Here is Laurence’s list of the best DSLR cameras for travel photography ordered by price, lowest to highest
1. Canon EOS Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D)
Like its main competitor Nikon, Canon has a fairly bewildering array of DSLR cameras across their whole range. The Rebel T6 (known as the EOS 1300D in Europe) is one of their entry-level models, and you get quite a bit of camera for not a lot of money with this model.
Featuring an 18MP sensor, WiFi connectivity, and an ISO range up to 6400, it gives you all the control you need at a budget price point. Burst speeds aren’t great at 3fps, but it’s hard to argue with the price. To be honest though, we would likely lean towards either a slightly more expensive Canon, or the Nikon D3400 below if you are manufacturer agnostic.
Note that the Rebel T6 has been superseded by the Rebel T7; however, the minor specification bump doesn’t make the additional cost worth it in our opinion.
Weight: ~ 17 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $400 (with kit lens)
2. Nikon D3500
The low price in Nikon’s entry-level DSLR is certainly no indicator of quality, as the Nikon D3500 has features that only a few years previously would have made this a premium camera.
With a 24.2MP DX sensor, 5fps shooting, and an impressive 1200 shot battery life, the Nikon D3500 has some great specs. It also features bluetooth connectivity so you can connect your smartphone, and the 18-55mm kit lens has image stabilization (Nikon calls this VR). This camera is a great starter option.
It’s also remarkably small and lightweight for a DSLR camera, although it is missing some features such as a touchscreen, which is to be expected at this price point.
If you really want to save money, this camera’s predecessors (the D3300 and D3400) has nearly the same features, but can be picked up for as low as USD $300 if you shop around. The D3500 does have better battery life and is lighter than these though.
Weight: ~ 14.6 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $450 (with kit lens)
3. Pentax K-S2
Most lists like this are dominated by Canon and Nikon cameras which is simply because they tend to have the best DSLR cameras, and have been leading the market for decades. However, they are not the only players in the game, and the Pentax K-S2 is certainly a good contender.
Unlike the other manufacturers, especially at this price point, Pentax includes in-body image stabilization in its camera bodies.
It also has a vari-angle LCD screen (not a touchscreen), is fully weather sealed (a feature not usually found on entry level cameras!), features a 20MP APS-C sized sensor, and an ISO that ranges up to 51,200.
This is an excellent contender, with some fantastic features at this price point. Just be aware that Pentax does not have the huge range of lenses available to Canon and Nikon systems.
Weight: ~ 24 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $530 (with kit lens)
4. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D)
Compared to the Canon Rebel T6, the Rebel SL2 (known as the EOS 200D in Europe) has a faster processor, higher resolution 24.2MP sensor, moveable touchscreen, and faster burst speed (5fps). It also has a better battery life (650 shots).
If you can afford the jump in price from the Rebel T6, we can highly recommend the SL2 as one of the best entry-level Canon DSLR cameras on the market today. It’s also slightly lighter and more compact than the T6, and is one of the smallest DSLR cameras with a moveable touchscreen on the market today.
Weight: ~ 16 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $600 (with kit lens)
5. Nikon D5600
In the consumer space, Nikon has three main series – the D3xxx, the D5xxx and the D7xxx. Prices and features steadily increase between each range, and a new model number is released every one or two years to keep the ranges fresh.
That said, like Canon, the new release models are sometimes more of a marketing ploy than anything, and the newer model might not always be worth the increase in price. The D5600 replaces the D5500, and whilst the upgrade is not significant, it comes in at around the same price, so you may as well get the latest version.
The D5600 features a 24.2Mp sensor, a touch interface moveable screen, good autofocus performance, Wi-Fi, NFC and bluetooth connectivity, and a battery life with an 820 shot capacity. Certainly an excellent entry to mid-range DSLR to consider.
Weight: ~ 16.4 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $650 (with kit lens)
6. Canon Rebel T7i (EOS 800D)
At the current top end of Canon’s Rebel series, the T7i (EOS 800D in Europe) offers a number of features to make it worth your consideration.
It has a 24.2MP sensor with 6 frames per second shooting, a moveable LCD touchscreen, and Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.
All this said however, it’s not as much of an upgrade compared to Nikon’s D5600, which offers pretty much the same feature set at a lower price. The Canon does have a nicer screen and slightly faster autofocus, but the Nikon has slightly better low light performance.
Weight: ~ 18.7 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $749 (with kit lens)
7. Pentax KP
As mentioned earlier, Canon and Nikon are two massive players in the DSLR camera space who tend to dominate best-of lists, but Pentax has some great well-priced and competitive options, including the Pentax KP.
The Pentax KP is a solid choice for a DSLR, offering in-body image stabilization, a 24MP sensor, a tilting LCD screen (not a touchscreen), 7fps burst shooting, and a very high 819,200 maximum ISO. It’s also got a fully weather sealed body.
Battery life isn’t ideal at under 400 shots, and it’s relatively heavy, but it gets many positive remarks about it’s high build quality and excellent image quality, especially when shooting at higher ISOs.
If you aren’t committed to a Canon or Nikon purchase, and you are happy with the available lens choices, this is definitely a contender.
Weight: ~ 24.7 oz (camera body with battery)
Price: ~ USD $800 (body only)