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Nikon DSLR Camera Reviews
A simple overview of Nikon's SLR digital camera ranges with help for selecting the best model for you
Own or thinking about buying a Nikon DSLR camera? With so many models and mysterious specifications floating around, I want to give you a quick, clear overview of Nikon and some of the most popular Nikon DSLR cameras.
Nikon camera reviews are everywhere, and worth checking out, but sometimes they just leave you with jargon coming out of your ears!
Where do you begin if you want to buy a Nikon SLR digital camera? Where does your current model fit in with their wider range of options. Which cameras are most popular with beginners and what should you choose if you are an 'improving' photographer?
Hopefully this overview of key Nikon DSLR camera facts will help answer these questions and make sense of the options available to you with Nikon.
Who are Nikon?
Nikon are a big Japanese corporation specializing in optics and imaging. They produce digital SLR cameras, digital compact cameras, lenses and - not for much longer probably - a few film cameras.
They share equally about 80% of the market with their main rival, Canon.
The first ever Nikon DSLR camera was the D1 SLR of 1999! It was one of the first of its kind to combine high quality and a reasonable price, encouraging some pro's to choose it in preference of film cameras.
Since then, Nikon's range of cameras has reflected the enormous growth of consumer digital photography.
Quick summary of Nikon DSLR camera ranges
Ok, it's worth having a clear idea of how Nikon organise their range of cameras.
This will help you to understand where the best place to look for your next purchase is. All Nikon DSLR cameras fit within one of several groups.
First up, in relation to the prospective user, every Nikon SLR digital camera is described as one of these 3 things:
Cameras for the average person who just wants to get hold of a DSLR for personal use.
Cameras for people who are a little more interested in photography and want a really nice piece of kit.
High quality equipment with a price tag that would typically exclude all but those who use it as a professional tool.
All Nikon DSLR cameras are also placed in one of these 3 categories: Entry Level, Midrange and High End.
So, those in the entry level range are, of course, 'consumer' cameras. Whilst the midrange models are all 'prosumer', and the high end cameras are either 'prosumer' or 'professional'.
Nikon also have a large range of excellent digital compact cameras. They're simple, though increasingly well equipped, little cameras for quick and easy photography.
Now let's take a look at some of the most popular models from within the main Nikon DSLR camera categories:
Only a fraction of the camera's possibilities interests me - the marvellous mixture of emotion and geometry, together in a single instant.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson
Popular Entry Level Consumer Cameras
Most amateur photographers go for an entry level Nikon SLR digital camera, at least for their first purchase.
3 tremendously popular entry level models are the Nikon D3000, the Nikon D40 and the Nikon D60.
This camera has a 10.2 MP sensor, so can produce very detailed photos that could be printed as posters. Image size at the largest setting is 3872 x 2592.
ISO settings range from 100-1600.
The camera is nice and light at 485g, so is easy to transport. There is also a 'help' guide built into the camera menus which makes it easy for beginners to make sense of all the functions.
A 6 MP sensor offers decent image detail for the beginner. The D40 has a large viewfinder which makes setting up a shot easier. ISO stretches from 200 to 3200.
At just 471g in weight this is a really conveniently light camera.
The Nikon D60 is a hugely popular camera for beginners. A 10.2 MP sensor provides excellent detail, whilst an ISO range of 100 - 3200 makes shooting in all conditions easy.
The Nikon D60 also has a large 2.5" LCD screen. This makes it possible to get a much better sense of the pictures you have taken when previewing them on the back of the camera.
Like the above 2, the Nikon D60 is very light, at 495g - so no heavy lifting required!
A Popular Mid-Range Consumer Camera
The D90 is an ideal Nikon DSLR camera for those looking to notch their photography up a step.
It's an ever popular choice for enthusiasts and developing amateurs. Plus it includes an additional surprising specification!
The sensor of the D90 has 12.9 MP's, so even if you need to crop an image in post-processing, the pictures from this camera will likely be suitable for large format printing.
A large ISO range of 100 - 6400 is certainly handy for low light photography (though anywhere near the 6400 mark will give a lot of noise).
The D90 is 690g in weight.
Plus, if you can't decide whether youre going to be Henri Cartier Bresson or Steven Spielgerg - there's a movie mode!
Popular High End Prosumer Cameras
For Nikon DSLR cameras with really special image detail, build quality and performance under a range of conditions, the D300 and D700 can't fail to impress!
Both are ideal for anyone becoming seriously interested in photography and perhaps working semi-professionally.
The 12.3 MP sensor on the D300 gives excellent image detail. Plus, it vibrates to shake off the dust specks from its surface which can plague many a photo shoot. Image size at the largest setting is 4288 x 2848.
Low light photography is aided by an ISO range of 100 - 6400.
One of the best features of the D300 against consumer models is its robust magnesium alloy body. This is really tough material and gives the camera a professional, high quality feel. It does up the weight a little bit though, to 825g.
The LCD screen is a full 3 inches, so a good preview of images can be had.
Check out this video review of the D300S!
Although the D700 is not a professional camera it features a full.
frame 12.1 MP sensor, so image detail is outstanding and the potential print size very large.
It is effectively a professional camera at a smaller size, roughly the same as the D300. It's built with a sturdy magnesium alloy body, bringing the weight to 903g.
The D700 is a real aid to low light photography and makes freezing motion in all situations easy. ISO ranges from 100 to, wait for it, 25,600!
A Popular High End Professional Camera
If you're a pro - or money is no object! - the D3S is a breathtakingly good Nikon SLR digital camera to have as a tool.
It meets all the needs of many a professional, and, notably, is phenomenally capable of handling low light situations without giving up image quality.
This is a really high quality, and expensive, piece of kit. It has a full frame 12.1 MP sensor that produces fantastic image quality.
The ISO ranges from 100 to 102, 400 - so you really shouldn't have any problems if you want a large depth of field or fast shutter speed in fading light!
Plus, this is another Nikon DSLR camera with a movie mode, which is fun to experiment with. The Nikon D3S weighs 1.2kg.
The eye watering price makes this the preserve of very serious photographers.
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More help with your research: Still working out which of the many Nikon DSLR cameras is the right one for you?
I'd recommend visiting dpreview.com, which has some extensive Nikon camera reviews to help you decide. Click the 'reviews' tab at the top of the page, then click 'alphabetical' and scroll down to the Nikon DSLR camera reviews section.
Even more Nikon camera reviews: For extensive customer feedback on various Nikon DSLR camera models, it's worth reading the reviews on the product pages at Amazon.
People often explain why a camera suited their specific needs, or whether something about a camera was not what they were expecting having done the research.
Have Your Say and Share Your Photos
Do you have a Nikon DSLR camera? What do you like most about it? Show us some cool photos you've taken with it!