Sony Alpha a37

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Sony's entry-level DSLR is our favorite starter model. Its translucent mirror takes up less space than traditional models and cuts the delay between shots. As a result, the a37 weighs less and fires faster: It's lighter than Canon's Rebel T3 and shoots seven frames per second, more than twice the T3's rate. [$600 with 18–55mm lens; store.sony.com]