Are there any entry level DSLRs with a built in autofocus motor? Both the D3300 and the Rebel T5 don't. My idea is that if I got a camera with built in autofocus then I would end up saving money because I wouldn't have to buy AF-S lenses.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While you are technically correct that the T5 doesn't have an autofocus motor, this is because it doesn't need one. Every EF or EF-S lens contains an autofocus motor, so there is no need for one in the body. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


There are three parts to the answer to this, which is appropriate, because with Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, and Sigma focusing on mirrorless designs, there are really only three companies making DSLRs: Pentax, Canon, and Nikon.

First, all Pentax DSLRs, even the entry-level models, have built-in autofocus motors. So, if that's really your main concern, there you go. Pentax has excellent compatibility with old lenses, and that's a route many Pentax enthusiasts take — although the bulk of the interesting old lenses are manual focus anyway. (But while I do love Pentax, I think you should read on to get the full picture.)

Second, Canon went straight to in-lens focus motors when the EOS system EF mount was created in the late 1980s. As Philip Kendall points out, read more about that here: Do all Canon DSLRs have in-body AF motors?

And, finally, for your primary concern, saving money because you won't have to buy AF-S lenses — well, maybe, but that's not the whole story. See Can I save money on lenses by buying a Nikon camera with an in-body autofocus motor? for more on this. Dan Wolfgang gives a great answer, and the key point is that while you can probably save money,

AF-S lenses often offer more than just internal motors: better optics are pretty standard. A while back I pulled out an old 35-80mm f4-5.6 AF-D "kit" lens and shot with it a little on my D300 and was amazed at how poor the optical quality of it was as compared to the 18-55mm AF-S "kit" lens. It wasn't bad, but the 18-55 was clearly better.

and, in general, the answers at How do camera body motors compare to in-lens motors for focusing? expand on this, with most of the advantages coming down in the "in-lens" camp. The Pentax Limited lenses provide an exception, because the lack of an AF motor allows them to be especially tiny. Compare the Pentax 40mm "pancake" lens with Canon's version — the Pentax is 70% of the weight and length.

The general trend in the industry is towards in-lens motors. This means that any savings you might get are gonna be on buying older lens designs (if not literally older, used lenses). And, in that arena, Canon has a set of low-cost, entry-level lenses with motors and all — often beating Nikon's comparable budget lenses in price. For example, the no-focus-motor Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D is currently $132. While it's true that the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G is almost twice as much at $217, Canon's version, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a steal at $125 (motor and all). But that's just at the budget end — if you're looking at higher-end glass (again, oddballs like the Pentax Limited series aside), it's all in-lens motors anyway, and prices are in the same ballpark.

So, overall, I wouldn't make this a big factor in your decision, unless you have a specific AF-but-not-AF-S lens in mind as a key part of your photography.


Are there any entry level DSLRs with a built in autofocus motor? Both the D3300 and the Rebel T5 don't.

None of the Canon EOS cameras, right up to the top-of-the-line 1Dx, have autofocus motors in the body because every Canon EF lens has an autofocus motor of its own. So don't worry about the Rebel T5 not having a motor in the body -- if there were one, it wouldn't have anything to do. The lens that comes in the T5 kit will still autofocus very nicely.


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