There were some great DSLRs launched in 2013, some of them tiny, while others had huge 24-million-pixel sensors with no anti-aliasing filter. Read our DSLR round-up to found out more...

Canon EOS 100D

The 18-million-pixel Canon EOS 100D is the smallest and lightest DSLR currently in production

Canon EOS 100D at a glance:

  • 18-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
  • Digic 5 processor
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to ISO 25,600)
  • 3.2in, 1.04-million-dot touchscreen LCD
  • Street price around £420 body only

Photographers will often say that they want the image quality and handling of a DSLR, but not its size and weight. While a compact system camera may be heralded as the answer, a CSC can handle very differently to a DSLR, while features like focusing can be slightly compromised.

With the EOS 100D, Canon has worked within the limitations of the EOS system to pack as much of the SLR mechanism – the mirror box, prism and shutter – into the smallest body it can, without compromising handling.

At the core of the EOS 100D is an 18-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor. This features on-sensor phase-detection AF, which is useful for focusing with live view or when shooting video.

In our test, we found that the Canon EOS 100D is a great camera. Images have just as much detail as other 18-million-pixel DSLRs, and despite the camera’s small size, it handles well and is straightforward to operate.

Enthusiasts contemplating switching to a compact system camera from a DSLR should give the EOS 100D a try before making the move. The small and lightweight body could be just what they are looking for.

Rated: Very good
Score: 84%

Read our Canon EOS 100D review

Canon EOS 700D

Canon updated its mid-range DSLR this year in the form of the EOS 700D with its 18-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor

Canon EOS 700D at a glance:

  • 18-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-12,800 (ISO 25,600 extended)
  • 63-zone metering
  • 3in, vari-angle 1.04-million-dot TFT LCD screen
  • Street price around £485 body only

Rather than a raft of new features, the latest Canon EOS 700D builds on the success of the Canon EOS 600D and 650D. Actually, the EOS 700D has only very slight changes from the EOS 650D. The
18-million-pixel, APS-C Hybrid CMOS sensor remains. This sensor features on-sensor phase-detection AF, which, like the EOS 100D (above), allows for phase-detection AF during live view or video. When using the optical viewfinder, the EOS 700D, like the EOS 650D, has a meagre nine AF points, although all these are the more sensitive cross type. Thanks to the 1.04-million-dot screen being touch sensitive, the focus point can be selected in live view by simply touching the articulated screen.

So what is new? Well, the EOS 700D has a new finish in the form of a slightly textured matt surface rather than the glossy shine of the 650D. Creative filters can now be previewed in live view mode and the mode dial can rotate through 360°. EOS 650D users aren’t missing out on much.

Rated & Score: Not yet tested

Canon EOS 70D

With a 20.2-million-pixel sensor, 19 cross-type AF points and a 7fps shooting rate, the Canon
EOS 70D is one of the best enthusiast DSLRs

Canon EOS 70D at a glance:

  • 20.2-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 19 cross-type AF points
  • 7fps shooting rate
  • 3in vari-angle LCD with 1.04 million dots
  • Street price around £1,080 body only

The key new feature of the Canon EOS 70D is the 20.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor. Although this may not seem too much of a leap in resolution from the 18-million-pixel sensor found in the Canon EOS 60D, it does have some interesting new technology.

Although the resolution of the camera is 20.2 million pixels, it actually has 40.4 million photodiodes, with each photosite consisting of a pair of photodiodes that are covered by a single micro lens. By analysing the light level between each diode in the pair, the EOS 70D can detect whether the lens is focused correctly. Essentially it is a form of on-sensor phase detection.

In terms of the EOS 70D’s image quality, we found that there was a little too much colour noise in JPEG images, although this was easily removed from raw files. What we did find impressive are the colours that the EOS 70D is capable of producing straight out of the camera. For landscape photographers, the camera produces rich tones and blue skies that look fantastic.

Overall, the Canon EOS 70D performs excellently in all areas, but without ever really having a standout feature or two that really makes you think, ‘Wow!’

Rated: Very good
Score: 86%

Read our Canon EOS 70D review

 

Canon EOS 6D

Announced at Photokina 2012 but tested early this year, the EOS 6D is Canon’s entry-level full-frame DSLR

Canon EOS 6D at a glance:

  • 20.2-million-pixel, full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25,600 (extends to ISO 50-102,400)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Lightweight at 755g, including battery and card
  • Street price around £1,475 body only

The EOS 6D is Canon’s attempt to make full-frame DSLR photography more affordable. Body only, it is around £700 cheaper than Canon’s leading enthusiast full-frame DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark III, although the EOS 6D does have a slightly lower-resolution sensor and only 11 AF points, compared with the 61 points of the EOS 5D Mark III.

However, the EOS 6D does introduce some interesting new features to the Canon DSLR line-up, including built-in Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity.

In our test of the camera, we found that its intuitive handling, compact size, and light yet solid build, made the EOS 6D a pleasure to use. The image quality also matches our expectations, and although the resolution may be a little less than some of its competitors, the camera’s low-light performance is particularly impressive. The AF system is a little modest, although this shouldn’t prove to be an issue for landscape photographers.

For Canon users wanting to make the switch to full frame, but on a budget, the EOS 6D is the answer.

Rated: Very good
Score: 86%

Read our Canon EOS 6D review

Nikon D5200 & Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5200 was released at the start of 2013 and its replacement has just been launched

Nikon D5200 & Nikon D5300 at a glance:

  • 24.1-million-pixel, APS-C sized CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • No low-pass filter in the D5300
  • Hybrid viewfinder
  • D5200 street price around £510
  • D5300 street price around £730

With a 24.1-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor, the Nikon D5200 was always going to be a popular mid-range DSLR camera. It has 39 AF points, nine of which are cross type, a 5fps shooting rate and a 3in, 921,000-dot vari-angle screen. When we tested the camera we found that the sensor’s high resolution allowed it to capture fine details. However to really get the full potential from the camera required a far better optic than the 18-55mm kit lens, and adjustment to the raw images was needed. Overall, though, the D5200 combined some of the best technology found in Nikon DSLRs in a fairly small and light body.

Then, in October, the successor to the D5200 was announced, called the D5300. The new DSLR has largely the same specification, but to get the best possible resolution from the 24.1-million-pixel sensor, Nikon has removed the anti-aliasing filter from in front of the sensor. This should produce more detailed images.

The D5300’s screen has also seen a few improvements, increasing the size to 3.2in with 1.04 million dots. The D5300 also weighs a little less. We look forward to seeing how these slight improvements impact on the D5300 in a full test.

Nikon D5200 rated: Very good
Score: 85%

Read our Nikon D5200 review

Read our Nikon D5300 hands-on review

Nikon D7100

The 24.1-million-pixel, enthusiast-level Nikon D7100 has an APS-C-sized sensor and no low-pass filter

Nikon D7100 at a glance:

  • 24.1-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
  • No low-pass filter
  • ISO 100-6400 (extended to ISO 100-25,600)
  • 51-point AF system
  • Optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
  • Street price around £840 body only

Building on the success of the Nikon D7000 was always going to be a tough job, but with the D7100, Nikon should have another success on its hands.

A 24.1-million-pixel sensor with no low-pass filter, a sensitivity of ISO 100-25,600, dual SD card slots, 51-point AF system, 2,016-zone metering system and 3.2in LCD screen make the D7100 a highly specified camera. However, it is image quality that is most important, and here the D7100 excels, managing to resolve our entire resolution chart when shooting raw images.

In terms of detail resolution, at ISO 100-200 the D7100 is the best DSLR with an APS-C-sized sensor that we have tested. The D7100 does suffer a little more from noise at higher sensitivities, but between ISO 100 and ISO 800 images look detailed and crisp.

The D7100 is a great all-round DSLR, but if detail is an absolute must it really excels.

Rated: Very good
Score: 87%

Read our Nikon D7100 review

Pentax K-50 & Pentax K-500

The launch of the 16.28-million-pixel K-50 and K-500 means that Pentax now has five DSLRs
in its range

Pentax K50 & Pentax K-500 at a glance:

  • 16.28-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 100% viewfinder coverage
  • Weather sealing on the K-50
  • K-50 street price around £530
  • K-500 street price around £500 with 18-55mm lens
  • Pentax K-500 not yet tested

The two latest cameras in Pentax’s K-series range are remarkably similar. In fact, they’re practically identical – two entry-level DSLRs with the same sensors, build and features. The key difference between the two is that the K-50 has a weather-sealed body and its AF points are visible in use in the viewfinder. Other than that, the two cameras are identical.

The key feature in both cameras is the 100% viewfinder, which is an impressive inclusion in a camera costing only around £500. Pentax has a tradition of including extensive customisation options in its DSLRs and the two new K-series cameras are no exceptions, with fine-tunable AF and the option to adjust how the auto white balance responds to tungsten light. There are also a lot of small but significant features – allowing the user to add the name of a copyright holder to an image’s Exif data is a lovely touch, as is the inclusion of a live view button that sits by the left thumb.

The Pentax K-50 and K-500 could, in our opinion, have done with a few more AF points (both have an 11-point SAFOX system), but there’s a lot to like about the pair, including a rugged polycarbonate build, image quality and, especially, the price.

Pentax K-50 rated: Very good
Score: 86%

Read our Pentax K-50 review

Pentax K-5 II

A direct replacement for the well-received K-5, the Pentax K-5 II makes a few advancements but doesn’t push too far

Pentax K-5 II at a glance:

  • 16.3-million-pixel, APS-C stabilised CMOS sensor
  • ISO 80-51,200
  • Weatherproof body
  • 7fps high-speed continuous shooting
  • Optical viewfinder with 100% field of view
  • SAFOX X AF sensor
  • Street price around £660 body only

Everyone loved the Pentax K-5 when it was released in January 2011, with many photographers claiming it had the best overall image quality of any DSLR with an APS-C-sized sensor, and the K-5 II was eagerly anticipated when it made its debut.

There is plenty to like about the K-5 II. It has excellent dynamic range and image quality, and offers not only high ISO noise reduction but also slow shutter noise reduction, dealing with image noise that only occurs during long exposures. It also offers a comprehensive range of sensor-cleaning functions, including dust alert, dust removal and pixel mapping, which checks for defective pixels. The excellent live view can display grid, info overlay, histogram and bright/dark areas.

While the K-5 II is an excellent camera in its own right, the improvements over the K-5 are slight. Low-light focusing is better and the LCD screen is brighter, but there isn’t that great leap you would have expected from two years’ advancement.

Rated: Very good
Score: 86%

Read our Pentax K-5 II review

Pentax K-3

The Pentax K-3 could provide a real alternative to rival Canon and Nikon in the DSLR market

Pentax K-3 at a glance:

  • 24.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • No low-pass filter
  • 27 AF points
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Street price around £1,099

For a long time, Pentax has had to play second fiddle to Canon and Nikon in the DSLR market. While the cameras the company has produced, such as the K-30 and the K-5, have been excellent, there has often been very little difference between models.

The K-3 was announced last month and heralds a significant leap forward for Pentax. The new model’s 24.3-million-pixel sensor with no anti-aliasing filter matches the equivalent Nikon DSLR, while it betters comparable Canon cameras. The AF system is also improved on its predecessor’s, with a new 27-point AF system, 25 points of which are the more sensitive cross-type points. And as is typical of Pentax, the K-3’s body is made of magnesium alloy, and weather-sealed to prevent rain and dust entering and damaging the camera. Wi-Fi connectivity is also possible via a Pentax Flucard.

On paper, the Pentax K-3 is an extremely good DSLR, but we will have to wait for the outcome of our full test (AP 30 November) to see whether the K-3 lives up to our expectations.

Rated: Very good
Score: 85%

Read our Pentax K-3 review

Sony Alpha 58

The 20.1-million-pixel Sony Alpha 58 entry-level SLT is a replacement for both the Alpha 37 and 57

Sony Alpha 58 at a glance:

  • 20.1-million-pixel, Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-16,000
  • 1.44-million-dot EVF
  • 2.7in, 460,800-dot TFT LCD screen
  • Up to 8fps shooting rate
  • Street price around £340 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

Although the Sony Alpha 58 is targeted at entry-level users, it has a respectable specification. This is largely due to its 20.1-million-pixel, Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and its translucent mirror technology, which allows the Alpha 58 to have an impressive continuous shooting rate of up to 8fps with continuous AF.

While the 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder is bright and clear, and has a high resolution, the rear articulated screen is only 2.7in compared to the 3in screens generally found on cameras. At only 460,800 dots, the screen resolution is also comparatively low. Another negative point is that the Alpha 58 uses a plastic lens mount, which may be of concern to those who want to use heavy telephoto lenses.

The Sony Alpha 58 produces good images at lower ISO sensitivity settings. However, as sensitivity increases, image quality struggles when compared with that of its rivals, and there is some strong competition at this end of the DSLR market.

Rated: Good
Score: 79%

Read our Sony Alpha 58 review