Best Nikon cameras in 2024: For beginners and pros

For over 100 years, Nikon has produced some of the best cameras on the market, well-loved by professional photographers and amateurs alike. Nikon is a market leader, making some of the best mirrorless cameras and some of the best DSLR cameras available to buy today. Nikon has some of the best models in both categories, whether you're looking at DSLR vs mirrorless cameras or know exactly what you're looking for.

Our expert reviewers have tested these cameras themselves, giving their honest reviews of the pros and cons of each model. We've also included a 'what to look for' section below to help you gain a more detailed understanding of what makes a good Nikon camera.

We've considered a range of budgets and different types of cameras to help you find your perfect Nikon match. From entry-level models to the best cameras suited to professional use, we've tested DSLRs, mirrorless, compact and larger cameras to help you make an informed decision. 

If you need something compact and lightweight, a mirrorless camera might be the right choice for you. They are also great for videographers, with some of them boasting technology that means you can shoot video up to 120FPS in 4K and even benefit from in-body image stabilization

Alternatively, a heavier DSLR gives you the option to change between lenses and boasts fantastic shooting quality. If you're not quite sold on Nikon yet, be sure to check out the best cameras for astrophotography, best cameras for photo and video and camera deals.

Profile picture of Jase Parnell-Brookes with tree and grass in the background.
Jase Parnell-Brookes

Jase Parnell-Brookes is an award-winning photographer, educator and writer based in the UK. They won the Gold Prize award in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. After completing their Masters Jase has spent a good chunk of two decades studying and working in photography and optics shooting and writing all over the world for big-name brands and media outlets. Now the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching at Space.com their speciality is in low light optics and camera systems.

The quick list

Skim through our top picks below, or scroll down to see our full reviews of each product.

The best Nikon cameras we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.

Best overall

With top of the range specs that combine the best aspects of Nikon's flagship mirrorless Z9 and their leading DSLR the D850, the Nikon Z8 is truly a master of everything.

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 45.7
Lens mount: Z-mount
ISO Range: 64-25,600 (expanded up to 102,400)
Stabilization: 5-axis, 6 stops

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image noise handling
+
Insane high FPS burst speed
+
Extremely detailed stills and videos
+
Silent shooting great for quieter shoots

Reasons to avoid

-
A big size increase from the Z7 II
-
Price tag not for the faint of heart
-
Overkill for beginners and intermediates
Buy it if

✅ You want the best image quality: The huge 45.7MP sensor produces rich and detailed images as well as 8K video.

✅ You shoot sport or wildlife: This camera has incredible autofocus that works even on tricky subjects, and it can do burst shooting at a blistering 120FPS.

✅ You're an astrophotographer: Low-light sensitivity reaches as low as -9EV and a dedicated night vision mode preserves your night vision.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: Although it's significantly cheaper than the Nikon Z9, it's still an expensive camera with elite features that may be overkill for beginners and intermediates.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Z8: An elite all-rounder with a 45.7MP sensor and incredible autofocus that handles any style of photography with ease, we class this as one of the very best cameras available. ★★★★★

Currently sitting at the top of our overall best cameras guide, the Nikon Z8 is easily crowned the best Nikon camera as well. It combines the very best aspects of the Nikon D850 and the flagship Nikon Z9 models to create a camera with unrivaled versatility and performance across all fields of photography. Whether you're a professional or an enthusiastic amateur, this camera is an absolute treat to use and offers stunning results.

The 45.7MP sensor delivers highly detailed still images and 8K video. It offers RAW images and captures a wide variety of video codecs such as N-Log, ProRes Raw HQ and more, making it an excellent choice for videographers. There's also an unbelievable burst shooting rate of 120FPS for sport and action photographers, although you will sacrifice some image quality when shooting at this blistering speed.

The autofocus is fast and reliable, detecting human and animal subjects even in darker conditions. Enabling Starlight View will drop the detection range right down to -9EV. This, combined with a night vision mode that dims the rear screen and electronic viewfinder and uses only red pixels to preserve your night vision, makes it a fantastic camera for astrophotography, too.

With the Nikon Z8, you'll get all this for around $1500 less than their flagship Z9 model, which really clinches the deal for us. It's still pricey and primarily aimed at professionals, but if your budget can stretch to it, we think any photographer would be thrilled with this camera.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
Design45.7MP sensor and outstanding build quality
Functionality8K video and 120FPS burst shooting
PerformanceExceptional autofocus, even in low light

Best professional mirrorless

Nikon's flagship mirrorless camera has 8K video, 120FPS stills shooting and six stops of in body image stabilization

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 45.7
Lens mount: Z-mount
ISO Range: 64 - 25600 (expanded to 32 - 102,400)
Stabilization: 5-axis, 6 stops

Reasons to buy

+
Huge 6 stops of in body image stabilization 
+
Up to 120FPS stills shooting 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive camera
-
Same stills resolution as Z7 II 
Buy it if

✅ You're looking for premium features and performance: There's really nothing that this camera doesn't do well with its incredible 45.7MP sensor and ISO range.

✅ You enjoy burst shooting or videography: You can shoot stills up to 120FPS and video up to a whopping 8K at 30FPS.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: The only real downside to this camera is the price — it's incredibly expensive and probably overkill for astrophotography alone.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Z9: Losing half a star purely on the basis of price point, this is an absolute powerhouse of a mirrorless camera that offers premium features right across the board. ★★★★½

The Nikon Z9 is Nikon's flagship mirrorless camera, outstripping every other Nikon camera's spec sheets. Outstanding, fast autofocus is powered by deep-learning artificial intelligence that cleverly tracks subjects from people, animals, and vehicles, focusing on the eyes of living subjects even when framed upside down.

This is a mirrorless camera designed for professionals, but it would be equally welcome in the hands of an enthusiast, should they be able to afford it. We'd give it five stars, but it's missing half a star as it'll be out of the price range of some. 

A blisteringly fast 120FPS electronic stills capture, 8K30p video, and detailed 'real-live' electronic viewfinder, which is the brightest in the world (at 3000-nit), show that Nikon isn't messing around here. It also has dual CF Express Type B card slots for twice the speed of Type A and ultra-reliability with dual card backup.

You'll be spoiled by the numerous functions the Z9 offers. As a still image shooter, you can customize almost every aspect of the process, and have the ability to use this body just as easily in landscape or portrait mode. The stand-out options are the vast array of options on the camera body itself.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
Design45.7MP sensor in a robust weatherproof body
FunctionalityImpressive burst shooting and video
PerformanceFast focusing and exceptional clarity

Best under $3000

Nikon's sub $3000 camera is full of detail, has lightning speed and accurate autofocus

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 45.7
Lens mount: Z-mount
ISO Range: 64 - 25600 (expanded to 32 - 102,400)
Stabilization: 5-axis, 5 stops

Reasons to buy

+
Strong image stabilization 
+
10FPS, 45.7MP stills burst mode 
+
3.69k dot electronic viewfinder 

Reasons to avoid

-
AF isn't quite as sophisticated as Z9 
-
Expensive as a first camera
Buy it if

✅ You're looking for a high-level all-rounder: Featuring the same 45.7MP sensor as the pricey Z9 model, this camera offers detail, precision and speed at a more affordable price.

✅ Your main focus is astrophotography: With its tilting touchscreen, weather sealing and excellent low-light performance, this camera is ideal for astrophotographers.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're a beginner: You may want to look at some more pocket-friendly options like the Nikon Z5 if you're just starting out.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Z7 II: This camera is a great pick for those looking for high detail and performance without the huge price tag of the Z9 model. Its features also make it a particularly attractive option for astrophotographers. ★★★★½

Sitting nearly two-fifths cheaper than the Nikon Z9, this camera has much of the capability without the enormous price tag, though it is still a sizeable investment.

In our Nikon Z7 II review our verdict after putting it through its paces is that it offers the perfect balance of speed and precision and can master most styles of photography.

It boasts great dynamic range and an expandable ISO that boosts up to 102,400 and is stabilized by a five-axis in-body image stabilization technology that can steady shots by up to five stops.

10FPS stills shooting at maximum resolution may not sound ground-breaking, but when you consider it's capturing a huge 45.7MP, 14bit photos, it's pretty eye-watering. A dual card slot makes the 7 II compatible with XQD (or super fast CF Express) and SD/SDHC/SDXC (up to UHS-II) cards for ultimate flexibility. 4K UHD video shoots smooth 60FPS but can go as high as 120FPS when dropped down to full HD resolution for slow-motion effects.

The exposure preview on the Z7 II is fantastic, probably the best of all the cameras we’ve used. Composing scenes on any camera in low light is difficult because less light means a darker view, making it more difficult to level horizons and ensure focus is where it needs to be. However, with the Z7 II there’s hardly any image noise when viewing on the rear screen or EVF, horizons are clearly visible and so are stars, making it easy to compose scenes and zoom in on stars to manually focus.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
Design45.7MP sensor, tilting screen and weather sealing
FunctionalityControls across the body within easy reach
PerformanceSuperb handling of high ISO image noise

Best classic style

Retro style meets modern mirrorless technology in this low-light specialist

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.5
Lens mount: Z-mount
ISO Range: 100-64000 (expanded up to 204,800)
Stabilization: 5-axis, 8 stops

Reasons to buy

+
Nice feedback from dials
+
Fully articulating touchscreen
+
Excellent low-light performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Shallow hand grip might be too small for some
-
24.5MP sensor is nothing to shout about
-
4K video only 30FPS
Buy it if

✅ You enjoy the classic style: There is a physical dial for all the camera controls with satisfying audible feedback.

✅ You shoot in low light: The low-light sensitivity on this camera is seriously impressive, making it one of the best available for this purpose.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need maximum image detail: The 24.5MP sensor may leave some wanting more detail, though it's plenty for most general purposes.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Zf: An extremely stylish and attractive camera that doesn't skimp on performance. It has fast autofocus and seriously impressive low-light sensitivity, but some may want more detail than the 24.5MP sensor can offer. ★★★★½

If you're looking for a stylish camera that's still capable of keeping up with modern technological developments, then look no further than the Nikon Zf. This classic-looking camera comes with an array of tactile metal dials reminiscent of film SLR but combines this with the impressive speed and performance you'd expect from a quality mirrorless camera.

The dials aren't there for show; they are efficient. The more you use them, the less you have to consciously think about what you're doing and you'll quickly find that adjusting your commonly used settings becomes second nature, speeding up your workflow. We like that there is no need to navigate different menus for every shot you take.

It contains the same flagship processing engine as the Nikon Z8 and Z9 models, alongside an extremely effective autofocus system with low-light sensitivity that drops down as low as -10EV. To put that into perspective, it's the lowest of the whole Nikon Z series line, and it makes shooting in low light an absolute breeze.

It also benefits from a fully articulated touchscreen, and while the 24.5MP sensor may be nothing to shout home about, we think that this camera offers great specs for the price that sits around the $2000 mark.

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Test results
AttributesHeader Cell - Column 1
DesignRetro design with on-body dials
FunctionalityFully articulated touchscreen
PerformanceLow-light sensitivity down to -10EV

Best value for money

Made for enthusiasts, this is full-frame mirrorless Nikon quality at a more affordable price

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.5
Lens mount: Z-mount
ISO Range: 100-51,200 (expandable 50-204,800)
Stabilization: 5-axis

Reasons to buy

+
Massive ISO range 
+
Good noise handling 

Reasons to avoid

-
Stills resolution relatively low 
-
Not the cheapest 
Buy it if

✅ You're in search of value: We think this camera offers a fantastic balance between features and price, with quality that will satisfy most enthusiasts.

✅ Your priority is still images: With excellent image stabilization and ISO capabilities, the Z6 is perfect for a range of subjects like astrophotography or landscapes.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You primarily shoot video: You may be better off with the Nikon Z6 II which offers better video with 4K at 60FPS.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Z6: For those who shoot stills, this camera offers excellent value for money and a nice balance between price and performance across a range of different photography styles, but videographers may prefer the upgraded Z6 II. ★★★★½

The Nikon Z6 is identical to the Nikon Z7 on the outside but lacks a few of the higher-end features found in its bigger brother. The resolution is nearly halved at 24.5MP, which sounds drastic, but in reality, is perfectly fine for most shooters. In fact, that drop in resolution makes it more suited to astrophotography due to the lower propensity for high ISO image noise. That is one of the reasons that after our Nikon Z6 review, we placed it in our best cameras for astrophotography guide.

Full frame, it can capture stills at 14FPS, four times faster than the Z7, and an enhanced buffer means up to 200 consecutive JPEG images (or 124 12-bit uncompressed raw images) in one burst, likely more than most owners will ever need. 

Flexible video frame rate recording and Raw file output via HDMI (including ProRes RAW) at 4K30p UHD means it's perfect for the hybrid shooter or filmmaker, even able to be powered through USB-C by an external power source (and charge the battery, too) for longer filming sessions.

The Z6 has already had an upgrade in the form of the Nikon Z6 II which feels a little more refined in the hand, has an improved image processor and features 4K video at 60FPS. If those are things that are important to you, have a read of our Nikon Z6 II review. We haven't included it on this list because we think the Z6 is better value for money and the upgrades don't necessarily justify the jump in price.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignSlim and easy to handle
Functionality14FPS stills and 4K video a 30FPS
PerformanceSharp low-light shooting

Best for casual users

An attractive and functional mirrorless camera, ideal for street and travel photography

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 21
Lens mount: DX Z-mount
ISO Range: 200 - 51,200
Stabilization: None

Reasons to buy

+
Suited to street photography
+
Retro design
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited lens choice
-
Might be limiting for more advanced photographers
Buy it if

✅ You want something portable: This camera would be ideal for travel or daytrips since it's quite compact but still very capable.

✅ You like a hands-on feel: The retro design of this camera makes it very enjoyable to use, especially for traditionalist photographers.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You intend to shoot sport or action: The continuous burst mode on this camera isn't as impressive as many of its competitors.

The bottom line

🔎 Nikon Z fc: Ideal for travel or daytrips, the Nikon Z fc is a straightforward mirrorless camera with an attractive retro style that will appeal to traditionalist photographers, but it's not ideal for sport or action photography. ★★★★½

As well as its attractive looks, the Nikon Z fc is an easy-to-use mirrorless camera for casual use, especially for disciplines like travel and street photography, where you want something small but capable. It has a small form factor so it can be easily transported in your day bag or jacket pocket.

The design of this timeless model is essentially based on Nikon's FM2, first sold in 1982, but it benefits from modern technology, improved dial positioning and more automation.

In our Nikon Z fc review, we found that it is highly capable of tracking faces and movement, and the images are sharp with an impressive dynamic range. The camera can also take a shot within less than one second of being started up. Again, it supports the spontaneous moments you'll want to capture in street and travel photos.

This isn't the camera for you if you want to shoot sports or action as the continuous burst mode isn't the best — you could lose the shot you wanted while the camera is buffering.

In our review, the camera performed better in the noise department than we had expected. We could push it up to ISO 12,800 before we began to see any noticeable noise — great if you're looking to take compelling images after dusk.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignRetro styling with a hands-on feel
FunctionalityUseful range of lenses available
PerformanceAutofocus tracks faces and movement well