- Best Mid Level DSLR Cameras in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Nikon D7500
- 2. Best under 1000: Sony Alpha a7 IIK
- 3. Value for Money: Canon 90D
- 4. Best Waterproof Design: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- 5. Best for Vloggers: Nikon D5600
- 6. Best for College Students: Panasonic Lumix G85
- 7. Best for Wildlife: Pentax K-70
- 8. Best under 800: Sony Alpha A6100
- 9. Best in Budget: Canon M50
- 10. Best under 500: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
- FAQs about Best Mid Level DSLR Cameras
A perfect time to upgrade from your beginner camera to a best mid-level DSLR is when you have mastered all its features and think that the limited possibilities is hampering your growth and creativity.
For example, beginner DSLRs would have a burst rate of 3 FPS whereas a mid-level DSLR would have a 7 FPS burst rate. Also, the ISO support of these cameras is much more than beginner ones. If you think these are a hindrance to your work, it is a good time to upgrade.
A mid-range DSLR is a camera that is a bit advanced and has more features and better low light capabilities than a beginner DSLR. This makes it ideal for photographers who have had enough practice and now want to pursue their career as a professional photographer. Such DSLRs are also suited for people who want more options with regards to the compatibility of lenses and the ability to have a better frame rate.
|Image||Product Name||Features||Check Price|
|Sony Alpha a7 IIK|
|Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II|
|Panasonic Lumix G85|
|Sony Alpha A6100|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III|
Best Mid Level DSLR Cameras in 2021
The main thing to keep in mind is the purpose of the camera. As we go higher in camera models, they have specific abilities. Some are designed better for sports photographers whereas some are for wedding and events photography with 4k capabilities. Knowing the purpose can help you select the best mid-level DSLR.
1. Best Overall: Nikon D7500
The house of Nikon offers an exceptional mid-level camera that is great on all the fronts. It offers some great improvements in the metering section and has also increased FPS to make sure that your camera never misses a moment and every capture comes out sharp and crisp. The battery life of 950 shots is equivalent to around 3 hours of shooting.
The design of this mid-range camera is compact yet well-spaced. It is fully black in color with a small red line that steals the show. It sports a 3.2-inch touch screen LCD which can be tilted.
The buttons are well aligned on the left and leave the right hand free for grip. The mini LCD for showing config marks it as a well designed mid-range DSLR.
It sports an Expeed 5 sensor and a CMOS resolution of 20.9 MP. This ensures great low light capturing. The ISO limit is also upto 1640000 but the safe limit is 51200. This is incredibly useful for shooting in low light and we found it to be a delight while shooting some videos and good photos at night. The burst mode is great with a high rate of 8 FPS. We tried to capture some shots of children playing around and it did the job well and fast.
The focus area of Nikon D7500 is wide with its 51 focus points. This is a very important factor to note while choosing the best mid-level DSLR as most of the beginner cameras would sport 9 or 18 focus points and limit the sharper focus. The camera also boasts of a 180000-pixel RGB sensor that makes the metering top notch and capable of detecting human faces.
The DSLR weighs 1.66 pounds and it is a bit heavy. It comes with a one year warranty. Simply said, the Nikon D7500 is a modern king and one the best mid-range DSLR to buy.
- High ISO (1640000)
- 8 FPS burst mode
- 51 focus points
- Wireless connectivity
- 4K recording
- Tilt only screen
2. Best under 1000: Sony Alpha a7 IIK
Sony boasts of a premium mid-range DSLR that aims to lead the market with some new-age features like 5 axis stabilization. Although it is an old model, it has some excellent features that would give a run for the money to its contemporaries.
The mid-level mirrorless camera has a battery life of 350 shots which would last around 2 hours. This one is a mirrorless camera so the lower battery life seems to be okay for this item.
The design of the Alpha a7 IIK has a premium feel and look to it. It has a 3 inch tiltable LCD screen that lacks the touchscreen feature. The right side of the screen is loaded with all the buttons while the left is empty. While this design usually does not cause any problems, this is an exception to that.
It has the video recording button at the grip on the right hand of the camera. It keeps getting pressed which completely destroys the user experience that the device would otherwise have had. Overall, the design is disappointing.
The Bionz X processor along with the CMOS sensor is powerful enough to give you a good and crystal clear performance. It has a full-frame sensor which is indeed a blessing for shooting in low light.
The ISO can only boost upto 25600, which is not the best we have seen. However, it does not prove to be a major setback because of its overall performance in the low light conditions. The specs seem satisfactory enough to set it as a good mid-range DSLR.
This Sony intermediate DSLR has a 5 FPS frame rate which is disappointing, to be honest. However, it has a 5 axis stabilization that is extraordinarily useful and eliminates any type of movement jerks.
It also sports 117 phase-detection points which are helpful in tracking and focusing on subjects. The company claims it to be 30% better than any other autofocusing option. However, it does live up to the claim.
You can even use a computer to control the camera. That is something novel for sure. The camera weighs 1.32 lbs. The weight seems on the higher end for a mirrorless camera and it does not prove to be a better factor. The camera comes with a warranty of one year. It is an old model that still has enough power to become a worthy DSLR in the mid-range.
- 127 phase-detection points
- Play camera application
- Full frame sensor
- Better autofocus
- Low burst rate
- No 4k recording
- Old model
3. Value for Money: Canon 90D
The competition and the age-old debate of Canon vs Nikon seem to be never-ending and Canon 90D is proof of it.
It is a worthy competitor to the Nikon D7500 and has some exceptional features that would make you really confused with these two options. Jaw-dropping battery life of 1300 shots makes it a companion for 4 hours without any sweat.
Personally, I love the way Canon has a user-friendly design and the simple feel of it. This camera lives up to those expectations and gives us a nice and simple layout. The buttons are well spaced and none of the hands feel crowded with buttons like the Nikon D7500.
There is a joystick for focus which reduces the focusing time and we loved this small addition. There is a 3 inch LCD touch screen which makes operating it even easier. Overall, the design has impressed and it has beaten its competitor by a large margin.
This best value for money DSLR has a DIGIC DV 8 sensor which is the latest from Canon and combines that with a whopping 32.5 MP CMOS sensor to get some exceptional results. The processing is fast enough and that can be proved with its high 10 FPS burst rate. It is the best we have seen until now.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF is really powerful in the focusing front and it has an intelligent focusing system that tracks moving objects and eyes in a jiffy.
There are 45 focus points to select from. This ensures that a major portion of the screen is covered and you have no trouble getting an excellent sharp image by focusing at the right place.
There is an electronic curtain technology that allows you to capture the images at an incredible shutter speed of 1/8000 which would ensure that you get the best images with absolutely no shake or jerk.
This mid-price Canon camera weighs 1.32 lbs which is light considering the DSLR range. It comes with a one year warranty. Being an incredible competitor to the Nikon D7500, later wins only marginally to it. This one is a pure breeze for any canon lover and a must-have.
- Jaw-dropping battery life
- 10 FPS burst rate
- High megapixel- 32.5
- Excellent design
- Minor Buffering when changing images and videos
- No USB charging
4. Best Waterproof Design: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark IIOlympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II can be a great alternative to the camera line which is usually dominated by Nikon and Canon. It is a promising camera that has been a popular choice for users and critics alike even after the launch of its successor.
The DSLR sports a great battery life of 440 shots which would easily last for around 2 hours of continuous shooting.
The design of the Mark II is the perfect blend of style and simplicity. There is a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that is capable of moving in all the directions. What stands out for this attractive camera is its impeccable build quality.
It has a magnesium and alloy body which is sturdy enough to withstand any amount of jerks or shocks that might be put on it. The button spacing is wide and you have a certain joy using this camera.
This mid-range digital camera holds a Truepic VIII processor and that is coupled with a 20.3 MP resolution CMOS sensor. It is powerful enough to give you crisp and nice shots in low light conditions. It has fully utilized the mirrorless technology and gives you a continuous drive of 60 fps. It has dual fast autofocus and 5 axis stabilization to ensure that you get the best photos without any movements.
The focusing front of this camera is strong enough to detect any movements. It has an array of 121 phase-detection points that spot and track your subject. It has a pro capture mode that captures a buffer image series before you click the button.
After using the feature, you can click the button and have all the 35 frames before the frame you clicked and the one that you wished to shall appear in front of you.
The Mark II weighs 1.1 lbs which is the lightest of all. This model comes with a one year warranty. It is indeed the best mid-range camera that becomes an excellent choice for people who like Olympus and would like to try something new.
- 121 AF points
- Pro capture mode
- 60fps burst mode
- Light and compact
- Weatherproof design
- The menu system feels outdated
- Slow subject tracking in AF
5. Best for Vloggers: Nikon D5600
Nikon truly offers an option at every price range and the D5600 is an excellent proof of that. It is a camera that would be suitable for people who want to upgrade their camera but on a budget.
The D5600 makes that possible by offering features like better frame rate, touchscreen, and higher ISO from a beginner camera. It has a battery life of 970 shots which is strong enough to last for 3 hours of continuous shooting.
The design of mid-level Nikon camera is suitable for both beginners and professionals. It has a nicely spaced button layout that is close enough for quick navigation but wide enough to not get congested.
The vlogging camera with flip screen has a 3 inch fully articulating touchscreen which enables all shooting angles. The camera has the trademark Nikon red line passing just below the shutter which makes it look gorgeous.
Excellent Expeed 4 sensor is coupled with a 24MP CMOS imaging sensor. The processor and sensor work in perfect tandem to give out some excellent images. There is an ISO limit of 25600 but the safe bet is always a notch lower, that is, at 12800. The burst mode is strong enough to give a frame rate of 5 FPS.
This Digital SLR has a large number of focus points with 39 focus points. These enable the camera to cover a wider range of areas and shoot pretty much 70 percent of the image in the frame without any hassle. There is an in-camera mode that would help you to free yourself from the hassle of changing the features and give you the liberty of clicking perfect images.
This Nikon model weighs 1.20 lbs which are light enough to carry it around. It comes with a one year warranty. If you have a limited budget and want to get the best of your money, it is the best choice that you can get!
- 39 focus points
- Long battery life
- Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity
- 5 fps is not a great upgrade
- No 4k recording
6. Best for College Students: Panasonic Lumix G85
A great contender in the race of the best mid-range DSLR is the Panasonic Lumix G85. It boasts of some nice specs and design which can especially attract college students who have had enough experience with basic DSLR & point and shoot cameras.
The battery life is okayish with support of around 320 shots. However, this is the standard life for any mirrorless camera so we are neutral about it. It can hold a video recording of an hour or so.
This mid-range mirrorless camera has a blend of touch and type design. It sports a 3-inch touchscreen that can fully articulate. The body sports are two buttons that can be customized to suit your needs.
There are dials on the top but most of the buttons are on the right-hand side of the screen which makes it feel crowded and congested to operate. However, the menu and the q function buttons are on the right which makes it better for one-handed operation than a dual handed one.
Note that the sensor here is the more important part and the megapixels become a number after a certain limit.
The imaging is top class and it does deliver clear and sharp images. The resolution of 16MP sounds a little low compared to the competitors on paper. However, it delivers as good performance as any other higher-numbered megapixel camera would.
The Lumix G85 sports a very interesting feature which we found useful for post-processing. It is called the shoot now focus later feature that allows you to change the focus after clicking the photos. This is very useful while capturing the photos in an event such as a wedding or an event where the focus is the most important thing and if you miss the moment, it cannot come back.
This Pansonic camera weighs 1.11 lbs and the weight is good enough for a mirrorless camera. It comes with a one year warranty. It seems a decent choice for camera upgrading but there are several other options with better features.
- Post now focus later
- Double battery with a power grip
- Nice image stabilization
- Disappointing battery life
- Complicated UI
7. Best for Wildlife: Pentax K-70
This is particularly because of its rugged built and the weatherproof body. It has a battery life of 410 shots which should last around 2 hours of continuous shooting.
The design front is where the K-70 displays its stronghold. It has a rectangular body with a retro feel and look. It is easily spottable and stands out from its competitors. The weather-sealed body is strong enough to fight temperatures from -10 degrees to 40 degrees.
It sports a 3 inch LCD which is fully articulating but misses out on the touchscreen feature. What we liked the most is the green line that makes the camera look very attractive and elegant.
The Prime MII engine is responsible for giving you fast and perfect images whereas the 24 MP CMOS sensor ensures clarity and sharpness. The processor is powerful enough to give you a burst rate of 6 fps which is fairly better than the beginner cameras. It also has an image stabilization technology that helps reduce knocks and shocks from the pictures.
The K-70 shows a glimpse of how cameras can be specifically designed for special purposes. This one is designed for astrophotography. The built-in GPS that allows you to locate the constellations and stars.
There is a dedicated night vision mode that would reduce eye strain and make the pupil feel rested. This is something exclusive and it highly impressed us.
This Pentax mid-range is heavy at 1.5 lbs. It comes with a one year warranty. We expected it to be lighter as it is a mirrorless camera but maybe the weather sealing has led to an increase in the weight and added a few extra ounces.
- Night vision
- Weatherproof body
- Retro feel
- Made for astrophotographers
- Lacks touchscreen
- No 4k recording
8. Best under 800: Sony Alpha A6100
No one can beat Sony when it comes to offering the best quality images. The company is known for building world-class sensors and the Sony Alpha A6100 is yet another brilliant offering from them.
The battery life of this powerful DSLR is 420 shots which should see you through for an hour or two without any hiccups. You can manage one hour of video recording with this one too.
The design is premium and modern. It has a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that can be tilted 180 degrees. The body is made of plastic but it does not feel cheap.
There is a rubber coating on it to ensure that it would be the perfect companion for hours to hold. The buttons are all on the left and this is the case with major mirrorless cameras that we have seen. Overall, the design is decent and there is nothing to boast or complain about.
The Bionz X processor with the 24.2 MP resolution matches the caliber and the performance of a Sony product and does give out excellent pictures. The processor is fast enough to give you a high burst rate of 11 FPS. That is something to note and a definite upgrade from any beginner camera that would give around 3 to 5 FPS.
The budget-friendly camera from Sony excels in the focusing front too. It has an astonishing 425 focus points that would leave no corner untouched. There is a built-in technology that tracks human eyes and animals by itself.
Other than this, we were pretty impressed with the QR code technology that allowed us to quickly transfer the photos without any hassle. The operation of transferring was completed in a matter of a few minutes.
The Alpha A6100 weighs 1.1 lbs and it seems to be a fair amount of weight for a mirrorless camera. This model comes with a one year warranty. The camera is an overall winner but it does not offer some major features like a weatherproof body or a rugged design that others do.
- 425 focus points
- 11 FPS
- QR transfer
- Excellent image quality
- No in-body stabilization
- Charger not provided
9. Best in Budget: Canon M50
Canon M50 is a mirrorless option that gives you a modern alternative to the DSLRs. Surprisingly, it is a lightweight and compact camera that can be taken everywhere with ease and you can also attach heavy lenses without much hesitation.
The battery life is around 235 shots which is around one and a half hours of shooting. It can capture an hour of videos. Thus, the battery is a disappointing point of this camera.
The design merges a modern look with the familiar and known Canon look and feel. There is a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that is fully articulating and you can use it for low angle music video shooting too. The spacing of the buttons is perfect and there is no hassle in changing the dials or navigating through the menu. I like how the design is simple and gorgeous to hover around.
This mid-range compact camera comes with the latest Digic DV 8 sensor from Canon. Combine that with a nice 24MP CMOS sensor and you get awesome video and image quality. It manages to perform well in low light too and gives you some great footage.
There is the dual pixel Autofocus technology that enables you to track and shoot the subject quickly and fast even when it is in motion. The 143 focus points are good enough to cover the majority of the screen and we found no problems using that to cover corners too. There is eye detection to automatically focus on there and make the most of the images.
Canon M50 also has the option to enable and use the automatic image transfer that allows you to automatically transfer photos as soon as you take to your device. The camera weighs 0.86 lbs and it is indeed one of the lightest options in this category.
It comes with a one year warranty. The camera is an okay option to consider for the good mid-level camera as it offers nothing extraordinary but only the mirrorless technology. Unfortunately, the battery life is bad and we expected a lot more from Canon.
- 143 focus points
- Automatic transfer
- Good video quality
- Screen is flexible for low angle shooting
- Bad battery life
- No USB charging
10. Best under 500: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
Olympus has been a great alternative to the Canon and Nikon Bandwagon and it offers some great features at exceptional prices. The M10 Mark III is a great battery optimizer.
It has proven to last for around 4 hours on continuous photo shooting while 2 hours for video shots. The CIPA rating is for 330 shots but we could tweak the camera to last longer. It should work just fine with the battery life
The design of this camera is retro-like and would very likely take you down the memory lane when someone owned a camera in your family. It has a 3 inch LCD touchscreen which is fixed. The buttons are compact and well-spaced. It is a great device in terms of design but the fixed screen is something that we got really disappointed with. While it is not expected in a mid-level DSLR at least, the design is sufficient for teenagers interested in photography.
It has a TruePic VIII sensor coupled with the 16MP sensor that would give you the best and the most detailed images. The low light performance is good too and we found that it does perform well automatically even when the lights change in low light. It is powerful enough to give you a burst rate of 8.6 FPS.
The Olympus M10 has some built-in features like the advanced pro mode that would help you with deciding and judging with popular techniques like HDR, Bracketing, long exposure, etc.
There are art filters present to ensure that you spend less amount of time in editing and more amount of time in shooting. It has Wifi Sync too that helps you to automatically send and receive images.
This basic mid-range camera weighs 1lbs and it is averagely weighed. It has a one year warranty. Overall, it is nothing extraordinary but does the job well. Some of the best built-in modes and effects are present in this camera but then the fixed screen is a huge deal breaker.
- Very good stabilization
- Well designed
- Nice UI
- Great quality of video and images
- 16 MP resolution
- You cannot change ISO in video mode
FAQs about Best Mid Level DSLR Cameras
Our tests and reviews reveal that Nikon D7500 is the best option for overall performance. The Canon 90D becomes the runner up because of a slightly higher price for the similar specifications.
However, if you are looking for a more affordable option. The Pentax K-70 is an excellent choice too.
If you have the same company of lenses and cameras, you can use it. However, there might be some compatibility issues so it is better to check it. Amazon provides an option to check it online.
If your lens is available on Amazon, you can put in the model and see if it goes or not. Other than that, you might use adapters to fit the lenses but that would affect the overall performance.
Canon and Nikon are the imaging stalwarts with Sony coming close for its mirrorless varieties. The others are good enough but not as strong as these three kings. The lenses and the service are the best of these two.
Absolutely NOT. The flashes that come on the camera are average at their best. You would have noticed that neither we nor any other camera reviewing sites would focus much on the flash.
This is because there are professional flashes available for the same reason that give you a lot more flexibility, creativity, and intensity to play with. If you are keen on buying a flash, you can go with a Neewer flash or a Powerextra Flash.
Choosing the best mid-level DSLR can be a challenging task but not if you sort out your needs and requirements. It also becomes easier to do so if you have a beginner kit. You should preferably go with the same company.
Considering the list discussed in this article, rest assured – that any model you choose, it will serve you great as each of them are researched in detail and are reviewed here only if they passed our intensive test.
- The best options for a mid-range DSLR are the Nikon D7500 and the Canon 90D.
- If you are taking a new kit or starting afresh with a new camera, Nikon D7500 is the right choice.
Go and start clicking! Let us know which one you would buy and what company you prefer in the comments.