The 9 Best Nikon Cameras to Buy in 2018

See which Nikon cameras are a must-own

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nikon D500

The D500 combines the technology and sophistication of Nikon’s professional FX-line of DSLR cameras with the versatility and streamlined magnesium alloy body of Canon’s hobbyist DX series. The camera packs the same powerful EXCEED 5 processor found in the FX series, as well as a 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor and an ISO sensitivity range of 100-51,200. The clarity of the high resolution photos in all lighting conditions will surpass anything you’ve taken before, while the gorgeous 4K video footage is absolutely cinematic.

The camera sports a 153-point auto-focus with 99 cross type points that come together to create amazing images. The camera uses XQD memory card technology to provide faster read and write transfer speeds to transfer your RAW files and video footage faster. Or you can transfer your shots instantly with Snapbridge technology to any phone or paired device. This powerful and agile camera will be the perfect tool for any photographer.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Nikon D5600

Striking a perfect balance between performance and affordability, Nikon’s D5600 is a smart choice for photographers who want excellent image quality at a reasonable price. The D5600 is great for beginner and intermediate photographers, with a high-resolution 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and broad ISO range (100-25,600) for better quality photos in low light. You can even shoot 1080p video at 60 fps. Advertising "great photos and videos without the learning curve," the D5600 is simple to use with an expansive set of more advanced features. 

The ergonomic hand grip makes this camera comfortable to hold for one-handed shooting, and the button placement puts critical controls at your fingertips. The 3.2-inch LCD vari-angle touchscreen folds into the camera body to keep things compact. Images captured by the D5600 can quickly be moved to a compatible smartphone or tablet with Nikon’s SnapBridge technology, which makes photo sharing a snap. 

Best Mirrorless: Nikon Z6

Don’t expect the Nikon Z6 to linger in the shadow of its sibling, the Z7; this versatile and powerful camera has shown it’s not to be overlooked. Offering a 24mp full-frame sensor, the camera boasts high-speed continuous full-resolution shooting at 12fps and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder. The streamlined, weather-sealed body fits comfortably in your hands and is protected against dust and moisture. The larger design and a short 16mm flange focal distance mean that the frame should receive more brightness, and lens-based image stabilization helps ensure sharp, clear images. Shooting at night? The ISO settings can go as high as 51,200 and are expandable to 204,800.

One of the other main draws is its generously-sized 3.2-inch tilt-angle touchscreen with a 2,100,000-dot resolution that can be used to do everything from setting the focus point to looking through your shots. A second screen conveys information like exposure settings and battery life.

Best Professional DSLR: Nikon D5

Released in 2016, the D5 is the current king of Nikon’s lauded FX-series of high-performance digital cameras. It possesses all the hallmarks of what makes the FX line famous. It has an impeccably designed ergonomic body with quality lightweight construction and attention to detail. It also continues the tradition of astounding ISO range for low-light shooting. This edition has a native range of 100 to 102,400, plus the highest expanded range of up to Hi-5 ISO 3,280,000.

To complement these impressive features, Nikon has added a top-of-the-line AF system that can perform in near darkness, through fast movement, and can handle anything else an autofocus system has had trouble with before, all while delivering clear and sharp images that look composed in perfect light and stillness. Image quality is boosted by a newly developed 20.8-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 processor, the most powerful Nikon has ever included. As a result, you can expect to enjoy exceptional 4K UHD moviemaking at 12 fps.

Best for Zoom: Nikon COOLPIX P900

 

The ultimate in optical zoom is here: Nikon’s COOLPIX 900 has a staggering 83x optical zoom and 166x Dynamic Zoom, which means it's an immensely powerful telephoto lens camera. To improve concentration and framing, Nikon built this camera to resemble DSLR styling. That includes an ergonomic frame with a sure grip and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, with all the display and controls in the most strategic location. And don’t worry about losing focus while capturing an image so far away. Optical vibration reduction accounts for movement and automatically compensates to improve accuracy.

The camera sports a 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor to help capture all the details. Full-manual control gives you the creative control to adjust for the shot that you want, while a swiveling vari-angle display helps you capture different perspectives. Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi add even more flexibility.

Runner-Up, Best for Zoom: Nikon COOLPIX B500

Nikon’s COOLPIX B500 is an excellent inexpensive digital camera with a powerful optical zoom lens that is simpler to operate and less expensive than the P900. The 16-megapixel camera weighs just over a pound and records video in 1080pFull HD, which you can see on the convenient flip-up LCD. The 40x optical zoom lens (80x dynamic zoom) gets you close to the action, while lens-shift vibration reduction provides essential stabilization to give steady shots.

The camera is always connected via Nikon’s Snapbridge app, powered by built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. The camera maintains constant connection to the app, so your photos transfer right away and are ready to upload to social media or share with friends.

Best Entry-Level DSLR: Nikon D3400

If you want to upgrade from your smartphone camera, but you aren’t willing to shell out one thousand or more dollars on one, the Nikon D3400 is an excellent compromise. For less than $400 you get a major jump over even the most powerful cellphone or point-and-shoot camera. This camera has a 24.2-megapixel sensor with no optical low-pass filter that can take rich and vibrant photos that appear as lifelike as the real moment. EXPEED 4 image processing and a native ISO of 100-25,600 give you versatility in a wide range of lights and colors, making this a camera designed for anything. Just peer through the bright optical viewfinder to frame your shot and a precise auto-focus will help take care of the rest. Nikon’s Snapbridge makes sharing even easier, helping you show your latest captures to friends and family.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best entry-level DSLR cameras article.

Best Waterproof: Nikon COOLPIX W100

Take this rugged weatherproof camera with you on your next family vacation, whether you are going to the beach or the mountains. Given that it is waterproof to 33 feet, you can can even take it with you while snorkeling or scuba diving. The camera is also freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and shockproof when dropped from six feet. This makes it a perfect candidate to give to kids, since there is little chance they can break it.

The image quality isn’t the best out there, but it is perfect for family portraits in inclement conditions. The 13.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and NIKKOR 3x optical zoom lens can produce sharp captures in a range of lighting, while Full HD 1080p video is on-hand for making home movies.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best waterproof cameras article.

Best Compact: Nikon KeyMission 80HD Waterproof Action Camera

Go to the ends of the earth with this portable, durable action camera in your pocket. The KeyMission 80 is Nikon’s take on the adventure camera and features a slim rectangle shape as opposed to the square used by GoPro and others. You can easily clip the camera to your pocket or pack to effortlessly capture everyday memories or the most extreme of adventures.

The camera is about the size of a smaller smartphone and is meant for single handed operation and is always connected via Bluetooth and SnapBridge, beaming GPS and time to your photos and putting your videos out into the world. The camera can survive drops up to 5 feet, temperatures as cold as 14 degrees, and is waterproof down to 3.4 feet. Despite its small size and rugged build, it is no slouch in terms of picture quality. It sports a 12.3 MP CMOS sensor and records video at 1920x1080 Full HD at 30p. Other features include a dedicated selfie camera and fast shooting speed.