In this article, I share the best Canon DSLR cameras under $1000.
I recommend a mix of powerful cameras, including models designed for enthusiast photographers, as well as models tailored to absolute beginners. So no matter your skill level, you’ll find the right camera for your needs.
Best Canon DSLR Cameras Under $1000
Let’s dive right in, starting with my ranking of the best Canon DSLRs:
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1. Canon EOS Rebel SL3
The SL3 is compact, it takes great photos, and it packs powerful video capabilities, too. It’s a do-anything, entry-level option from Canon.
The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is, simply put, the best budget Canon DSLR available today (if not the best budget DSLR on the market, period). It’s an absolute favorite of mine, and it’s one that appeals to beginners, enthusiasts, vloggers, videographers, and even the occasional professional, thanks to its unique blend of features.
First, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is compact. You can easily slip it into a backpack or a suitcase, and you can wear it around your neck comfortably for ages, which makes the SL3 a leading choice for travel photographers, walkaround photographers, and more. Personally, I like the idea of using the SL3 as a take-anywhere body, or even as a street photography camera – it really is that small and inconspicuous (at least compared to other DSLRs).
No, autofocus isn’t blazing fast. But focusing via the optical viewfinder is decent and will do just fine with still subjects, plus Live View focusing really is snappy thanks to Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel AF technology. So if you like focusing via the rear LCD, the SL3 offers a huge improvement over most other options on the market.
Related Post: Canon EOS Rebel SL3 vs SL2
Speaking of the rear LCD, the SL3’s is fully articulating, plus it has touch functionality. This is one of the things I love about Canon’s cameras – a fully articulating LCD is just so darn useful. You can use it to get down low when photographing flowers and other macro subjects, or you can use it to photograph skyscrapers without hurting your neck. Videographers will love the ability to flip out the LCD and monitor recording, and vloggers will jump at the chance to view themselves while shooting.
Finally, there’s the video specs, and they are outstanding, especially for the price. You get real, genuine 4K/24p (though you do have a crop to contend with). For vloggers and even enthusiast videographers, this should be very manageable, and you’re certainly not going to find a more powerful pick on this list.
Here’s the bottom line:
The Rebel SL3 is an impressively well-rounded Canon DSLR, and it doesn’t break the bank. So if you’re a stills shooter looking for a compact camera, or you’re a videographer after budget 4K, the SL3 is the way to go.
2. Canon EOS Rebel T7
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a bit basic, but it can take good images, and the price is perfect for beginners.
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is inexpensive, it feels good, and it takes great photos – so if you’re a beginner looking for a basic DSLR, it’s a great choice.
Like the other DSLRs on this list, the T7 is made of plastic. But Canon’s plastic bodies actually feel pretty good in your hands, thanks to their carefully molded features and well-positioned buttons. You’ll also appreciate how small the Canon Rebel T7 is, perfect for doing travel photography or just taking your camera everywhere you go.
While I do wish the T7 had a fully articulating screen, the LCD does look nice and is perfect for reviewing images or shooting in Live View.
Then there’s the image quality, which is genuinely impressive, especially for a sub-$500 camera. The 24 MP files look great, and you’ll be able to make beautiful prints. Even the high-ISO performance isn’t bad, allowing you to shoot in low light without too much trouble (which is essential if you plan to photograph indoor events or anything after dark).
As for the autofocus: I’m not sure nice is the right word to describe it, but it’s passable and can handle still subjects. Moving subjects are trickier, so I certainly wouldn’t recommend the T7 for action photography. But if you’re looking to shoot portrait or landscape subjects, it’s decently capable.
Last, the T7 does offer video, but it’s hardly worth mentioning; recording maxes out at 1080p and can only shoot at 30 frames per second. So if you’re a vlogger or a videography beginner, I’d recommend looking at one of the other models on this list (such as the Canon EOS Rebel SL3, which is well priced and very capable).
3. Canon EOS Rebel T8i
The T8i offers one of the strongest autofocus systems on this list, which makes it great for events, sports, and other high-pressure situations. Plus, there’s 4K!
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is the most expensive Canon DSLR on this list. It’s also the most powerful, plus it offers 4K recording, so if you’re looking for a camera that’s capable of pro-level results, the T8i is worth a look.
Here’s what you get for $900:
- A relatively lightweight body in a small package, perfect for travel and walkaround photography.
- A great shooting experience, thanks to a beautiful rear LCD (which is both fully articulating and touch sensitive).
- The best autofocus offered by any Canon entry-level DSLR. It packs 45 points and does a decent job with moving subjects, so if you’re looking to shoot sports or fast-paced events, the T8i is a good pick. And focusing gets even better in Live View, where you gain access to Canon’s Eye Detection technology (which helps you consistently nail focus on your subject’s eyes).
- 4K/24p video (though, as with the Canon EOS Rebel SL3, this comes with an annoying crop). You also lose access to Canon’s fast autofocusing in 4K. If you’re a vlogger or a budding videographer, the T8i is a great starter camera.
Then there’s the T8i’s image quality, which is everything you’d expect from Canon’s leading entry-level DSLR. High-ISO performance is good enough to allow for shooting in low light, and images just look all-around great. If you were worried that the T8i couldn’t offer top-notch images, don’t be; the T8i packs a lot of potential.
Before purchasing the Canon T8i, I would recommend taking a long look at the SL3 (also on this list, above). It’s cheaper, and depending on your needs, might make more sense – but if you’re after a camera that can focus fast, even with the optical viewfinder, the T8i is undoubtedly the better choice.
4. Canon EOS Rebel T100
The Rebel T100 is ridiculously cheap and images aren’t bad. If you’re a beginner looking to keep costs down, it’s worth a look.
If you’re on the hunt for the cheapest Canon DSLR you can find, then the Canon EOS Rebel T100 is worth a look, but remember: You really do get what you pay for.
For just over $400, the Canon T100 is just about the least flashy DSLR on the market today. Its body is plastic (as is the lens mount), and while it has Canon’s tried-and-true design, the whole camera feels cheap. It’s certainly not a camera you’d want to take out into a rainstorm, sand, or sea spray, though it should be able to handle the occasional knock.
Unfortunately, the LCD is pretty basic, offering just 230K dots of resolution; this is miles behind some of the other cameras on this list, and for anyone planning to shoot frequently in Live View, it may ruin the experience. The low resolution also makes it tough to review images and check focus via the LCD, though it’ll get the job done (barely).
Autofocusing is mediocre. You get 9 autofocus points, which can photograph still subjects without issue (e.g., landscapes, architecture, and even portraits), but you’ll start to struggle at a sports game or a fast-paced event. And Live View autofocus is weak – sure, you can focus on still subjects if you give the T100 some time, but you’ll often be better off focusing manually or switching back over to the optical viewfinder. Then there’s the 3 frames-per-second continuous shooting speeds, which won’t work for action photography, though if you’re a casual walkaround shooter, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Often, a camera’s value comes down to its image quality. And honestly, the Canon EOS Rebel T100 serves up satisfying stills. No, you can’t shoot noise-free at high ISOs, and the sensor can’t retain oodles of detail in highlights and shadows, but you get nice-looking 18 MP files – certainly enough for beginners looking to use their first DSLR.
5. Canon EOS 77D
The 77D offers fast autofocus and a good low-light performance. If you don’t mind the lack of video chops, then it’s a decent pick.
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The Canon EOS 77D was released in the first half of 2017. It is an APS-C DSLR that produces a resolution of 24 megapixels. The camera has a crop factor of 1.6x, the same as the other APS-C Canon cameras.
The EOS 77D fits somewhere between the EOS 80D/90D and the EOS Rebel T8i/T7i (also on this list).
An important feature of the camera is its 45-point cross-type phase-detection autofocus system. Cross-type AF means the system is great at locking focus on your subject, no matter the subject’s orientation. Plus, the camera comes with what is known as Dual Pixel AF. This technology is designed to speed up autofocusing in Live-View shooting.
The EOS 77D shoots stills at a frame rate of 6 fps for a maximum of 190/21 JPEG/RAW frames. In that sense, it shoots fewer frames per second compared to the T8i, which shoots 7.5 per second. It shoots full HD video at 60, 24, and 30 fps. There is still no 4K/UHD option on the EOS 77D, and it would’ve been nice given the growing popularity of 4K/UHD videos.
Among the things that I don’t like is the 95% frame coverage of the viewfinder and the LCD screen. The 95% frame coverage is annoying and makes it tough to compose with accuracy. But given the fact that the EOS 77D is an entry-level camera, you can’t complain.
There is a stereo mic with the option to plug in an external stereo mic for better quality audio. What the EOS 77D does not have, however, is a mic output jack, which would have allowed the sound levels to be monitored while recording.
Design-wise, the EOS 77D with its dual command wheels and a top LCD screen mimics a professional top-end model. So would the EOS 77D be a good buy? If you are an enthusiast photographer looking for an all-around camera under $1000, the EOS 77D is a fine choice – assuming you don’t plan to shoot video.
6. Canon EOS Rebel T7i
The T7i might have been succeeded by the fast T8i, but there’s still a lot to be impressed by, including stellar image quality, snappy autofocus, and 6 fps continuous shooting speeds.
The Canon EOS Rebel T7i is the predecessor of the T8i. The Rebel T7i features a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and is paired with a DIGIC 7 image processor.
The camera comes with a 45-point, all cross-type phase-detection autofocus for speedy focusing on moving subjects. Plus, the camera also has Canon’s Dual Pixel AF for Live-View shooting. A higher number of cross-type AF points helps when creating off-center compositions and for subject tracking.
The Rebel T7i shoots stills at a frame rate of 6 fps – the same number of frames as the EOS 77D detailed above. The Rebel T7i also shoots full HD videos at a frame rate of 60, 24, and 30 fps, but what I would have loved to see on the T7i is the ability to shoot 4K/UHD.
These days, time-lapse and HDR movies are two features that are in great demand. The T7i comes with both these features. The HDR Movie mode is helpful for recreating those high-contrast scenes perfectly in digital format.
Related Post: The Canon Rebel T7i (Tech Specs)
Just like several of the cameras above, the T7i has a viewfinder and an LCD touchscreen. The native ISO range of the camera is 100–12800.
Dynamic range hasn’t made a quantum leap with the T7i, but it is decent. Scenes with a lot of contrast are somewhat problematic regarding noise performance, though.
The Rebel T7i has a built-in stereo mic. Additionally, there is the option to plug in an external stereo mic as well for better quality sound recording. Truly, this is a great option to have on an entry-level DSLR and something that you should consider before finalizing your purchase, especially if you plan to record a lot of video.
The Rebel T7i comes with built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi ensures that you can transfer your images and videos seamlessly to a compatible device using an available network. With NFC pairing with a smartphone or tablet, this is easier. With Bluetooth, you have the option to control your camera via a smartphone.
The back of the camera is dominated by a large 3″ vari-angle LCD screen that swivels and tilts in all directions allowing you to shoot from difficult angles. The screen has a resolution of 1.04 million dots.
Overall, the Canon EOS Rebel T7i is a good choice for highly motivated photographers looking for a well-rounded (and well-priced!) Canon DSLR.
The Best Canon DSLR Under $1000: Final Words
Hopefully, you now know the perfect sub-$1000 Canon DSLR for your needs. To recap:
If you’re looking for a compact DSLR that also features great video capabilities, get the Canon EOS Rebel SL3.
If you’re after an all-rounder for serious photography, the Canon EOS Rebel T8i is the perfect pick.
If you want a capable camera without overspending, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a great choice.
And if you need the cheapest Canon DSLR on the market today, the Canon EOS Rebel T100 is the way to go.
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