The best DSLR camera for 2024: top choices for photography and video

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Beginner or an enthusiast, the best DSLR cameras are still a great option for photographers. From affordable entry-level models to powerful full-frame flagships, we’ve extensively tested all of the top options available and shared our in-depth feedback in the ranked list below.

Although it’s been officially discontinued, the Nikon D3500 is still our favorite DSLR in 2024. With a straightforward interface, reliable battery life and excellent 24MP sensor, it’s a fantastic option for beginners on a budget. If you’re happy to spend more on a powerful DSLR, we also recommend the Canon EOS 90D as a versatile crop-sensor alternative.

While many manufacturers are now focused on making the best mirrorless cameras, our round-up proves there are still competitive DSLR cameras on the market. Whatever your budget and ability, our guide is designed to help you find your ideal DSLR. Each entry has been comprehensively tested by our expert team. We assess factors such as handling, battery life and performance in a range of real-world scenarios, to ensure our recommendations hit the mark.

If you’re new to photography, you’ll find specific suggestions in our guide to the best beginner DSLR camera options. You can also read more about the differences between DSLR and mirrorless cameras in our dedicated feature. If you’re not sure where to start, scroll down to the bottom for expert buying advice to keep in mind when making your pick. 

Written by
Tim Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related. Tim notes, "new DSLRs are a rarity these days, with the camera giants now focusing almost entirely on mirrorless models. Still, if you're a fan of the DSLR format, there are some great new and second-hand options out there."

The quick list

If you want a shortcut to the best DSLR cameras in 2024, the round-up below will give you an instant overview. If any options take your fancy, use the links beneath each entry to jump to our full summary.

The best DSLRs for 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best DSLR cameras in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best DSLR camera overall

best DSLR camera Nikon D3500 being held in two hands

(Image credit: Future)
The best DSLR camera for most people

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Autofocus: 11-point AF, 1 cross-type
Screen type: 3.0-inch, 921,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Movies: 1080p
Battery life: 1,550 shots
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Terrific 24MP sensor
+
Excellent value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic external controls
-
Only 1080p Full HD video
Buy it if:

✅ You have a sharp eye: The D3500’s 24.2MP sensor produces impressive stills, especially when paired with decent DX mount lenses.

✅ You value longevity: With a huge 1,550-shot battery life, the Nikon D3500 is a camera that can keep going and going on a single charge.

Don't buy it if:

You want to shoot 4K video: Unlike most smartphones, the Nikon D3500 is limited to Full HD recording, rather than 4K footage.

❌  You like to use a touchscreen: With the same fixed 921,000-dot display as the D3400, the D3500 doesn’t benefit from a touch interface.

Nikon has discontinued the D3500, but you can still find it at many online retailers. That’s a good thing, because it’s an ideal choice for beginners looking to sharpen their photography skills. Despite its age, the D3500 has a fantastically capable APS-C sensor. In our tests, we found the images it produced were top-notch. We were also impressed by its battery life and ease of handling.

While experienced photographers should look further down this list for a suitable DSLR, we think the Nikon D3500 is proof that you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a great camera. Its controls are accessible for learners and, in the right hands, it’s a match for cameras that cost a lot more. During our review, we praised its guide mode for the way it introduces novices to manual controls, building their confidence and creativity.

To get the most out of the 24.2MP sensor, we’d recommend buying the D3500 with the ‘VR’ version of its kit lens, as this incorporates Nikon’s image stabilization system at little extra cost. Nikon also has a vast catalog of DX system lenses, giving you plenty of choice when your skills advance enough to justify a glass upgrade.

Read our in-depth Nikon D3500 review


The best crop-sensor DSLR

best DSLR camera Canon EOS 90D being held in two hands

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium crop-sensor DSLR

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 32.5MP
Autofocus: 45-point AF, 45 cross-type
Screen type: 3.0-inch, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Movies: 4K
Battery life: 1300 shots
User level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent pixel count - highest in class
+
Uncropped 4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
Default JPEG noise reduction not ideal
-
No sensor-based stabilization
Buy it if:

✅ You like a lot of pixels: With a 32.5MP APS-C sensor, the Canon EOS 90D produces detailed stills with lots of cropping flexibility.

✅ You want to shoot 4K video: Unlike a lot of beginner DSLRs, the EOS 90D can record 4K footage at 30fps, using the full width of the sensor.

Don't buy it if:

You already have an EOS 80D: Unless you need the option of 4K video, the Canon EOS 80D does a remarkable job of shooting stills.

❌  You shoot a lot after dark: Noise is well controlled at lower ISO values, but it becomes very evident at sensitives above 8000.

The EOS 90D is quite the step forward for the EOS DSLR line. It's the first model of its kind to sport a 32.5MP APS-C sensor, which is a generous amount of pixels for both cropping and producing large prints. Unlike the earlier 80D, it also offers uncropped 4K video recording, while a new processing engine and faster burst shooting are also highlights. The 1300-shot battery provides far more juice than you'll get from the average mirrorless camera, while protection against dust and water is also a bonus.

In our review, we were impressed by the versatility of the 90D. It's an excellent all-rounder for those who like to photograph a broad range of different subjects. 

It's worth weighing up whether the benefits of a mirrorless alternative to the EOS 90D, like the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, might appeal to you. The M6 Mark II is smaller, cheaper and offers faster burst shooting. But by focusing on key areas like battery life, handling and a fully articulating rear screen, Canon has made the EOS 90D a strong and versatile alternative for anyone who prefers the DSLR experience.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS 90D review


The best full-frame hybrid DSLR

best DSLR camera Nikon D780 resting on some wood

(Image credit: Future)
The best full-frame hybrid DSLR

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 24.5MP
Lens mount: Nikon F mount
Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots
Continuous shooting speed: 12fps
Max video resolution: 4K
Battery life: 2,260 shots
User level: Intermediate/pro

Reasons to buy

+
Fast live-view focusing
+
Tilting touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
Currently expensive
-
Big and heavy
Buy it if:

✅ You shoot video, too: One Nikon's most capable DSLRs for video, with 4K shooting and decent autofocus chops.
✅ You want a hybrid DSLR: Traditional DSLR benefits like great battery life and optical viewfinder fused with mirrorless tech.

Don't buy it if:

You want the best bang for buck: The D780 remain pricey and the mirrorless Z6 is a cost efficient alternative.
❌  You want high resolution photos: 24MP is nothing to sniff at, but the D850 has almost twice the resolution.

The D780 is effectively a hybrid of a full-frame DSLR and a mirrorless camera like the original Nikon Z6. And while it's still relatively expensive, the D780's slight price drop since it landed in 2020 means it's now our top pick for anyone who wants to combine the benefits of mirrorless tech and DSLRs.

Building on the solid foundation laid by the D750 (see no.8), the D780 uses the same 273-point on-sensor phase-detection AF system as the Z6, allowing it to focus rapidly when you're shooting via Live View. If you prefer to frame through its optical viewfinder, you'll be able to make the most of its impressive 2,260-shot battery life.

Our review revealed that the D780's image quality is among the best around, while its 4K video skills are boosted by the inclusion of modern features like Face and Eye detection. As one of the latest DSLR it's still quite pricey, but if that isn't an issue for you, then the D780 is one of the best full-frame all-rounders you can buy.

Read our in-depth Nikon D780 review


The best DSLR all-rounder for enthusiasts

best DSLR camera Nikon D7500 resting on the ground

(Image credit: Future)
The best all-rounder for DSLR enthusiasts

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 20.9MP
Autofocus: 51-point AF, 15 cross-type
Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 922,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 8fps
Movies: 4K
Battery life: 950 shots
User level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 20.9MP sensor
+
Powerful 51-point AF system

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one SD card slot
-
Live View focusing slow
Buy it if:

✅ You have a budget of $1,100 / £1,000: The D7500 is regularly on sale and you'll struggle to find a better DSLR for the price.
✅ You're happy with the crop sensor: This is arguably the best all rounder DSLR with APS-C sensor.

Don't buy it if:

You shoot a lot of action: The quicker, dual-card slot D500 is the crop sensor camera to get for action.
❌  You want the best autofocus: Autofocus performance is the most notable sacrifice in this low-budget all-rounder.

Fancy the Nikon D500 but don't fancy the price tag? Well, if you're prepared to make a few compromises here and there, the D7500 is what you should be looking at. It's packed with the same 20.9MP APS-C sensor (or 'DX' as Nikon calls it) as its more senior stablemate, and also matches it in offering 4K video recording. 

Nikon has also furnished it with the same 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor and the tilting screen on the back is just as large at 3.2 inches in size, although not quite as detailed, and it's all wrapped up inside a weather-sealed body. In our tests, we were impressed by a number of things, including battery life, image quality and handling. It's a great all-rounder for those with a healthy amount of budget. 

On an even tighter budget? There's also the older 24.2MP Nikon D7200, which continues to offer great value – if you can find it on sale. 

Read our in-depth Nikon D7500 review


The best entry-level full-frame DSLR

best DSLR camera Canon EOS 6D Mark II being held in two hands

(Image credit: Future)
The best entry-level full-frame DSLR

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame
Megapixels: 26.2MP
Autofocus: 45-point cross-type
Screen type: 3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Continuous shooting speed: 6.5fps
Movies: 1080p
Battery life: 1,200 shots
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive features
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K video
-
Plastic finish
Buy it if:

✅ You shoot from all angles: A vari-angle touchscreen is super useful and a rarer find in DSLRs.
✅ You're new to full-frame: An excellent starting point to realize what all the fuss is about regarding full-frame.

Don't buy it if:

You want the most detail in photos: The dynamic range of the EOS 6D II fails to match rivals.
❌  You mainly use the optical viewfinder: For a full-frame DSLR it's a disappointment that the viewfinder coverage is less than 100%.

Although it's a full-frame DSLR, the entry-level EOS 6D Mark II is impressively user-friendly. While the chassis can feel rather plasticky, the 26MP sensor housed within is stellar, and offers Canon's trusty Dual Pixel CMOS AF system when using live view mode. 

With 45 AF points to choose from and a burst speed of 6.5fps, there's plenty you can capture – including some decent wildlife shots as well. It's not quite fast enough for speedy trackside racing shots, but we discovered in our review that it does surprisingly well for most anything else. 

The rear touchscreen also offers tap-to-focus and tap-to-shoot for anyone missing a joystick. Despite that the 6D Mark II is reliable, produces great results and is still a favorite amongst enthusiast photographers.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS 6D Mark II review


The best flagship DSLR

best DSLR camera Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in front of a camera bag

(Image credit: Future)
The best flagship DSLR camera

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 30.4MP
Autofocus: 61-point AF, 41 cross-type
Screen type: 3.2-inch touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Movies: 4K
Battery life: 900 shots
User level: Expert

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning performance
+
Advanced AF system

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to rivals
-
4K video options limited
Buy it if:

✅ You're a multi-disciplinary photographer: Landscapes, portraits, sports, wildlife, the EOS 5D IV does it all.
✅ You need the best battery life: Better than mirrorless but Nikon rival's battery life are superior.

Don't buy it if:

You're after good value: Years after its release, the EOS 5D IV remains a pricy DSLR.
❌  You're a videographer, too: 4K video options are limited compared to rivals.

Canon's EOS 5D series has a rich heritage: the original EOS 5D brought full-frame photography to the masses, the Mark II unleashed Full HD video capture for the first time on a DSLR, and the Mark III became a firm favorite among photographers for doing everything it did so well. 

The EOS 5D Mark IV tweaks and improves on almost everything before it, with a 30.4MP sensor and advanced 61-point AF system, together with 4K video recording – all of which performed well in our real-world tests. With a 5D Mark V successor essentially ruled out by Canon, the Mark IV will continue to be one of the most compelling DSLRs at this price point.

Its 4K video options are a little limited, with the frame-rate topping out at 30fps and no options to shoot in a flat gamma profile. But if you're mainly looking for a powerful DSLR for stills photography, the EOS 5D Mark IV remains a surprisingly modern proposition, considering its age – and the fact that you can still buy it new is a testament to its popularity. 

Read our in-depth Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review


The best DSLR for image quality

best DSLR camera Nikon D850 on a beige background

(Image credit: Nikon)
The best professional DSLR for image quality

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 45.4MP
Autofocus: 153-point AF, 99 cross-type
Screen type: 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Movies: 4K
Battery life: 1,840 shots
User level: Expert

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning image quality
+
Excellent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow Live View AF speed
-
SnapBridge connectivity
Buy it if:

✅ You want the best image quality: The 45.7MP full-frame sensor is the best ever made for DSLR.
✅ You want amazing battery life: 1,840-shots from a full-charge, enough said.

Don't buy it if:

You're a hybrid shooter: Unlike for photography, the video performance of the D850 can't compete with mirrorless.
❌  You want seamless connectivity: Nikon's Snapbridge remains a clunky app for wireless connectivity.

It's hard to think of another DSLR that wows like the D850 does, even after several years on the market. It's on the pricey side for sure, but this is justified by the things we discovered in our tests, including excellent image quality, bags of features and a rugged, weather-resistant magnesium alloy body. The 45MP sensor is still one of the highest in terms of resolution in any DSLR, while the 7fps burst mode is unusually high for a camera with such a sensor. 

Add to that a cracking AF system, wonderful handling and great 4K video, and its versatility should be easy to appreciate. Like the sound of the D850, but want to go mirrorless? Well, while not strictly a mirrorless version of the D850, Nikon's newer Z7 mirrorless camera shares the same 45MP resolution as the D850, but features some clever tech of its own, including an all-new lens mount. 

Read our in-depth Nikon D850 review


The best DSLR for sports and wildlife

best DSLR camera Canon 1DX Mark III lying face up on the ground

(Image credit: Future)
The best DSLR for sports photographers

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Autofocus: 191-point AF; 155 cross-type
Screen type: 3.2-inch touchscreen; 2.1 million dots
Max burst rate: 20fps
Movies: 4K RAW/DCI/UHD at 60fps
Battery life: 2,850 shots
User level: Expert

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent autofocus
+
Almost unlimited buffer

Reasons to avoid

-
No IBIS
-
Expensive
Buy it if:

✅ You shoot sports: Quicker and longer burst shooting, plus the best autofocus – there's no better DSLR to shoot sports and wildlife, period.
✅ You need a reliable camera: Rugged build and excellent weather-sealing for extreme conditions.

Don't buy it if:

You're on a budget: Yes it's a flagship model, but by heck is the EOS 1DX Mark III expensive, even now.
❌  You shoot from all angles: The fixed LCD screen is sturdy but hardly versatile for shooting from high or low angles.

Officially Canon’s final flagship DSLR, the EOS 1D X Mark III is a fitting swan song for the company’s DSLR division. Designed for professionals who need speed, performance and image quality in a sturdy package, the 1D X Mark III pretty much covers it all. In our tests, we found it could handle almost any situation, whether sports, wildlife or the kind of action that makes front pages.

We were extremely impressed with the 1D X Mark III’s capabilities. Its rugged build feels solid enough to survive a war zone and, while it’s a big camera, we appreciated its ergonomics during our review. Its performance was never in doubt: with a fast processor, deep buffer and rapid 20fps burst speeds, this is a camera that doesn’t compromise. That’s equally true of the AF system, which uses deep-learning to enhance precision.

Its video prowess is handy, too, with 4K/60p capture available. Stacked to the hilt with features and power, it’s probably overkill for the average photographer, especially considering its expensive price tag. Yet it’s also a truly impressive DSLR that represents a worth investment for professionals.

Read our in-depth Canon EOS 1D X Mark III review


The best black and white DSLR camera

Prouct photo of the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome with a 16-50mm f/2.8 attached

(Image credit: James Abbott)
The best DSLR for black and white photography

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 25.7MP
Autofocus: 101-point AF, 25 cross-type
Screen type: 3.2-inch, 1,620,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps
Movies: 4K
Battery life: 800 shots
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic image quality
+
Lovely DSLR handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Only shoots in monochrome
-
Expensive for an APS-C camera
Buy it if:

✅ You shoot only in monochrome: If you like the idea of a black and white camera but can’t stretch to a Leica Monochrome, this is a great choice.
✅ You appreciate good handling: Solid build quality, comfortable ergonomics and useful direct access controls make the Monochrome a lovely DSLR to handle.

Don't buy it if:

You’re on a limited budget: While it’s less expensive than the Leica Monochrome, the K-3 Mark III Monochrome is still costly for a camera that can’t shoot colour.
❌  You want a compact camera: Considering it's an APS-C camera, the K-3 Mark III Monochrome is large and heavy, dwarfing many of its mirrorless contemporaries.

Monochrome cameras are a niche proposition, but if you’re committed to shooting in black and white, we think the Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome is a great choice. There’s no escaping that it’s expensive for an APS-C camera without the versatility of color photography, but it is cheaper than both the Leica M and Q-series Monochrom models.

In our review, we were impressed with how the K-3 Mark III Monochrome handles, especially for a camera that’s large and heavy compared to the latest mirrorless options. We found it well-built, comfortable in the hand and blessed with an array of direct access controls. Together with an LCD on the top plate, these make the Monochrome a pleasure to shoot with.

Our tests also found image quality to be excellent, aided by impressive ISO control: stills are sharp and usable, even at ISO 51,200. 5-axis in-body image stabilization also assists in keeping results crisp. It might be eccentric, but the K-3 Mark III Monochrome is a well-equipped option if black and white is your style – particularly if you’re already invested in Pentax lenses.

Read our in-depth Pentax K-3 Mark III Monochrome review


How to choose

How do I choose the best DSLR camera?

A DSLR remains the cheapest way to get a camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder (you’ll find many entry-level mirrorless cameras don’t have viewfinders). But what else should you consider when choosing one?

The main differences between an entry-level DSLR and a more advanced one are in the camera’s design, sensor and shooting features. Beginner DSLRs like the Nikon D3500 (see no.1 above) are often smaller than their more premium equivalents. This has historically made them some of the best travel cameras around, though it usually also means a lack of weather-proofing and fewer manual controls.

The size difference is often also related to sensor size. More affordable DSLRs tend to have APS-C size sensors, while pro-friendly ones like the Nikon D850 are full-frame cameras. You can see a diagram showing the difference below. 

There is no outright ‘better’ sensor size, with each having their own advantages and drawbacks. To find out more about these, check out our guide on how to buy a full-frame camera.

When it comes to choosing between a beginner DSLR and a mid-range model, paying a bit more for the latter will usually get you increased shooting flexibility, which could see you keep the camera for longer and save you money in the long run. The extra features you tend to get are improved continuous shooting speeds (handy for shooting sport or wildlife), superior high ISO performance (useful in lower light), and sometimes an extra memory card slot.

You can also find outstanding value by shopping for a second-hand DSLR from a reputable retailer. Because many manufacturers are no longer making new DSLR models, there is a healthy market for good quality used models. The Canon EOS 800D, for example, is a solid entry-level DSLR that can be found at a good discount. Similarly, the Nikon D750 is an older full-frame option that represents excellent second-hand value.

If you’re just looking to step up from your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, though, then an entry-level DSLR will give you the image quality boost and manual controls you need to grow into your new hobby. Finally, a quick word of advice if you don’t have any lenses – buy your new DSLR with a kit lens, as it’s cheaper to do this than buy them separately.

Nikon D3500

(Image credit: Future)

What is a DSLR camera exactly?

Like most modern cameras, a DSLR allows you to record still images to a memory card. What makes a DSLR camera different is the way that it directs light to the sensor inside. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. Breaking that down, the ‘digital’ refers to the sensor. This can be anything from a standard APS-C sensor, all the way through full-frame to the much larger medium format.

‘Single-lens’ is fairly self-explanatory: it means that DSLR cameras use one and the same lens to frame, focus and shoot photographs. Almost all cameras do this nowadays, but the terminology is a hangover from the days when retro rangefinder and twin-lens-reflex models used multiple lenses to achieve the different functions.

‘Reflex’ refers to perhaps the most important component of a DSLR camera. It means that a mirror inside the body directs the light which comes down the lens. When you’re framing a shot, this light is sent to the optical viewfinder, giving you a true analogue impression of the scene. But when you press the shutter button to start an exposure, this mirror will flip up. In an analogue SLR camera, this would expose the film inside. In a DSLR, it allows the digital sensor to capture the available light.

Besides the optical viewfinder, another benefit of this reflective system is that DSLR cameras have to be larger than their mirrorless equivalents. This might sound like a downside, but it means DSLR cameras can benefit from famously good ergonomics. DSLR cameras also support interchangeable lenses, so you can switch to more suitable glass when you need to shoot a different scene – from a prime lens to a zoom lens, for example. And because the format has been around for so long, you should have no trouble finding compatible lenses and accessories.

For a more detailed explainer on how DSLRs compare to their mirrorless counterparts, check out our in-depth Mirrorless vs DSLR comparison feature.


A hand holding the Canon EOS 90D camera

(Image credit: Future)

Who stopped making DSLR cameras?

As you’ll see from the list above, there are still plenty of excellent DSLR cameras still available for photographers. That said, it’s an unavoidable truth that most manufacturers are now focused squarely on putting their latest tech into mirrorless models. 

The result of this industry shift is that many of the biggest camera manufacturers have stopped developing new DSLR cameras. That includes two former stalwarts of the genre: Canon announced in 2021 that the EOS 1D X Mark III would be its last DSLR flagship, while Nikon followed suit in 2022. Some feel it could be a good thing for photography as a whole.

That’s doesn’t mean you can’t buy DSLR cameras from those companies: both are still producing existing models. In fact, Canon has promised to continue making DSLRs for as long as there is demand for them. But that doesn’t mean their future is secure, either. Nikon has officially discontinued several models, including both the D5600 and D3500 (our favorite DSLR camera) and neither brand will bring any new models to market. And they’re not alone, with Sony also withdrawing the last of its DSLRs from shelves. 

While this development doesn’t augur well for fans of the format, chances are that the total demise of DSLRs is still several years away. What’s more, you can still find fantastic value on the healthy second-hand market.

A row on six DSLR cameras on a tennis court

(Image credit: Future)

How we test DSLRs

Buying a camera these days is a big investment, so every camera in this guide has been tested extensively by us. These days, real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand a camera's performance and character, so we focus heavily on those, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance.

To start with, we look at the camera's design, handling and controls to get a sense of what kind of photographer it's aimed at and who would most enjoy shooting with it. When we take it out on a shoot, we'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed.

Two hands holding the Nikon D5600 DSLR

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to performance, we use a formatted SD card and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available). For burst shooting tests, we dial in our regular test settings (1/250 sec, ISO 200, continuous AF) and shoot a series of frames in front of a stopwatch to see if it lives up to its claimed speeds. We'll also look at how quickly the buffers clears and repeat the test for both raw and JPEG files.

Where applicable, we also test the camera's different autofocus modes in different lighting conditions (including Face and Eye AF) in single point, area and continuous modes. We also shoot a range of photos of different styles (portrait, landscape, low light, macro/close-up) in raw and JPEG to get a sense of metering and its sensor's ability to handle noise and resolve fine