The best Nikon cameras: From beginners to professionals

In the market for a Nikon? We cover eight of the best Nikon cameras across all skill levels

Nikon camera model sitting on a concrete surface

by Emily Farquhar |

There are plenty of reasons as to why securing a Nikon camera is an excellent idea. Aside from being high quality and reliable, their extensive range ensures every photographer can choose a model perfect for them. Ranging from very pricey full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras to Nikon’s more affordable Coolpix compact range, there’s a camera for all purposes.

The advantage of buying a Nikon compared to other camera models is that no matter what camera model you go for, there will never be a shortage of lenses to accompany it. Whether it’s portrait, wildlife or still-life photography, there’s a lot you can try out that will help your skills to evolve.

Best Nikon cameras shortlist:

Related: Sharpest Nikon Prime Lenses Under £1000

As of recent years, Nikon has been recognized for its advancements in mirrorless cameras. Both the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II allow you to shoot high-quality photographs on improved processors and with two memory card slots. If you’ve got the budget, the Nikon Z6 and Nikon Z7 are certainly worth the investment. If these are out of your price range, the Nikon Z50 as a compact APS-C format is a bit more friendly to the bank account and just as impressive. For any young aspiring photographer starting out, perhaps the Nikon Z5 full-frame could be something to look at.

If mirrorless isn’t a point of interest, Nikon has some amazing DSLR cameras ranging from the Nikon D3500 to the best of the best, the Nikon D850. Not only has it recently released the Nikon D6, a professional fast-action sports camera, Nikon has also been able to carry over some of the best features in their mirrorless range and intertwined these into some of their DSLR cameras, such as the Nikon D780. Let’s also not forget Nikon’s Coolpix and wider compact camera lines for the more extreme, underwater personalities.

Here are the seven best Nikon cameras:

Nikon Z7 II Mirrorless Camera - Body

Nikon Z7 II Mirrorless Camera - Body
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The upgraded Mk 2 flagship Nikon Z7 II full-frame mirrorless camera is certainly one of the best 'do it all' options on the market. With the original Nikon Z7 already being a hard model to beat, the Nikon Z7 II has terrific handling, along with an improved AF (eye, face, animal), and now dual processors with two memory cards including CF express and 4K 60p video capture.

Pros Cons
• Terrific handling • Expensive
• Improved AF
• 4K at 60fps
Specifications
Sensor: Full frame
Resolution: 45.7MP
Continuous shooting: 10fps
ISO: 32-102,400
Video: Up to 4K/60fps
Storage: USH-II
Size: 134 x 101 x 70mm
Weight: 705g

Nikon Z6 II Mirrorless Camera - Body

Nikon Z6 II Mirrorless Camera - Body

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With dual card slots and 4K full HD video, the Nikon Z6 II Body Mirrorless Camera is another favourite. It's got 24.5 megapixels, an ultra-wide ISO, 14 fps Continuous Shooting, and an Eye-Detection AF.

Pros Cons
• Superb image quality • Limiting monitor
• Wide IOS
• 4K at 30fps
Specifications
Sensor: Full frame
Resolution: 24.5MP
Continuous shooting: 14fps
ISO: 50-204,800
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: USH-II
Size: 134 x 101 x 70mm
Weight: 705g

Nikon Z50 Mirrorless Camera - Body

Nikon Z50 Mirrorless Camera - Body
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Another excellent and well-thought-out Nikon is the Z50 Body Mirrorless Camera. Standing out to its competitors, this model comes with 209-point Hybrid AF, high-speed image processing, 4K UHD movies and a high-resolution LCD monitor.

Pros Cons
• Great EVF • One UHS-I solt
• Wide IOS
• 209-point Hybrid AF
Specifications
Sensor: APS-C
Resolution: 24.5MP
Continuous shooting: 14fps
ISO: 50-204,800
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: USH-I
Size: 127 x 94 x 60 mm
Weight: 450g

Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Camera - Body

Nikon Z5 Mirrorless Camera - Body
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If you are a photographer starting out in full frame, the Nikon Z5 Body Mirrorless Camera is a quality entry-level buy. The mirrorless has a 273-point Hybrid AF with a 5-axis in-body optical image stabilisation, 4K movies and two card slots.

Pros Cons
• Impressive OIS • Low continuous shooting
• Dual UHS-II card support
• 273-point Hybrid AF
Specifications
Sensor: Full frame
Resolution: 24.5MP
Continuous shooting: 4.5fps
ISO: 100-51,200
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: USH-II
Size: 134 x 101 x 70 mm
Weight: 675g

Nikon D780 DSLR Camera - Body

Nikon D780 DSLR Camera - Body
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The Nikon D780 Body is a perfect full-frame example of when mirrorless meets DSLR. It's got 7fps with a 51-point Phase-Detection and 273-point Hybrid-AF/AD (up to 12fps in Silent Live View Mode), flagship tracking and high-speed data transfer capabilities.

Pros Cons
• Fast live view mode • Heavy
• UHS-II card support
• 273-point Hybrid AF
Specifications
Sensor: Full frame
Resolution: 24.5MP
Continuous shooting: 7fps
ISO: 50-204,800
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: USH-II
Size: 144 x 116 x 76 mm
Weight: 840g

Nikon D6 DSLR Camera - Body

Nikon D6 DSLR Camera - Body

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Still one of the best high-level Nikon contenders, the flagship Nikon D6 DSLR body offers 14fps with full AF/AE, an EXPEED 6 processor and 105 all-selectable cross-type AF points. This also comes with an ISO of 100-102,400, as well as 4K video at 30p for multi-media pros.

Pros Cons
• Large ISO range • Heavy
• EXPEED 6 processor • Expensive
• 105 cross-type AF points
Specifications
Sensor: Full frame
Resolution: 20.8MP
Continuous shooting: 15fps
ISO: 50-3,280,000
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: CFExpress
Size: 160 x 163 x 92 mm
Weight: 1270g

Nikon COOLPIX P950

Nikon COOLPIX P950
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If you're on a bit of a budget or you're a photography beginner, then the Nikon Coolpix P950 is an excellent choice for you. It's very lightweight which makes it easily portable, allows you to capture 4K video and has continuous shooting at 7fps.

Pros Cons
• Up to 83x zoom • Limiting sensor
• Lightweight • Limited pro applications
• Captures 4K
Specifications
Sensor: 1/ 2.3 in
Resolution: 16MP
Continuous shooting: 14fps
ISO: 50-6,400
Video: Up to 4K/30fps
Storage: SD
Size: 100 x 100 x 120 mm
Weight: 370g

Read our Nikon lens reviews:

Reviewed: Nikon AF-S 24mm F/1.8G ED

Reviewed: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR

Reviewed: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR II

What to read next:

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The best wildlife cameras that you can rely on

Emily Farquhar is a Commercial Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for Yours.co.uk, heatworld and Closer across beauty, tech, and lifestyle.

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