3.1. Nikon dSLR Cameras
Nikon has three baseline dSLR camera models: the D3300, the D5500, and the D7200. Semi pro and pro cameras are the D610, the D750, and the D810. There is also the Df, which doesn’t really belong anywhere, and the D4, which is a pro sports camera. If you don’t have time to read through each camera, here’s the summary:
We talked about the Nikon D3300 earlier, but in case you missed it, I think the D3300 is the best Nikon dSLR camera for amateur and beginner photographers. It is small, very affordable, has all the pro features most people need, and its 24MP sensor takes superb photos.
The Nikon D5500 used to be my top choice until the D3300 came out. It adds a few extra features, slightly more advanced image processing, and marginally better photos in low light. I would personally buy the cheaper Nikon D3300 add a 35mm f/1.8 lens instead for the price of the D5500.
The Nikon D7200 is an awesome camera. Takes great photos, has all the pro features you need, but it’s just a little too expensive for me. If you’re on a pro track, I would rather pay $500 extra for a full frame camera that will last you a lot longer in your career than the D7200. Nevertheless, if your beginner pro budget allows you for a camera around $1,150, get the D7200, you will love it. Also check out the Canon 7D Mark II, which doesn’t take as good photos in low light, but is a lot better for sports.
The Nikon D610 is Nikon’s most affordable full frame digital SLR camera. Its photo quality exceeds all Nikon’s crop frame (or DX) cameras, especially in low light. If you are a serious amateur or a starter professional wanting to shoot weddings and portraits, you’ll be very happy with the D610, and as you make money from shooting weddings/portraits, you’ll eventually upgrade to a more expensive body with more AF points, nicer screen, more pro-level features, and even better low-light performance.
The Nikon D750 is my personal favorite full frame Nikon dSLR camera for light-duty professional wedding and portrait photography. It’s fast, relatively affordable (under $2,000 for the body), and has every pro feature you would want. Most of the time I don’t need the extra pixels and image size of the D810, and for the extra $1,000 I can get a nicer lens that will make a huge difference in my workflow. If you are a serious amateur, a rich hobbyist, or are just starting a wedding or portrait photography business, this is the best Nikon camera for you.
The Nikon D810 is the best digital Nikon SLR camera for landscapes, portraits, and weddings. It’s $1,000 more expensive than the D750, but if you’re an experienced professional photographer, the extra $1,000 will give you a smoother shutter, a better build quality, a larger viewfinder eyepiece, larger body, 36 megapixels instead of 24, and if you know what to look for, better image quality. The Canon 5D Mark III is its direct competitor, but I wouldn’t say one of them is better than the other overall. Both cameras are top of the line pro cameras – if you enjoy quick access to lots of settings and a tighter feel of the camera, get the Nikon D810; if you prefer less settings and a more natural feel, get the Canon 5D Mark III.
The Df is a digital camera that looks like a 35mm film camera from the 80s. It’s small, light, compact, looks cool, has superb image quality, and many of its controls are made out of metal. It uses a similar sensor to the D4, which is a professional grade sensor that performs exceptionally well in low light. The DF, in my opinion, is a camera for Nikon shooters who love the look and feel of old film cameras and have the money to spend on a digital sibling. If looks and feel are all that matter, I personally would prefer the Fuji X100T.
The D4 is a pro sports photographer camera. It shoots at 11fps (frames per second), has exceptional image quality in low light situations, and is built like a tank. The thing that surprises most amateurs is that the D4 has only 16 megapixels. Professional photographers know that 16MP is enough to print a 20×30 print or a magazine cover, so there’s no need for 24, 36, or 50 megapixels. The higher resolution slows down your fps, take up unnecessary space on your memory card, and extra time when transferring photos via wi-fi/usb.