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The 7 Best Nikon Cameras of 2024 Reviews

Updated
Best Nikon Cameras

Once a pioneer in the world of SLR and DSLR cameras, Nikon has increasingly been investing in its mirrorless camera lineup, offering more and more models to suit different budgets and experience levels, along with a slowly growing lineup of killer lenses. Whether you're looking for a DSLR or mirrorless camera, full-frame or crop sensor, or a more straightforward point-and-shoot camera, Nikon has something for everyone.

We've bought and tested over 100 cameras, and below, you'll find our picks for the best Nikon cameras for a range of budgets and needs.

Updates

Best Nikon Cameras


  1. Best Nikon Camera

    The Nikon Z 6II is one of the best Nikon cameras for photography that we've tested. While it sits below higher-end pro-grade models like the Nikon Z 8 and the Nikon Z 9, this is a highly versatile camera body for both hobbyists and enthusiasts—at a more attainable price point than its higher-end siblings.

    With a 14 fps mechanical burst rate and good autofocus, it's especially well-suited for sports and wildlife photography. It's no slouch in the video department, either, with 4k video recording at up to 60 fps (albeit with a significant crop), dual memory card slots (including a high-speed CFexpress card slot), and in-body image stabilization (IBIS). However, it is a bit outdated when it comes to more advanced video features, with no internal 10-bit or Log recording options. That aside, it handles like a dream, with excellent ergonomics and a highly intuitive user interface.

    See our review

  2. Best Vintage-Style Nikon Camera

    With its retro-inspired design, the Nikon Z f is one of the nicest-looking cameras on the market. But beyond its exterior, which is modeled after vintage Nikon SLRs, it's a very impressive digital camera with some of Nikon's latest tech. That includes a new processor and an improved autofocus system, along with Nikon's most effective IBIS yet. Though its ergonomics are more photography-oriented, with dedicated shutter speed and ISO dials, the Z f is also a surprisingly capable video camera, with 4k 60 fps video capture and internal 10-bit recording, outperforming even the Nikon Z 6II in that respect.

    If you like the vintage styling of the Z f but prefer something cheaper or more portable, you can opt for the Nikon Z fc instead. This entry-level model naturally doesn't have as many of the features found on the newer Z f, using an older AF system and lacking some of the Z f's more advanced video capabilities. However, it has the same internals as the Nikon Z 50 recommended below, making it a stylish beginner camera for photographers and vloggers.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Nikon Camera

    The Nikon Z 5 is a great choice if you're looking for a more affordable full-frame camera. It's one of the best entry-level full-frame cameras on the market—though its relatively low price comes with some trade-offs. Most notably, it has a max burst rate of just 5 fps, and it isn't intended for advanced video work, with heavily cropped 4k recording and limited internal recording capability. Still, if you're primarily interested in photography, there's a lot to love here.

    Like the higher-end Nikon Z 6II, the camera's ergonomics stand out, and despite its entry-level price point, it's weather-sealed to protect against dust and moisture. The camera's high-resolution sensor captures excellent image quality, and on top of that, you still get a large high-res EVF and IBIS for more stable handheld shooting. The higher-end Z 6II is your best bet if you're looking for a camera with better video specs or faster burst shooting. But if you want full-frame image quality on a budget, the Z 5 is a tempting choice that'll leave more room in your budget to invest in lenses.

    See our review

  4. Best Entry-Level Nikon Camera

    If you don't need or have the budget for a full-frame camera, an APS-C model is a great way to save some money and some space in your kit. Nikon has several excellent entry-level DSLR cameras, like the Nikon D5600 or Nikon D3500 (more on that down below), but the mirrorless Nikon Z 50 takes the cake for cameras under $1,000. It's the best Nikon mirrorless camera you can get at this price point.

    While it isn't the most portable APS-C option on the market, the handling, build quality, and features are all excellent for the money, and it's still more compact than full-frame alternatives. It's even weather-sealed, giving you more peace of mind when shooting outdoors. Inside is an excellent 20 MP APS-C sensor that performs admirably in low light, and the camera can shoot at a respectable max burst rate of 11 fps. Topped off with a solid autofocus system and 4k recording at up to 30 fps, it's a capable and well-rounded entry-level camera.

    See our review

  5. Best Nikon Vlogging Camera

    Though it's Nikon's first dedicated vlogging camera, the Nikon Z 30 is a great contribution to the slew of affordable vlogging cams on the market today. With a relatively portable design that doesn't compromise on the ergonomics that make Nikon cameras such a joy to handle, it nicely rounds out Nikon's entry-level mirrorless offerings alongside the Nikon Z 50 and the Nikon Z fc. Unlike those models, which are pricier, it doesn't have a viewfinder, so it's less versatile for photography. However, it uses a similar sensor, so image and video quality are comparable.

    In addition, you get vlogging-friendly features like a fully articulated touchscreen, a large video recording button, and a stereo mic on the top plate that sounds surprisingly good for a built-in microphone. Unfortunately, the camera doesn't have the best battery life and can struggle with overheating during longer recording sessions in 4k, but if that isn't a dealbreaker, this is a great budget vlogging cam.

    See our review

  6. Best Nikon Camera For Beginners

    While the Nikon D3500 is very basic, it's one of the best cameras on the market for beginners. The simple controls and intuitive user interface are great for those just getting started, and it's relatively portable for a DSLR. What makes the D3500 stand out among beginner cameras, though, is its unique 'Guide' shooting mode, which guides you through the basics of photography in simple, accessible terms so you can learn the ropes as you go.

    Besides its simplicity and ease of use, the camera has an amazing battery life and punches above its class for image quality, thanks to an excellent APS-C sensor. There's a wide array of native lens options available, including full-frame FX lenses, making it easy to upgrade your kit as your skills improve. Overall, this is an excellent starter camera at a reasonable price, especially if you can do without 4k video and blazing-fast burst rates. It's been discontinued, though, so you'll likely have to buy one secondhand.

    See our review

  7. Best Nikon DSLR Camera

    Although mirrorless cameras have overtaken DSLRs in popularity in recent years, the DSLR still offers some benefits, from an unbeatable battery life to a lag-free optical viewfinder. If you're interested in getting an old-school DSLR but still want the latest camera tech, the Nikon D780 is among the best options. Though it sits below the pro-level Nikon D850, it's a great choice for pros and hobbyists, combining DSLR and mirrorless technologies to give you the best of both worlds in a sturdy DSLR body.

    Uniquely for a DSLR, the camera borrows its on-sensor phase-detection autofocus system from the mirrorless Nikon Z 6 when shooting in Live View mode, giving you a more adaptable autofocus system for both photo and video. That, along with an incredible battery life and excellent ergonomics, make this a standout among DSLR cameras.

    See our review

Compared To Other Brands


  • Intuitive menu systems.
    Nikon cameras tend to have easy-to-navigate menu systems that suit novice and experienced users.
  • Excellent color science.
    Although color is highly subjective, Nikon is known for its pleasing color science on photos taken straight out of the camera.
  • Great ergonomics.
    Nikon cameras are known for their top-notch ergonomics, well-placed controls, and comfortable handgrips.
  • Excellent lenses.
    Nikon has a great lineup of DSLR and legacy lenses for DX or FX cameras, but the brand's investment in mirrorless Z-series glass stands out—particularly the premium S Line.
  • Not the most portable cameras.
    While Nikon offers some fairly sleek models and compact cameras, many fall somewhere in the middle for portability as they prioritize substantial handgrips and comfort over compact designs.
  • Autofocus lags behind leading competitors.
    While many Nikons have serviceable autofocus systems, they typically aren't as quick or accurate as the best AF systems on the market.
  • Scarcity of more affordable and entry-level mirrorless options.
    While Nikon's high-end full-frame Z-series cameras have made a splash, their APS-C siblings could use more love. With only a few models that offer similar performance and few dedicated APS-C lenses, options are more limited for beginners looking for an entryway into Nikon's mirrorless system.

Nikon vs Canon

Canon and Nikon have long been competitive, especially when DSLRs dominated the market, and both are generally well-loved by professionals and consumers alike. Though Nikon has been a bit slower in establishing itself in the mirrorless market, its more considered approach has resulted in a small slew of consistently high-quality camera bodies and lenses, whereas Canon can sometimes be hit-or-miss. Ultimately, you can't go wrong with either brand, though they each have their approach to ergonomics and design that some may prefer and others may not.

Nikon vs Sony

Sony and Nikon each have their advantages and disadvantages. Sony's autofocus is a bit more refined, with more reliable AF tracking, and there's a much wider selection of native and third-party lenses for the E-mount, given Sony's head start in mirrorless cameras. That said, Nikon cameras typically have better ergonomics and more pleasing colors straight out of the camera. Nikon's slow investment in lenses is also paying off, as the Z-mount has some of the best glass around, particularly the premium S Line of lenses.

Like rival Canon, Nikon has a broad range of cameras meant to suit everyone, from first-time photographers to industry pros. That said, most Nikon cameras share some similarities. They're often built very well and feel great in hand, with intuitive interfaces and excellent ergonomics. Image quality is a given, and Nikon colors are known to be excellent straight out of the camera. They're also often ahead of the game for wildlife photography, with fast burst rates and deep photo buffers. That said, they aren't always the most portable cameras, and autofocus generally still falls a bit short of the benchmark set by the latest cameras from Sony and Canon.

Lineup

Nikon has various model lineups to suit different users and their needs.

Mirrorless

  • Z Series = Mirrorless full-frame and crop-sensor cameras built to work with Z-mount lenses. Generally speaking, higher model numbers indicate a greater level of overall capability. Crop sensor models are exceptions to this naming scheme, which include the Z 50, the current entry-level APS-C model, the Z fc, an APS-C model with a retro-inspired body, and the Z 30, the brand's entry-level APS-C vlogging camera.

DSLR

  • D(X) Series = Flagship professional-oriented DSLRs that use Nikon FX-format full-frame sensors, e.g., the Nikon D6.
  • D8(XX) Series = Professional/high-end enthusiast-oriented DSLRs that use Nikon FX-format full-frame sensors, e.g., the Nikon D850.
  • D7(XX) Series = Enthusiast-oriented DSLRs that use Nikon FX-format full-frame sensors, e.g., the Nikon D780.
  • D6(XX) Series = Entry-level DSLRs that use Nikon FX-format full-frame sensors, e.g., the Nikon D610.
  • D5(XX) Series = Flagship DSLRs that use Nikon's DX-format APS-C sensors, e.g., the Nikon D500.
  • D7(XXX) Series = Upper mid-range DSLRs that use Nikon's DX-format APS-C sensors, e.g., the Nikon D7500.
  • D5(XXX) Series = Mid-range DSLRs that use Nikon's DX-format APS-C sensors, e.g., the Nikon D5600.
  • D3(XXX) Series = Entry-level DSLRs that use Nikon's DX-format APS-C sensors, e.g., the Nikon D3500.

Supercompact/Compact/Bridge

  • COOLPIX P Series = High-end bridge cameras with built-in lenses with extremely long zoom ranges.
  • COOLPIX B Series = Bridge cameras with built-in zoom lenses.
  • COOLPIX A Series = Compact cameras with built-in zoom lenses.
  • COOLPIX W Series = Rugged and waterproof compact cameras with built-in lenses.

Recent Updates

  1. May 23, 2024: We cleaned up some of the text throughout the article to ensure it's clear and the information is up to date.

  2. Mar 27, 2024: We've reviewed the article to ensure that the picks and text are still up to date, with minor touch-ups throughout for clarity.

  3. Jan 29, 2024: Checked the article for accuracy and slightly re-ordered picks so the newer Nikon Z f appears earlier in the list.

  4. Dec 01, 2023: Added the Nikon Z f as the 'Best Vintage-Style Nikon Camera'.

  5. Oct 06, 2023: Removed the Nikon Z fc from picks in anticipation of testing the Nikon Z f, which will likely replace it as the 'Best Vintage-Style Nikon Camera'.

Conclusion

Nikon cameras are best known for their amazing ergonomics, excellent-quality lenses, and easy-to-use menu systems. While their autofocus doesn't quite reach the reliable heights of Sony and Canon, Nikon's care and investment in its Z-series mirrorless lineup have kept the brand relevant as the camera market has continued to evolve.

Test Results