Digital SLRs that won't burn your pocket

You don't need to reach deep into your pockets to own a digital SLR. We've rounded up some shooters under the AU$2,000 price point.

Buying a digital SLR can be a risky business if you don't know what you're getting into. Higher prices aside, there's also a need to understand that when you invest in a dSLR, you're buying into a "family" which includes accessories like the lenses, external flash units, battery grips, tripods, etc., if you intend to make full use of the unit.

Factor in a carrying bag, high-capacity memory cards and extra batteries, and you'll find yourself spending beyond your intended budget. For amateur to enthusiast photographers who are hopping onto the digital SLR bandwagon, we've rounded up some of these shooters under AU$2,000.

Although these cameras won't burn a very big hole in your trousers, do remember to factor in those necessary purchases, such as memory cards. You don't want to end up with a professional shooter only to realise you can take just a few pictures with the supplied measly 256MB memory card (we recommend at least 1GB).

Editor's note: Prices in our database are based on the recommended retail price at the time of publishing. Street prices are usually lower and can vary between different retailers.

Canon EOS 350D Canon EOS 350D

The Canon EOS 350D is an exceptionally small and lightweight camera designed for amateur dSLR owners, but it delivers the responsiveness and image quality you'd expect from a semipro model.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1499

  • The good
  • Image quality leads its class
  • Competitive price
  • Ultrafast start-up time
  • Very responsive
  • The bad
  • Lightweight plastic body isn't ergonomically satisfying
  • No spot meter
  • Limited continuous-shooting mode
  • Unimpressive kit lens
  • 1.6x lens-conversion factor

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Nikon D50 Nikon D50

The Nikon D50 is an appealing SLR for family photographers and shutterbugs on a budget.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1599

  • The good
  • Strong performance
  • Excellent image quality
  • Low visual noise
  • Simple modes for neophytes
  • Robust burst mode
  • The bad
  • Simplified controls sometimes clumsy to use
  • Small viewfinder
  • No depth-of-field preview
  • Only one set of custom parameters
  • Raw-file editing/control software costs extra

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Nikon D70s Nikon D70s

Small improvements fine-tune one of the best digital SLRs in the sub-AU$2,000 class.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1999

  • The good
  • Versatile drive mode
  • Excellent dynamic range, noise levels, and colour rendition
  • Full feature set with lots of customisation options
  • Responsive operation
  • Solid battery life
  • The bad
  • No preshot mirror lockup
  • Only one set of custom parameters
  • Raw-file editing/control software costs extra

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Olympus E-330 Olympus E-330

The Olympus E-330 digital SLR is a very good midrange dSLR with unique live scene viewing on its large LCD.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1799

  • The good
  • Can preview shots on LCD
  • Large LCD
  • Very solidly built
  • Strong photo quality
  • The bad
  • Takes a while to figure out some of the features
  • Kit lens is slow

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Olympus E-500 Olympus E-500

The Olympus E-500 dSLR is an excellent all-rounder for photography enthusiasts who wish to step up to the digital SLR arena and budding professionals. While it may not be the best in its class, it's definitely scoring lots of value points.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1199

  • The good
  • Lightweight body
  • Easy-to-understand button layout
  • Full-frame transfer CCD
  • Supersonic Wave Filter
  • 15 scene modes
  • Excellent performance in its class
  • Battery lasts over 300 shots
  • Usable pictures up to ISO 800
  • The bad
  • Small optical viewfinder
  • Boring menus layou
  • No status LCD
  • Over-exposed pictures may exhibit hard clip properties
  • USB 1.1 connection

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100

Aimed at first-time dSLR users, Sony's 10-megapixel debut entry into the dSLR market features image stabilisation, auto focus, an antistatic coating and 21 compatible lenses.

Recommended Retail Price: AU$1499

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adam posted a comment   

My digital camera battery started losing its ability to hold a charge recently. I didn’t really know where to get a new battery for and looking online I found a site called and bought a battery through them. It works great but I have never purchased a battery online before and I was wondering if anyone else has. Should I have gone through the manufacturer?

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