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Snap breathtaking landscapes, portraits and wildlife with a DSLR model from our list, whether you're a beginner or an intermediate. Image Credit: Unsplash/Jean Gerber

It might seem that DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras) are in their sunset years, given how core camera makers are no longer developing new models. Yet, these cameras are still synonymous with pro photography for many, thanks to their ultra-long battery life, traditional viewfinder and snappy autofocus.

At this point in time, where the lighter mirrorless and point-and-shoot models are quickly rising to the top, who and what is the DSLR really for?

Is a DSLR camera worth buying?

These cameras enjoy niche popularity in select circles today, our expert tells us. What the mirrorless cannot do, DSLR makes up for in strides.

"In DSLR cameras, you're looking through an optical viewfinder. The image that you see [when framing a shot], is a reflection from the mirrors inside. So, if your camera settings are too bright or too low, you won't be able to tell until after you shoot the image," explained Raz Hansrod, the general manager at Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), Dubai’s hub for photography workshops, exhibitions and art prints.

Mirrorless cameras, in contrast, allow you to edit and tweak the settings in real-time. There is a caveat to this electronic viewfinder, and that is the battery runs out much faster, says Hansrod. DSLRs don't have to dedicate power to the image preview, and therefore, can offer many more shots than a mirrorless camera.

"People who are into sports, motor and nature photography go for DSLRs because they focus faster than mirrorless cameras. And, thanks to DSLRs' crop factor, you can zoom in further," he added.

Which DSLR camera is the best for travel?

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You'll be surprised to find lightweight DSLRs in our options below, designed for travellers such as yourself. Image Credit: Unsplash/Lilly Rum

As a traveller, you'll be ready to discard any options that weigh you down. With their hefty lenses, DSLR cameras will need special packing gear to fly with you safely. But, these are small sacrifices to make, if you want to capture fast-moving subjects and more details.

"If you've planned for a safari tour, a bird-watching expedition, or you're travelling to catch a Formula One race event, then DSLR cameras do make sense. A mirrorless camera will not help with these specific interests," said Hansrod.

Picking the best DSLR model for yourself begins with the question of whether you already own lenses. Photographers will opt for the same make of camera as the lenses, since they've committed to the investment. Although lenses are an additional expense, they usually outlive camera bodies and seldom need changing.

"For general photography during travels, we always recommend bringing along one to two versatile lenses and not more. Buy a lens that will give you a flexible range, such as the 24mm to 105mm lens, which lets you shoot faraway buildings and the food on your plate," advised Hansrod.

Editor's tip
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We gathered our expert's best DSLR camera picks in the list below, so you can be photography-ready for the summer holidays. Note that most of these cameras are from the only two manufacturers that have continued to produce existing DSLR models. Now's the time to splurge, as Amazon's offering limited-time deals on electronics.

Compare different models using the pros and cons at a glance, and shop with Prime to get free, fast delivery on some of these.

1. Best Overall: Canon EOS 80D + 18-135mm IS USM Lens Kit


  • 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Quiet and fast focus, per reviews
  • 45-point AF system that works in harsh light, too
  • 7.7cm LCD touchscreen
  • Comes with a versatile 18-135mm lens
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity


  • Expensive

The Canon EOS 80D is a DSLR wielded by both pro and intermediate photographers, says Hansrod. Its 24.2-megapixel APS-C (Advanced Photo System type-C) sensor is smaller than a full-frame sensor but makes close-up shots easier. All ready-to-be-shot images can be framed on the 7.7cm LCD touchscreen, which pops out for more control. Click high-accuracy shots with the responsive 45-point autofocus system, meaning any fast sports action will look super sharp. The AF system is also designed to work under harsh lighting conditions, like floodlights. At the zoo or a picnic by the lake, whatever spontaneity Nature brings can be shot using the 7 fps (frames per second) continuous shooting feature. As for videos, movie sizes can go up to 1080p in 60 fps, for a length of 30 minutes. On a single charge, expect to take around 960 images before your next cycle. And, of course, all your images and videos are ready to be shared via the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (near-field communication) features. Its accompanying 18-135mm lens kit is suitable for landscapes, portraits and movies, which the reviewers call an all-rounder attachment.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh408.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh284 and two years for Dh470.

2. Best Value for Mid-Range Camera: Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera + 18-55mm Lens Kit


  • Lightweight with deep grip for ease of travel
  • 24.2MP image sensor
  • Comes with a versatile 18-140mm lens
  • 39-point AF system
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Long 970-shot battery life


  • Nikon's sharing app might not work well on some phones, per reviews

Offering similar specs at a lower price point is the Nikon D5600 DSLR. The manufacturer calls it travel-ready, with the body only weighing 415 grams. It also features a deep grip for holding onto the camera safely and securely. Like the Canon EOS 80D, the image sensor is 24.2MP, albeit with a larger pop-out 8.1cm LCD touchscreen, so you'll have an easier time selecting an AF point. The AF system is composed of 39 points, just a few sensors lower than the 80D, and continuous shooting captures up to five frames per second. You'll have a better time with the D5600's battery life, which lasts a total of 970 shots. Instead of the NFC, there's the added convenience of a Bluetooth connection to share images instantly. Reviewers find the model user-friendly, despite the range of features. They're also impressed with the included 18-140mm lens that takes sharp, colour-rich photos of anything, from landscapes to people.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh299.83 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh227 and two years for Dh375.

3. Best for Beginners: Canon EOS 2000D DSLR Camera + 18-55mm III Lens Kit


  • 24.1 MP APS-C sensor
  • Comes with a 18-55mm lens
  • Simple and easy to use for beginners
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • Quick nine-point autofocus


  • Might not be a good option for video-only use
  • LCD is not touchscreen

Ease yourself into the world of DSLR photography with the Canon EOS 2000D. Hansrod recommends this entry-level model to beginners who want a simple interface and instant Wi-Fi connection to their smart devices. It's equipped with a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, and you can frame your shots with the help of the 7.5cm LCD screen. The EOS 2000D has a multi-point autofocus selection and various shooting modes, from food to night portrait. Your 1080p, 30 fps videos can be recorded for up to 30 minutes at a time. When the time comes to share your holiday memories, leave the laptop behind and download Canon's Camera Connect app. This application instantly shares your vacation library and lets you click the shutter remotely. NFC is another sharing option, but it's only applicable to Android devices. Plus, you can get started right out of the box with the included 18-55mm lens. At this excellent price point, many users pick it up as their first camera and love that they were immediately able to get the hang of it. As expected, the autofocus is snappy, but some do note that the video options could be better.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh106.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh74 and two years for Dh122. 

4. Best for Outdoors: Pentax K-70 Weather-Sealed DSLR Camera + 18-135mm Lens


  • 24.2MP image sensor
  • Weather- and dust-resistant, withstanding temperatures from -10 to 40 degrees Celsius
  • Outdoor-friendly LCD monitor with night-vision option
  • Great for astrophotography
  • A wide range of image modes and filters
  • Comes with a 18-135mm lens


  • Monitor is not touchscreen

Unpredictable weather on foreign soil can make even the most professional of photographers nervous. The Pentax K-70 DSLR is a weather-resistant model, built to withstand the dusty, cold (-10 degrees Celsius) and rainy outdoors. The 24.2MP APS-C image sensor captures high-quality images, and you can ensure the perfect framing in any lighting condition. The LCD monitor even switches to a night-vision red-lighted display for astrophotography in complete darkness. If you spot a fast-moving subject in the bushes, click six images per second and 40 in a single sequence to pick the best high-res picture. Once you've found the best shot, apply one of 13 image modes to edit the contrast, saturation and sharpness. Further 21 filters allow you to create social media-ready results. Reviewers say it's slightly heavier than other models, but the weight offers more stability in terms of shooting. They try their hand at time-lapse filming, still photography, portraits and more, with success.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh255.19 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh199 and two years for Dh329.

5. Best Battery Life: Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera + 18 -55mm VR Lens 


  • 24.2MP image sensor
  • Takes full HD 1080p videos at 60fps
  • Lightweight at 365 grams
  • Great battery life of 1,550 shots
  • Comes with a 18-55mm lens
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity


  • Autofocus in videos could be better
  • LCD is not touchscreen

Another pocket-friendly option to consider is Nikon's starter model D3500 DSLR. It's a compact camera, weighing 365 grams, that feels a lot like a point-and-shoot in the hands. The 24.2MP image sensor is still a bargain at this price, while the AF system offers 11 focus points to pick from. Click five images per second and shoot full HD 1080p videos at 60fps. Unlike the D5600, the LCD monitor doesn't pop out and neither is it a touchscreen. However, the D3500 offers the longest battery life on this list, lasting a whopping 1,550 shots on a single charge. It supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for quick sharing. There's also the included 18-55mm lens to help you experiment right away. Reviewers love the image results, but just as with our entry-level Canon option, the videos leave more to be desired. Still, the pictures are enough to rival higher-end models, they add.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh195.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh137 and two years for Dh225.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.