Nikon has an interesting mixture of high-end DSLR cameras and point and shoot cameras with cool features in its digital camera lineup. These cameras have been released in the past 18 months, and they represent the best new cameras from Nikon, both in its Coolpix point and shoot camera lineup and in its DSLR lineup.
1. Nikon J2 DIL
The Nikon 1 system of DIL cameras was introduced with quite a bit of fanfare and a strong advertising campaign last year. This year, the latest model in this DIL system, the Nikon J2, might not have the same amount of fanfare, but it's going to be another popular option for those looking for a lot of photography power, coupled with stylish cameras.
The J2 has 10.1 megapixels of resolution, but don't let that number confuse you. This camera uses a CMOS image sensor that's larger than the sensors found in point and shoot cameras, allowing it to create better image quality with fewer megapixels.
The J2 can shoot videos at full 1080p HD, and it offers a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD for framing photos. It's available in six body colors: white, black, silver, dark red, pink, and orange.
If you liked the look of the J1, the J2 has a similar look with a few extra features, making it well worth considering.
The P500 carries a 36X optical zoom lens. In addition, Nikon has given the P500 strong wide angle capabilities with a zoom range of 22.5mm to 810mm, and Nikon says the P500 is a strong macro performer, thanks to its powerful lens.
You'll find 12.1 megapixels of resolution in the P500's CMOS image sensor, a high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen, and 1080p HD video capabilities. The P500 carries a strong list of specifications ... and, not surprisingly, it carries a high price tag, too, at around $350, but that price is much lower than other ultra-zoom cameras on the market. The Coolpix P500 is available in either red or black.
It has advanced Nikkor lens glass to go with a 7.1X optical zoom lens, a larger-than-usual CMOS image sensor with 12.2MP of resolution, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD that can swivel away from the camera, and full 1080p video recording. The P7700 has a built-in flash, and it also has a hot shoe, allowing you to add an external flash, if desired.
Best of all, the P7700's image quality is outstanding.
Although the photographic features found in the Nikon Coolpix S30 aren't quite as powerful as many new point and shoot digital cameras, the S30 offers one thing that many common models do not -- waterproof capabilities.
The Coolpix S30 is waterproof up to 10 feet of water depth. It's available in pink, white, or blue camera bodies. If you shop around, you may even find the S30 for less than $100, which is pretty impressive for a camera with waterproof capabilities.
The S30 can shoot at resolutions up to 10.1 megapixels with a 3X optical zoom lens and with a 2.7-inch LCD. You can shoot video at up to 720p HD quality.
Nikon has released a camera with a good mix of style and substance with its recently announced Coolpix S80 digital camera.
The Coolpix S80 includes a 3.5-inch OLED touch screen display. The high-resolution screen has a wide viewing angle of about 180 degrees. Users can add art effects to their photos or can rate their photos for easy sorting by using touch commands on the S80's display.
With so many interesting features available in the Nikon Coolpix S800c, it's tough to know what to focus on first.
For starters, the S800c has a 10X optical zoom lens in a camera body that measures only 1.06 inches in thickness. The 3.5-inch OLED touch screen is very bright and sharp. This camera has 16MP of resolution, and it can shoot full HD video.
The Coolpix S800c's on-screen interface is based on the Android operating system for mobile devices, which should make it very easy to use to visit the Web with the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities.
With 16 megapixels of resolution and a 10X optical zoom lens, the S6300 already has a leg up on most point and shoot cameras. This model can shoot full 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second, which is another impressive feature.
However, the S6300's 2.7-inch LCD screen is little smaller than I'd like to see. Still, there's plenty to like about the S6300, which is available in four different solid body colors: Blue, red, silver, and black.
Nikon has paired style with a powerful zoom lens in the Coolpix S9100 point and shoot camera.
You'll find a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor with the S9100. In addition, this camera carries an 18X optical zoom lens, which is a feature rarely found in a camera measuring only 1.4 inches in thickness. The S9100's 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD screen is impressive, and this camera can shoot full 1080p HD video.
Nikon is offering the S9100 in three colors -- black, silver, or pink/red -- although a gold-colored S9100 is available in some parts of the world.
Few cameras can match the top-of-the-line DSLR offerings from Nikon and Canon. When one of those two companies releases a new advanced camera, it's almost always taking a really close look.
It also can shoot 1080p HD video, includes a 39-point autofocus system, can shoot at 5.5 frames per second, and works with a large variety of Nikon interchangeable lenses. The D600 is a very strong full frame camera.
10. Nikon D3100 DSLR
The latest DSLR camera from Nikon, the D3100, is a good beginner camera for intermediate photographers, as it includes on-screen help guides, giving photographers more opportunities for learning how to use their cameras.
The D3100 includes a 14.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor. which should create high-quality images. Additionally, the D3100, which was named a 2010 CES Innovations honoree and which made my list of the best cameras for 2010, offers 11-point auto focus, a viewfinder, and the ability to use the built-in flash or an external flash unit.
11. Nikon D5100 DSLR
The Nikon D5100 will carry 16.2 megapixels of resolution and record in full HD video. The D5100 is a small and neat camera, which fits easily into the hand. It feels substantial, but weighs less than its predecessor (as it has a plastic body). The camera also benefits from the addition of an articulated LCD screen with a side hinge.
Replacing the D5000, the D5100 sits neatly in between the entry-level D3100 and the high-end D7000. The camera is clearly aimed at attracting enthusiasts who have outgrown their basic entry-level DSLRs, and it will be in close competition with Canon's T3i.
12. Nikon D7000 DSLR
The Nikon D7000 features a 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor. When coupled with Nikon's EXPEED 2 image processing system, which allows for fast autofocus, low noise in photos, and six frames per second in burst mode, the D7000 creates high-quality images with impressive speed.
Look for 1080p HD video capability, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and a built-in flash unit with the D7000.