DSLR Camera Bodies

This picture was taken using the Nikon D7200 (see below), coupled with a pretty basic lens (a Nikon 70-300mm zoom).

DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Light travels into the camera (through the lens), where it hits a "reflex mirror", directing it to the top of the camera where it either hits a penta-prism or penta-mirror directing it to the view-finder. When you look through the eyepiece of a DSLR, you are looking (albeit indirectly) right down the lens. Alternatively the same image will appear in the "live view" screen.

All cameras below are DSLR's from the Nikon DX (cropped sensor - APS-C format). A cropped sensor is smaller than a full frame sensor - so that the image will look "cropped" next to an image taken at the same distance from a full frame camera. The D3400 is the cheapest, and the D7200 is the most expensive in this range. FX sensors tend to come in the high intermediate to professional end of the market. The effect of having the DX sensor can however be an advantage in some situations, because of what we call the "crop factor". If you use a full frame lens with a cropped sensor (as we sometimes do at Arty Bart), you have "in effect" a greater magnification from the lens. This can sometimes be an advantage in, for example, wildlife photography. If you'd like to have a look at some Nikon FX format cameras then click here. The shot to the right was taken at 300mm with a cropped sensor camera - but because of the "crop factor", the effective range of that lens was 450mm.

You can buy most cameras "body only", or in a "kit" - including body and lens / lenses etc.. The links below give you as many options as possible in one click.

Nikon D3400

This is Nikon's entry level DSLR. 

The D3400 is not bad for an entry level camera! It has a vast improvement on battery live from it's predecessor the D3300. It also has the addition of SnapBridge technology which allows you to connect it via Bluetooth (not wi-fi) to your mobile 'phone or tablet and share your pictures instantly with your friends. It has a "cropped"/APSC, CMOS sensor rather than the full frame sensor - but that is to be expected since the latter only appear on higher end cameras. This isn't something to worry about at this budget.

If you're into video and think you might want to attach an external microphone to your camera this might not be the camera for you - since this is something Nikon removed on this model (it was on the previous D3300). If you're happy with it's built in monaural microphone you're good to go.

Not bad for an entry level camera! It has a vast improvement on battery live from it's predecessor the D3300. It also has the addition of SnapBridge technology which allows you to connect it via Bluetooth (not wi-fi) to your mobile 'phone or tablet and share your pictures instantly with your friends. It has a "cropped" CMOS sensor rather than the full frame sensor - but that is to be expected since the latter only appear on higher end cameras. This isn't something to worry about at this budget.

If you're into video and think you might want to attach an external microphone to your camera this might not be the camera for you - since this is something Nikon removed on this model (it was on the previous D3300). If you're happy with it's built in monaural microphone you're good to go.

It has a 24 mega pixel CMOS sensor so your size of picture is going to be pretty decent. It's a very decent resolution.

If you want to take your camera out in all weathers you might want to pay a little more and get one with environmental sealing like the Nikon D7200.​ (Or you could look into optional protection wrappers).

Nikon D5600

This is Nikon's mid range of "cropped"/APSC sensor cameras. It has a very respectable 24 mega pixel sensor - so there's a pretty good resolution in there for you. It's a very decent camera for the enthusiast - and a great investment for a beginner who's looking to get into photography. Knowing what we know now, if we were starting out this is where we'd start. (We currently run a Nikon D7200 - in the high end of this range - but we're not just starting out).

The D5600 comes with Nikon's SnapBridge technology ​which enables you to connect with your mobile devices by Bluetooth and transfer your photographs instantly so you can share them with your friends there and then. The camera also has built in WiFi.

If you are looking to use your camera in all weathers this camera does not have environmental sealing.​ If this is an issue you might want to look at the more expensive Nikon D7200 or invest in some kind of protective wrapping.

Unlike it's sibling the Nikon D3400 this camera does have an external microphone port - so if you are into taking video you can plug in your own external microphone. Those of us who have used internal microphones will know that this does make a difference.​ Audio recording is a whole world in itself...

Another big difference between this camera and the D3400 is that this camera has 39 focus points, compared with the D3400s 11. this can be really handy if you are focus tracking a moving object - or if you like to move your focus point manually rather than focus lock and re-adjust the frame.

Nikon D7200

Be warned - this model is soon to be updated by the D7300 - more on this when the 7300 arrives

This is an easy recommend for us as Bart's sidekick C S Wimsey owns this very model. She reports that it is excellent - comparing well with her D800 full frame camera body (See D810 on the more advanced options page. 

Picture quality is fantastic for a cropped sensor. Unless you are desperate to go full frame this is hard to beat in our opinion, and is the top cropped sensor camera in the Nikon range.

This camera supports high-speed flash sync, and the Nikon CLS lighting system allowing you to use your camera to control off camera flash. It is the only camera of these three which is weather sealed.

Nikon D500

This camera kind of "bridges the gap" between the other DX cameras above in this category, and FX full frame cameras we include in the category above. We say "kind of" because this camera is packed with features and in some ways could be said to exceed some of it's FX brothers. It is essentially the "smaller sibling to the D5" according to Nikon's website (the D5 being Nikon's top banana FX / full format pro camera). The D500 has the features, albeit it has a DX cropped sensor, and because of that it is smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around with you. If you're into wildlife or sports photography the DX sensor could even be an advantage. The "crop factor" (caused by the sensor being smaller than an FX) will give the appearance of more "zoomed in" shots.

It's great for taking shots in fast bursts (up to 10 frames per second) - and with it's numerous (153 with 99 cross type!) focus points, ​tracking focus on fast moving objects is a forte. The buffer capacity allows you to shoot an incredible 200 RAW images during one high speed burst. Anyone who has had the buffer fill up in the middle of a high speed burst before the really good action happened will know how significant this is. (Yes, it's happened to us on some really high end Nikon's).

Combined with the "crop factor" you will get with this having a DX sensor this camera is an amazing bet for sports and wildlife photography. If you aren't doing that kind of photography we would recommend the cheaper, but still amazing D7200 - or D7300 (which at the time of writing is not yet out). The reason for this is that if you don't need the speed bursts the extra money you would put into your D500 camera body would be better spent on superior lenses. If you are shooting movement and don't need an FX sensor, this camera is your baby!

The camera has 21 mega pixels, which is slightly less than the 24 of the D7200, D5600, and D3400. We would not advise that you hold this against it. Mega-pixels, certainly when you are talking in these numbers aren't everything, and we would argue that there is very little difference in image size here anyway. The other features on the D500 are FAR more important and useful. Just sit back and marvel at what an amazing camera this really is.

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We'll shortly be adding some information on the new Nikon D500 to the grid above, but suffice it to say the D500 is probably in a class of it's own. It is DX camera, packing a massive punch over and above the D7200 - with a price tag to match - watch this space ;-). Although the D500 looks amazing, we don't regret our purchase of the D7200. It's a different beast, taking some elements from Nikon's flagship D5 FX pro body. If you want to shoot serious sport pictures, you may want to consider the D500. If we could have a D500 for the same price as our 7200... we'd be first in line :-).

These pages contain lots of advice and some recommendations. We only recommend products that we love. It would be a dis-service to you and therefore harmful to Bart to recommend things we don't genuinely believe in. This page does contain affiliate links which will earn us a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any purchases you make via our recommendation. This helps to support all the helpful free content and the maintenance of this website. Without this we couldn't provide you the service we feel you deserve. We'd be so grateful if you could support us, if you are minded to buy, so that we can keep supplying you with even more new and free content. Thank you and enjoy!

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