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The 7 best Nikon cameras in 2024


The selection of Nikon cameras includes over 170 models, and the number only keeps growing, making it difficult for a user to know which one to choose. Beginner photographers may find it difficult to know the difference between DX and FX, while professional photographers are deep-diving and looking for the best option possible.

Choosing the best Nikon camera includes many factors. You need to know whether it will be a mirrorless one or a DSLR. No less important is the purpose of a camera – are you going to take photos of nature? Perhaps sports events? All technical specifications matter.

That said, we have tested and selected the best 7 Nikon cameras in 2024. We ensured there were options for users with no photography skills as well as professionals by taking shots with over 95 cameras. Read on and get ready to capture the best moments.

Best Nikon cameras of 2024

How to choose the best Nikon camera?

The first thing to ask yourself when looking for a Nikon camera is what you need it for. However, searching for it goes even further, as getting the picture you wish for relies on multiple technical aspects.

Below, you will find the essential details to pay attention to when choosing the best Nikon camera specifically for you:

  • Purpose. Each photography style requires different technical aspects for a camera to provide you with. If you're going to take photos of sports, you'd need a point-and-shoot Nikon camera. Meanwhile, for a higher contrast image, a full-frame camera is the option.
  • Image quality. As a beginner photographer, you should look for a 16-24 megapixel camera. With it, you will have sharp images that will look great on Instagram or other social media.
  • Ease of use. When choosing your first mirrorless or DSLR camera, make sure you don’t overrate your capabilities and pick an intuitive Nikon. Look for an Auto mode, test out the manual mode, and remember that the fewer buttons there are, the easier it will be for you.
  • Compatibility with lenses. As your photography skills get better, you might want to try out different photography styles, for example, microphotography. Therefore, it’s important to choose a camera with interchangeable lenses.
  • Video capabilities. Shooting photos isn’t the only thing Nikon cameras are widely used for. You should also consider the opportunity to take videos. If you’re interested, look for a camera with a 4K format.
  • Price. There are Nikon cameras that cost as much as $5,000, but these options are for strongly advanced photographers. As a beginner, you can find excellent options for as low as $700.

Top 7 best Nikon camera in 2024: reviews

Determining the best Nikon camera overall is a pretty tough task, as each Nikon model may be the top option for certain needs. However, we have completed our research and tests to find 7 Nikon cameras that are the best in different cases. We examined their features, ease of use, price, and other critical aspects.

1. Nikon Z 6II – the best mirrorless Nikon camera

📷 Camera type:Mirrorless
🎥 Resolution:24.3 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:Full-frame
💵 Price range:$1,600 – $1,750

Nikon Z 6II has proven to be the top pick for a mirrorless camera from all Nikon devices. This model makes a great combination for both still shots and videos; therefore, it’s a great pick for users who have some experience with cameras but still jump between videos and pictures.

Image quality. The 24.5MP BSI CMOS sensor is capable of capturing even the most complex details, allowing you to produce large prints and crop images without losing quality. Moreover, there is an opportunity to push ISOs up to 12,800 or 25,600 with relatively low noise.

Technical features. Nikon Z 6II has in-body stabilization that strongly enhances video stability without having to get additional stabilization tools. With 273 autofocus points, you will be able to deliver excellent pictures automatically. And the ability to make 4K UHD 30p videos will let you dive into the videography experience.

Size and connectivity. The camera itself weighs 1.5 lbs and it has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen. Additionally, you get a dual-card slot for CFexpress and SD UHS-II (CFExpress cards are up to six times faster than the best SD UHS-II cards.), as well as a 10-bit HDMI.

2. Nikon Z50 – the best Nikon camera for beginners

📷 Camera type:Mirrorless
🎥 Resolution:20.9 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:APS-C
💵 Price range:$900 – $1,000

Nikon Z50 is the best camera option for beginning users with loads of enthusiasm to learn more about photography. This type of Nikon is compact but powerful, user-friendly but feature-rich, so not only users without experience choose it but also advanced photographers.

Image quality. A 20.9 MP camera with a CMOS BSI sensor allows you to enjoy great images that can also be cropped without affecting the quality too much. You can expect to capture wide dynamic range shots with well-maintained highlight and shadow details. Finally, you receive clear photos with minimal noise, as its ISO range is usable up to ISO 51,200.

Technical features. The Nikon Z50 provides a considerably advanced feature set for its class. The list includes fast shooting, 4K video, a high-resolution EVF, and a tilting touchscreen. Additionally, this camera model offers 209 autofocus points, so you will be able to catch impressive images with minimal effort.

Size and connectivity. This Nikon camera weighs 0.99 lbs with battery and card, which is also an excellent choice for travelers. It comes with a single SD UHS-I card slot, and you can connect to it via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connectivity.

3. Nikon Z5 – all-around Nikon camera camera

📷 Camera type:Mirrorless
🎥 Resolution:24.3 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:Full-frame
💵 Price range:$1,300 – $1,500

Nikon Z5 is the most universal option from Nikon production, making it suitable for all-level photographers. This camera stands out with its large EVF and an excellent shutter that delivers fast flash sync speed.

Image quality. The 24.3 MP sensor offers high resolution for printing and flexible cropping. And with 14.5 stops of dynamic range allows recovering photos for shadows and highlights. This camera helps you enjoy clean and high ISO performance, delivering usable images up to ISO 51,200.

Technical features. This Nikon Z5 provides you with a 273-point autofocus system, which is impressive compared to other cameras suitable for beginners. It also has an in-body 5-axis image stabilization for sharp images, making it an excellent choice for hikers or travel vloggers. Finally, this camera is able to film 4K videos with smooth transitions between objects.

Size and connectivity. The camera body weighs 1.3 lbs, which is a decent choice of comfortability. You also get a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, and the camera is compatible with a wide range of lenses. There is a ​​dual card slot for SD UHS-II, yet, no support for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.

4. Nikon Z 7II – top full-frame Nikon camera

📷 Camera type:Mirrorless
🎥 Resolution:45.7 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:Full-frame
💵 Price range:$2,400 – $3,000

Nikon Z 7II is by far the most professional and best full-frame Nikon camera on the list. It has impressed us with its extra high-resolution sensor, auto-focus system, and a low native ISO of 64 for shooting sunsets or other warm-color but contrasty images.

Image quality. The Nikon Z 7II camera delivers best-in-class resolution and dynamic range combined with pro-grade performance, mainly thanks to its 45.7 MP ultra-high resolution CMOS BSI sensor. Plus, it has a 493-point autofocus system, which intelligently adjusts the camera’s lens focus on the selected object.

Technical features. With this camera, you can either shoot stills or films, as it’s capable of delivering up to 4K UHD 60fps videos. You also get the 5-axis in-body image stabilization, 10fps, and both mechanical as well as fully electronic shutters.

Size and connectivity. Nikon Z 7II is lighter than the original Nikon Z 7, weighing nearly 1.6 lbs. With it, you get a classic 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen and a dual card slot for CFexpress and SD UHS-II cards. Plus, you can connect your Android or iOS to the camera via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

5. Nikon Z30 – powerful Nikon camera for the best price

📷 Camera type:Mirrorless
🎥 Resolution:20.9 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:APS-C
💵 Price range:$700 – $800

If you’re looking for a new camera to film your vlogs, then the Nikon Z30 is the top option from this manufacturer. With many matching features from the Nikon ’DX’ series, this exact model is also the cheapest Nikon on the list, considering the quality it offers.

Image quality. Nikon Z30 is an APC-C 20.9 MP camera that provides you with a decent resolution for large prints and cropping flexibility. ISO range varies from ISO 100 to 51,200. During our tests, this camera maintained good highlight and shadow details. It also produced vibrant colors and excellent skin tones.

Technical features. This camera has a vari-angle 3.0-inch touchscreen, a 209-point hybrid AF system, and in-body stabilization. Moreover, it can help you shoot 4K video at up to 30fps without cropping, which makes it perfect for filming vlogs.

Size and connectivity. The camera body weighs around 0.914 lbs, so it’s a lightweight Nikon, making it great for active filming. It also has seamless wireless connectivity options adding to its appeal. Such as one card slot for SD UHS-I, USB port, and it’s also compatible with smartphones or tablets.

6. Nikon D780 – camera for landscape photographers

📷 Camera type:DSLR
🎥 Resolution:24.5 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:Full-frame
💵 Price range:$2,100 – $2,500

Nikon D780 is a DSLR hybrid for professional landscape photographers or even astrophotographers. Due to the image noise management, this camera is the best option you can get to capture wildlife in stills or videos.

Image quality. A 24.5 MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor ensures high resolution and significant cropping freedom. The camera has a wide dynamic range of up to 14.5 stops, which helps to maintain details in both the brightest and darkest areas of the image. Additionally, clean high ISO performance (ISO 100 – 51,200) improves low-light shooting capabilities.

Technical features. This Nikon D780 allows you to make 4K videos up to 30fps or 1080p videos up to 120fps. You get an advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX II focus system which ensures fast functionality, yet it has no in-body stabilization. Plus, it offers a native shutter speed of 900-second exposures, which is 30 times faster than usual.

Size and connectivity. This Nikon model is one of the heavy ones, weighing 1.85 lb. It has a 2.5M dot 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD and a Nikon F (DSLR) lens mount. As for connectivity, you get a dual card slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-II, and ports for headphones, microphone, USB-C, as well as HDMI-C. Plus, it supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections too.

7. Nikon D3500 – the most compact Nikon camera

📷 Camera type:DSLR
🎥 Resolution:24.2 MP
👁️ Photo sensor size:APS-C
💵 Price range:$650 – $750

Nikon D3500 was created with beginner users in mind. This camera model channels an all-around simplicity – starting with a compact body and continuing with the features. Although shooting videos with it isn’t the best idea, it’s a good pick for starting doing stills.

Image quality. 24.2 MP APS-C sensor delivers good resolution for large prints and cropping flexibility. Considering the price, this camera offers a good dynamic range as well as a high ISO performance, with the ISO ranging from 100 to 25,600.

Technical features. This Nikon camera can shoot continuously at 5 frames per second. There’s a low 11-point AF system, but surprisingly, it’s considered to be very accurate. And a less common feature is a built-in Guide Mode that should help new users to improve their photography skills. Lastly, you can make videos, but instead of 4K ones, you get full HD 60p videos.

Size and connectivity. Titled as the most compact Nikon, this camera weighs as little as 0.93 lbs. It has a 3.0-inch LCD, which isn’t a touchscreen, unfortunately. Although there’s only one card slot for SD UHS-I, that’s more than enough for new photographers. There are ports for Micro USB as well as HDMI-C, and the camera also supports a Bluetooth connection.

Best Nikon cameras compared

If you’re feeling lost in all the technical camera specs, check the comparison table below to get the main details about the top Nikon cameras:

Nikon Z 6II
Nikon Z50
Nikon Z5
Nikon Z 7II
Nikon Z30
Nikon D780
Nikon D3500
Body typeMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorlessMirrorlessDSLRDSLR
User levelIntermediateBeginnerBeginnerProfessionalIntermediateProfessionalBeginner
Video resolution4K 30fps
4K 30fps
4K 30fps
4K 60fps
4K 30fps
4K 30fps
Full HD 60fps
Sensor24.5 MP CMOS BSI sensor 20.9 MP CMOS BSI sensor24.3 MP CMOS sensor45.7 MP CMOS BSI sensor20.9 MP CMOS BSI sensor24.5 MP CMOS BSI sensor24.2 MP CMOS sensor
ISO rangeISO range 100 - 51,200ISO range 100 - 51,200ISO range 100 - 51,200ISO range 64 - 25,600ISO range 100 - 51,200ISO range 100 - 51,200ISO range 100 - 25,600
Price range$1,600 – $1,750$900 – $1,000$1,300 – $1,500$2,400 – $3,000$700 – $800$2,100 – $2,500$650 – $750

How we selected these Nikon cameras

We took 95 Nikon cameras into our hands overall. Even though, your sales made on Amazon will bring us affiliate commissions, we still tested and evaluated different Nikon camera models in detail.

So, to offer you only the best Nikon camera per category, we looked into these aspects:

  • Sensor size and resolution. We evaluated the sensor size, which affects image quality, low-light performance, and depth of field. We also prioritized full-frame sensors that are more extensive and provide better low-light performance and shallower depth of field. And the megapixel count is no less critical for delivering high-resolution images for large prints.
  • ISO performance. We have checked the camera’s ISO range and tested its performance at high ISO settings. This is crucial for shooting in low-light conditions without sacrificing image quality.
  • Autofocus system and points. We looked for a camera with an advanced autofocus system that could also capture fast-moving subjects. We also ensured there were features like phase-detection points, eye-tracking, and object-tracking.
  • Video capabilities. We made sure that videographers had an option as well by searching for cameras that included features like 4K recording, frame rates, video formats, and the availability of manual controls for video settings.
  • Viewfinder and screen. To ease the photography beginning for users without experience, we looked for cameras with electronic viewfinders or screens (mirrorless type) that provide an accurate and precise representation of your scene. Note that a tilting screen can be useful for capturing creative angles.

What Nikon Features are Essential for Your Photography Style?

Identifying key features depends on your photography style. For landscape enthusiasts, a camera with a wide dynamic range, like the Nikon D780, ensures richly detailed images. Sports photographers should prioritize fast autofocus and continuous shooting capabilities, found in models like the Nikon Z 6II. For portrait photography, look for cameras with high megapixel count and superior ISO performance, ensuring sharp and clear images in varying light conditions, such as the Nikon Z 7II. For everyday shooting and vlogging, a model like the Nikon Z30 with its vari-angle touchscreen and 4K video capabilities would be ideal.

DSLR vs mirrorless cameras

The main distinction between DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) and mirrorless cameras lies in their optical viewfinder system (the device you look through when taking a picture). However, there are more aspects that separate these types of cameras:

  • DSLR. These cameras use a reflex mirror and pentaprism arrangement to direct light from the lens to the optical viewfinder. In other words, it means there’s a mirror inside that bounces light from the lens into an eyepiece so you can see through the viewfinder. When taking a picture, once you press the button, the mirror quickly moves out of the way to capture an image. A great example of this camera would be the Nikon Z 6II.
  • Mirrorless. This type of camera omits the mirror and pentaprism, using a digital display or electronic viewfinder to show the image from the sensor directly. This results in a more compact form factor and potentially faster autofocus due to on-sensor phase detection. To put it simply, there’s no mirror and, instead, you see a digital version of the image straight on a screen or through a small electronic window. One of the potential options for this type would be the Nikon D780.

Truth be told, Nikon has nearly stopped its development of DSLR cameras, meaning finding a more comprehensive mirrorless camera is more accessible. Yet, DSLR Nikon cameras are perfect for catching quick-action shots, such as moving animals, so it’s worth sacrificing some time to find a functional Nikon DSLR for a professional photographer.

What is the best Nikon camera for beginners

Starting to take high-quality photos and using a professional Nikon camera may be challenging for most photographers. There’s no need to complicate your path by instantly jumping to a top-notch camera with a never-ending list of features. The best way to learn is to select an intuitive Nikon camera to help you steadily grow.

Here are the three most suitable Nikon cameras for beginners, with their features clearly listed for you to evaluate:

Nikon D3500
Nikon Z50Nikon Z30
Image quality:$650 – $750$900 – $1,000$700 – $800
Video quality:CMOS sensor20.9 MP CMOS BSI sensor20.9 MP CMOS BSI sensor
Price range:Full HD 60fps4K 30fps4K 30fps
Where to buy:Get Nikon D3500Get Nikon Z50Get Nikon Z30

Which Nikon Cameras Offer the Best User Experience for Beginners?

For beginners, ease of use and intuitive learning are key. The Nikon D3500, a DSLR, stands out for its simplicity and helpful Guide Mode, making it a favorite among new photographers. In the mirrorless category, the Nikon Z50 is an excellent choice with its user-friendly interface and compact design, providing a smooth transition into more advanced photography without overwhelming the user.

How Much Should You Invest in Your Nikon Camera?

When it comes to investing in a Nikon camera, your budget should reflect your photography ambitions and usage frequency. For beginners, spending between $500 to $1000 is a good start. This range includes cameras like the Nikon Z50, offering a balance of user-friendly features and quality output. However, if photography is more than just a hobby, consider investing in the $1500 to $3000 range. Models like the Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II cater to more advanced needs with higher resolution sensors and professional-grade features.

Nikon's Lens Options: What Do You Really Need?

Lens choice is critical in maximizing your Nikon camera's potential. Start with a versatile lens like the Nikon 24-70mm f/4, suitable for various photography styles. If you're into wildlife or sports photography, a telephoto lens like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 will be essential for capturing distant subjects. For portrait photographers, prime lenses such as the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 offer beautiful bokeh and sharpness. Remember, investing in quality lenses is as crucial as choosing the right camera.

When to Consider Upgrading Your Nikon Camera?

Consider upgrading when you start feeling limited by your current Nikon camera's capabilities. If you frequently find yourself struggling in low light conditions or requiring faster autofocus and higher resolution, it's time to upgrade. For instance, moving from a Nikon D3500 to a Z 6II could be transformative for someone stepping into professional photography realms. Also, if you're expanding into new photography areas like wildlife or sports, upgrading to a camera with faster continuous shooting and a broader ISO range would be beneficial.

Conclusion

With the availability of nearly 200 Nikon cameras, the selection process may be overwhelming, especially if you have no experience in photography. A rule of thumb is that you must know your photography intentions before buying the camera. Each photography style requires different technical specifications.

After going through numerous tests, we have come to the conclusion that the Nikon Z 6II is the best mirrorless option, the Nikon Z50 – is the best fit for beginners, and the Nikon Z 7II is the most advanced option for professionals.

If you’re a beginner photographer, choosing the correct Nikon camera is very important so you don’t lose the enthusiasm for learning this craft. Hence, when picking it, ensure you evaluate what features you truly need, whether you want to make videos or stills, your budget, and other critical aspects.

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