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While digital cameras prices have been falling, DSLR prices have been going down faster. So much, that the price gap between entry-level DSLR cameras and high-end fixed-lens cameras has disappeared. Indeed, it is now possible to pay more for a fixed-lens camera than for a DSLR. This removes the price factor which kept many from reaching for a DSLR. Now, the remaining pros and cons make up a tougher dilemma.

While we are talking about the low-end of DSLRs, these cameras are no slouches, with excellent image quality, great speed and good portability for such cameras. Here are the contenders for lowest cost DSLR cameras:

  • Pentax K100D – Excellent image quality, usable ISO up to 3200, built-in stabilization, great ergonomics and the convenient use of AA batteries.
  • Pentax K100D Super – The Super version of the K100D adds dust-reduction and support for ultra-sonic lenses.
  • Canon Digital Rebel XT – A classic light-weight DSLR with minimal features that gives access to Canon’s extensive lens lineup.
  • Nikon D40X – Very fast and responsive, this compact DSLR can use Nikon lenses that have a built-in focus motor.
  • Olympus Evolt E-410 – Smaller than some fixed-lens cameras, the E-410 is the smallest of all DSLRs. Packs a full set of features including built-in dust-reduction.

When you add a decent lens, all these DSLR cameras will exceed the price of even the most expensive compact but, to those who appreciate great image quality, they are worth their price. Plus, DSLRs all have interchangeable lenses so you can start with a medium quality lens and work your way up when budget permits. A reasonable start could be a long zoom by the camera’s manufacturer or a compatible lens from Sigma. Neocamera’s Lens Selection article can help you decide.

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