Nikon has long been at the top of the market, regularly updating its line of devices. This brand is chosen by both professionals and amateur photographers. Any user can find a suitable model for himself: depending on the purpose, the cameras differ in functionality and technical characteristics. They also have different prices.
In the material, we will consider the top Nikon cameras, which are at the peak of popularity in 2022. Among them are both new items and models released a couple of years ago.
What is important to know when choosing a camera
For beginners who are just starting to get involved in photography, some terms and functions may not be clear. In order not to get confused in the variety of cameras, it is important to understand the basics.
Nikon has several series of cameras:
- compact — with the word Coolpix in the model name;
- mirror professional — D4, D5, D6;
- semi-professional — D750, D850, D780;
- semi-professional with Nikon DX sensor — D7200, D7500;
- for advanced amateurs — D5600;
- entry-level DSLRs — D3500;
- mirrorless cameras — Nikon Z30.
The cameras use different sensors:
- Nikon DX is a type of 24x16mm sensor that the company uses in SLR cameras;
- APS‑C — found mainly in SLR cameras, but it has also been installed in mirrorless cameras. Matrix size — 25.1 × 16.7 mm;
- Nikon FX — an obsolete sensor type that matches the size of a 135–24 type film frame;
- Nikon CX — This sensor was developed for mirrorless cameras.
When choosing a camera, you need to pay attention to such parameters as:
- matrix — the number of megapixels and the maximum resolution of images depend on it;
- video recording quality and number of frames. To create content today, it is better to choose cameras that shoot in 4K at least at 30 frames per second, and preferably 60;
- screen diagonal. The larger the display, the more convenient it is to use it — set the settings, view the footage;
- ISO range — the quality of images in low visibility conditions depends on it. You also need to consider the ISO range when shooting video — it is usually less than for creating a photo;
- shooting speed — affects the number of frames that the camera takes in 1 second.
All about exposure: what it is, how to set it up, exposure compensation and bracketing
New mirrorless camera Nikon Z30
The camera was equipped with a 20 megapixel APS‑C type matrix. Together with the Expeed processor, this leads to a wide range of ISO changes — from 100 to 25600 when shooting video and up to 51200 for photos. This made it optimal for vloggers and other content makers. The device combines a lot of functions that are present in the Nikon DX series models, but here the manufacturer has focused on selfies and video shooting.
In Nikon’s lineup, the Z30 became the third camera to feature an APS‑C sensor with a proprietary Z mount. The camera has an interchangeable lens and looks very similar to the Z50, but lacks a viewfinder. Nikon has a wide range of lenses for any task: standard zooms, universal primes, portraits, macro lenses and many others.
The Nikon Z30 shoots at 11 frames per second with auto focus but no preview between shots. If you reduce the speed to 5 frames, Live View will also become available — a function that displays the image and all settings on the screen. It is useful when it is inconvenient to use the optical viewfinder. The maximum video recording resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels at 30 fps. Frame rates up to 60 appear at Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). Also, the camera has a built-in electronic stabilization function, there is a slow motion mode — up to 120 frames / s at Full HD.
Of the minuses is the lack of stabilization in the body, which forces users to buy lenses like Nikon VR with a built-in stabilizer.
When shooting a video, the lack of a headphone jack can cause inconvenience — you won’t be able to control the sound at the time of recording the video. True, you can rely on the indicators on the screen, but they do not detect wind noise or other light background sounds.
Vloggers love this camera for its Nikon color settings, detail and exposure, and its unmistakable eye detection. All these advantages cover such weaknesses as the lack of built-in stabilization or a headphone jack.
General specifications Nikon Z30:
- matrix 20.8 MP;
- video recording in UHD 4K (30 fps;) or Full HD (120 fps;);
- touch screen diagonal — 3”;
- ISO range — from 100 to 51200;
- photography speed — up to 11 frames / s;
- weight of the camera without lens — 405 g.
Amateur camera Nikon D3500
Mirrorless cameras are gradually replacing DSLRs, but amateur cameras like the Nikon D3500 are still popular among beginners. Lightweight camera fits comfortably in the hand, equipped with an optical viewfinder and a good battery. The body without lens weighs only 415 grams.
The Nikon D3500 is a great choice for photographers who are just learning the basics. The resolution of the matrix of the camera is 24 megapixels — this is a typical sensor for entry-level APS‑C devices. It provides a fairly wide range of ISO — from 100 to 25600.
Shooting video is one of the few weak points of the camera. While many modern smartphones support 4K, the Nikon D3500 is limited to Full HD, but the frame rate reaches 60 frames per second. All movements and movements of objects on the video in this case are smooth and clear — without sharp jerks and twitches.
Also, the manufacturer did not provide a connector for an additional microphone.
In summary, if you need a camera for shooting video, it is better to choose another one, for example, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II.
Nikon D3500 maintains exposure well in almost any conditions, excluding overexposure of dark objects. Auto white balance handles correctly even in mixed lighting.
The 24-megapixel sensor deserves special attention. It produces photos of high detail, which in quality can be compared with images from more expensive cameras. Even at ISO 800, noise is almost invisible and colors remain natural. Starting at ISO 1600, noise starts showing up and detail is lost.
The 18–55mm kit lens is not the best choice even for beginners. With it, the frames are blurry at the edges. There is a better option — Nikon AF‑S DX 35 mm f / 1.8G or Tamron AF SP 35mm.
Another useful feature that beginners use is the Picture Control. It allows you to adjust colors and contrast. There are 7 modes, each of which has an adjustment of saturation, brightness.
Nikon D3500 made it to our rating due to its excellent price-quality ratio. This is one of the best cameras for beginners who choose DSLRs.
General specifications Nikon D3500:
- 24.5 MP APS‑C CMOS sensor;
- Nikon F type lens mount;
- screen diagonal — 3”;
- continuous shooting speed — 5 frames / s;
- video recording — Full HD 1080p;
- camera weight without lens — 415 g.
Nikon D850 professional camera
When developing this camera, the manufacturer continued the race for megapixels, which began back in 2012 with the release of the D800 model. Of course, the Nikon D850 camera is far from the top-end D5, but it also costs much less. This model was created for professional photographers and advanced amateurs. The camera’s closest competitor is Canon’s EOS 5D Mark IV, but it falls short in resolution, burst speed and video quality.
Nikon D850 was equipped with a brand new sensor with a record resolution of 45.7 megapixels, that is, photo resolution reaches 8256 x 5504. The sensor does not have an anti-aliasing filter, which sometimes blurs frames. The quality of the shots remains high, and noise in the shadows does not appear even at high ISO. The sensitivity range is from 64 to 25600 units.
The camera produces clean shots at record ISO values — up to 12800. Of course, light noises begin to appear at these borders, but when shooting in RAW, they can be overcome programmatically.
This model has many features that its predecessors lacked: high-speed continuous shooting, fast and accurate autofocus, focus shift, and advanced video features such as slow motion at 120 fps, headphone and microphone output, focus peaking for more precise manual focus, different Picture Control profiles, Timelapse shooting.
In fact, the Nikon D850 is a versatile camera suitable for wedding reporting, evening photo shoots and travel. Also, the camera is now able to shoot video in 4K.
General specifications Nikon D850:
- 45.7 MP CMOS sensor;
- Nikon F type lens mount;
- screen diagonal — 3.2”;
- continuous shooting speed — 9 frames / s;
- video recording — 4K up to 30 frames per second;
- weight of the camera without lens — 1005 g.
The best compact camera Nikon Coolpix P950
The Coolpix P950 succeeded its predecessor P900, offering the same 83x zoom lens, but some features have been significantly improved. For example, the camera learned to shoot 4K video and photos in RAW format, received a mount for a separate flash and a connector for an external microphone.
Nikon P950 is a versatile device that even professionals use. It is bought in addition to the main camera. With this compact, you can shoot both colorful landscapes and celestial bodies. This camera is the best choice when super zoom is needed. It allows you to shoot birds and animals from afar or take cool shots from observation decks.
The camera was equipped with a Dynamic Fine Zoom system, which provides digital zoom at 166x, albeit with a deterioration in quality. The lens also has a Dual Detect Optical Vibration Reduction system built into it, which makes it easier to shoot at a large focal length.
The resolution of the sensor is 16 megapixels, and it provides light sensitivity from 100 to 6400. The camera shoots video in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second and Full HD at 60 frames.
General characteristics of Nikon Coolpix P950:
- 16 MP CMOS sensor;
- 83x optical zoom;
- screen diagonal — 3.2” (swivel);
- continuous shooting speed — 7 frames / s;
- video recording — 4K up to 30 frames per second;
- camera weight — 1005 g.
We looked at the fundamentally different Nikon cameras that are popular among amateur and professional photographers in 2022. People who don’t want a camera with interchangeable lenses should take a closer look at the Coolpix series compacts.
For more advanced users, amateur DSLRs such as the D3400 or D3500, as well as mirrorless cameras such as the Nikon Z50 or Nikon Z FC, are suitable.
Professional photographers choose advanced cameras — Nikon D850, D780, D800.