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The Top Rated Digital SLR Camera

If you've been searching for the top rated digital SLR camera, then this is the page for you.

In the paragraphs that follow, I'll break down the current ratings numbers for many recently released digital SLRs.

You won't find all the latest cameras listed here - that's because it takes some time for the ratings scores to pile up to be significant.

Clearly, cameras that have been available longer also have a greater number of reviews.

This page presents the top rated digital SLR cameras in a two different categories - with a brief comparative analysis of the different options.

After all, just because a camera is top rated may not mean that it's the best one for you (but it certainly was for a lot of other folks).


The information presented on this page is a merger of two different sources:

  1. Digital Camera HQ - a review aggregator, this site compiles reviews from a variety of sites like Amazon, CNET and Yahoo! Shopping
  2. Digital Photography Review - this massive digital camera site also includes plenty of user reviews and ratings

I averaged the rating score across both sites and added up the total number of ratings across both sites, in order to paint the most comprehensive picture of a camera's ratings relative to the total number of reviews.

After all, if only 10 people give an SLR 5 stars, that's not quite the same as 300 people giving it 5 stars.

Top Rated Digital SLR - Less Than 500 Reviews

Canon 30DFeb. 20064.76393
Pentax K-7July 20094.6672
Pentax K20DMarch 20084.66356
Canon 5DOct. 20054.59402
Sony A700Sept. 20074.59246

One thing you notice is that Pentax has two cameras in the top 5.

This is not new - every time I have conducted this survey, at least one Pentax camera has wound up as a top rated digital SLR.

Some of this is due to Pentax film SLR users who are pleased to find out that the new Pentax SLRs are compatible with every old Pentax lens ever made.

Newcomers to the Pentax DSLRs are attracted by a wide range of features: great image quality, dust control, built-in image stabilizers, live view and High Definition video recording.

Conclusion here?

Even though the Pentax digital SLRs aren't nearly as popular as those made by Canon and Nikon, the people who get them (and then go on to review them) are quite pleased.

The Canon 30D and the Canon 5D are very capable cameras - although the 5D will set you back considerably more money thanks to its full frame sensor.

Both the 30D and 5D are old models - if you'd like something more current, consider one of their successors:

  • The 30D has been replaced by both the 40D (see below) and the 50D
  • The 5D has been replaced with the High-Def video-shooting 5D Mark II

Like the Canon models, the Sony A700 has been phased out. If you'd like a camera with a similar feature set, consider either the Sony A500 or the A550.

Top Rated Digital SLR - More Than 500 Reviews

Nikon D200Dec. 20054.72553
Nikon D40Dec. 20064.481,694
Canon 40DSept. 20074.471,137
Nikon D300Nov. 20074.46977
Canon 400D (xTi)Oct. 20064.432,086

Once we pass the 500 review mark, the two dominant DSLR sellers become apparent: Nikon and Canon.

This makes sense: since these cameras sell like hotcakes, there is a much higher chance that owners will later go online to post their reviews (both positive and negative).

When there are significantly more reviews for a camera, this drives down the average rating score - there's just a higher chance for people to get a lemon or be displeased with how a camera operates.

nikon d200

One notable exception to this rule is the Nikon D200.

Even with over 500 reviews, the Nikon D200's average rating score is higher than other cameras with less than half the number of reviews.

Originally released in 2005, the D200 has since been replaced with both the D300 and the D300s. As you can see, the D300 is also doing pretty well in the ratings game.

If you're looking for a top rated digital SLR camera that won't clean out your bank account, then start with the Nikon D40.

nikon d40

The D40 was Nikon's first camera geared toward beginning photographers and followed three main design rules: small, light and easy to use.

The D40 also included an innovative LCD display that displayed camera settings in a visual manner (rather than lots of numbers).

Like other cameras on this page, the D40 has since been replaced with both the D60 and the D3000.

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