Best Nikon DSLR Cameras

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Last Updated on October 11, 2021

Top Pick: Nikon D850

If you are looking for the best Nikon DSLR cameras and you don’t have the time to do long research then just go for this one. Overall its camera quality & performance are better than most others.

Which Nikon camera fits you best? That depends very much on what kind of photographer you are, but Nikon certainly offers a wide range of options for all kinds of photographers.

In recent years, it has been the mirrorless cameras that have attracted all the attention, but Nikon still has a robust DSLR lineup for those who want to shoot more traditionally.

Nikon has combined the best elements of a DSLR (optical viewfinder, battery life, size, robustness) with the innovative live view, on-sensor autofocus, and 4K video of its mirrorless cameras, in this case, the Nikon Z6.

 Nikon DSLRs are one of the best DSLRs you can buy. The entry-level D3500 is ideal for starting your photography hobby, and you can graduate all the way up to the high-end D850 as well as Nikon’s flagship D6 DSLR which is a solid workhorse camera that’s well suited for documenting high-profile sports events.

To own a Nikon DSLR, there’s no need to be a professional. So, you might want to buy one but can not determine what model you should go for. 

Well, the good news is, we have had the pleasure of putting all of Nikon’s DSLR cameras to the test for you so that we can place them in a definitive order right here for you.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get started with some of the best Nikon DSLR cameras we can find today.

The best Nikon DSLR Cameras 

Our list includes Nikon DSLRs of both types: APS-C (DX) models like the D3500 and D7500 designed for beginners and the full-frame (FX) models designed for more advanced enthusiasts and pros – examples are the Nikon D850 and Nikon D780.

1. Nikon D850

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 45.7MP | Sensor: Full frame | Lens Mount: Nikon F | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | Screen type: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 2,360,000 dots | Max burst speed: 7fps | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | User level: Professional

REASONS TO BUY

  • High MP and fast burst shooting
  • Solid, weather-sealed body
  • Better battery life than mirrorless models
  • Superb image quality
  • Excellent AF performance

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Expensive
  • Live view AF speed
  • SnapBridge is far from perfect

The Nikon D850 is a huge camera compared to the Nikon Z models. In contrast, the size benefits you if you’re shooting with large, heavy lenses, and pro lenses as they are usually large and heavy!

The key highlights of the Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor, a 153-point AF system, 7fps burst shooting, 4K HD video recording, are also supported by a solid secondary set of specs such as a battery life of 1,840 shots and dual memory card slots (one of them an XQD type) all the way to the illuminated controls, which are especially useful in darker environments. 

However, its SnapBridge features and slow live view autofocus speeds mean it isn’t quite a perfect performer, although the FZ7 has now eclipsed it in terms of newcomers, the D850 remains a solid option for those looking for something more traditional.

2. Nikon D3500 

SPECIFICATIONS 

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Screen: 3in fixed, 921K dots | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Max video resolution: 1080p | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

REASONS TO BUY

  • Great value for money
  • Excellent image quality
  • This retractable kit lens is neat.
  • Beginners’ friendly

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Fixed screen not touch-sensitive
  • No 4K video
  • No built-in sensor cleaning

While you’re still learning photography and trying to decide what type of camera will be right for you, pick one that’s simple to understand right away so that you can switch later if you need something else. 

The D3500 is Nikon’s basic DSLR, but it shares the same 24.2MP sensor as cameras twice its current price — and it has a very good 5fps continuous shooting speed for its price. If you are looking for a beginners’ DSLR, this is your best option.

We think this camera proves that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to pick up a high-quality camera. Moreover, we think its value for money is equal to, if not better than, more expensive and far more advanced alternatives. 

3. Nikon D780

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Screen: 3.2in tilting screen, 2,359k dots | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.4MP | Lens mount: Nikon FX | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Max burst speed: 7/12fps | Video resolution Max: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast/professional

REASONS TO BUY

  • Great handling
  • Fast live view AF
  • Uncropped 4K video
  • Accessible controls
  • Great battery life

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Two AF systems to master
  • Manual live view swapping
  • Big and heavy
  • No in-body image stabilization
  • Expensive while new

Nikon D780 is a DSLR/mirrorless hybrid camera that offers the fully-framed experience of the best of both worlds to the first-timers. It resembles a traditional DSLR but comes with many of the same features found in the Z6 mirrorless model.

Nikon’s D780 brings the same on-sensor phase-detection autofocus as the Nikon Z6, providing a DSLR with the live view autofocus performance of a mirrorless camera – brilliant!

It’s almost like a modernized, supercharged version of Nikon’s still-popular D750 DSLR. The D780 doesn’t just offer an advanced live view AF, but also comes with a high-resolution tilting touchscreen display, 4K UHD video, dual UHS-II compatible memory card slots, and up to 12fps continuous shooting speeds in live view mode.

Thus, images are of phenomenal quality. 

It’s a great package, but not without some drawbacks. Currently, the D780 may seem a bit pricey, but its price will go down eventually and make it an even better buy.

4. Nikon D750

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Screen: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 1,228,000 dots | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Nikon F |  Max burst speed: 6.5fps |Viewfinder: Optical | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast/professional

REASONS TO BUY

  • Useful tilting rear-screen
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Lightweight body
  • Excellent dynamic range

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No 4K video
  • LCD isn’t touch-phase-detection sensitive
  • Live view AF slow and unreliable

In spite of its age, the Nikon D750 has proven itself to be a great all-around camera that’s becoming more and more affordable.

As Nikon’s entry-level full-frame DSLR, the D750 follows Nikon’s entry-level DSLR advanced controls and handling rather than those of its professional cameras models, but it does sport the trusted 51-point AF system, which was the best in the Nikon range, for a few years. 

The sensor provides excellent noise control, while the autofocus system works beautifully on both static and moving subjects, continuing to work well even when lighting conditions worsen.

While it can’t capture 4K video, this Nikon D750 can shoot 1080p video at up to 60p. Although the live view autofocus isn’t particularly fast, it’s still faster than most fixed-screen DSLRs, thanks to its tilting rear screen.

Though the Nikon D780 offers great video and sports shooting capabilities, the Nikon D750 still offers more value for money.

5. Nikon D7500

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Megapixels: 20.9MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Screen: 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 922,000 dots | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

REASONS TO BUY

  • Has the best bits from the D500
  • Lightweight build
  • Great image quality
  • Advanced AF system

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Less robust than the D500
  • Only one card slot
  • LCD screen only has 921k dots

The Nikon D7500 is an excellent choice for Nikon enthusiasts who want to move up from a beginner’s camera. With this larger, more rugged camera, you’re able to capture 4K video at 8 frames per second, Nikon’s highly-regarded 51-point autofocus system, and capture continuous 8fps shooting.

The D7500 is designed for sports and action photographers as well as general outdoor shooters. Featuring the same 20.9MP DX-format sensor, it also boasts a 180k-pixel metering sensor and a robust, weather-sealed body. 

It has a lower resolution sensor than the D5600 (20 MP compared to 24 MP), but it uses a newer design derived from the pro-grade D500 that provides better image quality at high ISO settings and faster all-around image capture. 

Although It may not have the 153-point focusing found in other Nikon models, we still found it to deliver an impressive performance in our review, and we also liked the images. A second card slot is certainly nice, but it is more of a convenience than anything else. 

6. Nikon D500

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: APS-C-format DX CMOS, 20.9MP | Video resolution: 4K (UHD) | Memory: 1 x SD, 1 x XQD | Viewfinder: Optical pentaprism, 1x magnification, 100% coverage | ISO performance range: 100-51,200, expands to 50-1,640,000 | Autofocus points: 153, including 99 cross-type; 15 points sensitive down to f/8 | LCD screen: Tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen, 2,359,000 dots | Burst rate: 10fps | Shutter speeds: 1/8,000 sec to 30 sec, Bulb, timer, sync 1/250 sec | Weight (body only) : 760g | Power supply: EN-EL15 battery

REASONS TO BUY

  • Brilliant AF system
  • 10fps shooting for 200 raw images files
  • Metal, weather-sealed body
  • Polished handling
  • Excellent image quality

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Live View AF can be slow
  • Tilting rather than vari-angle screen
  • Limited touchscreen control

This camera is a dream come true because it has a fast, effective autofocus system, 10 frames per second shooting capabilities, and amazing metering and white balance systems. 

If you’re looking for a Nikon digital SLR, for the money, this is the best one available. Its 4K video, its high-tech autofocus, and its overall terms of image quality are among the best around.

D500, which is the spiritual successor to the D300S from Nikon, has the same rugged design but offers faster 10fps continuous shooting, a high-speed 153-point autofocus system, and a 4K video mode.

Despite the expectations of many photographers, the D500 is superior to the Nikon D300: its performance and features are more closely aligned with Nikon’s pro-level full-frame camera. 

Besides the fact that it has an FX-format sensor instead of a DX-format sensor, the D500 has a similar specification to that of the D850 or even the D5. As a result, the D500 offers a considerably less expensive route to high-end Nikon technology, allowing you to take advantage of the best autofocus, white balance, and metering performances Nikon has to offer in a package significantly lighter than a D5.

7. Nikon D5600

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Autofocus: 39-point AF, 9 cross-type | Megapixels: 24.2MP |  Screen: 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Movies: 1080p | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps | User level: Beginner/intermediate

REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent image quality
  • Good handling and interface

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Only 1080p video mode
  • SnapBridge feels clunky

Despite its launch in 2018, Nikon’s D5600 remains a very attractive entry-level camera for both beginners and more experienced professional photographers. It may not have any standout modern features, but the combination of a 24.2MP sensor, an articulating touchscreen, a solid 39-point autofocus system, and neat proportions still makes it a well-rounded camera worth exploring.

It shares the same sensor with the D5500, which yields reliably excellent pictures. The high resolution gives plenty of detail, while low-ISO images are generally sharp and clean, and only at ISO6400 does the quality start to degrade. In addition, the dynamic range of the camera is impressive, aided by a matrix system that effortlessly handles a wide range of lighting situations.

The polycarbonate shell fits comfortably in the hand and offers a comfortable grip, while the simple button layout makes the D5600 both easy to use and uncluttered.

While the D5600’s 5fps burst shooting rate may not beat its rivals, its 820-shot battery life is one of the best around. All in all, the D5600 is a great all-rounder that’s more affordable than ever.

8. Nikon D5300

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 24MP | Sensor: APS-C CMOS sensor | Max video resolution: 1080p | Screen type: 3.2-inch vari-angle screen, 1,037,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Battery: 600 shot

REASONS TO BUY

  • Great performing sensor
  • No anti-aliasing filter
  • High-res vari-angle screen
  • Wi-Fi built-in, EXPEED 4 processor

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Mainly on-screen control layout
  • No touchscreen
  • Special Effects are JPEG only

Live view is enhanced by Vari-angle Screen and Effect modes (allowing users to compose their images on the screen), but live view AF performance underperforms most compact camera systems, and the touchscreen isn’t touch-sensitive.

It is still a good option to take serious photographs with a 24-megapixel DSLR that also comes with an articulated screen, a 39-point AF system, and built-in Wi-Fi capability. The manual controls are easy to find too, making it easy to get to grips with the point-and-shoot camera.

9. Nikon D3300

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Sensor: APS-C CMOS sensor | Max video resolution: 1080p | Screen type: 3.0-inch screen, 921,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Battery: 700 shot

REASONS TO BUY

  • 24MP sensor with no low-pass filter
  • Excellent Guide Mode
  • Very easy to use
  • Great value for money

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Fixed LCD screen
  • Screen not touch-sensitive
  • Few direct controls
  • Limited connectivity options

Until the arrival of the newer D3400 and D3500, the D3300 was a favorite entry-level DSLR, but its shine has now begun to crack. But if you’re not too fussed about cutting-edge tech, you can still pick up this camera for a bargain. It has an easy-to-use body and menu system, as well as a wide range of interchangeable lenses that will let you get creative.

It is a great deal of equipment for the money with the Nikon D3300. 

Firstly, the 24MP sensor produces detailed images. In addition, the D3300 has a user-friendly interface, which includes a Guide Mode, which helps novice photographers become comfortable with photography as they shoot. Also, the D3300’s 18-55mm kit lens is a great tool when you’re on the go.

10. Nikon D610

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 24MP | Sensor: APS-C CMOS sensor | Max video resolution: 1080p | Screen type: 3.2i” 921k-dot LCD screen

 | Max burst speed: 6fps | Battery: 900 shot

REASONS TO BUY

  • High build quality
  • Excellent quality images
  • Reliable AF system
  • Clean sensor

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No major step-up on D600
  • AF clumped in the center
  • Odd info display options
  • JPEG-only HDR mode
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Fixed screen

The Nikon D610 is an excellent point-and-shoot camera with the same D600 quality and a few minor changes and a new shutter mechanism that resolves the dirty sensor issue with the D600.

In fact, the D610 makes so few changes that we have to wonder if it would have existed if the D600 hadn’t had the sensor problem. Probably not.

Ignoring the new shutter mechanism and its purpose, the D610 is a very good digital camera that offers a superb introduction to full-frame photography. It’s loaded with extra features and produces excellent images.

11. Nikon Df

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR | Megapixels: 16.2MP | Sensor: 36.0 mm × 23.9 mm CMOS | Max video resolution: 1080p | Screen type: 3.2-inch diagonal, (921,000 dots), TFT LCD | Max burst speed: 5.5fps | Battery: 1400 shot

REASONS TO BUY

  • Full-frame sensor
  • Small body
  • Traditional controls
  • Weatherproof

REASONS TO AVOID

  • ‘Only’ 16MP
  • No video mode recording
  • Expensive

With years of rumors and speculation about Nikon unveiling a full-frame camera that follows a traditional design, and Nikon’s own teaser campaign leading up to its introduction, the Df has been met with considerable excitement.

If it’s 16Mp ‘only’ disappoints, the Df’s low light capability will more than makeup for it. It may not be as detailed as the 36-million pixel Nikon D800, but the Df produces very good photos in low light.

Best Nikon DSLR Cameras
Olivia Bouler

From a young age, camera's fascinated me. My dad gave me my first Canon when I was seven, and since then I've tried to improve my craft. As a young Ornithologist and photographer, I travel a lot and love to bring a camera with me. I love the feeling of capturing a moment that can never be repeated and providing someone with a memento of a time or place.