It seems like we spent much of 2018 speculating about when Nikon was going to introduce a full-frame mirrorless camera and the rest of it talking about the specification and image quality of two models it announced. But there are also some great Nikon DSLRs, so let’s take a look at our pick of the best Nikon cameras of 2018.
The Nikon D3500 has a lot in common with its predecessor, the D3400, but it’s smaller, lighter and less expensive. That makes it a superb DSLR for beginners.
Thanks to its 24Mp AOS-C format sensor and Expeed 4 processing engine, the D3500 is capable of capturing detail-rich images. What makes especially suited to novice photographers, however, is its Guide Mode that explains how to take control of the camera in simple language. SnapBridge is also integrated to simplify sharing images direct from the camera.
The Nikon D7500 is an APS-C format DSLR that uses the same 20.9 million pixel sensor and Expeed 5 processing engine as the pro-level Nikon D500.
Nikon has given the D7500 an enticing specification that includes 8fps (frame per second) shooting with autofocusing and metering, a top native sensitivity setting of ISO 51,200 and a 51-point AF system. There are also seals to keep out dust and moisture, a tilting screen that’s touch-sensitive and a full complement of button and dial controls along with SnapBridge technology for easy remote control and image sharing via a paired smartphone.
It all adds up to make the D7500 a great choice for enthusiast photographers.
Nikon Z 6
The 24Mp full-frame Nikon Z 6 something of an all-rounder and perhaps best thought of as a mirrorless Nikon D750.
Its 273-point AF system is fast and reliable and the burst depth (35 large images at 12fps) is deep enough to make it useful for shooting sport. Add in the fact that the Z6 has the same solid weatherproof build and lovely handling as the high-resolution Z7, and Nikon has a success on its hands. The only downside is the single card port, but for many, especially those who started out shooting on film, it’s not a major issue.
Nikon Z 7
The 45.7Mp Nikon Z 7 is a high-resolution full-frame alternative to the Z 6. It has the same user interface, which I think is the best of any Nikon digital camera to date. The touch-control has been superbly implemented, the electronic viewfinder is very good, the AF system is very capable and the images are excellent. It means the Sony A7R III has some serious competition.
Nikon’s decision to use a new, larger mount may be brave but it should give the company a bright future. Not least because it will be possible to use faster lenses than is feasible with the Nikon F Mount.
The Nikon D850 is a full-frame or FX format DSLR with 45.7 million pixels on its backlit CMOS sensor. It sits below the Nikon D5 in the company’s DSLR line-up and above the D810. While the 45.7Mp sensor ensures plenty of detail is captured, the maximum shooting rate of 7fps, which can be boosted to 9fps with the optional battery-grip, plus the superb 153-point AF system (the same as is in Nikon’s flagship D5) gives the D850 all-round appeal for experienced photographers, professionals and dedicated enthusiasts.
The Expeed 5 processing engine has enabled Nikon to give the camera a standard sensitivity range of ISO 64-25,600. There are also expansion settings that extend the range to the equivalent of ISO 32-102,400.
The D5 is Nikon’s top-flight DSLR and it’s aimed at professional news and sports photographers. It has a 20.8Mp full-frame sensor and can shoot at a maximum rate of 12fps with full AF and metering function. It’s 153-point focusing system is superb, getting images sharp even in terrible light.
Don’t pay too much attention to the headline-grabbing maximum sensitivity setting (ISO 3,280,000) as the results are awful in the low-light conditions that require that setting. However, images shot at more sensible values like ISO 51,200 look very good indeed. It’s a superb camera that can be relied upon in tough conditions.