Nikon DSLR camera models
This page shows all digital SLR cameras that Nikon is producing or has produced in the past in one overview.
It groups similar models based on their handling. Nowadays all cameras can deliver images in professional quality, therefore I recommend to choose cameras first based on their handling and usage.
The more expensive cameras get more complex with regard to the possible camera settings and they get additional knobs and buttons to accelerate access to important settings.
If you do not use the additional camera settings actively you can only get confused by them; if you actively work with them it is great to have quick access without walking through camera menus.
For the professional cameras you get bigger, more robust camera bodies on top, together with some technical specialities – no big leaps in image quality.
Now, here is the table overview by year of introduction, the ones still available (as per March 2014) are highlighted in bold:
|with AUTO mode
(Nikon classification: „consumer“)
|without AUTO mode
(Nikon classification: „professional“)
|simple usage||more knobs & buttons||smaller body||professional body|
The main distinction „AUTO“ or „no AUTO“ ? – It relates to the dial at the top of the camera that has a fully automated mode called AUTO (marked in green) and various other settings. This is the camera mode dial. If set to AUTO or other settings indicated with little icons (scene modes) you can use the camera without caring about manual settings at the camera. Even more, various settings are reserved for the camera automatic and you are not allowed to change them.
Only camera modes P, S, A and M allow to control all camera settings on your own, and the flash must be switched on and off manually.
All cameras in the right half of the table know only these four operation modes.
The cameras in the left half – Within the left half the cameras in columns 1 & 2 are designed for simple usage. Those in columns 3 & 4 have got additionally:
- an LCD display on the top
- more options for camera settings with buttons, especially for white balance, ISO sensitivity and image quality (=RAW / JPG, size, JPG compression)
- longer camera menus
- a second command dial at the front (exception: D50).
The camera models D5x00 in column two have a movable monitor as the main distinction to the D3x00s in column 1 and apart from that only minor differences.
The D600 in column 4 has an image sensor in the so called FX format, i.e. with the same size as 24×36mm films in the pre-digital era. This means
- even better resolution and image quality, especially in low light
- that you better use other lenses, designed for FX format (and that you can use any of the old Nikon lenses even from decades ago)#
- a bigger and brighter viewfinder image.
The cameras in the right half – They are all bigger and heavier than the ones on the left. Those in column 5 and 6 are smaller and lighter compared only to those further right in column 7 and 8 which have an additional handgrip and a second shutter release button for pictures in portrait format.
The differences in possible camera settings are small compared to columns 3 and 4.
For both types of bodies there are cameras with image sensors in DX and FX size which makes the difference between columns 5 / 6 and 7 / 8.