6 Best Nikon Cameras in 2024 (and 8 you should avoid…)

With the development of the Z Mount in recent years, Nikon has solidified its place as one of the top camera manufacturers in the world.

I’ll break everything down for you in this guide, but if you want to know my top pick, it’s the Nikon Z6II. This camera does everything well from stills to video and has all the features even a professional could want.

The new Z Mount also means a big change in terms of which cameras I would recommend if you’re looking for the best Nikon camera. Nikon’s future is mirrorless and its DSLRs are being discontinued. So there are some cameras that you should avoid despite how good they are.

Depending on your specific needs in a camera, you may want to go in a different direction, that’s why I also created these buying guides based on what you are using the camera for…

If those categories aren’t what you’re looking for then keep reading for my breakdown of the best overall options in the Nikon Lineup.

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Top Pick

Nikon Z6 II

The second version of the Z6 has improved focusing, an exceptional sensor, and dual card slots while the Z mount means you’ll have some of the best lenses on the market available to you. This camera does everything very well from stills to video.

The Nikon Z6 II has been my top overall camera recommendation since shortly after its release. It’s a camera that does everything you could possibly ask from a camera and is also reasonably priced compared to other full-frame mirrorless cameras.

This is the camera that I use on a regular basis and one that I would recommend to anyone from a skilled photography enthusiast to a professional photographer.

Z6II Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Nikon Z
  • Megapixels: 24.5
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) backside illuminated (BSI) sensor
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 100-52,200 (expands to 50-204,800)
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 14fps
  • Stabilization: 5-axis in body
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
  • Screen: Tilting 3.2 inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at up to 60p
  • Memory Card: 2 slots (1 XQD/CFexpress and 1 SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm / 5.3 x 4 x 2.8-inches
  • Weight (battery incl.): 705g /1lb. 4.9oz

When it comes to low-light performance, dynamic range, overall image quality, build quality, and ergonomics…the Z6 II is arguably the best camera on the market, especially at this price range.

The one shortcoming of this camera is that it lacks the super high-resolution sensor of the Z7II. But, unless you are shooting work that specifically requires that kind of resolution, the 24.5 MP of the Z6II is more than enough for almost all kinds of photography.

The build quality of the Z6II means it can stand up to elements and survive some rough treatment while still giving exceptional results.

Landscape photographers may want to go with the Z7 II for its resolution but you’ll be giving up the shooting speed of the Z6 II. If you want both high resolution and high frame rate then you’ll need to more than double your investment and get a Z9.


  • One of the best cameras overall
  • Excellent low light performance
  • 11 frames per second
  • Does everything well (stills and video)


  • Reasonable price for full-frame but still pricey
  • 24.5 MP might not be enough for some

Of course, the Z6 II falls behind the Z9 in a few different categories. But with the larger and heavier body as well as the hefty price tag, the Z9 is more of a specialty lens for pros that need that kind of performance.

Most of you, and most professional photographers as well, will be able to get everything you need in the Z6 II, which is why it’s at the top of the list. Keep reading if you want to know more about the Z7 II and Z9.

Beginner Pick

Nikon Z50

Nikon’s crop sensor option for the Z Mount system is an excellent camera that has a ton of great features like eye autofocus and focus stacking with excellent image quality all in an easy-to-handle body that is perfect for beginners.

The Nikon Z50 is an excellent crop-sensor camera in the Nikon Z Mount system. In short, this is my top recommendation for beginners because it is less expensive than its full-frame counterparts but still has all the features you need to develop good photography skills for shooting just about anything.

Z50 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Nikon Z
  • Megapixels: 20.9
  • Sensor Size: APS-C / DX (23.5×15.7mm) CMOS
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 100-52,200 (expands to 204,800)
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 11fps
  • Stabilization: None in body
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m-dot OLED
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at up to 30p
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 127 x 94 x 60 mm / 5 x 3.7 x 2.36-inches
  • Weight: 450g /14oz (body only)

The biggest highlight here is that despite being a crop-sensor camera, it has the exact same lens mount as the full-frame Nikon Z cameras. There are two benefits to this.

First, the Z mount is arguably the best mount on the market today. Its size and design allow Nikon to produce lenses that lead the pack in image quality while also making it easier to build smaller and more compact lenses without sacrificing that image quality.

Second, it means that even with somewhat of an “entry-level” camera, you can start building your kit of full-frame Z Mount lenses and they will work perfectly on this camera. Then, if you add a Z5 or Z6II to your bag, you won’t need any new lenses.

Even though the Z50 is smaller than the full-frame Z mount cameras, it still has excellent ergonomics. The decently sized grip is welcome and not always found on crop-sensor mirrorless cameras.

There are some negatives, though.

Because this is a crop sensor camera, the low light performance and dynamic range aren’t as good as the more expensive Z5 or Z6II cameras. Of course, this is expected given the price difference, but if you want a camera that works great in low-light situations like parties, natural light portraits after sunset, evening street photography, or others, then you may want to check out the Z5 below.


  • Excellent image quality for a crop sensor camera
  • Exceptional ergonomics and usability
  • Affordable entry point to Nikon Z system


  • Only a few Z mount DX lenses are currently available
  • Flip down screen isn’t very practical

If you want the same tech but in a very cool retro style and a screen that flips out to the side then you may want to check out the Nikon Zfc. It is basically the exact same camera as the Z50 but with a very different body style.

Best Budget Option

Nikon Z30

The Z30 is very similar to the Z50 but the absence of a viewfinder makes it smaller and a little less expensive. This is also a great option if you plan on vlogging as well.

The Nikon Z30 is a smaller, somewhat stripped-down, version of the Z50 that is designed for vlogging. But that doesn’t mean photographers should ignore it. This is currently the least expensive entry point into the Z Mount system, so that alone makes it a great option for many beginners.

Z30 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Nikon Z
  • Megapixels: 20.9
  • Sensor Size: APS-C / DX (23.5×15.7mm) CMOS
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 100-51,200 (expands to 204,800)
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 11fps
  • Stabilization: None
  • Viewfinder: None
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at up to 30p
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 128 x 73.5 x 59.5 mm / 5.1 x. 2.9 x. 2.4 inches
  • Weight (incl. battery): 405g / 12.4 oz

As far as image quality, the Z30 uses the exact same sensor as the Z50, so the RAW files you’ll get from those two cameras will be of identical quality.

The main differnce of the Z30 as compared to the Z50 is that the Z30 has no viewfinder, only the rear screen. So if you are looking for a camera primarily for shooting stills, then the Z30 is going to be a little more difficult to use than the Z50, but overall their stills performance is the same so if you don’t care about the viewfinder than you can save a few hundred dollars with the Z30.


  • Same image quality as the Z50
  • Lighter than the Z50
  • Great for vlogging
  • Least expensive entry point to Nikon Z system


  • No electronic viewfinder
  • Only a few Z mount DX lenses are currently available

If you want to shoot some vlogs then I think the Z30 has a bit of an advantage over the Z50 with its side flip out screen. The flip down screen of the Z50 was an interesting attempt at innovation, but it really wasn’t practical to use for shooting video yourself (I know this from experience). That being said, the video quality itself is also identical to the Z50.

High Resolution Pick

Nikon Z7 II

The Z7 II is a high-resolution camera that is all about the highest image quality. Its 45.7 MP sensor is perfect for landscapes or anyone that needs to print large. However, it lacks the shooting speed and video features that you’ll find in other Z bodies.

The Nikon Z7 II delivers a massive 45.7 Megapixels so if resolution is important to you, then this is the camera you want.

This camera is also one of the few on the market that has a low native ISO of 64 which helps give it very good dynamic range as well as allows you to use slower shutter speeds without an ND filter (if you enjoy shooting long exposure photography).

Z7II Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Nikon Z
  • Megapixels: 45.7
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) backside illuminated (BSI) sensor
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 64 to 25,600 (expands to 32 to 102,400)
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 10fps (with single point AF)
  • Buffer: 50 frames
  • Stabilization: 5-axis in body
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at up to 60p (with 1.08x crop)
  • Memory Card: 2 slots (1 XQD/CFexpress and 1 SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm / 5.3 x 4 x 2.7″ inches
  • Weight (battery incl.): 705g / 1lb. 4.9oz

While its continuous shooting rate of 10fps is much better than the predecessor Z7, you still only get single point AF and cannot take advantage of the highly improved subject tracking AF system Nikon has put into its mirrorless cameras.

All that makes this a camera that can shoot fast moving subjects in a pinch, but would not be my first choice to do so. The Z6 II or Z9 are far better suited for action, sports, and wildlife.

Entry Level Full Frame Pick

Nikon Z5

The Z5 is Nikon’s most affordable full-frame entry point into the Z mount system. While it lacks some of the more advanced features of the Z6II, it is a very capable camera adand great for beginners.

The Z5 is essentially Nikon’s entry-level full-frame camera. This is the perfect step up from the Z50 for beginners that have a little extra budget and want to get into a full-frame camera right away.

When Nikon introduced the Z5, the goal was to give beginners (any even advanced hobbyists) a less expensive full-frame camera to get started with.

Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Nikon Z
  • Megapixels: 24.3
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) CMOS
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 100-52,200 (expands to 204,800)
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 4.5fps
  • Stabilization: 5-axis in body
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p (with 1.7x crop)
  • Memory Card: 2 slots (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm / 5.3 x 4 x 2.8 inches
  • Weight (battery incl.): 590g / 1lb. 4.9oz

At just a few hundred dollars more than the Z50, this is a great value and possibly the most affordable full-frame camera on the market.

Because it is part of the Nikon Z mount system, you can save some money on the camera body when you’re getting started so you can invest more in lenses (which is a great idea).

You’re going to get the same 24.3 megapixels as the more expensive Z6II but the sensor is not backside illuminated so it falls short of that camera in terms of low light performance.

There are going to be some advantages and disadvantages compared to the Z50, though. The Z5 only shoots 4.5 frames per second. So if you want a solid camera for your kids’ sports, then this is not the one for you. You would be better off with either the Z50 or jumping up to the Z6II (see below).


  • Low-cost full-frame Nikon Z camera
  • Z mount has exceptional lenses


  • Low frames per second make sports/action shooting difficult
  • 1.7x crop factor when shooting video

Overall, this camera is a bit of a mix of entry-level and pro features mixed together by Nikon to keep the price down. It’s a great entry point into full-frame but the frames per second and the 1.7x crop factor on video will make you want to upgrade as soon as you can.

Best Point and Shoot

Nikon Coolpix A1000

Manual controls in a compact point and shoot

If you are looking for the most compact option that still has manual controls and will allow you to learn photography, this is a good option at a lower price point.

I’ve included the Nikon Coolpix A1000 here at the end because I know some of you aren’t ready to take the plunge into the (admittedly expensive) world of interchangeable lens cameras but still want to learn the fundamentals of photography.

Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Fixed Lens
  • Megapixels: 16MP
  • Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch-type backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS
  • Sensitivity Range: ISO 100-6400
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting, 1.04m dots
  • Continuous shooting speed: 4.7fps
  • Stabilization: optical image stabilization
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 1.1666m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K UHD at up to 30p
  • Memory Card: 1 slots (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 114 x 72 x 41 mm (4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6 in.)
  • Weight (battery incl.): 330g (11.6 oz.)

There are many point-and-shoot cameras, including some of the Nikon models, that don’t have full manual control. Thankfully, the A1000 isn’t one of them, which makes it an excellent choice for beginners to learn with.

It also can be difficult to find a point-and-shoot camera that shoots RAW files. Shooting in RAW makes a huge difference in the quality of your images and also gives you more adjustment range when you are editing your photos. This is a major upgrade over the predecessor A900 which only shoots JPEG.

I also like the backside illuminated (BSI) sensor in this camera. This is a feature that used to be reserved for the more expensive DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. It helps with low light performance of the sensor. While it isn’t going to give you the same performance as the larger sensor cameras on this list, it helps distinguish this camera from other point-and-shoot cameras.


  • Least expensive camera on this list
  • BSI sensor performs better than most point and shoots


  • No interchangeable lenses
  • Worst low light performance on this list

Overall, if compact size and low budget are the most important things to you and you don’t care about having interchangeable lenses, then this is the Nikon camera for you.

Nikon Cameras For Beginners To Avoid

You may notice that I didn’t put any DSLRs on this list. There’s a good reason for that…

Nikon announced in 2022 that they will be discontinuing their DSLR lineup. That means that if you’re looking to buy a new camera body then mirrorless is the way to go. But in the interest of completeness, I wanted to cover the popular DSLR models briefly as well as the Nikon point-and-shoot lineup.

Nikon D3500/D5600

These are two of Nikon’s most popular cameras. The D3500 and D5600 are both what I would call entry-level bodies as they lack some of the more “pro-level” features.

Nikon has recently stopped making new DSLRs or the F-mount lenses that go with them. So if you purchase a D3500, you’ll be buying into a system that has already been discontinued. Go for the Z50 or Z30 instead.

Nikon D7500/D500

The D7500 and very popular D500 are Nikon’s higher-end crop sensor bodies. Both contain many features found on the full-frame models like Nikon’s higher-end autofocus system and a motor drive that allows you to use Nikon’s older lenses that don’t have a built-in AF motor.

The D500 is very popular among wildlife photographers as it combines a high frame rate and rugged construction with a body that is lighter than most full-frame cameras. The 1.5x crop factor was also welcomed by those looking for more reach without investing in massive lenses.

These are both still very good cameras, and if you have a lot of Nikon crop sensor F-mount lenses already, then you can find them at a good price while Nikon unloads their inventory. But be aware that you won’t see any new lenses coming out for these cameras.

I would recommend the Z50 or Z5 instead.

Nikon D750/850

The Nikon D750 and D850 are among the most popular full-frame cameras of all time. In fact, I still use the 8 year old D750 in many of my professional shoots.

The image quality of these cameras is competitive with even the best cameras of today, so if you have one of these, there’s no reason to replace it just because Nikon isn’t making them anymore.

However, if you don’t have a collection of F-mount lenses and are looking for full-frame cameras, skip these bodies and go for the Z6II or Z7II instead.

Or you may want to wait a few months until Nikon releases the rumored Z8 that is supposed to replace the D850.

Coolpix P950/P1000

Skip the Coolpix P950 and P1000, at that price point, you’ll be far better off with a Z30 so you can use interchangeable lenses.

These are point-and-shoot cameras like the Coolpix A1000. However, they are larger and built like a DSLR, just without the detachable lens. These also do not have the ability to shoot in manual mode. This makes it much more difficult to learn basic photography skills as you would simply be letting the camera choose the exposure.

Honestly, there’s really no reason to use these cameras unless you are just taking snapshots and not interested in photography as a hobby or profession.

Why You Should Trust Me

As an active professional photographer and owner of Photography Goals, I get the opportunity to use many different cameras as well as teach photographers how to use them.

I’ve tried all the cameras on this list personally and my goal is to make sure you make the best choice for your needs instead of just going with the latest or most expensive model.

Top Factors For Choosing A Nikon Camera

Here are some of the factors I considered when making this list.

Ease Of Use

Ease of use is a significant factor. If you are just learning photography then you want as few barriers to that skill development as possible.

This is why I never recommend that beginners get the best, most expensive, flagship camera bodies for any manufacturer. Having a million buttons and functions can confuse beginners and prevent them from focusing on the fundamentals of photography that make the most difference in their images.

But if you are comfortable with camera settings and want a camera that has more features, then go for the more advanced, full-frame models.


As you learn photography and develop your skills then you don’t want to be limited in what you can do with a camera. That is why I recommend that anyone that wants to learn photography (even just as a hobby) get a camera with interchangeable lenses.

The best part of an interchangeable lens camera is that you can try a variety of different types of photography simply by buying or renting a new lens. This is why the point-and-shoot option isn’t my top budget pick, even though it is less expensive than the actual pick.


Expandability is all about how you can grow with the camera system that you choose. When you buy a camera, you’re not just buying the body, you’re buying into a whole ecosystem of lenses and even accessories.

If you choose a good system from the beginning, you never have to go through the hassle and expense of trading in all your gear for a new set.

You also have to consider the number of lenses available for a system. The reason I recommend beginners get started with the Nikon Z system is that the Z cameras are all backward compatible with the very large F-mount lineup of Nikon. All you need is the F to Z adapter and you have access to hundreds of lenses by Nikon and also third-party manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma.

In addition to the backward compatibility, you’re also relatively future-proof because Nikon is aggressively building out its Z mount lineup with some amazing lenses.

Price To Quality Ratio

Cameras are expensive. There’s really no way around that and whatever your budget is, you should keep within it. You can always upgrade later on.

But I also recognize that if you are going to invest in a camera, you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

You shouldn’t spend your entire budget on a camera body. If you have a budget, I would rather see you spend it on adding a 50mm f/1.8 lens to your kit rather than buying a more expensive body. The lenses are going to make a much bigger difference in the quality of your images than the camera body.

Here’s my buying guide for the best Nikon lenses.

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