I know what it’s like to decide on the best Nikon camera. As a wildlife photographer, I’ve been through quite a few cameras. I started with a Sony HX200V bridge camera because I wanted a superzoom for my first safari. But then I saw pictures from another person who had a DSLR. I had “camera envy.” So I splashed out on a Nikon D800 with a 28-300mm lens. Eventually, I upgraded to the D810 and D850.
So what’s out there now? If you’re looking for an amazing Nikon camera with professional abilities, take a look at the Z9. It has a high frame rate for action shots, great dynamic range, and excellent video recording.
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15 Best Nikon Cameras
We’ve listed the best Nikon camera specs to help you decide on the best Nikon camera. We’ve broken this list down into a few categories. So let’s take a look at your options! Use these links to jump to the section you want to look at:
- The Best Mirrorless Nikon Cameras
- The Best High-End Nikon DSLRs
- The Best Entry-Level Nikon DSLRs
- The Best Point-and-Shoot Nikon Cameras
The Best Mirrorless Nikon Cameras
Nikon introduced its first
This is where the market is heading:
- Faster continuous shooting speeds
- Improved full frame autofocus systems
- Animal and even bird-eye detection technology
Note: If you already have F-mount lenses for a Nikon DSLR, you can always use a Mount Adaptor FTZ. There is no glass in it. So the sharpness won’t be affected. But it will slow down the autofocus and cause problems with tripod plates.
- Ultra-fast image processor
- High, 120 fps compressed frame rate
- No visible rolling shutter
- 8K / 60p Ultra HD video
- Unlimited low-resolution recording
- Excellent battery life
- High-resolution image sensor
- Rapid 1/8000 s shutter speed
- Excellent AF system
- Dual memory card slots
- Great 4K video at 60 fps
- Excellent low-light focusing
- Lightweight and portable
- Superb low-light dynamic range
- Dual memory card slots
- Fantastic expandable ISO range for low-light shooting
- Brilliant 273-point AF system
- In-body 5-axis image stabilization
- High-resolution electronic viewfinder
- A more affordable mirrorless option
- Nice to handle and use
- Relatively lightweight and not too bulky
- Solid 4K video performance
1. Nikon Z9
This Nikon Z9 is the ultimate high-end camera in the Nikon mirrorless range. It’s the equivalent of the D850.
And it’s an upgraded version of the Z 7II with the same sensor and electronic viewfinder (EVF). But it has a much higher frame rate, better autofocus, and an improved battery. It also has an integrated vertical grip for the first time on a Nikon.
From the list of features and strengths above, you can see that it’s one heck of a piece of kit! The other leading camera manufacturers are investing heavily in mirrorless technology. So this is Nikon’s attempt to compete with the Sony a1 and the Canon EOS R5.
2. Nikon Z7 II
This Nikon Z 7II is a high-end, full frame
It’s suitable for action and wildlife photography. It has eye detection and animal detection autofocus for both photos and videos.
It has a large, full frame sensor like the D850. And the ISO range is perfect for shooting in bright, low-light conditions… without harming image quality!
With the 493 point-phase-detect autofocus system, your subjects are in focus. This is irrespective of where they are in the frame. It can shoot at 10 fps, which isn’t bad if you’re interested in shooting live-action events. And 4K Ultra HD (UHD) video is a much-appreciated bonus.
3. Nikon Z6 II
The Nikon Z6 II is a
Its 273 autofocus points keep your subjects focused in any part of your frame. It also has eye detection and animal detection autofocus for photos and videos.
It offers high-speed continuous shooting with a capacity of 14 fps. You won’t miss any critical moments in your shoot.
The Z6 II captures amazing 4K UHD videos. And with its autofocus system, it’s suitable for many different shooting situations.
4. Nikon Z5
The Nikon Z5 has a portable, weather-sealed, and easy-to-handle body. This makes it ideal for most kinds of photography.
The 273-point autofocus (AF) system offers accurate focus across the frame. Eye detection and animal detection are handy extra features.
It has a 4.5 fps max burst rate, which is commendable. Although, it’s not as impressive as the previous model. If you’re into wildlife or sports photography, don’t make this your first choice!
It’s also capable of recording 4K UHD video.
5. Nikon Z50
The 209 focus points cover almost the whole frame. They give you great freedom when composing your image. It also has eye-detection autofocus that’s particularly useful for portraits.
6. Nikon Z fc
The Nikon Z fc is a redesigned Z 50
The Best High-End Nikon DSLRs
Maybe you already have a Nikon DSLR? Perhaps you don’t want to trade your F-mount lenses for their mirrorless equivalents? It would save you time and hassle. Here are some of the most powerful Nikon cameras available.
- Fantastic overall image quality
- Excellent 3D continuous AF tracking
- Sharp 4K / 30p Ultra HD video
- Long, 1,840-shot battery life
- Durable, weather-sealed construction
- Advanced 105-point AF system
- Excellent ISO range and low-light performance
- Extra-capacity dual card slots
- Weather-sealed, durable body
- Long-lasting battery life
1. Nikon D850
The D850 is a high-end camera and the best Nikon DSLR on the market. It’s designed for professional photographers and is highly versatile. It a great camera if you’re a wildlife photographer like me or an event or sports photographer.
It has a backside-illuminated sensor. The wide ISO range is expandable to ISO 32-102,400. This works great for low-light conditions.
The D850 has a 153-point AF system with 99 cross-type sensors. These provide powerful focus in diverse situations. But it can only capture 7 fps compared to 30 fps or more with mirrorless cameras.
Thanks to its range of features, photo quality is incredible. It’s also perfect for making videos as it offers 4K UHD.
The two memory card slots prevent you from running out of storage during a long shoot. And using XQD cards means a massive increase in read and write speed. It’s ideal for maintaining the frame rate and cutting down the time to copy the files to your computer.
The Nikon D850 is excellent if you don’t want to trade in your existing DSLR lenses and accessories… or use an FTZ adaptor.
Note: Nikon appears to be discontinuing its range of DSLR cameras.
2. Nikon D6
The Nikon D6 has a relatively fast frame rate for a DSLR. It also has a chunky, weather-sealed body. This makes it the ultimate, rugged, reliable, professional camera.
Its frame rate comes at the expense of sensor size. And it’s the second-heaviest camera in this comparison after the Z9. But it offers excellent dependability.
It’s the updated version of the Nikon D5. And although it’s heavier, it comes with many improvements:
- 14 fps vs 12 fps
- 105 focus points vs. 55
- The Center autofocus (AF) point works down to EV -4.5 vs EV -4
- Three times as many selectable cross-point AF sensors
- Internal GPS receiver
- Movies can be saved as MP4
3. Nikon D780
The Nikon D780 is a full-frame camera aimed at professional photographers. It’s a versatile gadget, and you can use it for many genres.
Its 51-point AF system ensures smooth autofocus even in low-light situations. And it offers rapid continuous shooting at up to 7 fps and 12 fps in Live View mode.
The D780 can also capture 60p (frames per second) HD video. Although, it’s not the best choice for videographers.
The Best Entry-Level Nikon DSLRs
Perhaps you’re buying your first DSLR. Here are some fantastic entry-level Nikon cameras for enthusiast photographers.
- Excellent low-light performance
- 10 fps RAW burst with 200-image limit
- Weather-sealed body
- Long-lasting battery life
- 4K video with ports for external sound recording
- Smaller, compact DSLR body
- Easy to handle and hold
- Long battery life
- High quality images for crop sensor
- Great ISO sensitivity
- Fast 39-point AF system
- Not too bulky and nice to handle
1. Nikon D500
The Nikon D500 is Nikon’s best and fastest crop sensor DSLR camera. You can use it for any niche, but I highly recommend it for action, sports, and wildlife photography. Its DX format, AF, and high frame rate make it a favorite among professional photographers.
The APS-C sensor offers outstanding agility, primarily when using a telephoto lens. It’s a DX (Nikon’s crop sensor) system. So the addition of a telephoto lens extends the focal length longer than that with a full frame camera.
The ISO range is expandable to an impressive ISO 1,640,000. Even in meager light, you can preserve the details in your shots.
The 153-point AF system makes it suitable for action photography. This helps keep moving subjects in focus. It’s capable of approximately 10 fps continuous shooting to capture those split-second moments.
The 4K UHD videos are professional-grade. And the results are jaw-dropping!
2. Nikon D7500
The Nikon D7500 can be the best DSLR for those who plan to level up their photography to a professional level. It’s a cross between two other Nikon cameras. It offers many of the same features as the D500. But it’s in the more accessible and compact body of the D7200.
Its ISO range is expandable to ISO 1,640,000. And it has a 51-point AF system that features group-area AF for secure subject tracking.
The D7500 is capable of continuous shooting with a rate of 8 fps. Also, it can record 4K UHD (30p) high-quality videos.
3. Nikon D5600
This gadget comes with a 39-point autofocus system. It’s not as impressive as the higher-level DSLRs. But it’s still a reliable choice for still and moving subjects.
The continuous shooting can go up to 5 fps. Again, this doesn’t seem like much. But it serves budding professionals. The 60p HD video shows this camera is also a good choice for dabbling in videography.
5. Nikon D3500
The Nikon D3500 is for those just stepping into photography. It even has a guide mode to help you hone your photographic skills.
The 11 autofocus points are less than you can find in other DSLRs. But the focusing system is accurate. And it’s good enough for most amateur photographers.
The 5 fps continuous shooting speed is not bad for capturing movement. And it’s capable of recording 60p HD video.
The Best Point-and-Shoot Nikon Cameras
Nikon also has compact cameras. They are easy to use and offer amazing images!
- Unbelievable 125x optical zoom
- In-camera image stabilization
- 1 cm minimum focusing distance
- High-resolution electronic viewfinder
- 4K video shooting
- Durable, waterproof construction
- Easy to use
- Small and compact design
- Good image quality
1. Nikon Coolpix P1000
The Nikon Coolpix P1000 is the best Nikon for those who like a high-end compact camera with a superzoom. It’s ideal for different purposes. It can document everything from family events to traveling on safari.
It has a 16 MP crop sensor and ISO between 100 and 6400. It doesn’t compare the image quality to the Nikon DSLR or the mirrorless systems. But it’s good enough for everyday shooting.
The P1000 has a NIKKOR lens with an ultra high-power 125x optical zoom, equivalent to a 24-3000mm lens! But it does cause noisy and blurred images at the extremes.
The max aperture is f/2.8-8. This means you can take photos with nicely blurred backgrounds or in low light if you don’t zoom in too much.
The 7 fps burst rate also makes it suitable for action. And it can even record 4K UHD, time-lapse, and super-lapse movies.
2. Nikon Coolpix W300
The Coolpix W300 is the best Nikon camera for those who love certain niches. It’s for action photography, extreme sports, or underwater images and videos. Its 16 MP sensor and ISO range of 125-6400 is a decent range for the target market.
It’s a waterproof gadget that goes down to 30 m (100 ft). It’s also shockproof to a drop of 2.4 m (8 ft), freezeproof down to -10 C (14 F), and dustproof. Now that’s a camera built for adventure!
It has a NIKKOR lens with 5x optical zoom and an angle of view equivalent to a 24-120mm lens. The max aperture is f/2.8-4.9, which provides satisfactory low-light performance.
It’s also capable of an impressive 4K UHD 30p movie recording. You will find one you like with four fun colors to choose from!
What’s the Best Nikon Camera to Buy?
There are lots of different kinds of photographers out there. So here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are you a professional photographer looking for the very best spec?
- Are you a hobbyist hoping to improve?
- Or are you just a casual user looking for something to take on holiday?
So what is the best Nikon camera? My gut instinct would say to go with the current trend toward full frame mirrorless cameras. Buy the Nikon Z9… unless you don’t have the budget or you’re only interested in taking holiday snaps!
If you can’t afford the Z9 or can’t face parting with all your DSLR lenses, I recommend the D850. That was the DSLR I had before switching to mirrorless, and it’s a great all-rounder.
Finally, if you’re on a budget or want something that will take a picture of a rhino a mile away… then the Coolpix P1000 may be for you. It has an insane 125x optical zoom! I hope this article helps you pick the best Nikon camera for you.