As one of the oldest imaging products brands in the market, Nikon has cemented itself as a premiere choice for all kinds of photographers. This 100 year old brand offers a variety of cameras catering to all users at varying points of the photography expertise spectrum. If you’re a budding beginner photographer, and you’re hoping to get your first camera, Nikon would be a great brand to start with.
Offering easy to use, straightforward cameras that guarantee great output with minimal effort, Nikon cameras are the practical choice for anyone who’s just starting out. Wondering which one is the best Nikon camera for beginners? Here, we rank the top choices and talk about how to pick one out for yourself with this complete guide.
The Basics of Buying a Nikon Camera
There are lots of different camera models and each one caters to unique preferences and standards. While one camera might perfectly suit one person’s skill, style, and method, it may not really give you the same level of satisfaction. This applies even to beginners who have no prior experience behind a lens.
The world of photography is filled with technical jargon that can be hard to understand. So instead of trying to wrap your head around all of that information, focus on these basics to help you find the best Nikon camera for beginners like yourself.
- DSLR vs. Point-and-Shoot. A digital single lens reflex camera or DSLR is mostly what professionals use. It comes equipped with a wide array of features that give it more versatility, especially in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.
For beginners, DSLRs can be confusing to use because of their complex features and functions. Nonetheless, using a DSLR right off the bat can make it much easier to explore different settings and adjustments to get a better grasp of photography best practices.
Point-and-shoot cameras are what many of us own. These small digital devices come with few settings, and are often equipped with pre-sets to prevent the need for us to adjust things manually. They’re easy to use, lightweight, and effortless, which is why they’re good for beginners.
The only downside with point-and-shoot cameras is that they can be limited in terms of functionality. So if you really want to explore the photography practice, they may not offer the same versatility as DSLRs.
- Available Lenses and Accessories. If you end up choosing an entry-level DSLR, it’s important that you check to see whether you can get new accessories and lenses for it. When it comes to these cameras, additional purchases can completely change the way it works and captures images, so you can expect greater functionality out of your device.
There are far more lenses for Nikon cameras than the number of camera models themselves, but not all the lenses you’ll find are compatible with every Nikon model. So be sure to look into available options before making a purchase to find out how you can expand your arsenal to enhance functionality.
Top 5 Best Nikon Camera for Beginners
1. Nikon D3400
If you’re settled on buying a DSLR as your first ever camera, the Nikon D3400 could be for you. Dubbed the best Nikon camera for beginners, the D3400 is packed with lots of features that can help you explore your potential.
The device was designed to grow with your skills, offering a set of features that make it easy to capture good shots even as a beginner. The camera’s 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor captures beautiful images in stunning detail so you can truly appreciate the pictures you take. It also comes with a native ISO range of 100-2500 allowing you to use your device without flash in different light settings.
Easy, convenient, and straightforward, the Nikon D3400 is the ultimate choice if you’re looking for a good camera to start out with. With its easy operations and simple controls, you can get a firm grasp of photography best practices in no time.
- With an AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm lens
- Has a Telephoto lens
- Shoots raw
- Silent focus motor
- Allows lens changes
- Has a hot shoe for additional accessories
- With a flip-out screen
- Remote control function
- Has an optical viewfinder
- With phase-detection autofocus for photos and continuous autofocus for videos
- With a 24P cinema mode
- 1200-shot battery life
- Included lens only allows zooming up to 3.1x
- Can’t create panoramic images in-camera
- Max focal length is only 55mm
- No time-lapse functionality
- No wireless connectivity
2. Nikon Coolpix P900
Coolpix is Nikon’s premier brand of point-and-shoot cameras, offering lots of great functions without being as complex as DSLRs. The P900 is an advanced point-and-shoot, equipped with a 16MP CMOS sensor and a 7 FPS continuous capture rating.
What really makes it stand out among other choices is its powerful 83x zoom, allowing you to capture distant subjects without having to worry about being too far away.
Several other features such as Wi-Fi and smartphone connectivity, a swivelling vari-angle display, and complete full manual control exposure, the Nikon Coolpix P900 Digital Camera with 83x Optical Zoom and Built-In Wi-Fi definitely leaves room for you to explore without making you feel clueless behind the lens.
- Has a screen that flips out
- Has remote control functionality
- Uses an electronic viewfinder
- With built-in HDR mode
- Optical zoom up to 83.3x
- Longest maximum focal length among the choices
- With manual gain
- Has continuous autofocus when recording movies
- With a zoom microphone
- Only up to 6400 ISO
- Does not have a BSI sensor
- Has the narrowest max aperture among the options
- Minimum focal length of 24mm
- Most expensive among the options
3. Nikon D5300
This DSLR device packs a lot of features that make it a great choice if you’re only just starting out.
It comes equipped with a 24MP CMOS sensor, giving you crisp, clear, and highly detailed images with each shot. It also features a 39-point autofocus system, making it much easier to zero in on a focal point to create a professionally composed image with high quality out of focus areas.
With an ISO of 100-12800, the D5300 can perform superbly in a number of different settings, so you can enjoy exploring photography wherever you may be. The only downside with the device is that it does have slightly more complicated operation than the previously mentioned options, which means you may have to experiment and explore it a little more before you can maximize its potential.
- Includes a Telephoto AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm lens with a silent motor
- A system camera
- Has a hot shoe for more accessories
- Has a flip-out screen
- Comes with a remote control
- Includes an optical viewfinder
- Large 3.2-inch screen size
- The only option with a metal mount
- Allows phase-detection AF for photos and continuous AF for videos
- Can shoot raw photos
- Has a built-in HDR mode
- Allows slow-motion video recording
- Has a 24P cinema mode
- Only shoots 5fps for continuous shooting at high resolution
- No BSI sensor
- Included lens can only zoom up to 3.1x
- Does not allow panoramic image creation in-camera
- Has a max focal length of 55mm
4. Nikon Coolpix B500
The Nikon Coolpix B500 is an ultra-zoom bridge camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, a 40x optical zoom lens, and a tilting screen. The tilting screen measures three inches, and it has 921k dots. It also offers WiFi connectivity, Near Field Communications, and Bluetooth.
For its power supply, it uses AA batteries. While some might find AA batteries convenient for when a replacement is necessary, many would prefer a rechargeable option.
The optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 22.5mm-900mm lens with an f-stop aperture value of 3-6.5. Additionally, the camera has an ISO range of 125 to 6400, and it allows macro detailing as close as one centimeter. This camera permits panoramic shooting, and it can shoot seven images continuously at a rate of 9fps.
We like that the camera features Vibration Reduction (VR) for optical image stabilization. It also features full HD video recording with continuous autofocus and stereo sound.
However, you cannot use this camera for making time-lapse videos. Other drawbacks include the lack of manual focus and manual shutter speed control.
- With a flip-out screen
- Supports compatible remote smartphones
- High-speed high-res 9fps continuous shooting
- Optical zoom up to 40x
- 900mm max focal length
- With continuous AF for movies
- Supports slow-mo recording
- Its 6400 ISO is lower than most alternatives
- No manual focus
- No manual shutter speed
- Without time-lapse for videos
- Does not come with rechargeable batteries
5. Nikon Coolpix P530
The Nikon Coolpix P530 is a versatile bridge camera that is suitable for any type of photography. It offers quality images, a full manual control, and an extensive zoom range.
This device is a pretty basic camera as it does not come with any frills. If you don’t want to play around and discover the functions of too many complex features for yourself, the Coolpix P530 is an exceptional buy. Also, choosing this camera will prevent you from spending too much, and it provides you with the ability to get the job done.
The Coolpix P530 uses an EXPEED C2 Image Processor and a 16.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS Sensor. It offers a 100-6400 ISO setting range, and you can dial it up to ISO 12800 by using its high-sensitivity mode. Furthermore, the built-in lens boasts a 42x optical zoom and an 82x dynamic fine zoom.
For display, the camera has a three-inch 921k-dot LCD monitor with an electronic viewfinder. It can record videos in full HD with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.
This device only weighs 17.5 ounces, but it can be a bit thick for carrying in your back pocket. It measures 4.9 by 3.4 by 3.9 inches, which is a bit bulky in every dimension.
The lack of some functions makes this camera pretty affordable but offers a straightforward approach to photography. It does not carry a built-in optical image stabilizer and does not use autofocus for videos continuously. Furthermore, its video recording functions do not include a time-lapse function.
Other disadvantages include the camera’s meager battery life and its lack of support for wireless connectivity. Nevertheless, you can always get a WU-1a adapter if you need to connect to a WiFi network.
- Has an electronic viewfinder
- High 12800 ISO in monochrome-only mode
- Optical zoom up to 41.7x
- Has a maximum focal length of 1000mm
- Features wireless charging
- Anti-reflective LCD monitor
- 100 percent coverage
- No built-in optical image stabilizer
- Minimum focal length won’t go shorter than 24mm
- No continuous AF for videos
- Does not have a time-lapse function
- Meager 240-shot battery life
- Does not support WiFi
Among the options, the Nikon P900 offers the most advanced features for no-fuss, straightforward use. Although it is just a compact bridge camera, it has features that enable outputs comparable with those from the more advanced and complicated system cameras. It boasts an optical zoom factor of 83.3x, a number that the D3400 or the D5300 cannot topple without a lens replacement.
However, if you’re more into professional photography, the system cameras can be excellent entry-level options. With them, you can use advanced and feature-packed lenses far better than the one built into the P900. That said, the best Nikon camera for beginners who want to learn to become pro photographers is the Nikon D3400.