Canon Camera Advice-Entry Level DSLR 
-Best Canon DSLR for Under $500-

Here are the resulting recommendations for "CT" for an entry-level Canon DSLR. One of the Canon Geek newsletter subscribers, known as "CT" answered the questions on the Canon Camera Advice form. This post will help find the best Canon DSLR priced less than $500. 

He wanted to move away from "point-and-shoot" photography and enter a higher level of digital photography sophistication for less than $500.

Congrats to CT for knowing what he wants.  He wants to shoot: nature, landscapes, portraits, vacations, travel, holidays, wildlife, and birds.

I came up with 3 possibilities for cameras that might fulfill his wishes.  CT did not want to shell out more money for extra accessories, so all three choices come with the affordable and versatile 18-55mm kit lens.

Top 3 candidates for entry-level Canon DSLR for $500




Rebel t5

This is a lot of camera for the price.  Quite a bit more affordable than it's big sister, the Rebel t5i.

At $100 less than the budgeted $500, you have some extra money for accessories.

$399 - includes 18-55mm Lens

Rebel t3i

This is a little over the $500 budget, but I included it because it has been so highly rated and still is a best-seller, despite being dis-continued by Canon.

$569 - includes 18-55mm Lens


Very compact for a full-feature EOS DSLR. Gold Award given by DPS.

$499 - includes 18-55mm Lens

None of these cameras will be capable of any significant long-distance photography of birds or wildlife.  Serious bird and wildlife photographers use much longer lenses, usually in the 400mm and up ranges.

All of these cameras have an APS-C sensor, which mean that they have a crop factor of 1.6x. This translate to the 18-55m lens behaving like an 29-88mm lens.

The Canon 55-250mm lens would work like an 88-400mm lens on cameras with an APS-C sensor like the Canon Rebel t5, t3i, and EOS SL1.

Canon Rebel t5 - Lots of Camera for the money

Canon Rebel t5 Review RAtings

There are Canon t5 kits available that include the camera, a 18-55mm and a 55-250mm lens for about $570.

Canon SL1 - World's Smallest DSLR

Canon SL1 Review Ratings

If you want to stay as compact as possible, but still want all the perks of a DSLR, the SL1 is your best choice.

Canon t3i - Top Seller for Many Years

Canon Rebel t3i Review Ratings

The t3i was released early in 2011, but reamins popular today because photo enthusiasts are so happy with its performance and handling for an entry-level DSLR.

One of the other wishes that came from answering the questions in the Canon Camera Advice questionnaire was the ability to photograph actively moving children while indoors. DSLR cameras are quicker to turn on and focus quicker than point and shoot cameras.  

They also perform better in lower light (indoors) situations when using their high ISO settings without flash.  The Canon t5, the t3i, and the SL1 all have pop-up flashes or an external flash can be used.

Where to buy an Entry-level DSLR for Under $500

You can always save money if you are willing to buy a used (pre-owned) camera.  I started my photography business with nothing but used cameras and accessories.  It's a great way to sample things without too much risk.

The key to that method is be choosy about who you buy from.  Once I was established I started buying only new equipment. This could be a direction to go in if you're considering the Rebel t3i. There are a ton of them out there in used camera land.

Reviews from buyers of the Canon T5 on Amazon

Reviews of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR on Amazon

Reviews of the Canon EOS Rebel T3i on Amazon

If you are okay with going with used on an entry-level digital SLR, then you'll have extra money to get a longer zoom lens for your wildlife and bird photography.

Using the link below helps support this web site.

If you got something out of the Canon Camera advice for an entry-level DSLR for under $500 topic, please share with a friend.  Whatever you decide, remember to have fun with your digital photography.  Like is too short to stress about the small stuff.

Watch less TV. Shoot more photos!

Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the tribe of followers on YouTube. Bruce also runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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