Best Nikon Camera: Top Models to Check Out

black nikon camera

There are a number of great Nikon cameras out there in the market suited to every photographer and occasion. Nikon is a famous brand and has been in the camera-making business a long time, so there’s tons of information out there about their cameras. Some might say there’s even too much information… but some haven’t been lucky enough to find this guide = Some might say there’s even too much information… but they probably haven’t been lucky enough to find this guide, which will help you find exactly the best Nikon camera for your situation.

Whether you’re an amateur photographer, a student choosing their first camera, a professional working on photo shoots, an event photographer, a nature photographer, or any other kind of photographer in any stage of development, Nikon has a camera for you. In our exhaustive run-down of Nikon’s best camera offerings for 2019, we will explain the pros and cons of each camera, what level of photography each camera is best suited for, what price point to expect and more.

Ready to find out which Nikon camera is best for you?

How We Choose Our Nikon Camera Ratings

person using a nikon camera to take photos

Accuracy and honesty are critical when it comes to reviewing anything, but especially something like a Nikon camera, which can be a pretty heavy investment. We choose our ratings by looking at testimonials and reviews from customers as well as reviewing the raw data about these cameras straight from the manufacturer. We also consider Nikon’s general reputation and factor all of these points into our rating system.

These cameras are judged on photo quality, performance, features, and design. We’ve taken into account everything from the camera’s look and feel to how its features, such as auto-focus and image-stabilization, really work. We’ve also made sure to tell you who these cameras are best suited for and why.

In the end, the right camera is the camera that works for you. That’s why we’ve made sure to give you as much information as possible on each of these Nikon cameras.

Top 5 Best Nikon Cameras

Nikon D850

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body w/ Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR...
  • 1 of Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
  • 1 of Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Lens shipped separately

The Nikon D850 is a versatile, well-rounded camera that is excellent for shooting a variety of subject matter, from weddings and portraits to action and wildlife, and is particularly adept at handling stills. It is a DSLR camera with high resolution and high speed suitable for the intermediate-to-advanced user. The Nikon D850 camera marries incredible image quality with excellent performance and has graced top 10 lists at PCMag, TechRadar and more.

The Nikon D850 is one of Nikon’s fastest-shooting DSLRs and offers an ISO 64 mode which enables it to tolerate more light in brighter conditions. It also has the complete auto-focus capabilities of Nikon’s flagship D5 sports camera, from the AF module and processor to the full range of AF modes and options. The grip has been reworked to make it more comfortable when being held for long periods, which will be welcome for the tired pro at long events. The Nikon D850 also features a new optical viewfinder that enables glasses wearers to take in the whole scene comfortably.

The Nikon D850 is available on Amazon.

Pros

  • Noticeably faster autofocus than other cameras
  • Fast CPU performance
  • A bright screen with a high refresh rate
  • An intuitive rear touchscreen
  • Highly detailed resolution (comparable to film)
  • The ability to recover underexposed or shadowed areas with very little noise
  • An entirely usable ISO range
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No in body image stabilization
  • A poor wireless iOS app
  • No focus peaking with 4K video (though there is focus peaking with 1080p video)
  • Pretty expensive
  • Live View focusing speed is not as good as that of some other cameras

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR with 16-80mm ED VR Lens w/ Seagate...
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • Store, carry and protect your camera equipment

The Nikon D500 is Nikon’s top-of-the-line DX DSLR. This professional-level camera is especially well suited to action and wildlife photographers and is crammed full of pro features that enable it to produce incredible images in a variety of conditions and lighting with an excellent, dynamic range. The Nikon D500 is best for full-time professional photographers or very serious enthusiasts who want a lighter and smaller camera than their full-frame options.

The Auto AF fine-tune is quick and easy to use, while the touchscreen is both accurate and just as user-friendly. The inclusion of the super-fast XQD card slot means loading the photos to the card takes no time at all. The build quality is particularly strong, with a great, ergonomic grip and a comfortable joystick that can have different AF modes assigned to it.

The Nikon D500 can shoot a full 30 minutes of video and can also shoot in 4K, though it does crop the video when shooting in 4K. The ISO to noise ratio is very well-controlled as well. In terms of speed and durability, the Nikon D500 is impressive, especially because it means Nikon fans can now upgrade to a professional-level DX camera without being forced to opt for a full-frame camera.

Pros

  • Incredible AF system
  • Super-solid build
  • 10fps for 200 shots
  • SnapBridge technology-enabled
  • Two card slots: SD and XQD
  • Excellent noise handling
  • 100% coverage on the viewfinder

Cons

  • Live View AF is slow
  • Tilting screen (as opposed to vari-angle)
  • Touchscreen LCD is not always touch-sensitive
  • 20-megapixel sensor rather than 24-megapixel sensor

Nikon D3400

Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm +70-300mm NIKKOR Zoom Lens...
  • Nikon Authorized Dealer Includes Full USA Nikon Warranty
  • Nikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR & AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Zoom...
  • Kit Includes: Sandisk Ultra SDXC 32GB UHS Class 10 Memory Card

The Nikon D3400 camera uses the D3300 as a base, sharing pretty much the same specs and design while adding Nikon’s SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to transfer images directly to your smart device. If your photography business involves lots of image sharing on social media, this is an important consideration.

The Nikon D3400 is appropriate for entry-level photographers looking to wet their toes in the world of DSLR cameras. It has a compact body, excellent battery life, and great image quality. It’s also very easy for a first-time user to use and is much more affordable than more advanced cameras.

Because the Nikon D3400 is specifically made as a DSLR for beginners, Nikon prioritized its lightweight and compact body and its simplicity of design without compromising on the benefits of its interchangeable-lens system.

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact body
  • Easy to use
  • Redesigned, streamlined kit lens
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great single-shot AF performance
  • Guide mode feature and ‘?’ button a boon to first-time users

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • No microphone port
  • Connectivity options are poor
  • Not suitable for long exposure or time-lapse photography

Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera And 18-55mm Lens Kit W/ Total of 48 GB Memory...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor delivers images with incredible detail and sharpness.
  • ISO 100-25,600 for ultra-sharp results in all lighting conditions.
  • 3.2” 1,037m-dot swiveling touch display to shoot from creative angles.

The Nikon D5600 is a humble upgrade to the D5500, which still makes it a very capable DSLR suitable for the advanced beginner, or the beginner who has outgrown their entry-level camera but is not ready for a heavier investment in more advanced cameras just yet.

The Nikon D5600 differs from the D5500 by adding Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, which helps transfer images directly from camera to smart device. Otherwise, as far as specs go, the details of the Nikon D5600 are nearly identical to the D5500. The resolution is still 24.2 megapixels while the image processor of choice is still the EXPEED 4. The display is the same as before but has been improved with a frame-advance bar to speed up looking through images as well as a new crop function.

One of our favorite features is the new time-lapse movie feature that lets you capture and put the film together entirely in-camera, which is lots of fun for all those summer camp and school year retrospectives. The Nikon D5600 is available at Amazon.

Pros

  • High-resolution sensor
  • Detailed images
  • Articulating touchscreen
  • 39-point AF system
  • Comfortable handgrip

Cons

  • SnapBridge still needs work
  • No 4k video (only 1080p)
  • Expensive compared to similar cameras

Nikon D7500

Nikon D7500 DX-Format Digital SLR Body
  • Class leading image quality, ISO range, image processing and metering equivalent to the award winning D500
  • Large 3.2” 922K dot, tilting LCD screen with touch functionality. Temperature: 0 °C to 40 °C (+32 °F to 104 °F)...
  • 51 point AF system with 15 cross type sensors and group area AF paired with up to 8 fps continuous shooting capability

The Nikon D7500 is a major improvement from the D7200, which is an enthusiast DSLR well-suited for those looking to upgrade from their entry-level Nikon camera. The Nikon D7500 takes what was great about the D7200 and amps it up, adding a 20.9 megapixel sensor and the EXPEED 5 image processing engine. A great deal of its tech, including the EXPEED 5, is actually borrowed from the legendary D500. But the D7500 is not a direct replacement for the D7200; it is simply one step better.

The D7500’s sensor and image processor enables the Nikon to avoid the low-pass filter and grab more detail, improving its sensitivity. The expanded ISO range is impressive, going from ISO50 all the way to ISO1,640,000. The camera body itself also feels secure and comfortable. It is weather-proofed as well.

The autofocus system is an updated version of the D7200’s 51-point AF system, which delivers reliable AF tracking performance as well as a new Group-Area AF mode, first seen on the D810.

If you’re not quite ready for the D500, the D7500 may just be your speed.

Pros

  • Simultaneous 4K UHD output
  • Headphone and microphone jack
  • SnapBridge technology
  • Excellent high-ISO performance
  • Excellent sensor
  • Tilt-angle screen
  • Advanced AF system
  • 8fps burst shooting

Cons

  • Only features a single SD card slot
  • Live View focusing is slow
  • Low resolution on the rear screen

Buyer’s Guide to Nikon Cameras

man navigating the icons on his nikon camera

While the cameras above are some of the very best cameras Nikon has to offer in 2019, there are several important factors to purchasing a camera that you should understand before you go ahead and swipe that credit card.

Photo Subjects

First, you need to know what you plan to shoot with your camera. Will you be using your Nikon camera for indoor or low-light outdoor situations? You might want VR (vibration reduction, or Nikon’s image stabilization function). Will you be using it for outdoor sports? You might need a faster shutter speed. Nature or wildlife? You need a dust- and weather-sealed camera. How important is video to you? You may want a camera that records in 4K rather than 1080p, or one with really good autofocus. Will you be unable to recharge your camera for more than a day? Be prepared to buy extra batteries, or invest in a DSLR, which will have significantly better battery life.

Photo Quality

Second, if photo quality is very important, then you should factor sensor size, not megapixels, into your considerations. Megapixels are what determines an image’s resolution, and the average hobbyist doesn’t need to concern themselves with this. Sensor size, a great autofocus system, and a superior image-stabilizing system are the things that will make your images stand out

Camera Model

Third, you don’t always have to spring for the newest model of cameras or the ones rated “best” in all the reviews. Models from the previous year (or even the year before that) are not only perfectly fine, they are often a lot cheaper. This makes upgrading from a hobbyist’s entry-level camera to a serious enthusiast’s more advanced camera a lot more affordable.

Comparison Table

Product

Details

Price

Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body w/ Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR...
  • 45.7 MP sensor
  • Up to 9fps continuous shooting
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Focus Shift shooting mode
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording
Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR with 16-80mm ED VR Lens w/ Seagate...
  • 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • Form Factor: SDXC UHS-II
  • Memory Card
    Storage Capacity: 128 GB
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm +70-300mm NIKKOR Zoom Lens...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • Native ISO 100-25600
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter option
  • 3.0" 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Multi-CAM 1000 11-Point AF Sensor
Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera And 18-55mm Lens Kit W/ Total of 48 GB Memory...
  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 1.037m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with NFC
Nikon D7500 DX-Format Digital SLR Body
  • 20.9 MP sensor
  • 3.2” 922K dot tilting LCD screen
  • 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors
  • 4K Ultra HD and 1080p Full HD video
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Terms to Know

Finally, there are a few terms you should know.

Interchangeable-lens cameras include DSLR or mirrorless models. You can swap out the lens in these cameras to improve photo quality or low-light performance, or change the angle of view.

A DSLR uses an optical viewfinder, which is usually better than the electronic viewfinder on an affordable mirrorless, in particular when shooting action. The battery life of a DSLR is also much better than that of most mirrorless cameras. DSLRs have a wide range of lens to choose from and also tend to be more affordable than entry-level mirrorless cameras.

That being said, mirrorless cameras are smaller, with smaller lenses, than a DSLR. They are also better for shooting video and make real-time previews available for features such as fiddling with filters or long exposures. Mid- to high-range mirrorless models tend to have better image stabilization as well.

Fixed-lens cameras include bridge cameras and compacts, or point-and-shoots. Compacts (like your phone) are much smaller, while bridge cameras cover a zoom range that would be tough to mimic with a lens alone. Also, you don’t have to swap the lens on a fixed-lens camera, which may be an irritation to you depending on where and what you’re shooting.

Now that you’re equipped with all the knowledge you’ll need, good luck and happy Nikon camera hunting! Got a recommendation for best Nikon camera we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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