There are many cameras available today that can be considered vlogging cameras - so how are you supposed to decide on the best vlogging camera for you? One way is to choose your favourite reputable brand up front and then find their best camera on offer that you can afford. One of those reputable brands is Nikon - almost everyone knows their name and that they are experts in photography and camera production, that's because Nikon is a Japanese multinational founded over 100 years ago with a rich history of making top-notch cameras.
Given Nikon's pedigree in photography, it is not surprising that the company has a large line-up of high-quality cameras targeted at both photography and videography. Here we have tried to focus on the most up-to-date cameras that Nikon makes for the regular consumer and have ignored some camera models that are considered older versions or which may have been discontinued by Nikon, even though they may still be available for purchase from distributors.
Nikon has 3 major product lines of consumer cameras that are targeted at certain demographics of the population. These are:
When it comes to vlogging, almost any of these cameras can be used as they all have the ability to record video and sound, albeit with different levels of competency. In this review of Nikon cameras, we have considered all the cameras together irrespective of the Nikon category into which they fall. In addition, since this is a website about making great videos, we have focused almost entirely on the aspects of each camera that are relevant to vlogging, and have left out most of the still photography aspects of the cameras. This sometimes leads to a situation where cameras from different Nikon categories will apparently have almost identical vlogging capabilities, but will dramatically differ in price due to other characteristics that are more relevant to still photography. For this reason, as you study the tables comparing different Nikon cameras below, you will come across cameras that appear to have very identical characteristics, but once again, this just means that they differ in aspects less relevant to vlogging.
As with all cameras intended for use as a vlogging camera, there are some key characteristics to consider before making your purchasing decision. Many of these characteristics have been discussed in more depth elsewhere (such as on our pages 'Good Vlogging Cameras Under £200' or 'Best Vlogging Camera Under £500'), but as a refresher, as well as focusing on how they relate specifically to the today's crop of Nikon cameras, these features are summarised below:
Best Nikon Camera for YouTube Under £200
In the sub-£200 category, the Nikon Coolpix A300 and the Nikon Coolpix L340 are two cameras popular with basic vloggers, however, when looking at the vlogging characteristics of these cameras, a number of features are lacking due to their restriction on cost, and are really only appropriate for the vlogger on a low budget. Both cameras shoot video in 720p, which is considered a low resolution these days. In addition, both cameras lack a 'selfie screen', meaning framing yourself in the shot can be quite difficult, and neither camera has an HDMI port that could have been used to stream video to an external display. Critically, both cameras also only sport monaural microphones and lack the ability to attach an external one forcing vloggers to record with subpar audio. On the positive side, both cameras possess lens-shift image stabilisation, making for a stable shot, and both can be powered from the mains with an optional mains-power adapter. If you do decide to stick to the sub-£200 price limit for a Nikon camera, then for vlogging, the A300 is the better camera to go for, trumping the L340 with its integrated Wi-Fi, which is a more useful feature to vloggers than the higher zoom level of the L340 .
Best Nikon Camera for YouTube Under £400
There are quite a few Nikon cameras in the £200 - £400 price bracket of which the most popular ones are shown in the table above. When it comes to video resolution, it is possible to get the top-of-the-scale 4K video resolution with cameras in the upper end of this price bracket - something recommended in today's (and the future's) display screen market. In addition, some sub-£400 cameras use a larger format sensor (the CX format) than the more commonly found consumer-level camera sensor, the 1/2.3" CMOS, which translates into a superior video image quality. Another feature differentiating vlogging cameras in this price range is the presence of a 180-degree rotatable 'selfie screen', which is present in those cameras that have been designed specifically with vlogging in mind. Most current Nikon cameras in this price bracket have integrated Wi-Fi as standard, a USB and an HDMI port for wired video connections, and the all-important in-built stereo microphone for good sound recordings. Given the options available, the Nikon 1 J5 is close to being our dream-vlogging camera for under £400, having all the typical vlogging characteristics often sought after, in addition to carrying a larger than standard format image sensor for this price range. However, things do get a little complicated with the Nikon 1 series of cameras with their DSLR-like interchangeable lens capabilities, but a Nikon 1 J5 can be had for under £400 with a standard lens fitted, and more experienced vloggers and videographers will appreciate the flexibility of lens choice permitting a greater range of video shot types. For FAQs, recommended YouTube reviews to watch, and other info on the Nikon 1 J5, check out our Nikon 1 J5 details page.
Best Nikon Camera for YouTube Under £500
Above the £400 price limit, we begin to get into the realm of the more professional DSLR cameras, and for under £500, the Nikon D5300 DSLR is the standout winner in this category for vlogging. The D5300 is a DSLR camera that was clearly conceived with vlogging in mind especially with its true selfie-capable screen - many DSLR cameras don't have one. The camera also possesses all the trimmings associated with being a good vlogging camera, namely, integrated Wi-Fi, USB and HDMI ports, and an in-built stereo microphone as well as the ability to attach an external microphone for even more professional audio. Unlike some less expensive non-DSLR cameras, the D5300 cannot shoot in 4K, limited to only 1080p Full HD video, but for what it lacks in future-proofing screen resolution, it makes up with its bigger DX format image sensor, a key ingredient for enhanced overall video quality. For FAQs, recommended YouTube reviews to watch, and other info on the Nikon D5300, check out our Nikon D5300 DSLR details page.
Best Nikon Camera for YouTube Under £1000
One thing you will notice with Nikon DSLR cameras is that while the cameras improve in quality as their price increases, this does not necessarily translate into a better camera from a vlogging standpoint. For example, when it comes to Nikon cameras above £500, the preferred vlogging cameras are actually the lower priced ones as they retain features like the all-important 'selfie-screen'. That's because DSLR cameras are primarily targeted at the professional still photographer and not your regular run-of-the-mill vlogger. For example, in the sub-£500 category of Nikon cameras, the best vlogging camera is the Nikon D5600 DSLR, however, from a vlogging point of view, it does not really possess any features relevant to vlogging than its less expensive sibling, the D5300. In addition, higher level DSLR cameras like the D7200 begin to lose features like the fully rotatable display screen, so unless you are planning to improve your still photography in addition to videography, it is best advised to stay at the lower end of the Nikon DSLR camera spectrum.
The Best Nikon Cameras...but not for YouTube!
At the upper end of the price spectrum of Nikon cameras are the higher-specification DSLR cameras. Once again, although these cameras have improved photographic capabilities, they may not necessarily be better vlogging cameras than their less expensive brethren. The one overriding characteristic counting against them is that Nikon DSLR cameras above £1000 very often do not to possess a 'selfie-screen' - a critical feature for a good vlogging camera. That's because DSLR cameras are primarily designed for professional photographers, with videographic capabilities added on almost as an after-thought. In addition, only the very high-end DSLR cameras can shoot in 4K video, something that can be found in much less expensive non-DSLR Nikon cameras. As a consequence, we don't recommend any of the high-end DSLR cameras as being within any of the best vlogging camera categories. If however, you are set on a high-end DSLR camera, possibly for professional photography purposes, and you can overlook their vlogging feature inadequacies, then the one advantage DSLR cameras give you is a much larger image sensor size. Nikon DSLR cameras use DX and FX or Full-frame formats which can significantly enhance the quality of video footage, taking you one step closer to the video quality common in cinematic movie cameras.