Trying to find the Best Nikon entry-level DSLR Camera? For you, here is the shopping reference. We have graded and listed all of our favorite picks for those who are just beginning their photography journey based on our thorough testing of all the best Nikon entry-level models over the years. (Do you want a wider look at the best Nikon cameras for beginners? Check out our separate purchase guide covering all forms of Nikon entry-level cameras, even Nikon mirrorless ones).
Our options cover both budgets and shooting modes, so you’ll find your perfect beginner DSLR in the list below, whether you’re totally new to photography, converting from a smartphone, or ready to update your compact camera. Based on the camera’s age, we have not only sorted our list either-in some situations, an older model is put ahead of its more modern successor, purely because of the importance it gives.
Then why would you buy a Nikon DSLR in 2021? Although both smartphones and mirrorless cameras provide open ways into photography, Nikon DSLR cameras continue to provide photographers who are just starting with a special experience. And inexperienced Nikon DSLR cameras are more powerful and flexible with large sensors and changeable lenses than any smartphone. They also have improved battery life, controls, and handling than other ones that are mirrorless. And only on DSLR cameras can you find real optical viewfinders.
Best Nikon Entry-Level DSLR Camera in 2021
1. Nikon D3400
- Snap Bridge Bluetooth Connectivity
- 24.2mp dx format CMOS sensor
- Expeed 4 image processor
- No optical low pass filter. Bluetooth specification version 4.1. Wi-Fi functionality eye fi compatible
Check Out: Nikon D3400 Lenses
Nikon may not have released any new Nikon entry-level DSLRs for a while, but the Nikon D3500 remains an excellent choice for those new to photography. It picks up, but with a handful of additional incentives, from where the Nikon D3400 left off. The big advantage of this camera is battery life, unlike power-hungry mirrorless ones. Between costs, you can keep running for 1,550 photos, which is well ahead of any other DSLRs, whilst the 24MP sensor offers outstanding image quality.
Nikon has also updated the body and control interface to make it better to navigate, and simpler to use, whilst the Guide Mode takes the hand of the first-time user and guides them through all the main features in a manner that makes it easy to grasp. We love it, and if you’re only starting, we’re counting on you too.
2. Nikon D5600
- 24.2MP DX format CMOS sensor
- Expeed 4 image processor
- 3.2 inches 1.037 meter dot VARI angle touchscreen
- Full hd 1080p video recording at 60 fps
Check Out: Nikon D5600 Lenses
Here’s another DSLR newcomer that holds its own against the mirrorless rise. The Nikon D5600 is a step up from the versions of the D3000 series, with a better range of features to rival the Canon EOS Rebel T8i. A bigger LCD screen, which not only flips out and swivels all the way around to face the front for vlogging but also responds to contact, along with a more sophisticated autofocus system, Wi-Fi, and a healthy range of additional power on the inside, are key advantages over the D3400 and D3500.
Yeah, you pay a bit extra for the luxury, but it makes sense to go with the D5600 so that it sticks with you for years to come if you need a little more room to expand.
3. Nikon D3500
- 24.2 MP DX-format sensor
- ISO light-sensitivity range of 100–25600
- Full HD movies at frame rates of up to 60p
- Razor-sharp autofocus system
Check Out: Nikon D3500 Lenses
If you’re concerned that DSLRs are complicated, don’t think so. The Nikon D3500 has a brilliant ‘Guide’ shooting mode, delivered through the rear LCD screen, that acts as a completely interactive guide to photography and camera settings. The controls of the D3500 are quick and easy to get hold of. Its price ensures that it strips down on some more complex features.
For starters, as featured on any other series of Nikon DSLRs, there is no Custom Settings menu for tailoring camera features to your preferences. While the Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens speeds things up and is the perfect kit lens to go for, the autofocus in Live View and film capture modes is still slow. Overall, the image quality and efficiency of the Nikon D3500 is incredibly good for the price, and for a Nikon entry-level DSLR, the 5fps burst rate is pretty sporty. Take a look at the many other great Nikon lenses that allow you to use this DSLR device.
4. Nikon D5500
- 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF)
- 39-point Autofocus (AF) system
- 5 frames per second continuous shooting
- ISO 100 - 25,600
Check Out: Nikon D5500 Lenses
In terms of age and specifications, and costs, the Nikon D5500 falls between the Nikon D5300 and the D5600. It also has the built-in competitive WiFi feature and usual 39-point autofocus and ISO range of 25,600. These settings are typically for Nikon entry-level cameras in this area. It has a solid potential for noise reduction and is smaller and lighter than the Nikon D5300, also on this list.
How have they succeeded in making things lighter? This camera uses a carbon fiber composite instead of polycarbonate. It’s a terrific camera to use. The angled grip is one of the reasons for this, making it easy to carry. Although it uses a pentamirror rather than a brighter and simpler pentaprism, you will not find any issues with this easy-going device.
5. Nikon D5300
- AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens
- AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED Lens
- EN-EL14A Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
- MH-24 Quick Charger
Check Out: Nikon D5300 Lenses
The Nikon D5300, the oldest DSLR on this list, arrived for the first time in 2013. Given its gray hair, this previously mid-range camera now has a Nikon entry-level price, and the inexperienced photographer still has plenty to sell. The 24.2 MP sensor still works very well for a start, with its lack of a low-pass filter meaning that it captures a lot of detail, whilst the 39-point AF system remains accurate as long as there is a lot of light available.
The Nikon D5300 also has a multi-angle screen, surprisingly for a DSLR, that’s this vintage, which is useful if you want to write through Live View rather than the optical viewfinder. Admittedly, the AF performance in Live View lags a long way behind its mirrorless competitors. Still, the D5300 remains a decent buy at today’s lower prices if you want a classic shooting experience.
6. Nikon D7200
- 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS image sensor
- No Optical Low-Pass Filter (OLPF)
- 51 point autofocus system
- 6 frames per second (fps) shooting capacity
Check Out: Nikon D7200 Lenses
The Nikon D7200 has all of a competent DSLR’s qualities and parts, bundled into an easy-to-carry easy-to-use kit. This camera is ideal for people who usually shoot macro or scenes in darker settings, with a wide ISO scale, expandable up to 102400 if you’re shooting in black and white. Worried about leaving a shaky photo shoot when the subject changed too much? Worry no more; the Nikon 7200 has modes of sport and action that will help you to catch anything without any issues. Nikon easily mixes quality features with the versatility of a conveniently compact camera that you can take anywhere with you. Every single moment, the 24.2MP sensor generates great quality images and guarantees that this quality is retained even while using the higher ISO levels.
7. Nikon D7500
- Class leading image quality, ISO range, image processing and metering equivalent to the award winning D500
- Large 3.2” 922K dot, tilting LCD screen with touch functionality
- 51 point AF system with 15 cross type sensors and group area AF paired with up to 8 fps continuous shooting capability
- 4K Ultra HD and 1080p Full HD video with stereo sound, power aperture control, auto ISO, 4K UHD Time Lapse and more
Check Out: Nikon D7500 Lenses
Outstanding addition to the company’s DX-format camera range is the Nikon D7500. With the same stellar image quality and amazing speed and AF precision, one can almost think of it as the younger brother to the D500. The performance of its video autofocus may not be as sensitive as that of, say, Canon’s EOS 80D. Still, because of its image quality and high-speed performance, particularly against other DSLRs in its class, the D7500 is most impressive.
The Nikon D7500 sports several different hats in its close relationship to the D500. For enthusiasts who want to take their photographs up a notch, it’s a perfect choice. In the camera bags of semipros, who want high-quality photographs and outstanding output without breaking the bank, the D7500 even finds a convenient spot.
8. Nikon D750
- Full frame 243 megapixel CMOS image sensor and expeed 4 image processor
- Full HD 60/50/30/25/24p video
- Built in Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the WT 5a + UT 1 communication unit
- Shoot up to 65 fps at full resolution frame size (pixels): 1920 x 1080
Check Out: Nikon D750 Lenses
The Nikon D750 is a highly capable high-end DSLR that is successfully placed between the current D610 and D810, a slot that might seem pointless at first but has ended up offering one of the most convincing models in the line. Nikon was very patient with the feature collection, choosing both models’ features on either side of it while adding others that made it exclusive and arguably the most forward-thinking full-frame DSLR to date for the brand. So in a rugged chassis that is weather-sealed to the same degree as the D810.
The D750 offers you a 24 Megapixel full-frame camera, a 51-point AF device that functions in lower light than the versions on either side of it, 6.5fps continuous recording, 1080 video at 60p, 9-frame AEB, and becomes the first full-frame Nikon DSLR to feature an articulated screen and built-in Wifi.
9. Nikon D500
- 20.9MP DX format CMOS sensor. Viewfinder: Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
- Expeed 5 image processor; Monitor size: 3.2 inches diagonal
- 3.2 inches 2,539k dot tilting touchscreen Lcd
- 4k UHD video recording at 30 fps
Check Out: Nikon D500 Lenses
With the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, the Nikon D500 goes head-to-head and provides 10fps continuous shooting, an improved and quick focus system with excellent frame coverage, as well as 4K capture. In less than optimal conditions, the weather-sealed camera body is often set up for outdoor photography, and the camera can be used in low light with light-up controls. A tilting touch-screen is also present on the camera, which is relatively uncommon, making the camera more flexible than most other optical SLRs.
There is a wide variety of recording options available for the camera, and the camera can capture 4K video (UHD resolution) to an internal memory card. The camera provides a clean HDMI as an option. There is the possibility of switching on electronic vibration reduction (VR) when capturing FullHD video, and the use of VR lenses can aid when recording hand-held images. The detail is strong, and the replication of color is perfect. You may use Picture Control to customize video recording to your own personal tastes, and there is a “Flat” video recording option setup.
The lack of built-in flash could put some people off, but the camera’s excellent noise efficiency partly makes up for this. The camera price might still turn some people off, but if you’re the type of camera buyer who lets their investment last then for several years to come, the D500 shouldn’t have any issues running.