Digital SLR Camera Buying Guide For 2020


Here’s a quick list of options for those looking to buy a SLR camera to get into photography, or treat themselves for being good this year by upgrading, or buying a gift for that special someone for their birthday, special day, or the next Christmas!


What brand should I choose?
I am a Nikon or Canon guy…not saying that Pentax, Sony, or Olympus make bad cameras, but I know that Nikon and Canon will always be making cameras…the others may drop their SLR’s if they aren’t profitable, and then you are stuck with useless equipment.

I will list the various models, and some info on them for comparison (price, megapixels, lens included, video features, articulated/movable viewscreen, any other notable functions) Prices are taken from and are in Canadian dollars. Expect prices to drop for Black Friday and other sales until Christmas.

I have to break the cameras up into two levels-Consumer and Pro-sumer.


For those just getting into photography and want to photo general subjects, these are a good starting point. They are lower in price that should fit most people’s budget, and the money you save can be spent on other lenses, flashes, etc…
If you want to get into more serious photography, you can always upgrade to a more advanced body.


Nikon has two lines in their consumers model. The 3XXX and the 5XXX series. Either are just fine for general photography, but the 5XXX series have more features and functions than the 3XXX series.

Nikon D3500 $650 24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD WI-FI built-in

Nikon D3400 $650 24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD WI-FI built-in

Nikon D3300 (Discontinued, but still can be found online) $600  24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD WI-FI w/ optional WU-1a Wireless Adapter

Nikon D5600 $1050 24 mp, 18-55 VR Full HD Wi-Fi built in ($1500 with 18-140 vr lens upgrade) Articulated touch screen

Nikon D5500 $1000  24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD Wi-Fi built in Articulated touch screen

Nikon D5300 (Discontinued, but still can be found) $900  24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD Wi-Fi built in

Nikon D5200 (Discontinued, but still can be found) $800 24mp, 18-55 VR Full HD Wi-Fi w/ optional WU-1a Wireless Adapter


Lots of different models. The “I” series usually have the most features and are the best cameras in the consumer line.

Canon T100 $400 18mp, 18-55 NON-IS lens (CHEAPEST, BUT NOT AS MANY FEATURES)

Canon T7i $1100 24mp, 18-55 IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in ($1400 with 18-135mm upgrade) Articulated touch screen

Canon T7 $700 24mp, 18-55 IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in

Canon T6i $1200 24mp, 18-55 IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in Articulated touch screen

Canon T6 $700 18mp, 18-55 IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in

As far as I can tell, SL stands for SMALL and LIGHT. These cameras are the smallest SLRs Canon offers, but still have lots of good features.

Canon SL3 $900 24mp, 18-55 NON-IS 4K video Wi-Fi built in Articulated touch screen

Canon SL2 $800 24mp, 18-55 NON-IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in Articulated touch screen

Gee Noel, those Canon/Nikon models all seem to have similar megapixels and features…what’s the difference?

They are listed in order of latest release. The newer the cameras are, the newer the technology. They may have newer sensors, or faster auto focus, At this point, there is really not much difference. Almost all cameras have more than enough megapixels, great auto focus, better quality ISOs, and Wi-Fi built in.

You will notice not much difference in basic specs between the D3500/D3400/D3300…because there isn’t. The D3500 is lighter and has better battery life compared to the D3400. In general, the D5XXX series are usually a little bit better overall than the D3XXX series with a few more features.

You might still find some Canon T5 or T4/Nikon D3200 or D5200 kits for sale online, those are good cameras and can be had for a great price. If you dont care about megapixels(and frankly even 12-14 is more than enough for most people) go ahead and get the older models.

You need a pro-sumer model camera if you shoot lots of sports, action, outdoors, as the cameras are more rugged, have faster autofocus and continuous drive. They also have TWO dials, one for shutter speed, one for aperture…a MUST as far as I am concerned!

If you want to make money shooting weddings, portraits, etc, you should have one of these models.



Nikon D7500 $2100 21MP, 18-140 VR, 4K video WI-FI built-in

Nikon D7200 $1800 24MP, 18-140 VR, FULL HD WI-FI built-in

Nikon D7100 (Discontinued, but still can be found)$1500 24MP, 18-140 VR, FULL HD WI-FI w/ optional WU-1a Wireless Adapter

Nikon D500 $3600 21MP, 16-80 VR, 4K WI-FI built-in

The D500 is Nikon’s newest and best smaller sensor SLR…but insanely pricey.
D7500 has less megapixels than the D7200, but is faster and shoots 4K video.
You may still find Nikon D7100, again, it’s a good camera that can probably be had for a good price.


These camera are FULL FRAME, meaning if you have a DX lens, it will be vignetted if you use it on this camera. So if you buy it, you will have to replace any DX lenses with FX versions.

Nikon D610 $2200 24mp, 24-85mm Wi-Fi with optional WU-1b Wireless Adapter (Older model, hard to find now)

Nikon D780 $3700 24mp, 24-120mm Wi-Fi built-in 7FPS

Nikon D750 $2800 24mp, 24-120mm Wi-Fi built-in (replaced by D780, but still a super camera)

Nikon D810 $3800 (body only) 36mp, Wi-Fi built-in

Nikon D850 $4300 (body only) 45.7mp, Wi-Fi built in



Canon 90D $2000 35.2mp, 18-135 IS Wi-Fi built-in 4K video

Canon 80D $1800 24mp, 18-135 IS Wi-Fi built-in

Canon 77D $1650 24mp,  18-135 IS Wi-Fi built in (replaces T6s, cheaper than 80D)

Canon 70D (Discontinued, but still can be found) $1700 18mp, 18-135 IS Wi-Fi built-in

Canon T6s $1500 24mp, 18-135 IS Full HD video Wi-Fi built in (replaced by 77D)

Canon 7D MK II $2700 20mp, 18-135 Wi-Fi with insanely priced optional adapter

90D is the latest and greatest, but the 80D or 70D is still a pretty great camera.
These cameras are great upgrades from the T7/T6. Especially if you do a lot of flash photography, as Canon has finally wised up and made the pop up flash a COMMANDER! (so you can use it to control a flash off-camera…took em long enough…)


These cameras are FULL FRAME, meaning if you have a lens from a crop sensor canon, it will be vignetted if you use it on this camera. So if you buy it, you will have to replace those lenses with ones made for full frame

Canon 5DS R $4700 BODY ONLY 50mp FULL HD VIDEO Wi-Fi with optional adapter

Canon 5D MK IV $6000 22mp 24-105 IS 4K VIDEO Wi-Fi built in

Canon 5D MK III $3400 BODY ONLY 22mp 24-105 IS Wi-Fi with insanely priced optional adapter

Canon 6D MK II $2500 26mp 24-105 IS F4 4K VIDEO Wi-Fi built-in

Canon 6D $2500 21mp 24-105 IS Wi-Fi built-in

Most of those cameras comes with an 18-55, but if you can get a 16-85(nikon) 18-140(Nikon) or 15-85 or 17-85 or 18-135(canon), that will give you the perfect portrait lens as well!

That’s just a bit of an overview of your options, for more in-depth analysis, head to

Here’s the full list of buying guides



I hope you find these tips useful!
If so, it would be awesome if you would check out my LearnPhoto365 Photography Assignment Generator Apps on the app store and the Google Play store, a unique photography app that’s meant to inspire you to take great photos!

Perfect for anyone taking part in a Photo 365 challenge, there are over a hundred individual assignments and hundreds of thousands of potential random ones. Versions available for iPhone/iPod and iPad, including free versions so you can try them out! Full details, including reviews and tour videos of the apps can be found at Even if you only download the free version that would help get it up the app store lists!



I am a big fan of buying local when possible, for a few reasons.

1) You are supporting a local business
2) If you have any problems, the local people are usually easier to deal with. Buying from an out of province/country dealer, if there is a problem, you will most likely have to pay to ship it back to them. There could also be warranty issues if buying from another country

if you are in Saint John, Best Buy is your only option, but the staff might not be as knowledgeable as they would be in a dedicated camera store…in Fredericton, head to Harvey Studios. (Tell them Noel sent you!) or Ivan’s in Moncton.

If you want to buy online, Henrys in Toronto(also Halifax) is a great store that I’ve dealt with personally and for the Telegraph and had no issues with. Also Vistek.

Avoid buying from ebay, unless it is from a reputable dealer. I’ve seen lots of “great deals” where you seem like you are getting a whole lot of extras…but in reality, it’s a bunch of extra crap. bad lenses, crappy tripods, no name brand memory cards…not worth it.

If buying something off Kijiji or craiglist, make sure you try it out. If the seller won’t let you try it out, that’s a good warning sign…

Once you’ve bought a new camera or accessory , check out some of my photography courses so you can use it to it’s fullest potential! Check them out under the COURSE menu above, onr contact Noel at

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Noel Chenier

Photographer and teacher
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