This DSLR offers precision white balance with any light source. You can choose from six settings to fix color balance in photos.
There are two major downsides though:
There’s no optical zoom and the camera lacks an image stabilizer.
To make up for that in sorts, this DSLR starts up in less than a second. The shutter release time lag is only 80 milliseconds, which ensures speedy responsiveness.
- High-res images
- 11 AF points
- Precision white balance
- On-camera editing
- Adjustable ISO
- Compact build
- No optical zoom
- No image stabilizer
The Sony Alpha A200K is an older model that you can find new for cheap price tags. Older doesn’t make this camera any less golden.
This was one of the first cameras to use Super SteadyShot image stabilization, which you can find now even in newer models.
It has 18-70mm lenses with f/3.5-5.0 focal range, which is what makes this camera really worth the price. It comes with 6 lenses in total.
The 10.2MP is big enough for 18 x 24-inch photo prints. It has a Bionz image processor, though no longer popular, does the job of shooting crisp and sharp images.
The camera has an autofocus system called Eye-Start, which can be very useful in certain circumstances.
This camera is based on an older Minolta, so you can use Minolta accessories with it without an issue.
The main downsides are that it can’t shoot video, and the camera doesn’t take tilted or rotated pictures.
The ISO is nothing to boast about either. ISO has always been a weak point of Sony cameras so expect some noise in pictures.
It does display loads of information for photographs though, which professional users will find helpful.
- Great lenses
- Top-notch image stabilization
- Works with Minolta accessories
- Eye-Start autofocus
- No video shooting
- Noisy ISO
- Display doesn’t rotate
How to Buy a DSLR Camera with Just $300
You can definitely get some of the best DSLR cameras under $300. Do not expect cutting edge image stabilization, ISO, or anything else, however.
But you can get a good upgrade over a phone camera. When shopping, make sure you have the following in mind:
Don’t judge the image quality of the camera by its megapixel size. The MP number often doesn’t have much to do with image quality as marketers claim.
What you need to look for in a DSLR is the size of the sensor. The bigger it is, the better pictures you would be able to take.
It’s recommended to check out the video capabilities of the camera even if it’s not what you are looking for. You might need video in the future so don’t rule it out.
Buying a compact camera can be useful when travelling with it. But keep in mind that some DLSRs are really small and don’t fit into large hands.
If you want a good grip, don’t buy a super compact sized camera.
Pay attention to the lenses. They should have a range of 20 to 50mm, or ideally be 50mm prime lenses. Some lenses have features like telephoto.
The lenses can make a big difference in image quality, so they should also make a difference in your purchasing decision.