Nikon is one of the best camera producers in the game that offer different models for beginners, amateurs, and professional photographers.
However, with numerous Nikon models on the market, you may be confused as to which one is the best Nikon DSLR camera for you.
While some of the best models are mirrorless cameras, the DSLR ones are the real deal and are those that will bring the best results no matter the situation, even for taking photos for a blog.
Let’s dive right into the best Nikon cameras money can buy and all the details you have to know!
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If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read this full guide, these are the three best Nikon DSLR cameras per category – pro, semi-pro, and entry-level photographers.
Best Pro Nikon Camera
- Can shoot in 4K
- LCD touchscreen display
- Great ISO range and 200-image continuous shooting
Best Semi-Pro Nikon Camera
- Tilting touchscreen display
- 8 FPS shooting and 51 autofocus points
- Advanced controls and high-performance ISO range
Best Entry-Level Nikon Camera
- AF system of 153 points
- Amazing 45MP sensor
- Great for both photography and videography
FAQ – BEST NIKON DSLR CAMERAS
Before jumping into the main section, let’s cover some FAQs from beginners and answer some questions you may also have.
WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON DSLR CAMERA FOR PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY?
I’ve listed the best Nikon cameras per level and skill, but let’s focus more on the categories in the following paragraphs.
All things considered, the best Nikon DSLR camera for professional photography is the Nikon D850.
It’s the most versatile full-frame camera with a 45.4 MP image sensor and can take incredible photos whether it be for landscape photography, portraits, and more.
WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON DSLR CAMERA FOR PORTRAITS?
The best models are the Nikon D850 for professionals and the Nikon D3500 for beginners.
These will bring outstanding results when you want to get portrait photos for your catalog, stock photography, or even social media.
Are you an aspiring photographer? Check out my PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDES to become an expert fast!
WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON CAMERA FOR VIDEO?
Videography has undeniably been increasing in popularity in recent years with more and more users sharing their experiences, adventures, and tutorials on social media.
If you take videos on a professional level, the best Nikon camera for video recording is the Nikon D780.
It can record 4K up to 30 FPS and 1080p up to 120 Frames Per Second, which is one of the best on the market. You can shoot seamless slow-motion and premium quality 4K in any situation.
WHAT IS THE BEST NIKON CAMERA FOR BEGINNERS?
If you’re just starting out as a photographer, the best camera you can get is the Nikon D5600.
It’s reasonably priced, it has a 24.2MP sensor, ISO range that you can boost up to 25,600 for poor lighting conditions, a rotative 3.2 in. monitor, and can even record in Full HD.
While there are cheaper models available such as a mirrorless camera, the D5600 is the perfect fit for beginners and amateurs ensuring that you can use it even after gaining some serious skills.
BEST NIKON DSLR CAMERA – TOP 12 MODELS
That was a lot of information to start with, right? But now you have the answers to your most precise questions.
Let’s go into more detail about the best Nikon digital SLR cameras money can buy. They’re all excellent models for different purposes.
NIKON D6 – PROFESSIONAL DSLR
Kicking off this list of best Nikon cameras is the D6.
This is the camera to professionally shoot sports photography at the stadium or even take it with you in the forest to take animal or landscape photographs.
Sure, it’s also Nikon’s most expensive camera and it’s certainly not for beginners. But, if you’re a professional photographer or have been taking photos for years, then this is definitely the one.
With a 20.8MP resolution, you will be surprised by the results. The Nikon D6 has 105 autofocus points, a 14FPS frame rate, a battery life that will last for 3580 photos and a fixed touchscreen display.
Apart from that, if you want to take your video game skills to the next level, the D6 can record 4K up to 30p which is great for YouTube.
Lastly, if you’re into NFT photography, you’ll want to have a premium camera to shoot awesome photos and the Nikon D6 is definitely your best ally.
- Can shoot in 4K
- Best ISO range
- LCD touchscreen display
- 200-image continuous shooting
- Very expensive ($6,500 body only)
- Pretty big dimensions and size
NIKON D5600 – HIGH-END ENTRY-LEVEL DSLR
If the Nikon D6 is not what you need for your next camera, then the D5600 will definitely do.
This high-end entry-level Nikon camera is affordable, has a great autofocus system, and even a rotative touchscreen display.
I would say it’s the best camera under $1000, kit lens included, and that will benefit both beginners and pro-users, particularly if you’re into landscape photography.
Equipped with a 24.2MP sensor featuring 39 autofocus points and a decent battery life allowing you to shoot 970 photos in one charge, it’s one of the Nikon D Series models you should keep in mind.
Sure, it’s already quite a few years old, originally released in November 2016, but the technology behind it will not stop you from getting award-winning photos!
- Great price for the value
- The image quality will blow you away
- The 3.2-inch touchscreen is a great addition
- Good dimensions to carry everywhere
- It’s not compatible with AF-D autofocus
- The control layout doesn’t offer many options
NIKON D850 – HIGH-END SEMI-PROFESSIONAL
Jumping right back into the professional levels, the D850 is the best camera in terms of value for money and even outranks the legendary D6.
With a resolution of 45.7MP and 153 autofocus points, it’s the best specs you’ll find in a Nikon D series camera.
Apart from that, it has a backside illuminated sensor, which allows you to increase the low-light shooting performance.
Also, I love the fact that it accepts SD cards, unlike the Nikon D6.
It’s also a great ally for YouTube since it can shoot 4K up to 30p and the battery life will last you hours, or 1840 photos.
On the flip side, the price is quite on the upper end, starting at $3,000 for the body only, so it’s definitely a camera for those that know what they’re doing.
All things considered, the D850 is the camera you need for portraits and professional photography, and you’ll take some of the nicest photos you’ve ever shot.
- Top-class build quality and image quality
- AF system of 153 points
- Amazing 45MP sensor and the base ISO 64
- Great for photography and videography
- Pretty high price tag at $3,000
- Heavier than other cameras on the market
NIKON D500 – BEST NIKON FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
The Nikon D500 is a top-of-the-line professional DSLR camera perfect for all levels. It’s renowned for its incredible performance, even in low-light shooting conditions.
The camera boasts a 20.9-megapixel sensor, paired with an EXPEED 5 image processor, allowing you to capture stunningly sharp images with an ISO range of up to 51200.
Additionally, the D500 has 4K Ultra HD video capabilities and fast continuous shooting at 10 frames per second, making it ideal for capturing action shots.
The Nikon D500 also offers a variety of features that make it easy to use and tailor the user experience to their needs.
These include a 3.2-inch LCD screen that can tilt 180 degrees, making it easier to take selfies or odd-angle shots.
It also has dual card slots, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing, and SnapBridge support for quickly syncing photos between devices.
While it was released in 2016 and doesn’t have a full-frame sensor, it’s still one of the best Nikon digital cameras out there.
- 3-inch tilting touchscreen
- High resolution – 20.9 MP DX-format CMOS sensor
- Great for moving objects with a 10-fps continuous shooting speed
- The battery life could be better
- No in-body image stabilization
NIKON D810A – NIKON DSLR FOR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
The Nikon D810A camera is a great choice for photographers looking to capture high-quality photos.
It features a 36.3-megapixel full-frame sensor, allowing you to take beautiful shots with incredible detail and sharpness.
Its 51-point autofocus system ensures that you can accurately track your subject, even in low-light conditions.
The EXPEED 4 image processor offers superior noise reduction, allowing you to take clean shots even in darker settings.
Additionally, the D810A’s expanded ISO range makes it perfect for shooting astrophotography with stunning results.
With its wide dynamic range and fast shutter speed, this camera is capable of capturing amazing nighttime shots of stars and galaxies.
Overall, the Nikon D810A is an excellent camera for all types of photography from landscapes to portraits to astrophotography.
- 3D noise reduction system
- Great camera for astrophotography
- Full-frame sensor with 36.3 megapixels
- Large ISO range from 64 to 51,200
- Difficult to find and pretty expensive
NIKON D780 – PROFESSIONAL DSLR
If you want a similar quality to the D850 but aren’t quite convinced by its price tag, the D780 is the perfect alternative and it’s the best Nikon device for video.
With a 24.5MP sensor, 51 autofocus points, and the option to record 1080p up to 120 FPS, it’s one of the best Nikon cameras you can get.
Did I mention its battery life can record up to 2260 shots on one charge?
On top of that, it has two SD card slots and it will become your best friend if you’re shooting portraits or wedding photography.
The dimensions are also better compared to other cameras – 5.6 × 4.5 × 3.0 inches and only 840 grams, or 29.6 oz.
It’s worth noting that the Nikon D780 has the same sensor as the mirrorless Z6 and Z6 II, and I’m sure you’ll take awesome photos, especially combining the best DX lenses.
In plain words, it’s one of the best Nikon cameras and I can’t recommend it enough for portraits, weddings, landscape, and even wildlife photography!
- Excellent 51-point autofocus system
- Tilting touchscreen with easy controls
- The full frame provides high-image quality
- Nikon’s newest technology in a beautiful DSLR
- Limited sensor size
- The price is relatively high but 100% worth it
NIKON D3500 – ENTRY LEVEL
What I love about Nikon cameras is the fact to bring excellent resolution to every photographer, and the D3500 is the perfect example.
Well-established among all other Nikon DSLRs, it’s one of the cheapest yet most powerful cameras, with a camera body available for a few hundred bucks, making it the best camera under 500 dollars.
With such a big difference in price between the D6 and D850, you’ll be surprised to know that the D3500 is not that far behind in terms of quality when attaching the right Nikon lens.
That being said, the D3500 doesn’t have numerous manual controls and the autofocus system is outdated compared to other Nikon DSLRs.
But again, I recommend this camera to anyone starting in the photography world.
- High and crisp image quality
- Compact dimensions and easy to carry
- Best value for money on the Nikon market
- Cheapest alternative to a mirrorless camera
- No touchscreen and no 4K video recording
- No Image Stabilization so moving shots may not be great
NIKON D750 – PROFESSIONAL DSLR
If you’re looking for one of the best Nikon cameras to up your game, the Nikon D750 is exactly what you need.
While it’s quite an outdated camera when it comes to technology, it still brings magnificent pictures when connected to the right Nikon lens.
For example, don’t expect to have Image Stabilization or 4K video recording.
That being said, the fact to be older generation means that it’s cheaper and it’s the cheapest Nikon DSLR camera for professionals.
The battery life will last over 1200 photos, you can mount 2 SD cards, and it has small dimensions to take when traveling or during a wedding.
In plain words, it doesn’t have anything to envy to full-frame mirrorless cameras and I can’t recommend it enough.
- Can mount 2 SD cards
- Advanced manual controls
- The 51-point autofocus system
- Tilting screen, but no touchscreen
- The technology is slightly outdated
- It doesn’t record 4K videos
NIKON D7500 – SEMI-PROFESSIONAL
The Nikon D7500 is not your typical compact camera and it’s got the perfect mix of all the features in this list.
It is a little pricier than the D750 and D3500 but offers more advanced technology, it can record 4K videos, and its 51-point autofocus system is spot-on.
In addition, it’s the right piece of gear for all wildlife photographers as well as shooting sports photography.
Aside from its exceptional value for money, what I personally like about the Nikon D7500 is its rugged build quality and lightweight, perfect to take on a trip anywhere.
I also want to highlight the manual controls available in the menu.
As a whole, while it’s on the same level as other cameras like the D5600, it’s still very much worth its value.
- Can shoot in 4K
- Tilting touchscreen display
- Advanced controls and technology
- High-performance ISO range
- The 8 FPS shooting and the 51 autofocus points give excellent results
- You can only insert 1 SD card
- Slightly heavier than other Nikon DSLRs
NIKON D610 – GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY
The Nikon D610 is a great value-for-money camera, featuring a 24.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor, 6 frames per second continuous shooting, and full HD 1080p video recording.
Needless to say, it’s great for both videos and photos, and all enthusiast photographers will have fun using it.
The D610 also has an ISO Range of 100 to 6400 which is expandable to 50 to 25600 so you can go low light shooting at night.
While other DSLRs have a higher ISO range, the quality is fantastic, and you don’t need photographic skills to get started with this digital SLR.
All these features combined make the D610 a great choice for photographers looking for an affordable full-frame camera offering excellent performance and quality results.
- Dual SD card slots
- Weather-sealed body
- Full viewfinder coverage
- Wide dynamic range in Raw images
- 39-point AF system for better image quality
- Slow AF in live view mode
- Small coverage of autofocus array
NIKON D3300 – EXCELLENT ENTRY-LEVEL DSLR
The Nikon D3300 is an excellent entry-level camera that offers a variety of features and has everything you need.
It comes with a 24.2 Megapixel CMOS image sensor, 11 autofocus points, and a powerful processor capable of shooting up to 5 frames per second.
You’ll be able to smoothly capture moving subjects, which is great.
What I particularly like, especially as a travel photographer, is that the Nikon D3300 is very light and compact, making it easy to carry around.
What’s more, the included Wi-Fi connectivity makes it easy to share your photos on social media, how cool!
- Lightweight and compact
- Excellent burst shooting mode
- High-resolution sensor with great details
- No built-in WiFi
- No 4K available
- Apparent noise at lower ISO
NIKON D3100 – OLD BUT GOLD
The Nikon D3100 is another popular digital SLR camera, despite having been released in 2010.
It features a 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor, Full HD1080p video recording, 11-point autofocus system, and ISO sensitivity up to 3200.
This camera is ideal for entry-level photographers who want to learn how to take great photos with a DSLR camera.
On top of that, you can use DX lenses on it, which are some of the best on the market.
One of the biggest selling points of the Nikon D3100 is its incredibly lightweight design which makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.
To conclude, it’s one of the best DSLR cameras and you can even get great prices if you get a second-hand model!
- Lightweight design
- High-quality image sensor
- Wide range of in-camera effects and filters
- Full HD 1080p video recording
- 11-point autofocus system
- No built-in Wi-Fi capabilities
- Can be slow when shooting in continuous mode
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A NIKON DSLR CAMERA
Finding the right camera for your needs, whether it’s one of the Nikon professional cameras or entry-level ones, can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start.
Let’s get a closer look at the three most essential things to consider before buying a Nikon camera.
To start with, you’ll have to check the sensor size. The bigger the camera sensor is, the higher the image quality – of course, it goes without saying that cameras with a big sensor cost much more than entry-level ones.
Sensors are normally divided into 2 categories – Full-Frame and APS-C (referred to as cropped), and Four Third sensors.
As a beginner, a Four Third or an APS-C sensor will certainly be enough as they can still give decent results with the right lens.
But if you’re searching for the best camera for professional photography, you’ll want to get your hands on a Full-Frame one.
Apart from that, it’s worth noting that full-frame cameras are usually heavier and bigger in size than their counterparts with cropped sensors.
Lastly, full-frame cameras normally have a higher resolution, and this takes us to the following point – Megapixels.
Megapixels and a camera resolution are what most users look at first in a device – the higher it is, the crisper and higher quality your images will be.
For instance, the Canon EOS R5 has 47.1 megapixels, and some others like the Sony A1 have even more than 50 megapixels.
But apart from quality, what does the camera resolution mean? Huge prints, and being able to zoom in without losing any (or very little) quality.
There are a few downsides to buying a high-resolution camera, and you most likely want to stick around 30 megapixels or so.
High-resolution cameras often have reduced ISO capabilities, so the low-light performance won’t be as crisp as expected.
Apart from that, the more megapixels you have, the more data the photo has and, therefore, the quicker your SD card and external hard drive will fill up.
To sum up, if you want to save money as a beginner, a camera with 10 to 20MP is going to give you decent results.
If you’re an advanced photographer, around 20 to 30 megapixels is a perfect balance.
As a professional photographer that needs big prints and high quality, you’ll have to spend more money and go up to 40 to 50 megapixels and sometimes higher.
So, before purchasing the best Nikon camera for portraits or any other genre of photography, remember to consider the megapixels to suit your needs.
You can have the best camera, but without the right lens attached to it, the results aren’t always going to be as good as you want.
For instance, you can buy a Nikon D6 but, if you attach an 18/55mm kit lens to it, I can assure you that you won’t get the photo you had in mind.
To elaborate on that, you’ll also have to think about the differences between premium lenses and zoom ones.
Do you want a versatile lens that’s able to zoom in and out, perfect for landscape photography, or do you prefer slightly higher quality and have to physically move?
It goes without saying that you need a lens attached to your camera, or you can’t take photos, and manufacturers normally offer a kit lens with the camera body.
But I’d stay away from the kit lenses and invest in a more worthy lens to get the most out of your camera.
Related Article: The Best Nikon Lenses – A Complete Guide
SUMMARY – BEST NIKON CAMERAS
I hope this guide answered all the questions you might have about the best Nikon DSLR cameras and that you’re finally ready to get one of these cameras to get out there and start shooting!
If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
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