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The best Nikon camera: Top Nikon cameras for every budget

Best Nikon camera
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With so many models on the market, which is the best Nikon camera to meet your needs and budget? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional with years of experience under your belt, this guide will help to provide an answer.  We’ve taken into account different uses and requirements to provide an overview of the best Nikon cameras on the market in 2021.

Whether you need to film high-quality video, capture perfect portraits or find the best device for hybrid shooting, you'll find a Nikon camera that meets your needs. We’ve covered everything from the best compact Nikon camera right up to the very best, flagship Nikon models.

So whether you’re a beginner looking for an entry-level camera or an experienced photographer looking to upgrade your kit, read on for our pick of the best Nikon cameras. If you’re still not decided on which brand of camera you want to buy and want to consider more options, check out our guide to the best cameras as well.

The best Nikon cameras available now

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01. Nikon Z 6II

The best Nikon camera for both stills and video

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS 35.9mm x 23.9mm | Megapixels: 24.5 | Monitor: 8cm (3.2in) tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle (approx 2100k-dot) | Continuous shooting speed: 14FPS | Viewfinder: 0.8x 1.27cm (0.5in) Approx 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED EVF | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p | User level: Intermediate

High 14FPS
4K UHD Video
Only 24MP
No illuminated buttons

The best Nikon camera for overall use, the Nikon Z 6II is ideal for those who want to capture stills and video with the same device without compromising on image quality. This mirrorless camera has 5 stops of in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), which allows for sharp photos even during long exposures and low-light conditions. The 24.5MP full-frame image sensor allows for incredible detail, and it's able to follow fast action with 14 FPS continuous shooting.

The Z 611 is perfect for hybrid shooting because it delivers UHD 4K30 video footage and can hold the frame steady even when capturing video handheld. All in all, the Nikon Z 6II balances outstanding features with a very reasonable price tag for what you get.

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02. Nikon D6

The best Nikon camera if you have a limitless budget

Type: FX DSLR | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS 35.9mm x 23.9mm | Megapixels: 20.8 | Monitor: 8cm (3.2in) TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle. Approx 2359k-dot (XGA) | Continuous shooting speed: 14FPS | Viewfinder: 0.72x optical | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p | User level: Advanced

Incredible build quality
Fast continuous burst speed
Big and bulky
Expensive

If you're not limited by budget, then Nikon’s flagship full-frame DSLR is hard to beat. The Nikon D6 is the best Nikon camera in terms of specs and meets the needs of professional photographers who need a device they can depend on in any situation.

Its robust, durable frame and superb weather sealing allow it to stand up to extreme shooting conditions. The 20.8MP resolution might not seem the most impressive, but the D6 can shoot RAW images at up to 14 bit, allowing outstanding tonal detail to be captured. It can also keep up with even the fastest-moving subjects thanks to its 14FPS continuous shoot speed, which can capture up to 200 RAW files before it shows signs of slowing. 

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03. Nikon D3500

The best Nikon camera for those on a budget

Type: DX DSLR | Sensor: Crop-sensor CMOS 23.5mm x 15.6mm | Megapixels: 24.2 | Monitor: 7.5cm (3in) TFT LCD with 170° viewing angle. Approx 921k-dot (VGA) | Continuous shooting speed: 5FPS | Viewfinder: 0.85x optical | Max video resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) 60p | User level: Beginner

Great price
High resolution
Low burst speed
Crop-sensor

If you're not ready to invest in a device like the D6 or DZ II, then the Nikon D3500 is the best entry-level Nikon camera for those on a budget. It's a versatile, all-round device that serves as a good introduction for beginner photographers, capturing high-resolution stills at 24.2MP with its DX image sensor while also recording Full HD video. 

It can run on Auto and also boasts a Guide Mode, which can help novice photographers learn how to adjust the camera settings to obtain the kind of images they're after until they feel ready to take greater control themselves. This makes it a strong choice for those starting out who want to take a deeper dive into photography and shoot with an interchangeable lens system.

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04. Nikon D850

The best Nikon DSLR

Type: FX DSLR | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS 35.9mm x 23.9mm | Megapixels: 45.7 | Monitor: 8cm (3.2in) tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle. Approx 2359k-dot (XGA) | Continuous shooting speed: 9FPS | Viewfinder: 0.75x optical | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p | User level: Intermediate to Advanced

Super high resolution images
Class-leading ISO range
Files can be large
9FPS with battery grip only

The Nikon D850 is another good Nikon device for those who want to switch between shooting both stills and video, this time in the form of a DSLR. The D850's 45.7MP image sensor captures stills with plenty of detail, and the capture size can be reduced for those that require it.  For filmmakers, the camera can shoot 4K UHD footage, making this a professional-level camera for hybrid shooting.

The fast and reliable autofocus works even in low light thanks to the camera's dedicated AF processor, while a handy touchscreen allows rapid navigation through hundreds of images, making this a real workhorse of a DSLR.

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05. Nikon D5600

The best Nikon camera for intermediate photographers

Type: DX DSLR | Sensor: Crop-sensor CMOS 23.5mm x 15.6mm | Megapixels: 24.2 | Monitor: 8.1cm (3.2in) TFT vari-angle LCD touch screen with 170° viewing angle. Approx 1037k-dot | Continuous shooting speed: 5FPS | Viewfinder: 0.82x optical | Max video resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) 60p | User level: Beginner to Intermediate

Lightweight and portable
Vari-angle touchscreen 
Crop sensor
Only 39 focus points

The Nikon D5600 is the best Nikon camera for beginner photographers who perhaps already have some familiarity with DSLRs and want to take things up a step. This camera boasts the same frame-advance bar seen in superior professional models like the D5 and D500 professional-level cameras. It also has a variable-angle touchscreen, which allows the camera to be operated from any position without photographers needing to contort themselves to use the viewfinder. The screen also responds to gestures with options such as pinching to zoom and to trim images. 

The D5600 has a deep grip that's comfortable to hold. Its monocoque carbon-reinforced shell gives it a solid but lightweight build, which makes it a good choice for intermediate users who want to start taking photographs out on the road.

Best Nikon camera

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06. Nikon Z 7II

The best Nikon camera for video

Type: FX Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS 35.9mm x 23.9mm | Megapixels: 45.7 | Monitor: 8cm (3.2in) tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170° viewing angle. Approx 2100k-dot | Continuous shooting speed: 10FPS | Viewfinder: 0.8x 1.27cm (0.5in) Approx 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED EVF | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 60p | User level: Advanced

4K UHD 60p video
5-stop IBIS 
Expensive
1.08x crop on 4K video 

We've already mentioned several strong hybrid cameras, but if video's your main thing, the Nikon D7 II is likely to be the best Nikon camera for you. The 5-stops of in-body image stabilisation smooth out video, giving it a gimbal-like quality, which is excellent for handheld shooting. Its 4K UHD 60p video footage is superbly detailed with an outstanding dynamic range thanks to the N-log movie options and HDR (HLG) output.

With 493 AF points, the hybrid AF system offers pin-sharp focus across approximately 90% of the image sensor, allowing users to easily focus almost up to the edges of the frame. It also boasts Eye-Detection AF, which automatically tracks subjects, and even Animal-Detection AF to capture wildlife.

Check out our roundups of the best cameras for vlogging and the best cameras for YouTube for more video capture options.

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07. Nikon Z 5

The best Nikon camera for capturing portraits

Type: FX Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame CMOS 35.9mm x 23.9mm | Megapixels: 24.3 | Monitor: 8cm (3.2in) tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 1701.27cm (0.5in) Approx 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED EVF viewing angle. Approx 1040k-dot | Continuous shooting speed: 4.5FPS | Viewfinder: 0.8x 1.27cm (0.5in) Approx 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED EVF | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p | User level: Intermediate

Detailed EVF
90% AF frame coverage 
No top plate display
Cropped video 

The Nikon Z 5 is a dream for shooting portraits thanks to its full-frame sensor and detailed EVF. Its Eye-Detection AF is precise and tracks movement across the frame on a range of subjects, from humans to dogs and cats. Another plus for portrait photographers is the lightweight magnesium alloy body, which makes the camera comfortable to work during long sessions of shooting. 

The Z 5 has a wide ISO range for low-light shooting, and the camera can be charged by USB, which means you can grab a power bank and shoot all day long. The UHS-II SD compatible dual card slots mean portraits can be backed up on the spot.

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08. Nikon Coolpix P1000

Nikon's best compact camera

Type: Compact digital camera | Sensor: 1/2.3in type CMOS 6.17mm x 4.56mm | Megapixels: 16 | Monitor: 8.1cm (3.2in) vari-angle TFT LCD. Approx 921k-dot (RGB) | Continuous shooting speed: 7FPS | Viewfinder: 1cm (0.39in) Approx 2359k-dot OLED EVF | Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) 30p | User level: Beginner

Fantastic optical zoom
4K UHD video
Limited ISO range
Low resolution stills 

For beginners who aren't interested in using interchangeable lenses, the P1000 is Nikon's best compact bridge camera. Its lens offers incredible zoom capability for a compact camera, with 125x optical zoom. That means photographers can zoom in on even the most distant subjects, from wildlife to craters on the moon. 

The P1000 also boasts a host of built-in shooting modes that are useful for beginners who want to experiment without delving into the technical nitty-gritty. The camera can synchronise with Nikon's SnapBridge app via Bluetooth to share images and trigger the camera remotely. 

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