The camera's resolution is measured in megapixels (MP). The higher the number, the more pixels the image will contain, leading to better photo quality.
ISO is the range of light sensitivity of the camera. The higher the ISO, the less light the DSLR camera will need to take a photo, so sometimes a high ISO is useful.
The size of a sensor will determine how much light is let into the camera. As a result, the larger the sensor, the better the overall image quality will be.
This measures the DSLR video resolution. Cameras can shoot video at standard definition (SD), high definition (HD), or ultra-high definition (4K).
This refers to the size of the camera's video display. The higher the number, the bigger the display will be - a factor of convenience for many.
Measured in the number of photos it can take, battery life determines how long the camera will provide power before needing to be recharged. Longer is better.
Wi-Fi capability gives your camera the ability to wirelessly download pictures to a computer, smartphone, and tablet. It is not a must-have but very convenient.
The weight of a camera will depend on a variety of factors. Choose a camera that has a weight you are comfortable with, especially if you plant to use it for travel.
We have researched over 30 bestselling products and have narrowed down the list to the ten best small DSLR cameras for your convenience.
Each of the top 10 products below takes excellent photos and videos, offers great quality, and best of all an affordable price point. On to the DSLR reviews!
For such a DSLR, the Canon EOS Rebel T6i packs a big punch. The 24.2 MP resolution CMOS sensor is capable of capturing a large ISO range for exceptional image quality. Plus, the camera lets you take photos of even fast-paced scenes (think sports, etc.) thanks to the 5fps high-speed shooting feature.
We also liked the useful automatic settings such as autofocus, contrast detection, object tracking, and more. These features made it a joy to use the camera for everyday use. In addition to built-in Wi-Fi, this compact DSLR also supports NFC communications so that you can quickly send wireless photos and videos to a smartphone or tablet.
Superb picture quality, outstanding automatic features, and useful NFC technology make the Canon EOS Rebel T6i a top small DLSR camera.
The Nikon D3300 offers stunning image quality and a small, compact size. It features an jaw-dropping 24.2 MP of resolution, shoots full HD video, and offers a 3" LCD with incredible clarity.
With continuous shooting capability, Wi-Fi functionality, and richly contrasted colors, this small DSLR gets the job done.
The ISO range is off the charts, allowing you to capture low-light images without blur. Because of its incredible image processing and a wide range of features, the Nikon D3300 is the perfect small digital SLR camera.
It is currently available at a very low price, making this our top budget pick.
Possibly the best DSLR camera for video, the Nikon D750 FX-Format DSLR features a set of pro video settings that will have you shooting incredible videos from day one. For still photos, the combination of a very high 24.2 MP resolution, a CMOS sensor, and an EXPEED 4 image processor offers up incredible, lifelike photos.
A full suite of automatic settings such as ISO, power aperture control, and metering lets you capture images just like the pros but with considerably less work.
The D750 is an incredibly diverse camera for such a small product and the image processing and video capabilities alone make it a smart choice. We highly recommend it.
Incorporating features such as 5fps continuous shooting and a blazing-fast EXPEED 4 image processor, it is hard to go wrong with the brand new Nikon D3400. The ISO range is excellent, going up to an impressive 25600 rating. This camera also offers incredible image quality, especially for the very small casing.
The in-camera effects allow you to edit your photos and videos with ease. Plus, the inclusion of an high-quality 18-55mm zoom lens will have you capturing great images and videos near and far right away.
For a highly versatile DSLR with features that belie its size and low price, the Nikon D3400 is a must-have camera. It is brand new, offering cutting-edge technology at a very attractive price.
A small camera does not have to sacrifice features, and the Pentax K-70 certainly lives up to that premise. Unlike many other compact DSLR cameras, it is completely dustproof and weatherproof, allowing you to use it under lots of different weather conditions.
The LCD features an amazing night-vision function, extremely handy for taking low-light and night-time photos. Moreover, speaking of low-light, the ISO range on this camera is astronomical - up to a rating of 204,800 (that’s not a typo).
24.2MPs of resolution augmented by a CMOS sensor provides outstanding photo quality and makes the Pentax K-70 a pro-level camera. It offers very innovative features and is one of the best cheap and compact DSLR cameras we have seen.
A small digital SLR camera that’s ready to play in the big leagues, the Sony a68 Translucent Mirror DSLR Camera offers a host of features many larger cameras cannot touch. The autofocus system is top-notch, thanks to the ingenious “4D FOCUS” system which utilizes 79 autofocus points to achieve incredible results.
Whether you are shooting 1080p full-HD video or 24.2MP photos, the image quality and dynamic range of this camera are excellent. Built-in image stabilization will ensure your pictures are free of shaking and blur. It is a very useful feature that works very well.
The Sony a68 offers true photographic versatility and the level of image quality that you would come to expect only from a much larger camera.
With superior autofocus ability and an outstanding ISO range, the Nikon D5300 brings incredible photography right to your fingertips. Featuring a 3.2-inch variable angle display with a jaw-dropping 1,037,000 dots of resolution, this camera takes amazing photos.
The D5300 combines 24.2 megapixels with full-HD 1080p video resolution at 60fps for stunning photography and videos. It is hands down one of the very best compact cameras you can buy in this price class.
The autofocus uses 39 points of reference for excellent and very quick focusing results, all in a compact and ergonomic design. The Nikon D5300 is one of the top small DLSR cameras thanks to its image quality, autofocus features, variable display technology, and advanced features.
On of the best DSLR cameras for video, the Pentax K-S2 shoots stunning video at up to 4K resolution and harnesses the power of 20 megapixels to take great still photos. It operates well in all climates and environmental conditions, thanks to a weatherproof, dustproof, and coldproof design.
The excellent retractable zoom lens surprisingly comes standard, as does the built-in Wi-Fi which lets you share your photos wirelessly. The CMOS image sensor captures sharp, stunningly clear photos and videos, and is ideally suited for both beginners and experts alike.
The Pentax K-S2 is an excellent camera for those who want bright, sharp pictures and videos in a compact, weatherproof case.
The Olympus E-M1 is one of those cameras that manages to surprise again and again. It features Olympus’ new Micro Four Thirds autofocus system with contrast detection, as well as 5-axis auto stabilization for incredibly detailed, blur-free, and highly dynamic images.
The camera shoots continuous high-speed photos at an incredible 10fps to help you catch even extremely rapid action.
Completely weatherproof, dustproof, and coldproof, it is the perfect solution for taking photos under harsh conditions, while traveling, and in nature.
Whatever your photography goals, from beginner to expert, the Olympus E-M1 will help you reach them thanks to incredible optics, advanced image stabilization, next-generation autofocus, and overall ruggedness. It is a fantastic new compact DSLR camera at a great price.
Whether you are a beginner photographer or an experienced pro, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 is an excellent small camera. The 18MP resolution provides stunning clarity, and with the included EF-S 18-55mm zoom lens, you will be able to capture all the action.
The camera offers outstanding features such as continuous shooting, filters, autofocus, and auto-metering. It shoots stunning HD video and captures colors with incredibly rich detail.
Overall, this product is a very powerful camera in a small, compact case, and due to its incredible image processing capabilities, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 is the perfect DSLR camera for any occasion. It is one of our top picks!
As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of DSLR cameras available and the sheer number of options can feel overwhelming. Whether you are looking for the best DSLR camera for video or still photography, we have got you covered with the recommendations above.
A high-quality small DSLR camera gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to portability and the ability to take great photos.
To make it easy for you to find the perfect camera, we have researched over 25 new products and selected the top ten compact DSLR cameras. All winning productsare small, take amazing photos, and videos and are very easy to use. Any of the above products willdo a great job, so you can't go wrong.
The compact DSLR camera is ubiquitous on the market these days, and there are hundreds of models to choose from.
With so many available options, you are likely wondering what features you should look out for when shopping. Keep the above tips in mind when you shop for your new DSLR camera.