Photographer Touch is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more

Best DSLR Cameras Under $500

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

If you are looking to break into professional photography or simply want a camera that can take stunning images of your friends or family, inexpensive DSLR cameras are quickly becoming the go to product to use. While they may not offer the same wealth of options as some of the highest end cameras, they are more than capable of producing images that can rival those of all but the most expensive pieces of equipment.
However, figuring out which DSLR camera is right for you can be tricky. That is why we have put together a helpful buyer’s guide so you know what to look for. Then, we provide a list of 5 of the best DSLR camera under 500, so you have a solid reference for what is available.

Our Best DSLR Cameras Under $500 in 2020

Last update on 2020-05-26 at 02:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buyer’s Guide


The sensor is arguably the most important part of a DSLR camera. The size and quality of the sensor will directly impact the overall image quality of the shot. Granted, understanding other settings can improve image quality as well, but all things equal, larger and better sensors will produce superior shot image quality.


For DSLR cameras, sensors will generally come in one of two sizes: APS-C and Full Frame. As the name suggests, full frame is the largest sensor size for DSLR cameras while APS-C sensors are a little bit more than half the size of full frame sensors. However, this affects more than simply the shot’s cropping size.
The size of the sensor will generally determine how much light the camera can capture which translates to sharper, more detailed images. However, the larger the sensor size, the more expensive the camera, so you will need to balance what you actually need before investing in a camera with the largest sensor.


DSLR cameras come with one of two types of sensors: CMOS or CCD. These two types of sensors function differently in such a way that there is a clearly superior type–the CCD. However, the gap between the types of sensors is quickly narrowing.
Ultimately, the CCD makes a direct conversion from analog to digital signals. This allows for a more accurate signal translation and reduces the amount of image noise–especially in low-light settings. Of course, CCD sensors have been around far longer than CMOS sensors, the latter of which will likely soon catch up to the more mature sensor.


Despite what manufacturers say, megapixels are not the most relevant factor when choosing a camera–regardless of the camera type. While there are some notable exceptions to this premise centered specifically around different niches of photography, the overwhelming majority of photography types do not require the most megapixels.
That being said, if you intend to shoot large frame shots, like landscapes, or extreme close up shots, like with bird or certain floral photography, you will want to make sure your camera offers a large number of megapixels. However, unless you plan to blow your images up for large prints, most other types of photography do not require megapixels beyond the 16 mp range.
It is also important to note that not all megapixels are created equally. Showing once again why the sensor is one of the more important components of a DSLR camera, larger sensors are able to better translate the light of the pixel, producing superior image quality with less grain in lower light conditions.


For an amateur photographer, the exposure settings are not necessarily all that relevant. Find a camera with automatic tuning functions and a wide range of exposures, and you should be able to take excellent photographs without too much input or specialized knowledge on your end.
However, professional photographers and dedicated enthusiasts will require a camera with a wealth of exposure settings that each offer a wide range of options and fully manual control. The three primary exposure settings of a camera are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity.


The aperture of your DSLR camera will ultimately determine how much light is allowed to pass through the lens and onto the sensor. However, unlike the sensor itself, the aperture will shift in size to produce a different image style without inherently affecting the image’s quality.
Aperture is measured in f-stops with the rating displayed in f/”#”, like f/22 or f/3.1. It is important to note that the larger the number after the “f,” the smaller the aperture. In terms of quality, the widest range of apertures is generally considered the best with exceptionally small apertures being necessary for incredibly focused and detailed images.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed, and its importance, will often matter more depending on the type of photography you shoot. The slower the shutter speed, the more light is exposed to the sensor. However, slower shutter speed will also often result in blurred images if the subject is moving.
If you simply want to take a family photo at a holiday gathering indoors, you can leave the shutter speed on a lower setting to take a better shot in the lower light conditions. However, taking a picture at a child’s sporting event will almost certainly require a quick shutter speed to prevent the details of the moving subjects from blurring together.

ISO Sensitivity

ISO will affect how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. Keep in mind, this feature provides a range to allow different settings–much like the other qualities of a camera’s exposure. As such, the maximum and minimum ISO sensitivities are key qualities to look for.
Much like aperture and shutter speed, the ISO sensitivity affects how much light your sensor can read. However, unlike the prior two qualities, the ISO sensitivity does not control the light before it hits the sensor and instead alters how the sensor responds to the light.
Ultimately, the ISO sensitivity can help most in the extreme light settings where your subject is either extremely bright or exceptionally dim. Regardless, a good rule is use as low of an ISO sensitivity setting as you can to prevent image noise and produce a sharper shot.

The Best DSLR Cameras Under $500 Reviewed

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR 24.1MP DSLR Camera

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR 24.1MP DSLR Camera with Vivitar Sling Strap, Tripod, Close-Up Diopic Filters, Filter Kit, HDMI Cable and More
  • This Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Kit comes complete with all manufacturer supplied accessories and a 1-year USA warranty
  • The EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera from Canon has a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor. It has a 3.0" 920k-Dot LCD Monitor with Full HD 1080/30p Video Recording capabilities. It offers sharp details, accurate colors and low-noise imaging in both bright and low-light shooting situations. The Rebel T& can continuously shoot up to 3 fps.
  • Canon 18-55mm II Lens - a standard zoom compatible with Canon APS-C format cameras. It features a focal length range of 18-55mm which is equivalent to 29-88mm in the 35mm format
  • Kit Includes: Canon EOS T7 Rebel Digital Camera, Polaroid Lens Cap 58mm, Vidpro 4-in-1 USB SD Card Reader/Writer, Vivitar 3-Piece 77mm Digital Camera Filters, Ritz 5-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Kit, Two Lexar 633x SD 32GB, Canon 100ES Compact Gadget Bag, Vivitar CLOSE UP Dioptic Filter Kit, Ritz Gear 50" Tripod, Polaroid Universal Screen Protectors, XIT XTMCASE 12 Piece SD/SDHC Memory Card Case, Vivitar HDMI to Mini HDMI C Wire and Vivitar Sling DSLR Camera Strap

Last update on 2020-05-26 at 02:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

– 24MP image sensor.
– Raw support.
– Wi-Fi-enabled.
– Inexpensive.
– No image stabilization.
– Fixed rear LCD without touch input.
– Slow 3fps burst rate.

Canon EOS 4000D / T100 Digital Camera with EF-S 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 III Lens + Basic Accessories Bundle

Canon EOS 4000D Digital Camera with EF-S 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 III Lens Basic Accessories Bundle (International Version)
  • Bundle Includes : Canon EOS 4000D / T100 Digital Camera with EF-S 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 III Lens + 16GB SD Card + SD Card Reader + 58mm 3pcs Filter Kit + Brush Pen
  • Shoot detailed images into the night with a large 18 Megapixel sensor, with up to 19x more surface area than many smartphones. /
  • See the world through the optical viewfinder and experience the creative power of interchangeable lenses
  • Enjoy fast Auto Focus and full resolution shooting at 3.0 fps - just point and shoot for impressive results with Scene Intelligent Auto
  • Take fun-filled selfies and unique images from unusual angles with easy remote control from your compatible smartphone

Last update on 2020-03-03 at 16:40 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

– Lightweight.
– Affordable price tag.
– Simple to use.
– Built-in Wi-Fi
– No 4K video.
– Dated 9-point AF.
– Small and low-resolution screen.
– No touchscreen.
– No image stabilization.

Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black

Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black
  • A DSLR That's as easy to use as a point and shoot camera
  • Compact, comfortable design that's great for travel and special events
  • Image sensor that's 15x larger than those used in typical smartphones for sharper, clearer pictures
  • Works with Nikon’s snap bridge app for sharing photos with a compatible smartphone or tablet
  • 1080p full hd videos with monaural sound at the touch of a button. Bluetooth version 4.1

Last update on 2020-05-26 at 02:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

– Compact.
– Affordable price tag.
– Automatic image transfer via Bluetooth.
– Comfortable grip and well-designed body.
– Excellent image quality.
– In-camera shooting guide for beginners.
– Fixed LCD, no touch support.
– No 4K video.
– No mic input.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens (Black)
  • 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) image sensor and high performance DIGIC 4+ Image Processor for excellent speed and quality
  • ISO 100 6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for shooting from bright light to low light. Compatible with Eye Fi Cards. Multimedia cards (MMC) cannot be used
  • Built in Wi Fi and NFC connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device
  • 9 point AF system (including one center cross type AF point) and AI Servo AF provide impressive autofocus performance with accurate results. AF Assist Beam Effective range : Approx. 13.1 feet. / 4.0 meter. Periphery: Approx. 11.5 feet. / 3.5 meter
  • High performance Optical Viewfinder helps facilitate quick and accurate focusing by firmly framing and capturing the subject at hand

Last update on 2020-05-26 at 02:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

– Good photo and video quality, definitely better than those of a point-and-shoot.
– Raw capture support.
– Wi-Fi and NFC.
– On-screen shooting guide.
– High-resolution display.
– A bit slow for a family camera.
– Dated image sensor.
– Cannot autofocus when recording video.
– Slow burst mode.
– Fixed rear display, and no touchscreen support.
– Just 18MP resolution.

Share the Love

If you found this post useful, please let others know about it by sharing it.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest