I’ve used a lot of high-end cameras during my 20+ years in photography. Out of all the cameras i tested, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Nikon D750 were my definite favorites. Almost every camera in this price range is good enough, but not all of them are worth the money.
DSLR cameras have been the norm for a long time now, and I can comfortably say that they are here to stay. One of the most impressive things about these cameras is that they deliver versatility, performance, speed, and image quality in the same body. I can say that there are millions of different kinds of DSLRs out there at different price points. But today we are going to discuss solely the best dslr cameras under the $2000 price.
The picks you will see below are all selected based on their performance, speed, quality, and value for their price. I can safely suggest them to everyone that can afford these cameras, as they are fail-safe. Now without further ado, here are our favorite dslr cameras under $2000:
Best For The Money
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Best Build Quality
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Best For Low Light
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Best For Wildlife
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The Top 5 Best DSLR Cameras Under $2000
5. Nikon D500
We are going to start this list with an interesting option here, the Nikon D500. This camera has delivered some pleasing qualities that make it a capable action camera for the APS-C format models. It has a great and speedy autofocus system that combines well with the speedy burst shooting, weather-sealed body, and impressive image quality. The Nikon D500 promises to do it all.
The Nikon D500 replaces the D300 and it is pretty much the smaller sibling of the high-end D5. With some changes though. It might not have a full metal body like the D5 but it has a magnesium alloy construction and superb weather sealing that gets the job done in any condition. For things that it offers it is pretty light as well weighing just 860grams in total. Pretty durable and ready for action overall.
The controls of the Nikon D500 are pretty interesting as well, pretty good for creative freedom, and if you have used a Nikon camera before you will feel right at home. It has a 3.2-inch TFT LCD screen which is a touch-capacitive, but it isn’t very useful for a weird reason. The viewfinder was better than expected and delivered a 100 percent coverage of the scene which made it an exceptional tool.
One of the most impressive things about this camera is the superb autofocus performance which is packed with 153 focus points of which 99 are more accurate cross-type. It is a Multi-Cam 20K autofocus system that does its job greatly and can focus down to -4EV centrally and down to -3EV at other points. Also, I can note that it is extremely fast overall and when combined with its amazing 10 frames per second burst shooting mode, it is an absolute beast. It also has a 200 shot raw buffer and the battery life is about 1,240 shots.
The Nikon D500 is packed with an impressive 21 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor that is combined very well with the Expeed 5 image-processing engine. This sensor delivers some exceptional images with tons of sharpness and colors, and the ISO range that spans from 100 to 51,200 can be boosted up to 1,640,000 to deliver some great low light photographs. Definitely one of the most impressive overall.
4. Sony A77II
Sony’s DLSR series have fallen from prominence in the last few years with the rise of their exceptional mirrorless models, however, if you are looking for a great DSLR camera under $2000, the Sony A77II is a superb pick. This camera delivers has a nice sensor, a capable and strong autofocus system, and it manages to deliver some beautiful low light photographs lets take a look.
The Sony A77II looks pretty much the same as the original A77, however, upon closer inspection you will see some interesting differences. For example, the biggest difference is the new mode dial and the hotshoe that is changed to a more universal style to make it appropriate for different accessories. The build quality is excellent overall with this camera and you can have plenty of fun with it even in some more demanding conditions. It is also extremely ergonomic and easy to handle just like the original A77.
In terms of controls, however, the Sony A77II has some large changes, for example, the mode dial I mentioned earlier which has new controls and a lock button. On top of that, the Fn button delivers a lot of customization, for example, you can choose from 27 features and assign them accordingly for your needs. It is an enthusiast-level camera that will make you happy. The screen is a 3-inch Vari-angle model that delivers amazing detail but lacks touch responsiveness.
The most important feature of the Sony A77II is its amazing full-time phase-detect autofocus that delivers some excellent results. It has 79 AF points of which 15 are more accurate and sensitive cross-type points. It is also extremely fast and sensitive even in low light scenarios and delivers a perfect performance. Combined with the new shooting rate of 12 frames per second with AF tracking it is pretty much perfect.
The camera is based on a 24 megapixel APS-C sized Exmor CMOS sensor that combines well with the Bionz X image processing engine. This sensor delivered plenty of sharpness and great detail resolution more than I expected to be honest. It also has an ISo range that spans from 100 to 51,200 and it managed to eliminate noise rather perfectly.
3. Pentax K-1
Up next we have an interesting camera that delivers a superb set of features that will make every photographer pretty happy, the Pentax K-1. This is one of the best-balanced appears in the market, as it combines a lot of features and qualities that make things easier for all of us. On top of that, it is equipped with a pretty powerful full-frame sensor that we will talk about in a few.
I have used the Pentax K-1 for a long time and from the first impression I have had the same opinion about it, one of the most comfortable cameras to hold and operate. This is due to the super nice and deep handgrip that allows your hands to grip it properly, the grippy texture is a nice extra as well. On the back, you will see a thumb grip that is pretty ergonomic as well. the camera is also dust and moisture-sealed and it can operate below freezing temperatures.
In terms of controls, I can say that this is not the camera for a beginner photographer, it is a true enthusiast model. It is pretty complicated to use and it delivers a wide range of creative control. Especially the Smart Function DIal on the top plate which delivered all the needed controls. The display is pretty good as well nothing very exceptional but it did its job well without a doubt.
The Pentax K-1 has a pretty exceptional 33-point autofocus system that takes its performance from the contrast-detect SAFOX 12 AF module. The autofocus system proved itself to be pretty speedy and sensitive in low light scenarios, a feature that I didn’t expect. I should also mention that this camera can shoot 4.4 frames per second in continuous drive mode, which is plenty for a full-frame model.
The biggest feature of this camera besides the 36.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with no anti-aliasing filter is its Sensor-Shift technology. This feature delivered its exceptional 5-axis image stabilization that is rated to 5 stops by CIPA testing. Color resolution is also increased as a result and this camera will deliver you some exceptional options.
2. Nikon D750
The runner up in this list is another camera from Nikon, but a full-frame model this time, the Nikon D750. This camera might have been released in 2014 but it still holds in terms of performance, image quality, speed, focusing system, and a lot more. Let’s check out what else this amazing camera offers.
The Nikon D750 uses a pretty familiar design, very familiar to the D500 that we talked about earlier with a monocoque construction. It is made out of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber to give a superb feeling while still keeping the weight of it all pretty light at 840grams. The Nikon D750 is extremely durable as well and it has plenty of waterproofing inside it. The Kevlar and carbon fiber composite shutters are rated up to 150,000 cycles, which is pretty impressive.
In terms of controls and creative freedom, the Nikon D750 offers some pretty familiar controls that Nikon users already know and love, such as the mode dial that has the addition of the Effects button for Special Effects modes. The buttons on the back are pretty intuitive as well, not anything exceptional but overall pretty good. The display is rather large at 3.2-inches and it has a great resolution of 1,229k dots but is not touch-sensitive.
The autofocus system of the Nikon D750 is based on the impressive Multi-CAM 3500 AF module that is maybe dated but pretty much one of the best produced. It is equipped with 51 autofocus points of which 15 are cross-type points and 11 of them can go down to f/8 that is useful for telephoto lenses. Sensitivity is excellent and speed is pretty good overall, however, when you combine it with the 6.5 frames per second in burst shooting mode you see why it is so highly praised.
Like I said, in the beginning, this DSLR camera is based on the 24 megapixels full-frame CMOS sensor with the Expeed 4 image-processing engine that deliver some great sharpness and detail resolution with all the full-frame glory. The ISO range spans from 100 to 12,800 natively and it managed to eliminate noise pretty effectively at higher ranges, overall I have nothing bad to say about this camera.
1. Canon EOS 7D Mark II
On top of the list we have the Canon’s definite best APS-C format camera ever produced, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. This is one of the most critically acclaimed cameras ever produced and under the $2000 price it is the best you can get. It has all the desirable features that a photographer might want including excellent sensor, speed, ergonomics, controls and so much more.
I can confirm that this camera has a pretty serious build that makes it pretty exceptional for its purpose, which you will see in a bit. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has a magnesium alloy body that makes it extremely durable and substantial in hands, it weighs a pretty serious 910 grams body only, but nothing bad for a camera of this performance. The camera is comfortable to hold with its textured grips and deep handgrip. Without forgetting I should also mention that it is also weather and dust sealed.
In terms of controls, this camera is pretty much dedicated to enthusiasts, and you can see that first off by the shutter durability of 200,000 cycles. The control layout has received some changes upon its predecessor but it sticks to the classic EOS layout on the overall scheme of things. It is equipped with a 3-inch Clear View II TFT-LCD on the back which is pretty detailed but isn’t touch-capacitive unfortunately.
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has a super accurate and fast autofocus system that won’t disappoint you anytime soon. It is based upon the 65 focus points of which all are cross-type, of the more accurate and sensitive. On top of that, it has all the modes that will keep you focused on your subject without much hassle. Moving on it has a superb burst shooting speed of 10 frames per second and has a 31 file raw buffer. I should mention that the metering system is also exceptional with the 252 zones.
The image quality is exceptional overall with this camera. It is based on the 20 megapixels APS-C sized CMOS sensor with the Dual Digic 6 image processing engines that do a perfect job. The ISO range of this camera spans from 100 to 16,000 natively and can be boosted up to 51,200. A camera that is dedicated to those that want speed and performance without a sacrifice in the quality department.